Summer is fast approaching--that wonderful time each year when fresh and delicious produce abounds! Although everyone loves the availability of the great foods of summer, your teeth, gums and tissues all rely on an appropriate mix of vitamins and minerals to maintain good oral health no matter what time of year. In previous studies, nutients in fruits and vegetables such as dietary fiber, potassium and antioxidants have all been associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and cancers, including oral cancer.
Four foods to enjoy this summer to ensure a healthy mouth:
- Watermelons have a high water content, which dilutes the affects of the sugars that they contain and stimulates the flow of saliva. In addition, research has shown that eating foods that are full of water, which watermelon is 92 percent water, helps to keep you satiated on fewer calories. Finally, in addition to containing skin-protecting lycopene, eating watermelon can help you stay hydrated during the hot Oklahoma summer months, which not only keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable, but also helps to keep your body cool.
- Strawberries are juicy and delicious, and they are considered a superfood. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (such as vitamin C, which can help with cancer prevention), strawberries also promote eye health, help fight bad cholesterol, and regulate blood pressure.
- Not only can apple consumption boost your immune system, reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, but they can also help you attain a whiter, healthier smile! Biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, and in the process, lowers the levels of bacteria and other harmful acids, which leads to a lower likihood of tooth decay. Finally, eating an apple a day has been linked to heart health, including a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
- Tomatoes are a delicious and healthy snack that can help to ward off cancer! The yummy red fruit contains lycopene, which helps to protect your skin from sunburn. Tomatoes can also help to fight heart disease due to the niacin, folate, and vitamin B6 nutrients that they contain. They are also high in crucial antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, which work to prevent DNA damage.
So enjoy this summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables all while improving your health as well! If you have any questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!
As you grow older, your mind may be preoccupied with the health of your bones, heart, or brain. However, keeping your teeth healthy is an equally important part of the aging process. Older adults are at an increased risk for a variety of oral health conditions, which makes it essential for every patient to speak with your dentist to create a prevention plan that's best for you!
ORAL HEALTH CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH AGING
Just as the rest of your body continues to change as you age, your mouth changes, too. Certain conditions become more likely to develop as you reach older adulthood, including:
- DRY MOUTH. Although your salivary glands continue to produce saliva as you become older, medications and chronic health problems often cause a dry mouth.
- ROOT DECAY. Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but improper nutrition or cleaning may lead to decay at the roots of your teeth.
- DIMINISHED SENSE OF TASTE. Your eyesight and hearing are not the only senses affected by aging. The ability to taste naturally diminishes over the course of the older adulthood.
- TISSUE INFLAMMATION. Are your gums tender, bleeding, or inflamed? Tissue inflammation may indicate gum disease or may be a consequence of wearing dentures that don't fit well.
- ORAL CANCER. Risk for most cancers increases with age, and oral cancer is no exception. Older adults area at increased risk for oral cancer compared to younger individuals.
WAYS TO PREVENT DENTAL PROBLEMS
- DIET. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables. Choosing water over coffee or soda can keep your teeth whiter and cavity-free. Also, remember that two minute twice daily brushing and flossing are essential habits to prevent cavities and gum diease at any age.
- REGULAR DENTAL VISITS. Visiting the dentist twice a year is vitally important when you reach older adulthood. Your dentist is familiar with your oral health and may be the first person to notice a sore, discolored patch, inflammation, or other abnormality that may indicate oral cancer or gum disease.
In your "Golden Years," you have now become a pioneer in tooth care! Your present generation is probably the first one in history that can expect to keep most of their natural teeth for a lifetime. The reasons range from beter oral health care, advances in dentistry, improved nutrition, to a lower risk for diseases that could weaken teeth and gums.
As a pioneer, it is now understood that teeth are a body part that changes with age, just like the rest of the body. Even if your teeth can remain strong and white, here are a few things that you may have to cope with:
CAVITIES: Tooth decay is not just for kids anymore. Seniors often develop cavities on the lower part of the tooth near the root. Thorough flossing and brushing along the gum line is the best preventive measure.
SENSITIVITY: Gums recede over time, and good dental habits only slow the process. Receding gums leave more of the tooth exposed, and newly uncovered areas of the tooth have less enamel. As a result, these teeth may be much more sensitive to hot and cold.
DIFFICULTY BRUSHING: If you have arthritis or limited motion, you may have a harder time brushing your teeth. An Electric Toothbrush like an Oral B, can help.
OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS: Diabetes, heart diesease, and other chronic illnesses can cause symptoms in your mouth. Knowing about the dental aspects of each of these conditions are an important role in their management. Our office can help treat many of the symptoms that affect your teeth and we can recommend ways to maintain good oral health habits as part of your overall health program.
While mouth wash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing both provide different dental benefits that you should understand.
Mouthwash comes in two categories. Some are considered cosmetic. This type of rinse provides temporary relief from bad breath and has a pleasant taste. These do not actually kill any bacteria.
Therapeutic mouthwashes provide the healthier benefits. These may contain different ingredients including fluoride or antimicrobial agents. This type is used to remove plaque build up and reduce the potential for tartar formation. Therapeutic rinses can also help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis.
Flossing is what removes the plaque formation before it can harden and become tartar. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar. When this builds below the gum line, gum disease can start.
TYPES OF FLOSS
Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.
The University of Southern California states that according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, "nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year," and "only about half will be alive in five years after diagnosis." Oral cancer patients have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate when the cancer is found in the early stages. However, most patients are diagnosed in the later stages, according to the foundation.
With this in mind, that is why we check every adult for oral cancer at each regular cleaning and exam, which is recommended to occur every six months on average! Unfortunately, the average patient only receives a cleaning and exam every 3-5 years! Don't be a statistic and wait until it is too late! Remember, early detection is the key!
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