Reva Dental Blog

Category Archives: Dental Checkup

Nutrition and Oral Health

It’s an idea we all know – eating healthy food creates healthy teeth. However, for ideal oral health it’s important to understand the process by which your diet can affect your oral health so that you can improve your diet and eating patterns with better oral health in mind.

Plaque and Acid Production

Oral bacteria can generally be kept in check by a healthy diet combined with regular and thorough dental care. When we eat or drink, natural bacteria and particles of food sit in the mouth and accumulate around the teeth, causing plaque to form. This is a constant process which eventually leads to the formation of dental caries, or cavities.

Some foods tend to start breaking down when they have been swallowed and reach the digestive tract, a good thing where oral health is concerned. However, other foods start to break down in the mouth itself – this encourages acid production by oral bacteria in the mouth and thereby hastens the destructive process to tooth structure. Saliva helps counteract the damage caused by these acids, as does regular brushing and fluoride; however it is best to minimise consumption of these types of foods where possible.

Carbohydrates are a good example of foods that break down in the mouth – they break down into simple sugars with the resultant acid production leading to plaque formation and greater likelihood of dental caries. Included in this category are sugary foods like sweets and soft drinks, as well as bread and most breakfast cereals.

Unhealthy Eating and Oral Health

Eating sugary and ‘junk’ foods promotes the acidic build-up in your mouth. However, food that is sticky or slow to dissolve is just as damaging if not more so.  For example, ‘healthier’ options, such as raisins, can be just as bad as sweets as they tend to stick to the teeth and can take a long time to flush completely down the digestive tract. Jellybeans actually dissolve faster than raisins in the mouth and are therefore not as destructive (although they are very high in sugar and therefore also to be avoided!). Similarly, muesli bars, crisps or biscuits tend to stay in the mouth, giving acid more time to damage tooth enamel and increasing the chance of plaque build-up. Recent research has also found that sports drinks are more erosive to tooth enamel than soft drinks, juice or cordial. Ultimately, poor general nutrition can create long-term problems for your teeth and can lead to serious dental problems such as periodontal disease.

When you eat is as important as what you eat.

Eating a meal increases saliva production, which helps to neutralise the destructive effects of bacteria. However, if damaging foods are eaten outside of meal times, the acids can stay on the teeth for up to 40 minutes. The more snacks you eat, the more opportunity for acidic plaque to build up. In other words, sugary food eaten as part of a main meal (such as dessert) will create less damage than snacking on sweets through the day.

Better Diet, Healthier Mouth

Water is a key ingredient in reducing the damage caused by plaque. Drinking water after a meal washes out the mouth and reduces the chance of bacteria taking hold. The fluoride added to our water supply has been overwhelmingly proven to reduce the formation of dental caries. However you should also use toothpaste with fluoride added or use a neutral fluoride-containing mouth rinse. A healthy diet is also crucial for good teeth and gums. Choose whole grain bread or rice over white and lots of vegetables and firm fruits, such as apples, fish, nuts and seeds for protein and anything that contains calcium, beneficial for stronger teeth, such as milk products.

Food that increases saliva production helps neutralise the effects of oral bacteria. Aged cheese can help buffer acid if eaten after a meal. Sugarless chewing gum containing xylitol has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

And of course, brushing and flossing after each meal is your first and best defence against damaging bacteria and plaque.

Call Reva Dental on 056 776 3786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

Going to the Dentist during Pregnancy

When is the best time to visit the dentist for a check up and clean during pregnancy?

Ideally you should visit the dentist for a check up if you are planning to become pregnant or as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Your dentist will be able to assess your oral health status and plan any dental visits you may need during your pregnancy.

What about other treatment?

In reality most dental treatment can be carried out with safety during pregnancy and certainly any emergency treatment required can be carried out at any time. However it is a general convention that as little operative treatment as possible should be carried out during pregnancy in order to avoid any possible distress to you or your developing baby. Therefore elective procedures requiring general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation should generally be deferred until after the baby is born and, preferably, until breastfeeding has been ceased.

If you require planned treatment, which is considered essential, the middle of the second trimester and the earlier part of the third trimester is the time when it will be most comfortable for you. This would also be an ideal time to have light treatment like a cleaning carried out.

X-Rays during pregnancy

If dental radiographs are necessary for assessment or diagnosis of infection or trauma, or for treatment of these conditions, there is no reason, on radiation protection grounds, to defer them as there are no contraindications to the taking of intraoral radiographs during pregnancy; however, provision of a leaded drape is recommended when the X-ray beam is directed downwards towards the patient’s trunk (e.g. when taking occlusal views of the maxilla).

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

Banish Bad Breath

Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, can be an embarrassing problem. If you are concerned about bad breath, first make sure that you are taking care of your mouth and gums by practicing good dental habits. The mouth is the source of over 90% of all malodours. If bad breath persists, your dentist at Reva Dental will identify the cause and develop a treatment plan to help you eliminate it. There are many causes of bad breath. The good news is that it can often be prevented with a few simple steps.

What causes bad breath?

Neglecting your brushing and flossing: If you don’t properly clean your teeth, gums, and tongue, particles of food and bacteria left in the mouth, especially at night-time, can cause an unpleasant odour.

The foods you eat: Certain foods, like garlic and onions, can cause bad breath because they contain pungent oils that are carried to your lungs and out of your mouth.

Dry mouth: Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove odour causing particles and bacteria. It contains enzymes that break down food particles and other enzymes that kill bacteria. A condition called xerostomia (dry mouth) occurs when the flow of saliva is decreased and can cause bad breath. Decreased saliva flow also occurs naturally at night-time, so it is important to clean your mouth last thing at night.

Tobacco: Smoking not only causes bad breath, but can also stain your teeth, irritate your gums, and reduce your ability to taste foods.

Gum disease: Persistent bad breath is a warning sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

Medical disorder: In a small percentage of cases, bad breath could be a sign of a medical disorder, such as infection of the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance or a liver or kidney problem.

Good dental habits can banish bad breath

In most cases, embarrassing bad breath can be prevented by good oral hygiene.

  • Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day to remove food debris and plaque
  • Use floss daily to remove any food particles trapped between teeth. Any food particles left in the mouth can cause bad breath
  • Your tongue can harbour odour-causing bacteria. Be sure to brush your tongue with a toothbrush, or clean it with a tongue scraper
  • Use toothpastes containing zinc chloride/ triclosan/ baking soda for cleaning your tongue if you have malodour. This will give temporary relief for up to four hours
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups. Professional cleanings will help to get rid of plaque and bacteria build-up that may contribute to bad breath. Your dentist may also be able to determine the source of persistent bad breath and formulate a plan for treatment. This may include a chlorhexidine spray for the pharynx (throat area behind the mouth), which is an additional source of malodour in a significant number of cases

Do I need to use a mouthwash or rinse?

Some antiseptic mouth rinses have exhibited therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque and gingivitis (gum disease). However, many mouthwashes or rinses are cosmetic and while these can be used to freshen breath, they do not generally have a long lasting effect on bad breath. If you choose to use mouth rinse, look for an over-the-counter antiseptic mouthwash containing zinc chloride or chlorhexidine. Mouth rinses should not be swallowed – follow the instructions on the bottle. If you find that you are constantly using a mouth rinse to mask odour, see your dentist.

Other solutions

Besides keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue clean and healthy, these are some other remedies that may help cure the problem of bad breath.

  • Quit smoking! Kicking the habit will go a long way to improving bad breath and your overall health
  • If you wear dentures or removable appliances, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them in your mouth (more info here)
  • If you are experiencing problems with dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe artificial saliva. Other possible remedies for dry mouth include sucking a sugar-free sweet or a piece of sugar free gum to increase saliva flow, and increasing your fluid intake.

Call Reva Dental on 056 776 3786 to schedule your appointment. We offer a full Scale & Polish for just €50, and you may be entitled to a fee check-up; see www.revadental.ie