Posts Tagged ‘dental plaque’

A Breakdown of Statistics on Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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A smile is universal. Across all cultures, it means happiness, welcomeness and attraction. But if those teeth get dirty, they might send mixed signals. Although some say a smile is only skin deep, it in fact provides a window into your body’s overall health. So, here are 10 takeaway statistics that you should know to keep both your mouth and body clean and healthy:

1. Thirty-four percent of Americans did not visit a dentist last year. Your dental professional can spot things you may not notice, remove dental plaque, provide proper cavity treatment, and at the end of the day, help to brighten your pearly whites.

2. The average American consumes a whopping 600 cans of soda annually. This sugary beverage is among the leading culprits for tooth decay. As an alternative to soda, drink water, which helps wash down harmful acids and food debris.

3. Nearly 50 percent of people say that a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone.

4. In a survey on dating, bad breath was found to be the No. 1 turn-off. Check out the best mouthwash for bad breath. Whether you’re meeting for lunch or at a concert, keep sugar-free gum on hand.

5. According to a 2007 French study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, roughly 6 percent of people have tonsil stones, which are clumps of mucus, dead cells and debris that get caught in the pockets of the tonsils. While many people may not know about this condition, a growing number of Americans have expressed concern in recent years over what they are and what to do with them. Tonsil stones can cause throat irritation and discomfort and can be popped out using Q-tip or oral irrigator.

6. Almost 4 out of 5 Americans have a cavity by age 17. Once secondary (adult) teeth set in, you have to wear that smile for life! So, take care of it.

7. According to a British study from DailyMail, white teeth can make you look 20 percent more attractive. The same study also found that having white teeth makes you up to 16 percent more employable. Tooth whitening options, anyone?

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How Cranberries Protect Your Teeth from Cavity-causing Bacteria

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

1339875_95150591When you’re devouring Thanksgiving foods, the bacteria in your mouth are feasting too.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different kinds live on our gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. While some bacteria are helpful, others can cause harm, such as those that play a role in tooth decay.

To say sugar is the main cause of cavities isn’t quite the whole story. While it can do nasty damage to teeth, the leading cause of dental caries is called Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, which is a type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. In fact, it falls under the category of anaerobic bacteria, meaning that it can live without oxygen – think of anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting, which doesn’t consume a lot of oxygen, and aerobic workouts, such as long-distance running, which are known to lead to huffing and puffing.

Let’s take a look at the science behind S. mutans. This troublesome bacterium splits sugars in foods and uses them to build its own little capsule, which sticks tightly to the teeth. The bacteria produce a strong acid that attacks enamel and starts to erode the tooth. If the acids are not removed, it can end up creating tiny holes in the tooth – what we all know as cavities.

So, how do cranberries help protect against dental caries?
When you’re scooping delicious stuffing, turkey and gravy onto your plate at dinner time, don’t forget about cranberries! These red berries have been proven to contain a boatload of antioxidants and can help fight off dental plaque. A team from the University of California at Los Angeles and Oceanspray Cranberry showed that the flavonoids quercetin and myricetin in cranberries prevent S. mutans bacteria from sticking to teeth, thereby reducing the amount of cavities.

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Spotlight on: College Students’ Eating and Dental Hygiene Habits

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Cheese quesadilla“I have six tests this week so I’ve combined all my meals into a massive one around lunchtime called ‘Linnerfast.'”

“Instead of brushing I take my gum with my finger and rub it across my teeth.” “YOLO.”

If you’ve found yourself saying any of these things lately, it might be time to adjust your eating health habits. In college, we tend to shift our attention toward book work and red cups, leaving our eating schedule out to dry. Yet to ace those finals (or come close) and stay up till dawn partying with a toga and laurels, you have to maintain long-lasting energy. Junk food is actually counterproductive. It gives you short-term energy from simple carbohydrates that leave you feeling sluggish and hungry. Notice the marinara sauce congealed on your chin come dawn – those late-night pizza deliveries are a great way to tack on the freshman fifteen in no time. In fact, one might say, the freshman fifteen is for underachievers. Why not go thirty? Wrong, Sir. Sugary foods don’t make the grade.

Since oral health and overall wellbeing are like the overlapping center of a Venn diagram, it’s important to look at how eating habits affect both our mouth and body. You don’t have to be perfect, but take a mental note about what you’re ingesting. This stuff directly affects you and your ability to perform. Indeed, it can be tricky with a floor full of friends and a limiting meal plan, but it can be done.

Here’s a cheat sheet of healthy alternatives to replace your rigid microwaveable mac ‘n’ cheese and cereal diet:

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The Unexpected Perks of Chocolate Cupcake Day

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

1364674_34314759Everyone loves a tasty cupcake. Lucky for chocoholics, this Friday, Oct. 18, is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. You might think that National Chocolate Cupcake Day would be a pain for dentists; however, dark cocoa can actually be good for your teeth. Yes, you read correctly. In small doses, this drool-worthy food can be healthy.

Chocolate’s good for your smile
Dark chocolate is loaded with disease-fighting flavonoids, which are antioxidants found in many fruits, vegetables and red wine. In fact, it appears chocolate contains more of them than any other food. Meanwhile, in your mouth, there’s a bacterium called oral streptococci that erodes your tooth enamel. The antioxidants in dark cocoa prevent the bacteria from turning into damaging acids by acting as an antibacterial compound.

These antioxidants also reduce inflammation in the body and help lower the risk of gingivitis, or the swelling of the gums.

It gets even better. Cocoa butter, a pure vegetable oil found within the plant, layers your teeth to fight off dental plaque and other bacteria. So, keep on showering your loved one with those cocoa butter kisses.

What are the overall health benefits of chocolate?
Since oral health is intertwined with your overall health, it’s important to look at the big picture. Eating a few squares of dark cocoa daily may reduce your risk of heart attack, according to a study led by Diane Becker MPH, ScD, a researcher with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Becker discovered that blood platelets clotted more slowly in patients who ate dark chocolate compared to those who didn’t. In essence, flavanols lower cell damage involved in heart disease.

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Smiling for National Dental Hygiene Month

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

iStock_000014279123XSmallOctober is National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM). To celebrate, buy yourself a new toothbrush, a pack of floss, some oral rinse and a wad of gum. After all, the cornerstones of a healthy mouth are “brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing,” which is the motto of the program. 

For NDHM this year, the American Dental Association (ADA) is focusing on prevention. They emphasize the value of increasing public awareness of preventative services that help maintain good oral health.

It is estimated that 75 percent of adults have periodontal problems in some form. Each year, active, employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work due to oral health issues. It may have been invigorating to skip school as a kid, but missing work as a grown-up can force you to fall behind with clients, colleagues and important projects. Therefore, the more you stay on top of your dental game, the longer you’ll be able to stay off the bench.

“A clean mouth is the first line of defense for a healthy body,” announced ADHA President Denise Bowers, RDH, PhD. “Oral diseases are prevalent but extremely preventable. Wrigley shares this philosophy with us. As we celebrate our partnership, Wrigley and ADHA would like to remind hygienists and patients that chewing sugar-free gum is good you and should be part of your daily oral health regimen.”

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