Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

As the new year begins many of us are trying to choose healthier options. This includes attempting to make smarter choices in our choice of drink. A choice for many is to forego sugary sodas and choose carbonated water. The thought is we will choose a lower calorie drink that is also less harmful to our oral health. But is sparkling water safer for our teeth and gums?

What Is Sparkling Water?

Sparkling water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating carbonic acid. This  chemical process just adds bubbles. It does not add sugar, calories, or even caffeine. Tonic water, club soda, and mineral water are all types of readily available carbonated water, but these have added sodium, vitamins, or sweeteners, so it’s important to read the label.

Is Sparkling Water Harmful To Our Teeth?

Yes, sparkling water can harm your teeth. While sparkling water is only slightly more acidic than regular tap water it has the power to do damage to our teeth’s enamel through a process called tooth erosion (wearing away of the outer layer of our teeth due to acids). Some of the causes of tooth enamel erosion include:

-Consuming excessive amounts of sodas (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)

-Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)

-Dry mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)

-Diet (high in sugar and starches)

-Acid reflux disease (also called GERD)

-Gastrointestinal problems

-Medications (for example aspirin and antihistamines)

-Genetics

-Environmental factors (friction, wear and tear, and stress)

Research has shown that sparkling water has a pH (measure of aciditiy) of approximately 3 (with 5 being neutral). The researchers used extracted teeth and placed them in glasses filled with various types of sparkling waters. What they found was quite surprising. Sparkling water does in fact have the acidity to erode tooth enamel. In fact, the researchers found that the sparkling water compared to orange juice in terms of its erosive effect.

Sparkling Water Conclusion

While the research showed that the sparkling waters can erode tooth enamel, it is important to note that if used in moderation it is a perfectly healthy alternative to sodas and energy drinks. Remember to practice good oral hygiene after using these drinks and you should have little to worry about in terms of your dental health.

Most people do not consider the simple straw to have any bearing on their dental health but it can. Drinking certain beverages regularly can have a harmful effect on our teeth. These drinks include high acid beverages, sugary soft drinks, and coffee. The sugars and acid nature of these drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth damaging them permanently.

So How Does A Straw Help Protect Your Teeth?

The straw is a simple tool but it allows these drinks to bypass right past your teeth and limit the time your teeth are exposed to these harmful drinks. Below you will find the top ways a straw can help with your dental health.

-Tooth Decay Prevention. Sipping from a glass causes your beverage to wash over your teeth. The pooling of the liquid in the mouth keeps the teeth in harms way for an extended period of time. Using a straw allows you to drink without having much contact with your teeth. Limiting exposure can decrease your chances of tooth decay from developing over time.

-Keep Your Pearly Whites Their Whitest. Dark beverages like colas and red wine cause your teeth to absorb stains and change color over time. Once stained they become progressively darker. Using a straw allows the staining material to bypass your teeth and  limit contact to the staining agents. The only way to remove these stains properly is through the use of professional cleanings and teeth whitening.

-Tooth Enamel Erosion. Acidic drinks (like soft drinks, high citrus drinks, and energy drinks) can have a damaging effect on the out layers of our teeth. The saliva will attempt to neutralize these acids but over time your enamel will wear and thin allowing them to become permanently sensitive. Drinking with a straw can once again limit the damage from these acids and help keep your enamel intact and strong.

-Sensitive Teeth. Having teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold can be a real challenge for many. Using a straw can help alleviate those symptoms and make drinking your favorite beverages easier and more enjoyable.

Conclusion

Using a straw is not always the preferred or convenient choice when enjoying our favorite drink. However, making that small change can save you money and discomfort down the road. There are many types, sizes, and colors of straws. You may find that they are actually fun to use!  A little change can go a long way towards maintaining your dental health.

For many people, eating disorders are part of every day life. These  abnormal eating habits may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and psychological health. The resulting effects of the dietary issues involved directly and indirectly relate to oral health problems.

Common Types Of Eating Disorders

-Anorexia Nervosa (commonly called,  ”anorexia”) -  This eating disorder is characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of weight gain, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity. It is a big stressor on the heart, there is an increase in the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. This disorder also presents with an increased risk of death. Peer pressures play a role in an individuals’ obsession with their outer appearances. Recent research suggests it is not only about a person’s outward perception but genetics may play a role in the disease process.

-Bulimia Nervosa (commonly called, “bulimia”) – This eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating followed by purging. The purging can include self induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise. Fasting may also be used as a method of purging (self inflicted vomiting) following a binge.

-Compulsive over-eating- This eating disorder is characterized by eating large quantities of food even when not feeling hunger. The food is generally consumed quickly and often with little to no regard for proper nutrition.

Dental Issues That Arise From An Eating Disorder

Tooth Enamel Erosion and Tooth Decay – It is quite common to see an increased incidence of tooth decay in all forms of eating disorder. It is also not unusual to see very extensive decay that leads to tooth loss. For bulimic and over-eaters, high calorie, high carbohydrate foods put the enamel at risk due to increased sugar levels in the mouth. Vomiting (either self inflicted or from eating an enormous amount of food) exacerbates the problem by incorporating stomach acid into the oral environment. Anorexics are also prone to regurgitation of stomach acid due to lack of food in the stomach.

It is quite common in patients with an eating disorder to need extensive dental work over and over again. This is especially true to the backs of the teeth, (facing the tongue) since these surfaces would be exposed the most to the stomach acids released from vomiting. The gum lines of teeth are also prone to decay when habits of snacking through the night and not brushing occur frequently.

Soft Tissue Damage – The force of repeated vomiting also takes a toll on the soft tissues in the mouth. This can result in swelling of the tonsils and the uvula in the back of the throat. Another indicator of an eating disorder may be a red and swollen tongue or a lacerated palate caused by vomiting induced by placing a finger into the back of your throat (fingernails and other implements will damage the palate).

Other Eating Disorder Dental Issues Include:

-Gum pain

-Chronic sore throat

-Inflamed esophagus

-Palatal hemorrhages

-Decreased saliva production - leading to dry mouth (xerostomia)

-Enlarged Parotid glands

-Problems swallowing

-Jaw alignment abnormalities

Dental Treatment Options

An eating disorder is a major health issue and create all kinds of problems both to our dental health and systemic health. Communication is important to not only get help to overcome the disease but also to get proper dental treatment.

Dental hygiene becomes extra important in patients with an eating disorder because some of the damage from stomach acids in the mouth can be minimized if patients brush, floss, and rinse following vomiting. This can lessen the effect of the acids on the teeth. Damage will still be done if the habits remain for long or short periods of time.

Standard dental treatment for an eating disorder can include:

-Dental Fillings

-Root Canal Therapy

-Tooth Extractions

-Periodontal Surgery

Eating Disorder Conclusion

An eating disorder is a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat. Dentists need to know the warning signs to be able to get patients in need to seek proper help. Eating disorders can ultimately kill and should not be taken lightly. The dentist should be able to speak openly about oral symptoms of eating disorders if signs are present. This is a difficult topic to discuss for most but is nevertheless important. The patient must feel comfortable enough with their dentist to tell them they think they have an eating disorder. The dentist should  be clear about everything, portray empathy and care at every opportunity. Body language is very important. Trust between the dentist and patient is very important to establish before moving on.

Once habits are addressed, treatment and restoration of healthy teeth and smile go hand in hand.. The power of a beautiful, healthy smile can do wonders do our emotional well being. A positive self-image and self-esteem are critical for recovery from bulimia and a restored, healthy smile is evidence of those feelings. Does having a new smile help that process? Absolutely. It has been shown time and again to be life changing. Even more important is restoration of the teeth to a healthy state so that the patient can eat without pain and regain health.

Having a healthy, white smile is a goal for most of us. Maintaining a good routine for dental hygiene is key to the foundation of that success.The work required to make this happen, can be difficult and even overwhelming at times. Below are just a few easy tips to keep you on track for a healthy, white smile that dazzles.

Top 10 Dental Tips

1. Visit Your Dentist Regularly. This is very important to not only keep your teeth clean but keep your mouth free of periodontal disease. Regular dental examinations along with professional cleanings can help you keep your teeth clean, white, and healthy for a lifetime.

2. Beware of stains. Drinking red wine, black tea, or even indulging in an occasional cigar will give your teeth a darker, duller appearance. Brushing and flossing alone will not be able to remove these stains that work their way deep into your teeth. A good tip for when you do indulge is to brush and floss immediately after eating and drinking any items you think might stain your teeth. There are also natural tooth whiteners that you can use like crunchy vegetables and fresh apples. Their crunchiness helps give a cleaning action to your teeth to remove some of the lighter staining. There are also whitening toothpastes, such as colgate  optic white, which are very effective at removing surface staining when used regularly.

3. Don’t Forget Your Tongue. Studies have shown that bad breath can emanate from the tongue. Dead cells and bacteria can harbor in the folds of our tongue contributing to bad breath. Tongue scraping alone will not rid you of bad breath but it can help. You can use a toothbrush for this or most stores carry tongue scrapers specifically designed for the task at hand.

4. Gargle With Apple Cider Vinegar. This has become a popular remedy for whiter teeth. However, the vinegar can promote an acidic environment in the mouth causing tooth enamel erosion. Rinse with this at your own risk. The benefits may not be worth the risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay.

5. Use An Antibacterial/ Anti-Tartar/ Fluoride Mouthrinse. Oral rinses can get to places we sometimes miss from brushing and flossing. They also have the ability to lower the bacteria count in the mouth to help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. A good tip is to choose a mouthwash that  specifically targets your needs. There are whitening rinses, anti-plaque rinses to reduce periodontal bacteria such as listerine, anti-tartar rinses such as Periogen, Fluoride rinses such as ACT.

6. Chew Sugarless Gum (with Xylitol). Xylitol has been shown to decrease the incidence in tooth decay when chewed regularly. Xylitol enhances the remineralization of teeth, particularly in small decay spots just developing in the tooth enamel. Also, bacteria are unable to produce acid when xyltiol is present. This inhibition of acid production will help the teeth to stay safe from tooth decay.

7. Brush With A Teeth Whitening Toothpaste. While the effectiveness of these toothpastes comes into question for many they do help remove light staining. Brushing with a toothpaste like Colgate’s optic white can keep your teeth as white as possible in between dental visits.

8. Choose The Right Lipstick. This tip is for the ladies, choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors can make your teeth appear to look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow and darker areas in teeth.

9. Floss Regularly. Many do not realize the staining that can occur in between teeth from plaque buildup. Flossing will help keep tooth decay and periodontal disease in check but it can also make your teeth whiter and brighter.

10. Strawberries. There has been some evidence showing that strawberries have some teeth whitening properties. So next time you grab for a snack think about your teeth and grab some strawberries.

 Whiter Smile Conclusion

Having a healthy, white smile can be a reality with routine dental care coupled with good dental hygiene at home. For those, who need have dental issues already and need a little boost, there are many treatments that your dentist can advise you of  that can be personalized for your individual needs. It is never too late to have a healthier looking smile!