It’s time once more for a blog from Overmeyer Family Dental. This forum is just one of the ways we reach out to the wonderful people of Orlando with information and ideas about how to better safeguard their oral health. Preventive care is the cornerstone to a healthy mouth, not to mention, the rest of your body. The best way to fight the ravages of tooth decay and gum disease, is to stop them from happening. That is where healthy oral hygiene habits come in. Take care of your teeth and they will keep healthy and strong.
Certainly, you are already brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, so there is no need to go beyond this quick reminder that doing so is the most basic thing you can do to take care of your precious smile. But home dental care doesn’t stop there. There is lots more you can do to protect your teeth especially since you are not always able to brush.
The truth is it is not wise to brush right after a meal. The half hour after eating a meal is the most vulnerable your teeth will be all day. The acid from the food you just ate has weakened your tooth enamel. It may be the hardest substance in your body, but you can strip the enamel right off your teeth if you brush immediately after eating.
Chew Sugarless Gum after Eating
As strange as it may sound, chewing a stick of sugarless gum can be an effective substitute for brushing after a meal. The continued chewing motion keeps the saliva flowing, while the gum pulls food particles away from the teeth.
The best gum to use is gum that is flavor by xylitol. This plant derived sweetener has some pretty amazing side effects. For one thing, it puts a film on your teeth that plaque has a hard time sticking to. This means that bacteria won’t have place to hide, and therefore won’t sit around on your teeth causing decay. Xylitol also helps in a process called remineralization. This is when your body repairs tooth enamel with absorbed calcium.
Moderation Is Key
You only need to chew gum for about 20 minutes after the meal for it to be effective. Chewing gum for too long can be damaging, especially if you have fillings and other dental work. Obviously, gum is sticky and chewing creates pressure on your teeth. Put these two things together and you can easily dislodge a filling. Old dental work is particularly vulnerable to this. Newer dental work should be stable enough to stand up to chewing gum, but there are other concerns.
The repetitive chewing motion will eventually strain your jaw muscles if you chew gum for too long. This can cause pain in your jaw, neck, and even some pretty bad headaches. There is no evidence to suggest chewing gum can cause TMJ disorder, but it will definitely exacerbate the symptoms where it already exists.
No Substitute for Brushing
Remember that chewing gum is only a substitute for brushing directly after meals. After your teeth have had time to recover from the trauma of eating, you need to brush and floss like you normally would.
Be sure to keep up with your regular checkups at Overmeyer Family Dental to make sure you home dental care is doing the job.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.