By Debra S. Lowe, D.M.D.
Winter is slowly approaching its end, and we have to think about spring cleaning. That goes for our smiles, as well as our living and working spaces.
To have a bright smile, you first must keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. That means brushing well, twice a day with an ADA recommended toothpaste. Floss every day. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and preventative care.
What’s the enemy―plaque and its calcified version, tartar!
How often your teeth are bombarded by plaque and acid plays a role in whether you increase your chances of getting a cavity.
It’s better to eat it all at once! Yes, eating five pieces of a snack at one time, exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay—for approximately 20 minutes. Eating those same five pieces at five different times keeps the attack going for 100 minutes.
That goes for sweetened beverages, too, like milk, soda pop, juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas and coffees! This “invisible liquid candy,” when sipped on for hours or all day long, coats the teeth and causes a major ongoing plaque acid attack. The teeth start to erode and decalcify, not getting a chance to be restored by the calcium in your saliva or the fluoride in your water and toothpaste. They start to decay. The acid erodes the outer layer, or enamel, of the tooth. The thinner the enamel, the more yellow your teeth will appear, because the inner core, the dentin, shows through. Erosion can also make the edges weak and transparent giving them a dark stained appearance. Once the enamel is gone, it is gone forever!
Avoid frequent acidic foods and drinks, and over snacking. This doesn’t necessarily mean the type and amount of snacks but rather the frequency of snacking that can have the most detrimental effects on teeth.
Prevent cavities. Choose snacks that are nutritious and snack in moderation. Avoid sugary and starchy kinds. Candy is the most obvious, but pretzels, chips, cakes, cookies and breads are food for the plaque germs. Even the healthy appearing snacks like gummy fruits and roll ups are very damaging. Combine sweet and sour at the same time―that’s a double whammy! Crunchy fruits and vegetables are the better choice.
Limit consumption of dark staining foods and drinks. That goes for tobacco use as well.
Replace old silver fillings with tooth colored restorations. The gray has a tendency to shine through teeth, causing them to look dark.
A professional teeth whitening program is a good safe choice to restore your bright smile that has been stained, or has darkened over the years. There are a lot of products on the market that claim to whiten your teeth many shades in just minutes by painting the solution on your teeth. Buyers beware that these products may only dissolve outer stain. True whitening with professional products, available only from your dentist, produces an internal change by way of an oxygen reaction within your teeth. This requires close prolonged contact with the teeth, in a safe controlled manner where the solution does not contact the gums.
Besides getting that good squeaky-clean feeling, a dental cleaning and exam will help keep your oral health in tip-top shape. Take the opportunity to discuss your options and concerns with your dentist.
Treat yourself to a bright smile with a spring cleaning!
Call us and mention that you want a “Spring Cleaning” and we will give you a FREE NEW PATIENT EXAM. 440-954-8300 (X-rays and cleaning excluded.)
Experience total health dentistry…
…in a spa-like atmosphere.
• Ask us about our “Whitening for Life” program
• Up-to-date education and empowerment about your total health
• Day and evening appt’s available
• Amalgam (mercury)-free
• Tranquil, relaxing atmosphere
• We cater to patient comfort