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Dental Health Info

Brush and Floss – Prevent Decay!

Dental disease is almost entirely preventable.  Taking good care of your teeth can save time, money, pain and most importantly, your teeth! “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – this certainly applies to dental health.  Taking care of your teeth is not as easy as you think but, with an understanding of what is important, you can improve your dental health and save your teeth!

  1. Always brush before bed and one other time each day for two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste.
  2. Clean between your teeth, preferably dental floss. Interdental brushes and/or water pick can also help.  Food caught between the teeth can lead to decay!
  3. Have regular dental cleanings; one of our hygienists can show you areas you are missing with tooth brushing and flossing so you can improve your oral hygiene.

For more information, see these helpful links:

Plaque
Brushing Your Teeth
Dental Flossing
Water Flossers
Toothbrushes
Flouride

“Not all sugars are created equal”

Bacteria in dental plaque, the sticky film that grows around your teeth, consume sugars that you eat or drink to produce acid.  This acid demineralizes the teeth, resulting in a cavity.  Plaque bacteria produce acid for 20 minutes after “sharing” the sugars you consume. Some sugars are more damaging than others. How much sugar and how frequently you consume it also matters.  These factors are important:           

  1. Sweetened drinks, including soda pop, juice, sports drinks and sweetened tea or coffee, provide sugar in the ideal form for the bacteria to consume as the sugar is already in solution.
  2. Avoid sipping on sweetened liquid over long periods. It is better to drink that soda quickly than to sip on it for two hours!
  3. Sticky sweets, like Tootsie Rolls, Fruit Roll-ups and Starbursts to name a few, can get caught between the teeth and in grooves.  If you crave candy,    chocolate is probably your best bet.
  4. Sucking or nibbling on candy, breath mints, cough drops, or antacids will cause decay more readily due to the frequent introduction of sugar.  If you crave M&Ms, indulge but do not nibble on them all afternoon! Choose sugar- free breath mints or cough drops. Try Xylitol mints, available at health food  stores.
  5. Use sugar-free sweeteners, Xylitol or Stevia in coffee or tea.

For more information, see these helpful links:

Cavities
Nutrition/Food Tips
Sip All Day/Get Decay
Halloween Candy Survival Tips
Xylitol

“Beware of Dry Mouth”

Saliva is very important to the health and comfort of your mouth.  Many medications cause dry mouth.  You may be tempted to suck on candy to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth but DON’T! This will result in rapid decay of teeth, even getting under crowns and fillings.  If you want something to suck on, use sugar-free or try Xylitol products available in health food stores.  Xylitol is a natural sugar derived from birch bark and corn stalks that does not cause decay. Try Biotene products to relieve dry mouth.  This can really help!

For more information, see these helpful links:

Dry Mouth
Medications and Oral Health
Xylitol

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal or gum disease is a destructive, inflammatory disease caused by bacterial plaque that lives around the teeth and under the gums.  It starts as gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissue only, and can progress to involve the deeper tissues, including the bone. Bleeding gums, bad breath, food getting caught between the teeth, receding gums, loose or shifting teeth – these are all signs of gum disease. But, most patients with periodontal disease have no symptoms; your best defense is regular dental cleanings! Our hygienists will check your teeth for signs of gum disease, treat as needed or refer to a specialist.

It is important to remove dental plaque daily.  Plaque can quickly harden on the teeth, forming tartar or calculus.  Plaque builds more readily on the tartar and accumulates under the gums, in what normally is a shallow space.  As the buildup continues, inflammation causes the space to deepen, creating a pocket.  Plaque then begins to grow in areas not assessable with routine brushing and flossing.  This damages the bone that supports the teeth, causes gum recession, and exposes the roots of the teeth.  The roots of the teeth are not as resistant to cavities as the enamel so that root decay can rapidly lead to tooth loss.

For more information, see these helpful links:

Gingivitis
Bleeding Gums
Gum Disease
Periodontics

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