Last updated 5 months ago
What you eat can have a significant impact on your oral health. Some food choices can act as cleaning agents, others can provide essential nutrients and minerals to fortify your teeth and gums, and yet other foods can lead to tooth decay and other dental problems. To help you make smart decisions regarding your oral health, here is a look at some of the best and worst foods for your smile.
Best Foods for Your Smile
Calcium makes up a large percentage of the tooth structure, which is why eating foods that are high in calcium can strengthen your tooth enamel and increase its resistance to decay. To boost your calcium intake, consider teeth-healthy foods such as unsweetened yogurt and low-fat cheese. Both foods also have a low acidic value, which can further stave off enamel deterioration. To maintain your gums and ward off periodontal disease, be sure to include fruits such as oranges, apples, and berries in your diet. Fruits have ample amounts of vitamin C, which keeps body tissue healthy.
Worst Foods for Your Teeth
Most people know that sweets can be detrimental to teeth, but not everyone knows why. The sugars found in sweets constitute a food source for the bacteria lingering in your mouth. As they feed on these sugars, bacteria then produce acids which attack tooth enamel. So to avoid potential tooth decay, keep away from candy, ice cream, and other foods with a high sugar content. Carbohydrates such as white bread and sugar-laden cereals can also contribute to oral health problems.
Drinks to Enhance Your Oral Health
It’s not just food that can affect your teeth and gums; what you drink also makes a difference to your dental health. To optimize your oral health, drink plenty of water to wash away bacteria and food remnants. Low-fat milk is another good choice, as its calcium content can fortify tooth enamel. Green tea can likewise increase your oral wellbeing, as the chemical compounds found in tea leaves have been proven to suppress bacterial growth in the mouth.
To learn more about healthy foods for your smile, talk to your dentist today. If you are looking for a dentist in the Belmont or Cambridge areas, contact Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 484-2431.
Last updated 5 months ago
You’ve heard the phrase, “use it or lose it.” When it comes to your teeth, we are using them all the time. But if you don’t take proper care of them, you can lose them to decay, disease, or dental extraction. To keep your smile intact and in good health, schedule regular appointments with your dentist for cleanings and any necessary treatments.
When it comes to taking care of your teeth, there are many layers and parts to consider. Take a lesson in tooth anatomy to learn how to care for each part of this complex structure.
In some cases, your dentist will need to extract your teeth in order to treat decay, infection, or an overcrowded mouth. This WebMD guide to tooth extraction provides more information on the reasons for the procedure and what to expect.
Preventing cavities is one of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining. Try these cavity-fighting products to keep bacteria and decay at bay.
To learn more about oral hygiene and taking care of your teeth, talk to your dentist today. If you are looking for a dentist in the Belmont or Cambridge areas, contact Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 484-2431.
Last updated 5 months ago
I am often asked if chewing gum is good or bad. Amazingly, the answer to this simple question could fill a book.
Greeks chewed mastic 5000 years ago. This is some tough stuff. I have tried to chew it, and failed.
Gum base is made with a natural latex call chickle or an appetizing foodstuff called polyisobutylene. Yum. Aztec women used it to freshen their breath. It might not have worked, since we don’t see a lot of little Aztec kiddies running around these days. The Mayans chewed the sap of the sapodilla tree. They called it tsiclte, which sounds like something you would be trying to say with a mouthful of the sticky stuff. Native Americans chewed the sap of spruce trees. While the settlers were stealing their lands, they stole that pleasure too.
Gum chewing as we know it just predates the Civil War. The first brand was State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. It’s kind of ironic, since Mainers have never been remarkable for their good teeth. Shortly after, paraffin wax based gums took over in sales. Chickle latex was a dud for making bicycle tires. Someone got the bright idea to sweeten it and the modern era of gum was born. In 1889, a New York druggist name Canning invented Dentyne. (I’m sure he did very well, but the pharmacist that invented Coca Cola did much, much better.) Today an American chews 300 sticks a year.
Other than getting ready to pucker up and kiss, what good is gum anyway? There might be a lot of answers to this, but let’s explore a few:
Gum chewing actually improves memory. In 2000, Japanese scientists observed that gum chewing subjects showed an increase in activity in the brain hippocampus, a place important to memory. Two years after, U. Northumbria (U.K.) proved that chewing during 20 minute memory tests produced superior results. Last year, researchers at St. Lawrence University showed increases in memory performance, but only for the first 20 minutes of chewing.
A Baylor University study of charter school students showed a 3% increase in standardized test scores when students were chewing gum while studying and testing. Is this like doping in sports? If chewing gum led to a 3% increase in pedaling power and it were proven that Lance Armstrong took chew, should he lose his medals? Is it really OK to do if everyone else is on the Chew as well? Imagine the family disgrace if a former Belmont High School Valedictorian’s saliva tested positive for chickle? Her degree would be rescinded and her scholarships taken away.
What we do know is that an artificial sweetener in gum called Xylitol actually is helpful in reducing dental decay. Indeed, we are asking kids with a troublesome decay rate to chew this kind of gum (Dentyne Ice, Stride, Trident, Wrigley Extra and Orbit) for twenty minutes after eating. We do not, however, recommend they stick it under their desk so the next kid gets it on them.
One wonders if gum could be used as a therapeutic delivery form. Could an antibiotic, for example, be released from chewing gum? Perhaps for patients who can’t swallow pills? After all, the first patent on gum was issued to William Semple, a dentist, in 1869. Dr. Semple imagined gum to be a tooth cleaning agent. BTW, in small amounts, gum swallowing is completely harmless. I thought you needed to know.
I encourage you to take a trip back to 1961, to Lonnie Donegan’s famous ouvre “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight?” You can find it on YouTube. Great fun.
Dr. Jim Nager is a practicing dentist and resident of Belmont, and a Clinical Instructor at Harvard. Call Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 484-2431 to arrange an appointment for any of our dentistry services. Questions of a general nature that may be addressed in this space can be sent to email@example.com.
Last updated 5 months ago
You do your best to brush thoroughly, floss regularly, and schedule cleanings with your dentist every few months. But while your smile may look healthy from the outside, problems may lurk beneath the roots and gums. This is why your dentist will take x-rays at your appointments. These images help to reveal the true state of your oral health, and can be used to diagnose dental problems that affect your mouth and gums.
Cavities: Because cavity holes are so small, it is almost impossible to see them with the naked eye. And because many individuals don’t experience the symptoms of a cavity until it is well developed, early detection is critical in preventing irreparable tooth decay. This is where dental x-rays prove invaluable to your dentist and your oral health. Using this advanced imaging system, your dentist is able to identify the early signs of a cavity and recommend treatment to prevent further tooth decay.
Root and Nerve Damage: In the center of each tooth is a nerve that is protected by a series of roots. If these roots become damaged and the nerve tissue begins to decay, infection can spread throughout the tooth. Because the symptoms of infection and decay may not be visible until the condition becomes severe, dentists use x-rays to monitor the health of your dental roots and nerves.
Developing Teeth: X-rays are also used to check the progress of any new teeth that are growing beneath the gums. Your dentist can monitor the progress of these developing teeth and take preventative measures necessary to avoid any complications that are likely to arise. X-rays are especially important when your wisdom teeth begin to come in.
To learn more about dental x-rays and other prevention measures, talk to your dentist today. If you are looking for a dentist in the Belmont or Cambridge areas, contact Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 484-2431.
Last updated 5 months ago
In cases where tooth damage is severe, an extraction may be necessary. Prior to surgery, your dentist will numb the area with a general anesthetic. If you have dental anxiety or fear, you can also request dental sedation for the procedure. Once the extraction is completed, your dentist will provide you with some important aftercare tips that will aid in a safe and comfortable healing. Here are a few things you can expect during your extraction aftercare period:
Painkillers: After a tooth extraction, your dentist will likely prescribe medication to alleviate any pain or discomfort. For maximum effectiveness and a safe recovery, follow the exact directions and dosage given, and be sure to speak with your dentist if you experience any negative side effects.
Mouth Rinsing: You can begin a warm saline rinse treatment twenty-four hours after surgery, a treatment that has been shown to reduce swelling and discomfort in the treated area. Rinse your mouth with a warm salt-water solution several times throughout the day to keep the area clean.
Relax: Avoiding physical activity can be crucial in the recovery process. Many physical activities will increase bleeding in your gums, making it more difficult for you to heal. It is also important that you avoid smoking immediately after the surgery as it can irritate the gums and disrupt the recovery process.
Soft Foods: After oral surgery, you may not be able to eat solid food for a few days. Soups, puddings, and nutrition shakes are just a few options that help provide your body with necessary nutrients without imposing additional stress or pain during the recovery period. Gradually, you will be able to add more solid foods back into your diet.
Rubbing: Avoid rubbing the extraction area with your tongue or toothbrush to prevent irritating the treated area. You will still need to brush your teeth during recovery, but take your time and be particularly gentle around the extraction site.
To learn more about caring for your mouth after oral surgery, talk to your dentist today. If you are looking for a dentist in the Belmont or Cambridge areas, contact Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 484-2431.