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Tagged: indianapolis dentist oral health

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.

Southport Dental Indianapolis | Screening for Oral Cancer

A regular oral cancer screening by your dentist, every six months, is the best way to catch cancer at its earliest stages. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes and can be performed during regular dental exams and cleanings. During your routine dental cleanings and exams at our office, Dr. Mills and his team will perform an oral cancer screening to check for the signs of oral cancer.

The video below demonstrates a screening of oral cancer during a dental checkup:

Oral cancer screenings are important for detecting and treating mouth cancer early! Oral, head and neck cancer represents a variety of cancers that can be found in the mouth, including the tongue, throat, lips, larynx and salivary glands, as well as the sinuses, nasal cavity and thyroid. Early detection is key to surviving this type of cancer.

If you would like to schedule an exam with an oral cancer screening give our team a call at 317-494-7366 to schedule an appointment. We are 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.

Southport Dental’s Top 3 Oral Health Tips for 2015

Here are three easy Oral Health tips to consider for 2015.  Make Southport Dental your one stop for all your dental care.

Flossing and Oral Health Southport Dental

 

  • Improve Your Brushing and Flossing Techniques. Brushing and flossing are two of the most important things you can do to prevent plaque build up.
  • Visit Your Dentist Every 6 Months. Regular check ups are recommended to check for tooth decay and the health of your gums.  Routine dental exams can help address serious dental problems before they arise.
  • Control Your Sweet Tooth. Sugar from snacks and sweets increase the plaque production.  Plaque is what sets the process of tooth decay in motion.  Limiting the intake of sweets reduce the bacteria bearing plaque and reduce decay.

Make it your resolution to start the new year off by improving your oral health in 2015!

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.

 

What our patients are saying about us.

Thank you ladies and Dr. Mills for setting me at ease during my tooth extraction. I had a great experience despite the circumstances. I highly recommend Dr. Mills and his staff no matter what age you are!!

- Kathleen S.

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