Soft Touch Dental Care Blog

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By drdijour@oldbridgesmiles.com
October 29, 2014
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Patient News 2014-1.1

Patient News 2014-1.2

By drdijour@oldbridgesmiles.com
October 16, 2014
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When it comes to cavities, there are the usual suspects to blame: soda, sugar, shoddy brushing. But other chomper wreckers may fill your daily routine, too. Keep reading for 5 unexpected dental culprits—and the best ways to stop them.
Cardio
Long cardio workouts may take a toll on your pearly whites, a new German study found. The researchers compared the oral health of endurance athletes with non-exercisers and found that the athletes were more likely to have tooth erosion, which is a gradual wearing away of enamel. And the more time they spent training per week, the greater their risk of cavities.
That's because exercise reduces your saliva, the researchers found. Saliva is filled with minerals that nurture your teeth and neutralize acids that cause wear and rot. On top of that, consuming sugary energy gels and acidic sports drinks during training can encourage tooth decay, says Men's Health dentistry advisor Mark S. Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Your fix: Since you have less saliva during long training sessions, battle decay-causing bacteria and plaque by brushing before you exercise and rinsing your mouth with water after consuming anything sugary or acidic, Wolff says. Plus, chewing sugar-free gum when you work out can boost your saliva production, says study author Cornelia Frese, D.D.S., a senior dentist at University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany. 
Weight Lifting
It's a natural tendency to clench your jaw when you strain to lift weights, Wolff says. It may even improve performance by increasing blood flow to parts of your brain associated with motor control, recent research finds. But all that pressure can wear down your teeth or even crack them, causing persistent pain in your jaw, he says.
Your fix: If you bite down hard when you exert yourself in the gym, consider wearing a mouthguard, Wolff says. Inexpensive "boil-and-bite" mouth guards are effective and easy to find at drugstores or sporting goods stores, he says.  Or your dentist can make you a custom one, which will fit better, he says.
Medications
Hundreds of medications for allergies, depression, heart health, and blood pressure cause dry mouth. That may not sound like a major side effect, but it can wreak havoc on your teeth, since they need saliva to protect against acids that cause decay and erosion, says Edmond Hewlett, D.D.S., an American Dental Association advisor and professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry. 

"When you don't have an adequate saliva supply, your teeth can undergo catastrophic damage in a matter of months,” he says.  
Your fix: Chewing on sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free hard candy throughout the day will help stimulate saliva production, Hewlett says. Stay away from sugary and acidic foods that encourage decay and erosion, he says. Eating that stuff will exacerbate the problem.
Heartburn
Sure, the chest pain sucks, but did you know that acid reflux can do permanent damage to your teeth, too? The acid from your digestive system can wind up in your mouth, dissolving your enamel just like the acid from soda or sports drinks. This acid, however, can be even more potent, Hewlett says. 
Your fix: If your dentist finds erosion on the teeth located at the back of your mouth, acid reflux is most likely the culprit, Hewlett says. Ask your physician how to tackle your heartburn, Hewlett says. A prescription medication may be the best solution
Meal-Time Brushing
Brushing after eating acidic foods—like juice, fruit, sports drinks, red wine, and soda—can weaken enamel, Wolff says. That may lead to yellowing and greater odds of cracks and chips.  
Your fix: Swish with water to rinse away the acid and wait 40 minutes for the calcium in your saliva to remineralize weakened areas. Then brush.
By drdijour
August 02, 2010
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Tooth Discoloration
What Is It
?

Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes in the tooth material. Dentists divide discoloration into three main categories:

  • Extrinsic discoloration -- This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained by coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.
  • Intrinsic discoloration -- This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. Causes include excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood, the maternal use of tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy and the use of tetracycline antibiotics in children 8 years old or younger.
  • Age-related discoloration -- This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In addition to stains caused by foods or smoking, the dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Chips or other injuries to a tooth can also cause discoloration, especially when the pulp has been damaged.
    In rare cases, children with a condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta are born with gray, amber or purple discolorations.

Symptoms
Symptoms include stains on the enamel or a yellow tint in the dentin.

Diagnosis
No special tests are needed. A dentist can diagnose tooth discoloration by looking at the teeth.

Expected Duration
Some tooth discoloration can be removed with professional cleaning, but many stains are permanent unless the teeth are treated (whitened) with a bleaching gel.

Prevention
Brushing your teeth after every meal will help to prevent some stains. Dentists recommend that you rinse your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks or foods that can stain your teeth. Regular cleanings by a dental hygienist also will help to prevent surface stains.

Intrinsic stains that are caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in the inner part (the pulp) of a tooth sometimes can be prevented by having root canal treatment, which removes organic material before it has a chance to decay and darken. However, teeth that undergo root canal treatment may darken anyway. To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid water that contains a high fluoride concentration. You can check the concentration of fluoride in your drinking water supply by calling the public health department. Then consult your dentist.

Treatment
Discoloration often can be removed by applying a bleaching agent to the enamel of the teeth. With a technique called "power bleaching," the dentist applies a light-activated bleaching gel that causes the teeth to get significantly whiter in about 30 to 45 minutes. Several follow-up treatments may be needed.

It's also possible to remove discoloration with an at-home bleaching gel and a mouth guard given to you by your dentist. The bleaching gels designed for use at home aren't as strong as those applied by your dentist, so the process takes longer -- usually two to four weeks. Whitening toothpastes may remove minor stains, but they aren't very effective in most cases.

If you've had a root canal and the tooth has darkened, your dentist may apply a bleaching material to the inside of the tooth.

When a tooth has been chipped or badly damaged or when stains don't respond to bleaching, your dentist may recommend covering the discolored areas. This can be done with a composite bonding material that's color-matched to the surrounding tooth. Another option is to get veneers, which are thin shells of ceramic that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.

When To Call a Professional
Tooth discoloration is mainly a cosmetic problem. Call a dentist if you're unhappy with the appearance of your teeth. Any change in a child's normal tooth color should be evaluated by a dentist.

Prognosis
The prognosis is very good for extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains may be more difficult or take longer to remove.
source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/Tooth-Discoloration/article