Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS

Dental Blog

Foods to Enjoy & Avoid for Oral Health

Hannah Johnson - Thursday, May 24, 2018

When it comes to dental health and gum health, prevention is key! Here are a list of food and drink items to add and take away from your diet to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape for your next dental appointment:

Foods to Eat in Moderation or Avoid

Citrus fruits and juices and other acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth susceptible to decay over time. Orange Juice is less acidic than most juices and usually has calcium and vitamin D which are good for your teeth so drink OJ in moderation, just brush and floss afterwards.

Candy - Especially the Hard & Chewy Kind. The bacteria in our mouths actually feeds on the sugar we eat, this creates acids that destroy the tooth enamel and causes cavities. Sticky foods can be even more damaging since they tend to stick to the teeth and in between your teeth longer than other types of foods. In addition to the sugar, if you bite on a hard candy the wrong way, it can lead to a chipped tooth that no amount of flossing and brushing can fix!

Soda & Sports Drinks. Sugar is a top ingredient for both of these drinks and when you eat or drink sugar for an extended amount of time, plaque will use the sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the protective layer of your tooth.

Alcohol, like caffeinated drinks, decreases saliva production which can lead to dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles so when you begin to warp this cavity-fighting agent with alcohol, it can lead to tooth decay or even gum disease.

Foods to Enjoy

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium and phosphorus which can prevent tooth erosion! Cheese also stimulates saliva production which helps clear away food residue. The protein in these wonderful products can also protect teeth from acids that cause cavities!

Sugarless Gum stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth which neutralizes acids and washes away cavity-causing bacteria. It’s been proven that chewing gum 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay!

Water – You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Water helps wash away sugar and acid off teeth. If you’re buying bottled water, look for the kind that contains fluoride, this is a mineral found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes that protects against tooth erosion.

Eating foods that are high in fiber such as bananas, leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and apples has been proven to lower the likelihood of tooth loss and lower your risk of gum recession. The vitamins found in these fruits and veggies help fight off cavities and are also are a great source of calcium which helps keep teeth strong.

Did you catch the pattern? Saliva is the key to lowering your risk for tooth decay! We are not going to say that even we, dental professionals, do not enjoy a little bit of sugar and alcohol here and there. The KEY is that you brush and floss or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after meals and snacks to increase saliva production. This is a game-changer when it comes to oral health - Your smile will thank you!



Be the Boss of Your Floss

Hannah Johnson - Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Flossing can be a task, we know. We can’t remember to do it but when we do, we don’t have floss on hand or we just don’t feel like it. We know you’ve heard this before but let us remind you again, it’s imperative to your oral health to floss as often as you can. Preferably every day. When you don’t floss, you miss 35% of tooth surface which can lead to cavities, premature tooth loss, yellow teeth, and gum disease. We believe that flossing is worth 1-2 minutes of your time each day to prevent these issues. Here are 5 easy tips to make flossing apart of your daily routine!

Reward Yourself

We give our children allowance for doing things around the house, it’s a great incentive for them to actually WANT to do chores – so they can save up for that toy they’ve been wanting. Why can’t we create the same reward systems for ourselves when we start a healthy habit? If you have a favorite part of your morning or evening routine that you enjoy doing such as reading, journaling, or watching TV – you can say that you’ll grab the book or the remote only after you’ve flossed. Another great idea is to put a quarter or a dollar (however much you decide) into a jar every time you floss so you can save up for something fun you’ve been wanting to buy or do.

Convenience Is Key

When you attach the habit of flossing to an existing habit, it makes it a lot easier to start flossing every single day. First and foremost, it’s imperative that you have floss available anywhere you want to remember to floss, such as in your car, your lunchbox, or in your drawer at the office so that when you remember that you forgot to floss, you can just do it right then wherever you are! Another idea would be to attach flossing your teeth to brushing your teeth by putting your floss on your toothbrush. You can also attach the habit to showering – something we should do every day anyway. These are quick and easy ways to start flossing daily!

Remind Yourself

Put your alarms or reminders on your phone to good use! Set reminders in your phone at a convenient time every day to floss your teeth or set an alarm if you want a sound to go off. Stick a Post-It note on the mirror that you look in every morning and evening to remind yourself, or even on your wallet if you have floss in your purse.

Learn How to Floss Properly

Many people don’t floss because they feel that it is not working as it should, and that may be because they do not know how to properly floss. Make sure to use 18 inches of string if you are using regular floss, wrap most around your middle finger of one hand and the rest around your other middle finger. Grab the string between your thumb and forefinger, using a rubbing motion to guide it in between your teeth. When the floss reaches your gum line, follow the shape of the teeth by forming a “C” with the floss to properly remove everything from in between the teeth.

Stay Positive

Experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit so remember that you can’t just go from nothing to starting the habit right away. If you forget to floss, just pick up where you left off. It will soon become a part of your daily routine without even thinking twice about it.


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