NO, I’m not a dentist, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge on the subject. You know I talk a lot about what goes in your mouth and how it affects your health and fitness, but now, I’m going to tell you what it does to the teeth in your mouth and the overall effect on your health! As we are all aware, dental heath and hygiene are all important to our overall fitness, so in keeping with that, I will be consulting from time to time with some of the foremost leading experts in dental medicine and passing their comments on to you.
Most scholars in the fields of traditional medical care and dental medicine consider the mouth to be a window of our overall health. To appreciate this view we must first understand what we mean b dental disease. There are two major types of dental disease that can seriously affect your health and your life style. The first is “Dental Caries” or cavities. They actually soften and destroy tooth structure and are caused by plaque accumulation. Bacteria, located inside dental plaque, release acids as they feast on the food you just ate. Over time thisÂ process will destroy your teeth. The second type of dental disease is called “Periodontitis” and this affects your gums and the bones surrounding your teeth. Again, plaque is the cause of this disease as well, but it is plaque below your gums where you can’t see it! “So what? “you may say” I just go to the dentist whenever I have a little pain”. My comment is simple. “If wearing dentures or slowly losing your teeth, or continually battling infections does not bother you, the following just might. Here’s a look at some of the diseases and conditions that may be linked to bad oral health:
Cardiovascular Disease. Research shows that several types of cardiovascular disease may be linked to oral health, including heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke. Although in some research periodontal disease seems to be associated with heart disease, more studies are needed before the link can be confirmed with certainty.
Pregnancy and Child Birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature child birth. This is why it’s vital to maintain excellent oral health before you get pregnant and during your pregnancy.
Diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it will increase your risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth and a variety of oral infections. Conversely, poor oral health can make your diabetes more difficult to control. Infections may cause your blood sugar to rise and require more insulin to keep it under control.
Osteoporosis. The first stages of bone loss may show up in your teeth. Systemic loss of bone density in osteoporosis, including bone in the jaw, may create a condition where the bone supporting your teeth is increasingly susceptible to infectious destruction. Your dentist may be able to spot this on a routine clinical examination or with dental X-rays. If bone loss worsens, your dentist can suggest that you discuss the issue with your other health care providers.
Other conditions. Many other medical/dental conditions may make their presence known in your mouth before you know anything’s wrong. These may include Sjogren’s syndrome (a chronic autoimmune disease where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands), certain cancers, eating disorders, syphilis, gonorrhea and substance abuse.
So now I’ll ask a few questions you may be thinking of asking. I’ll answer them, and then I’ll give you a few nutritional tips to help improve your dental health and oral hygiene. Feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions and concerns you may have.
Q: Just how does the food we eat cause tooth decay and other oral diseases?
A: That’s a good question to start with because it results in the most common dental treatment, plaque removal (cleaning) and removal of cavities. We obviously know that food passes through your mouth and it is here that it gets introduced to a variety of germs and bacteria. Plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) is what it is referred to by your dentist or hygienist. Bacteria is in love with sugar which is found in a plethora of foods. When you fail to clean your teeth after eating bacteria reacts with the sugar to form acids that can and will destroy the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Over time, tooth decay starts to occur and the longer these particles of food are left in your mouth, more decay forms and you find yourself in pain and in the dentist chair!
I suggest the following to avoid visits to your dentist and to insure good dental health:
- See your dentist at least every 6 months.
- Brush at least twice a day and use dental floss everyday.
- Reduce food with sugar in your diet.
- Rinse your mouth often with water.
- Always ask your physician about any side effects of your medication.
Q: Tell us how to select the proper foods?
A: Some foods that you would least expect contain sugars. Some examples are fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables. Fruits are the best and putting white raw sugar on your cereal in the morning is a no, no. Natural sugars found in fruit are the best as they are used by the body with very little processing. Carbohydrates are processed by the body into sugar as are many other foods. Check out this post for a lot more info on sugar.
I’m not saying avoid these foods, but it is better to do that, but to think about what you are about to put in your mouth. It’s also a matter of time ““not just what you eat, but when you eat it makes a significant difference in your dental health. Make sure you have a balanced diet and severely limit your in-between meal snacks to Mother Nature’s good stuff I suggest. Check with your physician if you are on any special diets to help in choosing the right foods.
Q: I know you’re going to tell us, but here’s the question anyway. What are the tips you have for better dental health?
A: Ok, Here they are and I hope your dentist doesn’t see you more than twice a year for your normal checkup!
Eat a variety of foods, but insure it is a balanced diet. Of course I’ll have comments for you and also check the newsletters each month. There a five major food groups to choose from.
- Grain products, bread (whole grain), cereal, etc.
- Fruits of all kinds although some have more sugar content than others
- Vegetables, the green kind
- Poultry, fish, and limited red meat
- Dairy products, i.e. milk, cheese and yogurt, but check with me first.
Reduce the amount of in-between meal snacks. Remember, time is a major factor. After you eat food containing sugar, your teeth are subjected to acids for over 20 minutes, so rinse your mouth with water often.
For those times when you are hungry, choose nutritious foods, such as, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or fruit. The food you eat during your normal meal periods are less harmful because moreÂ saliva is released into the mouth while you eat, which helps remove foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acid buildup and damage.
Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste your dentist recommends or that is approved by the American Dental Association.
Visit your dentist regularly, twice a year, for an annual cleaning and checkup. Your dentist can advise you and help prevent problems by early detection while they are still easy to treat.
Hopefully these thoughts will be of benefit to you and if you have any other questions, don’t be shy!