“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” ~Joseph Addison
Call: 970.249.2077 | 646 S. 1st Street, Montrose, CO 81401

Decay Prevention

Let’s talk about decay prevention. The first and most very basic step to prevent decay is to learn to really clean the teeth. I am surprised that not one patient in 10 shows the ability to effectively clean their teeth! Do you remember the pink disclosing drops that are used on children to show them the biofilm on their teeth  (bacterial colonies which were formerly called “plaque”)? Why don’t we use these drops on adults? Just like children, adults need to see where the tooth bacteria like to live. Disclosing drops or tablets are great tools for visualizing the bacteria and learning to remove it. Generally, everyone needs to improve cleaning their teeth at the gumline all the way around, but especially on the tongue side of the lower back teeth. Flossing is still the best way to remove bacteria between the teeth, but there are other little brushes and aids that can be very helpful.

The next principle of decay prevention is to limit our teeth’s contact with sugar“Sugar” includes any fermentable carbohydrate (don’t dentists just love those big words!), which includes crackers, chips, pretzels, breakfast cereals, breads, pastries, many convenience foods, and the obvious: candy, soda pop, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and fruit juice. These foods are what the decay bacteria eat, and the metabolic waste product is acid. Acid robs the minerals out of the enamel and that is the first step to decay.

There are some healthy sweeteners that don’t cause decay. Xylitol is now easily available at the health foods stores, plus you can find products sweetened with xylitol, such as chocolate, candy, gum, or soda. The cool thing about Xylitol is that it doesn’t just not contribute to decay; it has been shown to inhibit the decay bacteria. I have suggested Xylitol “mints” often to older folks who like to suck on candy and have had a problem with root decay. Another healthy sweetener is Stevia, which has many health benefits (just google it.) Stevia can be found in health food stores, but I have also found it at the regular grocery stores, such as City Market, and comes in powder, liquid, or tablets. I enjoy a cup of herb tea sweetened with Stevia frequently.

You may have heard about Probiotics- generally the term refers to taking capsules of good bacteria to colonize our digestive tract for intestinal health. Well, now there are “Oral Probiotics” that contain specific bacteria that colonize the mouth and occupy the ecological niche of some of the decay and periodontal bacteria. Using them is easy- just pop one in the mouth and suck on it like a mint! We stock these Oral Probiotic lozenges at Cr. Christine Bloss’ dental office and they are available for you to purchase.