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Many people often overlook the need to “feed” our smiles to keep them healthy. Feeding our smiles is just like feeding our bodies. If we eat poorly, our general and dental health will deteriorate over time. Just like our bodies, our teeth need certain essential vitamins and minerals to stay as healthy as possible. Below you will find a few that support good dental health.

Essential Vitamins And Minerals

-Calcium. Almost 100% of the calcium in our bodies is stored in our bones and teeth. Calcium provides structural support for our bones and teeth. A reduction in calcium can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay (as well as possibly osteoporosis over time). Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, and kale

-Iron. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Low iron can lead to an inflamed tongue (glossitis), bald or cracked tongue, development of mouth sores, and cracked teeth due to an incredible urge to chew ice. Good sources of iron include red meat and Liver.

-Vitamin A. Helps maintain good salivary flow. Saliva is important to wash away oral bacteria and excess food particles along the gumline and between the teeth. Good sources include sweet potatoes, melons, and spinach.

-Vitamin B3 (Niacin). Vitamin B3 helps your body convert food into energy and helps your nervous system function properly. This essential nutrient can lead to excessively bad breath and canker sores in the mouth. Good sources include chicken and fish.

-Vitamin B12 and B2 (Riboflavin). Consuming Vitamin B12 and B2 can reduce your risk of developing canker sores. Good sources of vitamin B2 include red meat, chicken, liver, pork, yogurt, and cheese. Good sources of vitamin B12 include pasta, spinach, and almonds.

-Vitamin C: This vitamin is not only helpful for your immune system, but it also plays a crucial role in protecting your gum tissue from developing gingivitis. Good sources of vitamin C include red peppers and oranges.

-Vitamin D: This vitamin is one of the most important vitamins for your oral health. It’s the vitamin that supports the absorption of calcium. A deficiency of vitamin D, can lead to the development of “burning mouth” syndrome. This syndrome causes a burning sensation in the mouth along with the possibility of dry mouth and a change in taste (metallic taste). Good sources of Vitamin D include milk with egg yolk or fish to increase Vitamin D intake

Vitamins And Minerals Conclusion

Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is a great first step to supporting your oral health at any age. Diet is often overlooked in its role in maintaining dental health but it is very important to create a good foundation for good dental health. Better to be proactive then reactive when it comes to our health.

Tooth decay is an age old problem that has affected generations of children and adults. Tooth decay is preventable, we just need to understand what causes it so that we may then prevent it from occurring.

Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial intrusion into the tooth. The bacteria feed on the buildup of food debris on teeth. The bacteria then secrete acids which breakdown tooth enamel. Once the acid forms a hole in the enamel, the bacteria can then enter the tooth and progressively breakdown the tooth, causing a cavity.  Understanding this process is critical to maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay.

Best Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay

-Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene. This is the first step to preventing tooth decay. Proper dental hygiene should include, brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Toothbrushing should be done at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Brushing more often during the day will enhance your dental hygiene. Flossing should be done at least once a day (preferably before bedtime) but it can also be done more often.  The goal in dental hygiene is to not only keep down the amount of debris in the mouth but also to keep the environment from becoming acidic which will allow bacteria to more agressively break down teeth causing tooth decay.

Use of an antibacterial/fluoride mouthwash (such as purple listerine)is often overlooked but is also important. These oral rinses are designed to decrease cavity causing bacteria in the mouth while utilizing fluoride to strengthen enamel against breakdown. If brushing and flossing is done properly, use of an oral rinse should complete the protection against tooth decay.

-Sugarless Gum. Sugarless gum is important because it stimulates salivary flow. The increased saliva in the mouth will help to keep our teeth clean. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria. Choose a sugarless gum with xylitol. Bacteria can not feed on xylitol, because it cannot be metabolized. This helps keep the acid levels lower. Xylitol has also been shown to help remineralize our teeth’s enamel.

-Maintaining Proper Nutrition. Choosing foods and drinks wisely is important to your overall health as well as your dental health. By eating properly, you are able to keep your body as healthy as possible allowing your body to fight off any attack. The best snacks for your dental health include raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Avoiding sugar is not always an option so it is important to minimize the damage. Apples are actually the perfect snack for dental health as they act as a tooth cleaner and whitener. They are able to clean your teeth by the abrasive action of the skin and hard inner surface of the apple, malic acid in the apple helps to remove surface stain and keep teeth whiter. You can actually squueze juice from an apple and mix it with baking soda to brush on and whiten your teeth. So next time you are looking for a midday snack pick up a shiny apple.

-Drink Fluoridated Water. While fluoride is a controversial topic for many. It has been proven time and again to protect our teeth from tooth decay. Fluoridated water is important for children to drink. The fluoride becomes a permanent part of the tooth when it is consumed during tooth development.  Drinking at least 16oz of fluoridated water each day will help prevent tooth decay. Another option is to use a supplemental fluoride prescribed by your dentist.

-Dental Sealants. Many believe dental sealants are just for children but that is not so. If an adult has no tooth decay on the tooth in question nor any previous dental restorations a sealant can be placed and be effective. A dental sealant is designed to cover the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. This keeps the grooves of our teeth from developing tooth decay. In many of us, these grooves are quite deep and are an inherent weakness in the fight against tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

Tooth decay is preventable with diligent dental hygiene and maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits. Maybe in the future, we can eventually wipe out tooth decay . Until then, we need to follow the steps above to maintain good oral health.

It is Holiday time again…holiday parties, office parties, social occasions with friends, and mistletoe! Time to get yourself ready for these holiday events with a bright, shinyCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS smile and clean, fresh breath.

Start with the Basics for Best Holiday Dental Health

The basics include brushing at least twice a day (for at least 2 minutes each time) and flossing daily. This is the foundation for a healthy smile and fresh breath. Brushing and flossing properly allow you to remove the food debris and plaque that builds up each day from our daily activities. This plaque and food debris, if left, will eventually cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath.

Tip for fresh breath: Brushing your teeth and flossing work very well to reduce bad breath, but did you know there was another way to freshen your breath? Tongue cleaning or scraping removes dead cells and unwanted food particles from the folds of your tongue. The debris on your tongue is responsible for a good portion of bad breath.You can buy a specially designed tongue scraper or just use a separate toothbrush after brushing your teeth. Studies have shown this can improve breath by as much as 20%.

Choose Healthy Snacks this Holiday

Make a conscious choice this holiday to choose healthier options. These options can include a carrot, a stick of celery, or even an apple. These types of snacks also work well to help clean stickier foods and plaque off your teeth. They also have an added benefit of increasing salivary flow which will help neutralize acids and wash away bacteria from your teeth, gums, and tongue.

Tip for fresh breath: Chew on some garnish! You will usually find garnishes of parsley or mint on a holiday tray of food. Parsley is a breath saver because it contains chlorophyll, a well known breath deodorizer. Chewing on a few raw mint leaves will freshen your breath very quickly.

Choose the Right Drinks

As many of us are aware drinking certain beverages will lead to staining of our teeth. These beverages include soft drinks, black tea, coffee, and red wine. If you do choose to partake in these beverages try to use a straw to limit exposure to your teeth, or swish and swallow water directly after. This will not only help reduce stains but also lower the acid and sugar exposure on your teeth. Drinks high in sugar dry your mouth and make you thirstier, a dry mouth generally leads to bad breath.

Tip for fresh breath: Choose to drink water instead! Water will not stain your teeth and it helps keep bad breath under control because it washes away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. It also helps you avoid “dry mouth,” another cause of bad breath, by staying well hydrated. A good tip is also to try drinking green tea: gargling or rinsing your mouth with green tea suppresses the growth of bacteria that cause mouth odor as well as decrease your risks of tooth decay.

Quick Tips For a Pre Holiday Freshen Up

Some mouth rinses or breath fresheners may actually worsen a bad breath problem by irritating oral tissue with their high alcohol content. For an emergency freshen-up, try a quick rinse with a mix of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. Or, you can eat a piece of sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum. Sucking on a piece of sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva flow, which will help to wash away food debris and bacteria that cause bad breath. A breath spray can also help. most are minty and cover odors briefly, but you can try something like closys which actually neutralizes mouth odor.

If you follow these tips throughout the holiday season, you may find that not only will you enjoy your holiday festivities, confident in your bright smile and sparkling fresh breath, but also that you have improved your oral health for the coming new year. Remember the holidays are a time to smile joyously so feel comfortable knowing you have healthy teeth and fresh breath. Enjoy the holidays!!

Halloween is a fun time but also one of apprehension on the part of most parents. We always worry about our kids, but at certain times of the year, the worries become more pronounced. For parents, the worry at Halloween time, is the amount of candy their kids consume. This is due to a variety of reasons, behavior, weight gain, but especially their dental health. We all know by now eating lots of sugar and candy can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. So what are some fun alternatives to that sugary, gooey candy that causes so many problems?

Top 10 Candy Alternatives

1. Sugar free xylitol gum. This is a great alternative to candy as it promotes dental health.  The chewing action of the gum actually promotes salivary flow which lessens the amount of time the sugars stay in the mouth thereby lowering the risk factors for tooth decay. This is also recommended as a tool after your kids indulge in candy to keep their mouths clean between brushing.

2. Halloween Stickers. Kids love stickers especially Halloween ones. The spookier and scarier the better and kids love them. You can even hand these out at the door to the neighborhood kids.

3. Vampire Teeth, spider rings. Go for the glow in the dark ones. Always a hit even with older kids.

4. Temporary Halloween Tattoos. If you go this route make sure you buy some that are for all ages and not just the cute bats and pumpkins. The older kids will want scary tattoos that look more mature.

5. Pretzels, potato chips & popcorn. There are many fun sized bags of these snacks available, a great choice and kids love them.

6. Pencils with Halloween erasers.

7. Silly String. Kids and adults love silly string.

8. Bubbles.

9. Halloween glow necklaces and bracelets. Fun and great for safety as you walk through the neighborhood!

10. Halloween Balloons.

Tips for Good Oral Health at Halloween and everyday!

-Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste

-Floss at least once a day. Some kids have trouble flossing the old fashioned way so there are kid friendly alternatives like flossers.

-Visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Hope Everyone has a Safe and Happy Halloween!!