Our very own Holly Rucker talks to Sharon Delaney of My Carolina Today about dental anxiety… something many people have!
Dental Health Blog
More Erosive than Battery Acid
You may want to reconsider reaching for a soft drink or sugar-laden fruit drink the next time you’re in the mood for a beverage. Other than the high caloric content of such drinks, these drinks can have a profoundly damaging effect on your tooth enamel. The culprits – citric acid and sugar. The average soft drink currently contains approximately 17 grams of sugar. That’s a tad more sugar than is found in 4 sugar cubes! Yuck.
What’s even more alarming as far as I’m concerned is that many soft drinks and fruit drinks contain citric acid. Citric acid is more erosive than hydrochloric and sulfuric acid – that’s battery acid for those of you who didn’t know. If that doesn’t make you want to put the can or bottle down I don’t know what will.
Tea to the Rescue
Luckily there are beverages that you can still enjoy that do not erode your tooth enamel – like water and tea. In fact, brewed tea is the best option when trying to avoid tooth erosion, according to a study in the July/August issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Brewed tea is also loaded with natural antioxidants, which are thought to decrease incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Specifically, researchers have found that green tea has the most beneficial properties among teas.Experts also warn that drinking brewed tea will only provide health benefits and limit tooth erosion if you serve it in its pure form. That means, avoid adding milk, lemon, or sugar.
Tips for reducing tooth enamel erosion:
- Reduce or eliminate carbonated beverages
- Skip the additives such as sugar, lemon, and milk
- Drink acidic drinks quickly and through a straw
- Acidic drinks should be consumed at meals only to limit the exposure to acid on the teeth
- Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow in your mouth
- Rinse with water to neutralize the acids, and wait an hour before brushing
Why Do I Have Bad Breath?
Bad breath, or Halitosis as it’s formally known, stems from a variety of common sources. The following are common sources of bad breath:
- Certain food such as garlic, onions, fish, meat, cheese, etc.
- Poor general oral hygiene
- Nasal and sinus infections
- Throat infections
- Faulty dental restorations
- Periodontal disease
- Xerostomia(dry mouth)
- Other underlying health conditions
What Can I Do About it?
Knowing the causes of bad breath can help us to understand the measures we need to take to prevent it. In no particular order, here is a list of preventative measures you can take starting today to reduce the likelihood that you will have bad breath:
- Brush & Rinse (with water) After Each Meal. Some of you may think I’m crazy for suggesting this. Sure, you may have to get creative if you don’t want to be seen brushing your teeth at work, but this is one of the best ways to ensure that food particles do not get stuck in the pockets surrounding your teeth.
- Floss at Least Once Per Day. Flossing is equally important as brushing in my opinion. Just like recommendation number one above, flossing is intended to remove food particles from between the teeth. This will, in turn, create an unfavorable environment for bacteria growth. That’s exactly what we’re after.
- Brush Your Tongue. The tongue carries approximately 50% of the total bacteria in your mouth. Where there’s bacteria, there’s odor. Whack this bacteria by brushing your tongue with toothpaste for at least 10 strokes. The middle 1/3 of your tongue is most prone to bacteria growth so pay special attention to that area. You may also want to try Dr. Weider’s Original Tung-Gel. This is specifically formulated for cleaning the tongue and removing bacteria.
- Chew Sugarless Gum. Chewing sugarless gum can increase the flow of saliva and reduce the chances you’ll experience dry mouth-related bad breath. If gum isn’t your thing you can also try sugarless throat lozenges to create the same effect.
- Drink Plenty of Water. This recommendation follows the same lines as the above suggestion. Drinking plenty of water reduces the occurrence of dry mouth by stimulating saliva production. Stick to water as alcohol and caffeinated drinks can lead to Xerostomia.
- Swap out Your Toothbrush Every 3-4 Months. An old toothbrush is a bacteria-riddled toothbrush. Gross, right? Bad breath or not this is a good tip to remember.
- Quit Smoking. This is easier said than done, I’m sure. However, smoking caused nicotine and tar(among other nasty chemicals) to build up on the cheek walls, tongue, and teeth surfaces. It comes as no surprise that bad breath is nearly inevitable if you smoke. However, following the above tips can minimize your risk for developing bad breath.