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Strengthen & Protect Your Tooth Enamel
Enamel is the white, hard-outer layer that protects the crowns (the exposed portion) of the teeth in your mouth. Did you know that it’s also your body’s first line of defense against tooth decay? Protecting your enamel is essential with regular dental cleanings every 6 months but there are numerous ways that you can also care for your tooth enamel between visits. Here’s 5 easy ways to tweak your oral hygiene that focuses on protecting and strengthening your tooth enamel.
1. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Doing so will help to reduce enamel wear and keep your gum tissues healthier too.
2. Use a fluoride toothpaste every time you brush your teeth. Fluoride is the single most effective agent in the reduction of tooth decay.
3. Floss daily. It’s important to floss regularly because flossing your teeth aids in the removal of plaque from areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.
4. Be aware of acidic foods and beverages in your diet. Over time these can erode the enamel from your teeth. Bathing the mouth on a regular basis with sugared sodas, citrus juices and vinegar based foods is not advisable.
5. Hydrate with water. Drinking plenty of water helps to rinse away dietary sweets and acids and is especially important if you have low saliva volume. Saliva helps to neutralize acidity and re-mineralizes tooth enamel. Keeping hydrated helps to increase saliva and has overall health.
Dr. Ronald Rosser DDS
Anatomy of a Toothbrush
Did you know that good oral home care begins by using the correct toothbrush?
This highly effective cleaning tool not only cleans your teeth but also prevents bacteria growth and inflammation in the supporting gum tissue, so purchasing the proper toothbrush is important!
Here’s what to look for and consider when shopping for your next toothbrush.
The Size & Shape:
There’s no “one size fits all” toothbrush on the market and bigger isn’t necessarily better. A brush that’s too large for the mouth can miss plaque build-up in the tight spots between your teeth and hard to reach molars in the back of your mouth.
If you have a narrow jaw, brush with a tapered or narrow head while for a wider jaw, a larger wider brush might be appropriate.
You’ll know you’ve found the correct size head when you can comfortably clean all the way around your last upper molars
Always opt for a soft or an extra-soft toothbrush. Softer bristles bend easily to contour around and between teeth and are effective in removing plaque along the gum line without damaging the tissue. People mistakenly believe that a hard bristle brush will do a more thorough job but the opposite is true. Hard bristles often miss areas between the teeth and are much harder on the gums.
Today’s ergonomically designed handles make it easier to hold your toothbrush. Many come with padded grips and indentations for your thumb and fingers. Finding a toothbrush that is comfortable to hold and maneuver is important but has no effect on how well you brush your teeth.
The Color & Style:
There’s a rainbow of toothbrushes to choose from and selecting one that matches the color of your eyes or style of your bathroom is up to you. The key is to buy one that appeals to you and distinguishes itself in some way from the other brushes in your family’s toothbrush holder.
Ronald Rosser DDS
The Effects of Prescribed Medications on Oral Health
Medicines are designed to heal or to make you feel better but all drugs come with the risk of side effects. Did you know that there are hundreds of prescribed and over the counter medications known to have adverse side effects to your oral health?
Medications used to treat allergies, high blood pressure, pain, depression, cancer and even the common cold can result in an array of detrimental changes to your mouth.
That’s why your dentist, not just your doctor, needs to know all the medications you’re taking, including any vitamins or herbal supplements.
Some of the most frequently seen side effects of these medications are listed below.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) is by far the most common side effect from medications. This condition is caused by more than 400 known drugs, which reduces the amount of saliva produced in your mouth. An inadequate amount of saliva can irritate and inflame tissue increasing your risk for infection, tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, a loss in saliva makes wearing a partial or a full denture difficult.
- The most common medications that cause Dry Mouth include: antihistamines - antacids - decongestants - high blood pressure medications - antidepressants - pain medications - seizure medications - sedatives
“Gingival overgrowth” is a condition where the gum tissue becomes so swollen that it begins to grow over your teeth. This enlargement increases your risk of periodontal disease because swollen gum tissue creates a favorable environment for bacteria which can damage surrounding tooth structures.
- The most common medications that cause Gum Enlargement include: anti-seizure medications - immunosuppressant drugs - calcium channel blockers - blood pressure medications
Soft Tissue Reactions
Medications can cause an array of problematic side effects to the soft tissue of the mouth. These include “Mucositis”, the inflammation of the moist tissue lining of the mouth. Other medications may cause ulcers or sores that occur inside the mouth or on the tongue, inflammation and discoloration of the gums.
- The most common medications that cause Soft Tissue Reactions include: penicillin - acne medications - immunosuppressive agents - blood pressure medications - oral contraceptives - certain chemotherapy medications
Blood thinners can lessen the ability for blood to clot. While they’re helpful in preventing stroke and heart disease they can cause problems during periodontal treatment and oral surgery. Medications used to diminish inflammation or taken for a headache can also cause problems with bleeding.
- The most common medications that cause Abnormal Bleeding include: anticoagulants -aspirin - nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Certain drugs can alter your sense of taste by leaving a metallic, salty or bitter flavor on your palate. This condition can affect your diet and your ability to make healthy food choices.
- The most common medications that cause Altered Taste include: cardiovascular drugs - some respiratory inhalants - allergy medications - antibiotics - antifungals - blood pressure medications - cholesterol lowering drugs - corticosteroids
Thrush & Fungal Infections
Thrush is an oral yeast infection caused by fungus (candida) and appears as white lesions on the mouth.
- The most common medications that cause Thrush include: antibiotics - steroids – chemotherapy drugs
Fungal Infections or “oral candidiasis” is a yeast infection that can occur with the use of oral inhalers for asthma.
Increased Risk of Cavities
Sugar is frequently used in liquid medications to mask unpleasant flavors. It’s used in cough drops, chewable vitamins, antacid tablets and in anti-fungal agents. People on prolonged sugary medications are at a greater risk of developing tooth decay because the sugar coats their teeth and gums for extended periods.
As we age medications become a greater part of our lives; they are adjusted frequently or changed completely. It is vital therefore, that patients keep their medical records up to date.
Having your teeth cleaned every 6 months helps us to monitor your dental health and concerns in a timely manner. If you notice any of the side effects from the medications and symptoms listed above, please call us immediately- there’s no need to fear but addressing a concern is better done sooner than later to avoid a more complex dental issue down the road.
Ronald Rosser DDS
Common Tooth Sensitivity
Do you “wince” when you eat something cold or feel a sudden painful “zing” while drinking an iced latte? There are numerous reasons for your teeth to become hypersensitive but-
Did you know that the primary cause of tooth sensitivity is root exposure?
Keeping your teeth healthy and clean is important but sometimes the best intent doesn’t make it so. Understanding the tooth structure will help you to understand the most common mishap.
While a hard layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth, a thin layer of cementum is what shields the unexposed roots. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, to aggressively or use a hard bristled toothbrush; you inadvertently can injure your gums leaving the root surfaces of the teeth exposed. Overtime the protective cementum wears away exposing the soft inner dentin of the root. Once unprotected, the nerves and cells inside the tooth are subject to thermal stimuli (hot & cold) and bombarded daily by the acids found in plaque as well as in the foods you eat.
These stimulate the nerves resulting in various degrees of tooth sensitivity.
Ignoring the pain will not make it go away and may actually lead to a more serious dental problem.
The good news is that tooth sensitivity can be treated.
Depending on the cause, treatment may be as simple as applying a desensitizing agent or a fluoride gel to the exposed root. So don’t delay, make an appointment today and let us evaluate your tooth sensitivity and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
You can be sure that we’ll get to the “root” of the matter.
Ronald Rosser DDS
Eating Choices Matter
New Year’s Resolutions come and go - A common resolve for many of us is to eat a healthier diet or to kick a bad habit. You might be surprised that our dental team supports those goals and are here to cheer you on. Here’s why-
Did you know that what you choose to eat and how often you ingest it can affect you dental health?
Frequent and prolonged eating patterns coupled with poor food choices can lead to tooth decay. Bathing your teeth in a steady supply of sugary foods and drinks throughout the day raises your risk for dental problems down the road.
The culprit is PLAQUE, a sticky film of bacteria found in your mouth. The bacteria in plaque create acid from the sugars found in food and beverages. This acid attacks the tooth enamel for as long as 20 minutes after you’ve finished eating. Snacking and drinking soda or sport drinks throughout the day, erodes the enamel on your teeth raising your risk for cavities.
So kick the habit - Eat 3 balanced meals a day; limit your intake of sugary beverages, and brush after every meal. Visit us for a dental cleaning and you’ll be ready to go !
Your commitment to your New Year’s Resolution will result in a healthier body and a much healthier smile too!
Ronald Rosser DDS