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From 1 to 100—Taking Care of Our Teeth Throughout Life

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Do you want to live until you are 100?

Take a moment and imagine the state of your teeth and overall health at that age…

Truth be told, it can be hard for us to even imagine life at that age, let alone the state of our oral health at that point.

Start by imagining the current state of your teeth. Let’s imagine you are cavity-free and have healthy teeth and gums. Also imagine that you have very little tooth sensitivity, you have good daily oral health habits, and you feel confident about your smile each day.

Now just envision how much longer we want this state of oral health to last. With that in mind, let’s examine how we can maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Childhood: Setting Our Families Up For Good Health

One of the great reasons you have a family dentist is the guidance we can provide you for your baby as she grows. You will truly lead the process for children until they take over the daily oral hygiene process for themselves.

One tip is keeping beverages away from young children at night. Bottles and sippy cups leave sugar or other substances exposed to our children’s teeth…all night long if they take it with them to bed! When our baby’s teeth are exposed to that sugar or beverage all night it can speed up decay.

Adolescence: Adult Teeth Are In

These are the years that many of us get our wisdom teeth removed. Also at this stage, we have our adult teeth fully in, and we’ve become accustomed to taking care of them. We’re starting to create dietary habits that can have a lasting impact on our health, including our oral health, at this time.

Flossing can seem like a pain to children who haven’t yet made it a part of their routine, but the bacteria in-between teeth is just as important to get rid of as the bacteria we’re removing when we brush. Let children know that 30-40 percent of our teeth’s surface area is in-between teeth.

Young Adulthood

During this stage of life, many people are moving away from home to go to college, or to start a career. It’s during some of these transitions that we sometimes see lapses in regular dentist visits. Just as you’d look for a new physician or other doctor, make it a point to continue caring for your mouth during these exciting times.

Midlife: Our Past Habits Become Increasingly Evident 

Unfortunately for some, it’s at this point in many people’s lives when there can be some regret about a lack of oral hygiene in one’s past. That’s because at this age, those habits have really caught up to us. (Of course our blog readers are far less likely to have to worry about that!)

Luckily, Hagen Dental has the latest and greatest when it comes to technology and services to be sure you have the smile you deserve. We make sure you still can have a healthy mouth you can be proud of at any age.

hagen dds cincinnati ohioSenior Years

Over the years, it’s possible that our gums have receded. It’s also possible that certain medications we’ve taken over time have lessened the saliva in our mouths. Our saliva helps naturally “clean” our mouths, so over time, some of those medications may have negatively affected our teeth and gum by this stage in our lives.

Beyond inflammation or tenderness, we also see bone loss at this stage.

If gum disease eats away at the bone enough, our faces can change in appearance. If the tooth is gone, the bone reacts as if it has no reason to be in that space. That’s when we see some notable changes in the lips and cheeks area of seniors.

With longevity in mind, the best thing we can do is to regularly see a dentist to prevent and to manage what we can for the sake of our total health. Second, and just as important, is a commitment to protect our teeth each day, especially if we want them to last for the long haul.  

The Wonders of Xylitol Gum—Is it All True?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Xylitol Gum

Can tasty chewing gum also be good for our teeth and actually prevent tooth decay? We explore Xylitol chewing gum, and where you can get it.

 

What is Xylitol?

Some of us may have baked with it, and others may have noticed it is an ingredient that’s been added into some children’s toothpaste…Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is found in small amounts in vegetable and fruit fibers.  

Because it is a sugar alcohol, it isn’t a sugar, or alcohol. You can think of it as a carbohydrate that acts similar to sugar. After all, most of us have heard of, or want to know about Xylitol, because of how it sweetens.

As a sugar substitute, Xylitol has received attention because of how it lacks some of the harmful effects that table sugar has on our health. It’s actually as sweet as table sugar, but it is metabolized as fewer calories. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, which is appealing to people with certain diets, such as people with diabetes. 

Where does Xylitol come from?

As mentioned, it can be found naturally in plants. It also can be manufactured. Because it’s not classified as an artificial sweetener, food or beverages that contain Xylitol can use the words “all natural” on their label.

How does Xylitol benefit our health in comparison to other sweeteners?

Back in the 1970s, researchers looked at typical chewing gum versus Xylitol-sweetened chewing gum. What they found is that the bacteria in our mouth prefer sugar or disaccharides. Xylitol, on the other hand, is non-fermentable and has a 5-carbon structure (most carbohydrates are six-carbon monosaccharides). Researchers saw how Xylitol acted in a way where it actually worked to stop, and actually prevent bacteria reproduction.

In simple terms, that’s partially because of the unique structure it has: the Xylitol does not “link” with the other sugars in our mouth. Combine this factor with how Xylitol acts as a natural way to bring saliva into our mouths, and we have a healthy combination that helps prevent tooth decay.

What else should we know about Xylitol as a substitute for regular chewing gum?

Hagen dental

Xylitol is approved by the FDA as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you’re looking for some of the preventive benefits of Xylitol gum, or maybe looking for a substitute for your Halloween candy this year, here are a few places that carry it:

  • Whole Foods Market
  • Trader Joes
  • Select Kroger stores in the specialty aisle
  • Online, such as Amazon or other health outlets

Be sure to confirm on the nutrition label it is Xylitol-containing gum. When consuming Xylitol, keep in mind some people can have side effects such as an upset stomach, bloating, or diarrhea because of how Xylitol is digested. (Also keep in mind it could take large quantities of consumption in order to have any negative side effects, but speak to us, or your primary care physician if you have any questions.)

Read this PDF on Xylitol for more information.