We’ve given a lot of people new teeth at the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood. Hopefully, our patients will be able to enjoy their implants and dentures for the rest of their lives. But prosthetic teeth are still vulnerable to tooth decay, and sticky, sugary treats abound during the holidays. We thought we should recommend how to enjoy food and drink safely.
Tooth decay is caused by acid that oral bacteria produce as a waste product. The materials of implants and dentures are not immune from acid, and food debris can get caught in them, just as with regular teeth. Sticky sweets like toffee and cranberry sauce are obviously likely to get stuck, but the residue from hard candies can also remain on teeth for an extended period. Another common source of sugary residue is from drinks. Apple cider, eggnog, wine, and hot chocolate all tend to be drunk slowly, giving bacteria lots of time to metabolize them. Bacteria can metabolize starches, too, so debris from crackers, potatoes, and squash can fuel decay if it gets stuck in dental indentations.
Saliva washes away sugary residue, so it’s best to limit treats to full-sized meals when you’re producing more of it. If this isn’t realistic, you could also try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and remove some debris. While enjoying sugary drinks, alternate them with sips of water to remove residue. You can protect your natural teeth by drinking fluoridated water, so bring some bottles with you if you’re traveling to a house without it.
Frederick Shaw, DDS, operates the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group at 1500 W 38th Street, Suite 34, Austin, Texas, 78731. To schedule an appointment, call 512-451-7491 or visit Frederick Shaw DDS and fill out a contact form.