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5 Top Benefits of Using Fluoride Treatments

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5 Top Benefits of Using Fluoride Treatments

We all know how important fluoride treatments are for children. However, did you know that fluoride usage for adults is just as important?

It’s never too late to start practicing a healthy oral hygiene routine for your teeth. Even adults should use fluoride to experience the amazing positive effects it has on our teeth.   There are 5 clear benefits of fluoride treatments that all ages can appreciate.

   1. Protects Your Enamel

One of the most well-known benefits of fluoride treatments is its ability to protect a tooth’s enamel. Drinking liquids that contain high amounts of acid can cause the enamel on your teeth to break down. When the enamel deteriorates, your teeth become much more sensitive to normal activities such as drinking warm, hot, or cold liquids. Drinks containing high amounts of acid include lemon juice or lemonade, tomato juice, grape juice, orange juice, apple juice, and many other fruit juices. Unfortunately, extremely sensitive teeth can cause an unpleasant sensation at any moment. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and receiving fluoride treatments at the dental office reduces the amount of sensitivity your teeth experience. Fluoride helps protect the teeth and enamel against these acids and the bacteria that cause them. Specifically, fluoride protects the enamel from being broken down, reducing teeth sensitivity

   2. Puts Minerals Back In Your Teeth

Acid does more damage to your teeth than simply breaking down the enamel. It also breaks down the structure of your teeth by destroying the minerals that make up your teeth. Minerals, like calcium and phosphorous, are vital to the health of your teeth. When acid breaks down the enamel, it causes your teeth to become weak and damaged. The loss of calcium and phosphorous in your teeth can have dire consequences.

Fluoride reverses the damage by adding those vital minerals back into your teeth. This process, known as remineralization, ultimately helps rebuild damaged teeth. Remineralization is essential to maintaining healthy, strong teeth!

   3. Helps Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay

Bacteria is present in everyone’s mouth. When sugars and starches are consumed, they enable the bacteria to produce an acid which breaks down the enamel. This process is extremely harmful to your teeth and when it’s not combatted with fluoride treatments, the acid begins to decay your teeth. Fluoride is always the best treatment when battling tooth decay or cavities.

When receiving fluoride treatments and using fluoride toothpaste at home, you’re much less likely to experience cavities or tooth decay. It’s important to remember that tooth decay and cavities don’t only affect children, but they are common challenges for adults as well.  With this in mind, you should make it a priority to get fluoride treatments routinely as part of prevention. Fluoride can also be found in community water systems. Drinking this water can be beneficial for all members of the family.

   4. Saves You Money Down the Road

It’s no secret that dental procedures can be costly. The best way to save money in the long run is to stay up to date with your fluoride treatment. There are topical and systemic fluorides.

Topical fluorides are applied directly onto your teeth’s enamel. This can be completed with fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, and treatments offered within the dental office. Many dentists apply a fluoride treatment onto the teeth during a routine cleaning.

Systemic fluorides are fluorides that are swallowed. This type of treatment can be completed by drinking fluoride water in communities that have a fluoride water system. Systemic fluorides are also provided in the form of dietary fluoride supplements.

The use of both fluoride treatments is the best way to ensure healthy teeth and prevent expensive dental procedures.

   5. Provides A Natural Preventative

A final significant benefit of fluoride is that it serves as a natural preventative for your teeth. Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance found in both the oceans and the groundwater. By using water fluoridation, we’re able to adjust the levels of fluoride in our drinking water to the recommended level for preventing tooth decay and cavities.

It’s a natural and effective way to prevent possible damage to our teeth. The next time you visit the dentist, it’s wise to ask about receiving fluoride treatments as a means of prevention for your teeth.

Why You Need Fluoride Treatments for Your Adult Teeth

For all of the reasons children require fluoride treatments, adults need them as well. Even when our adult teeth are healthy and strong, it’s still important to have routine fluoride treatments. Over time, different liquids and solids that we consume build up an acid that ultimately breaks down our teeth, starting with the enamel.  Once the acid penetrates the enamel, it can start to break down crucial minerals needed in our teeth. Fluoride is the best way to ensure strong, healthy teeth and it’s a great way to rebuild the enamel or minerals that may have already been lost.

If you or your family members haven’t used fluoride on your teeth yet, then it’s time to start considering it. For more ways on how to keep a healthy and bright smile, browse through our website or contact our office to setup a consultation!

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How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush

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How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush

Most people are surprised to learn that the average toothbrush contains over 700 kinds of bacteria. Fungi, viruses, and tiny microorganisms sit on the bristles of toothbrushes around the world, establishing a foundation for diseases to form.

If the thought of bacteria dwelling on the toothbrush you routinely place in your mouth doesn’t peak your curiosity about changing your oral hygiene habits, think about the poor physical condition of your toothbrush.  Over time, the bristles on your brush become fanned out and spread apart.

Keeping the threat of oral bacteria and the physical appearance of your toothbrush in mind, the important question is how often should you change your toothbrush?

Where Are the Bacteria on Your Toothbrush Coming From?

The number one source of bacteria on your toothbrush is your mouth. You routinely use your brush to clean the plaque, food, and odor-causing germs from your mouth. Considering the fact that most people don’t use soap or bleach on their brush after using it (which we definitely don’t recommend), there are certainly going to be some bacteria present on your toothbrush.

It’s also important to consider where you store your toothbrush. Many people frequently store their toothbrush too close to the sink, or even the toilet. Brushes placed too close to either of these bathroom fixtures are at risk of attracting some extra unwanted microorganisms.

Lastly, it is important to remember that how you store your toothbrush matters.  Placing your brush in unwashed containers and holders can also facilitate the growth of bacteria. 

When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Despite the presence of bacteria on toothbrushes, the solution here is not to brush your teeth less! That would certainly lead to a variety of other harmful dental conditions. The solution is to regularly replace your toothbrush.

Between the American Dental Association (ADA) and many licensed dental professionals, it is recommended you change your toothbrush every three to four months.  Within this time frame, the bristles usually become severely worn and are much less effective. It should be noted that most dental professionals have a general rule that trumps this timeline. If you have recently been sick with an infection or virus, dental providers recommend you change your toothbrush right away.

Children may actually require a toothbrush replacement sooner than adults. Kids usually brush their teeth more rigorously than their grown counterparts, so the wear and tear on their brushes may be more evident before the three month mark.

If you happen to be wondering if it matters whether a toothbrush is manual or electric, the answer is no. Bristles are bristles, and it is strongly suggested you change your brush (or toothbrush head) every three to four months. 

Caring for Your Toothbrush

While the average person doesn’t feel a toothbrush requires special care and attention, dental professionals are quick to point out that it is important to follow some important steps:

Rinse

For starters, after you use your toothbrush it’s important you rinse it off thoroughly with tap water. Rinsing helps wash away any remaining toothpaste, food, and saliva that may still be present on your brush.    

Store in a Dry Place

After you’ve finished rinsing your toothbrush with tap water, it’s imperative to store it in a vertical position to air dry the brush. The key word here is “air dry”.  It’s important to make sure your toothbrush is completely dry every time you use it.

If you’re accustomed to placing your toothbrush in a closed container after use, it’s time you break that habit.  This helps prevent the bacteria buildup that is present in a storage container like that.  In fact, it’s best not to even keep your toothbrush in a closed container for traveling purposes. Instead, think about purchasing disposable brushes when traveling away from home. 

Be Careful Where You Keep It

As previously mentioned, many bacteria access your toothbrush based on its proximity to the toilet or sink.  Splashing water from either one of those sources can result in unwanted germs transferring onto your brush. Therefore, you should find an appropriate place to store your brush where it can remain away from this type of water.

Additionally, it’s best not to store your toothbrush in a place where it’s consistently touching the brushes of your family members. You certainly don’t want additional bacteria from your family members adding to your own. In fact, you should always remember that your toothbrush is yours alone. It’s never a smart idea to share a toothbrush with another person. 

Keep a Spare or Two

As you surf the internet or make trips to the store, it’s wise to purchase some extra toothbrushes or toothbrush heads. It’s important to have these extra brushes around the house during those times when you are faced with unexpected challenges (I.e. you get sick, you drop your brush in the toilet, or your young kids get a hold of your brush). 

Going Forward

It’s been said that when people know better, they tend to do better. Now that you know you should be changing your toothbrush every three to four months, you shouldn’t rely on your next dental appointment to make an upgrade. Since you’re aware of the importance of keeping your brush in a dry and secure place, you’ll be careful not to lay your brush down an inch away from the bathroom sink. 

If you have additional questions about when you should change your toothbrush or oral hygiene routine, be sure to contact our Holly Springs dental office!

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10 Dental Care Tips to Keep in Mind When You're Pregnant

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10 Dental Care Tips to Keep in Mind When You're Pregnant

Many pregnant women carefully manage their diet, environment, and routine.  However, these same women often fail to consider their dental health during pregnancy.  This lack of dental health awareness can create serious consequences. Dentistry and pregnancy go hand in hand. Pregnancy often creates changes that can lead to serious dental problems, placing the mother and baby at risk.

Dentistry and Pregnancy

The development of the child inside your womb makes visiting the dentist more important than ever! There are 10 important dental care tips you should keep in mind throughout your pregnancy.

1. Visit the Dentist

In fear of harming the baby, some pregnant women skip their routine visits to the dentist during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, this poor decision actually puts their little one at risk.  During pregnancy, hormonal changes and other side effects make women more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. The resulting infections can potentially affect the baby indirectly, and it often increases your risk of a miscarriage or premature birth.

For optimal dental health, it is important to visit your dentist prior to conception. This way you enter your pregnancy with a healthy mouth.  This is also ideal because if you require extensive dental treatment, then the dentist can address it before you become pregnant and not worry about how it may affect your baby. 

Visit your dentist for a regular dental cleaning during the pregnancy as well. This will help ensure that your dental health will not trigger any additional health problems.

2. Watch for Gingivitis

Even if you make regular dental visits, it is still important to watch for any signs of gum disease during the long stretch between visits. Increased blood flow and hormonal changes can lead to pregnancy gingivitis.  With this disease, the germs that attack your gums can potentially enter the bloodstream and jeopardize your pregnancy. You can prevent this from occurring by watching for the early warning signs, including:

  • Sensitive gums and teeth that lead to difficulty chewing

  • Bleeding gums

  • Redness and swelling

  • Bad breath

  • Loose teeth

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your dentist. Do not panic if you notice small amounts of pink blood while brushing (with no other symptoms). This often occurs when your blood volume increases.

3. Floss

Flossing reaches the surfaces of your teeth that the bristles from your toothbrush cannot. This prevents the buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria.  Flossing also prevents gum disease and tooth decay. You should floss at least once a day, but twice if possible.

4. Brush Regularly

Morning sickness may make you think twice about brushing. However, it is crucial to continue brushing twice a day. Your teeth face more risks during pregnancy than normal. It is a good idea to brush after your morning sickness passes. If you struggle with gagging or taste sensitivity, try using a children's toothbrush and toothpaste with a lighter flavor.

5. Swish Baking Soda

During the first trimester of pregnancy, many women experience morning sickness. Though less common, some even experience this into their second trimester. Stimulated by significant hormone changes, morning sickness can cause frequent vomiting.  This vomiting brings stomach acid into your mouth, which is detrimental to your teeth. In fact, vomit can often lead to tooth decay, if not removed promptly.   

In an effort to neutralize the acid, try swishing a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with warm water. You will find it helpful to do this a couple of times a day to help protect your teeth. The baking soda will also help eliminate that sour taste.

6. Limit Sugars

When you consume sugar, it often sticks to your teeth. Microscopic bacteria enter your mouth to eat the sugar and excrete acid in return. This is precisely how sugar destroys your teeth.

You should not try to eliminate carbs completely while pregnant. However, it is ideal to consume your daily dose in the form of whole grains, fruits, and other healthy carbohydrates.

Food cravings often make this challenging, but you can combat them with compromise. For example, you might crave potato chips for the saltiness and the crunch.  Instead, munch on kale chips, a healthier alternative for your teeth.  If you must eat sweets or extra carbs, rinse your mouth or brush your teeth immediately after consumption. It is important to remember that milk contains the sugar lactose, so follow the same process after drinking milk. 

7. Control Your Pica

Some women experience extremely bizarre cravings during pregnancy. These are referred to as pica.  Women who experience pica may crave non-food items including:

  • Ice

  • Dirt

  • Glass 

  • Laundry detergent

  • Sand

These items can often destroy your teeth and result in serious infections. Aside from harming your teeth, some of these items can cause toxicity for you and the baby.

If you experience cravings for any potentially harmful non-food items, contact your doctor. Not only can these items hurt you and your baby directly, but they can also lead to nutritional deficiencies. 

8. Take Your Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins can help strengthen your dental health and the development of your baby. Your body requires more calcium while pregnant. A calcium deficiency can initiate decay within your teeth.  The daily consumption of prenatal vitamins that contain calcium, vitamin D, and other vitamins or minerals help keep your teeth strong throughout the pregnancy.

9. Don't Refuse Imaging

If your dentist decides to take x-rays during your pregnancy, they have a good reason for it.  While it is obvious you should not expose your baby to excess radiation, it is also important to remember that the dental provider will use lead shields to protect your womb.  A one-time image does not significantly increase the risk of the baby experiencing any negative side effects. In fact, you put your child at more serious risk by not diagnosing something potentially serious.

10. Control the Plaque

Some women experience plaque buildup during pregnancy. Your dentist can provide you with a safe antimicrobial mouth rinse to help prevent this condition.  Rinsing once a day should keep the plaque away!

Show Your Baby a Healthy Smile

One of the first things your baby will see upon entering the world is your smile. Make your smile a healthy one by following these 10 tips on dentistry and pregnancy.

Enjoy your pregnancy, but don't get so caught up in the excitement that you forget about your dental health.  Contact us to book an appointment today!

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