The Food You Eat Affects Your Dental Health

The Bad and Good Foods for Teeth

What’s your comfort food? Everyone has. But if you consume too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks, you could be at risk for tooth decay. Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay, including sports and energy drinks. Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. Citric fruits and juices are also sweet and acidic, and as we know, acid can weaken enamel.

Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out the mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain teeth. And who doesn’t like starchy foods, like potato chips that tend to stick to tooth surfaces?

These foods and drinks are mostly unhealthy and their frequent consumption are contributory to tooth decay, the single most common chronic childhood disease. As this goes on unabated into adulthood, gum disease can manifest. The severe form, called periodontitis, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Experts believe that the disease progresses faster and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition.

Making wise choices and committing to change can reverse the process. With healthy living, healthy teeth and gums can be realized. Apart from drinking plenty of water, the elixir of life for a good many reasons, a balanced diet from each of the five major food groups is essential. These are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes, and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

Limit the snacks, moderate alcohol consumption, and again, lots of water to wash down all sweet and acidic taste. Routine oral hygiene, which cannot be stressed enough, as well as regular dental visits are part of the goal to achieve optimal oral health.

Good Eating Habits Start Here in Bellingham

Know more about food and drinks that can positively affect your teeth and gums from your Bellingham dentists. There’s an adage that says, you are what you eat, so only eat right. We are here to help and keep you on track.

Drug Use and Poor Oral Health

The Problem with Drug Use

A recently published review from a scientific journal revealed that tooth decay and periodontal disease are highly common in people who abuse substance, more so than the general population. On top of this, these people are the most less likely to consult and receive care from the dental practitioner. With increasing drug use in the US, to the tune of 3 million new users a year, this problem is not showing any sign of abating.

How does drug use affect the teeth and mouth? The effects are direct and easily noted, and perhaps the reason why drug users refuse dental attention – to avoid criticism or judgment. Drug use presents with dry mouth; there is less salivation with inhalation of fumes or powder forms. Meth Mouth is a term used to describe the discoloration, rotting and broken teeth in the mouth of a person who has an addiction to methamphetamine.

Users tend to snack more and prefer high sugar diets, like those who are addicted to heroin or other opiates, leading to increasing plaque formation, at the same time suffering from malnutrition. Stimulants like ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine are known to cause individuals to clench and grind their teeth when under the influence. There is also chemical erosion from applying cocaine to teeth and gums.

Those into substance abuse tend to have poor oral hygiene and lack regular dental care. On top of these, they poorly respond to painkillers and anesthetics, as well. Chronic tooth decay, cracked teeth, gingivitis or other forms of gum disease and other complications are often ignored by those who have an addiction.

Dentists should screen their patients for substance use, notice any advanced dental or periodontal disease and consider referral to medical doctors for management. In patients with suspected substance use disorders, dentists should be aware of issues concerning treatment and consent.

Dental Health for All in Bellingham

Your Bellingham dentists are truly your family dentists. If you have a love one or member who has dental issues due to drug use, try bringing the patient to us for attention and care. We don’t judge while accomplish our community mission. Simply dental health for all.


Antibiotic Protection in All Dental Procedures?

Who Benefits Most from Antibiotics?

Antibiotic prophylaxis in dentistry is a very common and important preventive procedure in the dental office. Especially prior to extensive or complex procedures, many dentists recommend that you are protected by antibiotics in case bacteremia happens.

Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream, potentially dangerous in a weakened immune system or for a body tissue or organ that is already compromised. Working inside the mouth, one of the dirtiest places in the body, your dentist can unwittingly initiate the spread of infection via a dental treatment, as simple as cleaning, extraction, root canal or implantation, to the rest of the body. For a majority of people, this doesn’t seem problematic.

Healthy immune systems can fight off the spread easily, leaving the patient looking no less for wear.

But a special group of patients need extra consideration. Antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended by the American Heart Association for people who have specific heart conditions. They should take antibiotics prior to dental treatment. These people are those who have artificial heart valves or who have had a heart transplant in which a problem develops with one of the valves.

Antibiotics are also a must in those who have a history of infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves known as infective endocarditis, an uncommon but life-threatening infection. Also, there are heart conditions present from birth that will need protection during dental care, like unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, first 6 months repaired heart defects using prosthetic material, or those with residual defects at the site or near the site of repair that used a prosthetic material.

So, for patients with these underlying cardiac conditions, prophylaxis is recommended for all dental procedures especially those that involve manipulation of gingival tissue or the root region of teeth or perforation of the oral mucosa. This is so because of the richness of blood supply at these areas.

Protection for Special Groups at Bellingham

We at Dr. Tetrick’s, your family dentists in Bellingham, take into consideration the needs of special groups of patients where antibiotic cover is concerned. Talk to us about your dental issues and tell us, too, if you have existing heart conditions. Have a positive experience at Dr. Tetrick’s; we use antibiotic prophylaxis where and when needed.