Dental Tips Blog

Oct
9

Do Your Children Need Fluoride Supplements?

Fluoride has given humans a major advantage over tooth decay. Because many of today’s kids get regular fluoride exposure from a young age, their teeth are more resistant to cavities than those of their parents.

Sometimes, however, kids don’t get enough of the fluoride their smiles need.

What Are Fluoride Supplements?

A fluoride supplement is only available by prescription and may come in a drop, tablet, or lozenge. Other topical forms can be found in over-the-counter rinses and professional topical applications.

Like other minerals or nutrients, fluoride is beneficial in safe levels and can be harmful if too much is ingested. That’s why fluoride should be used in line with a dentist’s instructions.

Who Should Have Fluoride Supplements?

A supplement delivers this mineral directly to developing teeth via the bloodstream. It’s important for kids to get enough fluoride while their teeth are growing. But once tooth development stops, the systemic (ingested) method is no longer as effective.

Kids aged 6 months to 16 years may qualify for a fluoride supplement if they haven’t gotten enough in their drinking water. Supplements are also indicated where a child is at particularly high risk for getting cavities for any other reason.

Is A Supplement Is Right For Your Child?

If your child’s primary source of drinking water contains less than 0.7 parts-per-million of fluoride, then they may need an additional source. You can contact your local health department for information on fluoride levels in your area.

Your dentist will let you know whether a supplement is right for your child based upon a complete history of his or her fluoride exposure.

Posted on behalf of:
Carolina Smiles
3244 Sunset Blvd
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 794-2273

Oct
9

Chewing Gum: 4 Reasons to Smile!

A piece of gum after a meal can be good for your smile, dentists say. Here are four ways you can expect to benefit from occasional gum chewing.

  1. It Freshens Your Breath

This is obviously the number one reason anyone chews gum. We love the taste! Chewing gum can be found in virtually any flavor you can imagine. Mint is a popular choice because it makes breath sweet and clean after a meal.

  1. It Cleans Your Teeth

As you chew on a tasty piece of gum, you’ll notice an increase in saliva in your mouth. Chewing action stimulates saliva production that helps wash away acids and debris from food. Some people even feel that gum nabs those pesky leftovers that get stuck in the grooves on teeth.

  1. It Keeps Your Mouth Comfortable

If you have a problem with dry mouth, chewing on gum can help encourage extra saliva flow. You need spit to keep your mouth working smoothly! What’s more, saliva contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen enamel.

  1. It Distracts You From Bad Habits

Trying to quit smoking? How about a nail-biting habit? Chewing gum could be just the thing. When your mouth feels like it’s busy eating, you won’t be so inclined to put your fingers or a cigarette in there.

Just remember, chewing on a piece of gum is NEVER a substitute for daily brushing and flossing or for regular dental cleanings and checkups! You still need to physically remove plaque on a daily basis and have routine preventative dental care. Gum is just a nice freshener in between meals. Also, make sure you choose only sugar-free gum with XYLITOL to get all the benefits! Talk with your dentist or dental hygienist to get more tips on smile-smart gum chewing habits.

Posted on behalf of:
Atencio Family Dentistry
3773 Baker Ln #3
Reno, NV 89509
(775) 829-8684

Sep
22

Could In-Utero Fluoride Exposure Affect Cognitive Development?

A study by Environmental Health Perspectives (EPH) released in September 2017 suggested a link between high fluoride levels during pregnancy and subsequent low IQ scores in the babies born.

299 mother-child pairs in Mexico were followed for 12 years following the birth of the babies. The children were tested twice for intelligence according to standardized measurements. Samples of the mothers’ urine were analyzed for fluoride content.

There was a pattern indicating that kids’ IQ scores dipped lower in proportion with their moms’ increased levels of fluoride. Above 0.8 milligrams per liter, every 0.5 milligram increase was mirrored by a drop in the intelligence score.

Before you throw out your fluoride toothpaste in a panic, consider these facts:

  • Mexican mothers tested were exposed to fluoride via supplemented salt and dental products, not fluoridated water. They averaged levels of 0.9 mg/L in their urine.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has regulated water fluoridation to no more than 0.7 mg/L.
  • Developing babies are extremely sensitive to many minerals in large amounts, including iron and folate
  • There is no evidence fluoride affects children the way it may affect babies still developing in the womb
  • Many other naturally-occurring elements in “healthy” sources can prove toxic in high amounts, such as thiocyanate in kale
  • Even the researchers involved in this study admit that more and larger studies are necessary to prove the connection

If you use fluoride products according to the age-appropriate recommendations your dentist gives, then your family will be safe. As far as pregnancy goes, it’s best to contact your doctor or obstetrician for more information on safe fluoride use until more data becomes available.

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

Aug
30

Don’t Pack These in Your Kids’ Lunchboxes, Dentists Caution

Most of us adults have fond memories of opening our lunch bags to find mom packed us a goody to brighten our day at school.

If you have kids, you likely continue the tradition.

Yummy as sweet snacks may be, it’s important to think carefully about such decisions.

Dentists recommend that you avoid adding these items on a regular basis:

Sports drinks. Save these for game day when your kid is on the verge of dehydration. Consumed unnecessarily, sports drinks are an unbelievable source of enamel-eating acids and sugars.

Snack cakes. These are the highlight of any kid’s day! Just don’t make it their daily highlight. Sugary sweets contribute to diabetes and obesity as well as tooth decay.

Sugary granola bars. Although this sounds healthy, chewy refined grains smothered in syrup is a recipe for disaster if it all camps out on your child’s teeth for the rest of the day.

Don’t Forget A Toothbrush!

Whether your little mini-me likes healthy lunch options or not, you should always encourage diligent oral hygiene.

Actually, if you have a hard time getting your child to eat smile-friendly foods, then frequent proper brushing is all the more important. Keep a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste handy in their lunchbox, if they are old enough to use it appropriately.

By starting now, you can help your child lay the foundation for a bright and healthy future. Even if they don’t appreciate it now, they will thank you later! Smart snacking and regular brushing and flossing are the keys to avoiding tooth decay and cavities, spending less time in a dental chair, and spending less money on fillings, crowns and other dental restorations.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Aug
29

How Acidic Is Your Mouth?

Most of us aren’t too concerned with measuring the pH of our mouths on a regular basis. Your dentist probably won’t tell you to do that every day, anyway.

Even so, it’s good to educate yourself on a few basic facts of how acidity affects your smile.

What Is pH?

The pH scale goes from 1 to 14 with lower numbers being the acidic ones (like lemon juice and vinegar) and the higher numbers being basic (think baking soda and soap).

On the pH scale, 5.5 is a golden number: below this, tooth enamel starts to wear down. That’s right, under acidic conditions your teeth get weaker and more prone to cavities.

Another fun fact about high acidity: cavity-causing bacteria love acid and produce lots of it themselves. So an oral environment with a low pH, even by just a margin, is ripe for tooth decay.

Fighting Acid In The Mouth

Healthy human saliva clocks in at close to 7 on the pH scale. That’s a nice neutral number. In fact, it’s Nature’s way of cleaning your teeth and neutralizing any acid that is there. When people suffer dry mouth, they miss out on these great benefits.

On top of using saliva substitutes, you can also bring your pH levels up to par by:

  • Avoiding acidic drinks (juice, soda, sports drinks)
  • Cutting back on sugary carbs which metabolize into acids in the mouth
  • Snack on dairy items which neutralize pH
  • Up your fluoride intake and oral hygiene game to keep your enamel strong

See your dentist for more tips and product recommendations to fight the effects of acidity on enamel and reduce the need for dental fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Aug
7

Hidden Dangers of 4 Sneaky Oral Habits

Which of the following are you guilty of?

  1. Opening Packages With Your Teeth

Here’s one almost EVERYBODY has attempted. We’ve all been in that situation where we didn’t have scissors handy and just had to get that bag of chips open.

As useful and tough as your teeth are, try to not use them as tools! This is how unexpected fractures happen.

  1. Chewing On Your Tongue, Lip, Or Cheek

This habit is pretty insidious – it happens so easily without you knowing it! It’s kind of like nail-biting, but seems more sanitary since you aren’t putting your hands in your mouth.

The biggest concern is that chronic (though shallow) injury to soft tissues in your mouth can trigger dangerous growths later on. This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer, but it could be a contributing factor.

  1. Tongue-Thrusting

What is tongue-thrusting?

It’s simply the unconscious habit of pushing your tongue against the back of your front teeth. A lot of people don’t realize they have this problem until a dentist shows them how it’s caused their buck-toothed look. Many times, it’s the result of extended thumb-sucking or pacifier use as a child. It can create an “open bite” where your front teeth don’t close together properly.

  1. Ice Chewing

For some people, chewing on ice satisfies an odd craving. For others, it’s just a habit to nosh on the crunchy cubes in their soda. Either way, frequently eating ice is not good for teeth.

Tooth fractures, enamel wear, sensitivity, and loose fillings can all result from an ice crunching habit.

Need help kicking a harmful oral habit? Plan a chat with your local dental hygienist or dentist for tips on quitting.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000

Aug
7

Diabetes and Tooth Decay – What’s the Connection?

If you are living with diabetes, then you likely already know about the slew of complications that can follow. Being diabetic puts you at risk for infections, kidney problems, circulation complications, eye issues, and more.

Did you know that cavities should be on that list, as well?

Tooth decay and diabetes share a common denominator: sugar.

How Cavities Start

Cavities are holes in your teeth that are worn away by acid. This erosion can start with acids in your food, but it’s mainly caused by acid-producing bacteria. These germs feed on the carbohydrates that pass through your mouth and give off a waste product that destroys enamel.

This process affects everyone, with or without diabetes. Really, everyone needs to be alert to the concentration of simple carbohydrates their teeth are exposed to.

Diabetics in particular, however, need to be extra vigilant.

Diabetes Affects Your Decay Risk

Glucose is one of those simple carbohydrates that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. They thrive in a sugary environment. If your body isn’t processing sugar correctly, then your saliva will also register high levels of glucose.

All that extra sugar makes for an environment ripe for tooth decay. But this is usually only an issue if your blood sugar level is frequently out of control.

Diabetes doesn’t have to rule your life if you can keep it under control. By maintaining the best oral health possible, you can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your smile.

See your dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleanings. He or she will also recommend products to reinforce your teeth against decay and tools to make oral hygiene a breeze.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Aug
3

3 Worst Drinks for Your Smile

Why, oh why, do we have such a love-hate relationship with beverages?

In the non-stop pace of daily life, we’ve come to depend on the sugary and energizing drinks that are so readily available to us. The issue is simply that the most popular (and tastiest) beverages tend to be the worst for our teeth.  They cause tooth enamel erosion leading to tooth decay.  You can avoid unnecessary dental work such as fillings and crowns by limiting your consumption of certain beverages.

Take a look at just three examples:

  1. Soda

We all know sugary soda is bad news for teeth. But did you realize just how bad? Other tooth-harming ingredients in soda include:

  • Carbonation
  • Citric acid
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Caramel color

This makes for a powerhouse combination of enamel-eaters!

  1. Sports Drinks

Because sports drinks tend to be affiliated with physical activity, people tend to think that they are a healthy drink option.

Actually, they’re intended for cases of dehydration, which is why they’re loaded with sugar. That, in turn, is what increases the chance of tooth decay. On top of this, these liquids are also packed with citric acid which is also bad for enamel (it’s even worse than soda.)

  1. Coffee

How many sugary iced lattes do you sip on throughout the day?

Even if you take your coffee straight up, you aren’t sparing yourself the acidic effect it has on tooth enamel. Also, whether you like your coffee plain or loaded with cream, the dark pigments will leave a stain.

These drinks in moderation keep life interesting. But the next time you crave a pick-me-up, why not give your body what it needs? Good old water!

Get tips on making smile-smart drink choices. Check in with your local dentist to find out how you can keep your teeth strong, clean, and cavity-resistant.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Aug
3

How Fluoride Can Damage Kids’ Teeth

Is fluoride good for kids or not? There is a lot of information out there on behalf of both schools of thought. Some people believe that fluoride is a toxin while others advocate it passionately.

What do you know about how fluoride affects teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found all over the world. It’s an established fact that it strengthens enamel, but since it isn’t vital for life, it’s not considered a vitamin.

Cavities start when tooth enamel is worn down through a process called demineralization. Fluoride reinforces enamel to make it resistant to acids and bacteria.

Because fluoride is so good for building up tooth defenses, it’s good for kids to get plenty while their teeth are still developing.

But opponents of the mineral point to something called “dental fluorosis” to illustrate why the mineral is potentially dangerous.

What is Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is when too much fluoride is ingested during tooth development, causing incomplete enamel formation. The affected teeth may sport just a few chalky spots of decalcification or, in extreme cases, be mottled brown and pitted.

While these affected teeth are plenty resistant to cavities, they lose their potentially luminous appearance.

Why it Matters When the Exposure Occurs

Depending on how much fluoride a person is exposed to and when, the degree of fluorosis can vary. Typically, from birth until age 6 or 7 kids are most vulnerable to the effects of fluoride. After that point, the teeth are fully developed and cannot be adversely affected by fluoride any longer.

Young children need to have their fluoride levels carefully monitored. Some of this mineral, both topical and ingestible, is necessary for healthy teeth. But swallowing too much over time can cause unwanted changes in the teeth.

Talk with your dentist about safe fluoride use for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642

Jul
31

Moms-to-Be, Start Caring for Your Baby’s Smile NOW!

As you may know, your health as an expectant mother easily affects your growing baby. It’s important to watch what you eat, get plenty of exercise, and avoid exposure to harmful substances.

But are you also watching your smile?

Your oral health even now can have a big impact on your little one. Starting good habits now will help you keep your smile in good shape long after your baby’s arrival.

When to Get Dental Treatment

Dental cleanings and checkups during pregnancy are just fine. If restorative treatment becomes unavoidable, the second trimester is the best time to schedule. At this point, a lot of your baby’s critical development is finished, and your belly won’t be too big to be uncomfortable!

Gum Health Maintenance

You may notice your gums are a lot more sensitive now than before your pregnancy. This is normal due to all the extra hormones. You don’t need to be alarmed by the increased bleeding from your gums, but you should be very diligent about oral hygiene.

Gum disease is linked to premature births, so it’s very important for you to take care of your gums.

Your dentist may even recommend that you have one or two standard dental cleanings during your pregnancy to ensure that you stay healthy.

After Delivery Dental Care

It can be tricky to schedule dental care after the arrival of your baby! But it’s a good idea to get caught up on exams and x-rays as soon as possible to make sure there aren’t any new problems.

Visit your dentist to get suggestions on keeping your gums healthy and your teeth strong. Expectant women with healthy smiles are more likely to have children with healthy teeth!

Posted on behalf of:
Atlantic Dentistry
13474 Atlantic Blvd Suite 109
Jacksonville FL 32225
904-647-1800

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