Why Your Detox Water Is Bad For Your Teeth

detox water can help cause tooth decayDetox water (also known as skinny water) is promoted as a great all natural way to cleanse the body and lose weight. These do-it-yourself fruit and herb infused water concoctions are supposed to be great for your overall health, but there’s one problem: detox water can be really bad for your teeth!

Perhaps the most common ingredient in detox water recipes is lemons, though other citrus fruits such as limes, grapefruit, and oranges also make an appearance. Citrus fruits are acidic: they contain citric acid. However, what you might not know is that lots of other fruits are highly acidic too, including pineapples, mangoes, peaches, pomegranates and even blueberries. Some recipes even call for apple cider vinegar, which is also acidic.

Acid is one of your smile’s greatest enemies. Acids can eat through the hard outer enamel layer of your teeth, causing spots, cavities, and a great place for tooth decay-causing bacteria to start an infection. (Fun fact: It’s actually acid that links sugar to tooth decay. The existing bacteria in your mouth consume the sugar and excrete acid as a byproduct, right onto your teeth. Lovely, right?)

So, it turns out, depending on the ingredients, detox water is a nice tasty erosion-causing acid bath for your teeth. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but detox water certainly puts your teeth at higher risk for tooth decay than plain clean water.

The truth is, detox water (like most flavored drinks) are fine in moderation. Unfortunately, moderation is not what a lot of detox water lovers recommend. A lot of instructions for detox water suggest sipping it all day long. That means repeatedly subjecting your teeth to an acidic environment!

Drinking detox water is okay, and will probably benefit your health by keeping your better hydrated (other health claims are dubious, but that’s another story). Your dentist just asks you to be sensible about it. Just like we recommend not snacking between meals, we also suggest not drinking detox water between meals. This will give your teeth “time off” from being covered in acids, sugars, etc. Most dentists will tell you that the only thing you should be sipping on all day is water. Consider drinking a detox water with breakfast, then brushing your teeth and going about your day with a fun, well-designed bottle of fruit-free water instead.

If you have a detox water habit you just can’t shake, there are some steps you can take to reduce its impact on your teeth. One way is to use a straw, which helps keep the liquid from hitting your teeth directly. You can also flush your mouth with plain water every time you drink the detox water, to help wash away the acid and any sugars. However, remember that the primary way that detox water “draws out toxins” and improves your health is by encouraging you to consume more water. When it doubt, regular fluoridated tap water is your smile’s best friend.

 

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3 Drinks That Have Way More Sugar Than You Think

risk of tooth decay drinking iced teaThe message that soda is bad for your teeth and your overall health is hard to avoid these days. Most of us already know that sugary soda pop should be treated as a special treat, not an everyday beverage for quenching your thirst. What may surprise you is how many supposedly healthy drinks have a lot of sugar in them.

First, a reminder why sugar is bad for your teeth in the first place. Sugar causes tooth decay because bacteria (many of which naturally occur in your mouth) consume the sugar, digest it, and release it as acid. This acid erodes your tooth enamel and causes cavities. It’s not the sugar itself that’s dangerous, it’s the acid it creates!

So you have something to compare to, here’s the sugar content of popular sodas:

  • Coca Cola has 64g of sugar per serving
  • Sprite has 61g of sugar per serving

The nutrition labels on beverages can sometimes be hard to understand for Americans who aren’t used to the metric system of measurement. For your reference, one teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams. So 64g of sugar is equivalent to 16 tablespoons of sugar (in other words, a third of a cup!).

Orange Juice – 24g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Oranges are known for being a great source of Vitamin C, which can help keep your immune system strong. And while this is true of the fruit itself, the juice is less honorable. An orange only contains about 2 oz. of juice, meaning a small 8 oz. glass of orange juice has the equivalent of 4 oranges. So eating an orange with your breakfast makes sense but downing a glass of orange juice is actually 4 times the sugar. Plus, like all citrus juices, orange juice is acidic. That means there are actually two substances in orange juice that could potentially harm your teeth.

Sports Drinks – 14g (3.5 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are touted as being a healthy option for anyone who engages in strenuous exercise, and their ads are full of professional athletes reaching for a brightly covered beverage to replenish their bodies. And while 14g of sugar per 8 0z. serving may not seem like a lot compared with soda pop’s 64g, ask yourself, when was the last time you only had only a quarter of a bottle of Gatorade? A regular bottle is 32 oz., meaning if you finish the bottle you’re actually consuming 56g of sugar!

Iced Tea – 24g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per 8 oz. serving

Obviously, on its own, tea doesn’t contain any sugar, but over the centuries humans have figured out that adding sweeteners to tea can be pretty tasty, and iced tea is no exception. The trouble is that iced teas are marketed these days as natural and healthy, and you can easily overlook how much sugar they contain. For example, Arizona Iced Tea contains 24g of sugar per serving and Snapple Lemon Iced Tea contains 23g. The good news is there are unsweetened varieties of iced tea available for purchase, and you can always make your own so you can control the amount of sugar yourself.

In a dentist‘s fantasy world, all our patients would avoid sugary drinks completely, but we know that’s not realistic. All we ask is for our patients to have some awareness of what they’re subjecting their teeth and bodies to. After all, our ultimate job is protecting your smile! Remember, just because something has a reputation of being healthy and natural, and advertising that says so, doesn’t mean it can’t do harm.

 

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What Are Tooth Fillings Made Of? (Hint: Not Frosting!)

man wonders what dental fillings are made ofAsk anyone over the age of 40 and they’ll tell you that getting a dental filling used to mean adding a gleam of metal to your mouth. Recently, modern dentistry has adopted new high-tech materials that imitate the look of natural teeth, allowing tooth-colored dental fillings to become the norm in many dental practices around the world.

Metal fillings are still a perfectly normal and effective way to repair a damaged tooth. Metal fillings are called amalgam fillings by dentists. This name comes from the fact the material is an alloy of metals (including silver, copper, tin, and zinc). Some amalgams can also contain small amounts of mercury, but the American Dental Association has determined that the amount of mercury is so small that it doesn’t post a health risk to patients (source). However, if you’re concerned and would rather avoid the presence of mercury completely, you should choose composite fillings or gold fillings instead.

Composite resin fillings are what dentists call tooth-colored or “white” fillings. Composite is an artificial tooth-like material that is a blend of hard durable plastics and glass. In this way, composite resin imitates your natural tooth enamel, which is also a glass-like material. The dentist also adds coloring agents to the composite resin to ensure it is indistinguishable from the rest of your tooth.

Gold fillings are a different type of metal fillings. Unlike amalgam, they are made entirely from gold. Also, unlike amalgams and composite fillings, gold fillings are cast from a mold of your tooth then applied, a process that requires two dental visits. Both amalgam and composite fillings are sculpted from a pliable material then hardened in place, allowing the treatment to be completed in one visit.

You should know that some insurance companies consider amalgam fillings to be the standard of care and view composite fillings as a cosmetic option. While amalgam and composite fillings serve the same purpose in terms of repairing your tooth, composite fillings cost a little more. As a result, some dental insurance plans don’t cover or reimburse the cost of composite fillings as much as they cover amalgam fillings.

However, please remember that all decisions about your oral health should be between you and your dentist. How much of the cost of a treatment is covered by your insurance should not be considered with the same weight as a treatment recommendation from a clinician or your own personal preferences. In other words, don’t feel obligated to choose one treatment over another based on what your insurance covers or reimburses you for. If you prefer to have nearly invisible, tooth-colored fillings, you should feel free to choose composite fillings.

If you have any questions about the options we offer for fillings, or any questions about the treatment procedures, please feel free to ask us at any time!

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The Role of the Dental Assistant in Your Health

dental assistant at the dental practiceDental assistants are often described as the dentist’s right hand. They are vital members of the dental team who ensure that you are cared for in a timely, efficient manner in a super clean, germ-free practice. While the exact duties of a dental assistant vary from state to state, province to province, and country to country, in all places their role is to help with any tasks that don’t require a dentist or a dental hygienist’s certification and training.

Many dental assistants (called dental nurses in the United Kingdom and Ireland) have both clinical and administrative skills and responsibilities. This means they help the dental practice run smoothly and efficiently and they are also directly involved with certain parts of your oral health care.

The most common interaction most patients have with a dental assistant is taking x-rays. Dental assistants have specialized training and certification to take dental x-rays and will often help out the rest of the dental team by taking care of this task.

Most dental assistants are also in charge of infection control at the dental practice. This means keeping the dental operatory and all the tools the dentists and dental hygienists use perfectly clean and germ-free. For example, metal hand tools are sterilized using a system called an autoclave that uses high-powered, super-hot steam to eliminate any microbes that could cause illness. The dental assistant also gets the dental chair ready for you before your visit.

Expanded duties or expanded function dental assistants (EDDA or EFDA) have specialized training and certification that allows them to perform certain dental procedures on a patient under the direct or indirect supervision of a dentist. For example, in some states, an EFDA can help the dentist by applying dental fillings.

Whatever a specific dental assistant’s job duties may be, his or her mission is to make sure every patient is comfortable, safe and welcome. Be sure to appreciate your dental assistant next time you visit our office!

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The Fast Magic of Dental Bonding

woman color matching for tooth bondingIf you need a chipped tooth repaired or want a fast and relatively affordable way to change the look of your smile, dental bonding is the solution. Most people are familiar with dental bonding as a procedure to repair a chipped tooth after an accident, but it can be used for cosmetic purposes too.

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Do Drugstore Teeth Whitening Products Work?

results from drugstore teeth whitening productsThe most effective and best teeth whitening treatment you can receive is a professional teeth whitening session at the dentist. The dentist has access to specialized whitening products and knows how to whiten teeth quickly and effectively. However, if you aren’t ready to invest in a professional teeth whitening, you may be tempted to buy an at-home whitening kit at your local drugstore or pharmacy. But do these kits really work?

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Is Tooth Polishing Necessary?

woman with great dental healthWe know that for most of our patients, their favorite part of a dental cleaning is how smooth and clean their teeth feel afterward, not to mention how shiny they are. Tooth polishing has long been part of the dental checkup routine ever since the 1700s when Pierre Fauchard, the father of modern dentistry, recommended it. However, if you’ve had your teeth cleaned recently (and you have, right?) you may have noticed that your dentist or hygienist didn’t polish every single tooth. That’s because the results of recent studies are changing how dentists and dental hygienists approach polishing.

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What Is Toothpaste Made Of?

toothpaste ingredients prevent tooth decayThese days people are being more and more conscious of what’s in the food they eat and the products they buy. But do you know what your toothpaste is made of? The answer is there are many different compounds that make up toothpaste. Modern toothpaste is truly a marvel of modern science that can remove stains and prevent tooth decay.

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