Enjoy That Candy – Then Brush
Posted on Oct 31, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
It’s Halloween, and whether you’re escorting youngsters to Trick-Or-Treat or handing out the goodies, this is a holiday that has all ages indulging in lots of sugar! I’m all for occasional indulgences, so enjoy those mini-Snickers, Milky Ways and candy corn without guilt.
Just remember, every time you eat something, your mouth endures an acid attack. The acid produced from sugar does the most harm. This is why it’s important to brush after treating yourself. If you can’t brush, chew sugar-free gum or swish with water. And, be sure to brush and floss before bedtime.
The worst part of Halloween, to me, is afterwards. What children accumulate or the leftover sweets tend to be eaten here and there. It’s better to have children eat some of their sugary loot as dessert. This way, they merely add to the acid attack that’s already in process in conjunction with mealtime. Rather than nibble candy later on (sparking a new acid attack), the acid attack underway just continues a little longer.
Parental (and grand-parental) influence has much to do with helping children develop good oral hygiene habits as they grow. Be a good example of maintaining a healthy mouth between dental check-ups and brag about how great a clean mouth feels! And enjoy your healthy smile while you enjoy that Tootsie Roll!
Arthritis Sufferers – Keep Your Oral Health In Top Condition!
Posted on Oct 28, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
If you suffer rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may want to have a periodontal examination to rule out any signs of gum disease.
What’s RA got to do with gum disease? And vice versa? According to researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, patients who have RA were able to reduce their arthritic pain, number of swollen joints and the degree of morning stiffness when their dental problems. were resolved
The team of researchers studied 40 patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease and a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, both inflammatory diseases. The findings were reported in the Journal of Periodontology, showing that by eliminating the infection and inflammation in the gums, patients with a severe kind of active rheumatoid arthritis reported improvement on the signs and symptoms of that disease.
This is not the first time that gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked. For years, rheumatologists and other clinicians have suspected that gum disease may play a key part in causing disease. Historically, when RA patients had teeth pulled or were given antibiotics to treat rheumatoid arthritis, it actually treated their periodontitis. Thus, the link between the two was somewhat camouflaged.
RA patients should be aware of the link between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, particularly since gum disease tends to be prevalent in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Both inflammatory diseases share similarities in how the disease progresses over time. In both diseases, the soft and hard tissues are destroyed from inflammation caused by toxins from bacterial infection.
To minimize your risk of gum disease, here are some home-care tips for RA sufferers:
• Water irrigators can remove food particles and plaque between teeth.
• Electric toothbrushes and floss holders can reduce the amount of effort required by the hands.
• Wrap toothbrush handles with a sponge hair roller to create a more comfortable, thicker grip.
• Replace knob-type faucets with levers, which are easier to turn on and off.
• Insufficient saliva in the mouth increases the risk of bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. If you are taking medications that are drying, oral rinses are available to help maintain oral moisture. Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, all which are drying to oral tissues.
With a good oral care commitment, RA sufferers should be able to overcome the physical limitations to have a healthy smile as a constant reminder that YOU are in charge of your health!
Sugar Vs. Artificial Sweeteners
Posted on Oct 24, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
The average sugar consumption of Americans is 22 teaspoons a day. While anything you eat triggers an acid attack in the mouth, the acid produced from sugar is the most harmful. Unfortunately, sugar is hidden in a wide range of our foods – from canned tomatoes, salad dressings, and crackers. The average can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
While too much of anything is not wise, too much sugar is particularly detrimental to our bodies, beginning in the mouth! Over the years, to satisfy our sweet tooth without the harm, people began turning to artificial sweeteners. However, these have gotten a bad rap, beginning with the ‘saccharin scare’ from radical research. Actually, artificial sweeteners have been studied far more than most drugs (around 100 studies have been conducted on Splenda, or sucralose). These have never resulted in findings that are reason enough to omit them as sugar substitutes.
What we ARE finding is the overabundance of sugar in our foods. Added sugar is often listed in foods as high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, dextrose, or sucrose. Whew!
With the move these days towards ‘organic’ foods, many people are turning back to sugar as a ‘safer, more natural’ additive. In many instances, I applaud this. It’s much healthier to give your family plain oatmeal and allow them to sprinkle sugar on it rather than purchase pre-sweetened oatmeal. Just remember that sugar, in any form, is not kind to your teeth.
We advise artificial sweeteners over sugar whenever it’s practical. Yet, sugar is a part of our lives and we can’t help but treat ourselves to the real thing here and there. Just remember – it’s important to brush after consuming any sugary foods after eating. Or, at the very least, swish with water or chew sugar-free gum. This will help to clean your mouth and halt the acid attack. This will also help you (and your family) to avoid treatment time and expense down the road. The ‘sweetest’ way to smile is always with a healthy mouth!
Measure Your Risk For Dental Problems
Posted on Oct 22, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
You’d rather avoid a cavity altogether than have it repaired – right? Although daily home care and regular dental cleanings help prevent problems from occurring, some people are more susceptible to decay than others. The following can place you at higher risk:
High Levels Of Bacteria – All people have bacteria in their bodies; however, two kinds (abbreviated as SM and LB) are especially harmful to teeth. Those who have higher levels of these bacteria are naturally at greater risk for tooth decay. These bacteria are also contagious.
Poor Saliva – Saliva helps to move bacteria out of the mouth. Certain medications, age, or particular foods and beverages can contribute to dry mouth.
Deep Pits & Grooves – Back teeth, especially, have pits and grooves which can harbor bacteria. Some people have very deep pits and grooves, creating a warm, moist, dark hideout that is ideal for bacteria growth.
High Sugar Diet – Bacteria in your mouth thrive on refined sugar. From this, an acid is produced which attacks tooth enamel.
Exposed Tooth Roots – Aging, overzealous brushing, or an improper bite can cause gums to pull away from teeth, exposing tooth roots. While this distracts from the appearance of your smile, it also increases the potential for decay to occur in this susceptible area of the tooth.
Now that you know what “ups” your risk for cavities, here are some tips to help you prevent them in the first place!
• Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water. If you are taking medications that are drying, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are alternative medications that are less drying to your mouth. Decrease your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. If you smoke, give it up!
• Bacteria levels can be kept under control with the help of antibacterial rinses. Those that contain chlorhexidine are best for tackling harmful bacteria in the mouth.
• Teeth with deep grooves and pits can be protected in several ways. Sealants can cover these areas on a temporary basis. For extended protection, replacing fillings with inlays, onlays or crowns help to shield the tooth.
• Watch what you eat and how often you eat. Eat healthy. Anytime you consume a food or beverage (other than water), your mouth responds by producing acid. This acid attacks tooth enamel. The acid from refined sugar is most harmful.
• Be committed to your daily oral care regimen. Twice daily brushing and flossing will improve your odds for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.