Is An Electric Toothbrush The Right Investment For Your Oral Health?

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Have you thought about getting rid of your manual toothbrush and switching to an electric toothbrush? Often a barrier is the cost, but if an electric toothbrush can enhance your oral health and help you avoid costly dental visits, it might be worth considering. Plus, an analysis of 56 published studies by the international evidence-based research organization Cochrane found that electric models have an edge in maintaining oral health.

So how does an electric toothbrush work to clean your teeth? It makes rapid automatic bristle motions, either back-and-forth oscillation or rotation-oscillation, in order to clean teeth. Motions at sonic speeds or below are made by a motor. In the case of ultrasonic toothbrushes, ultrasonic motions are produced by a piezoelectric crystal. A modern electric toothbrush is usually powered by a rechargeable battery charged through inductive charging when the brush sits in the charging base between uses.

 What are the main benefits of an electric toothbrush?

Provides deeper and more thorough cleaning

Electric toothbrushes have the features and functionalities required to maintain the overall health of not just the teeth but also the gums and the tongue. Using a rotating head with angled bristles, they can remove the accumulated tartar and plaque in those hard-to-reach areas between your teeth.

By preventing tartar and plaque build up, they become an effective tool in fighting gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease. And the bonus? Your breath is so much fresher for it.

Maintains health in the entire oral cavity

Most electric toothbrushes have preset timers that encourage users to pay equal attention to the four quadrants or sections of the mouth. Most have the standard four modes of brushing methods programmed into the units: Daily Clean, Sensitive, Deep Clean, and Massage. Plus, the timer makes is easier to know when you have completed two minutes of brushing.

This holistic approach to brushing helps address all important aspects involved in keeping the oral cavity healthy, not to mention that it gives you that refreshing, clean feeling we always strive for in every brushing session.

Benefits those with health issues

For people who suffer carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or other conditions that are painful or restrict movement, an electric toothbrush can be a life-saver for their oral health. It eliminates much of the stress that manually brushing places on your wrist.

A couple of notes of caution if you decide to shop for a new electric toothbrush. First, dentists recommend that you purchase a quality product. If you decide to “go cheap,” you may not be doing any better than your current manual brushing. Second, be sure to replace the removable toothbrush head on your electric toothbrush every three to four months. Third, be sure to look for an electric toothbrush with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. It has been tested for safety by an independent lab.

If you have decided to purchase an electric toothbrush to improve your oral health, which one should you buy? Check out this article from Health Best Reviews. You can find their rating of 10 electric toothbrushes here.

Sources: Delta Dental, Denticheck.com, Health Best Reviews

Tips to Protect Your Smile As You Grow Older

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It’s amazing how tough our teeth are considering how much we use them on a daily basis. Combine that long-term use with the natural process of aging and it’s a wonder that we have any teeth left by the time we get into our 50’s.

If you’re curious about what happens to your teeth as you grow older – and would like some tips on how to help your teeth stay strong – then this blog will be helpful.

Stopping Acid Erosion

Food that is sugary and starchy is the top threat to your teeth’s health. Both sugar and starch are carbohydrates, which means that the bacteria already in your mouth ferment the carbs and produce acid. It is those acids that damage your tooth’s enamel by creating tiny pits where tooth decay can form.

Tips for Healthy Teeth:

  • Cut down on the amount of sugary foods you eat. Especially avoid carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks (which are loaded with sugar).
  • Reduce the frequency of snacking, because it keeps the level of acid in your mouth at a high level over a long period of time.
  • Chew sugarless gum if you have a craving for a sweet treat. The gum increases the production of saliva, which washes away food debris in your mouth and neutralizes the acids.
  • Be sure to follow the 2x2+1 regimen – brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once daily. This will cut down on the levels of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Get in to your dentist’s office twice a year for hygiene visits – that will help reduce the plaque buildup on your teeth.

Reducing Mechanical Wear and Tear

Many people believe that their teeth become brittle as they age, which is not correct. However, if you bite down on a hard object (popcorn kernels, the pit of an olive), you risk cracking or chipping a tooth. If you have any fillings or root canals, those teeth are most at risk. So be extra careful when you bite down!

A big cause of wear and tear on teeth is the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth (called bruxism). Often attributed to anxiety of stress, bruxism can wear down your teeth’s surfaces over time and make them more susceptible to decay.

Tips for Healthy Teeth:

  • Don’t chew ice and avoid if possible other hard foods.
  • If the food you’re eating has a pit, make sure it has been removed or you might be in for a nasty surprise.
  • Schedule regular visits with your dentist. They will be able to spot broken or cracked fillings that will weaken your teeth. Plus your dentist can check for signs of bruxism and if needed suggest a mouth guard that you can pop in at night to stop grinding.

Preventing Stains

Dark colored beverages such as tea, coffee and red wine can stain your teeth. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also culprits when it comes to staining teeth. Those stains usually form where there is a build-up of plaque on your teeth, so be sure to have them removed when you go in for your every six month hygiene visit.

Tips for Healthy Teeth:

  • The first one is simple – avoid dark colored beverages. If you can’t give up your coffee or tea, be sure to keep water handy and rinse your mouth out periodically while drinking your cup of java.
  • Get rid of plaque so stains can’t adhere to it – which means you need to brush your teeth regularly.
  • See your dental hygienist every six months. They will remove the plaque and tartar that you can’t reach with your toothbrush.

Avoiding Gum Problems

Gum disease is the most deadly threat to healthy teeth. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria can grow. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

Tips for Healthy Teeth:.

  • Remove bacteria by brushing and flossing daily.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash for additional protection.
  • See you dentist twice a year and they can catch gum disease early in your mouth.
  • Gum disease creates inflammation, so eating foods that reduce inflammation can be helpful. This includes omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as fish, fish oil, and flaxseed.

Preventing Dry Mouth

Saliva reduces the risk of tooth decay and problems with your gums. Which means that dry mouth accelerates those problems. But because nearly 1,0000 drugs on the market cause dry mouth as a side effect, this is an issue that many people as they get older (and take more prescription drugs) will have to deal with.

Tips for Healthy Teeth:

  • Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice that you are being affected by dry mouth.
  • Changing your prescription may help reduce the problem. If it doesn’t, your doctor may suggest chewing sugar-free gum. Gum increases saliva flow.
  • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are also available.

SOURCE: WebMD, American Dental Association

 

All About Crowns – the Dental Kind

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When your dentist says “you’ll probably need a crown” after examining a troublesome tooth, what exactly are they talking about and why do you need to be “crowned.” Crowns are a type of dental restoration that involves putting a protecting covering (a crown) over a tooth. There is a wide range of materials that the crown can be made from, ranging from porcelain to metals.

So what types of oral health issues call for a crown?

  • Damage to a tooth is so severe that it cannot be fixed by placing an amalgam or composite restoration (a filling).
  • The appearance of the tooth is less than desirable and the placement of a crown can improve the shape, color and in some cases the alignment of the tooth.
  • To protect a weak tooth due to decay.
  • To protect a weak tooth that has been cracked.
  • To hold a dental bridge into place.
  • To cover a dental implant.

How is a crown placed on the existing tooth?

After a careful exam, your dentist will evaluate your needs and then review your options for repairing or replacing the tooth. If a crown is the best approach for your situation, your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will initially “prep” the troublesome tooth. This involves removing any decay and readying the tooth for the permanent crown. This may include fabricating a build-up if there is not enough healthy tooth surface left to hold and stabilize the new crown.

An impression is taken and a “temporary” crown is fabricated after the tooth is “prepped”.  The temporary crown is seated while the permanent crown is being made in the lab.  Once the crown is finished, typically 1 to 2 weeks, the patient will return to get the permanent crown cemented into place.

So what are the different types of materials used in crowns?

Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. They are often used with children’s primary teeth. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown's porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

SOURCE: WebMD and American Dental Association

 

Protect Your Smile with These 11 Tips

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Making the right decisions can have a huge impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Remember, once your adult teeth have grown in, you’re stuck with them for the rest of your life. Lose one and you can’t regrow it. So follow our advice with these 11 tips on how to protect your smile in 2018.

Cough Drops

Most cough drops are full of sugar. And sugar is loved by bacteria, which convert the sugar into an acid that damages your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth after you take a cough drop, or even better, brush quickly to get rid of the sugar sticking to your teeth.

Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding – also called bruxism – wears your teeth down over time. Causes are generally stress and your sleeping habits, which means it can be difficult to control. Your dentist can fit you for a night mouth guard to prevent the damage that comes from grinding your teeth while sleeping.

Gummy Bears and Their Friends

You may love gummy bears – or gummy worms – but those sugary treats are tough on your teeth. Because they stick to your teeth, the sugar and resulting acids produced by bacteria in your mouth stay in contact with your enamel for hours. That is trouble for your teeth and can lead to cavities. Eat those gummy bears and worms with a meal instead of as a stand-alone snack. The added food from your meal increases saliva production, which washes away bits of candy and the acids they produce.

Not Wearing a Mouth Guard While Playing Sports

If you or your children play a contact sport, wear a mouth guard. There’s no “maybe” on this topic. The mouth guard’s molded plastic will protect your teeth from getting chipped or knocked out while playing sports like football or hockey. You can purchase decent mouth guards at sporting goods stores or your dentist can fit you for a custom-made one.

Drinking Soda and Pop

If you want to consume 11 teaspoons of sugar at one sitting, drink a soda. And remember what sugar does in your mouth – bacteria will feel like they hit the sugar jackpot when you drink a soda. Also, all the phosphoric and citric acids in soda eat away at tooth enamel. If you think diet soft drinks are the answer, consider that you may be avoiding the sugar intake, but those artificial sweeteners may be full of even more acids that a regular soda.

Munching on Ice

If you’re an ice muncher, beware – those little frozen cubes of ice can chip or crack your pearly whites. Plus continual ice chomping irritates the soft tissue inside your tooth, which may lead to regular toothaches and sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Instead of ice, reach for a piece of sugarless gum the next time you feel an urge to munch.

Beware of Sports Drinks

Like soda, sports drinks are often high in sugar and create an acid attack on your teeth. Use them regularly and you may be opening your mouth to tooth decay. Chug water in the gym or after a workout to rehydrate your body - and skip the sugar and the calories.

Chomping on Potato Chips

Sugar isn’t the only thing that the bacteria in plaque love – they also adore starchy foods. They break them down into acid and attach your teeth for the next 20-30 minutes. Drink lots of water to wash away the acids and floss to get rid of any stray chips stuck in your teeth.

Fruit Juices

Sugar is not your mouth’s best friend, remember? Most people know that fruit juices are full of  vitamins and antioxidants. What most people don’t know is that they are also full of sugar. In some cases, they have as much sugar as a soda. So check the fruit juice label to see how much sugar it contains, and look for brands that don’t add sugar but use the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Drinking Coffee

If you are a fan of coffee, be aware that you could be yellowing your teeth over time because of coffee’s acidity and dark color. But coffee is also one of the easiest stains to treat with whitening solutions. For the best results, see your dentist for a professional whitening solution.

Consuming Wine – Both Red and White

Red wines can be double-trouble for your teeth. But even white wines can impact your teeth. Wines contain acids that are corrosive to your tooth enamel. They create rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Red wine also contains a deep pigment called chromogen and tannins, which help the color stick to the teeth. This combination makes it easy for the wine's red color to stay with you long after your glass is empty. Swishing with water after drinking or using toothpaste with a mild whitening agent can fight the staining effects of red and white wines.

SOURCE: WebMD

7 Ideas to Enhance Your Family’s Oral Health

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If tooth decay and gum disease are two oral health problems you want your family to avoid this year, then we have 7 great tips to help your family have a healthy year for their teeth and gums. Remember, most gum disease and tooth decay is preventable if you practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you and each member of your family spend a couple of minutes a day flossing and brushing and that you make good choices to enhance your oral health. For a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, that’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Begin at six months. Start your child’s dental care around six months, which is when their first tooth generally appears. Initially, use a damp cloth or soft brush to wipe your baby’s teeth. Once a child turns two, they can brush for themselves with adult supervision.

Consider sealants. Just 33% of kids in the United States receive dental sealants, but it is a great way to protect your child’s permanent molars when they come in at age 6. The sealant is applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces on the molars and provides protection against decay.

The daily duo. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, so it’s not something you want in your mouth.

Finish your meals the right way. Rinse your mouth right after a meal with water and/or an antibacterial rinse. Another tip is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum right after you eat to enhance the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria and reduces acid.

Practice smart eating. Be sure to include whole foods in your diet because they will provide your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That means to be sure to eat nuts, grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Say no to soda. Sugary sodas are “double trouble” because of their high sugar content and because people tend to sip them over extended periods of time. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, because they produce acid when they break down the sugar. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, which can then lead to decay.

See your dentist regularly. Make an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months if you want to stay on top of your oral health. Your dental hygienist will get rid of built-up plaque on your teeth and check for tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

Don’t Leave Oral Health Behind During Holiday Travel

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10 Tips to Keep a Healthy Mouth on Holiday Trips

We don’t have to tell you: the winter holidays mark one of the busiest seasons of the year. With shopping, parties and vacations jam-packed on the calendar, it’s no wonder that many people take shortcuts when it comes to oral health maintenance during this time. If you are traveling during the holiday season and you want to avoid a January surprise cavity (or worse), here are some simple tooth travel tips to help you keep your smile intact.

1.      Don’t leave home with a toothache! If you suspect you have any lurking problems in your mouth, schedule an appointment prior to your travel date so that you don’t end up with a tooth emergency while out of town. Research emergency dental clinics in your destination city and have those numbers handy to ensure that your time off is as relaxing as possible.

2.      No one ever regrets buying travel-sized gear. Keeping a travel toothbrush, floss and toothpaste on hand in addition to trial sizes of your favorite toiletries reduces your packing time, and not just during the holidays.

3.      Carry a travel kit. If your luggage gets lost, at least your oral health won't be compromised.

4.      Splurge on probiotics! Diseases and germs run rampant in buses, airports and other communal places that you might encounter during your trip. Researchers believe that probiotics are not only good for the gut; they may help maintain optimal oral health too!

5.      Chewing gum is a limitless oral-health-on-the-go tip! Bringing sugar-free gum with you has multiple benefits; not only does it taste good and make your breath smell fresh, but the gum can help remove food that may be stuck in your teeth as well, acting as a secondary toothbrush.

6.      Instead of digging out that spare toothbrush that stays in your travel kit, consider spending the spare change and buying a new one for your next trip. Old faithful has served you well, but travel toothbrushes tend to get tossed around in a variety of germ-ridden environments. While you’re at the store, purchase a toothbrush cover with holes for ventilation and some extra floss in case your current supply unexpectedly runs out (it happens to all of us).

7.      Pack smart. Make sure everyone has packed their own toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes can spread cavity–causing bacteria, even among family members.

8.      Use a toothbrush cap. Protect your toothbrush from germs with a travel toothbrush cap. Once you reach your destination, make sure to take the cap off because it can lock in moisture and create a breeding ground for germs.

9.      Keep healthy snacks around. Pack healthy snacks such as veggies, nuts and string cheese. Avoid crackers and chips, which will stick around in your mouth and can feed the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.

10.   Drink plenty of water. Drinking water rinses away bad-breath–causing bacteria that sit at the back of your tongue. The bacteria can also result in gingivitis and other oral health issues.

And of course, keeping up with regular brushing and flossing is as important as ever! Don't let your oral health routine fall by the wayside just because your regular work and school schedules are disrupted.

Sources: DeltaDental.com, HighlandParkPerio.com

 

 

Overbrushing: Watch Out for Too Much of a Good Thing

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Toothbrush Abrasion Leads to Sensitive Teeth and Gums

Brushing regularly is considered vital for healthy teeth and gums, but dental experts warn that you can overdo a good thing. Known as “toothbrush abrasion,” overbrushing can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums.

Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area. Receding gums can also lead to other dental problems such as periodontal disease and cavities on the roots of the teeth and may lead to the need for treatments such as fillings, root canals and tooth extraction. According to the Wall Street Journal, dentists estimate that between 10 to 20 percent of the population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of overbrushing.

The people most at risk for tooth or gum damage from overbrushing are those who are particularly diligent about their oral care and those who use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes. Other factors, such as a genetic predisposition to receding gums, clenching or grinding your teeth or having had your teeth straightened with braces, can increase your risk for damage from overbrushing.

Brushing vigorously isn’t necessary to remove plaque. “Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides,” says Dr. Kevin Sheu, managing dental consultant for Delta Dental. “Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing. You’re not going to achieve any extra benefit by brushing hard.”

Changing brushing habits can usually stop the problem from getting worse. In cases of severe toothbrush abrasion, dentists can fill in the grooves with bonding material.

Proper brushing technique

What’s important when brushing your teeth is not how hard you scrub, but that you use the proper technique and that you do a thorough job. And that takes time. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. The following are some other tips for brushing your teeth correctly:

·        Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage and wear on the soft tooth dentin (the less mineralized layer of tooth found just under the enamel) and in the root area. If you are accustomed to a hard-bristled toothbrush, even using a toothbrush that is softer than you are accustomed to will help.

·        Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree-angle to the gumline when brushing.

·        Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot – don’t saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.

·        Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you're brushing too hard.

 

Worn Brush Bristles

The smoothness of your toothbrush’s bristles (which are rounded in the factory when they are made) also gets worn away back to its original jaggedness via brushing, which is why you may have heard that dentists recommend you replace your toothbrush often. The key is to throw away your toothbrush before the bristles splay, because by that point, it’s too late. Splayed bristles mean you’ve been using a worn toothbrush that is too abrasive and has been wearing away your tooth structure. Replace your toothbrush every four weeks for people who brush twice a day

 

Sources: DeltaDental.com, AskTheDentist.com

 

12 Significant And Quirky Facts That Make Flossing Essential!

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How important is flossing in the health of your teeth? According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In fact, it can be even more important than brushing (and takes less time!) when it comes to preventing tooth loss, cavities, and periodontal gum disease.

Floss removes plaque and debris that sticks to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. By flossing your teeth daily, you increase the chance of keeping them for a lifetime and decrease the chance of getting gum disease.

Most people cite lack of time as a reason for not flossing. However, the AGD says flossing even two or three times a week has its benefits and is far better than not flossing at all.

So let’s get right down to it! Here are 12 significant facts that make flossing essential!

·        Flossing removes plaque between our teeth that our toothbrushes miss. This is something we all know, but did you know that when you don’t floss, food that sits between your teeth is actually rotting and can be a main cause for bad breath? Gross!

·        It has been thought that flossing before brushing can help the fluoride from our toothpaste better reach between our teeth.

·        In order to floss efficiently, you need to use a piece of floss that is 18 to 20 inches long.

·        Improper and irregular flossing leads to bleeding gums.

·        You should use a clean section of your floss to clean around each tooth. This will avoid transferring food and bacteria from one tooth to another.

·        There are two main types of floss: monofilament (plastic/rubber type) and multifilament (nylon/silk floss).

·        Both types of floss mentioned above come in flavors (and unflavored) such as mint, cinnamon, bubblegum and even bacon. Yes, I said bacon-flavored floss.…

·        Flossing saves you money. It plays an essential role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. An unhealthy mouth can lead to a number of ailments and diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

·        Seventy-three percent of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss!

·        Americans spend $2 billion a year on dental products—toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss.

·        Men floss less than women do.

·        Brushing your teeth without flossing is like only washing 70 percent of your body.

Teeth Are Always in Style!

Flossing takes up very little time in your day, but the impact of not flossing is greater to not only your teeth, but your overall health as well! Americans are living longer and keeping their own teeth, too. Yes, it is possible: with a good oral health routine and regular dental checkups, you can have your own teeth for as long as you live!

 

Sources: ModernDent.com, DeltaDentalIns.com

 

Vitamin Supplements – Can They Help or Hurt Your Teeth?

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Some Forms of Supplements Can Actually Harm Your Oral Health

Nutrition experts encourage daily supplementation of vitamin C for everyone. It protects against everything from sudden infant death syndrome (S.I.D.S) to scurvy, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer. Two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, recommended a whopping 3 grams of vitamin C every day for the average healthy male, and 6 grams for those at risk of heart disease. There are many methods of vitamin C supplementation, in the form of capsules, powders and syrups. For decades, parents have been providing their children with chewable vitamin C pills.

Chewable Pills and Citrus Toothpaste

Vitamin C is destructive to tooth enamel, so chewable pills may lead to increased cavities, particularly in those who are lacking minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin C should never be taken in a manner which leaves residues of it on the teeth for an extended time. Some well-intentioned toothpaste manufacturers have misguidedly added vitamin C or "citrus" to their formulas, without realizing the dental problems that this presents. Similarly, some alternative medicine sites on the Internet recommend cleaning the teeth with lemon-based solutions. Citrus acids have the tendency to make the teeth feel clean. This occurs partly because the acid strips the teeth of everything, including the minerals bonding with them. It can cause long-term enamel damage; especially when it is combined with abrasives or stiff bristle brushes.

Vitamin C when taken internally actually strengthens teeth, and the rest of the body. However, it should never be kept in direct contact with the teeth. It is strongly recommended for those who are brushing their teeth with citrus formulas to discontinue immediately. Toothpastes which contain calcium carbonate are ideal for long-term dental health and for tooth whiteness. Toothpastes containing phosphorus (phosphates) are even better.

Fizzy Vitamin Supplements

We know that sugar-filled juices and canned drinks such as cola and lemonade can cause tooth decay - yet few of us would think fizzy vitamin preparations can have similar effects. However, a study at the University of Helsinki on eight types of effervescent vitamins found they could all have corrosive effects on teeth. 

Leaching out the minerals contained in teeth, they left them weaker, more porous and prone to decay.

In the research, teeth were soaked in the vitamin drinks for 100 hours. All of them - including those drinks that contained calcium - caused demineralization. The effects were worst in the Vitamin C products, where teeth were corroded so severely that dentine, the sensitive layer beneath the enamel was exposed.

“When you drink fizzy vitamins, you wouldn't expose your teeth for anything near this length of time,” says Dr. Mervyn Druian, spokesperson for the British Dental Association. “However, if you drink one of these dissolved tablets each day, it is likely that they would weaken your teeth.”

Citric acid, the primary ingredient of many fizzy vitamin drinks, has been found by researchers at the University of Baltimore Dental School to cause dental erosion. While this erosion is less than in drinks that also contain sugar, it is still significant.

“Dental erosion is caused by acidic solutions which come into contact with the teeth,” says Dr. Adam Thorne, dental surgeon at the Harley Street Dental Studio. “Because the critical pH of dental enamel is 5.5, any solution with a lower pH value may cause erosion, particularly over a long period or if it is taken regularly.”

The danger of these soluble vitamins is that they are marketed for daily use and consumers tend to take them with breakfast and brush their teeth shortly after. “For an hour after you have an acidic drink such as a fizzy vitamin, cola or apple juice, your tooth enamel will remain softened,” says Dr. Thorne. “During this period, teeth become more vulnerable to corrosion, sensitivity and decay. Vitally, if you brush your teeth during this time, you are likely to brush away a layer of tooth enamel.”

How Can You Protect Your Teeth from the Effect of Chewable or Fizzy Supplements?

The strength of teeth changes continually over the course of a day, with minerals being taken out and replaced according to the foods you eat and drink. “Whenever we have an acidic drink, minerals are leached out of the teeth to help neutralize the acid. Saliva is slightly alkaline, so it also has a neutralizing effect,” says Dr. Druian.

“After a few hours, the neutralizing action of saliva takes over, and calcium and other minerals are gradually put back in the teeth.”

Dairy products such as cheese and milk have an alkaline pH that help neutralize acids. They also contain minerals. Eating these after an acid drink will help reduce acid levels and re-mineralize teeth at a faster rate. 

“Don't brush your teeth for at least an hour and don't swish the fizzy vitamin drink around your mouth,” states Dr. Durian. “You can also chew some sugar-free gum to increase the flow of saliva. Ultimately, if you are worried about the effects of these vitamins on your mouth, drink them through a straw or switch to a vitamin pill.”

Sources: KnowYourTeeth.com, HealthWyze.org, DailyMail.co.uk

 

 

 

Beating Bad Breath

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Are You Among the More Than 80 Million People Who Suffer?

Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodor) can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Some people don't realize their breath could peel paint because others are afraid to tell them. You don’t have to distance the people around you with smelly mouth odor.

Do You Have Bad Breath?

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur -- or worse.

Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.

Not sure if your breath is bad? The best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other, "'Does my breath smell?” Because it's really hard to tell on your own. There's also another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it.

If your toothbrush or floss smells bad, then there are foul odors in your mouth.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You'll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth (xerostomia).

If you’ve eliminated medical causes for your bad breath, hit the kitchen for some bad breath battlers.

 

Try these Bites for Better Breath

Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.

Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth- freshening burst of flavor. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath.

Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. The chlorophyll in these green plants neutralizes odors.

Rinse with a 30-second mouthwash that is alcohol-free (unike many off-the-shelf products). Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda (which changes the pH level and fights odor in the mouth) and a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. Don’t swallow it! (Yields several rinses.)

Moisten your mouth. You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don't make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.

 

Crunch Your Way to Better Breath

Try this recipe from The Remedy Chicks (Linda B. White MD, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell-Grogan) from EveryDayHealth.com.

Raw crunchy foods clean the teeth. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors and promotes saliva production. Cinnamon is antimicrobial. Active cultures in yogurt help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

1 cup apple chunks
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup diced celery
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crushed walnuts
3 to 5 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
Ground cinnamon

PREPARATION AND USE: Mix the apple, carrot, celery, cranberries, and walnuts together in a large bowl. Add yogurt by the tablespoon to moisten the mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Serves two.)

 

Avoid Foods That Sour Your Breath.

Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn't help.

“The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out,” says Richard Price, DMD, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

The best way to stop the problem? Don't eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.

 

Take Care of Your Mouth

Keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular oral care. Gum disease and tooth decay causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

Brush your teeth twice a day.

Floss daily.

Brush or scrape your tongue.

Visit your dentist.

The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.

 

 

Sources: ADA, Web MD, Delta Dental, EveryDayHealth.com