Did you know? Mothers can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their babies

Every time a mother shares a utensil with her baby, she could be putting the baby at risk for tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, babies are not born with the harmful bacteria that can lead to cavities; instead, they get it from their mothers. This transfer often happens when moms put baby spoons in their mouths before feeding their child or allow a baby to put its fingers in their mouth. Mothers who have a history of dental problems are most likely to pass harmful bacteria to their children because they have an increased number in their own mouths.

The AAPD suggests that dads can also pass bacteria to their children, but not at the rate that mothers do. Moms who have not had cavities since their teens or earlier are less likely to put their children at risk, but it is still important to protect babies’ teeth. Studies have shown that infants who are exposed to tooth-decaying bacteria are much more likely to get cavities throughout their lifetime than those who do not get the bacteria until later in life. For more helpful tips about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan.

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What happens if I have a taste disorder?

If you’ve talked to a dentist on your discount dental plan and suspect you may have a taste disorder, he may recommend you visit an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear/nose/throat doctor) for further testing and diagnosis. An otolaryngologist can measure the lowest concentration of taste you are able to experience. He or she will also conduct a comprehensive examination of the ears, nose, and throat and review your dental records.

If you do have a taste disorder, there are many possible ways of restoring your senses. For instance, your doctor may recognize that the disorder is caused by a medication you have been taking and prescribe a new one. Or, the disorder may be a result of severe allergies or a respiratory condition that can be cleared up. Until then, however, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders gives a few suggestions to improve your eating experience with a reduced tasting capacity:

  • Eat foods that vary in color and texture. This reduces the bland quality of some meals.
  • Add herbs and spices to boost the flavor of your food. Garlic or spicy peppers can make a big difference. Do not try to increase the flavor by adding extra sugar or salt, however, as this can have negative consequences on your health.
  • Add cheese, bacon bits, butter, olive oil or toasted nuts to mild-tasting foods like vegetables if your diet permits it.
  • Avoid eating dishes that combine a bunch of flavors or foods, like casseroles. These make it difficult to distinguish individual tastes and can become bland.

No matter your strategy, it is important to work with a trusted health professional to regain your sense of taste. Although helpful in increasing the enjoyment of foods, the sense of taste also plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy. A person relies on taste to avoid eating spoiled or poisonous foods, and loss of taste can lead to many other serious health issues. People who lose their sense of taste often change their eating habits, adding too much salt or sugar in an attempt to regain flavor, and develop heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. In rare cases, loss of taste can also indicate the presence of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Talk to a doctor if you have concerns and make sure you stay alert for any changes in your health.

Navigate the sweets-trap this holiday season

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, people across the country are preparing to enjoy delicious meals and even more scrumptious desserts. Contrary to popular belief, you can indulge in a few holiday treats without doing damage to your teeth – as long as you know a few helpful tips, of course. According to the American Dental Association, one of the key factors in tooth decay is the amount of time food stays in your mouth. For example, a sticky candy cane is far more likely to cause plaque and decay than a piece of holiday chocolate because the hard candy tends to stay around your teeth for much longer. As that candy sits in the crevices of your teeth and gums, its sugars and acids begin to attack your teeth until it is either washed or brushed away.

For this reason, the ADA suggests that people eat any sugary foods with meals. Eating increases the production of saliva and helps rinse sugary particles away more quickly. If you must consume sugary candies or foods between meals, consider chewing sugarless gum afterward. Like eating, chewing gum also increases the flow of saliva. Along the same lines, drinking fluoridated water can also help eliminate sugary residue, so it’s a good idea to increase your water intake over the holidays, as well. Finally, it may be common sense, but many people forget to brush their teeth at least twice a day. This habit is especially important during the holiday season when sweet treats are abundant and busy schedules make people forgetful. For more information and advice specific to your individual life, talk to your True Care dental plan dentist. It is possible to enjoy the holidays – and the desserts – that you are accustomed to without sacrificing your oral health.

Something else to be thankful for

There may be another reason to look forward to Thanksgiving this year. According to a study done by Dr. Hyun Koo at the University of Rochester, drinking cranberry juice, a popular Thanksgiving beverage, can help you prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth. This means that you will essentially be protecting yourself from plaque build-up that causes cavities and gum disease. In his study, Koo found that a beverage containing 25 percent cranberry juice was able to stop bacteria from attaching to the surface of a tooth by 67 to 85 percent. Apparently, cranberry juice “disarms” the pathogens that cause decay in a person’s tooth. This oral health benefit adds to the long list of other advantages people experience from consuming cranberry juice, including preventing urinary tract infections and protecting the heart from cardiovascular disease.

However, be aware that these findings were only in regard to cranberry juice itself. Because of its high levels of sugar, the cranberry sauce you enjoy on Thanksgiving is actually unhealthy for your teeth! It’s important to consult your dentist if you have any concerns about tooth-healthy foods or beverages, including cranberries. Together with the help of your dentist and a boost from the cranberry juice, you can be on your way to a great smile this Thanksgiving season. If you are looking to save on dental care procedure then simply visit True Dental Discounts for more information about discount dental plans.

Oral health and its link to adequate nutrition

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain a healthy diet and consume the proper amount of vitamins in order to remain in good health. Older adults are particularly susceptible to nutrient-deficient conditions, such as osteoporosis and anemia. In response to this need, researchers for the Journal of the American Dental Association studied a group of seniors ages 79 and older and analyzed their diets. What they found has since shed more light on the need for oral hygiene.

In this study, seniors who had fewer natural and healthy teeth were found to have poorer dietary habits and higher nutrient deficiencies. This same conclusion was drawn about older adults who do not have properly fitting dentures. In both cases, the seniors who maintained good oral hygiene and had either natural teeth or well-fitting dentures were more likely to eat a variety of foods and, consequently, consume a wider range of vitamins throughout the day. Based on this study, the researchers at JADA concluded that it is important to encourage dental hygiene as a person ages in order to avoid needing dentures. In the event that a person does need dentures, however, it’s equally important that he is educated about the proper use and fit of false teeth.

One way to achieve this is by encouraging a healthy exchange of communication between older adults and their dentists. If you or someone in your family seems to not be eating as well due to deteriorating or ill-fitting teeth, make an appointment with your True Care discount dental plan dentist to talk about your options. Your dentist will be able to give you suggestions on taking proper care of your teeth as you age and can also make sure any dentures you already have are the correct size and shape for your mouth. By taking advantage of this link between oral hygiene and nutrition, you can make maintaining your health both simple and affordable.

Tips and Eating techniques for healthy teeth

It’s not just what you eat that affects your oral health: It’s also how you eat it. According to the American Dental Association, following a few key tips can make a big difference in preventing decay. To protect your teeth, consider doing the following:

• If you’re going to eat sugary candies or foods, do it during a meal. The saliva produced while eating a full meal will help neutralize any damaging acids and rinse any lingering particles from your teeth.

• It’s better to eat foods that contain starches or sugars all at once, rather than gradually throughout the day. Each time a person eats these foods, harmful acids attack the teeth for at least 20 minutes.

• Chew sugarless gum after snacks to help increase saliva flow and minimize the potential for decay.

• Drink water with fluoride: Most public water sources contain this important additive, but be sure to check your bottled water, as well. Consuming fluoride can help prevent tooth decay.

By following these simple suggestions, you can help protect your teeth from the damage caused by foods and drinks. Talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage plan to learn more about ways to prevent cavities, particularly when it comes to your children. Taking these crucial steps now could save you valuable time and money in the future.

How to Boost your fluoride protection with massage technique

Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg have discovered a simple shortcut that can help you protect your teeth. As reported by ScienceDaily, researchers studied the effects of high-fluoride toothpastes and determined that people who used their finger to rub the toothpaste onto their teeth in lieu of a third daily brushing had equally healthy teeth as those who brushed their teeth three times a day.

This helpful rubbing technique can give you a boost of fluoride after lunch or during the work day. But regardless of whether you choose to use the massage method, it is important to expose your teeth to fluoride three times a day, the researchers found. They tested people who used either high-fluoride or standard toothpastes, and brushed either three times a day or twice a day. Those who brushed three times a day with high-fluoride toothpaste had four times better protection than those who brushed twice a day with regular toothpaste.

This is important because fluoride has been shown to combat and prevent tooth decay, particularly in people whose teeth are at higher risk. To learn more about the positive effects of fluoride, talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage plan. He or she can give you toothpaste recommendations and help you evaluate your brushing habits.

Effects of eating disorders on oral health

The consequences of an eating disorder to a person’s health can be dramatic: bones become weakened due to a depletion of calcium; skin bruises easily without the proper vitamins; critical bodily organs like the kidneys begin to shut down; and much, much more. Added to this long list are the harmful effects on a person’s oral health. Although both of the major types of eating disorders – bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa – negatively impact the mouth and teeth by causing nutritional deficiencies, bulimia is especially destructive.

This type of disorder is characterized by repeated binge eating, followed by purging through the use of vomiting, laxatives, and other methods. Not surprisingly, research has found that repeated, self-induced vomiting can cause erosion of tooth enamel. The strongly acidic nature of a person’s stomach acid leads to a host of other oral problems, not the least of which is tooth decay. (American Health Advantage)

What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

One of the most natural ways to restore your smile if you have missing teeth is through dental implants. Unlike crowns and conventional bridges, implants are “surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments,” where they “fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture” (American Dental Association). One of the biggest advantages of such implants is the stability they offer. Because they fuse to the jaw, implants feel secure in the mouth and much more natural.

Since they require extensive surgery, implants may be a good choice for you if you are in good health, have healthy gums, have enough bone to support the implant, and are prepared to take excellent care of your teeth afterward. The procedure also requires patience: According to the ADA, surgery can take several hours, and many patients must wait up to six months for the bone to grow enough to hold the implant anchor in place. Fittings for the artificial teeth may then take another one to two months.

If you are interested in learning more about implants and how they can help restore your smile, talk to your True Care Advantage plan dentist. He or she can evaluate your oral health and let you know if you would be a good candidate for implants. If you are, the two of you can work together to determine a plan of approach that fits your budget and that maximizes the benefits you receive through True Care Advantage.

Dreaming of better Gum Health

How much sleep did you get last night? If it was six hours or less, you could be at increased risk for gum disease progression. A 2007 study in the Journal of Periodontology looked at the way lifestyles affect a person’s periodontal health and found that lack of sleep was one of the biggest factors in gum disease.

People who had slept at least seven hours were less likely to experience advancement of the disease, leading researchers to speculate that a lack of sleep may reduce the body’s immune response, which then contributes to gum disease progression. Another major lifestyle factor was smoking. More than 40 percent of participants in the study who experienced a progression of gum disease were smokers. This may seem obvious, but it reinforces the idea that tobacco use affects far more areas of a person’s health than just the lungs… (American Health Advantage)