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When it comes to snacking, we do not always make the right choices. In moments of weakness and hunger we often opt for a sugary snack.  It may give us a bit of energy to

Dental Health Marielaina Perrone DDS

Make Good Snacking Choices For Your Dental Health!

get through our day, or just be a comfort during stress. Sugary snacks may taste great, but they are poor choices for our teeth and our bodies. Not only will the sugar cause tooth decay, but it will effect us negatively in other ways as well. Sugar causes you to “carb crash”, making you feel tired after the sugar high wears off, makes your body need to over produce insulin, dries your mouth out, and can allow us to gain significant amounts of weight if we are not careful. Smart choices are the key.

What Happens In Our Mouth When We Eat Sugar?

Our mouth is full of various bacteria. When sugary and starchy foods are introduced into the mouth the bacteria feed on the remains. The byproduct of this “feeding” is the production of acid. This acid over time will break down the enamel of our teeth leading to tooth decay. If you simply choose to eat healthy foods, then your chances of exposure to these acids is reduced.

The key is to make smart choices when snacking. There are many types of snacks out there and not all are bad for us. Certain sweets are worse than others. These include the gooey and chewy sugary snacks, and the sour gummy type candies. The reason these snacks are so much worse is that they stick to the surface of the teeth lasting in the mouth and on the enamel far longer than other types of sugary snacks, the sour gummies also contain high acid along with the sticky sugars..

The time of day is also important. Snacking late at night, or just before bedtime will allow the sugar to remain in your mouth overnight.As your mouth dries out, saliva production and bacteria clearance decrease dramatically. A dry mouth with sugar residue will put you at an increased risk for tooth decay.

Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing following snacking will go along way towards helping reduce our risk for tooth decay.

Best Snacks For Dental Health

-Fresh fruits and raw vegetables. The fruits can include oranges, melons, and pears. While the vegetables can include broccoli, celery, cucumbers, and carrots.

-Whole Grains. This can include whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel bagels, baked tortilla chips, wheat crackers with cheese, and even some unsweetened cereals.

-Milk and dairy products. This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

-Meat, nuts and seeds. This can include turkey, deli meats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and various unsweetened nuts.

Dental Health Marielaina Perrone DDSSnacking Tips For Good Dental Health

Let’s be honest with ourselves, snacking is a part of who we are. Snacking in moderation along with good dental hygiene will keep our teeth healthy as well as keep our weight down so we can be healthier overall. A few key tips:

Snack Wisely. Make the right choice more often than not. Get in the habit of choosing good snacks that are beneficial to our teeth and bodies. Avoiding sugar when possible. Drink lots of water during and after snacking.

Time Your Snacking. Avoid sweets between meals. If you do choose to snack between meals get in the habit of brushing and flossing following the snack to keep the acids at bay.

Variety. Mix up your snacking to ensure we get a good baalnce of nutrition into our bodies.

Maintain Dental Hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals. If you cannot brush and floss right away, vigorously rinse your mouth with water a few times to try to wash away some of the sugar from our mouths as well as counteract the acids.

Conclusion

The bottom line is to choose your snacks wisely. Your health as well as your children’s depends upon it. Many snacks are better for children simply because they have the ability to promote growth and development. Be aware that many “healthy” foods if overindulged in, without maintaining good dental hygiene, can still cause tooth decay. Adults and children need to get in the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing following snacking and having a meal. Your teeth and body will thank you for it in the long run.



As we get older, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is not just for your teeth and gums. Senior adults have unique dental needs and challenges. This includes a vital link between a person’s general health and their oral health. A healthy mouth makes all the difference in the world if you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout your life. By adopting healthy oral habits at home, seeking regular dental care, and making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, you will be well on your way to keeping your teeth strong and sparkling for a lifetime.

Across the United States, 10,000 adults reach senior age every day and the number is growing rapidly.  Bt age 65, statistics show that older adults are managing a minimum of two chronic conditions and are usually taking multiple medications. The taking of multiple medications increases their risk for dry mouth, which can quickly lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Untreated dental disease can result in pain, infection, poor nutrition, and lowered self esteem, all of which can have a very large impact on the quality of life.

A senior with good oral health not only makes it easier to eat nutritious foods, but it can also give you the confidence to smile, talk, and maintain a high self esteem. Research has shown seniors with good oral health are less likely to develop heart disease, strokes, or diabetes.

Certain dental health problems are more common in seniors, they include the following:

1) Tooth Cavities. Cavities are caused by plaque bacteria which breakdown the enamel and cause holes in the teeth. Soft diet, dry mouth, limited dexterity, a large number of crowns and fillings to clean around, and high sugars or acids in your diet will increase your chances of decay.

2) Periodontal Disease. Seniors are at higher risk of periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up beneath your gum line causing inflammation and bone loss. Certain medications cause the gums to swell and bleed and make it more difficult to remove plaque. This may cause gum recession and periodontal disease.

3) Root Cavities. The roots of the teeth can also decay. Once gums recede, the unprotected root surface is very easy for the plaque bacteria to attack. With no enamel to protect it, the cavity can progress rapidly to the nerve of the tooth.

4) Tooth Sensitivity. As we get older, our gums may recede, exposing root surfaces. The roots have nerve endings close to the surface which can become increasingly sensitive to hot, cold, brushing, and sweets. If you experience sensitivity, try a sensitivity toothpaste (like Colgate Sensitive Pro-Health) . If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.

5) Dry mouth or Xerostomia. Dry mouth is a common condition in the senior population and one that may be caused by medications or certain medical disorders (like radiation therapy for cancer). If this condition is left untreated, it can cause damage to your teeth. Dry mouth occurs when there is reduced salivary flow. Plaque tends to build up when the mouth is dry, putting you at an increased risk for tooth decay. Your dentist can recommend multiple methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as treatments or medications to help prevent the development of cavities. Two products I recommend are Biotene and Listerine Zero.

6) Denture Issues. Many older people wear dentures. If they are not properly cared for, they can cause dental health problems, especially fungal infections such as yeast. A sign of a yeast infection is bright red irritated tissue, itchiness, burning, or a white creamy build up on oral tissues or denture. Just because you have dentures does not mean you do not need a dental examination. You should have an annual check of your denture fit, oral tissues, and oral cancer screening. As well as a jaw x-ray every five years to detect growth or changes in the bone.

 

To help keep your mouth healthy and your teeth strong as we age:

Brush. Brushing your teeth can help to remove the thin film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth after eating. So brush at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. An electric toothbrush is recommended for seniors as it easier for them to maintain hygiene properly. Our office recommends the Rotadent electric toothbrush. We also recommend the use of a plaque disclosing solution. This allows the patient to see visually if they left any plaque behind and work on ares they are missing.

Floss.Flossing your teeth can help prevent plaque from building up between teeth. Floss at least once a day. We also recommend the use of floss mate. A variety of companies (Butler GUM floss mate or REACH access flosser), make these products and are easily found at the local drug store. These products work well in patients with minimal or reduced dexterity.

Keep up with dentist appointments. If you maintain a regular appointment schedule your dentist can monitor your dental health and make adjustments to your care to avoid serious problems down the road. Routine dental examinations and cleanings are an important part of maintaining good dental health.

If you smoke…QUIT! In addition to increasing your risk of many health conditions, smoking can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. There are a variety of methods available to quit to make it as painless a possible.

Take care of dentures. If you have dentures, see your dentist regularly (we recommend at least once a year) to make sure they are fitting properly.

Keep your dentures clean by brushing and rinsing them daily and soaking them at night in a denture cleansing liquid.

There are many dental health challenges as we age, but maintaining good oral hygiene and monitoring to your dental health can keep your smile sparkling for many years to come.

Listerine Zero