Foods For Healthier Teeth: 7 Things To Eat

dentist jacksonvilleWe all know the basics of good oral care: brush in the morning and evening, floss each day and visit the dentist twice per year. But there are smaller, incremental steps we can take to guarantee good health, including the food we eat each day. Nutrition is important for every cell in our bodies — and that naturally extends to teeth and gums.

Overall, look for items that stimulate saliva production, which has a neutralizing effect on acid. Other acid neutralizers, like those found in dairy can also help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Seven foods that have been shown to help in the research or clinical practice:

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The Healthy Habit That Could Damage Your Teeth

Chances are, you go above and beyond to make sure your smile is as healthy as it can possibly be. But, you may not know the dangers that lurk behind the most common daily dental habit. If you’re brushing too hard or using the wrong kind of toothpaste, the look and health of your smile can suffer. Read on for the surprising details and what you an do do to fix any damage that’s been done.

With so many different types of toothpaste on the market, including one that does it all can seem downright difficult. Most toothpastes use abrasive ingredients to remove stains. “The abrasives scratch away the stains on the tooth’s enamel, causing erosion,” says New York aesthetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS. When selecting a toothpaste, it’s important to pick one that is gentle, yet effective. It should contain fluoride, which prevents decay and protects against cavities, and be sulfate-free. “Sulfates, which are foaming agents, have been proven to create microscopic damage to the tissue that lines the inside of your mouth. They can also cause canker sores,” says Dr. Smigel.

You also need to take into consideration how hard you brush your teeth. “Some people make the mistake of brushing too hard in an attempt to feel like they have a clean mouth, which can lead to irritated gums and eroded tooth enamel,” says Dr. Smigel. Brushing in a back-and-forth sawing motion wears down the gums and exposes the roots of the teeth. Instead, brush with gentle pressure in a circular motion. Any gum damage and damage to your teeth can be fixed. “Gum recession can occur due to a variety of reasons, but trauma from brushing is a culprit,” says Dr. Smigel.


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The 6 Biggest Dental Problems For People Over 50

Smile! There’s good news from the world of dentistry: Older American are keeping their teeth longer than ever before and the average number of teeth people retain into old age is increasing, says Judith Ann Jones, DDS, a spokesman on elder care for the American Dental Association and director of The Center for Clinical Research at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

But Jones is not all smiles. As people keep their teeth longer, there are more problems that are likely to arise, which is why keeping up with regular dental visits is so important. Here are the most common problems, and what you can do about them:

Tooth decay
Yes, people over 50 can get cavities. You can get them on the surfaces of teeth that have never been a problem before, but you can also get them around old fillings or at the root of your tooth. “As you age, the root of your tooth becomes softer and sometimes more exposed,” Jones explains.

The Fix: Flouride is not just for kids, Jones says. “Fluoride is one of the 10 most important health measures developed in the 20th century.” Almost 80 percent of people in the United States have fluorinated water, but if you don’t, you should probably add a daily fluoride rinse to your brushing habit. Or ask your doctor about a stronger fluoride prescription gel. If you are starting to get cavities, even if your water has fluoride, consider a fluoride rinse. Ask your dentist if that’s right for you.

Dry mouth
Saliva protects us against tooth decay. But if you’re not producing it, your teeth may be at risk. The calcium and phosphate present in saliva prevent demineralization of your teeth, Jones says. How do you know if you have dry mouth? You’ll have a sticky feeling in your mouth, trouble swallowing, dry throat, and dry, cracked lips. You may notice a metallic taste in your mouth or persistent bad breath. You may or may not feel thirsty. Dry mouth is often caused by medications, and as people age, they take more medications. It can also result from smoking or from a blow to the head that somehow damages the salivary glands.

The Fix: If you have dry mouth, you should try to stimulate saliva production. Jones says some people just sip water all day while others find that chewing sugar-free xylitol candies or gum helps. Your dentist may prescribe a prescription saliva substitute or recommend over-the-counter formulations for you to try.

Gum disease
If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you’ve got gingivitis, an early form of gum disease that can progress and be dangerous. Untreated gingivitis often becomes periodontitis, which is when the gum pulls away from the tooth and creates pockets which can become infected. If this condition develops and continues unchecked, it could cause the loss of bones in your jaw and eventually, the loss of the teeth themselves.

The Fix: The best fix for this condition is regular dentist visits, Jones says. You may need to visit your dentist more frequently so that your teeth can be cleaned and your gums treated for the condition. People who don’t have good access to dental care are more likely to have gum disease, Jones says.

Oral cancer
More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation. Oral cancer incidence definitely increases as you get older, Jones says, and is very often linked to smoking and heavy alcohol use. Recently, the number of cases has risen because doctors have discovered that the Human Papilloma Virus also can cause oral cancer.

The Fix: Only about half of people who develop oral cancer survive the disease, Jones says. The best hope for survival is to discover it at its earliest stages—in which case there is an 80 percent chance of surviving for five years. Your dental exam should include a check for oral cancer. Your dentist will hold your tongue and check the soft tissue in your mouth as well as your throat and jaw. If he or she does not, find another dentist, Jones says.

Tooth crowding
Are you noticing that food is getting stuck in new places in your mouth? Or that the overlapping tooth that was cute in your teens now seems to be overlapping even more? You’re not imagining it. As you age, your teeth shift, according to Lee W. Graber, D.D.S., M.S., M.S., Ph.D., Past President of the American Association of Orthodontists. And that can be problematic, not because you’ll look different, but because it can make your teeth more difficult to clean, leading to more decay. It’s also of concern because misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to the supporting tissue and bone, Graber says. Add to that the tendency of older adults to have periodontal disease, and you could end up losing your teeth even faster.

The Fix: If your teeth have really shifted, you could see an orthodontist, who may fit you with a retainer, spacer, or even braces. This may not be necessary, but you should discuss with your dentist whether your teeth are shifting at your regular check up. If they are, it may mean only that you need to go to the dentist more regularly for more frequent cleanings.


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5 Biggest Flossing Mistakes


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Interesting Dental Facts

  • The first chewing gum was “chicle”—sap from Sapodilla trees. Chicle dates back to Aztec times when people boiled and cut it into blocks.
  • You may have once heard that George Washington’s false teeth were made of wood. They weren’t. They were made of ivory, lead, and hippopotamus teeth.
  • The average person produces 100,000 gallons of saliva during their lifetime—enough to fill 200 bathtubs!
  • Before toothbrushes, people used shredded twigs to clean their teeth.
  • An average person exerts 30-40 pounds of pressure per square inch with their jaw muscles.
  • One in 2,000 babies is born with some teeth already grown in. Usually, these extra teeth can be pulled and the child will still grow a full set of baby teeth.
  • During the Middle Ages, some people believed that kissing a donkey would relieve a toothache, and that stealing someone’s tooth could help them grow a new one of their own. Silly folks.
  • Rabbit’s and squirrel’s teeth never stop growing. They continuously wear them down by gnawing on whatever is handy.


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5 Surprising Things That Are Ruining Your Teeth

We all know that candy and soda aren’t good for our teeth, but the sugars and acids lurking in other, seemingly innocuous (and even healthy) foods can also do a number on your dental hygiene. We got New York City-based cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg, DDS, to give us real talk on five culprits you didn’t realize were hurting your choppers, and how to prevent the damage.

Say it ain’t so: While bottles of the cold-pressed stuff may be chock-full of good-for-you nutrients, juices also have such a high sugar content (some have even more than smoothies or soft drinks) that drinking them isn’t far off from bathing your teeth in chocolate, Lowenberg says. This sugar is consumed by the bacteria in our mouths and converted into acid that wears away enamel and can cause cavities.

The solution: Sip juice through a straw to help keep it away from the surfaces of your teeth. And make sure sure to wait at least 45 minutes post-drinking to brush your teeth: Scrubbing them immediately while after acid has softened their enamel can leave them even more vulnerable to damage.

Chewable vitamins
They taste just like gummy candy–and they’re not much better for our mouths. In fact, their sticky, sugar-y makeup adheres to teeth so well that they’re just practically bound to cause cavities.

The solution: Take your vitamins in pill form. While that may not be as fun (or taste nearly as good), neither is a trip to the dentist for a filling.

Barbecue sauce
Backyard barbecues are a summer staple. But most people don’t realize that the thick, sweet sauce marinating your chicken and ribs is also marinating your teeth in sugar (yep, the sauce is full of it), potentially sending you down a road of tooth discoloration and decay if it’s in your mouth long enough.

The solution: Before you know you’ll be eating ‘cue swipe a (very) thin layer of petroleum jelly over your teeth to create a barrier between the sauce and your enamel. Can’t stand the feeling of the jelly on your teeth? Try to brush right after the cookout to remove any residue.

Dried fruit
While some fresh fruits are actually considered good for teeth (think water-packed produce like apples and pears), dried fruits never are. This otherwise-nutritious snack is packed with non-cellulose fiber, which traps sugar on and around teeth the way gummy candies (and vitamins) do.

The solution: Get it off! Brush and floss teeth immediately after eating dried fruit to get rid of any stuck-on sugar.

White wine
Red wine tends to get a bad rap for staining teeth–and it does!–but white’s no better for your dental health. The acid in white wine eats away at your enamel and leaves teeth vulnerable to stains from other foods or drinks.

The solution: Eat more cheese with your wine! It’s rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help buffer the acids vino leaves in your mouth. A less-caloric approach: Gargle with water after drinking to flush away some of the acidity.

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Check Out These Tips for Relieving Dry Mouth

The best way to treat dry mouth — known medically as xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh) — depends on what’s causing it. You can do some things to relieve dry mouth temporarily. But for the best long-term dry mouth remedy, it’s recommended that you visit a medical professional to address it’s cause.

To relieve your dry mouth:

– Sip water or sugarless drinks, or suck on ice chips.
– Avoid irritants, such as tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.
– Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.
– Avoid salty or spicy foods.
– Use a humidifier at night.
– Consider using saliva substitutes.

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7 Tips for Overcoming Fear of the Dentist

Having a fear of the dentist is common- we do our best to help you relax & feel comfortable. Here are some handy tips to help you become more relaxed.

1. Manage your own pain. Accept that there’s no need for you to feel anything beyond the Novocaine shot. The minute you do, ask for more Novocaine. Because of the panic, I metabolize that stuff like crazy, and have to ask for up to two reapplications per procedure. Raise a finger so they know to pause and tell them you have sensation. A good dentist is uncomfortable when you are, and they’ll take care of it or explain your options.

2. Close your eyes. You don’t need to see the implements. Especially not the needle. Breathe.

3. Pay attention to your body. Note how your entire body is clenched like a vise? Concentrate on relaxing your muscles one and at time, from the toes up. Unclench your jaw. Unfurrow your brow. If you feel yourself panicking, start again from the toes.

4. Wear headphones. Loud, soothing music you rarely listen to in real life. No need to sabotage your favorite tunes with dental recall. Ask your dentist to squeeze your hand if he or she needs something.

5. Find an escape. If your dentist doesn’t already have one, ask him or her to hang a poster of a soothing scene (the ocean or something) on the ceiling above the chair. That way, if you do open your eyes, there’s something non medical to look at.

6. Care for yourself. When you’re back at home, ice your jaw and rinse gently with warm saltwater whenever you’re in pain. This controls swelling and infection, both of which cause a lot of the post-procedural pain. If they gave you painkillers, take them the first day even if you don’t think you need them. If they gave you antibiotics, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take every last one of them.

Rinse. Repeat.


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Simple Tips For Good Oral Hygene

Brushing your teeth in the morning is a routine nobody fails to do. But after a hard day’s work we are so tired that sometimes we just crash to bed after dinner, without bothering to clean our teeth.

This results in poor oral hygiene causing bad breath. Studies report that about 50 – 65 percent of the working population suffer from bad breath. Below are some useful tips to keep your teeth healthy.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods from all the five major food groups.
  • Avoid high-sugar foods.
  • Brush twice a day. Learn the correct way to brush from the dentist. Avoid aggressive brushing.
  • Remember to floss everyday.
  • Get your teeth checked and cleaned every six months.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal.
  • Get all existing dental problems—bleeding gums, missing teeth, cavities—treated immediately. Prolonging treatment can lead to further severe complications. Bad breath may be caused by existing oral diseases such as gum disease and Candida infection. In such a case, see your dentist as soon as possible.
  • Have herbs, the natural antibiotics. Fresh parsley and aloe vera are effective in preventing bad breath. Chew fresh parsley whenever you can. It not only detoxifies your mouth, but it also contains abundant chlorophyll, which sweetens your breath. Furthermore, all this will increase the flow of saliva that helps avoid dry mouth. Make your own mouthwash: mix two teaspoons aloe vera juice with a tumbler of water.
  • Eat crisp fruits and vegetables such as apple, celery, cucumber and carrot. Chewing them cleans the mouth naturally by removing plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth and gums.
  • Chewing sugarless gum increases salivation. Saliva has anti-bacterial properties so the more saliva you have, the more you suppress the bacterial growth. Fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, mastic gum and fresh parsley are some of the commonly found food items that help you salivate naturally.


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Professional Teeth Whitening

As the years go by, teeth tend to absorb stains from various foods and drinks and other things like cigarettes. Due to this absorption, without our knowledge, our teeth gradually turn a few shades darker. You’ve probably seen dozens of at home remedies for teeth whitening, however none of them come close to the results that can be achieved through our in office professional teeth whitening.

Our office offers three types of procedures to help give you the desired results you are looking for.

1. One Hour Whitening – This process uses the number one rated Zoom2 technology, which speeds up whitening and completes the entire treatment within one hour.

2. Two Week Home Whitening – This is a much lower cost option. We will provide you with custom made trays and an application of bleaching solution that you will use at home for about 30 minutes per day.

3. Deep Bleaching Technique – Through the combination of in-office and home teeth whitening procedures, along with a specialized tray system, we are able to maximize results. Following three to four weeks of treatment, our proprietary bleaching formulation produces excellent results.

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