Dr. Colton Rich and our Frandsen Dental team in Orem, Utah, want to share some tips with you today to help you create a healthy smile for the holidays. Even if you brush and floss daily, being mindful of these healthy smile tips can help you in your quest to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.
The first line of defense in your mouth is your saliva, as it acts like a disinfecting cavity fighter. Plaque–the bacteria that sticks to the teeth and releases acid that wears down tooth enamel–is responsible for causing tooth decay. Saliva helps rinse away bacteria and neutralizes the acid. If you have dry mouth, whether from illness, medication, or unhealthy habits, you need to increase your saliva for a healthy smile. To help stimulate sufficient saliva production, drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum or mints, and snack on crisp vegetables. Our dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva if necessary.
Eating sugar or having a soda with a meal is one thing, but snacking or drinking sugary items all day is destructive. The more often you consume sugar (feeding the bacteria in plaque) the more acids coat your tooth enamel for longer periods. It is better to have a slice of cheesecake with a meal rather than snack on chips or chocolate throughout the day.
It takes about 20 minutes to clear sugar from your mouth before it is neutralized. During that 20-minute time period, the bacteria convert the sugar to acid where they are busy attacking your teeth and demineralizing the enamel. Snacking all day keeps this process going on long enough to result in tooth decay, over time. As teeth continue to soften the end result can be root canals and extracted teeth. This is why you want to brush and floss the bacteria away daily.
Gum disease is an indicator of overall health because chronic inflammation from your body fighting off bacteria can affect other areas of your body. People with diabetes have higher levels of gum disease, and high levels of gum disease have been linked to increased risk of heart disease and premature births. Your gums serve as a barrier to help prevent inflammation which can damage your body.
For a healthier smile, remember to brush your pearly whites at least twice each day and floss at least once daily. Be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year, and if you need to schedule your next visit, please call 801-224-7900. Dr. Colton Rich and our Frandsen Dental team in Orem, Utah, wish you and your family a healthy holiday season!