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Watch Your Mouth: How Common Problems Develop

Beauty and health are always closely related, but when it comes to an attractive smile, they are inseparable. Ugly teeth are an immediate turnoff, which is why we associate them with pirates and witches. The two essential components of a beautiful smile are strong teeth and healthy gums. You’re in luck, because my Beauty Diet can help you preserve both. I need to take just a minute to explain how problems develop so you’ll see why making changes in your diet can give you a shining smile.

Tooth Troubles You Don’t Want

Every day a sticky film of bacteria called plaque forms on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque thrive on sugar and starches from the food you eat and produce acids that over time can destroy the enamel of your teeth, creating holes that are called cavities or caries.

Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, your teeth are attacked by decay-causing acids for 20 minutes or longer. Anything that keeps the environment of the mouth acidic—for example, eating acidic foods frequently or exposing your teeth to stomach acid from acid reflux problems, vomiting, or bulimia—can contribute to dental erosion.

We’ve all heard that sugar is bad for teeth, and some of us may even have had our Halloween candy hidden away by our parents, who wanted to keep our smiles bright. Although candy is harmful to teeth, snacks like potato chips and cookies are even worse. Simple sugars are relatively easy to wash away, but food particles from starches tend to get lodged in between our teeth, providing a carbohydrate feast for plaque.

Brushing and flossing are essential because they remove the film of plaque around and in between your teeth. If plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth for too long, it mineralizes and turns into a hard accumulation called tartar. You can’t brush away tartar; it can be removed only by your dentist or hygienist.

Gum Disease: Not a Fun Disease

Plaque that has built up along the gum line also can irritate your gums, leading to gingivitis, which is characterized by puffy, red, bleeding gums. At this stage the inflammation is mild, and the supporting structures that hold your teeth in place have not been affected—yet. If gingivitis is not treated, plaque can move below the gum line and spread to the roots of the teeth. Now the problem is called periodontitis. Plaque begins to damage the fibers and bone that keep your teeth in position. It also can force your teeth to separate from your gums, creating pockets where bacteria can hide. Sometimes your teeth will look healthy even though gum disease is developing where you can’t see it. Bad breath for no obvious reason can be a sign of periodontitis. Treating periodontitis can be an unpleasant process, but it prevents further damage to your teeth. The final stage of gum disease, advanced periodontitis, is not pretty. By this time the fibers and bone supporting your teeth have been destroyed. The teeth start to shift and loosen and may need to be pulled. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults 35 and older.

Women may be more susceptible to periodontitis because of their hormones. Women are more prone to the development of periodontal disease during puberty, at certain points in their monthly menstrual cycle, when they are taking birth control pills, while they are pregnant, and at menopause. In addition to oral contraceptives, certain drugs can make you more vulnerable to gum disease, including some antidepressants and some heart medications, due to dry mouth. Poor nutrition—the combination of eating foods that harm the teeth, plus not getting enough nutrients—can cause gum disease to progress faster and become more severe. My Beauty Diet will provide all the nutrients you need to protect your health and nourish every part of your natural beauty, including your sexy smile.

The Proper Way to Take Care of Your Teeth

Remember, the most important part of good dental hygiene is commitment.

*Brush your teeth twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste. Brush your tongue too.

*There is a proper way to brush teeth. Have your dentist or hygienist show you.

*Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Electric toothbrushes can help ensure that you brush for the right amount of time and prevent hard scrubbing, but they aren’t necessarily better.

*Replace your brush every three months—and don’t share it with anyone! Your toothbrush comes into contact with millions of bacteria in your mouth.

*Floss between your teeth every day. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line—places where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.

*Try brushing and flossing right after dinner while you still have the energy. This also will discourage evening snacking and help you stay slim.

*Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse to inhibit bacterial activity in dental plaque. Some have fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay.

*Visit your dentist regularly—at a minimum, twice a year. Only your dentist or hygienist can clean the tartar off your teeth and catch little problems before they become big.


Brushing with Salt Whitens Teeth
Salt has a coarse texture, which works to thin the outer layer of your teeth, resulting in brighter and whiter teeth. This is not much different from using a scouring pad on your body to soften your skin. Using salt as a treatment for whiter teeth will shift stains, but it comes at a high cost, such as sensitive gums and teeth and the potential for cavities.

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