Preventative Dentistry is Better for Your Wallet

2022-05-14T14:47:43+00:00May 12th, 2022|Preventative Dentistry|

Healthy Teeth and Saving Money Tips

Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings is the best way to maintain positive oral health—it’s also the best way to save money. Monitoring the condition of your teeth and gums can prevent major health issues, as well as, keep you from spending a lot of money on a procedure or surgery that could have been avoided. Tack on the rising costs of dentistry due to inflation and that dental price tag will be even higher.

If you haven’t scheduled your next teeth cleaning/checkup, now is definitely the time.

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth at least twice a day. We also know the necessity of flossing each night—even if we don’t get it done every night, but we try! There is more, however, to maintaining your oral health than the daily routine. A professional checkup is what truly keeps us in the know of our level of oral health and this is how we learn about the specific preventative measures we can take to better our current situation, whatever that might be.

The state of the inside of our mouths is a complicated one: cavities don’t simply show up one day, they turn over time. The same is true with gum diseases and other preventative health issues. These progressively get worse over time if they are not addressed. This is why it’s so important to keep regular checkups so you can always be in the know of where the level of your oral health is.

What is Preventative Dentistry?

Simply put, preventative dentistry is regular, professional cleaning and monitoring of your oral health. Here are a few things that are done and looked for when you come in:

  • Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. Though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of this sticky substance from your teeth, little bits of plaque can still remain and harden. In time, that plaque will discolor and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.
  • Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease continue to show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.
  • Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth, and like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.
  • Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Preventative dentistry starts with you—you make and keep the appointments, and you maintain the regime you and your dentist decide upon. At Adam Brown DDS, we like to work in tandem with our patients to first identify any issues or potential issues, then—together—work towards a plan to get that oral health with it needs to be and maintain it.

 

The Importance of Maintaining Your Oral Health

As stated earlier, preventative dentistry not only preserves your oral health, it also saves you money in the end. Here are a few more key details to preventative dentistry you should consider:

1. You can’t do it alone. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums.

2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition, that was not caught by your dentist, will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement! The pain and frustration and money just aren’t worth it

3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your need(s). There are so many products out there too! Without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. This toothpaste promises whiter teeth in two weeks, but this one says it fights gum disease—which to get? At Adam Brown, DDS not only can we advise on products to use, but we can also show you how best to use them.

4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth…the list goes on, and these side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. Preventative dentistry has the power to give you back your confidence!

5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications—such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants—can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases.

Ultimately, your best option for a healthy, fresh smile is to visit us at Adam Brown, DDS. Let us diagnose the current state of your particular oral health and advise on exactly what can be done to clean those teeth and brighten that smile. No matter your current condition, we can help—be sure to schedule now and save money!

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Is Your Favorite Drink Causing Sensitive Teeth?

2021-06-15T13:20:06+00:00June 15th, 2021|Tooth Sensitivity|

Sensitive Teeth Causes

Do you think you might have sensitive teeth? If so, what drinks do you consume on a daily basis?

Beverages can have a significant impact on your oral health, beginning with your teeth. Drinks that are high in acidity soften tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to sensitive, vulnerable teeth. If left unaddressed, cavities and tooth decay can ensue. And if you regularly drink beverages that are both acidic and sugary, then you’re at risk for double the damage.

Of course, how you approach what you drink will depend on your current habits and what you’re willing to change. Some people choose to steer clear of acidic and sugary beverages altogether, while others shoot for moderation. Below, we’ll discuss what types of drinks can do the most damage to your teeth, as well as other common causes of tooth sensitivity and how to counteract them.

 

How to Recognize Tooth Sensitivity
Essentially, you can tell if you have sensitive teeth if you experience unexpected discomfort or pain when drinking or eating something that’s hot or cold. It often reveals itself as a short and sharp pain in your teeth when biting into ice cream, sipping on an ice-cold beverage, drinking a steaming-hot soup, and the like. Sometimes, you can even feel it by simply breathing through your mouth. Exposure to cold air, sweet or acidic drinks and food, and brushing your teeth can also trigger a response.

Tooth sensitivity can cause a wide range of symptoms—from a mild twinge to unbearable discomfort. The pain can come suddenly, disappear, and come back without warning. Over time, the severity of the pain can also change. And you may not always feel the sensitivity in every tooth.

If you have sensitive teeth, you will feel it. Tooth sensitivity is common, and it can happen for a variety of reasons. However, if your teeth feel sensitive for more than a few weeks, you should visit your dentist. Adam Brown DDS and his team will evaluate you to determine the best treatment for your situation.

 

Common Beverages With High Acidity
Beverages are one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity. When you frequently drink beverages with high acidic content, it can do a number on your oral health over time. Even though you may not think of liquids staying in your mouth for a long period of time (like tiny parcels of food sometimes do), the particles in certain drinks can attach to your teeth and damage the enamel. Let’s take a look at some common drinks you might consider moderating or cutting out of your diet:

Soda
We’ll start with one of America’s favorite beverages. If you pour a can of Coke on the hood of your car every day for a year, then it will erode the paint. Now, imagine what it does to your teeth over time.

While soda may be super tasty, it can be horrible for your teeth and oral health in general. It’s among the most acidic drinks you can buy, and it’s chock-full of sugar that will feed the harmful bacteria in your mouth. In short, regularly drinking soda leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities, and it can cause severe sensitivity.

It’s important to note that diet sodas are just as harmful to your oral health as regular sodas. Study after study has shown that sugar-free varieties dissolve tooth enamel at the same rate. Moreover, darker sodas are more likely to turn your teeth yellow.

Fruit Juice
Though it provides some great vitamins, most fruit juice is concentrated, which means it’s highly acidic. Cranberry and citrus-based juices are the most acidic. If you wish to continue drinking fruit juice, consider watering it down and/or using a straw to drink it. And if you’re worried about missing out on the nutrients if you cut out fruit juices, whole fruit is a better source of nutrition anyway, so you would be better served to simply eat the fruit itself.

Then there are the fruit punch varieties. These types of drinks essentially provide none of the benefits that come with real fruit juice. In fact, fruit punch rarely has real juice, which means none of those nutrients are there either. What they do have is high fructose corn syrup and sugar—lots of it. And the high acid content of fruit punch will eventually erode your enamel, cause sensitive teeth, and worse unless you reign in your intake.

Sports and Energy Drinks
Similar to fruit punch beverages, sports and energy drinks, like Gatorade and Monster, are loaded with sugar and highly acidic. As such, consuming them too often can lead to enamel erosion and vulnerable teeth. Nonetheless, sports drinks are an excellent source of hydration and electrolytes, so if you exercise regularly, you may not want to remove them from your diet altogether.

Alcohol
While not overconsuming alcohol is critical for your health and well-being anyway, drinking too much alcohol can negatively impact your teeth specifically. Wine is perhaps the most harmful for teeth. Because red wine tends to stain teeth, many people opt for white wine instead. However, white wine contains more acid, which means that it can cause your teeth to erode more quickly.

Liquor, such as vodka and whiskey, is also acidic and can cause teeth sensitivity and other problems over time. And while there is evidence to suggest that beer can be beneficial to your oral health, the acid in beer can do damage to your teeth unless you drink in moderation. Plus, dark barley is known to stain teeth.

Another factor to consider is that saliva plays a critical role in keeping your teeth moist and removing bacteria and plaque from the surface of your teeth. Alcohol can dry out your mouth. So, if you drink alcohol, be sure to drink water along with it to stay hydrated.

Coffee
Different coffee roasts are often distinguished by their level of acidity, which leads many people to assume that coffee is a highly acidic beverage. But next to some of the other drinks on this list, the acid content in coffee is quite moderate. And evidence suggests that drinking coffee in moderation can actually benefit your teeth and help prevent cavities.

Of course, we’re talking about black coffee. If you add sweetener to your Java, you get the same risks that come with drinking other types of sugary beverages.

Tea
Green and white tees are known for promoting oral health. But when it comes to iced teas, which are often black teas with sugar or other types of sweetener, it’s a different story. Most iced teas are very acidic and packed with sugar. And some of the most popular iced tea brands can do more damage to your teeth than sodas.

Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is viewed as being relatively harmless. And in many ways, that’s true. However, sparkling water can be quite acidic, especially those that are flavored or naturally essenced with fruit. In some cases, flavored sparkling water can be more erosive than orange juice or other concentrated fruit juices. While most products won’t have a big impact on your overall health, it’s best to moderate how many you drink in a day and make regular filtered water your go-to.

 

Beneficial Beverages
Since we’ve covered quite a few beverages that are not so good for your teeth, it’s only fair that we talk about some that are! For example, milk is one of the best liquids you can drink for your oral health. It’s full of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that can strengthen and repair tooth enamel. Its most prominent vitamin, vitamin D, helps to combat gum disease because and reduce inflammation in the gums. And the protein casein helps to prevent tooth decay by forming a protective film over the surface of your teeth.

As previously mentioned, green and white teas can be beneficial to your teeth. They are full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the gums and help stave off harmful bacteria. Unlike black tea, green and white teas will not stain your teeth. Furthermore, white tea is an excellent natural source of fluoride, which can help your enamel stay strong. Just like coffee, however, the innocence of these teas is thrown out the window when you start adding sugar or other sweeteners.

 

Other Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Acidic and sugary beverages are not the only thing that can cause sensitivity. Let’s take a look at some other culprits to be aware of:

 

Brushing Too Hard
If you’re an over-enthusiastic brusher, meaning you brush your teeth too often or too hard, then you run the risk of getting sensitive teeth. It can also happen from using a hard-bristle toothbrush. You should never brush more than three times a day, and you should never use overly abrasive toothpaste.

If you prefer to brush after each meal, consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, as well as a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. And brush gently, even if it means using your non-dominant hand to hold the brush until you get used to brushing lightly.

You might also consider investing in an electric toothbrush. Most of the leading models come with soft bristles, and since the toothbrush does the work for you, all you have to do is guide it lightly across your teeth and gums.

 

Grinding Your Teeth
Another common cause of tooth sensitivity is bruxism, which is when you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Most people do this when they sleep, and it can severely and quickly wear down your teeth’ enamel. You may subconsciously grind your teeth during a poor night’s sleep, or even during the day in high-stress situations.

Becoming aware of bruxism is the first step of resolving it. If you recognize that you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, start incorporating stress-relieving activities into your routine, such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. Also, talk to your dentist about whether or not you should use a mouthguard while you sleep.

 

Receding Gums
No one is immune to gum recession. Over time, the tissue around your teeth will wear away. But the recession should not be severe.

A lack of proper oral hygiene can cause your gums to recede at a faster rate and lead to periodontal disease. In extreme cases, this can cause the dentin around the roots of your teeth to become exposed, or even the roots themselves. Unsurprisingly, this can make for some very sensitive teeth! Brushing your teeth correctly, using the right bristles and toothpaste, and taking other oral hygiene measures will help you prevent severe gum recession.

 

Other Dental Problems
Cavities and tooth decay are common culprits for tooth sensitivity. And these are more prevalent around fillings and worn-down crowns. Also, if you have a cracked or broken tooth, the nerve of the tooth may be exposed, which can also cause sensitivity. If you think you have any of these issues, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

 

In Sum
Tooth sensitivity is often a sign that change is in order. Take an honest assessment of your diet, and see if there are any acidic and sugary beverages you need to cut back on or eliminate. And lookout for the other common culprits of sensitive teeth. Finally, if you’re overdue for a checkup or are experiencing any dental issues, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Adam Brown DDS!

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