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Oral Hygiene

Brush up on your skills!

July 21st, 2016

It never hurts to have a little refresher on proper brushing technique. Check out these photos and tips below to see if you are on the right track. Just remember, soft, circular motions are best!

Health Benefits of Tea

January 7th, 2016

Since January is "National Hot Tea Month," it's the perfect time to extol the health benefits of tea. So brew a hot cup and read on!

Besides warming you up on these frigid January days, tea has health benefits that include treating cancer and cardiovascular disease and fighting against obesity and diabetes.

Much of the medicinal properties of tea are attributed to its antioxidant content, specifically the flavanoids/polyphenols known as catechins, which have the greatest concentration in green tea. Tea and its components are shown to have:

- Benefit cardiovascular systems -- promotes vasodilation of blood vessels, helps prevetn oxidant injury, and helps reduce coronary heart disease

- Benefit neurological systems -- may aid is treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease and dementia due to effects on beta-amyloid proteins

- Reduce of cancer risk -- triggers apoptosis (cell death) in prostate cancer cells, reduces risk of digestive system cancers

- Potentially negate the harmful effects of cigarette smoking

- Help lower blood pressure

- Battle obesity due to anti-adipogenic effects

- Aid in the prevention of diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis

- Benefit oral health -- inhibits bacteria that cause dental caries and periodontal disease, inhibits growth and development of oral squamous cell carcinoma cells

With all these positive effects, what's not to love about tea?! Well, there is the caveat that habitual tea drinking can lead to tooth discoloration and staining. While not totally preventable for heavy tea drinkers, drinking through a straw, having regular teeth cleanings by your dentist, and teeth whitening can all help combat this issue if it arises. And avoid sweetening your tea with sugar, which could lead to an increase in cavities -- especially if you are sipping frequently.

Drink up!

What's the deal with xylitol?

November 2nd, 2015

You may have read about us promoting the oral health benefits of the Daily 4: brushing, flossing, rinsing, and chewing sugar-free gum that sweetened with xylitol. But what exactly is xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol that can be found in most plant material. It is often extracted from birchwood. Xylitol can be used as a sugar substitute in toothpaste and mouth rinses, as well as in foods such as candy and gum. Most importantly, it helps to prevent cavities from forming.

When you consume foods with sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feed off of the sugar and multiply. The growing bacteria produce acids that eat away at the enamel on your teeth causing tooth decay and the formation of cavities. In contrast, xylitol does not breakdown the same way as sugar and cannot be consumed by the bacteria. It helps neutralize the acids in your mouth, which helps stop tooth decay from occurring, and prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

Cavity formation can be greatly hindered by regularly using xylitol containing products. Some commons products are toothpaste and mouth rinses; xylitol can also be found in chewing gum and candies. By using the products several times throughout each day, your oral health can be positively impacted. The most effective benefits are seen with using xylitol five times a day.

As helpful as xylitol is to your oral health, it should also be noted that some users initially experience diarrhea and intestinal gas, but these side effects usually subside over time. More importantly, the side effects for pets should be duly noted. The small amount of xylitol that is found in consumer products is extremely toxic to both dogs and ferrets; they can experience sudden drop in blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. So just like other health products made for humans, keep your xylitol products away from your pets!

Used properly, xylitol is a great and effective addition to your oral health routine. Switching to chewing gum sweetened naturally with xylitol is an easy and convenient way to implement these benefits. Be sure to look for xylitol on the ingredient list and for the ADA seal of approval on the package!

It's National Brush Day!

November 1st, 2015

November 1st is National Brush Day -- but some may also know it as the day after Halloween! We're sure that there's some pretty good loot sitting around your house after the build up to Halloween and a day of trick-or-treating (or trunk-or-treating... or parading...). Regardless of how you amassed that stockpile of sugar, you've still got to enjoy it responsibly!  And that means:

- Eat sweet treats along with a meal so that your other foods dilute the full effects of the sugar in your mouth. Stay away from snacking all day long; this habit bathes your teeth in sugar and doesn't give saliva a chance to naturally cleanse your mouth.

- Go easy on sticky, gooey candies, which can stick to your teeth or dislodge fillings and crowns, and the hard, crunchy candies that can chip or break teeth.

- Brush for least 2 minutes twice a day and floss. And if you're not able to brush right after a meal, chew some sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol instead! Chewing activates your salivary glands and helps cleanse your mouth of food and debris.

American Dental AssociationAcademy Of General Dentistry