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Seven secret weapons against cavities from your Chicago dentist

Tooth bruses Unless you are a dental masochist, you want to keep your smile healthy and cavity free. We'll let you in on a closely guarded secret: You need to brush twice daily, floss once daily, and visit your dentist every six months. What? You've heard that before? Okay, you might be tired of hearing it (but it really is important), so here are a few tips you might not know:
  1. Get cheesy – Teeth, like bones, are partially made of calcium. Studies have shown that eating cheese increases the calcium level in saliva, which helps repair tooth enamel. Some research also suggests that a protein in cheese called casein helps prevent cavities.
  2. Chew gum – No, not the sugar-filled kind. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva, which helps rinse food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. However, not all sugar-free gum is created equal. Look for one with xylitol (a sugar substitute) listed as the first ingredient. Researchers have discovered that it has potent cavity fighting properties.
  3. Eat more candy – Did you ever think a dentist would recommend that? Sucking on a lollipop or other hard candy has the same saliva-stimulating properties as chewing gum. Like gum, it has to be sugar-free, and preferably sweetened with xylitol.
  4. Toast to dental health – You probably think of wine as bad for your teeth, because the red variety is a well-known cause of staining. However, new research indicates that compounds in red or white wine may kill oral bacteria, helping to prevent decay and gum disease.
  5. Snack on raisins – Researchers have discovered the same cavity fighting compounds that wine contains in raisins. Unfortunately, there is not a sugar-free variety of this snack, and they are sticky, so it's important to clean your teeth after eating.
  6. Drink through a straw – The Temple University in Philadelphia conducted a study, and determined that the damage from sugary beverages can be minimized if you use a straw, because most of the liquid bypasses your teeth. This also minimized the stains caused by dark beverages.
  7. Seal out cavities – Dental sealants provide a protective coating over the teeth, preventing acid, plaque, or bacteria from contacting the surface.

When you come in for your checkup, ask us for more tooth-saving tips. If you haven't been to Big Smile Dental in the last six months, call 773-772-8400 and schedule an appointment today.

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