Sugar and Your Teeth

by MikeMeehan 1/15/2018 10:47 AM

When you reach for a cookie or a piece of candy and you place that sugar-filled food in your mouth, you might only think about how wonderful and delicious it tastes. Now I’m going to challenge you to think of it from a different perspective. Here’s what happens to your teeth when that sugar enters your mouth. Bacteria in your mouth There’s good bacteria and bad bacteria in your mouth. The harmful bacteria uses the sugar from the cookie or piece of candy to create acid. Acid hurts your enamel The acid that was just formed from the bacteria and sugar in your mouth will now work to destroy the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is like a protective coating on your teeth. But the acid removes important minerals on your enamel, and eventually causes it to weaken and form a hole in your tooth, also known as a cavity. A cavity forms With the destroyed enamel and hole in your tooth caused by the acid, that cavity can actually continue to spread into the deeper layers of your tooth. This is when you will feel pain or sensitivity. Reverse the damage Even though this process is happening when you eat sugar, there are other things going on in your mouth to fight against a cavity. Saliva is working hard to repair your teeth through a process called remineralization. The minerals in your saliva, calcium and phosphate, help to replace the minerals attacked by the acid. Fluoride in your water or in your toothpaste do the same thing to help your enamel. Other steps to take Besides cutting back on sugary foods and beverages, there are other steps you can take. If you’re eating sweets, try to do so during a meal. Avoid sticky foods because they will stick to your teeth and that gives them more time and opportunity to do damage. Sticky foods include starchy foods like crackers and chips. Drinking and rinsing with water can help. Choices like cheese or other dairy foods have calcium and phosphates. Those minerals help your enamel, like described above. Also, chewing sugarless gum or eating fresh fruits and vegetables, like celery, increases saliva production. And, of course, there is our ever constant reminder to brush twice a day for two minutes to prevent cavities. We care about the health of your smile and sugar is a big deterrence from keeping your smile cavity-free. Remember what’s going on in your mouth when you chew on that candy bar!

’Tis the Season for Dental and Vision Health Traditions

by MikeMeehan 12/20/2017 10:32 AM

At Delta Dental, we always have your dental and vision health in mind. And that doesn’t stop during the holidays. So we’ve come up with fun and unique ways to incorporate the goal to improve your dental and vision health with new holiday traditions and gift-giving ideas.  Elf on the Shelf can teach good health habits This popular elf can promote good dental health habits with your kids. He or she can encourage healthy snacking by sitting next to the fruit bowl. Or how about if the elf was wrapped up in dental floss and left a note about flossing daily? The elf can even bring gifts of new toothbrushes and toothpaste. Sunglasses and other vision wear make great gifts Sunglasses make a great holiday gift. They should be used in the winter, and it’s a nice reminder of the summer though it may be months away. Other vision wear like swim goggles and computer glasses or blue light blocking eyewear are useful gifts for the kids and entire family. Eyeglass holders come in all sorts of varieties for all personalities, and they’re also a useful gift for your friends. Bring along a pomegranate When you go to your holiday parties or family gatherings, instead of arriving with the usual candy and cookies, start a new tradition of arriving with festive fruit. The pomegranate is a symbol for the season and could be a unique surprise. Contributing healthy choices to the array of holiday foods is a good way to keep your overall health, and your dental and vision health, in mind during a season when those priorities might be pushed aside. Toothbrush in the stocking Need a stocking stuffer? Toothbrushes will fit in the stockings perfectly. There are fun options available for the kids. And a toothbrush in the stocking will be a good reminder to brush since kids are eating lots of sweets during the holiday. There’s room for floss in there, too. Holiday sing-a-long while you brush Already in the holiday spirit? Are you already listening to and singing along to your favorite festive tunes? Great! Now keep doing that while you’re brushing your teeth. Jingle Bells is a great choice to cover the two minutes of brushing you do twice a day. It works as a great reminder for the kids. Donations If you’re getting together donations, think about dental and vision health contributions. Consider donating dental health necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to your preferred charity. Also consider the gift of vision this year. You can donate your old eyeglasses, reading glasses, frames, and sunglasses or donate to a charity that provides vision care to communities in need. We love the idea of giving the gift of dental and vision health this season, whether it’s through donations or starting new gift traditions. We wish you happy holidays and bright and healthy smiles in the New Year!

5 Ways to Keep Your Sweet Tooth Healthy This Holiday Season

by MikeMeehan 12/13/2017 2:58 PM

Your December calendar is filling up quickly with work celebrations, school concerts, and family and friend gatherings. Despite your busy schedule this time of year, don’t let the season put the health of your smile in jeopardy. I’m going to enjoy the tradition of holiday cookies, and I want you all to enjoy too! Let’s just make sure we don’t skip our twice daily brushing during the frenzy and flurry. Here’s five ways to keep your oral health safe through this sugar-filled season. When you’re indulging in sweets, enjoy with a meal When indulging in the holiday cookies and candy, enjoy with a meal. Choose not to make the sweet treat a stand-alone snack. If you eat with other foods, the foods will stimulate saliva, which will help to wash the harmful sugars and acids away from your teeth and gums. Drink water after eating candy and cookies If you’re eating holiday sweets, drink more water. Drinking water will wash away the leftover food in your teeth and mouth. Also, do your best to avoid sugary beverages. Don’t let your good habits hibernate It’s the holidays, and it’s fun to celebrate with special foods and treats. Now counterbalance that by keeping up your usual good oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. It doesn’t hurt to throw in an additional brushing a day with the extra intake of sugar. And even when the holidays are over, and you want to hide away from the cold, don’t let the inactivity mean laziness when taking care of your teeth. Be prepared with a toothbrush and floss Since you’re keeping up those good oral health habits, remember to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste when you’re traveling to see family and friends over the holidays. Even though you aren’t in your daily routine at home, keep up the daily habits of brushing and flossing, no matter where you are during the holidays. Try to limit the snacks Overall, though there will be lots of temptations put out at work, during your visiting, and all the other special places you may go. Try to stay away from the between-meal snacks like pretzels and crackers. Though the sugar-filled food like cake and cookies are highlighted during the season, snacks like chips and pretzels still contain sugar and starch that can stick to your teeth. Instead reach for the other snack options like carrots, celery, nuts and cheese. Fresh veggies and these other options are a better choice for your smile. With a few extra precautions this holiday season, you’ll keep your smile healthy and bright for the new year.

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