How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?

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IT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT to watch out for sugar in our foods while we’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. As our patient, you’ve already been advised about problematic foods for braces. However, learning more about hidden sugars in your diet can help you better protect your teeth against decay.

Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Braces, And Cause Cavities

When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.

Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities(even when you’re not wearing braces). The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.

Cut Sugar Intake In Half

After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). Currently, the average American gets 12-15% of his or her daily calories from sugar—and America isn’t even the highest consumer of sugar worldwide!

Beware Of Hidden Sugars

How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a “nutritional” food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:

  • Molasses & Maltose
  • Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
  • Sorghum syrup

This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.

3 More Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar

  1. Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
  2. Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
  3. Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, granola bars, yogurt, and sugary cereal in addition to regular sweets.

A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth

You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! If you’re ever feeling unsure about which foods are appropriate while you’re wearing braces, just ask us! We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

 

Top image by Flickr user Tom Page used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

A Toothpaste Timeline

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OUR NIGHTLY BRUSHING ROUTINE wouldn’t be complete without that minty-fresh toothpaste tingle, right? But toothpaste hasn’t always been soft and minty. Years ago, it was less pleasant to use.

Toothpaste Existed As Early As 5000 B.C.

The oldest form of toothpaste known was created by the Egyptians. The powder formula included crushed rock salt, mint, pepper, and dried iris flowers. Sometimes, other abrasive materials like ox-hoof ashes, burnt eggshells, or oyster shells were added.

Would You Recognize Toothpastes From The Past?

Around 1780, burnt toast was made into powder and used as a tooth-cleaning agent. That probably wasn’t the best idea. Around 1800 soap was added to tooth powders for “cleanliness.” Not long after that, a smooth paste—the texture we’re used to today—was created for the first time.

In 1873 the first commercially produced toothpaste was sold in jars. It wasn’t until 20 years later that toothpaste was sold in a collapsible tube, similar to those we use today. After the discovery of fluoride’s decay prevention qualities, it was added to toothpaste in 1914.

Modern Toothpastes Has A Few Standard Elements

Each major ingredient in modern toothpaste makes brushing teeth easy, comfortable, effective and tasty. Here are the basic components you’ll find:

  • Fluoride fights off decay by strengthening tooth enamel.
  • Abrasives scrub the surface of the tooth without scratching or damaging enamel.
  • Flavors come from sweetening agents such as saccharin or sorbitol. (The ADA won’t give its seal of acceptance to toothpastes with decay-causing sugar.)
  • Humectants like sorbitol and glycerol trap water in the toothpaste so that when you squeeze the tube, you get a smooth substance.
  • Detergents give us the foaming effect we love in our toothpaste. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the one you’ll most often see.

Get The Most From Your At-Home Dental Care

The important thing to remember about toothpaste is that our toothbrushing habits and technique matter much more than the toothpaste brand we use. However, while shopping for toothpaste, look for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. This confirms that a product has met the criteria for effectiveness and safety.

If you have any other questions about your personal oral hygiene routine, talk with us about it! We love to hear from you.

Thanks for your trust in our practice!

Image by Flickr user Eli Duke used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Does Dentistry’s Emblem Mean?

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HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU taken a close look at dentistry’s emblem? Probably never, right? Well, we love the things it represents.

The Symbol’s Basic Elements

The frame of the symbol may look like a triangle and circle intertwined, but those are actually the Greek letters “delta” and “omicron.” These letters stand for “dental,” and “odont” (or “tooth”).

In the middle of the symbol, you’ll notice a couple of fanned branches. There’s a total of 32 leaves, representing 32 permanent teeth. The branches also have 20 berries, representing 20 primary teeth.

The Difference Between Two Snakes And One

The main focus of dentistry’s official emblem is the staff of Asclepius, a serpent twined around a rod. This is often confused with the caduceus, a winged baton with two twined serpents. The caduceus, a common medical symbol, refers to the messenger god Mercury, since he was also patron god of alchemy, magic, and chemists.

However, the staff of Asclepius stands for something different.

Asclepius is the Greek god of healing. It’s said that early in his life, he helped heal a snake (an ancient symbol of renewal and wisdom), and in return, that snake gave him knowledge about healing. The staff of Asclepius is about more than mystical fixes. It’s symbolic of wellness, and wisdom in leading a healthy, full life. In fact, Asclepius’ daughter is the goddess Hygeia, of cleanliness and hygiene.

Dentistry Is Focused On Preventive Care And Lifelong Health

While dentistry is able to bring about some astonishing fixes that seem like magic, our focus is always on prevention and wellness. We believe in fixing problems before they even start, and protecting your teeth for a lifetime.

A healthy mouth is important for more than just your teeth. Infections in the gums can travel throughout the body and contribute to problems like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, RA, and diabetes. Your regular dental visits are essential for a lifetime of full-body health.

We appreciate the opportunity to be your dental family and your healthcare partners for life. We treasure our relationship with you. If you ever have questions about your oral health, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!