Drugs versus Diet Soda
Are your teeth better than an addict’s?
In a recent controversial study posted by General Dentistry, evidence has led professionals to believe that those with poor dental habits who routinely overindulge in drinking diet soda have severely deteriorated dental health, comparable to methamphetamine or crack cocaine addicts. This conclusion has been disputed by multiple professionals, but the bottom line is that high levels of acidity found in diet soda can wreak a lot of havoc on enamel.
A main factor that contributes to this problem is that people are regularly conditioned to think that diet soda doesn’t contribute to weight gain, it doesn’t cause any complications at all. Another misconception is that sugar is the primary contributor to compromised oral health, and therefore, because diet sodas do not contain sugar, they do not have detrimental ingredients. However, this isn’t the case, because the components of diet beverages can increase levels of decay in your teeth.
Regardless of if this study proved to be a fair comparison, it’s important to keep in mind that dental hygiene, rather than beverage intake, is the most effective tool to combat decay. If you sip diet soda throughout the day, don’t hold it in your mouth before ingesting the liquid, as this will increase your chances of harboring harmful bacteria. Try to rinse quickly with water after each sugary or diet drink. Chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol helps as well, as it increases the flow of saliva, a natural enamel-protector created by your body. And most importantly, don’t forget to brush and floss regularly in addition to attending your general dentistry appointments as scheduled.
Don’t forget that the number one sugar-free and zero-calorie beverage for you is water, the body’s natural fuel.
How Do You Maintain a Great Summertime Smile?
When you think of summer, you probably think of swimming pools, cookouts, and sunshine — but do you also think of your oral health? During the summer, there are actually things that you should keep in mind when it comes to your smile. Armed with some information, though, you can have a fun summer while maintaining beautiful and healthy teeth.
Did you know that swimming pools can have an effect on your teeth?
The chemicals in swimming pools can lead to discoloration of your smile if you’re exposed for long enough. Research has shown that people who spent more than 6 hours a week in swimming pools ended up with discolored front teeth. The reason is the higher pH level of the water, which beaks down proteins in saliva and leave a brownish stain on your teeth. If the pool’s pH balance isn’t properly cared for, the water can also soften enamel, leading to an increased risk of decay and damage. Luckily, trips to the dentist for regular cleanings and fluoride treatments can combat both of these problems!
Summertime Foods and Beverages…and Your Smile
During the summer, you’re probably going to attend a lot of parties, and with parties come a variety of beverages and snacks. Summertime drinks include soda, sports drinks, white wine, beer, and lemonade, and these drinks are loaded with sugar. A simple tip for counteracting the effects of these beverages, however, is to rinse your mouth with water regularly throughout the party. But don’t brush your teeth too soon after consuming acidic beverages. These drinks can soften enamel, and brushing while the enamel is soft can do more damage. Wait at least an hour before you brush!
Party foods can be dark in color and full of sugar as well. Dark foods contribute to stained teeth, and we all know what happens when you eat too much sugar! Cavities! But by rinsing your mouth after eating these dark and sugary foods, you can avoid staining and cavities — and a trip to the dentist during your summer for teeth whitening and a checkup can give your smile a boost!
It’s pretty simple to keep your smile in shape during these summer months. Brushing, flossing, rinsing after food or drink, and regular trips to the dentist can help keep you looking and feeling your best. Now you just have to figure out how to stay cool!
Everyday Habits to Help Lengthen the Life of Your Teeth
- 1. Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse, desk at work, or your car. Basically, have a toothbrush on hand wherever and whenever you snack. It’s important to brush right after eating (even if it’s just a tiny snack) to get rid of as much bacteria as quickly as possible.
- 2. Many people make a habit out of sipping coffee or tea all day. Unfortunately, both of these drinks can do some serious damage to your teeth, as they contain staining ingredients for your smile. You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it’s true: drinking water is the best thing that you can do for your body (and your enamel). If you prefer something hot, try simply heating up your water before drinking. If not, try to cut down your daily intake of other beverages.
- 3. Drink soda or coffee through a straw whenever possible. This minimizes the amount of enamel that the staining beverages come into contact with. Your pearly whites will thank you in the long run, and you’ll be able to continue to show off your smile.
- 4. Don’t use your teeth to open anything! They are specialized tools which are solely meant for biting foods and chewing. Think of it this way: opening a container with your teeth is like using a screwdriver to bang in a nail. You want your teeth to stay with you for life, so don’t do actively destructive things to them!
Set a Good Oral Health Example for Your Child
How much do you think you influence your little one? If you think the answer is “Not much,” guess again. According to a study published by the Journal of Dental Research, parents have an enormous amount of influence on their children, and that extends to areas of health and wellbeing. The study found that if a mother had a cavity, her child was twice as likely as other children to also have a cavity.
The takeaway? Teaching your son or daughter about brushing and flossing—not to mention practicing what you preach—can help your child develop healthy habits that will stick with them throughout their life.
Also important are regular dental visits every six months. Regular visits will give your doctor a chance to look for common oral health conditions and provide treatment if necessary. Conditions like gum disease and tooth decay need to be caught early so they can be treated quickly, before they have a chance to become more serious.
How long has it been since you or your child saw a dentist for a regular visit? If it’s been more than six months, call your local dental office today to reserve an appointment. During your and your child’s visit, your doctor can talk to you both about brushing and flossing and can offer helpful advice you both can use on a daily basis.
Remember, the behavior you model at home makes a real difference. Help your child develop diligent brushing habits by demonstrating them yourself.
How Gum Can Actually Help Your Oral Health
When asked to come up with a list of foods that dentists hate, gum will almost certainly appears in your top five. After all, this sticky, chewy candy can leave your jaw sore and work its way into tricky places in your smile – not to mention that it’s a natural enemy of traditional braces. But have you heard that the treat can actually improve the health of your teeth and gums instead of hurting them? It’s true! The American Dental Association has officially recognized that specific types of sugarless chewing gum have been scientifically proven to bolster optimal dental health.
Chew Up a Storm and Keep Smiling
The act of chewing gum helps to increase the flow of saliva in your mouth, which can help clear away stray food particles and acids that are left by bacteria. Over time, these acids can wear down your tooth enamel and cause unwanted damage and decay. More saliva helps relieve this problem while also bringing with it more calcium and phosphate, which help to strengthen enamel. By chewing sugarless gum after meals for around twenty minutes, you can effectively keep your teeth cleaner than ever before!
Of course, chewing gum is not an adequate substitute or replacement for brushing and flossing. Instead, these techniques should be used in conjunction in order to ensure that your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible through the years. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride and flossing at least once.
Additionally, when choosing gum to chew, look for the ADA seal. This is a reliable assurance that the product will be safe and effective for your oral health. As of right now, the choices of gum that have earned this seal are sugarless, having been sweetened by non-cavity inducing products. While gum that contains sugar also helps to increase the production of saliva, it can also lead to an increased risk of cavities.
Be sure to talk to your local dentist if you have any concerns about chewing gum!
For comprehensive general and family dentistry that makes a difference in your life, visit Dr. Adam Gibson of Warren Gibson Dental in Columbus. Call today to schedule your appointment, free second opinion, or complimentary cosmetic dentistry or denture consultation. Our Columbus, OH dental office serves Galloway, Grove City, Hilliard, and surrounding areas with personal attention and clinically excellent care.