June 14th, 2018
When most patients ask Dr. Fred Buettner this question, they’re thinking strictly about sugar content — cut out the bacteria-feeding sugar that’s present in regular soda by opting for a diet soda and it will be better for your teeth. That seems logical, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Let’s take a closer look at how any kind of soda can affect your dental health.
Diet Soda – Why it can also lead to tooth decay
The main culprit in these drinks that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet sodas and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it’s best to avoid them.
Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.
So what about regular soda?
We know the acidity of diet sodas and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular soda? Like we alluded to earlier, regular soda is high in sugar — a 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar — and sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity your teeth and body simply don’t need.
The problems caused by both diet and regular soda is exacerbated when you sip on them throughout the day. If you drink it all in one sitting, you won’t be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth.
The best beverages to drink and how to drink them
Drinking beverages that are lower in acid is a good step to take to keep your enamel strong. According to a study conducted by Matthew M. Rodgers and J. Anthony von Fraunhofer at the University of Michigan, your best bets are plain water, black tea or coffee, and if you opt for a soda, root beer. These drinks dissolved the least amount of enamel when measured 14 days after consumption of the beverage.
If you still choose to drink soda, diet soda, sugar-free drinks, or juices here are some other tips to lessen tooth decay:
- Drink your soda or acidic beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
- Rinse with water immediately after consumption of the beverage
- Avoid brushing your teeth between 30 minutes to an hour after drinking the beverage as this has been shown to spread the acids before your saliva can bring your mouth back to a neutral pH
- Avoid drinks that have acids listed on the ingredients label
Still have questions about soda, sugar, and acid? Give our Lindsay, CA office a call and we’d be happy to help!
June 7th, 2018
Keeping on top of your oral health is key when it comes to making sure your whole body stays healthy. The bacteria that occur naturally in your mouth can produce harmful bacteria such as strep and staph, which can lead to serious infections and sickness.
When you follow good dental habits like daily brushing and flossing, and eat a healthy diet, you can discourage harmful bacteria from traveling from your mouth to other parts of your body. Protect yourself and learn more about the link between oral hygiene and a healthy body.
Until recently, tooth decay was more common because of the lack of regular dental care and research behind fluoride. Tooth decay is much less problematic today, due to fluoridated water and toothpastes that contain fluoride.
Nowadays, gum disease has replaced tooth decay as the most frequent dental problem. Periodontal disease is on the rise among adults because people don’t floss regularly and then ignore gum tenderness and bleeding. If left unchecked, periodontitis can cause inflammation that may cause harm to other parts of the body.
Oral Health and Chronic Disease
Many scientists believe inflammation-related infections can trigger systemic disease or intensify existing conditions. Remember, bacteria overgrowth in inflamed gum tissue is able to enter the bloodstream through your eating processes, which is why it’s so vital to visit our Lindsay, CA office if you notice sustained gum irritation and inflammation in your mouth.
Caring for your teeth and gums every day can prevent the onset of disease and save you trouble in the future with regard to your body’s health. If you think you may be showing signs of periodontal disease, or notice anything else out of the norm, please contact Dr. Fred Buettner and schedule an appointment.
We want you to be proactive about your health!
May 31st, 2018
Dr. Fred Buettner and our staff recommend that you replace your worn-out, germy toothbrush with a new one every three months. But most people either forget or resist getting rid of something that is still “working.”
Maybe if they had a few ideas for putting that old toothbrush to good use, more people would take our advice? To encourage good oral practices, we offer these ten fun things you can do with your used toothbrush:
1. Let your five-year-old budding Da Vinci create a masterpiece with some paint and your old toothbrush.
2. Scrub oily areas on your face with your toothbrush. The bristles are perfect for removing embedded dirt and oil that clogs pores.
3. Pamper your hamster by brushing his fur with an old toothbrush.
4. Dab a bit of Vaseline on the bristles and comb your eyelashes: instant glamour! Got dry, flaky lips? Slough away by using a toothbrush on your lips.
5. Remove the bristles: instant small plant stakes!
6. Old toothbrushes are great for spot-cleaning just about anything.
7. When nobody is around to scratch an unreachable itch on your back, turn that old toothbrush into your personal backscratcher.
8. Is your dog’s breath so bad that all your houseplants have died? Try brushing his teeth with your old toothbrush so that his kisses (and breath) are more tolerable.
9. Give your fish the cleanest tank in the neighborhood by scrubbing it with your old toothbrush.
10. Did you notice a few gray hairs sprouting from your hairline this morning? Old toothbrushes were made for touch-up dye jobs; works for dyeing your eyebrows, too!
May 24th, 2018
Xylitol tastes sweet, but unlike sugar, it is not converted to acid that can cause your teeth to decay. It’s a naturally occurring sweetener found in plants, fruits, and vegetables; even the human body produces it in small amounts. Xylitol is widely used in sugar-free chewing gum, mints, candies, and even certain forms of medicine.
The World Health Organization has approved xylitol because only a small amount is needed for its health benefits. It’s even safe for diabetics, with a glycemic index of only seven. Xylitol has 40% fewer calories than other types of carbs: less than three calories per gram.
So how can this natural sweetener benefit your oral health? Take a look at the facts. Tooth decay starts when bacteria consumes the sugars left in your mouth. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria on your teeth will multiply and make acid that can destroy your enamel.
Xylitol is derived from fibrous parts of plants, so it does not break down like a regular sugar. It actually helps maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth, which in turn prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. The bacteria are then unable to digest xylitol, which means your teeth won’t develop enamel damage and cavities.
Studies have shown the consumption of xylitol as a sugar substitute or a dietary addition had a dramatic reduction in new cavities and even reversed existing cavities. These effects are long lasting: low cavity rates remained years after the trials were done.
When there’s less bacteria and acid in your mouth due to xylitol, your teeth stay healthier. The more frequently it’s ingested, the more you will prevent enamel damage.
Aim to consume around five grams a day, or one gram every three hours if possible. You can do this by consuming gum, tablets, candy, or mints that have xylitol as one of the first ingredients after your meals. You can find these products in health food stores and specialty grocery stores.
Since xylitol replaces sugar on a one-to-one ratio, it’s used in several common items:
- Mouth rinse
- Baby oral wipes, gel, and pacifiers
- Nasal wash
- Dry mouth spray
- Granulated forms for cooking
- Granulated packets to add to drinks
- Commercially prepared foods
Make sure to pick up items that contain xylitol the next time you’re at the store! This is an easy way to maintain great oral health. If you have specific questions about xylitol, ask Dr. Fred Buettner during your next appointment at our Lindsay, CA office.