Limiting the Damage
- Most importantly, after a night out, you should brush and floss your teeth before going to bed. If you often forget to do this, leave your tooth brush on your pillow before you go out to remind you to spend a couple of minutes brushing.
- While you’re drinking try to swish a mouthful of water around every so often to increase the saliva flow and rinse away sugars and acid in your mouth
- On your way home, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow and clear the mouth of harmful sugars and acid.
Healthy Snack OptionsSummer offers a bounty of food options that can improve your overall well-being and enhance your dental health. These include:
- Corn: This plant is at its prime sweetness during the hottest months of the year. It can be delicious when grilled, barbequed, or steamed, either on the cob or off of it. Corn is rich in important compounds that benefit dental health, including phosphorous, magnesium, thiamin, fiber, and vitamin C. Just make sure to floss after enjoying your corn so that it doesn’t remain stuck between your teeth for the rest of the day.
- Salads: crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and vibrant carrots make up a healthy summer salad. In addition to providing important nutrients and fiber, raw vegetables can naturally scrub debris from your teeth to keep them shiny and clean.
- Fish: Many people enjoy lighter meals during the summer, and fish is an excellent protein option for this purpose. The omega 3 fatty acids in fish can help fight gum disease and benefit your general health.
- Berries: One of the best parts of summer is enjoying sweet, luscious, delectable berries. 1-800-Dentist points out that “ripe, juicy, red strawberries are the perfect snack for self proclaimed ‘sugar addicts’ as the perfect berry will taste better than any candy out there, minus the risks and with vitamins and minerals essential for fueling the human body.” Berries often contain vitamin C, calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium, and even cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Less Than Ideal Summertime TreatsUnfortunately, while they’re tasty, some of our favorite summer foods aren’t the best for our teeth. The barbeque sauce that gives a special zing to your ribs and steaks on the grill can be spicy or acidic, wearing down your enamel. Many people also enjoy sipping on sweet cocktails on vacation or out by the pool, but these sugary beverages can feed decay-causing bacteria. Cold treats like frozen popsicles and ice creams can also coat your mouth in sticky syrup, contributing to dental plaque on your teeth and even beneath your gums. Munching on potato chips or other starchy snacks can also contribute to plaque formation. While they are delectable, we recommend limiting your consumption of these types of summertime treats and remaining especially conscientious about your oral hygiene if you do.
Summer Smile SuggestionsIn addition to enjoying healthy summer foods and limiting your consumption of potentially damaging treats, you can take simple, proactive steps to improve your oral hygiene this summer. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water. Especially in summer heat, staying hydrated is very important. Dr. Flanagan and our team recommend swishing your mouth with water after eating to wash away debris and improve your saliva flow.
- Chewing xylitol gum. This artificial sweetener tastes great and can help fight cavity-causing bacteria.
- Setting aside specific snacking times. Munching on sugary, starchy treats throughout the day constantly exposes your teeth to them, raising your risk for decay and other dental issues. Limiting your summer food fun to specific times can help you relish your treats while preserving your smile.
- Brushing and flossing your teeth. You should brush at least twice per day and floss at least once.
- Coming in to our practice for regular cleanings and examinations. Dr. Clark recommends that patients come in at least twice a year for a check-up. Attending these routine visits allows us to catch and treat any oral health conditions before they worsen.
Enjoy Summer Refreshments and a Dazzling GrinBy taking advantage of wholesome summer treats, avoiding certain snacks, and keeping up your oral hygiene regimen, you can appreciate everything the season has to offer while maintaining your smile.
If there’s one thing that can ruin the most romantic holiday of the year, it’s bad breath. In a recent Match.com survey, 45 percent of the 5,000 singles polled listed fresh breath as the most important consideration when prepping for a date and both women (71 percent) and men (58 percent) said that teeth matter most when scrutinizing a potential match.
Whether you’re married or single… going on a first-date or celebrating your 25th Valentine’s Day together, you don’t want bad breath to become a major embarrassment if you’re snuggling up to your sweetie and he or she asks you what you had for lunch. And you definitely don’t want to have your significant other give you breath mints as a gift like this famous celebrity couple.
Most of these ideas won’t be new to you, but if you want to be kissable this Valentine’s Day, here’s what you should do:
Before the Date
- Brush your teeth -- and tongue -- before your date
- Floss in the morning and before your date to remove any food that might be stuck in your teeth.
- Kill all existing germs in your mouth with mouthwash
- Eat yogurt or dairy-based food for breakfast to replenish good bacteria in your gut.
- Order a “breath-friendly” foods. If you need ideas, our Facebook Page has several head-to-toe healthy foods to choose from.
- Avoid foods that cause bad breath such as garlic and onions.
- Drink lots of water along with your other beverages during dinner.
- If you left the mints at home, gnaw on a garnish. The herbs that garnish your dinner plate can help to neutralize bad breath caused by sulfides given off by the bacteria in dental plaque.
- When the dessert menu comes your way, steer clear of that chocolate cake and instead look for a dessert full of berries, oranges or apples, which will strengthen your breath by increasing saliva production
- If you can skip the coffee, sip lemon tea. Lemons can do wonders at neutralizing bad breath!
- Bring a toothpick or flosser and head to the bathroom and make sure there’s nothing between your teeth after you eat, and rinse your mouth out with water.
- Just in case… bring a travel toothbrush & excuse yourself to the restroom.
- Reduce upset stomachs to ease bad breath, especially if you suffer from acid-reflux.
Chew gum with xylitol to banish bad breath after dinner & dessert.
With 2014 officially upon us, many Nashvillians have kicked off their New Year’s resolutions. While people know eating right, tossing the smokes and exercising are all part of leading a healthier lifestyle, most are not aware of the overall health benefits of taking care of their teeth.
Here are 3 common resolutions that also help you take care of your teeth:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. A poor diet that consists of sugary treats and fast food can result in premature loss of tooth enamel, resulting in a weaker tooth structure. Due to this, it is especially important that you try to maintain a healthy diet. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are full of valuable antioxidants and nutrients that help your body – and your mouth – fight off bacteria and infection. If you want more ideas about healthy foods that help your teeth, check out our “Head to Toe Healthy Food Choice” on Facebook.
Quit Smoking. This is another common resolution most people make during the New Year. As we all know, the effects of smoking can lead to serious health complications, including gum disease, bone loss, and oral cancer. While the impact it has in improving your long-term health is widely known, what you may not know is how it can benefit your teeth. Smokers are twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers.
Give up carbonated beverages. Many people resolve to drink the recommended eight glasses a day of water each year. Eight or more glasses a day leads to feeling better and can is beneficial to your mouth as it cleans your teeth. For example, if you drink a glass of wine and follow with water, the wine has less time to sit and stain your teeth. In addition to that, the fluoride in most tap water fights cavities. Drinking water will not only improve your overall health, but also improve your oral health.
We hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2014 and we wish you all the best achieving your goals!
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions for 2014?
Last month we hosted our 2nd Annual Downtown Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. And we were blown away by the way you responded!
We were overwhelmed by the compassion you showed and we are so grateful for everyone who donated or helped collect food for those in need. We’re truly inspired by your generosity. YOU donated 1196 food items! That's nearly 100 items more than we received last year. Thank you to our patients and other downtown residents and business professionals who came together to help feed familiies across Middle Tennessee this holiday season!
How you can continue to give back this holiday season
While the food you collected will help feed hundreds of families, the need is still great….
- There are 103,000 people in Davidson County who classify as food insecure according to Second Harvest.
- 1 in 6 Tennesseans will struggle with hunger this Holiday season.
- 1 in 4 children are at risk of suffering from hunger, especially during the break from school.
- Over 395,000 people in Middle Tennessee who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, much less what they’re going to eat for their holiday meals.
Whether you missed the food drive or you’re looking for ways to continue to give back this holiday season, here are a few simple ways you can provide food to those in need this holiday season:
- Second Harvest has created some really cool ways for you to continue to give back this Holiday season. One way you can continue to help Second Harvest is by donating your lose change to help them fight hunger. Another simple way to help is to volunteer to help assist with the preparation, serving, and clean up at their First Harvest Café.
- The Nashville Food Project is another incredible organization helping to fight hunger in our city. Whether you enjoy growing food in a garden or preparing home-cooked meals, they provide several opportunities for you to use your skills and love of food to help those in need.
- Community Food Advocates is an organization that was created in 2009 to address the root causes of hunger and poverty, and Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee. Located in East Nashville, the organization is doing incredible things to help those affected by recent reduction in food stamp benefits and there are numerous ways for you to help out.
These are just a few of the incredible ways you can help to bring a smile to someone in need this holiday season, but they’re definitely not the only ways to give back.
What are some other ways that you enjoy giving back here in Nashville during the holidays?