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Tagged: children dental care

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.

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 | 3 Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas!

Losing one’s baby ttooth fairyeeth is a big deal. Use this opportunity to celebrate growing up by making the visit from the tooth fairy a special event. Here are some ways (simple and inexpensive) that you can add a little magic to the experience. In the old days, when a child lost a tooth, they’d stick it under their pillow and find a quarter there the next morning. These days, the tooth fairy has gotten a lot more creative.

Here are a few ideas to make your child’s tooth fairy experience a great one!

  1. Catch the tooth fairy in the act.
    Create a photo of the tooth fairy making a visit to see your child by taking a picture of them sleeping the night the fairy visits. Upload it to icaughtthetoothfairy.com and receive a digital image that shows the tooth fairy herself in the middle of her transaction. ($10 charge).
  1. Use a Tooth Fairy Pillow

Consider using a tooth fairy pillow for your child to place their lost teeth in. You can buy a pre-made tooth fairy pillow from a store or make one yourself using a few craft supplies, such as cotton fabric and batting. A standard tooth fairy pillow looks like a tiny pillow with a small pocket. You can write your child’s name on the tooth fairy pillow using colorful glitter glue. Here’s a link to creating your very own pillow: http://mamamommymom.com/tooth-fairy-pillow-loose-tooth/

  1. Sprinkle Fairy Dust Under the Pillow or Leading Up to the Door

If you can handle the glitter clean-up, some parents like to sprinkle glitter (fairy dust) around the money or gift that’s left under your child’s pillow as proof that the tooth fairy has been there to visit. To make it even more magical spray glitter on a coin or bill itself.

You can also turn your child’s lost tooth into an opportunity to teach proper dental care with a few other tooth fairy ideas. Place a new toothbrush with toothpaste under their pillow with a note encouraging them to brush.

Southport Dental is proud to provide 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.

What our patients are saying about us.

I have been treated by Dr. Mills for 8 years. He has kept my teeth in excellent condition. His dental assistants are friendly and very well trained. Dr. Mills has never recommended any treatment I did not need. He capped my four front teeth as I had darkened caps from a 1980's accident. They are beautiful and I am very pleased. He did all of the work through his office and I did not have to go to other dentists to have the work completed. Best of all, he arranged the work to be done in steps so my dental insurance would cover each cap. He is a great care-giver and he is considerate of his patients!
- Karen V.

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