Did you know that chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth? As in, strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay? It’s true! Chewing gum that contains the sweetener Xylitol has been proven to promote tooth remineralization and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Many well-known brands now use Xylitol in their gums, such as Orbit and Trident among others.
Xylitol is also found to promote gum health and decreased bacteria and bleeding associated with gingivitis. If you have symptoms of gingivitis or a history of periodontal disease, keeping a pack of Xylitol gum on hand can be useful and promote better oral health. Consider chewing it after a meal when you’re out and about with no time to brush or floss. It’s also a great option for patients that suffer from dry mouth. Common causes of dry mouth include radiation therapy and numerous prescription medications In 5-10 minutes you should find an increased in salivary production. By increasing your saliva flow, bacteria are washed from the tooth surfaces and decay is reduced.
It’s best to steer clear of gums that contain sugar, as they can cause extremely advanced forms of tooth decay. It’s possible that chewing gum decay to go undetected without dental x-rays because so often it creeps into a narrow groove of the mouth but then causes immense damage to the inside of the tooth, hidden from view. Instead, make sure you read the label on your gum to be sure that it contains Xylitol, and see your dentist every 6 months for preventive care appointments to help diagnose and provide early intervention for minor developing forms of decay.
What is water flossing?
Water flossing uses appliances such as the commonly known Waterpik, Water jet or other water flossing device to deliver a steady stream of water between the teeth and under the gums to remove bacteria that contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease or gum disease. Because the unit is self-contained, patients can use whatever temperature of water they like, as well as adjust the pressure to a comfortable level.
Why is flossing such a big deal?
When plaque and bacteria are not removed on a regular basis, gum detachment occurs, bone loss develops, and decay forms between the teeth. Simple, efficient toothbrushing does not reach these areas in the mouth. The long-term effects of not flossing can lead to bone loss around the teeth, causing mobility or even loss of the teeth. When the bacteria in these areas are removed on a regular basis, bleeding and swelling discontinue, and the teeth are retained for up to a lifetime. Healthy gums do not bleed, and when bleeding exists it means there is some type of gum disease developing in your mouth. Routine flossing usually causes most gingivitis symptoms to stop after two weeks.
What makes water flossing so efficient?
With water flossing, patients are much more compliant because it is so easy to perform. There is no need to mess with floss, threaders or try to fit your hands into your mouth. Water flossing reaches areas up to 7mm deep under the gumlines…normal floss can’t do that! Because it flushes out plaque biofilm so easily, it is ideal for all patients including those with bridges, implants, crowns, braces, gum disease or even healthy teeth. It has even been shown to be more effective at bacteria removal than traditional flossing.
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