• Tooth Erosion

    Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. Tooth erosion is when the enamel wears away exposing the dentin. There are several things that could cause this.

    What you eat is a big part of it. Foods or drinks with a lower PH level have a higher level of acidity. Studies show that enamel can be damaged after just 30 seconds of high acidity contact. Some of the most common and most acidic foods we consume include soda, fruit juices, pickles, citrus fruits, wine, yogurt or even honey. The acids in some fruit drinks can be more erosive than battery acid. Saliva is meant to help neutralize acidic food and residue on your teeth but sometimes there’s not enough time between acidic snacks or drinks for your enamel to remineralize before you eat more and give them another dose of the acid to soak in. Another cause could be clenching or grinding your teeth. This is commonly done at night while you’re sleeping.

    Discoloration is a common sign of tooth erosion. Erosion is when it takes the enamel off and exposes the dentin layer of the tooth. The more exposed dentin there is, the yellower the tooth can be. You may also experience sensitivity, transparent looking teeth, cracks, or cupping (little dents in the teeth).

    There are a couple ways you can prevent tooth erosion. Try drinking any soda or low PH

    drinks through a straw. This prevents them from swishing around your mouth and getting to all of your teeth. You may also want to try to only eat acidic foods at meal times as opposed to all throughout the day, leaving time for your enamel to remineralize. After eating, rinse your mouth out with water, fluoridated is best, and then brush your teeth an hour later. You want to avoid brushing your teeth right away because the enamel is already soft and brushing your teeth could just add more trauma and erosion. You could also consider chewing sugar free gum after eating as it helps produce the necessary saliva to neutralize acid.

  • Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

    If you’ve ever been on the fence about how effective an electric toothbrush is compared to the classic manual toothbrush, this post is for you.

    Manual Toothbrushes:

    • A manual toothbrush does the trick and keeps your teeth clean if you’re using it properly and for the right amount of time.

    • You don’t have to worry about a manual toothbrush dying on you, it takes out the inconvenience of remembering to charge it.

    • There is a very large cost difference between manual and rechargeable electric toothbrushes. There are also some in between options if you prefer to try it out before spending the money on a higher priced model.

    • There are multiple styles, colors, bristles, and models to accommodate just about anything you could be looking for.

    • Easiest to travel with

    Electric toothbrushes:

    • There are many studies that prove an electric toothbrush is much more effective in less time than a manual toothbrush.

    • Studies show that 2 minutes of brushing with a manual toothbrush is equivalent to just 30 seconds brushing with an electric toothbrush.

    • On most electric toothbrushes, there is some kind of timer that lets you know when you should be done brushing your teeth.

    • You have to charge them or replace the batteries

    • Electronic toothbrushes generally have different modes and brush heads to accommodate sensitive teeth.

    • Some electric toothbrush models come with a pressure sensor which can help if you have concentrated areas of recession from brushing too hard.

    • Electric toothbrushes have oscillating, rotating, vibrating motions to better remove plaque that just the slow circular motions from your wrist.

    Regardless of which type of toothbrush is right for you, remember to replace it every 3 months or when the bristles become frayed.

  • Cleaning your tongue

    It may surprise you to know that brushing or cleaning the tongue is not a new concept. Ancient tools have been discovered in India, Arabia, Africa, and a few other locations that suggest people used to clean their tongues. This is a little surprising to most people since it’s not something that dentists or hygienists tend to put a lot of focus on these days. Obviously there are environmental and medicinal changes that give us different circumstances than ancient cultures had, but the facts behind it demonstrate that it’s actually important for the overall health of your mouth.

    To give you a little background on why you may want to clean your tongue daily, 80-90% of bacteria in your mouth is sitting on your tongue. This number is extremely high. A way to tell if you have a large amount of bacteria is to look at your tongue in a mirror. A healthy tongue is just pink. If you look at your tongue and see a layer of white film, that’s a sign of bacteria. While you sleep, your body is working to detoxify itself. Some of these toxins show on your tongue. Not only does this give you bad breath, but these bacteria also spread to the teeth and gums which can then lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

    There are many different tools out there designed to clean your tongue in the most effective way. If you skeptical about buying one of them, or know that you wouldn’t be committed to adding another step to your oral hygiene routine, you can always use your toothbrush. Toothbrushes are not designed to scrub the tongue thoroughly, but between a brush and nothing at all, the toothbrush is the better option. Depending on the severity of your tongue coating, you may also want to try an oxygenating toothpaste. This will help kill the anaerobic bacteria. (anaerobic just means that they survive best without oxygen).

    Tongue cleaning is one preventative task to add to your routine because the pros definitely outweigh the cons. You’ll have fresher breath, you could have heightened taste senses, a healthy pink tongue instead of a less attractive white tongue, you’re less likely to swallow the toxins your body works to get rid of, you could have better dental/oral health, and many other reasons. It will only take you an extra minute or two in the morning while you’re already brushing your teeth. Seriously! There’s no reason not to adopt this habit.

  • Amalgam vs. Composite

    Amalgam and resin-based composite are the two most common materials used for minor restorative procedures in dentistry today. Composite is a relatively new addition to dentistry, while amalgam has been used for tooth restoration for over 150 years. Some dental practices offer both composite and amalgam restorative options while others have phased out amalgam completely and only offer composite.

    Amalgam is a mixture of silver, tin, copper, and the elemental mercury that has made it quite the controversy. Amalgam is the least expensive restorative material for teeth, which makes it ideal for patients on a tight budget, or to put in baby teeth that children will lose anyway. Some big insurance companies will only cover amalgam filling cost and you are responsible for any cost difference if you choose to have composite fillings instead. Amalgam is also a very strong filling material so it can last years longer than other materials. You may also have to take away more tooth structure when you’re drilling in order to use the amalgam material. This can be negative because if it fails one day, the less tooth structure you have, the less likely you are able to fix it with another filling and the more likely you are to need a crown. There is also the discussion of the mercury it contains. The mercury changes when mixed with the metals and to this day, the FDA has continued to approve the use of amalgam for Dentistry.

    Resin composite filling material is made of ceramic and plastic compounds. It’s been around to fill anterior for quite some time because it mimics the look of the natural teeth. In the last decade there have been new additions and materials to make it durable enough to use on the posterior teeth. Because these materials are so new to the world of dentistry, we’ve been unable to see exactly how well they hold up over time.

    Composite fillings are a little harder for the dentist to place. The tooth has to be completely dry, and in some situations it is nearly impossible to keep it dry and away from saliva for the time it takes to complete the procedure. As stated above, resin composites are also a more costly option and one that not all insurances will cover. Resin-composite fillings may be a more costly option now, but you don’t need to take away quite as much tooth structure in order for the treatment to succeed. This could save you from a crown or other major procedure later on in life. The biggest patient pro is that they’re tooth colored so cosmetically, they’re the better option.

    With the dental industry progressing so quickly and new materials and concepts being discovered all the time, it is undecided if amalgam fillings will one day be a thing of the past, or if they’ll continue their pattern in history and still be a leading filling material one hundred years from now.

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