Posts for: October, 2013
In the early 1900s, a Colorado dentist noticed many of his patients had unusual brown staining on their teeth — and little to no tooth decay. What he unknowingly observed was the power of a chemical substance in his patients' drinking water — fluoride. While commonplace today, fluoride sparked a revolution — and some controversy — in dental care during the 20th Century.
After decades of research and testing, most dentists now agree that fluoride reduces decay by interfering with the disease process. The optimum pH level for the mouth is neutral; however, this environment constantly changes as we eat, especially if we ingest foods or beverages high in acidity. A high acid level softens tooth enamel (a process called de-mineralization) and can lead to erosion if not neutralized. In addition, a thin layer of bacteria-rich plaque called biofilm that adheres to tooth surfaces is also acidic and is the cause of tooth decay, possibly more so in teeth made more susceptible from enamel erosion.
When fluoride is in “the right place” (present on the tooth surface and in our saliva, the body's natural acid neutralizer), it helps inhibit de-mineralization and aids in the re-hardening of the enamel (re-mineralization).
Although fluoride needs to come into direct contact with tooth enamel for optimum effectiveness, ingesting it can also prove beneficial. The fluoride we ingest eventually becomes deposited in bone. As bone grows and changes it releases this reserved fluoride back into the bloodstream where it eventually becomes part of saliva; the saliva brings it into contact with tooth surfaces.
The two most prominent ways we encounter fluoride are through fluoridated drinking water and in toothpaste. There continues to be concerns about what constitutes safe levels of fluoride in drinking water and over possible side effects like teeth staining and changes in bone structure. However, extensive studies have conclusively shown that even minimal levels of water fluoridation and the use of fluoride toothpaste have reduced tooth decay.
As the Colorado dentist discovered over a hundred years ago, fluoride is truly remarkable as a cavity fighter. Whether you have access to fluoridated water or not, we encourage you to use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth against decay.
If you would like more information on fluoride, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride & Fluoridation in Dentistry.”
When it comes to dental health, you might say celebrity interior designer and television host Nate Berkus is lucky: Unlike many TV personalities, he didn't need cosmetic dental work to achieve — or maintain — his superstar smile. How did he manage that? Nate credits the preventive dental treatments he received as a youngster.
“I'm grateful for having been given fluoride treatments and sealants as a child. Healthy habits should start at a young age,” he told an interviewer from Dear Doctor magazine. We couldn't have said it better — but let's take a moment and examine exactly what these treatments do.
Fluoride treatment — that is, the topical (surface) application of a concentrated fluoride gel to a child's teeth — is a procedure that's often recommended by pediatric dentists. Although tooth enamel is among the hardest substances in nature, fluoride has been shown to make it more resistant to tooth decay. And that means fewer cavities! Studies show that even if you brush regularly and live in an area with fluoridated water, your child could still benefit from the powerful protection of fluoride treatments given at the dental office.
Another potent defense against cavities is dental sealants. Despite your child's best efforts with the toothbrush, it's still possible for decay bacteria to remain in the “pits and fissures” of the teeth — those areas of the molars, for example, which have tiny serrated ridges and valleys where it's easy for bacteria to grow. Dental sealants fill in and protect vulnerable areas from bacterial attack, greatly decreasing the risk that future dental treatment will be required.
Why not take a tip from our favorite celebrity interior designer, and ask about cavity-preventing treatments for your children's teeth? If you would like more information about fluoride treatments or dental sealants, please contact us for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Topical Fluoride” and “Sealants for Children.”
You have only one chance to make a first impression, and a big part of that impression is your smile. For many people, poor self-image starts with being self-conscious and inhibited about their smile.
A great smile is contagious. It can help you win friends and influence people. Conversely, inhibitions about your smile can have a negative impact on your relationships with family and friends, your career goals, and even your love life. If you think that self-consciousness about how your smile looks is holding you back, consider a smile makeover. With cosmetic and restorative dental procedures your smile can be the image of radiant health and happiness that you wish it could be.
A smile makeover is designed to enhance or even transform your self-image by giving you a brighter and more youthful smile, making your teeth look and function better through cosmetic and restorative dental procedures.
Here are ten reasons you may need a smile makeover:
- You are self-conscious about spaces and gaps between your teeth.
- Your teeth seem too small, and your smile seems “gummy.”
- Your teeth make you look older because they are stained or yellow.
- Your teeth are crooked, chipped, crowded or worn out.
- Your teeth do not work together effectively when you are biting or chewing.
- You hide your smile when posing for a photo, and you habitually hold your hand in front of your mouth when speaking or laughing.
- When you are interviewing for a new job or networking as part of your current job, your self-consciousness limits your ability to connect with people.
- Your friendships and family relations are suffering because of your low self-esteem.
- You wish you had a certain celebrity's smile or a friend's smile, instead of your own.
Perhaps most importantly:
- Your inhibitions about your smile are affecting other people's perceptions of you in all areas of your life.
If any of the above sound like you, contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry and a smile makeover. You can also learn more by reading the article “The Impact of a Smile Makeover: What does it really mean?” in Dear Doctor magazine.