Protect Your Enamel

protect your tooth enamelTooth enamel is the thin outer covering of your tooth structure, and is the hardest substance in the human body.

Enamel protects teeth from the daily stress of biting and chewing. It also insulates teeth against extreme temperatures, preventing them from being sensitive to hot and cold. Tooth enamel is strong and durable, but can chip or crack.

Once damaged, enamel cannot repair itself and the damage is permanent.

Acids Destroy Tooth Enamel

Altough strong, tooth enamel is susceptible to erosion by acids. Foods and drinks which contain high amounts of acids damage enamel over time. Some of the worst culprits for acid erosion are:
• Soft drinks and sports drinks which are high in phosphoric acid.   Even diet drinks contain acid.
• Fruit juices (some fruit acids can be stronger than battery acid)
• A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates
• Acid reflux disease
• Dry mouth
• Environmental factors

Environments Causes of Enamel Erosion

Habits and environmental stressors can damage tooth enamel. Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism) can place large amounts of stress on your tooth surfaces, causing the enamel to crack, chip or erode.

Bruxism can cause erosion of the enamel at the gum line, weakening your tooth structure and causing sensitivity.
Abrasion of tooth enamel occurs with aggressive brushing or improper flossing, or biting on hard objects such as biting fingernails.

Enamel can also be damaged from abfraction, or fracturing of the tooth due to cracking of enamel.

Corrosion of enamel occurs chemically with strong acids such as aspirin, vitamin c or frequent contact with stomach acid.

Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Avoiding enamel erosion is the best way to prevent these types of dental problems.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist can help you modify your behavior or even reduce the stress of bruxism with a mouth guard.

Treat medical conditions such as acid reflux disease and other gastrointestinal problems. Avoid habits and behaviors that ca damage tooth enamel.

Treating Damaged Enamel

If you have damaged enamel, see your dentist. Your dentist can prescribe the appropriate dental treatment to repair the damage of enamel erosion.

In some cases, bonding of the teeth will help protect the eroded areas from decay and further damage. In more severe cases of enamel damage, a dental crown may be advised to repair and protect your tooth.
Contact your Saratoga  dental office for more information .

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

child-228439_1280Like tiny feet and fingers, baby teeth may only be around for a little while, but they are important. Baby teeth help ensure that the permanent teeth come in properly. In addition, little ones need healthy, strong baby teeth to help them chew, speak clearly and show their bright smile.

Temporary as they may be, baby teeth are susceptible to cavities, just like adult teeth. In babies and toddlers, tooth decay is often referred to as ‘baby-bottle tooth decay’ or early childhood caries.

What Causes Baby Bottle Decay?

Early childhood caries is most often seen in the upper front teeth, but can affect any of the teeth. It occurs primarily because of prolonged exposure to liquids containing sugar. Breast milk and formula both contain a form of sugar which can cause cavities.

When a baby is put down to sleep with a bottle, or a bottle is used as a pacifier, it causes prolonged exposure to the sugary liquid inside. In addition, cavity causing bacteria can be passed from mother to baby through saliva- when a mother puts the baby spoon in her mouth, or passes saliva another way, it can introduce cavity causing bacteria into the baby’s mouth.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Decay

The good news about cavities is that they can be prevented. Babies who get enough fluoride (from fluorinated water) have less chance of developing decay.

Avoid allowing baby to fall asleep with a bottle or to use a bottle at any time other than feeding time. Proper oral hygiene for babies is important, even before their first tooth comes in. Gently clean the gums with a soft cloth after feeding, and move up to a soft child-sized toothbrush with the appearance of the first tooth. The use of a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste is advisable until the age of 3, when a pea sized amount is recommended.
Teaching good dental habits from the start will help your baby develop good dental hygiene as they grow. Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure teeth are getting clean. As baby grows, encourage the use of a sippy cup by her first birthday.
For more information on protecting your baby’s teeth, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

dry mouthDry mouth can be caused by numerous factors or sometimes just increased age.  The most common causes of dry mouth are certain medical conditions such as diabetes, mouth breathing, sleep apnea and even rheumatoid arthritis.

Autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and lupus can cause dry mouth. Treatments such as radiation therapy can cause a reduction in saliva in the oral cavity.  Certain medications can inhibit saliva production leading to dry mouth as well.

Complications From Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is more than an annoying condition for people who suffer with it.  Your saliva acts as a natural cleanser for your mouth.  Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria, inhibiting tooth decay.

When saliva production is decreased, the risk of developing cavities and gum disease increases.  In addition, reduced saliva can increase the risk of developing an oral candida infection (yeast infection).

Patients with dry mouth should see their dentist regularly to examine the teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, since the risk of both is increased for them.

Treatment of Dry Mouth

There are many ways to help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.  Chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production.  Avoiding chemicals such as caffeine, tobacco and mouthwash containing alcohol can help alleviate symptoms.  Keeping well-hydrated can also help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth.  Sip water throughout the day and use a humidifier at night to keep your air passages moist.

Avoid mouth-breathing.  Over the counter products, such as Biotene, can also help.  Look for a product that is designed to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.  These products are available in many preparations including mouth rinse, oral spray, gum and toothpaste.

For more information about the causes and treatment of dry mouth, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

Fun Fourth of July Facts

fireworks-180553_1280Independence Day is one of the most loved of American holidays.  At Park Saratoga Dental, we wish each and every one of you a fun-filled, safe and exciting Fourth of July.

In the spirit of the holiday, we have compiled some interesting facts about Independence Day that are sure to spark some patriotic conversations.  Thanks to the US Census Bureau for providing these interesting facts.

In July, 1776, the estimated population of our newly independent nation was 2.5 million. On July 4, 2014, the estimated population was 318.4 million!

There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Most of it was written by Thomas Jefferson, who was considered the most eloquent writer on the committee who drafted it.

The total estimated production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2013 was 6.1 billion pounds. There is a good chance that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which produces 1/6 of the nation’s beef. 

$203.6 million represents the value of fireworks imported from China in 2013, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($213.8 million).

Find more interesting Fourth of July Facts at http://census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2014/cb14-ff16.html

Have a safe and happy 4th of July from the team at Park Saratoga Dental!