The health of your teeth and mouth has a huge impact on the comfort and life of your dentures. If your teeth or gums are not properly taken care of, it’s not just a health issue; it can also affect how your dentures will fit in your mouth. For your information, Niagara Denture Clinic has provided a list of ways that you can improve your oral care at home.
Digestion starts in the mouth. Research indicates that a clean mouth prevents aspiration pneumonia, gum disease, and helps prevent heart disease. Salivary flow is reduced by some medications and medical treatments. Reduced saliva flow results in less natural washing away of oral bacteria.
Chronic dry mouth or xerostomia is a common problem that can affect about 25% of all adults. Saliva substitute products are available that can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms triggered by medications, diabetes, Sjögren’s Syndrome or a variety of other causes.
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that can interfere with everyday activities, such as eating, talking or sleeping. Some common symptoms of dry mouth include:
If you have oral dryness or one or more of these dry mouth symptoms, consult a health professional. Your doctor can help to determine the causes and the right course of treatment for your dry mouth. If you wear dentures, talk to your denturist, as dry mouth can have implications on the fit and comfort of your dentures.
The good news is that saliva substitutes can help moisturize and lubricate dry mouth tissues by:
Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.
Tooth decay is the most common global disease affecting every family. Over 80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where brushing cannot reach food left trapped after every meal or snack, and saliva or fluoride have no access to neutralize acid and remineralize demineralized teeth, unlike easy-to-reach surfaces, where fewer cavities occur.
Plaque is a yellow sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums and can be seen at gum margins of teeth with a food dye. The bacteria in plaque convert carbohydrates in food (such as sugar) into acid that demineralizes teeth, eventually causing cavities. Daily brushing and flossing removes plaque and can prevent tartar from forming on the teeth.
Plaque can also cause gum irritation (gingivitis), making them red, tender and cause them to bleed. In some cases, the gums pull away from the teeth (receding gums), leaving cavities inhabited by bacteria and pus. If this is not treated, bones around the teeth can be destroyed. Teeth may become loose or have to be removed due to periodontal (gum) disease, mostly in adults. Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks can prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or fruit are considered dentally beneficial foods.
The use of dental floss is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes plaque and decaying food remaining stuck between the teeth. This food decay and plaque cause irritation to the gums, allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily. Acidic foods left on the teeth can also demineralize teeth, eventually causing cavities.
Flossing for a proper inter-dental cleaning is recommended at least once per day, preferably before brushing so fluoride toothpaste has better access between teeth to help re-mineralize teeth, prevent receding gums, gum disease and cavities on the surfaces between teeth.
It is recommended to use enough floss to enable easy use, usually ten or more inches with three to four inches of floss to put between teeth. Floss is then wrapped around the middle finger and/or index finger, and supported with the thumb on each hand. It is then held tightly to make taut, and then gently moved up and down between each tooth. It is important to floss under visible areas by curving the floss around each tooth instead of moving up and down on gums, which are much more sensitive than teeth. However, bleeding gums are normal upon first usage of floss, and will harden with use. One should use an unused section of the floss when moving around different teeth. Removing floss from between teeth requires using the same back-and-forth motion as flossing but gently bringing the floss up and out of gaps between teeth.
An inter-dental brush, also called an inter-proximal brush or a proxy brush, is a small brush, typically disposable. It can be either supplied with a reusable angled plastic handle or an integral handle. An inter-dental brush is used for cleaning between teeth and between the wire of fixed dental appliances such as bridgework and the teeth or gums. Brushes are available in a range of widths. Using a toothbrush and an inter-dental brush can more effectively remove plaque than using a toothbrush and dental floss..
An inter-dental brush, also called an inter-proximal brush or a proxy brush, is a small brush, typically disposable; either supplied with a reusable angled plastic handle or an integral handle, used for cleaning between teeth and between the wire of fixed dental appliances such as bridgework and the teeth or gums. Brushes are available in a range of widths. Using a toothbrush and an inter-dental brush can more effectively remove plaque than using a toothbrush and dental floss.
Cleaning the tongue as part of daily oral hygiene is essential, since it removes the white/yellow bad-breath-generating coating of bacteria, decaying food particles, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells from the dorsal area of the tongue. Tongue cleaning also removes some of the bacteria species which generate tooth decay and gum problems.
Massaging the gums with toothbrush bristles is generally recommended for good oral health.
In some cases, it is recommended to use oral irrigation as a way to clean teeth and gums. Oral irrigators reach 3–4 mm under the gum line. Oral irrigators use a pressured, directed stream of water to disrupt plaque and bacteria.
Foods that help muscles and bones also help teeth and gums. Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B while fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy gum tissue. Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and zinc for teeth. For some people, flossing might be recommended after every meal.
Some foods may protect against cavities. Fluoride is a primary protector against dental cavities. Fluoride makes the surface of teeth more resistant to acids during the process of re-mineralization. Drinking fluoridated water is recommended by some dental professionals while others say that using toothpaste alone is enough.
Milk and cheese are also rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage re-mineralization. All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains buffer chemicals this helps to stabilize the pH to near 7 (neutral) in the mouth. Foods high in fiber may also help to increase the flow of saliva and a bolus of fiber like celery string can force saliva into trapped food inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where over 80% of cavities occur, to dilute carbohydrates like sugar, neutralize acid and re-mineralize teeth like on easy-to-reach surfaces. Sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface of the teeth.
According to World Dental, these are the top ten beneficial foods for teeth.
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds that reduce plaque, cavities, and gum disease. Green tea may also reduce bad breath and strengthen the tooth enamel because of its high fluoride content.
Dairy foods are beneficial because of their low acidity, which reduces wear and tear on teeth. Additionally, dairy foods are high in calcium, the main component of teeth.
Cheese contains calcium and phosphate, which help balance pH in the mouth, preserves (and rebuilds) tooth enamel, produces saliva, and kills bacteria that cause cavities and disease.
Fruits such as apples, strawberries and kiwis contain Vitamin C. This vitamin is considered the element that holds cells together. If this vitamin is neglected, gum cells can break down, making gums tender and susceptible to disease.
Vegetables: Vitamin A, found in pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli, is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel. Crunchy vegetables may also help clean gums.
Onions contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. Tests show that onions kill various types of bacteria, especially when eaten raw.
Celery protects teeth by producing saliva which neutralizes acid that causes demineralization and cavities. It also massages the teeth and gums.
Sesame seeds reduce plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also very high in calcium.
Animal food: beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs contain phosphorus which, with calcium, is one of the two most vital minerals of teeth and bone.
Water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that deposits essential minerals into the teeth. It keeps gums hydrated and washes away particles from the teeth.
If you have more questions or concerns about oral health and how it might affect your dentures, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Niagara Denture Clinic for a complimentary consultation.