Flash a Healthy Smile
You get one chance to make a first impression—and your smile has a lot to do with how you fare. Healthy teeth and gums are important for your appearance and for overall good health.
Learn about tooth decay, dental erosion and gum disease, the role of food and beverage choices, and get tips for keeping teeth and gums smiling for life.
Here’s something to smile about: You don’t have to give up sugar-sweetened beverages to avoid tooth decay, but you do have to practice good dental hygiene. If proper dental hygiene is not practiced, any food or beverage, including sparkling soft drinks, that contains fermentable carbohydrates (sugars and some starches) can play a role in the development of tooth decay.
Other contributors to tooth decay include tooth integrity, saliva flow and composition, mouth bacteria and the amount of time the tooth is exposed to acid produced by oral bacteria.
Time is an important factor in the development of tooth decay. Frequently consuming fermentable carbohydrates can be important in the development of tooth decay, as well as consuming foods that remain in the mouth for a long time or adhere to the teeth, such as chewy or sticky foods. Sparking beverages, including those containing sugars, naturally leave the mouth quickly after you swallow.
Remember, the best thing you can do for your teeth is take good care of them and yourself with a sensible, balanced diet, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Regular brushing and flossing along with the use of fluoride and routine visits to your dentist can play important roles in maintaining oral and dental health.
Characterized primarily by mineral loss from the tooth’s enamel, dental erosion generally occurs from exposure to certain acids found in various foods and beverages, or created by the stomach. Other acids, like chlorine used in pools, can play a role as well. Any beverage that is high in acid content can contribute to or cause dental erosion if it is consumed too often or if a person allows the beverage to remain in his or her mouth for a relatively long time.
Beverages that are high in acid content include orange, apple and grape juices, as well as sparkling beverages. But here’s some good news: your saliva helps buffer acids, greatly reducing the effect on tooth enamel. And because it contains calcium, phosphorus and fluoride, saliva can help replace mineral loss from the tooth enamel.
Remember, proper care is the key. Use of fluoride and routine dental visits are important steps towards maintaining oral and dental health, as is a sensible, balanced diet.
Did you know there’s no established link between sparkling beverages and gum disease? Seen primarily in adults, gum disease is a common infection that is started by plaque and breaks down the gums and tissues supporting your teeth. Risk factors that may play a role in developing gum disease include: overall nutrition, smoking, diabetes and family history.
Don’t forget, good oral hygiene is critical for keeping teeth and gums strong. Use of fluoride and routine visits to your dentist will go a long way toward keeping your smile healthy, along with a sensible, balanced diet.