August 18th, 2016
Think flossing and brushing are the only paths to healthy gums? While doing both of these things is essential to the health of your gums, there are a lot of other ways you can keep your gums as healthy as possible. We asked our dentists at Water Tower Dental Care to share some of the most effective tips for keeping your gums healthy that you might not have heard before. Here are 5 unusual tips to keep your gums in tip-top shape from our dentists!
Scrape your tongue
Tongue scrapers aren’t just for bad breath. The bacteria on your tongue that causes bad breath can also spread to your gums and cause serious damage, leading to periodontal disease, gum infections and gum recession. With its ridges, small bumps and moist surface, your tongue offers the perfect place for bacteria to grow. You want to make sure to scrape the bacteria off of your tongue to keep it from spreading. Using a tongue scraper will also keep your breath smelling fresh.
Rub essential oils on your gums
Essential oils are described as essential for a reason: they are extremely important for our health. We’ve found that essential oils work wonders on our patients’ gums. We use PerioScience Essential Oils in the form of a gel. Rubbing these natural oils on your gums every evening after you brush and floss can help keep your breath fresh, soothe your gums, keep bacteria away, and prevent gingivitis.
Chewing gum can keep your gums in great shape! But you can’t just chew any old gum. The xylitol in gum is what really keeps your gums healthy. Look for a sugar-free gum with xylitol. Since bacteria can’t digest xylitol like it digest sugar, it won’t grow from xylitol. Xylitol also actively works to keep the pH level neutral in your mouth. The less acidic your pH levels are, the less bacteria will be able to grow, which means less of a risk of gingivitis and gum disease. Xylitol also helps to keep bacteria off your teeth, which can damage your gums.
Along with chewing gum, you can find xylitol in toothpaste, mouthwash, candy, and mints.
Wash your mouth out with antimicrobial mouth rinse
Bacteria are your gums’ number one enemy. Antimicrobial mouth rinses destroy the bacteria that cause gum disease until they are almost completely gone. These rinses are much more effective than over-the-counter mouthwashes. We typically only suggest antimicrobial mouth rinses to patients who suffer with moderate to severe periodontal disease. Feel free to contact us to see if you would benefit from antimicrobial mouthwash.
Take oral probiotics specifically for your mouth
Probiotics are no longer used only for digestive and immune health. There are now probiotics designed specifically for oral health that can improve the health of your gums! Oral probiotics stimulate the production of healthy bacteria that keep your gums and mouth healthy. They also help to battle bad breath.
We hope you use these unusual tips alongside your normal brushing, flossing and rinsing routine to make your gums even healthier! Check out our dentists’ unusual tips for keeping your teeth healthy. We’re always here to help put you on a path to a healthier mouth!
Tags: antimicrobial mouth rinse, brushing, chewing gum, essential oils, flossing, gums, mouth rinse, oral probiotics, probiotics, xylitol, xylitol gum
Posted in The Dentist Recommends | No Comments
November 12th, 2015
Want to chew gum? Do it! As long as there’s xylitol in it, your dentist will approve. Xylitol is the perfect sugar alternative. Not only does it not cause tooth decay. It’s also good for your teeth. Yes, you heard that right. Something that tastes as wonderful as sugar actually benefits your teeth. Let’s take a look at why.
What is Xylitol?
Though it tastes like magic, xylitol can actually be all natural. It’s a five-carbon sugar alcohol compound. What does that mean? It’s not actually sugar or alcohol. Instead, it’s a carbohydrate that looks and tastes like sugar. But instead of damaging your teeth, xylitol actually protects it.
Xylitol is found naturally in plants, berries, and vegetables. It can also be manufactured from starches and sugar. Unfortunately, since we eat so much sugar, we can’t get enough xylitol from the foods we eat to sufficiently help our teeth. That’s why we brush, floss and take xylitol supplements.
How does it benefit your teeth?
To understand how Xylitol helps protect your teeth, you have to first understand how you get cavities. According to Registered Dental Hygienist, the average American consumes about 31 teaspoons of sugar every single day. Our teeth aren’t made to eat that much sugar. Inevitably, all of this sugar leads to tooth decay, usually in the form of cavities. The sugar in food causes bacteria in your mouth to grow. These bacteria create hungry acids that eat away at your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Bad bacteria can’t digest xylitol to grow like it digests sugar. In fact, xylitol works to keep the pH level neutral in your mouth. The less acidic your pH levels are, the fewer bacteria will grow and the better off your teeth will be.
Xylitol also stops bacteria from sticking to your teeth. So even if there are bacteria in your mouth after taking xylitol, it’s much less likely that the bacteria will damage your teeth because it can’t stick on to them.
Thanks to increased pH levels, xylitol also promotes enamel repair. As pH levels get higher than 7, calcium and phosphate salts in your saliva help to rebuild weak enamel.
Where can you get Xylitol?
Now that you know great xylitol is for your mouth, you’re probably wondering where you can get some. Since you usually eat sugar during the day, you should try taking xylitol throughout the day as well. You should always look for xylitol in toothpaste and mouthwash. Most of the big names in toothpaste and mouthwash include xylitol because of its benefits.
Since it can be inconvenient to carry your toothbrush and mouthwash around all day, it’s beneficial to have another source of xylitol on hand. Gum, candy and mints frequently have xylitol in them. These products can help you battle bacteria throughout the day. A 1998 article from The British Dental Journal writes that chewing gum containing xylitol prevents cavities and promotes enamel remineralization. You can also find the sweetener in corncobs and stalks.
Consuming xylitol is one of the tastiest ways to keep your teeth healthy! Find out more about the benefits of xylitol and the best places to get it from by contacting the number one Chicago dental practice, Water Tower Dental Care. We would be happy to put you on the right track to a healthy and happy smile.
Tags: acid erosion, cavities, gum, mouthwash, pH, pH levels, sugar, sugar alternatives, sugar free, sweeteners, Tooth Decay, toothpaste, xylitol
Posted in Food for Thought | No Comments
October 15th, 2015
Just because you have a particularly hungry sweet tooth doesn’t mean you're doomed to have cavities. There are a handful of sugar and sweetener alternatives out there that aren’t bad for your teeth. In fact, some of these sweet substitutes have actually been found to be good for your teeth. We’re here to let you know which sugar alternatives and sweeteners are best for your teeth.
Why Is Sugar So Bad for Your Teeth?
Surprising to many, it’s not actually sugar that is your teeth’s enemy. Rather, it’s the bacteria that turn sugar into enamel-eating acids. Sugar is extremely easy for bacteria to break down into acid, which is why dentists want you to avoid eating a lot of sugary food, candy and drinks. When the sugar is broken down into acids, the acids break down your enamel, causing cavities, dental decay, and eventually, an unhappy trip to the dentist.
Best Sugar and Sweetener Choices to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Unlike sugar, sugar alternatives aren’t as easy for bacteria to break down into acids. A group of sweeteners known as polyols actually have antibacterial properties, according to The New York Times, making them the best possible sugar and sweetener alternatives for your teeth. If sweeteners are antibacterial, they cannot be broken down by bacteria in your mouth and won't cause cavities.
So what are these polyols? Polyols are sugar alcohols that come from a chemical process. Not only are they great for your teeth, but they also contain fewer calories than sugar. Common polyols include xylitol, sorbitol, malitol, and isomalt. Since these sugar substitutes won’t cause cavities, they are often used in gum. In fact, a 1998 article from The British Dental Journal found that chewing gum containing sugar sweetener alternatives, like sorbitol and xylitol, actually helped to prevent cavities due to increased saliva flow.
Are Polyols Healthy for You in Other Ways?
So now that you know that polyols such as xylitol, sorbitol, malitol, and isomalt are good for your teeth, you’re probably wondering if they’re safe for the rest of your body too. According to the Calorie Control Council, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized some polyols as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and others have been approved as food additives. An Expert Committee of the World Health Organization has concluded that polyols are safe for human consumption after careful review.
For very sensitive people, polyols have been found to cause gastrointestinal problems, such as gas or laxative effects, but these issues aren’t permanent. Polyols have been used for many years by people all over the world. They are pretty well documented as being a safe and effective sugar and sweetener alternative.
You don’t have to sacrifice delicious sweets in order to keep your teeth healthy. Polyols taste just as delicious as sugar without the harmful tooth decaying effects! If you have any more questions about the best sugar and sweetener alternatives for your teeth, you should reach out to us on Facebook!
Tags: acid erosion, cavities, cavity, isomalt, malitol, polyols, sorbitol, sugar, sugar alternatives, sweeteners, Tooth Decay, xylitol
Posted in Simple Solutions | No Comments