In our last article we discussed the three-fold nature of dental disease, so I want to follow-up with a few specific recommendations for addressing each of these three factors.
FIRST, Focusing on the enamel tissue, there are things that we can do to in regards to preventative dentistry other than removing the teeth. We recommend a diet or supplements that contain healthy minerals that will help naturally replenish the saliva minerals which strengthen the enamel. Fluoride is another mineral which when topically applied to the tooth in the form of a paste or rinse can change the crystal structure of the enamel to be more acid-resistant. Also, there are non-fluoride mineral crèmes that we have available that can serve the same purpose of strengthening the enamel. Be sure to ask your hygienist or dentist about them.
SECOND, removing all bacteria from the mouth is nearly impossible and no bacteria is arguably unhealthy. The key is to disrupt the bacterial growth before it matures to the point of causing disease, and to have a good balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth. The first part is done by a regular twice daily routine of proper brushing and flossing to manually remove the bugs. By sweeping them away and off the tooth surface or gumline we don’t allow them to do the damage that they potentially could. There’s a right way to do this, so ask our office about the “control program” where at no cost you can be taught the techniques you need to be using at home every day. Also, a daily dose of probiotics in the form of a lozenge can re-establish a healthy bacterial balance in the mouth. There are specific dental probiotics that are dispensed by your dentist for this purpose. The best time to start this regimen would be following a dental cleaning.
THIRD, reducing the amount of simple sugars in the diet will have a significant effect on the amount and type of bacteria that take up residence in your mouth. Less sweets and more fibrous veggies! In addition to this, XYLITOL, a sweetener that is used in a lot of natural foods has been shown to reduce dental problems. It works by “fooling” the bacteria in the mouth into trying to metabolize it, and with time actually starves out the bacteria. Research in Europe has shown that 5 exposures to xylitol per day can significantly reduce formation of tooth decay! So chew some xylitol gum, sprinkle some on your oatmeal, use a xylitol mouthrinse.
In this article we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can do to prevent dental disease. There are many other alternative therapies and techniques that could be added to the list. These include OZONE therapy, instruction in our control program, and others. Consult with Dr. Montes or Dr. Thompson about what specific needs you may have and to develop a targeted approach to having a healthy and beautiful smile for life.
Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/29/2014) Seth Lemmons (Flickr)