Nutrition and Oral Health

Nutrition and Oral Health

As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, we would like to discuss how nutrition affects oral health.  Pretty much everyone knows that what we eat and drink has a powerful impact on our overall health, but many don’t think much about how it relates to our oral health, as our food and drink just kind of “passes through” our mouths on their way into the body.  Most people know that sticky sweets can cause cavities, but other than that, it is not a much-contemplated issue, so we would like to discuss it here. Here are some other dietary things to consider when protecting your mouth: In addition to candy, other sweets like cakes and pies, and snack foods such as chips can also damage teeth because the bacteria that live in the mouth feed on the types of sugars these foods contain and then release acids that can cause tooth decay. Acidic and sugary drinks can also be harmful because sipping on them keeps your teeth bathed in the sugars that the bacteria use to produce acids, or are bathed in the acids from the drinks themselves, which can contribute to tooth decay. Even some foods that are healthy can have harmful acids, like tomatoes and citrus fruits, so they should be eaten as part of a meal rather than by themselves to cut down on the harmful effects of the acid on teeth. Fresh fruit is healthier for your mouth than dried fruit, because dried fruit is sticky and can adhere to teeth, making those sugars and acids remain in the mouth longer. Foods and drinks that...

World Oral Health Day

This Friday, March 20, is World Oral Health Day.  There are over 70 countries participating in the event.  This year’s theme is “Smile for Life.” The observance of World Oral Health Day is organized by the FDI World Dental Federation, and works in collaboration with some familiar names in oral care, like Listerine.  It is a way for the global dental profession to take action in a worldwide effort to reduce tooth decay and improve dental health under a unifying, simple message. According the FDI World Dental Federation, the theme “World Oral Health Day 2015, Smile for life!” is intended to have a double meaning: ‘lifelong smile’ and ‘celebrating life’. It also implies positivity and having fun, since people tend to only smile if they are happy and healthy. Around 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime, even though many of these can be prevented with the right care.  World Oral Health Day is intended to not only raise awareness, but also to provide initiative to organize efforts at improving oral health in a positive and upbeat way.  It is also to wish everyone a lifelong and healthy smile at all ages. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at Dr. Dawn Gayken...

Dental Assistants Recognition Week

The first week of March is Dental Assistants Recognition Week.  Dental assistants help dentists achieve quality care and can drastically increase the efficiency and productivity of dental office operations. What do dental assistants do? Dental assistants perform many duties that require both technical and interpersonal skills.  Their job is one of the most varied and comprehensive jobs in the office.  According to the American Dental Association (ADA), their duties can include: assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays) asking about the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling) teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling) taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth) performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer communicating with patients and suppliers (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies) helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery As you can see, the scope of what dental assistants contribute to the dental profession is wide, and is essential to making a dentist’s office an environment that is as friendly and efficient as possible.  So take time this week to thank your dental assistants for all that...

Children and Tooth Decay

Children and Tooth Decay – National Children’s Dental Health Month According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities and tooth decay, while often easily preventable, are the most common chronic condition among those ages 6-19.  Oral care habits contribute much more to tooth decay and poor oral health than either diet or genetics.  Most parents know this, yet about one third of children do not brush twice a day. Oral care habits start early, so parents need to be sure to try to instill good habits even before children can brush and floss on their own.  Good oral practices can (and should) start in infancy and be continued throughout life.  A healthy mouth helps with chewing, speaking, and appearance, and increases self-esteem in children.  Children should spend two full minutes twice a day brushing (one minute on the top, and one minute on the bottom). There are videos, activities, and more that can help parents teach their children the importance of good oral care as well as provide instructions for how to accomplish good oral care so that children can keep and maintain both their primary “baby” teeth as long as they are supposed to (which is important because they hold the space for the permanent teeth to come into), as well as their permanent teeth later on. If you would like any further information or advice, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Dawn Gayken, DDS...

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a program sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA) designed to raise awareness and promote life-long oral health to our young Americans. This year’s slogan is “Fight Monster Mouth” and is aimed at educating children and teens in the ways that they can fight off plaque, tooth decay, and other dental and oral health problems by brushing properly, flossing, rinsing, and eating healthy snacks, among other things. This program is intended to bring parents, teachers, and dental professionals together in an attempt to get children and teens to take proper care of their mouths and develop the habits that sustain good oral health. To help parents make the right decisions about their children’s dental health care and to bring awareness to this national campaign, Dr. Gayken, DDS is providing the following facts about dental sealants: Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in, before decay attacks the teeth. Sealants are made of plastic material which is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. Sealants protect the grooves and the pits on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. They provide a barrier to prevent food and bacteria from sticking to teeth. The first permanent molars come in between the ages 5 and 7, and the second molars appear when a child is between 11 and 14 years old. Ask about sealants in both stages. For more information on sealants, National Children’s Dental Health Month, or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact...

The Connection Between Dental Care and Overall Health

When people think of dentistry, they think of it being somewhat separate from medicine, but the fact is that taking care of the mouth and teeth is essential to maintaining overall health, and therefore should be treated like any other medical specialty. One reason for this may be that, in the U.S. anyway, dentistry is not included in most regular health insurance plans, but is instead sold separately (which gives the impression that it is not the same), and because culturally, we think of dental care as being more cosmetic than health-related.  But in truth, there is increasing evidence that dental care is related to many other conditions affecting overall physical as well as psychological health. According to the World Health Organization, “Oral diseases are the most common of the chronic diseases and are important public health problems because of their prevalence, their impact on individuals and society, and the expense of their treatment.” So what happens when we don’t treat dental care the same way we do other medical issues?  The answer isn’t pretty: “Oral health affects people physically and psychologically and influences how they grow, enjoy life, look, speak, chew, taste food and socialize, as well as their feelings of social well-being. Severe [tooth decay] detract from children’s quality of life: they experience pain, discomfort, disfigurement, acute and chronic infections, and eating and sleep disruption as well as higher risk of hospitalization, high treatment costs and loss of school days with the consequently diminished ability to learn. [Tooth decay] affects nutrition, growth and weight gain. Children of three years of age with nursing [decay] weighed about 1...