The ultimate goal of any dental professional is to prevent dental decay and cavities. Teeth that are healthy and natural are stable, aesthetically pleasing, and vital to a patient’s overall dental health. The St. Paul Dentist strives to keep natural teeth healthy and cavity free to reduce the likelihood of our patients requiring future major cosmetic or structural dental treatment.
In general our patients are committed to maintaining good oral health; brushing and flossing twice a day are vital for protecting a healthy smile. Lately though, our practice is treating an increasing numbers of new patients who avoid treatment by a dental professional. They are counting on a daily routine of good oral hygiene to prevent dental decay, but these patients are risking their dental health.Preventative home-care maintenance like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash will help to remove some plaque from dental enamel. Throughout the day eating and drinking will cause plaque to form on the surface and between teeth. Plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and sugars, is harmful because of its acidity, which can eat away at dental enamel and threaten the health of your tooth. Obviously, brushing and flossing are important since they remove the daily build-up of plaque.
Unfortunately, at-home oral hygiene alone will not prevent dental disease. The most conscientious at-home hygiene cannot remove every trace of plaque buildup. Left on dental enamel, plaque will harden into tartar (also or “calculus”). The tartar calcifies on the teeth, providing a perfect environment for enamel-eroding bacteria and sugars. This tartar buildup can only be removed by a dental professional through dental scaling. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a routine of semi-annual (twice a year) professional dental cleanings to help keep a cavity-free smile.
A great deal of emphasis is put on the importance of a thorough oral hygiene routine by the dental health community, and with good reason. But it is equally important to follow a schedule of regular professional scaling and polishing treatments. Collaborating with a dentist to establish a balance of at-home and professional care is the easiest way to accomplish your dental health goals. The St. Paul Dentists will be happy to answer any questions and provide guidance, so don’t hesitate to contact our office at (651) 925-2644 any time.
An increasing number of patients in my practice are reporting a problem with dry mouth. This condition is termed "xerostomia." Xerostomia can be a side effect of the medications a person is taking for illnesses such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, allergies, weight loss, Parkinson's disease, pain and many more. However, there are many other factors that contribute to a decrease in salivary production including the aging process, radiation treatments and depression.
At St. Paul General Dentistry we know that, aside from being annoying, the symptoms of dry mouth can cause significant dental hygiene problems. Saliva is the body’s natural cleansing mouth rinse. Each time we swallow, saliva washes away bacteria, as well as the food and debris on which they feed. Saliva contains compounds that kill bacteria in the mouth, and without proper dental hygiene dry mouth enhances the conditions for bacterial growth (and associated periodontal disease) as the ability to neutralize bacterial waste products is reduced.
If you’re experiencing chronic dry mouth and you suspect that it may be due to medication, consult with your medical doctor who may be able to adjust your dosage to help alleviate the problem. Some other steps you can take to reduce symptoms are:
- Using sugar-free candy or gum
- Drinking plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist
- Using a vaporizer to add moisture to the air in your bedroom
- Using an artificial saliva substitute available at your pharmacy
There are an increasing number of reports about the damage caused by dental erosion. The problems that result from this process are not new. But our increased consumption of fruity drinks, soda and energy drinks has caused an increase in the number of patients experiencing the unfortunate results of this excess.
How Acidic Foods Cause Cavities
Tooth enamel is made of minerals, and cavities are caused by a process known as demineralization. This occurs when the enamel on your tooth comes in contact with sweet foods and drinks. Waste products created by bacteria as it consumes these sugars contain the acids that cause demineralization. When these acids remain on the teeth they start producing tooth decay within minutes.
Most of us have experienced cavities, but left untreated over a long period of time, a simple cavity can result in the complete destruction of the tooth structure. With the increased consumption of soda, fruit juices and energy drinks, our Highland Park, MN Dentist Office is seeing an increase in the number of patients with dental erosion. While sugar is the most common cause of dental erosion, some other causes are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Consuming sour foods or candies
- Dry mouth or low saliva volume
- Acid reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn
If you experience sensitivity when eating hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks you may have dental erosion. Also, yellowing of the enamel indicates that it is thinning and exposing the yellow dentin beneath. Dental erosion can literally destroy your teeth over time if not addressed, and if it reaches this point, tooth extraction and costly dental prosthetics may be necessary.Diligent oral hygiene habits and regular visits to your dentist are the best defense against the destruction caused by dental erosion. Your Minneapolis Dental Office is trained to detect signs of dental erosion and take the necessary steps to arrest and reverse its damage. If the enamel has sustained significant cosmetic damage, veneers, either porcelain or Lumineers, may be recommended to protect your teeth and restore your healthy smile.
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