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West Des Moines Dentist Discusses Keeping Teeth Strong For Life

Teeth are very resilient. With proper care, there is no reason that your teeth can’t last your entire life.  Your West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, discusses several ways to ensure your smile remains white, bright, and fully functional for many years to come.

Sugar and Starch: Teeth’s Biggest Enemies

Your mom was right when she said that eating too much sugar would harm your teeth.  But she may not have understood exactly how sugar caused damage.  Sugar, along with starch, can ferment, which the natural bacteria in your mouth convert into acid.  It is this acid by-product that causes tooth decay.  The best way to avoid your teeth being bathed in that harmful acid is to avoid sugary and starchy foods as much as possible.  Be especially wary of carbonated drinks and sports drinks. If you must have something sweet, chew a piece of sugarless gum.  No matter what, however, be sure to brush and floss regularly.  Taking care of your mouth will reduce the amount of acid and bacteria present.

Avoiding Gum Disease

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States.  Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause pits and cavities in your gumline, which are perfect conditions for harmful bacteria to thrive.  Over time, bacteria can cause teeth to become loose and fall out.  Missing teeth can cause social embarrassment and can lead to further health issues.  Many medical experts believe that gum disease itself can lead to serious health complications in other parts of the body.  So it is imperative that gum health be maintained throughout life.  In addition to removing the dangerous acid, daily flossing, and twice-daily brushing will keep your gums healthy.  An anti-bacterial mouthwash will also be useful for killing off the bad bacteria.

Don’t Let Your Mouth Go Dry

While dry mouth, or xerostomia, rarely occurs naturally, it is a known side effect of over 800 different drugs.  If your body doesn’t produce enough salvia, much of the acid and bacteria that is normally washed away will be allowed to thrive in the teeth and on the gums.  If dry mouth is a side effect of one of your current medications, talk to your doctor about possibly changing the dosage.  If that is not an option, be sure to have some sugarless gum available, since the gum can promote salvia production.

Visit Your West Des Moines Dentist Every Six Months

No matter the condition of your oral health, it’s important to make sure you see your dentist every six months. At Valley Ridge Family Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care, no matter what your age is. Contact our 50266 family dental office by calling (515) 223-9764 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm