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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Seal out Tooth Decay

16-03-2015 11-28-20 AMFinding it hard to help your child keep their teeth clean?

One of the most common places where tooth decay develops in children is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. One way that you can help decrease the incidence of tooth decay in these hard-to-reach areas is the placement of Dental Pit and Fissure Sealants.

Groovy Teeth

If you look closely, you will notice that the biting surface of your child’s back molars have all these grooves and crevices. We call these pit and fissures and they can be very deep making our “pick-like” instrument a handy tool when we need to examine these hard-to-reach areas.  Although the shape of these teeth are important for the grinding of our food while chewing, it also makes cleaning these teeth more difficult. Food and bacteria-filled plaque can easily accumulate in these pits and go unnoticed by people which is why most cavities start in these deep hiding places.

Restricted Areas

16-03-2015 11-40-06 AMToday, there are many types of toothbrushes on the market. They have bristles that are designed to reach deep into the areas of teeth and gums to help remove food and plaque. However, some of the areas are so deep and inaccessible that even the best tooth brusher is restricted from being able to remove everything that gathers in these areas. Removing all of the debris that has become stuck in there is almost impossible.

Seal of Approval

One way to eliminate these crevices is to seal them. Your dentist can apply a sealing material, made of resin, that flows into and fills these deep nooks and crannies creating a barrier that not only protects the enamel from plaque and acid, but also provides a smoother biting surface to make cleaning more effective. Once placed, the sealants prevents plaque and food from being able to accumulate in the pits and makes cleaning much easier.

Check-ups are Essential

24-11-2014 2-21-31 PMIt is important to remember, however, that a sealed tooth is not completely resistant to tooth decay. Oral hygiene and diet is still important because you can not rely solely on sealants to prevent cavities. Seeing your dentist regularly is recommended so that your teeth and the bond of the sealants can be checked for any signs of breakdown or damage.

We protect things that are important to us…

Your child’s teeth are important, but they can be easily damaged by cavities if they are not protected.

At Your Smile Dental Care we have been using dental pit and fissure sealants for years as part of our complete preventive care program. They continue to be a cost-effective and safe way to help further protect teeth for both children and adult alike.

If you would like to learn more about dental sealants or other aspects of our Preventative Care Program, call us today at (905) 5SMILES.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533