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We generally do not make smart, healthy choices when snacking. Snacking usually occurs at a moment of weakness between meals at a moment of hunger between meals. This often means choosing a sugary snack which can have harmful effects on our dental health. Sugary snacks may taste great and be filling at the moment, but they are poor choices for our dental health and our overall health. Not only will the sugar lead to tooth decay, but it will effect our health 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 if you are to snack between meals.

How Sugars Attack Our Teeth

Our mouths are filled with natural bacteria that reside there all the time. The introduction of sugary and starchy foods into the mouth allows these bacteria to have a source of food. The byproduct of this feeding is the creation of an acidic environment in the mouth. The acids produced are powerful enough to break down the enamel (outer shell of our teeth) on our teeth. This breakdown of enamel is how tooth decay begins. If you simply choose to eat healthy foods, then your chances of exposure to these acids is reduced.

Smart Snacking

The key is to make smart choices when snacking. Before you grab for a snack, check what is in the food you have chosen. Is it chock full of sugar? If it is, think twice. Another choice would be better for your teeth. And it is important to remember that certain kinds of sweets are more harmful than others. Sweets that are chewy or gooey tend to spend more time sticking to the surface of your teeth. Because sticky snacks stay in your mouth longer than foods that you quickly chew and swallow, they increase the chance for the development of tooth decay.

The time of day that you snack is important also. Do you choose to nibble on sugary snacks at various points of the day, or do you usually just choose a small dessert following dinner? Damaging acids will form in your mouth every time you choose to eat a sugar filled snack. The acids continue to affect your teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm. So, the more times you eat sugary snacks during the day, the more often you feed bacteria the fuel they need to cause tooth decay.

If you eat sweets, it’s best to eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. Whenever you eat sweets — in any meal or snack — brush your teeth well with a fluoride toothpaste afterward. Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing following snacking will go along way towards helping reduce our risk for tooth decay.

Best Snacks For Good Dental Health

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

-Whole Grains. This can include whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel bagels, baked tortilla chips, pretzels, plain bagels, 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 fresh turkey, deli meats (like Ham and Roast Beef), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and other unsweetened nuts.

Tips To Make Snacking Healthy

-Choose sugary foods less often

-Avoid sugary sweets between meals

-Timing Is Key. Avoid sweets between meals. If you do choose to snack between meals get in the habit of brushing and flossing following snacking to keep the acids  to a minimum

-Eat a variety of low or non-fat foods from the basic food groups

-Drink plenty of water during and after snacking

-Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals

Conclusion

Our dental health and overall health are intertwined. Making smart choices can have a positive effect on both our teeth and our bodies. Choose wisely and maintain good dental hygiene by seeing your dentist regularly to avoid issues of tooth decay and to maintain a happy, healthy smile for years to come.

Dental emergencies seem to arise at the most inconvenient times. Some dental emergencies are serious while others are inconveniences at best. Anyone who has had a temporary crown or a permanent dental crown/onlay/porcelain veneer should be aware that it could eventually come off. They may be able to be placed back on, or may need to be completely replaced…But why does it happen?

How Do Dental Crowns Stay On Your Teeth?

Dental crowns are placed over your prepared tooth using a special adhesive cement. This cement has the ability to bond to both your natural tooth structure as well as the inner lining of the dental crown. Depending on the type of dental crown your dentist will use a different type of cement. The shape of the tooth is also important in keeping the crown on. The tooth is prepared by the dentist to be “retentive”, meaning that the shaping of the tooth itself helps to keep the crown on as well.

Why Would My Dental Crown Come Off?

-Tooth Decay. A tooth that has a dental crown needs to be kept clean through brushing, flossing and rinsing. Tooth decay can still occur at the margins of the dental crown, (where the crown edge ends and the tooth begins)  and eventually make their way up and under the dental crown. If tooth decay does occur under a crown, it may need a new crown to be fabricated or if the tooth decay progresses far enough a root canal may be needed to salvage the tooth.

-Sticky, Chewy Foods. This can occur from continual use or just one time chewing a sticky piece of candy. Generally, over time these sticky, chewy foods can slowly break the cement seal and work a dental crown loose. If it is just pulled off from a candy, your dentist will examine both the tooth and the crown to ensure there is no tooth decay or damage to the tooth or crown. If all is well, your dentist may be able to simply recement the crown and you will be on your way.

-Crown Damage. A dental crown is a man made tooth shell that is capable of fracturing or breaking over time. Our teeth absorb extreme amounts of force on a daily basis. The metal or porcelain on a crown can wear through, chip, or fracture.

-Oral Habits. Yes, our habits can effect the longevity of a dental crown. Bad habits include teeth grinding (bruxism), clenching, nail biting, ice chewing, using teeth to open packages and bottles, chewing on pens, etc.. These forces will break porcelain, wear metal, and stress the adhesive bond causing the dental crown to loosen over time,.

-Small/Short Teeth. This can usually be overcome by your dentist “building” your tooth back up with dental resins but in some instances all of  the teeth are shorter due to teeth grinding. The shortness is directly related to a decrease in retentiveness. This creates an issue over time, as the crown adhesive is working doubly hard to maintain its place on the tooth.

-Cement Breakdown. This can occur when the margin seal is broken causing the cement to leak out, or if a small amount of blood or saliva gets under the dental crown while cementing. If there is any moisture (saliva or blood) on the tooth upon cementation this can cause a weaker bond to develop for the cement. This will lead to a loosening of the crown over time. Simple fix in most cases is to just recement the dental crown back on either using a different cement or ensuring the area is clean and dry.

-Poor Fit. Sometimes a tooth is not prepared ideally, an impression of the tooth is distorted, the lab creates a poor fit to the tooth, or it is not completely seated on the tooth during cementation. When these issues occur, leakage of bacteria and saliva occur under the crown and loosen it.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, a dental crown coming off is a routine dental emergency but usually not a painful one. In many cases (if the dentist is unavailable), the patients try to temporarily recement their dental crown back on using fixodent (denture adhesive), toothpaste, or temporary dental cement from the local drug store. The best course of action is to see your dentist as soon as you can to ensure you do not experience any discomfort, do not swallow the dental crown, or permanently damage the tooth or crown.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and loved ones to get together and enjoy a hearty meal. It is also a time that can be dangerous for your dental health. This is because a lot of what we eat during this time can be hazardous to our dental health. This can include stuffing, sugary treats like pies and cookies, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. These items are all carbohydrate rich, sugary foods. This can really do some damage to your oral health, but there are some simple ways you can help combat cavities while still enjoying Grandma’s pumpkin or pecan pie.

Thanksgiving Day Dental Health Tips

-Eat a Balanced Meal. Eat a meal with a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. This helps to counteract some of the acids produced when sugars and bacteria in the mouth come together. Also, some of the harder vegetables like raw carrots can act as a cleaning aid in your mouth as you chew. Hard vegetables can remove some of the excess food that sticks to your teeth.

-Limit your sweet, sticky foods. These can include pies, cookies, and stuffing. These foods tend to stick in the grooves of teeth and lodge between teeth, meaning they stay in the mouth longer and increase tooth decay risk.

-Do not Graze!! This might be one of the most important ones listed here. Not only will you allow these bad food items to stay in your mouth longer but you will not allow your saliva to neutralize. The acidic levels in the saliva will remain all day, allowing bacteria to destroy surface enamel without interference.It’s easy to spend all day just walking around a party eating snacks and drinking, but every time you put something into your mouth, it creates acids. Spend some time NOT eating on Thanksgiving day to cut down on the buildup of cavity causing foods.

-Come Prepared. If you are going away from home for your thanksgiving dinner bring a travel toothbrush with you even if you are just away for the day. If you are unable to brush your teeth immediately after eating for some reason? Rinse your mouth out with water to remove as much debris and neutralize the acid as much as possible. Also, bring some floss and floss following your meal as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

By following these simple holiday dental care tips, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy while still enjoying your Thanksgiving favorites.