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Topic: Dental Care Tips

Spring Break Is Not For Your Teeth!

spring-break-green-beach-sunglasses-photo Sunshine, warmer weather, greener grass, and setting our clocks forward an hour can only mean one thing here in Central Indiana:  it’s Spring Break Time! Sounds great, right?  Let’s just not confuse a much-needed vacation for our bodies and minds with a vacation for our teeth. Simply stated, your vacation is not the time to neglect your teeth. Your overall oral health shouldn’t take a break!

That being said, we’d like to offer up a few spring break dental care tips you should know and consider while on vacation.

  1. Drink plenty of water. Besides the obvious benefits of hydration, drinking water throughout the day will reduce the buildup of plaque on your teeth.
  1. Avoid sugary drinks. High sugar drinks such as soda erode the enamel on your teeth.
  1. Pack your oral health essentials with you. Bring healthy snacks (such as apples) that act as a cleanser for your teeth. Carry travel-size toothbrushes and mouthwash for road trips.

Whatever your plans are this spring break, remember to keep up with your dental care. Spring break can be a great time of relaxation and rejuvenation, but it’s not the time to give your teeth a break! If you would like to schedule an appointment before your break, give us a call.

The staff at Southport Dental is dedicated to providing you and your family the highest quality dental care.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Can Toothpaste Strengthen Your Teeth?

Discolored_teethToothpaste marketers have long pitched enamel-strengthening toothpastes they claim harden the tooth’s protective layer, thereby making it more resistant to attacks from acids found in food and beverages like soda, orange juice and even pickles. Scientists are in agreement these toothpastes do make enamel more acid-resistant—but not nearly enough to protect you if you chug soda all day.

Enamel is a thin covering over teeth made from an organic matrix and minerals, largely crystals of calcium phosphate, says Therametric Technologies Inc., a Noblesville firm that sells and tests dental products. Enamel is vulnerable both to decay, caused by acids in bacteria, and to erosion, defined as direct assault from acids from food and drink. The biggest offenders include diet and regular sodas, citrus beverages, red wine and some sports drinks.

While everyone is vulnerable to acid erosion, the problem worsens as we age due to a decrease in production of saliva—which both washes away acids and neutralizes them. Certain medications also decrease saliva production.

What’s an Acid Fighter?

A number of toothpastes that claim to combat acid erosion and strengthen enamel are now on the market. Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield’s label says it “protects against acid attack.” Sensodyne ProNamel says it “protects against the effects of acid erosion.” Colgate Total’s line includes an “Enamel Strength” version. A CVS store brand promises it “helps harden tooth enamel with acid protection formula.”

The claims are often based on the presence of fluoride, which scientists say combines with minerals in your mouth to create a crystal called fluorapatite on the surface of your teeth. Some of the toothpastes, including Crest’s Enamel Shield, Sensodyne ProNamel and Squigle Inc.’s Enamel Saver, are also formulated to be less abrasive to protect your enamel from rubbing off when brushing. (Squigle is a manufacturer of a small brand of toothpastes it says are non-irritating to the mouth.)

Scientists give mixed reviews to the claims. They say it is incorrect to say a toothpaste can strengthen enamel as it doesn’t make teeth physically stronger against shearing forces—such as biting into a piece of popcorn. The products do make the tooth surface more resistant to acids in the diet, says John Featherstone, dean of the University of California School of Dentistry in San Francisco.

While dentists agree toothpastes can help protect enamel, you should still drink acidic beverages in moderation. “You can’t drink erosive foods and drinks in high frequency and expect a toothpaste to protect you,” says Mark S. Wolff, a professor and chairman of the department of cariology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry. (Cariology is the study of tooth decay.)

Regardless of the toothpaste you use, it is important not to brush your teeth immediately after drinking acids as that is when enamel is most vulnerable to wear from brushing, adds Teresa Marshall, an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in Iowa City. It’s a good idea to take a few sips of water after drinking or eating acids, scientists add, and sugar-free gum can help by stimulating saliva production.

Label Study

As for toothpastes touting enamel strengthening, an informal inspection of labels in pharmacy aisles found the toothpastes often had nearly identical ingredients to other products by the same manufacturers that don’t make enamel claims. Some of the distinction, companies say, involves proprietary differences in proportions of ingredients.

Scientists say any well-designed fluoride toothpaste will make enamel more acid resistant. The enamel-strengthening claims on the label are “a marketing gimmick,” says Dr. Featherstone, who has done paid consulting for a number of toothpaste makers. Consumers should choose a toothpaste with a taste they like, as they’ll use it more, he says. He recommends major brands because a lot of research goes into proper formulation.

Procter & Gamble says its Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield is the result of more than a decade of research and seven separate inventions. The company says the term “strengthens enamel” on the label refers to making teeth more chemically resistant to acid. GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Sensodyne ProNamel, says that, while fluoride doesn’t significantly harden normal tooth enamel it does have a hardening effect on enamel which has been softened by acid erosion. Colgate-Palmolive declined to be interviewed.

At least two companies—P&G and GlaxoSmithKline—have published studies showing their toothpastes help protect enamel in test subjects wearing either crowns or appliances with test teeth in them. (This type of research allows scientists to perform controlled tests, such as deliberately creating acid erosion on the test teeth.) However, there aren’t enough well-designed studies directly comparing one toothpaste with another to determine if one toothpaste is really better than another, scientists say.

Can “Extra Fluoride” Help?

Based on ingredients, there are some differentiation points. Colgate’s new ProClinical Daily Renewal for Enamel, has 1,500 parts per million of fluoride—more than most toothpastes, according to the company’s website. Sensodyne ProNamel is specially formulated so that more fluoride is available, enhancing the process of remineralizing enamel, GlaxoSmithKline says. Scientists say extra fluoride is likely to have at least a small additional effect on enamel—but more research is needed.

P&G’s Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield, which came out last year, is made with a particular type of fluoride called stannous fluoride. In addition to forming fluorapatite crystals like other fluorides, stannous fluoride also has a toxic effect on acid-producing mouth bacteria, says biochemist Matthew J. Doyle, director of global research and development for P&G’s oral-care division. Stannous fluoride also protects against tooth sensitivity by blocking small tunnels in the teeth, he adds.

Crest’s Pro-Health Enamel Shield also has sodium hexametaphosphate, an ingredient that forms a protective film over the teeth that lasts six or seven hours. “It’s a sacrificial layer that protects the surface of the tooth,” Dr. Doyle says.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Is Brushing Too Hard Bad For My Mouth?

Yes, it certainly is!  Brushing too hard (and too often) can absolutely be detrimental to your oral health.  For the sake of this discussion, we will refer to both brushing too much and brushing too hard as over brushing.

Let’s take a look at what happens when you over brush and what you can do to prevent it. By the end of this blog entry, we hope you’ll be able to brush your teeth in a safer, gentler manner and improve your overall oral health in the process.

Are there symptoms?

If you start to notice that your gums are receding, you may be brushing too hard!  Your gums will begin to recede if you continually, day after day, brush them too hard.  Additionally, if you see that some gums on certain teeth are much higher than others, you very well could be brushing too aggressively.  If this is the case, it’s a good idea to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Another way to tell if you’re turning into the Incredible Hulk when you brush is if you notice your teeth becoming sensitive.  It’s possible that you have created this sensitivity by exposing your mouth to such extreme brushing.  Also be on the lookout for bleeding from your gums. This is a very good indicator of over brushing and a clear cut sign you need to lighten up.

What can I do?

Here is the good news:  you can be helped if you are an overbrusher.  There are plenty of resources online to make certain you are brushing your teeth properly. Brushing is an important activity that we do so often, it’s key to remember that you do it correctly.  Gentler strokes, gentler strokes, gentler strokes!  You simply can’t go wrong with gentle, proper brushing.

And we have one last helpful tip for you overbrushers out there.  Consider picking up an electric toothbrush.  It’s a great investment that will have you in greater control of just how hard you brush.  Or, perhaps an alternate view of looking at things, an electric toothbrush can help stop you, within reason, from hard brushing.

Always get professional dental help from experienced, certified and responsible professionals the minute you notice something is wrong with your teeth or gums.  Dentists are able to advise you on the best course of action when you’ve been over brushing.

If you are looking for top dental care, you’ve come to the right place.  The staff at Southport Dental always puts your needs first.  We want to be positive that you leave our office smiling after every visit.  Get in touch with us today to schedule a checkup.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Want the Secret for a Lifetime of Dental Health?

Healthy teeth all during your lifetime is not as complicated as people make it out to be. Dental health is really a simple recipe – with only three key ingredients.

Lifetime Healthy Teeth Solution #1:  Treat dental problems immediately

Get cavities, infections and dental problems treated as soon as you become aware of them. Waiting for dental problems to fix themselves will never make things better.

Cavities are more easily treated when they are small. If left too long, the cavity will inevitably progress to an abscess. The filling that would have treated the cavity, will not fix the abscess. Treatment becomes more costly and possibly more radical, such as taking teeth out rather than saving them, or root canals rather than fillings.

Gum infections spread deeper and eat away at the jawbone that holds your teeth in. This bone, once eroded will never grow back – leaving your teeth unsupported and mobile. What could have been treated with a routine cleaning now requires gum and bone surgery, or even extractions.

Lifetime Healthy Teeth Solution #2:  Eat healthy for your teeth

When talking about healthy eating habits for our body, experts commonly suggest a balanced diet – rich in lean meats, fruits and vegetables with several small meals each day rather than the three big meals, which our parents and grandparents recommended.

While a balanced diet is good for your body’s general health, the manner in which food is eaten during the day can have a big influence on whether your teeth develop problems or not.

When we eat, the bacteria in the plaque on our teeth and in the mouth use the food particles to produce acids, which then eat away at the teeth. Compounds present in saliva act to neutralize these acids and minerals in saliva then act to repair the damage done by the acid attack after eating. It commonly takes ninety minutes to two hours to neutralize an acid attack after eating.

Researchers have shown that eating or drinking anything other than water on more than five different occasions each day lessens the time for saliva to neutralize the acids between each acid attack – and may not be adequate. This means that the teeth may be under acid attack for most of the day and this will inevitably lead to enamel damage, decay and tooth loss.

Lifetime Healthy Teeth Solution #3:  Regular 6 month dental check-up and clean

If you want to keep your teeth for life, being reactive and waiting for dental problems to manifest before seeking professional help just won’t do it.Mason and Jaime

Good health for your teeth and gums, just like any other body system requires being proactive, not reactive. You never hear cardiologists recommend their patients waiting for their arteries to clog to the point where you have a heart attack and then having surgery to have the diseased arteries ‘bypassed’. Common sense would say this approach is obviously inferior to a program of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

It’s the same with teeth. Waiting for teeth to abscess and having root canals does not make sense compared to regular six month visits, yet only half of the population have a regular dentist and not even all of those have regular check-ups every six months. Common sense just doesn’t seem to be that common these days.

Keep that awesome smile!

Is Gum Chewing Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

When it comes to chewing gum, it’s the type of gum you chew that makes a difference in whether it’s helpful or harmful to your teeth. While chewing gum containing sugar may actually increase your chances of developing a cavity, there is clinical evidence that demonstrates just the opposite for sugar-free gum. And there’s even better news when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol.

Sugar-free gum helps to clean teeth

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping to keep your teeth clean.

Xylitol reduces decay-causing bacteria

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.

To chew or not to chew

Although chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial in most instances, there are some cases in which chewing gum is not recommended. For example, if you are experiencing any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), you should refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist about what options are available to you.

For most people, chewing sugar-free gum (especially gum sweetened with xylitol) can be a good preventive measure in situations when toothbrushing and flossing aren’t practical, but sugar-free or not, chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene practices.


 

At Southport Dental we are committed to providing a warm, stress free environment in which our patients are treated as family. Only necessary procedures are recommended, in other words, no one is pressured with “up selling.” When considering treatment, patients are clearly presented with pros, cons, and all available options.

We are accepting New Patients! Call us at 317-494-7366 to schedule an appointment.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

 

Information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.

When Was The Last Time You Saw The Dentist?

Dental Checkup IndianapolisCan’t remember the last time you saw a dentist? Don’t worry we are here to help no matter what your history is in seeing a dentist. If it’s been a while since your last exam, here’s what you can expect the next time you sit in the dentist’s chair. On your initial visit we will perform a comprehensive examination that will include examining your mouth, head a neck. We will also do a series of x-rays and discuss your medical history with you.

Southport Dental is proud to provide a talented, friendly staff to make your dental experience exceptional. Dr. Mills stays current with dental techniques and trends by frequently attending continuing education seminars and courses ensuring that his patients receive the most comprehensive and advanced dental care. Our front office staff will find the answers to all your questions and make you feel at home. We provide skilled, gentle and knowledgeable dental hygienist and dental assistants. They will give you their undivided attention during your cleaning visits and dental procedures.

A dental checkup can keep you and your teeth healthy. Don’t delay when it comes to the health of your teeth. Any untreated problems can turn into even bigger ones, so it’s important to schedule a checkup soon. New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! Your first dental visit promises to be a pleasant experience. Making sound decisions about your dental care and oral health is an easy thing to do with the right preparation beforehand:

  • Make a list of questions to ask our office, so you don’t forget anything on the day of your appointment. This includes any concerns you have, or oral problems you’ve been experiencing.
  • Fill out the New Patient Form at home and bring it with you or arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to complete this at our office.
  • If you have dental insurance, remember to bring your insurance card with you.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment give our team a call at 317-494-7366 or fill out an appointment and new patient form.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Are You Grinding Your Teeth? 

BruxismTeeth grinding can happen during the day or night. Most often the grinding of the teeth occurs while sleeping. Most experts classify teeth grinding, called Bruxism, as a sleep disorder. It can get ugly when grinding begins to cause damage to your chewing muscles, jaw joint, and teeth. Fortunately, there are telltale signs of teeth grinding. The Mayo Clinic notes the signs and symptoms of Bruxism (teeth grinding) may include the following:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner.
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose.
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw or face pain or soreness.
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles.
  • Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear.
  • Dull headache originating in the temples.
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek.
  • Indentations on your tongue.

Grinding your teeth at night is common, however, if not treated it can lead to a number of dental and health issues. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms above you may have Bruxism. Regular checkups are key to diagnose any dental problems and the proper treatment. If you suspect any dental problems including teeth grinding we can examine your mouth during your visit to determine what’s wrong and how we can fix it. We are committed to providing a warm, stress free environment in which our patients are treated as family. Only necessary procedures are recommended, in other words, no one is pressured with “up selling.” When considering treatment, patients are clearly presented with pros, cons, and all available options.

The solution to your teeth grinding may be as simple as fitting you with a night mouth guard. Contact our Southport Dental team today to schedule a visit. We look forward to seeing you and taking care of all your dental needs!

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Southport Dental Indianapolis | Reasons for a Tooth Extraction

SouthportDentalPatientExamAre you having discomfort with your teeth and feel you might need a tooth extraction? There are a number of reasons why your teeth may need to be extracted. The most common reason for the removal of a tooth is severe decay or breakage of a tooth that cannot be saved. Other reasons for extractions may include gum disease, infection, orthodontic correction, fractured tooth or roots, crowded teeth and impacted teeth (mainly wisdom teeth).

Tooth extraction procedures are vastly less painful than ever before, thanks to powerful anesthetics and Dr. Mills’ advanced surgical techniques. Surgical extractions are performed under local anesthesia especially for wisdom teeth extractions. In many cases, patients experience little to no discomfort, and only minor bleeding.

It is extremely important that patients with extracted teeth do not smoke for 4-5 days after the procedure.  In addition, vigorous brushing and rinsing or drinking through a straw are discouraged because they hinder the healing and may cause the wound to open. Cold compresses applied to the outside cheek near the extraction area can help reduce any swelling and promote faster healing.  Please see our Post Op Instructions for complete directions after surgery.

When considering treatment, patients are clearly presented with pros, cons, and all available options. Our friendly and professional staff is always available to answer questions about your dental health and about the dental services we recommend for your treatment. Southport Dental is located on Emerson Avenue between Southport Road and Stop 11. The office is just south of the I-65 bridge, on the East side of the road, in front of the Rosegate Senior Community. Call us at 317-494-7366 to schedule an appointment.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Southport Dental Indianapolis | Kicking the Tobacco Habit is Good For Your Teeth

SmokingBadforTeethKicking the tobacco habit is not just good for your body, but good for your teeth and gums. Smoking causes bad breath and stains the enamel on your teeth. In addition to having unsightly teeth, smoking can cause serious health conditions. Because of the carcinogens in cigarettes, smoking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer, which can be deadly. Smoking and tobacco products can lead to gum disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth.

As with any addiction, breaking your tobacco habit may take some time. If you are able to kick the habit, it will only lead to better oral health! Your teeth will be whiter and less likely to decay. Everyone wants white teeth, fresh breath, a healthy mouth and firm gums. With help from your dental office, you can achieve all of these. It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. Ask us how to help kick the habit and reasons why it needs to be done soon!.

Southport Dental is proud to employ a talented, friendly staff to make your dental experience exceptional. Our front office staff will find the answers to all your questions and make you feel at home. Give us a call today at 317-494-7366.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

Southport Dental | Are your Teeth Sensitive?

Sensitive Teeth IndianapolisTooth sensitivity is something that affects a number of people. According to the Academy of General Dentistry nearly 45 million Americans experience tooth sensitivity.

It is often caused by eating or drinking something hot, cold, sweet or acidic. Under normal conditions, the underlying dentin of the tooth (the layer that immediately surrounds the nerve) is covered by the enamel in the tooth crown, and the gums that surround the tooth. Naturally, over time the enamel on your teeth wears down leaving the more sensitive and porous inner layer exposed. Factors other than age, often factors that are controllable, can cause enamel to wear down more quickly and result in sensitive teeth.

Here are some reasons why you could be experiencing this mouth malady — and what steps you should take to ease the pain:

  1. You may be brushing with too much force! Sometimes tooth sensitivity comes from brushing with too much force or with too hard-bristled a toothbrush. The simplest solution is to switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles and to be gentler when brushing.
  1. You grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel, even though it’s the strongest substance in your body. Grinding your teeth, or bruxism affects millions of adults and children.
  1. You may have gum disease.Receding gums, which are increasingly common with age (especially if you haven’t kept up with your dental health), can cause tooth sensitivity. More than three-quarters of American adults over age 35 get periodontal (gum) disease.  If gum disease or gingivitis is the problem, your dentist may suggest a procedure to seal your teeth along with treating the gum disease itself.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask our staff at Southport Dental if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

We are accepting new patients! Give us a call today at 317-494-7366.

About Southport Dental PC

New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.

Contact us today to learn more.

What our patients are saying about us.

My dentist was on vacation and left a message to contact Dr. Mills of Southport Dental in case of an emergency. I had an extremely bad toothache which was making me very sick. I was pleasantly surprised when they said they could see me that very afternoon. I was very impressed with all of the office staff and especially with Dr. Mills. He took quite a bit of time to examine my tooth and explain what he felt the problem was and how he was going to treat it. By that evening I was feeling much better. Even though it is a longer drive for me I am planning to switch to Dr. Mills because I was so impressed by the service overall.

- Anonymous

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