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 toThe 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 theMayo 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 theNIH, 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!
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 theAmerican 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.
“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.
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, theU.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 theOral 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 toa 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 theADA 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.
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 theAmerican 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 theCanadian 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 likeCOPD.
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.
“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 theAmerican 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.