What you eat contributes to your dental health. Cheese, milk, nuts, chicken and other meats are good because they help restore two important minerals found in teeth: calcium and phosphorus. Munching on celery sticks, carrots or apples after meals helps to clear loose food particles from your teeth.Oral bacteria feeds on carbohydrates, including sugars, therefore avoid snack foods like potato chips and french fries, as well as sweets such as cake, candy and soft drinks. Acidic foods, like oranges and lemons, should also be eaten sparingly because the acid wears away enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth.
Read more: Dental Health Facts for Kids
Basic Dental Health Facts
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria by-products that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. Unless it is thoroughly removed daily, it can lead to dental cavities (tooth decay) and periodontal diseases (gum diseases).
Tooth decay is a major cause of tooth loss in children. Tooth decay, or dental caries, is caused by bacteria. For a tooth to decay, three elements are needed: plaque, food containing sugars and starches, and a susceptible tooth. When foods containing sugars and starches are eaten, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can dissolve tooth enamel. The sticky plaque holds these acids onto the teeth, where, if left, the acids can begin to attack the enamel. After repeated attacks, the enamel may break down, forming a cavity.
- Holding the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle against the gum line, move the brush back and forth with short circular strokes - half a tooth wide - in a gentle, scrubbing motion.
- Brush the outer surfaces of all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth.
- Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.
- Use about 18 inches of floss, wind most of it around the middle fingers of both hands. Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle, sawing motion to guide the floss between the teeth.
- Curve the floss into a C shape and slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance. Now, gently scrape the floss, in and up and down motion, against the side of the tooth.
- Repeat this procedure on each tooth. Don’t forget the backs of the last four teeth.Flossing removes plaque that hides between the teeth and under the gum line, areas where a toothbrush cannot reach. Supervising your child while he or she brushes and flosses will ensure that a proper job is done.
Fresh Ways to Combat Rotten Teeth
Rotten teeth affect millions of men, women, and children all over the world. People become susceptible to the factors that cause rotting teeth virtually the moment that their first baby teeth appear. And while the primary cause of rotting teeth is as complex as it is pervasive, one thing is clear: left untreated, a rotting tooth is destined to become a dead tooth.Rotten teeth are the result of the demineralization of tooth enamel by the acid-producing bacteria that normally grow in the human mouth. The erosive power of this chemical process is why cavities and rotting teeth appear discolored and translucent. In so-called "best-case" scenarios, the acid responsible for rotting teeth will create a small dental cavity. In worst-case scenarios, the acid will eat through the enamel and dentin into the pulp of the tooth producing first a toothache and then a dead tooth.
The Sugar Connection
Research shows the consumption of sugar and starchy foods creates the perfect environment for the growth of the acid-producing bacteria responsible for rotting teeth. This partially explains the alarming number of children who experience decayed or rotten teeth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 6 out of 10 children in the U.S. will have a least one cavity filled by age 5. Studies link this alarming statistic to three things: 1) the omnipresence of sugary snacks; 2) giving little ones pacifying bottles of juice, milk or formula to drink during the day or overnight; and 3) inconsistent oral hygiene.
Preventing rotten teeth takes a little common sense and a lot of dedication. The key to avoiding rotting teeth is reducing the amount of cavity-causing bacteria and dental plaque in your mouth. This requires a real commitment to good oral hygiene, including:
Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day·
Using tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride·
Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash·
Cutting back on starchy and sugary foods·
Increasing saliva flow by chewing xylitol gum·
Regular dental cleanings by a dentist DDS, DMD or dental hygienist
Periodontal Disease and Overall Systemic Health*
Research has increasingly shown that periodontal disease is associated with several other diseases. For a long time, it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases, but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
* Information from American Academy of Periodontology: www.perio.org
Dental Arts Center offers many of the periodontal services you may need in our office!