Category Archives: preventing tooth decay

5 Ways to Protect Your Teeth from the Holidays

keeping teeth healthy over the holidaysWe know your teeth aren’t literally attacked by the holidays, but we do know that most of us are attending numerous holiday gatherings over the next month (or so). Holiday gatherings full of friends, family and the infamous holiday treats that can wreak havoc on your pearly whites, and all the tissue around them. So how can you keep your dentist and your taste buds happy as your frequent all those holiday gatherings?

Brush after you’ve indulged

Carry your toothbrush and toothpaste around with you during the holiday season. Don’t worry; you’re not being odd, you’re being health conscious. A good brushing after eating sugar gets rid of food particles in your mouth, which is a key ingredient in the perfect storm that causes cavities. A cavity forms from a combination of bacteria, food, saliva and the resulting acid. Bacteria in your mouth combine with food that sits on your teeth and creates plaque which includes acid. The acid in the plaque eats holes in your tooth (tooth decay) called cavities.

Floss, and floss often

Flossing gets all the plaque and harmful bacteria that you didn’t get while brushing, making it one of the most important daily habits you can do that prevent cavities and tooth decay. It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing, as long as you do it. Grab that dental floss and gently maneuver it between your teeth after your next holiday party; you’ll be glad you did when you get a clean bill of oral health at your next dentist’s appointment—even after a season of sugar cookies, fudge, and all those other delicious holiday treats.

Avoid, or at least limit, the soda

The most popular drink offered at parties is soda. We’ve written about the disadvantages of soda for your teeth in a recent blog post; that sugary deliciousness has a negative impact on your oral health. So how can you still enjoy it and keep your teeth healthy? Limit your soda consumption and use a straw when you drink soda, if possible. Drink water after soda (or instead of soda), and swish in your mouth to reduce the amount of sugar on your teeth.

Be careful about hard treats

Your mouth is not a nut cracker, so be cautious when eating hard treats like brittle or toffee. Eating hard foods can damage your dentists’ careful work and your teeth. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy; don’t kill that joy with a night of pain and an emergency visit to the dentist.

End the holiday season with a deep dental cleaning

When all the treats are done and the parties are over, schedule a dental cleaning to get a deep cleaning that cleans all the sugar away from the holiday season—leaving you only with sweet memories from the holiday season, and not with cavities in your sweet tooth.

What are sealants? Are dental sealants right for me?

dental sealantsYour teeth have deep grooves, pits and indentations where bacteria, plaque and food particles can hide making them hard to reach with normal brushing and flossing. The result: no matter how faithfully you follow your regular oral care routine, your teeth are still prone to tooth decay and cavities. This can be especially true for your back teeth, particularly if you have deep pits or grooves. To keep those cavities away, your dentist may recommend dental sealants for your teeth.

What does a sealant do?

Dental sealants are painted on to your teeth by a dentist, forming a barricade against unwanted invaders, such as plaque and food. Plaque and food together can cause cavities and tooth decay. A cavity is really the product of a perfect storm involving bacteria, food, saliva and the resulting acid. Bacteria in your mouth combine with food that sits on your teeth and creates plaque which includes acid. The acid in the plaque eats holes in your tooth (tooth decay) called cavities.

How long does it take to apply sealants?

Not long. The answer to this question depends on how many teeth your dentist needs to apply sealants to. The actual application of the dental sealants doesn’t take very long but the benefits are definitely long-term.

How long do sealants last?

Dental sealants can last for many years. Your dentist can check the quality of the dental sealants at regular dentist appointments.

Are sealants covered by my insurance?

Usually. Most dental insurance plans cover the cost of dental sealants as a preventative measure. Check with your dental insurance before you schedule your sealant appointment. If you have any questions about dental sealants, contact us or schedule an appointment. Our dentists can look at your dental history, do an examination and tell you if dental sealants are right for you.

5 Ways to Prevent Cavities & Keep Tooth Decay In Check

cavities in mouthA cavity is really the product of a perfect storm involving bacteria, food, saliva and the resulting acid. Bacteria in your mouth combine with food that sits on your teeth and creates plaque which includes acid. The acid in the plaque eats holes in your tooth (tooth decay) called cavities.

So how can you prevent those pesky little holes in your molars—and canines, incisors and premolars? Use these five preventative measures to keep that tooth decay, and those nasty cavities at bay:

Brush regularly (and well). In an ideal world, brushing regularly would mean after every meal, but we know that’s not always possible. If you can’t do that, brush your teeth twice a day (usually in the morning and at night). It’s especially important to make sure you brush before sleeping so the food particles are not sitting in your mouth overnight. When you do brush, make sure you avoid these common brushing mistakes for optimum results (and a healthy mouth).

Don’t forget to floss. Flossing gets all the plaque and harmful bacteria that you didn’t get while brushing, making it one of the most important daily habits you can do that prevent cavities and tooth decay. It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing, as long as you do it. So grab that dental floss and gently maneuver it between your teeth; you’ll be glad you did when you get a clean bill of oral health at your next dentist’s appointment.

Restrict your soda intake. Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between soda consumption and tooth decay, and it’s not surprising. Sodas, even diet sodas, contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your mouth to form the acid that causes tooth decay and cavities. So limit your soda intake for a healthier mouth. If you do have a soda, drink it with a straw. Drink water after soda (or instead of soda), and swish in your mouth to reduce the amount of sugar on your teeth. Try to avoid soda before sleeping and avoid sipping a soda for long periods of time; these two habits cause the sugar to sit on your teeth for extended periods of time, creating a ripe atmosphere for tooth decay.

Ask your dentist if sealants are right for you. Your teeth have deep grooves and indentations where bacteria, plaque and food particles can hide, making them very hard to reach with normal brushing and flossing. Dental sealants are painted on to your teeth, forming a barricade against unwanted invaders. Your dentist may recommend this for you as a child or as an adult. The actual application of the dental sealants doesn’t take very long but the benefits are definitely long-term.

Get the hard-to-reach stuff cleaned off your teeth regularly. Regular dental cleanings and exams are the crux of preventing cavities and keeping your tooth decay in check. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out which kind of dental cleaning keeps your mouth in the best condition and rids your teeth and gums of hard-to-reach plaque that causes cavities.