Sunrise Family Dentistry

Category Archives: Preventative Care

Energy And Sports Drinks Eat Away At Teeth

Sports Drink Set Isolated

Keeping your teeth healthy is not always has easy as brushing and flossing. While most of us know that drinking sugary energy and sports drinks will cause tooth decay, there is another pitfall we must avoid. Recent studies have shown that the acid in these drinks pose a serious threat to dental health.

Most energy drinks are loaded with citric acid. This substance increases shelf life and makes energy drinks more flavorful. Citric acid also removes the enamel from our teeth. Energy drinks are often consumed by teenagers and dentists worry they will suffer damaging effects to their teeth over the long term. In addition, the amount of citric acid in each drink does not have to be on the product label.

Once enamel is worn away, there is no way to replace it. When enamel is no longer there, teeth are more likely to develop cavities. The result could be long term dental problems requiring extensive treatment.

If you or your family drink energy and sports drinks, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage. Limiting the amount of these drinks is the first step to reducing damage. If you do drink them, always use a straw so the acid does not come into contact with teeth. Finally, brush your teeth as soon as possible to remove acid. If you cannot brush, at least rinse your mouth with water to remove as much acid as possible.

Knowledge is key to keeping your mouth healthy. Taking the time to take care of your teeth may save you from extensive dental work as you age.

The Tooth-Friendly Diet

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Maintaining healthy teeth is a matter of daily dental care and a tooth-friendly diet. Daily care would involve flossing and brushing twice a day with an American Dental Association approved fluoride toothpaste. A tooth-friendly diet would observe the following dental health facts:

• Protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are needed to build and maintain healthy teeth.
• Foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and acid contribute to tooth decay.
• Foods with fiber provide a natural defense against cavities and gum disease.
• Foods that require chewing and produce saliva reduce acid and remove food particles from teeth.
• Rinsing with water after eating sweets or drinking sugary liquids will wash away sugar remaining on teeth.
• Flouridated water protects teeth from decay.

Here are foods that aid in maintaining healthy teeth:

• Milk and other dairy products provide calcium, protein and Vitamin D; cheese is also good for chewing and counteracts acid.
• Lean meat, poultry, fish or eggs provide protein and phosphorus; in addition, fish and eggs are sources of vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium.
• Fruits such as apples, oranges. bananas, strawberries and raspberries provide fiber; oranges contain calcium and phosphorus.
• Vegetables such as leafy greens provide fiber; carrots, celery and cucumber require chewing, which produce saliva.
• Nuts such as walnuts and almonds provide phosphorus and stimulate saliva production.
• Sugarless chewing gum also produces saliva.
• Black and green tea prevent bacteria from growing.

Here are foods to minimize or avoid:

• Foods with high sugar content such as candy-- especially hard candy, gummy candy, caramels, and sugary gum—allow bacteria to produce acid that cause cavities.
• Soft drinks, including sweetened sports drinks, which have high sugar content have the same effect. Drinking water afterwards will rinse out the sugar.
• Sticky foods such as dried fruit when eaten as a snack tends to stay on the teeth, inviting acid production. If eaten with a meal, the extra saliva produced will help wash it away.
• Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, pickles, tomatoes, fruit juice and red wine can affect teeth over time, but can be minimized if taken in moderation and rinsed with water.
• Starchy, refined carbohydrates such as chips, pasta, bread or crackers can lead to acid production if not rinsed out with water.

Watch What You Eat After Teeth-Whitening

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Following your dentist's after care instructions is crucial to seeing maximum results. If you're whitening on your own at home, there's an easy rule of thumb to remember: if it will stain your clothes, it will stain your teeth. Who'd want that after going through the process of whitening? There are a plethora of foods that are best to be avoided right after undergoing a teeth whitening and for up to several days after. These include red and/or dark sauces, beets, soy sauce, dark berries, cola, and overly-acidic foods (like those that are pickled), which can wear down the already sensitive enamel. Freshly whitened teeth are also not immune to certain beverages, such as coffee, dark teas, cola drinks, and red wine, which are known to stain. Continue reading

Dental Plaque Linked to Cancer Risk

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New research has uncovered the fact that those who have poor oral hygiene are at an increased risk of cancer and premature death. The study used healthy adults to prove the importance of oral health. The conclusion was, those who have a buildup of plaque on their teeth, have a 79 percent greater risk of premature death. The study took place at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and the results were eye-opening to the dental community. Dental cleanings remove plaque, tarter, and other toxins from the mouth. Those who avoid these cleanings may be at risk.

The Dangerous Build U of Bio-Film

Plaque builds up on the teeth and creates a bio-film. This bio-film is a mixture of toxins and enzymes that solidify on the tooth's surface. These toxins get down into the gingival crevices and then enter the bloodstream. Toxins in the blood increase the risk of infections and cancer. The study began in 1985. The university selected adults between the ages of 30-40 for their research. There were 1,390 participants. These adults were healthy and had no signs of periodontitis. These individuals were followed as their oral health progressed until 2009. At various intervals, their dental plaque measurements were taken and notated.

The Study Shows Males Are At A Greater Risk

Shockingly, the 24-year study ended with 58 patients dying. Of the 58 deaths, 35 were due to malignancies. The remaining individuals did a final follow up to record their plaque levels. It was discovered that their dental plaque index was significantly less in those that remained than those who had passed. In this study, the male gender seemed to be at a greater risk. In fact, the male to female ratio was more than double. Males who have a greater plaque buildup are at a great risk.  Continue reading

Should you choose a Manual or an Electric Toothbrush?

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The value of good oral hygiene cannot be overestimated. This is not just for your oral health, but your overall well-being too. Many people are always torn between purchasing a manual toothbrush and an electric one. Well, the key to preventing tooth decay lies on how the toothbrush bought is used. In the past years, the ordinary toothbrush has been the most embraced globally. In recent years, however, the powered toothbrush has proved to be a major contender.

Plaque Removal Competence
Toothbrushes are designed to get rid of plaque and stimulate the gums to avert gum disease and tooth decay. When electric toothbrushes came into the market, there was little notable difference between them and the manual toothbrushes. With technological advancement,they now have the capacity to remove more plaque than the ordinary toothbrushes. However, even manual toothbrushes have the ability to get rid of the biofilm of bacteria as long as you have the right brushing techniques. That means brushing the surface of the teeth at an angle of 45 degrees for at least two minutes twice every day. Unfortunately, some people brush their teeth vigorously and end up causing abrasion and recession of the gum. In such a case, you are better off using an electric toothbrush.  Continue reading

Nighttime Oral Care Advice

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After a long day at work and home, it may be tempting to skip your nighttime oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, doing so can have negative effects on your smile and your overall health.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the body makes less saliva at night. Because of this, the bacteria in the mouth doesn't get washed away as often, giving it a chance to thrive. This bacteria is responsible for plaque, dental decay and gum disease. A good nighttime oral hygiene routine will give the bacteria less to feed on, keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Try these simple tips tonight to wake up with a bright smile tomorrow.

Brush, Rinse and Floss

Using the correct-sized toothbrush for your mouth, brush your teeth before going to bed each night. Brushing allows particles of food and plaque to be removed from the mouth. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in order to gently clean your gums as you brush, which helps to prevent gingivitis. Remember that a firm toothbrush isn't necessarily better, as it can remove the protective enamel from the teeth. After brushing the front and back of the teeth for two minutes, vigorously rinse your mouth. Afterward, floss in-between each tooth in order to remove any remaining food and to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Continue reading

Are You Brushing Your Teeth The Wrong Way?

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Brushing and flossing are two of the most important parts of your ongoing oral care. Unfortunately, you may be doing one of these things all wrong. Given that brushing is such a standard part of a person's daily routine, most people simply go through the motions without ever giving their actions much thought. Following are several mistakes that you could be making each time you brush your teeth.

Using A Toothbrush That's Too Large

You shouldn't have to strain to open your mouth wide enough to let your toothbrush in. Your toothbrush should have a nice, comfortable fit and it should be slim enough to angle in towards your back teeth. If your toothbrush is too large, you're probably missing multiple tooth surfaces each and every day. This can allow build-ups of tartar, plaque and harmful bacteria to weaken and erode the teeth.

Using Bristles That Are Too Hard

There's no need to scrub your tooth surfaces with a harsh, hard-bristled brush in order to remove trapped food and other debris. In fact, this technique can make the gums sore and inflamed, which will make you less likely to do a thorough job. Surprisingly, brushing your teeth temporarily softens the enamel, especially if you brush right after an acidic meal. This means that you should always use a slow, gentle and circular motion while brushing with a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush. Continue reading

To Mouthwash or Not to Mouthwash?

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Many people use mouthwash as part of their regular dental hygiene care. Others avoid using mouthwash, feeling it is unnecessary or too harsh for the mouth tissues. Mouthwash can be an effective dental aid when used appropriately.

Ask your dentist.

Although it seems logical that most dentists would recommend the use of mouthwash to their patients, there may be some dental practitioners who advise against using it. One reason is because mouthwash may be unnecessary for children, for example, who are just learning to brush and floss, and may misuse mouthwash. Another reason to avoid mouthwash is for patients who have special mouth conditions that mouthwash could irritate. A dentist will let you know if you can safely use mouthwash as part of your dental hygiene program.  Continue reading

Tricks for Teaching Your Kids Better Dental Habits

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While toddlers often love brushing their teeth to be like older siblings or parents, school-age kids may need encouragement to develop healthy dental habits. Fortunately, there are several things parents can do to teach children about effective dental hygiene.

Use fun dental products.

Dentists often hand out free fun toothbrushes and dental supplies for kids. You can also buy themed toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss. Let your children choose favorite characters and colors to support their interest in dental hygiene products, and they're likely to spend more time using them consistently. Continue reading

Dental pulp diseases: The basics

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Not paying proper attention to proper oral hygiene leads to cavities, and if those cavities go untreated, the middle of your tooth known as the pulp can become infected. Pulp disease is painful and dangerous, and it requires treatment. It can easily turn into an oral infection. A sign of pulp disease is pain when eating sweet, hot or cold foods and drinks. Pulp disease can be reversible or irreversible.

Reversible pulp disease
Inflamed tooth pulp can become infected and become abscessed. These infections are usually treated with antibiotics and fillings. A cracked or broken tooth can also result infections or abscesses.

Irreversible pulp disease
This is very painful pulp inflammation, and there's no cure for it. It's dangerous because if the condition goes untreated, it can spread to the gums and other tissues. It's ordinarily treated with a root canal because the tooth's root becomes infected. The pulp of the tooth is removed and replaced. If the root canal can't be performed, the tooth itself has to be removed.  Continue reading