Tag Archives: decay

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!!

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

TreatsThe witching hour is upon us. With the likes of creepy clowns, the walking undead and deranged killers lurking in the shadows, Halloween is the most delightfully scary day of the year. But, Michael Myers isn’t the only scary thing on Halloween, some of those sugary treats can be pretty terrifying for your teeth.

Here are a few scary and not-so-scary candy for your fangs.

Scary:

  • Hard candy – Hard candy is tough on teeth because it stays in your mouth for an extended period of time. This ultimately coats teeth with sugar. Additionally, biting down on hard candy can chip or break teeth.
  • Chewy candy – Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar. Because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, they are more difficult for saliva to break down.

Not so scary:

  • Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol – Sugar-free foods don’t contain sugar, which feeds on bacteria in the mouth and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy with xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugars and acids.
  • Powdery candy – Sure, powdery candy is packed with pure sugar, but the texture allows it to dissolve quickly which prevents sugar from sticking to teeth and producing acids and bacteria.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium in chocolate can potentially help protect tooth enamel.

So, you can have your candy and eat it too! You just have to make the right choices. Scary things happen to those that don’t brush. Be sure to brush and floss, so those Halloween treats won’t haunt your mouth later on.

If you find all that Halloween candy has left your teeth a bit scary, or you need a good post-Halloween cleaning, feel free to give please call us, at 972-242-2155, for an appointment. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

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)

 

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. 

 

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas…

Christmas‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the office
Dr. Griffin was stirring, the crowns & fillings were flawless;
The ops were all clean and tidied with care,
In hopes that more patients would soon be there!

Mandy and Barb were nestled all snug in their chairs,
While visions of cavities and calculus danced through the air;
And Kasi in the front office, in all her front office fame,
Had just finished filing an insurance claim,

When outside the office there arose such a clatter,
Dr. G sprang from his chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
Tore open the blinds, expecting a crash.

The parking lot was clear of any fallen snow,
Because we do live in Texas, you know,
When, what to Dr. G’s wondering eyes should appear,
But a huge red sleigh, and eight big reindeer,

The hefty old driver was not so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment something was wrong with St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles Dr. G’s team came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, _Kasi! _now, _Mandy! _ now_ Barb!
Bring Santa quick and go get my garb!
To the front of the office, to the back operatory,
They brought Santa back and to get his story.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So back to the chair Dr. G’s team they flew,
With their instruments ready, to search out a clue.

And then, in a twinkling, in came the Doc
With his mask and his gloves he eyed like a hawk
Using his mirror for careful inspection,
Dr. G detected the site of infection.

There on Santa’s molar was a spot that was shocking,
And black as the coal in a naughty kid’s stocking!
Dr. G said “this situation is of the utmost gravity,
Dear Ol’ St. Nick, you have a cavity.”

Santa’s face usually jolly was now pure dismay,
As he said to us all, “Christmas is only a few days away”
“Dr. G, can you fix it before Christmas night?
I have presents to deliver and a long, long flight”

Dr. G spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled up the cavity without a quirk.
Santa’s eye’s again twinkled, his smile was now bright,
He would make Christmas night, to all our delight!

With his pain now all gone and his treatment complete,
Dr. Griffin made sure to tell him to limit the sweets.
Santa gave him a nod, thanked us each and every one,
And made sure he left presents before he was done.

Then he sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
_”Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”_

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Paul A. Griffin, DDS!!

We will be celebrating the Christmas season and New Year’s Day with our families and friends, so we will be out of the office, starting December 23, 2016, and we will be back, refreshed, and ready to care for our wonderful patients on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Should an emergency arise, simply call the office, at (972) 242-2155 for our emergency number. If you have any questions, you can always use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this 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

To Floss Or Not To Floss?

To floss or not to floss? That is the question.Floss

And, it is a question that many more are asking since a recent Associated Press article came out questioning the benefits of flossing. The article says there is little proof that using floss daily actually helps in preventing gum disease and cavities.

This has many in the dental field in an uproar and comes in sharp contrast to the recommendations from basically every major dental hygiene organization, including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology.

The federal government has recommended flossing since 1979, in a surgeon general’s report and in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is issued every five years. Since the guidelines, under the law, must be based on scientific evidence, the Associated Press asked the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for their proof of evidence. In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched at great lengths, as required.

The Associated Press looked at 25 studies conducted over the past decade, focusing on studies that compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss. Their findings said evidence was “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.”

Then, when flossing was not included in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the Associated Press assumed that the government had changed its stance on flossing, which was simply not the case. A spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that the most recent committees reviewing the guidelines focused more on the impact of sugars on dental health, and did not consider flossing. Also, the Dietary Guidelines have no bearing on the longstanding recommendation from the Surgeon General, the CDC, and other health agencies to clean between teeth daily.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has since released a statement that reaffirms the importance of flossing in an Aug. 4 statement to the ADA, which states:

“Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque. At HHS, NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), CDC’s Division of Oral Health and Healthy People 2020 have additional information and resources about efforts to address and improve oral health.”

The dental profession is behind flossing 100 percent. The two leading professional groups — the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology, both issued statements this past week reiterating the importance of flossing daily, along with brushing twice a day and regular dental visits.

The Case for Flossing

Plaque, an almost invisible film of bacteria that is associated with cavities and gum disease, collects all around your teeth. The primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease is failure to remove plaque from the tooth surface. Brushing alone is effective in cleaning the biting, front and back surfaces of a tooth, but the bristles cannot clean between the teeth. That is where flossing comes into play. Proper flossing helps remove the food, plaque, and bacteria between the teeth which can reduce the chances of decay and gum disease.

If you don’t like flossing or find it too difficult, there are alternatives. Interproximal brushes — mini brushes affixed to a handle — have been shown in several studies to be even more effective than flossing and easier to use.

Other options, such as plastic or rubber tips, wooden wedges and even toothpicks, also may be effective.

We here, at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, always recommend flossing as part of your daily at home dental care. If you have any questions about flossing, or, if you need to schedule your next appointment, please call us at 972-242-2155.

 

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.

An Ounce of Prevention…

When was your last dental visit? If you said over six months, that’s too long. I’m sure you’ve heard the Benjamin Franklin quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Well, in dentistry, it could be worth more than that, like thousands of dollars. That’s why it’s important not to wait to make your next dental appointment.

The problem with waiting is that a small, unseen problem can turn into a larger, more expensive problem. Even when you think everything is fine, there could be underlying problems that can only be found by a dental professional with the right diagnostic tools, like x-rays.

Take for instance a small cavity, one that can only be seen on an x-ray, if that small cavity is left untreated it can turn into a large cavity. If that large cavity is then left untreated, the decay will spread to the nerve of the tooth causing infection, and a lot of pain, which means a root canal and a crown are necessary for treatment. If that same tooth goes even longer without treatment it may not be able to be saved at all, requiring an extraction and an implant, or a bridge, to replace the missing tooth.

And so it goes, a simple, rather inexpensive, small filling turns into an extraction and a dental implant, which is far more invasive to you and your wallet.

What can you do to keep this from happening to you? Prevention is key. Regular visits to Dr. Griffin, twice-yearly, for cleanings and exams are important for keeping your mouth healthy and for catching problems before they become serious. Preventive care not only saves your teeth, it can also save you money.

So, as you can see, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

If you have been putting off treatment please contact our office today, at 972-242-2155, to schedule your appointment. By addressing any problems now, we can reduce future dental costs and prevent unnecessary pain.  You can also use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of the page.