Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist


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Christopher Banks and Zach Link

Christopher Banks, a D.C.-area dentist, Fixes Gay Bashing Victim’s Teeth for Free

Often when we see a heartbreaking news story we think, “I wish there was something I could do.” After finding out the details of Zach Link and his partner’s violent assault, Christopher Banks, a D.C. area dentist did more than just wish. He sprang into action.

On April 15, Zach Link and his partner were viciously attacked on U Street in D.C. at around 12:30 a.m. After being verbally assaulted and repeatedly punched and kicked in the face, Mr. Link discovered that his smile was literally shattered. His broken teeth served as a constant reminder of his experience, affecting him more mentally and emotionally than he first wanted to admit. A friend connected Mr. Link with Dr. Christopher Banks of Capital Cosmetic Dentistry who not only agreed to consult with him on repairing his broken teeth, but did so free of charge.

In a statement to WJLA TV, Dr. Banks said:

Without knowing the depth, breadth, and expense of Zach’s injuries, I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful, loving LGBT community before anything else,” Banks said in a statement. “It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ’one.’

He later posted on Facebook to Mr. Link’s page, “Having you in the office today was a reminder of why I became a dentist in the first place. Being able to restore your smile has brought me such great joy.”

While the assault itself is still under investigation, Dr. Banks has successfully helped erase its lasting physical impact by restoring Mr. Link’s teeth to their original form. He has also reminded a community what it means to reach out in a time of need.

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snoring and oral appliances

Turn to Dupont Dental for Snoring and Oral Appliances Help

Snoring used to be looked upon as nothing more than a nuisance that caused spouses to shake their loved one awake so they could reposition themselves and everyone could then get a good night sleep. Thanks to fairly recent research though it’s now evident that snoring is far from the benign occurrence that everyone thought it was. Of the estimated 60 million Americans who snore, about 18 million of them also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

What Exactly is Snoring?

To better understand snoring, OSA and its effects on a person, it’s important to define snoring accurately. Snoring occurs when your breathing is obstructed in some manner as you sleep. It results in the pharyngeal tissue vibrating as you breath. This obstruction could be the result of various factors including increased fat deposits caused by obesity. When a person takes a sedative or drinks alcohol before going to sleep, an increase in snoring could result. This is because the pharyngeal airway collapses more.

Another common cause of snoring is when the tongue becomes too relaxed. If this is the cause of snoring, it can be corrected easily by wearing an oral appliance. This device works by moving both the tongue and the lower jaw forward enough so that the airway stays open while the person is sleeping.

Perceptions Slowly Change

Until recently, it was thought that snoring was limited to being a social problem. Having a partner who snores can have a serious and negative impact on that person’s well-being. In addition to leading to daytime fatigue, having a partner who snores could result in the couple having separate bedrooms. It can also have a negative effect on the health of the bed partner. A recent report by USA Today found that of those couples who were aged 40 and older, 27 percent slept in separate spaces. It’s expected that as obesity in the population increases, so will the percentage of couples who must deal with snoring.

Snoring and Health Risks

Instead of being solely a social problem that largely affects only those around them, the person who snores is also at risk of side effects from OSA. These include heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and even death. If you are a snorer, it’s important to seek out care from a dentist with experience in the oral appliances that can put a stop to obstructive sleep apnea.

How Oral Appliances Can Help

While the health risks associated with snoring are scary, there are effective snoring remedies that can help. Two devices that are effective are a tongue retaining mouthpiece and a mandibular advancement device (MAD). The tongue retaining mouthpiece keeps the tongue from relaxing over the airway while the MAD moves the jaw forward to keep the airway open.

Working closely with your physician is the key to determining the right snoring solutions for your sleep apnea. At Dupont Dental, we custom design these oral devices, so they work comfortably and effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for more information.

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fluoride vs antiseptic mouthwash

Fluoride vs Antiseptic Mouthwash – Who Wins and Why?

Mouthwash is an element of dental care that doesn’t seem to have the same level of respect as some others. In fact, about 52 percent of Americans don’t realize that using mouthwash provides valuable benefits to both their dental and overall health. While it’s true that brushing and flossing are arguably the most important steps you can take to care for your teeth at home, it’s highly recommended that you add the use of mouthwash to your daily routine.

What’s the Best Mouthwash for You?

With the array of mouth rinse options available today, it can be difficult to know which one is the right one for you. The list below can help you sort out the ones that are available to help any dental issues or health concerns you might have.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is often a reason why people might consider using mouthwash. If that is your primary reason, and you don’t have significant tooth decay or gum disease, the best mouthwash for you will be one that contains zinc and chlorine. This is because these ingredients help defuse the sulfur compounds that cause foul smells.

Also, some mouth rinses contain cetyl pyridinium, a germicide that helps fight gum disease while also helping to fight plaque. These tend to taste better than antibacterial mouthwashes.

Gum Disease

If you are also concerned about fighting gingivitis — perhaps better known as the first stage of gum disease — as well as bad breath, it’s better to look for an antibacterial mouthwash that contains certain ingredients. Products that contain methyl salicylate, eucalyptol, thymol, and menthol are the only ones that have earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA) because of their effectiveness when it comes to reducing plaque and gum disease. In fact, studies have shown that using an antibacterial mouth rinse could slash the number of bacteria in your mouth by 75 percent on average.

Periodontitis

If you have periodontitis, it’s likely that you’ll need a prescription mouthwash. Periodontitis occurs when gum disease has advanced to a serious infection. This infection destroys the bone that provides the support that teeth need to be healthy and functional.

A prescription mouthwash contains chlorhexidine as its active ingredient. Chlorhexidine has been proven to have greater antibacterial properties than the ingredients that are found in mouthwash brands that can be purchased over the counter. In addition to the fact that most prescription mouthwashes contain alcohol, the chlorhexidine they also contain can stain your teeth brown. For this reason, prescription mouthwashes require close monitoring by a dentist.

To get the best results out of using mouthwash, it’s important to know about the health of your mouth. By visiting your dentist as recommended, you have a regular assessment of your oral health and can choose your mouthwash accordingly. At Dupont Dental, we can perform a thorough dental checkup and make a recommendation regarding the best mouthwash for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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all about tooth decay

All About Tooth Decay

Dentists in Washington D.C and other places often talk about tooth decay. You know that tooth decay isn’t a good thing, but what exactly is tooth decay? What causes it, and what treatments are available to treat tooth decay?

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is a general term that refers to degradation of one or more parts of the tooth. Tooth decay can lead to holes in the tooth, cracks, and chipping. Left untreated, tooth decay can also lead to gum disease, and even more severe health issues, such as heart disease. There’s no reason to let tooth decay continue to such extremes, however. With regular dental visits, no one has to experience tooth decay.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

The underlying cause of tooth decay is bacteria. Oral bacteria make acid that constantly eats away at the teeth. The bacteria comes from plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth. You can feel plaque buildup when you run your tongue over your mouth and detect a filmy substance. When you brush away plaque, that filmy feeling is gone.

Bacteria growth is accelerated when you eat sugary foods or drink sugar-laden beverages. It’s further accelerated when you don’t brush and floss your teeth enough.

The filmy substance called plaque can harden over time, making it impossible to brush away simply. When plaque hardens, only a dental professional can remove it. In the meantime, the acid from the bacteria in plaque continues to eat away at the teeth. This is just one reason why it’s so important to have regular dental visits.

What Parts of the Tooth Can Be Affected by Tooth Decay?

The Tooth is made up of several different layers. The surface of the tooth is made up of enamel. It serves as a protective outer layer. The next layer is called dentin. When enamel is eroded due to tooth decay, the dentin begins to be affected, causing what you know as a toothache. The center of the tooth is referred to as the pulp. The pulp contains the nerve endings and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. All of these parts are susceptible to tooth decay.

Who Can Get Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, including children. In fact, it’s recommended that children have their first dentist visit even before the first tooth erupts to the surface since tooth decay can affect teeth beneath the gum line.

How is Tooth Decay Treated?

The first line of defense against tooth decay is proper oral hygiene at home. Your dentist can guide you as to the latest recommended guidelines for brushing, flossing and rinsing. If you do develop tooth decay, there are many options for treatment, depending on the severity of the problem. These include filling cavities, fluoride treatments, bonding, extraction, dental implants and root canals. Some of these treatments are serious and invasive, while others are less severe.

Tooth decay doesn’t have to get to a stage where extraction and implants are necessary. Your dentist in Washington, D.C. can help you keep tooth decay from ever becoming an issue. Contact us today to book your appointment!

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causes treatments tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity 101: Causes and Treatments

If you have ever experienced tooth pain after eating an ice cream cone or taking a sip of hot coffee, you know that tooth sensitivity can be very irritating. Although tooth pain is never a welcome sensation, know that you are not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, up to 40 million people experience tooth sensitivity at some point. What causes tooth sensitivity and what treatments are available to ease the symptoms?

What does “tooth sensitivity” mean?

Tooth sensitivity refers to pain or discomfort while eating or drinking hot, cold, or acidic foods. Even the cold air outside can trigger a bout of tooth sensitivity! This sensation is often described as a sharp pain that shoots throughout the affected tooth or teeth.

Causes of tooth sensitivity

But what causes certain teeth to be predisposed to this sensitivity? Often, sensitivity issues occur when the dentin, or tooth’s root, is exposed. As tooth enamel erodes or is damaged, the enamel loses the ability to shield the dentin from irritating substances. Understanding the cause of your tooth sensitivity can play a role in how you treat your condition. Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Diet: The food and drink choices we make play a large part in sensitivity issues. Acidic drinks like soda can wear down enamel quickly, causing the dentin to be at risk of sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  • Wearing down enamel during brushing: Using an abrasive toothpaste or brushing vigorously can prematurely wear down enamel.
  • Aging: The National Institutes of Health estimate that the peak of tooth sensitivity is in individuals aged 30-40. The structure of teeth may change as we age, enamel can be worn down over time, and receding gum lines can contribute to exposed dentin.
  • Cracked or chipped tooth: Injuries to a tooth can also expose the sensitive dentin.
  • Teeth grinding
  • Teeth whitening treatments: Sensitivity is often cited as a common side effect of such treatments. Although, in this case, it tends to be temporary sensitivity.
  • Periodontitis

What types of treatment are available?

If you’ve experienced tooth sensitivity, your dentist may be able to help you find relief. The first step is to determine the cause of your sensitivity, as treatments will vary depending on the cause. Is diet to blame? If so, making a few dietary changes, such as eliminating soda, can help prevent further enamel erosion. Is a vigorous brushing routine to blame? If so, that can also be amended by switching toothpaste and using more gentle brushing strokes; your dentist will be able to suggest an appropriate toothpaste and rinse for sensitive teeth.

If your dentist determines that your tooth sensitivity is caused by more advanced issues, like a chipped tooth, you will have to address that problem before the sensitivity can be resolved.

Do hot, cold, and acidic foods make you cringe?

You don’t need to avoid hot coffee, ice cream, or lemon water any longer. Contact us today, and we can get you on the path towards relief!

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hard candy bad for teeth

Why Hard Candy is Bad For Your Teeth

Do you have a sweet tooth? A sweet treat now and then is a perfectly acceptable way to indulge in that sweet tooth; however, the kind of treats you pick can affect your oral health. We already know that sweets and desserts tend to be high in sugar, but candy – especially hard candy – can negatively affect your teeth. Here’s the scoop on what’s in your candy dish.

Types of candy

Candy is a large category of sweets that encompasses everything from chocolate bars to truffles to lollipops and butterscotch candies. Not all candy affects your oral health in the same way.

  • Sticky or chewy candy, including gummy type candies, caramels, taffy, toffees: These types can dislodge dental and orthodontic appliances.
  • Chocolates
  • Hard candies, including peppermints, butterscotches, lollipops, lozenges

Why is hard candy bad for my teeth?

Most candies are created with a base of sugar and fat. Softer candies tend to have more fat than the hard candies (i.e., soft caramel has more butter and cream than the hard caramels). The hard candies have much more sugar; this is part of what makes them hard.

However, all of that sugar creates the perfect environment for cavities. Not only is there an increased amount of sugar, but the sugar sits for a prolonged time on the teeth while the hard candy melts and dissolves in the mouth.

The link between sugar and cavities

Sugar by itself does not create a cavity, but sugar does feed the bacteria that cause cavities. As the bacteria feed on sugar, they produce acid, and it is that acid that eats away at the tooth enamel.

What kind of candy can I eat?

We get it; no one wants to hear that they have to ban candy forever, but choosing the right candy and taking the necessary steps can help you safely enjoy the candy you do eat. Chocolate tends to be a better choice (as opposed to hard candy or chewy candy) because it rinses off the teeth much easier and does not sit in the mouth as long as a hard candy does.

Still, if you choose to eat hard candy, you can minimize the impact on your oral health, by following these steps:

  • Eat candy in moderation: The more you eat, the more sugar that is introduced into your mouth.
  • Drink water after eating candy: Water helps flush out any lingering sugars from the candy.
  • Eat candy with a meal: Once you finish your veggies, of course! Because your mouth has already produced more saliva during the mealtime, eating candy with a meal helps prevent decay.The salvia fights the acid in your mouth and also helps flush out the sugar quicker.
  • Floss and brush: As soon as you are able, floss and brush after eating candy.

Whether you treat yourself to a piece of candy once a week or once a month, remember to keep your routine dental appointments and to maintain a solid oral care routine. If you have questions about hard candy or cavities, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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dried fruit oral health

Dried Fruit and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Did you know that only 10% of Americans meet the minimum recommendation for daily fruit servings? Fruit isn’t just a sweet treat for breakfast; fruit can be a wonderful source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), antioxidants, and fiber. As a bonus, diets rich in fruits (and vegetables) can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Benefits of dried fruit

Nutritionists recommend eating a certain number servings per day (ranging from one cup for children and up to 2 cups per day for men), and those servings can come from fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, and even dried fruit. Dried fruit is a popular choice for many people because:

  • Dried fruit is not as fragile as fresh fruit
  • It is easy to carry to work or school
  • Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit
  • Due to high fiber content, dried fruit helps regulate the digestive system
  • Dried fruit is convenient as it does not need to be washed, peeled, or cut

Dried fruit and dental issues

Despite the health benefits of dried fruit, you may have heard that dried fruit is not an ideal food, regarding dental health.

  • Sticky: The American Dental Association recommends avoiding sticky foods, especially for those with dental appliances in their mouth. Sticky foods can also cause problems because the food sits on the teeth longer than other foods.
  • Sugar content: Because excess sugar consumption can lead to dental caries, many individuals worry that eating too much dried fruit can introduce too much sugar into the mouth. Ounce per ounce, dried fruit contains more sugar than fresh. However, the portion size of dried fruit is 30 grams compared to 80 grams of fresh fruit.
  • Damage to dental pieces: The stickiness of dried fruit can cause damage to braces, crowns, or other orthodontic pieces.

So is dried fruit good for us? Overall, yes. There are many positive benefits to eating dried fruit, especially if it hard for you to meet your minimum intake goals of fruit each day. Are the risks to dental health too much to risk? Eating dried fruit can be done with a few precautions.

But I love dried fruit! Now what?

Can’t get enough dried apricots in your oatmeal? Do you kids love raisins in their lunchbox? The good news is that dried fruit doesn’t have to be completely cut out of your diet! The British Nutrition Foundation studied the effects of dried fruit on dental health, particularly in children. Surprisingly, dried fruit “sticks” more to teeth when eaten alone. The solution? Include dried fruit with your meal rather than a stand-alone snack.

Additionally, after consuming dried fruit, dentists recommend the following:

  • Eat the recommended serving size of dried fruit to avoid eating too much sugar in one sitting
  • Rinse with water after eating dried fruit
  • Flossing: Pre-flossed flossers may be ideal in this situation
  • Brush your teeth: After eating any sticky or sugary food, brushing is recommended.

If you have questions about your particular dental history, call Dupont Dental today to learn how dried fruit may affect your specific dental appliances.

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diabetes and dental care

Diabetes and Dental Care: What You Need to Know

Did you know that diabetes can affect many body systems? From circulation to eyesight, diabetes can affect more than just your blood sugar levels. Diabetes can also lead to mouth and teeth issues. If you or a family member has diabetes, you may have questions about your specific oral care needs.

How are diabetes and dental care connected?

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. How? It is a vicious cycle that begins with high levels of glucose in your blood.

Because cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugars, if your sugar levels are elevated, there is a greater risk of tooth decay. With an abundant supply of sugar, the bacteria can go into overdrive to produce copious amounts of sticky film on your teeth. That sticky film is also known as plaque, which causes decay by eating away at your enamel, resulting in more cavities. Thus, more sugar in your blood means an elevated risk of cavities.

If the plaque is not removed, the increased levels of plaque can then increase your risk for gingivitis, which causes bleeding and tender gums. Unfortunately, gingivitis – if not treated quickly and properly – can lead to periodontitis, which is advanced gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious condition that threatens the integrity and strength of the bones in your jaw. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

To make the issues more complicated, patients with diabetes are more prone to infections and delayed healing times. The good news is that many of these issues can be prevented with good hygiene and regular appointments with your dentist.

What can you do to prevent issues?

Just because you have diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have major dental issues. There are many things you can do to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Most importantly:

  • Monitor and control your blood glucose levels: This includes following all instructions from the physician who manages your diabetes care.
  • Maintain a proper oral hygiene routine: Brush twice each day and maintain a regular flossing habit
  • Keep your regular dental appointments: Let your dentist know you have diabetes.
  • If prescribed medicated mouthwashes, follow the directions and remain vigilant with usage. Some mouthwashes are targeted for specific problems like bleeding gums or dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can exacerbate many diabetes-related issues, including oral care.

When to see the dentist

Whenever a problem arises in the mouth, it is always a good idea to speak with your dentist – whether you have diabetes or not. However, if you have diabetes, it is that much more important to address any issues as quickly as possible. Always call your dentist as soon as you notice problems such as:

  • Do you have pain or swollen gums? Are you having problems with your dentures fitting correctly or comfortably?
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad taste in the mouth not related to food
  • General aches or soreness in the mouth

How can we help you?

Do you have questions or concerns about diabetes and your dental care? Contact us today.

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baby teeth cleaning

How Important is Baby Teeth Cleaning?

You might assume that you don’t need to clean your child’s baby teeth or take your child to the dentist until they get their permanent teeth. After all, their baby teeth fall out, right? Yes, but getting your child’s baby teeth cleaned and examined is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s oral health. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of baby teeth cleaning — and why it’s never too early for your child to begin a great oral care routine.

Why should you get your child’s baby teeth cleaned?

Even though they only last a few years, baby teeth are extremely important for your child’s oral health and development, as well as his/her overall health. These baby teeth help children chew, speak and smile. Also, they hold space in the mouth for permanent teeth.

As soon as your child’s baby teeth come in (usually starting around six months old), tooth decay can begin. This not only causes pain for your baby, but it can also destroy your child’s teeth and gums. Also, an untreated cavity in a baby tooth can cause serious or even deadly infections. Furthermore, tooth decay can cause trouble with eating, which can lead to your child not getting enough vitamins and minerals to grow up healthily.

Even as an infant, beginning your child’s life with good oral care can help protect their teeth for a lifetime. It’s never too early to begin taking great care of your child’s oral health.

What can you do to help keep your child cavity-free?

To help keep your child’s mouth healthy, it’s vital to clean his/her baby teeth regularly. As soon as you see your child’s first tooth coming in, it’s important to start a few key habits:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums after he/she eats. (Try using a clean, damp washcloth.) This helps remove bits of food and plaque.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day (morning and night) with a child-sized toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth every time you brush them.
  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
  • Don’t put pacifiers in your mouth before giving them to your child. (Decay-causing bacteria in your mouth can easily be passed to your child.)
  • Limit the amount of juice, other sugary drinks, and sweets that you give your child.

When should your child see a dentist?

Dupont Dental usually does not see children until they are three years old, as this is the age when all baby teeth have come in, and children can typically fully understand and cooperate with an exam. However, if you have concerns and would like your child to be seen sooner, feel free to contact us anytime. We’re always here to answer any questions!

Remember: Even though baby teeth fall out, keeping them clean is the beginning of a healthy oral care routine for your much-loved child.

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periodontal disease diet

Enjoy Good Oral Health with a Preventive Periodontal Disease Diet

To prevent periodontal disease, it is necessary to have an effective oral health routine that includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. However, what you eat and drink is also an important factor.

Your Gums and Your Health

The condition of your gums reflects your general health. If all of your bodily systems are functioning as they should, your body is better able to fight inflammation and illnesses. This means that your gums are more likely to be healthy and able to fight off the bacteria that can cause gingivitis, the precursor to periodontal disease. However, if you are not consuming the right nutrients, the resulting nutritional deficiencies will cause your gums to suffer. To stave off periodontal disease, it is important that you provide the nutrients your body needs with a well-balanced diet.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is often considered to be an inflammatory disease. The bacteria that attacks your gums causes certain chemicals to be released in your gums, resulting in the inflammation of the tissue, which in turn, stimulates the nerves and creates sore, painful gums, infections, and loosened teeth. A healthy diet that contains plenty of anti-inflammatory foods with certain minerals and vitamins can help you have overall good health as well as good periodontal health.

Vitamin C

A deficiency in vitamin C is a common factor in people who suffer from gingivitis and periodontal disease, according to one study. Whether you eat an orange or drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, be sure that you get your required amount a Vitamin C every day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are very effective in reducing inflammation, and as a result, preventing periodontal disease. Foods that contain these acids include walnuts, flaxseed oil and fatty fishes, such as tuna and salmon.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that has a significant role in growing, healing and repairing cells. According to one study, people who had a diet rich in zinc had periodontal health significantly better than those who were deficient in zinc. Oysters are extremely high in zinc. Some other common sources of zinc include nuts and red meat.

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is a pigment and provitamin that gives many foods their orange color. Your body converts the substance into vitamin A, which is essential in the fight against inflammation and supporting health mucous membranes, such as your gums. According to research, non-smokers who consume diets that include foods that are high in beta-carotene can better fight off periodontal disease.

Make Wise Choices Regarding Your Diet

Here are some other dietary tips you can use to improve your oral health and avoid periodontal disease:

  • Consume plenty of foods that have calcium
  • Rinse thoroughly with water after eating sugar snacks
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda, or choose sugar-free options
  • Drink water regularly
  • Opt for whole-grain foods instead of those made with white flour

The right diet is just one part of what is needed to have good oral health. Ask Dupont Dental about what other steps you should take to ensure that you can avoid periodontal disease.

 

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