Hutt Dental Hub - Dentist in Lower Hutt - Healthy Food

Diet and Oral Health Effects

Most people know all too well that what they eat affects their general health, but did you realize diet significantly impacts your oral health? Without the proper nutrients, your oral tissues cannot fight infection and inflammation adequately and are less able to heal and repair themselves. When you eat healthily, these foods help to protect your teeth and oral tissues, and the benefits extend to your general health. A healthy mouth will protect your overall health because you need strong and healthy teeth to bite and chew food properly, and the process of digestion begins in your mouth as your saliva contains digestive enzymes.

Also, if your gums cannot fight infection adequately, your risk of gum disease1 is higher. Gum disease or periodontal disease is a severe gum infection that can cause substantial inflammation in the gums and eventually tooth loss. In the worst case, it may affect general health. As the disease progresses, it weakens the gums allowing infectious bacteria to enter the bloodstream. From there, these bacteria can travel anywhere in the body creating new sites of inflammation. Periodontal disease has been linked to many serious health conditions, so it’s vital to maintain strong and healthy gums.

Using Foods to Strengthen and Protect Your Teeth

It’s crucial to make sure your diet is well-balanced and contains plenty of vitamins and minerals which will help to strengthen and protect your teeth. One of the most important is calcium.

You need calcium for healthy teeth and strong bones, but calcium is also required for many bodily processes, including muscle movement. If your diet doesn’t contain enough calcium, your body will use the calcium in your bones, decreasing the calcium available for your teeth. Phosphorus is another essential mineral, and it’s one of the main building blocks of tooth enamel.

Calcium and Phosphorus-Rich Foods

Good sources of calcium include cheese and eating it helps to increase the pH levels in the mouth, decreasing acidity and lowering your risk of tooth decay. Also, chewing cheese helps to promote saliva production. Saliva is naturally protective, washing away excess food, bacteria and helping to maintain a fresh, clean and neutral environment. Yogurt is another good source of calcium, and especially if you choose yogurt with probiotics or beneficial bacteria which will also help your gum health. Just be sure to pick plain yogurt as some fruit yogurts are very high in sugars. Your mom probably told you to eat your greens, and she was right! Leafy greens are packed full of vitamins and minerals, and greens like spinach and kale are high in calcium and folic acid, a type of vitamin B that helps gum health. Foods that are high in phosphorus include fish, red meat and eggs, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and broth.

Get Your Vitamins

Vitamin-rich foods are also crucial for dental health, particularly those containing vitamins A and C. These two vitamins contain vital antioxidants that help to boost gum health. Vitamin C is found in numerous fruits, and celery and carrots are excellent sources of vitamin A. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and veggies each day should help provide all the vitamins you need, protecting your teeth and gums and boosting your overall health. Firm, crunchy fruits and vegetables are especially good for your teeth because they contain lots of water and are high in fiber. Chewing these foods helps to stimulate saliva production, neutralizing the bacteria that cause cavities, while the high fiber content helps to slightly scrub teeth surfaces, removing some food particles and plaque, although, of course, it’s no substitute for brushing and flossing!

A well-balanced diet should include 5 to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, lean proteins, dairy products, whole grains and legumes, and nuts such as almonds can be a great source of protein and calcium. Your food choices also affect your risk of cavities.

Diet and Its Connection to Tooth Decay

Most people know that sugary foods can cause cavities, but the connection is a bit more complicated. Understanding the process will help you to make healthier choices, for yourself and for your family.

Strong and healthy teeth are protected with tooth enamel which is the hardest substance in the human body. Tooth enamel protects the innermost part of the tooth from infectious bacteria in the mouth. When tooth enamel is eroded, these bacteria can soon penetrate the inner part of the tooth, causing a cavity and eventually toothache as they reach the dental pulp. The dental pulp is right in the center of the tooth, and it houses the tooth nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues. An infected pulp is extremely painful, and root canal therapy is needed to save the tooth.

Tooth enamel can become eroded when it is exposed to acid created by disease-causing bacteria. Every time you eat something sugary or carbohydrate-rich, these bacteria will thrive, using this food as their own energy source, creating acid as a by-product. The acid will soften tooth enamel and over time will gradually erode it. After eating, your mouth remains more acidic for half an hour to an hour afterward. Obviously, it is sensible not to eat too many sugary foods, but timing matters too! If you do want a sweet treat, enjoy it as part of a main meal when your mouth is already acidic. Make sure you wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after eating because this gives the tooth enamel a chance to re-harden, decreasing the damage to your pearly whites.

Choosing Healthier and Tooth Friendly Snacks

If you do want a snack in between meals, it is better to avoid sugary foods that will only give you a quick burst of energy. Instead, choose fruit and raw vegetables, cheese and plain yogurt, or munch on nuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.

A good diet can do a lot to help protect your dental health, but you still need a good oral hygiene routine at home, and it’s crucial to come and see us here at Ivory Dental regularly2. Our dentist, Dr. Benjamin Hull can monitor your oral health, so any slight changes can be detected more quickly and treated more efficiently. Also, if we think your diet may be adversely affecting your oral health, we can always offer practical advice on how to improve it. Sometimes, making small but realistic changes to your diet or even the times you eat certain foods can make all the difference.

Braces for Adults at Hutt Dental Hub - Dentist in Lower Hutt

Braces for adults. It’s very normal!

Do you have crooked teeth but assume braces are out of the question for adults? Does the mere thought of wearing braces make you feel self-conscious, to say the least? You might need to re-think your perception of adult orthodontics because these days, more adults than ever are wearing braces. Some will even undergo treatment at the same time as their children, so don’t worry about being self-conscious or embarrassed about wearing braces. There is certainly no social stigma about wearing braces. In fact, it’s pretty fashionable, but because modern adult braces are so discreet, it’s likely many people will not even realize you are undergoing treatment. It can be your little secret unless you choose to enlighten them. However, wearing braces as an adult is far more than just a fashion statement because it can benefit you enormously.

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics Include:

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

One of the most immediate benefits of having adult orthodontics is the potential boost to your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you know your smile looks great, it can boost your confidence in a way few other things can. Conversely, when you know your teeth look wonky or are overcrowded or overlapping, it can make you hesitant to smile and talk with others. When you don’t feel confident in your appearance, it can prevent you from reaching your full potential socially and professionally. Life is short enough as it is, so you want to make the most of every moment, and a beautiful smile can help you realize this aim.

Improved Ability to Keep Your Teeth Clean

Is flossing a chore and something you avoid because it’s so tricky? Often, when teeth are packed in tightly or are overlapping it’s difficult or nearly impossible to fit a piece of floss comfortably in between teeth to clean them properly. When you are unable to floss easily, you are far less likely to complete this essential daily task, allowing plaque and food debris to build up on your teeth and gums, increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease. Both these dental diseases significantly increase your risk of tooth loss and in the case of gum disease, can even affect your overall health.

When your teeth are straight and aligned correctly, flossing will be a breeze, so not only will your smile look nicer, but it should be healthier too! Also, orthodontics can be used to close or minimize spaces in between teeth. Not only does this look better, but it can be healthier because often these spaces will trap food, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Modern Treatment Is Discreet and Quick

As we mentioned before, modern orthodontics is incredibly discreet, and here at Ivory Dental, we use a system called Six Months Smiles1. Instead of heavy, ugly metal brackets and wires, this system has clear brackets and thin tooth-colored wires which once in the mouth are barely noticeable. As you might have guessed from the name, the average treatment time is just six months, although more complicated cases may take up to 9 months to complete, while more straightforward orthodontic problems could take less time. Every case is unique!

Six Months Smiles is a fixed braces system, and it is cosmetically oriented. This means it mainly concentrates on correcting problems affecting the teeth you show when you smile and talk with others so it may not be suitable for correcting more extensive orthodontic problems. Because the system is so quick, it’s more affordable than other systems. These braces are designed to use low forces, moving the tooth and the tooth root at the same time in a treatment that is relatively comfortable.

Who Should Consider Treatment?

These braces are suitable for correcting problems with crowded and overlapping teeth, and for closing or minimizing awkward spaces in between teeth. They can also correct overbites and open bites and can generally be used to create a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing smile. If you hate the appearance of your front teeth and have some that are rotated, or which are tipping out of place, these could be the braces for you.

How Does Six Month Smiles Work?

Initially, you will need a consultation with Dr. Benjamin Hull here at Ivory Dental to decide if this treatment is appropriate for you. Your teeth must be generally strong and healthy and free from disease, and they shouldn’t have any large fillings that could weaken them. It is crucial that your teeth are strong enough for treatment because they are being asked to move positions. Once we have determined your suitability and have discussed this treatment with you, we can move onto the planning phase. To do this, we will take a dental impression of your teeth. There is no need to worry as we don’t use traditional, old-fashioned goopy tray impressions!

Instead, we take high-quality 3-D digital impressions2 that are far more comfortable, and which provide a much higher degree of accuracy. Instead of wearing a tray for several minutes, your mouth is scanned by a tiny handheld camera, creating a digital 3-D model of your teeth in a very short while. The 3-D model is used to decide precisely where each bracket is to be placed on your teeth to create the correct tooth movements. Next, the digital treatment plan is brought into the real world and is used to create a specially made appliance which is used to fit your braces. It’s a procedure that is very quick and precise.

Once your braces are in position, the tooth-colored wires are fitted to the brackets, and your teeth will begin to move. You will need to come and see us regularly just so we can check treatment is progressing as we have planned, and so we can make any necessary adjustments.

Looking after Braces

While you are wearing your braces, it’s crucial to take care of them properly, ensuring that you brush and floss after each meal to remove any food and plaque. There is no need to be concerned as there are special tools you can use to make cleaning around brace brackets much easier, and it’s only for a very short while! Before you know it, your braces will be removed, and you can begin enjoying the results of treatment and all the benefits of adult orthodontics.

12 tips for better Dental Hygiene - at Hutt Dental Hub - Dentist in Lower Hutt

12 Tips for better dental hygiene

Proper oral health is not only important for your mouth. Oral conditions and diseases can affect the way you eat, talk, and the health of other areas in your body. What do you need to do to improve your oral health? Here we will give you 12 tips for improving the oral hygiene of you and your family.

Oral Hygiene Explained

Good oral hygiene is taking care of your teeth and gums to prevent conditions and diseases not only in your mouth, but throughout your body. There is more to a good oral hygiene routine than just brushing your teeth twice a day.

For starters, we also suggest cleaning between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes and rinsing with a dental mouthwash once a day.

Other good oral hygiene habits include eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups.

Issues and diseases as a result of bad Oral Hygiene

A mild form of gum disease, called gingivitis, is one of the most common health issues found in the mouth. Gingivitis is caused by plaque on the teeth that aren’t removed from brushing. This can cause the area under the gums to become infected. The plaque left on your teeth can create toxins that cause your gums to become red, swollen, and often times, painful. They may also bleed when you brush or floss. At this point, your dentist should be able to treat and cure your gingivitis.

If gingivitis isn’t taken care of, it can advance into a more serious gum condition called periodontal disease. This stage of gum disease can cause your teeth to become loose and potentially fall out.

Periodontal disease may also cause weakness and bone loss in the jaw bone under your damaged teeth. Plaque that isn’t regularly removed can also cause tooth decay in the teeth or cavities.

Other diseases

Several studies have suggested that major diseases including Alzheimer’s, pancreatic cancer, and heart disease may be linked to gum disease. Scientists in the studies found a strong connection between inflamed gums and a possible higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also found having periodontitis posed an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

Other diseases in the body found to be associated with poor oral hygiene include diabetes, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and infertility.

Bad oral hygiene habits may also be connected to oral cancers. These are cancers of the lips, mouth, and tongue. Oral cancers are also found in the back of the mouth. This type of cancer includes the back of the tongue, back of the roof of the mouth, tonsils, and wall of the upper throat.

12 Oral Hygiene Tips

These are Hutt Dental Hub’s recommended habits to include in your daily routine to prevent diseases associated with poor oral hygiene and gum disease-

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Use a soft toothbrush.
  3. Replace your toothbrush approximately every three months.
  4. Avoid substances that are harmful to your teeth such as tobacco.
  5. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, or use a tongue scraper.
  6. Floss between all your teeth at least once a day.
  7. Rinse with a dental mouthwash at least once a day.
  8. Eat healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and dairy.
  9. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks.
  10. Drink plenty of water.
  11. Protect your mouth while playing sports.
  12. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups and dental cleanings.

Visit your dentist

Apart from taking care of your teeth as good as you can yourself, it is strongly recommended to visit your hygienist to receive a deep dental cleaning and if necessary receive personal advise about the maintenance of your teeth. Call for an appointment or come in and meet the friendly team at Hutt Dental Hub in Central Lower Hutt.