Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS

Dental Blog

Rethink That Sugary Drink

Hannah Johnson - Friday, June 28, 2019

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is when bacteria from your mouth uses the sugar from sugary foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. Sugary drinks that are high in acid include: regular and “diet” soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and fruit drinks.

 

What does the acid do?

The acid that is found in these drinks attacks the teeth in efforts to dissolve the outer surface of the tooth’s enamel. Regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and expose the sensitive part of the tooth resulting in tooth sensitivity which can be painful. Each acid “attack” happens as soon as you take a sip from your sugary drink. An attack can actively last about 20 minutes and will start its process all over again once another sip is taken.

 

How to prevent tooth decay and erosion from acid?

You can prevent tooth decay and erosion by drinking soft drinks in moderation. If you are going to drink soft drinks, use a straw. Using a straw will lessen your teeth’s exposure to the sugar and acid attacks that come with the drink. After drinking a sugary or acidic drink, rinse your mouth out with fluoridated tap water to dilute the sugars. We advise you to not brush your teeth immediately after. Wait at least an hour so your teeth can recover and your enamel can harden. Switch to a fluoride based toothpaste that will help protect your teeth and build back the enamel that was damaged or lost. Do not sip on a sugary drink throughout the day. Exposing your teeth to sugar for a long period of time leaves your teeth vulnerable to acid attacks throughout the day.

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10 Dental Myths Busted

Hannah Johnson - Thursday, June 13, 2019

We have all heard our fair share of myths about the craziest things, especially as kids. Chocolate milk comes from brown cows, if you swallow gum it would stay in your belly forever, opening an umbrella inside the house would lead to bad luck, and many more. But as adults, we often hear myths that sound not so far off and are quite believable.

When it comes to myths centered around oral health, there are plenty misconceptions. Below are some common myths that we felt needed a good bustin’.

 

#1: Brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner.

False: Brushing too hard or with an abrasive toothbrush can weaken the hard enamel that protects your tooth from cavities and decay. We recommend a soft-bristled brush that will be easy on your teeth and gums.

 

#2: Flossing isn’t necessary anymore.

False: Flossing is something you should continue to do no matter your age. Flossing not only helps remove that buildup stuck in between your teeth, it also helps prevent gingivitis and reduce bad breath.

 

#3: Chewing sugar-free gum is the same thing as brushing your teeth.

False: It’s true that sugar-free gum can have a protective effect on your teeth and encourage saliva production, but it does not hold the same effect of brushing and flossing your teeth. When it comes to removing plaque and left over food particles, brushing and flossing your teeth is the way to go. 

 

#4: If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s best you leave them alone.

False: Bleeding gums are due to inflammation. Inflammation occurs when bacteria and plaque get stuck in between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. After a while of bacteria build up, gums become inflamed. Over time, flossing regularly will reverse inflammation and the bleeding will eventually stop.

 

#5: As long as you brush really well before going to your dentist appointment, they won't find out that you have been slacking on brushing and flossing.

False: Although you may think you can get away with this, your dentist will see right past your last minute efforts to make up for your lack of brushing and flossing. Without regular brushing and flossing, hard tartar will form around your teeth and getting it off isn’t as easy as a quick brush. Not to mention your inflamed gums cannot be fixed with a quick floss. Bleeding gums and the location of tartar are clues your dentist look for.

 

#6: Candy is the main culprit when it comes to cavities.

False: When it comes to cavities, candy is not the only guy to blame. Crackers and chips may even be worse for your teeth. The carbohydrates found in starchy food produce natural sugar which sticks to your teeth, contributing to the cavity problem.

 

#7: Sensitive teeth can only mean that your enamel is worn down.

False: Although sensitivity usually means a worn down enamel, sensitivity can also be caused by gum recession or use of whitening kits and toothpastes. The hydrogen peroxide, used in whitening products, is used to remove stains. As it removes stains, it also can penetrate past your tooth’s enamel into the layer beneath, which is the more sensitive part of your tooth. If you are experiencing sensitivity, there are toothpaste brands designed to help tooth sensitivity.

 

#8: Gum disease is only a problem for your mouth.

False: Other than bleeding gums, there are a lot more problems that can stem from gum disease. If you have gum disease, you are more likely to have health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer related to chronic inflammation.

 

#9: The whiter your teeth, the healthier you are.

False: Although there is some truth to this myth, don’t bank on it. There are many unhealthy things that stain our teeth yellow or cause them to get darker, like the use of tobacco products, but there are plenty of healthy things that also stain and darken the color. Things such as medicine, juice, fruits, and much more can stain your teeth, but will not affect your overall health. Keep in mind that the natural process of aging can also darken your teeth.

 

#10: If nothing is bothering you, then you don’t need a dental check-up.

False: With a lot of dental issues, you won’t necessarily feel pain right away. For example, in the early stages of cavities and gum disease, patients do not normally feel pain until after several months or years. If these issues are left alone for too long and symptoms begin to appear, that’s when it often becomes a bigger issue. Waiting to go to the dentist until your cavity hurts can result in a root canal or extraction when it could have been prevented and taken care of.

 

It is important to educate yourself on what is true versus what is fictional. Good oral health can be achieved with the right daily habits; however, the wrong habits caused by myths can lead to irreversible damages.

 

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