What your family eats and drinks affects their smiles--both positively and adversely. Dr. Jason Campbell, your Virginia Beach, VA family dentist, asks his patients to consider some general guidelines for healthier eating and brighter smiles.
What Goes on in Your Mouth
Whatever you put in your mouth contacts your teeth and gums. Acids, sugars, starches, water, protein, fruit and vegetable fiber, grains-their entryway to your body and its processing plant is your mouth. Digestion begins in your oral cavity with secretion of a watery, enzyme-filled fluid called saliva.
Besides the chemistry that happens in your mouth, mechanical processes occur, too. The facial muscles, jaw, teeth and gums all work together in speaking, biting and chewing. Teeth and gums collect the sticky biofilm called plaque-- leftover food residues and other organic matter. If not removed by brushing, flossing and hygienic cleanings at Seaside Dentistry, plaque hardens into tartar, and the bacteria in both contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
Dr. Campbell and his team emphasize good dietary habits with all their patients as part of their individualized treatment plans. Here are some tips on tooth-friendly and not so tooth-friendly food and drinks.
Your Virginia Beach dentist recommends drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Water cleanses tooth enamel and gums and also increases saliva production, fighting decay and gum disease. Additionally, beverages, such as milk, hydrate and provide enamel- and bone-building calcium.
Food choices that are good for your smile are fibrous fruits and veggies--what the American Dental Association calls "detergent" foods. Low-fat meats and grains help your teeth and your waistline, too. Plus, chewing sugarless gum, particularly when you cannot brush and floss, removes food residues and freshens breath.
Sugar and carbs are the obvious bad guys in the fight for optimal oral health. Oral bacteria feed on starchy breads, candy, sweets and soda pop, secreting acids on enamel and infecting gum tissue. Acid in soda pop and other foods, such as tomatoes, literally etch enamel, wearing it prematurely thin. Sure, tomatoes pack plenty of nutritional benefits, but limit them because of their acid, or combine them with the buffering action of hard cheeses.
In addition, while some foods don't hurt enamel and gums, they can stain teeth. Dark foods such as blueberries and soy sauce and richly pigmented drinks such as coffee, cola, tea and wine discolor organic material caught in enamel. Over time, this extrinsic staining deepens, giving smiles a prematurely aged, dingy look.
What to Do
Limit staining acidic foods and increase healthy selections. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. Visit your Virginia Beach, VA family dentist for twice yearly cleanings and exams.
If you are overdue for your regular check-up, call Seaside Dentistry for an appointment: (757) 689-4363.