Dr. Tooth Fairy here after a long and needed vacation. The last time we chatted, I told you about one of your friends, Samantha. She had decided to stop brushing her teeth for the summer and found that she had a big problem with her teeth and gums. She had to go to the dentist for extra visits so the dentist could help her to feel better. It was a learning experience for Samantha, and I am happy to report that she has been brushing her teeth twice a day and flossing in the evening! She sometimes will brush her teeth during the day, especially when she eats a snack which is not so good for anyone’s teeth. What are these snacks you ask?
Limit Unhealthy Snacks
Well, snacks that have a lot of sugar are not good for anyone’s teeth or even your health. It is okay to have a treat once in awhile but not every day. Some of the things that are not good for your teeth and health are candy, cookies, cakes, fruit juices, soda or pop, dried fruit and other things that contain sugar, also called sucrose or high fructose corn syrup to name a few. The sugars feed the bad bacteria in your mouth and promote developing problems such as gingivitis, like our friend Samantha and cavities! The bad bacteria eat the sugar and produce acid which eats away at your pearly whites! None of your little darlings like to have cavities! For your teeth having a cavity is just like being sick.
So, what should you do to keep your pearly whites looking brand new? Well, like I keep telling you, you need to brush at least two times a day sometimes more when you have sugar containing foods or drinks. You should always use a toothpaste which contains fluoride. You also need to floss at least once a day to get rid of the bacteria and food debris that is located between your teeth. a Limiting the unhealthy snacks is a good next step and making better choices is the third step to take. You want to keep your little darlings nice and healthy little darlings.
Some beverages that are a smart choice are the water, flavored water without sweeteners, sugar free Kool – aid and an occasional sparkling water. Why an occasional sparkling water? Well, the sparkling water has gas like soda or pop which is not kind to your little pearly whites. The carbonation is acidic and like bacteria acid, hurt the enamel on your pearly whites. Milk is also a good choice, but it contains lactose, which is also a sugar but not as bad as the two other sugars that I already mentioned. I do recommend rinsing your mouth out with water after drinking milk and especially after drinking a fruit juice or other beverage that has sugar.
Oh, I hear you, I forgot to mention ice cream and other things like jello with sugar. Well, ice cream not only has milk in it but also has sugar. Some ice creams have caramel and candy in the ice cream. When you have something like this, you will need to rinse out your mouth or even brush your teeth after having an ice cream cone. The ices or sherbets also have a lot of sugar but don’t often contain candy. You should rinse after eating these too. Of course, jello is on the list if you have the type with sugar. The jello doesn’t stick to your teeth, so you can rinse your mouth with water after having a big bowl.
Oh, you are so smart and right! I did not mention chewing gum either! It is just fine to have chewing gum provided it is a sugar free gum. That means most bubble gums. However, there are a lot of chewing gums that do not contain sugar now and are called sugar – free. These are good choices to make. A little secret, is some gums contain a sugar alcohol known as xylitol which may stop the bad bacteria from making attacking your little darlings. Using the sugar free products comes with a warning not to eat too much otherwise, your stomach could become upset and produce a lot of gas! We don’t want that to happen!
If you make these little changes to your diet and brushing and flossing habits, you will have very little problems! Your little darlings will be very happy and will be able to stay with you for your entire life!
If you have any questions, don’t forget that you can call my friends at the Connecticut Dental Health Partnership.