Implants: Single visit vs multiple visit

Are Single visit dental implants the right choice for you?

Multi-visit placement vs single day placement

Models of dental, implants, dental dentist objects implants composition collage

Models of dental, implants, dental dentist objects implants composition collage

Dental patients are a savvy bunch these days. Research and consults are made and lots of planning. If you are faced with one of a handful of extensive oral restorative procedures you’re more likely to really do research, dental restorations are no exception. Ceramic restorations are, hands down, the best option for restoring your smile.  Ceramic implants, far and away, are the best looking, strongest, and most natural option for tooth replacement. Other concerns about longevity or durability have been put to rest since we know that ceramic options can last as long as natural, healthy, teeth. Add to that how much ceramic implants actually increase the viability and vitality of your whole mouth in comparison to other replacement options and the choice was made for you.

The Process

Now you’re considering your options for the restorative procedure itself. You can find a dentist that will do the entire implant in one day, many however, prefer several visits to complete the implant process. The promise of instant gratification and less planning or scheduling has you considering if it really makes a difference in the outcome. It’s comforting to hope that such a big procedure could be over and done with in a single day. That’s likely the reason it’s offered in the first place, because we are programmed to go looking for the easy button, instant gratification.  The science and the research indicates that one of the factors that can contribute to implant failure is not allowing time for bone and soft tissues to heal before completing the procedure.

Your Investment

Long vs short term words on a toggle switch to illustrate a greater time investment to do the job right for lasting or permanent improvement

Do your mouth a favor and give it the proper time to heal. A ceramic implant is anchored in the jaw bone. Depending on several factors including the number of teeth to be restored, and the quality and quantity of jaw bone you may be able to start with the initial procedure being the anchor itself. In some instances there may be recommended procedure to do prior to implanting the anchor in order to ensure proper bone mass and health. After the anchor is given

adequate time for the bone around it to heal and be strongly attached there may be a follow up exam to confirm this. The next step is placing a new, ceramic, fixed, permanent tooth.

Most implant procedures are very predictable and your skilled dentist can make the entire procedure seem as though it was nearly effortless.  It’s worth the wait to know you’ve got the most advanced system. You are investing time to ensure the most successful outcome giving yourself the best odds of a restoration that will last your entire life and look great doing it.  Lets face it, this was no small decision and you should know, you’ve done your research. When you come in to see us we will be happy to work with you to find the best time and availability to fit your schedule.


The entire process requires very specialized, advanced equipment and training.  We have the training, the expertise and are ready to give you the smile you deserve.  While in our care all aspects of your overall health will be taken into consideration, your comfort, health, convenience, investment and satisfaction matter to us. Call today and get started.

Beauty Sleep For Your Teeth

Beauty Sleep For Your Teeth

Can not getting enough sleep really be hurting your teeth?

They call it beauty sleep but getting a good night’s rest can do a lot more than preserve your good looks.

Research proves a relationship between sleep deprivation and the onset of many health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Now we can add periodontitis–or gum disease– to that list.

The Link Between Sleep and Oral Health

The amount of sleep you get per night is related to the onset of periodontitis–a disease in which deep pockets form between the teeth and gums, leading to loose and shifting teeth, and the destruction of the bone and connective tissue which hold teeth in place.

A study at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine examined over 200 factory workers to assess whether various lifestyle factors (i.e. exercise, diet, stress) had an effect on periodontitis. Throughout the four year-study, researchers used periodontal probes to monitor any changes in the pockets between teeth and gums.

According to the findings, workers who slept seven to eight hours per night were had a lower risk for periodontitis than those who slept less than six hours per night.  In fact, sleep deprivation was the second most influential factor associated with the onset of periodontitis, right behind smoking.

Lack of Sleep and Inflammation

The root of this association is most likely inflammation. Sleep deprivation is a known cause of increased inflammation, which in turn is a risk factor for other serious diseases like heart disease and stroke.

Research at the Emory University School of Medicine found that, when you are sleep deprived, there is an increased production of inflammatory hormones.  One such inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, was 25% higher in subjects who had less than six hours of sleep per night.

In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, inflammation is also a sign of gingivitis, the mild form of gum disease that can lead to periodontitis.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

It’s not how long, but how well you sleep that counts too.  Even if you get a full eight hours each night, you don’t get the same health benefits if you wake up often.

A few tips for those that have trouble getting a good night’s rest:

Routine: Your body clock wants to adjust to your needs, but it cannot adjust if those needs are always changing. Establishing a routine alerts the body that this is the time you need to go to sleep.

Wind-down without your electronics: Giving yourself time to wind-down before you sleep helps your mind relax. There are many different ways to wind-down, whether it’s reading, yoga, or sipping a cup of hot tea. Just be sure not to use electronics. The latest research shows that artificial light from laptops, TV’s, and iPhones suppress the hormone which regulates sleep, melatonin.

Get up instead of tossing and turning: You want to keep your bedroom associated with sleep rather than being awake. So if you are tossing and turning, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel tired again. Then try and go back to sleep.

To offset some of the inevitable lack of sleep when things get way too busy and remember to:

Dental Emergency 101

Dental Emergency 101

Dental emergencies are extremely common in America. Recent surveys indicated as much as 22 percent of the general population admit to severe oral pain in the last six months. School age children miss more than 1.5 million school days annually in America due to acute dental problems. While dental emergencies cannot be defined as easily as regular medical emergencies and are not generally considered life threatening, dental emergencies whether they involve pain or just cosmetics can be debilitating.

Unfortunately, the safest way to avoid a dental emergency is to not get one in the first place. Obviously things happen in life and sometimes a toothache in unavoidable, but most patients wait too long and a preventable dental problem escalates into a major dental emergency and often a major dental procedure.

So how do you know when you should see a dentist? What are the early warnings signs so you nip things in the bud before they escalate to major problems?

  1. Floss regularly. I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m not telling you to floss to keep your teeth clean (you already KNOW that). If you floss regularly you will notice small cavities or other problems between the teeth sooner. A small cavity is MUCH easier to fix than a big one – which might require an extraction and dental implant. If you floss and feel a small pain, twinge, or anything else weird or out of the ordinary, give us a call and we can probably prevent the problem from getting any worse.
    Having sensitive teeth affects millions of people and is preventable

    Having sensitive teeth affects millions of people and is preventable

  2. Look in the mirror. Most people are so used to brushing their teeth that they don’t watch themselves do it anymore. But spending a few minutes before or after you brush to look in the mirror can prevent a lot of problems. Pull your lips back and check along the gum line. Are there any bumps? Any discoloration? Lesions? All of those things could mean major problems forming under the gumline. And most of those early warning signs can prevent major dental work – and a major toothache – later.
  3. Pay attention when you eat. Pain or twinges in your mouth while eating are often a sign of bigger problems. If you eat sugar and have some pain, you might be getting a cavity (did you know many cavities, when treated early, don’t even need to be drilled out? Catch them early to save yourselves the whir of the drill!). Pain when eating hot or colds things? Your gums could be having an issue or maybe a cavity. Hurts when you chew on one side? Maybe an abscess, infection, cavity, cracked tooth… any number of things.
  4. Do your teeth hurt when you wake up in the morning? This is a classic sign of bruxism – or grinding your teeth. Why does it matter? If you grind at night, you are at risk for TMJ problems, cavities, cracked teeth, and more. All of which can be avoided with a simple bit guard if caught early. If your mouth hurts when you wake up, call and schedule an appointment.
    Mouth pain and oral emergencies affect millions of Americans every year, avoiding dental emergencies can save you time, money and a lot of pain.

    Mouth pain and oral emergencies affect millions of Americans every year, avoiding dental emergencies can save you time, money and a lot of pain.

90% of dental emergencies can be avoided by taking the simple precautions above. Regular visits to the dentist don’t have to be scary or painful – they can prevent scary and painful visits later, in fact. So give us a call. Check for the early warning signs, and prevent future dental emergencies.

And if you do have an emergency, come visit our holistic dental practice in Houston – we are happy to help keep your mouth beautiful and healthy – and out of pain!

An Onion a Day

An Onion a Day

Food: An onion a day to keep the dentist away.

An onion a day will certainly keep more than your dentist away if you don’t brush afterwards, but just like an apple a day is good for your body, and your teeth, so is a little onion. Scientist are constantly uncovering little bits of magic that food we eat does inside our mouth and body.

Onions and other foods offer surprisingly good protection for teeth and mouth health

Onions and other foods offer surprisingly good protection for teeth and mouth health

Crunchy food like apples and celery clean the mouth when we chew them, a few special foods, do more than scrub and induce extra salivation. Some foods like onions have near superpowers to protect our teeth.

The onions chemical compounds distinctly target, and destroy, six of the types of bacteria that are specifically connected to tooth decay and gum disease. As with the onion there are number of other foods that can help keep your teeth healthy.

When social engagements and festive food related encounters become more frequent, during the Holiday season or vacations, follow these easy tips to choose foods that will protect teeth in the midst of all those sweets and starches (that break down to feed sugar fueled bacteria in the mouth).

Foods that aid in remineralizing teeth naturally

Cheese, salmon, eggs, meat, almonds, and leafy greens all provide nutrients like calcium or phosphorus that strengthen and keep tooth enamel healthy and strong. Calcium and phosphorus are naturally occurring minerals that replenish the enamel on your teeth after eating or drinking. Imagine that the minerals from these healthy foods are actually filling in microscopic holes and scratches left behind from the normal wear and tear teeth are exposed to.

When we eat, the food in our mouth may have high sugar or even high acid levels as in the case of citrus, tomatoes, wine, cider, and blueberries. Foods high in acid leave microscopic abrasions on our teeth as we eat. Those tiny scratches become more and more vulnerable to decay over time. Besides having mineral properties to strengthen enamel, cheese has the added benefit of being able to lower pH levels in the mouth after acidic food has been consumed.

Not only can eating foods, like cheese, help lower the pH in your mouth from acidic foods, but they can also help replace minerals leached from the enamel.

Many types of fish, particularly ocean fish, offer a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D found in salmon and other fish is critical for your body to be able to utilize calcium properly. Natural sources of Vitamin D are found in some types of fish like salmon and mackerel, and in dark green leafy vegetables like kale, chard and the tops of beets. These sources of vitamin D are just as natural and beneficial as getting your vitamin D from the sun.

Lots of other foods offer vitamins, like vitamin A for example, and those vitamins are also needed in healthy tooth enamel. The short list includes; carrot, butternut squash, kale, cantaloupe, mango, red sweet pepper, sweet potatoes, and tuna (just be careful of mercury levels). Eating a regular diet full of foods like these create a synergistic effect making the most of your teeth’s ability to maintain enamel and stay strong

Foods that whiten and protect teeth

The good news keeps getting better: not only are there foods that aid in maintaining the protective enamel of your chompers but there are foods that help to whiten your smile as well. Just about any fruit or vegetable that crunches while you chew is a great choice for your teeth. Apples and Pears, in particular, are high in water content, the natural sugars in them stimulate saliva production the combination ensures that while you’re chewing the abrasiveness of the crunchy fruit and all that juicy goodness will scrub and rinse away stains along with pockets of bacteria.

That same benefit — and a better option — can also be had from not so sweet crunchy foods: carrots, celery, raw broccoli, and raw cauliflower are great examples. While these foods may not stimulate healthy saliva production the same way a juicy apple does, some of them, like broccoli and cauliflower, boast unique characteristics for protecting your teeth. They still do all that whitening scrubbing action that other crunchy stuff does but they leave behind a slippery coating on teeth that forms a barrier for sticky plaque causing bacteria.

A few other foods have the ability to create something of a protective shield on your teeth: sesame seeds, shitaki mushrooms, and onions are among them. Sounds funny but these last three should be considered secret weapons in the quest for a brighter, whiter smile. Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on just about any salad, stir fry, or baked goods and actually have enzymes that soften and dissolve plaque in addition to the calcium they have that replenishes the enamel of your teeth. Shitaki mushrooms tout an enzyme that acts like a seek-and-destroy missile to eradicate specific bacteria in the mouth responsible for cavities.

While raw onions probably won’t make the cut on date night, they actually have antibacterial properties proven to eradicate six specific types of bacteria in the mouth that cause decay and gingivitis. So slice up some onions for your sandwich (and brush your teeth when your done).

Don’t forget…

Water. It’s the single easiest thing you can do, after brushing and flossing, to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Drinking a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water and adding water to compensate for hot days, caffeine intake, and activities like exercise that leave you perspiring. Adequate water consumption ensures your mouth stays moist and rinses away bacteria after eating, reducing the acid and decreasing the chance for decay. Saliva is the best thing for your teeth, it dilutes down acids, washes away food particles, fights germs, and carries nutrients to the enamel.

 

Dental Restorations and Ceramic Implants

Dental Restorations and Ceramic Implants

According to recent statistics, the average American will lose 3 adult teeth in their lifetime, not including wisdom teeth that many adults have removed, rather than lose due to injury or decay. That number may seem staggering to some but is drastically lower than statics dating back in the 1970s when losing 6 to 8 teeth or more in a lifetime was the norm. If you have ever been faced with tooth restoration due to loss or infection you know that the choices can be overwhelming. Once you know that you are going to need to replace a natural tooth with an artificial one you begin weighing all the options. Ceramic implants are considered the gold standard of restoration but the choices can still seem convoluted, considering dentist have so many procedures available to patients. For a multitude of reasons, cost and time being two big factors, patients occasionally find themselves considering getting a bridge, just for now, until they are ready to take that big step into oral surgery and getting permanent ceramic implants.

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The answers you’ve been seeking here now.

Getting a bridge will have a permanent and detrimental effect on the teeth nearest the tooth that needs replacing:

  • To get a proper fit and bonding to the bridge your healthy teeth will need to be filed down, stripped of their outside protective cover, made small enough to allow for the substantial bridgework to fit and be secure
  • Should those nearby teeth not be in the greatest shape, then you may have to sacrifice additional teeth, further away, to bond the bridge to.
  • Bridges have a finite life span.
  • Ten years is about the max but even that is not guaranteed.
      • Bridges can be pulled off from eating sticky foods.
      • Cracked or broken bridges can result from a variety of foods consumed also.
  • Bridges can discolor or the areas around the bond yellow or fade.
  • Since the nearby teeth must be compromised in order to secure the bridge, those sacrificial teeth are more prone to disease, infection or rot.
  • Eventually the healthy gum tissues will recede, shrink and pull away from the bridge. This can leave an unsightly and noticeable gap between the bridge and the gum line. (Besides leaving a noticeable gap it also becomes a trap for particles of food and debris that feed pockets of stinky bacteria)
  • Additionally, since there is not a tooth in the jawbone the bone mass in that area will diminish over time. This can affect the surrounding teeth, especially if you have multiple teeth replaced, it can also affect your jaw line and the contours of your face.
  • Outcome: a bridge means you will need additional dental work just to maintain and support a tooth replacement that will still, no matter how well you take care of it, need replacing.

White Zirconia Dental Implant

Would you believe me if I said that getting a ceramic implant would allow you to skip all that? Yes, there are a couple of visits to get the implant placed and set. There is a visit to ensure the procedure went well and that you have healed all the way. After that? After that you are set. Smile away and be confident that you have the closest thing to your natural teeth possible.  Feel good that you  are supporting the rest of your teeth and even your overall health.

 Call our qualified team of experts to get your consultation today.

Marilyn K Jones DDS

Address: 800 Bering Dr Suite 204 , Houston, TX 77057 Phone: (713) 785-7767 Email: mjones@hal-pc.org

Dentistry: Time To Go Natural

These days everyone wants to be a part of the growing trend to go all natural. Marketers have flooded television, newspaper, product names and PR campaigns with a barrage of information insisting that natural is the only way to go. There is a lot of good to come from getting food and personal care products, even home goods that are more natural and less chemicals, less processing and less artificial.

z-systems zirconia dental implants

ceramics used in dental implants are non-metallic and white throughout

Sometimes there are so many “natural” choices it can be hard to discern what is good and what might not be everything you need it to be. Especially in the world of dentistry. For example, ceramic implants cannot be touted as natural because they are definitely man made. Ceramic implants are made from a scientifically engineered material, derived from a naturally occurring metal ore that is so biologically compatible with the human body that it can pass for natural bone material. Other “natural” remedies, like fluoride can actually be derived from toxic industrial waste then passed off as natural all because a form of fluoride does exist in nature.

There are a variety of unique and healthy ways to utilize natural products to keep your teeth and gums healthy and thriving.  Everything from whitening teeth, remineralizing enamel, preventing cavities, bad breath, gum disease and stopping hypersensitivity can all be enhanced with natural products. Sometimes there are so many available products that it can be difficult to determine where to start and what will the best results.

Coconut oil and oil pulling can improve dental health

Coconut oil and oil pulling can improve dental health

While things like oil-pulling and coconut oil are obvious, easy options to include in your personal home care we may have other products and information about products that will further allow you to get more chemicals out of your household and body.  Maybe you will start with a natural toothpaste, maybe homemade toothpaste. For additional ideas on natural products and information about the ones you currently use call us, setup an appointment to learn more about how we can take care of your dental needs naturally using the best products and employing bio-compatibility and testing when needed to give you the healthiest, brightest and most natural oral health available.

Eliminating Exposure to BPA For Teeth’s Sake

Eliminating Exposure to BPA For Teeth’s Sake

Protecting teeth and eliminating exposure to harmful industrial chemicals (BPA) especially in young children and infants

BPA (-Bisphenol A ) has been around for a while, just about everyone has heard that BPA is bad for you, beyond that many of us are still not sure on the specific threat.  Since the 1960’s BPA has been used to coat the inside everything from food carrying container trucks, soda cans and to strengthen plastics designed to hold liquids and food. The industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate, a hard, clear plastic, can also be found in epoxy resins.

Originally licensed by the Food and Drug Administration – FDA, as a food additive, it has long been known that BPA’s would leach into food and beverages that they came into contact with.

BPA interrupts endocrine processes, essentially the hormones that regulate and direct everything in the body from puberty, growth in babies, organs, including teeth and growth rates, even insulin production. The latest evidence in a growing body of research on the harmful effects of the chemical BPA continues to demonstrate damaging consequences to the natural development of the enamel of teeth. In a study led by Ariane Berdal of the Université Paris-Diderot and Sylvie Babajko, results on the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA appear to show damage to tooth enamel, echoing a pathology of tooth enamel which is turning up in children today between the ages of 6 and 8.

Analysis of results in the test rats showed numerous features that bear a striking resemblance to a condition called MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) that specifically targets first molars and permanent incisors. This enamel pathology is found in roughly 18 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 and causes teeth to be hypersensitive to pain and predisposed to cavities. This latest study appears to be pointing to BPA exposure as the potential culprit in the increasing cases of MIH, which may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Why is this a big deal?

BPA is a chemical compound used in the manufacture of food and beverage containers such as water, juice or soda bottles and, most damaging of all; in the production of babies’ bottles. It is also used for the protective films inside drinks cans and food tins. BPA is the key element in polycarbonate synthetics and epoxy resins — about three million tons being produced annually all over the world. With so much BPA in products today, significant amounts of BPA are showing up in human blood, urine, and able to infiltrate amniotic liquid and placentas – potentially affecting developing fetuses. Earlier studies on this toxic substance have shown that it has adverse effects on the reproduction, development and metabolism of laboratory animals and is suspected of causing the same effects on humans.

Early damage to teeth may indicate more problems down the road

BPA-free multicolor baby bottles for infant formula

BPA-free multicolor baby bottles for infant formula

Significant to the Berdal study, the first telltale indicator of damage caused by the early introduction of endocrine disruptors, (including BPA) was the appearance of “white marks” on the incisors of rats treated. The researchers decided to define the characteristics of incisors of rats treated with low doses of BPA and to compare these with the characteristics of teeth in humans suffering from MIH. Macroscopic observation of marks on both series of teeth tested showed similarities, specifically; fragile and brittle enamel – the earliest signs associated with the presence of BPA and perhaps the precursor of more BPA associated health problems down the road.

How babies are affected by BPA

When you consider that BPA is so prevalent in our world today that about 90 percent of the population has it coursing through their blood stream and sensitive tissues, obtained primarily by eating foods that come from containers made with BPA. It is also floating freely in our environment, in the air we breathe, in dust particles, and in our water supply. Although mature adults are also at risk for the health consequences associated with BPA, fetuses and young children have the most to lose. Babies who are fed formula using polycarbonate bottles are especially at risk. A Swiss study conducted in 2010 revealed that babies and infants actually absorb the most BPA, primarily through the use of baby bottles, on average taking in 0.8 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Harmful even in small doses –BPA is a hormonally active substance that mimics the natural hormone estrogen and as an anti-androgen. Even small amounts of BPA in the system can have a negative impact on sexual development, especially for male fetuses and growing babies. So alarming are the results of on-going studies that the FDA has begun to express more concern about the potential effects of BPA on the endocrine system; brain, behavior, and prostate glands – particularly in fetuses, infants and young children (developing bodies of children are less efficient at eliminating toxic chemical substances from their systems).

Worldwide

Concerns about BPA have led to the production of BPA-free plastic products. Europe banned baby bottles containing the chemical in January 2011. The U.S. took similar action in July of last year. While the Food and Drug Administration continues to declare BPA safe for human consumption, meanwhile France and other countries have been working on initiatives to ban it entirely.

Exams and Dental X-rays = Best Care

A time for everything…

…Including a regular exam and dental X-rays.

X-rays are for patients who have something wrong (or so you thought), why do dentists need x-rays

It's crazy trying to find time for everything but don't skip dental exams and dental x-rays.

It’s crazy trying to find time for everything but don’t skip dental exams and dental x-rays.

and an exam…when you just want your teeth cleaned. This might be something you thought recently if you called to set up an appointment with your dentist and were informed you are due for dental x-rays and or an exam.

For most patients dentists will want to do a minimum of an annual exam–and depending on the information they have on the condition on your teeth and gums–potentially dental x-rays annually or semi annually. If your dentist is new to you or your last exam was more than one or two years ago–even if you think your teeth are doing great–expect to get a full exam and x-rays. It can seem overwhelming and confusing, especially when it takes up valuable time and adds to the cost of oral care, but it’s too risky to skip, here is why.

The Short Answer

Dentist are able to find abnormalities in teeth and soft tissue and head off problems before they affect long term health.

Dentist are able to find abnormalities in teeth and soft tissue and head off problems before they affect long term health.

Your dentist will be held accountable for missing things that put your health at risk. Cavities, root absorption and gum disease are a big deal and have been linked to other serious disease processes but oral cancer is potentially deadly.

The Rest of The Story

X-rays only take minutes.

  • They are fast, and painless though it may be uncomfortable for a few minutes.
  • Children should get dental X-rays every one to two years.
  • Adults should get dental X-rays each two to three years.
    Dental X-rays are fast and painless.

    Dental X-rays are fast and painless.

X-rays are unmatched for diagnostics:

  • They Show cavities:
    • Between teeth,
    • underneath fillings and other dental work,
    • X-rays also show cavities that are below the gum line.
    • All of which a dentist would not be able to identify without an x-ray.
  • X-rays give the dentist information about teeth that are below the gumline, both for children and adults.  (For example, adults with retained wisdom teeth.)
  • X-rays let your dentist assess jaw position.
    • Jaw position can determine susceptibility to bruxism, TMJ, over and underbites (among other things) that can increase likelihood of fracturing teeth or other long term problems.
  • X-rays tell dentist about progression of gum disease or infection that may not be well evaluated with the naked eye.
  • X-rays also give your dentist an accurate way to assess potential bone loss in the jaw.
    •  Bone loss can happen for several reasons:
      • previous trauma from your youth or more recent.

Oral cancer now kills as many americans as melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In addition to x-rays, during an annual exam your dentist will be looking for physical anomalies in the teeth, gums, tongue and surrounding soft tissues. Anomalies are abnormalities that might signal bigger issues in the mouth, like cancer. Dentist can identify cancerous and precancerous lesions in the mouth and throat, as well as find and assess tiny cracks or fissures in the enamel of teeth that may indicate future problems like a potential for fractured and broken teeth. 

Life just keeps getting busier and busier and having the time and resources to get it all done all the time is tricky. As dentist we want the best for our patients, the best care, the best diagnostics, the healthiest and best smiles.

Make time for your annual check-ups, you’ll never regret the time you’ve spent staying healthy.

Call us today.

 

What You Don’t Know About White Teeth

What You Don’t Know About White Teeth

A Myriad Of Culprits Contribute To The Everyday Dulling Of A Beautiful, White Smile

It’s not just the dread coffee responsible for staining your pearly whites and giving you a lackluster smile.

Dark Colored Foods and Drinks

These days everyone is obsessed with having the brightest, biggest, whitest smile. Considered common knowledge–most of us know–that certain foods will stain our teeth, especially if consumed often.  There are several that are particularly bad foods to watch out for in order to keep teeth white and bright.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Surprise, did you know that foods high in acid are also responsible for yellowing and discoloring teeth? It’s not just the color of the foods and drinks you consume but the level of acidity as well. High acid levels soften the enamel coating on teeth leaving them susceptible to stains, soft and more likely to absorb colors in foods that stain teeth.

Why Yellow?

Thick, healthy enamel looks bright and white but really it’s slightly translucent, like fine china. As healthy enamel is worn away it becomes easier to see the dentin underneath. Dentin is the next layer of the tooth and it less white and more yellow. Thinner enamel, coupled with stains that seep into the pores of enamel can give teeth a yellow cast to them.

The Double Whammy List

Here’s a short list of foods that tend to be both dark in color and acidic making them the most likely to stain teeth.

  1. Black Tea. If you do drink black tea, avoid eating other foods with it that also have the potential to stain teeth, dark colored fruits or juices, basically anything that would stain clothing. The tannins in black tea are exceptionally good at increasing the way other foods colors can bond to enamel. Opt for Green Tea, it is considered not just a healthier option but also has less likelihood of staining teeth.
  2. Sugary Sweet, Sticky Treats. The longer sugar stays in your mouth the more time it has to work its mischief, so hard or chewy, those brightly colored drops of sweetness spell disaster for teeth. When you eat a candy that stains your tongue and lips a deep shade of red, blue, purple or green, guess what? Those same bright colors are also leeching into your enamel. Avoid the brightly colored hard and or chewy candies and go for a stick of sugar free gum, or even a small piece of dark chocolate instead.
    Greens can help coat teeth with a protective layer to stop other foods from staining your teeth.

    Greens can help coat teeth with a protective layer to stop other foods from staining your teeth.

  3. Curry and other Sauces. Some sauces are deeply colored by spices or tomatoes, they tend to have heavy concentrations of color and can be acidic as well equalling easy attachment to enamel, leaving dark stains over time.  Don’t avoid healthy foods but do consider two things that will help mitigate staining. a.) Drink less wine during a meal like this. Wine is acidic and will only increase the staining potential. b.) Eat your greens. Many vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, even onions–for example) and a variety of green leafy vegetables are known to coat the teeth in a protective layer helping to prevent staining and even bacterial colonization.
    Acids, not just tannins make teeth susceptible to staining. White wine stains teeth too.

    Acids, not just tannins make teeth susceptible to staining. White wine stains teeth too.

  4. Red and White Wine. It’s common knowledge that red wine will stain teeth, in fact it will stain just about everything, even rocks. The deeply colored polyphenols and tannins in red wine are responsible for its staining powers. Maybe it will be a surprise that white wines can stain teeth equally well, if not better. The acids and tannins in white wine give it super powers for staining your teeth. Avoid eating other foods that stain teeth at the same time you are enjoying a glass of white wine.
  5. Soda, colas, and sports drinks. Everything we just covered about wine plus sugar! It’s not tannins in cola that does your teeth in, its phosphoric acid, and the effect is staggering. Thinking of switching to a sports drink? Think again. Studies have shown some of the most popular sports drinks to have even higher levels of acid in them then the two leading brands of soda. Drink water. Consuming water actually helps flush out acids and correct pH plus it aids your body in making more slippery saliva and that is good news for healthy teeth and gums.
  6. Juice Drinks. Store bought, commercially packaged juice, marketed as healthy, has an even higher acid level (for preservation) than fresh squeezed juice. Buying processed juices, especially brightly colored ones, can be more of a staining hazard than most people realize. Freshly squeezed, made on the spot, juices aren’t processed, so there is less acid, more fiber, more vitamins and they are more healthy. You still don’t want them lingering on your teeth for an extended amount of time.  Swish around a sip of water when you finish just to clear out the acids and sugars left hanging out on and in between teeth.
  7. The Extras. Condiments like soy sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and any other dark, acidic topping to your food, including some hot sauces and salsas can increase the likelihood of staining and yellowing teeth, particularly when paired with other richly colored foods than might impart more stains. This is another great time to reach for a tall glass of water. eating acidic foods or dark colored foods in combination with other foods and water can help dilute the effect and keep stain powers to a minimum.
    Polyphenols in brightly colored fruits and veggies are good for you...and stain teeth.

    Polyphenols in brightly colored fruits and veggies are good for you…and stain teeth.

  8. Richly Colored Fruits and Vegetables. Lastly, some of the most healthy foods can stain teeth because they are loaded with bright colors. The bright colors are a good indicator that they are loaded with super compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are great for the body…hard on the teeth. Go ahead, eat your blueberries, your beets and your pomegranate. Eat all the blackberries you want and raspberries. Then go for some water. Sounding like a broken record?

You might be inclined to brush your teeth first but that’s a mistake. The acids in many of these foods tend to not just stain teeth but soften the enamel. It’s best to let enamel recover for at least an hour first then go in for the brushing with your soft bristled toothbrush. In the meantime, a cool glass of water and a little swish between teeth is the best first move to make. Water will dilute and neutralize strong acids and deep colors to help minimize the risk of staining teeth.

If your teeth have staining or discoloration we can help restore a bright smile giving you that confident feeling with every smile and helping your teeth stay their healthy best.

What Came Before the Modern Toothbrush?

Ever have time to ponder the little things in life, like what came before the modern toothbrush?

What came before modern toothbrushes was a lot more rotting teeth!  In fact regardless of fluoride, countries across the globe that employ modern dentistry and routine dental care have all recorded progressively lower rates of decay and tooth loss over the last 100 years.  We have all benefited from the advent of the modern toothbrush.

The toothbrush in your bathroom cabinet is the culmination of not just revision after revision, science and engineering has brought forth the best version ergonomically, hygienically and scientifically to clean and deter further bacterial colonization and plaque build up on your pearly whites.

The First Toothbrushes

Bearing in mind that people have always had teeth, it may not be surprising that we’ve been attempting to keep them clean and healthy for a very long time. The toothbrushes predecessor, the chew stick, have been unearthed in various places around the globe The oldest chew stick, found in Babylonia and dated to 3500 BC, followed by archeological evidence in Egypt dating to about 3000 BC.

Chew Stick or teeth cleaning sticks.

Chew Stick or teeth cleaning sticks.

Chew sticks were a stick that was tapered on one end and frayed on the other end. The soft frayed ends were used to gently clean the surfaces and the pointed end could dislodge debris stuck in the teeth crevices and cracks.  A variety of trees or bushes could be employed to make chew sticks.  Different regions and cultures each, had their own prefered bush or tree, sometimes cinnamon, sassafras or even tea tree and walnut. Well over a dozen different types of trees/bushes with bitter roots were utilized for chew sticks, or teeth cleaning sticks.  The types of trees and bushes typically selected for teeth cleaning or chew sticks have long been known to have antimicrobial benefits that no doubt benefited the user to some degree.

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Toothbrush believed to have belonged to Napoleon

Eventually the chew stick evolved into a bristled brush similar to our more modern toothbrushes. The first of which have been unearthed in ancient China.  The Toothbrush made it’s way across the globe and while the handles varied between bamboo, ivory and bone, the bristles on those first toothbrushes were generally made from horse-tail hairs, boar bristles, even badger fur. By the 1900’s modern handles made from man made materials were the norm and nylon bristles were standard.

 

The Zenith of the Toothbrush

Over the last hundred years or so the toothbrush has changed but is still recognizable from even its earliest versions. The biggest difference in the latest models are those brushes that offer ultrasonic cleaning speeds.  We easily assume that this feature is but a mere gimmick, yet by far, this is the pinnacle of hundreds of years of reinventing and researching oral health. Today’s ultra-sonic toothbrushes–outfitted with a new toothbrush head and properly charged–remove stains, debris and colonies of bacteria both above and below the gumline. Ultrasonic toothbrushes may even contribute in retarding harmful anaerobic bacteria.

As ultrasonic toothbrushes are moved from tooth to tooth they create thousands of teeny-tiny bubbles, some that may be small enough to slip into the tiny space between the teeth and gums. Those little bubble are all it takes to break up the party of nasty anaerobic bacteria hanging out down below the gumline. Anaerobic bacteria can be some of the stinkiest and contribute, extensively, to periodontal disease, gum disease, decay and other oral infection.

By now you’re probably day dreaming about a nice rendezvous with your new, modern, toothbrush!

Contact our office weather you still use a chew stick or even if you have the fanciest, latest version–the ultrasonic toothbrush–we can help you make sure your oral health and your whole health are in alignment.