Dental Tips Blog

Mar
27

Fight Tooth Decay . . . With Sweets?

Lollipops, caramels, chocolate – oh my! The list of snacks that promote tooth decay goes on and on. It’s not just limited to sweets, either. Foods containing simple carbohydrates like crackers and bagels and juice are also culprits.

The fact that there’s actually a kind of sugar out there that’s proven to help prevent cavities sounds ironic.

Xylitol is a specific type of sugar alcohol. It’s commonly derived from plant sources such as corn and used as a sugar alternative.

Xylitol benefits over regular sugar:

  • 40% fewer calories
  • Just as sweet as sugar while preventing cavities
  • It’s lower on the glycemic index

But what makes xylitol different?

First of all, it’s a carbohydrate that cavity-causing bacteria can’t digest. Those germs live off of the sugar you eat. So when that sugar is replaced by a kind they can’t break down, they starve to death.

Secondly, xylitol helps to deconstruct the “slime layer” that those bacteria live in. Without their sticky texture, they can’t adhere to teeth and cause cavities.

This sugar substitute can often be found on the shelves of health food stores, as well as specific types of gum.

But be careful – xylitol isn’t recommended in large amounts. Just as bacteria have a hard time digesting this substance, so do humans. Too much xylitol probably isn’t toxic, but it does act as a sort of laxative.

The best way to get the dental benefits of xylitol is to chew gum made with it. People with dry mouth especially like to munch on sweet things to encourage saliva flow. Xylitol sweets are the way to go!

In conjunction with daily brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings and checkups, xylitol can help prevent tooth decay.  Find out more ways to lower your cavity risk by scheduling a visit with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Mar
14

Can Chewing Gum Help Your Smile?

Posted in Fillings

There are many different chewing gums available and while some are beneficial for your oral health, some can actually promote cavities in your teeth. In order to make the right decision for your smile, it helps to know about your body’s natural way of protecting your teeth and how chewing gum effects it.

It’s All About Saliva

Did you know that saliva helps clear your mouth of acids, that affect the enamel of your teeth, as well as food particles? The less harmful bacteria, plaque and acids in your mouth, the healthier your mouth will be and the harder it is for cavities to form.

Which Chewing Gum Is Right For Your Smile?

When it comes to gum, there are two types to choose from:

  • Sugar-free gum – Alternatively sweetened chewing gum can be very helpful in maintaining your good oral health because it encourages saliva flow. The more saliva in your mouth, the better capable it is of neutralizing and washing away harmful debris and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
  • Sugar-sweetened gum – While sugar-free gum can have many oral benefits, the same cannot be said of sugar-sweetened gum. While your mouth may enjoy the treat, your teeth do not. The sugar contained in chewing or bubble gum acts as food for the harmful bacteria thrive on, encouraging rampant tooth decay.

Xylitol Sweetener For A Healthier Smile

When it comes to selecting a sugar-free gum, opt one that contains Xylitol. This sugar substitute doesn’t just sweeten chewing gum, but it also actively prevents plaque bacteria from adhering to your teeth – inhibiting the growth of some bacteria, and even tooth decay.

Opt for a cleaner smile, by chewing a xylitol-containing gum after eating and by seeing your dentist regularly!

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill, York County, South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Nov
22

Xylitol: What is it and How Can it Improve Your Oral Health?

Many dental health care professionals are promoting xylitol-containing products because of their great dental benefits. Join us as we unlock the mysteries of xylitol and consider giving it a try for yourself.

Where We Get Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is found in any plant. It is used as a common sugar substitute and comes in a pure crystalline form (as a sweetener), candy, mints, or gum. The most common kind of xylitol is derived from corn cobs, but all xylitol is the same.

Cavity Prevention!

Cavity-causing bacteria thrives upon sugar. The bacteria eat sugar in our mouths and produce an acidic waste product. These germs love an acidic environment, but the acid is what wears away tooth enamel, starting the decay process. Xylitol is not easily digested by the main cavity-causing bacteria. As a result, the populations of harmful germs shrink because they have nothing to eat! And they are no longer producing the acid waste, so this gives your teeth time to become strengthened by fluoride and minerals in the saliva. Furthermore, saliva helps wash away bacteria, so if you have dry mouth, you are more prone to cavities. Chewing xylitol gum and candies will protect your teeth from cavities and stimulate saliva production at the same time.

Other Health Benefits

Diabetes typically increases cavity and gum disease risks because of high blood sugar levels. Xylitol can help out here because besides being far lower in calories, it does not enter the blood stream as quickly as other sugars do.

Xylitol can improve your dental health in many subtle ways. Ask your dentist about the about the benefits of Xylitol gum and how you can start including it in your dental routine.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Sep
8

3 Steps to Preventing Tartar Buildup

Tartar is an unsightly, discolored buildup that collects on the teeth. It’s starts out as soft plaque that isn’t removed properly and calcifies into place. Once it’s there, it’s impossible to remove the yellow or brown deposits on your own. Only your dentist or hygienist can clean it off. To prevent buildup (or at least decrease the amount that you tend to get,) stick to these 3 tips:

Brush Along the Gumlines

The gumlines are the first area where tartar accumulates. Especially on the tongue side of the lower front teeth, and the outside of the upper back teeth. Make small strokes on one or two teeth at a time, as larger brush strokes cause the bristles to miss the curves of the teeth. For best results, angle the toothbrush at about 45-degrees toward the gum tissue.

Floss Tightly Around Each Tooth, Every Day

It’s important to physically remove buildup below your gumlines. Otherwise the tartar will accumulate on the roots of the teeth, causing the gums to detach. To clean these areas, wrap your floss tightly around your teeth in a “C” shape. Then slide the floss up and down below the gums several times. Repeat this action on both sides of every tooth – even your very back ones. 

Chew Gum with Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar-substitute that prevents plaque from being able to build up on your teeth. The ingredient is available in many common gum brands, as well as in health food stores. Studies have shown that people who have 5 exposures to xylitol each day have significantly lower oral biofilm levels. Just don’t give up on brushing and flossing!

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384

Dec
8

Simple Tips to Limit Plaque Buildup

Some of us build up more plaque than others, even if we brush frequently and eat a balanced diet. Our bodies may metabolize things more quickly than others, making it where we battle heavy plaque accumulation on a daily basis. If this sounds like you, here are a few things to try to limit or manage your buildup more effectively:

Consider Flossing Alternatives

Cleaning between your teeth is one of the most important things you do every day, but a lot of people really dislike flossing. Experiment with different types of flossers, floss picks, or try a water flosser. See which method is easiest for you to work into your daily routine rather than not trying anything at all. Some methods like water flossing are even more efficient than traditional floss! 

Chew Xylitol Gum

Xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar that acts differently than other types of sugars. It actually prevents plaque from being able to accumulate or building up on the surface of the teeth. Some popular brands of gum are sweetened with xylitol and say so on the front of the packaging (just be sure to check, since not all “sugar free” gums contain xylitol.) Chewing a piece between meals or after snacks can improve your breath and prevent buildup from forming across your smile. 

Drink Water Between Meals

What you drink can be adding to the plaque buildup that your mouth experiences during the day. Drinking coffee, tea, sodas or sports drinks between meals can contribute to the development of buildup on your teeth. Water is a natural lubricant that cleanses your mouth as you drink it and won’t add to your risk of cavities or plaque. Drink up!

Posted on behalf of:
Toothmasters
139 Aliant Pkwy
Alexander City, AL 35010
(256) 329-8401

May
6

Chewing Gum Can Actually Be Good For You?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

If you’ve always thought that chewing gum was bad, then think again. There are some new things about gum that you should know, and that might actually benefit the health of your teeth. That’s all thanks to Xylitol! Xylitol is a unique ingredient that actually prevents plaque from being able to cling to itself or build up on the teeth. In fact, getting as many as 5 exposures to Xylitol a day has been proven to remove just as much bacteria from your mouth that toothbrushing does.

It’s easy to do. Just keep a pack in your car, purse, or desk, and chew a piece after each meal or snack. This works great when you’re not able to get to a toothbrush, especially if you’re prone to history of tooth decay. Xylitol works great no matter what age you are (as long as you’re old enough to chew gum.) It’s also available in other forms such as drops or sprays at your local health food store.

It’s still important to avoid chewing gum if it isn’t sugar-free, or you have TMJ discomfort. Gum that contains sugar can cause cavities like no other, often creating large areas of decay deep within a tooth that can only be diagnosed through an x-ray. Chewing gum will also cause irritation or discomfort for people with TMJ pain.

The next time you’re at the supermarket, grab a pack of gum at the check out isle that contains Xylitol. Many major manufacturers now carry it. You can chew it guilt-free and with the added benefit that you know you’re keeping your teeth healthier.

Posted on behalf of Envy Smile Dental Spa

Feb
11

Strive for 5 – Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Teeth

Posted in Fillings

There’s a new phrase floating around the dental office and among dental professionals. Have you heard it? “Strive for 5!” That is, strive for at least 5 exposures each day to the tooth-friendly sweetener Xylitol.

So what is xylitol? Technically speaking, it’s a 5-carbon sugar that actually keeps plaque from being able to cling to other plaque particles and adhere to the teeth. What that means is, when there’s xylitol in the mouth, plaque is broken up and comes off of the teeth, protecting them from acid erosion and tooth decay. No other sugar or sugar-substitute can do that!

The reason dentists suggest 5 exposures to xylitol each day is based on a clinical study that found chewing gum with xylitol in it that often each day was (get this) just as effective at reducing plaque levels as toothbrushing was. Less plaque equals fewer cavites and fewer fillings.  Now, we don’t recommend giving up your toothbrush just yet, but adding gum with xylitol into your daily routine can dramatically affect your oral health. It’s appropriate for patients of all ages, including children. Having kids chew xylitol gum that are prone to decay can be a great addition to improving their oral hygiene routine.

Dentists recommend chewing the gum after each meal when patients aren’t able to brush their teeth, and during the day after snacks. Xylitol can also be found in other forms and used for a variety of health purposes. It’s often available in drops or even toothpastes at some health food stores. One word to the wise…if you purchase it as a sweetener for your foods, consuming too much can cause stomach irritation. If you’re spitting out your gum, that shouldn’t be a problem!

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental

Google

Dec
19

Xylitol Supplements As an Effective Oral Hygiene Habit

What if your dentist told you that there was something so simple to do, even easier than brushing that could help your teeth and lower the levels of plaque bacteria in your mouth? That’s exactly what Xylitol does; an ingredient in specific gums at major retailers and found in products at health food stores. Xylitol is a sweetener, but it’s not like other kinds of sugars or artificial sweeteners. Its carbon molecule is different, and it physically interferes with plaque’s ability to cling to the teeth or build up in the mouth.

Xylitol exposures at least 5 times a day, through gum, spray, rinse, or toothpaste can dramatically decrease bacterial plaque levels in the mouth leading which reduces the incidence of tooth decay which means fewer fillings, crowns and other dental restorations. Some people also use variations to treat other types of conditions, like earaches for example. Chewing a piece of Xylitol gum after meals, during an afternoon break, or after your cup of coffee can become a habit that makes a positive impact on the health of your teeth.

Many chewing gums available at the supermarket contain Xylitol, but you just have to check the label to be sure (most companies put it on the front of the package.) Simply being “sugar free” isn’t enough, because plaque bacteria can still form on the teeth; Xylitol actually breaks these bacteria up. It can also be purchased as a sugar substitute for cooking or baking, but consuming too much of the ingredient can cause stomach irritation.

If your oral hygiene isn’t quite what it ought to be, or you’ve always had a problem with plaque build up no matter what you’ve tried, start chewing gum with Xylitol. Your dentist will notice!

Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental

Google

Oct
9

The Pros and Cons of Chewing Gum

Humans have been chewing gum for at thousands of years. The most common reason people have chewed gum over the years is for halitosis (bad breath). A flavorful lunch of onions and spices may have tasted good, but your co-workers and family may not appreciate its after-effects for the rest of the day! While millions of people chew gum each day after meals, there are pros and cons to gum chewing.

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has been clinically proven to reduce cavities and plaque. Dentists often encourage their patients to chew sugar-free gum with xylitol after meals to help break down the bacteria that are left in the mouth. Chewing gum with xylitol promotes saliva production, which helps to prevent plaque from bonding to tooth enamel. Fewer cavities means fewer dental fillings and less plaque can help prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

A negative for sugar-free gum is that it is most often sweetened with aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been the subject of medical controversies and must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria. If you choose to chew sugar-free gum with aspartame, you need to understand your medical history and the effects that aspartame will have.

While chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial to most people, those with jaw pain or TMJ should avoid chewing gum. The repeated chewing motion for long lengths of time can cause TMJ and any jaw pain to become worse.

Chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene. Just because you chewed gum after a meal does not mean that you don’t need to brush and floss your teeth! Chewing gum can only promote good dental care when good hygiene is already in place.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Lawrenceville Family Dental Care, P.C.

Google

Sep
26

Chewing Gum Can Be Great For Your Teeth

Posted in Crowns

Did you know that chewing certain types of gum can improve your dental health? Now, not every gum is good for your teeth, but there are some gums available that actually help break down plaque bacteria and keep your teeth clean of the decay causing microorganisms. While we don’t recommend giving up toothbrushing, some studies have found that the gums which contain a specific key ingredient help repel plaque so well that it’s almost as effective as brushing your teeth if you chew it 5 times a day. Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not!

What gums help fight plaque? The ones that contain the unique 5-carbon sugar known as Xylitol are. Xylitol is a sugar that is used to sweeten the gum instead of table sugar, but its molecular makeup causes it to prevent bacteria from clinging to the surface of tooth enamel. Instead, those bacteria are broken up and repelled from the surface, protecting your teeth and gums from diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease.  Less tooth decay means fewer fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

When you’re at the office our out running errands, grab a piece of Xylitol-sweetened gum if you’re not able to brush your teeth. 5 exposures to Xylitol a day can be extremely beneficial in addition to your normal oral hygiene routine. The package of gum will most likely have the ingredient mentioned on the very front of the packaging, making it easy for you to determine whether or not it’s an ingredient.

Unfortunately, regular gums that contain sugar can cause some of the most severe tooth decay in anyone’s teeth. If you’re a gum chewer or someone that’s just looking to improve their smile, grab a package of Xylitol gum the next time you’re at the check-out.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid

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