Dental Tips Blog

Apr
22

3 Things You Need to Know About Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is underestimated far too often. Knowing the facts can help you make smart decisions for your family’s health.

  1. Decay Is Highly Preventable

Cavities are a disease caused by a specific kind of bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans.

While you can’t avoid this bacteria, you can keep it from wreaking havoc on your teeth.

A diligent routine of brushing and flossing will help you keep the germs at bay. Limit how often you have simple carbohydrates in your mouth since these are what the bacteria feed on. Strengthen your tooth enamel with fluoride and other remineralizing agents.

A little prevention can help you completely avoid a costly root canal.

  1. Decay Is Contagious

At this point, you already know that tooth decay is a bacterial infection. We often acquire the bacteria from our parents and continue to share the germs back-and-forth with anyone else we kiss or share a straw with.

This also means that decay spreads tooth-to-tooth. If you have one cavity, you can’t afford to ignore it since it will only go on to infect the next tooth, doubling your problems.

  1. Decay Is Dangerous for Kids

Just because they’re baby teeth doesn’t mean they should be allowed to continue decaying. Children’s cavities can hurt and abscess just like adults’ do. Dental abscess in children can even spread to the brain. When a baby tooth decays untreated, that can also affect the health of the adult tooth yet to arrive.

The takeaway here is that tooth decay is not something to view lightly. If you suspect a cavity in you or anyone else in your family, ask your dentist to look at it right away.

Posted on behalf of:
Bayshore Dental Center
810 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #2900
Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 330-2006

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

Jul
17

Say Cheese! Cheddar May Benefit Your Smile

Posted in Fillings

One recent study strongly suggests that cheese could be an anti-cavity super food.

This study compared the effects of different dairy products on the pH levels inside of the human mouth. Some study participants drank milk, others ate yogurt, and the rest ate cheese.

Study Results

Each person ate their assigned snack for three minutes and then rinsed with water. pH readings were taken at 10, 20, and 30-minute intervals after eating. While the milk and yogurt didn’t make the mouth more acidic, the cheese caused pH levels to spike.

High pH levels means a more alkaline environment. This is good news for your teeth, since acid is responsible for wearing down enamel. A basic food item like cheese helps to neutralize acids that your mouth does encounter.

Other Benefits of Cheese

Cheese is a great source of calcium and casein. These elements show evidence of preventing the formation of plaque and reinforcing enamel.

Finally, there’s nothing like a tangy piece of sharp cheddar to get the saliva glands flowing. Saliva is your body’s natural way of neutralizing acid. It also washes away bacteria and food debris.

Snacking on cheese makes more spit, and that’s a good thing!

None of this is to say that chewing cheese will take the place of brushing! Maintaining a routine of good oral hygiene is still the best way you can prevent cavities and avoid dental fillings.

It’s just nice to know that one of America’s favorite foods is now on your dentist’s list of smile-friendly snack recommendations. Even if you melt some cheddar in pasta or rice, you’ll still get great benefits.

You’ve got a great reason to smile when you say “Cheese!”

Posted on behalf of:
Park Slope Dental Arts
506 3rd St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 962-0300

May
1

Top 3 Most Common Places Your Tooth Can Get a Cavity

Posted in Fillings

Cavities don’t happen at random. They’re the result of acidic bacteria that have dug out a hiding place in the tooth. A cavity forms when the enamel wears away from too much acid exposure.

Places where these bacteria thrive undisturbed are the most likely areas to suffer a cavity.

  1. Between Teeth

Remember how your dentist gets on your case about flossing? This is one of the reasons why. Cavities most commonly form in between back teeth which are overlooked in the cleaning process. Flossing helps to disrupt the colonies of bacteria and limits their ability to trigger decay between teeth.

  1. On Chewing Surfaces

All those little grooves you see on the tops of your chewing teeth are great hiding places for cavity-causing bacteria. Food debris packs into those little spaces and provides the fuel bacteria need to do their dirty work.

The kicker is that toothbrush bristles can’t reach the bottom of those little valleys. You can reduce bacterial buildup here with:

Dental sealants

Fluoride use

Professional dental cleanings

Limiting how many sticky sweet carbs you eat

  1. On Root Surfaces

Root cavities are particularly dangerous because of how quickly they advance. Your roots don’t have much in the way of protection. They lack the enamel layer that covers the crown of your tooth.

After your tooth roots are exposed via gum recession, they become especially prone to developing cavities. At this point, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly and using lots of fluoride.

Do you suspect you have a cavity? For a thorough examination and to find out more about your individual cavity risk, plan a visit to your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224

Dec
18

How Do Cavities Form?

Posted in Fillings

No one likes hearing that they have a new cavity and need yet another filling. It could feel like you’re chasing them down every dental visit.

What makes teeth prone to growing spots of decay?

The Culprits of Tooth Decay

You could chalk up the cause of cavities to bacteria. A cavity isn’t just one rotten spot – it’s the result of a high concentration of cavity-causing bacteria. These bacteria are everywhere in the mouth, but when they stay in one spot too long, they’ll cause a cavity.

These bacteria produce a waste product that’s acidic to teeth. So as the germs thrive on a tooth, they gradually eat their way through it. The acid wears down tooth enamel and creates a cozy little hole for the bacteria to live in.

And boom! A cavity.

A cavity finds it’s way straight through the tooth to the soft inner chamber of nerves. At this point, you’re looking at an infection called an abscess.

Where Does Sugar Come In?

Sugar and other simple carbohydrates can have an acidic effect on tooth enamel. Exposing your teeth to lots of sugar and sticky carbs will definitely speed up the cavity process by weakening your teeth.

What’s more, cavity-causing bacteria live off of the sugar you eat. Their only job is to transform sugar into acid – the acid which permanently damages your teeth.

Repairing Cavities

First, your dentist has to clean out all the damaged structure left behind by a cavity. All traces of infected tooth are cleaned away and the delicate hole is sealed up with a filling.

Ask your dentist to find out what else you can do to prevent cavities.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

Nov
30

Why am I Told That I Need Another Filling at Every Dental Visit?

Posted in Fillings

Honestly, the best way to get an answer is to ask your dentist about it. Cavities are often discovered when your routine x-rays are taken. Perhaps you’ve notice that each new x-ray reveals yet another cavity.

What’s going on here? Contrary to the suspicions of some, most dentists are not looking to line their pockets by charging for unnecessary fillings. There are legitimate reasons why some folks have to chase after cavities more frequently than others.

How’s Your Health?

Certain health problems like diabetes are linked to a higher cavity risk. You might not be entirely in control of conditions that affect your body’s ability to fight off cavity-causing bacteria.

About Your Oral Hygiene

Be honest now: how hard are you working to actually prevent cavities?

Cavities most commonly form between teeth right at the spot where teeth touch. Flossing is the best way to access these space and disrupt the bacteria that can cause cavities. Brushing and rinsing also prevent bacteria-loaded dental plaque from accumulating on your teeth.

If you slack off frequently with your flossing and brushing, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that cavities continually develop.

Diet Makes a Difference

Simple carbs, processed foods, sugary drinks… basically all of the things we love to eat or drink are things cavity-causing bacteria thrive on as well. A diet rich in junk will only encourage plaque growth. Sugar is acidic and can wear down enamel, giving bacteria a head-start on destroying your teeth.

You probably have more control over your cavity risk than you realize. Your dentist will help you figure out a cavity-prevention plan that’s just right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157

Nov
27

Where Do Cavities Come From?

Posted in Fillings

It’s just another ordinary morning. You’re brushing your teeth at the bathroom mirror. You open your mouth really wide to reach the back teeth when suddenly you see a dark spot on one of your teeth.

Many of us have had that moment of shock: is that dark stain a cavity?! Where do these small but annoying blemishes come from?

A Germy Situation

The first thing you should know is that tooth decay is caused by bacterial action. A specific kind of bacteria found in everybody’s mouth (S. mutans) produces an acid that erodes away tooth structure.

The process begins with demineralization of the tooth enamel. If the bacteria aren’t removed, they’ll only keep sizzling their way through the tooth until a cavity develops.

This cavity is a hole that the bacteria made. They get to hide in it while they continue breaking down the tooth. So, unless the bacteria-infected tooth material is removed, the destruction will only threaten the tooth even more.

“Then what does sugar have to do with it?”

You’ve heard that too much soda and candy causes cavities. That’s only partly true. Carbohydrates of almost any kind contribute to cavities because carbohydrates are what cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. The bacteria eat the same sugar you do!

Carbs in themselves can be quite acidic to teeth. Foods that have sugar or acid in them can get the cavity-process started by weakening tooth enamel.

Fighting Back!

Prevent cavities with:

  • A diet low in sweet drinks, sugary snacks, and processed foods
  • Great oral hygiene
  • Fluoride use

Visit your dentist to learn more about cavity prevention. And if he or she finds a cavity, get it filled before it gets bigger!

Posted on behalf of:
Definition Dental
12850 SW Canyon Rd
Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 644-8900

Nov
24

The Best Way to Prevent Cavities

Posted in Fillings

Unfortunately, as long as you have natural teeth, the risk of cavities is there. Some people are more prone to getting cavities than others. Maybe you’ve struggled with multiple fillings and crowns over the years.

Whether you’ve had cavities before or not, you could definitely use a plan for lowering your chances of getting one in the future!

A Comprehensive Approach

Preventing cavities doesn’t come down to just one technique. Teeth are actually kept healthy when you take several effective measures. These steps include:

  • Watching what you eat
  • Cleaning teeth properly
  • Reinforcing tooth enamel

Let’s consider how each step can be achieved and how it helps lower your cavity risk.

Limit Cavity-Causing Foods

Cavities are caused by bacteria that are commonly found in the mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars and carbohydrates in the foods you eat. So by watching the amount and frequency of the sugar you eat, you can limit the activity of the bacteria.

Some foods (especially flavored drinks) contain acids, which wear away tooth enamel, opening up the tooth to bacterial infection.

Diligent Brushing and Floss

Brush for at least two minutes two or even three times a day. Schedule a brushing session a half-hour after each meal if your cavity risk is already high. Cavities most commonly start in between teeth. Flossing will help get rid of the bacteria that hide out in those areas a toothbrush can’t reach.

Strengthen Your Teeth

Fluoride is known for successfully reinforcing the mineral structure of tooth enamel. Fluoride comes in over-the-counter rinses and most toothpaste. If you need a higher concentration, your dentist can provide you with a prescription-strength product.

Contact your local dentist for more tips!

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

Jun
23

I Brush and Rinse, So Why Floss?

It’s easy to wonder what good flossing does after your mouth is fresh and tingly from toothpaste and a powerful rinse! Flossing can be tricky and boring. Is just brushing and rinsing really enough?

How Plaque Works

The first thing you need to understand is the enemy you’re up against. This will help you choose the most effective tools for fighting oral disease.

Bacteria hide out in places hard to reach such as in between neighboring teeth. In addition to this, bacteria protect themselves by growing in deep layers of what you might call “slime.”

These germs, this “slime,” and food debris all make up dental plaque!

What Brushing and Rinsing Miss

A toothbrush works well for scrubbing at those valleys on the tops of back teeth. It also removes plaque from along the gum line. But does it reach in between your teeth?

“That’s where a rinse helps out,” you might say.

But how does a rinse work?

Some rinses feature fluoride, which helps protect teeth from cavities. Other germs have the potential to cause serious gum disease. There are rinses that aim to inhibit the growth of these bacteria, as well.

Remember how bacteria are protected in a “slime?” That’s right, a rinse often can’t penetrate this protective layer.

Flossing is Essential!

Flossing prevents cavities from forming between teeth. It physically removes bacteria and their protective slime. For most people, brushing and rinsing alone are just not enough! You can save your gums and teeth by making flossing a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.

Talk with your local dentist for a professional assessment of your oral health and to learn about the best plaque-control techniques.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Apr
6

Why Should My Child Get Dental Sealants?

If your child has their permanent back teeth in, your dentist has probably recommended that they get dental sealants. Since your mouth has germs that can cause cavities, sealants are one of the recommended ways to prevent them on back teeth.

Why Your Child Should Get Sealants

The main reason why sealants are recommended is that they help prevent tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Fluoride toothpaste protects the smooth tooth surfaces. The biting surfaces have deep grooves that can trap germs in your mouth. The toothbrush bristles are too big to reach those grooves on your teeth. A sealant will fill those deep grooves with a tooth-colored coating which seals out cavity-causing germs.

How are sealants placed?

Your dentist or dental hygienist can place sealants on your child’s teeth. The key to placing sealants effectively is to keep the tooth surface dry.

1)      Clean and rinse top of tooth with a special paste.

2)      Dry the tooth and place cotton around it to keep it dry.

3)      A special gel is placed on the tooth to make it slightly rough.

4)      Rinse and dry the tooth. Place new cotton rolls around tooth.

5)      Paint liquid sealant into grooves.

6)      Hold a blue curing light over sealant to make it solidify.

Who should get sealants?

Children should have sealants placed on their “6 year molars” and their “12 year molars” as soon as they are fully erupted. This way, they can be sealed before a cavity has a chance to form. If your child has newly erupted molars, visit your dentist to inquire about getting sealants for them.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699

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