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5 Reasons to Floss Daily

5 Reasons to Floss Daily

Flossing your teeth can seem like a pain, if you are already brushing why should you need to floss? Flossing is incredibly beneficial to your health and helps clean your teeth, brushing alone can’t get your teeth clean enough and rid your mouth of harmful bacteria. Flossing matters just as much as brushing, here’s why:

Floss daily to not only help your teeth but your whole body, if you do not know how to floss or what the best type of floss is for you we would be happy to show you at your next appointment!

Can Chewing Gum Really Clean Your Mouth?

Can Chewing Gum Really Clean Your Mouth?

It’s one of the sacred cows of dental hygiene: after a meal, you can pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth to scrub your teeth of food remnants and beat bad breath. 

And it’s no wonder we hop on this train so quickly: chewing gum is an American staple. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average American chews almost two pounds of gum each year. 

But what’s the science behind the claim? Is it true that gum really cleans your teeth? Is all gum created equal? Are there any side effects of gum that we might not know about?

Here’s what you need to know:

Can Gum be Good for Your Teeth?

You can’t walk out of a grocery store nowadays without passing a rack of shiny, packaged gum that advertises a whole host of dental benefits, ranging from whitening to freshening breath. It sounds too good to be true, but is it?

No. As it turns out, the hype is real. Certain types of gum CAN be good for your teeth. You just have to know where to look. Here are a few things to keep in mind next time you head out gum shopping:

Sugarless Gum Can Help Clean Your Teeth

Sure – there are dozens of gums advertised as cavity-fighting or tooth-boosting. According to the Oral Health Foundation, though, any old sugarless gum will do:

“Chewing any regular sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities by removing food particles from the surfaces of your teeth. Chewing also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps clear away food, strengthen teeth, and reduce the levels of acid in your mouth that cause tooth decay.”

With this in mind, reach for whichever gum is your favorite. Just be sure to stay away from sugar-packed varieties, as they’ll do more harm than good for your teeth.

Gravitate Toward Xylitol

Xylitol is a compound used to replace sugar in foods like chewing gum and peanut butter. In addition to lowering the calorie content of these snacks, Xylitol helps prevent cavities. According to a 2002 study conducted at the Institute of Dentistry in Finland, Xylitol can reduce the level of cavity-causing bacteria contained in the mouth:

“Xylitol is compatible and complementary with all current oral hygiene recommendations. The appealing sensory and functional properties of xylitol facilitate a wide array of applications that promote oral health.”

While bacteria can feed on and digest traditional sugar, using it to create acid and wear away at your teeth, they can’t digest Xylitol, which makes it an excellent additive for gum dedicated to oral hygiene.

Some Gum Protects Enamel

When you thought it couldn’t get any better – some gum goes so far as to protect the enamel on your teeth. Gums with an additive known as casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), also called Recaldent, works to mineralize and strengthen tooth enamel. This, in turn, toughens tooth enamel and decreases the likelihood of dental decay. 

5 Ways to Identify Gum That Won’t Help Your Teeth

There are hundreds of kinds of gum out there. So how do you identify the brands that are good for you, and differentiate them from the ones that aren’t? Here are a few fail-proof tips:

1. Look for the ADA Seal – or Absence Thereof

Gum that is tooth-friendly earns the ADA Seal. According to the ADA itself, 

“A company earns the ADA Seal by demonstrating that its product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy for sugar-free chewing gum. Studies must also show that the gum is safe for use in the oral cavity. The manufacturer must provide the results of both laboratory studies and clinical studies in humans.”

If you don’t see the ADA Seal on the gum in your hand, put it back and pick another one.

2. Steer Clear of Sugar-Containing Gum

In addition to the fact that the ADA only grants its seal of acceptance to sugar-free gums, gums that contain sugar are terrible for your teeth. Don’t worry, though – sugar-free gums still taste great and provide a touch of sweetness you’re looking for. If you want to keep your teeth healthy, reach for sugar-free varieties only.

If you’re not sure what’s a tooth-friendly choice and what’s not, ask your dentist for some recommendations. They’ll be happy to give you a few tips on what to choose next time you visit the gum aisle. 

3. Beware of Intense Flavors

While flavored gums aren’t always chock-full of sugar, it’s an excellent general guideline to abide by. With this in mind, steer clear of intensely flavored gums like cinnamon and fruit varieties. It’s also wise to avoid gums that have any filling or “flavor burst,” as that’s just a cover word for sugar. 

4. Chew Moderately

Everything in moderation – especially when it comes to your teeth. Even sugar-free gum isn’t great for your teeth if you have it in your mouth all the time. Instead, stick to chewing a piece after meals or between meals. A piece or two a day will be just fine for your teeth, while more than that can create excess salivation and other inconvenient issues. If you have a tough time breaking your gum habit, consider sipping water instead. 

5. Talk to Your Dentist

Have any doubts about the gum you’ve selected? Take them right to your dentist. Your dentist is your first line of defense when it comes to your oral health, and they/ll work closely with you to ensure you’re making good dental health choices and picking the right products to protect your teeth.

Care for Your Teeth – Book Your Cleaning Today!

We’re happy to bust the myth that chewing gum is bad for your teeth. As long as you stay away from sugar-filled varieties and keep your chewing moderate, gum can work wonders to cut down on oral bacteria and discourage dental decay. 

 

Ready to learn more about chewing gum and other popular oral health trends? Overdue for your yearly cleaning? Contact our team to book your first appointment today. 

6 Reasons You Need Your Teeth Cleaned 2x a Year

We all know getting your teeth cleaned and taken care of is important, many people still neglect to get their teeth cleaned twice a year. Regular teeth cleaning and checkups are not only good for your mouth but your overall health, there are several benefits of having good oral health. Good oral health is maintained by regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist.

There are so many benefits of having a clean and healthy smile, not only will your mouth thank you but you will feel better having clean teeth! Call our office today to schedule your first visit!

5 Ways Your Dental Health Affects You

5 Ways Your Dental Health Affects You

Dental health: it’s about much more than white teeth and good breath. While it’s true that oral and dental hygiene can help you prevent bad breath and other mouth-related disorders, it goes much, much deeper than that. In fact, the health of our mouths has a significant impact on the health of the rest of our bodies – from our cardiovascular systems to our immune function. 

Sound serious? It is! The great news, though, is that you can protect your health by investing in your dental health. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mouth: A Viewfinder into Your Body’s Complete System

If the eyes are the window to the soul, the mouth is a window to your overall health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA):

“The mouth is filled with countless bacteria; some linked to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Researchers have found that periodontitis (the advanced form of periodontal disease that can cause tooth loss) is linked with other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Likewise, pregnant women with periodontitis may be at increased risk of delivering preterm and low-birth-weight infants.”

To put this another way, a healthy mouth is a sign of good overall health. A mouth riddled with gum disease, loose teeth, and bad breath, though, may be a sign of serious underlying health issues. 

5 Ways Dental Health Impacts Overall Health

By now, you know that your body function and your dental health are closely linked. How, exactly, does the health of your mouth impact the health of the rest of your body, though? Here are a few key points we like to tell our clients about:

1. Oral Health Impacts Cardiovascular Health

In recent years, several studies have shown that gum inflammation causes a statistically significant increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke. The reason for this comes down to systemic inflammation: gum disease increases inflammation throughout your body and can lead to inflammation in the soft tissue of the heart. 

According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology (CAP), people with periodontal disease are at higher risk of heart disease and have twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack than people without periodontal disease. Additionally, gum disease that results from extended bacterial exposure can eventually lead to severe cases of heart disease and inflammation. 

2. Poor Oral Health Can Lead to Lung Infections

People with periodontal disease have a higher level of bacteria in their mouths. As such, they’re more likely to inhale bacteria and germs down the windpipe, creating an environment in the lungs that leads to severe lung infections, pneumonia, and other conditions. This risk is increased significantly in people who have pre-existing lung issues like COPD

3. Oral Health can Contribute to Diabetes

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease. What scientists have recently realized, though, is that there may be a reverse causal relationship, as well. People with gum disease may be more prone to developing diabetes since bacteria in the mouth can impact the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. 

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association:

“Because periodontal disease is an infection, bacteria produce toxins that affect carbohydrate metabolism in individual cells. It is also thought that the host response to periodontal bacteria can increase insulin resistance and, therefore, blood glucose levels.” 

This link is an excellent illustrating factor for anyone who still isn’t convinced that taking care of their teeth is essential. 

4. Oral Health can Impact Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s wise to pay careful attention to your teeth. According to recent studies, pregnant women who suffer from progressive gum disease are more likely than their healthy-mouthed counterparts to deliver premature babies or babies with low birth weight or to develop gestational diabetes. 

As your pregnancy progresses, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. Not only will your mouth thank you, but your pregnancy will progress more normally thanks to your healthy, clean mouth. 

5. Dental Health and Blood Pressure

If you’re letting your oral health slide, you may also be putting your blood pressure levels at risk. According to a study published in October of 2018 by the American Heart Association:

 

“Poor oral health may interfere with blood pressure control in people diagnosed with hypertension. Periodontal disease — a condition marked by gum infection, gum inflammation and tooth damage — appears to worsen blood pressure and interferes with hypertension treatment. Study findings underscore the importance of good oral health in blood pressure control and its role in preventing the adverse cardiovascular effects known to stem from untreated hypertension.” 

If you’re currently taking blood pressure medication, you can increase the efficacy of your therapy by protecting your oral health, as well. Brushing and flossing regularly, and making routine trips to the dentist are all key factors in this process. 

Good Oral Health Leads to Good Overall Health

It’s easy to assume that our mouths operate as independent systems – that they have as little to do with our hearts, blood pressure, or pregnancies as a baker would with a spaceship launch. This couldn’t be more misguided, though. Our oral health has a massive impact on the health of our overall body systems. When our mouths are clean and healthy, the rest of our body systems benefit, as a result. 

A clean mouth reduces the overall level of bacteria in the body, contributing to a healthier immune system, lower blood pressure, less inflammation, and a reduced risk of disease. If you’re ready to start taking better care of your oral health, the first step is getting to a dentist for a routine checkup. Working closely with a dentist keeps your mouth clean and healthy and ensures you’ll catch any troubling dental problems before they become major issues. 

Our team is happy to assist you with this process. Give us a call today to schedule your check-up appointment and start protecting your oral health.

Christmas Treats That are bad for Your Teeth (& What to Eat Instead)

Christmas Treats That are bad for Your Teeth (& What to Eat Instead)

The holiday season is just around the corner, and we all know what it feels like to be surrounded by dozens of tempting treats. From candy canes to cookies to cakes and beyond, there are so many things to love about the holiday season. Unfortunately, these tasty treats present a real risk for your dental wellness. When consumed in excess, tasty Christmas treats can cause cavities, dental decay, and more.

Fortunately, you can keep your family’s mouths healthy and happy by avoiding certain foods and drinks which are bad for your teeth, and substituting them with healthier alternatives this holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know:

5 Christmas Treats That are Bad for Your Teeth

They’re attractive, they’re delicious, but they’re terrible for your teeth. To keep your mouth healthy and happy this year, avoid these five Christmas treats:

1. Candy Canes

Candy canes are synonymous with Christmas, but they aren’t great for your teeth. In fact, candy canes are the definition of a food that’s bad for your teeth. Because they take forever to eat, they coat teeth with sugar, sticky residue, and dye. Over time, this produces a nice, slimy treat for the bacteria in your mouth, which feed on the sugar and produce acid.

This acid, in turn, increases the risk of cavities and erodes enamel. The enamel, which is a protective layer on the teeth, can create weak areas when it’s damaged. While you’re avoiding hard candies, you’ll also want to avoid the candies you see in candy dishes and other easy-to-grab locations during the holidays.

2. Caramels

Caramels are some of our favorite Christmas treats, but they’re also some of the worst for teeth. If you’d prefer not to kick off the new year having cavities filled, stay away from them this Christmas season. Whether it shows up in a Christmas cookie or drizzled over sweet popcorn, caramel is one of the worst foods for your teeth.

Because it’s sugar that sticks to and coats teeth, caramel can wear away tooth enamel and increase the risk of dental decay. Other sticky treats, like peanut brittle, should also be avoided.

3.  Baked Goods

Baked goods abound during the Christmas season. Cookie plates seem to be everywhere, and it’s easy to grab a few Christmas cookies without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, this can spell a severe issue for your teeth.

Cookies, brownies, cakes, and other delectable baked treats are high in sugar, which is terrible for your teeth.

Even dried fruit in foods like fruit cakes and more has a high sugar content. To make matters even worse, small pieces of these treats may lodged between teeth, causing cavities and dental decay. If you decide to indulge (in moderation, of course), be sure to brush and floss your teeth immediately after eating.

4. Sugary Drinks

While a glass of eggnog or hot cocoa might be comforting and warming on a chilly December day, these drinks are chock-full of sugar, which increases your risk of tooth decay. That risk becomes even higher if you add accessories, like marshmallows or whipped cream.

With this in mind, enjoy these drinks mindfully and stay away from drinking them daily. As always, remember to brush and floss your teeth after consuming these drinks to stave off cavities and keep your teeth healthy and happy.

5. White Wine

Planning to have a few glasses of wine with holiday dinner? If dental health is your top priority, it’s wise to reach for red wine instead of white. Because red wine contains good bacteria that can actually banish bad bacteria in the mouth, it can help stave off tooth decay and leave your mouth healthy at the end of the night.

White wine, on the other hand, is higher in acid and will erode the enamel on the dental surface. This makes the teeth more vulnerable to decay and damage. Worried about discoloration caused by red wine? Brush your teeth after finishing your drink.

Foods to Eat Instead

If the treats above are off-limits, what can you eat this Christmas? And what kinds of tasty foods will support your dental wellness and help keep your teeth healthy? While the foods and beverages on the forbidden list may be some of the most delicious holidays treats out there, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat any of them. Instead, focus on eating them sparingly, and ensuring you brush and floss your teeth immediately afterward. If you’re interested in learning about some healthy substitutes, there are plenty of tasty alternatives you can enjoy. Keep your teeth strong and healthy this Holiday season by swapping out some “must avoid” foods for the ones on the list below:

  • Cheese: Did you know that eating cheese boosts saliva production? Saliva also strengthens and improves dental enamel, thanks to its high calcium content. Finally, eating cheese can lower your mouth’s pH balance, which may help to stave off cavities.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables are a great source of fiber, and will provide outstanding protection against cavities. For best results, reach for options like broccoli and celery, which boost saliva production and help protect against cavities. Broccoli also contains a high level of vitamin A, which fortifies tooth enamel for a healthier mouth.
  • Nuts: In the mood for a salty treat? Grab some nuts instead of Christmas candy. Nuts are chock-full of essential fatty acids, which keep your mouth and gums healthy. Need more evidence? Check out this 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The one thing to avoid? Opening the nuts with your teeth rather than a nutcracker.

How to Keep Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

When it comes to the holidays, you can keep your teeth healthy with just a few simple hacks. Follow these tips to enjoy seasonal sweets and maintain your cavity-free smile throughout. These tips can help keep your mouth healthy and cavity-free for years to come.

Lay off the Candy

Again, you can enjoy candy; you just have to do it sparingly. While the holidays present a nonstop buffet of sweets, they can destroy your teeth quickly. Instead of overdosing on sweets, eat a single dessert and brush your teeth immediately afterward. This approach will allow you to expose your teeth to less sugar and reduce your risk of dental decay.

Use a Nutcracker

Save your teeth from breaks and cracks by using a nutcracker, not your teeth, to crack nuts. If there’s no nutcracker in sight, choose a different snack. One poorly-placed bite can easily break teeth, leading to expensive, long-term dental issues.

Maintain a Routine

The holidays make it tough to maintain a routine, but doing so is essential to your dental wellness. Don’t let the holidays throw you off schedule – keep brushing two times a day. If you have trouble remembering to do this, put a toothbrush in your bag and step away from a party or gathering for a quick bout of dental wellness.

Make Appointments With Your Dentist

Throughout the holiday season, maintain your appointments with your dentist. Skipping dental exams can make it harder to spot issues and may put you at risk for cavities and dental decay.

Healthier Teeth Start Here

Keep your teeth healthy throughout the holiday season with these simple tips. While The holidays present all sorts of troublesome challenges, these tips can help your teeth stay healthy and happy throughout.

 

Keep the good dental health going by booking a Holiday follow-up appointment with us now!