Maintaining a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Eating heavily affects your dental health.  Dental health is important because it fosters healthy teeth and gums.  Some foods are tooth and gum friendly and actually prevent tooth and gum disease.

Learning what foods are good for your teeth is the 1st step in maintaining a healthy dental lifestyle.  The things that you eat affect your mouth, teeth, and gums – but more importantly it also effects your teeth and gums.

There are foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsaturated fats that all are beneficial foods to eat.  However there are a few foods that really are above the rest, when it comes to dental health.

Calcium
Milk is an important food to keep your teeth healthy.  Milk is loaded with calcium and  is extremely important for tooth and bone development in children and teens.

But the benefits do not stop there they continue as you get older.  A diet that is loaded with calcium also is show to prevent tooth decay.  When diets are lacking calcium, the body  uses minerals from the teeth and bones leaving your teeth and bones vulnerable.

In one study it was shown that having a daily intake of less than 500mg of calcium almost doubled the likelihood of developing periodontitis.

The FDA recommends that women younger than age 50 should take 1000 mg of calcium daily and 1200mg for women over 50.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential part of dental health.  Vitamin C works to repair connective tissue and help fight off infection.  A study was conducted and it shown that those who eat less than the recommended 75-90 milligrams each day are 25% more likely to get gingivitis compared to those who only consume 3X the recommended dose.

If you eat one orange a day it will help you meet the in maintaining  your Vitamin C intake.

Fruits & Vegetables
Crunchy foods are also good for your teeth, so make sure you put some crunch apples, pears, celery, and carrots into your lunch.  These foods work to remove bacteria and plaque from your mouth.

Tea
While you may think that tea would be bad for your teeth a study conducted has shown that black tea actually destroys cavity causing bacteria.

Eating the right foods will help your teeth, but it is not a total solution.  It is also important to brush after every meal, plus in the morning and at night.  Also floss at least once a day and use a fluoride mouth wash to help restore your enamel.

Can Oral Care for Babies Prevent Future Cavities?

Cavities are the most prevalent infectious disease in U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Statistics show that the most prevalent disease in U.S. children is tooth decay.  The reality is that before the child reaches kindergarten nearly 40% will have at least 1cavitiy.  The problem is even more predominant in areas of low socioeconomic demographics.

Research is being done that is changing the preconceived belief that the children ages 19 and 33 months are most susceptible to tooth decay; now more and more researchers believe that this window occurs at a much younger age.

The bacteria in infant’s mouths have been shown to be much more diverse and the soft tissue of the mouth works as a reservoir of pathogens prior to the teeth erupting.  It is important to refrain your infants from formula containing sugar and you should wipe off the infants gums with a wet cloth to remove harmful bacteria formation that occurs on the gum line.

Is there too much sugar in your diet?

We all know that eating a lot of sugar can have negative effects on our physical health. It can cause weight gain, energy swings and a weakened immune system. But what effects does sugar have on your oral health? According to the American Dental Association, when bacteria/plaque comes into contact with sugar in a person’s mouth, the acid that gets produced can damage teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time, this damage results in tooth decay. In addition, foods that are high in sugar are often filled with empty calories and lack other nutrients that are good for your health. These sugary foods can lead to poor nutrition, which the ADA suggests can lead to faster progression of gum disease.

Dietary habits are often developed in childhood, so it’s especially important for adults to teach their kids to eat healthily and get plenty of fruits, vegetables and calcium from a young age. Other precautionary steps include drinking a lot of water, limiting snacks in between meals, brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. It may also help to keep track of all the food you eat so you can chart your progress and notice patterns of sugary food consumption. Talk to your dentist about your eating habits and develop a plan to cut back on sugar-filled foods. It’s a commitment that will benefit your body and your teeth!

Should I get my tongue or lip pierced?

A surprising number of people, particularly teenagers, express an interest in getting an oral piercing. The tongue, lips, and cheeks are all common piercing sites in the mouth. But how does such a piercing affect your oral health? The American Dental Association discourages oral piercings not only because of the physical pain they cause, but also because of the extensive healing time of open sores in the mouth. It can take weeks, and sometimes even months, for these wounds to heal, particularly for more complicated procedures like getting the tongue split into a fork. These procedures can also be very dangerous, as there are lots of blood vessels in the mouth, and sensitive areas are prone to infection.

Swelling, increased salivary production, scars, and speech interference are all possible following an oral piercing. Finally, the American Dental Association has also expressed concerns about foreign objects in the mouth and their tendency to obstruct X-rays. This could be critical to a person’s health in the case of a misdiagnosis. However, even so, it is recognized that oral piercings are a common occurrence. If you are considering getting your tongue, lips, or cheeks pierced, talk to your dentist first. He or she may be able to discuss this topic in more depth and advise you on the best course of action.

What is burning mouth syndrome?

Imagine waking up, going about your day, and suddenly feeling like your tongue, lips and mouth are scalding. You didn’t burn your mouth on any hot liquids, but it certainly feels like it. Then, you notice numbness on the tip of your tongue and start tasting metal. This is a reality for the thousands of people who have burning mouth syndrome. Originally thought to have been caused by psychological issues like anxiety, burning mouth syndrome still baffles dentists and doctors with its varying nature. Burning mouth syndrome is a chronic problem that most often occurs in middle-aged or older women. It can last for years and may either present as constant pain or come and go in cycles. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, burning mouth syndrome has a host of possible causes, including hormonal changes (such as during menopause), nutritional deficiencies, acid reflux, and damage to the nerves that control pain and taste.

Research has shown that many people with chronic burning mouth syndrome develop depression or anxiety disorders, which makes treatment and awareness even more important. Testing for burning mouth syndrome may include blood work and allergy testing. In some cases, patients develop burning mouth syndrome due to an allergic reaction to their denture materials. Once diagnosed, treatment varies depending on the patient’s symptoms. Examples include treating a corroborating disease such as diabetes; switching prescription medication; replacing dentures; prescribing nutritional supplements; and recommending medication to treat depression.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research also suggests several self-treatments to relieve the pain caused by burning mouth syndrome, such as drinking water frequently; avoiding acidic foods and mouthwashes with alcohol; chewing sugarless gum; sucking on ice chips; and brushing your teeth with baking soda and water. It is also important to avoid alcohol and tobacco.

If you suspect you may suffer from burning mouth syndrome, schedule an appointment with your True Dental Discounts, dentist immediately and work with him or her to relieve your symptoms. Your dentist can suggest alternate pain-management methods and help you determine a possible cause.

What to expect during an oral cancer exam

The statistics on oral cancer are frightening: More than 7,500 people will die this year from oral cancer, and another 35,000 people will be diagnosed, according to the National Institutes of Health. Even more, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with oral cancer is only 60 percent, and experts warn that the disease can spread throughout the body at a fast pace. For this reason, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. At your regular appointment, your dentist may conduct an exam to check for the presence of cancer. Read on to learn what to expect.

Before the exam, your dentist will ask you to remove any dentures and relax so your face, neck, lips, and mouth can be checked. The dentist will then use his hands to feel for any lumps under your jaw or along the side of your neck. He will also look at your tongue and the inside of your cheeks and lips for any noticeable signs of cancer, including red and white patches, swelling, or an abnormal texture. Next, the dentist will use gauze to gently move your tongue so he can see the underside and base of the tongue. Finally, the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat, will also be examined.

The entire exam takes only a few minutes and is entirely painless. Fortunately, this simple procedure can also help save your life. To learn more about the risks and symptoms, or request an oral cancer screening, talk to a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan.

Can poor oral health cause heart disease?

You may have heard that not taking care of your teeth and gums can lead to other serious health problems, including heart disease. But how does this happen? While researchers have not yet definitively proven the correlation, studies have indicated that bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth and gums may cause inflammation. Researchers in the journal Cellular Microbiology conducted a study to explore ways bacteria might “colonize” the heart, leading to cardiovascular disease.

Using human cells, the researchers demonstrated that the oral bacterium P. Gingivalis uses finger-like appendages to attach to and invade cells lining the heart’s aorta, the largest artery in the body. After the bacterium gained entry, the researchers noticed signs of inflammatory changes that may lead to clogging in the aorta (and eventually a heart attack). Another study in 2006 showed that nearly 85 percent of people with coronary atherosclerotic heart disease also had periodontal (gum) disease. These strong links show exactly why it is important to take care of your teeth and gums.

By keeping your mouth as free of harmful bacteria as possible, you may be able to help keep your arteries clear, as well. Ask your True Dental Discounts dentist about oral health practices (particularly flossing) that will help. He or she can give you excellent tips to keep your mouth – and body – healthy.

The causes of bad breath

Everyone battles a case of bad breath occasionally. But what can you do if you notice that bad breath – also known as halitosis – becomes a frequent problem? The first step to eliminating a foul odor is to determine its cause. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of bad breath include food, dental problems and tobacco products.

  • In the case of food, particles that break down in your mouth can result in bad breath, particularly if the food contains “volatile oils.” Common examples are onions and garlic, both of which can cause a person to have bad breath for up to three days after consumption! The reason they stay around for so long is because the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually moved into the lungs.
  • People who have poor dental hygiene habits are also prone to bad breath. Forgetting to brush and floss frequently means that food gets stuck in between teeth, gathering bacteria and eventually causing a foul odor. The same goes for people who wear dentures: they must be cleaned in order to maintain fresh breath.
  • Not surprisingly, tobacco is a frequent cause of halitosis. Products like cigarettes dry out the mouth and come with their own pungent odor, which is then continued long after the cigarette is put out. Not to mention, tobacco users are more likely to have dental problems, which only compounds the situation as explained above.
  • Interestingly, one other cause of bad breath – which most people refer to as “morning breath” – comes as a result of an overly dry mouth. The Mayo Clinic explains that during sleep, dead cells accumulate on a person’s tongue and then decompose, causing a foul odor. This is especially true for people who sleep with their mouth open, allowing air to further dry out the mouth, tongue and cheeks.

If you have trouble with bad breath, talk to your dentist about other possible causes and treatments. With a little help, you’ll be on your way to a minty smile. If you would like to save on dental procedures then visit True Dental Discounts dental plans.

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.

Information about X-rays during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and need dental treatment, it may be necessary for a dentist to take X-rays of your mouth. Although pregnant women should generally avoid overexposure to radiation, in some cases it may be important to the health of the unborn child for the mother to undergo dental treatment. The American Dental Association has said that untreated dental conditions can be hazardous to the health of a fetus, which means mothers should continue to maintain their oral hygiene and treatments during pregnancy.

Fortunately, the radiation from dental X-rays is very low. For comparison, the average radiation levels in the U.S. from natural sources per year is 3.0 millisieverts, while a full-mouth X-ray series at the dentist is 0.150 mSV and bitewing X-rays are only 0.038 mSV. Even so, your True Care Advantage discount dental plan dentist will take extra precautions to protect you and your baby from the radiation. Patients wear lead aprons over their abdomens and often a leaded thyroid collar, as well. According to the ADA, “The use of a leaded thyroid collar is strongly recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.” Talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have about X-rays and ask him or her to explain why they want to take X-rays at that particular time. It could be critical to your health.