Our Offices
Prescott Valley (928) 772-9860|Chino Valley (928) 636-1565

Dr. Mark Costes
Dr. Sean Reed



Horizon Dental Horizon Dental Horizon Dental Horizon Dental Horizon Dental
Posts Tagged: tooth decay

Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Aging gives birth to a lot of health woes, which is why it becomes more and more important to pay close attention to your well-being as you continue to get older. It can be a lot of work, but you can be certain that your efforts will have a huge impact on your overall health.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

For example, with oral care, taking care of your teeth as you age will involve additional steps and even special products at different stages in your life. But if you commit to all of these, you do not only get to preserve your teeth and their proper functioning — you also avoid health complications associated with common mouth diseases for aging folks.

If you want to get serious with your oral health in order to feel and look good throughout your life, a Prescott, AZ dentist has these tips for you:

  1. Use soft-bristle toothbrushes – they’re kinder to aging teeth and gums.
  2. Consider an electric toothbrush, especially if meticulous brushing is difficult for you. An electric toothbrush doesn’t need much manipulation to effectively clean your teeth.
  3. Use sonic air floss instead of waxed nylon flosses. This product may be a tad expensive but you can use it for a long time. The advantage provided by this special kind of floss is that it’s so much easier to use and you can avoid cutting your gums as you try to dislodge food debris between your teeth and gums.
  4. If you have dentures, make sure to clean them regularly and to use the appropriate cleaning agents. Don’t clean your dentures with toothpaste – that’s a big no-no. Also, it’s healthier to remove your dentures before going to sleep; doing this will help preserve your gums.
  5. Use a mouthwash to maintain the pH balance of your mouth and prevent bad breath-causing bacteria from proliferating.
  6. Drink water often. Water can also contribute to maintaining the right pH level of your mouth. Plus, it contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay.
  7. If you still smoke, better stop. Smoking dehydrates the mouth and a dehydrated mouth is the perfect breeding place for bad breath- and tooth decay-causing bacteria. Likewise, it increases your risk for lung and other cancers.
  8. Eat healthier. Getting loads of vitamins and minerals from your meals will boost your immune system. A healthy immune system will make you less prone to oral diseases.
  9. And lastly, visit your Prescott Dentist regularly for cleaning, treatments and oral cancer screening.

To schedule a dentist appointment with Dr. Costes or Dr. Reed contact us today!


How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

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!


Brushing Your Tongue – Is It Important?

Most people just brush their teeth day in and day out, not knowing that this won’t remove all the harmful bacteria in their mouth.

For you to gain the best oral health, you need to brush both your teeth and your tongue.

Bacterial Live and Proliferate on Your Tongue

Biofilm, a specific type of bacteria, makes up a huge amount of the bacteria in your mouth. Similar to other bacteria, biofilm will contribute a lot to creating different oral health problems for your teeth, gums and mouth. These bacteria live on your tongue in the ridges and spaces you can’t see. A few hours after brushing your teeth, these bacteria can transfer from your tongue to your teeth. Mouthwash alone won’t eliminate them, which is why brushing your tongue is very important.

Tongue Brushing Tools and Techniques

  • Toothbrush – Focus on brushing your tongue after you’ve brushed your teeth. You can use the bristles of your toothbrush or a specialized brush with a built-in tongue cleaner. Start brushing by reaching to the back of your tongue, and working forward toward your mouth’s opening. You must brush the entire tongue’s surface with gentle pressure. After that, rinse with water.
  • Tongue Scraper – This is a flat, soft and flexible plastic tool that is used mainly for brushing your tongue. When using a scraper, start from the back of your tongue going forward. Since it lacks bristles, it may be more difficult for you to reach certain areas. After each swipe of the tongue, you must rinse the scraper. Avoid using the scraper with too much force to prevent tongue sores and bleeding. And since the center of the tongue has the bulk of bacteria, concentrate on this area when scraping.
  • Cleaner – This is an excellent tool for brushing your tongue because this is a scraper with bristles. It combines the best of a scraper and a toothbrush. The bristles, though, are rubber.

How Often Should You Brush Your Tongue?

Cleaning your tongue, a Prescott, AZ dentist says, must be done at least once in the morning and once in the evening before going to sleep. Whenever you feel your mouth is dry or has a foul taste in midday, cleaning your tongue immediately will be the best solution.

Aside from that, consider using a mouthwash rinse after brushing your tongue to moisturize your mouth and to kill other bacteria.

Indeed, maintaining fresh breath and a healthy mouth is not just about brushing your teeth. Make it a habit to give your tongue sufficient attention to ensure fresh breath and good oral health. Call us today!


Tooth Decay Treatment

Contrary to the common belief that tooth decay is only caused by not brushing teeth regularly – this is the main reason, but it can actually be the result of frequent, hard brushing as well. When you brush your teeth too much and you brush rather vigorously, your tooth’s enamel gets scratched, creating small “abrasions” or cavities that if not taken care of may result in serious tooth decay.

Whatever type of tooth decay you may have, immediate treatment is important for tooth decay only gets worse over time, says a Prescott, AZ dentist. It’s worth noting too that decay spreads rapidly and when it reaches the more sensitive parts of your teeth, you can expect pain to intensify and occur more often. Other complications may arise as well, such as face swelling, pain that radiates to other parts of the head, and in severe cases, flare-ups of other health issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Tooth decay treatment is affordable especially if it will be performed for the prevention of further damage instead of for the purpose of removal. For small abrasions or erosion on your enamel, prevention of further damage has to be done right away. The dentist will perform the treatment using filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates.

Now, for tooth decay that has already reached the dentin, repair is performed using a dental filling. There are different kinds of filling; there’s amalgam, which is composed of silver and other metals, or a tooth-colored resin material, which has a much nicer appearance though not as durable as amalgam.

For damaged teeth that have changed in shape and size, the dentist will fill them and then add a crown to help strengthen and restore shape and function. The application of a crown can be expected to increase the cost of treatment.

As for the worst case of tooth day, meaning there’s an abscess, these are your treatment options:

  • A root canal treatment, followed by a crown because teeth can become more brittle after this treatment and are likely to break easily.

  • An extraction – this when there are no other means to save the tooth.

These only go to show how important it is to have consistent, good oral care practices because tooth decay is a serious health issue. On top of this, treatment can cost you a significant amount of money. So brush, floss, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash and visit your dentist regularly to prevent the pain and cost of tooth decay.

Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!


The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Last February 19 and 20, 15 international specialists with years of knowledge and experience among them assembled in Madrid for the Perio-Diabetes Workshop led by the European Federation of Periodontology and the International Diabetes Federation to tackle one of the biggest health issues in the society today:

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.

While diabetes is characterized as a complex disease that involves deterioration or complete inability of an individual to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is defined as the inflammation and irritation of the gum line.

More often than not, both illnesses result in more severe problems such as bone corrosion and teeth loss.

A group of experts have worked together to finally solve this massive dental dilemma.

During the workshop, it was discussed that patients who have periodontitis are also the ones who are most likely susceptible to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Those who have diabetes, on the other hand, are very much prone to acquiring periodontal disease. People who suffer from periodontitis and other gum diseases find it difficult for their bodies to keep their blood pressure normal.

Now that it has been revealed that there is actually a strong resemblance between periodontal disease and diabetes, it is important that you also know how to treat or manage both conditions.

For those with periodontal disease, it has been shown that self-performed oral hygiene at home is an effective practice. By simply establishing a habit of regular brushing and flossing, you can save yourself from one of the most severe dental diseases.

Based on the workshop’s conclusion, diabetes can be treated while one practices self-care techniques for periodontal disease. The length and type of treatment varies from one patient to another, depending on the level of their infection. As a rule of thumb, it is still always the best option to consult a Prescott, AZ dentist to assist you throughout the procedure.

As for diabetes, there are injections prescribed by doctors that can help pump one’s bloodstream with enough insulin to treat diabetes. As expected, addressing diabetes also creates an impact on periodontal disease as both of them heal at the same time. It is important to know that the condition should be treated with utmost urgency, as more serious complications to one’s health may arise if left untreated for a long time.

To learn about other professional treatments, you can search for credible online sources or simply contact your dentist for advice.


Dental Health Facts and Fiction

People can become so concerned with their teeth that they tend to believe any information they receive about ways to care for them, which may not always be true or advisable. As a result, they observe dental routines that could be causing more damage to their teeth instead of helping them maintain strong and healthy set of chompers.

Keeping this in mind, it is important to learn about and adopt clinically proven and effective dental habits that you should practice to keep your teeth healthy — and to determine whether a piece of information about dental health is a fact or fiction.

Some examples of dental health facts and fiction include the following:

STATEMENT: Your teeth should be looked at and cleaned by a dentist once a year

VERDICT: Fiction

The frequency of your visits to the dental clinic relies entirely on your dentist and not any self-established schedule. Each person’s dental condition is different from the next one’s, so the recommendations for dental check-ups would depend on the patient’s specific dental needs.

Some individuals with relatively healthy teeth may only need to see their dentist every few months, for example, while others with more delicate or serious dental issues may be advised to head to the dental clinic to undergo treatments or procedures once a month.

Since people consume different kinds of food and drinks, follow different oral hygiene practices, and have varying health conditions that could affect the state of their teeth, mouth and gums, required dental procedures also vary from patient to patient.

STATEMENT: Popcorn is a snack that is good for your teeth

VERDICT: Fiction

Popcorn doesn’t always look the way it does when you buy it at the cinema. Its uncooked form is a hard, tough corn kernel. However, cooking doesn’t always turn every single kernel into soft, tasty and fluffy popcorn, and when your teeth accidentally bite hard on those un-popped kernels, precious white enamel on your teeth might end up chipped or cracked.

And because popcorn is often flavored with butter and powdered artificial cheese and butter, popcorn is not exactly the best choice of food to keep your teeth healthy.

STATEMENT: Sugar is the cause of cavities

VERDICT: Fact

It is true that sugary food or drinks cause cavities in teeth. Keep in mind, though, that they are also not the only reasons why people suffer from tartar build-up. There are other harmful chemicals and foreign contaminants that can cause plaque, such as nicotine and alcohol. Meat is also a culprit when it comes to cavity build-up; however, it does not directly affect the surface of your teeth. Instead, meat leftovers get stuck between teeth, allowing bacteria to gather and attack the enamel of your teeth.

In order to get helpful tips for improving the health of your teeth, you can consult dental experts such as a Prescott, AZ dentist in a fully equipped dental clinic near you.


5 Things You Need to Know About a Dental Bridge Procedure

If you have lost a tooth or a few teeth, one of the treatments your dentist will recommend is a dental bridge procedure. This is a highly recommended treatment if you wish to preserve the healthy structure of your mouth despite the loss a tooth or more.

You may be unsure about this solution especially with all the other options available, but if you’re gravitating toward this treatment, here are five things you need to know about it.

Compared to other types or restorative dentistry solutions, it’s definitely more affordable.

And if you’re just focused on appearance, it can achieve the same natural “look” that dental implants can produce because a crown would also be used to replace your missing tooth or teeth.

For a successful dental bridge procedure, you would need to have healthy surrounding teeth that would serve as an anchor for the bridge, says a Prescott, AZ dentist. Here’s something that you need to understand about the placement of a dental bridge: surrounding teeth need to be reshaped for the crown to fit securely and hold the bridge in place. This is something you need to think about especially if you care a lot about the health of remaining good teeth.

There three main types of bridges: traditional, cantilever and Maryland.

The first type, which is the traditional bridge, has a crown attached to each side of the artificial tooth. A cantilever bridge, meanwhile, is an artificial tooth attached to only one crown, and a Maryland bridge is an artificial tooth bonded to existing teeth on both sides.

When your teeth have been reshaped, the dentist will make an impression of the missing tooth and the surrounding teeth.

The will be used to customize a bridge that fits your mouth perfectly. While that is being created, your dentist will provide you a temporary bridge to use. You can expect your permanent bridge to be completed in a few weeks and once it’s ready, there’ll be evaluations on how it fits and affects your bite so it can be improved for your comfort.

And lastly, dental bridges can last you over a decade but you need to practice good oral habits.

You need to care for your dental bridge just like your real teeth because there’s always the risk of developing gum disease if you don’t.

A dental bridge procedure is a great option to consider especially if you’re not a good candidate for dental implants. It’s a quicker process to restoring the original look of your teeth and preventing your original teeth from shifting. Contact our dentists today to schedule an appointment!


What Causes Gum Recession?

After brushing, you check your teeth and gums in the mirror and you notice something unusual. It’s either your teeth have become longer or your gums have become smaller.

What’s happening here? The answer: gum recession.

Gum recession is a condition wherein the area where the teeth and gums meet pulls back. When this happens, more of the tooth becomes exposed. This also creates what a Prescott, AZ dentist calls pockets which can leave your teeth and gums vulnerable to the build-up of bacteria. Left unchecked, gum recession can lead to damage to the supporting tissues and bones, and eventually, tooth loss.

Gum recession is fairly common and most people do not know they have receding gums until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage.

There are, however, a few signs that indicate that a person has receding gums. These include increased tooth sensitivity and longer-looking teeth.

What causes gum recession?

There are several possible causes of gum recession.

Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession.

This bacterial infection destroys both the gum tissues and the supporting bones of the teeth.

Another common cause of this condition is poor oral hygiene.

If you fail to properly and regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque can easily build up in your mouth and eventually form into tartar.

But sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Take brushing, for example. If you brush your teeth too hard or if you do not brush your teeth properly, you risk wearing away the enamel on your teeth and cause your gums to recede.

Some people have receding gums simply because they are genetically predisposed to suffer from this condition.

According to some estimates, about 30 percent of people will get receding gums even if they take great care of their teeth and gums.

Pregnant, menopausal, and young girls undergoing puberty are also vulnerable to gum recession as changes in their hormones adversely affect their gum tissues.

Cigarette smokers and people who use tobacco products are also highly likely to have receding gums. This is because these people have more plaque on their teeth which can cause gum recession.

If you have bite problems or crooked teeth, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to gum recession if you do not seek the appropriate treatment. Your condition places too much force on the gums and bones which may cause recession. The same thing can happen to people who clench and grind their teeth.

Gum recession may also be caused by piercings on the lip or tongue. When your body piercing jewelry rubs against your gums, this can cause irritation and eventually gum recession.

Gum recession is a serious concern and you should immediately see your dentist for the appropriate treatment.


What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth DecayWhat Causes Tooth Decay?

Toothaches are some of the worst pains you can experience. This intense physical discomfort is usually due to tooth decay. When teeth rot, infection takes place as well, causing great sensitivity as well as swelling.

Suffice it to say, in order to prevent toothaches, it’s important to prevent tooth decay. To do that properly, you must know what causes dental decay.

Proper Oral Health

Decay happens when bacteria and food interact and create plaque that builds up along the base of the teeth or the gum line. Plaque releases acids that attack and weaken tooth enamel, and this starts the decaying process.

You’re greatly prone to tooth decay if you’re not particular with oral health — if you don’t brush and floss regularly in order to rid your mouth of harmful bacteria and acids that attack your teeth’s enamel. Also, if you don’t visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning (oral prophylaxis), you make yourself susceptible to tooth decay.

How Your Diet Affects Your Teeth

Dentists also say that a poor diet (one that is high in sugar and carbohydrates) can lead to tooth decay. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and this results in the formation of plaque, especially if you don’t brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly.

Another factor that contributes to tooth decay is dryness of the mouth. If you don’t drink a lot of water and you also don’t produce enough saliva to help wash away food and acids, bacteria can work double time in attacking or damaging your teeth. This is why dentists strongly recommend chewing sugarless gum, particularly after meals, because this stimulates healthy saliva production.

An Unhealthy Lifestyle

It’s important to mention as well that an unhealthy lifestyle can speed up tooth decay. Smoking, specifically, is bad for the teeth because this dries the mouth and encourages the proliferation of teeth-damaging bacteria. Likewise, smoking has chemical components that damage teeth in other ways, and they affect the gums, too. Drinking alcoholic beverages frequently, on the other hand, can also promote tooth decay; they are not only loaded with sugar, but can also dehydrate the mouth.

And lastly, health woes like diabetes and cancer are known to increase the risk of tooth decay. A weakened immune system, the inability to properly perform oral care activities, and the strong medicine consumed for managing these health woes can all damage teeth.

Tooth decay is easy enough to prevent; all you need to do is heed the advice of your Prescott dentist on how to go about oral care and other health practices that will strengthen your teeth.

 


Tooth Decay Facts Everybody Should Know

Tooth Decay FactsTooth Decay Facts 

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.

Dental Sealants 

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.