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!

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Understanding Morning Breath

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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.

Brushing Up on a Healthy Smile!

Most of us don’t think too much about brushing – it’s just something that we do automatically. When it comes time to teach our kids how to brush though, it’s worth taking a refresher course by sitting in on his or her dental visit while we show them, step-by-step, what the proper procedure is.

The first thing to do is to ensure that your child has the proper toothbrush – one with soft, rounded bristles. Whether they prefer a manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush, the selection of toothbrushes these days can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask us for suggestions on the one that would be best for your child. In fact, the choice of a toothbrush, especially a toothbrush with a bright pattern or picture of a popular cartoon character, can encourage the child to brush just for the novelty of the toothbrush design.

When you’re comfortable with your child’s choice of toothbrush, you’ll want to review these simple brushing guidelines:

    1. Start cleaning teeth early: “Early” means cleaning the very first baby teeth with a clean, damp cloth every day. When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush; you won’t need toothpaste at first, especially if the child can’t yet spit it out.
    1. Don’t overdo the toothpaste: After about age 2, your child can start using a small amount of training fluoride free toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient. While fluoride in toothpaste is important for fighting cavities, too much exposure at too young an age can cause white spots in a child’s permanent teeth.  Once a child can spit out the toothpaste, then switch to a child’s toothpaste with fluoride in it.  Child toothpaste has a lower amount of fluoride, as children will still swallow a little of it and, as we said before, too much fluoride will cause white spots on the adult teeth.
  1. Supervise brushing. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day until your child can confidently and properly do it alone, generally children can properly brush all their teeth by 3rd grade.  Before 3rd grade- parents should do a final sweep 1 or 2x a day depending on the child.  It’s great to let the child take turns with you brushing.  They’ll enjoy their independence and take pride in doing a task themselves!  Sticker charts help them remember (and parents too!).

Regular, thorough brushing is a simple, yet effective way to remove the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Take care of your child’s teeth, and they’ll reward you with a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Don’t be a dental turkey!

When the pilgrims left England on the Mayflower, they were looking for a land free of persecution.  By the time they landed in Massachusetts 66 days later, they found the journey to be a lot more grueling than they originally planned.

Among the many health issues they encountered was “scurvy”- caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.  The lack of fresh food on board, especially fruits, caused horrible symptoms, including spots on the skin, weakness, extreme drowsiness, spontaneous bleeding and eventually death.  Oh yes- this disease also caused the pilgrims to have bleeding gums and tooth loss!

This Thanksgiving, be sure to prepare a meal that is not only delicious but healthy for your teeth and gums too!  Some vitamins and nutrients which are good for your oral health are vitamins A, C and D, phosophorous and calcium.  A delicious Thanksgiving dinner can include them all!

Here are a few things that will make your chompers thank you.

– Turkey is high in phosphorous, which is not only healthy for developing teeth but can actually help rebuild tooth enamel.

– Sweet pototoes are loaded with nutrients including vitamins A and C which are both excellent for gum health.

-Cranberries contain flavonoids which can prevent bacteria from sticking to the teeth and forming plaque.

-Pumpkin pies are loaded with vitamin C and calcium- important for gum health and developing teeth.

“Just like our bodies, our teeth and gums need many essential vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy,” says Dr David Schmidt.  “In fact, to ensure proper tooth development and strength, adults, children and seniors alike need a lot of calcium, vitamins and minerals.”

Dr Schmidt goes on to say “Many take oral health for granted, but countless studies have shown that there is a strong association between good oral health and good body health.  Spending time with your loved ones at Thanksgiving is even better when everyone is healthy and happy.”

Thanksgiving is a great holiday, and it can bea  healthy one for you teeth, gums and body as well! Here at Dr David Schmidt’s dental practice, we want you to be healthy! Remember that prevention is key, so be sure to stick with your recommended dental care schedule for the best health of all!  Call (734) 485-2200 to schedule your appointment today!  Enjoy a fantastic holiday and even though your schedule may be hectic this time of year, don’t forget to take care of your teeth, gums and entire body!

Why the heck do you need to know that?

When you come in for your dental visit, you may notice that we do a lot more than examine your teeth and gums.

One of the most important parts of your visit is when we ask you questions about your general health. But many people have said to us:

“What does that have to do with my dental check up?”

The answer…a lot!

More and more research is being published linking dental health to overall health, and at Dr David Schmidt’s Family Dental Practice we are concerned about both!

Did you know that diabetes, especially when it is undiagnosed, can be a huge factor in gum disease and eventually cause tooth loss?

A recent study by Columbia University concluded:

“Gum disease is an early complication of diabetes.” It continues:

“Since 70% of adults se a dentist at least once per year this is a perfect opportunity to screen for diabetes and other diseases.

According to a recent article in The British Dental Journal, it works the other way around too, as gum disease can be a contributing factor in heart disease, oral cancer and other illnesses.

Are you taking any medications, either prescription or over the counter? Many of these can lead to dry mouth, gum inflammation and other dental problems.

And it’s even more complicated for women, as hormonal changes, pregnancy and oral contraceptives can cause many changes in dental health. (Isn’t everything more complicated for women?)

So the good news is, unlike a visit to your physician- you get to keep your clothes on and you won’t be poked and prodded anywhere other than your mouth! But as you can see, it is extremely important that we know about your total physical health and any medications you are taking. Not only can we save your teeth – we may actually save your life!

If you want to know more about your dental health and how it relates to your overall health, please let us know. If you have any questions or want to schedule your next appointment, just give us a call at (734) 485.2200. We are here for you!

Should I Consider Cosmetic Dentistry?

It’s hard to watch any TV program or flip through a magazine without noticing ads for whiter, brighter teeth, usually marketing a way to look younger and more attractive. While those goals are usually achieved, you may still wonder if you really need to undergo whitening or any other cosmetic dentistry process, or if your teeth are OK the way they are. Ask yourself the following questions, and the answer should be clearer:

Do I feel self-conscious when I smile or laugh?

Do I have a habit of covering my mouth when I talk or smile?

Can people tell I’m a smoker by the color of my teeth?

Do I worry about wearing white, in case it makes my teeth look more yellow?

Are there embarrassing gaps, or chipped, crooked or misaligned teeth in my mouth?

If you’ve ever worried about your smile due to any of the reasons above, you’ll be interested to hear that they are all very common concerns that we deal with every day in our office. The good news is that cosmetic solutions to all these, and many other, dental problems are not out of reach for the average person any more!

Chipped, broken, poorly shaped, slightly crooked or discolored teeth can easily be fixed with the application of porcelain veneers – thin, tooth-colored, custom-made porcelain “shells” that fit over the front of your teeth to produce an even, white smile. Whether you’re concerned about a missing tooth, a gummy smile or discolored teeth, we have a smile solution to solve whatever is stopping you from having the smile of your dreams.

Most cosmetic improvements are easier and more satisfying than you may think. Call us for a no-obligation consultation today, and let’s talk about which dental solutions would best help you achieve the brightest, youngest, sexiest smile!

(734) 485-2200
Mondays 8-530pm
Tuesdays 8-530pm
Wednesdays 12-7pm
Fridays 9-2pm