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Thanksgiving is a holiday infamous for rows of food choices, many of which are not especially healthy. Fortunately, you can have a delicious feast that is also good for you with these healthy Thanksgiving tips.
Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.
To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.
When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit or nuts. Cheese is great for teeth because it contains strength-building calcium. Nuts contain calcium and minerals that strengthen and remineralize teeth. The chewing of hard, crunchy nuts as well as raw vegetables produces extra saliva, which fights germs and prevents decay.
As a bonus, these tooth-healthy foods are also good for your heart and waistline. With these healthy Thanksgiving tips, it is possible to enjoy a delicious holiday dinner without gaining weight or jeopardizing your sparkling smile.
Our practice encourages children to enjoy all the fun of the Halloween season. We ask that parents monitor their kids' candy selection and avoid hard or sticky candies (gummies, caramel, taffy). We reiterate the importance of brushing twice (or three times) a day and flossing. We suggest parents place candy in a bowl and offer children one piece when the situation is appropriate or allow children to eat candy in moderation during meals. The increased saliva production during meals can offset acids produced by bacteria. Sugar-free candies and gum are preferable. Dr. Suntrup reminds parents to follow precautions from local law enforcement regarding overall safety and encourage parents to let children have fun!
Do you know what October is, besides the first full month of Autumn?? It's National Dental Hygiene Month!! This month is a perfect time to thank your Dental Hygienist for that brilliant smile!
Dental Hygienists play an important role in preserving good oral health. October is a great month to start the conversation about how we all can do a better job on our own oral care. According to the American Dental Hygienists' Association, that starts with the Daily 4: Brush, Floss, Rinse and Chew.
How to do the Daily 4:
We all know we should brush our teeth every day, but did you know 2 is the magic number when it comes to brushing? Brushing for 2 minutes 2 times a day helps prevent cavities, gingivitis and other oral disease.
Flossing removes food particles a toothbrush can't reach, while rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash helps remove total mouth bacteria and biofilm. It's a 3 part process that we should be doing at least twice every day.
So where does chew fit into the equation? Glad you asked! Chewing sugar-free gum after snacks and meals complements healthy oral care and helps protect teeth while also stimulating saliva glands that help clean your teeth.
In addition to preaching the Daily 4, Dental Hygienists are the ones who Save Our Smiles (#SOS) through cleaning services at the dental office. They perform preventive oral care, check for gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease), and show us effective cleaning and oral care techniques. This is why a visit to the Dental Hygienist should be on your to-do list at least twice a year.
Have you made your appointment yet?
Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times when it was derived from tree saps; today, the base used for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes in various proportions).
Although consumers may be used to thinking about chewing gum as a kind of candy, this category of the ADA Seal recognizes chewing gum that has demonstrated scientifically that it can protect the teeth.
The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.
A company earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance by producing scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of its product, which the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluated according to objective requirements.
Good nutrition is essential for good health, and that includes the health of your teeth. Let's look at the link between your diet and oral health and what you can do to improve both.
Tooth decay and cavities are caused by acid that is produced by interactions between oral bacteria and food deposits left on your teeth. Certain foods, especially sugary, starchy, and sticky snacks, are linked to higher levels of such acid causing bacteria. Additionally, poor nutrition can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to other health problems, including gum disease.
Here is some fun dental trivia.....
* The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva (spit) in a lifetime. That is enough to fill 2 swimming pools!
* The Statue of Liberty's mouth is 3 feet wide.
The toothbrush has been around for nearly 5,000 years. "Chew sticks," bone, wood, ivory and hog bristles all make up the far-reaching history of this instrument of oral health. The nylon bristled toothbrush that we now use was invented in 1938. Today, battery powered toothbrushes are available in addition to manual toothbrushes.
"Keep a stiff upper lip" or "get a grip!" That's often the advice we get -and give- on how to cope with stress. If you take it literally, the result could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. It's called bruxism, and often it happens as you sleep.
Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
* dull headaches
* jaw soreness
* teeth that are painful or loose
* fractured teeth
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. If stress is the cause, you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling, and excercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence. Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
* irritation in the mouth
* misaligned teeth
If you are concerned about teeth grinding, ask your dentist about potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.
Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphates to help strengthen tooth enamel.
The only varieties of gum with the ADA Seal are sugarless. They are sweetened by non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. Of course, chewing sugar-containing gum increases saliva flow, too, but it also contains sugar which is used by plaque bacteria to produce decay-causing acids. Further research needs to be done to determine the effects of chewing sugar-containing gum on tooth decay.
Don't let chewing sugarless gum replace brushing and flossing. It's not a substitute. The ADA still recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interdental cleaners.
Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Childrens Dental Health Month (NCDHM) to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM provides messages and materials that have reached millions of children across the country.
Southern Illinois Smiles participates in NCDHM by hosting several field trips for children in our community. We at Southern Illinois Smiles feel that good habits at an early age will benefit the children in our community. We recommend scheduling regular dental visits to help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.