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A lot of the advice we hear on dental care seems like the same advice that our grandparents gave about health in general. And what our grandparents believed tends to be partly right – lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, less junk food …etc. But our grandparent’s generation had their share of dental problems, and I remember a lot of dentures and other problems. It can help to separate the good and bad advice.
A healthy diet makes all the difference. There are two major reasons, one is your general health, because your body builds better teeth and resists disease and decay much better when it is healthy; the other is the effect of sugar on your teeth, because reducing sugar reduces your risk of decay. The basic food groups our grandparents were taught are sometimes questioned, but diverse foods with as little processing as possible as best.
Sugar is best consumed with a meal, with other foods. This both prevents a spike in sugar levels and prevents a mouth full of sugar that turns to the acid that causes decay. We know that soft drinks contain a lot of sugar, but so do many fruit juices and other more healthy alternatives. These healthy foods are beneficial for your body’s overall health, but the sugar they put in your mouth is still an issue. Rinsing with some water after drinking fruit juice can help, as can drinking with meals. It is the sugar that is left in the mouth that is the problem, not the sugar that you swallow. If you must drink sugary liquids, try using a straw.
Grandparents often encouraged vigorous scrubbing of the teeth. This was heavily criticized by the 1970’s for wearing away the tooth enamel and causing major damage. Brushing straight after consumption of acidic/sugary food causes similar problems as the tooth’s enamel is softened, and slowly removed by the brushing! Try rinsing with water and waiting half-an-hour before brushing. Use a soft bristle toothbrush as they are far less abrasive.
Alcohol has a negative impact on oral health, though the products with the alcohol are usually more or a problem. The alcohol itself will dehydrate you, meaning there is less saliva available to clean the teeth, with the saliva itself also appearing to have less of the anti-bacterial elements that fight decay. The link between alcohol and mouth/throat cancers is another factor.
Alcohol tends to come with other elements, whether it’s the ingredients in wine, grenadine, coffee liquor or the addition of coke-a-cola. These chemical stain the teeth, the alcohol making the tooth enamel more receptive to the stain. The fact that people often neglect to brush their teeth when they are intoxicated only exacerbates the problem. Rinsing gargling with water and then waiting 30 minutes before brushing helps, though a change of lifestyle can do far more. Soda water and alcohol will do far less damage than any other alcohol beverage.
Cutting down sugar is good, but the alternatives need to be researched. Nutra-sweet, a sugar alternative, causes a lot of allergic reactions, many of which go undiagnosed. Other sweeteners may yet prove to have side effects. If you have any health concerns, from lethargy and headaches to insomnia, try eliminating artificial ingredients.
Dentists are there to treat oral problems, but would prefer to prevent them. If you have any particular problems with your mouth, or have a family history of any dental problem that you wish to avoid, consult dentist on Victoria. Dentist on Victoria is located at Dundas, Denistone, Telopea, Ermington, Rydalmere, Oatlands & Newington.