Category Archives: Tooth Erosion

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingThanksgiving is finally upon us! For all of us here, at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. Who can resist all that deliciousness; the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and all those yummy pies? But, we all know that some of our favorite Thanksgiving yummies can really do a number on our waistlines and our teeth. However, there is good news: there are foods on the Thanksgiving table that are actually good for your pearly whites!

Turkey

Luckily, the main Thanksgiving course is one the best foods for your teeth. This succulent bird is a great source of protein, and protein, contains phosphorus, which is great for your teeth when it’s combined with calcium and vitamin D. These minerals and vitamins keep your teeth nice and strong! So the next time you bite into a drumstick or turkey sandwich, remember that you’re doing it for your teeth.

Leafy Green Vegetables  

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories, and they are high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel.

Cheese

Cheese is rich in calcium, which keeps teeth strong, but cheese also has been found to protect your pearly whites from acid erosion by raising the pH in the mouth to above 5.5. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion. Eating cheese also stimulates saliva production, which protects teeth in itself.

Cranberries

Pass the cranberry sauce please! This Thanksgiving staple contains compounds that inhibit the bacteria, S. Mutans, ability to form dental plaque. Without this sticky protective biofilm, bacteria cannot produce as much acid, and the threat to your teeth’s integrity is significantly lessened.

Red Wine

Great news for wine lovers; this magic elixir also helps in the fight against S. Mutans and cavities. Red wine also contains antioxidants that can help fight bacterial infection, and it contains tannins, which help stimulate saliva production. Saliva is your natural protection against acid, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. So, go ahead and pour yourself another glass!

Pumpkin Pie

Don’t forget dessert! Yes, there actually is a dessert that can help your teeth. Bring on the pumpkin pie! While it’s true, there is a lot of sugar in pumpkin pie, there is also a lot of good stuff, like calcium, two different types of vitamin B, and a huge dose of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.

We hope this Thanksgiving brings you delicious treats and plenty of fond memories with your family. From all of us here, we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, to schedule a cleaning, examination, or consultation, give us a call at 972-242-2155, or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page. At Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, we are here for you!!

Tooth Decay

Image result for dentistry imagesTooth Decay

 

Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.

What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.

How can cavities be prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Your dentist also may recommend that you use special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary fluoride supplements. In addition, professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants may be recommended.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Also, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria. In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at the highest risk for cavities.

What can I do to help protect my teeth?

The best way to combat cavities is to follow three simple steps:

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every few months. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
  • See your Dr. Griffin at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.

In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

If you suspect you may have tooth decay or if you have any questions, please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry)

 

Senior Oral Health Care

Senior Oral Health Care

Proper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement. Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are important. Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

  • What problems should I watch for?
  • Why should I be concerned about gum disease?
  • What if it is too difficult to brush?
  • What are the signs of oral cancer?


What problems should I watch for?

Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attacks the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush. If you have any of these symptoms, see Dr. Griffin at once. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease if problems persist.

Why should I be concerned about gum disease?

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal)disease. In gum disease, the infection may become severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth. In the worst cases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone. This can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis. If regular oral care is too difficult, Dr. Griffin can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

What if it is too difficult to brush?

If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss. Ask us for ways to overcome this problem. Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers. Try using a battery operated toothbrush with a large handle. These toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See Dr. Griffin immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that fail to heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue. Oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily. Dr. Griffin will perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal) disease.

If you have any questions about senior dental care or any other dental issues, please feel free to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155.  Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth

It’s summer in Texas!  It’s natural for all of us in Carrollton and surrounding areas to start heading for the nearest ice cream store, or get a giant cold drink in an effort to cool down.  But, is the taste of ice cream (or a sip of hot coffee) sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

Possible causes include:

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. 
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask Dr. Griffin if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.  We can help!

(Click HERE to see a video from Colgate regarding tooth sensitivity).

Chewing Sugarfree Gum Helps Keep Mouths Healthy

Chewing sugar-free Gum Helps Keep Mouths Healthy

We all know sugar-free gum tastes great and freshens our breath, but did you also know that it is good for your teeth? Chewing sugar-free gum after meals has proven benefits for oral health.

Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps:

  • Stimulate saliva flow
  • Neutralize plaque acids
  • Maintain proper pH
  • Promote tooth remineralization
  • Clear food debris

Chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking during the day, is a simple step to improving your oral healthcare.

And, remember, while chewing sugar-free gum is beneficial, it does not replace brushing and flossing. It is important to remember to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day.

Wrigley’s has been researching the oral care benefits of chewing sugar-free gum since the 1930s. Their dedicated science and technology team continues to conduct research into the oral-care benefits of chewing. They also partner with national dental associations and dental professionals worldwide to support this research, promote oral health education and support better access to oral care.

Wrigley’s Orbit® and Extra® sugar-free chewing gums were the first chewing gums to be awarded the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

To further maintain your oral health and the overall beauty of your smile, schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Griffin. Please call (972) 242-2155 or you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of the page. 

 

Holiday Sweets & Your Teeth

Holiday Sweets Can Lead to Ho-Ho-Holes in Your Teeth!Sweets

Too much of a good thing is never more true than during the holiday season. There tends to be an overabundance of everything – especially sweets. While it’s impractical to suggest complete avoidance of holiday goodies, Dr. Griffin encourages moderation to make sure you receive the gift of great oral health!

Here are some common sweets to limit during the holidays:

  • Hard Candies & Candy Canes: The problem with candy canes and other hard candies is the prolonged amount of time that they linger as you slowly dissolve them in your mouth. Not to mention, the temptation to chomp them, which can lead to cracks or chips in your teeth. Consume them carefully and brush after having a candy cane or other hard candies.
  • Baked Goodies: It is so very tempting to overindulge especially when there’s an abundance of baked goods lying around. But all those cakes and cookies are filled with sugar and can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Of course, we know even suggesting skipping the cookies and cakes is entirely impractical, so enjoy them in moderation.
  • Holiday Drinks: Festive beverages offer more than warm and holiday cheer, they add a lot of sugar. Eggnog, hot cocoa, and apple cider are overloaded with sugar. If you just can’t say no to your favorite drinks at least wash away some of that sugar with water.
  • Sticky, Chewy Goodies: Chewy, sticky treats such as caramels or those sparkly gumdrops on your gingerbread house are particularly damaging to your teeth. Not only are they high in sugar, but they get stuck to your teeth and are difficult for saliva to break down. Brushing after consuming them is your best defense.
  • Fruitcake: Even though fruitcake is considered to be somewhat of a holiday joke, some people actually do like a good homemade fruitcake. The sugary, dense, candied-fruit studded cake can wreak havoc on your oral health, so limit your fruitcake intake.

We definitely don’t want to be a Grinch by saying you can’t enjoy all of those yummy holiday sweets, just enjoy them in moderation. If you do find yourself overindulging, spend some extra time flossing and brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Another good tip to is to stick to one small serving of your favorite drink or snack and follow up by swishing with water, chew sugar-free gum, or brush soon after finishing to wash away some of the sticky sugar residue.

We hope that this Christmas and Holiday season brings you great joy. Thank you for being part of our family here at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA

The Truth About DIY Teeth Whitening

The Truth About DIY Teeth Whitening

DIY Teeth WhiteningIf you spend any time on Pinterest or Facebook, or if you subscribe to any do-it-yourself blogs, you have probably seen the numerous pins and posts of DIY teeth whitening recipes. Often accompanied by amazing before-and-after pictures, these homemade whitening formulas promise amazing results using everyday products you might find around the house. Sounds great, right? But these simple recipes for whiter teeth may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

Before you jump head first (or teeth first) into these DIY whitening recipes, take a moment to learn the facts and the risks involved.

Baking soda

The Claim:

Baking soda is a mild abrasive. When mixed with water, it releases free radicals, which break down the stain molecules on the surface of the tooth’s enamel. You can then brush the debris off with a toothbrush.

The Truth:

The abrasive nature of baking soda may eventually wear down your enamel if used too frequently. Unlike most toothpaste, it doesn’t contain fluoride to prevent decay, so you definitely shouldn’t use it as a substitute.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)

The Claim:

Hydrogen peroxide penetrates enamel and causes an oxidation reaction, breaking apart the molecules staining your teeth, thus whitening your teeth.

The Truth:

Hydrogen peroxide will whiten teeth if it is kept on the surface of the tooth long enough and frequently enough, but too much exposure can result in tooth sensitivity and cause irritation of the gums and other oral tissue. Also, if swallowed, even in small amounts, it can cause stomach irritation and vomiting. In larger amounts, it’s poisonous and may require a trip to the emergency room.

Activated charcoal

The Claim:

If you’ve ever taken charcoal tablets for an upset stomach, you know that activated charcoal is very absorbent. The same logic is offered when it comes to tooth whitening: the charcoal is said to absorb the tannins staining your teeth, drawing them out of your enamel when you brush the black stuff away.

The Truth:

Abrasion is the major concern. Although there’s little research on charcoal used alone, a Malaysian study found that villagers who brushed their teeth with a charcoal and salt mixture had “distinct forms of abrasion cavity.”

Lemons

The Claim:

The acid in lemons leaches minerals from your teeth, making them appear whiter. When mixed with baking soda as a paste it is supposed to make your teeth make sparkling white.

The Truth:

You’ll wash away your enamel right along with those stains. Lemons are VERY acidic and can dissolve your enamel causing permanent damage. In fact, a 2007 study found lemon juice to be more harmful to your teeth than orange and grapefruit juice.

Strawberries

The Claim:

The malic acid in strawberries acts as an astringent to remove surface discoloration on your teeth.

The Truth:

Strawberries actually contain 5 kinds of acids — and acids are harmful to teeth.  It doesn’t take long for acids to erode dental enamel and cause sensitivity and decay. A 2014 study found that a mixture of strawberries and baking soda reduced tooth hardness by as much as 10%. That’s a high price to pay, especially since another study found that the strategy didn’t even whiten teeth. Leave the strawberries for your cakes and ice cream.

Oil pulling

The Claim:

Swishing for 20 minutes with a spoonful of coconut oil is all the rage. Not only is it recommended to rid your body of toxins, the oil is supposed to remove stains from teeth.

The Truth:

The Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil in your mouth may not be bad for you, but there’s little evidence that it actually whitens teeth. The practice itself is pretty safe and not likely to cause harm, but hard evidence of the benefits and risks is hard to come by. As for cleaner teeth, the truth is that extensive rinsing is always going to help loosen plaque, whether you’re doing it with water or coconut oil.

Apple cider vinegar

The Claim:

The acidic content of the vinegar is said to dissolve stains, leaving your teeth whiter after multiple rinses.

The Truth:

Once again we’re talking about acids. Since apple cider vinegar is so acidic, using it on your teeth can weaken tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay, cavities and sensitivity. Also, people who consume large amounts of apple cider vinegar, for other so called health benefits, sometimes report irritation, burns or swelling of the oral tissues.

Turmeric

The Claim:

No one knows for sure, but some bloggers swear by it. Some point to the antibacterial properties of the spice, while others describe its abrasive properties.

The Truth:

No long-term risks have been established on the use of turmeric on your teeth, and the only studies in favor of using turmeric suggest it fights the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria that causes tooth decay — not the stains on your teeth. Before you jump on board, prepare yourself for a very yellow toothbrush and potentially yellower teeth, due to the staining properties of turmeric and the porousness of teeth.

Everybody should be aware of the risks they are putting themselves at before trying to whiten their teeth at home. The only safe and guaranteed way to get sparkly white teeth are professional whitening methods, approved by the American Dental Association.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If a brighter, more youthful looking smile is important to you or if you have extensive staining, your best bet is to talk to Dr. Griffin about professional teeth whitening. Depending on your goals, in-office power whitening or custom fitted take-home whitening trays might be right for you. Both of these methods are safe and can brighten your teeth by up to 9 shades. So, call us today at (972) 242-2155. You can also use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of the page.

The Biggest Myth about Cavities

ADA Spokesperson Discusses the Biggest Myth about Cavities

American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper discusses dental carries. “The biggest myth about cavities is that if it doesn’t hurt you don’t need to fix it,” Dr. Cooper said. “That is completely wrong.” She states that when a cavity has begun to cause pain, it usually requires “more extensive treatment” at that point. Explaining what causes dental decay and why some people may have more cavities than others, Dr. Cooper says “brushing and flossing, of course, are the best way to minimize the number of cavities that you get.” In addition, dentists have many tools available, such as fluoride rinses and treatments, to make teeth more resistant to dental decay. “The best thing to do,” Dr. Cooper says, is to have regular dental visits to ensure detection and treatment of cavities while they’re still small.

 

Tips to help prevent cavities:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Floss or use an interdental cleaner, such as a Waterpik or proxy brush, daily to remove food and bacteria from in between teeth
  • Limit sugary drinks and snacks
  • Prescription strength  fluoride pastes and rinses are also recommended if you are at a high risk of developing decay. We offer prescription strength fluoride paste for purchase in office
  • Visit Dr. Griffin at least twice yearly for your professional cleaning and exam

If you think you may have a cavity and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us, at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

The American Dental Association provides additional information on cavities and other oral health topics at Mouthhealthy.org

Diet Sodas &The Effects On Your Teeth

DIET SODAS & THE EFFECTS ON YOUR TEETHDiet Sodas

Many people have the common misconception that due to lower or no sugar content in diet sodas that they are not bad for your teeth. Consuming sugary sodas bombards your teeth with high contents of sugar every time you sip, which is not good for enamel, but it is the acids in both diet and regular sodas that attacks tooth enamel and wears it down. Both diet sodas and regular sodas contain high amounts of acid, with pH levels from anywhere around 2.49-3.42. Those high levels of acid cause erosion of enamel over time, which can in turn lead to tooth decay that may require fillings, crowns, root canals or other restorative dental procedures to correct.

There are two types of acids in soft drinks carbonic acid and phosphoric acid. Carbonic acid gives soda its fizz. Carbonic acid is a relatively weak acid, which decomposes quickly so the effects of carbonic acid on enamel are minimal. Most of the acidity in soft drink comes from phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is corrosive and over time can break down tooth enamel. For those who have not seen a pH scale in sometime (or ever), pH of a liquid is measured using water as the neutral pH, at 7.00. From there, the lower pH numbers are more acidic and the higher pH numbers are basic, or bases. Tooth enamel is relatively safe while we eat and drink until the acidity in the drink, or even some foods, falls lower than a pH of 5.2, when it begins to dissolve. So drinking an entire two-liter of diet soda to save your teeth from the horrors of regular, sugar-filled sodas isn’t really making a huge difference on your teeth at all.

It’s really best to not drink sodas at all but just like everything else moderation is key. Drinking soft drinks in moderation won’t dissolve your teeth away as long as take care of your teeth in the process. Here are a few tips if you enjoy cold soft drink from time to time:

  • Limit consumption of soda to meal time.

  • Do not sip on soda throughout the day.

  • Rinse your mouth with water or drink milk to neutralize acids.

  • Chew sugar-free gum or, better yet, gum containing Xylitol. Xylitol has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – fluoride re-mineralizes and strengthens areas where acid has weakened the enamel.

If you have any questions about the effects of sodas on your teeth or any other dental issues please feel to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155. Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

WebMD Considers “15 Myths and Facts” About Dental Caries

WebMD Considers “15 Myths and Facts” About Dental CariesMyths & Facts

WebMD (6/23, Brown) provides a list of “15 myths and facts,” about dental caries, featuring quotes from American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Kimberly Harms throughout. For example, the list states that it is a myth that sugar is the only cause of dental caries. Dr. Kimberly Harms states, “The truth is, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities.” Another myth is that children have more dental caries than adults. As a result of fluoride in tap water, “we’ve actually cut decay in school-aged children by half in the last 20 years,” Dr. Harms says. On the flip side, more senior citizens are getting dental caries because of medication that reduces saliva, she says. WebMD also states that the following are myths: aspirin on a tooth will alleviate a toothache; all fillings will eventually need replacing; people will know if they have a cavity; bruxism causes dental caries; gaps in teeth lead to dental caries; dental sensitivity means there is decay; dental caries are the cause of root canals; and dental caries aren’t possible in baby teeth. In addition, the article states it’s true that acid causes dental decay; once treated, the decay stops; dental caries are more likely to appear between teeth; dental chips and cracks can lead to decay; and proper dental hygiene helps prevent decay.

 

If you have any questions about dental caries and what causes them, or if you need to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us, at 972-242-2155.