Good afternoon and happy Friday! This weekend I have absolutely NOTHING planned for the first time in months and I could not be happier. My renovations are (almost) over (still no countertops but at this point I do not care), I do not have any parties or social gatherings (I do enjoy these, but I have had so many lately – and now that I mention it I do remember that I have a family dinner on Sunday but that will be fun and I’m looking forward to it), there are no pressing errands (of course there are errands, but none must be done this weekend), and there is no coop work either (I am treasurer of our coop building).
So what am I going to do? Yoga of course! And probably cleaning, brunching, walking (if it’s not so freezing out), and watching Downton Abbey on Sunday night (I just caught up on this season). I might also try to learn some music for a choir concert that’s coming up in a few months.
Enough about that though – I wanted to share some healthy tooth tips since I have been getting a lot of dental work done lately (I’d been putting it off for a long time – bad idea, don’t put it off!).
1. Get regular cleanings & checkups. This is probably the most important because if you do have an issue you can catch it early and get it taken care of. Also, if you know you are going to the dentist every 6 months you may be more inclined to take care of your teeth because you don’t want your dentist yelling at you. Please don’t be scared – it’s really not as bad as you think it is, even if you have cavities. You’ll feel so much better when you know your teeth are all fixed up and in good health.
2. BRUSH & FLOSS after meals if the food gets easily stuck in your teeth – think chewy foods that you really use your molars for (worst offenders for this in my experience – sweets, fruits, breads & grains). Make sure you are brushing so that the brush gets in between the teeth as much as possible (kind of like sweeping from the bottom of the tooth up to the top – if that makes sense).
3. Don’t snack frequently (especially on sugary stuff – even fruit!). The most common cause of tooth decay (aka cavities) is from acid that dissolves the tooth enamel. This acid comes from the breakdown of refined sugars by bacteria.
The output of this breakdown is acid –> enamel erosion –> cavities. (Going back to #1 – it’s really important to remove plaque because plaque is just a sticky deposit on your teeth made up of bacteria, food, and other debris. It causes cavities. Gross.)
Studies show that how often you have sugars in your mouth is much more predictive of your dental health than how much sugar you have. This means that the person who eats 5 apples slowly throughout the day is in worse shape than the person who quickly eats 5 apples in 10 minutes (god knows why this person is eating 5 apples in one day, but it gets the point across).
(Apples! Good – in moderation.)
Worst offenders – sticky foods like caramel, gummies, jams and jellies. These stay on your teeth even after you stop eating them. Surprisingly, chocolate is not necessarily so bad because the sugars are coated in fat and they leave the mouth quickly. (Not the case though if you see chocolate sticking in your molars – brush that stuff out!) Bottom line – if you’re snacking throughout the day on sugary foods or soda (even diet soda – it’s acidic) – your teeth are under under attack from acid.
4. Eat for healthy bones. Your teeth, even though it may not seem like it, are living parts of your body. They are very much like bones. If you are not eating enough, you could be at risk for osteopenia/osteoporosis. These conditions can not only cause weakened bones, but also weakened teeth. The weaker the teeth, the more susceptible to decay. Not eating enough can also decrease saliva production which is another potential cause of tooth decay.
5. Good foods for healthy teeth are: fiber-ful veggies, unsweetened full-fat dairy products (milk, cheese – cheese also makes you produce more saliva which is good for the mouth), green and black tea (polyphenols kill/minimize bad bacteria), meats, and nuts. (Hey this sounds like the paleo diet doesn’t it?)