Acid Reflux? Your Dentist May Notice Before You Do

Dentist examines a patient’s teeth for signs of acid reflux

Most people recognize heartburn: that painful burning sensation radiating from inside the chest. Persistent symptoms, more than twice weekly, may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. But not everyone with GERD has the symptoms of heartburn. In fact, you may have GERD and not even know it.

How can your dentist tell?

GERD, commonly called acid reflux, is caused when the esophageal sphincter, which separates the stomach from the esophagus, allows acid to seep out of the stomach. Many times this acid causes symptoms of heartburn, but not always. Sometimes the first indication that a person may have GERD is the erosion of the enamel on the molars or on the backside of teeth.

Stomach acid eats away at the enamel on your teeth. A pattern of enamel loss on the back teeth can indicate to your dentist that you have GERD.

What can you do?

Loss of enamel is permanent and can increase your risk of tooth decay. Enamel is a protective layer on the outside of your teeth. GERD can cause other long-term damage, such as irritation and inflammation of your esophagus, which makes you more susceptible to esophageal cancer.

That’s why getting a regular oral exam from a dentist is so important — your dentist may find early symptoms of a potentially serious problem before it progresses. In fact, more than 90% of systemic diseases have oral manifestations that may be detected during an oral exam by a dentist.

Prevent GERD

You can lower your risk of acid reflux by eating smaller meals, staying upright after eating and cutting out smoking and alcohol. Changing your diet can also help. Trigger foods and drinks include tomatoes, citric fruits, chocolate, coffee, garlic, onions and meals that are spicy, acidic or high in fat. Losing weight, especially in the abdominal area, can also go a long way in reducing GERD.

taken from deltadentalins.com

Posted in Weekly Newsletter | Comments Off on Acid Reflux? Your Dentist May Notice Before You Do

Say “Cheese”! Eating Cheese Can Help Your Teeth

Eating cheese can help your teeth

Did you know that there are more than 1,000 types of cheese? Packed with calcium and able to restore enamel, this dairy product is more than just a tasty topping — it can also offer a boost to your dental health. But before you stock up your fridge, make sure you know your cheeses. Not all types offer the same advantages.

Champion cheeses

When you’re looking for a tooth-friendly appetizer, these cheeses are the real deal.

  • Aged
    • Monterey Jack
    • Cheddar
  • Soft-ripened
    • Brie
    • Camembert
  • Blue
    • Gorgonzola
    • Roquefort

“Take it easy” cheeses

With added sugars and reduced cheese content, processed cheese products can wear down your enamel, increasing your chance for cavities.

  • Pre-packaged cheese dips
  • Cheese sprays
  • American cheese

The magic behind the cheese

What is it about cheese that makes it so good for your teeth? A number of factors help stop decay.

  • Calcium and phosphorus strengthen bone.
  • Casein and whey protein build up enamel to prevent cavities.
  • Chewing stimulates saliva flow to wash away sugar and bacteria.
taken from deltadentalins.com
Posted in Weekly Newsletter | Comments Off on Say “Cheese”! Eating Cheese Can Help Your Teeth

5 Tips For a Smile-friendly Thanksgiving

Smiling family at Thanksgiving dinner table

Are you grateful for your healthy smile? As you enjoy dinner this Thanksgiving, keep your teeth and gums healthy with smart food choices.

 

  1. Skip the sugarWhether it’s pumpkin pie or a marshmallow-topped yam casserole, Thanksgiving dinner can be a delight for your sweet tooth. But all that sugar also serves up a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. If you’re cooking, consider swapping sugar for substitutes like xylitol or erythritol. These sweeteners don’t cause decay. If you’re eating, limit your dessert portion and follow it with a glass of water.
  2. Cut down on starchesSavory foods aren’t as well-known for causing decay, but the starch in sides like cornbread and stuffing can feed the same acid-producing bacteria as sugar. Mix up your plate to balance the starch with protein and fiber.
  3. Avoid enamel stainsBrightly colored foods and drinks look great on the dinner table, but they can leave your enamel looking dull. Watch out for red wine, cranberry sauce, coffee and even white wine. Some pies, like cherry and blueberry, also pose a risk. Skip the wine and stain-causing foods – or book a cleaningwith your dentist, afterward.
  4. Guard against acid wearAcid and enamel don’t mix. The acid in wine and cranberry juice can soften your enamel, leaving it more vulnerable to decay. Avoid acidic foods and drinks whenever possible. If you can’t skip them, lessen their impact with bites of other dishes and sips of water. Wait at least half an hour before brushing.
  5. Load up on colorful vegetablesFill your plate with an assortment of colorful veggies, full of smile-friendly vitamins and minerals. Red and orange veggies are usually high in vitamin C (good for gums), while leafy green vegetables are good sources of calcium (for strong teeth).
    taken from deltadentalins.com
Posted in Weekly Newsletter | Comments Off on 5 Tips For a Smile-friendly Thanksgiving

Baby Boomers Need to Link Oral and Overall Health

Baby boomers

Baby boomers looking for the warning signs of adult-onset diseases may be overlooking key symptoms in their mouth that could signal an alarm about their overall health.

According to a survey commissioned by the Academy of General Dentistry, 63% of baby boomers (people born from 1946 to 1964) with an oral symptom considered to be a key indicator of a more serious health condition were unaware of the symptom’s link to the condition. Failure to recognize that oral health holds valuable clues to overall health could negatively affect their overall health by delaying treatment for more serious health conditions.

“Because of their busy lifestyles, members of this age group may not take the time to seek regular dental treatment, especially if they aren’t in pain,” said Kevin Sheu, DDS, director of professional services for Delta Dental. “Regular oral exams by your dentist can catch some diseases at their earliest stages, when they are most treatable.”

Oral health reflects overall health

New research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems.

Consider these possibilities:

  • Bad breath and bleeding gums could be indicators of diabetes.
  • Dental x-rays show the first stages of bone loss.
  • A sore and painful jaw could foreshadow an oncoming heart attack.

Your dentist may be the first to know

Baby boomers are especially vulnerable to developing diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease, the risks of which increase with age. Researchers believe that symptoms of these conditions can manifest in the mouth, making dentists key in diagnosing the diseases.

Research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases (diseases involving many organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases include:

Since most people have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.

What you can do

Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, improper jaw alignment and signs of developing oral problems. Provide your dentist with a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health.

taken from deltadentalins.com

Posted in Weekly Newsletter | Comments Off on Baby Boomers Need to Link Oral and Overall Health

7 Vitamins and Minerals Your Mouth Needs

Want healthy teeth and gums? Make sure your diet features these key ingredients. These nutritional building blocks are essential for your dental health.

Calcium

No surprises here — calcium is well known as a friend for teeth. Throughout the body, the mineral helps build bones and provide structural support. In your mouth, calcium helps harden your enamel and strengthen your jawbone.

What to eat: In addition to milk, good sources of calcium include cheese, yogurt, broccoli and salmon.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium while boosting bone mineral density, so it’s crucial to get an adequate amount of vitamin D to get the most out of your calcium intake.

What to eat: Your body naturally makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, but the vitamin can also be found in fatty fish, canned tuna and portobello mushrooms. You can also look for foods and drinks that have been fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and cereal.

Potassium

Like vitamin D, potassium improves bone mineral density. It also works with magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic, which can leach calcium from your bones and teeth.

What to eat: Bananas are well known sources of potassium, but they’re not alone. Other fruits and vegetables with high levels of the mineral include lima beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados and prunes.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus supports calcium in building strong bones and teeth.

What to eat: Luckily, phosphorus is found in a wide range of foods. Rich sources of the mineral include seafood, such as scallops, sardines, cod, shrimp, tuna and salmon. If you’re looking to get your phosphorus from plant-based foods, consider soybeans, lentils and pumpkin seeds. You can also find phosphorus in beef, pork and cheese.

Vitamin K

Think of this vitamin as a shield – it helps block substances that break down bone. It also helps your body produce osteocalcin, a protein that supports bone strength. A vitamin K deficiency can slow down your body’s healing process and make you more likely to bleed.

What to eat: Chowing down on leafy greens, such as kale, collards and spinach, can help you increase your vitamin K quota. Other great sources include parsley, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C strengthen your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth. It can protect against gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and can prevent your teeth from loosening.

What to eat: You probably already know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but you can also find it in potatoes and leafy greens.

Vitamin A

This vitamin helps keep mucous membranes healthy. It prevents dry mouth and helps your mouth heal quickly.

What to eat: For strong gums and teeth, load up on fish, egg yolks and liver. You can also find it in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens, or in orange-colored fruits and oranges: think apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes. These fruits and veggies contain high levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A.

taken from deltadentalins.com

Posted in Weekly Newsletter | Comments Off on 7 Vitamins and Minerals Your Mouth Needs