Fluoride: it’s a hot topic in the dental industry. A mineral found naturally in the bones and teeth, fluoride strengthens the teeth and works to prevent cavities. As such, many communities around the US add small quantities of fluoride to county drinking water in a process known as fluoridation.
While adults generally get adequate fluoride levels in their daily lives, kids sometimes need some help. Because of this, some dentists recommend topical fluoride treatments for kids beneath a certain age. So, what’s the story on these treatments? And are they right for your child?
Read on to learn more.
Why Fluoride is so Important
As it stands now, dental cavities are the single most prevalent disease for both kids and adults around the world. That’s a staggering statistic, and it just goes to show how important dental health is around the world. Fortunately, fluoride is one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent cavities in both kids and adults.
Fluoride is a pretty simple mineral. Here’s how it works, according to the American Dental Association (ADA):
“Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. This produces acid that can wear away the hard, outer shell of your tooth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. Fluoride protects teeth by making your teeth stronger and more resistant to acid. It not only reduces the risk of cavities; it can even help reverse early signs of decay. Due to its success in preventing cavities, fluoride in water was named a top public health achievement in the 20th century.”
How Kids Get Flouride
Again, fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral. Found in water, soil, plants, rocks, and even air, fluoride surrounds us at all times. So, how does it enter our bodies, and is your child getting enough of it?
Here’s a breakdown of the most common sources of fluoride today:
Fluoridated water is inexpensive, convenient, and easily one of the best sources of fluoride for kids. In fact, all natural water sources contain some level of fluoride – be it stream water, lake water, rain water, or the drinking water that comes from a well.
If you happen to live in a community that adds fluoride to its public water supply, all that’s happening is that your child is getting the exact right dose of fluoride, as determined by the EPA. Keep in mind that not all bottled water contains fluoride, so it’s smart to check the label if you want to be sure that your child is getting enough fluoride in their daily diet.
Toothpaste With Fluoride
Toothpaste that contains fluoride is another excellent source of the mineral and will help keep your child’s mouth healthy from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond. When your child is a baby, you should use a soft cloth to wipe his or her gums and teeth. As the baby develops more teeth, you can use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. As the child grows, you can increase the amount of toothpaste you use – remember to encourage spitting the toothpaste, rather than swallowing it.
If your child happens to swallow a mouthful of toothpaste here and there, don’t worry too much about it. As long as you’re using a dentist-recommended amount of toothpaste and supervising brushing, so they’re not swallowing toothpaste every time, your child won’t face any adverse health impacts.
Your dentist has recommended a fluoride treatment for your child. Now, you’re wondering what this treatment is, and why it’s so important. Here’s an explanation, according to the ADA:
“Fluoride treatments prevent cavities by strengthening the hard, outer shell of teeth, and they may even reverse very early cavities that have just started forming. A fluoride treatment is quick and painless. Your dentist will paint a thin layer of fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth. Fluoride varnish is a sticky yellow or orange substance that often has a pleasant taste. The varnish application is fast and sets quickly. Your child may be advised to avoid eating or drinking for a short period (maybe 30 minutes) after the treatment. ‘
As you can see, a fluoride treatment is a simple procedure. Not only is it painless for your child, but it can work wonders to strengthen enamel and prevent or diminish cavities. If you still have doubts about the treatment, talk it over with your dentist. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have and ensure you’re helping your child enjoy a healthy mouth.
Other Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Fluoride is a critical aspect of excellent dental health, yes, but it’s just one facet. If you want to teach good dental habits now, focus on these smart tips for your child:
- Teach good brushing habits. From an early age, kids should learn to brush their teeth at least twice a day. When kids are old enough to manage flossing, they should learn to floss regularly, as well.
- Avoid food that’s bad for teeth. Some foods are dangerous or damaging for teeth. To keep your child’s mouth healthy, learn to avoid these foods. Sticky candy, soft drinks, potato chips, fried foods, and even dried fruit can contribute to excessive sugar production in the mouth, leading to dental decay and cavities. Teach your child to opt for healthier alternatives instead.
- Discourage biting or opening objects with teeth. Just as dangerous as cavities and discoloration is breakage and fractures. With this in mind, teach your kids to ask an adult for help instead of trying to open packaging with their teeth. This will protect the mouth and reduce the risk of broken teeth.
- See your dentist frequently. Your dentist is your first line of defense when it comes to great dental health. With this in mind, ensure your child sees a dentist regularly for cleanings, checkups, and more.
Ready to book your first appointment with our office? Contact us today to learn more.
Anytime a dental emergency happens it can be scary and not knowing what to do can make the moment worse. When smaller emergencies like a chipped tooth happen it is important to know what to do to better the chances of a good outcome, there are few steps to take once a chip has occurred.
Chipping a tooth does not have to mean you aren’t taking proper care of your teeth, chipping a tooth can happen at anytime. Not treating a chipped tooth however; can lead to further issues and problems.
“You are what you eat.” As it turns out, that adage may be especially true when it comes to your teeth. The front lines of defense when it comes to acids, colors, dyes, and bacteria in our food, our teeth work especially hard during mealtime. Because of this, it makes sense that certain foods would be good for your teeth, while others would put them at risk of decay, discoloration, and damage.
Here’s what you need to know about the top foods that are bad for your teeth, and a few you can sub out instead.
10 Foods That Are Terrible for Your Teeth
Did you know that cavities are the single most common chronic disease in people ages 6-19 years old? Don’t worry, though. You can prevent or decrease cavities by taking good care of your teeth, brushing often, and limiting or avoiding these ten foods and drinks:
Most people know that pop isn’t great for our teeth. What lots of us don’t know, however, is exactly how damaging it can be. According to one recent study, drinking large quantities of soda may be as detrimental to human teeth as using crack cocaine or methamphetamine.
Let that sink in for a moment.
So, why are sodas so damaging? The answer is acid. Carbonated sodas create a chemical reaction in your mouth, which allows the plaque on your teeth to create more acid. The acid then goes to work on your dental enamel, leading to rapid decay and discoloration. Finally, sodas can stain teeth and cause dry mouth – both of which wreak dental health havoc.
2. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a healthy snack, right? Right! Unfortunately, it does a number on your teeth. Dried fruits like apricots and raisins, for example, have a sticky residue which can coat your teeth and get stuck in the gaps between the tooth and the gum.
Over time, the sugars in the coating interact with the plaque in your mouth, creating an ideal environment for decay. If you’re going to snack on dried fruit, be sure to brush and floss your teeth afterward.
3. Potato Chips
Potato chips are delicious, but they’re a prime source of starch. When you crunch on this salty snack, the starch transforms to sugar in your mouth. When that sugar becomes trapped between your teeth, it feeds bacteria and plaque and promotes acid production and decay. If you can’t avoid potato chips altogether, brush and floss as soon as you’ve finished your snack
4. Citrus Fruits
Oranges, lemons, limes, oh my! Citrus fruits pack a welcome punch, but their acid content is tough on teeth, eating away at enamel and weakening a tooth’s natural defenses. If you want to take advantage of the health benefits of citrus without harming your chompers, keep your citrus intake moderate and swish your mouth with water after you’re done eating.
Candy is a bit like soda when it comes to our teeth. Most people know it’s not health food. As it turns out, though, some candies are worse than others when it comes to our teeth.
Sour and hard candidates, for example, stick to teeth and dissolve slowly in the mouth, respectively. This jacks up acid content and creates a residue that’s tough to brush away. Swap these sweet treats for a square of dark chocolate, instead. Chocolate won’t coat teeth and is easier to brush away.
Even nice, healthy, homemade wheat bread contains starch, and when you eat starch, your mouth breaks it down into sugar. This sugar becomes a sticky, gummy paste that lodges into the crevices of teeth and promotee decay.
While you can cut down on this effect by opting for more wholesome, whole-wheat varieties, it’s smart to brush your teeth after enjoying that lunchtime sandwich.
Alcohol does something interesting to the mouth: it cuts saliva production and creates dry mouth. Unfortunately, saliva keeps teeth healthy, and dry mouths are more susceptible to damage, decay, and dental staining. Additionally, saliva helps reduce the likelihood of oral infections and keep teeth healthy. With this in mind, keep alcohol intake to a minimum and drink plenty of water.
Ice seems harmless, but it can break and fracture teeth if you decide to chew it. Even if ice doesn’t break teeth, it can crack enamel and loosen crowns, leading to expensive dental bills and more. Because of this, it’s critical to avoid chewing ice and other hard objects.
9. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is billed as a healthy snack, but it contains lots of natural sugars. In fact, some fruit juice contains the same amount of sugar as drinks like Coke or Pepsi. With this in mind, keep your fruit juice consumption minimal, and rinse your mouth with water afterward.
10. Fried Food
Fried food is dense in calories, but it also contains chemical compounds like acrylamide, oxysterols, acrolein, heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and more. These compounds boost your risk of cancer and heart disease, while also lodging in your teeth and creating a perfect environment for decay. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to limit your consumption of fried food, and always to brush your teeth after you enjoy a cheat meal.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
Your mouth works hard when it comes to mealtime. In addition to breaking down food, making it easier to process nutrients, and creating an enjoyable experience, your mouth also takes the brunt of the acids, bacteria, and textures contained in our foods.
This year, do your mouth a solid by being mindful of what you’re putting on your plate. Swapping out food that is tough on your teeth for foods that are easier to chew and eat will go a long way toward protecting your dental health and reducing emergency dental visits.
Are you overdue for your yearly cleaning or exam? Contact our offices today to book your first appointment with our team of friendly, knowledgeable dentists.
Not only can food affect your overall health it can affect your teeth and oral health as well. Maintaining a proper diet can occasionally be difficult and confusing about what is good for you and what is not. We are here to help you find the best food choices to help your teeth and oral health.
Eating the right foods can be very helpful with your oral health, even when eating the right foods it is still important to visit your dentist regularly. We are here to help you be healthy and stay healthy!
Soda: it’s fizzy, sweet, and delicious. Unfortunately, it’s not great for our teeth. While most people know this, to some extent, many would be surprised to learn precisely how damaging soda can be for our oral health. And considering that about 50% of the U.S. population has at least one pop each day, this is becoming a significant problem for dental health in America.
Here’s what you need to know.
How Soda Impacts Health
While it may be delicious, it’s certainly not good for us. Here are a few massive ways soda can impact our health and wellbeing:
- Soda is linked to weight gain. Soda pop includes added sugar, typically in the form of sucrose or table sugar. These sweeteners supply simple sugars known as fructose in massive amounts. Unfortunately, fructose doesn’t do anything to lower or hunger hormones or stimulate feelings of fullness in the same ways as actually nutritionally-dense foods. When you consume liquid sugar, as seen in soda and other sugary drinks, you add more calorie intake and no more nutritional value to your daily diet. Because of this, people who drink soda on top of their daily caloric intake consumed 17% more calories than people who drink water, instead. This additional caloric intake leads to weight gain and increasing obesity levels. Additionally, since sugar increases belly fat accumulation, people who consume sugary drinks have higher levels of skin fat than people who do not.
- Sugar becomes fat in the liver. Sugar is composed of two unique molecules – glucose and fructose. While your body can metabolize glucose, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver. Since sugary drinks like soda are high in fructose, drinking them in excess overloads the liver and starts turning fructose into fat. This fat then makes its way into your bloodstream as triglycerides, while the rest of it remains in the liver. Left alone for too long, this condition contributes to fatty liver disease.
- Drinking soda can cause insulin resistance. Insulin drives glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. When this process is healthy, it’s critical for sustaining life. When people drink excessive levels of sugary soda, though, your cells become less sensitive to the impact of insulin. In these cases, the pancreas has to kick into overdrive, making more insulin to remove glucose from your bloodstream. This, then, causes insulin levels in your blood to spike. This, then, creates insulin resistance, which is one of the main factors lurking behind type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and similar disorders.
What Soda Does to Our Teeth
By now, you know that soda can increase your waistline, cause insulin resistance, and become an underlying factor for conditions like diabetes. What about how soda affects your smile, though? Here are a few impacts you might not be aware of:
1. Soda Increases the Acid Content in Your Mouth
When you take a swig of soda, the acids within it interact with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid. The acid, a bad actor in its own rite, goes to work on your teeth, attacking the enamel that surrounds and protects teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay, and causing your gums to pull back from your teeth, exposing tender roots and hastening the process of decay.
Think this process takes a long time to enact or only happens if you drink seven sodas a day? Think again. Each sip of every soda you take kicks off a chain reaction that lasts for about 20 minutes. That means that if you sip soda all day, your mouth is under a veritable attack.
2. Soda Causes Erosion
That sugary, bacteria reaction creates a dangerous process known as erosion. Erosion starts when the acid produced by soft drinks and the bacteria in your mouth comes into contact with the enamel surrounding your teeth.
Over time (it happens very quickly, though), the reaction drills away at the hard surface of your enamel, causing holes that allow bacteria into the center of the tooth and leading to significant decay, discoloration, and more.
Over time, this erosion can also lead to cavities and other forms of tooth decay. Even teeth with composite fillings are not immune to this, as decay locates the fringes of the filling and damages the enamel there, as well.
3. Soda can Discolor Teeth
The acid content in soda contains chromogens, which are compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel and create discoloration. Because of this, drinking a great deal of soda can make your teeth appear yellow, brown, or even green. Even brushing right away after drinking may not be enough to get rid of this discoloration, if you drink soda frequently enough.
How to Mitigate Dental Damage
While drinking soda is the best way to prevent the damage caused by acids and sugars, most dentists would agree that the occasional pop won’t destroy your dental health. If you want to keep your teeth healthy throughout, though, here are a few tips to follow:
- Drink soda in moderation. Even a single soft drink a day will do massive damage to your teeth. For best results, keep your soda consumption to on can a week or less.
- Drink it quickly. Don’t savor your soft drink, and don’t swish it around in your mouth. Instead, drink it quickly and use a straw. This gives the acids and bacterias in the soda less time to go to work on your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth afterward. As soon as you finish your soda, swish your mouth with water. This will wash away excess sugar and acids, and stop them from drilling into your teeth. 30 to 60 minutes after you finish your drink, brush your teeth thoroughly.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Financially, the best defense against ongoing dental decay is to visit your dentist. Regular cleaning and check-ups will help identify issues before they get worse.
Ready to schedule your first dental appointment? Contact our offices today.
Flossing your teeth can seem like a pain, if you are already brushing why should you need to floss? Flossing is incredibly beneficial to your health and helps clean your teeth, brushing alone can’t get your teeth clean enough and rid your mouth of harmful bacteria. Flossing matters just as much as brushing, here’s why:
Floss daily to not only help your teeth but your whole body, if you do not know how to floss or what the best type of floss is for you we would be happy to show you at your next appointment!