You’ve heard it all before, so when someone starts in on how important brushing and flossing are, they might as well be talking like the teacher on Charlie Brown. Yes, we know! Along with everyone else, you know what is good for your teeth.
However, we’ve also been told that certain things are bad for our teeth and should be avoided. But is that always the case? Let’s take a closer look.
Red wine has been bashed for its ability to stain your pearly-whites. While that is still true, it can actually be good for your teeth too.
When bacteria adheres to your teeth, it becomes a biofilm that adheres to the surfaces of teeth, also known as plaque. Researchers have recently discovered that phenolic extracts from grapes act as an antimicrobial agent and inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria found in oral biofilms. These phenolic extracts can also be found in wine.
Go ahead, raise a glass to your oral health.
Chewing Gum and Mints
Bubblegum and mints also have a bad reputation among dental professionals. This is because they’re generally laden with cavity-causing sugar. However, research shows that xylitol, a natural sweetener added to certain chewing gums and mints, works as an antimicrobial agent, much like the phenolic extracts in red wine. Over time and with regular use, these products can actually change the quality of the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in less of the bad kind that causes cavities and ultimately being good for your teeth.
Moreover, in cases where someone is of higher susceptibility to tooth decay due to xerostomia (also known as dry-mouth), xylitol-sweetened mints and gum will encourage saliva production and help to prevent cavities. Candies made with xylitol are hitting the market as well.
So, if you have a sweet tooth, this may be a sweet benefit for you.
Coffee is often regarded as the arch nemesis for a beautiful, white smile. Not only can it stain, but because it’s acidic, it can erode enamel. When enamel erodes, the end result can be sensitivity and increased tooth decay. However, you may be surprised to learn that it contains trigonelline, which can help prevent plaque from attaching itself to your teeth.
Not a coffee fan? That’s okay, you’ll find trigonelline in green tea too.
If you’d like to enjoy your coffee and wine without fear of the negative side-effects, try drinking with a straw, rinsing your mouth when you finish, and limiting the length of time your teeth are subjected to the discoloring liquids. In other words, drink up, don’t sip all day, and feel good that you’re doing something good for your health. You may not be able to avoid the inevitable coffee breath, but you can always enjoy a xylitol mint afterwards.
This article is provided on behalf of West Palm Beach cosmetic dentist Dr. Sam Sadati.