Each November presents enormous challenges for people. Travel arrangements, crossing the country, and gathering with family are all in the name of giving thanks and feasting. Although planning and traveling can cause stress and anxiety, your Thanksgiving feast could increase your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay. Luckily, a University of Rochester microbiologist and food scientists seek to extract a compound from cranberries that can limit tooth decay by restricting harmful bacteria’s ability to cling to tooth enamel. Your Albuquerque dentist, Dr. Mark Miller, discusses the battle of Thanksgiving vs. teeth.
Researchers found that harmful bacteria known as Streptococcus mutants can’t always launch harmful acid attacks on tooth enamel. Scientists identified that a compound inside cranberries prevents bacteria from clinging to teeth and limits plaque growth. Plaque is the sticky, clear substance that accumulates on tooth enamel.
S. mutans use plaque as a hide-out while waiting for their next feeding. S. mutans consume sugars and carbohydrates (often found around the Thanksgiving table) to crank out harmful acids which attack tooth enamel. Excessive acid attacks can lead to tooth decay or cavities. We can usually place a filling in small cavities, but deeper cavities and tooth decay might require a dental crown. We offer all-ceramic crowns, metal, and porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns.
Although compounds within cranberries might someday find their way into toothpaste, sugar-free gum, or mouthwash, most grocery store shelves fill their cranberry aisles with sugar-added products. Many people enjoy dried cranberries, but like most dried fruit, the cranberries can stick between teeth. A piece of dried fruit could speed up the process of cavity development or even infect a tooth. So don’t go into a cranberry craze quite yet.
One common issue during the holidays involves stained teeth. Cranberries and darkly pigmented fruits can cause tooth staining, but so can that afternoon cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. One way to combat the effects of red wine staining: eat a couple of small cheese squares. The calcium in the cheese will form a protective cover over your tooth enamel to prevent staining and reduce acid attacks. We offer teeth whitening at our Albuquerque office.
Although teeth might undergo some harmful forces this Thanksgiving, teeth won’t lose the battle of Thanksgiving vs. teeth. Brush in the morning and the evening; floss at least once per day, and make sure to rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association. Additionally, maintain your six-month checkups with our Albuquerque dentist’s office to ensure that we can catch any potential oral health issues early.
To learn more about how teeth could fare this Thanksgiving, contact your Albuquerque dentist by calling Snow Park Dental at (505) 596-4479. Located in the 87112 area, we proudly serve patients from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Edgewood, Corrales, Los Lumas, Tijeras, Mountain Air, Santa Fe, and Taos.
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