Newsletter: Common Mistakes That Lead to Cavities

Newsletter: Common Mistakes That Lead to Cavities

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In a June 2012 Yahoo Health News item from the US NEWS and WORLD REPORT, five common mistakes in dental healthcare were outlined.  Below is a summary of the article that we thought would be of interest to our patients.

In a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five Americans has untreated dental decay or cavities.  People ages 20-44 have the highest cavity rate.

So what are we doing wrong? Besides brushing and flossing and visiting our dental care professional regularly, there are five areas in which we should make changes in our lifestyles.

Mistake #1: Choosing bottled water over tap water. If your community has fluorinated water and you never drink it, you are doing yourself and your teeth a disservice.  Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent and even reverse tooth decay.  Bottled water generally does not contain fluoride, or if it is present, is in miniscule amounts.  According to the CDC, 73.9% of the current US population has access to regular water with fluoride.  And it’s not just for kids!  All ages need fluoride.  So use fluoride toothpaste and drink that tap water!

Mistake #2: Drinking sodas and sports drinks exclusively (including diet versions).  These drinks aren’t great for our general health, but they are probably the worst drinks for our teeth.  Sugars and citric acid, a preservative, can erode tooth enamel and once damaged or lost, it can never be replaced.  Although diet drinks aren’t sugary, they are still acidic.  Step away from the soda and drink water.

Mistake #3: Snacking too often.   Chewing stimulates salivary flow which helps neutralize acid and rinse away food debris on our teeth.  But when you snack, you chew for just a short time, not producing the necessary amount of saliva to wash away bacteria from plaque acids that damage tooth enamel causing decay.  It can take an hour for the mouth to neutralize acids and your teeth don’t have time to recover if you constantly nibble.  So, limit sugary and acidic foods to mealtime, if you have them at all.  If you crave candy or gum, choose sugar free versions containing Xylitol.  (See our Spring 2012 Newsletter)

Mistake #4: Brushing too soon after eating.  We know we should brush after eating, but brushing too soon or drinking acidic foods can hurt your teeth.  If you brush before your saliva does its job, you are rubbing against weakened enamel.  So sit and chat after your meal, go for a walk, but wait at least 1/2 to 1 hour after eating to brush.

Mistake #5: Brushing badly.  Make sure you are using a soft bristle brush and you brush all areas of the teeth and gums–rear surfaces of the back teeth, inner areas, surface areas and the spaces between the teeth where flossing works the best.

If you avoid these five common mistakes, brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly, you should keep a health and bright smile for a lifetime!

Please stop by our office for your free Dental Kit.

Robin JungblutNewsletter: Common Mistakes That Lead to Cavities