Health & Safety

April 20, 2012

An apple a day keeps the dentist away

By SrA Jessica Peterson
99th Dental Squadron

The military lifestyle comes with inconsistency in schedules, making it hard to maintain healthy habits.  Long hours, demanding missions and frequent travel can lead to a diet high in carbohydrates and a lack in oral care.

Eating foods high in sugar causes tooth decay; so it is important to regulate sugar consumption and practice proper oral hygiene.

Fruit is a great alternative for sweet snacks such as candy or soda.  Many fruits and vegetables contain xylitol, a natural carbohydrate that tastes like sugar and reduces tooth decay. Xylitol is also found in some sugar free gums and candies with endorsements from six national dental associations.

Other tips may change your brushing routine. Flossing before brushing allows fluoride to reach between teeth where plaque accumulates. The daily use of fluoride found in mouth wash, can strengthen teeth against acids that cause tooth decay.

Aside from using dental hygiene products, another way to improve smiles is by eating healthy.  When mouth bacteria come in contact with sugar, acid is produced.  The acid attack on teeth lasts about twenty minutes after eating a sugary snack, eventually leading to tooth decay.

Keeping current with dental appointments is the best way to identify and treat potential or existing dental problems. Furthermore, it helps dental professionals identify any aspects of your current oral hygiene care that may need adjustment.

For further information contact the 99th Dental Squadron at (702)653-2600.

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