Mind the Gap!

 

Missing a tooth? Don’t leave a gap in your dental care!

 

If you’re missing one (or more) of your front teeth, you will most likely – from a cosmetic standpoint – want to fill the space as soon as possible. A missing back tooth usually doesn’t result in the same urgency, but there are very good reasons why you still need to replace any missing back teeth (even if it’s not as visible as a missing front tooth).

 

Your teeth keep each other in line. When one is knocked out, or lost due to dental decay, the resulting gap opens up space for surrounding teeth to drift out of position, shift, or tip into the empty space and change your bite. This could potentially lead to pain in your jaw, cavities, gum disease and the potential to lose more teeth.

 

As more teeth go missing, you’ll be forced to chew in other areas of your mouth, which can sometimes lead to tooth fractures from overloading, excessive erosion and/or TMJ (jaw joint) problems.

 

Please call us to arrange a full explanation of all your tooth replacement options, including one, or a combination of, the following:
– Removable partial dentures.
– Fixed dental bridges.
– Full dentures, for patients who have lost all of their teeth on the top and/or bottom of their mouth.
– Dental implants, which involve surgically implanting a replacement tooth root and then capping it with a natural-looking replacement tooth.

 

Early intervention will help you avoid more extensive —and expensive! — dentistry in the future. Call us if you’d like a consult or a full eval of your mouth! We’d love to see you!  734-485-2200

 

Don’t Flush the Floss!

Image

As important as a discussion on the benefits of regular flossing is, proper disposal of used floss is also worth talking about.

Dental floss, especially the newer brands, is conveniently shred-resistant, but unfortunately, that also makes it non-biodegradable. While this means that tossing used dental floss in the garbage isn’t ideal, it’s still preferable to flushing it down the toilet, where it has the potential to create havoc in the waste processing stations, jamming pumps and causing increased maintenance and delays.

People with septic tanks are also advised not to flush their dental floss, as, in this case, the floss can clog and potentially damage septic tank components if it becomes trapped.

While there is no ideal answer to what to do with used dental floss, it looks like the preferred disposal method is in the garbage, where you’re advised to “toss the floss,” instead of “flushing the floss.”

The Fighting Features of Fluoride

Dozens of studies by universities, government and public health organizations have concluded that the regular use of fluoride, whether ingested through local drinking water or fluoride supplements, or applied topically through toothpastes, gels or mouth rinses containing fluoride, reduces the likelihood that your child’s teeth will develop cavities.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in various foods and water supplies to help defend teeth against decay. It is added to the water supplies in many communities across North America as a cost efficient way to provide fluoride protection to large numbers of people. If your community does not include fluoride in its water supply you should ensure that you and your children brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, and use a fluoride rinse at bedtime. For those at high risk of developing cavities we may also recommend additional fluoride supplements through our office.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer – the enamel – on teeth against the harmful effects of the acids that are produced by the bacteria in the mouth. The fluoride then goes on to remineralize, or repair, any damage caused by the bacteria’s acid to the microscopic crystals that make up the structure of teeth.

While various studies have shown a marked decline in tooth decay rates due to fluoride use – up to 50 percent in children specifically – be aware that like anything else, you can have “too much of a good thing” with fluoride. Dental fluorosis is a non-health threatening condition that is a result of a child getting too much fluoride, and it shows up as white specks on a child’s teeth. The child may be getting too much fluoride because of the combination of fluoridated water plus fluoride toothpaste, rinses or supplements in the household. If you notice spots on your child’s teeth, please talk to us about possible causes for this condition in your child and the treatment available.

Talk to us about if you have well water, it may not contain the right amount of fluoride for your teeth, or if you and your family may require fluoride supplements.  734.485.2200  We’d love to hear from you with any questions you have!

Understanding Morning Breath

Image

Here’s a mystery – if we floss and brush before we go to bed and settle down to sleep with a fresh mouth every night, why is it that just mere hours later, we wake up with dreaded “morning breath”?

The simple answer is that during the day, saliva works as nature’s mouthwash by washing away bacteria and the volatile sulfur particles that cause bad breath. When we go to sleep, saliva production decreases and our mouth dries out, providing the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.

Bad breath (or “halitosis”, as it’s officially known) can come from a number of different sources such as a dry mouth, bacterial decomposition of food particles in and around your teeth, and foods (such as garlic and cabbage) that contain certain sulfur compounds. Halitosis may also reflect medical conditions, from chronic infections in the lungs to kidney and liver failure. Even dieting and fasting can slow down the stimulation of saliva flow and result in offensive breath, while talking for long periods of time will dry out your mouth with the same result. Most everyday bad breath, however, can be controlled by following these four simple steps:

  1. Floss between your teeth to remove any hidden food particles;
  2. Brush your teeth after every meal, and brush or better yet, scrape your tongue too.  Afterwards gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash that targets VOC’s like Listerine, Breath Rx or Crest Pro Health – up to 50% of the bacteria in your mouth can be found hiding on the surface of your tongue;
  3. Keep your mouth moist with frequent sips of water;
  4. Maintain regular dental checkups so that your dentist can check for periodontal disease – a treatable cause of bad breath – during your routine gum exam.
  5. Eat yogurt! Health bacteria actually helps to minimize the VOC’s that build up on your tongue and eating crunchy toast in the morning can help to clean off the back of your tongue as well to get the area clean that you can’t get to!

Talk to us if your concerns go beyond morning breath. We’d be happy to give you some “fresh” oral hygiene tips.