You and Your Teeth Are What You Eat

Diet is a huge factor to oral health that is often overlooked. There are many simple changes that can be made to fight tooth decay and gingivitis. There are certain foods and drinks that are best to avoid and others that can help. Be sure to read the article to find out exactly what you should do to improve your diet and oral health.

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

How can I plan my meals and snacks to promote better oral health?

Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health. One caution: malnutrition (bad nutrition) can result from too much nourishment as easily as too little. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. So making a habit of eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.

When should I consult my dentist about my nutritional status?

Always ask your dentist if you’re not sure how your nutrition (diet) may affect your oral health. Conditions such as tooth loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing and are often found in elderly people, those on restrictive diets and those who are undergoing medical treatment. People experiencing these problems may be too isolated or weakened to eat nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is particularly critical. Talk to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances.

Reviewed: January 2012


Good Brushing Starts With Parents

Good oral hygiene is essential to health and social acceptance. Brushing, flossing, using mouth wash and other important habits start early in life with the help of parents. If you’re unsure how to teach your kids the basics of healthy teeth, give this article a peek and see what Every Day Health recommends. 

Scared of the dentist? You could be passing that fear on to your children, according to a new study from the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid. Researchers found that the development of “dentophobia” is closely linked to parents’ behavior in the dentist’s chair. What’s more, the way Dad responds to the dentist may be particularly important in how both the child and the mother view their own dentist visits.

Kids live by their parents’ example, so remaining calm at the dentist’s office in front of your children is key to how they will behave during their own future cleanings and also affects whether or not they will stick with other good dental habits. From maintaining a relaxed demeanor during dentist visits to encouraging daily brushing, there are many ways to ensure your kids grow up with healthy teeth and mouths. Here are a few strategies you might try:


Because we know the best way to teach is by your own example, your toddler should see you brushing your teeth every morning and evening. If you usually do this before they get up or after they go to bed, alter your routine so they can be present. You can even let your child help you brush your teeth just like you help them with theirs. It’s only fair! You can also find YouTube videos of children the same age as your child having a good time using a toothbrush. Kids love having a peer to relate to when they are learning a new skill.

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The Internet and Orthodontics

The internet is a great place for lots of information and is a handy tool in so many different circumstances but a new study shows that it might be best to think twice before taking information from the internet about orthodontics to heart. There is a lot of misinformation out there in the orthodontic field specifically that ends up on the web. Check out this article about why it’s best to just get advice from a professional orthodontist. 

(Reuters Health) – Internet information about orthodontic braces varies in quality and may not be entirely accurate, according to a new study from the Netherlands.

Orthodontic patients may look for information on the Web, but some people have questioned the quality of that information, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

The study team used the search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing to find websites giving advice on oral hygiene for braces.

They used the search terms “cleaning braces,” “brushing braces” and “oral hygiene and braces.”

Overall, they evaluated 62 websites for accessibility, usability, reliability, readability and completeness of information, such as instructions about tooth brushing, dietary advice, fluoride recommendations, and dental care accessories.

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The Causes of Bad Breath

Everyone has experienced sitting by or talking to someone who has less than pleasant smelling breath. We all have a bit of a phobia about being that person. To get rid of bad breath, we need to understand its causes and take preventative measures. This article from Everyday Health can help you understand what causes bad breath and how you can eradicate it.
If you’re constantly popping mints or chewing gum to cover up bad breath, you’re not alone. One in four Americans has halitosis and is cursed with smelly breath.

Why? Most cases of halitosis are caused by improper dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth after every meal, bits of food that get stuck in your teeth and gums and on your tongue will begin to decay and emit foul odors.

An unclean mouth also means that bacteria can grow, potentially leading to gum disease, which is also one of the causes of bad breath. In addition, certain foods and drink are more likely to cause bad breath, including:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Cheese
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Toothbrush Etiquette

Brushing your teeth is a very important part of having good oral hygiene and is a considerate gesture for those around you! We all have our routine and place of keeping the toothbrush but this article is an interesting (and sometimes frightening) look at what can live on your toothbrush if you aren’t careful. Simple things like keeping your toothbrush away from the toilet, (you’ll see why!) and swapping it out regularly with a new one are essential to keep from not only putting gross bacteria in your mouth but avoiding contracting disease from something that seems so innocent!


You do it morning and night and maybe even after meals. It makes your mouth feel clean enough to kiss and helps you smile without feeling self-conscious. Yet if you’re like most people, the number of germs that are lurking on your toothbrush will make you re-think that minty-fresh feeling.

According to a study at the University of Manchester in England, the average toothbrush can contain 10 million or more bacteria—including E. coli (the stuff that lives in our intestines and can cause mild diarrhea—or even vomiting and severe abdominal cramps, if it’s a nasty strain) and Staph (which are mostly harmless but can cause infections). What’s more, at any given time there are 100 to 200 species of oral bacteria living in your mouth—bacteria that end up on your toothbrush.

There’s more to worry about if you store your toothbrush in a cute little cup on the bathroom sink. “If your toothbrush is stored within three feet of the toilet, the droplets of water that spray up after you flush remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom—including your toothbrush—which means you may be cleaning your teeth with what you thought you flushed down the toilet,” says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.

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Aesthetic Options from 3M Unitek Featured on Lifetime Network

Designing Spaces_Dr Alvetro

As part of a commitment to furthering interest in aesthetic treatment, 3M Unitek is helping raise awareness for modern orthodontic capabilities by teaming up with award-winning Lifetime® Network show Designing Spaces® for a special “Kids Spaces”-themed episode. The episode is designed to help teens and their parents get excited about orthodontic treatment, and facilitates conversations between orthodontists and their patients about new solutions that make treatment more efficient, comfortable and aesthetic.


The episode, titled, “Exploring the Options in Braces Technology: An Education for Today’s Parents,” includes commentary from Dr. Lisa Alvetro, whose kid-friendly office is highlighted, as well as 3M Unitek’s global professional services manager, Ann Bruck, RDH. It initially aired on the Lifetime Network in March and will re-air periodically. It can also be viewed online at The segment covers a number of 3M Unitek technologies, including:


  • Clarity™ ADVANCED Ceramic Braces, which combine aesthetics and high performance
  • Incognito™ Hidden Braces, giving patients invisible, convenient and comfortable orthodontic care
  • APC™ Flash-Free Adhesive, which lets orthodontists move directly from bracket placement to bracket cure without removing adhesive flash
  • Forsus™ Appliances, a reliable and patient-friendly option to bulky headgear

Designing Spaces_Patients

To learn more about 3M Unitek solutions, visit

Why Braces Really Aren’t That Bad

There has been a long standing stigma behind braces, it even gives us flashbacks to names like “metal mouth” and “the shredder”. While these times may have been tough and people may have laughed then. There are 3 things that remain clear:

1. No matter how long it feels like it takes when your braces come off you run directly to the mirror and smile at yourself like you literally never have before.

2.With advances in technology like Invisalign and other low profile orthodontic fittings you can hardly even tell they are there. No more laughing!

3. Braces aren’t just for kids anymore! Dental Braces for Adults are becoming more and more popular. Read a few more reasons why its not so bad.

Braces aren’t just for awkward teens with brightly colored
spacers anymore. One in five patients at the orthodontist’s office is
over the age of 18, according to Harvard Health Publications.
As more adults turn to braces to straighten their teeth, they’re
proving that it’s never too late to fine-tune your smile. Here are just a
few great reasons why dental braces for adults are a wise choice.

Set Your Teeth Straight

don’t you like about your smile? Quite often, braces are not just for
aesthetics. Crowded and crooked teeth are more difficult to brush and
floss, which could cause plaque buildup and lead to other problems, such
as cavities or gum disease, as stated by the American Dental Association.
An underbite or overbite can even make chewing uncomfortable. Whether
your teeth are misaligned or slightly less than perfect, braces can
correct the issue, although dental braces for adults may need to be
applied longer than for children or teenagers. The time required varies
depending on the condition of your teeth, but the average patient has
braces for 18-30 months, according to the Jacksonville University School of Orthodontics. No matter your reason for needing braces, the results are well worth the wait.

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Know Your Teeth – What Is Halitosis?

Simply Halitosis is the the fancy word for Bad Breath. But what exactly is Halitosis and how is it caused? This article answers these questions well with other commonly asked questions about Halitosis. Keeping yourself informed will make fighting bad breath much more manageable. Keep in mind that Bad Breath can be caused by much more than just not brushing and flossing.

More than 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis, or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by wastes from bacteria in the mouth, the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor.


What causes bad breath?


Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene but can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease.


Does bad breath come from other sources than the mouth?


Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, diabetes, kidney failure or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate postnasal drip. This is where mucus secretion, which comes from the nose and moves down your throat, gets stuck on the tongue and causes an odor.


Why is saliva so important in the fight against bad breath?


Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow down the production of saliva, allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. To alleviate “morning mouth,” brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning mouth also is associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware, because the odor may reappear even if you’ve brushed your teeth.


Do certain foods cause bad breath?


Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach, and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies even have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath.


How do I control bad breath?


It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth, will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouthrinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist, because these products only mask the odor temporarily and some products work better than others.


What is my dentist’s role?


Visit your dentist regularly, because checkups will help detect any physical problems. Checkups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can help determine its source. He or she may ask you to schedule a separate appointment to find the source of the odor. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source, such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.


Reviewed: January 2012


How To Effectively Floss Your Teeth

Everyone understands these days that flossing your teeth is extremely important to the overall health of you mouth and teeth. However what we may or may not know is how to effectively floss your teeth. This article goes in depth on how exactly you are to floss your teeth to keep your mouth in the best shape possible. With all of the data now emerging about the health of our mouth being directly related to to the overall health of our bodies, it is more important than ever to be doing things correctly.

Use the most effective dental floss. There are
several varieties available and you can choose the one that best matches
your personal preference, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored and
unflavored. Here’s what you need to know to make a decision about which
type of floss is best for you:[2]

  • Waxed dental floss tends to slide between teeth more easily.
  • If you have wider gaps between your teeth, then tape floss may work best.
  • Floss can come in two main forms: Nylon (or multifilament) and PTFE
    (or monofilament). Single-filament floss is slightly more expensive, but
    it will be able to slide between teeth more easily and will be less
    likely to shred. Each container of floss lasts a long time, so using
    non-nylon floss is a worthwhile investment.


Know Your Teeth – What Color Is Your Smile?

Depending on the environment in which you keep your teeth, the amount of care that you put into keeping your teeth clean, and our DNA all play major roles to what color your teeth are. There are many professional and over the counter applications made to make your teeth whiter. Make sure to talk to your dentist before starting any over the counter whitener.

There is beauty in the magic splendor of softly falling flakes of snow against the backdrop of winter’s color palate, but when it comes to teeth, most people want one shade: the whitest white that white can be. Unfortunately, teeth come in many shades and can change color from a variety of causes.


As the tooth enamel develops, the color can be affected by many factors, says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Howard S. Glazer, DDS, FAGD. “White, bright teeth certainly help maintain a youthful appearance,” said Dr. Glazer. Unfortunately, stains from food and drink can darken teeth over time, usually resulting in a yellow or orange hue. Illness, heredity or environmental factors can cause discoloration. In rare cases, injury can discolor teeth.


Maternal use of certain antibiotics, notably those of the tetracycline family, during pregnancy can cause brown or gray discoloration of the baby’s tooth enamel. Children who take this medication during the period of permanent tooth development may have similar discoloration of the permanent teeth.


But you don’t have to live with a dull smile, says Dr. Glazer. “With today’s techniques and materials, we can change the color of a patient’s teeth to provide a more healthy, youthful appearance,” he said.


Professional tooth-whitening products can improve enamel color in many instances, although severe discoloration may require bonding procedures for good cosmetic results. Contact your dentist to obtain a proper diagnosis and to learn what treatment options are available.

/p>Updated: January 2012