Cara Metro Dental Care Team PhotoBy: Cara Schurman, RDH

Graduation!  The victory can be exhausting, and is certainly well worth it!  All of us at Metropolitan Dental Care (MDC) want to congratulate our graduates on a job well done!  Some of you have grown up in this practice: Losing your first tooth in our care, through having your wisdom teeth extracted in our office.  As a member of our family we’d like to take the time to make sure you have everything you need to fly away from the nest.  Yes, that includes more lessons that you may not fully appreciate until you’re older, and then you’ll want to come back and thank us.

Maybe you’re counting your graduation cash right now, or organizing your gift cards to the popular mega stores that carry all your dormitory needs.  Please consider another gift – one that truly keeps on giving, a Sonicare!  We often tell patients that a Sonicare toothbrush is the best dental insurance policy.

Coordinating your dental appointments over your school breaks may result in an extended time away between cleanings, thus making it even more important to use the tools that guarantee better check-ups.  An electric toothbrush, like Sonicare will result in an A+ at your check-up, and using your Sonicare in combination with a Waterpik Water Flosser will place you in Honors.  For those of you who want to skip a grade, I dare you to Sonicare, floss, AND Waterpik Water Floss!

What’s all the fuss? Why should you spend your money on dental hygiene gadgets?  Because you are nearly on your own, in a new world, and when your diet and dental hygiene habits fail you, you are going to end up paying for costly dental treatment.  So, what I am suggesting is that you make an investment, in yourself!   A smile is in the top 3 items that make the greatest impression,  and you’ll be going to job interviews before you know it.  It’s no surprise that even a computer model has found a smiling expression is key to a first impression of being approachable.  Read more here.
HappySummer smile

In addition to stepping up your dental care at home, it’s important to understand the role your diet plays in your oral health.  To prevent your diet from failing you while your on your own, here are a few nutritional details to consider:  Foods that are Sugary, Starchy, and Acidic.  Dental Caries (cavities) is a disease in which acid produced by the oral bacteria dissolves the enamel and dentin on your teeth.  Acid is produced from the fermentation of carbohydrates. So, “the bacteria eat sugar and poop acid” – Steve Law, D.D.S.

Check the labels on the foods you eat for sugars and/or hydrolyzed starches ending in -ose, saccharides, and maltodextrins.  These are all different types of sugars added to foods, and make them highly cariogenic,  or cavity-causing.

Picture this:

cramming You are up late studying.  You need to do something to stay alert while you are cramming for the exam, so you start to drink caffeinated sugary beverages, you’re eating candy, snacking on potato chips or crackers, or my favorite – having a bowl of cereal.  These are all perfect combinations of cavity-causing snacks and drinks.  While the picture in your mind plays on, you can see how you have passed out because you’re so tired, without even brushing your teeth!  Yikes!  I hope this isn’t you.

Second to the sugary, starchy foods and drinks, watch out for acidic erosion of your teeth by avoiding soft drinks, 100% fruit juice, wine, herbal teas, and SPORT DRINKS!   I totally get it.  Some of this is unavoidable to a certain extent.  So in the event that you have consumed the above, avoid brushing your teeth for 20 minutes after consumption and instead, swish with water.  This will help the saliva neutralize the oral environment.  In a nut shell, the more often you expose the oral environment to these risk factors over long periods of time, the more your decay risk is increased.

To decrease your risk, enjoy sugary, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks sparingly, at meals only.  Don’t pocket your food in your cheeks, and don’t swish these acidic beverages around in your mouth. Choose water.  Swish that around frequently, and brush for 2 minutes 2 times a day, followed by flossing and/or water flossing once a day (preferably at night).The table below will help you with some more strategies for addressing the dental problems caused by poor diet.

Dietary Causes table

Read more in April’s issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created dietary guidelines you can reference specific to your age, gender, and activity level to help direct your efforts towards avoiding dental decay, along with obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Caries risk for diff foods

How can Metropolitan Dental Care help?

We would love to pre-schedule your dental hygiene appointments over your school breaks.  We carry Sonicare, and Waterpik Water Flossers if you’d like to purchase them through us.  As a matter of fact if you do, Sonicare will extend your warranty, and we have mail in rebates for both products.  Because we are so proud of you, and want to ensure these tools find their way into your future, for mentioning this blog we’ll gift you an additional pack of brush heads, valued at $24.

Thank you for being part of the solution, and for allowing us to celebrate with you.  CONGRATULATIONS!!!