Tag Archives: Sugar

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingThanksgiving is finally upon us! For all of us here, at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. Who can resist all that deliciousness; the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and all those yummy pies? But, we all know that some of our favorite Thanksgiving yummies can really do a number on our waistlines and our teeth. However, there is good news: there are foods on the Thanksgiving table that are actually good for your pearly whites!

Turkey

Luckily, the main Thanksgiving course is one the best foods for your teeth. This succulent bird is a great source of protein, and protein, contains phosphorus, which is great for your teeth when it’s combined with calcium and vitamin D. These minerals and vitamins keep your teeth nice and strong! So the next time you bite into a drumstick or turkey sandwich, remember that you’re doing it for your teeth.

Leafy Green Vegetables  

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories, and they are high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel.

Cheese

Cheese is rich in calcium, which keeps teeth strong, but cheese also has been found to protect your pearly whites from acid erosion by raising the pH in the mouth to above 5.5. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion. Eating cheese also stimulates saliva production, which protects teeth in itself.

Cranberries

Pass the cranberry sauce please! This Thanksgiving staple contains compounds that inhibit the bacteria, S. Mutans, ability to form dental plaque. Without this sticky protective biofilm, bacteria cannot produce as much acid, and the threat to your teeth’s integrity is significantly lessened.

Red Wine

Great news for wine lovers; this magic elixir also helps in the fight against S. Mutans and cavities. Red wine also contains antioxidants that can help fight bacterial infection, and it contains tannins, which help stimulate saliva production. Saliva is your natural protection against acid, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. So, go ahead and pour yourself another glass!

Pumpkin Pie

Don’t forget dessert! Yes, there actually is a dessert that can help your teeth. Bring on the pumpkin pie! While it’s true, there is a lot of sugar in pumpkin pie, there is also a lot of good stuff, like calcium, two different types of vitamin B, and a huge dose of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.

We hope this Thanksgiving brings you delicious treats and plenty of fond memories with your family. From all of us here, we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, to schedule a cleaning, examination, or consultation, give us a call at 972-242-2155, or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page. At Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, we are here for you!!

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

TreatsThe witching hour is upon us. With the likes of creepy clowns, the walking undead and deranged killers lurking in the shadows, Halloween is the most delightfully scary day of the year. But, Michael Myers isn’t the only scary thing on Halloween, some of those sugary treats can be pretty terrifying for your teeth.

Here are a few scary and not-so-scary candy for your fangs.

Scary:

  • Hard candy – Hard candy is tough on teeth because it stays in your mouth for an extended period of time. This ultimately coats teeth with sugar. Additionally, biting down on hard candy can chip or break teeth.
  • Chewy candy – Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar. Because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, they are more difficult for saliva to break down.

Not so scary:

  • Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol – Sugar-free foods don’t contain sugar, which feeds on bacteria in the mouth and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy with xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugars and acids.
  • Powdery candy – Sure, powdery candy is packed with pure sugar, but the texture allows it to dissolve quickly which prevents sugar from sticking to teeth and producing acids and bacteria.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium in chocolate can potentially help protect tooth enamel.

So, you can have your candy and eat it too! You just have to make the right choices. Scary things happen to those that don’t brush. Be sure to brush and floss, so those Halloween treats won’t haunt your mouth later on.

If you find all that Halloween candy has left your teeth a bit scary, or you need a good post-Halloween cleaning, feel free to give please call us, at 972-242-2155, for an appointment. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

Tooth Decay

Image result for dentistry imagesTooth Decay

 

Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.

What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.

How can cavities be prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Your dentist also may recommend that you use special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary fluoride supplements. In addition, professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants may be recommended.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Also, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria. In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at the highest risk for cavities.

What can I do to help protect my teeth?

The best way to combat cavities is to follow three simple steps:

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every few months. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
  • See your Dr. Griffin at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.

In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

If you suspect you may have tooth decay or if you have any questions, please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry)

 

Holiday Sweets & Your Teeth

Holiday Sweets Can Lead to Ho-Ho-Holes in Your Teeth!Sweets

Too much of a good thing is never more true than during the holiday season. There tends to be an overabundance of everything – especially sweets. While it’s impractical to suggest complete avoidance of holiday goodies, Dr. Griffin encourages moderation to make sure you receive the gift of great oral health!

Here are some common sweets to limit during the holidays:

  • Hard Candies & Candy Canes: The problem with candy canes and other hard candies is the prolonged amount of time that they linger as you slowly dissolve them in your mouth. Not to mention, the temptation to chomp them, which can lead to cracks or chips in your teeth. Consume them carefully and brush after having a candy cane or other hard candies.
  • Baked Goodies: It is so very tempting to overindulge especially when there’s an abundance of baked goods lying around. But all those cakes and cookies are filled with sugar and can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Of course, we know even suggesting skipping the cookies and cakes is entirely impractical, so enjoy them in moderation.
  • Holiday Drinks: Festive beverages offer more than warm and holiday cheer, they add a lot of sugar. Eggnog, hot cocoa, and apple cider are overloaded with sugar. If you just can’t say no to your favorite drinks at least wash away some of that sugar with water.
  • Sticky, Chewy Goodies: Chewy, sticky treats such as caramels or those sparkly gumdrops on your gingerbread house are particularly damaging to your teeth. Not only are they high in sugar, but they get stuck to your teeth and are difficult for saliva to break down. Brushing after consuming them is your best defense.
  • Fruitcake: Even though fruitcake is considered to be somewhat of a holiday joke, some people actually do like a good homemade fruitcake. The sugary, dense, candied-fruit studded cake can wreak havoc on your oral health, so limit your fruitcake intake.

We definitely don’t want to be a Grinch by saying you can’t enjoy all of those yummy holiday sweets, just enjoy them in moderation. If you do find yourself overindulging, spend some extra time flossing and brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Another good tip to is to stick to one small serving of your favorite drink or snack and follow up by swishing with water, chew sugar-free gum, or brush soon after finishing to wash away some of the sticky sugar residue.

We hope that this Christmas and Holiday season brings you great joy. Thank you for being part of our family here at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA

The Biggest Myth about Cavities

ADA Spokesperson Discusses the Biggest Myth about Cavities

American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper discusses dental carries. “The biggest myth about cavities is that if it doesn’t hurt you don’t need to fix it,” Dr. Cooper said. “That is completely wrong.” She states that when a cavity has begun to cause pain, it usually requires “more extensive treatment” at that point. Explaining what causes dental decay and why some people may have more cavities than others, Dr. Cooper says “brushing and flossing, of course, are the best way to minimize the number of cavities that you get.” In addition, dentists have many tools available, such as fluoride rinses and treatments, to make teeth more resistant to dental decay. “The best thing to do,” Dr. Cooper says, is to have regular dental visits to ensure detection and treatment of cavities while they’re still small.

 

Tips to help prevent cavities:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Floss or use an interdental cleaner, such as a Waterpik or proxy brush, daily to remove food and bacteria from in between teeth
  • Limit sugary drinks and snacks
  • Prescription strength  fluoride pastes and rinses are also recommended if you are at a high risk of developing decay. We offer prescription strength fluoride paste for purchase in office
  • Visit Dr. Griffin at least twice yearly for your professional cleaning and exam

If you think you may have a cavity and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us, at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

The American Dental Association provides additional information on cavities and other oral health topics at Mouthhealthy.org

Diet Sodas &The Effects On Your Teeth

DIET SODAS & THE EFFECTS ON YOUR TEETHDiet Sodas

Many people have the common misconception that due to lower or no sugar content in diet sodas that they are not bad for your teeth. Consuming sugary sodas bombards your teeth with high contents of sugar every time you sip, which is not good for enamel, but it is the acids in both diet and regular sodas that attacks tooth enamel and wears it down. Both diet sodas and regular sodas contain high amounts of acid, with pH levels from anywhere around 2.49-3.42. Those high levels of acid cause erosion of enamel over time, which can in turn lead to tooth decay that may require fillings, crowns, root canals or other restorative dental procedures to correct.

There are two types of acids in soft drinks carbonic acid and phosphoric acid. Carbonic acid gives soda its fizz. Carbonic acid is a relatively weak acid, which decomposes quickly so the effects of carbonic acid on enamel are minimal. Most of the acidity in soft drink comes from phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is corrosive and over time can break down tooth enamel. For those who have not seen a pH scale in sometime (or ever), pH of a liquid is measured using water as the neutral pH, at 7.00. From there, the lower pH numbers are more acidic and the higher pH numbers are basic, or bases. Tooth enamel is relatively safe while we eat and drink until the acidity in the drink, or even some foods, falls lower than a pH of 5.2, when it begins to dissolve. So drinking an entire two-liter of diet soda to save your teeth from the horrors of regular, sugar-filled sodas isn’t really making a huge difference on your teeth at all.

It’s really best to not drink sodas at all but just like everything else moderation is key. Drinking soft drinks in moderation won’t dissolve your teeth away as long as take care of your teeth in the process. Here are a few tips if you enjoy cold soft drink from time to time:

  • Limit consumption of soda to meal time.

  • Do not sip on soda throughout the day.

  • Rinse your mouth with water or drink milk to neutralize acids.

  • Chew sugar-free gum or, better yet, gum containing Xylitol. Xylitol has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – fluoride re-mineralizes and strengthens areas where acid has weakened the enamel.

If you have any questions about the effects of sodas on your teeth or any other dental issues please feel to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155. Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

March Madness Munchies to Avoid

March Madness Munchies to AvoidMarch Madness Munchies

It’s March and we all know what that means, The Big Dance is in full effect! March Madness is filled with fun, friends, basketball brackets, and food. Who doesn’t love to get together with a group of friends, eat delicious game day food and cheer on their favorite team?

Here at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, we love March Madness as much as the next basketball fan; however, there are a few foods you should try too avoid or at least limit when it comes to your game day snacking.

Here are some of the March Madness munchies you should try to avoid:

  • Desserts – We all know that sugary foods cause tooth decay and cavities. We also know how hard it is to say no to all that sugary goodness! If you just can’t resist the sweet treats at your March Madness party try to rinse with water or chew sugarless gum right after indulging. Sugarless gum increases saliva flow and helps neutralize the sugars and acids that are produced when bacteria in the plaque in the mouth break down food.
  • Buffalo Wings/Hot Wings – Hot wings are not really a snack you would typically think of as being bad for your teeth, but if the glaze is a sweet, sugary, sticky sauce such as honey barbecue, it will stick to your teeth. Brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum after consuming this snack as well in order to get that sticky layer off your teeth and prevent decay!
  • Soft Drinks – Soft drinks are full of sugar, are very acidic, and will do a number on your teeth. Even diet sodas, because of the acidity, can be bad for your teeth. If you do drink sodas, use a straw to avoid some contact with your teeth, and try not to sip on sodas throughout the day, which continually bathes your teeth in acid. Drink or rinse with water, or chew sugarless gum after consuming sodas to help minimize the effects on your teeth.
  • Beer – Another beverage culprit is beer. Despite what you might think, beer is high in sugar and calories, and sipping this beverage throughout the day will cause your teeth to decay. If you are planning to indulge in a few beers during the game, try to rinse with water soon after or chew sugarless gum to help fight the decay until you are able to brush them.

We know it is really hard for to avoid a lot of these foods during March Madness, so make sure to bring a sugarless gum with you, drink water in between those sugary drinks, snack on raw veggies, and enjoy these items in moderation! Don’t forget to brush your teeth as soon as you can, and remember to keep up with your regular dental hygiene appointments with Dr. Griffin to make sure that you stay proactive in fighting decay!

 

If you have any questions or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul A. Griffin, DDS call us here in Carrollton at 972-242-2155 or please feel free to contact us via the “Ask Dr.Griffin” form at the top of the page.