with Dr. Missy Taylor Burton of Taylor Made Smiles
There are plenty of things in life we can’t fix or repair – how about some things we can perhaps make better in our health and daily life. Here are just a few ways that you can enhance or repair your dental health – for a better and healthier mouth and smile!
Whiten Those Teeth!
Some of the most common things that stain teeth are things we can limit or cut out altogether; such as coffee, tea, sodas, wine, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and acidic foods like tomato sauces and some citrus fruits. You don’t need to totally give them up but think of adding super foods that help to whiten along with your diet. Strawberries, oranges, apples, and carrots all increase saliva and help rinse away residue. Calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt help to strengthen enamel making teeth stay young looking longer. And of course, any tobacco use will definitely stain teeth and can cause a yucky colored film of bacteria to grow on your tongue.
Is Fluoride Good for Me?
Yes! It’s a naturally occurring element found in soil, plants, water, and foods. Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes include it to help prevent decay in teeth and to strengthen the enamel. About 99% of it is stored in the bones and teeth and helps to make them stronger. In essence, adding fluoride via toothpaste, water, and dental care products can decrease demineralization or breakdown of teeth, enhance the remineralization or repair of teeth, and reduce acids and bacterial growth.
Eliminate Worst Drinks
The worst drink winner is…. sparkling water. I know I’m getting some ugly looks at the comment. It’s happy and water, so why wouldn’t it be good? The answer is: It functions like battery acid in the mouth and gut. It is made using carbonated water – basically acid. Most of us have consumed have citric acid flavorings (such as lemon/lime) which actually eats holes in the beautiful enamel of teeth and works to start the entry for cavities between teeth. Add that citric acid to the carbonation acid and voila - in less than six months of consistent use we can see damage on X-rays.
Add Baking Soda to Your Home Care
My favorite toothpaste is Peroxicare. It’s a toothpaste including both baking soda and peroxide. The baking soda makes your mouth less acidic helping to prevent decay and etching of enamel and is considered to be antiseptic. Peroxide is an effective tooth whitener and helps to heal gingival tissues. Other pastes I like to recommend include: Sensodyne for generally sensitive teeth, CloSYS that is an overall great one for sensitivity free of alcohol/dyes that is pH balanced, and Parodontax for periodontal disease by targeting bacteria at the gumline and helping to keep a tight seal between tissue and tooth to keep germs at bay. Of course, any paste that gets you brushing is a Winner. However, a toothpaste that advertises to whiten may actually be hard on tissue and not much better at tooth shade change.
Water, especially filtered tap water is super important for overall body health. The mouth is the window to the body and to keep it in tip-top shape, water is key. Bottled waters can be all over the board, some acidic and some not. Try to focus on ones that are neutral, but anyway you can keep the water intake up is helpful.
Keep healthy Cleaning & Exams on Schedule
It’s always nice to have that “Happy Visit” to the dentist. We love to see those too! But, staying away because you feel good or have no tooth or gum issues, means that the tooth concerns become big before we get to see you. Dentists are also able to detect signs of osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases. To keep up that top notch care, make sure you are seeing the dentist at least two times a year if recommended if not sooner if you have bone loss or gum disease and even keep an active look out for bone loss that can occur in the whole body. Good oral health care does more than prevent tooth decay and gum disease, it helps you keep your whole body healthy.
Avoid Bad Breath
Keep your mouth clean and hydrated. Dry tissue can be caused by medications, use of medical masks, aging, allergies, cancer treatment, other health conditions(stroke, diabetes, allergies, infections, nerve damage, tobacco/caffeine use, GERD, autoimmune concerns, mouth breathing and lacking homecare. So, to limit the leftover bad breath, be sure to drinks lots of fluids, especially water, limit intake of tobacco/caffeine, chew sugar free gum, and be conscience of your homecare. You can also add a room humidifier to heated or dry rooms, using OTC saliva substitutes, limit OTC antihistamines, and even add mouth rinses that are alcohol free because they are less drying. Home care needs to include thorough brushing of all tooth surfaces at least two times daily and flossing or interdental cleaning using floss or interdental brushes. Mouth rinses can be a plus for reducing breath concerns. My favorites are Peroxyl, BreathRX, Peridex or Chlorhexidine (watch out for some staining for continuous use), and Listerine if alcohol free.