•A little boy was taken to the dentist. It was discovered that he had a cavity that had to be filled. ” Now, young man,” asked the dentist, ” what kind of filling would you like for that tooth?” ” Chocolate, please,” replied the youngster.
Research reveals that chewy raisins may provide special benefits to your choppers.
Phytochemicals in raisins appear to help fight cavities by inhibiting the growth of certain types of oral bacteria. Raisins also prevent the bacteria from sticking to teeth. Keep your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing every day, having regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings, and choosing smile-friendly snacks.
Raisins are high in heart-healthy nutrients called flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that also may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and some forms of dementia. A recent study suggests raisins may have dental health benefits as well. Researchers isolated compounds in raisins shown to inhibit bacteria such as cavity-causing S. mutans as well as P. gingivalis, which play a role in periodontal disease. Other beneficial compounds in raisins prevented S. mutans from sticking to teeth, which also could help thwart cavities. More research is needed to confirm these findings. In the meantime, munching on raisins is not a substitute for good oral hygiene. Stay on top of regular brushing, flossing, and dental screening visits to keep your mouth healthy.
Dental implants are a means of securing crowns, bridges, and dentures in the mouth. A hard plastic or metal fixture is implanted through the soft tissue into the bone. Over time, the bone grows around this fixture, firmly anchoring it. The exposed end of this fixture is covered with a crown and may serve as a stable abutment for a bridge or denture.
Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay in the mouth. In fact, it’s better than fluoride according to some.
Dark chocolate (I can’t speak for sugary milk chocolate) doesn’t deserve its bad rap as a cavity-causing treat. It may actually help prevent cavities! And here’s where the gauntlet gets thrown down. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also fight against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.
This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. To many, this is shocking news, but for me that’s not saying much. I’m not a big fan of ingesting fluoride, and I think it has long been over-hyped (more on that in future posts).
The compound CBH, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. This specific compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes).
In the mean time, however, one can “administer” this compound via the ingestion of chocolate. Eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day is a great way to take advantage of this wonder compound and lower your chance of getting cavities. What an easy and fun recommendation a doctor can make; it’s been called the food of the gods, a supposed aphrodisiac, and the drink that Casanova favored.
Now, this isn’t an excuse to binge on bonbons, nor ditch your floss and toothbrush.
•For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option unpalatable.
•The second best choice, is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.
•Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it it less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact.
Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!
With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood . Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional star rating.
Yellow stains aside, brewed coffee or tea may not be the worst thing you could swish past your pearly whites.
Other drinks tested in a recent study produced much more wear and tear on tooth enamel, especially bubbly soft drinks. But here’s the surprise: It didn’t matter if the sodas were diet or not.
When your tooth enamel starts to erode, you’ve got major problems on your hands. And certain foods like sweets and sodas may hasten this process. All carbonated drinks in a recent study had some impact on tooth enamel (with the one possible exception being root beer — its impact on tooth enamel was slight). Citrus-flavored sodas hit teeth hardest, but colas caused problems, too. And it didn’t matter if the drinks were diet or full-sugar.
It’s the Acids
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not only the sugars in bubbly beverages that erode tooth enamel. It’s also the acids. The total acid content and acid type — look for names like phosphoric, citric, malic, and tartaric — in a beverage affect how strong the attack is on your choppers. Rinsing after sipping a soda may hasten the acids out of your mouth.
•Periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections.
Gingivectomy is periodontal surgery that removes and reforms diseased gum tissue or other gingival buildup related to serious underlying conditions. For more chronic gingival conditions, gingivectomy is utilized after other non-surgical methods have been tried, and before gum disease has advanced enough to jeopardize the ligaments and bone supporting the teeth. Performed in a dentist’s office, the surgery is primarily done one quadrant of the mouth at a time under local anesthetic. Clinical attachment levels of the gum to teeth and supporting structures determine the success of the surgery. Surgery required beyond gingivectomy involves the regeneration of attachment structures through tissue and bone grafts.
Periodontal surgery is primarily performed to alter or eliminate the microbial factors that create periodontitis, and thereby stop the progression of the disease. Periodontal diseases comprise a number of conditions that affect the health of periodontium. The factors include a variety of microorganisms and host conditions, such as the immune system, that combine to affect the gums and, ultimately, the support of the teeth. The primary invasive factor creating disease is plaque-producing bacteria. Once the gingiva are infected by plaque-making bacteria unabated due to immuno-suppression or by oral hygiene, the bacterial conditions for periodontitis or gum infections are present. Unless the microorganisms and the pathological changes they produce on the gum are removed, the disease progresses. In the most severe cases, graft surgery may be necessary to restore tissue ligament and bone tissue destroyed by pathogens.
In healthy gums, there is very little space between the gum and tooth, usually less than 0.15 in (4 mm). With regular brushing and flossing, most gums stay healthy and firm unless there are underlying hereditary or immunosuppressive conditions that affect the gums. The continuum of progressive bacterial infection of the gums leads to two main conditions in the periodontium: gingivitis and periodontitis. Such external factors as smoking, and certain illnesses such as diabetes are associated with periodontal disease and increase the severity of disease in the gum tissue, support, and bone structures. Two types of procedures are necessitated by the severity of gum retreat from the teeth, represented by periodontal pockets. Both nonsurgical and surgical procedures are designed to eliminate these pockets and restore gum to the teeth, thereby ensuring the retention of teeth.
You Want Easy
Try Listerine Whitening Quick-Dissolving Strips ($24; drugstores). No removal needed! They melt away.
You Want Portable
Try Britesmile to Go ($30; britesmile.com). The pen-style applicator goes with you anywhere.
You Want Fast
Try Crest Whitestrips Daily Multicare ($40; drugstores). They take just 5 minutes a day.
You Want Comfortable
Try Aquafresh White Trays ($35; drugstores). These soft, flexible trays conform to your teeth.