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.
Halloween: A Candy Conundrum
Halloween can be a dream world of costumes, candy, and spooky fun. But for parents, it can also be a dental nightmare. Fear not! While sugar abounds, it’s all about balance and knowing your candy foes and friends.
Good Guys: Treats that Trick Cavities
- Chocolate: Soft and sweet, it melts away, minimizing cavity risk. Opt for dark chocolate for a healthier, tooth-friendly treat.
- Sugar-free Gum: Chew after eating to clean the mouth and boost saliva, your natural cavity fighter. Look for Xylitol-based gums for extra benefit.
Be Mindful: The Gooey Grey Zone
- Sticky Candies: These cling to teeth, feeding cavity-causing bacteria. Skip caramels, gummy worms, and taffy.
- Hard Candy: Suck, don’t bite! Chewing can crack teeth, and sour varieties are acidic, damaging enamel.
- Popcorn Balls: Delicious but tricky! Loose kernels can get stuck, attracting bacteria. Enjoy these in moderation and floss thoroughly afterwards.
Dental Saviors: Your Guardian Angels of Grin
Remember, even good candies can pack a sugar punch. Here’s your arsenal for a victorious smile:
- Brush Twice, Floss Once: This is your golden rule, Halloween or not.
- Mouth Rinse: Use a fluoride rinse after sugary treats for extra protection.
- Limit Treats: Spread out the candy bounty over days or weeks, rather than indulging in one epic sugarfest.
Happy Halloween! Trick-or-treat the smart way and your teeth will thank you for it.
Bonus Tip: Swap some candy for non-sugary treats like mini toys, books, or glow sticks. Your child will have just as much fun, and their teeth will be grateful.
Now go forth and conquer that candy bag with a mindful smile!
Does Tooth Sensitivity Go Away?
Tooth Sensitivity in Dracut, MA
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you know how difficult it can be to eat certain foods. There is hope though – in some cases, tooth sensitivity can go away on its own! This is especially true if the sensitivity is due to a recent dental procedure, like a filling or root canal. If your tooth sensitivity lingers and doesn’t go away, you should talk to your dentist since this might be a sign you have worn enamel or exposed tooth roots.
What is tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the underlying layer of your teeth (dentin) becomes exposed. This happens due to erosion (wear and tear) and gum recession. Tooth roots that aren’t covered by hard enamel contain many tiny tubules that lead to your tooth’s center (the pulp). These tubules – or channels – allow hot, cold or sweet food to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.
Dental sensitivity can be a sign of other issues like cavities, gum disease, or a cracked tooth.
How do you stop tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity treatment depends on the cause of your sensitivity. Below are a few tips to reduce your sensitivity caused by normal wear and tear:
- Desensitizing toothpaste: Many brands of toothpaste make specific toothpaste for sensitive teeth. With regular use, you can notice a decrease in sensitivity.
- Good oral hygiene: Following proper oral hygiene can help prevent tooth sensitivity if you thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Using a softer toothbrush will help your teeth and gums suffer from less abrasion and irritation.
- Notice what you eat: If you are eating foods that are highly acidic this can gradually dissolve tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity.
- Use dental products with fluoride: If you use a fluoride mouthwash daily you can effectively decrease sensitivity.
- Avoid grinding your teeth: If you grind or clench your teeth regularly, you should consider wearing a mouth guard at night.
- Routine dental checkups: visiting your dentist regularly will ensure you are receiving professional cleanings and fluoride treatments.
If you are still suffering from tooth sensitivity, you should consult your dentist. They may suggest a few dental procedures that could help reduce sensitivity like dental bonding, fluoride varnishes or dentin sealers.
If you have questions about tooth sensitivity, please call our office at 978-957-6300.
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 978-957-6300 and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in and get a fluoride treatment with your cleaning.
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 Lakeview Family Dentists, we are always happy to help. If you think you are experiencing enamel damage, give us a call at 978-957-6300, 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.
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 978-957-6300 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 978-957-6300!
What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup
Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.
Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.
If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.
Cleaning and Polishing
Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.
Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.
Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.
At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.
Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. Lakeview Family Dentists is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office at 978-957-6300 to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!
Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth
The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.
Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:
Baby Teeth are Important
Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.
Experience Calms Anxiety
Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.
Tooth Decay Comes Early
Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.
Nip Problems in the Bud
After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.
Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at 978-957-6300. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.
Dental Care and Aging: How to Take Care of Your Teeth
As our bodies age, we know we’ll have lots of very natural physical challenges, and that includes changes in our teeth and mouth. Those changes can be unsettling – even frightening – and day-to-day dental hygiene can become difficult. But if these new challenges are met head-on, there’s no reason seniors can’t keep gums and teeth healthy well into their later years!
As you grow older, make it a point to stay aware of the new dental challenges you face and you’ll be much happier with your dental health – and with life in general!
Senior Dental Care and the Everyday Challenges
Many common day-to-day changes seniors face in caring for their teeth fall into two categories: physical difficulties and medication side effects.
General physical lifestyle changes you experience as a senior may seem as though they are unrelated to dental care, but they can have a huge impact on your teeth. For example, if you develop arthritis, it may be more difficult for you to properly brush your teeth every day. If so, you may find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, which requires less precision and force. Similarly, you should consider using a water flosser if flossing has become difficult.
The side effects of some medications many people begin taking as seniors can cause dry mouth. This innocent-sounding condition can have serious consequences for dental health over time, because saliva is a major part of how your body keeps your teeth clean. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for germs to grow. You can manage this challenge by increasing your fluid intake and chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.
Making Senior Dental Care a Priority!
Dental hygiene is important at any age, but the older you get the more important it is to practice good dental hygiene to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Whether you’ve made it to a ripe old age with a full set of healthy teeth or you’ve needed a little bit of work along the way, your dentist can work with you as your partner to preserve your shining smile.
Look and Feel Natural with Dentures
Many people, despite their best efforts and good dental habits over a lifetime, will find they have significant damage to their teeth as they age and may want to consider dentures to help them with eating and speaking.
Dentures come in a variety of forms, but all of them are designed to make your mouth look and feel normal after tooth loss. If you only have a few good teeth left, you may decide to pull them and go with full dentures. If you’ve only lost a tooth or two, you may not need a full set of dentures. Partial dentures can give you strong, natural-looking replacements that blend well with your other teeth. For convenience, you might consider implants with click-on dentures that don’t require adhesives.
If you have any questions at all about changes to your dental care routine as you get older, or if you want to discuss possible dental implants or dentures, give us a call at 978-957-6300. We’ll work with you to keep you on the road to healthy senior teeth!