Oral Health Care
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From birth, your teeth play a pivotal role in your life. In addition to biting and chewing, your teeth are responsible for your ability to speak and maintaining the structure of the jaw. Because they are so important, Dr. Weston Spencer encourages proper oral health care in patients of his La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe offices, regardless of their age. Good dental hygiene habits should begin as soon as the teeth erupt from below the gums. These habits include visits to our San Diego general dentistry practice for professional cleanings and thorough oral exams at least twice a year as recommended by the American Dental Association.
The leading causes of dental problems are dental caries and periodontal disease. Dental caries, commonly referred to as tooth decay, is a disease that forms from the bacteria that collects around teeth, softening enamel and causing the teeth to decay. Over time these caries build up and can cause irreversible damage to the tooth. Likewise, periodontal disease is caused when bacteria cause the delicate gum tissues to become inflamed and infected. Gum disease has emerged as the number-one cause of tooth loss among adults. Although both dental caries and periodontal disease are preventable, they affect the vast majority of the population.
The best way to avoid both tooth decay and periodontal disease is through preventative dentistry, including routine dental visits.
Brushing and Flossing
Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay. Brush after breakfast and before bed using pH-neutral baking soda. Baking soda can be used with toothpaste if there is an aversion to the taste. Patients ideally should brush after any meals to avoid harmful plaque that causes cavities. Brushing with a soft-bristled electric toothbrush will allow patients to eliminate more dental caries. Flossing should be performed after every brushing to ensure all food particles are removed from between the teeth.
Dr. Weston Spencer can recommend a number of products that you can use throughout your day that are beneficial for your teeth. Patients who are experiencing demineralization may benefit from MI (Mineral Intervention) Paste after brushing, which can be used to coat the mouth, alter plaque make up, and stabilize the pH levels within the mouth. Nuvora products are ideal for freshening breath, whitening teeth, and combating dry mouth because they contain baking soda and xylitol.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet isn’t only good for the body – it benefits your oral health as well. Consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals will help the mouth stay healthy.
Foods rich in arginine, such as spinach, seafood, soy, and nuts, can repair tooth enamel and decrease tooth sensitivity. Crunchy and firm foods like apples, pears, bell peppers, and celery are also ideal because of their high water content, which helps dilute sugars in food. Foods high in calcium, such as leafy greens, almonds, and cheese, also protect the enamel. Phosphorous, commonly found in meat, fish, and eggs, keeps tooth enamel healthy and strong.
Sports drinks and soda should be avoided because of their high sugar content and acidic nature that wears away at protective enamel. Instead turn to water, which keeps the mouth moisturized and rinses harmful debris from the mouth.
For a sweet snack, turn to products with xylitol. This sugar alternative offers the sweetness of sugar without the harmful tooth decaying properties. San Diego patients can find Spry products at Sprouts Farmers Market or Whole Foods Market. Patients should “strive for five” exposures to xylitol per day, whether it’s found in toothpaste, lozenges, gum, or other products. Patients should also use lollipops that contain licorice root, a natural anti-cavity ingredient.
Professional Exams and Cleanings
Routine oral exams and professional cleanings will ensure your teeth are healthy and functioning properly. During the visit, Dr. Spencer will perform an oral exam to ensure teeth are free of tooth decay, as well as evaluating the gums, jaw, and other structures are healthy in order to support the teeth. The patient’s teeth will be professionally cleaned to remove all plaque and tarter buildup that may accumulate between visits. To ensure teeth are healthy, visits should be scheduled regularly.
Learn More about Oral Health Care
Dr. Weston Spencer encourages strong oral health care habits in all of his La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe patients so that they can avoid tooth decay and periodontal disease, as well as the extensive restorative dentistry treatments that become necessary with these dental problems. With proper oral health care and routine examinations, patients can enjoy healthy and beautiful smiles for a lifetime. To start down that path toward excellent oral health, please contact our cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice today.