Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Reaching for a sports drink may seem like a smart way to rehydrate during a big game or after completing your exercise regimen, but you may not be as educated as you think. Consumption of sports drinks is on the rise, with 62 percent of American teenagers drinking at least one a day. That’s why it’s important to inform consumers that these drinks which are touted to help your body can also take a toll on your health, at least on your oral health. Let’s find out exactly how sports drinks can negatively impact your teeth.

What makes sports drinks harmful?

You might guess that sugar is what makes these drinks less appealing. It’s true that you should avoid the brands heavy in sugar, but that’s actually not your teeth’s biggest enemy in sports drinks. It’s the high acid content that presents the most danger. Researchers have found that sports drinks have so much acid that they can start damaging your teeth after just five days of regular consumption.

Aren’t they better than drinking soda?

Most people choose these drinks thinking they will enhance their sports performance, and that they’re a better option than soda. Sports drinks are not that different than soda because they contain as much or more sugar. It’s simply not true that sports drinks are healthier for your teeth than soda.

What kind of damage can they do?

The acid in sports drinks can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. They erode your enamel, which is the shiny outer layer of your teeth, causing them to become sensitive to temperature changes and to touch. It also increases your risk of decay and cavities.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?

If you just can’t give up sports drinks, at least try to minimize the amount you consume. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards, but don’t brush your teeth immediately because it might spread the acid around your mouth. Wait about an hour for the pH level in your mouth to normalize, and then brush. You can also chew sugarless gum after having a sports drink, which increases your saliva flow and helps to return your mouth’s acidity levels back to normal.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

Tips for Avoiding Plaque

Tips for Avoiding Plaque

Plaque is your mouth’s enemy. It is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, and produces acid as it mixes with sugar from foods and drinks you consume. Over time, these acids destroy your tooth enamel and lead to decay. Plaque can also form under your gums and affect both the gum tissue and the bones supporting your teeth.

So how can you avoid getting the plaque that causes these problems? Here are some helpful tips.

Brush

Use a fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush all of your tooth surfaces, as well as your tongue.

Floss

As much as many people don’t want to, flossing your teeth every day is important in getting rid of plaque between your teeth and at your gum line.

Eat healthy foods

Some foods help keep plaque off your teeth. Munch on apples, cucumbers, carrots, and other raw vegetables and fruits. Crunchy foods like these will help clean your teeth while filling you up and giving you helpful nutrients.

Avoid junk food

On the other hand, limit the amount of junk food that you eat. Sugary drinks and foods introduce sugar into your mouth that will stick to your teeth and lead to plaque formation.

See your dentist

Even if you practice good oral hygiene, some amount of plaque usually forms. It hardens to become tartar, which can only be properly removed by your dentist. Dental checkups every six months will help you keep plaque under control, and a healthy smile on your face.

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

Look Out for Oral Cancer

Look Out for Oral Cancer

The word cancer strikes fear and dismay in most people, and it’s no different when the diagnosis is oral cancer. Nearly 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disease each year and about 8,000 succumb to it. You should know the risk factors and symptoms so that you can either avoid it completely, or catch it early enough that you’ll have the best chance of recovery.
Who is at risk?
Oral cancer is not contagious, but there are some activities that put you at higher risk for the disease. Both smoked and smokeless tobacco are linked to oral cancer, and the more you use tobacco the greater your risk becomes. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases your risk, and paired with tobacco use your risk is even higher. Sun exposure heightens your chances of developing cancer of the lip.

What are the symptoms?
Oral cancer patients may experience any of these signs of the disease:

  • A sore in the mouth or throat that bleeds often and doesn’t heal within two weeks
  • A thick area or lump in the cheek
  • Patches in your mouth or on your lips that are red, white, or a mixture of the two
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty wearing your dentures
  • A sore throat
  • Tongue or mouth numbness
  • Difficulty chewing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Earache

What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you notice any of these signs, visit your dentist right away to get screened for oral cancer. When diagnosed early, there is an 80 percent survival rate. Unfortunately many patients wait too long to see their dentist, and late-stage diagnosis is the reason for most oral cancer deaths.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton? Or does it remind you of the Sahara Desert? Having an overly dry mouth can result from a variety of dental and medical issues. For example, one common culprit of dry mouth symptoms is related to medications. The best long-term solution is to consult your dentist or physician to determine the root cause of your dry mouth, and to get treatment to solve the problem. Sometimes all that is needed is to change to a different medication, and your dry mouth will disappear. However, here are some things you can try to temporarily relieve your dry mouth until you are able to determine what is causing it.

  • Sip water often.
  • Limit caffeine consumption, which can dry out your mouth even more.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, such as Biotene.
  • Do not use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Do not use mouthwashes containing alcohol, because it can be drying.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen your dryness symptoms.
  • Add moisture to the air using a humidifier.
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

If you do experience the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s especially important to protect your oral health. Make sure you brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist if prescription fluoride toothpaste would benefit you. Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth. Limit the amount of sugary foods or items high in acids, as both of these types of foods increase your risk of tooth decay. Following these tips for relieving dry mouth symptoms can make it more comfortable for you to eat, swallow, and talk.

If you live in the Clinton NJ area contact us today

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

Your body is a little bit like a puzzle. It gives you clues to help you figure out what’s going on within your body. Did you know your mouth can give you hints about things that may be happening elsewhere in your body? Here’s a list of some of the signs your mouth can give you to pay attention to certain other aspects of your health.

Worn teeth and headache

If your teeth are showing extensive wear, you may be grinding your teeth. This would be even a stronger possibility if you’re also experiencing regular headaches, which can be caused by the muscle tension related to teeth grinding. This condition also indicates that you are likely under too much stress, and that you are unconsciously coping with it by grinding your teeth.

Gums covering teeth

If your gums begin to grow over your teeth and you are on medication, it may mean that your medication is at fault. Some medicines can cause your gums to overgrow, and the dosage needs to be adjusted.

Mouth sores

An open sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks can be an indicator of oral cancer. Numbness and unexplained bleeding in your mouth are other signs. Smokers and people over age 60 are at the most risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others too. See your dentist to make sure all is okay.

Cracked teeth

If your teeth begin to crack or wear extensively, you may have gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD). It’s a digestive disease that allows stomach acid to flow back into your food pipe and mouth. This acid can cause your teeth to deteriorate. Additional signs of GERD are acid reflux, heartburn, and dry mouth.

Unclean dentures

If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them regularly. Inhaling food debris from your dentures that makes its way to your lungs can lead to pneumonia.

If you live in the Clinton NJ area contact us today

Stop the Pop!!

Whether you call it pop, soda, soft drink, or something else, these terms all refer to a sugary, carbonated drink popular all over the country. It is estimated that Americans consume over 13 billion gallons of soft drinks each year. These beverages can cause serious health problems, including negative effects on your oral health.

Soft drinks are one of the most significant reasons for tooth decay, and it impacts all age groups. From babies drinking it out of bottles to teenagers drinking it all day long to older adults sipping it in retirement homes, it is deteriorating tooth enamel and eroding gums of everyone who consumes it.

Why are soft drinks harmful?

The high sugar content in the drinks is the root cause of trouble, and the high acid content adds to the threat. The sugar combines with bacteria in your mouth to create an acid, which adds to the acid from the drink itself. Then this mixture attacks your teeth. Each time you take a drink of the carbonated beverage, an acid attack begins in your mouth. During this time, your tooth enamel is weakened and cavities are just waiting to form. You may think that the risk goes away by drinking sugar-free soft drinks. Although these are less harmful, they are still acidic and can lead to decay.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?

The ideal way to rule out risks from soft drinks is to cut them out of your diet completely. If you think you just can’t live without them, here are some suggestions:

  • Substitute other drinks. Try drinks with less sugar, like 100% fruit juice and milk.
  • Set a good example. Drink alternatives yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  • Sip with straws. This helps keep the sugar from direct contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse with water. After drinking a soda, rinse your mouth with water to reduce the amount of sugar and acid hanging onto your teeth and gums.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse. Using fluoride in your daily dental routine helps to reduce decay and strengthen enamel. Also ask your dentist about the possible need for professional fluoride treatments.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office

Cavities Not Just for Kids

Cavities: Not Just for Kids

Once you’re an adult, you don’t have to worry about cavities anymore. Right? Wrong! It’s true that you should have mastered oral hygiene techniques, but there are different factors that can contribute to cavities that weren’t a big issue during childhood. What are some of the things that put you at risk for cavities once you’ve reached adulthood, and what can you do about them?

Diet

Often your diet is worse as an adult without even realizing it, and what you eat and drink directly affects your teeth and gums. Sugar is the biggest offender and all types of sugar counts, not just the obvious candy or sodas. Limit your consumption of juices, milk, crackers, sweetened coffee, fruits, and vitamin or energy drinks.

Grazing

Many people tend to “graze” on foods and drinks all day long. If you snack frequently, you’re giving bacteria a constant supply of sugars to mix with and damage your mouth. Even though it’s tempting to sip on coffee or soda all morning, it’s better to drink it in one sitting. Also consider using a straw to avoid your teeth completely.

Receding gums

If your gums pull away from your teeth, your tooth roots can be exposed to plaque. Older patients with gingivitis, or gum disease, are more likely to form cavities. If the roots of your teeth are uncovered, you are more susceptible to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Previous fillings

Fillings you received earlier in life can contribute to adult cavities. The filling may weaken with time, allowing bacteria into any cracks. Your dentist will check existing fillings for wear and replace them if needed.

Medical conditions

People with lower saliva flow due to various illnesses are at higher risk of cavities. Cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation are at more risk, as are smokers. People with limited manual dexterity may be unable to clean their teeth sufficiently.

Ways to decrease your risk

Brush with a fluoride toothpaste after meals, floss daily, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. See your dentist twice a year, and also inquire about fluoride treatments.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office

Great Snacks for Your Kid’s Teeth

The school year has started and kids are busy with school, sports, and social activities. It’s a challenge sometimes to get your kids to eat healthy when they are on-the-go, not only for their overall health but also for their oral health. Here are some tasty and healthy snacks that you can offer your kids, and chances are they’ll like them!

Yogurt:
Dairy foods help build strong bones, and they’re also great for a strong mouth. Eating low-fat yogurt provides calcium. Try mixing it with berries and granola for a healthy parfait, or making homemade fruity yogurt popsicles to attract your children’s attention.

Cheese:
Besides providing calcium, cheese helps fight cavities. It triggers saliva production, which washes away food particles in your mouth and the acids that can weaken your teeth. In these ways, cheese halts the process of cavity formation. Cheese not only contains calcium but also phosphorous, which both help rebuild the enamel on your teeth.

Blueberries:
These berries may be small, but they’re packed with Vitamin C, minerals, and folic acid. They also contain ingredients which studies show help prevent diabetes and cancer. Try adding blueberries to pancakes and muffins, or sprinkling them with a small amount of sugar and topping them with whipped cream.

Almonds:
Nuts like almonds contain ingredients to fight diseases, as well as Vitamin E, fiber, calcium, and iron. Most kids enjoy eating almonds raw, but remember they are a choking hazard for young children.

Whole wheat bread:
Bread made with whole wheat provides kids with iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins. Whole grain cereal offers calcium, fiber, and vitamins. Enjoying these whole wheat snacks with milk provides an even healthier snack for your kids.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Problems with your mouth or teeth can occur suddenly. You might be injured playing a sport, eating, or even just while doing a seemingly harmless activity. You should know what types of dental problems are considered emergencies, and what to do while waiting to see your dentist. Quick action can make a big difference in saving a tooth, or limiting damage to your mouth or face.

What is considered an emergency?

Not every dental problem must be treated as an emergency, but some do require professional treatment as soon as possible. This includes a broken or knocked out tooth, lost crowns and fillings, severe toothache, infection, and injuries to the soft tissues of your mouth.

What should I do?

See your dentist as soon as possible to treat the problem and prevent further damage. Here are some steps to take if you experience any of the following common dental emergencies:

  • Severe toothache – rinse your mouth with warm water and floss to remove trapped food.
  • Swelling – apply a cold compress on the outside of the swollen area. Do not place any painkiller or aspirin against your gums, because it can burn your gum tissue.
  • Chipped or broken tooth – if possible, save the piece that has broken off. Rinse both the piece and your mouth with warm water. If it is bleeding, hold gauze on the area. Apply a cold compress to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Lost filling – apply dental cement from your drugstore to fill the hollow area until you can see your dentist. Or, try placing a bit of sugarless gum into the area.
  • Lost crown –try to replace the crown on your tooth and hold it in place temporarily with dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste.
  • Abscess – infections in your mouth can become abscessed, which is a serious condition. Rinse with warm salt water and see your dentist immediately.
  • Soft tissue injuries – treat damage to your gums, cheeks, tongue and lips by rinsing with warm salty water. Hold gauze to the specific area to control bleeding, and hold a cold pack to the external area.

Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ