Since you were a young kid, you’ve heard the adults tell you to limit your consumption of sugary treats. They reasoned out that food laden with sugar can lead to tooth decay, or even worse, tooth loss.
“How does sugar cause tooth decay?” you might ask.
It’s actually not the sugar in food
Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not exactly sugar itself that causes tooth decay and other dental problems.
Sugar is just one of the major factors involved in a series of events that occur after eating sugary and starchy food.
A glimpse into your mouth’s eco-system
Much as you would like to believe that your mouth is clean and free from bacteria, the truth is that it is home to hundreds of bacteria.
Now, some of these bacteria may be harmful, but there are also beneficial bacteria that can be found inside your mouth.
When you consume food rich in sugar, you are essentially feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and then release acids.
In turn, these acids corrode the teeth’s enamel, the protective layer of the tooth. Over time, these acids can create a hole in your teeth. Left unchecked, these holes can go to the deeper layers of the teeth which lead to toothaches and even tooth loss.
Little helpers inside your mouth
Your teeth are constantly bombarded by acids that corrode the enamel. But your teeth are not defenseless.
The acids in your mouth remove minerals from the enamel through a process known as demineralization.
But another key process takes place inside your mouth: remineralization. In this process, the minerals leeched away from the teeth’s enamel are replaced and the teeth are strengthened.
Your saliva plays a crucial role in this process, providing the teeth with minerals like calcium and phosphate. These minerals help repair the teeth.
Your teeth need your help
However, the saliva can only do so much. When you eat too much sugary and starchy food, your teeth has little time to repair themselves.
This is why it is crucial to limit your intake of treats laden with sugars and starch.
But apart from limiting your consumption of sugars and starches, a Prescott, AZ dentist says there are a few other things that you can do to protect your teeth against cavities.
For one, you should add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These facilitate the production of more saliva. Dairy products, on the other hand, are rich in the minerals that help strengthen the teeth. Drinking green and black teas can also control the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Dentists also recommend drinking fluoridated water and brushing the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse it during the early stages. Schedule an appointment with our doctors today!
Written by Horizon DDS, May 10th, 2017 | Comments Off on How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?
Dentists recommend regular dental care to preserve your oral health. They can also help you in finding the most suitable yet affordable treatment. Routine oral health care is a great way to achieve a healthy mouth and teeth for years to come. Regularly visiting your dentist for basic dental care exams and cleaning is a great start!
Reputable Prescott, AZ dentist, Dr. Mark Costes suggests scheduling a visit with your local dental hygienist to clean and polish your teeth every six to nine months. Also, you need to have routine examinations and X-rays. Based on the findings from these examinations, additional preventative dental care may be suggested to ensure good oral health longterm.
Dental Exam and Common Procedures
Complete Oral Examination – This will detect problems such as deteriorating fillings and conditions affecting your overall health such as oral cancer and gum disease. Your dentist will explore each tooth, gums, the tongue.
Panoramic X-ray – This refers to taking a shot of all of your teeth as well as your upper and lower jaws to gain a clear picture of your mouth’s condition. It shows the entire mouth in one image, identifying problems like fractures, bone abnormalities, infections, tumors, and impacted teeth. This imagery method is often used when planning treatments like dentures, braces and implants.
Dental Surgery – This includes everything from a simple tooth extraction to a complicated procedure like dental implant surgery. It is primarily done to relieve pain as well as to boost the appearance and function of your smile. It can be performed in a dentist’s office without having to be referred to another office.
Dental Care Basics
Brush at least twice a day – Do not rush when you brush. Proper brushing will require at least two minutes. Also, do not neglect the gum line, areas around fillings, crowns and hard-to-reach areas.
Clean in between teeth – Your toothbrush can’t reach all the areas to be cleaned. As such, it is very crucial for you to use floss or interdental cleaners to clean the areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. Brushing your tongue is also important since this will remove bacteria to ensure fresh breath.
Eat a balanced diet – Make it a habit to eat a balanced diet that contains foods from the five major food groups. You need to limit snacks containing high levels of sugar.
Visit your dentist regularly – Dental visits must be done every six months or more for early detection of any dental problem including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Routine fluoride application is also a must. This can be done during your routine dental examination and cleaning.
Basic dental care will involve your daily participation. Your smile will greatly depend on these dental care basics, so always keep them in mind and put them into practice. Call us today to set up your appointment!
Written by Horizon DDS, May 02nd, 2017 | Comments Off on Basic Dental Care Exam
Dental Checkups | The Importance of Dental Checkups
It can be tempting — and quite easy — to skip visits to your dentist for routine checkups. When you are preoccupied with matters such as work, your children, household chores, important errands, social engagements, bills and other financial responsibilities, and other concerns that the typical adult needs to face regularly, finding time to schedule an appointment with the dentist can take a backseat.
Dentists advise patients to see them at least once every six months, so it’s easy for people to think that they have plenty of time to get to that later — more pressing responsibilities or more pleasant activities can surely be tackled first, they think. Unfortunately, the tendency is to keep pushing this task down their list of things to do until, once again, a year has passed and they have forgotten to see their dentist.
To remind everyone of the importance of dental checkups, it helps to run through the things that a dentist usually performs during a routine visit and to identify the benefits that you can receive.
During your checkup, your dentist will:
Look for cavities
Even if you always brush and floss like you’re supposed to, you may be developing cavities that you do not know about, like between the teeth. If your Prescott dentist detects them immediately (thanks to your regular visits), they can begin treatment to stop the process and decay and save your teeth from further damage or complete extraction.
Look for signs of tartar and plaque buildup
Plaque can form over your teeth and become tartar when you fail to remove it on time. Tartar then becomes impossible to get rid of with mere brushing and flossing. Your dentist can address this effectively to keep gum disease from developing.
Inspect your gums
As mentioned, the gums can succumb to disease and can also provide clues to your overall health, so examining them regularly is a must.
Check not just your mouth, tongue and throat, but also your face, head and neck
This is how your dentist looks for signs of other potential health concerns such as swelling or oral cancer.
By paying regular visits to your Prescott Valley dentist for checkups, you can experience the following benefits:
A whiter, more beautiful smile. Dentists perform professional cleaning during checkups so any stains from food, drinks and medication are effectively removed.
Healthy gums. You won’t have to suffer swollen or inflamed gums if your dentist is always able to catch any problems and treat them early.
Fresher breath. Because food particles and regularly dislodged from between your teeth, and you are taught proper oral hygiene habits, your breath will always stay fresh as well.
Stronger teeth that last. When you frequently see your dentist, there won’t be any chances for cavities to set in and gradually destroy your teeth. Regular checkups can ensure that your teeth stay strong and healthy for years to come.
Call your local Prescott dentist at Horizon Dental Group to schedule your dental checkups!
Written by Horizon DDS, November 08th, 2016 | 1 Comment »
As much as we would like to keep our teeth clean and pristine to prevent all signs of decay and disease, it’s certainly difficult to do so since we repeatedly use our mouths to eat, drink and nourish the body — and the residue from these, when not properly cleaned off, can cause all kinds of dental problems.
Plaque is one specific problem everyone must be mindful of. Dental plaque isn’t something that you can readily see with the naked eye, but it’s important to keep in mind that tooth plaque is made up of masses of harmful germs. These germs live in people’s mouths and stick to the teeth.
If you aren’t careful, plaque can build up inside your mouth and potentially cause two common dental issues: tooth decay or gum disease. Ignore the signs of gum disease (bleeding, puffy or red gums) and your gums will eventually be destroyed — and the teeth they hold will fall off.
So, how do you get rid of tooth plaque buildup? There are four simple steps you must follow:
Stain your teeth to identify areas with plaque buildup.
Plaque will become more visible to the eye if you introduce a stain, such as if you use a cotton swab to apply green food coloring on your teeth, or purchase red disclosing tablets from grocery or drug stores and chewing on them. Wherever there are green or red stains left on your teeth, that’s where the plaque is.
You can do the staining method regularly so you can keep track of any signs of plaque buildup.
Flossing is essential because it effectively removes food particles and germs found between your teeth. Make sure to ease the floss gently into place rather than snapping it into place, which can harm the gums. Rinse your mouth when you’re done.
Brush your teeth.
Apply fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush — this helps protect your teeth from decay. When brushing, using small circular movements as well as short back and forth motions is recommended. Rinse well when you’re done.
Brush your tongue.
You might think that it all ends with brushing teeth, but you need to remember to brush the tongue as well. Residue from the food and drinks you consume can be left behind on the tongue, not just the teeth, so you need to remove that as well so that there won’t be anything for the germs that make up plaque to feed on inside your mouth.
Removing tooth plaque at least once a day is a good habit, but you can always go the extra mile and do it twice a day for best results — healthier gums and teeth that you can have for your entire life.
These simple tips are great, but we recommend keeping up with a regular dental cleaning with your local Chino Valley Dentist If you are not able to reduce visible tooth plaque build up on your own, ask Dr. Costes about a deep cleaning on your next visit.
How Does Plaque Form and How Can You Prevent and Remove It?
Dental experts always recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once daily. Following these two good dental hygiene practices ensures that you keep your teeth and gums healthy and that your breath always smells fresh. Habitual brushing and flossing also help prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth.
Dental plaque is a sticky film that comes from leftover food particles and saliva that mix in your mouth. Plaque forms and builds up on your teeth if you don’t brush properly after eating. Plaque contains bacteria that release acids which attack the enamel of your tooth. This buildup can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
Tartar, the substance that makes your teeth appear yellowish and smell bad, is also caused by dental plaque. Tartar is actually plaque that remains on your teeth for several days and hardens. Unfortunately, tartar can’t be easily removed by brushing alone. It has to be scraped off by a dentist during an in-office cleaning procedure.
But how does plaque form on your teeth, exactly?
Plaque formation begins when you chew your food and it breaks down into carbohydrates. These carbohydrates mix with the natural bacteria found in your mouth and create a specific type of acid. This acid then combines with your saliva and other food particles left on your teeth to form a sticky substance which is plaque.
Dental Plaque Prevention and Removal
Below are some ways that can help you prevent and remove dental plaque buildup:
Brush and floss daily.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day to remove any buildup that is still in the early stage of development. Brushing properly and regularly also effectively removes loose food particles that contribute to plaque buildup. Flossing also helps remove food particles and debris from between your teeth that brushing can’t eliminate.
Use a toothpaste with ingredients that can remove plaque and tartar.
Some toothpaste brands contain pyrophosphates, a type of chemical that has been proven effective in reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Various studies also show that using a toothpaste containing baking soda helps remove plaque from your teeth.
Modify your diet.
Control your cravings and avoid consuming large amounts of candies, cookies, chocolates, and other sweets. If you do eat some, brush your teeth at least an hour after eating and/or immediately gargle with water.
See your dentist for a professional teeth cleaning procedure
If this buildup has already transformed into tartar, brushing and flossing won’t be able to get rid of these substances. You need to undergo an in-office teeth cleaning procedure.
The Best Prevention
When it comes to your teeth, you can’t afford to be lax. Even if you’re swamped with work and chores, or feeling too tired or sleepy, always take the time to brush and floss your teeth properly. Don’t forget to schedule a routine cleaning with your local dentist.
OMG, why are there spots on my teeth? I brush every day!
On a seemingly normal morning, you get up from bed and start your daily personal hygiene rituals in the bathroom. Still sleepy, you begin brushing your teeth, paying little attention to the mirror as you concentrate on brushing and rinsing. Once you’ve put your toothbrush down, however, you throw a passing glance at the mirror and flash your teeth to quickly check if any toothpaste residue was left behind — and you suddenly stop short. You alarmingly wonder, “What are all those spots on my teeth?”
A variety of imperfections
There are several different kinds of spots, or discolorations, that you might observe on your teeth from time to time, and they can be caused by different factors:
Brown spots on my teeth
Brown spots are warning signs for tooth decay (one of the earliest forms of tooth decay is called enamel demineralization). These spots can be superficial — they could be stains caused by tea, coffee, tobacco, wine or food additives, or they could be stains that settle into the “margins” of failing dental restoration devices like crowns and fillings. On the other hand, there are also intrinsic stains that develop deeper within the tooth; these are caused by the antibiotic use while the teeth are in the process of forming.
Brownish-gray spots on my teeth
These spots tend to look similar to freckles and are uniformly distributed across the teeth’s surface. The cause can be attributed to two possibilities: fluorosis (a condition wherein too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing) and enamel hypoplasia (this occurs during the formation of the tooth; it can also result in an irregular pitting appearance on the enamel).
White spots on my teeth
These lighter spots can display a frosted appearance in specific areas of a tooth’s enamel. They are typically the result of enamel demineralization. The tooth sports a more matted, almost etched appearance because of the food/drink acids and plaque acids that are starting to dissolve the enamel. Eventually, these white spots will take on yellowish-brownish stains from coffee, tea, tobacco and other substances that stain. Fluorosis and enamel hypoplasia can also cause these white spots.
Aside from seeing spots, you may also notice that your teeth appear to have a color other than pure white.
Gray teeth are generally caused by intrinsic stains — dark pigmented materials that have become incorporated into the teeth’s dentin and enamel (the harder layers of teeth) during the teeth’s formation. Some of the more common culprits are tetracycline antibiotics.
Teeth can simply appear darker because of intrinsic stains, as mentioned above, or because of periods when a person experiences inflammation (often when there is trauma to a tooth) and there is a saturation of iron in the bloodstream.
Finally, having yellowish teeth is one of the most common observations. Because the dentin under the enamel thickens and develops further over time, it’s quite natural for teeth to take on a yellowing appearance. When a person’s dental hygiene habits are poor, plaque can accumulate and cause the stains to worsen. Yellowing can also happen earlier to people who grind their teeth, since dentin formation accelerates when stress is placed on the teeth.
These discolorations, of course, can be addressed by a qualified and experienced dentist. Pay regular visits to your trusted Prescott Valley dentist so that he or she can devise a proper treatment program that will suit your individual case.
Written by Horizon DDS, March 29th, 2016 | Comments Off on Why Are There Spots on My Teeth?