World Oral Health Day, which falls on March 20th, was created to call attention to the importance of dental health and its connection to overall well-being.
Indeed, research is becoming increasingly clear that gum disease especially may increase your risk for systemic problems including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, and even cancer.
So good preventive dentistry is about far more just keeping your mouth healthy. It’s about maintaining the health of your entire body.
If you are thirsty, resist the urge to reach for a soda, juice, or “sports drink.” These sweet beverages coat your teeth in a layer of sugar, which causes harmful bacteria to multiply and produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. Diet sodas aren’t much better, because their acid content breaks down your teeth even without the presence of sugar.
Take up the habit of quenching your thirst with plain water. Good old H2O hydrates your body and helps keep your teeth and gums in good shape. It rinses away food particles and bacteria, and neutralizes enamel-destroying acids. If you don’t have one already, buy a reusable bottle that you can fill with tap water and carry with you throughout the day.
It’s no secret that dairy products are chock full of calcium and that calcium is a critical component of strong bones and teeth. Milk and other dairy products also contain proteins called caseins. These bond together and form a sort of protective coating on the surface of your teeth that prevents bacterial acids from damaging the enamel.
But of all dairy products, cheese may be especially beneficial to your teeth. A study has shown that chewing it actually raises the pH level in the mouth. The higher the pH, the lower the likelihood of developing tooth decay.
Eat Meals, not Snacks
When you consume food (sugar and other carbs in particular), bits of it remain in your mouth and supercharge the growth of bacteria. These bacteria produce acids that attack and destroy the enamel on your teeth. You are most susceptible to these acid attacks for about twenty minutes after eating. If you eat three meals per day, you mouth will undergo three of these acid attacks.
But if you munch continuously, you are subjecting your teeth to constant attack. If you do crave a snack, stick to low-sugar, low-carb, tooth-friendly options like an apple, carrot sticks, or nuts.
Keep Away from Tobacco
If you smoke or use chewing tobacco, make an effort to end this bad habit. Tobacco has numerous serious consequences to your overall and oral health. It will discolor your teeth and make your breath smell, put you at a high risk for gum disease and tooth loss, and raise your likelihood of developing oral and other cancers. We get that ending your tobacco habit is easier said than done. The ADA has some tips and resources to get you started.
Critical to good preventive dentistry, of course, are professional cleanings and exams every six months. Schedule an appointment with Texas Grins of Willow Park, TX by calling 817-779-7111 or completing our online form.