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HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? It’s what happens to our teeth when we drink too much soda. The term comes from rural Appalachia, where that particular drink has long been the carbonated beverage of choice and tooth decay is alarmingly common. But this doesn’t just happen in Appalachia, and Mountain Dew isn’t the only drink that contributes to tooth decay.
The Dangers Of Sugary Drinks
When we eat or drink something with sugar in it, the sugar sticks to our teeth afterward. Sugar itself doesn’t do any damage to our oral health, but it is unfortunately the favorite food of the bacteria that lives in our mouths. These bacteria eat the sugar and then excrete acids that erode our tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. They also cause inflammation that increase the risk of gum disease.
Any source of sugar can negatively impact oral health. Sugary drinks (including fruit juice, but especially soda) are particularly dangerous because they aren’t filling like solid food and are therefore easy to keep drinking.
Effects Of Carbonation
So if sugar is the problem, then can’t we keep our teeth healthy by switching to diet soda instead of giving up carbonated beverages altogether? Diet soda is certainly an improvement, but sugar isn’t soda’s only threat to dental health. The other is acid. Sugar leads to tooth decay because oral bacteria eat sugar and excrete acid that erode tooth enamel. Soda cuts out the middle man and applies acid directly to the teeth.
Even diet sodas and carbonated water contain acid. The three types of acid commonly found in soda are citric, phosphoric, and carbonic. Any drink with citrus flavoring will have citric acid, many colas get their flavor from phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid is what makes these drinks fizzy in the first place.
Protecting Your Smile
It would be best for your teeth to avoid soda and other sugary drinks entirely. If you can’t bring yourself to give up your favorite drink completely though, there are a few ways to enjoy it while protecting your teeth. A big one would be to only drink soda with a meal instead of sipping from a can or bottle throughout the day so that the sugar and acid aren’t sitting in your mouth for long periods.
You can also help balance your mouth’s pH and rinse away remaining sugar by drinking water after the soda. Finally, you can clean away the last traces of sugar and acid by brushing your teeth, but it’s a good idea to wait until the pH balance is back to normal before brushing, which takes about thirty minutes.
It is particularly important for children and people with braces to avoid overindulging in sugary drinks. Children have the highest risk of enamel erosion because their enamel isn’t yet fully developed, and braces plus a soda habit is a great way to end up with stained teeth when the braces come off.
Don’t Forget That We Can Help Too!
Following these good habits will go a long way towards protecting your teeth against decay and erosion from the sugar and acid in soda. Still, don’t forget that your dentist is also an important part of the equation. Keep scheduling those visits every six months!
Thank you for always being our valued patients!
Dec 12th, 2017 7:23 am
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CALCIUM AND MILK go together like fluoride and toothpaste. Without the former, it can be hard to find the latter. And, like fluoride, calcium is essential to our oral health.
How Calcium Benefits Your Oral Health
We all know that calcium is the main component of our teeth and jaw bones, but our mouths are also made up of gum tissue, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Calcium is important for these things as well because it helps them function as they should.
How Much Calcium Do We Need?
The range of calcium intake recommended for the average person on a daily basis is between 1000-1300mg from ages four to 70+ yrs. Children younger than four need about 700mg or less. The numbers vary based on gender and age.
Getting less than 500mg of calcium a day puts you at greater risk of developing gum disease, and the scary thing is that most people don’t meet their daily recommendation. Take a look at the foods you’re eating and make sure you’re including at least 800mg of daily calcium to keep your teeth and oral health in great shape!
Non-dairy Calcium Sources
Most people can get their daily calcium from milk and other dairy products, but some don’t have that option. Luckily, there are many alternative sources of this crucial mineral, and we’ve made a list of them to help out our dairy-averse patients.
Canned fish with the bones in. The bones of small, canned fish are an excellent source of calcium, and they’re soft enough to eat! It’s up to you whether you eat them straight from the can or mix them into a larger meal.
Dark leafy greens. Starting at 180mg and reaching about 350mg, kale, spinach and collard greens are the three leafy greens with the highest calcium content.
Beans and black-eyed peas. Legumes such as beans and black-eyed peas contain an impressive amount of calcium, with 350mg to 515mg in just one cup!
Fortified drinks. Fortified orange juice contains around 1500mg and soy milk has 340mg per cup.
Tofu. Most tofu has added calcium, giving it about 860mg per half cup, but you’ll still get between 100-200mg per serving with no calcium added!
Broccoli and broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe (rob) has about 80mg of calcium per 2/3-cup serving and broccoli has about 100mg per 2cup serving.
Edamame. With 98mg in just one cup of cooked edamame, it’s a good source of calcium as well as protein!
Almonds. Out of all the nuts, almonds contain the highest level of calcium, with 8% of the recommended daily intake in a single ounce.
Dried Figs. Figs have a sweet, dessert-like flavor, so eating the half cup it takes to get the calcium from them will feel like indulging in a treat!
We Can Help
If you think you may be prone to gum disease or have further questions about how you can improve your daily calcium intake, we’d love to talk to you about it, so schedule a visit with us today!
We love helping our patients keep their teeth healthy and strong!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Nov 28th, 2017 7:30 am
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Alternative Ways To Get Calcium In Your Diet
THE DISEASE WE USUALLY think of when we hear “health risks of smoking” is lung cancer, but the damage smoking can cause isn’t limited to the lungs. A smoking habit can do a lot of harm to oral health as well, far beyond merely staining the teeth and causing bad breath. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ways this can happen.
Smoking Harms The Gums
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, begins with inflammation of the gums. If untreated, it can lead to extensive damage to gum and supporting bone tissue, and it enables bacteria to spread from the mouth all through the bloodstream. Smoking introduces hundreds of toxins into the mouth, which not only doubles the risk of developing gum disease, it makes it harder to treat.
Whitening Of The Oral Mucosa
Stomatitis Nicotina, or smoker’s keratosis, is the inflammatory swelling of mucous glands in the mouth. This shows up as thick, whitish patches on the roof of the mouth. While it is usually not painful, smoker’s keratosis can be pre-cancerous.
Increased Risk Of Oral Cancer
A staggering 80 percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers. Oral cancer affects the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Early symptoms include persistent mouth sores or pain, unusual white patches in the mouth, difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness, swelling, and a sensation of something caught in the throat that won’t go away. Because many of these symptoms can be caught early at a regular dental exam, the dentist is your first line of defense against oral cancer.
The Harm Isn’t Limited To The Smoker
Secondhand smoke combines the smoke from the end of the cigarette with the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Not only does smoking affect the oral health of the smoker, it can put the oral health of everyone around them at increased risk too, in addition to many other negative health effects. Infants and young children are most likely to suffer from this smoke with asthma attacks, infections, and even SIDS.
Breaking The Habit
The good news is that smoking is the most preventable causeof all of these dental health problems, because we can either quit smoking or never start. Even someone with a long history of smoking can significantly reduce their risk of health complications by quitting, so don’t assume there’s nothing to be gained by kicking the habit.
Make The Right Choice For Your Oral Health
If you want help to quit smoking, there are resources all around you. Support from friends, family, and even counselors can be the best help in quitting. You can also check out the CDC’s website for tips and information. As your dental care specialists, we care deeply about your health. We encourage you to quit smoking and schedule a dental exam so that we can make sure your mouth is staying healthy!
We care about the overall health of all our patients!
Nov 21st, 2017 8:52 am
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Smoking And Oral Health