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Monday, May 25, 2015

Foods That Aren't Good For Oral Health

Foods That Aren't Good For Oral Health

Eating is one of the greatest pleasures of life and is one of the main centerpieces of our holiday gatherings and celebrations. At the same time, we are taught from an early age that keeping our teeth and gums healthy is also very important. It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Taking care of our teeth and gums, but also indulging in the good food that is presented to us. The great news is that it’s always alright to occasionally eat foods that aren’t good for oral health, but that should only be the case if we are avoiding them most of the time. So what foods do you need to avoid to keep teeth and gums as healthy as you can?

Foods That Aren’t Good for Oral Health:

-Carbonated Sodas

Drinking sodas does more than just expand your waistline. The acid in soda can erode the protective enamel coating on your teeth. Soda can stain or discolor your teeth. And of course, soda contains tons of sugar that can contribute to tooth decay. Soda offers no nutritional value to your body and has also been proven to deplete the teeth of calcium—an essential mineral needed for strong teeth and bones—which can soften the teeth and make them more vulnerable to the development of cavities. Soda makes the top of the list of foods that aren’t good for oral health.

-Sweets

Most of us enjoy a sweet treat every now and then. With sugar consumption in the United States up 39% from the 1950s, it seems that we are enjoying sweet treats much more often than we should be. Sweets are another food that isn’t good for our oral health. They contain high amounts of sugar, low amounts of vitamins and minerals, add to our waistlines, and have detrimental effects on our teeth. The high sugar content can rot our teeth, leaving us susceptible to painful Dental operations in order to save them.

-Sticky Foods

Unfortunately, sticky foods are another food that isn’t good for oral health. Foods like toffee, taffy, gummy bears, and caramel have the double whammy of high sugar content as well as being very sticky. Sticky foods cling easily to our teeth, are hard to brush off, and can get in between the teeth in places that are hard to reach by brushing or even flossing. Sticky foods are the perfect thing to eat…if you want lots of cavities!

-Acidic Foods

When we drink drinks (such as sodas) or eat foods (such as citrus fruits) that are high in acids (phosphoric acid, citric acid) we are attacking the enamel on our teeth. When our enamel is weakened, it opens up our teeth to the formation of cavities. The enamel also protects the sensitive layers of our teeth and once enamel is damaged and gone, it is gone for good. Enamel does not build back up on our teeth. While citrus fruits do offer vitamin, minerals, and fiber in moderation, too much of them can cause them to be one of the foods that aren’t good for oral health.

Keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using an anti-septic mouthwash, and of course, by visiting your Dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. Maintain a healthy body and a healthy mouth by eating a varied diet rich in nutrient-dense foods. By choosing healthy foods most of the time, you can afford to splurge on your favorite “bad” foods every now and then!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oral Disease Related to Poor Oral Health

Dentists tell us at each visit that we need to brush at least twice daily. We know we should be flossing every day. Rinsing our mouths also helps us fight cavities. We should avoid foods high in sugar and other tooth damaging ingredients. What happens when we don’t heed these suggestions?
There are several things that can go wrong in our mouths due to poor oral health. Some of them are easily remedied by making changes in our daily habits, while others require intervention by a dentist or oral surgeon. The following are some of the most common diseases related to poor Oral Health.

-Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common ailment that most people have to some degree. It is the inflammation of the gums, most often at the gum line. Those who do not brush their teeth enough or floss regularly will notice swollen, red gums. It can occur to different degrees and is reversible through adopting good oral habits such as daily brushing, flossing, and dentist visits. When it is left untreated it will continue to get worse, eventually turning to gum disease.

-Periodontal Disease (gum disease)

When gingivitis progresses too far, the symptoms will begin to get worse. People will have pain, irritation, tenderness, and bleeding of the gums. The gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving spaces that are left open to bacteria and infection. These infections, combined with the body’s natural immune defenses, begin to break down the connective tissues and bones that hold the teeth into the body. If allowed to continue, the teeth will ultimately loosen and have to be removed.

-Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is an infection that occurs in the mouth that begins from an infected cavity. These types of abscesses are often found in people that have poor oral health habits, such as not brushing or flossing often enough. When a cavity becomes infected and it is not treated, the bacteria can travel to different areas in the mouth. The infection site can begin to collect pus and become very painful. While some abscesses will rupture and drain on their own, it is best advised to have them treated by a dentist, often by a Dental Surgery called a root canal.

-Xerostomia

Also called cottonmouth or dry mouth, xerostomia can be a byproduct of poor oral health. Xerostomia is when the mouth is not able to produce enough saliva, which can leave teeth and gums vulnerable to the development of damaging plaques and tooth decay.

-Halitosis

Halitosis is the medical term for chronic bad breath. Halitosis is more than just “morning breath.” It is persistent and often caused by infections in the mouth due to decay, or poor oral health.

The good news about poor oral health is that you can turn your dental habits around at any time and make a change. Eating less sugar, drinking less soda, flossing daily, brushing regularly, and visiting your dentist for regular exams and cleanings can make a big impact on your previously poor oral health.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Smile

We all know that taking good care of our teeth by daily brushing and flossing is vital, but what about the foods that we put into our bodies? How do they play a role in our Oral Health? As it turns out, the foods that we choose to eat play a major role in our oral health. We can choose foods that are damaging to our teeth, such as sodas, sweets, sticky foods, or foods that are high in damaging acids. Or we can look for foods that are nourishing not only to our bodies, but keep our teeth healthy and strong as well! Luckily, there are lots of delicious foods that help us maintain good oral health! We’ve complied a mini-list of some easy to remember foods that help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape!

Eat These!

1. Low acid fruits

Some citrus fruits contain high levels of acid that can damage the enamel on your teeth. Though these fruits contain lots of vitamins and nutrients, it’s a good idea to limit their consumption, especially if you are experiencing any pain or sensitivity on the surface of the tooth. Note: citrus fruits are certainly healthy for you in moderation, as they contain lots of vitamin C, which is vital for a healthy body!

2. Drink lots of water

Keeping our mouths moist is important for our teeth. Saliva protects our teeth by disrupting the growth of bacteria on the teeth’s surface. Drinking plenty of water insures that the mouth is staying moist, while also washing away any micro-particles of food that have stayed behind after meals. Good oral health can be maintained by drinking lots of water, but don’t try to substitute water with sugary sodas or juices.

3. Fiber

High fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and brown rice help increase the flow of saliva in our mouths. Saliva creates a natural mineral barrier around our teeth, preventing cavity-forming plaque to attach itself.

4. Calcium-Rich Foods

The growth and development of strong teeth starts young! Calcium is an absolute must to create the foundations of dental and good oral health. If you have strong teeth to begin with, this helps prevent problems as you age. Calcium is important for preventing tooth decay as well. Try dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt. Don’t like dairy products? No problem! Calcium is also found in many other foods such as kale, broccoli, almonds, and dried beans.

5. Eat Sweets—In Moderation!

It used to be that sweet treats were somewhat rare. A birthday cake, a pie at Thanksgiving—sugar was eaten, but it was not as
readily available as it is now. In fact, prior to the 1900s, Americans only consumed about 5 lbs of sugar a year! Compare that to the over 150 lbs, we now consume and you can understand why, despite our great advances in understanding Dentistry and good oral health, people are still suffering from dental problems. So enjoy your sweets—but try to limit them to celebrations or special occasions. And watch out for hidden sugars, such a high-fructose corn syrup, which can be found in everything from ketchup to bread!

Good oral health is easy to maintain with a healthy diet, regular brushing and flossing, and by visiting your Dentist every 6 months for exams and cleanings. Schedule an appointment today!