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Posts Tagged ‘Oral Heatlh’

Picture of toy teeth eating candy

Although I’m the son of a dentist, I can’t say that I practice the best dental hygiene all of the time. I love sweets, sometimes forget to brush on weekends, and don’t floss every day.

Oral health has been associated with overall health. Gingivitis (inflammation and swelling of gums), for example, has been linked to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, poor diabetes control, and even memory function. Therefore, in addition to preventing cavities and bad breath, there are many other reasons for practicing good oral hygiene.

Have you ever had arguments with others about how often, when and how to brush, floss or visit the dentist? There are many myths about brushing that should be addressed….

  1. If you don’t eat candy, you won’t get cavities.  Cavities form when bacteria in plaque form acids that wear away your enamel. Harmful bacteria like simple sugars, but they also like other carbohydrates such as the starches found in potatoes, pasta and breads. So yes, it’s better if you can cut back on sweets, but don’t think that brushing and flossing still aren’t important. Generally, it’s better for your teeth if you consume sweets during meals and have less sweets and snacks throughout the day.
  2. Diet Sodas won’t hurt my teeth. Diet sodas are better than regular soda because they don’t have the sugar. However, like other carbonated beverages, juices, wine, and coffee, they are acidic, which is harmful to your enamel. In fact, dentists recommend brushing 1 hour after eating or drinking beverages such as coffee in order to avoid brushing away small pieces of enamel.
  3. I should brush and floss after every meal. Actually, experts recommend only brushing in the evening (before bed) and one other time during the day, for at least 2 minutes. The evenings are important because saliva production decreases during the night, leaving the teeth more at risk for decay. Rather than brushing after each meal, chewing gum throughout the day can increase saliva production which can be helpful, as long as the gum is sugar-free. If you do brush after a meal, wait an hour to do so, and remember to floss once a day.
  4. Natural tooth pastes are better for you and better for the environment. There are many products marketed as eco-friendly or natural. If you choose these products, make sure they contain fluoride; otherwise, they won’t be as effective at preventing cavities. There are toothpaste tablets with fluoride that you can also purchase, so that you don’t have to use the disposable plastic tubes. Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are also available. Speaking of fluoride, it’s better just to spit, rather than rinse, so the fluoride stays in your mouth longer.
  5. I don’t need to visit the dentist if I don’t have any problems. See your dentist regularly. Cavities don’t always cause toothaches, and dentists can remove plaque which will prevent cavities. Most adults need a check-up and cleaning twice a year. A dentist or hygienist can discuss and demonstrate the best ways to brush and floss.

Author: Dan Remley, Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Sources:

WebMD. The Mouth-Body Connection: 6 Ways Oral Hygiene Helps Keep You Well. 2017. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/gum-disease-health#2

WebMD. Myths and Facts about Cavities. 2016. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/cavities-myths#3

Oral Health Foundation. Diet and My Teeth. 2019. https://www.dentalhealth.org/diet-and-my-teeth

American Dental Association- Mouth Healthy. Your Top 9 Questions About Going to the Dentist—Answered! 2019. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist

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Did you brush your teeth this morning?  Did you floss? brushing teeth

Most of us know we need to brush and floss, but we get in a rush. So, why is brushing our teeth so important.  We all know that brushing our teeth can prevent tooth decay.  What about other diseases?

Having good oral health can help prevent or lessen the chance of these diseases or problems:

  • Cardiovascular Disease – Gum disease (periodontitis) from oral bacteria may be a link to heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke according to some research.
  • Endocarditis – Gum disease may cause this infection to the inner lining of the heart
  • Premature birth and low birth weight has been linked to gum disease.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Losing teeth before age 35 puts you at risk.
  • Osteoporosis may be associated with tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.
  • Having Diabetes increases your risk of gum disease.

So, we all need to work into our schedules brushing our teeth at least twice a day. Try to make one of those times be before you go to bed.  Use good technique taking time to do a thorough job.  (See tips below.)  You can use an electric/battery or manual toothbrush, whatever works best for you.  Foods that are acidic or contain sugar or starch can produce acids in your mouth that can harm tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more.  After consuming these foods avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes.

Floss your teeth at least once a day, as flossing helps decrease your risk of having gum disease and tooth decay.  Use whatever kind of floss or flossing tool works best for you.

Did you know your toothbrush could make you sick?  Here are a few tips to help you prevent that:

  • Wash your hands.  Be sure to wash your hands before and after to avoid spreading germs into your mouth and to others after brushing. toothbrush
  • Use a new toothbrush very four months.  Toothbrushes can wear out.  Replace your toothbrush after an illness..
  • After brushing rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright allowing it to air-dry. Don’t cover it until completely dry.  Store your toothbrush so that it doesn’t touch other toothbrushes.   Airborne bacteria grow well in the warm, moist environment like a bathroom.
  • Don’t share your toothbrush with others.  .
  • It is not necessary to sanitize your toothbrush using a mouthwash, sanitizer, dishwasher or microwave oven.
  • When someone is sick have them use a different  tube of  toothpaste, such as a travel size.  Sharing tubes of toothpaste can result in cross-contamination of germs.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension.

References:

Delta Dental, [2012]. Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick,  Downloaded from http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/toothbrush.html on February 19, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Electric Toothbrush:  Better than a Manual Toothbrush?  Answered by Alan Carr, D.M.D.,  Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/electric-toothbrush/AN01705   on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Oral health:  A Window to Your Overall Health, Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001 on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Oral Health:  Brush up on Dental Care Basics, Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00003  on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2010].  When to brush Your Teeth, Answered by Alan Carr, D.M.D., Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brushing-your-teeth/AN02098 on February 18, 2013

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