Posts for category: PREVENTION
Although it is commonly known of the importance of the recommendation to brush your teeth two times a day, for at least two minutes each time, many may not understand the true role that toothpaste plays in the process of maintaining dental health. The mouth is home to more than 500 types of microorganisms that feed on leftover food that gets stuck on and around your teeth. Since toothpaste is the best line of defense against all of those pesky microorganisms, let's take a look at just how it works.
Abrasives. Toothpaste contains mild abrasive additives that combat microorganisms and fight plaque. When you brush, the abrasives in toothpaste dislodge food particles and microorganisms more effectively than if you simply brush your teeth with water. The abrasives also work to remove food stains and polish the surface of the tooth. Some toothpastes include ingredients like triclosan and Xylitol. These chemicals prevent the growth of bacteria that produce plaque. Plaque not only causes cavities, but it can also lead to more dangerous issues like periodontal disease.
Fluoride. This is the key ingredient in toothpaste. As the microorganisms in your mouth feed off the leftover food particles, they leave behind acid and sulfur byproducts that wear away the enamel of the teeth. This is the fancy, technical way of saying that the acid on your teeth causes cavities. As for as the sulfur byproduct, this is the scientific cause for badbreath. Fluoride works to fight the acid and help protect the teeth. By brushing, the fluoride is incorporated into the tooth enamel, which in turn makes the tooth more resistant to acid and plaque.
Flavoring And Sweetening Agents. Not all toothpaste tastes the same. The type of flavoring or sweeting agents added to the toothpaste does not have anything to do with fighting microorganisms and plaque, but taste is one of the most important selling points in finding a toothpaste brand that you like. Flavoring agents mask the taste of some of the other ingredients in toothpaste, and without those agents, chances are nobody would be brushing their teeth two to three times a day.
Once a patient's braces come off, it is important to make sure that your smile remains straight! This is where retainers come in. A retainer is a custom-fit device that sits in your mouth and reinforces the new position of your teeth. Although there may be an initial adjustment period, it is an essential part of the process of keeping your teeth in place over the long term.
For the first few months, it is recommended to wear the retainers 24/7, except when you are eating, drinking, or brushing. Eventually, night time wear is indicated for the first full year. After that, many patients can wear it a few nights a week. However, current research now reveals that in order to preserve the position of your teeth for your life, it is recommeded that you never ever fully stop wearing your retainers. Yes, indefinite retention is the key...meaning FOR-EV-ER!!
If a patient is concerned about forgetting to wear the retainer or possibly losing it, a lingual retainer may be the best option. Although this permanent wire that is placed on the tongue side of your teeth is not readily visible, they can cause dental issues for many patients if they don't maintain good oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar can build up around these lingual bars, which can lead to gum disease or cavities.
Wearing retainers are extremely vital after your teeth are straightened. Without a retainer to keep them in place, the teeth that you have taken so long to fix may begin to shift back into a more crowded positon again. Getting braces is quite an invvestment, which is why each patient should stay motivated to maintain their corrected smile for their entire life.
Guilt is a powerful feeling! It can keep you from doing many things including going to the dentist. There is good news! What I say many times to our patients is that our office is a judgement-free zone, and coming back (even after an extended period of being MIA) can be easier than you may think. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible during your first appointment back with us - so here's a little overview of what you can expect.
During your exam, we will usually take a series of radiographs, which are made once every year as recommended by the American Dental Association. The set of digital X-rays will depend upon your individual needs and it will help us get a more thorough look at what's going on with your dental structure and keep an eye out for any potential dental issues. Next, we will clean your teeth. During this time, we will check for any type of gum disease, remove tartar and polish your teeth. Finally, we will advise you of any dental issues that may need attention.
Once all of this is done, our business office will get you checked out, reappointed as necessary, and get you on your way. And that's it! Just because you may have slacked for a little while or life simply got in the way, this doesn't mean that things have to stay that way!
Sometimes food that's good for your body isn't necessarily the best for your teeth. Although some healthy foods can harm your teeth and gums, there are steps that can be taken to allow you to continue to enjoy these foods, even when your goal is to improve your health. The malority of people that begin to improve their health tend to switch out sugarly foods in favor of fruits and vegetables. However, it's worth knowing that most fruits are highly acidic and composed of natural sugars. Some of the highly acidic fruits to watch out for include apples, grapes, strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit. Moderation is key here, as with all other things. Fruits can be a great source of energy to help you through your day, but try not to overdo them.
Often, peple also incorporate more leafy greens into their diet, which means plenty of salads. Salad dressing is another item that can be of dental concern. Many dressings are filled with vinegars and sweeteners that include harmful acids, which change the pH of your mouth. When your mouth shifts from alkaline to acidic, your smile also turns to a higher risk for erosion and decay.
Rather than get rid of these foods altogether, simply change what you do after you eat them. Rinse your mouth out with water, wait to brush your teeth until 20 minutes after consumption, or eat alkalizing foods like diary products such as eggs, yogurt, or any type of vegetable.
When most patients think of pop and dental decay, they are thinking strictly about the sugar content, which is the bacteria-feeding ingredient in this common beverage leading to one conclusion that diet pop must be better for your teeth! That does seem logical, but there is more to how all pop can contribute to dental decay.
The main culprit in all pop that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet pop and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it is best to avoid them.
Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.
We know the acidity of diet pop and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular pop? Everyone knows that regular pop is high in sugar - a regular 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar! This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity that are not healthy for your teeth or your overall health.
The problems caused by both diet and regular pop is exacerbated when you sip on either of them throughout the day. If you drink a pop all in one sitting, you will not be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutalize the pH in your mouth.
LESSENING THE IMPACT
- DRINK ALL POP OR ACIDIC DRINKS THROUGH A STRAW
- RINSE WITH WATER IMMEDIATELY AFTER CONSUMPTION
- AVOID BRUSHING YOUR TEETH FOR A MINIMUM OF 20 MINUTES
- AVOID DRINKS THAT HAVE ACIDS LISTED ON THE INGREDIENTS LABEL