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!
Ever experienced a really awful toothache that rendered you useless? That’s most probably due to tooth decay. People who aren’t diligent with oral care are highly prone to this dental problem; therefore, if you wish never to experience such intense discomfort ever again, prevent the onset of tooth decay by consistently implementing proper dental care.
To help prevent this problem, regardless of whether it’s for yourself or for your children, here are tooth decay facts that you should know.
Tooth Decay Facts – Prevention
Babies are not born with decay-causing bacteria in their mouths; the bacteria are transmitted. This means that if you wish to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay, you must avoid sharing utensils and food with him because this really is the only way children get the decay-causing bacteria in their mouth.
Fluoride is one of the best defenses against tooth decay, so make sure that your toothpaste is loaded with fluoride, that you use a mouthwash with fluoride, and that you drink water with fluoride. What fluoride actually does is it makes the teeth’s enamel more resistant to acid attacks.
Tooth decay is the second most common disease in the world and it affects one fourth of children in the US ages 2 to 5, half of those who are 12 to 15 years old, and 90% of adults over 40 years of age.
Another great defense against tooth decay is the application of dental sealants, especially for teeth that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Studies show that teeth protected by sealant remain 99% cavity-free for six years. Dental sealants are highly recommended for newly erupted teeth.
Sugar is the main culprit behind tooth decay. It creates acids that weaken teeth enamel and create cavities, which is why it’s important to drink a lot of water after consuming sugary foods (these aren’t limited to candy – fruits and carbs have sugar as well).
Brushing right after eating can also lead to tooth decay. It should be done 30 minutes after because food acids still present in the mouth can make teeth weak and sensitive, and brushing while these acids are still present can have damaging effects.
The Importance of Treating Tooth Decay Immediately
Tooth decay can be deadly so it needs to be treated right away. It can lead to infection, which can spread to the sinus and the brain and then cause death.
There’s no reversing the effects of tooth decay; therefore, if you don’t do anything about it in its early stages, extraction may be the only solution for you to take down the line.
If you are struggling with dental pain, contact your Prescott dentist at Horizon Dental Care today.
The Mouth Body Connection: What to Do for Healthier Teeth, Healthier Body
Your mouth can say a lot about the state of your health. What you eat and how you treat your teeth and gums can affect your overall well-being. It’s important to understand the mouth-body connection if you want to improve your smile, as well as the health of your entire body.
The following are some of the dental care measures that are great for your teeth, and can bring multiple overall health benefits as well.
If you have not been eating well, your dentist can be the first to detect your nutritional deficiencies. The appearance, performance and issues (if any) of your teeth and gums give obvious clues to your diet. Following a diet that’s diverse and rich in important nutrients can provide you protection against periodontal disease. So load up on your green leafy vegetables, fresh produce and protein to boost your vitamin intake. Calcium-rich foods and drinks strengthen teeth (and bones). Meanwhile, limiting your intake or completely staying away from too much carbohydrates, sugary snacks, candies, soft drinks and high-sugary juices will help you avoid cavities and, at the same time, save you from health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dental visits allow the early detection and more effective prevention of oral health issues. Your dental check-ups also provide your health providers the first windows to potential problems with your nutrition, hygiene and lifestyle. Dentists also play an active role in monitoring children’s growth and development.
Dentists also watch out closely for one of the most serious dental health problems — gum disease, since it can lead to various health complications. Gum disease has been associated with heart disease, stroke, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, kidney disease, facial pain, jaw pain and digestion problems, among others. Conversely, the initial manifestations of these diseases can also be detected through the mouth such as inflamed gums and ulcers. As with most health problems, early detection can contribute to higher cure rates.
To further reap the benefits of expert dental care, continue practicing good oral care at home to enjoy better whole body health.
– Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. Make sure the angle and direction of the brush are correct to ensure food particles are thoroughly removed from between your teeth. Use a toothpaste with fluoride or upon the advice of your dentist.
– Lead a healthy lifestyle. Eat a teeth-friendly diet – incorporate more foods that are rich in vitamins C and D. For better vitamins absorption, go out and get some sunshine in healthy amounts. Avoid smoking and too much alcohol as these substances can stain teeth and break down tooth enamels.
In this world where outward appearance counts for so much, it’s difficult not to feel the pressure to look good. Some countries are known for placing a high value on aesthetic qualities, but it’s no secret that wherever you may be in the world, those who are naturally gifted with attractive features, as well those who pay careful attention to their appearance and how they carry themselves, seem to exude more confidence, receive more opportunities, and experience greater positivity.
Facial features always draw much attention from others, and these include a person’s smile. A smile is a great weapon; it can powerfully disarm others and make them less guarded or cautious. People who have a nice smile are also deemed more confident and trustworthy, some studies reveal. For these reasons, many invest a significant amount of time and money in achieving a beautiful smile. Parents spend thousands of dollars on their children’s braces; adults get teeth whitening treatments; and if they have misshapen, cracked, chipped, gapped or discolored teeth, they opt to get dental veneers.
Speaking of dental veneers, many ask if they are designed purely for aesthetic purposes. This may seem like the case most of the time, but dental veneers actually have other benefits beyond beautification. Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Do I need veneers even if I don’t really care about how I look?”
Here are three good reasons why you may need them — even if having perfect-looking teeth isn’t one of your worries.
Veneers, which are commonly used to correct the appearance of front teeth, can actually improve your speech. A chipped or cracked tooth can make certain letter sounds difficult to produce. If you care about proper enunciation, you definitely will benefit from having veneers placed on your damaged tooth.
Protect Your Damaged Tooth
You lower the risk of the tooth getting damaged further when a veneer is placed. An already damaged tooth is more prone to wear and tear because it’s no longer a complete structure, but when the veneer is placed on the tooth, the veneer will receive the pressure more than your original tooth.
As a solution for tooth gaps, veneers create comfort. You will no longer have to worry so much about food constantly getting stuck between the gaps (where plaque can actually build up and cause bad breath and cavities), and wearing away that little gum area in the gap. They contribute to better oral health.
Veneers are not only made and used for aesthetic purposes. So, if some folks around you are saying that veneers are all for vanity and you don’t really need them, you can help them become more aware of the true worth of this dental restoration solution. If you live in the Chino Valley area and would like more information about porcelain veneers, contact the dental professionals at Horizon Dental Group today!
Written by Horizon DDS, July 14th, 2016 | Comments Off on Do I Need Porcelain Veneers?
People now are more knowledgeable about how to take good care of their teeth. This is in huge part due to today’s technology that makes up-to-date dental care information easier to access than ever.
Another reason for this development is that the fear of the dentist has waned in the past several years. Leading dental clinics are now much more committed to making every visit comfortable, informative and even fun for patients. These visits are also a way for patients to receive more expert advice on better oral care.
Still, some myths on teeth and gum health remain, and many of these have to do with teeth cleaning. These teeth cleaning myths can wreak havoc on the strength, structure and appearance of your teeth and may do long-term damage to your overall oral condition.
It’s important to separate the truth from fiction to prevent damage to your pearly whites. Protect your smile by uncovering the real score behind these harmful teeth cleaning myths:
Brushing is a no-brainer.
Brushing isn’t enough. You have to do it right to get value from it. Some best practices to follow:
– Brush at least twice a day.
– Brush for at least two minutes to get a thorough clean.
– Apply firm pressure. Vigorous brushing can damage tooth enamel or irritate gums.
– Angle your toothbrush in a way that allows you to brush every surface; pay attention to hard-to-reach areas.
– Complement your brushing routine with regular flossing.
Whiter is better.
The color of your teeth is not often a good indication of the state of your dental health. Off-white teeth can sometimes be healthier than sparkly whites, which can still conceal cavities and diseases. Make sure to invest in regular visits to the dentist even if your teeth look perfectly pure white so the dentist can check for not-so-obvious damage and issues.
Any toothbrush will do the job.
The type and quality of toothbrush you use will have an impact on the effectiveness of your oral care routine. If the bristles are too hard, you risk damaging your teeth, but if they’re too soft, then you may not be able to clean away debris effectively. A good choice is a toothbrush with a seal from a reputable dentists’ association. Better yet, follow your dentist’s recommendations.
Don’t brush if your gums are bleeding.
People with teeth sensitivities, inflamed gums and other conditions that make them prone to pain while brushing can and will still need to brush. The difference is that their dentist may provide specific instructions, such as using a baby toothbrush or a special soft-bristled brush so as not to further irritate the affected areas.
Bleaching weakens teeth.
Not anymore. Teeth whitening solutions are now safer and more effective than ever, as long as you use dentist-approved products or undergo whitening under the supervision of a reputable dentist.
Overlapping teeth may be caused by a few factors. For one, some people are predisposed to this condition, inheriting it from relatives. Some have overlapping teeth due to their bad habits as a toddler, like sucking on their thumbs or a pacifier for too long. Others have overlapping teeth after losing a tooth which caused their other teeth to shift.
Whatever the cause of your overlapping teeth may be, there are plenty of reasons why you should have that condition fixed. Chief of these is the marked improvement in your self-confidence that you can achieve.
In fixing overlapping teeth, your dentist may offer you four options, including braces, Invisalign, sculpting and veneers.
Invisalign uses plastic aligners to fix overlapping teeth. These plastic aligners are practically invisible to other people, except when seen up close, and they are removable, unlike conventional braces. This means that you can remove these while eating or while cleaning your teeth. Plus, you can avoid some of the hassles associated with wearing conventional braces like awkwardness, difficulty in eating and cleaning, and the length of the treatment time.
Here’s a glimpse of the process involved in correcting overlapping teeth with clear braces according to a dentist specializing in Invisalign in Chino Valley, AZ:
First, your dentist will evaluate the condition of your teeth. At this stage, he or she may use X-rays, photos, digital scans or dental impressions to help him or her create a tailored treatment plan for your unique condition.
Next, your clear aligners will be fabricated using the images, records and prescription given by your dentist. Once the clear aligners have been fabricated, these will be sent over to your dentist’s office.
You will be given three to four sets of clear aligners at a time which you need to wear every day except when you are eating or brushing and flossing your teeth. You will need to replace each set of aligners every two weeks.
You will also need to visit your dentist every six to eight weeks, allowing him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment.
Once the desired result has been achieved, you may need to wear retainers in order to ensure that the position of your teeth is maintained. Your dental professional will advise you on how long you will need to wear a retainer in order to achieve the best possible results.
It should be noted that Invisalign may not be your best option if you have severely overlapping teeth. In such a case, your dentist may recommend other treatment options like conventional braces, sculpting or dental veneers. As always, the best first step to take is to schedule an appointment with your Prescott Valley Dentist and discuss your options with the dental professionals.
TMJ Syndrome Symptoms and the Treatments Your Dentist Can Provide for Relief
Your jaw is an important area of the body because it plays a major part in your ability to speak and eat. And while it’s not a body part that you would commonly associate with aches or pains, there are instances when your jaw may not be functioning as properly as it should, resulting in discomfort and inconvenience.
When you feel that there’s something wrong with your jaw, it’s best to have your trusted dentist look at your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint connects the jaw to your skull’s temporal bones and is responsible for making the lower jaw move forward, backward, and from one side to another — essentially, it lets the jaw operate as a “hinge” with the help of a system of ligaments, muscles, bones and discs. When you experience signs of problems with the muscles of your face and jaw, then TMJ syndrome or disorder could be a possibility.
What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
The exact cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to pinpoint because the symptoms can be present in other conditions. According to a seasoned dentist (Chino Valley), the disorder may be brought about by damage to the joint’s cartilage from a strong blow or impact, from arthritis, or from the erosion or misalignment of the shock-absorbing disc in the joint (the disc helps keep the jaw’s movements smooth).
The following are the common TMJ syndrome symptoms:
A popping or clicking sound each time you open or close your mouth
Pain when you yawn, chew or open the mouth widely
Tender jaw muscles
Jaws that lock or get stuck together
A noticeable change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together
Pain or pressure behind the eyes
It’s best to seek the attention of your dentist if the pain or tenderness is persistent or if you are having difficulty completely opening or closing your jaw. There is no single treatment, cure or home remedy that can entirely address TMJ disorder, so one or more of the following options may be recommended:
Applying ice or moist heat to eliminate muscle pains and spasms.
Wearing a dental appliance such as a splint or bite plate. Customized to fit your mouth, this appliance will keep the upper and lower from grinding together and can reduce the harmful effects of clenching.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers (like aspirin and muscle relaxants) or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Eating foods that are soft or have been cut up into small pieces, and avoiding foods that are chewy and sticky.
Trying relaxation techniques, counseling or training to eliminate stress and reduce tension in the jaw.
Performing massage and stretching exercises that can help stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles.
Undergoing jaw joint surgery (as a last resort, if the joints of the jaw are involved and all other treatment options prove unsuccessful).
A Chino Valley Dentist Provides an Overview of Dental Veneer Process
Typically, it takes about two appointments for a dentist to finish the dental veneer process. Why does it take that long? Here’s a breakdown of the whole process from Dr. Mark Costes in Chino Valley, AZ.
Prepping the tooth
Before installing the veneer shells, your dentist will need to trim enamel off the front portion of your tooth. The amount to be trimmed is equivalent to the thickness of the veneer. That can vary from one patient to another, but typically, that can range between 0.5 to 0.7 millimeters. In some instances, your dentist may need to trim off more if a thicker veneer is to be used.
In some cases, the use of an anesthetic is not necessary. However, you may ask for one if you have teeth and surrounding tissues which are sensitive to cold sensations or if the veneer will extend below the gum line.
Choosing a color for the veneer
After trimming the enamel off your tooth, your dentist will use a shade guide to find the color of porcelain which matches the color of your tooth. In some cases, your dentist may choose and use different colors for the different areas of the veneer.
Taking an impression
After selecting the right color for your veneer, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth. This impression is important in the veneer fabrication process.
Typically, dentists take impressions using a putty or thick paste that is loaded on a dental tray. Afterwards, you will need to bite on this tray for a few minutes. The resulting impression will then be sent to a dental laboratory which will fabricate the veneer.
Another way that dentists take an impression is through the use of a dental milling machine which is fitted with a camera. This camera takes an image of your mouth while the machine grinds veneer from a block of synthetic porcelain.
Once your veneer has been fabricated, your dentist will need to check a few important things first before bonding the veneer permanently.
First, he has to check whether the veneer fits properly on your tooth. In some cases, he may need to trim portions off it until he is satisfied. He may also modify the shape of the veneer until it looks right.
Finally, your dentist will use a trial paste to temporarily attach the dental veneer onto your tooth. This allows him to evaluate if the color of the veneer matches your other teeth and helps him find the right color of cement to use.
Once you and your dentist have agreed that the shape and color of the dental veneer is right, the veneer can be permanently bonded onto your teeth.
First, your dentist will clean your tooth by washing and polishing its surface. After that, he will etch the surface of your tooth using an acid etching gel. This creates a texture which allows the cement to bond to your tooth.
After this, the gel will be washed from your tooth. Once your tooth is dried, the dentist will apply a layer of bonding agent on your tooth and cement on the veneer. The veneer will then be attached to your tooth and will be cured into place using a special lamp.
The dentist will then clean off the excess cement and evaluate the veneer.
If your wondering if dental veneers are right for you, contact the dental professionals at Horizon Dental Group. With plenty of knowledge and experience, you are surely in good hands.
Written by Horizon DDS, June 13th, 2016 | Comments Off on An Overview of the Dental Veneer Process
Why Do I Have White Marks on My Teeth? | More About Calcium Deposits
You wake up one morning, go about your normal routine, and check your reflection on the mirror. You immediately notice a few distinct white marks on your front teeth and the first thing that goes through your mind is: “Why do I have white marks on my teeth?”
Do you need to be alarmed? Should you schedule a visit to your dentist ASAP?
It is likely that those white spots have developed over time so whether it seems you just woke up one day with white marks on your teeth, it is highly likely that those calcium deposits on your teeth developed over time.
“Calcium deposits on my teeth? How did I get these?”
Those calcium deposits are simply signs that you are dehydrated and are no cause for alarm; you do not have to visit your dentist immediately. Unlike other body parts that take days or even weeks to show signs of dehydration, your teeth can show signs of dehydration overnight. Often, these marks appear when you sleep with your mouth agape.
The chalky marks on the surface of the teeth may also appear in runners who run hard and with their mouths wide open.
Typically, these white marks disappear later in the day. However, take note that in order to rehydrate your teeth and eliminate these white marks, you do not necessarily have to drink more water. Your teeth will be rehydrated when the level of saliva in your mouth returns to normal.
You should not bother thinking about whitening your teeth to eliminate these marks because these are not caused by staining.
But what if these white marks do not disappear after a day?
Sometimes white marks on teeth may be caused by overexposure to fluoride. Eventually, these white marks progress to mottling of the teeth and eventually, to tooth decay. Left unchecked, overexposure to fluoride can lead to the teeth becoming more porous.
Loss of Minerals
In some cases, white marks appear due to the loss of minerals in the teeth, a condition also known as hypocalcification. People who wear braces and practice poor oral hygiene may also have white marks after the braces have been removed.
Among the recommended treatments for these conditions are topical remineralization therapy, resin infiltration system, prescription pastes, microabrasion, composite bonding and porcelain veneer.
If you are unsure what caused the white marks on your teeth, wait up to one day and allow your teeth to be rehydrated. At the end of the day or the following day, check if you can still see the white marks. If they are still there, visit your Prescott Valley Dentist to identify the true cause of these white marks.
Written by Horizon DDS, June 09th, 2016 | Comments Off on Should You Be Concerned About White Marks On Your Teeth? | Calcium Deposits
If you are experiencing a severe and continuous toothache combined with other symptoms like fever, painful chewing, tooth sensitivity, bitter taste in your mouth, foul mouth odor, swollen neck glands, swelling in the upper or lower jaw, redness and swelling of gums, and draining sores on the side of your gums, you likely have an abscessed tooth.
What exactly is this condition and what causes it?
An abscess is an infection of either the tooth’s root or the area between the gum and one of your teeth. Typically, this condition is caused by severe tooth decay, although it may also be caused by gum disease or trauma where the affected tooth is chipped or broken.
These causes create an opening in the tooth enamel, allowing the bacteria to enter and infect the tooth’s pulp. Soon after, the infection can spread from the tooth’s root toward the supporting bone structure.
The infection can cause the tooth’s root to die. Once this happens, the toothache you may have been experiencing will stop. However, the infection is not truly gone. Rather, it can remain active and spread and destroy nearby tissue. This is why it is critical for you to immediately seek the help of a dentist if you experience the aforementioned symptoms.
How are abscessed teeth diagnosed and treated?
Using a dental instrument, your dentist will probe and tap your teeth. If you experience pain when your dentist taps a particular tooth, then you have an abscessed tooth. Your dentist will then ask you a few questions to determine whether you indeed have an abscessed tooth. Your dentist may also use X-ray imaging to look at the condition of the bone around the affected area.
In treating this condition, the overall goal of your dentist would be to preserve the tooth while eliminating the infection and preventing complications.
In order to eliminate the infection, your dentist needs to drain the abscess through root canal therapy or root surgery. Once the abscess has been drained, a crown will be placed over the affected tooth.
In some cases, the affected tooth needs to be extracted in order to drain the abscess and prevent further infection. One final option that may be recommended by your dentist is for him to create an incision on the swollen gum tissue, allowing him to drain the abscess. Your Prescott Valley dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to help contain the infection and over-the-counter pain medications for pain relief.
Written by Horizon DDS, May 24th, 2016 | Comments Off on What Is an Abscessed Tooth?