Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Healthy Snack Ideas and Tips to Maintain Healthy Teeth

If you want to maintain strong teeth for your lifetime, you need to ensure you are eating enough whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and raw vegetables and lean meats.

Some Other Healthy Snack Choices Include:

  • nuts and seeds
  • peanut butter
  • cheese
  • plain yogurt
  • popcorn

Acid Erosion and Dental Decay:

There are some drinks and snacks that are bad for your teeth and may contribute to acid erosion. Acid erosion happens when food or drink with a low PH level (more acidic) are consumed. That acid can linger in your mouth, taking the minerals away and softening the surface of your teeth. This makes your teeth more susceptible to damage and often leads to increased sensitivity and may require treatment. The big offenders seem to be soft drinks, orange juice, and lemonade.

Nutrition Tips

  • Try to avoid acidic food and drink between meals; there isn't as much saliva in your mouth at these times to protect your teeth (saliva is the mouth's natural cleanser).

  • Don't clean your teeth right after eating. If you brush while your oral PH balance is low and more acidic, you can brush some of your tooth surface away. If you wait about an hour the saliva will help your teeth battle and balance the acidic environment so it is safe to brush.
  • Try to finish your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a little cheese or milk as these products help cut down on the acid in your mouth.

A Little Note About Sweets!

When it comes to your teeth, it's not about the amount of sweets you eat, but the length of time that you leave your teeth exposed to sweets. So it's better to eat sweets at mealtimes rather than between meals, as the amount of saliva produced at mealtimes will help protect your teeth.

If you cannot avoid sweets between meals, choose something with less sugar like those listed above. Sticky sweets like toffee or hard candy should be avoided as snacks.

--Sara Agnew, RDH

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Are Your Teeth Appearing Taller?

As we age there is no reason why your smile has to be 'long in the tooth'! It is not the case that as we age our gums naturally recede. If you notice that your crowns are getting longer it is important to have your dentist examine your teeth.

What Causes Gums to Recede?
Some reasons include:

  • Overaggressive brushing - your enamel at the gum line can be worn away by scrubbing the sides of the teeth.
  • Lack of proper oral hygiene - without regular brushing and flossing bacteria builds up in between the teeth.
  • Using chewing tobacco adversely affects the mucus membrane lining in your mouth and can cause your gums to recede.
  • A poorly placed tongue or lip piercing can cause your gums to recede.
Receding gums can be difficult to detect and will occur over time. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms contact your dentist:
  • Increased sensitivity to hot, cold or touch.
  • Teeth appear 'longer' than they once did.
  • Roots are exposed an visible.
  • Tooth feels notched at the gum line
  • Change in tooth colour.
  • Spaces between teeth seem to be growing.
  • Cavities below the gum line.
The key to treating receding gums is to identify the cause. Once identified treatment can often times be quite simple. If overaggressive brushing is the cause switching to a softer toothbrush and using a gentler brushing technique can help. If poor plaque control is the issue regular dental cleanings and improved oral hygiene are a must. In more severe cases we may have to perform an in office procedure which will halt the bacteria's destruction of your gums and bone.

With some easy steps and regular consultations with your dentist your smile and beautiful gumline can last you a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Link Between Oral Health and Heart Health

Oral health is important for your overall health! Many people are living with gum disease and don't even know it! Often patients feel fine as gum disease is not painful and they avoid going to the dentist.

Today, I am going to discuss how your oral health can affect your heart health.

Studies have found people with gum disease in moderate to advanced stages are at a greater risk for heart disease than someone with healthy gums. The spread of bacteria is what links oral health and heart disease. The bacteria in your mouth travels from your mouth to other parts of your body through the blood stream. When the bacteria from your mouth travels through the blood stream it attaches to areas of the heart causing inflammation. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart, this can occur from the bacteria in your mouth traveling to the heart.

People with chronic gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease) have a high risk for heart disease caused from poor oral health. Especially if the oral health condition is unmanaged.

What to look for in your mouth to help determine if you have gum disease:

  • Red, swollen gums.
  • Your gums bleed when you brush, floss or eat.
  • You see pus around the gums and teeth.
  • Your gums look like they are pulling away from your teeth.
  • You experience a bad taste or odour in your mouth.
  • Your experiencing loose teeth or feel like spaces are opening between your teeth.

How to prevent gum disease that is related to heart health:

  • Brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time.
  • Floss daily!
  • Drink plenty or water. (6 to 8 glasses a day)
  • Visit your dental hygienist regularly for a professional cleaning (every 3 to 6 months)