Education and News

Teeth for Life

Episode 1: The Big Picture

OK. Do you want your real teeth to remain in your mouth forever, as opposed to the ones you have to leave in a glass of water next to your bed at night? "What do I have to do?" you ask. "Excellent question" I answer.

Below is an overview of the important rules to follow. Some of these ideas are expanded upon elsewhere, but this is a quick introduction for the attention-span-challenged.

Diet: If you have three meals a day and nothing that contains sugar in between, it is almost impossible to get decay. The more stuff with sugar you have between meals (fruit, juice, sugared coffee, soft drinks etc.) the more holes you are likely to get.

Cleaning: To prevent gum disease you gotta floss. Once a day is enough. It makes your breath nice and your gums strong.

Strong Fillings: If you have old fillings or your teeth are starting to crack, it is important to have them strengthened before problems occur. If you wait until things begin to hurt, treatment can become much more complicated.

Regular Visits: Even when everything is fixed as well as possible you've still gotta come visit. Mostly because we like seeing you, but also to pick up little things before they become big things.

So that's it in a nutshell. There are other information sheets available on these and other issues. If your brain isn't hurting yet we can teach you other stuff you might like to know.

Episode 2: Diet (how to ward off the evil decay spirits)

Would you like to never get another hole? It is possible. In fact, if you follow just a few rules, you are almost guaranteed never to get another cavity.

Here's how it works. Everybody has bugs in their mouths. Decay happens when certain of these bugs turn sugar into acid. This acid causes decay.

Now the good guy is your saliva. The saliva neutralizes the acid produced by the bugs (stick around, this will get more interesting). It takes 2 hours, however, after having anything with sugar for your teeth to stop dissolving.

So, your teeth are dissolving for two hours after you have anything with sugar. If you have three meals a day and nothing in between, your teeth dissolve for six hours a day. They seem to cope OK with this. Every snack between meals (and that includes fruit) adds an extra two hours to your dissolving time. If you've got enough fingers count up how many meals or snacks or drinks with sugar you have a day. Multiply by two (use toes as necessary) and you get how much of the day your teeth spend rotting.

If it's 8 hours or more, start putting a glass of water next to your bed to get used to where your teeth will spend time in the future L

Before all you chocoholics reach for the razor blades, there is a simple solution. All you have to do is bundle up all your snacks and include them with the three major meals. Hey, Presto! No more decay. If you must gorge yourself between meals, some things are OK. Most dairy products and vegetables are fine to have as snacks. You can drink water, milk, and coffee/tea (with artificial sweeteners). Diet soft drinks are sort of OK but don't overdo it.

It sounds easy and it is. The rest is up to you.

Episode 3: Diet Dangers, Do's 'n Don'ts

Remember, it pretty much doesn't matter what you have with breakfast lunch and dinner from a tooth point of view. It's the snacking between meals that does all the damage. Of course from a health point of view it is very important, but we're just talking teeth here.

Lets look at common in-between meal snacks and rate them:

Really Bad Foods

Fairly Bad Foods

Good Foods (Things you can have between meals)

If your snacks are teeth-friendly, your teeth will be you-friendly.