Fluoride is one of the best ways to keep teeth strong, healthy, and protected against decay. But what is fluoride? Who needs it? How much do they need? We know you have questions, but don’t worry… the team at our dental office in Lawrenceville is here to answer them.
What Is Fluoride?
Tooth decay is a serious problem among both children and adults, and one of the best ways to prevent it is by using fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. However, it’s also often added to water which provides an easy way to make sure we’re all getting enough of it. Fluoride helps harden the enamel so our teeth are super strong and protected against bacteria and acid. Fluoride can even help strengthen teeth before they erupt, making it pretty important for kids.
Where Do We Get Fluoride?
Fluoride comes in two forms — systemic and topical. Systemic is any form that’s ingested into the body, including fluoride found in water and fluoride tablets. Topical refers to the stuff your dentist in Lawrenceville applies to your teeth during dental visits. Chances are if your drinking water is fluoridated, and you’re using a toothpaste with fluoride, you’re probably getting enough systemic fluoride. However, if you’re prone to cavities or decay, or have sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend using topical fluoride to keep sensitivity at bay and further protect your enamel.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Fluoride?
When it comes to fluoride, there is such a thing as too much. Dental fluorosis is one of the main concerns that can result from the overuse of fluoride. Mostly affecting children under 8, dental fluorosis is caused by too much fluoride over a prolonged period of time before adult teeth have erupted. Sometimes you may notice pitting and staining, other times fluorosis can cause almost invisible white spots. You can reduce the risk of dental fluorosis by monitoring how much fluoride is in your water and choosing a different source for kids under 8 if yours has more than 2 mg/L. It’s also important to note that, while highly unlikely, too much fluoride can be hazardous. Even though it’s extremely difficult to expose yourself to dangerous levels of fluoride, you should still follow a few rules of thumb such as:
- Keeping fluoride supplements out of the reach of children
- Avoiding flavored toothpaste to discourage swallowing
- Following your dentist’s recommendations for the right amount of fluoride for you
If you have more questions regarding fluoride, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule a visit. We’re always accepting new patients and are here to help our neighbors get and keep healthy smiles.
When you walk down the oral health care aisle at your local supermarket, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are just so many different types of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwashes, and packets of floss to pick from. How in the world are you supposed to pick the best products for you? Don’t worry, today the team at our Lawrenceville dental office is here to help narrow your options for one of the most important tools in your oral hygiene toolbox — floss.
Flossing can sometimes be overlooked as a crucial part of your oral health, but the truth is, flossing every day is incredibly effective at lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease. This means that you need to choose a type of floss that you will use regularly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of floss recommended by your dentist in Lawrenceville.
The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss found in those little, compact containers. This time-tested original can work really well for many people as it’s what they first learned to floss with, so it’s comfortable to use. However, those who may have trouble using their hands or fingers may not be able to reach around each tooth or back into the molars. This is when an alternative option should be considered.
Floss picks are those little plastic tools that have a small piece of floss threaded between two posts. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be just as effective as traditional floss if used properly. However, while some people may find floss picks easier to use, others find just the opposite. So essentially, there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better. The best way to decide is to try both options and see which is easier for you to use. Keep in mind, floss picks only use a small section of floss so you may need to use a few flossers each and every time you floss.
A newer and more high-tech flossing option that’s making its way into bathrooms across the country is electric water flossers. These tools are highly effective at removing plaque and bacteria, and many studies suggest that they may be the most effective of any flossing device. But they don’t come without a few potential cons. Water flossers need to either be plugged in or charged, so they aren’t incredibly convenient. They’re also larger in size so storage and traveling may pose a few complications. Lastly, they can be pricey, although they do last a long time and reduce waste.
What matters most to your dentist in Lawrenceville isn’t necessarily which type of floss you use, but rather that you floss regularly and properly. If you’re finding that flossing is challenging and you’re looking for a better solution, we welcome you to call our dental office in Lawrenceville. We’re always happy to help find the best tools for each one of our patients.
Swimming is a popular summertime activity, and it’s good for you too! It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s easy on the joints, and it’s a sweet way to cool off on those hot days. But the team at our Lawrenceville dental office knows that there could be some harm lurking in your pool water that you probably don’t know about.
Swimming Pools & Your Teeth
Many pools use chlorine to keep pool water free of dangerous bacteria that could be harmful to humans. But this chlorine may also put another part of your body at risk for damage — your teeth.
Research dating back to the 1980’s studied the negative effects of chlorine on your oral health, particularly your tooth enamel. Part of what chlorine does is help level out the pH balance of pool water, so it’s safe for families. For most situations, pool water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. But when this drops below this ideal range, the water actually becomes acidic. If this happens and you spend a lot of time in the pool, or a lot of water gets into your mouth, the acid can wear away tooth enamel and even cause tooth discoloration.
Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?
Tooth enamel is the super-strong protective layer of our teeth. It helps keep dangerous plaque and bacteria from eating away at the teeth and causing cavities. If tooth enamel erodes, whether it’s from an improperly chlorinated pool, drinking too many acidic drinks like lemonade, or brushing too hard, teeth are at increased risk for decay, wearing down, and sensitivity.
Who Is At Risk?
While anyone’s teeth can suffer from enamel erosion, the cases in which the erosion is caused by chlorine is often found in competitive swimmers or those who spend a lot of time in pools. The truth is if you only swim occasionally, you’re probably not at risk.
Signs of a Problem
Two of the first signs that a pool’s pH is too low are irritated skin or burning eyes while swimming. Over time, you may start to notice brown spots on your teeth (known as swimmer’s calculus) or experience increased tooth sensitivity. If you notice any of these changes, visit your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as you can.
Protecting Your Tooth Enamel
Besides proper brushing and flossing, there are steps you can take to help protect your enamel against erosion — and no, you don’t need to give up swimming. Just make sure you test the water for proper pH levels regularly and try to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible. Of course, it’s also important to see your Lawrenceville dentist at least every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings.
Wisdom teeth can be a pesky problem, whether they need to be removed or not. While there are times when your dentist in Lawrenceville may suggest keeping wisdom teeth around, it’s most common to have wisdom teeth removed. In fact, over 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. So when can they stay and when do they have to go?
Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted
There’s No Room For Them
The top reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there’s no more room in your mouth for four more teeth. If this is happening, your dental team will be able to identify it early through dental x-rays. When there’s simply not enough room for your wisdom teeth, extraction will be recommended. If treatment is not completed and the teeth start to erupt, a whole host of issues can occur including overcrowding, crookedness, and jaw pain. Your wisdom teeth may also become impacted, which is just a way to say that the teeth become stuck. Once wisdom teeth are impacted, the surgery is a bit more complicated but still fairly easy.
Proper Care Becomes Difficult
If you’re one of the rare cases where your wisdom teeth grow in straight and healthy, your Lawrenceville dentist may still recommend having them removed. This is to prevent additional problems such as cavities and gum disease in the future. You see, wisdom teeth are way in the back of the mouth and are very difficult to brush and floss properly. This can cause bacteria and plaque build-up, which will put you at an increased risk of decay.
When Don’t Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?
Even though 90% of Americans need to have their wisdom teeth out, there are a few cases when wisdom teeth grow in just fine. If your wisdom teeth have enough room to fully erupt without disrupting the neighboring teeth and you’re not having trouble taking care of them, you may just be able to keep them. Remember, your dental team will continue to monitor their health to make sure they’re still ok where they are, and that your mouth and smile are staying healthy.
Seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to determine whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed. If you think you may need to have your wisdom teeth checked out, give our Lawrenceville dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Often we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.
When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.
Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.
Gum Disease & Your Body
The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Lawrenceville to schedule a visit.
There are so many new questions and complications that can arise when you find out you’re expecting a little one. It’s such a beautiful time and moment in an expectant mother’s life, and we want you to be able to relax and enjoy all of the positive sides of pregnancy. Your Lawrenceville dentist doesn’t want you to worry about taking care of your smile, no matter if you’re an existing patient or someone new who is looking for a dental family they can trust.
Let’s explore some of the dental-related questions or concerns some pregnant women seem to struggle with. We’ll show you how everything is going to be alright, no matter what your smile needs to stay healthy during pregnancy.
Helpful Tip #1 – Blame Your Hormones
One of the first things that happens when a pregnancy begins to develop is your hormones get all out of whack thanks to rising and falling levels of both estrogen and progesterone. In about half of all pregnant women, there’s a risk of developing something referred to as “pregnancy-related gingivitis”, according to the American Dental Association. It causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and excessive bleeding in your gums. Your dentist in Lawrenceville can always take a look at your gums and bleeding to determine a plan of action. Sometimes we recommend more frequent cleanings, and sometimes the issue clears up on its own.
Helpful Tip #2 – Take Additional Steps to Protect Your Teeth from Acid Erosion
Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:
- Rinse with water – Swish some water around in your mouth following a bout of morning sickness to remove some of the acid from your teeth.
- Wait an hour – Wait at least an hour before brushing after you’re sick. Rinse with water in the meantime. The acid may weaken enamel, and brushing can scratch the enamel and lead to decay.
- Keep drinking water – The more water you drink, the lower the acidity level in your mouth will be.
- Smear on toothpaste – Putting a dollop of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on your teeth can further protect them against acid.
- Use a tongue scraper – After you get sick, if you take a tongue scraper across your tongue, you can successfully remove some of the acid that may stick around on the tongue and then transfer to the teeth.
Helpful Tip #3 – Don’t Ignore Your Oral and Overall Health Connection
You might have heard at our Lawrenceville dental office about how closely your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. It can act as a mirror for underlying medical conditions present elsewhere in your body. This is why not one but three of some of the country’s most respected dental/medical organizations (the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourage every mother to see the dentist, especially during the earlier phases and stages of your pregnancy. It’s important to address any issues early for improved health for you and your baby.
By now, you probably know how crucial it is to see your Lawrenceville dentist throughout your pregnancy along with maintaining your brushing and flossing routine at home. No matter where you are in the course of your pregnancy, we hope you’ll give us a call to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your smile health. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way on your beautiful pregnancy journey!
An abscessed tooth is an infection that has worked its way deep into the tooth, the root, and even the bone. This causes pus to fill up the area, and it can be very painful. If left untreated, an abscess can cause serious problems or even require an extraction. That’s why our dental office in Lawrenceville wants our neighbors to know the signs and symptoms of an abscess so they can get treatment fast and protect themselves from complications.
Signs of an Abscess
Many times an abscess will cause pretty severe pain. That’s typically the first warning sign that there may be a problem. However, there are several other symptoms of an abscess besides pain alone. Some signs include:
- A dark, discolored tooth
- Increased pain when pressure is applied
- Swelling on the gums that resembles a pimple
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw or face
Occasionally, an abscess shows no symptoms and may not even cause any pain. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. When this happens, your dentist in Lawrenceville will catch it during a routine appointment through the use of dental x-rays. This is one reason why your regular dental appointments are so important.
What Causes an Abscess?
We already know that an abscess is typically caused by an infection. But how does that infection get there in the first place? Many times the infection is caused by untreated tooth decay that hasn’t been treated and has started to seep deep into the tooth. However, decay doesn’t necessarily need to be the culprit. Abscesses can be caused by dental trauma, prior dental treatment such as root canals or fillings, or constant grinding and clenching.
Things That Increase Your Risk of an Abscess
- Poor dental hygiene
- Eating too much sugar
- Dry mouth
Reduce Your Risk of an Abscess
Many abscesses are caused by decay, and the best way to reduce your risk of both decay and an abscess is to brush and floss daily. It’s also crucial to schedule an appointment at our Lawrenceville dental office twice a year. These appointments allow us to monitor your oral health and take dental x-rays to see what’s happening below the surface so we can catch any problems early. After all, early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If you’re overdue for a visit or are experiencing pain, give us a call today.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Lawrenceville wants to encourage all of our neighbors to get regular dental exams to check for signs of this scary disease. The truth is, oral cancer treatment is more successful the earlier that symptoms are detected. It’s important to know the common symptoms of oral cancer so you can seek treatment fast if you do notice anything that might be concerning.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can affect many areas of the mouth including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, or the top or bottom of the mouth. Symptoms can include:
- A sore that doesn’t go away
- Irregular areas such as lumps, rough spots, or erosion
- Red or white patches
- Pain or numbness
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
If you’re worried about any concerning areas in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Lawrenceville dentist as soon as possible.
What Causes Oral Cancer?
While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several lifestyle factors that can increase the risk. For example, those who drink a lot of alcohol and those who smoke are more likely to get oral cancer than social drinkers and non-smokers. Age can also contribute to someone’s oral cancer risk, as those over 50 years old tend to get oral cancer more often than their younger counterparts. However, more recently the younger population has been put at greater risk of oral cancer due to the increase of HPV (human papillomavirus).
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
Even though there is no concrete way to avoid oral cancer, there are things you can do that can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products
- Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen
- See your dentist
An oral cancer screening should be part of your routine dental cleaning. If you’re not sure if you’ve ever been screened for the disease, ask your dentist.
If you’ve ever experienced tooth sensitivity, you’re well aware of just how uncomfortable it can be. Something as simple as drinking a cold beverage or trying to enjoy a of bowl of ice cream can send you into a fury of pain. When faced with the discomfort of sensitive teeth, your dentist in Lawrenceville is the first place you should turn to for help.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is due to part of the tooth’s root becoming exposed. These roots are packed with tons of nerves that can send pain signals soaring into your brain when they come in contact with heat or cold. Oftentimes root exposure happens as a result of gum recession or worn enamel, which can be caused by a number of things including chronic grinding or clenching, brushing too hard, or consuming a lot of acidic foods or drinks.
How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
There are a number of things that you can do at home to help reduce pain caused by sensitive teeth including:
- Choosing the Right Toothpaste. Selecting a toothpaste that’s specifically designed to easy sensitivity and using it regularly can help reduce the severity of the sensitivity and give you some relief. Look for an option that’s formulated for those with sensitive teeth and avoid using toothpaste that contains sodium pyrophosphate, which is found many whitening and tartar-control pastes.
- Using a Softer Toothbrush. Using the right toothpaste and also a soft-bristled toothbrush can double the sensitivity-fighting effects. Toothbrushes with soft bristles are more gentle on both the gums and tooth enamel, yet are still very effective at removing bacteria and plaque buildup. Harder bristles, on the other hand, can scratch enamel and even cause it to erode. This will increase the risk of roots becoming exposed and teeth becoming more sensitive.
- Taking it Easy While Brushing. It may first appear that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. However, quite the opposite is true. Brushing with too much pressure can easily cause gums to recede and enamel to erode, again leaving your roots at risk for being exposed.
Making some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine can help reduce tooth sensitivity, but if the pain continues to bother you and keeps you from enjoying your favorite foods, schedule an appointment with your Lawrenceville dentist. There are many treatments available such as fluoride, bonding, or a root canal and dental crown.
We all know that it’s important to brush and floss regularly in order to protect our smiles from decay and cavities. But did you know that taking care of your oral health can also help protect your heart too? To celebrate American Heart Month, our dental office in Lawrenceville wants to share some information about just how regular dental care can help your heart.
Oral Health & Heart Health Connection
Keeping your oral health in tip-top shape isn’t just about the mouth itself. In fact, many whole-body concerns including diabetes, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease have been linked to oral health, and more specifically, gum health. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to talk about heart disease.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), gum disease has a direct connection to an increased risk for heart disease. But how can something that originates in the mouth find its way down to the heart? It’s pretty easy actually. When there’s a buildup of bacteria in the gums (gum disease) it has a direct route to the bloodstream. As the bacteria infiltrate the blood supply they can cause a surge in the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) present. This is when the problems start. Too much CRP can cause:
- Blood clots
- Inflamed arteries
- Heart attack
Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious health problem that requires a diagnosis from your dentist in Lawrenceville. If caught early, gum disease can be treated successfully before it has a chance to put the rest of your body at risk. Being able to recognize the signs of gum disease quickly can make all the difference. Some common signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
Any of these symptoms may be cause for concern, so if you notice any of these, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it is to practice good oral hygiene habits and see your Lawrenceville dentist regularly. Dental cleanings and checkups every six months can help remove plaque and bacteria that your toothbrush alone can’t touch, which will reduce your risk of gum disease.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule an appointment today.