4 Things You Need To Know About Your Mouth – by local Austin Dentist Dr. Robin Bethel

Austin is Incredible.  We have the best food, live music, and outdoor activities in all of Texas.  Whether we are running on Lady Bird Lake, drinking freshly made Juice Land smoothies, or hopping between music venues at 1 am: we’ve got it made.   With so much to enjoy, sometimes oral hygiene takes a back seat.  As an Austin Dentist, who loves what Austin offers, let me share a few ways that you can have your cake balls and clean teeth too.

1) Drink Water, and lots of it.

Texas is hot, high temperatures and outdoor activities lead to dry mouths and dehydration.  It isn’t well known, but A dry mouth can be devastating to your teeth.  The temptation to drink a sugar-filled Gatorade may be strong, but know that without proper hydration, those sugars and acids can fuel a bacteria frenzy that softens your healthy chompers.

2) Don’t skip on nightly brushing.

We’ve all done it.  You are up late, spending quality time with friends and family, and you fall asleep without brushing.  It’s harmless, right?  Well, once or twice a year may be ok, but much more and there could be cavity-consequences.  If you forget to brush before bed, you are allowing disease-causing bacteria 8 hours of acid-producing growth on your unprotected teeth.  You see, when we sleep we don’t produce much saliva (which protects our teeth), and if we have any simple carbohydrates (sugar, lactose, etc) in our mouths, bacteria will consume that, grow, and produce nasty bi-products.  For children this is particularly important.  The #1 cause of childhood cavities is caused by milk (usually from a bottle) sitting on baby teeth during sleep.

3) Enjoy delicious Austin foods, just don’t do it ALL day.

That’s right, it’s ok to eat Amy’s Ice Cream after enjoying some summer produce.  Our bodies, and teeth, can handle the carbohydrate rich foods at meal times.  They just can’t handle it 5-8 times a day.  Studies show, everytime we eat something sweet or acidic, it takes just under 30 minutes for our saliva to neutralize the acids, and wash away the carbohydrates from our mouth.   So, if you drink one sip of soda every hour for a 12 hour day, that would mean that your teeth and gums are surrounded by acids and carbohydrates for 6 hours (12 x 30 minutes).  If you drink 1 can of soda with a meal, then your teeth would only take a 30 minute hit.  That’s a major difference. If your diet requires you to snack throughout your day, choose something healthy, RAW, and low in carbohydrates like vegetables and legumes.

4) I have to say it:  we ALL need to Floss.

Flossing is tedious, it does take some dexterity, and I have only met a handful of people that enjoy doing it.   Without flossing, you are leaving plaque and bacteria in between your teeth and underneath you gums.  These sneaky punks will cause inflammation (gingivitis), and will  cause bleeding gums, bad breath, cavities in between your teeth, and eventually, loss of gums and bone support.  The good news is, there are lots of new flossing tools that help.  I prefer good ol’ waxed ribbon floss like Glide , but some like the water pik flossers, or the single use flossers.   I’ve even found these GumChucks to be effective.

Visit Dr. Bethel online here: www.austinforestfamily.com

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