Dental Tips Blog

Nov
27

Does Sugar Really Give You Cavities?

You might be surprised to learn the truth about this long-held dental belief.

Sugar is harmful to teeth and is connected to the cavity-making process. But it’s not as directly related as you previously thought.

How Sugar Harms Your Teeth

Sugar fuels a certain bacteria in your mouth that thrives on carbs. This species, S. mutans, produces an acidic waste product after consuming sugar. This acid is what creates cavities.

As the germs continue feeding on sugar, they wear away tooth enamel and move into the hole. Over time, these patches of bacteria and decaying structures can reach the nerve of the tooth where it causes an abscess.

Sugar is also to blame because sweet drinks, desserts, and candies also tend to contain acids. Acidic foods like vinegar and fruit juice are notorious for wearing down and weakening enamel. After regular exposure to acids, teeth become more susceptible to decay.

Avoiding Sugar

It’s now up to you to lower your risk for cavities by limiting simple carbohydrates in your diet.

You might choose to cut out some items altogether, such as soda. However, you can still enjoy sweet things from time to time. The trick is to limit the amount of time they’re on your teeth and fueling the bacteria.

Have a sweet drink with your meal rather than sip on it afterwards. Avoid snacking. Switch processed snacks for healthy foods like nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, sliced cheese, and whole grain crackers. These foods are less likely to lead to feed bacteria.

Above all, maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and fluoride use to prevent cavities. Also don’t forget your routine check ups twice a year. Ask your dentist about other ways to reduce your tooth decay risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Nov
27

Dentists Recommend Sealing Adult Teeth ASAP

The American Dental Association states that sealing adult teeth as soon as they emerge in kids’ smiles will help keep them “cavity free from the start.”

If you haven’t already, you’ll likely hear your local dentist or dental hygienist recommending dental sealants for your kids during their next checkup.

What Are Sealants?

A dental sealant is a tiny layer of white plastic-like material that bonds with the chewing surface of a back tooth (molar.) It takes less than a couple of minutes to seal a tooth and it requires no drilling or anesthesia.

Sealing a tooth fills in deep grooves on the chewing surface. These areas can be too deep for a toothbrush to reach. If toothbrush bristles can’t clean out those fissures, then they become prime hideouts for cavity-causing bacteria and acids.

Benefits of Sealing Teeth

  • Prevent decay early on
  • Make tooth brushing more effective
  • Avoid staining in deep pits and fissures
  • Reduce plaque buildup
  • Save money on dental treatment

Why Seal Early?

Baby teeth don’t necessarily need sealants. They can be kept clean enough with proper brushing, thanks to their anatomy. But new adult teeth are at a higher risk.

Kids tend to have a hard time brushing their teeth thoroughly twice a day. Sealants give them a bit of an advantage by lowering a tooth’s cavity risk even if the brushing routine is spotty.

Your child will have their adult teeth for the rest of their life. As much as possible, you want to spare them the expense and discomfort of having to treat tooth decay later on. Sealants are a great way to help your child enjoy a healthy smile for years.

Ask your dentist whether your child is ready to have his or her back teeth treated with protective sealants.

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

Nov
27

Medications That Affect Oral Health

Thanks to a limitless variety of medications, humans are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life.

But there are very few drugs that have zero side-effects. Nearly all common medications affect our mouths and teeth in some way.

How is your oral health being affected by the medications you currently take?

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. This spells trouble for the mouth as saliva keeps tissues comfortable, remineralizes enamel, and washes away bacteria that cause disease.

The list of meds that dry up saliva is extensive but includes some common drugs such as:

  • Allergy medications
  • Decongestants
  • Painkillers
  • Antacids
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antidepressants

If you take any of these long-term, you may need extra fluoride and saliva substitutes.

Abnormal Bleeding

Warfarin, heparin, and aspirin may be prescribed to prevent stroke and heart disease. But these blood-thinners can also complicate any oral surgery or treatment for gum disease, by causing excessive bleeding.

Altered Taste

NSAIDs, asthma inhalers, and nicotine patches are all known for causing an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth.

Excessive Gum Growth

We need healthy levels of gums to protect and anchor teeth. But if gums grow too high, they can trap more plaque bacteria than normal. Plaque causes inflammation that can attack the ligaments holding teeth in place. Plaque also discolors enamel and promotes cavity-formation.

You may not be able to entirely avoid the gum-enlarging effects if you’re taking anti-rejection drugs for a transplant, calcium channel blockers, or anti-seizure medication. Talk with your dentist for advice on oral hygiene techniques.

Contact a dentist with experience in treating patients with medical conditions for a routine oral exam and ask how your current medications may be affecting your oral health in a negative manner.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Nov
26

4 Dentist-Recommended Steps to Lower Your Risk for Tooth Decay

Are you one of those unfortunate individuals who feels doomed to getting cavities for life?

Some blame it on having “soft teeth” or poor dental genetics.

But you don’t have to accept your fate – you still have a say in whether or not you get cavities.

The following four steps are what most dentists recommend to patients who struggle with a high rate of tooth decay.

Get more fluoride.

This is first and foremost. Fluoride is a mineral essential to strengthening enamel. Once it’s incorporated into an area of enamel, that spot is less likely to decay. Get lots of fluoride in your toothpaste and mouth rinses, and ask your dentist about professional fluoride treatments.

Use a remineralizing toothpaste.

Select a toothpaste that will help strengthen weak spots in your enamel with ingredients like calcium phosphate.

Drink more water instead of soda, tea, coffee, etc.

Most other drinks that aren’t water tend to contain sugars, carbonation, or acids that have negative effects on enamel. Water will keep you hydrated and your saliva glands flowing freely. Saliva neutralizes acids that wear away enamel and start the decay process.

Limit snack times.

It’s not about how much sugar you eat – it’s about how long that sugar is in your mouth. The same goes for other carbohydrates. Carbs fuel cavity-causing bacteria. The longer they’re in your mouth, the longer the germs can burn through enamel. Shorten your snack sessions or limit eating to mealtime, only. Alternatively, swap snacks like crackers and cookies for tooth-friendlier options like fresh apples, carrot sticks, or nuts.

Want to lower your cavity risk even more? Call your dentist today to schedule a checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Nov
26

Your Child’s First Dental Visit – How to Prepare and What to Expect

If your child is schedule to have his or her first dental checkup, then you may be just as anxious as they are. Here’s what to look forward to:

How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

If you’re nervous, avoid letting your child pick up on it. Try to stay calm so that you can convince your child that the visit is something to look forward to.

Read children’s books that feature dental subjects and trips to the dentist to prepare your child. Watch fun cartoons on dental health. Have “practice” sessions at home in which you praise your child for letting you look into their mouth with a flashlight, much like a dentist will do.

Whenever you discuss dental appointments around your child, keep your tone positive so that they can look forward to their own visit.

What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Visit

The first appointment is meant to be entertaining, relaxed, and educational. Your child may be allowed to play with buttons on the chairside sink, spray water or air from a handpiece, and practice brushing on a set of model teeth.

Kids don’t usually need dental work right away. The first visit focuses on just getting them comfortable in the dental chair and familiar with the dentist, plus give you the tools necessary to avoid unwanted cavities!

When you bring your young child to his or her first trip to the dental office, you’ll have the chance to learn a lot about kids’ dental health. The dental team will explain the best way to brush your child’s teeth and what you can do to prevent decay.

Ready to schedule your son or daughter’s first dental checkup? Call a family dentist near you for more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Nov
26

Why Dentists Say Flossing Is Good for You

You know you should be flossing and you hear all the time that you need to floss every day, but do you really understand why?

Flossing Prevents Decay

Dental plaque is made up of bacteria. Some of these germs are responsible for causing tooth decay and love to hide out between teeth. Sugars and acids from the foods you eat also get stuck inside these areas. Flossing disrupts all these cavity-causers and reduces the chance that they’ll damage enamel.

Flossing Prevents Gum Disease

Gum disease is the gradual breakdown of ligaments and bone that hold your teeth in place. If you don’t treat gum disease, you’re setting yourself up for gum recession and tooth loss.

That’s not the worst of it. Research indicates that people with a chronic infection like gum disease are at a higher risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Gum disease begins when your gums get inflamed from a bacterial infection. The bacteria are found in – you guessed it – dental plaque. Flossing removes plaque that gets left between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Flossing Prevents Tartar Buildup

Tartar is the layman’s term for dental calculus. That’s the chalky, gritty, yellow, calcium-like stuff that slowly grows on your teeth.

Calculus isn’t always harmful in itself – it’s just a collection of minerals and dead calcified plaque. But that rough texture can be irritating to gums. It also provides the perfect place for bacteria to cling to. Letting tartar accumulate unchecked can lead to serious problems.

Flossing reduces the amount of debris between teeth, which can calcify into that pesky tartar.

Now that you know how important flossing is, ask your dentist about an effective flossing technique.

Posted on behalf of:
Greencastle Dental
195 Greencastle Road
Tyrone, GA 30290
(770) 486-5585

Nov
19

Should You Try Treating Cavities Naturally?

Natural tooth decay remedies claim that you can reverse tooth decay with natural techniques that trigger the growth of dentin. But are they real?

Can Teeth Repair Themselves?

Cavities occur when decay-causing bacteria produce an acid that eats a hole through tooth enamel.

Left untreated, decay can break through the enamel layer to the softer dentin, where it spreads rapidly and can quickly reach the tooth’s nerve.

Your teeth only generate high-quality dentin while they’re first developing. This process stops once teeth mature and emerge out of the gums. The same is true of enamel.

Now, your teeth are constantly putting up a weaker secondary kind of dentin around the pulp to protect the tooth from aging and decay. But this process isn’t fast enough to keep up with the rapid action of cavities. At best, this new layer might only stop decay rather than rebuild the tooth.

So if a tooth naturally can’t rebuild itself fast enough to reverse decay, then things like oil pulling or a strict diet won’t help much, either.

Prevent and Treat Decay Early

Minerals like fluoride are proven to strengthen existing enamel against decay. Brushing and flossing daily are proven to reduce cavity-causing bacterial buildup on teeth. A diet low in simple carbs can also help you avoid decay.

There have been a couple medical breakthroughs which suggest that we’ll soon see medications that do encourage damaged teeth to quickly regenerate. But until that time, prevention is the ideal approach.

For now, the best solution to save teeth is to remove decaying structures and fill in the opening with inorganic material (in other words, get a filling.)

Get more scientifically-supported suggestions for preventing cavities by visiting your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565

Oct
22

Why You Might Need an “FMR”

FMR stands for full mouth restoration, reconstruction, or even rehabilitation, depending on who you ask. Whatever you call it, FMR treatment has one ultimate goal: getting your mouth back to functioning in a healthy manner.

Here are some situations in which you may need to have FMR.

Cancer and Trauma

Oral cancer comes in many forms and can necessitate removal of a portion of the jaw. To restore your smile, you may need implants, bone and gum grafts, or dental prosthetics. The same is true if you experience a serious injury.

Years of Dental Neglect

There are many reasons people neglect their smile: fear of dentists, substance abuse, lack of funds. Even some eating disorders can wreck teeth in a matter of months. If your teeth haven’t been seen by a dentist in ten years or more, there’s a chance you’ll have quite a bit of work to restore them.

Severe Periodontal Disease

When gum disease ravages a smile, it leaves behind deformed bone, bad breath, receding gums, and missing teeth. You may need a lot of periodontal therapy to rebuild your smile after a bout with chronic periodontal disease.

Developmental Defect

Some people are so unfortunate as to never have known a comfortable smile. A bite discrepancy could make it difficult for children to speak and eat properly and can also affect tooth alignment. If you were born with a “bad bite,” then you may be a candidate for restoration that includes jaw alignment surgery.

Teeth Grinding Habit (Bruxism)

Severe teeth grinding can result in: lost enamel, fractured and loose teeth, and severe gum recession.

Ask your dentist about an FMR if you’ve experienced any of these situations.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Oct
22

What to Do When Your Child’s Tooth Is Knocked Out

It’s a traumatic event for everyone involved – your kid is freaking out over the blood and you’re horrified to realize a tooth is missing.

What do you do?

  1. Locate the tooth.

First of all, establish whether the tooth was an adult or baby tooth and try to find it. If it was a baby tooth that fell out prematurely, you still need to see a dentist but the situation isn’t so urgent.

When it comes to an adult tooth, on the other hand, timing is everything.

  1. Calm and clean up your child.

Bring your child to a sink where he or she can spit out blood and rinse out their mouth. Try to calm him or her down and place some clean gauze or tissue over the trauma site. Get them to bite down, as the pressure will help stop the bleeding.

  1. Clean the tooth.

When you’ve found the tooth, handle it by the crown and avoid touching the root, if the tooth is still intact. Rinse it off very gently in clean water; do not use any soap and do not scrub the tooth.

  1. Store the tooth safely.

At this point, if you have a whole, intact adult tooth in your hand, it’s a good idea to try placing it back in the socket. This is the best place since it increases the odds that the tooth will reattach to the gum fibers in the socket.

If replacing the tooth isn’t an option, store it in a small container of milk or the child’s saliva.

  1. Call a pediatric dentist ASAP.

A kid’s dentist needs to evaluate your child’s tooth to see whether successful reattachment is possible. If not, he or she will discuss options for repairing or replacing the tooth.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-4377

Oct
21

Does Your Child Need Fluoride Supplements?

It’s extremely important for kids to get enough fluoride during childhood while their teeth are developing. Fluoride benefits the still-growing teeth when it is ingested in drinking water.

Kids need just enough fluoride to prevent decay. But too much of this mineral exposure can have an opposite effect by damaging the enamel.

So how do you know if your children are getting just the right balance of fluoride in their toothpaste and drinking water?

Safe and Effective Fluoride Levels

The American Dental Association recommends that drinking water contain a fluoride concentration of 0.7 parts per million. This is sufficient for the body to absorb what it needs over time without taking up a harmful amount.

Find out how much fluoride is in your family’s drinking water by contacting your community’s municipality. It’s a good idea to ask your child’s school, as well, if he or she drinks a lot of the water there or eats meals prepared with the school’s drinking water.

Children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years who get insufficient fluoride from their drinking water may need a supplement.

Where to Get Supplements

A fluoride supplement is only given with a dentist or pediatrician’s prescription. Not all children need them.

In the meantime, make sure your child brushes with a fluoride toothpaste every day. Toddlers and infants too young to spit out excess toothpaste should have you brush their teeth for them with just a smear of fluoride toothpaste. There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to this topical fluoride exposure!

Talk with your child’s dentist or doctor to find out more about your child’s cavity risk and how fluoride treatments can help.

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

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