If you want to stay away from the emergency dentist, the best thing you can do is take positive steps to maintain great oral health. This involves avoiding some foods and putting yourself on a daily regimen of oral hygiene.
Taking care of your oral health not only benefits your mouth, it is an important part of maintaining an overall state of good health. Poor oral hygiene leading to poor oral health is now linked to a number of systemic diseases and conditions, including heart disease and dementia. While it may seem like a lot to remember at first, it is quite easy to maintain great oral health and hygiene once it has become a habit.
The Basics of Good Oral Care
The basics of good oral care are simple: brush, floss and avoid all simple sugars. In addition, drink plenty of water, avoid smoking and make regular trips to the dentist for cleaning and checkups. Sadly, though, for many of us, this is more easily said than done. Here is some information that will help you along in your quest for great oral health.
Why Teeth Decay and Gums Become Diseased
Like all of the bone in your body, your teeth are composed mainly of minerals. One of the most important is calcium. The tooth has a hard outer coating called enamel. This enamel can be attacked by bacteria in the form of plaque. When plaque sticks to your teeth, it combines with sugar to manufacture acids. These acids eventually erode the tooth enamel enough to make it all the way through. It only takes sugar 3-5 minutes to begin to demineralise your teeth. On the other hand, you can chew sugar free gum between meals and it can help remove sugar and acids from your enamel.
Saliva works to remineralise your teeth, protecting them from decay. Unfortunately, the acids can eventually cause infectious process that results in tooth decay. Natural remineralisation can reverse mild forms of decay in the beginning of the cycle. If the decay isn’t remineralised, the decay will eventually form a hole in the tooth. This hole is called a cavity.
Mild gum disease in which the gums bleed while brushing is called Gingivitis. There are many causes for gum disease. The same infectious process that causes tooth decay also causes gum disease. Some people are more prone to developing gum disease due to the misfortune of genetics. Tobacco use is a major cause of gum disease. If you are diabetic, you are also at a greater risk of developing gum disease and other infections.
What You Should Eat
It is important that you avoid sugar if you want to have a healthy mouth. Sugar is the number one factor in tooth decay. Many studies have shown that the amount and frequency with which you eat simple sugars has a direct effect on tooth decay. It is highly recommended that you eat a wide variety of healthy foods and avoid sugars and starches.
As we explained above, the sugars in your mouth are converted to acids that can eat through your enamel and demineralise the tooth. Every time you eat sugar, it takes one hour for your mouth’s pH level to go from acidic to neutral or non-acidic conditions.
It is great to eat crunchy fruits and vegetables. These can include: pears, apples, carrots, celery and similar fruits and vegetables. The act of chewing increases saliva, which protects the teeth from sugars and acids.
It is also recommended to drink a lot of water but to avoid soft drinks and juices. Soft drinks are more likely than not to contain phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid binds with free calcium atoms to produce dicalcium phosphate. This leaves less calcium for your teeth and other bones. Fruit juices are not only heavy in sugar, but orange juice is very acidic. If you really must have any of these beverages, drink them through a straw to keep exposure to teeth at a minimum.
Regular Checkups are a Must
Even with the best oral hygiene, you need a checkup and professional cleaning at least once a year. To learn more or to set up an appointment, call 1300 GREAT SMILE today:(08) 9404 9500