In today’s highly-processed food industry, sugar can be found in just about anything. If a product didn’t have sugar when it was picked or otherwise sourced, chances are that sugar will be added at some point before it ends up in your grocery cart.
We know that too much sugar is bad for the teeth — but what, exactly, are its effects on our teeth? Let’s find out.
4 Ways that Sugar Affects the Teeth
1. Sugar halts the natural repair process of your teeth.
Did you know that your teeth repair themselves? While they don’t grow back if you break them, they do undergo minor natural repair processes. One way that they do this is by remineralization, which is the process that restores and re-strengthens the enamel of your teeth.
Sugar destroys the minerals that make up your teeth, which is what makes the remineralization process necessary. Eating an excess of sugar lessens the positive impact of this process.
2. Sugar feeds harmful bacteria.
Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Unfortunately, sugar feeds bad bacteria and bad bacteria is what causes a plethora of dental issues ranging from simple cavities to severe rotting, gum disease, and tooth loss.
3. Sugar causes tooth decay.
As we mentioned, eating a lot of sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth. This bad bacteria is what causes tooth decay — also known as cavities.
4. Sugar can cause diabetic thrush.
For someone with diabetes, sugar can do much more than simply send their blood sugars out of whack. An excess of sugar can also lead to oral thrush, a condition that happens within the mouth and is characterized by fungus growing on the tissues within it.
How You Can Combat Excess Sugar
Despite all the havoc that sugar can cause within the mouth, there are, luckily, a few ways that you can fight against its effects on your teeth.
When brushing your teeth (which you should be doing twice daily) use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, and slows and prevents the tooth decay process.
Cutting back on sugary drinks.
Cutting back on sugary drinks is a great way to protect your teeth from sugar. After all, the sugar that you haven’t consumed can’t harm your teeth, right?
If you can, avoid the soda, juice, and other drinks that contain a ton of sugar. If you can’t completely escape the call of your favorite soda, opt to drink half of the amount that you normally would per day — and drink it all at one time instead of sipping throughout the day.
Ditch the snacks.
The same way you can ditch sugary drinks, consider ditching sugary snacks, too. Both will harm the enamel of the teeth and can lead to cavities.
Avoid sticky food.
Last but not least, we’d strongly urge you to avoid sticky, sugary foods. Because sticky foods are much harder to brush out of your mouth and off your teeth, the sugar in them tends to stick around longer — even with brushing.
Sugar can be a tough adversary. It causes a lot of problems within the mouth and can be incredibly hard to combat. However, combatting excess sugar and avoiding oral-health-related issues related to it doesn’t have to be hard. Simply follow any or all of the tips we’ve listed above — your teeth will thank you for it!
Many people are afraid to go to the dentist, not because they are actually scared of the dentist, or the procedures, but because of the high costs often associated with dental work. However, there are many ways around paying significant price tags for a healthy mouth.
Dental insurance is one such way of reducing the cost of your dentist visit. However, at first glance dental plans can be confusing which is why we have collected the most frequently asked questions here to make your life easier.
What is dental insurance?
Dental insurance is just like any other type of health insurance except that it covers your oral hygiene. Just like any other health coverage you can pick and choose which dental plan suits your needs and how much you are prepared to pay for the plan.
The dental insurance will cover a percentage of the costs of your dental visit. It can also cover larger dental care costs, such as those involving crowns, fillings and even root canals.
Why is dental insurance important?
The reason why dental insurance is important is because it lowers the cost in the case that you need a procedure done on your teeth, gums or on anything involving your mouth. Often accidents happen and you may chip a tooth or need an emergency root canal and do not have the money to pay for it.
But if you already have a dental plan in place then this can make the dental care affordable and allow you to keep your mouth healthy and teeth in good shape.
In some cases there may even be a waiting period during which you cannot claim. It is better to get your dental plan earlier to ensure that it will be active when you need to claim on it.
What is full coverage?
As with health insurance there are different levels of coverage for dental insurance. These can range anywhere from basic plans to full coverage plans. Basic plans will often include checkups and cleaning but will avoid things such as emergency surgeries.
If you want to ensure that you pay as little out of pocket when visiting the dentist then you may want to consider a full coverage plan which will give you cover in as many situations as possible.
Different companies have different plans offering a range of different coverage levels. You should carefully consider which plan best suits you to make sure that you are covered as much as you need and that you are able to afford the plan.
Can I have multiple dental policies?
Yes, you can have multiple dental policies. In this case they would be referred to as the primary and secondary policies. You would refer any costs to your primary insurance company and any remaining costs may be able to be covered by your secondary policy.
However, you will never have more than 100% of the costs returned as the COB (coordination of benefits) decides which dental plan pays for which costs. Outside of this state laws may indicate which policy will may for which costs.
How much is dental insurance?
There is no set price for dental insurance and the cost of your plan will depend on the amount of coverage that you choose as well as the provider that you decide to go with.
According to multiple studies the average cost of dental insurance in America is $450 per month. And if you need to also insure your family then this cost can rise up to $1100 per month. You should also note that the cost of the dental plan may vary depending on which state you live in.
If you have young children then opting for a family dental plan can help you to save money as the average yearly dental cost for a 12 year old is $800. If you have a young family then it is definitely worth it.
If you are a new parent searching for a dentist for your child’s first appointment, you may be wondering what the difference between a regular dentist and a pediatric dentist is.
A pediatric dentist is a dentist that has completed additional years of schooling to specialize in treating children.
I will explain the difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist and go over some reasons why you may want a pediatric dentist for your child.
What is a General Dentist?
A general dentist, sometimes referred to as a family dentist, is a dentist who can treat both children and adults. Aside from completing dental school and their state exam, there is no additional training for a family dentist to treat children.
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is a dentist who treats children specifically. They usually complete a two-year program in addition to dental school, where they learn many advanced diagnostic and surgical methods for children.
Often they will take classes in child psychology and child development as well. A pediatric dentist will learn more about oral or facial trauma and how to care for children with disabilities.
Why Should I Take My Child to a Pediatric Dentist?
Just as a pediatrician knows how to treat children specifically, a pediatric dentist knows how to treat children’s teeth specifically. Some of the things that a pediatric dentist specializes in are:
- The growth and development of a child’s mouth and jaw, along with how certain treatments will affect that development
- Whether or not baby teeth need to be removed to make room for adult teeth
- Possible intervention to prevent future mouth and tooth problems
- Procedures that are specific to baby teeth or to permanent teeth that aren’t quite mature yet, such as a baby root canal
- Natal teeth, an issue in which teeth are present at birth
- Babies or toddlers who are tongue-tied and have difficulties nursing or eating
- Tooth decay in children under age 6, which can lead to serious problems if not treated
Pediatric Dentists Provide a Caring and Friendly Environment
As with doctor’s visits, most children react to the dentist differently than adults. To understand this, a pediatric dentist has been schooled in child psychology.
They learn techniques that can help ease the fear of the dentist and help children understand that the dentist is a warm, caring individual.
Pediatric dentists are schooled on how to make visiting the dentist a positive experience where they can also educate children on proper oral hygiene.
Pediatric dentists are also schooled in dealing with a child with disabilities and children with a range of temperaments. They understand how to use appropriate words and language to communicate.
The Dental Office is Geared to Children
As soon as you walk into a pediatric dentist, you will know that the office is geared to children. You will often find kid-friendly decorations and fun colors, and some offices have video games or a play area.
Many offices have televisions on the ceiling above the exam chair and use stuffed animals to explain procedures to children.
Almost all offices offer a prize at the end of treatment, which gives your child something to look forward to!
A prosthodontist is a dental care professional who specializes in tooth restoration. Prosthodontists specialize in fixing issues related to jaw problems and tooth loss. You may see a prosthodontist if you need dentures or if you require a prosthetic tooth to replace one that has gone missing.
Prosthodontists handle both the function and overall appearance of the teeth and gums. In addition to fixing dental issues to ensure that you have an even, functional bite, these specialists also strive to make your teeth as attractive and natural-looking as possible.
Are Prosthodontists Different Than Dentists?
While prosthodontists and dentists both work with teeth and oral health, they are different. Prosthodontists are trained in and focus on specific areas of dentistry, while dentists are in charge of the basics that are required for maintaining a healthy smile. Your dentist may complete cavity repairs (fillings), tooth extractions, and other general tasks.
A dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist if they feel that your teeth require work that goes beyond their scope of expertise.
In short, a prosthodontist is a dentist who has undergone extra training and has the experience and knowledge to offer specialized care in a certain area of dentistry.
Prosthodontist Education Requirements
Prosthodontists complete four years of dental school to achieve a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) certification. At this stage, the individual can practice work as a general dentist
After earning one of these degrees, the aspiring prosthodontist then completes an additional three years of school at an accredited institution, leaving with the proper educational requirements to work as a dental specialist.
What Do Prosthodontists Treat?
Prosthodontists have the knowledge to treat a wide variety of issues, most of which involve the correction and replacement of missing teeth. A prosthodontist may also assist with snoring disorders, sleep apnea, and cleft palates, as well as oral injury treatment. Sometimes, a prosthodontist will work in a team setting with other dental professionals but in most cases, they work alone.
If you’ve fallen victim to dental trauma or severe tooth decay resulting in loss, you’ll likely be sent to a prosthodontist to restore the function and appearance of the affected teeth. If you’ve ever had a root canal and needed a crown afterward, it was a prosthodontist that applied the crown.
In addition, anyone who receives veneers also saw a prosthodontist.
Alongside all the traditional work that a prosthodontist does, they may also work to change the shape of the teeth. This is done by using bonding agents, which can be applied to fill small gaps between the teeth, reshape a tooth, or alter the appearance of the teeth in some other cosmetic way.
If you’re missing a large portion of or all of your teeth, you’ll likely be referred to a prosthodontist to receive a pair of dentures. Dentures can fit into the mouth in a number of ways, so your prosthodontist will work with you to find a denture solution that makes you happy.
Dentures are designed to look real and fit comfortably. They should not cause pain or discomfort, which is something that your prosthodontist should go over with you.
Implants and Bridges
If you’re missing one or more teeth beside each other, a prosthodontist may choose to use a bridge as a treatment option. A bridge is when one or more crowns are linked together, creating a single unit that is easier to apply. The bridge is fixed to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap needing to be fixed.
To see the best results from a bridge, it’s important to follow the care instructions given to you by your prosthodontist.
While bridges are a tried-and-true method of tooth replacement, implants have largely taken over. Your prosthodontist will create a personalized implant that fits the shape of your teeth and mouth — the implant will consist of a titanium post and a false tooth. The titanium post is fused to your jaw bone, creating a lifelike and very stable false tooth that’s nearly impossible to tell apart from your real teeth.
The prosthodontist will design the false teeth, but a surgical specialist may conduct the actual surgery.
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is an incredibly painful issue. It arises when the nerves of the jaw joint become inflamed. Patients with the most severe TMJ issues are almost always referred to a prosthodontist to find a solution for pain reduction and elimination.
Many will suggest bite guards to lessen the pressure put on the joints. They may also recommend physical therapy or prescription medication to help you manage the pain.
Prosthodontists, while similar to dentists, are not the same thing. Both are essential in the dentistry field, but only prosthodontists can create and apply implants and dentures and treat complex issues.
Are you looking for ways to keep your teeth clean and healthy? There are a few things you can do at home to ensure your pearly whites stay shining. Check out our top 20 tips and tricks to clean your teeth and keep them looking great!
1. Brushing – This one is a no-brainer. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and preferably after every meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle circular motions to clean all surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too!
2. Flossing – Flossing is just as important as brushing, and many people forget to do it. Be sure to floss at least once a day, using gentle back and forth motions.
3. Mouthwash – Mouthwash is a great way to kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing for best results.
4. Avoid sugary drinks – Drinking water is the best way to keep your teeth healthy, but if you must have something else, avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice. These can cause cavities.
5. Avoid tobacco – Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and gum disease. If you smoke or chew tobacco, quitting is the best thing you can do for your oral health.
6. Eat healthy foods – Eating a balanced diet is good for your overall health, and it can help keep your teeth and gums healthy too. Avoid sugary and acidic foods, which can damage tooth enamel.
7. Visit the dentist regularly – Even if you take good care of your teeth at home, it’s important to visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can spot problems early and help you keep your smile healthy.
8. Wear a mouthguard – If you play sports, it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury. Mouthguards are also worn to reduce snoring and grinding of the teeth.
9. Get sealants – Sealants are a type of plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They can protect your teeth from cavities and make them easier to clean.
10. Use fluoride – Fluoride helps to prevent cavities and strengthens tooth enamel. It is found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes, and is also added to some water supplies.
11. Avoid teeth staining foods and drinks – Coffee, tea, and red wine can all stain your teeth. If you can’t give them up, try using a straw to drink them, and brush your teeth soon afterwards.
12. Have your teeth professionally whitened – If you’re looking for a quick way to improve your smile, professional teeth whitening is a great option.
13. Consider veneers – Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. They can be used to improve the appearance of your teeth, and they can also help to protect them from damage.
14. Get dental implants – Dental implants are an option for people who have missing teeth. They are titanium posts that are surgically placed in the jawbone, and artificial teeth are then attached to them.