How Much Calcium Do We Actually Need?

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WE’VE ALL HEARD calcium builds strong bones and is key to preventing osteoporosis. But did you know taking in the right amount of calcium also has a huge effect on our oral health?

Calcium Benefits Our Oral Health

Does calcium really make a difference in our oral health? The answer is yes! Even before we’re born, we begin storing a supply of calcium and other nutrients to grow strong, healthy teeth and bones.  As we grow older, calcium continues to repair and strengthen our teeth, making them more resistant to decay and fortifying them against disease.

Although many foods contain calcium, the best and most easily absorbed source comes straight from milk and dairy products!  Milk is not only a rich source of calcium, but of phosphorous, magnesium, and Vitamin D, which combined together coat teeth in a protective film and ward off harmful acids and bacteria-causing cavities, and also strengthen and reinforce tooth enamel.

How Much Calcium Should I Get Each Day?

How much calcium you need depends on your age and gender. Although the amount you need will differ from others you know, including enough calcium in your diet is important to your oral and overall health.

To give you a better idea of just how much you need, one eight ounce glass of milk contains around 300 milligrams of calciumStudies show that those who consume more than 800 mg of calcium a day are much less likely to develop gum disease.

The Dietary Reference Intakes lists a recommended amount of calcium for every age:

  • Children ages one to eight need anywhere from 500-800 mg a day,
  • Teens need around 1,300 mg,
  • Adults and nursing mothers ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg,
  • Older adults and younger mothers need 1,200 mg or more.

What Are Good Sources Of Calcium?

Need some inspiration to increase your calcium intake? Try any of these:

Dairy products

Milk, cheeses, yogurts, buttermilk, cottage cheese, puddings, and ice cream are an easy (and delicious) way to get calcium.

Vegetables

If you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant, you still have plenty of options to choose from! Broccoli, collard greens, and kale are good, healthy sources of calcium. Collard greens alone provide 268 mg of calcium per cup!

Other Good Sources

Looking for other options? Oranges, sardines, white beans, tofu, almonds, and some breakfast cereals and juices are all non-dairy alternatives to get your daily source of calcium!

Make Calcium A Part Of Your Diet

Do your teeth and gums a favor by incorporating the right amount of calcium into your daily diet! Enough calcium coupled with good oral hygiene habits make all of the difference in your smile, and will keep your teeth healthy and strong for years to come. If you have any more questions about your daily calcium intake, call us or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you to all of our wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s The Difference?

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WE OFTEN GET THE QUESTION from our patients, “What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?” Many people think they are the same thing. There is an important difference between the two, however, and it can help explain just why a daily oral hygiene routine is so crucial, as well as twice-yearly visits to your dentist.

What Is Plaque?

Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under your gums throughout the day. And guess what? It contains millions of bacteria! When you eat—especially carbohydrates or sugar—you’re not the only one getting a meal, so are the bacteria on your teeth. After “eating,” these bacteria produce acids that erode your tooth enamel and cause cavities.

That’s why good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing tooth decay and protecting your smile from the bacteria in plaque. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can also help!

What Is Tartar?

So if that’s plaque, what’s tartar? Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If plaque is left on your teeth for too long, it will harden into tartar and is much more difficult to remove. In fact, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional–you can’t get rid of it with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar removal is one of the reasons that visiting your dentist every six months is so important!

Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities. It can cause tooth discoloration and sensitivity as well as gum recession and periodontal disease. To reduce plaque buildup and tartar from forming, make sure you are brushing and flossing daily.

Come And See Us Every Six Months

No matter how great your oral hygiene is, plaque and tartar formation are inevitable. So come in to see us every six months! Our job is to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that’s plaque- and tarter-free!

Thank you for your trust and loyalty.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Melissa Wiese used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Smoking Puts Your Oral Health At Risk

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DID YOU KNOW that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States? It’s well known that smoking can lead to a number of lung-related diseases but in reality, the negative effects of smoking can be seen in almost every part of the body, especially the mouth.

Smoking Compromises Your Oral Health

Among other cancers, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer are smokers. Smoking remains the biggest controllable risk factor for this deadly disease.

Tobacco use is also related to severe gum disease. Becausesmoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection, bacteria build up more easily in your mouth in the form of plaque and tartar. Bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, resulting in bleeding and sensitivity. This can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. Those who smoke are two times more likely to develop gum disease than a nonsmoker.

Other dental problems that can be caused by smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Coated or black hairy tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed healing after tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Lower success rate of cosmetic dental procedures

Watch the video below to see how smoking affected Brett’s smile:

A Note About Electronic Cigarettes

Within the past couple of years, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, especially as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, not much research has yet been published about their long-term health effects. What we do know is that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, most contain nicotine, which is known to cause damage to the mouth.

Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your gums. This means that the gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as putting you at a higher risk of cavities. The reduced blood flow to the gums caused by nicotine use can also mask the signs of gum disease, making it harder to detect and diagnose. This delays treatment and allows the disease to progress.

Until further research is done, we can’t really know how safe e-cigarettes are. As health care professionals, we advise you to avoid them until their long-term effects are known.

Count Us As A Part Of Your Support System

Our patients are more than just patients–they are friends. We care about your health and well-being and want you to count us as a part of your support system to help you quit smoking. If you aren’t quite ready to quit, continue to see us regularly as recommended so we can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. Talk to us about quitting today and how we can help you!

Thank you for your friendship and loyalty!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Take Care Of Your Tooth Enamel

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TOOTH ENAMEL IS THE hardest substance in the human body. But don’t let that fool you–it’s far from invincible. In fact, there are things you may be doing on a regular basis that weaken your enamel, which could lead to more frequent cavities, tooth discoloration and sensitivity.

Tooth Enamel Acts As A Protective Barrier

The enamel makes up the tooth’s protective outer layer and is the first line of defense against harmful acids and bacteria. Unlike other parts of the body, tooth enamel cannot regenerate or heal. This means that once damage is done to the enamel, it cannot be repaired. That is why we want to give you some tips on how to best take care of your teeth and keep your tooth enamel in tiptop shape!

Keep Your Tooth Enamel Healthy And Strong

There are a number of things you can do to care for your enamel and protect it from erosion.

Watch what you eat and drink

Sugary, starchy and acidic foods and beverages are the top offenders when it comes to weakening and ultimately eroding tooth enamel. Calcium-rich foods and drinks, however, help to neutralize acids in the mouth and strengthen tooth enamel. You can find calcium in dairy products, dark leafy greens such as kale, soybeans, and sardines.

Our simple recommendation is to try to eat healthier and cut back on sugary snacks and drinks, soda in particular. Soda is especially damaging to tooth enamel due to its high sugar content and acidity. If you must drink something acidic or sugary, even fruit juice, use a straw!

Drink plenty of water

Drink water throughout the day to avoid dry mouth. Rinse your mouth out with water after meals to get rid of food debris as well as stimulate saliva flow. Not only does our saliva contain antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria, it also consists of calcium and phosphate that remineralize and build up tooth enamel.

Brush and floss properly and regularly

When bacteria in the form of plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for long periods of time, they produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Regular brushing and flossing rid the mouth of plaque and food debris. Be sure not to brush too aggressively as this habit will weaken enamel over time.

See your dentist

Regular checkups and cleanings are vital to maintaining a healthy mouth. When you come in for your biannual appointments we look for signs of tooth enamel wear, such as tooth grinding and cavities, and can help you get them under control early.

Do Your Teeth A Favor

Your tooth enamel works around the clock to defend your teeth. By following the above guidelines, you can return the favor by protecting your enamel from wear and erosion. Do you have any questions about tooth enamel? Feel free to comment below or send us a message on Facebook!

We’re ENAMELED with our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What Are Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods? Here Are Ours!

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What Are Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods? Here Are Ours!

THANKSGIVING IS just around the corner! Not only is it a time to share good company, it’s a time to share good food!

It’s Time To Share Our Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes!

Each family has their own signature dish they serve this time of year. Today, we’d like to share some of our team member’s favorites!

From Dr Allen:

“Turkey! I love turkey! Best part of the meal, and great leftovers afterward!”

From Jennifer (front desk):

“I like it all, it’s hard to decide which is best! If I did have to pick a favorite I would have to say Green Bean Casserole. ”

From Lorena (dental assistant):

“My favorite is Green Bean Casserole as well, but with a New Mexico twist. Green chile! Gives it a little kick, but not spicy enough to throw you off.”

From april (dental hygienist):

“I would have to narrow it down to Sweet Potato Crunch, mashed sweet potatoes with pecans and a syrupy top.  Also, mashed potatoes and red chile. It’s the only time I will eat mashed potatoes!”

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? Feel free to share it with us on our Facebook page or in the comments below!

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, it’s about expressing gratitude. We’re so grateful for each of you—our valued patients and friends. Because of you, we’re excited to come into work each day. Thank you for your kindness and the trust you place in our practice.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user lotherington used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.