Dr. Roopa,Professor & Head Dept. of oral pathology
M.S.Ramaiah Dental college & Hospital
EAT YOUR WAY TO A SPARKLING SMILE…..!
A million dollar smile doesn’t cost much…not until you take care. It comes with healthy food and a few good habits. Although there is a lot of awareness on good habits for general hygiene, little is known on how food habits affect your smile!
How does food affect my teeth? What food is good for my teeth?
Foods that protect and strengthen the enamel (outer layer) on your teeth and foods that check the release of acid in the mouth are obviously helpful.
What foods are harmful to my teeth?
All your favorite fast foods - pizzas, sweets, chocolates, soft drinks, canned foods fare badly when it comes to building your oral hygiene. All these cause release of acid by bacteria in the plaque causing gradual wearing of the enamel, cavities & tooth decay. It also leads to increase in intestinal secretions leading to a craving for more.
How do I make my teeth healthy?
1. Check your consumption pattern. Are you eating burgers, pizzas or chocolates too often ? Is your favorite celebrity’s soft drink eating away your teeth ?
Are my habits for smoking & alcohol to be ‘IN’ with my peers is making the way ‘OUT’ for my teeth?!!!
2. Replace your fast foods gradually with more healthy foods like fruits and fruit juices.
3. Alcohol and Cigarettes are a strict ‘No’.
4. Try these on your own for 3 weeks. Good habits are said to be built in 21 days if you focus on it.
5. If you do not see improvement in your oral hygiene, it is time to see your dentist.
6. If you still sense a strong craving for candies & burgers, check the ingredients in your foods for any inactive ingredients which makes you addictive to it. For example people who love coffee; though milk is a nutritious food, caffeine act as an addictive.
7. Craving for salty foods like pickles, chips and chats indicates altered functioning of certain glands and deficiency in iodine or potassium or even fluid imbalance.
Ageing gracefully !!!
As you grow older, your teeth grow old too…so age gracefully !!! The elderly face challenges with their teeth: Staining, tooth sensitivity, gum disease and bone recession(shrinkage), to name a few. Proper and timely care can check common problems faced by them. A strong set of teeth is essential to maintain our general health and for a confident & graceful ageing.
Teeth darken in color as a result of staining. The stains are usually brown, yellow and orange, or combinations of these colors. Pigments in food, tea, coffee & smoking causes staining. In cases of extensive staining, nerves and blood vessels of the teeth die, making teeth grey or black. Some antibiotics taken over long periods can also stain teeth grey.
Teeth become sensitive to hot, cold and sweet foods and drinks which then causes pain.- This can be caused by teeth wearing down as a result of old age, due to faulty tooth brushing & loss of tooth structure due to exposure of tooth to acids like carbonated soft drinks & vinegar used as preservative in pickles.
Gum disease causes gum recession or shrinkage which results in its loosening its original attachment to the tooth. The gum then re-attaches itself to the tooth at a lower level making the tooth look longer. The gums will now bleed easily, and the teeth will become loose.
Bone recession (shrinkage)
Gum disease, if left untreated, will lead to bone loss around the teeth. The tooth loses its supporting bone, and becomes loose. This will lead to a condition called periodontitis.
What can you do to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth as you get older?
1. Chew your food well to ensure a healthy flow of saliva.
2. Good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist should allow you to keep your teeth and gums in good condition.
3. Make sure that you continue to eat a balanced diet.
4. Cosmetic dentistry can provide older people with attractive and natural-looking tooth replacements.
What if you wear dentures? Here are some tips on dentures:
Dentures should be taken out of the mouth every night, and cleaned with a soft brush or a denture brush. Full dentures will benefit
from being left overnight in a soaking solution. Soaking solutions can remove plaque, tartar and stains. Dentures must not be left to dry out. With time,
the gums and bone shrink, and dentures may loosen. Denture fixatives or adhesives can help to improve the firmness of dentures. Fixatives help the wearer
to adjust to new dentures. Do not use denture fixatives to keep old, ill-fitting dentures in place. This can cause injury to the gums.
Dentures can be relined or rebased to improve the fit. New dentures need to be made when the changes in the gums and bone make the dentures too loose. This is done by any dentist. Never self adjust the dentures on your own.
Expecting mother?-Watch your gums and teeth!
Pregnancy is a period which instills a sense of responsibility in women. It makes her feel complete as a woman as she prepares herself for the new motherhood. During this period there are certain hormonal changes in her body which can be reflected in her mouth. It is easy and commonplace to take your oral health for granted during pregnancy but taking good care of your mouth can prevent disease in them and through out the body.
What are the commonly noticed changes during pregnancy?
Bleeding from gums during brushing—gingivitis
Presence of lump or growth over the gums—Pregnancy tumor
Increased incidence of tooth decay.
Wearing out of tooth surface due to repeated vomiting—Erosion of teeth
Dryness of mouth and bad breath.
Changes in gums during pregnancy
During the second and eighth month of pregnancy the gums can be affected because of variation in hormonal levels. It can range from simple reddened gums to severe swelling and bleeding. When you notice a glistening red colored lump which bleeds or causes discomfort while eating or speaking it can be a pregnancy related growth known as “Pregnancy tumor” which may occur anytime during pregnancy but most likely seen between fourth to sixth month.
Tooth decay and pregnancy
Due to craving for sweet and certain unusual changes in diet, pregnant women are more likely to suffer from tooth decay if the oral hygiene is
neglected. Wearing out of tooth surface Suppose you notice loss of tooth surface usually in the inner side of the teeth it is because of increased vomiting during
pregnancy. The acid released from the stomach leads to wearing away of tooth surfaces, thus increasing tooth sensitivity. Dryness of mouth and bad breath
The infection in gums, decreased quantity of saliva and poor oral hygiene might make you prone to bad breath. Decrease in saliva content can also increase the
risk of tooth decay. How to get rid of these problems?
Practicing strict oral hygiene methods is the key to prevent most of these changes which include:-
Brushing twice a day.
Use of floss which is an inter-dental aid to remove deposits in-between the teeth.
Using antimicrobial mouth rinse regularly.
Cut down on sweets and other sugary snacks.
Regular dental check up.
Pregnancy tumor usually disappears on its own after the baby’s birth, however if the lump interferes while eating, your dentist might choose to remove it. Remember!! Never do anything on your own to get rid of it.!
When is the right time to visit your dentist?
The milk teeth are softer than permanent teeth because of which they decay more easily. This being not so attractive a condition, is also painful and may be one of the reasons why your baby won’t stop crying. The teeth most prone are the upper front teeth. Lower teeth are in general less affected since they are covered by the tongue.
What causes Nursing bottle caries?
Nursing bottle caries is caused in bottle fed infants due to prolonged & frequent exposure of teeth to sweetened liquids (milk with sugar or honey ) which combine with normal bacteria (germs) to produce acids and dissolve the hard protective coating of the tooth. The worst damage occurs when a child is given a bottle at bed time as there is lesser saliva produced at night. Many sweetened medications are capable of producing tooth decay.A favorite trick among parents is to thicken vitamin syrups with honey or other sugar syrup to ensure long feeding. The pacifier dipped in honey is another bad habit. Honey needs to be avoided in the first year of life.
How can you prevent nursing bottle tooth decay?
Do not put your baby to bed with the bottle filled with anything but water or preferably a clean pacifier. Wipe the gum pads with a damp cloth after each feeding. When the first teeth appear; begin good early mouth care with a soft baby brush or a finger tip. Examine their teeth by lifting their lip to look for decay on the outer and inner surface of the upper front teeth once a month. Wean your child from the bottle in a timely manner. Reduce frequent sugar consumption. If the drinking water does not have fluoride, supplement with fluoride as recommended by a child’s physician or dentist. Have early dental visits for your child. Early childhood caries, if left unchecked, can lead to infection of the underlying bone and early tooth loss leading to long term dental problems, not to forget the extensive and expensive dental treatment which may be required later on. So take care of your baby’s milk teeth.