Tag Archives: fluoride

Use It or Lose It; End of The Year Dental Benefits

End of The Year Dental Benefits

BenefitsDecember is here and a New Year is almost upon us! With that in mind, Dr. Griffin and his team would like to remind you to schedule your dental appointment before the end of the year. We know things get busy for most families this time of year and that can mean dental appointments get put on the back burner. But, scheduling your appointment before the end of the year might just save you a significant amount of money, especially if your dental benefits start over in January.

Did you know dental insurance is typically “use it or lose it”? If you haven’t used your yearly maximum, the remaining amount will likely not roll over into the next year. You’ll lose your opportunity to make the most of those dollars. Along with dental benefits, FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Saving Account) benefits also expire at the end of the year. Also, if your insurance plan includes a deductible you’ve already met, it only makes sense to reap the full value of your insurance now, before the next plan year, when you have to meet the deductible again.

Using your dental benefits before they expire is not only good for your budget — it’s also crucial for your oral health. Twice annual visits to Dr. Griffin include a dental exam, a thorough cleaning, x-rays, and fluoride treatment. These preventive steps are vital to maintaining healthy teeth, and are usually covered 100 percent by your dental insurance. Catching signs of decay or other problems while they’re small saves you a lot of time, pain and money overall.


We only have a few short weeks to get those dental appointments scheduled before the end of the year. So, call us here in Carrollton, at 972-242-2155, to schedule your appointment and to find out how you can get the most out of your dental insurance plan. We will help you figure out how you can maximize your dental benefits and maintain your beautiful smile.

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).

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.


Which Toothpaste Is The Right Toothpaste?

ToothpasteWhich toothpaste is the right toothpaste? With so many toothpaste options on the market – tartar control, whitening, sensitive teeth, all natural, even prescription strength toothpastes – a trip down the toothpaste aisle can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. So, how do you know which toothpaste is the right one for you? This handy guide will, hopefully, help you make an informed decision so you can keep your teeth sparkling clean between routine visits to our office.

Tartar Control Toothpastes

Tartar control is now a common benefit of toothpaste and is often found in conjunction with fluoride. Even individuals staunchly dedicated to their dental care have a layer of bacteria on their teeth known as plaque. When plaque is not removed from the surface of teeth with brushing it turns into tartar, a hard-to-remove deposit that can lead to gum disease. Tartar control toothpastes have ingredients such as pyrophosphates, zinc citrate, and triclosan (a bacteria killing antibiotic) and are designed to reduce the incidence of plaque and tartar.

If you are prone to tartar build up, you may want to consider this kind of toothpaste.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes do not usually contain bleaches; instead, they contain slightly more abrasive components that help polish the teeth by getting rid of surface stains and making the teeth appear whiter. This may sound harmful, but studies have suggested that whitening toothpaste is no more harmful than other toothpastes. Some whitening toothpastes also contain hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, and other additive ingredients to actually allow for some deeper whitening to occur.

You may want to keep in mind that whitening toothpaste does not do the job of a professional bleaching – it simply helps to remove minor stains and touch up a faded smile.

Sensitive Teeth Toothpastes

If hot and cold foods are often painful or you have gum disease with receding gums with exposed tooth root you should consider this type of toothpaste. Sensitivity toothpaste works to block the pathway to your tooth’s nerves by using a variety of ingredients, including potassium nitrate, calcium carbonate, strontium chloride, and sodium fluoride.

Natural Toothpastes

Those who like to live a more natural lifestyle and are concerned with chemicals may want to look into this type of toothpaste. Natural toothpastes contain less chemicals, and in some cases absolutely no chemicals. For example, there are natural brands that make toothpastes with baking soda and even ones made for whitening. Like any natural product, there are so many facets to choosing the right natural toothpaste, be sure to do your research.

Specialty toothpastes

Depending on your oral health needs, Dr. Griffin may suggest a prescription strength toothpaste. For example, patients who are prone to tooth decay and cavities despite frequent brushing and flossing may benefit from prescription-strength, fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent the weakening of tooth enamel. The basic difference between your usual tube of toothpaste and the prescription variety is the amount of fluoride.

Final Considerations

Always make sure that the toothpaste you choose has earned the approval of the American Dental Association (ADA). All toothpastes that carry the ADA seal contain fluoride and have been thoroughly tested to determine their safety and effectiveness.

Remember, brushing your teeth twice daily for a minimum of two minutes will help you maintain your oral health by strengthening the teeth and preventing tooth decay. If you need help choosing the right toothpaste for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain your gorgeous smile!


FluoridePaul A. Griffin, DDS, PA

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids — formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth — attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.

  • What is fluoride?

  • What is systemic fluoride

  • What is topical fluoride, and when should I use it?

  • Why is most of the water we drink fluoridated?

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found universally throughout nature in water, soil, air and food. Existing abundantly in living tissue as an ion, fluoride is absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth. Once teeth are developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible. Two forms of fluoride protect the teeth: systemic fluoride and topical fluoride.

What is systemic fluoride?

Systemic fluoride is ingested into the body when added to public and private water supplies, soft drinks and teas and is available in dietary supplement form. Once systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, the blood supply distributes it throughout the entire body. Most fluoride not excreted is deposited in bones and hard tissues like teeth.

What is topical fluoride, and when should I use it?

Topical fluoride is applied directly to the teeth. It is found in products containing strong concentrations of fluoride to fight tooth decay, such as toothpastes and mouth rinses. These products are then expectorated or rinsed from the mouth without swallowing. Dentists recommend brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day or after every meal, combined with a regimen of flossing and regular dental checkups.

Professionally administered topical fluorides such as gels or varnishes are applied by a dentist and left on for about four minutes, usually during a cleaning treatment. For patients with a high risk of cavities, the dentist may prescribe a special gel for daily home use, to be applied with or without a mouth tray for up to six weeks.

Why is most of the water we drink fluoridated?

Fluoridated water protects against cavities and root caries – a progressive erosion of adult root surfaces caused by gum recession – and helps remineralize early carious lesions. Thanks to these preventive benefits, public water fluoridation is considered the most efficient and cost-effective cavity prevention measure available. More than 144 million United States residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, most from public water supplies with artificially added fluoride. A small percentage get water from private wells with naturally fluoridated water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the accepted “optimal” range of fluoride in water lies between 0.7 and 1.2 parts per million (ppm) or milligram per liter. The limit allowed by the EPA in public water is 4 ppm. Backed by results from more than 140 documented studies undertaken in 20 different countries over the past several decades, fluoridated water adhering to these standards has been scientifically established as safe for drinking. Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety-related organization. Fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective public-health measure to prevent tooth decay and to improve oral health for a lifetime.


As you can see, fluoride is very beneficial for the health of your teeth. If you have any questions regarding fluoride or would like to make an appointment please feel free to call us 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)