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Dental bridges can last for decades, but eventually they need repairing or replacing. A dental bridge is a fixed appliance that is placed in the mouth when one or more teeth are missing. Usually, the pontic (or false) teeth are anchored to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap, which are called the abutment teeth. You might need dental bridge repair because your bridge has broken, or your dentist identified a problem during a routine checkup.

Causes of Dental Bridge Failure

Most dental bridges are made of ceramics or porcelain fused to an underlying metal frame, and lacking oral care can cause these products to fail. Bacteria can enter under the bridge through the crowns and manage to produce decay in the abutment teeth, according to the Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry. Abutment teeth can also fracture.

Problems in the bridge itself include breakage of the underlying metal and a fracture of the coating or pontic. Sometimes there aren’t any structural problems with the bridge, but it doesn’t fit well in the mouth or the color doesn’t match the surrounding teeth.

When They Need Fixing

Dental bridges are an effective treatment for missing teeth, but they aren’t a permanent solution. The Cleveland Clinic states that dental bridges should last five to seven years or longer – up to 35 years according to the Creighton University School of Dentistry. But because the abutment teeth are covered, signs of decay aren’t visible, and sensitivity in the teeth or gums around a dental bridge could be a sign that it needs repair. You might also notice or feel a crack in the tooth, or pieces of the porcelain may come off. If you notice chips or cracks in your dental bridge, or feel pain or sensitivity when chewing on it or brushing it, you should see your dentist.

Dental Bridge Repair

Treatment to repair a dental bridge depends on the cause of the failure. If the issue is with an abutment tooth, the dentist must remove the bridge. Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the abutment teeth, so this often requires breaking the original bridge. Once the supporting teeth have been treated, and if they’re still healthy, a replacement bridge can be made. If the dentist can’t restore the abutment teeth, they can be replaced with implants that support a new bridge. The abutment teeth and the missing teeth can also be replaced with implants, which are placed surgically into the jaw bone.

If the porcelain coating on the bridge is chipped or fractured, but the bridge is otherwise sound, it may be possible for the dentist to repair the coating. Dentists can sometimes repair a fractured pontic as well, as detailed in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Caring for a New Bridge

Good oral care habits increase the longevity of a bridge. Twice-daily brushing can help prevent decay of the abutment teeth, and dentists often recommend a special flossing tool that cleans the gap between the gum and the pontic. A regular professional cleaning schedule and a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables also helps to maintain good mouth health.

Failing bridges don’t repair themselves and only get worse over time, so if your bridge is giving you problems, book an appointment at your dentist’s right away. He can offer a range of options to restore your confident smile.

Content courtesy colgate.com

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Why are dental implants often the first choice and a standard of care compared to other options to restore missing or damaged teeth?

  • Next best thing to healthy, natural teeth.  Strong and stable, a dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth. Other options can lead to bone deterioration, and may interfere with eating, smiling, speaking and other activities of everyday life.
  • Built to last. Dental implants are a long-term solution. Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care often more than 10 years, but at some point they may need to be replaced. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.
  • Enjoy life without worrying about your teeth!  No need to stay home or feel uncomfortable in public, embarrassed because your smile looks different, or worrying that missing teeth will limit your ability to join in the fun or that removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth will loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh. Teeth restored with dental implants are teeth that let you, not your teeth, lead your life.
  • Retain your natural face shape, and smile.  A face without teeth can sag and appear sunken and sad. Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
  • Protect healthy bone. Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • Keep your teeth in your mouth – not in a cup. Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong – in your mouth. And no more worrying that your dentures might slip or fall out. Brush, floss and care for teeth that have been replaced using dental implants exactly the way you would natural teeth – in your mouth.
  • Speak easy.  Adjusting to removable dentures can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. Not so with dental implants, which function like natural teeth.
  • Eat your favorite foods! Taste and enjoy the foods you love without hesitation. You can bite naturally, eat virtually anything you want and, unlike removable dentures that can feel uncomfortable, you can experience the full taste of the food you eat with dental implants, too.
  • Look Mom, no cavities! Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.
  • Keep teeth in place – silently. Dentures may slip when you eat, talk, smile, laugh, kiss, yawn or cough, so that you have to “reposition” them back into place in the mouth. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.
  • Protect your healthy teeth. Placing a tooth-supported bridge requires grinding away the teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth or teeth – thereby damaging healthy teeth to restore those that are missing. The modified healthy teeth are attached to, and support, the bridge. Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.
  • More predictable than other repair and restoration methods. Dental implant treatment has a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes and is often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to repair or replace missing teeth, including bridgework, removable appliances and retreatment of failing root canal (endodontic) therapy.

Content courtesy of: aaid-implant.org

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What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.

How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.

Your dentist may recommend a crown to:

  • Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

How do Bridges Work?
A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, your dentist will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, your dentist will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.

Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material your dentist specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.

How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.

Crowns
Porcelain
Gold
Full porcelain fused to metal.Full cast gold crown.
Bridges
SpaceBridgeCemented
Teeth around the space are prepared.The bridge is mounted and adjusted for fit and comfort.The bridge is cemented into position.

Content courtesy colgate.com

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You’ve probably seen the warning on cigarette packages: “Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.” What smoking-related diseases come to mind? Lung cancer, probably. Emphysema, maybe.

But did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking? Chronic (long-term) gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth.

“Studies have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease,” says David A. Albert, D.D.S., M.P.H. Dr. Albert is an associate professor at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection. It destroys soft tissue and bone that anchor your teeth to your jawbones. Bacteria grow in the dental plaque that forms in the pockets around your teeth. Your body’s reaction to the plaque leads to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone.

In early stages of the disease, you may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection worsens, your gums begin to break down. They pull away from your teeth, forming pockets. Later, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen as more of the supporting structures are destroyed. Ultimately, your teeth may become loose and painful. They may even fall out.

Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This may be the result of a decreased flow of saliva. Calculus is the hardened form of plaque.

Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse faster. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers. In studies, smokers were three to six times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers. Severe bone loss was five times greater among current or former heavy smokers than among people who never smoked.

“Smokers have much less gum bleeding and redness than other people even though their mouths are not healthy,” Dr. Albert says. “This can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their gum health.”

Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult. And the treatment is less likely to succeed. That’s because smoking hinders healing in your mouth.

One study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing periodontal treatment. In most studies of nonsurgical gum treatment (deep scaling), smokers improved less than nonsmokers. Smokers also don’t respond as well to oral surgery treatments. Dental implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke, because of poor bone healing.

Crowns and bridges look great when first placed in the mouth. In smokers they often lose this beautiful appearance, especially as the gums recede and bone is lost. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, will not look good for a long time in a person who smokes.

Researchers still are studying just what smoke does to mouth tissue. It appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment.

“It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums,” Dr. Albert says. “This leads to a slowdown in the healing process. It makes the treatment results less predictable and often unfavorable.”

It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease, Dr. Albert says. All tobacco products can affect gum health. This includes pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars. Labels on smokeless products such as chewing tobacco or snus include warnings that the products can cause oral cancer, gum disease or tooth loss.

A study conducted at Temple University showed this risk. Researchers reported that 18% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease. “This is three times the amount found in non-smokers,” Dr. Albert says. The study was published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000.

Experts say pipe smokers have rates of tooth loss similar to those of cigarette smokers. Smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede. This increases the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place.

The only good news about smoking and oral health is that the Surgeon General’s warning holds true. Quitting now does greatly reduce serious risks to your health. A recent study reported that people who had quit smoking 11 years before had about the same rate of periodontal disease as people who never smoked.

Even reducing the amount you smoke seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than nonsmokers. Those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times the risk.

“The dental office is a good place to visit for help with quitting,” Dr. Albert says. “Your dentist can show you the effect of smoking on your mouth and teeth. She or he can help you set a quit date and provide you with advice on which medicines can help you quit, such as nicotine patches or gum.”

Oral Cancer

Tobacco’s greatest threat to your health may be its link to oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:

About 90% of people with mouth cancer and some types of throat cancer have used tobacco. The risk of developing these cancers increases as people smoke or chew more often or for a longer time.

Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop these cancers.

About 37% of patients who continue to smoke after cancer treatment will develop second cancers of the mouth, throat or larynx. This compares with only 6% of those who stop smoking.

Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes can cause cancers anywhere in the mouth or the part of the throat just behind the mouth. It also can cause cancers of the larynx, lungs, esophagus, kidneys, bladder and several other organs. Pipe smoking also can cause cancer in the area of the lips that contacts the pipe stem.

Smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips. Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of these cancers by nearly 50 times.

Implant Failure

Dental implants can replace lost teeth in people who smoke. However, smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail.

“Studies have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures,” Dr. Albert says. Smokers who are considering getting a dental implant need to realize this risk, he says.

“Before getting implants, it is very important to quit smoking. I advise that you consider seeking counseling and support to help you quit,” he says.

Content courtesy colgate.com

Tooth human implant (done in 3d graphics)

What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place, they allow your dentist to mount replacement teeth onto them.

How do Dental Implants Work?
Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures and bridges mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth — an especially important benefit when eating and speaking. This secure fit helps the dentures and bridges — as well as individual crowns placed over implants — feel more natural than conventional bridges or dentures.

For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging. In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.

To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also commit to keeping these structures healthy. Meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.

Implants are usually more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, and most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10 percent of the fees.

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Did you know that your teeth have a built-in defense system to help protect them from cavities and tooth decay? It’s called enamel and it forms a hard, protective shell over the surface of your teeth. However, bacteria can eat away at tooth enamel if you don’t properly clean and take care of your mouth. Dentists recommend receiving regular fluoride treatments to help strengthen your enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. Fluoride treatments can also help children develop strong, healthy teeth for years to come.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in food and water. Fluoride treatments help strengthen tooth enamel and repair any holes in it by replacing the nutrients that are lost over time. After your teeth have been exposed to fluoride, they tend to become more resistant to acid, making it less likely that they will decay in the future.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride’s primary benefit is that it helps prevent tooth decay. It can also reverse erosion that has already taken place. If plaque forms on the teeth and eats away at the enamel, fluoride treatments can replace the minerals in the enamel that have eroded. This allows teeth to remain healthy.

Fluoride treatments are especially important for children under the age of six. Even though these young children don’t have their permanent teeth yet, fluoride treatments can prevent bacteria build-up around the gums, fight gingivitis, and help establish long-term dental health.

Fluoride treatments are even more important if you require special oral care. Anyone who wears braces should receive fluoride treatments regularly to prevent bacteria from getting trapped underneath the wires. People who are undergoing radiation for cancer in the head or neck should also make it a priority to have fluoride treatments since radiation can damage glands in the mouth that produce saliva. Saliva is necessary to neutralize the harmful acids that are released as we chew and it stops food particles from making direct contact with your teeth. The less saliva you have in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to tooth decay.

Types of fluoride supplements

There are several ways to increase the amount of fluoride in your system. One of the most common ways is to use toothpaste that is enriched with fluoride.

You can also buy fluoride gels to use at home. Apply the gel directly to your mouth and let it sit for several minutes, then rinse out your mouth with water. You should avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after you apply this gel. Some gels are available over-the-counter and are typically meant to be used in conjunction with fluoride toothpaste. If you need a stronger dose of fluoride, your dentist will be able to prescribe a gel for you.

Finally, your dentist may provide a fluoride treatment during a routine checkup. During the treatment, your dentist will fill a mouth guard with flavored fluoride. For the fluoride to properly stick to your teeth, you should wear the mouth guard for up to four minutes. Then your dentist will remove the guard and rinse out your mouth. Some dentists also use a varnish or foam, which they paint directly onto your teeth. You should avoid eating, drinking or smoking for 30 minutes after the treatment.

Fluoride therapy for children

Although fluoride is highly beneficial for children, it also has certain risks. Dentists give fluoride treatments to children to aid with the development of healthy permanent teeth and to lower the risk of tooth decay. However, if children are exposed to too much fluoride, it can cause a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis causes teeth to become brown and can actually cause tooth decay.

Children should use fluoridated toothpaste at home twice a day. However, parents need to monitor their children’s brushing to ensure that they do not use too much toothpaste. Children over the age of two should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. This is especially important when dealing with young children because they tend to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out. Children under the age of two should not brush their teeth by themselves. As their parent, you should use a soft bristle brush to apply fluoridated toothpaste to their teeth and help them rinse out their mouth.

In some cases, dentists may also prescribe fluoride supplements for children. Dentists usually only prescribe supplements to children who have a high risk of tooth decay, including children who eat a lot of sugary foods or children who don’t get enough nutritional fluoride in their diet. Fluoride supplements are used sparingly in children because of the risk of overdose. If your child needs fluoride supplements, make sure to keep the supplements out of his or her reach and follow all directions provided by your child’s dentist.

Many recent studies have demonstrated that when used correctly, fluoride treatments greatly help reduce the risk of tooth decay, especially in young children. It’s important to make sure your teeth get enough fluoride so that you won’t get cavities. Most adults can take care of their teeth by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. If you are concerned about whether you’re getting enough fluoride, talk to your dentist about supplements. Your dentist will let you know if they are necessary and prescribe the proper dosage.

Content courtesy humana.com

This video is a great demonstration of the process of installing dental bridges.

Content Courtesy DrBurquez Channel, Youtube

This video is a great demonstration of the process of installing dental bridges. Content Courtesy DrBurquez Channel, Youtube

Plaque beware!

We are often asked if an electrical toothbrush is more effective than a manual one for cleaning your teeth. Many people assume that an electrical bush will clean your teeth more effectively. The reality is that both can be effective as long as one is thorough with the brushing and one brushes for the recommended 2 minute period of time.

That being said, there are some advantages to an electric toothbrush for some people. An electric toothbrush is ideal for people who suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and any other painful or movement-restricting conditions. Since the electric toothbrush’s rotating head does all the work, the user is exempt from constantly applying effort with their wrists and hands; making dental care a much easier task.

Advanced electric toothbrushes include an automatic timer in their design, which makes it easier for users to know when their two minute brush is complete. This ensures a proper clean is achieved to maintain oral hygiene.

Some patients are just more prone to gingivitis and often we will make a recommendation to use an electric toothbrush for these patients.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information regarding electric toothbrushes!

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The Basics

Everyone knows that a balanced, nutritious diet is essential to healthy living. But did you know that eating patterns and food choices play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, too? You may eat with your eyes first, but your mouth, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process. Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health.

Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors, but according to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture,a balanced and healthy diet should include: 

  • Fruits and vegetables. Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals.
  • Grains. At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods most often.
  • Protein. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.

In addition to diet, it’s also important to stay active for good health. Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.

For more information about eating right, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Snacking

For dental health, it’s recommended that people limit eating and drinking between meals. Of course, sometimes eating between meals must happen. Unfortunately, most people choose foods like sweets and chips for snacks; foods that harm teeth by promoting tooth decay. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—for your overall health and the health of your teeth. Did you know that certain foods can put you at risk for cavities and other oral health problems? Here are someMouthHealthy tips.

New School Lunch Standards

According to the National School Lunch Program, more than 23 million children and teens are overweight or obese, placing them at increased risk for serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke later in life.

That’s why the National School Lunch Program is working towards making sure every child has access to healthy lunch options at school. New standards for school lunches, and the incentive of federal funds (six cents per lunch) for the schools which meet these new standards, are helping in the effort.

The school lunch changes include: more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, a shift to low-fat or nonfat milk, and limits on calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

Diet and Tooth Decay

The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can have a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay, depending upon:

  • The form of the food—whether it’s liquid, solid, sticky or slow to dissolve makes a difference.
  • How often you eat sugary foods and beverages and how often you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages.
  • The nutritional makeup of the food.
  • The combination of the foods you eat and the order in which you eat them.
  • Medical conditions you may have, such as gastrointestinal reflux and eating disorders, which can increase risk of cavities and weaken teeth.

Sugar Recommendations

In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration recommended people over the age of 3 eat no more than 12.5 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar a day (about the same amount that is found in a can of Coke.) Sugar, the FDA says, should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.

The bacteria in your mouth use carbohydrates for food, so when you cut back on sugar, and other sources of simple carbohydrates that are easily fermentable, you reduce your cavity risk. Limit added sugars in your diet by reading food labels to determine the amount of added sugar in a food. Since ingredients are listed on the label in order of weight, from most to least, if one of the following terms is listed as one of the first few ingredients, it’s a good bet that food is high in sugar. Another tip for spotting sources of sugar—terms ending in “-ose” indicate a sugar ingredient.

Here are some common added sugars:

  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • confectioners’ or powdered sugar
  • turbinado sugar
  • raw sugar
  • corn sweeteners
  • corn syrup
  • crystallized cane sugar
  • maltose
  • fructose
  • sucrose
  • glucose
  • dextrin
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • honey
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • syrup
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • molasses

Top Sources of Added Sugar in the Diet and Percentages

  • soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, 35.7%
  • grain-based desserts (cakes, pies) 12.9%
  • fruit drinks 10.5%
  • dairy-based desserts (ice cream) 6.5%
  • candy 6.1%
  • ready-to-eat cereals 3.8%
  • sugars and honey 3.5%
  • tea (sweetened) 3.5%
  • yeast breads 2.1%
  • all other foods 15.4%
Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010    

Foods That May Harm Dental Health

Empty calorie foods such as candy (especially hard or sticky candies like lollipops, mints, taffy and caramel), sweets like cookies, cakes and muffins, and snack foods like chips are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain that can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, and that’s what leads to tooth decay.

Sugar-containing drinks—soda, lemonade, juice and sweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot)—are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay. Learn more about the potentially harmful oral health effects of drinking acidic and sugary drinks here from the Indiana Dental Association’s Drinks Destroy Teeth.

Nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can have acidic effects on tooth enamel, too, so eat them as part of a meal, not by themselves. Dried fruits, including raisins, are also good choices for a healthy diet, but since they are sticky and adhere to teeth, the plaque acids that they produce continue to harm teeth long after you stop eating them. Opt for a piece of fresh fruit instead.

Foods That May Benefit Dental Health

Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds, are foods that may benefit tooth health thanks to their high amounts of calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus. Both of these minerals play a critical role in dental health, by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy smile since they are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. Plus, many contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (another key nutrient in building tooth enamel).

Hands down, water—particularly fluoridated water—is the most tooth-friendly beverage.

Sugar Substitutes and Sugar-Free Products

Sugar substitutes may look and taste like sugar but they don’t promote decay-causing acids in your mouth that can harm teeth. There are many types of sugar substitutes, including aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, sucralose, isomalt, sorbitol, acesulfame potassium and mannitol. You might recognize some of these names from ingredient lists on food packages, or know some of them by their brand names (Splenda, Equal and Sunett).

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Cavities:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes to remove sugars and food particles from your teeth.
  • Limit between-meal snacking.
  • Keep added sugar in your diet to a minimum by making wise food and beverage choices.
  • Include dairy, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and water in your diet—they all play a role in your dental health.

Content courtesy mouthhealthy.org

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When Teeth Pain Means You Need A Root Canal

If the cause of your teeth pain is serious decay or infection in the tooth pulp, your dentist may recommend a root canal. A root canal is a multi-step dental procedure that involves removing the infected tooth pulp (and sometimes the nerve) from a tooth, and sealing it to protect against future teeth pain.

The term “root canal” also refers to the actual passages within the tooth between the pulp and the tooth roots. The root canals contain nerves and blood vessels. Once an adult tooth has emerged from the gums, the tooth’s nerve doesn’t serve a specific purpose other than sensing heat, cold, and other stimuli. Removing a nerve in an infected tooth is part of a standard procedure to treat teeth pain caused by decay or infection in the tooth pulp. Risk factors for infection in the tooth pulp include severe tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, recent dental procedures, large fillings, and cracks or chips in the teeth.

Signs That You Need A Root Canal For Teeth Pain

Not all types of teeth pain are indications for a root canal. But signs of infection severe enough to require a root canal include:

  • Serious teeth pain when eating or when you put pressure on the area
  • Teeth pain and sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers after the hot or cold stimuli have been removed
  • A small, pimple-like bump on the gums near the area of teeth pain
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Tenderness or swelling in the gums near the area of teeth pain

How A Root Canal Works To Ease Teeth Pain

Scoping It Out: Before your actual root canal procedure, your dentist will take x-rays to assess how badly the tooth is infected.

Keeping You Calm: The first step in the actual procedure is a local anesthetic to numb the area and prevent teeth pain during the procedure.

Diving In: The dentist makes an opening, usually in the crown of the tooth, and uses special tools to clean out the decayed pulp.

Cleaning Up: In some cases, your dentist may leave the tooth open so additional material can drain out of the tooth before it is filled and sealed. Some dentists will put a temporary filling in the tooth to protect the area while the infected material drains away completely.

After The Root Canal: Sealing The Deal On Tooth PainAt your next appointment (usually in a few days or up to a week), a special composite filling will be placed in the center of the tooth. A tooth that has undergone a root canal almost always needs a crown or some other tooth restoration to protect what remains of the tooth and guard against future tooth pain.

Oral Health And Tooth Pain After A Root Canal

After a root canal, you may experience some tooth pain and sensitivity. Be sure to follow a regular oral care routine to maintain your crown and avoid future tooth pain. If you notice increased tooth sensitivity after a root canal, try using soft-bristled toothbrushes and oral care products designed specifically for sensitive teeth.

Sources:
http://www.crest.com
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/root-canals
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/root-canal/de00010

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