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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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Yours In Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16-01-2017-3-18-15-pm


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Alzheimer’s Drug in Dentistry

Alzheimer’s Drug may be sinking it’s teeth into dental care!

 

Needless to say, tooth aches have plagued humans for years, but a recent discovery may soon sink it’s teeth into this age old problem.

 

Scientists have been looking for ways to repair rotten teeth for years. Now it seems that a team of researchers at Kings College in London may have found a way to regenerate tooth dentin using a drug that is usually used to treat people with Alzheimer’s.

 

wearing-timeThe outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, is the hardest substance in the human body. It is very densely calcified and contains no stem cells. Currently, the only way to repair enamel is to hope that a person’s mineral-rich saliva can reverse the very early stages of enamel demineralization cause by bacterial acids.

 

There is always a daily battle during and after meals between the mouth bacteria and our mineral-rich saliva. Simply put, the bacteria metabolize the sugars we eat and create a erosive acid that can dissolve and break open enamel rods allowing minerals to leech out. Our saliva plays a reparative role by then depositing minerals into this surface damage to try to harden the weakened area of the tooth. This repair process takes upwards of 4-5 hours in between meals which is why frequent eating/snacking interferes with our saliva’s reparative ability. Unfortunately, when the amount of demineralization far outweighs the restorative work of saliva and the damage is deep enough, repair is irreversible and the tooth must be cleaned out and filled with a dental material.

 

the-toothHowever, researchers at Kings College were concerning themselves with very large areas of decay – cavities that ate through the enamel and into the next tissue called dentin. Dentin is roughly 50% less harder (calcified) than enamel, but unlike enamel, it  is capable of some regeneration to protect the pulp. Just like bone, dentin is able to acquire more calcified tissue in the event of repair. We call this secondary or reparative dentin and the stem cells needed to produce extra dentin comes from the pulp. That repair is limited, however.

 

Until now….

 

Dentistry already has dental products that attempt to soothe and protect the more vulnerable pulpal tissue from deep tooth decay, but it can only do so much,  especially if the decay is very close or has reached into the pulp. What these scientists have done essentially is found a more natural way for dentin to repair itself. Using a biodegradable collagen sponge soaked with the Alzheimer’s drug called “tideglusib”, they placed it on the dentin where the decay had reached the pulp.

 

Essentially, Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3, which is known to prevent dentin formation from continuing.  The testing was done using mice, but the results were very promising. Not only did their body defence systems begins growing natural dentinal tissue, but testing showed the damaged tissue replaced itself in as little as six weeks – much more quickly that the body’s current natural ability. And, unlike the dental materials currently used in dentistry that remain after placement, the sponge eventually dissolves over time after the new dentin replaces it.

 

A Great Step Forward

Image B shows exposed dentin. When drilling continues the pulpal tissue is eventually reached as in Image C. CREDIT: KING’S COLLEGE

This discovery is exciting because, not only do we, as dentists, try to repair decayed teeth, we try to stop it in it’s tracks before it reaches the pulpal tissue. Once the pulp chamber is exposed to the oral environment, we use dental materials designed to cap the exposure and encourage the growth of dentinal stem cells to preserve the health of the pulp, but it’s success rate is not what we’d like it to be.

Many factors play into the repair process and if the body does not cooperate and form a sufficient layer of dentin to seal the pulp, then the vitality of the pulpal tissue will become compromised and eventually begin to rot. Once this happens root canal treatment is necessary to save the tooth from extraction. In addition, tideglusid is not a new pharmaceutical. It has undergone testing and is already being used as a drug for patients with Alzheimer’s.

 

“In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”

Professor Paul Sharpe, lead author of the study
Dental Institute of King’s College,  London  UK

 

At Your Smile Dental, we know that, “Not all that glitters is Gold”, but with more than 30 years of dental experience, we also know that many of the technologies we use today in dentistry were the impossible dreams of yesterday. The dentin is a very important protective layer between the enamel and the vital centre of the tooth. Once decay gets into this layer, it can advance quickly. Finding a way to regenerate this tissue faster, before it poses a threat to the nerve, will be a great step forward in the treatment of dental disease.

 

It may not be the end of fillings since enamel cannot grow back, but we’re happy to stick around a little longer to help you with all of your dental care needs!

 

Your Smile - Copy

 

The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(9050 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

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Signs of a Healthy Mouth

Do you know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy mouth?

Our patients at Your Smile Dental Care look to us to keep them up to date on all the advances in modern dentistry and to educate them on how to get their mouths and teeth as healthy as possible. Today, people know that they CAN keep their teeth for a lifetime and want to be aware of the first signs of trouble.

 

Gums

20-10-2014 1-32-21 PMHealthy gums are pale pink and firm. They are not white, red and puffy nor do they bleed when you brush or floss. Healthy gums also are not tender or sore and do not have pus filled pimples on them which may be signs of infection. One way we help patients gain a new perspective on the idea of bleeding gums, is to ask them if they would be concerned if they had persistent bleeding elsewhere on their body? Chances are they would answer yes and bring it to the attention of their physician immediately for a diagnosis and treatment.

There is also a triangular portion of gum tissue that should extend between adjacent teeth that ends in a point and has a free space (depth) of about 2-3 mm where your floss would slide for cleaning. As the gums recede due to unhealthy conditions, this triangular shape becomes more blunt and the space becomes deep, forming a pocket into which more bacteria, plaque and tartar can accumulate. Your dentist or hygienist monitors the health of your gum and will routinely measure the depth of these pockets.


Teeth

04-04-2016 3-08-02 PMObviously, healthy teeth should be cavity free, but when your dentist or hygienist checks your teeth, they are looking for many others signs of health also. They examine for any erosion, staining, chips or cracks, disease, failing dental work, looseness, missing teeth, crookedness, sensitivity, etc.

If teeth have had repair work done on them in the past such as fillings, crowns, or root canal treatments, they are checked to ensure that these restorations are holding up under the wear and tear that the chemical and mechanical forces of the mouth and jaws can place on them. Intact restorations have a good fit/seal against the tooth to prevent bacteria from getting in underneath and causing tooth decay. We look for signs of leakage, cracks, chips, movement and tooth decay.

Healthy teeth also do not appear longer as you age. When gums recede due to disease, the crown portion of the teeth will begin to look longer.

Case Scenerio

A patient comes into the dental office because their cap has fallen off of one of their teeth. The dentist notices immediately that not only has the cap come off the tooth, but the crown of the tooth has broken off at the gumline and is still inside the cap. Upon closer examination, they can see and feel with their instruments that both the part of the tooth that is in the cap and the portion that is still in the jawbone have rotted  from tooth decay. Bacteria has gotten in underneath the cap and diseased the hard tooth structure to the point that it crumbled enough for the tooth to break in half. It had been almost 7 years since their last exam. Maintaining regular dental checkups would have allowed the dental staff to monitor the marginal integrity of the cap and periodic x-rays would have detected signs of tooth decay when the cavity was small enough to be repaired.

 

Fresh Breath

Hidden Smile - CopyA healthy mouth does not have persistent or significant bad breath (halitosis). Early morning breath can have an odour after a long night of  bacterial action and growth when there is very little saliva production.

Most often, bad breath is caused by an accumulation of bacteria and their odours and sulphur smelling gases. It is also one of the first signs of gingivitis that can lead to gum disease, worsening mouth odour, the loss of teeth and other complications for the body. Smoking, dieting, dehydration, illnesses, diseases, unclean denture and appliances, tonsil stones, nutritional deficiencies and foods all can cause bad breath.

Wonder if you have bad breath? If you can’t already taste or smell it yourself then you can smell your floss after use or scrape some plaque off your teeth or tongue to smell. Alternatively, you can ask someone to smell your breath and give an honest answer. Most importantly, do not ignore bad breath or just try to mask it with gums, mints or mouthwash. Your physician or dentist can usually help you get to the underlying cause when good oral hygiene does not solve the problem.


Pink, Clean Tongue

You may not realize this, but we also examine your tongue for signs of health. A healthy tongue is pink and covered with tiny nodules we call papillae that help you perceive taste. The overall surface should be flat, smooth and clean looking. The surface papillae can and do harbour bacteria that, if left to accumulate, can grow to unhealthy levels. Keep your tongue clean with a tongue scraper as part of your regular oral hygiene.
Tongue Scraper

A discoloured or painful tongue can be an indicator of trauma, smoking or canker sores, but can also be signs of more serious conditions including a nutritional deficiency, auto immune disease, allergic reaction, Kawasaki syndrome, anemia, diabetes or even cancer. White coatings, lines, or patchy areas should not go ignored.

There is a condition known as “geographic tongue” whereby the top surface of the tongue presents with a map-like pattern of reddish spots that sometimes have a white border on them. It is usually a benign and harmless condition that requires no treatment except topical medications if it becomes sore or uncomfortable.

Medications and menopause can also cause the tongue to become painful or even drier than normal. Always consult your physician if you notice something unusual about your tongue, especially any lumps or sores that do not go away.

 

Proper Bite

25-04-2016 11-19-29 AMIdeally, in a healthy mouth, your upper and lower teeth fit together in an even manner so that the forces of chewing are equally distributed and shared amongst all teeth throughout the jaw.

Teeth rely on one another for support and uneven bites, open spaces or teeth that are crooked, crowded, displaced or missing can hinder the performance, appearance and health of the teeth and can impact breathing, speaking, digestion and oral hygiene. Misaligned and crowded teeth can make teeth more difficult to clean and keep healthy and can cause jaw problems leading to clenching, grinding, head/neck/ear/sinus aches and TMJ disorder.

Pain Free

A healthy mouth is not painful, dry nor sensitive. Yes, we may temporarily cause it trauma through injury or hot foods or have the periodic canker sore show up, but overall, a healthy mouth is pain free. There are products and treatments to help with minor sensitivities and the source of dry mouth situations can be investigated. However, you should be aware and not ignore any changes, pain or afflictions in the mouth and it’s tissues that can be a sign of breakdown or disease. The rule of thumb is to have anything that lasts more than 7-10 days examined.

Lastly

Just because you may brush and floss everyday, does not mean that your mouth is healthy. The phrase, “Your mouth is the window to your overall health” is a reminder that caring for your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com/

07-09-2015 6-03-36 PM


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If I have a cavity why can’t I feel it?

The Battleground

3-14-2016 5-27-20 PMThere is always a battle going on in your mouth! There is bacteria present in your mouth that produce an acid that can attack your tooth and dissolve (demineralize) it away. Fortunately, we also have saliva that is capable of repairing (remineralizing) the early stages of this acid attack on the tooth. This process is natural and a hole begins to form in the tooth only if  demineralization action  far outweighs remineralization.

Once a hole in the tooth become irreversible, there are different stages to the cavity process. As a disease, it is progressive like any other disease of the body. The enamel portion of a tooth has no feeling which is why you are usually not able to feel it. The longer you wait to have a tooth with a cavity repaired, the  larger it will grow until it finally progresses into that portion of your tooth that is more sensitive to the presence of this decay. This is when you may begin to feel some of the discomfort associated with deeper cavities.

3-14-2016 6-05-10 PMIf left untreated, it will eventually reach what people commonly refer to as the “nerve” of the tooth. If a decay is allowed to reach this portion of the tooth, then it can no longer be cleaned out and replaced with dental filling material. At this stage, repair will also involve treatment to the nerve (pulpal) center of the tooth.

What Cavity?

When you attend your dental office for a check-up exam and are told you have some cavities that need to be repaired, it is understandable why you would ask the question, “If I have a cavity, why doesn’t it hurt?”  Some people even decide to put off having the tooth repaired because it isn’t really bothering them now. If your tooth is showing very early sign of decay which is still at a stage where steps can be taken to prevent it from getting bigger, then your dentist will probably give you some oral hygiene and diet instructions and monitor the situation.

We call these areas Incipient Decay (“watches”), and it is important that you return for your regular check-up visits so that the dentist can re-check the decayed area to ensure that there has been no further damage.

Understanding that dental decay (cavities) is a disease process and that is involves the rotting away (decaying) of body tissue will help you appreciate why we take the matter so seriously. If your family doctor told you that you had another part of your body that is rotting away, you would not likely delay treatment until it hurts. No one wants to have a condition in their body that can eventually become an infection. Infections can become so severe that it can lead to the loss of a body part. Untreated tooth decay can eventually lead to the loss of a tooth.

Still, we understand that if you are not experiencing any discomfort and can’t see any damage, then it can be hard to justify immediate treatment.

It’s like…

18-01-2016 3-00-40 PM…going to your physician for your annual examinations hoping for the reassurance that everything is fine with your body and that, overall, you are healthy. Sometimes, however, your doctor may detect an issue of concern and order further tests. Sometimes, these tests  reveal  an underlying condition even though you are feeling quite well and are experiencing no signs or symptoms – ones that you can detect that is!

Clinically (with our eyes), we only see about a third of a person’s dental health which is why, in the absence of pain or signs and symptoms, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. X-rays provide valuable information of that portion of the tooth that is below the gum line as well as the bone that supports it. We also have intra-oral cameras that can zoom into an hard to see area of the mouth and show up on our computer monitor for better patient viewing.

Blind Trust

06-05-2014 9-56-15 AMGone are the days of blind trust when people rarely questioned the recommendation of a health care practitioner. Nowadays, information abounds and patients are “informed consumers.” They also know that communication is key to understanding their state of health and any treatment options offered. No matter the level of trust a person may or may not have, healthcare providers sometimes have to convince patients of the need for treatment. When there is no pain or symptoms, patients can be especially distrustful and may even question the provider’s competence or integrity.

Dentistry is no exception, but we are an evidence-based industry which is why our diagnostic tools are so essential during examination. Being able to show a patient an infection, a broken tooth or a cavity where no symptoms exist helps a patient to see what we see and to understand why intervention is necessary.

One of the cornerstones of our practice at Your Smile Dental Care is trust, but trust is often built up over time as the patient/doctor relationship grows. Some of our most skeptical and suspicious patients have become our most trusting and loyal patients.

So don’t put of tomorrow what you can fix today!

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

13-08-2015 11-37-26 AM


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Sports Drinks and Your Smile

8-13-2015 2-03-28 PM

 

Whew!

8-13-2015 2-10-10 PMYou’re taking a break from some heavy duty activity and you’re sweaty and thirsty. A cold, refreshing sports drink is usually your beverage of choice to quench your dry mouth and help replace those important electrolytes you’ve just lost.

Seems health and harmless enough, but did you know, with consistent use, many sports drinks can cause seriously damage to your teeth, making them more susceptible to corrosion and tooth decay?


Acid Attack

If the amount of sugar in these types of drinks isn’t alarming enough, the acidic nature of the phosphoric or citric acids contents can erode the enamel right off your teeth!

When exposed to the corrosive nature of these acids, the outer, shiny layer of enamel begins to break open and dissolve. It doesn’t take long for the damage to be irreversible. We call this an “acid attack” and it can take up to an hour before your saliva can neutralize the acidic levels in your mouth after you are finished your drink.

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Think brushing your teeth right away will help?


Think Again…

The scrubbing action of brushing your teeth immediately afterwards can cause further damage because the tooth’s enamel is in a weakened, soft state during this acid attack.

At What Costs?

We’re not trying to make activity even harder to recover from than it already is. Tooth damage from the frequent use of acidic drinks is becoming a serious concern for dentists and the damage, in terms of dental destruction and the associated financial costs, can be staggering.

What Can You Do?


Water: sometimes it just doesn’t cut it…

8-13-2015 2-12-15 PMWe recommend good ol’ water to help quench your thirst and stay hydrated. However, if you are involved in very intense exercise and training in hot weather for long periods of time, replacing the electrolytes you’ve lost during activity is extremely important for your overall recovery, fitness and health.

Depending on where you live, ordinary tap water also contains salt and other minerals. You would have to know how much as it is unlikely that it contains the quantity you’ll need to help you recover after intense exercise.

Simply put, normal table salt makes up the bulk of the electrolytes you’ll find in most sports drinks, It also will contain some potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride which you also lose from your body when you sweat heavily.

Dental Tips:

Following the tips below can help minimize the damaging effects of the acids in your drink and are worth making a healthy habit in your rest, recreational and exercise choices.

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More Tips:

  1. Try to find a sports drink without all the unnecessary added sweeteners and artificial colors.
  2. Try to aim and squirt dink towards back of your throat in an attempt to avoid contact with teeth.
  3. If all you need to do is stay hydrated during normal hot weather and moderate exercise, water should be sufficient.
  4. Remember, that activity isn’t the only way you lose sustenance from you body. Consider also that illness and fasting will cause the depletion of important nutrients.
  5. Mineral water (not spring or distilled water) can be an adequate alternative. Read the lable as some contains more sodium than the average sports drink.
  6. You may be able to find a coconut water that contains the level of potassium and sodium  you’re looking for as an endurance athlete. Watch out for the sugar content.
  7. Be careful to read all labels. Some drinks carry a high content of  sugar and even caffeine for some extra kick!
  8. Know that high sodium drinks can cause more thirst, so always have water on hand if you find that your sports drink didn’t quite do the trick in quenching your initial dryness and for rinsing your teeth afterwards.
  9. Don’t like the bland taste of water? Get a filter or try adding a slice of fresh fruit to your drink.
  10. Read your favourite sports drink label, do the math and make a DIY recovery drink. You can also add your own flavouring and colour using instant drink powders. Search the internet for some great online recipes.
  11. Be careful to ensure your mouth isn’t frequently in a state of dryness. Saliva is the essential factor in tooth remineralization after an acid (demineralization) attack.

A word of about a thing called Hunger

8-13-2015 3-20-42 PMIt takes 4-5 hours for your saliva to repair acidic damage done to your teeth. This process should not be interrupted with anything other than water or a non-carbohydrate substance.

Hunger gets such a bad rap! It’s actually a natural reoccurring event that is suppose to happen to let you know that it’s time to eat. So, unless you’re diabetic or have another health-related issue that prevents you from fasting between meals, allow this natural process to happen and let your body use this time for repair.

For the Best of the Best…

And lastly, If you’re an elite, competitive athlete who must undergo mandatory drug testing you already know to use your own sports drink bottle not the large, free for all jug provided at some training facilities/events by sponsors and may be easily “accessible” by anyone. Not that we’re suggesting anything, but you can never be too careful when so much is at stake!


Protect Your Smile,

The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

8-13-2015 1-43-19 PM

08-06-2015 11-16-26 AM


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Genetics and Soft Teeth

 

01-06-2015 10-53-45 AMIt happens all the time! The one child in a family who is dental, health and food conscious is the one who gets all the cavities whereas the sibling who never brushes their teeth and snacks all the time is the child who gets to enter their name into the “Cavity Free” Club.

Even people with similar oral hygiene behaviours may have completely different rates of developing tooth decay.

So, is there really such a thing as soft teeth? Can being cavity-prone be inherited or are you just unlucky?

While it is true that your dental health depends on a combination of good oral hygiene and genetics, how much of a role does heredity and luck really play?

When a patient comes to see us with a history of tooth decay and missing teeth we begin by collecting some family history to determine if there are any possible contributors to their poor dental health. There are quite a few dental abnormalities that can be caused by defective genes, but these conditions are rare. And while genes do play a role in food preferences, type of saliva, ph-level of the mouth and how susceptible a person may be to tooth decay, true genetic abnormalities that affect teeth are rare and seldom seen.

Is there really a genetic disorder that causes soft teeth?
Can soft teeth be inherited?

Over the years, we have had many patients claim that the poor condition of their teeth was caused by the soft teeth they inherited from a parent or grandparent. While there truly is a genetic condition that can result in imperfectly formed teeth, it is a rare condition and is seldom seen. It’s characteristics are easily distinguishable from the type of soft teeth that are caused from our choices.

01-06-2015 11-24-23 AMThe truth is, sometimes it’s easier to blame genetics either because it saves us from the shame we feel or it saves us from being held accountable for our health conditions. But, we know that when patients tell us that they have soft teeth, they truly believe it.

While we never rule out the possibility of soft teeth, if, after examination, we find that their teeth are perfectly normal, we then have to find what is causing their poor teeth.

If not inherited, then what can cause teeth to soften?

Enamel is the hardest substance in the body – twice the hardness of bone, however, there are all kinds of damaging substances and actions that are capable of weakening it over time. It’s easy to understand this process if you think of how running water is capable of smoothing rough rock over time.

Things like….

Acid Reflux/Bulimia – The acids in our stomach are very strong and corrosive making them capable of softening enamel. Frequent exposure to these acids can and will cause the enamel to breakdown. Over time, the weakened areas will start to take on a whitish, chalky look and eventually get larger and darken over time as they progress into cavities.

Enamel Fluorosis – Teeth can erupt with weakened, less mineralized areas as a result of ingesting excess fluoride during development. This can happen from swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste, eating foods with high fluoride content, taking fluoride supplements or drinking well water that has a high fluoride level (greater than 1 part per million). This  example of soft teeth will quickly be identified by the dentist when the teeth first erupt because of it’s distinctive colouration. If severe enough, fillings can replace these weakened areas on the tooth, otherwise home care instructions are given and the tooth is monitored over it’s lifetime. Ironically, once the tooth is fully developed it is no longer susceptible to fluorosis and future fluoride treatment will actually help to harden these areas.

Bacteria – There are certain germs in the human mouth that produce an acid that has a corrosive affect on teeth. The goal is to reduce the amount of sugar these bacteria can consume through your sugary diet and by exercising good oral hygiene through brushing, flossing and using anti-bacterial mouth rinse.

Childhood Fever – A child’s fever can reach such a degree that it can interfere with the cells that mineralize the enamel causing hypomineralization (areas where less minerals were deposited into the enamel). This occurs, most commonly, with the first adult molars and front teeth. This can occur in vitro during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life and it is likely that other factors such as oxygen starvation combined with a low birth weight, respiratory problems, calcium and phosphate metabolic disorders may also be involved.

Food/Drink Acids – The frequent consumption of highly acidic foods and drinks can have an eroding affect on your teeth and weaken them over time. Be especially aware of the damage that highly acidic sport drinks, sodas and juices can do to your teeth. Your child’s teeth can be at risk for softening if they make frequent use of a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water.

08-06-2015 9-08-53 AMNutrition – With nutrition it’s all about moderation. If you are constantly eating foods that are high in sugar and/or acids then your teeth are frequently exposed to the damaging effects. Eating three, well-balanced meals is a start. Switching to a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, water as your choice of beverage, limiting your sugar intake and eliminating snacking between meals will benefit you both your teeth and body. Recent studies have shown that eating cheese after your meal has an anti-cavity affect by increasing saliva production and lowering the mouth’s ph to a level that bacteria are less active in. Eating the cheese before a meal may help by coating the teeth making bacterial penetration and adhesion more difficult.

Oral Hygiene – Not brushing and flossing your teeth allow bacterial plaque to accumulate and deposit acid onto the teeth enamel. Because your saliva production decreases during sleep, it is very important that you brush and floss your teeth before bedtime so that your bacteria will have nothing to snack on while you sleep.

Brushing Habits – Brushing your teeth with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and the other tissues of the teeth over time. Small crevices will start to form in the surface of teeth into which food and bacterial plaque can accumulate. Just be careful on how hard you are scrubbing while you are brushing and be sure to always use a soft or super soft toothbrush only. If you use an electric toothbrush you only need to guide the brush while it preforms it’s own cleansing actions. In fact, some of the newer types of electric toothbrushes are designed to stop if you apply too much pressure. Your dental hygienist is trained to check for any signs of toothbrush abrasion, but you can ask them to check just to be sure at your next dental check-up appointment. See our Your Smile Dental Care Instructions

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMMedications – Not only can our mouth become drier as we age, but there are also many types of medications that can cause your mouth to become drier than normal. Without salvia to naturally clean bacteria and food debris away from your tooth surface, the enamel will be susceptible to the cavity process and begin to weaken. Also, because your mouth becomes acidic when eating, try to avoid food at least one hour before bed to give your saliva time to neutralize these acids.

Radiation/Chemotherapy  – The salivary glands can become damaged during radiation and chemotherapy treatment. As a result, your saliva flow can decrease and become thicker making it’s cleaning action less effective. Improvement in the quality of saliva may return within a few months or may there may be long-term impairment.

Immune Diseases – Your salivary glands can be attacked by some auto-immune diseases causing the quality and quantity of saliva to be compromised.

Cross contamination – Believe it or not, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person to person by way of saliva exchange. This can happen through kissing, sharing food utensils/cups/food, sneezing and sharing toothbrushes. Mother’s must be especially careful not to pass these germs on to their children.

Just because your parents and grandparents had “bad teeth”
doesn’t mean that you have to.

01-06-2015 11-12-48 AMTooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the world, but is also one of the most preventable. Do “soft teeth” run in your family? Not likely, unless there is a true genetic disorder present. The number of people with true “soft teeth” is very low. It’s easy to blame genes for poor dental health, but we encourage our patients to take an honest look at their diet and oral care. If there is room for improvement then together we can find the solutions you need to move forward to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Do you get a lot of cavities? Do you suspect that maybe your teeth have become weak over the years?

If you feel that you are getting your fair share of cavities speak to your dentist or hygienist about your concerns.  At Your Smile Dental Care, we believe that healthcare should be a partnership between patient and doctors – a trusting relationship where we work together to find solutions. Having a better understanding of your dental health will help you stay informed so you can make healthy choices and better decisions regarding your dental treatment.

Your Smile is our top priority!
Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates

23-03-2014 10-21-20 11AM