Fluoride And Your Teeth

Enamel the outer layer of the crown of a tooth is made of closely packed mineral crystals.

Enamel is a very important part of the tooth, it is a protective layer made up of very dense mineral crystals.  Everyday some enamel is lost due to a process called demineralization, this happens when plaque releases a acidic byproduct that harms the teeth.  Luckily your body naturally tries to fight back against demineralization and attempts to try to restore this destructive process.  This is done through minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel.

The reality is that your body probably will not be able to fully combat the effects of demineralization without some help.  Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay.  Fluoride helps in two ways.  When children drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and helps to build strong permanent teeth; also fluoride can strengthen teeth from the outside, when it comes into contact with the teeth.  When teeth are strengthened with fluoride, it makes it harder for the acids to erode the enamel of the teeth.

Treatments
Fluoride is all around us, it is in foods and used as a supplement in some drinking water.  This helps benefit the tooth development in people younger than 16.  Topical fluorides are also available in many dental tooth pastes or rinses.  While you are only using the fluoride for a short time, the elevated levels of fluoride levels last for hours after. When you go to the dentist professional fluoride treatments are given.  They are applied as a varnish, foam, or gel.  When the dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, it is in a much higher concentration than over-the-counter treatments. In certain cases special fluoride concentrations are prescribed to children who live in areas where fluoride is not added to the drinking water.  Normally these supplements will be given to children between the age of 6 months to 16 years old.

Supplements
Fluoride supplements should be given if your drinking water is not fluorinated.   They are available in liquids and tablets.  Your dentist or your pediatrician will need to prescribe them to you.

Is it Harmful
Fluoride is safe if it is used in safe dosages, but in heavy dosages it can be harmful, so it is important to monitor the fluoride levels if you are using it in your home.  City water is constantly monitored to maintain save fluoride levels.

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Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing. Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments.

Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists. Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts -plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.

Does your child need space maintainers?

One of the primary purposes of a child’s “baby teeth” is to reserve space for the adult teeth growing underneath. Typically, baby teeth fall out once the adult tooth begins pushing its way through the surface and is ready to emerge. However, in some cases, children may have a baby tooth removed early if they get it knocked out in an accident or have it removed due to dental decay. When this happens, there is a chance that the tooth underneath is not yet ready to emerge, causing a gap to be present in the tooth line.

Unfortunately, some adult teeth do not grow in until the child is 12-14 years old, and your pediatrician may be concerned about later problems with the permanent teeth that could be caused by the gap. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, when baby teeth are lost too soon, adjacent teeth may try to fill the space by tilting or drifting toward the gap. This is a problem because baby teeth often guide the permanent teeth into place, meaning a child may end up with a crowded or crooked smile once their adult teeth have emerged. To avoid this scenario, a pediatric dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan will likely suggest space maintainers. Space maintainers are made out of either metal or plastic and are custom-made to fit into a child’s mouth. The purpose of a space maintainer is to keep the gap left by a baby tooth open and to prevent movement of the other teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that it is much easier to correct the problem in advance with space maintainers than to fix it afterward with extensive orthodontic treatment.

Once a child’s adult tooth has successfully emerged and taken its natural place, the space maintainer is removed. Until then, it is important that the child: avoids gum and sticky foods; keeps the space maintainer clean with regular brushing and flossing; does not pull or try to adjust the space maintainer; and continues visiting the dentist regularly. That way, your pediatric dentist can monitor the progress of the child’s tooth growth and ensure he or she has a beautiful – and permanent – smile!

Dry mouth and your prescriptions

It may seem like it’s just a minor hassle, but dry mouth – officially known as xerostomia – can have a major impact on a person’s oral health. The condition is appropriately referred to as dry mouth because it indicates a lack of saliva and is often accompanied by symptoms such as bad breath, a sore throat, and cracked lips. The causes of dry mouth range from normal aging to cancer treatments, but one of the major triggers is taking certain prescription medication. Specifically, the Mayo Clinic names drugs aimed at treating depression, anxiety, diarrhea, urinary incontinence and Parkinson’s disease as having a side effect of dry mouth. Because the number of medications taken typically rises with age, dry mouth is much more prevalent in older adults.

On its own, saliva plays a very important function in preserving a person’s oral health. It helps remove food and plaque from the teeth, preventing tooth decay; it limits infection-causing bacteria; and it neutralizes acids in the mouth. Not to mention, it makes food easier to swallow and taste, and it helps a person’s digestion. For these reasons, it’s very important to talk to your doctor or dentist if you notice persistent periods of dry mouth. If it is determined that a prescription is causing the condition, he or she can adjust your dosage or prescribe a similar drug that doesn’t have dry mouth as a side effect. You can also try drinking more water, breathing through your nose, or quitting any use of tobacco. Regardless of the treatment, it’s crucial that you work with your dentist to prevent future occurrences of dry mouth. The health of your teeth and mouth could depend on it.

Ways to Drink your way to healthier teeth

June is National Dairy Month, and what better time is there to be reminded of the benefits of dairy for your teeth? Calcium is essential for healthy teeth, particularly during childhood when children’s teeth are still forming. Studies have shown that drinking milk and consuming other dairy products help teeth stay strong throughout adolescence and adulthood. It is also thought that eating dairy products – especially cheese – may help prevent cavities because it prevents bacteria on the teeth from turning sugar into harmful acids.

This is important because it stops the acids from eating into the teeth and forming cavities. In addition, studies show that dairy products can also add minerals back into teeth and prevent further mineral loss, which is essential to healthy, strong teeth. By incorporating dairy products into your children’s diet now, you can start a lifelong habit of good nutrition and healthy teeth. Drink up!