The Holidays and Your Teeth | Northridge Dentist

sb10066697t-001With all of the holiday parties and festivities comes all those goodies and sweets! Although it can be hard to limit ourselves to ‘just a few’, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re protecting your teeth. If your overall dental health is good and you practice good oral hygiene, you can probably safely indulge in some holiday treats as long as you do so in moderation. We did some research so you can enjoy the holiday season, treat yourself, but still keep that beautiful smile. Below are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Don’t eat constantly throughout the day. Waiting a couple hours between eating will allow saliva to neutralize acid and repair tooth enamel.
  • Try to avoid sticky treats (taffy), extremely hard (peanut brittle),  or chewy (caramel). These types of treats can break your teeth, pull out fillings and interfere with crowns.
  • If available, stick to soft treats, ones that melt in your mouth (peanut butter cups, chocolate kisses, thinly sliced fruit, etc.), and brush and floss after eating them.  A teeth-whitening toothpaste wouldn’t hurt if you’re indulging in lots of caffeinated beverages.
  • If you can, sip with a straw, it can help minimize the acids direct contact with your teeth.
  • Once you finish your holiday cocktail, keep yourself from chewing on the ice, it can damage the tooth enamel (as well as braces).
  • Don’t always ‘rush to brush’…brushing your teeth immediately after eating highly acidic foods can accelerate acid wear. Wait an hour or so before brushing to let some of the acid wear off. You may also want to consider a specially formulated, low-abrasion toothpaste that helps re-harden enamel.
  • Try chewing sugar-free gum following a meal, it can activate saliva and help wash away debris.
  • Swish water around in your mouth for 15-20 seconds after eating anything acidic. You can stop the acid attack on your teeth and stimulate the production of saliva, nature’s original neutralizer, works better than mouthwash because it won’t dry out your mouth.

We know the holiday season can be a crazy and stressful time. Make sure that you’re eating healthy, exercising and taking care of yourself…it’s amazing what stress can do to your body. Also, make sure to keep up on your 6 month cleanings. Your teeth, and your mouth, will thank you.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Halloween and Braces: Trick or Treat? | Northridge Dentist

thinkstockphotos-178564205October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and coincidentally, Halloween. (I know…How did that happen?) So in honor of these two fantastic occasions, let’s do a quick run-down of what is going to happen if you throw caution to the wind and celebrate Halloween like all of your friends without braces. Because if you do decide to not look after your braces, the consequences will be more frightening than the holiday itself.

When we get our braces put on, we are warned that there are certain foods we will have to forgo while our braces are fixing our smile. And when it comes to Halloween, these foods are in full force. Popcorn, nuts, gum and all hard, sticky or chewy candies are pure evil on your mouth’s delicate appliances. As a matter of fact, while everything is fine in moderation, candy is the worst on your teeth. They come in lots of different variations.

They can be a hard candy, like a lollypop or a Jolly Rancher, which are a favorite because they last a while if we suck on them. Having the sugar linger around in your mouth as the candy dissolves makes it easier for cavities to form. And if you chomp on them, you can run the risk of breaking off one of your brackets or chipping an actual tooth. Chewy candies, like a gummy bear or a jelly bean, have similar results but have a tendency to get stuck in the crevices of your molars, making a perfect hideout for cavities. Sticky candy, like caramels or chewing gum, are some of the worst treats of all. Not only can they pull off a bracket from your tooth, but they can burrow within your molars as well, making them basically a sweet combination of the two others. There are also candies on the market that are sour than they are sweet and are an absolute favorite with all kids today. The sourness is actually acidic and can break down your tooth’s enamel, making them more prone to decay, so try to limit these candies the most.

There are some alternatives to these candies that will not only be safe on your braces, but won’t make you feel like you’re being left out of the scariest of holidays. Chocolate, soft treats and ice cream are all braces-friendly treats that are quite enjoyable.

So, what do you do to prevent anything from happening to your braces during this spooky time? Try to limit your candy intake. The more you indulge in these sweets, the higher the risk of damaging your appliances. When eating the candy, make them quick snacks, not an all-day treat. The longer you let the sugar linger in your mouth, the easier it is for the sugars to stake inside your mouth. After you have your sweet treat, rinse you mouth out with water. Saliva is your mouth’s natural fighter against cavity-causing bacteria. And lastly, brush and floss at least two times a day. Cavities are no match for good oral hygiene. Happy Halloween!

For more information on oral health care, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website davidluntdds.com.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.