Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss – and a Fork 12

This is the last in our series on food and your teeth.  Our subject today is Wasabi. That may seem like a odd food, but Wasabi, or Japanese horseradish, is a hot ingredient used in relation with Oriental cooking. This spicy condiment is known to safeguard healthy teeth by fighting bacteria that cause cavities and gum abscesses.

Wasabi root also helps reduce Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers, unpleasant burping and bad breath, according to a 2004 study at Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo. 

So the next time you order sushi, don’t forget the Wasabi.  It’s good for your stomach as well as your teeth.

wasabi

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss – and a Fork 9

Last time we discussed foods, we talked about nuts and the benefits of eating more almonds, but today we’ll talk about something to drink… tea!  We discussed coffee before, but did you know that tea has some dental benefits too?

Not only can a cup of tea soothe your nerves, but it’s good for healthy teeth. Black or green tea is a rich source of micro nutrients that reduce gum disease and prevent cavities, according to a 2004 Rutgers University study. Researchers showed antioxidants in green tea, called catechins, reduce gum inflammation.

While some avoid tea for fear of staining teeth, black tea contains polyphenols that produce a protective film that coats and shields teeth from cavity-causing bacteria.

So sit down, brew a cup of tea, and relax. Your teeth and your nerves will thank you!

tea

Is Sugar Scary? It can be…

Halloween is here and that means your kids will probably be eating a lot of sweets, especially candy. So how can you keep their teeth from suffering after too much sugar?

One way is pretty simple. Brush often. Everyone knows that brushing your teeth can help you prevent cavities, but it can also help if you have eaten too much sugar. You also need to change your toothbrush out often. According to colgate.com, Toothbrushes with triple-action bristles and diamond-shaped heads are designed to be better at cleaning hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.  And those hard-to-reach places are where your sugars will reside.

Use mouthwash, especially those that contain fluoride. If you don’t have mouthwash, swishing your mouth out with plain water will help.

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating sweets helps by creating saliva which will remove sugar that coats your teeth. The key is to prevent the mouth from remaining coated in the acid-forming sugars and other carbohydrates found in sweets after eating.

Use these tips to help your kids (and yourself) from developing cavities from too much sugars.  And call our office at Brogdon Dental to make your appointment for cleaning. Now is the time to take control of your and your children’s dental health.

Dehydration and Oral Health

Although summer may be coming to a close, temperatures continue to soar in to the upper 90’s. The end of summer has many students heading back to school.  With the beginning of the new school year brings the start of high school athletics. Many kids will participate in practices, especially football, in the late afternoon heat after classes. The need to maintain adequate hydration is essential, especially considering the many problems it can cause. Failure to drink enough fluids before physical activity can result in serious issues.

One of the first warning signs of dehydration is dry mouth.  You may find that you have trouble swallowing, and others may notice that you have bad breath, which is one of the problems associated with a dry mouth.  If your mouth is not producing enough saliva it can become an breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria causes infections that may lead to cavities and gingivitis.

We need sufficient saliva in our mouths to wash away food debris and reduce plaque, which is why severe tooth decay and gum disease can occur if dry mouth is left untreated. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 30 percent of all tooth decay in older adults is caused by dry mouth. (www.toothwisdom.org)

Besides drinking plenty of water and brushing and flossing daily; chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free mints can help fight dry mouth since they stimulates saliva production. Products that contain xylitol (a sugar substitute) can actually help prevent cavities.

As the temperatures still continue to rise, keep a check on your hydration. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Experts recommend at least a gallon (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water per day. Dehydration effects every part of your body including your oral health. Keep drinking water.

Medications and Cavities – Adults over 60

Are you over 60 and finding that you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years? As we get older, many people start experiencing cavity prone years again. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. It’s a side-effect of many medications, including those prescribed for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

According to the American Dental Association here are some recommendations for relief from dry mouth:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.

It’s important to tell Dr. Brogdon about any medications that you’re taking. We can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and in turn prevent cavities.

October National Dental Hygiene Month Part 2

October is National Dental Hygiene Month.  Two things important to good dental hygiene is brushing and flossing. Today’s blog will focus on flossing.

We all know how important brushing your teeth twice a day is, but do you give as much thought to flossing? Brushing cleans the teeth on three sides, but it is equally important to get between the teeth where it is difficult to reach.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, daily flossing should be part of our daily dental hygiene routine.

Daily flossing removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gum line and between teeth. Failure to do so can allow for plaque buildup in these areas – which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Getting into the routine of daily flossing can be a challenge. Making flossing easier can improve compliance with recommendations for daily flossing. If you resist flossing, try to determine why and tell your dental hygienist. Knowing the precise reason you are not flossing will enable them to recommend floss with the right thickness, coating or filaments so you might be encouraged to floss more often.

If you are unsure how to floss here are some tips from toothwisdom.org:

Floss once per day before or after brushing.

  • Use about 18 inches of dental floss wrapped around one of your middle fingers, with the other end wrapped around the opposite middle finger.
  • Hold the dental floss tightly between the thumbs and pointer finger and gently insert it between the teeth.
  • Curve the dental floss against the side of the tooth in a ‘C’ shape.
  • Wipe the floss up and down against the tooth.
  • Repeat on the next tooth with a fresh section of the floss until the whole mouth is complete.

Good habits only happen with repeated use. Remember to brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes and floss daily for good dental hygiene.

Can cavities be prevented?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood illness in the U.S. Although the risk for cavities is high for children, adults can develop tooth decay too.  If you have receding gums or old fillings you should have them checked because new cavities can form in those areas.

But can cavities be prevented?

“The foods you eat and the way you clean your teeth are the two most important factors influencing whether or not you have cavities,” says Mark S. Wolff, DDS, professor and chair of the Department of Cardiology and Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry. So the most important preventive steps you can take are to limit your intake of sugary foods and beverages, and brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride, in toothpastes and in water, is the single most tested method for preventing cavities, says Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, an associate professor at the NYU School of Dentistry. For people who are prone to cavities, dentists can administer a fluoride treatment in the office, or apply thin plastic sealants to the chewing surfaces of molars.

According to sharecare.com there are new things on the horizon for dental care concerning tooth decay and cavities.

Researchers at the UCLA School of Dentistry are working on a new anti-cavity mouthwash that better targets cavity-causing bacteria and lasts a lot longer than conventional mouthwashes. In a small clinical trial, participants who rinsed their mouths just once with the new mouthwash were able to almost completely eliminate the specific cavity-causing bacteria from their mouths, and the results lasted for four days. Conventional mouthwashes only eliminate bacteria for about 12 hours.

Coconut oil has natural germ-killing properties. Try the ancient cleansing routine of “oil-pulling,” and swish coconut oil in your mouth for 15 minutes to kill bacteria. Or, make a paste out of coconut oil and baking powder. Stop a cavity in its tracks by drinking more water: It not only helps clean away germs, but it’s important for the production of bacteria-attacking saliva.

Left untreated, cavities can lead to more serious problems, including dental infections and even tooth loss. Call us at Brogdon Dental to schedule your check up.