Posts for: June, 2018
You've no doubt heard about certain foods and beverages that increase your risk for dental disease. These foods, often high in added sugar or acid, can lead to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
But have you heard about foods with the opposite effect — actually protecting your teeth against disease? Many of these dental-friendly foods are plant-based and fibrous: they stimulate saliva production, one of the mouth's best disease-fighting weapons.
But there are also some foods you might not expect to make the good list for dental health. Here are 3 surprising foods that could help you fight dental disease.
Cheese. We've long recognized milk as important to dental health — but cultured dairy products like cheese are also good for teeth. Cheese stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acid and replenishes the enamel's mineral content. Cheese also contains decay-stopping minerals like calcium, phosphorous and casein. And although milk cheese contains the sugar lactose, this particular type triggers less acid production than other sugars.
Black & green teas. You may have heard about the staining effect of tea, and avoided it as a result. But both forms of tea are also rich in antioxidants, substances that protect us against disease, including in the mouth. Black tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens enamel against cavities. If you drink tea, of course, you should exercise diligent hygiene to reduce any staining effect.
Chocolate. Yes, you read that right, chocolate: unrefined cocoa to be exact, which contains a number of compounds that resist decay. Ah, but there's a catch — chocolate in the form of your favorite candy bar usually contains high amounts of sugar. Sweetened chocolate, then, is a mixed bag of decay-resistive compounds and decay-promoting sugar. To get the benefit you'll have to partake of this favorite food of the Aztecs in a more raw, less sweetened form.
Of course, there's no single wonder food that prevents tooth decay. Your best approach is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and quality protein while limiting sugar-added and acidic foods.Â And don't forget daily brushing and flossing, coupled with regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups. Having a comprehensive dental care plan will help ensure your teeth remain healthy and disease-free.
If you would like more information on food choices and dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition & Oral Health.”
Have you been considering orthodontic treatment, but just can't get past the idea of wearing metal braces for a few years? The Invisalign system offers a more attractive option. Our Huntersville, NC, dentist, Dr. JC Duncan helps his patients improve their smiles with the discreet orthodontic alternative.
What is Invisalign?
The Invisalign system relies on a system of removable aligner trays that gradually realign teeth. Constructed of clear plastic, the trays are designed to fit your teeth snugly without drawing attention to your orthodontic treatment. Before you receive your aligners, your Huntersville dentist will take digital images, impressions, and X-rays that will be used to prepare a 3D image of your teeth. The 3D image is used to design aligner trays that will improve the appearance and position of your teeth. Each upper and lower tray should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day and replaced with the next set in the series approximately every two weeks.
Who can benefit from Invisalign?
Invisalign may be a good choice for you if:
- You're unhappy with the appearance of your smile. Whether your teeth are crooked, overlap, or protrude, Invisalign can correct your issue and boost your self-esteem.
- You have a bite problem. Invisalign is an excellent choice if you have an underbite, overbite, crossbite, or open bite. In addition to affecting the way your teeth look, bite issues can also make chewing difficult and lead to receding gums, eroded enamel, higher risk of gum disease, headaches, and other problems.
- You don't have a severe orthodontic issue. Invisalign corrects mild-to-moderate issues, which are the most common type of orthodontic problems. If you have a more severe issue, metal braces will probably be the better option.
- Your teeth have shifted with age. It's not unusual for your teeth to change position a little as you grow older. Invisalign can restore your original smile. Many adults will only need to use the aligners for about one year.
- You're looking for an uncomplicated option. There's no need for complicated cleaning procedures or food restrictions with Invisalign. In fact, you'll remove the trays when you eat and brush or floss your teeth.
Would you like to find out if you're the perfect candidate for Invisalign? Call our Huntersville, NC, dentist, Dr. Duncan, at (704) 948-1300 to schedule your appointment.
Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”