Today, dental decay affects more than 90% of the U.S. population. Gum disease, meanwhile, affects about 50% of people over the age of 30, and 40% of kids under the age of 19 are suffering from tooth decay, as well.
As you can see from these statistics, dental decay is an alarming problem in the U.S., and it shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The biggest culprit leading to these issues is poor oral hygiene. Just behind that, though, is the lack of a balanced, healthy diet.
They say you are what you eat, and that’s as true for your teeth as it is everything else. Depending on what you eat or drink, you can enhance or harm the health of your pearly whites. Eat and drink the right things, and you’ll boost the health of your mouth. Eating and drinking the wrong things, though, or not getting enough of what your mouth needs and your teeth will suffer.
Is Your Mouth Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals?
Proper nutrition benefits your entire body – not just your teeth and gums. When you ingest ample vitamins and minerals, though, you do your mouth a significant favor and help set it up for success. In addition to supporting the healthy function of your mouth, you also give it the tool and material it needs to fight off dental decay and other troubling conditions. With that in mind, here are a few vitamins and minerals to focus on, specifically:
Most of us know that calcium is good for our bones, but its benefits go much deeper than that. Calcium is a critical building block for the teeth. In addition to helping maintain healthy teeth, calcium strengthens the structure of the teeth, improving enamel and making teeth stronger and harder to break.
Looking for good sources of calcium? Add dairy products to your diet. Cheese, milk, and yogurt are all tooth-healthy snacks that pack a serious calcium punch. If you’re on a vegan diet, look instead to fortified cereals and leafy green veggies.
Phosphorous is a critical vitamin for anyone who wants healthy teeth. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, phosphorus is one of the most common minerals in the body, behind only calcium. As it turns out, most of the phosphorus in your body lives in your teeth. Because of that, incorporating enough phosphorus into your daily diet is a critical way to care for your teeth and keep your mouth healthy.
Phosphorus is found in many foods that are also a good source of protein, including nuts, eggs, legumes, dairy, and more. You can also find ample phosphorus in whole grains and dried fruit. If you’re still concerned you’re not getting enough phosphorus, talk to your doctor about supplementing.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for dozens of body systems. In addition to playing a significant role in keeping your teeth healthy, it’s also a crucial factor in how your body absorbs calcium. Without enough vitamin D, your body actually starts to pull calcium reserves from your bones and teeth, which contributes to weak systems and an increased risk of fractures and cracks.
To add extra Vitamin D to your diet, look to milk, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin D is also easy to supplement, and you can talk to your doctor about adding a vitamin D supplement to your diet.
4. Vitamin C
Some vitamins support your teeth, and others support everything around them. That’s where Vitamin C comes in. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C supports your body as it creates blood vessels that feed your teeth. Additionally, your body needs the nutrient to promote healing and support immune function. People who have a vitamin C deficiency often experience increased rates of dental infections and bleeding gums.
5. Vitamin A
According to the NIH, Vitamin A is good for your teeth and your whole body. In addition to supporting healthy vision, Vitamin A supports healthy tissue and mucous membrane production. Meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry are excellent sources of Vitamin A, although you can also supplement if you’re not getting enough from your diet. Talk to your doctor if you think this might be the case.
Eating for Strong Teeth and Gums: 3 Critical Snacks
If you want to keep your mouth healthy and happy, the best thing you can do is focus on your diet. Here are a few simple tips for doing just that:
1. Look for Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is critical for your teeth, and it’ll go a long way to boost the strength of your enamel and teeth themselves. With this in mind, look for foods like milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, tofu, salmon, dark green leafy veggies, and almonds. These are all great sources of calcium and will help you take care of your teeth.
2. Eat Eggs
Your teeth need phosphorus, and eggs are a great source of that. If you’re not a big fan of eggs, you can choose fish, lean meat, nuts, beans, and dairy to boost dental health and contribute to good overall nutrition.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a super-nutrient. It boosts your immune system, promotes gum health, and battles dangerous bacteria in your mouth. With this in mind, eat lots of citrus, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. You can also supplement with Vitamin C if you don’t believe you’re getting enough.
Eat for Your Dental Health
Vitamins and minerals are critical to your overall health and your dental health. If you’re interested in eating for better dental health, this post offers some smart places to start. Not only does getting ample vitamins and minerals ensure strong teeth and healthy gums, but it’ll also boost your immune system, support healthy body function, and keep your skin beautiful and luminous.
Want to learn more about eating for your dental health? Contact our office to schedule a visit, check-up, or cleaning today!
Getting braces can feel like a rite of passage for many kids, in the United States alone, 3.5 million children will get braces this year. Many of us will at some time in our life wear braces to fix a variety of dental issues, from crooked teeth to bite issues to spacing issues. If your dentist has recommended your child needs braces there are a few things you can do beforehand to prepare for their braces.
If your child is getting ready for braces make sure they know and are ready for the commitment of having braces. Talk to your child’s orthodontist and dentist to make sure everyone is comfortable with the treatment plan, as long as everyone is ready braces should be a piece of cake!
As a parent, your child’s well being is one of your top concerns. Of course, it is! You want your little one to grow up strong, healthy, and happy. One of the best ways to do that is to take care of their teeth. When you give your little one the care, attention, and skills needed for their teeth to develop correctly, you set them up for straight teeth and a healthy mouth well into their lives.
Like you, we care about setting your little one’s mouth up for success. Here are a few of our top recommendations for doing just that:
How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy
Healthy teeth are one of the essential pieces of your child’s overall health. In addition to cutting down on the risk of chronic diseases and bacterial infections, a healthy mouth inspires confidence and promotes normal development. Here are a few ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy from the get-go:
- Avoid leaving bottles in a baby’s crib, and given children fruit juices and sweet drinks sparingly
- Before your baby’s teeth erupt, rub the gums with your finger or a wet cloth after the baby eats or drinks. This will keep the gums clean and keep oral bacteria to a minimum.
- Take your baby to a pediatric dentist by this first birthday, or as soon as they cut their first tooth
- As soon as your little one’s first tooth erupts, start brushing the tooth and teaching the child healthy brushing habits
- Demonstrate healthy oral habits and routines in your daily life – lead by example as parents
- Limit sweet food, sticky food, and food that’s high in sugar. Offer healthy food options for your child and limit unhealthy choices
- Give your child plenty of books and education to help them learn about good oral health
Behaviors to Avoid for a Healthy Mouth
Knowledge and great habits are essential for good dental health. While other things, like genetics, also play a role, one of the biggest definers of your child’s dental health is behavior. Specific behavioral considerations can damage dental health and put your child at risk of future dental issues. With that in mind, be aware of the following behaviors in your child:
Pacifiers are often considered a lifesaver by parents. Used to calm a fussy baby, soothe a child who wants to suckle, or put a little one to sleep, pacifiers are a popular accessory for young kids. Despite that, however, the use of pacifiers is much-debated in the parenting world.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pacifier use is fine for kids, as long as it’s implemented correctly. When used excessively or for too long, pacifiers can damage a child’s dental development. If a child is still using a pacifier as his or her teeth begin to break through the surface, for example, the pacifier and the pressure of the suckling motion can press teeth out of position and cause a misalignment in the mouth.
Thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, can develop into a damaging habit if it goes on too long. While kids typically chew and suck on their fingers as they are teething, children who continue thumb-sucking behavior for too long risk misaligning their teeth and becoming dependent on the action.
Because of this, dentists recommend discontinuing thumb sucking by the time the child reaches the age of two. If the behavior persists past this point, teeth may come in crooked, or they may protrude from the front of the mouth.
Dental Problems Kids May Face
With or without potentially-damaging behavior, kids may face the following dental issues:
- Overcrowding. This is a common issue in both kids and adults alike. If your child has a small jaw, there might not be enough space for your baby’s adult teeth to come through. This can cause other teeth to move or shift to make room for adult teeth. Poor hygiene from overcrowding is another issue. Overcrowding can make it challenging to maintain a healthy mouth since it’s hard to clean all teeth adequately when they’re too close together.
- Dental Misalignment. Things like crossbites and overbites can cause teeth to come in crooked, leading to bite issues down the road.
- Airway Restriction. In some extreme cases, kids can even experience airway and breathing issues thanks to dental problems. Mouth breathing, for example, can be caused by jaws that are too narrow or deep.
- Crooked Teeth. Crooked teeth can lead to bite issues and confidence issues for kids. Adolescence is already hard enough for little ones, without struggling with these things.
How to Set Your Child up for Dental Success
The best thing you can do to ensure your children’s teeth develop correctly is to be attentive. The more attention you pay to your child’s dental development, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to spot potential dental issues and stop them before they become significant issues.
By brushing your child’s teeth, setting a good dental hygiene example, and taking your child to the dentist regularly, you can avoid most common dental issues. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, you should take your child for his or her first orthodontic check-up before he or she reaches the age of seven.
If you don’t have a family orthodontist, as your dentist for a recommendation. They likely have a professional in town they enjoy working with. The orthodontist will be able to evaluate your child’s jaw and tooth development and decide whether or not any intervention is required.
This orthodontic care, when combined with your child’s traditional dental care, will go a long way toward setting your child up for dental success and ensuring a lifetime of healthy teeth and mouths. Additionally, getting your child into the dentist early helps prevent dental phobias and ensure that your child will continue taking care of his or her teeth, long after you stop being in charge of it.
Ready to learn more or book your child’s first appointment? Contact our team today.
Dry mouth can not only cause discomfort it can lead to other issues in your mouth such as cavities, infections, and other issues. If you are experiencing prolonged dry mouth it is important to speak with your dentist to find the underlying cause so it can be treated properly. There are some great ways to help alleviate your symptoms and help you heal your dry mouth.
Dry mouth does not have to cause you issues or pain, generally, it is easily treatable as long as it is not caused by an underlying disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist about any symptoms you are having and what does and does not help!
Are you waking up with a sore jaw or a headache? Does your partner wake you up complaining that you’ve been grinding your teeth? Do your chompers hurt after a night of rest? If so, you’re probably experiencing bruxism – a condition that’s not only painful but can be damaging to teeth. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is prevalent. In fact, about 10-15% of American adults do it, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
While Bruxism is common, it’s also easy to treat. In fact, there are dozens of ways to address and minimize the impacts of bruxism. One of the most common, though, is adding a night guard to your nighttime routine.
Here’s what you need to know about this option, and whether it’s a good fit for you.
What is a Night Guard?
A night guard is exactly what it sounds like: a guard you put into your mouth at night to protect your teeth from nocturnal grinding.
According to the American Sleep Association (ASA):
“Most cases of bruxism can easily be treated by wearing a night guard while you sleep. Night guards are also known as dental guards, mouth guards, nocturnal bite plates, or bite splints. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth. When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to lighten the tension and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain but also protects the enamel of your teeth. They look very similar to snoring remedies.”
If you want to acquire a night guard, you can either buy one over-the-counter or speak directly to your dentist. Generally, the latter option is the smarter one. Since everyone’s mouth is different, mouth guards are most effective when they’re fitted specifically to your dental arch and teeth. While your dentist can afford this level of customization, it’ll be impossible coming from an OTC guard.
Different Types of Night Guards
If you’re interested in a night guard, you should also know that there are a few different kinds of night guards. These include the following:
Soft Night Guards
Soft night guards are the most common type of guard, and, according to many, the most effective. They’re generally used for people who grind their teeth occasionally or mildly and are not a good fit for severe teeth grinders.
- These night guards are the most comfortable, and fit into the mouth naturally
- They’re the easiest to get used to
- They’re also the most affordable
- They do not have the same lifespan of laminate guards and are not a long-term solution for bruxism
Dual Laminate Night Guards
Dual laminate night guards are well-suited to severe nighttime grinders. These quads feature a soft material on the inside and hard plastic on the outside of the guard.
- They are durable enough to stand up to heavy grinding
- They last longer than soft guards
- They offer more extended warranties than soft guards
- They are thicker than other types of guards and can be harder to get used to
Hard Night Guards
These night guards are made from an acrylic material. As the name would suggest, they are extremely rigid, but also very durable. These are only suited to the most severe nighttime grinders.
- These guards prevent teeth from shifting
- They offer the longest warranty of any guard
- They are much thicker than any other type of guard, and the most difficult to get used to using
- They must be ordered from a dentist, as dental impressions are required
- They are the most expensive type of night guard
Finding Your Perfect Fit Mouth Guard
Again, there are several ways to choose a mouth guard, and the option you pursue depends, in large part, on your preferences, budget, and needs. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- “One-size-fits-all.” When you go to a pharmacy to buy a mouthguard, they’re designed to be “One size fits all.” These mouth guards are not custom-fitted, but they will work for mild to occasional teeth-grinders and are the most affordable option.
- “Boil and bite.” This type of mouthguard is slightly more customized, but not by much. To fit it, you toss it in some boiling water, pull it out, let it cool slightly, and bite into it to leave the impression of your teeth and dental arch. This is a common approach. These guards are affordable and popular.
- Direct-to-consumer guards. Today, lots of companies manufacture night guards and send them directly to consumers. These companies send an impression to customers first, the customers complete it and send it back, and then the company builds the custom night guard.
- Custom guards. If you need a custom or a very durable solution, you’ll go right to your dentist for your night guard needs. The dentist will fit you for a guard and help you ensure you’ve got the solution you need.
Other Treatments for Bruxism
Want to try a few other things before you go straight to a night guard? Here are a few different treatment options for Bruxism:
- Having your teeth straightened. If your teeth are out of alignment, it makes teeth grinding worse. Fortunately, you can resolve much of this with simple corrective measures like braces or aligners.
- Stress prevention. One of the leading causes of teeth grinding is anxiety or nervousness, so resolving these issues can go a long way toward alleviating the problem. Talk to your doctor about stress prevention methods, and look into counseling if you feel you need additional support.
- Diet and medication changes. In some cases, resolving bruxism requires treating the condition from within. Talk to your dentist and doctor about changing your diet or adding medication if your bruxism is severe or persistent.
If you’ve been suffering from bruxism – there’s still hope. You can find relief – it’s just a matter of deciding which treatment is right for you. Night guards are an excellent choice, so be sure to talk to your dentist about this option next time you visit.
Ready to learn more? Contact our team today.
We all have different needs when it comes to our oral health, finding the right toothpaste for everyone in your family can be hard to do. Each person has different needs about what they need their toothpaste to do. We are here to help you break down the best types for each member of your family.
Everyone has different needs and it is important to address those needs to help everyone’s oral health flourish. If you have any questions about types, brands, etc. we would be happy to answer those at your next appointment.