Dr. Bob’s Tooth Truth Blog

Words from the mouth, heart and mind of a caring dentist

Bad Teeth? You made them that way! But there is Good News!

My parents had Bad Teeth and I’ve got the same problem! 

No Way!  What you have is Bad Habits.

What Bad Habits you ask?

Acid Eroded Teeth

  • Frequently eating or drinking starch or sugar containing food or beverage  during the day.
  • Brushing right after you eat.
  • Scrubbing the teeth like bathroom tile.
  • Rinsing your mouth after you brush with water or worse, mouthwash.
  • Constantly sipping water from your designer sports bottle.

Yeah but I’ve always done that!

Time to review the facts:

  • Every time you eat or drink, the normal bacteria in your mouth break down the carbohydrates with an increase in acidity that lasts for one half hour after the last mouthful.  So if you eat or sip all day long your mouth is constantly acidic.
  • If you brush during this acidity, your teeth are softer and get literally worn away by your brushing.
  • The brush is very stiff from the last use of toothpaste; scrubbing action is like giving your teeth thirty lashes for bad behavior.  First soften the brush by rubbing with your thumb under warm water and then only use a vibratory motion with pressure to clean.
  • There are beneficial ingredients in toothpaste that should soak in for at least one half hour but if you rinse, all that potential benefit goes down the drain.
  • Many popular mouthwash formulas are acidic to “kill bacteria” but also make your teeth softer.
  • Saliva is very protective of your teeth because it neutralizes the acidity and helps to fight the bad bacteria.  But every time you sip water or any other beverage, you’re washing away or diluting the saliva.

So what should you be doing to save your teeth?

  • Try to eat no more than three times a day and if you snack, try to eat a combination of food that is not acidic.  Foods that can reduce acidity are milk, cheese and nuts.  Avoid vinegar, citrus, fruits and starches.
  • Wait at least one half hour after drinking/eating before brushing;  if you must brush right away, use water or an alkaline mouthwash (baking soda or “Biotene”) to reduce the acidity first.
  • The best brushing stroke is given by an electric toothbrush (Sonicare or OralB’s vibratory motion) which you can simulate with your manual brush which just takes longer.
  • Mouthwash should be used first to reduce the  bacteria count in your mouth, then floss or pick between the teeth and finally brush with a good quality toothpaste.  Lastly do not rinse but spit out the extra toothpaste  and allow the beneficial ingredients to soak in.
  • If you have real sensitive teeth or extensive dental restorations, be sure to use a low abrasive toothpaste which can be any of the products for sensitive teeth such as Sesnsodyne’s Pro-Enamel.

If you take the time to develop Good Habits, you’ll be rewarded with Great Teeth and Healthy Gums.

Brush Your Teeth With Sugar!

Yes you can, as long as it’s Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural occurring alcohol sugar that is commonly used in chewing gum such as “Orbit” and other products.
The main advantage of Xylitol is that it cannot be processed by the natural bacteria in the mouth so that regular use can literally starve the cavity causing bacteria to death!
Used in moderation it can dramatically reduce the incidence of decay in the mouth.
But like all good things there are some precautions that should be heeded. Too much (more than two portions a day) can result in a laxative effect and Xylitol can be lethal to pets.    Dogs rapidly develop insulin shock after ingesting Xylitol and it is toxic to their liver whereas humans have no such problems.
So if your dentist says you have way too many cavities, try to have at least two exposures to Xylitol in your mouth a day.
It is important to have only products that have 100%  Xylitol and not just small amounts. Some gum or mints have only token amounts of Xylitol and primarily Sorbitol which is cheaper to produce and of  little or no benefit.
Sources of Xyltol include: www.zellies.com, www.xlear.com and www.drjohns.com.
So experience the minty, cool and refreshing taste of Xyltol and enjoy better dental health.

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