During the holiday season most of us spurge on delectable edibles that are sitting around the office, being made in our kitchen, or finding their way to the dinner table as we gather with friends and family. How is it possible to enjoy these treats while at the same time protecting the health of your smile?
Add a Fluoride Rinse at Night
Fluoride restores strength to your tooth enamel that may have been lost during the day. Using it after brushing and before bedtime can protect your teeth from cavities or sensitivity caused by some of your favorite holiday foods and drinks.
Eat Your Dessert Sooner Rather than Later
Having all of your food at one time will reduce the amount of time that active acids spend on your teeth. Instead of snacking on treats throughout the afternoon, eat them all at once.
Drink Lots of Water
Water naturally cleanses your teeth. Keep a refillable bottle of tap water with you throughout the day, or rinse in the restroom after a snack. Tap water contains fluoride, making it even better than bottled water.
Remember, just about anything is ok in moderation. Unless you’re eating sweets 24/7, you aren’t going to be causing irreversible damage over one day of feasting and treats. However, if you’re experiencing any types of sensitivity from triggers like heat or sweets, it’s time to call your dentist right away. The last thing you want is a toothache when you’re out of town to see family. Consider catching up on your oral health needs before your end of year benefits expire, and reduce the chance of a dental emergency during this busy time of year.
Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in soil and water systems that has been proven to increase tooth strength and reduce the rates of decay. Initially, fluoride began being added to public water supplies in the 1940s and 50s in an attempt to manage the rates of tooth decay in local communities. These levels are closely monitored to be within a safe level that promotes healthy tooth development.
In the summers, people drink more water because they get hotter and need to stay hydrated more. Because water intake is higher, fluoride levels are then reduced during this part of the year, preventing people from taking in more fluoride than what is needed for healthy tooth development. In the winter, people drink less water, so the fluoride levels are adjusted to make them slightly higher. Careful calculations and small parts per million come into play to promote healthy teeth and smiles for the people in our communities.
There are some rural areas where residents rely on well water. Testing of the water through your local agricultural extension service can determine the levels of minerals present. Should fluoride not be present in your water, talk to your dentist about flouride treatments.
Some types of water filters used at home may be capable of removing fluoride from your city water. It’s best to follow up with the manufacturer of the filter to determine if this is the case or not.
Water is the best thing that you can drink when it comes to the health of your teeth. It naturally cleanses the teeth, washes away acidic bacteria, and when containing fluoride it helps promote healthy, strong enamel that repels decay easier.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Omar Damji, Executive Park Dentistry
Despite a great deal of controversy over the subject in communities across the United States, fluoridation of community water systems is on the rise, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The report, released online, indicates 6 million more Americans had access to fluoridated public drinking water in 2012 than in 2010. The information was based on research done by the Centers for Disease Control and the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The report noted that more than 210 million people had access to fluoridated water through their public drinking water supply in 2012, or about 75 percent of all people who have access to public drinking water. The figure also represents about 67 percent of the total U.S. population.
But despite the overall increase in fluoridation, there have been several major cities in the U.S. that have debated the subject heatedly. Portland, Oregon voted down a measure to move toward fluoridation, while Tampa, Florida suspended their program, only to reinstate a couple years later.
Proponents of fluoridation say it is an effective measure against tooth decay while opponents say it represents medicating without informed consent. Opponents also say some studies suggest it may be toxic or lead to fluorosis, a browning or mottling of the teeth caused by too much fluoride. Supporters, however, argue that such adverse effects only occur after exposure to very high concentrations of fluoride and most public water supply levels are very safe.
The CDC survey also showed that Kentucky was the state to have the most access to public fluoridation, while Hawaii came in at number 50. For those who live in an area without fluoridated water or are on well water, fluoride treatments by your dentist has been proven to reduce tooth decay and decrease the incidence of cavities.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care
Demineralized tooth enamel. You might have heard the term used before, but do you really know what it is? It’s actually the very earliest of stages of cavities in the teeth. The areas appear as white lesions or spots scattered about on the teeth, sometimes easily spotted on the front teeth or on patients that have recently had braces removed. These white lesions aren’t just whiter spots of tooth enamel; they are actually weakened sections of the teeth that are beginning to decompose just before turning into a full-blown cavity.
An obvious cavity usually appears as a black or brown spot on the tooth, but all cavities start out as demineralized enamel. Thankfully, if you identify these areas early on, you can use preventive techniques to help restore the health of the enamel and remineralize the weakened area of the tooth. Some of the ways this is done is by using a prescription strength fluoride or calcium phosphate paste to buffer the pH as well as restore minerals directly back into the surface of the porous enamel. As the enamel begins to be restored to it’s natural mineral levels, the enamel’s frosty white appearance will slowly fade away, leaving the tooth in a uniform coloration that can repel acids and isn’t actively decaying.
One of the most important ways you can help prevent enamel demineralization is to have excellent oral hygiene each day, and see your dentist for routine dental checkups and cleanings. When plaque and tartar sits on the teeth for an extended period of time, even if in very small amounts, it begins to damage the tooth. Removing every particle of bacteria by brushing close to the gumlines and flossing on a routine basis can help prevent enamel demineralization from occurring.
Posted on behalf of Springfield Lorton Dental Group
You may have heard recent studies that have claimed that chewing gum after a meal will help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, and you may be wondering if this is true or not. This article will discuss the role of chewing gum in maintaining good oral health.
Recent studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for about 15-20 minutes after a meal will help prevent cavities, tooth decay, plaque formation and gum disease. It is important to note that this finding only applies to gums without sugars.
The sugarless gum chewing after a meal works by increasing the amount of saliva you make in your mouth. This saliva will help remove extra food parts, sugars, and other odds and ends left over after a meal. Removing this extra food-stuff will help decrease the plaque production that ultimately results in acid that will eat through your tooth enamel. There is an added bonus to chewing sugarless gum. Not only are extra particles removed, the increase in saliva may also help strengthen tooth enamel as more calcium and phosphate are produced, resulting in stronger tooth enamel.
Chewing sugarless gum should never be a substitute for good dental care habits such as regular brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist twice a year for dental cleanings and checkups. However, chewing sugarless gum is a great habit to get into during the work-day when brushing is difficult. It is important to look for gum with the ADA seal. These are the only gums that are truly ‘sugar-free’. Be careful to buy sugar-free gums before you pick up the gum chewing habit during the day!
You know that eating and drinking too many sugary foods and drinks can cause cavities. You may have wondered if having bottled water is actually better for your teeth, too.
Interestingly, many bottled waters and water purifiers or filters remove fluoride. It has been known for years that drinking water with fluoride helps prevent cavities. Unfortunately, because of the increase in bottle water, many dentists are now seeing an increase in cavities and more patients who need dental fillings and other restorative dental work.
There are a few ways to help combat the lack of fluoride. The first is to purchase bottled water that has fluoride added. Some manufacturer’s make bottled water especially for children that has fluoride added. In some cases, you can add fluoride drops to the water to reach the recommended amount of fluoride daily. Your dentist can recommend the amount of fluoride drops to use. To check and see if bottled water has fluoride, read the water bottle label.
Bottled water is expensive, though, and if you want to remove impurities and improve taste, you might decide to simply filter your own tap water. If that is the case, the American Dental Association provides a list of water filters that will not remove fluoride. This may be an acceptable option for you and your family. Water filters are available for pitchers that store in your refrigerator, or to simply place on the tap of the faucet.
Removing sugary drinks from your diet is an important step in keeping your teeth healthy. Just don’t forget the fluoride while you are drinking!
Even though tooth decay is easily preventable, millions of children and adults in the U.S. suffer from tooth decay. About half of all children entering high school have had one or more cavities. Eating a good diet, regular brushing and flossing, and scheduling teeth cleanings and routine examinations twice a year will go a long way toward preventing tooth decay.
Applying dental sealants is another excellent way to prevent cavities, yet only about one third of children in America have dental sealants. Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to the surface of the teeth to protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria. Sealants are inexpensive and easily applied by your dentist usually following a routine cleaning.
Teeth sealing has proven not only to be an effective method of preventing tooth decay, but also to stop the progression of early tooth decay before it becomes necessary to treat the decay with a filling.
Dental sealants are usually applied to the chewing surface of the molars which are the most common location for tooth decay in children. The procedure only takes a few minutes and involves no discomfort or drilling. After your teeth are cleaned, your dentist will apply a solution that prepares the tooth for the sealant. The sealant is then painted on the tooth and allowed to harden for a few minutes.
Sealants typically last five to ten years, but will need to be re-applied if the sealed tooth is replaced by an adult tooth. Your dentist will check the condition of the sealant during regular check-ups and re-apply the sealant as needed.
Tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, yet the incidence of tooth decay in young children has begun to increase. This trend is a serious concern because it reflects the first such increase in years. For decades, the incidence of tooth decay has been declining across the board, but this new trend indicates that we may have become complacent or drifted away from good oral health care.
The lifetime benefits of good oral health and dental care are well known. Tooth decay and cavities are known to cause a reduced quality of life due to the associated discomfort and poor aesthetics. Children with poor dental health do not do as well in school and often have a lower level of self-esteem, both of which lead to lower levels of success. Tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health concerns.
You can give your child a head start by taking steps to prevent tooth decay. Preventing tooth decay starts early. Experts point to several causes of tooth decay in young children. According to the American Dental Association, you should avoid giving bottles at bedtime or nap time, especially those containing sugary drinks. The sugar and bacteria will sit on the child’s teeth while he or she is sleeping. Also, cleaning a child’s pacifier or spoon with your mouth can transfer bacteria from you to your child.
Wipe an infant’s gums with a soft cloth or brush very lightly with a soft child’s tooth brush to help remove food particles and to help the child become accustomed to regular brushing. Once the child’s teeth begin to come in, brush after meals with a soft toothbrush. Start your child on regular dental visits by age one and follow your dentist’s recommendations for good dental health. Experts recommend taking your child to a pediatric dentist instead of your regular dentist. Pediatric dentists have the skills and experience to address the dental needs of children.
Tooth decay or cavities are caused by acids that erode the surface of the tooth. Naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth build up and form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque tends to collect in cracks, pits or grooves in the teeth, around the gum line, and between the teeth.
Some of these bacteria create acids that eat at the enamel of the teeth and form tiny pits. These pits grow over time and eventually cause the entire tooth to decay and fall out if left untreated. Cavities often have no symptoms, but in some cases they cause sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
Daily brushing and flossing will reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth as will regular dental checkups and cleanings. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities from forming. In addition, sealants can be applied to permanent teeth to provide additional protection.
Cavities are treated by removing the decayed material and filling the cavity. Dental fillings can be amalgam (silver colored), gold, or composite resins. Composite resins are tooth colored so they are particularly appropriate for front teeth where the appearance is more important. If the damage is too extensive or the tooth is too weak to hold a filling, you dentist may protect the tooth with a crown.
If the tooth is damaged internally or if the tooth pulp is infected, you may be referred to an endodontist for a root canal. Then a protective crown will be placed by your dentist.
Cavities that are detected and repaired early have the best prognosis. A small cavity that has been filled by your dentist may last a lifetime. Since small cavities usually have no symptoms, regular dental checkups are very important for finding and treating cavities.
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