The Best Foods for Oral Health

Back when mankind was still in its infancy, foods were a lot simpler. They were also a lot less tasty. These tasty foods often come with a price… the health of your mouth. Dental techniques have advanced a lot over the last several decades. The effect that foods have on the overall health of the body and the mouth has been a focus in recent years. Luckily, foods can be both healthy and delicious. Some foods will actually help your teeth strengthen themselves.

Tea, especially green tea, is one of the best beverages for your mouth. Both black and green teas contain polyphenols, compounds which help kill bacteria in the mouth. Green tea also contains catechins, another natural anti-biotic. When bacteria grows it can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. The unsweetened varieties of teas are better for you. A lot of sugar will counter the beneficial attributes of the tea.

As we age, the collagen in our gums begins to break down. This is especially true if we do not get enough Vitamin C. Everyone knows that oranges are high in Vitamin C, but there are foods which have a higher Vitamin C count. Peppers, specifically bell peppers and chili peppers, have a high Vitamin C level and can be eaten in many different dishes. Other foods charged with Vitamin C are Kale, Papayas, Broccoli, Strawberries, Pineapple, and Kiwi.

Milk is well know for its overall health benefits. One of its byproducts, cheese, helps balance out the pH levels in the mouth. Because the acidity is taken out of the mouth, the enamel of the teeth is preserved. Research has shown that teenagers who ate cheese had had lower acid levels in their mouth than teens who drank milk or ate sugar-free yogurt.

In the animal kingdom, plaque is stripped away by chewing on sticks and stalks. When we eat healthy crunchy foods, such as apples, celery, and carrots, the extra plaque is scraped away and bacteria are forced out of the mouth. Chewing also increases saliva production. Which brings us to the next healthy food… sugarless gum.
Saliva is our mouth’s way of neutralizing the acids of the mouth. The important thing to remember here is that the gum needs to be sugarless. When the gum is chewed from side-to-side, extra food can be dislodged between brushings. Some gums have bonus ingredients which aid cavity prevention and even strengthen other areas of the mouth.
Eating any of these foods, or all of them, is no substitution for brushing and flossing. Eating healthy will benefit the mouth, the body, and the mind. When a mouth is healthy, it is easier to keep the rest of the body healthy. There are so many recipes that can be made in a way that makes them truly succulent. Experimenting with recipes means limitless possibilities await. There is no reason that all the benefits these foods offer cannot be fully embraced one bite at a time.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015

Ways to Keep Kids Brushing

Kids want to have fun. From the time they wake up until nap time, they are playing, learning, and growing. Scientists say that the vast majority of learning which will take place in our lifetime happens before puberty. This makes it a perfect time in the life of your child to institute great oral hygiene habits.

Using a kids imagination can help make brushing teeth into an exciting adventure. Having your kids open their mouth like a hippopotamus or a roaring lion encourages them to brush those back teeth. Kids tend to focus on their front teeth, the teeth that they can see. This means improper bushing of the molars. Tell them to get all of their “lion teeth” when they brush.

Picking a fun toothbrush makes kids more excited to brush their teeth. Whether it is Nemo, Elsa, dinosaurs, or My Little Ponies, picking a toothbrush your kids will enjoy makes the brushing process more like a game. More fun = more likely to do. Kids toothbrushes need to have a smaller head for their little mouths and will have soft bristles.

There are many apps and websites which are specially geared to help kids want to brush their teeth. Two of the largest toothpaste companies have “sing-a-long” videos which play for two minutes. When the song is over the child is done brushing. The videos have animated characters making them fun for kids of many ages. Similar apps are available through app stores. They will play a song or keep a musical timer to keep your kid on track.
Adults and kids have different taste buds. Your toothpaste may taste refreshing to you, but to a seven year old it is “icky.” Kids toothpaste comes in many different flavors, often with beloved characters on the tube. By letting your kids pick their own toothpaste, they get to be grown up and make a decision. They relive the excitement when they use the toothpaste they picked out by themselves. Keep in mind, the toothpaste they pick should still be approved by the American Dental Association.

Having oral hygiene occur at the same time everyday creates consistency. Set it at a time that will be convenient throughout the week. If bedtime is 8pm, teeth brushing could be at 7:30. Or, it could be right before story time and it could be right after potty time in the morning.

Kids love to imitate their parents. Whatever mommy and daddy do, kids will want to do too. If you take good care of your teeth, they are more likely to take care of their own. Teach your kids how to make sure they got all of their teeth and help them out until they are able to brush on their own.
Just like potty training, oral hygiene skills need to be taught. It takes patience, but is infinitely valuable in life. Remember that kids teeth, especially baby teeth, do not need to be brushed hard, just thoroughly. Do not skip days, bad patterns are more easily picked up than positive ones.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015

All about toothpaste: Which one is best for you?

Everyday people are bombarded with decisions: Where to eat? What to wear? What to order at the coffee place? The sad part is that one of the most important choices gets less that a fraction of a second’s thought… what toothpaste to get.

Many people buy the brand their mom used or whatever is on sale. With all of the toothpaste out there, making a choice may seem like a moot point but when it comes to toothpaste they are all designed for specific needs and have different purposes. All toothpaste are not created equal.

All the terms floating around like “whitening,” “For sensitive teeth,” “cavity fighting” makes a person feel like they have to choose just one of these for their smile. The main ingredient in toothpaste is some type of fluoride. With children’s toothpaste, the concentration of fluoride is usually lower than in paste designed for adults.

Any adult toothpaste with a level of 1,000 ppm or higher of fluoride is effective in cavity protection. A whitening toothpaste contains a mild abrasive which scrubs the discoloration from teeth. This is not the best choice for those who already have cavities as the abrasives can ultimately expand the area of the cavity. There is still some controversy about the long term effects of whitening toothpaste.

Those who smoke will often find their dentition taking on a darker hue than normal. The stains on a smokers teeth require a stronger abrasive for removal. The tar which deposits is thicker than coffee stains. Smoker’s toothpaste should be used with a cavity-fighting toothpaste.

While anti-plaque toothpaste removes plaque, it also reduces the damage done by existing plaque. There are several ingredients which are active in plaque reducing pastes. Most will use Zinc Citrate or Triclosan. Since plaque is responsible for forming cavities and is one of the reasons that teeth fade, it is a good general choice if you don’t have a purpose beyond a healthy mouth.

Weak enamel and the forming of cavities can both lead to teeth sensitivity. Teeth may be sensitive to heat, cold, and/or pressure. Since these issues have a root cause (pun intended) it is important to consult a dentist to determine or more work is needed.

Elderly people should consider a toothpaste designed to fight receding gums. If gums recede the patient can experience sensitivity and risk exposing the roots of their teeth to food and bacteria. There are toothpaste which are specially designed for almost any dental condition.
Triple action toothpaste is the trifecta, they whiten, fight cavities, and will aid in the freshening of breath. Still, when the focus of the patient is on just one of these, it is beneficial to use a specific toothpaste-type between regular brushings.

Always remember that once teeth are gone, they are gone forever. Proper care in every stage of life is the best way to ensure that teeth remain intact for a lifetime. It is much easier to prevent it than to try to fix the damage later. Before changing an existing dental care regimen be sure to consult with a dentist.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015 ©