How Your Diet Affects Your Oral Health

The foods and drinks you consume affect more than your waistline. Your diet provides you with the nutrients you need and impacts your overall health, and also affects the health of your teeth and gums. Let’s see what the choices you make in your diet mean to your oral health.

Nutrients

If you don’t include certain nutrients in your diet, it’s harder for the tissues in your mouth to fight infection. This can promote gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated properly and early. Experts suggest that gum disease advances faster and can become more severe in people who don’t have a nutritious diet. Ask your doctor for suggestions for a healthy diet full of helpful nutrients.

Balanced diet

Your goal should be to eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy items. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

Sugar

Sugary foods and drinks are enemies for your oral health, because sugar is proven to contribute to tooth decay. When plaque comes into contact with sugar in your mouth, it causes acid to attack your teeth and lead to decay. Limit the amount of sugar you consume by reading the nutritional labels on foods and drinks, and opt for items that are lowest in sugar. Soft drinks, candy, pastries, and cookies are common sources of sugar.

Snacking

Avoid snacking in between meals, and choose healthy foods like fruit or cheese when you do snack. When you eat foods as part of a meal, it is less harmful to your teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day. This is a result of more saliva being released during a meal, which helps wash food from your mouth and lessen the impact of harmful acids.

Dental care

Practice good oral hygiene like regular flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Examining Mouth Sores

Examining Mouth Sores

Sores in or around your mouth are painful and unsightly. They can have a variety of causes, such as infections, irritation from orthodontics or dentures, and symptoms of another health problem. Here are descriptions of the most common mouth sores.

Cold sores

Also called fever blisters, cold sores appear around your lips, nose, or chin. These extremely contagious, fluid-filled blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Once you are infected with primary herpes, the virus remains in your body and occasionally flares up. Cold sores typically heal by themselves in about a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antiviral medications to reduce occurrences.

Canker sores

These small ulcers only appear inside your mouth. They are white or gray with a red border, and are not contagious. Experts are unsure of the exact cause, but suspect they are related to immune system deficiencies, viruses, or bacteria. Canker sores usually heal on their own in a week or two. It is advised to avoid spicy, hot, or acidic foods that can irritate the sore. Over-the-counter mouthwashes or topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if a secondary infection occurs.

Thrush

Oral thrush, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection occurring when the yeast Candida albicans reproduces in great amounts. Common with denture wearers, it most often appears in people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly or ill. People with dry mouth or who are on antibiotics are also at greater risk for thrush. The key to controlling candidiasis is treating the condition that causes it. Dentures should be cleaned regularly and removed at bedtime, and dry mouth should be treated in an effort to lessen that condition.

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia are thick, white patches that grow on the inside of your cheeks, gums or tongue. Common with tobacco users, they result from irritations from habits like chewing on your cheek or wearing ill-fitting dentures. Leukoplakia are also associated with oral cancer. Treatment focuses on addressing the reasons for the lesion, such as quitting smoking or replacing dentures.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Can Germs Live on my Toothbrush

Can Germs Live on my Toothbrush?

Chances are you would be disgusted at the thought of leaving your eating utensils on your bathroom counter exposed to germs, and never washing them but continuing to eat with them. This is essentially what you’re doing if you leave your toothbrush sitting out, and never sanitize or change it. Let’s talk about how to keep your toothbrush from being a germ-infested threat to your health.

Your toothbrush can be contaminated by bacteria, saliva, blood, and food particles with each use. Even after you rinse it with water, your toothbrush may appear clean but germs linger on the bristles. Some of the sources of bacteria on your toothbrush include:

  • Your mouth, which transfers germs to your toothbrush during use.
  • The environment, because bathrooms are often the most contaminated room in your house.
  • The packaging, since toothbrushes aren’t sold in sterile packages they can arrive with germs already on them.

Here are some tips to guard your toothbrush from germs:

  • Before and after you brush your teeth, wash your hands to get rid of germs.
  • Rinse your toothbrush well with water, and then allow it to air dry.
  • Store the toothbrush upright so that water can drain from it while drying.
  • Consider storing your toothbrush in a dry area outside of the bathroom, away from humidity and toilet spray
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or more often if you notice worn bristles.
  • Do not share your toothbrush with anyone.
  • Do not soak your toothbrush in disinfectant or mouthwash, which can lead to cross contamination
  • Do not bother microwaving your toothbrush or running it in the dishwasher, because these tactics may damage your brush.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

Avoiding Pregnancy Gingivitis

Avoiding Pregnancy Gingivitis

Pregnancy brings many kinds of excitement and joy to a mother’s life, but gum problems aren’t one of them. Pregnancy gingivitis not only causes gum trouble, it can also lead to higher risks for preterm labor and problems with the newborn baby. If you are pregnant and notice swelling or inflammation of your gums, you might have pregnancy gingivitis. It results from plaque buildup that irritates your gums, and can harbor bacteria that gets into your body. The bacteria can travel to your uterus and affect your pregnancy and unborn child. How can you avoid pregnancy gingivitis?

Oral hygiene

Brush and floss your teeth properly. Try to brush after all meals and snacks, especially those high in sugars or starches. See your dentist for frequent cleanings, aiming for two to three times during your pregnancy. This will remove more plaque from your teeth that you can at home, serving to lower your risk for plaque buildup.

Education

Consult your dentist before, during, and after your pregnancy. You will learn how to best care for your mouth, and what to watch for in case a problem does arise.

Nutrition

Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy will not only benefit your overall health and that of the baby, but will also limit your sugar intake which promotes plaque formation.

Dental care

Try to have dental procedures performed before you become pregnant. Some emergency procedures are safe during pregnancy, but it is best to have treatment done before pregnancy.

Bacteria control

Avoid sharing food and utensils so that you don’t transfer bacteria from person to person. Your goal is to limit the amount of bacteria in your mouth as much as possible.

Xylitol gum

Chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva, which help equalize the acids in your mouth and fight plaque buildup. The ingredient xylitol has been shown to help prevent bacteria from being able to stick on your teeth, therefore fighting tooth decay.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Nail Biting A Habit Worth Breaking

Nail Biting: A Habit Worth Breaking

Most people who bite their nails wish they didn’t do it. If you’re a nail biter, you probably know that it spreads germs and leaves your nails looking unattractive. But did you know that it can harm your teeth? Let’s find out the connection between nail biting and tooth damage, and learn some ways to stop this nasty habit.

What does nail biting do to my teeth?
Just like chewing on hard items like ice, nails are hard and put stress on your teeth when you bite down on them. With time, your teeth will weaken and your teeth can chip or break. Since nail biting is a repetitive habit, constant chewing on your teeth wears them down faster than they should. Your teeth also can become more sensitive when the enamel is worn down. Additionally, biting your nails can move your teeth out of place. Your gums are at risk too from the additional stress the nail biting puts on them, eventually leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.

What if I wear braces?
Braces already add pressure on your teeth, so nail biting can stress them even more. The roots of your teeth can be weakened, which leads to problems like tooth loss.

How can I stop biting my nails?

Here are some tips to help you stop the nail biting habit:

  • Get a hobby that uses your hands, like video games, knitting, or painting.
  • Occupy your mouth by chewing sugarless gum, sucking on mints, or eating carrot sticks.
  • Add foods to your diet containing calcium and magnesium because they help repair and grow your nails.
  • Cover your nails with tape, petroleum jelly, fake nails (for girls), or foul-tasting liquid.
  • Get manicures to make your nails look nice, so you will be less inclined to bite them.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today