When Toothbrushing is Not Enough To Prevent Decay

The Culprit: Too Much Sugar Intake

We were told that tooth brushing with toothpaste is one of the cornerstones of proper oral hygiene, complimented by interdental cleaning or flossing, enables the removal of plaque-forming debris. Towards the aim of preventing decay and caries, it is a widely accepted hygiene practice. So comes this latest research from the UK claiming that toothbrushing is not enough to protect children’s teeth from damage?

Published in the Journal of Public Health, a UK study found that the snacking habits of children under five years of age have the most impact on their oral health, even as parents rely on toothbrushing it does not suffice to prevent decay. Toothbrushing alone cannot protect children’s teeth from the damage caused by sugary food and drink snacks.

The research supports that snacking is unhealthy and confirms that snacking on sugary foods and drinks is the key contributing factor. Child and teenager tooth extractions reached record highs last year, equating to 170 hospital operations a day. The Local Government Association found that there were a little less than 43,000 hospital extractions in England for those under 18 years of age during 2016/17, almost a fifth over the last four years. The cost of extractions are a staggering £36 million every year. This is how severe the incidence of tooth decay is in England.

There is an urgent need to introduce measures to curb children’s sugar addiction. There must be innovative oral health education so that parents and children understand the impact of sugar on teeth and the importance of a good oral hygiene regimen. The British Dental Association is critical of the situation. It condemned ministers for a ‘short-sighted’ approach towards tooth decay when it should be reaching millions of patients. It pointed to the lack of a national oral health programme for children, unlike in Wales and Scotland.

The government is set to reduce the number of children having teeth extracted because of tooth decay and plans to implement a sugar tax by April on soft drinks with the most added sugar. Their world-class NHS dentists are also playing a vital role to improve dental hygiene in the child population.

Concern About Children’s Sugar Intake in Bellingham

Bellingham dentistry is just as concern with our pediatric cases, seeing the rise of tooth decay incidence. We strongly advocate sugary food and drinks reduction among kids for a healthier future adult population.

The Dangers of Soda

The Sugar and The Acid In Soft Drinks

Love Coke or Diet Coke? Did you know that Coke contains 9 teaspoons of sugar? With this amount of energy from a can or bottle of this famous soft drink, no wonder it’s addictive. Indulging in high-sugar soft drinks is mostly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. But it’s not only that. Sodas can also have negative effects on your teeth, potentially leading to cavities and tooth decay.

Soda’s high sugar content get into nooks and tight spaces in the grooves, sides and hard to brush areas of teeth, including under the gums. In a matter of hours, bacterial colonization turn them into plaque. Decay can set in and cavities formed. Dental erosion is another type of decay that results from acidic liquids contacting your teeth. Sodas, like Coke and Diet Coke, have levels of phosphoric acid that can bathe the entire tooth structure and erode or thin away enamel. This can lead to sensitivity, pain, or cracking of the enamel. Did you know that this is the same phosphoric acid used in industrial cleaners?

Did you know also that Coca Cola’s deep brown color is actually a dye? It’s caramel dye that actually does not add any flavor to the soda but can contribute to staining of the teeth. The teeth becomes yellow, and the more yellow it becomes, the weaker is the enamel. Your teeth looks unhealthy, and that can affect your smile and your confidence.

The best way to keep from damaging your teeth is to do away with soft drinks or soda completely, or reduce your intake. If you must, choose the ones that are less acidic, like Sprite or Diet Coke. Or else, use a straw that limits the contact of the drink with your teeth. Take water after you’ve had soft drinks.

Avoid drinking soft drinks before going to bed for you are letting sugar and acid stay in contact with your teeth overnight. Remember, after taking soda, don’t brush your teeth immediately. Your enamel has just been exposed to cola’s acidic content and brushing right away will only erode your teeth much quicker. Gargle with water first, rinsing off any remaining sugar and acid clinging to tooth surfaces, your tongue, gums and other structures. After a while, you can brush.

Know What’s Good and Bad for Teeth

The next time you reach out for a can of soda, think again. Your Bellingham dentist recommends wise choices for food and drinks to keep your dentition in better condition much longer.

Is Oil Pulling Good For Teeth?

Oil Pulling: Like A Mouthwash?

You must have heard about oil pulling – that’s swishing oil around the mouth, like it were mouthwash. This 15 to 20-minute remedy is said to be an Ayurveda practice in India some 3000 years ago, aimed at keeping breath fresh and clean, eliminating bacteria and whitening teeth. Ayurveda texts claimed that oil pulling is not just for dental issues, but can cure over 30 systemic diseases as well.

Washing with a tablespoon of oil in the mouth might be uncomfortable for most people for the taste and texture of oil is novel. It can take some getting used to, keeping in mind that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Some people like sesame oil, others find coconut oil more pleasant. Done first thing in the morning, oil is swished around the mouth, the jaws moving up and down as though chewing, but what’s important is the oil be kept moving around. It collects bacteria this way, so you don’t swallow the oil. Spit it out, rinse with water, and proceed to brushing and flossing.

Oil pulling is a natural cleansing process. Oil is capable of cutting through plaque and removing toxins. Plaque is said to be fat-soluble. Lipids in the oils pull out or absorbs toxins from the saliva. The mix usually ends up turning thick, viscous and white. Once it reaches this consistency, it is spit out before the toxins are reabsorbed. Some studies have shown that teeth, gums and jaws are strengthened; the process also prevents bad breath, cavities, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and dryness of the mouth.

People who have tried it say it is an oral health treatment, but when practiced regularly, the process benefits the rest of the body as well. They say oil pulling can relieve migraines, correct hormone imbalance, reduce inflammation, allergies, eczemas, and improve vision. It can also treat digestive issues, support normal kidney function, and detoxify the body of heavy metals.

While oil pulling benefits are proved by testimonials and some studies, there are quarters who say that the remedy may be beneficial to oral health, but further research may be needed to make claims that it can also treat medical conditions.

Fact From Fiction In Bellingham

Why don’t you ask us, your Bellingham professionals, about oil pulling? Know more about it and separate what’s true and what’s not. We all work for everyone’s oral health here at Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham.