Posts for: May, 2020
You've heard it. Your parents heard it—maybe even your grandparents too. Dentists have been alerting people for more than half a century that high sugar consumption contributes to tooth decay.
That message hasn't changed because the facts behind it are the same in the 2020s as they were in the 1950s: The bacteria that cause tooth decay feast on sugar and other leftover carbohydrates in the mouth. This causes them to multiply and increase their production of acid, which softens and erodes tooth enamel.
What has changed though, especially over the last couple of decades, is a growing understanding of how sugar consumption may affect the rest of the body. Just like the evidence of sugar's relationship to tooth decay, current scientific studies are now showing there are strong links between sugar and diseases like diabetes, heart disease and liver disease.
What's startling about what researchers are finding is that cases of these diseases are growing, Especially in younger people. This is a parallel trend to our skyrocketing increases in per capita sugar consumption: the average American now eats the equivalent of 19.5 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Health experts generally agree we should consume no more than 6 teaspoons a day, and children 4.
This is vastly more than we consumed a generation ago. One reason is because processed food manufacturers have increased sugar in their products, hiding under technical, unfamiliar names in ingredient lists. But it's still sugar, and an estimated 74% of processed foods contain some form of it.
But the real surge in sugar has come from our increasing consumption of sodas, as well as energy and sports beverages. These beverages are high in sugar—you can meet your daily allowance with just one 12-oz can of soda. These beverages are now the leading source of sugar in our diets, and, according to experts, a highly dangerous way to consume it.
In effect, dentists of old were on to something: too much sugar is bad for your teeth. It now turns out that it may be bad for your overall health too. Strictly limiting it in your family's diet could help lower your risk of tooth decay and dangerous diseases like diabetes.
How your dentist in Eau Claire, WI, can help you enjoy a healthy smile
Did you know that keeping good oral hygiene habits can help your smile and your body stay healthy? It’s true! In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy mouth can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and having a stroke. Dr. Christopher Poss in Eau Claire, WI, offers a wide range of preventive dental care services to help you enjoy a healthy smile.
Prioritize Oral Health
When it comes to the health of your mouth, plaque is your enemy. That’s because plaque contains millions of microscopic bacteria that produce toxins. These toxins are strong enough to eat through tooth enamel causing decay. They can also cause infection in your gums and the bone that supports your teeth, causing gum and periodontal disease.
The goal of a good oral hygiene program is to disrupt and remove the plaque as thoroughly and frequently as possible, before the bacterial toxins can do damage. To effectively remove plaque, you need to:
- Brush after meals and before you go to bed, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride. Brush in a gentle, circular motion, covering all the surfaces of your teeth, and along the gumline.
- Floss at least once every day; make sure you wrap the floss around the widest part of the tooth as you go down in between your teeth. The wrapping technique helps to keep the floss firmly against the surface of your tooth, for more effective cleaning.
- Regular visits to your dentist at least once every twelve months is an important part of keeping good oral hygiene habits. A thorough dental examination and x-ray screening can help prevent you from suffering tooth pain and other dental problems.
- You should also visit your dental hygienist for a professional cleaning once every six to twelve months. Your dental hygienist can clean away soft and hard deposits from your teeth and monitor the health of your gums for signs of gum disease.
Keeping good oral hygiene habits can save your smile and your overall health. To learn more about the benefits of good oral hygiene and preventive dental services, call your dentist, Dr. Christopher Poss of Eau Claire, WI, at (715) 833-2223.
National Physical Fitness & Sports Month in May, sponsored by the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, is a fitting time to encourage us to play sports. Many of us already feel the Spring itch to get out there and get involved. Unfortunately, an increase in sports or exercise activities also means an increase in potential physical injury risks, including to the face and mouth.
Although COVID-19 protective measures are delaying group sports, there's hope that many leagues will be able to salvage at least part of their season. If so, you should know what to do to keep yourself or a family member safe from oral and dental injuries.
First and foremost, wear a sports mouthguard, a plastic device worn in the mouth to reduce hard impacts from other players or sports equipment. A custom-fitted guard made by a dentist offers the best level of protection and the most comfortable fit.
But even though wearing a mouthguard significantly lowers the chances of mouth injuries, they can still occur. It's a good idea, then, to know what to do in the event of an oral injury.
Soft tissues. If the lips, cheeks, gums or tongue are cut or bruised, first carefully clean the wound of dirt or debris (be sure to check debris for any tooth pieces). If the wound bleeds, place some clean cotton gauze against it until it stops. If the wound is deep, the person may need stitches and possible antibiotic treatments or a tetanus shot. When in doubt, visit the ER.
Jaws. A hard blow could move the lower jaw out of its socket, or even fracture either jaw. Either type of injury, often accompanied by pain, swelling or deformity, requires medical attention. Treating a dislocation is usually a relatively simple procedure performed by a doctor, but fractures often involve a more extensive, long-term treatment.
Teeth. If a tooth is injured, try to collect and clean off any tooth pieces you can find, and call us immediately. If a tooth is knocked out, pick it up by the crown end, clean it off, and place it back into the empty socket. Have the person gently but firmly clench down on it and call the office or go to the ER as quickly as possible. Prompt attention is also needed for teeth moved out of alignment by a hard blow.
Playing sports has obvious physical, mental and social benefits. Don't let an oral injury rob you or a family member of those benefits. Take precautions and know what to do during a dental emergency.
If you would like more information about, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry” and “Dental Injuries: Field-Side Pocket Guide.”