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!

Did you visit your dentist this year?

by MikeMeehan 11/29/2017 1:54 PM

Even though this time of year might be busy with holiday plans, make some time to see your dentist. Most dental plans have the benefit deadline of December 31, so be sure to fit in your regular exams and cleanings before the end of the year. Benefit plans differ, so read your plan documents first. As you look over your benefit plan offerings, check to see if you’ve reached your deductible and find out what your annual maximum is. This will help determine which benefits you want to use before the end of the year. As a reminder, your deductible is the amount you have to pay before your benefit plan begins to pay the cost of your treatment. Your annual maximum is the maximum dollar amount a dental plan will pay for care within a benefit period. You can read more about deductibles, maximums and other dental coverage basics, here. It’s about preventive care Oral health and dental benefits are all about preventive care. That’s why we want you to get to the dentist! Dental benefits work to stop problems before they begin. If you put in the time for preventive care, like visiting your dentist routinely and brushing twice a day for two minutes, it can help avoid bigger and more costly problems in the future, like cavities or gum disease. Other appointments to make Vision benefits are similar to dental benefits because they focus on preventive care too. These are benefits you want to use. And just like we emphasize oral health is an important part of your overall health, your vision health is also connected to your overall health. While you’re making your last dental appointment of the year, fit in your regular comprehensive eye exam with your vision care provider. And learn more about our vision coverage, DeltaVision®. If you have any questions about your benefits plan, you can sign in to your account or contact us. 

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