Your pearly whites get a lot of attention, but when was the last time you thought about the health of your gums? Your gums play a vital role in your beautiful smile and your overall health. When you brush and floss your teeth you’re not just preventing cavities, you’re also protecting your gums from developing gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, it is the leading cause of tooth loss, impacts your overall health, and as we’ve discussed on the blog before, has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. So what are the ways you can improve the health of your gums? Here are 5 tips to help keep your gums healthy:
1. Brush Properly
A proper brushing technique is essential to preventing gum disease. Start with a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Use short strokes and make sure you get all surfaces of your teeth. You should spend 2 minutes, twice a day on brushing. When you’re done with your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue, too! If you have questions about your brushing technique, don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist for a quick demonstration at your next appointment…our hygiene team loves to help and share their knowledge!
2. Floss Daily
An important part of your oral health care regimen, flossing helps remove food and plaque from between the teeth. We know flossing can be a hard habit to stick with so if you’re looking for other ways to clean between your teeth, check out our blog post on alternatives to traditional flossing. If you notice any bleeding when you floss let us know at your next visit–this can be an early sign of periodontal disease. Find a method that works for you and stick with it!
3. Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health! People who smoke cigarettes are four times as likely to have periodontal disease, and smoking makes it harder to manage treatments. Let us know if you have questions about smoking and oral health care or if you need help quitting…we want to support you!
4. Eat Your Fruits, Veggies, and Nuts
Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables is good for your body, good for your teeth, and good for your gums. By incorporating foods that are rich in Omega-3s, vitamin C, and fiber you are not only getting essential nutrients, you are reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system, and in the process supporting the health of your gums as well. Snack on some almonds, bell peppers, and leafy greens for the win!
5. Schedule Regular Visits to Falmouth Dental Arts
Coming in for regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is an important part of your oral health care. Seeing us regularly helps us monitor the health of your gums and teeth and notice if there are early signs of gum disease we can help you reverse. We are your partners in oral health care and want to help you have effective dental care for a healthy mouth and a healthy life!
If you have questions about the health of your gums or need to schedule your next appointment, please call us at 207.781.5900. We are working diligently to schedule patients with our new safety protocols, and appreciate your patience. We look forward to seeing you!
Dieting is a popular New Year’s Resolution. This year, why not take a dental approach to the traditional diet? The team at Falmouth Dental Arts has whipped up the perfect plate–and poured a cuppa– for your pearly whites.
Dairy: Cheese and yogurt both contain Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. This mineral is just as important for your teeth as it is for your bones; calcium-deficient diets suffer from underdeveloped teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay. Cheeses and yogurts address your need for Vitamin D, and boast the added bonus of counteracting acid erosion of teeth, making them excellent options to end a meal. Cheese for dessert, anyone? **Dairy allergies? Fatty fish such as salmon are also a wonderful source of Vitamin D.
Oranges: Surprise! Although citrus fruits contain erosive acids, they pack a powerful punch of Vitamin C, which encourages collagen production and strengthens tissue and blood vessels. Increased collagen, stronger tissue and better blood flow means stronger gums and happier homes for your teeth. An orange a day keeps the periodontist away–just make sure to wait at least 30 minutes between eating and brushing to minimize acid erosion.
Fruits and Veggies: Looking for another reason to make a salad? High-fiber leafy greens act as natural toothbrushes, scrubbing your teeth while you eat and encouraging saliva production. Meanwhile, the high-water content of traditional lettuces help rinse your mouth. Carrots and celery are also excellent snack options, washing your teeth with every crunch! For tooth-conscious options from the fruit bowl, choose apples and strawberries. Apples offer the same healthy crunch benefits as snappy vegetables, while strawberries actually contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener.
Tea: Black and green teas contain compounds called “polyphenols”. Polyphenols ward off bacteria responsible for cavities and gum disease. Less bacteria means fewer cavities and less bad breath. When combined with other good dental habits, drinking tea can cure halitosis, so drink up and breathe easy.
While a balanced diet represents one facet of your dental health, you can’t substitute twice-daily brushing and flossing with apples and carrots. Falmouth Dental Arts encourages you to the best of both worlds! If you have any questions about the best foods for your teeth, just ask us at your next appointment. To schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900.
Our teeth are under constant threat by the hazards that lead to periodontal disease: sugar and bacteria. For smokers, these threats become magnified by a factor of four! That’s right, smokers are four times more likely to develop periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. What’s more, once you have gum disease, smoking makes it harder for treatments to manage it.
The link between cigarette smoke and cancer is well known. With respect to oral health, this includes all oral cancers. Smoking increases the chances of developing oral leukoplakia, which has the appearance of thick, white patches along the gums, tongue, or cheeks. If you’re a smoker and you’ve noticed these white patches, it’s important that you try to stop smoking and consult your dentist or physician. If you continue smoking, leukoplakia could lead to mouth, tongue, or throat cancer.
Smoking can also affect the beauty of your smile. The same plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to gum disease can also make your teeth look unattractive. Smoking also leads to yellowing of the teeth and bad breath, which can impact your self confidence in addition to your smile.
If you are concerned about the impact smoking has had on your teeth, call us today to schedule an appointment.
smoking and dental hygiene oral cancer awareness month
February is American Heart Month. Sadly, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Did you know that there are some studies that suggest a link between oral health and heart disease? While the studies aren’t conclusive yet, many have shown that gum disease, in particular, can be associated with heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology, for example, found that those with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease.
Some of our hygienists recently attended a course on this possible link between heart disease and oral health in Boston. One possible reason for this connection is that bacteria from the mouth can enter into the bloodstream through the gums, the same bacteria found clumped in artery plaques. Of course, it’s too early to say that avid tooth brushing and flossing can prevent heart disease. But it certainly can’t hurt.
Check out this video from the American Heart Association, “10 Years of Fighting Heart Disease in Women”
George Washington was plagued by dental disease almost his entire life. His adult teeth began falling out in his early 20’s. Others had to be extracted due to advanced decay. By the time he became president only one remained.
Because of this, Washington frequently sought out the help of dentists. During the Revolutionary War he became close to Franco-American dentist Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur, who became a lifelong friend. Later, during his presidency, Washington relied on dentist John Greenwood to fashion him several sets of false teeth. However, none were made from wood. One set was made from ivory and held together with gold springs, which is a bit more presidential than a hunk of wood. One pair of Washington’s dentures survives and is on view at his home in Mount Vernon.
George Washington’s story is a good reminder of how far we’ve come in dentistry. Despite the best efforts of Revolutionary Era dentists, Washington still suffered a lifetime of discomfort and regularly took laudanum (an opiate painkiller) to deal with the pain. His poor teeth also hurt his self-esteem and made him reluctant to give speeches.
Although there are many ways you should inspire to be like our nation’s first president, having unsightly teeth is not one of them. At Falmouth Dental Arts we offer dental solutions that fit your specific needs and budget for your complete comfort both physically and financially. Most importantly, we will get your teeth functioning properly and looking beautiful once again. Call today to see how we can improve your smile.
It’s true. January is National Soup Month and National Tea Month. And it is also true that we think that is no coincidence.
You’re always looking for easy ways to improve your health, right? And oral health is a significant factor in overall health. So here are two extremely simple ways for you to strengthen your teeth and gums and improve your overall health.
- Drink more tea
- Eat more soup
Here is why…
Many people think that chewy candies and foods with high sugar content are what really harm teeth. Although those people are correct, what you choose to drink also has a significant impact on oral health. When deciding between the many drink options available, one of the best drinks for your oral health is brewed tea. Tea has anti-bacterial properties and fluoride content which may help protect against cavities and gum disease and may also strengthen tooth enamel [insert a picture of tea with this sentence as the caption].
There have been a number of studies done recently that highlight the positive effects of tea on oral health. Research shows that tea has almost no erosive effect on tooth enamel. In fact, depending on the amount of fluoride in the water that you brew your tea with, it can even strengthen your enamel. A study done specifically on green tea has indicated that it has some added oral health benefits due to the natural antioxidant compounds called catechins that are in it. The researchers suggested that green tea is particularly effective in fighting and preventing gum disease because the catechins in the green tea interfere with the inflammation that results from bacteria in the mouth. Lastly, a recent study conducted by New York University Dental Center suggests that black tea may be linked to reduction in likelihood of developing dental caries (or cavities).
So in other words…have a cup of tea a day! But before you do, here are a few important words of advice…
- Don’t add sugar to your tea. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth and irritate your gums.
- Avoid prepackaged, bottled iced teas because they contain citric acid (which can wear away tooth enamel) and high amounts of sugars.
http://www.teausa.com/teausa/images/TeaCouncil-ResearchDocR5_-_FINAL.pdf – visit this link for an extremely informational document that breaks down how tea benefits the rest of your body’s health (including cardiovascular health, cancer risk reduction for a number of cancers, neurological health, metabolism/obesity/body composition, diabetes/blood sugar control, immune function, kidney function, and reduced risk of osteoporosis).
Since the first day we were served solid food as children, we have been told to eat our veggies. “You want to grow up to be big and strong, don’t you?” As a kid, that never really crossed our minds…we’d rather have chips and soda and candy.
But what if we were to give you new incentive to eat your veggies… What if we showed you just how beneficial vegetables can be to your oral hygiene.
Vegetables are of course jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients – these are the key.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has a plethora of benefits for your gums. It helps produce collagen which helps form body tissue, and it also repairs damaged gums and helps the them become more resistant to oral bacteria. Folic acid helps your mouth’s cells stay healthy, and calcium helps with strong teeth, bones, and gums. All these nutrients together help keep gums strong and healthy and control or even prevent gum disease.
In addition to the vast nutrients in vegetables that your mouth benefits from, there are other positive effects to eating your veggies as well. The chewing action alone involved in eating raw veggies strengthens your gums, encourages blood circulation and builds strong teeth. Additionally, vegetables are a key source of fiber, which builds a strong immune system.
So now you may be asking, “how do I know which vegetables to eat to get these nutrients?” Allow us to help:
- Vitamin C: red and green peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and tomatoes
- Vitamin E: Spinach, turnip greens, collards, along with oils (vegetable, seed and nut)
- Folic Acid: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and spinach
One of the best ways to get tons of veggies at once (especially in the winter) is in a hearty soup! So here are three delicious soup recipes that are packed with vegetables to benefit your overall health, as well as you oral health! We all know homemade soup is no match for that canned stuff in terms of taste and nutritional value.
Green Pea and Chickpea Soup: This soup is exceptionally nutrient-dense and calls for highly affordable ingredients. To experience optimal health, including flexible and healthy bones and teeth, it’s vital that you eat plenty of green plant foods on a regular basis. Green peas are naturally abundant in folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, carotenoids, tryptophan, vitamin K, manganese, healthy protein, and a number of other health-promoting nutrients. Get this recipe
Vegetable Soup: Here is an extremely quick, easy and delicious recipe that is packed full of veggies. Modify this with your favorite veggies too – its easy to substitute ingredients with this simple recipe! Get the recipe
Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken noodle soup can be tricky, because it is not always particularly healthy for you – it really depends on what ingredients you use. May sound obvious, but sometimes people struggle maximizing the health factor. Here are three tips for you that will help give any chicken noodle soup recipe a health kick…
- Use boneless, skinless chicken
- Use fat-free and/or low-sodium chicken broth
- Look for your favorite noodle in high-fiber, whole wheat variety fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Click here to get the chicken noodle soup recipe we love
Happy National Soup and Tea Month! Get out there and strengthen those teeth and gums.