Archive for April, 2011

Sealants

If you have plaque on your teeth, you may know that it can be very destructive. One way to protect your teeth from plaque is to for your dentist to apply sealants. Sealants are a clear or white plastic that are placed in the grooves of the biting surfaces of back teeth.
Your back teeth have deep grooves and pits that are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, which is a nearly invisible film of bacteria and food, collects in these grooves. To make the plaque easier to see, a stain with a harmless red dye may be used.
Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque forms acid. Without sealants, these acid attacks can cause the enamel to break down, and you get a cavity.
When sealants are applied, you usually don’t even have to be numb. First of all, your teeth are thoroughly cleaned, then a conditioning solution is applied. After that, the sealant material is brushed into the grooves. Some types of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light.
Sealants are an important part of a good preventative dental care program. Talk to your dentist to see if sealants are right for you.

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Snack & Sip-Risk Decay

Americans are consuming foods and drinks high in sugar more often and in larger portions than ever before. Alarmingly, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks, can ruin teeth, especially among those who snack throughout the day.
The sugar mixed with the bacteria in your mouth produces acid, which can attack the enamel on your teeth for up to twenty minutes. When sugar is consumed over and over, the harmful effect on your teeth can be dramatic. Once a tooth decays, the enamel does not grow back.
To reduce your risk of tooth decay:
***Try to consume sugary food and drinks only with meals. Your saliva helps neutralize the acid.
***Limit between-meal snacks and sugary beverages. If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods.
***Drink water. Consuming fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay.
***Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once a day.
***And see your dentist regularly.

Heart Disease & Your Teeth

Researchers are finding possible links between gum infections and cardiovascular disease. In fact, some research suggests that periodontal disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than high blood pressure…smoking… high cholesterol… gender…and age. Studies also suggest that people who have gum disease seem to be at a higher risk for heart attacks.
One theory suggests bacteria present in infected gums can become loose and move throughout the body. This same bacteria could travel to the arteries and irritate them, causing arterial plaque to form, which contributes to the hardening of the arteries.
Communication with your dentist is critical in the proper diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Regular dental examinations are crucial for patients with a history of heart disease to check for any signs of oral pain, infection, or gum inflammation.