A Healthy Smile Stems from Smart Choices
- Posted on: Oct 30 2017
There are a few bits of encouragement that most people expect to hear from their dentist. One is “come back to see us in six months.” Another inevitably comes down to the benefits of avoiding sugar. It’s true that the choices we make on a daily basis are the factors that will have the most impact on the long-term health of the smile. It’s also true that dental visits should not be focused on repairing the damage that has occurred since the last exam and cleaning. How can you keep this from happening? By looking beyond the brush and finding additional choices that you can make to protect your smile.
It is not a mystery that what we eat affects the appearance as well as the overall health of the smile. What is still somewhat unknown by a lot of people is just what it is about their particular dietary habits that are causing damage. The common understanding is that sugar is bad. For too many, this is where knowledge ends. In reality, it is the acidity that sugar creates that causes everything from cavities to erosion to gum disease. Acidity is not created by sugar, but by the bacteria that eat sugar residue. Acidity is also caused by and worsened by ingredients in carbonated beverages, and even by fresh citrus fruits. This doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy the occasional soda or orange; it just means we need to be mindful about rinsing the mouth out afterward.
Most prescription and over-the-counter medications have side effects. Rarely are these anything to worry about. However, it is beneficial to notice any changes in the mouth when taking medicines such as antihistamines for allergies, antidepressants, and others. Some of these drugs disrupt the healthy flow of saliva. When the mouth is chronically dry, there is greater susceptibility to dental problems.
Two lifestyle choices that have a significant effect on oral health are smoking and oral hygiene. Research has suggested that smokers are at least two-times more likely to suffer gum recession and periodontal disease. Oral cancer is also a very real concern for smokers. The changes in the mouth occur when the toxic chemicals in cigarettes are absorbed into soft and hard tissues. Once deterioration begins, a lifetime of management comes calling. Oral hygiene sounds like an easy task, and it can be, as long as you do it; every morning, every night, for two minutes.
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When we look at what it takes to have a healthy smile for life, we can see that there are very few challenges. Knowing what those are, you can make the choices that will make a difference to our oral health.
Posted in: Oral Hygiene