How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay
Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.
Causes of Cavities
Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
- Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
- Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
- Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.
Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
- Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?
Teeth can become discolored for a variety of reasons and many people want their teeth to be bright and white, so they look into teeth whitening. When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. What might work best for some, might not necessarily work best for another. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?
Both over-the counter and professional treatments use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.
Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.
At-Home Whitening Products
Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums, tooth sensitivity, or pain. It’s always best to talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.
If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance Learn More About Teeth Whitening
How to Know If Your Tooth’s Enamel Is Damaged
Enamel isn’t something we think about every day, or even all that often. However, it is one of the most important things about your oral health. Enamel is the tooth’s outer covering. Over time, enamel can become chipped, worn or even lost due to dental trauma, dental procedures or problems with the supporting tissues of the mouth. While calcium can naturally repair to some degree, damage sustained over time may leave your tooth vulnerable to further enamel loss.
It can be difficult to know if your tooth’s enamel is permanently damaged. We’ve created a list to know if yours is damaged to make it easier for you!
One of the most common signs your tooth’s enamel is damaged is sensitivity. You may notice discomfort while eating or drinking something with hot or hot temperatures. The more your enamel gets damaged, the more extreme your sensitivity will become. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, make sure to talk with your dentist as soon as possible!
Another way to know if your enamel is damaged is if the color of your teeth has changed. This color change often occurs first on the central incisors, which are your very front teeth. Those teeth might become transparent around the outer edges. As the enamel continues to erode, your teeth might turn a gray or yellowish color.
If your teeth change shape, it’s a good indicator that you have enamel damage. Your teeth may begin to appear rounded, develop ridges, and often the gaps between teeth will become more substantial. Eventually, you may notice cracks in your teeth.
How to Stop Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel loss puts your teeth at increased risk for tooth decay. Some tooth enamel loss occurs naturally with age, but you can help stop harmful tooth enamel loss by following a regular oral care routine of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly. Your tooth enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against the tooth decay.
Here at Nashoba Family Dentists, we are always happy to help. If you think you are experiencing enamel damage, give us a call at 978-486-8261, and we’ll set up an appointment. We’ll look at your teeth for any signs of erosion, and talk with you about your options if you do have damage.
What is the Role of Fluoride in Dental Care?
Fluoride is one of the most researched nutrients, with over 50 years of peer-reviewed scientific studies confirming its various dental health benefits. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by remineralizing and strengthening your teeth. It also lowers the risk of cavities and strengthens tooth enamel
Fluoride, a component of saliva and the hardest natural substance found in the earth’s crust, when combined with calcium and phosphate to form tooth enamel, is often referred to as a cavity-fighting mineral. Nevertheless, water fluoridation has been around since the 1940s. And its importance has not diminished; today, fluoride continues to play a crucial role in dental care.
Why Do You Need Fluoride?
Fluoride is absorbed by the teeth and protects against tooth decay.Your teeth are constantly under attack by acids and bacteria. If these are left unchecked, these acids and bacteria will break down your teeth over time by causing tooth decay in the form of cavities. Cavities usually begin as microscopic damage to your tooth, but fluoride acts as concrete poured into a crack, protecting against such damage and even reversing early tooth decay.
How Do You Receive Fluoride?
Unfortunately, the amount of fluoride obtained through food is not sufficient to protect your teeth. Throughout both childhood and your adult years, your dentist will apply fluoride treatments at appropriate intervals. These fluoride treatments are put directly on your teeth and are usually in the form of a rinse, gel, or foam. You leave the fluoride in your mouth for a minute or so before either spitting it out or having it rinsed away. This is typically the part in your dentist visit where your dentist asks you the type of flavor you want!
Fluoride is an incredibly important part of your oral routine. You should go to your dentist every six months for a checkup, where you should get a fluoride treatment. This will help prevent tooth decay and help fight any decay that has already happened. Give us a call today at 978-454-5656 and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in and get a fluoride treatment with your cleaning.
Tips For Getting Rid of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a very common mouth problem among people of all ages. People who have gingivitis may experience little to no symptoms of this dental condition, while others may experience bleeding when flossing or brushing. Gingivitis can become worse over time and can need to be healed by a dentist if left untreated.
Here are some ways you can get rid of Gingivitis.
Rinsing your mouth with salt water has been shown to be very beneficial in healing gums inflamed by gingivitis. It can also help reduce pain and bacteria, relieve bad breath and remove particles of food.
To make the rinse, you can add one half to three fourths teaspoons of salt into a glass of lukewarm water. After mixing the solution well, you can swish it around your mouth for up to 30 seconds, and then spit out. You can repeat two to three times a day.
Be sure to not rinse for too long or too often as this could hurt the enamel of your teeth and cause them to erode because of the mixture’s acidic properties.
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family and turmeric gel has been proven to help prevent plaque and gingivitis. It’s also used in many home remedies as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Turmeric gel is available in many health food or alternative remedy shops. To use it to treat gingivitis, people should apply it to the gums and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water and spitting.
There are several home remedies you can make to help get rid of gingivitis. Follow these recipes to make your own:
Lemongrass Oil Mouthwash
Lemongrass oil has been shown to reduce gingivitis and the plaque that causes it. To make this mouthwash, dilute 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil in water. Swirl around the mouth and then spit out. Repeat up to three times daily.
Aloe Vera Mouthwash
Aloe Vera has been proven to be as effective as the active ingredient in traditional mouthwash at treating gingivitis symptoms. Aloe vera juice does not need diluting and can be used on its own, just as long as it is pure. Like other mouthwashes, you should swirl it in the mouth and spit out then repeat up to three times daily.
Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash
Tea tree oil mouthwash can reduce the bleeding associated with gingivitis significantly. To make tea tree oil mouthwash, you should simply add 3 drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water then use it in the same way as the other homemade mouthwashes above. Tea tree oil can interact with some medications, so it is best to speak to a doctor before using it for the first time.
These are some ways that can help you get rid of gingivitis. However, if your gums don’t heal or you continue to see symptoms of gingivitis, contact us right away. We’re always happy to help and we’ll answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 978-486-8261 to set up an appointment.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Tiny, but important ― that’s how baby teeth are referred to, especially by dentists. While most parents would look at their babies’ tiny teeth and wonder what in the world they could be thinking about, dentists realize early on that these tiny teeth aren’t just for looking at cute smiles and giggles.
Taking good care of your baby’s teeth early on is crucial to their oral health now and for the rest of their lives. We’ve come up with several reasons why you want to keep your baby’s teeth in tip top shape.
- These teeth are crucial to your child’s health and development. They help with the development of permanent teeth by saving space for them in the jaw. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift to the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in.
- Baby teeth aid in speech development. Taking care of your child’s teeth will help them speak and communicate better.
- They help your child maintain good nutrition by permitting him/her to chew properly.
- Baby teeth help children feel good about themselves and their smile. It’s so important for children to feel confident from a young age and keeping their teeth healthy is imperative.
What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?
Baby teeth can get cavities, just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by cavities, they can also lead to dental infections. Tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection. If a tooth needs to then get extracted, this can cause the teeth to drift, which may lead to overcrowding and difficulty for the adult teeth to grow in.
Be sure to visit a dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing and definitely by the time they reach the one year mark. Our team will check for cavities and any other pediatric dental problem. We’ll also help show you and your child how to properly take care of their teeth. Give our office a call today at 978-486-8261!
Dentures: To Be or Not to Be – That is the Question
Sometimes things happen to your teeth. Whether it’s the result of an unfortunate accident or just old age, you may have lost some of your teeth, as many people do. Unless you’re a shark (or under the age of six), you won’t be growing them back! Fortunately, thanks to modern dentistry, a well-fit set of dentures can help your mouth look and feel normal again.
The history of dentures goes back hundreds of years. They were a little crude at first. You’ve probably heard of Benjamin Franklin’s wooden dentures. They were better than nothing but still a long way from looking and working like real teeth.
The dental community has worked out many of the kinks since dentures were made of wood. Still, even with modern advancements, deciding to wear dentures every day is a big decision. It can involve making some permanent changes to the way you live your life. So, it’s good to know what to expect before you decide dentures are the right solution for you. Here are some of the pros and cons…
Dentures Pro: You Can Eat and Speak Normally
Tooth loss carries with it more than aesthetic consequences—after all, we grow them for a reason. When you’re missing a significant number of teeth, it can be difficult to chew your food or pronounce certain words clearly. Dentures can fix both of these issues, allowing you to speak and eat as you normally would.
Dentures Con: Unusual Feeling While Eating
Dentures can allow you to eat your food in a somewhat normal manner, but the sensation can seem strange when you’re first getting used to your replacement teeth. In addition, the presence of the dentures in your mouth may make food taste different. They cover your palette, so they can block the taste of food.
Dentures Pro: They Help Fill Out Your Face Where Teeth Are Missing
Dentures not only affect the appearance of your smile but also can change the look of your face in general. When you’re missing teeth, it may be difficult to hold your jaw in its normal position and your face might appear to “droop”. Even when your mouth is closed, dentures improve your appearance by providing needed structure for your jaw and face.
Dentures Con: Possible Removal of Additional Teeth
Depending on the condition of your teeth, to properly fit your dentures you may need to remove a few (or all) healthy teeth. If you’re considering dentures, chances are you’ve lost quite a few already. It might not be possible to wear dentures unless your dentist clears away additional teeth. However, this isn’t true in every situation or with every set of dentures, so talk with your dentist to see what your options are.
Dentures can be very beneficial overall for someone who’s lost a significant number of teeth. It can make their day-to-day experience more normal – speaking and eating are much easier with teeth or dentures. And the cons are mostly minor. If you’re sick of living with missing teeth and you believe dentures might be a good solution, give us a call at 978-486-8261 and we’ll be happy to help you decide whether dentures, for you, are to be or not to be!
The Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
What’s the first thing you see when meeting someone new? Oftentimes, it’s their smile. And if someone doesn’t have a perfect smile, it can be a source of insecurity for them. Luckily, there are ways to help you fall in love with your teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and your smile. Whether your teeth are chipped, stained, misaligned, or worn, cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and your confidence. Here are just a few ways cosmetic dentistry can help.
1. Teeth Whitening
Whitening your teeth is one of the most common and quickest ways to change your smile. This is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t need anything more than a bit of brightening for their teeth or someone who isn’t quite ready for a huge commitment.
Fortunately, teeth whitening can be done in a dentist’s office, or it can be done at home. However, it’s wise to get the bleach from your dentist to make sure you’re getting the safest and best product.
2. Dental Veneers
Veneers, the gold standard for cosmetic dental procedures, are thin, custom made shells of tooth colored porcelain that cover the front surface of the teeth. About a half- millimeter of enamel from the tooth is gently shaved and then an impression is taken. Then, the impression is sent to a dental lab for custom veneers.
While you’re waiting for your permanent veneers, you’ll have temporary ones. Once you get your permanent set, they’ll be cemented to the front of the teeth and you can change the size, color, shape or length.
3. Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is a great option for people who have deeply stained or chipped teeth. During this procedure, a tooth- colored, putty- like resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist can then trim, shape and polish it.
4. Enamel Abrasion
This procedure is a way to remove discoloration. The procedure uses a fine pumice in a micro-abrasion machine to remove surface stains. While this process doesn’t work for stains inside the tooth or intrinsic stains, it works wonders to remove stains caused by things like tobacco, wine, coffee and berries.
5. Invisalign Braces
These are perfect for not only kids, but adults as well because no one can tell you’re wearing them! They’ll help you get the perfect smile that you’ve always wanted.
While they’re great for straightening teeth, they also help with chronic pain caused by misalignment, such as headaches.
Whatever you want to do to improve your teeth, we’ve got you covered. We want all of our patients to be confident in their smiles. If you have any questions about different procedures used for cosmetic dentistry, please reach out to us at 978-486-8261. We’ll get you set up with an appointment and our team will get you the right process for your needs.
What are the Different Stages of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the progressive loss of the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth. It occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth continuously produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums and bone that hold teeth in place.
There are several different stages of periodontal disease including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Keep reading to learn more about each stage.
Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible because it hasn’t yet attacked the bones yet. Typically, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth. One of the first signs gingivitis is bleeding gums, however, many symptoms are painless, which is what makes this stage of periodontal disease so common. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits and cleanings can help treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease will progress and the gums and teeth will start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In these cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.
If you’ve reached the stage of advanced periodontitis, you are at risk for tooth loss and for their teeth to fall out at any time. At this stage, the teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.
Losing teeth is not the only thing you have to be worried about, though, if you have advanced periodontitis. There’s been growing evidence of a link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain and even lungs.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and regular checkups, treatments and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.
Periodontal disease can be reversed if you catch it quick enough. However, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. You should get in contact with your dentist right away if you believe you have symptoms of periodontal disease. Call us today at 978-486-8261 to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help!
What are the Signs a Root Canal is Needed?
Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. If you experience severe tooth pain, bleeding, or swelling (other than after eating), you may need a root canal treatment.
Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Here are some signs you might need a root canal.
Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.
Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.
An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored. Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!
Sensitivity to Heat and Cold
When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.
The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.
Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.
There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.
A Chipped or Cracked Tooth
If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.
These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. Call us at 978-486-8261 and we can talk you through possible solutions.