What You Need to Know About Bruxism

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If you are one of those folks who regularly grind your teeth, then your condition is called bruxism. It can lead to damage to your teeth and other oral health issues.

So why do people grind their teeth? Generally, teeth grinding or clenching is from stress or anxiety and it usually occurs at night when you’re sleeping. You’re more apt to suffer from bruxism if you have an abnormal bite or if you are missing teeth or have crooked teeth.

You probably suffer from bruxism if you have a constant, dull headache or your jaw is regularly sore. Also, your loved one may hear you at night when you are sleeping and grinding your teeth. If you do think that you may have bruxism, consult with your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. He will examine your jaw and mouth for signs of grinding and look for abnormalities and/or tenderness in your jaw and teeth.

We see some patients at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs who come in with teeth that have been fractured, loosened or are even missing because of a long-term history of grinding their teeth. Sometimes their teeth have been ground down to mere stumps. The solution? Crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, and partial or full dentures.

Additionally, health issues stemming from bruxism’s impact on your jaw can include hearing loss, worsening of TMD and TMJ, and changes in your face’s appearance.

So what can you do to stop grinding your teeth or reduce its impact?

Have your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs fit you with a night mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Find ways to reduce your stress if that is a contributing factor to your bruxism. Depending on your personal situation, counseling for stress, regular exercise, physical therapy, and prescription muscle relaxants are some of the options you may consider.

Cut back from your diet– or cut out – foods and drinks that have caffeine. These include colas, coffee and coffee.

Skip the alcohol because you grind your teeth more intensely after consuming alcohol.

Avoid chewing anything that isn’t food – thinks like pencils or pen caps. Chewing gum can also be a problem since it makes your jaw muscles more used to clenching and increases the likelihood that you will grind your teeth.

Teach yourself not to grind or clench your teeth. If you position the tip of your tongue between your teeth while you’re awake, you’ll train your jaw muscles to relax. At night, hold a warm washcloth against your check in front of your earlobe to relax your jaw muscles.

SOURCE: WebMD

Six Foods to Pump Up Your Oral Health

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Many people don’t realize that certain foods and drinks can enhance your oral health. From chocolate to cheese, this set of super foods help strengthen your gums and teeth, battle bacteria in your mouth, and wash away or scrub away sugars that cause cavities. Consume these six foods and drinks and you’ll have a brighter and happier smile!

Crunchy Vegies and Fruits

Some vegetables and fruits are high in fiber and act like mini “scrubbers” when you eat them, cleaning your teeth. In addition, they increase the production of saliva in your mouth, helping to wash away bacteria that are attached to your teeth. Plus sugar in your mouth from other foods will have a tougher time sticking to your teeth because of the increased saliva. Fruits and vegetables high in fiber include raw apples, carrots, cauliflower, jicama, celery and broccoli.

Adorable Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao is a smile helper if eaten in moderation. It contains a compound that helps to harden tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Eat one square per day – but be sure it’s dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, which is higher in sugar and doesn’t contain the compound that helps your teeth.

Pass the Cheese

Cheese is packed with calcium and protein and contains very little sugar – perfect for good oral health. Cheese also lowers the acid level in your mouth, which reduces your odds of developing cavities. Plus cheese helps your teeth remineralize and lowers the chances of decay. Don’t forget milk as an oral health booster – it also contains lots of calcium and protein and is good at washing away sugars in your mouth.

Try Some Tea

Polyphenols are efficient bacteria killers and both green and black teas are loaded with polyphenols. Killing bacteria in your mouth is a good thing, since bacteria produce acids which destroy your tooth enamel. And bacteria’s food of choice is sugar, so if you have a cup of tea following dinner you’ll get a triple assist for your oral health – killing bacteria, washing away sugar, and replenishing your saliva.

Good Food from the Sea

Seafoods are wonderful for your oral health because they are full of protein and contain natural fluoride. Together, they make your teeth stronger and help prevent cavities. They are also chock-full of Vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium from your diet. You want to encourage calcium absorption, since it helps your gums and teeth battle disease that can impact your oral health.

Go Nuts for Nuts

Another good source of protein is nuts. Loaded with phosphorus and calcium (which tooth enamel loves) nuts benefit both your teeth and gums. And don’t forget, nuts produce saliva in your mouth, which helps to wash away cavity-causing stuff in your mouth.

SOURCES: Colgate.com

 

Do You Know How to Floss Properly?

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Flossing is an important part of the Healthy Teeth Trio – which also includes brushing and regular visits to your dentist for a dental cleaning and check-up. Floss plays a unique role in oral health because it can remove a whole variety of things you don’t want between your teeth - food particles, plaque and bacteria – that a toothbrush usually can’t remove. Leaving all of those items stuck between your teeth can lead to gingivitis, which is a disease of the gums that can produce major oral health problems.

Floss was originally made from silk. However, floss has evolved since the 1800s and is now made from plastic beads. Yes, you read that right – plastic beads. The beads are melted and the squeezed into long, thin strands to make them stronger and very hard to break. The plastic is layered with wax and flavoring to make the process more palatable.

So what happens to your oral health if you don’t have time to floss or don’t think it’s worth the effort? To begin with, plaque will begin to build up between your teeth. The plaque will eventually begin to irritate your teeth and make your gums more sensitive. If you have neglected flossing and then decide to begin, your gums will probably bleed. So be sure you begin flossing slowly. But after a couple of weeks, your gums will get used to the floss and your oral health will begin to improve!

You have several options to choose from in terms of types of floss. Most people stick with regular floss, although there are many types of regular floss – unwaxed, waxed, mint flavored, etc.  The differences aren’t important and don’t improve your flossing effectiveness. What does impact the effectiveness is your technique.

Floss picks are also popular for flossing because they hold the floss for you. That makes it very convenient to floss because you only have to use one hand to floss. However, floss picks are not as effective as regular floss because they don’t give you the opportunity to reach the angles necessary for effective flossing.

So how do you floss properly?

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with;
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth;
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue;
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth; and
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

Sources: Colgate.com

 

Gingivitis Is Never A Good Thing to Have

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For many people, the word “gingivitis” sounds like something they have heard but the odds are they don’t know what it describes or how bad it can be if it takes up residence in your mouth.

The reason you don’t want gingivitis camping out in your mouth is that it’s a type of periodontal disease that creates inflammation and infection in your mouth – which eventually leads to the destruction of tissue that provide support to your teeth, your gums, periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets.

So how does gingivitis get started? The initial culprit is plaque, that sticky material created from mucus, bacteria and debris from food you eat. It sticks to the areas of your teeth that are exposed and eventually leads to tooth decay.

Once plaque hardens because you didn’t remove it through brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist for a cleaning, it becomes tartar (also called calculus). Tartar is a hard deposit that clings to the base of your teeth. Your gums are irritated and inflamed by both plaque and tartar. Then bacteria moves in to your weakened gums, creating toxins that cause your gums to become swollen, tender and eventually infected.

Some amount of gingivitis develops in many people during puberty or their early adult years because of hormonal changes. The gingivitis will often persist or recur periodically if your oral health is poor.

What increases your risk of developing gingivitis?

  • Improper dental hygiene
  • Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases
  • Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns). Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

  • Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
  • Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Shiny appearance to gums

If you do have gingivitis, how is it treated? The first goal is to reduce the level of inflammation. This is best achieved by making twice-yearly appointments with your dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning of your teeth. Make more frequent appointments if you have severe gingivitis. They’ll loosen and remove deposits of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Of course, in between visits, you need to be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily.

If you are more prone than usual to plaque building up on your teeth, your dentist may recommend special toothpicks, water irrigation, electric toothbrushes, or other devices. Antiplaque and/or anti-tartar toothpastes and mouth washes may also be a good solution for your situation.

Source: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

These 9 Foods Can Be Tough on Your Teeth

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Your teeth can be seriously impacted by what you eat and drink. Here’s a list of 9 foods and beverages that you should either avoid or consume in moderation. You’ll notice that some of the 9 are pretty obvious – chewing ice has never been a good idea – while others will provide a surprise.

Hard candies are tough on teeth

You might be a fan of hard candies, but because they are packed with sugar, constant sugar exposure can damage your teeth. Plus they can break or chip a tooth if you decide to chew on them. Instead of reaching for a handful of hard candy, grab a piece of sugarless gum.

 Ice is best for chilling, not chewing

Is ice good for your teeth? After all, it comes from water and contains zero sugar or additives. So the answer is yes – unless you decide to chew on that cube or chunk of ice. Then you’ll expose yourself to damaging your teeth enamel or creating a dental emergency. So the next time you put ice in your drink, let it do what it’s supposed to do – chill your beverage – and skip the chewing.

Be careful of citrus

The enamel on your teeth can erode if frequently exposed to foods and beverages that contain citrus. The acid in the citrus is the culprit, and the impact it can have on enamel can make your teeth more prone to decay. If you like citrus drinks and fruit, there’s a simple method to reduce the impact of the acid in citrus on your mouth. Drink a glass of water while you are eating that orange or grapefruit and rinse your mouth out after you have a glass of orange juice.

Coffee can be a problem

Coffee and tea can be healthy beverages – if you avoid adding tons of sugar. Unfortunately, that’s what many of the “coffee” drinks at places like Starbucks and Caribou are chock-full of. Plus coffee and tea that are caffeinated can dry out your mouth (remember, saliva washes away bacteria which cause cavities) and stain your teeth. If you do decide to regularly drink coffee or tea, be sure you’re drinking lots of water and keeping the add-ons under control.

Don’t get stuck on sticky foods

If you like a healthy snack, then dried fruit can be a winner. Unfortunately, they are often quite sticky – which can be a problem since sticky foods remain on your teeth much longer than other food types. Be sure to rinse with water when you finish those sticky foods and of course, carefully brush and floss to remove anything still sticking to your teeth.

If it goes crunch, it might be a bad munch

Potato chips are a wonderful habit for many people. The combination of the crunch and the flavor are hard to beat. But all that starch in a potato chip can get trapped in your teeth, which is the first step on the road to cavities. So be sure to brush and especially floss after you eat chips. That way, you’ll avoid leaving food particles that will become plaque.

Switch water for soda

Did you know that the bacteria that create plaque love sugar? They use the sugar to produce acids that go after the enamel on your teeth. Which means that if you are drinking lots of sugary soda or other drinks, then you are helping those plaque bacteria attack your teeth. Plus the carbonation in soft drinks – including diet sodas – is acidic and negatively impacts your teeth. So the next time you want to reach for a soft drink, think twice. And if you do decide to consume a soda, keep a glass of water handy and alternate between the soda and the water.

Keep a handle on alcohol consumption

Many people don’t realize that alcohol dehydrates your body and reduces the saliva in your mouth. Remember, saliva is good because it helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. Long-term consumption can reduce saliva flow even when you aren’t drinking. Heavy alcohol use can also boost the risk of mouth cancer.

Beware of sugary sports and energy drinks

Powerade, Gatorade, Red Bull, Monster – lots of people use them to boost athletic performance or as a pick-me-up during a busy day or evening. Unfortunately, sports and energy drinks also share a common main ingredient – sugar. There is also a lot of research that says that sports drinks are in most cases unnecessary for someone engaged vigorous physical activity. A better solution would be to drink water instead!

 

SOURCE: American Dental Association

 

Veneers Are An Easy Way to Fix Flawed Teeth

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If you’re not happy with your smile because of discolorations in your front teeth, or you just want to have a brighter smile, then veneers may be your solution. What are veneers? They are very-thin shells made of ceramic (porcelain) or composite resin material. The dentist bonds them to the front of your teeth to improve your smile. You will require very little (or no) anesthesia for this procedure.

Veneers can often be a good alternative to crowns because they offer a more conservative solution to changing your tooth’s color, shape and size. Plus, they have shown to last for many years if done by one of the dentists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs.

So what types of problems can be fixed with dental veneers? Teeth that are broken or chipped; worn down teeth; misaligned, uneven or teeth that are irregularly shaped; or to fix gaps between your teeth.

It usually takes multiple appointments for the entire veneer procedure. This includes diagnosis, planning the treatment, preparing the teeth, and bonding. You’ll need to be actively involved in “designing” your smile. You’ll also need to understand that the procedure can’t fix every problem perfectly. But it can certainly improve your smile.

So what is the procedure like to attach veneers? First, the teeth are buffed lightly to provide room for the thickness the veneer will add. This usually means about half a millimeter of the tooth will be removed (this may mean you’ll need a local anesthetic). If you’re getting a composite resin veneer, then your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will carefully bond and sculpt the composite material onto your teeth. If you are getting porcelain veneers, then your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and then the veneers are fabricated in a lab, which may take a couple of days.

Once your porcelain veneers are back from the lab, your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will place each veneer on its tooth to make sure they fit properly and are the right shade or color you selected. Your dentist can still adjust the veneer’s shade at that point by choosing a certain type of cement to use. The veneer is then cleaned with a specific set of chemicals to make sure the cement used to bond the veneer to your tooth works properly. The final step involves a light beam being directed at the veneer to harden the cement.

You won’t have to take any “special care” of your new veneers. You’ll need to continue to follow good oral health practices – brushing and flossing daily – and your dentist will want to see you several weeks after the veneers are put on your teeth for a checkup.

What are the advantages of dental veneers?

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance.
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

What are the disadvantage of dental veneers?

  • The process is not reversible.
  • Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
  • Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.

Be realistic about veneers. Like natural teeth, you will see slight color variations if you examine them closely. But veneers can still go a long way to brightening your smile and making you more confident about your teeth.

Sources: Worldental.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, WebMD

 

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

What Are the Top 10 Foods for Healthy Teeth?

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What you eat can be just as important to your teeth as brushing and flossing daily. In fact, certain foods and beverages will both keep your teeth in shape and provide them with the nutrition they need. You can’t get your original teeth back once you lose them, and imagine a life of eating and drinking minus your teeth.

So the next time you are looking for something to eat or drink, pick a food or beverage that will make your teeth smile! Here’s list of 10 smile-producing foods to benefit your dental health.

Fruit that is raw is a winner for your teeth because it reduces plaque and gives your gums a healthy massage. Fruits high in Vitamin C are the best because they keep our body cells together. If you are lacking Vitamin C, your gums will become tender and more easily develop gum disease.

Sesame seeds dissolve plaque and help you build tooth enamel. They are also high in calcium, which keeps your teeth healthy along with your jawbone. It’s best to consume sesame seeds on bread or rolls.

Vegetables are a wonderful “foundation builder” for oral health.  Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots and broccoli are bursting with Vitamin A, which helps to form tooth enamel. Plus if you eat them raw you get a double dose of goodness, since raw vegetables will clean your teeth and massage your gums.

Onions may have some smelly side effects, but they are loaded with bacteria-killing sulphur compounds. Don’t forget, it’s bacteria that does so much harm to your gums and teeth. If you like onions (and aren’t planning on going to a party), then eat them raw for maximum effect.

Celery eaten raw is like nature’s toothbrush. It will clean your teeth and massage your gums. It also prompts your mouth to produce more saliva, which will neutralize the bacteria that creates cavities.

Dairy products like yogurt and milk are a good choice to quench your thirst or have a healthy snack because they are low in acidity and sugar (and both of those lead to tooth erosion and tooth decay). Plus milk is full of calcium, which fortifies your teeth and bones.

Cheese also has important benefits for your teeth and gums. Cheese is packed with calcium and phosphate – which promotes healthy teeth – and helps to balance the pH level in your mouth (which is a good outcome). It also helps you produce more saliva, rebuild important tooth enamel and kill bacteria that create cavities and lead to gum disease.

Green Tea has earned a reputation for providing many benefits for your oral health. A major benefit of green tea is that is provides you with natural antioxidant compounds, which prevent plaque from accumulating. Plaque leads to cavities and bad breath. Plus some green teas have fluoride, which also helps reduce tooth decay.

Proteins such as chicken, beef, turkey and eggs contain a ton of phosphorus. That’s a good thing since phosphorus combines with calcium and Vitamin D to create our bones and teeth.

Water provides an array of good things. It hydrates your whole body (gums included), which is essential. But for your oral health, it helps clean your mouth so your saliva can nourish your teeth. When you rinse with water, it cleans your mouth so that your saliva can nourish your teeth, and it washes away food particles that can lead to cavities.

Source: Dental.Net Print        

 

 

All Tooth Whitening Programs Are Not Created Equal

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If you feel like your smile isn’t as “picture-perfect” as you would like it to be there are several options to enhance the whiteness of your teeth. Brushing and flossing daily are the easiest ways, and routine cleanings and check-ups are also important. But to keep one’s smile white you must be careful of what you eat and drink. And if all that brushing and flossing can’t eliminate all those stubborn stains and yellowing on your teeth, then whitening is a definite route to a great smile.

Lehigh Valley Smile Designs offers an effective and affordable whitening program that includes custom-made and fitted bleach trays and clinical strength gel bleach that you cannot get over the counter.

Whitening programs available from your dentist are superior to the over-the-counter ones available in many retail stores. While the over-the-counter kits may be cheaper, they are not as effective and can also be harmful to your gum line (from the bleach), aggravate existing dental problems (again from the bleach), produce spotted or weak results and damage your tooth enamel.

So once you decide to have your teeth whitened at a dental office, what happens? During the first visit, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth after making sure your teeth are free of plaque and tarter. From this impression a custom mouth tray is made specifically for your mouth to fit like a glove. This ensures that each surface of the tooth gets bleached properly. On your second visit your dentist will show you how to apply the gel to the bleaching trays and place it into your mouth.

The amount of time you must wear your bleaching trays depends on how badly your teeth are stained, as well as the concentration of the bleaching gel used. You will also need to decide if you want to use both trays - one for your top teeth, the other one for your bottom set of teeth – to whiten your smile. This process can vary from a few minutes to a few hours. It is recommended that you whiten two weeks for 30 minutes a day for optimal results. Tooth sensitivity may occur but Lehigh Valley Smile Designs provides patients with alternative bleach for those with sensitivity issues.

The whitening program offered by Lehigh Valley Smile Designs can last anywhere from a few months to a few years and the degree of whitening changes from one person to another. This in part depends on the original condition of your teeth, specifically how stained they were, as well as the strength of the bleaching gel used. Also, in large part it depends on your eating, drinking and smoking habits, as no teeth whitening solution will result in a permanent color change of your teeth and it won’t prevent future staining.

Contact Lehigh Valley Smile Designs today and ask how you can get started. Whitening your smile can take years off your teeth and make you look and feel younger. Bleaching your teeth is an easy and affordable way to boost your confidence and start smiling again!

In the meantime follow these simple steps to avoid stains:

  • Use a whitening toothpaste
  • Brush and floss daily
  • Avoid drinking coffee, red wine, tea and sports drinks
  • Avoid eating berries, sweets and deep colored sauces
  • Don’t smoke
  • Use a straw with cold beverages
  • Swallow promptly when consuming stain-causing foods and beverages
  • If you do consume food and drink that may stain your teeth, keep a glass of plain water handy and take a drink between sips or bites of the stain-producing food or beverage you are consuming

 

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