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    Dental Topics

    Stop Tooth Decay in it's Tracks! The link between Vitamins and Cavities.

    Vitamins Can Stop Decay In Its Tracks – The Link Between Vitamins and Cavities

     There are obvious links between vitamins and our health such as; vitamin C will help get rid of a cold, iron will increase red blood cells, B12 will help with energy production, and the list goes on. But vitamins that prevent tooth decay… this idea may be new to you? However, there is a strong link between specific vitamins and oral health. In this blog, we will discuss how 3 essential vitamins can ward off tooth decay.


    The Journey To a Cavity

    Cavity formation begins when the naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth attaches to the outer layer of the tooth and begins to digest sugars from food. Plaque is then formed by bacteria, which acts as a protective layer and supports further bacterial growth.


    The minerals in the saliva then bond with the plaque to form tartar. The tartar then begins to dissolve the calcium in the tooth. Once the calcium rods that form the hard outer layer of the tooth erode (often referred to as demineralization), tiny crevices begin to open allowing bacteria to enter and cause decay.


     How To Stop Bad Bacteria In Its Tracks

    So let’s rewind to the very beginning of the tooth decay process. It is what you  “feed” the bad bacteria that will either invite it to stick around or filtered it out before it can do any damage.


    Eating specific vitamins along with reducing your consumption of sugary food and drink can stop tooth decay in its tracks; this process is called remineralization.


    So let’s take a closer look at these 3 essential vitamins one by one, and learn how exactly they help and how you can add more into your diet.


    Vitamin A Can Help More Than Just Your Eyesight

    Vitamin A is known for aiding eyesight. However, it is also essential for promoting saliva production, which is a crucial step in clearing out food particles and bad bacteria in the hard to reach areas between your teeth and gums. In effect, this helps to maintain a healthy mouth environment that is less susceptible to disease (Read more about the beneficial effects of saliva here).


    How to add more Vitamin A to your diet

    Think orange fruit and vegetables and dark leafy greens. Try adding foods such as carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and collards. You can also find it in proteins such as fish and egg yolks.


    Vitamin D Plays a Crucial Role In The Functioning of Your Overall Health

    Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” this nutrient is essential for many functions in the body (this is a story for another day). In the realm of oral health though, vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphate to function adequately in the body, which are essential nutrients for the formation of tooth enamel, which protects the tooth from gum disease and tooth decay.


    How to increase vitamin D intake

    The obvious and best way is to have frequent exposure to full sunlight for at least 20 minutes each day. Also adding food such as milk, fish, eggs, cod liver oil will help increase your daily intake.    


    Vitamin C Is Essential For Keeping Teeth Strong

    Vitamin C deficiency increases the susceptibility of dentine damage (hard tissue that lies underneath the enamel surrounding and protecting the pulp). The cells that help to build dentine are directly influenced by ascorbic acid supply (aka vitamin C). Therefore low ascorbic acid levels mean a low amount of cells being produced that specifically protect and build dentin. Teeth then can become loose, gums can bleed, which then can lead to gum disease.


    How to increase Vitamin C intake

    Many fruits and vegetables are naturally high in vitamin C. Food such as oranges, lemons, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and berries are particularly rich sources of vitamin C. Try lemon juice in warm water in the morning for a good morning wake up kick of this super vitamin - just make sure you brush your teeth soon afterward.


    Incorporating fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins A, D, and C will help add an extra layer of protection to your teeth to fight against decay. This along with a diet low in sugar and yes (because we can’t help ourselves), regular brushing and flossing will help to keep decay away.

    The Wonders of Saliva

    The Wonders of Saliva – Its Role in Maintaining Oral Health


    Saliva. It doesn’t conjure up many pleasant images, does it? But did you know that saliva is a vital part of your oral health as well as a window into the health of your overall body?


    You could even say saliva is the superhero of bodily fluids.


    In this blog, you are going to see how saliva plays a significant role in maintaining oral health. Also, we’ll discuss how reduced saliva production can be a gateway for bad bacteria to build causing dental decay and infections.


    So, What Is Saliva Exactly?

    Saliva is an exocrine solution consisting of 99% water with electrolytes and proteins making up the remaining 1%. Saliva is produced and secreted primarily by the submandibular, parotid, and the sublingual glands. Saliva is then controlled by the autonomic nervous system – the branch of the nervous system that runs on autopilot without you having to think about it. In a healthy person, around 1.5 liters of saliva is produced daily.


    Think About These Wonders The Next Time You Swallow Your Saliva…

    Unless you have had a problem with a dry mouth or alike, most of you probably have not given much thought (or care-factor) to how wonderful this bodily fluid actually is! Well, we’re here to tell you it’s more than just a fluid that spills out of your mouth onto your pillow when you sleep. So, read on to discover some of its wonders for benefiting your oral health.


    Wonder #1 It Acts as a shield to protect teeth

    Saliva contains minerals, enzymes, and antibacterial substances. These substances act as a defensive wall to fight off bad bacteria and in turn prevents dental caries. 

    Furthermore, saliva can protect the oral and peri-oral tissues by diluting sugars after eating or drinking. It can neutralize acid production and control pH levels to help prevent enamel erosion, it can also aid in the remineralization of enamel by lubricating the tooth with calcium and phosphates.


    Wonder # 2 It Gets the motor running to aid good digestion

    Saliva contains many beneficial properties for digestion such as minerals, enzymes, and many antibacterial substances. There are two main enzymes in saliva called lingual lipase and salivary amylase.


    Chewing food (mastication) begins the breakdown of food into small particles. As you chew, food is mixed with your saliva causing lingual lipase to initiate the first stage of fat digestion and salivary amylase to initiate carbohydrate digestion. These important enzymes kick-start the digestive process and prepare food to move easily into the stomach for proper digestion and for nutrients to be absorbed into the body.


    Therefore, your teeth and your saliva play the primary role in starting protein digestion. So next time you sit down for a meal remember, you only have a set of teeth in your mouth…So. Chew. Well.



    Wonder # 3 It Helps you to speak…and we all love a good yarn

    Have you ever prepared to give a presentation at work and your mouth dries up right before, making it almost impossible for you to make a peep? When we’re nervous our salivary glands reduce its production of saliva.


    Saliva is an important facilitator for speech. It assists by lubricating the moving oral tissues, which then creates smooth speech.


    So lubricate that mouth before your next big presentation, and let your saliva help give you the gift of the gab – knock em’ dead!


    Wonder # 4 Saliva is used to test the overall health of the body

    Scientists have discovered saliva’s importance in revealing the overall health of a person.  Saliva testing is used to help diagnose cancer, gum disease, viral hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases, as well as for DNA testing.



    What Happens When There Is Too Little Saliva?

    Dry mouth is the name given to the condition when too little saliva is produced.


    Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors including, certain diseases or medications that affect saliva production. The decrease in saliva takes away that protective wall as spoken about earlier, this means bad bacteria increases causing havoc in the mouth. A dry mouth can also cause pain as the gums, tongue, and other tissues become swollen and sore.


    Ensuring you drink plenty of water throughout the day can help saliva production. However, if this is a persistent problem then it’s worth seeing your dentist or dental hygienist who will get to the root of the problem.

    What you need to know about your teething baby.

    How to Help Your Teething Baby – Everything You Need to Know

     Who doesn’t love an infants’ toothless giggle as you tickle its belly and make “ga-ga” noises? However, those teeth will inevitably make their way through those tiny gums, and for good reason – toothless adults are just not as cute! But mental images aside, this period, often referred to as teething, can be a very uncomfortable time for your baby.

     In this blog, we will tell you what you can expect during this period, what symptoms to look for, and what action you can take to help your baby through this important growth stage.


    When will teeth start to emerge?  

    Teething occurs when the primary teeth push upwards and eventually break through the gums. There is no exact time for a baby to start teething. However, as a general rule teeth start emerging around the 4 to 7 month mark. There is no reason to be alarmed if teeth appear earlier or later, though.  It is not uncommon for teeth to appear earlier in faster-developing babies or later in premature babies.  

     How do these tiny teeth form?

    Teeth actually begin forming while the baby is in the womb. After birth, teeth will typically emerge in the following sequence:

    • 6 months - lower central incisors
    • 8 months - upper central incisors
    • 10 months - lower and upper lateral incisors
    • 14 months - first molars
    • 18 months - canines
    • 24 months - second molars

    Teeth may come out crooked, but don’t be too worried, they will usually straighten out as more teeth start to erupt alongside them. By around age 3, your baby should have a full set of 20 baby teeth.  


    How to know that your baby is teething?

    Teething is a different experience for each baby. While some babies show no signs for teething others will experience discomfort or pain. There really is no single set of teething symptoms. However, common symptoms often include:


    • Irritability or fussiness
    • Drooling(which can cause a facial rash)
    • Swollen, sensitive gums
    • Gnawing or chewing behavior
    • Refusing to eat
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Rubbing its face
    • Grabbing its ears


    Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days as the tooth emerges, or several months if many teeth start to erupt together. For the lucky few, no symptoms will be felt, teeth will just appear with minimal disruption.


    How to help and comfort your baby during this stage?

    Teething time can be just as painful to watch for a parent as it is for the baby. It can be distressing to a parent, especially if the baby is in a constant amount of pain and discomfort. The good news is there are many things you can try to make this transition more smooth and comfortable for your little one.


    Teething babies have a strong urge to chew or gnaw during this time. To help satisfy this desire, you can give them something to chew on. You can simply wet and cool a washcloth in the refrigerator, or use a rubber teething ring.


    Additionally, you can use a clean finger to massage the area around the location the tooth is erupting. Try applying a gentle amount of pressure to the area. However, if the gums are very swollen it is best to wait for the swelling to subside before attempting this method.


    If pain or discomfort persists then speak to your doctor who can recommend to you safe pain relief medication.


    How to clean your baby's first teeth?

    Oral care for your baby should begin at infancy, even before teeth start to emerge. Why so early? Because getting your baby use to this routine early on will help make the transition to brushing his teeth a lot smoother. It will also help him to be more conscious of taking care of his teeth and gums as he grows and develops his adult teeth later on. 


    Here’s what to do when you notice the first teeth start to appear:


    • Brush the whole mouth twice a day using a baby-designed toothbrush.
    • Use a rice-grain size amount of toothpaste.
    • Brush gently on the inside and outside of the tooth. There is no need to rinse the mouth as you only use a small amount of toothpaste.


    How well you care for these first teeth will greatly impact the overall oral health of your child well into adulthood. They will chew better, learn to speak more clearly, and smile with confidence.

    “Calling All Mouth Breathers - It’s Time to Shut Your Mouth!”

    It’s time to check in on how you breathe - are you a mouth breather or a nose breather?

    Breathing is such a natural thing, and you do it subconsciously - in-out, in-out, all day and night long. It’s a part of your daily needs, something that is valued but not always considered. But how we breathe (i.e via nose or mouth) can adversely affect our health. Yes, it turns out that our bodies were actually designed to breathe through our noses.

    If you are a mouth breather, you may be interested in the ways that mouth breathing can cause certain health issues. Read on to learn how this could be so...

    Lowered Nitric Oxide Levels:

    Nitric oxide is produced in the sinuses. Increased levels of nitric oxide in the body enhance memory and learning, regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase strength and endurance, and improve immune function. The body produces 25% of its nitric oxide through nose breathing. When you breathe through your mouth, you miss out on all the benefits of this powerful gas.

    Increased Bacteria:

    The nose hairs, adenoids, turbinates, and mucous membranes in your sinuses make up a very compact and effective in-body filtration system in your nose. When you breathe through your nose, the bacteria you breathe in from the air is filtered out through this system. When you breathe through your mouth, however, all these toxins are not released back out and stay in your body.

    Dental Decay:

    Mouth breathing increases the bacteria in your mouth, stimulating dental decay. Breathing through your mouth can dry the saliva that is supposed to protect your teeth. Since saliva acts as a natural mouthwash, clearing away debris from food and noxious agents, and neutralizing acids, the absence of it can lead to the decay of teeth.  


    Breathing through the mouth during sleep is associated with loud snoring. This happens because of the way breathing is regulated by the nerves in the nasal passages. An area of the nose known as the nasal mucosa is a sensor for inhaled air, and when nasal breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa sends stimuli to the breath-controlling reflex nerves. When mouth breathing occurs, the nasal mucosa does not send these stimuli to the reflex nerves, and this can result in an irregular breathing pattern - snoring.  


    How you breathe can negatively affect your posture. Correct posture is when all your bones are aligned in the best possible way. Having correct posture comes with a huge list of health benefits including;

    • Muscles being used effectively and properly
    • A decrease of the stress on the ligaments
    • A decrease of back and muscular pain,
    • An increase in energy
    When we breathe through our mouths, we throw off proper postural alignment and increase the amount of tension around the neck, head, and jaw, which can also lead to headaches and migraines.


    What Can You do About it?

    A common fix to encourage nasal breathing is to tape your mouth shut when you sleep - no we’re not kidding! Alternatively, you could try using a nasal clip to widen your nasal passage and increase air flow. Breathing and meditation exercises that focus on breathing through the nose can also help. But since mouth breathing is sometimes caused by a medical condition it’s a good idea to see your doctor first.  


    Read These Seven Tips Your Dentist Probably Hasn't Told You [HINT: One of Them Involves Tape]

    Dentists and Dental Hygienists are a wealth of knowledge and information. And when it comes to getting sound advice about the care and health of your mouth, teeth, and gums they are certainly the people to ask.

    However more often than not, our short 6 monthly visits (if that) do not give these professionals enough time to bestow all their wisdom on you before you run out of their treatment room - because let's be honest - you can’t wait to see the back of a dental clinic.

    While most of us know the basics - brush twice a day, floss regularly, don’t eat hard candy, etc - some of what doesn’t get said in the dentist chair because of time (and you high-tailing it out of there), can actually be game-changing for the health, longevity, and shine of your pearly whites and overall oral care.

    So here are 7 tips your dentist more than likely hasn’t gotten around to telling you...

    Tip 1 - Grind Your Teeth? Try to Correct Your Breathing

    Ninety-five percent of us don’t have the room in our mouths for all of our 32 teeth. Not having enough room in your mouth narrows your airways and the amount of oxygen you breathe in and out. Research is widely supporting that teeth grinding is strongly linked to breathing sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea. Therefore working on how you breath can greatly reduce teeth grinding which results in wearing and cracking of the teeth, broken fillings, headaches, and sore jaws.

    But how do you learn to breathe “the right way”? Read on.

    Tip 2 - Forget Mouthguards - Tape Your Mouth Shut...Seriously!

    Learning to breathe through your nose might be difficult for some. However, when you breathe through your noses you stabilize your body chemistry. It also improves sleep and evens out your breathing. When you are breathing optimally for body function, grinding of your teeth is significantly reduced.

    Taping your mouth shut while you sleep will help you practice the art of nose breathing and bring regularity back to each breath. So forget expensive mouthguards and grab yourself a roll of Micropore tape for a few dollars and give it a go!


    Tip 3 - Too Much Fluoride Can Damage Your Teeth

    While fluoride can harden your teeth too much of a good thing can be detrimental.

    Things to know about fluoride; it’s neurotoxic, it can affect a child’s IQ, it can be a problem in young male bone development, it’s been linked to bone cancer, it affects thyroid function.  

    There are much better and safer ways to maintain strong, healthy teeth that won’t put your overall health in jeopardy - try oil pulling or remineralizing toothpaste as an alternative to fluoride.


    Tip 4 - You Must Spend More Than 2 Minutes Brushing Your Teeth

    A real and thorough cleaning of the surface of your teeth takes more than the usual 2 minutes on average a person spends brushing his teeth in the morning. In fact spending at least 4-5 minutes brushing twice a day is the recommended time it actually takes to make a difference.

    However, to utilize this time effectively, ditch the idea of scrubbing your teeth. Plaque is super soft and will only be removed via soft polishing strokes of your toothbrush. So, when brushing think about polishing and massaging your teeth and gums rather than moving your brush back and forward rapidly (i.e. scrubbing).  

    Tip 5 - Getting Mouth Ulcers? Avoid Grains

    Mouth ulcers (aphthous ulcers) are an autoimmune response and are common for a lot of us. Grains produce a protein called zonulin. When too much zonulin builds up in the body, it can cause a leaky gut. (when undigested food particles, partially digested food particles or toxic substances seep through the gut lining into your blood, causing all sorts of problems) This then results in a whole range of autoimmune conditions.

    Tip 6 - Sugar is Not Your Only Enemy

    Your dentist tells you to cut down on sugar - and he or she is absolutely correct. Sugar creates a welcoming environment for bad bacteria to nest, reproduce, and cause tooth decay. However starchy food such as bread and pasta, as well as acidic citrus foods like lemons and grapefruit can have the same harmful effect on your teeth.

    Tip 7 - Opt For a Non-Toxic Toothpaste

    Did you know that most toothpaste contain substances that you would never want to ingest like sodium lauryl sulfate and fluoride? Try using a toothpaste that is non-toxic or try brushing with an oil blend which is good for you and can be more effective than a regular tube of toothpaste.

    Want to Know the Real Secret to Healthy teeth?

    Let’s open the fridge to find out the connection between what we eat and our oral health.  

    Concerning your oral care routine, are you an avid brusher, flosser, and mouthwash swisher? If you answered  ‘Yes’ then that’s fantastic! You are to be commended for maintaining an important daily ritual for overall health.

    As someone concerned with optimal tooth shine, do you want to know how you can bump your smile up to the next level?

    Here’s a clue - “you are what you eat”.

    Did you guess it?... Yes, by eating certain foods you can enhance the health of your teeth, fight off nasty disease-causing bacteria, and help them shine as never before.

    How Can Food Improve Our Oral Health?

    There is a strong connection between what we eat and our oral health. In recent years a growing body of research is finding that certain foods can help prevent cavities, freshen breath, and even whiten teeth.

    It’s a well-known fact that our bodies need certain nutrients and minerals to aid different systems - think calcium for strong bones or iron to lower blood pressure. Our teeth and mouths are no exception.

    There are specific nutrients and minerals that help our teeth and gums. So let’s now take a closer look at these teeth enriching elements and the sources for them in whole foods.

    Foods Rich in Calcium & Phosphorus:

    Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth made up of minerals. Food and beverages high in sugar and acid may cause the enamel to erode over time. To keep enamel strong we need to put minerals back into the tooth and restore what was lost. Research has shown that calcium and phosphorus are the best helpers for building and maintaining strong tooth enamel.

    Eating food rich in these will keep our teeth to be strong and healthy.

    Best food sources - cheese, milk, yogurt, seafood, tofu, and almonds.

    Phosphorus-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, fish, brazil nuts, red meat, eggs, tofu, and broth.


    Firm Crunchy Foods High in Water:

    Saliva is the best way to neutralize the bacteria that causes cavities. When we chew we produce more saliva. Eating firm crunchy foods high in water will increase saliva production. In addition, the texture of these foods serves as a cleaning mechanism, and in effect, the chewing motion gently removes and clears away dental plaque and food particles.

    Best food sources - celery, apples, cucumbers, and carrots (all raw).  

    Foods Rich in Vitamin D:

    Vitamin D has a whole list of health benefits. The main reason it is credited with maintaining healthy teeth is that it aids the absorption of calcium.

    Best food sources - The sun is the best source of natural vitamin D (Sorry you can’t eat it, but you can step outside and allow that delicious sun to absorb into your skin), fish, egg yolks, and cod liver oil.

    Foods Rich in Vitamin C:

    When it comes to our teeth, vitamin C (aka ‘vitamin powerhouse’) can strengthen blood vessels, and reduce inflammation helping our gums to stay healthier.

    Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is needed to fight periodontal disease.

    Best food sources  - oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.

    Foods Rich in Antioxidants:

    If nutrients where celebrities then antioxidants would have an A-list status. Antioxidants help protect gums and other tissues from bacterial infection and cell damage. This is because antioxidants fight the bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease.

    Best food sources - apples berries, grapes, tea, nuts, and beans.


    Foods Containing Probiotics:

    Our bodies have both good and bad bacteria. When we intentionally ingest good bacteria, we call them probiotics. There is emerging evidence that shows that probiotics may help decrease plaque and help gums stay healthy.

    Best food sources - yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and other fermented foods.


    So here it is oral health-care enthusiasts - the real secret to healthy teeth!

    We have looked at how adding certain foods that contain important minerals and vitamins in our diet can help towards beautifully clean and shiny teeth.

    Eating well in addition to brushing our teeth regularly is a surefire way to achieve this goal.

    So next time it’s grocery day, how about adding a few of these plaque expelling, gum disease fighting foods to the shopping list.