Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

If you’re into healthy living, homeopathic remedies, alternative medicine, or other health-oriented green lifestyles, you may have heard of oil pulling and its reputed health benefits. But while a lot of homeopathic and traditional folk remedies are good practices confirmed by modern science, some are bunk. Is oil pulling actually good for your teeth?

What is oil pulling?

If you’re not aware, oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of an edible oil like olive oil or coconut oil around in the mouth and through the teeth. This is done for from one to five minutes up to 20 minutes. It’s a traditional folk remedy from Southern Asia and India that has been practiced for hundreds of years.

Is oil pulling good for your teeth?

There have been no reliable scientific studies proving that oil pulling has any health benefits. There is no confirmation that oil pulling whitens teeth, reduces cavities, or otherwise improves health. The ADA does not recommend oil pulling or other “unconventional dentistry.”

What should you do instead?

Instead of oil pulling, here are some scientifically proven, safe, and effective ways of improving your dental health and oral hygiene:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush your teeth twice per day
  • Floss everyday
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and calcium
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Get regular dental checkups
  • Don’t use tobacco or illicit drugs
  • Use mouthguards during high-impact and contact sports
  • Use dentist-approved whitening products
  • Treat dental issues ASAP

 

To keep your teeth healthy, maintain a regimen of brushing and flossing, and get regular dental checkups. Schedule an appointment today!

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

Fluoride is a controversial topic in the health and dental world—though it shouldn’t be. Many people are concerned about the use of fluoride in dental applications and in fortifying municipal water supplies, but this is simply due to misinformation. Fluoride is safe and effective and is critical in preventing tooth decay and ensuring dental health. So, what is fluoride and why is it important? 

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the Earth. It occurs naturally in certain foods and water sources. It is also added to the water in many communities. Dentists use fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay in their patients, and many kinds of toothpaste also contain fluoride.

Why is Fluoride Important?

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel which keeps teeth white and strong and prevents decay. In adults, it hardens the tooth enamel of already emerged teeth; in children, it concentrates in their growing teeth and bones before the teeth even emerge! 

Teeth undergo a natural demineralization and remineralization process naturally, and fluoride participates in that process. After you eat, acids in your saliva dissolve some of the calcium and phosphorous below the tooth surface (this is called demineralization). When your saliva is less acidic at other times, it replenishes the phosphorus and calcium. When fluoride is present during remineralization, it makes the calcium and phosphorus harder and less likely to dissolve in the future, which keeps teeth strong.

How do You Get Enough Fluoride?

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Get regular fluoride treatments at the dentist
  • Brush your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) twice per day
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride 
  • Ensure that if you drink a lot of bottled water that it is fluoridated
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that naturally contain fluoride

 

Time for a fluoride treatment or dental checkup? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry

How to Fight Bad Breath

How to Fight Bad Breath

Bad breath is more than just an annoyance: it can ruin interactions and undermine your self-confidence. If you have bad breath, you don’t have to just live with it, keeping your distance from others and covering your mouth, or keeping a secret bottle of mouthwash in your desk drawer. Here’s how to fight bad breath and regain your oral health and confidence!

Determine the Cause

First, you should make sure that your bad breath isn’t a sign of something worse. Bad breath is a symptom of many issues from dry mouth to gum disease. Your dentist can tell you if you have any symptoms of a major dental health issue. 

If it’s not a dental or other health issue, it might just be your diet—some foods and spices can stick around long after dinner—or your dental hygiene habits—like skipping flossing.   

Up Your Brushing and Flossing Game

If poor dental hygiene is to blame for your halitosis, or even just stinky foods like onions and garlic, getting better at brushing and flossing can resolve bad breath. Food that gets trapped between teeth can be a major source of mouth odor, so brushing twice a day with good technique and flossing daily can keep your mouth clean and fresh.

Get Rid of Drying Products

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol could be contributing to your bad breath problem. While it seems like they give you fresh, minty breath, that effect is temporary. That’s because alcohol dries out your mouth. When your mouth is dry, bad-smelling bacteria can proliferate, without enough saliva to wash them away. Use a non-alcohol mouthwash, or just brush your teeth instead.

Stay Hydrated

Like we mentioned earlier, a dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Even if you’re not experiencing clinical dry mouth, just temporary dehydration, dryness can make the perfect environment for smelly mouth bacteria and tooth decay, which also can cause bad breath. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, not sugary or acidic drinks, can keep your bad breath to a minimum.

 

To keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy, stop into Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry for a dental checkup!

What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

Babies’ teeth begin developing in the womb between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. While nutrition during pregnancy is important for all forms of healthy fetal development, it’s important for the development of healthy teeth as well. To support healthy teeth in your baby, there are certain foods you should eat and some you should avoid. 

Eat

Dairy

Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese have both protein and calcium, which support strong teeth for both you and your baby. If you are lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy finding dairy substitutes that are high in protein and calcium or taking a (doctor-approved) calcium supplement can make up for the lack of dairy in your diet.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that can help baby grow and develop and keep mom healthy as well. Additionally, vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, spinach and fruits like papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, bananas, and strawberries contain folic acid, a vital nutrient for reducing the risk of birth defects.

Fluoridated Water 

Fluoride protects tooth enamel, and water is the best hydrator out there. Either drink fluoridated water from a municipal source or well, or, if you prefer bottled water, ensure that the kind you buy contains fluoride.

 

Avoid

Sugary foods

Foods with lots of sugar like candies and baked goods—among other things, there’s sugar in almost any processed food you can buy—are just as bad for baby’s teeth as they are for yours. Remember, what you eat, the baby eats.  

High-sugar drinks

Juice, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and sodas are all extremely high in sugar, which is bad for your teeth and baby’s. Drink water or milk instead. 

 

For more information on oral health during pregnancy, check out Michigan’s Perinatal Oral Health Guidelines and get in touch with the dentists at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

 

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

As medical science progresses, an increasing number of medications become available to patients to treat, prevent, and cure ailments and illnesses. But as anyone who has ever seen an advertisement for any medication knows, these drugs can have many and diverse side effects. And some of these side effects could cause more than just discomfort: they could affect your dental health.

So, can medications affect my teeth?

The short answer: Yes.

Many medications cause dry mouth, which causes bad breath, discomfort, and exacerbates tooth decay. When your mouth is dry, saliva isn’t breaking down acids and other substances that can erode your enamel. It also means that your mouth is more susceptible to bacteria that cause cavities, infections, and gum disease.

Medication side effects are a top cause of dry mouth, and hundreds of medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Some medications that commonly cause dry mouth are allergy medications, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, diuretics, appetite suppressants, and diet pills, urinary incontinence medication, and even radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

How can I protect my teeth?

If you’re experiencing dry mouth as a side effect of a medication you’re taking, it’s important that you discuss the issue with both your doctor and your dentist in order to ensure that your dental health is maintained while maintaining your bodily and mental health as well. Sometimes this may mean that your doctor will put you on a different medication, and other times, it may be necessary to keep taking your current medication and add treatment for your dry mouth.

Even if you’re taking a medication that lists dry mouth as a symptom, that doesn’t mean that your dry mouth is caused by the medication. Dry mouth has other causes, such as mouth-breathing, snoring, or thrush. It can also be a symptom of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nerve damage, strokes, or autoimmune disorders. This is why it is crucial to address you dry mouth with your doctor and dentist, to ensure that there is no major underlying health problem.

How is dry mouth treated?

Treatment for dry mouth can include specially-formulated mouthwashes or rinses, using a humidifier in your home, dietary changes like cutting back on drying foods (particularly salty foods), and lifestyle changes like cutting back on tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Your dentist can help determine the best course of action for managing your dry mouth symptoms

To find out if your medication might be causing dry mouth or other dental issues, make an appointment with a dentist at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.