Posts for: March, 2019
If your dentist found tooth decay on your last visit, you might have been surprised. But tooth decay doesn't occur suddenly—it's a process that takes time to unfold.
It begins with bacteria—too many, that is. Bacteria naturally live in the mouth, but when their populations grow (often because of an abundance of leftover sugar to feed on) they produce high amounts of acid, a byproduct of their digestion. Too much acid contact over time softens and eventually erodes tooth enamel, making decay easier to advance into the tooth.
So, one important strategy for preventing tooth decay is to keep your mouth's bacterial population under control. To do that, here are 4 common-sense tactics you should perform between dental visits.
Practice daily hygiene. Bacteria thrive in dental plaque, a thin film of food particles that builds up on teeth. By both brushing and flossing you can reduce plaque buildup and in turn reduce disease-causing bacteria. In addition, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can also help strengthen tooth enamel against acid attacks.
Cut back on sugar. Reducing how much sugar you eat—and how often –deprives bacteria of a prime food source. Constant snacking throughout the day on sweets worsens the problem because it prevents saliva, the body's natural acid neutralizer, from reducing high acid levels produced while eating. Constant snacking doesn't allow saliva to complete this process, which normally takes about thirty minutes to an hour. To avoid this scenario, limit any sweets you eat to mealtimes only.
Wait to brush after eating. Although this sounds counterintuitive, your tooth enamel is in a softened state until saliva completes the acid neutralizing process previously described. If you brush immediately after eating you could brush away tiny particles of softened enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water and wait an hour for saliva to do its work before brushing.
Boost your saliva. Inadequate saliva flow could inhibit the fluid's ability to adequately neutralize acid or provide other restorative benefits to tooth enamel. You can improve flow with supplements or medications, or by drinking more water during the day. Products with xylitol, a natural sugar alternative, could give you a double benefit: chewing gums and mints containing it could stimulate more saliva flow and the xylitol itself can inhibit bacterial growth.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Teething
The timing your baby will begin to teeth varies quite widely. Typically, babies will start getting their first teeth around six months old, but this can range from 4-12 months. The first teeth to erupt are the lower incisors (2 lower front teeth) followed by the upper incisors (2 top front teeth.) The first sign that your baby has begun teething is crankiness or irritability. Because it can be sore or itchy when teeth erupt through the gums, this is how your baby may show it. Also, your baby might put objects in their mouth to chew. Drooling is another sign of teething. Sometimes, teething may be associated with a low-grade fever.
Tips To Help With Teething
Use a teething ring – A teething ring is an object, often made out of rubber or a similar material, meant for your baby to hold and bite to help soothe their gums. Make sure you buy a teething ring that is labelled as such and from a reputable brand. Do not make your own or give your baby small items to put in their mouth.
Rub your baby’s gums – Use a finger or a damp cloth to rub or press over the sore spots. This can help alleviate and distract from the discomfort in their gums.
Use cooled objects to soothe sore gums - Reducing the temperature of the gums will reduce the sensation in them, much like icing a rash reducing itching. Use a cold cloth or a teething ring from the fridge to help soothe your baby’s gums.
Over the counter remedies – Depending on the intensity of the teething, it may be beneficial to use over the counter remedies such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow the dosage label.
Once the first tooth is through the gums, it is now time to make sure to keep it clean, as more teeth will follow. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-fluoridated toothpaste to brush twice a day lightly. You can switch over to a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste around three years old. All primary teeth will be erupted by 25 to 33 months old.
If your baby is teething and you have any questions about it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
It's National Nutrition Month! Good nutrition is key to overall health, but poor dental health can have a big impact on your ability to get the right nutrients. Your mouth is the first step in the digestive system, so if teeth and gums are in poor shape, food choices can be severely limited. Here are some nutritional guidelines that will benefit your oral health as well as your overall health.
Get plenty of fruits and vegetables. Plant foods provide many oral health benefits:
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables scrub debris from your teeth during chewing and stimulate the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid and helps rebuild tooth enamel.
- Dark, leafy greens are a good source of iron, calcium and many vitamins that are good for your teeth and gums.
- Several fruits have vitamin C, an essential for healthy gums.
- Bananas have magnesium, which builds tooth enamel.
- Many yellow and orange fruits supply vitamin A, which keeps the soft membranes in your mouth healthy.
Go for dairy. Dairy products—for example, cheese, milk and unsweetened yogurt—neutralize acid as well as contribute tooth- and bone-strengthening minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.
Eat whole grains. An excess of refined carbohydrates can lead to chronic inflammation, which contributes to gum disease and many other ailments. However, the complex carbohydrates found in whole grains work against inflammation.
Incorporate all food groups. Strive to eat a balanced diet that includes healthy foods from all food groups. For example:
- Lean proteins are essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
- Good fats such as those found in salmon and nuts work against inflammation. In addition, nuts stimulate the production of saliva and contain vitamins and minerals to keep teeth strong.
- Legumes are a great source of many tooth-healthy vitamins and minerals.
Limit sugary or acidic foods and beverages. Acid from certain foods and beverages can weaken tooth enamel, leading to cavities. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and release acid that eats away at tooth enamel, causing cavities. How you eat and drink also affects dental health. For example, if you indulge in sugary treats, do so with a meal if possible so that other foods can help neutralize the acid. And if you drink lemonade or soda, don't brush your teeth immediately afterwards. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to give your saliva a chance to neutralize the acid.
Getting the right nutrition for a healthy body requires good dental health, so it pays to take good care of your teeth. For a lifetime of good oral health, choose foods that keep your teeth and gums healthy, and don't forget to schedule regular dental checkups to make sure your teeth and gums are in great shape. If you have questions about diet and oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.