November 27, 2012

Protect Teeth From Cavities

If you want to protect your teeth from getting cavities, be careful how you eat any sweets.  Don’t eat one piece of candy or sweets now, and then another piece an hour later and so on.  Why do we say this?

After eating just one piece of candy, your mouth becomes acidic and it can take up to an hour for the mouth’s pH balance to return to normal.  The longer the teeth are exposed to acid, the greater the chance of cavities.  As a matter of fact, the acidity can be caused by any food having sugar in it.  There are foods we consider to be healthy that have sugar in them, like bread, salad dressing, even some vegetables, and any sugar in your mouth starts this acid response.

If you choose to eat sweets, limit your treats to one after-meal serving – the increased production of saliva during and after a meal helps to wash away acidity.  Also, try to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water after eating sweets.  We teach our patients a technique called “swish and swallow.”  Just swish water in your mouth to dislodge food particles and to reduce acid levels and then swallow.

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November 20, 2012

Sealants Versus Fluoride

Sealants and fluoride are materials designed to preserve and prolong the life of your teeth by preventing dental decay.  Sealants are applied topically to certain areas of individual teeth and are a visible sign that the tooth is being protected.  Fluoride, on the other hand, may be used effectively from the prenatal stages through the adolescent period, when children are most prone to cavities.  Once absorbed  and retained in tooth enamel, fluoride stays on the teeth permanently, though invisibly.  Unlike sealants, fluoride is supplied in a variety of forms, including commercially prepared mouth rinses, foams, gels, drinking water and many toothpastes.

Applying sealants and fluoride can be important steps in preventing tooth decay.  Here are some other steps you should take to protect your teeth:

  1. Brush and floss, regularly.
  2. Follow a balanced diet.
  3. Visit us at least twice a year for routine checkups.
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November 14, 2012

More About Dental Sealants

Sealants can help preserve a child’s smile for a lifetime.  Though dental sealants are not a cure-all in preventing tooth decay, they are cost-effective and helpful to patients – particularly children – in controlling decay in the back teeth with grooves.

Sealants are valuable in preventing decay because they seal the tooth grooves which are virtually impossible to clean effectively.  Even a single toothbrush bristle cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food particles, bacteria and plaque. 

In this painless procedure, a solution is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth to condition the enamel and help it bond more effectively to the sealant material.  The tooth is thoroughly washed and dried.  Then the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden, sometimes using ultraviolet light.  The procedure takes only a few minutes.

Depending on your chewing pattern, the sealant effect can last many years.  Even though sealant material is durable, at subsequent dental appointments we make sure the sealant material is intact.  Occasionally, we might need to replace or add a new layer of sealant material to keep the protective barrier strong and effective.

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November 6, 2012

What You Need To Know About Dental Sealants

Thanks for reading our blog! Here in NJ, we are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so we didn't have a post last week. We're back though, with everything you need to know about dental sealants:

A dental sealant is an acrylic-like material that helps shield out decay-causing bacteria from the chewing surfaces of back teeth.  We base our diagnosis and recommendation for dental sealants on the patient’s susceptibility to tooth decay and how the teeth were shaped when they originally formed below the gum.  Though there is no specific age at which sealants are indicated, often we will recommend that the best time to apply them is when the six-year molars (the first permanent teeth) appear.

Sealant material forms a protective barrier by bonding to tooth surfaces and covering natural grooves called pits and fissures in the teeth.  More than 75 percent of dental decay begins in the pit and fissure areas of the back teeth.  Combined with proper home care and regular dental visits, sealants are extremely effective in preventing tooth decay.

Sealants are applied only to pit and fissure areas of specific teeth.  Unfortunately, they cannot be applied to the surfaces in between teeth, where daily flossing is needed to prevent decay.

Though sealants are most often applied to children’s teeth, many adults are now seeking the preventive benefits of pit and fissure sealants as well.

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