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Maria S. Sales DDS Owner of Gentle Dental Care and Smiles PC
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www.gentledentalcaresmiles.com
www.gentledentalcaresmiles.com

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NUTRITION AND DIET

Eating patterns and food choices play an important role in preventing tooth decay. Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health. Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors. A balanced and healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein (http://www.choosemyplate.gov)
In addition to diet, it is also important to stay active for good health. Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.

Diet and Tooth Decay

The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can have a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay, depending upon:

The form of the food- whether it’s liquid, solid, sticky or slow to dissolve makes a difference.
How often you eat sugary foods and beverages and how often you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages.
The nutritional makeup of the food.
The combination of the foods you eat and the order in which you eat them.
Medical conditions you may have, such as gastrointestinal reflux and eating disorders, which can increase risk of cavities and weaken teeth.
Foods That May Harm Dental Health

Empty calorie foods such as candies (hard or sticky such as taffy, caramel, lollipops, mints), sweets like cookies, cakes, muffins, and snack foods like chips are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain that can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, and that’s what leads to tooth decay.
Sugar-containing drinks- soda, lemonade, juice and sweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot) - are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay. 
Nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can have acidic effects on tooth enamel too, so eat them as part of a meal, not by themselves. Dried fruits, including raisins, are also good choices for a healthy diet, but since they are sticky and adhere to teeth, the plaque acids that they produce continue to harm teeth long after you stop eating them. Opt for a piece of fresh fruit instead.
Foods That May Benefit Dental Health

Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds, contain high amounts of calcium. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus. Both of these minerals protect our tooth enamel.
Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy smile since they are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. They also contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (building tooth enamel).
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OTHER DENTAL AIDS:

INTERDENTAL BRUSHES (PROXY BRUSH) -provides effective cleaning around the dental bridges, orthodontic braces, wide interdentally spaces helping the teeth clean and healthy.
END-TUFTED BRUSH - perfect for cleaning specific, difficult to reach areas between the crowns, bridgework and crowded teeth. This also allows to pinpoint small, hard to reach spaces.
WATERPIK - This should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. They are effective, however, around orthodontic braces that retain food in areas a toothbrush cannot reach. Unlike flossing, waterpiks do not remove plaque. This is also recommended for patients with gum disease.
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RINSING

A mouth rinse , in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which causes gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Always check the manufacturer’s label for precautions and age recommendations and talk with your dentist about the use of fluoride mouth rinse. 
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