How a Clean Mouth Does Wonders for Your Body & Mind

The mouth’s a funny thing. It’s the source of one of the most beautiful things around – a smile – and also home to tons of bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth isn’t always easy, but there are definitely some things you can do to at home or work to keep your mouth fresh:

– Brush and floss daily

– See your dentist every six months

– Drink plenty of fluoridated water

– Maintain a well-balanced diet

Now let’s a take a look at how these best practices for your mouth can do wonders for your mind and body.
Why Keep It Clean?

Your teeth and heart will stay in tip-top shape. Dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease may seem inevitable, but they’re not. Brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly can all help keep dental diseases in check. And being free of dental disease is not only great for your mouth; it’s great for the health of your heart, too (studies show that plaque buildup and periodontal disease are linked to heart disease). Staying on top of regular dental exams/checkups and professional teeth cleanings can also help you save thousands on more expensive treatments in the long run.

You’ll keep your natural smile in tact. It may not seem like a big deal to lose a tooth, but it is. Fact is if you lose a tooth to decay all of your other teeth are affected. Your remaining teeth could eventually shift, making it increasingly difficult to chew and even speak properly. And while dental implants, veneers and dentures are all excellent solutions, they can also be time consuming and costly.

Your breath will smell fresh, not foul. No one wants to have bad breath and no one wants to smell it. Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help; so can professional dental cleanings. During a cleaning, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to gum disease and bad breath if not removed. Eating well and drinking plenty of water is important, too. Be sure to check out our guide to smart snacks for tips.

A clean mouth can boost your confidence during job interviews. Whether the economy’s good or bad, it’s always a good idea to have solid interview skills. But when you don’t feel good about your smile, it shows. It could inhibit your self-expression, making you seem aloof or disinterested to a potential employer. When you aren’t self-conscious about the cleanliness or health of your mouth, you’re more likely to eagerly engage in conversations.

It’s just more attractive than a dirty mouth. When we feel attractive, we tend to radiate those good feelings. While many things can contribute to a good mood, having a clean, healthy mouth is a constant positive. It can give you the self-assurance to smile, socialize and show off your charm. Plus, a clean mouth is a fresh mouth; someone with a dirty mouth probably has bad breath — and that’s not attractive.

Taking charge of your dental health is empowering. When you procrastinate, whatever you’re avoiding weighs heavy on your subconscious. But when you take the initiative to face something you’d rather not, you can finally get on with your life free of anxiety and worry. Taking charge of your dental care instead of avoiding the dentist can help you clear the clutter from your mind and make you feel healthy, responsible and empowered.

The mind and body are interconnected. So when one isn’t clean or healthy, chances are neither is the other. It’s no different when it comes to your mouth!

We’ve shown you how a clean mouth can do wonders for your mind and body. Now it’s your turn to take it from here. But remember, a great dentist is a vital part of the solution.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

You probably already know how important regular dental visits are for keeping your teeth and gums in good shape — besides brushing and flossing, a biannual checkup might be the best thing you can do for your oral health. But what you might not know is that there’s a strong relationship between your oral health and your overall health, so taking good care of your mouth is a big part of taking care of your whole body.

Thinking Outside the Mouth

The benefits of maintaining that wholesome smile are plain to see, boosting confidence and improving your overall sense of well-being. But a healthy mouth is good for you in other ways, too.

Bacteria from untreated gum disease can actually spread infection to other parts of your body. Pregnant women may be at particular risk. If necessary, your dentist may ask you to return more frequently for gum disease treatment.

Also, some non-dental conditions have symptoms that appear in the mouth. A dental examination can reveal signs of vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis or more serious conditions such as diabetes or oral cancer.

Finally, a regular checkup can even be good for your pocketbook. Identifying and treating minor problems like cavities early on can spare you the time and expense of more complicated dentistry procedures such as a tooth extraction or root canal.

How to Ease Dry Mouth Syndrome

Most people would rather not talk about saliva. Too much saliva can be unsightly and embarrassing; too little can cause dry mouth syndrome. And without an active supply of saliva to help defend your mouth from bacteria, fungi and viruses, you can become especially vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

The good news is there are many dry mouth home remedies that can provide you with some much-needed relief. However, if you suspect that you have dry mouth syndrome but haven’t been examined by a dentist or physician, it’s important to talk to them first — they’re the experts and can help you get the dental treatment you need to feel happier and healthier again!

Combating Dehydration

Aging plays a major role in dry mouth syndrome. Over time, the salivary glands secrete less saliva and the brain becomes less responsive to thirst cues, leaving your mouth and body feeling dehydrated. Although the following dry mouth remedies aren’t exactly a “fountain of youth,” they can certainly help counteract the effects of dehydration.

Drink plenty of water. The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking three liters of water per day for men and two liters for women. Keep in mind that the amount of water you need depends on how much exercise you get, the climate of your environment, and whether you have health conditions such as heart, liver or kidney disease, which can limit your intake of water.

Eat water-rich foods. Ideally, the foods you eat should provide about 20 percent of your fluid intake. Eat foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, nectarines and even popsicles, to ensure that you’re getting the fluids you need.

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol are dehydrating and can exacerbate dry mouth. Instead of reaching for soda, coffee or tea throughout the day, drink water or juice. When drinking alcohol, be sure to have at least one glass of water after every cocktail, beer or glass of wine.

Use a humidifier. Living in a hot, dry climate can leave you feeling more dehydrated than if you lived in a temperate environment. Use a humidifier while you sleep to help boost moisture in your mouth and on your skin.

Pleasing Your Palate

Your eating habits can either help or harm dry mouth syndrome. But don’t worry — you don’t have to sacrifice taste for dry mouth relief. Some simple changes to your diet can help bring back the taste of sweet and savory to your dry mouth.

Drink papaya juice. Papain, an enzyme found in papayas, can help thin the thick oral secretions associated with dry mouth. Drinking 100% papaya juice is an easy way to get your daily dose of papain.

Add broth or sauce to your meals. Dry mouth can inhibit your ability to eat and swallow easily. Get moisture back into your mouth by adding milk, sauce, broth or gravy to your meals.

Avoid dry, salty foods. Snacking on crackers, toast and pastries can exacerbate dry mouth syndrome — nosh on healthy snacks such as fruit or smoothies instead.

Load up on lemonade. Lemonade is the perfect drink to quench your thirst on a hot, summer day. And it’s also great for stimulating saliva activity and relieving dry mouth.

These dry mouth home remedies are safe for everyone, but remember that your dentist and physician are the experts, so be sure to get professional advice about your specific symptoms.

How a Clean Mouth Does Wonders for Your Body & Mind

The mouth’s a funny thing. It’s the source of one of the most beautiful things around – a smile – and also home to tons of bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth isn’t always easy, but there are definitely some things you can do to at home or work to keep your mouth fresh:

– Brush and floss daily

– See your dentist every six months

– Drink plenty of fluoridated water

– Maintain a well-balanced diet

Now let’s a take a look at how these best practices for your mouth can do wonders for your mind and body.
Why Keep It Clean?

Your teeth and heart will stay in tip-top shape. Dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease may seem inevitable, but they’re not. Brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly can all help keep dental diseases in check. And being free of dental disease is not only great for your mouth; it’s great for the health of your heart, too (studies show that plaque buildup and periodontal disease are linked to heart disease). Staying on top of regular dental exams/checkups and professional teeth cleanings can also help you save thousands on more expensive treatments in the long run.

You’ll keep your natural smile in tact. It may not seem like a big deal to lose a tooth, but it is. Fact is if you lose a tooth to decay all of your other teeth are affected. Your remaining teeth could eventually shift, making it increasingly difficult to chew and even speak properly. And while dental implants, veneers and dentures are all excellent solutions, they can also be time consuming and costly.

Your breath will smell fresh, not foul. No one wants to have bad breath and no one wants to smell it. Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help; so can professional dental cleanings. During a cleaning, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to gum disease and bad breath if not removed. Eating well and drinking plenty of water is important, too. Be sure to check out our guide to smart snacks for tips.

A clean mouth can boost your confidence during job interviews. Whether the economy’s good or bad, it’s always a good idea to have solid interview skills. But when you don’t feel good about your smile, it shows. It could inhibit your self-expression, making you seem aloof or disinterested to a potential employer. When you aren’t self-conscious about the cleanliness or health of your mouth, you’re more likely to eagerly engage in conversations.

It’s just more attractive than a dirty mouth. When we feel attractive, we tend to radiate those good feelings. While many things can contribute to a good mood, having a clean, healthy mouth is a constant positive. It can give you the self-assurance to smile, socialize and show off your charm. Plus, a clean mouth is a fresh mouth; someone with a dirty mouth probably has bad breath — and that’s not attractive.

Taking charge of your dental health is empowering. When you procrastinate, whatever you’re avoiding weighs heavy on your subconscious. But when you take the initiative to face something you’d rather not, you can finally get on with your life free of anxiety and worry. Taking charge of your dental care instead of avoiding the dentist can help you clear the clutter from your mind and make you feel healthy, responsible and empowered.

The mind and body are interconnected. So when one isn’t clean or healthy, chances are neither is the other. It’s no different when it comes to your mouth!

We’ve shown you how a clean mouth can do wonders for your mind and body. Now it’s your turn to take it from here. But remember, a great dentist is a vital part of the solution.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

You probably already know how important regular dental visits are for keeping your teeth and gums in good shape — besides brushing and flossing, a biannual checkup might be the best thing you can do for your oral health. But what you might not know is that there’s a strong relationship between your oral health and your overall health, so taking good care of your mouth is a big part of taking care of your whole body.

Thinking Outside the Mouth

The benefits of maintaining that wholesome smile are plain to see, boosting confidence and improving your overall sense of well-being. But a healthy mouth is good for you in other ways, too.

Bacteria from untreated gum disease can actually spread infection to other parts of your body. Pregnant women may be at particular risk. If necessary, your dentist may ask you to return more frequently for gum disease treatment.

Also, some non-dental conditions have symptoms that appear in the mouth. A dental examination can reveal signs of vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis or more serious conditions such as diabetes or oral cancer.

Finally, a regular checkup can even be good for your pocketbook. Identifying and treating minor problems like cavities early on can spare you the time and expense of more complicated dentistry procedures such as a tooth extraction or root canal.

Get Smart About Sippy Cups

Sippy cups are as much a mainstay of infancy and toddlerhood as diapers and onesies. These clever cups come complete with a tight lid and a spill-proof bill-shaped spout. They’ve helped make the transition from nursing and bottle feeding to drinking from a cup less messy for thousands of little ones over the years. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Turns out a sippy cup can contribute to tooth decay in much the same way as a baby bottle. Prolonged, constant sucking on a sippy cup or baby bottle that contains milk, formula and fruit juice can leave sugars and acids on your child’s teeth. Over time, these can erode the tooth enamel, causing serious dental problems such as cavities for your little one’s baby teeth. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends you encourage your child to drink from a cup by his or her first birthday.

Choose the Right Cup

As a parent, it’s natural to want to do what’s best for your child. When it comes to preventing baby bottle tooth decay — dental caries in children under 3 — choosing the right sippy cup is an important step. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though, since stores offer so many options. Most of these are “no-spill” cups — sippy cups that come with a valve beneath the spout to stop spills. While they may limit messes, these valves do not allow your child to sip. Instead, your little one must suck the liquid from the cup in much the same way as when drinking from a baby bottle.

The best sippy cups are those without valves. These provide a slotted opening which limits liquid flow and requires your child to sip instead of suck. Consider choosing one with two handles to make grasping it easier. And don’t be afraid to let your baby test drive a few different sippy cups to find the right one.

Sipping With Success

Most babies don’t go from nursing or bottle feeding to drinking from a cup overnight. Sippy cups are intended to be used temporarily while your child learns how to sip. During this transition, there are a few things you can do to protect your little one’s pearly whites from potential sippy cup side effects:

Use sippy cups only at meal or snack time. Saliva production increases during a meal. This helps neutralize acid production and rinses food particles from your child’s mouth.

Restrict use to the highchair or table. At-will, frequent sips of sugary liquids fosters tooth decay. Plus, toddlers are unsteady and may fall while holding a cup, which could cause an injury to the mouth.

Clean the cup after every use. Liquid can easily become trapped in the nooks and crannies of a sippy cup, leading to the growth of bacteria and mold.

Offer water instead of sugary fluids. If your child is thirsty in-between meals, offer a cup with water instead of a sugary fluid.

Skip sippy cups altogether. Some parents transition their babies straight from a bottle to a cup with no lid. It just requires more patience and clean up!

Don’t forget to schedule your child’s first dental visit when the first tooth appears or by the first birthday. Your dentist is a great resource for helping you decide when to introduce sippy cups and which type is right for your child.

Smoking and Tooth Loss

We have all been told that smoking is bad for our overall health. But did you know that it’s bad for your dental health? Few smokers are aware of the risks to their teeth caused by smoking, so if you are a smoker and are concerned about maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you are already ahead of the game!

In addition to causing unsightly staining and yellowing of teeth, the Academy of General Dentistry reports that smoking one pack of cigarettes per day can lead to the loss of two teeth every 10 years. This means that if you start smoking one pack each day at 18, by the time you are 35 years old you could lose four or five teeth!

Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of chronic gum disease, which also leads to tooth loss in its advanced stages, because it restricts blood flow to the gums and weakens your teeth’s support structure. Since gum disease is usually painless in its early stages, you may not realize that you are developing it, so it is important to have regular dental visits and speak with your dentist if you notice inflammation.

The good news is that studies have shown that long-term smokers begin to cut their risk of tooth loss and gum disease almost as soon as they quit! If you take good care of your teeth, visit your dentist regularly and kick the smoking habit you can decrease your risk of tooth loss immediately by 21 percent and by maintaining this routine your risk will drop an additional 41 percent.

Cigar and pipe smokers and chewing tobacco users are also at a heightened risk for tooth loss and periodontal disease. Other risks related to tobacco use are oral cancer, bad breath, tooth discoloration, loss of taste, mouth sores and facial wrinkling.

You should speak to your dentist if you use or have used tobacco products and are worried about tooth loss and gum disease. Remember that regular dental visits are the best way to ensure that you are doing all you can to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Pacifiers and Bottles: Can Comfort Cause Complications?

When it comes to sucking, babies are naturals — maybe because they practice even before they are born! Children begin sucking on their thumb while in the womb to develop the skills necessary for breastfeeding. And for many kids, this skill has an added bonus: Thumb-sucking can be very soothing. Many infants and toddlers will continue to suck their thumb or use a pacifier after they start eating solid foods or stop taking a bottle.

Unfortunately, the use of pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups can lead to speech and dental problems as your child gets older. Since children develop at different ages, it is a good idea to speak with your dentist and pediatrician to make sure that your infant or toddler’s early oral habits don’t cause problems.

Pacifier Blues

In a child’s first few years, pacifier use generally doesn’t cause problems. But constant, long-term pacifier use, especially once permanent teeth come in, can lead to dental complications. Constant sucking can cause top front teeth to slant out, and bottom front teeth to tilt in. It also can lead to jaw misalignment (such as an overbite) and a narrowing of the roof of the mouth.

It is generally advised that children stop or drastically reduce their pacifier use around age 3. If a child is dependent on the pacifier to be calmed and soothed, try giving it to him or her only when absolutely necessary and using positive reinforcement to wean them off the habit.

If possible, buy pacifiers labeled “orthodontically friendly” because they may limit the risk of dental complications. It is also a good idea to buy pacifiers constructed as one piece. And never attach a pacifier to a string around your child’s neck, this can cause them to choke.

The Big Bad Bottle

Many children use a bottle longer than necessary. Apart from the risks associated with the sucking motion, bottles also carry a heavy risk of promoting tooth decay if they contain anything other than water.

Frequently sucking or sipping on milk or juice from a bottle over an extended period of time will increase your child’s risk of tooth decay. When sugars and carbohydrates come in consistent contact with teeth they create an environment for decay-causing bacteria to thrive. Tooth decay can lead to painful infection and in extreme cases children may need to have a tooth extraction or dental treatment to extensively repair damaged teeth.

If you notice small white spots or lines on your child’s teeth, particularly near the gum line, it is a good idea to consult your dentist immediately as this may be an early sign of decay. As a way to cut back on children’s bottle use, your pediatrician or pediatric dentist may recommend using sippy cups. While these are very useful for transitioning your child from bottle to regular cups, they also pose their own threat to teeth and speech development.

For more help breaking baby away from the bottle or pacifier, talk to your dentist

Why a Mouthguard?

 An active lifestyle calls for active safety. And while helmets, goggles and knee pads have become standard equipment to protect our bodies, it’s important to remember to protect your teeth as well. Mouthguards offer an easy, reliable method to cushion your teeth during athletic and recreational activity.

Participating in any physical activity involves a risk of contact with the face and mouth. Although many sports teams require some protective gear, the delicate teeth are often overlooked. Considering that even minor direct force can cause teeth to chip, break or come loose, a mouthguard is a crucial piece of equipment for all active or athletic activities.

Mouthguards are especially crucial during contact sports such as football, hockey or boxing, where blows to the body and face are regular occurrences. But even non-contact sports such as gymnastics, and recreational pastimes such as skating or mountain biking, still pose a risk to the teeth.

When participating in any activity that may result in injury to the mouth, dentists recommend that the teeth be properly shielded with some form of dental mouthguard.

Your Guide to Guards

There are three basic categories of mouthguards. Your dentist can suggest which type is right for you:

1. Stock Mouthguards — These pre-made protectors can usually be bought wherever sporting equipment is sold. Most dentists do not recommend their use because they cannot be adjusted to your mouth and provide only limited protection.

2. Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards — Boil-and-Bite guards are softened with hot water and then molded over your teeth. A somewhat customized fit leads to better protection and greater ease in talking and breathing. These are also available at most sporting goods vendors.

3. Custom Mouthguards — Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard designed specially for your teeth. These offer the best fit, comfort and protection, but may be more costly than store-bought varieties.

Guard Your Whole Mouth

In addition to cushioning your teeth from unnecessary force, using a mouthguard can prevent injury to the tongue, lips, face and jaw. It can also prevent or lessen the effects of headaches and concussions. Patients who wear dental braces should be especially careful to protect their mouths during physical activity. Make sure to discuss your level of activity with your dentist and find out which type of dental mouthguard best fits your needs.

Bad Oral Habits

 Did you know that a lot of little things you do (or don’t do) on a day-to-day basis affect your teeth’s well-being and may fall under a list of bad oral habits? These include not brushing or flossing enough, eating too many sweets too often, or even using your teeth to open a bag of chips.

The Snowball Effect

Unfortunately, these bad oral habits can lead to bad oral hygiene over time, causing bad breath, tooth discoloration, red, swollen gums, cavities, gum disease and ultimately, tooth loss. It can affect not just your oral health, but also the following:

Chewing and speech. Can you imagine grinding your food or trying to speak and make “F” and “TH” sounds without a set of healthy teeth?

Self-esteem. Swollen gums, bad breath and stained teeth – not to mention no teeth – can indeed put a damper on anyone’s confidence.

Finances. Delaying needed dental treatment by not visiting the dentist regularly can only cause more harm than good, even to your wallet. When treatment is necessary to save the teeth and bring the mouth back to optimum condition, a lot of dental procedures may have to be done and it can get costly.

Overall Health. Research has shown that gum disease is linked with health problems including heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and other systemic diseases. Bad oral health is also shown to increase the risk of pre-term delivery and low-birth-weight infants. Gum disease treatment not only improves your dental health, but can help improve your overall health as well.

Break the Bad Oral Care Habit

Bad oral habits die hard, but they can be killed with better practices. Experts suggest the following tips:

Floss at least once a day. It helps remove bits of food and dental plaque in places your toothbrush can’t find, helping to keep your gums healthy.

Brush after every meal, or at least twice a day. If brushing is not an option, chew sugarless gum (make sure it’s sugarless!) for 20 minutes after a meal or snack to help wash out food and acid by increasing saliva production. This helps prevent tooth decay.

Clean your tongue with every brushing, either with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Bacteria that settle on your tongue can cause bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Replace your toothbrush regularly. Bristles in your toothbrush that are bent and broken don’t do a good job cleaning your teeth anymore and are clear signs to let your old toothbrush graduate.

Eat a balanced diet. Snacking on sweets too often without brushing increases the acid in your mouth, giving you a higher risk of developing tooth decay. Munch on vegetables and fruit instead.

Regular Dental Visits. Your dentist is trained to do damage control in your mouth before it’s too late. You should visit the dentist regularly — every six months.

Avoid using your teeth as tools. It has the same effect as chewing on hard objects like pencils and ice cubes – it can cause chipped or cracked teeth. You don’t live in the Stone Age, so there’s really no excuse to use your teeth to open a bottle of beer – the bottle opener was made for that. Tools are easier to replace than your teeth, which were really meant to last you a lifetime.

Adding these to your list one at a time is a good start to kick those bad oral habits. By doing a little self-check on your daily dental care habits, you can be on your way to making sure your teeth, your mouth’s health and your overall health are at their best.