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Diet and Dental Health

Your body is a complex machine. The foods you select and the way you eat them will have an effect on your general health and therefore the health of your teeth and gums, too. If you consume too many sugar-filled sodas, sweet fruit drinks, or non-nutritious snacks, you may be in danger of tooth decay. Diet can be especially important for children’s dental health, as tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood illness, however, the good news is that it’s entirely preventable.

Tooth decay happens once plaque comes in contact with sugar within the mouth. Plaque bacteria feed on sugar, and cause acid which eats away at the tooth enamel.

Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to decay. To manage the quantity of sugar you eat, scan the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages and opt for choices low in sugar. Your doctor or a registered specialist may offer suggestions for a healthy diet. If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it’s going to be harder for tissues in your mouth to resist infection, which can contribute to gum disease. Severe gum disease may be a major reason behind tooth loss in adults. Several researchers believe that gum disease is more severe and progresses more quickly in people with poor nutrition.

To learn what foods are best for you, visit ChooseMyPlate.Gov, an internet site from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The site contains dietary recommendations for kids and adults based on their levels of physical activity.

Wise selections

For healthy living and for healthy teeth and gums, think before you eat and drink. It’s not only what you eat, but also when you eat that may have an effect on your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you’re on a special diet, keep your physician’s recommendation in mind when selecting foods.

For good dental health, keep the following tips in mind when selecting your meals and snacks:

• Drink plenty of water.

• Eat a variety of foods that include

         o Whole grains

         o Fruits

         o Vegetables

         o Low-fat and fat-free dairy foods

Limit the number of snacks you eat. If you are eating a snack, opt for one thing that’s healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as a part of a meal cause less damage to teeth than eating multiple snacks throughout the day, because a lot of saliva is discharged through a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effect of acids, which may hurt teeth and cause cavities. For good dental health, keep in mind to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, floss daily, and visit your dental practitioner frequently. With regular visits, your dentist can help to catch any potential problems, and provide the necessary treatment right away while the problem is manageable and simple to treat.

Facts you should know about Gum Disease

Gum disease is very common

You might assume that gum disease is not very common, but it is actually one of the most common dental health concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults over the age 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque which can eventually harden into calculus or tartar, if not removed with thorough daily brushing and flossing.

Cavities and gum disease don’t always go together

Being cavity-free doesn’t ensure you do not have gum disease. Because gum disease is often painless, many people have no idea if they are at risk. Gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen or tender can be a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease and the only stage that is reversible.

Having gum disease does not mean your teeth will fall out

You won’t lose any of your teeth to gum disease if you practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, cleaning between your teeth daily, eating a healthy diet, and scheduling regular dental visits. Gum disease does not mean your oral health is doomed.

Bleeding gums during pregnancy are normal

While it’s true that some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” it’s not true that everyone experiences this. You can help prevent this condition by taking extra care during your brushing and flossing routine. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent cleanings to help you maintain your oral health during pregnancy.

Bad breath can be an indicator of gum disease

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can be an indicator of gum disease and other oral diseases, so it is important that you understand what is causing this problem. If you constantly have bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular check-ups allow your dentist to detect any problems as your bad breath may be a sign of a medical disorder. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to another non-dental physician.

I have diabetes. Will I get gum disease?

Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. Diabetes can also lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process. If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems, including gum disease, so it’s important that you are extra diligent with your oral health.

5 Things Families Should Know About Dental Health

Toothpaste with fluoride for infants and children

For children younger than 3 years, you should begin brushing a child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no larger than a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Consider sealants to prevent decay or treat beginning cavities on the back teeth

Sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a resin material applied by a dentist to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often.

Ask about all the options for calming your child during dental procedures

Dental work can be scary for some kids. Talk to your dentist about ways to help your child stay calm. Tips for a successful dental visit can include talking to your child about what to expect, like sitting in a big chair that leans back, and about how the dentist will look at their teeth. Make sure your child is not hungry before their dental appointment and scheduling an appointment at the proper time of day.

For jaw pain, try conservative treatments first

Jaw pain can be caused by stress, arthritis or an injury. A treatment plan for jaw pain should first consist of actions like exercises and anti-inflammatory drugs.

5 Things Families Should Know About Dental HealthDon’t replace fillings just because they’re old

When you have a cavity, the dentist removes it and puts a filling. These fillings can last for many years, but some people get silver fillings removed because they don’t like the color. However, the process of removing a filling for aesthetic reasons can weaken the tooth, and insurance may not cover the cost of replacement if it is unnecessary.

Infection Control: Why It Matters

Signs to Look For

Whether you’re having a routine cleaning or a more serious dental procedure, infection control is important. Procedures established by the centers for Disease Control and Prevention effectively prevent transmission of infections (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV) in the dental office. When you visit a dentist, look for these signs of good infection control.

Hand Washing

Hands are the most common way diseases are transmitted. Your dentist, dental hygienist and all health care providers should wash their hands before every patient. If you don’t see them washing their hands before treating you, ask about it. Hand washing is good for you too. According to the CDC, hand washing prevents the spread of colds and flu.

Protective Equipment

Infection control requires that all dental staff involved in patient care to wear the appropriate protective gear such as gloves, masks, gowns and eyewear. After each patient, all disposable wear needs to be discarded.

Dental Instruments

All non-disposable dental instruments should be cleaned and sterilized between patients. Ask your dentist about the sterilization process used in their practice. Ask to see the sterilization area. Disposable items, like needles, should never be reused.

Surface Cleaning

Before any patient enters the examining room, all surfaces need to be cleaned and decontaminated. Some offices may cover this equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.

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