Tips for Maintaining a Dental-Friendly Diet

Teeth are built to last, and with proper care they can provide us with a lifetime of great smiles. One way to keep teeth healthy and strong is with a dental-friendly diet.

Eat for Good General Health

Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health. These nutrients are best consumed through the food we eat. Many of these nutrients are great for oral health too, so a nutritious diet is a great start to taking care of your teeth. Teeth are a kind of bone tissue, so any nutrients that are good for your bones are good for your teeth, too. Look out for these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A is important for gum health and healing.
  • Vitamin C is vital for gum health, and helps protect the teeth against the earliest stages of gum disease.
  • Vitamin K is important in protein production, including proteins that are important for bone health, and the maintenance of bone tissue.

Snack on High-fiber Foods

Nutrient-rich veggies and fruits can be great for general and oral health, and they have an additional benefit for teeth and gum health. Eating crisp and crunchy foods such as celery, carrots, and other veggies helps keep your teeth clean between meals. The action of chewing these foods helps to clear plaque away while promoting saliva production, helping to neutralize acids from food and oral bacteria.

Avoid Sugars

As well as foods to choose, there are foods to avoid: the most important being those that are high in sugar. Feeding on sugars makes oral bacterial produce acids that break down tooth enamel, promoting decay and disease. To prevent this from happening, avoid sugary foods whenever possible. And when you do eat them, try and brush promptly afterward to mitigate the damage.

Choose the Right Beverages

Certain beverages aren’t great for oral health: in particular, sugary beverages, carbonated drinks, and alcohol lead to an oral environment that promotes tooth decay. Choosing water over other beverages whenever possible is best for oral health.

Water is a great choice for another reason: it’s the best way to stay hydrated. This helps ensure your mouth can produce enough saliva to stay moist and at the right pH to reduce bacteria growth.

Don’t Chew on Ice

Chewing on ice may be enjoyable, but it’s terrible for your teeth! Ice and other hard substances can crack the teeth. Even tiny, non-visible cracks make the teeth susceptible to further damage. Tiny cracks can become larger over time, eventually resulting in large chips or cracks, and even broken teeth.

Advertisements

FABULOUS FLOSSING

…The Right Way to a Flawless Floss

images

At Mitchell Dentistry, we take every opportunity to guide and educate our patients on how to maintain their healthy, beautiful smiles. We are great fans of the “perfect flossing technique” and are happy to share it with you. And don’t worry if you struggle with your technique at the beginning, flossing is a learned skill and you will get better with practice.

Thanks for the American Dental Association and MouthHealthy.org for creating an easy guide to the proper way to floss.  Remember: at least once a day the right way to keep your mouth healthy!

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
 

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

 

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

 

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

 

Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.

Let us know if you have any questions about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. Look for products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance so you know they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim

 

 

 

 

5 Dental Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Smile

A beautiful smile often takes hard work and dedication to maintain. Patients often experience detriments to dental health because of a lack of understanding their wellbeing or failure to stay consistent with their oral hygiene routine. With the help of these five dental tips, you’ll be on your way to maintaining a healthy set of teeth for a lifetime.

Brush and floss regularly. Your daily routine greatly influences your health. After 24 hours, any plaque on your teeth can harden into tartar, a source of several dental health concerns. Individuals that brush twice a day and floss regularly remove plaque before it can turn into calculus, preventing issues such as decay, halitosis, and periodontal disease.

Rinse with antiseptic, non-alcoholic mouthwash. Adding this to your daily hygiene routine helps to control the amount of bacteria in the mouth, improving your dental and overall health. Make sure that the mouthwash you rinse with is non-alcoholic, as options containing alcohol may cause dry mouth.

Visit your dentist regularly. While maintaining optimal oral care at home is important, a beautiful set of teeth needs the care from a professional. Scheduling an appointment every six months for routine examinations and cleanings ensures your teeth remain in tip-top shape. Additionally, your dentist can address problem areas in the mouth, improving and maintaining your dental health.

Avoid added sugar. Foods high in sugar lead to cavities and decay. The bacteria in the mouth feeds off sugar, producing acid as a result and breaking down tooth’s enamel. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables high in fiber, such as apples and cucumbers, act as interim tooth brushes, preventing plaque buildup.

Do not smoke! Smoking is a major risk factor in developing gingivitis, discoloration, and decay. Smoking weakens your body’s immune system, leaving plaque and bacteria on teeth. Eventually, the plaque and resultant tartar lead to receding gums and tooth loss. Exposure to cigarettes is also a primary cause of oral cancer.

Discover More

You can find out more ways to improve your dental health by scheduling an appointment with Drs. James, Yolanda, and Jim Mitchell. Call or visit our Mitchell Dentistry in Fort Myers, and let’s work on improving your dental health together.

The Truth About Sugary Drinks: From a Dental Student’s Point of View

At Mitchell Dentistry, one of our top priorities is educating our patients. A critical challenge is how to provide sometimes technical information that is clear, concise and easy to understand. Perhaps that’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) has a contest for dental students in health literacy. This year’s winner, Ida Gorshteyn, was just announced, and we understand why. Her essay entitled  “The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile” does an excellent job of presenting important information in an entertaining, informative way.

Ms. Gorshteyn says, “This essay was actually one of my first experiences with health literacy. It was eye-opening and educational to see firsthand how nuanced and actually difficult it is to write with a public health targeted audience and goal in mind.“

 We congratulate Ida Gorshteyn and hope you find her article helpful:

 The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile

By Ida Gorshteyn

UCLA School of Dentistry student

Winning Essay 2017

 Sweetened beverages have become a treat that many Americans have every day. The truth is that these drinks are not healthy, especially for our dental health and smiles. Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.

images

Some of the most common beverages that Americans drink actually have loads of sugar, even drinks that are marketed as “healthy” or “all natural”. If you think you’re safe with drinks like juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can contain a similar amount of sugar to glass of soda. According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp. Just one glass of that apple juice would put many people at (or just under) their entire daily limit.

Eliminating sugary beverages from our diets would be best, but reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options with less sugar is already a step in the right direction. Here is a list of drinks that are full of sugar and drinks that are better choices.

Lots of Sugar Better Choices 
 Soda Water
 Energy drinks Unsweetened tea
 Chocolate milk Milk
 Smoothies Plain sparkling water
 Fruit punch or juice Diluted juice

All of the drinks in the better choice column have little or no sugar. That means they won’t give the bacteria in your mouth a chance to cause trouble and make acid that can damage your teeth. Water can also contain fluoride, which protects teeth against cavities. The calcium in milk also helps keep your teeth strong. If you or your children are allergic to cow’s milk, try unsweetened milk substitute (such as almond, soy, rice) with added calcium.

If you find you can’t resist your morning cup of sweetened coffee, tea, or juice, there still are some things you can do to help protect your teeth. Here are some suggestions to consider.

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the bacteria more time to eat the sugar and to create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and has re-duced the number of cavities across the nation.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Ask your dentist about the best way to do this. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit to your dentist regularly.

Knowing what drinks contain sugar and that sugar-sweetened drinks can hurt your dental health is a good start. Set some goals for your family to follow these tips. Good habits begin at a young age, so help your kids make healthy decisions about what they choose to drink. Set a positive example, and you will all have healthier smiles and a healthier future.

 

All of us at Mitchell Dentistry hope you take these suggestions to heart for your healthier, happier smile. As always, we are here for your questions and concerns. Let us know what you think about this essay, and if there are other topics you would like us to share with you.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

National Gum Care Month is here!

unknownThe month of September brings our attention to back-to-school, football season and for those up north, autumn leaves. But did you know that September is also National Gum Care Month? Don’t laugh…caring for your gums is as important as caring for your teeth, and at Mitchell Dentistry, we’re excited that there is a whole month dedicated to creating awareness about this topic.

Healthy Gums Matter

We all tend to be more attentive to what we can see: are my teeth white enough? Are my teeth straight enough? But remember that it takes healthy gums to support your healthy smile. Many people are at risk of gum disease, or suffering from it already, and they may not even know. During the month of September, learn what to look for to keep your gums healthy.

dentalimage

Protect Your Body

Unhealthy gums can lead to many afflictions, all over the body. Through periodontal disease, bacteria and inflammation can enter the bloodstream, which can cause problems with

  • the brain and nervous system
  • the heart
  • blood
  • joints

Your overall health depends on healthy gums. Learn what the signs of gum disease are so you can recognize them and take action:

Symptoms to Watch For

Here are some symptoms to look out for so that you can take the next steps, and make an appointment with our office. Hopefully we can address some of these symptoms early on, before it is necessary for us to recommend a visit to your periodontist for further evaluation.

The most common signs of gum disease are tenderness, swelling, or redness in the gums. If your gums are receded from the teeth or your teeth feel loose, it is also a signifier that your gums may be unhealthy. Of course, if you notice bleeding, you should make an appointment with our office immediately.

Knowledge is Power

Our goal is to help spread awareness about healthy teeth and gums throughout the year. Because September is National Gum Care Month, this gives us an extra opportunity to pass on helpful information to our patients.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

To Floss or Not to Floss…

At Mitchell Dentistry, we encourage you to floss. In light of the latest news reports suggesting that there is little evidence that flossing works (http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/new-report-suggests-there-is-little-evidence-that-flossing-works-736960579572), we are compelled to let our patients and friends know that indeed flossing serves a very specific, and necessary, purpose.

Unknown

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 statement.

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.

For a lighthearted look at what you can do with your floss should you decide that it might be useless, take a look at NBC’s follow-up story here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/different-uses-dental-floss-now-it-s-useless-n622846

After you’ve finished with a little chuckle, here are some great tips from the ADA on how to floss correctly and effectively, along with a helpful video:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing

Please take our advice and continue to floss – our team at Mitchell Dentistry only wants the best for you, and would never “string you along.”

images

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. And we love your feedback – how do you feel about flossing?

All the best,

Dr. Jim

Story Sources:

The above post cites information from NBC-TV News and the American Dental Association (ADA).

 

 

Six solutions for a healthy smile

Even the best of us sometimes develop habits that are hard to break.  Today, we’re sharing some tips from the American Dental Association on six of the most common bad habits for your dental health and what you can do to change those habits:

  1. Nail BitingUnknown

The habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw.

The solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

  1. Brushing Too Hardtoothbrushes

The habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard.

The solution: Use a soft toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance at the proper pressure. Instead of scrubbing, think about massaging.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

The habit: This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness or joint pain.

The solution: Relaxation and staying aware of this habit can help.  You might also consider a nighttime mouthguard to lessen tooth damage and muscle soreness.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubesimages

The habit: Both tooth enamel and ice are like crystals, and when you push two crystals together, one will break.  Most of the time it’s the ice, but beware that it can sometimes be the tooth.

The solution: Drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted.

  1. Constant SnackingGummy bears TLL #43

The habit: Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as Tools

The habit: Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.

The solution: Stop and find something or someone to give you a hand. You will be much happier in the long run!

Are there any other habits you can think of that may be harmful to your teeth?  Let us know, and we may have some advice on how to change those habits and improve your smile.

dental-patient-shaking-hands

At Mitchell Dentistry, we always welcome your comments and feedback.

All the best,

Dr. Jim