Are Sports Drinks Bad for My Teeth?

You see athletes take sports drinks before the game and even during breaks. Sports drinks help keep them energized and hydrated, but are they good for the teeth? And is there a better alternative to them?

Before you head to the grocery or chug down another bottle of your favourite sports drink, read this first.

What’s In a Sports Drink?

Sports drinks help replenish water and minerals you lose due to sweating. It contains electrolytes, for one, which helps ensure optimal performance during your game.

But did you know that sports drinks have high acid and sugar content? They can damage the tooth enamel down to the layer beneath it called the dentin.

A sports drink can have as high as 14 teaspoons of sugar. That can be the amount of sugar you consume for every bottle you finish. Harmful bacteria love feeding on sugar and become acids that attack the enamel.

If you’re playing for a long period and are unable to brush your teeth right away, you also let the sugar linger long in your mouth. This gives acids even more time to beat down tooth surfaces.

Sports Drinks and Your Oral Health

Sports drinks and oral health don’t go well together. They can make the teeth more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

When the tooth enamel is already too weak, this can result in your teeth becoming sensitive to hot and cold. A bite of your favorite ice cream can cause you extreme pain.

Daily consumption of sugary drinks can also lead to tooth decay. When tooth decay isn’t treated immediately, it can lead to gum disease.

Sports drinks can also cause tooth discoloration.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Teeth

Hydrate your body and replenish minerals you lose without harming your teeth. Always bring your refillable bottles with you if you’ll be out for a game and drink water when you can.

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Eat your way to a healthier smile

The food you eat can impact the status of your oral health. To maintain a healthy smile, it’s crucial to also maintain a balanced diet. Too much starch or sugar isn’t good for the teeth. Bacteria feed on these types of food and form acids that attack the tooth enamel. This new year, eat your way to a healthier smile.

Leafy greens. They’re not everyone’s favourite, but they can do so much not only for your oral health but also for your overall health. Leafy greens are low in calories and are calcium-rich too, which makes them good for the tooth enamel. If you’re not into leafy greens, try adding them to your favourite dishes. Include them in your pasta or salad recipe, or sprinkle some on your pizza.

Cheese. Chewing on cheese stimulates saliva production. One study suggested that cheese helps prevent cavities. A group of 12-15-year-olds showed lower acid levels in their mouth after eating cheese as compared to those that drank milk and have taken sugar-free yogurt. In 1991, another study suggested that cheese can reduce the loss of minerals from the tooth enamel.

Yogurt. Another dairy product, yogurt presents benefits similar to cheese. It’s also rich in calcium and protein, which helps improve teeth strength. Yogurt also contains probiotics, helping produce good bacteria that fight cavity-causing bacteria. They also aid in restoring minerals to the tooth enamel. Be sure to pick a yogurt with no added sugar.

Apples. Apple is a superfood for both your teeth and overall health. While it’s sweet, it’s also rich in fibre and water. Think of it as a natural toothbrush. Chewing an apple encourages the flow of saliva in your mouth, which helps flush down food debris. While eating apples is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, the scrubbing action can help clean your teeth after a meal.

Carrots and celery. Fibre-rich food, such as carrots and celery, are good for the gums and also help increase saliva production. Saliva is beneficial for the mouth as it reduces acidity levels and also helps wash away food particles. Carrots and celery are also rich in beta carotene, which is known to promote tooth development and bone growth.

Green Tea. this popular beverage was found effective in fighting bad breath or halitosis. It can also help protect the teeth against cavities and periodontal diseases. According to the study, green tea is best taken freshly brewed so you can maximize its benefits. Proper handling also matters. Spring water is ideal for use when brewing green tea, followed by filtered water.

Avoid constantly snacking throughout the day to reduce exposure of teeth to acid. Try to choose a filling meal to keep hunger at bay. At mealtimes, the mouth produces more saliva. Aside from the food that you eat, be cautious with your choice of beverage too. Water is the best option as it does not pose any harm to your teeth.

If you have more questions about maintaining a healthier smile, call us at Princess Dental Centre. Let’s set you up an appointment with the dentist so you can also have your smile examined.

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Food and Beverages That Can Damage Your Smile

What you eat matters for your oral health. To minimize plaque buildup in your mouth and avoid dental emergencies, you need to pay more attention to your food choices, and that includes snacks and beverages. With that, take note of these items that can ruin your smile.

Hard candies. They look and taste good, but they aren’t teeth-friendly. Too much sugar can draw cavity-causing bacteria in. Plus, munching these treats can also lead to a cracked or broken tooth. If you’re to have some, be sure to drink water afterward. And don’t forget to floss and brush your teeth before ending the day.

Canned fruits. Fruits are good but it isn’t always the same for the canned version. Canned fruits are high in sugar, especially those that come with syrup. If you’re craving for fruits, pick the fresh ones instead. Throw in crunchy choices, such as apple and pear. They’re rich in water and fiber and chewing on them help stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth.

Ice. It’s not food per se but some people enjoy chewing on it. Chewing on ice can be dangerous for the teeth not because it can cause cavities or plaque, but because it can be too hard and cause chipping or cracking. Apply ice to relieve swelling but don’t put it in your mouth, like a snack.

Coffee and tea. These beverages have a lot of benefits, but that is when they’re taken in pure form. Adding too much sugar to your coffee and tea isn’t good for the teeth. More so, if you’re taking several cups a day. Bacteria feed on sugar and produces acid that attacks the tooth enamel. While there’s saliva to counter this, it might not be able to keep up if there are excessive sugar and acid in the mouth. These beverages can also cause tooth staining. After having coffee or tea, make it a habit to drink water too.

Sports drinks. Sports drinks can be beneficial but they can also pose harm to your teeth. They’re loaded with sugars that can cause cavities. Instead of hydrating with sports drinks, choose water instead. Then, you won’t have to be cautious about how much you’ve already had.

Sticky food. Dried fruits and chocolates taste great and it can be hard to give them up. You don’t have to entirely, but you need to ensure good oral hygiene habits. These two can be sticky and when left on tooth surfaces for too long, they can attract bacterial growth and result in cavities. The better alternative is to have fresh fruits and water for your drink.

Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration and other oral and health issues. Drink moderately. If there is too little saliva production in the mouth, this can result in tooth decay and unpleasant breath.

Crunchy food. Potato chips are hard to resist. They’re tasty but they’re also starchy too. Starchy food can cause plaque buildup if not removed from the teeth. They can also get stuck in tight spaces between teeth. Minimize intake and when you do indulge in them, always flush down with water. Floss and brush properly too and stay on top of your dentist appointments.

Popcorn. Some patients report a cracked or chipped tooth due to popcorn. Husks can also get into tight spaces between teeth. If you’re having popcorn, beware of hard kernels and husks. Or if possible, have another snack.

Switching to a balanced diet is easier said than done. For a start, moderation will be helpful. If you have particular oral health condition or needs, your dental team may also be able to advise you further on food that you should avoid and those that you’ll need more of.

If you have dental-related questions you want to ask a dentist contact our team at Princess Dental. We’ll assist you in booking an appointment at the soonest possible time. We might even be able to get you in on the same day.

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How Common Is Gum Disease?

According to the Canadian Dental Association, Gum disease is common. It will affect seven out of ten Canadians at one point in their lives.

You may never know you have this oral disease and it may start to become painful once it’s already in its advanced stages. The good thing is that this dental issue is preventable and reversible.

Gum Disease Symptoms

When plaque gets stuck below the gum line, it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar causes bacterial infection in the area where the teeth and gums meet. This triggers gum disease.

When gum disease starts, you may notice your gum turning red and sensitive when you brush. It can also bleed when you eat hard food. This can still be treated by maintaining good dental hygiene habits. Once it progresses, the gums, bone, and tissues holding your teeth in place can get infected and break down. You may end up losing one or several teeth.

Your dentist can diagnose it in the early stages and treat it. You may need to get new xrays to check whether there’s bone loss and if the tooth can still be saved. If the condition is already serious, you may be referred to a periodontist.

Gum Disease Risk Factors and Prevention

Smoking, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, and taking certain medications can make you more vulnerable to to the disease.

To prevent gum disease, keeping your mouth clean is essential. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth will help prevent bacterial infection in your mouth.

Seeing your dentist and hygienist is also crucial to remove any tartar buildup on your teeth. Routine dental appointments also allow you to have your mouth checked for signs of gum disease.

Update your dental team too if you’re currently taking certain medications.

Maintaining a balanced diet and quitting smoking also helps lower your risk of developing gum diseases.

Should you notice symptoms of disease of the gums, you don’t have to wait for your next dental visit. See your dentist right away.

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How can I tell if i’m brushing properly?

If you want to avoid dental problems, you need to brush your teeth properly. Frequent brushing doesn’t always mean giving your teeth a good clean. Here are factors you can check to know if you’re brushing your teeth well.

You don’t see plaque. If you don’t spot soft, yellow film on your tooth surfaces, that can be a sign you’re brushing properly. Plaque is filled with bacteria. If it lingers and hardens, it turns into tartar. You can remove plaque by brushing and flossing but tartar needs to be scraped out at the dental office.

There’s no bleeding. Many think that if you brush often, it can lead to your teeth and gums bleeding. But that may be the opposite of the actual cause. Swollen, tender, and bleeding gums are a common gum disease symptom. Gum disease is triggered by tartar build up along the gum line. Tartar causes infection or irritation. You can prevent this with proper brushing and flossing.

Your breath doesn’t smell. One point or another, we all experience bad breath. But if it doesn’t go away, it may be telling you something else. Bad breath can be due to gum disease, tooth decay, or bacteria build-up on your tongue. Although it feels embarrassing to discuss this issue, you don’t have to keep it to yourself. Discuss it with your dental team. Bad breath is common and dentists can help you beat it.

Your teeth feel strong. If you feel your teeth getting weak, that can be due to poor dental hygiene habits. Teeth stay in place because of the gums. if you don’t clean your teeth properly, your gums may recede and eventually lead to tooth loss. Not brushing well can also cause tooth decay and cavities. Cavities may cause pain whenever food debris gets stuck in them.

You don’t experience sensitivity. While there are various reasons why your teeth may feel sensitive, not feeling any painful sensation when you eat or drink can mean you’re brushing your teeth well. Brushing too hard can cause the enamel to erode and eventually expose the nerve of the tooth.

Don’t feel embarrassed to talk to your dental team about your brushing habits. Apart from teaching your proper brushing techniques, dental professionals can also recommend brushing tools appropriate for your specific needs.

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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Many look at a bright smile as a standard of beauty. This idea can be largely attributed to models and personalities donning a white set of teeth. Teeth whitening has, thus, become a popular procedure for people of all ages. While it’s no longer new as a form of cosmetic dentistry, you might be wondering whether it’s safe.

Teeth Whitening Types

According to Health Canada, teeth whitening procedures before were mostly performed by professionals. However, today, various teeth whitening products have become easily accessible to consumers.

Whitening systems can either be applied directly to the teeth or through trays or strips. The formulation and directions for use also vary. In general, the higher the concentration of the whitening agent, called hydrogen peroxide, the more powerful and effective the treatment is. Note, though, that teeth whitening only works on natural teeth. It won’t work on crowns, fillings, and other dental work. Teeth brightening is also not permanent. How long it lasts can be affected by a person’s lifestyle and eating habits. Aging is also another factor to consider.

Is It Safe?

As for its health risks, clinical studies show that tooth whitening poses no harm or adverse effects as long as it’s used properly. After getting your teeth whitened, you may feel sensitivity but this shouldn’t last. Advise your dentist if you’re already experiencing sensitivity even before getting your teeth whitened.

To minimize any risks when using whitening products, be sure to follow directions for use. Health Canada also does not recommend the use of any teeth whitening produce for over 14 days. If you’re looking at using whitening systems for a long period, the Canadian Dental Association says that the effects are yet to be identified and still needs further research.

To summarize, whitening your teeth is safe provided it’s administered by an oral healthcare professional and the product is used by the consumer as directed. Start by consulting your case with a dentist in your area.

Brightening your teeth may or may not be a suitable solution for your dental concerns. If it’s not, your dentist will be able to recommend alternatives that meet your aesthetic goals.

Ready to talk to a dentist about enhancing your smile? Call our team today.

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10 Common Habits that Damage Your Teeth

Are you hurting your teeth without you knowing it? We’re aware of the importance of daily brushing and flossing, but not everyone knows about common habits that may damage the teeth. While these habits may not immediately ruin our smile, they can have a long-term impact on our oral health.

Here are some of them and how you can avoid them.

  1. Brushing too hard. Brushing harder and faster does not guarantee a better clean. This can only irritate your gums, damage your tooth enamel, and cause tooth sensitivity. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush for at least two minutes each time.
  2. Using teeth as a tool. Although convenient, using teeth to open packaging can cause them to crack or chip. It’s normal for some to do this when a tool isn’t easily accessible. However, it’ll be healthier and safer for your mouth to use proper tools.
  3. Participating in sports without a mouthguard. Playing sports is great but it can present dangers too. Getting hit hard in the mouth can result in chipped, loose, or missing teeth. A custom sports mouthguard may be costlier than store-bought ones but it’s more effective in keeping your mouth secure. It adheres to your bite, fit snug, and prevents the need for dental restorations.
  4. Chewing on ice cubes. Ice cubes may seem harmless as they’re only water but chewing on them can be damaging for your teeth. Drink chilled beverages instead of using a straw, let the ice melt in your mouth, or go for shaved ice instead.
  5. Nail biting. Some people tend to bite down their nails when they’re nervous or tense. Nail-biting not only affects the appearance of your nails and hands, but it can also damage the jaw as it’s held in a protruding position for a long period. Instead of biting your nails, use stress balls or other tools to keep your hands busy.
  6. Teeth grinding and clenching. It’s hard to diagnose teeth grinding and clenching as they often occur when a person is sleeping. They may be the cause if you feel pain in your jaw, head, or teeth after waking up. These habits can be triggered by stress and cause fractures on your teeth or damage your dental work. Using a custom night guard can help protect the mouth.
  7. Eating or drinking anything acidic or sugary. Carbonated drinks have high acid content and acids attack the tooth enamel. Bacteria, on the other hand, feed on sugar and produce acids. Limit your intake of sugar and acids. And when you do indulge in them, rinse your mouth with water afterward.
  8. Consistent snacking. It’s healthier to eat three balanced meals a day than to snack several times a day. When you snack, opt for healthier food choices. For example, instead of munching on dried fruits, eat fresh fruits. Instead of reaching for colored beverages, drink water instead.
  9. Smoking. To stop smoking is a long battle. However, continuing the habit isn’t only detrimental for your oral health but also for your overall health. Smoking can cause teeth staining, gum disease, and oral cancer. If you need support to quit the habit, help is available.
  10. Improper use of toothpicks. Toothpicks are used for removing debris stuck between teeth. Using it aggressively can damage your gum tissues. Scraping tartar off the teeth using toothpicks can damage the tooth enamel. Use toothpicks with care.

Take care of your teeth by avoiding the habits listed above. If you have further questions about dental care and oral hygiene, you may contact our team at Princess Dental Centre. We accommodate everyone in the family – from kids, adults to seniors.

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How do I introduce my child to the dentist?

Are you thinking it’s time to introduce your little one to the dentist but aren’t sure how to get started?

Here in our dental office, our entire team is working together to make visits comfortable for both children and adults.

Children should begin seeing a dentist within six months after their first teeth have erupted. During a first visit, the dentist and dental hygienist examine your little one’s teeth.

Surrounding structures, such as the tongue and jawbones, and their relationship are also checked. This initial examination is crucial in setting your child up to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

What if children refuse to have their mouth checked?

Our dental team does not pressure young patients if they aren’t ready yet. It’s crucial that they become at ease with us first.

To introduce dentistry to young patients, we use the tell-show-do method. This follows the natural way in which a child learns. They investigate something until they become familiar with it and then use or do it once they already feel comfortable.

Every appointment with you and your little one will take around 30 minutes. Introducing dentistry is made fun and relaxed so the young patients will look at it positively. We’re working with parents to make dental visits stress-free for them and their children.

Children’s dental appointments also give parents a chance to discuss their oral health concerns with the dentist. It’s an opportunity to understand dental care better for your family.

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Myths and Facts about Cavities

Sugar Is the Prime Cause of Cavities

Myth. Cavity causing bacteria cause cavities, specifically streptococcus mutants. When you ingest carbohydrates the bacteria in the oral cavity also like to eat them as well, the by-product of this digestion by the bacteria is acid. It is the acid in the mouth that can break down the hardest structure in the human body-enamel. Once the acid penetrates the hard out enamel, an initial cavity has begun and can become much larger over time. Saliva and fluoride are both important factors in the mouth that can help buffer the acid and also remineralize the tooth structure before an initial cavity turns into a large one. Continual snacking on carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks throughout the day put you at higher risk for dental decay vs. regular meals. It is the regular feeding of oral bacteria that is harmful, water is recommended throughout the day instead of coffees, teas or pop which have added sugar or milk. Foods that should be limited to mealtimes include crackers, chips, rice, pasta, potatoes, milk, juice, bread and anything else with sugar/carbohydrate content.

All Fillings Eventually Need Replacing

Myth. A silver or white fillings needs to be replaced only if it breaks, a cavity forms around it or if it is leaking. If a filling is stable and serving the purpose it should be left alone. All fillings have a life expectancy, most do not last a lifetime. How long your filling lasts depends on each individual’s oral factors such as oral hygiene habits and grinding/clenching habits. Good oral hygiene with daily brushing, flossing, rinsing and wearing a splint if you grind/clench may help prolong the life of your fillings.

Cavities Always Occur Only Between Teeth

Fact. Cavities can start anywhere on the tooth where bacteria are left. If you leave bacterial plaque on the teeth in areas you are unable to brush or floss a cavity can start. Besides in between the teeth, a common area for dental decay to occur is on the deep pits and fissures on the biting surface of the teeth. Dental decay that occurs between the teeth are typically due to a lack of regular flossing, as you are leaving these areas untouched as the toothbrush cannot reach these areas to clean.

Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals

Myth. Root canals are needed for teeth that have damaged and/or an infection in the pulp of the tooth (where the nerve resides). Cavities that are left and not treated can lead to needing a root canal, but other causes such as fractures, cracks and trauma to teeth can cause damage to the nerve which may also necessitate a root canal. Severe clenching or grinding may also damage the nerves to the teeth to the point they need a root canal.

Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities

Fact. Definitely! Dental decay and gum disease are both caused by different types of bacteria. You need to remove these bacteria from the mouth in order to facilitate health and prevent disease. It is recommended to brush 3x a day for 2 minutes preferably with a high quality electric toothbrush, floss once a day and rinse daily. It is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities and fluoride is naturally antibacterial as well! Antimicrobial mouthwashes reduce bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. If you are diligent with daily care at home your incidence of cavities and gum disease will be reduced.

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What You Should Know About Your Wisdom Teeth

What are our wisdom teeth for? Are your wisdom teeth only causing you discomfort? Let’s talk more about that in this post.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are also known as the final set of molars because they grow in last. They usually break through in the late teens to the early twenties, the same age people are said to acquire “wisdom”, hence the name of the teeth. However, problems occur when there’s no longer enough space for the wisdom tooth.

What are the wisdom teeth for?

Many are curious on the purpose of wisdom teeth. They seem to offer no use so why do people grow them. One theory dating back to our ancestors says that people back then needed an extra set of molars so they could chew and grind hard food. These were the times when foods were raw and uncooked. It’s far from the situation we enjoy today and also one reason cited why some no longer grow their wisdom teeth.

Why do wisdom teeth grow in at an angle?

Throughout human evolution, jaws have become smaller which is why wisdom teeth don’t grow in straight. They either become impacted or surrounding teeth block their way.

If the wisdom teeth erupt only partially, this can pose dental problems. Food can get stuck in the gum tissue and lead to infections. Even surrounding teeth can get affected when the final set of molars get impacted. Hence, during these instances, your dentist may suggest to have the teeth extracted rather than cause further damage to your teeth.

Some wisdom teeth grow straight and no longer require removal. They also don’t cause any issues and the person can enjoy a healthy set of teeth.

When Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Crucial?

Here are more reasons why it’s best to take out the wisdom teeth:

How Do You Prepare for a Wisdom Teeth Extraction:

Wisdom extraction is a common procedure performed in the dental office.  The process involves receiving local anesthetic. With that said, for your convenience, make sure to bring someone you trust with you to keep you company in the dental office and to drive you home as well.

If the area swells after the procedure, don’t worry – this is a natural reaction and the swelling should subside within 24 hours. You can apply a cold compress on your cheek to reduce swelling. It’s best to stay at home the entire day for rest.

Get plenty of sleep to help speed up the healing process. In the meantime, stick to soft foods and skip brushing your teeth for a day. You need to keep fluids out of your mouth, which means rinsing is not advisable as well.

Be sure to follow your dentist’s reminders to help speed up healing. Protect the stitches from harsh food and keep up with your dental visits so your dentist can check the progress of the wisdom teeth extraction procedure.

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