Dental Tips Blog

Aug
5

Can You Reverse a Cavity in Your Tooth?

Posted in Fillings

You’ll do anything to avoid getting a dental filling. Can reversing your next cavity spare you a trip to the dentist? Is it possible?

The Cause of Cavities

Tooth decay is caused by germs that live in everyone’s mouths. These germs thrive on the sugar you eat and multiply in acidic conditions. They produce more acid, which dissolves tooth enamel. As enamel wears away, the bacteria create a hole lined with decaying tissue: that is, a cavity.

Cavities start on the hard outer enamel surface of your tooth. Enamel is so hard that it can take quite a while for cavities to grow. But once the decay reaches the soft inner layer of your tooth, nothing can stop it from spreading except for a dental filling.

Stop Cavities Before It’s Too Late!

Your teeth constantly absorb minerals from your saliva. Minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride make enamel resistant to acid wear and tooth decay. If you can create an environment in your mouth that’s hostile to cavity-causing bacteria, you can give your enamel a fighting chance at remineralizing itself and reversing the cavity.

A few ways to do this are:

  • Cut out sweet drinks from your diet
  • Switch from processed carbs to whole grains
  • Eat calcium-rich foods like broccoli, yogurt, cheese, and almonds
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water
  • Brush and floss daily to hinder bacteria buildup
  • Use fluoride dental products

Stop the Spread of Cavities

Teeth can’t reverse a large cavity that has broken past the enamel into the deeper layers of a tooth. Have each and every potential cavity examined by a dentist to find out whether your teeth stand a chance of reversing the decay before it’s too late.

Posted on behalf of:
ConfiDenT
11550 Webb Bridge Way, Suite 1
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 772-0994

Aug
4

6 Things That Increase Your Tooth Decay Risk

Just about everyone is affected by tooth decay at some point in their life. Cavities are caused by a bacteria that finds its way into every person’s mouth at some point or another. There are several factors that influence just how susceptible you are to these germs.

By identifying where you can make changes in these areas, you may be able to lower your risk of getting cavities.

Sugary Diets

Sugar doesn’t directly cause cavities, but it does fuel the bacteria that eat away at tooth enamel. If you have a habit of snacking or sipping sweet treats throughout the day, then you’re more likely to develop cavities.

Acid Exposure

Acids from your diet or even your stomach (reflux or GERD) can quickly dissolve tooth enamel and make it susceptible to decay.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Daily brushing and flossing are essential for removing the acidic bacterial plaque that causes decay. If you aren’t good about cleaning your teeth every day, then your cavity risk will be higher.

Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally neutralizes acids in the mouth and flushes away bacteria. Medications or certain medical conditions can dry up saliva flow and create the perfect environment for cavities to form.

Age

As you age, your enamel thins out with use. Worn teeth easily break and develop cavities.

“Natural” Dental Products

All-natural toothpastes sound healthy, but they usually lack fluoride. Fluoride is your enamel’s best defense against decay. Using organic dental products that don’t have fluoride protection could lull you into a false sense of security. You’ll think your teeth are safe when they really aren’t.

Visit a general dentist for a cleaning and checkup to find out what your decay risk is and learn ways you can lower it.

Posted on behalf of:
Marietta Dental Professionals
550 Franklin Gateway SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 514-5055

Jul
28

The 3 Things That Cause Tooth Decay

Posted in Fillings

There are three main things that come together to cause tooth decay. These are: bacteria, acids, and insufficient oral hygiene.

Were you surprised to see that sugar didn’t make the list?

Sugar does play an important role in cavity formation. But sugar by itself doesn’t actually cause decay.

Let’s take a closer look at the process that keeps dental fillings in style.

Bacteria 

Tooth decay is an infection of the tooth structure. There is a specific kind of bacteria that eats away holes in tooth enamel. The germs multiply as they invade their new home in the tooth and then work on enlarging it.

Virtually everyone is exposed to this bacteria at some point, picking it up from their parents while still very young; plus, the germs are impossible to get rid of. 

Acid Exposure 

Tooth enamel is very strong, but it is still susceptible to wear from acids. Acids thin out enamel and paves the way for cavity-causing bacteria to carry out their mission.

Those bacteria feed on the food your teeth come into contact with, and produce enamel-eating acid. The germs love carbohydrates, especially sugar. This is where eating a lot of sweets has an impact on your decay risk; every time you eat sugar, the bacteria generate an acid attack.

Acid exposure also comes through frequent vomiting or heartburn or sipping on sports drinks, soda, or fruit juice.

Poor Oral Hygiene 

Daily brushing and flossing and fluoride use are often sufficient to keep decay at bay. If you slack off, however, those germs will have the chance to proliferate.

Ask your dentist how you can improve your diet and oral hygiene to lower your cavity risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

May
20

How Acidic Is Your Mouth?

The pH scale measures the acidity of an environment. It starts at 1, which is the most acidic, and maxes out at 14, the most alkaline or basic. The balance of alkaline versus acid is an important one in body chemistry, especially when it comes to your mouth.

Too Much Acid in Your Mouth?

Having a low pH (too much acid) is disastrous for your teeth. Your pH only has to drop to 5.5 for the oral environment to become so acidic that it starts dissolving your tooth enamel. Enamel loss leads to sensitive teeth and cavities.

A healthy mouth should have saliva with a neutral pH of close to 7. That’s where pure water falls on the scale. But a saliva shortage and/or a lot of acids in your mouth can throw that off and cause an unbalanced environment.

A higher pH, on the other hand, allows teeth the chance to recover from acid exposure. Tooth enamel has the ability to remineralize in a basic environment. Saliva is basic and is a good source of the minerals your teeth need to protect themselves.

Prevent Acid Attacks

You can avoid the need for fillings, crowns and other dental restorations by cutting back on acidic foods like sugar, processed carbs, and citrus fruits. Foods like aged cheese and nuts are good for promoting remineralization. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal. Take saliva substitutes if you suffer from dry mouth.

Dental plaque is loaded with acidic bacteria, so daily brushing and flossing are essential to removing this source of acid. Fluoride-rich dental products will boost enamel remineralization and make your teeth more resistant to erosion.

See your dentist to learn more ways to reduce oral acidity and prevent enamel loss.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Mar
3

Do These 6 Things Before Bed Each Night to Lower Your Risk for Tooth Decay

Posted in Fillings

Say goodbye to tooth decay by adding a few important steps to your evening routine.

  1. Drink a Glass of Water

A hydrated mouth is key to keeping enamel strong and kicking out cavity-causing bacteria. Water can also help neutralize food acids from your dinner.

  1. Floss

Flossing prevents cavities between teeth. When you floss at bedtime, you’ll probably be in less of a hurry than if you did it in the morning.

  1. Brush for at Least Two Full Minutes

Don’t shirk! The longer you brush, the greater your chances of scrubbing away every bit of plaque that causes decay. Any plaque you leave on your teeth before bedtime will work all night long to wear down enamel.

  1. Don’t Rinse Out the Toothpaste!

It’s tempting to rinse out the foamy bubbles after you brush. But you’re better off leaving that residue there after spitting, since ingredients like fluoride keep benefitting your teeth while you sleep.

  1. Rinse with Fluoride Mouthwash

If your dentist recommends it, swishing a fluoride rinse for about a minute is a good way to strengthen your tooth enamel against bacteria acids.

  1. Varnish Weak Spots

Use an anti-sensitivity toothpaste as a varnish or condition on weak areas. Sensitivity toothpastes help strengthen enamel and deliver fluoride where it’s needed. Dab a little paste on exposed tooth roots, sensitive teeth, and dental fillings before you go to bed, and leave it there without rinsing.

Take advantage of the evening hours before bed to thoroughly clean and strengthen your tooth enamel. Your teeth (and bank account) will thank you for needing fewer fillings! Ask your dentist for more tips on preventing cavities.

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

Feb
17

5 Benefits of Chewing Gum

Posted in Fillings

Some people think chewing gum is a rude or an unprofessional habit. There are, however, some surprising oral health benefits to popping the occasional piece of gum.

Lower Cavity Risk

Choose a gum that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, and you can actually reduce the population of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth which means fewer fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Mar
27

Fight Tooth Decay . . . With Sweets?

Lollipops, caramels, chocolate – oh my! The list of snacks that promote tooth decay goes on and on. It’s not just limited to sweets, either. Foods containing simple carbohydrates like crackers and bagels and juice are also culprits.

The fact that there’s actually a kind of sugar out there that’s proven to help prevent cavities sounds ironic.

Xylitol is a specific type of sugar alcohol. It’s commonly derived from plant sources such as corn and used as a sugar alternative.

Xylitol benefits over regular sugar:

  • 40% fewer calories
  • Just as sweet as sugar while preventing cavities
  • It’s lower on the glycemic index

But what makes xylitol different?

First of all, it’s a carbohydrate that cavity-causing bacteria can’t digest. Those germs live off of the sugar you eat. So when that sugar is replaced by a kind they can’t break down, they starve to death.

Secondly, xylitol helps to deconstruct the “slime layer” that those bacteria live in. Without their sticky texture, they can’t adhere to teeth and cause cavities.

This sugar substitute can often be found on the shelves of health food stores, as well as specific types of gum.

But be careful – xylitol isn’t recommended in large amounts. Just as bacteria have a hard time digesting this substance, so do humans. Too much xylitol probably isn’t toxic, but it does act as a sort of laxative.

The best way to get the dental benefits of xylitol is to chew gum made with it. People with dry mouth especially like to munch on sweet things to encourage saliva flow. Xylitol sweets are the way to go!

In conjunction with daily brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings and checkups, xylitol can help prevent tooth decay.  Find out more ways to lower your cavity risk by scheduling a visit with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Jan
4

Stay Far Away from DIY Cavity Remedies, Dental Experts Advise

Often motivated by fear or a lack of time, a few brave souls try treating and preventing tooth decay through at-home methods they discovered on the Internet.

If you’re one to take your dental health into your own hands, you are to be commended for your initiative. But a word of caution is in order as most DIY dental remedies come at a steeper price than what you’d pay in a dental office.

Preventing Decay With Diet

Certain dental health advocates point to virtually cavity-free civilizations that don’t eat sugar as a sign that the correct diet can eliminate the need for fillings.

Cavities start when tooth enamel is demineralized by acids. These acids do come from broken-down sugars we eat. But actual tooth decay is propagated by bacteria found in every single human’s mouth.

As of yet, no human has been successfully in totally killing off these cavity-causing germs. Starving the bacteria through a strict low-carb diet can certainly help. But it isn’t always practical to go to dieting extremes which may cost a lot of money and time and impact your family’s nutritional health.

What About Oil-Pulling?

There are no scientifically documented benefits that oil-pulling will reduce decay. If you find that you enjoy the practice, that’s fine, you’re probably not in harm’s way. Just don’t let the oil-pulling craze distract you from methods that are proven to work: brushing, flossing, and fluoride.

DIY Filling Kits

These kits only provide temporary relief and protection for your tooth but should never be used to forestall getting professional tooth restoration treatment such as a composite filling or a dental crown. The cavity can still spread, potentially reaching a point of abscess.

Talk with your local dentist to learn some practical steps you can take at home to prevent decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 691-7371

Sep
29

4 Uses for Old Toothbrushes

Posted in Fillings

Regular brushing with a fresh toothbrush is part of a good oral hygiene routine that will help prevent tooth decay and reduce the need for dental fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles have become frayed or if you have been sick.   Before you throw that old toothbrush away, why don’t you see if you can put your brush to use in one of these areas?

  1. Scrubbing Tile Grout

There’s nothing like a toothbrush to loosen grime trapped between tiles or even around the sink faucet. It’s especially effective when used with a cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar.

  1. Cleaning Jewelry

Toothbrush bristles are the ideal way to add some shine to your jewelry. Their small size makes them perfect for scrubbing the hard-to-reach inside of rings where dirt can accumulate. Use a jewelry cleaning chemical to treat your favorite treasures and then loosen debris with your old brush.

  1. Pre-Treating Stains On Clothes

Need a way to dab just a little pre-treat laundry soap on your favorite blouse? Your old toothbrush makes the perfect applicator. It’s also good for scrubbing out isolated stains.

  1. Unclogging Filters

Lots of household appliances come with filters that you probably overlook more often than not. A good cleaning will keep your refrigerator or clothes dryer running smoothly. A toothbrush can not only nab gunk stuck in the screen of the filter, but it’s perfect for reaching the angles at the corners of the filter.

Naturally, you can’t retire your toothbrush without having another at the ready to take its place. Use this opportunity to find a brush you’ll love even more. Schedule a dental appointment and ask your dentist for some tips on selecting a new toothbrush that suits your smile care needs.

Posted on behalf of:
The Newport Beach Dentist
1901 Westcliff Drive #6
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 646-2481

Most Popular

Tori, Exostosis, and Extra Bone Formation in the Mouth

A fairly common occurrence in the mouth is the existence of extra bone development along the outside or inside of the jawline near the teeth, or in the roof of…

Lingual Frenectomy versus Lingual Frenuloplasty

Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenuloplasty are both dental procedures used to correct a condition called ankyloglossia. Ankylogloassia, more commonly known as ‘tied tongue’, is an abnormality of the lingual frenulum….

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist,…