Tag Archives: cavities

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 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

A Cup O’ Joe a Day May Keep Cavities Away

Coffee & CavitiesCould a cup of coffee a day really keep plaque and cavities away?

According to research, that might just be the case. Studies suggest that black coffee may actually help prevent plaque and tooth decay.

A study, published in 2009, by the KLE Society’s Institute of Dental Sciences, in Bangalore, India, found that compounds in coffee could reduce plaque formation. Plaque is a complex biofilm, which contains the bacteria Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), and is the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease. Coffee brewed from roasted coffee beans was found to contain antibacterial activities against certain microorganisms, such as S. mutans. Scientists performed laboratory tests with 1,000 people of both genders, which showed coffee molecules actually prevent adhesion of S. mutans on tooth enamel.

Researchers also suggest that trigonelline, which is a bitter alkaloid in coffee, that contributes to the aroma and flavor of the beverage, has been found to reduce the incidence of dental caries due to its ability to prevent the S. mutans from adhering to teeth enamel.

Another study from 2010, by researchers at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University, examined the effects of Coffea canephora extract – a type of coffee bean that makes up 30% of the world’s consumed coffee – on baby teeth that had 10 days of biofilm growth. The results of this study concluded that the coffee extract actively broke down the bacterial biofilms, which are responsible for causing plaque, which leads to harmful tooth decay.

It’s important to add, both studies show that coffee should be consumed black and when milk and sugar or sweeteners were added, it no longer had beneficial properties.

Even though these studies show promising results that coffee may boost your dental health, it doesn’t mean you should ditch the toothbrush and floss. There are still problems with drinking a lot of coffee, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel. To minimize staining and the effects of acidity from coffee, swish with water after drinking, brush and floss at least twice a day, and visit Dr. Griffin regularly.

If you are needing to make your next appointment, please call us at, 972-242-2155, or you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

Tooth Decay

tooth-decayTooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Unlike other diseases, however, caries is not life-threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.

 

  • What causes tooth decay?
  • What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

  • How can cavities be prevented?

  • Who is at risk for cavities?

  • What can I do to help protect my teeth?

 

What causes tooth decay?

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. Dr. Griffin 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.

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 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 any questions about tooth decay or would like to schedule your next appointment please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)