402-393-2484
2936 South 86th Circle
Omaha NE 68124

Cavities

Fluoride - Friend or Foe?

August 23rd, 2018

You've undoubtedly heard people speculate about whether or not fluoride is actually necessary in our drinking water. Some even go so far as to buy a filtration system heavy-duty enough to filter out the fluoride! So what's the deal? Do we really need fluoride in our water? This article from the ADA breaks it down!

5 Reasons Why Fluoride in Water is Good for Communities

  1. Prevents tooth decay. Fluoride in water is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases – tooth decay. An estimated 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Community water fluoridation is so effective at preventing tooth decay that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
  2. Protects all ages against cavities. Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Safe and effective. For 70 years, the best available scientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been endorsed by numerous U.S. Surgeons General, and more than 100 health organizationsrecognize the health benefits of water fluoridation for preventing dental decay, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. Saves money. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.
  5. It’s natural. Fluoride is naturally present in groundwater and the oceans. Water fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride to a recommended level for preventing tooth decay. It’s similar to fortifying other foods and beverages, like fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D, orange juice with calcium and bread with folic acid.

Get more facts about fluoride in water.

Fun Tooth Facts

August 9th, 2018

We've come a long way in our dental knowledge through the years, and it's fun to look back and see what our ancestors thought about our pearly whites. We also know so much more about how teeth develop -- it may happen a lot earlier than you think! Thank you Colgate for this entertaining article!

3 Fun Facts About Teeth

by Wendy J. Woudstra

People today tend to know a lot about their oral health, but the humans of ages past relied entirely on conjecture for answers about their teeth. Here are some fun facts about teeth that our ancestors certainly did not know.

Cavities Are Not Caused by Tooth Worms

In medieval times, most people thought dental cavities were made by tiny tooth worms. These little worms were thought to bore holes in teeth and then hide, out of sight, beneath the surface. The wiggling they did inside the tooth was believed to cause the pain of toothaches.

Today, of course, science has told us the truth about cavities, namely that they are really tooth decay caused by enamel-eroding bacteria in the plaque that builds up around teeth. When we eat sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria feed on the remnants left on our teeth, while simultaneously creating an acid that eats away at enamel.

Thankfully, we also know a lot more about preventing and treating tooth decay today than our medieval ancestors did; with preventative dental care, good oral hygiene, and a tooth-friendly diet, we can keep our teeth healthy for a lifetime. You can learn more about maintaining good oral health in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Everyone Has the Same Number of Teeth (Mostly)

The great philosopher Aristotle believed that men had more teeth than women. Even though he was married, he must never have counted, because men and women both develop 20 primary or baby teeth, and when their permanent teeth come in, both sexes receive 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 10 secondary molars.

Things get complicated, however, when it comes to the third molars, often called wisdom teeth. While most people grow wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 21 years old, in about 35 percent of the population, wisdom teeth never develop. Some scientists believe that in the future that percentage will continue to grow until humans no longer grow wisdom teeth at all.

Your Primary and Permanent Teeth Start to Develop Before You're Even Born

You may not realize that although you don't have any teeth visible when you're born, the tooth buds of your 20 primary teeth, as well as the 32 permanent teeth you will one day develop, are already present in your jaw. The only exception is your wisdom teeth, which don't begin to develop at all until adolescence.

All these fun facts about teeth serve as reminders that you can never know too much about taking care of your teeth and gums. Daily preventative care and regular visits to the dentist will ensure that you have a healthy smile for years to come.

How to Help Kids Avoid Cavities

July 26th, 2018

We all know that brushing, flossing, and keeping up with dental checkups are the best ways to help prevent cavities for anyone. However, when it comes to kids who sometimes have less-than-reliable brushing and flossing habits there are extra tricks to help them avoid cavities! This article from PatientConnect365 has some great tips:

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

There's nothing worse than subjecting your child to the whir of a dentist's drill because simple oral hygiene habits were not followed.

Sure, kids hate flossing as much as adults, but if we're successful at instilling good behavior early on in life, those habits will provide them with a healthy mouth that will keep them smiling indefinitely.

“Ignore your teeth and they'll go away," the old saying goes. Protecting your child's teeth from cavities can be as simple as following a few simple recommendations.

Here are 11 easy things you can do to keep cavities from taking root in your child's mouth.

1. Regular brushing and flossing: Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day.

2. Don't share your food and drink: Cavities can actually be contagious! Because the bacteria that causes them can be passed from one user to the next, it's best to avoid sharing foods and drink with children.

3. Visit to the dentist: Most dentists recommend you should bring your child to a dentist after their first tooth arrives. Then, thereafter, based on the recommendation of your dentist.

4. Avoid frequent snacking: Constant snacking, particularly on sweets, provides the perfect environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their work.

Limit snacking to healthy foods, and if your children can brush, or use water as a mouthwash after snacking, that's even better.

5. Eat crisp, water-dense fruit: Fruits high in water help keep your child's mouth hydrated, particularly useful during a lunchbox meal.

6. Avoid additional sugar: This is good for the body as well, and common sense when it comes to teeth. Soda is a big no-no, of course.

7. Consider dental sealants: Your dentist can place a protective sealant on your child's teeth to prevent decay. The process is simple and can save future headaches.

8. Drink a lot of water: Water should be the beverage of choice. Bottled water is okay, but fluoridated tap water is best. Use a filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water.

9. Minimize juice beverages: It's best to drink these in moderation. Juice can be acidic and sweet - two things that are not so good for our teeth.

10. Avoid sticky foods: Items like fruit leathers, cookies and candies aren't good choices for healthy teeth any day of the week.

11. Consider cheeses and nut butters: Nuts and cheese have ingredients that help remineralize our teeth, and can be good additions to a lunchbox.

If you have a child with allergies, soy nut butter might possibly be an option. However, always be sure to check with your allergist first to be certain if soy nut butter is safe for your child to consume.

Cold and Flu Tips

March 7th, 2018

Flu season may be on the decline, but according to the CDC's flu map, the flu is still widespread in Nebraska and the surrounding states. It's important to know how to take care of yourself when you're sick, and that includes your oral health! When your whole body is feeling achy, tired, and feverish it's easy to forget to care for your teeth. During this time don't forget to maintain good oral care in order to prevent an increased risk of developing cavities! MouthHealthy offers some great tips in this article on how to help you not only maintain oral hygiene, but how to help your whole body recover from the cold or flu. Thanks, MouthHealthy!

Cold and Flu Season: 5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

When he’s feeling under the weather, ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo says one thing always helps him feel a little more like himself. “Brushing my teeth when I’m sick actually makes me feel better,” he says. “My mouth feels clean, and in a way, I feel like my health is starting to improve.”

When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority—and that includes your mouth. “It’s important to take care of your dental health all year round, but especially when you’re sick,” Dr. Romo says.

Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:

Practice Good Hygiene

When you’re sick, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. “The number one rule is not to share your toothbrush anytime, but especially when you are sick,” Dr. Romo says.

You also probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Unless your immune system is severely compromised, the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. “But if you’re still in doubt, throw it out,” says Dr. Romo. “Especially if you’ve had your toothbrush for 3-4 months, when it’s time to replace it anyway.”

Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Read the label before you pick up a bag at the drug store with an eye to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup. “Many cough drops contain sugar, and it is like sucking on candy,” says Dr. Romo. “Sugar is a culprit when it comes to cavities.” The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can leave holes in your teeth.

Swish and Spit After Vomiting

One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but Dr. Romo says it’s actually better to wait. “When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them,” he says. “If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.”

Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth

When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.

Choose the Right Fluids

When it comes to your mouth and your body, one beverage is always best. “The safest thing to drink is water,” Dr. Romo says. “Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar free version, they contain a lot of sugar.”

You might also want something to warm you up. “When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea,” he says. “Try not to add sugar or lemon if you can avoid it. Sugar can helps to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic. It’s something to keep in mind once you’re feeling 100% again, as well.”

All About Cavities

May 4th, 2017

See original article from Colgate Professional

What's In Your Mouth?

To understand what happens when your teeth decay, it's helpful to know what's in your mouth naturally. Here are a few of the elements:

  • Saliva: Your mouth and teeth are constantly bathed in saliva. Although we never give much thought to our spit, this simple fluid is remarkable for what it does to help protect our oral health. Saliva keeps teeth and other oral tissues moist and lubricated, washes away some of the food particles left behind after we eat, keeps acid levels in the mouth low, and protects against some viruses and bacteria.
  • Plaque: Plaque appears as a soft, gooey substance that sticks to the teeth a bit like jam sticks to a spoon. It is, in fact, colonies of bacteria, protozoa, mycoplasmas, yeasts and viruses clumping together in a gel-like organic material. Also in the mix are bacteria byproducts, white blood cells, food debris and body tissue. Plaque grows when bacteria attach to the tooth and begin multiplying. Plaque starts forming immediately after a tooth is cleaned; it takes about an hour for plaque to build up to measurable levels. As time goes on, different types of microorganisms appear, and the plaque thickens.
  • Calculus: If left alone long enough, plaque begins to mineralize and harden into calculus or tartar because the plaque absorbs calcium, phosphorus and other minerals from saliva. These minerals form crystals and harden the plaque structure. New plaque forms on top of existing calculus, and this new layer can also become calcified.
  • Bacteria: We have many different strains of bacteria in our mouths. Some bacteria are good; they help control destructive bacteria. When it comes to decay, Streptococcus mutans is the bacterial strain that does the most damage. It attaches easily to teeth and produces acid.

How Your Teeth Decay

You need food, particularly sweet and sticky food, for the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that will attack the tooth enamel (outer surface of the tooth). Sugars, especially sucrose, react with bacteria to produce acid. The acid from the bacteria can decay your teeth.

It's not just candy and ice cream we're talking about. All carbohydrate foods, as they are digested, eventually break down into simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose. Some of this digestion begins in the mouth. Foods that break down into simple sugars in the mouth are called fermentable carbohydrates. These include the obvious sugary foods, such as cookies, cakes, soft drinks and candy, but also pretzels, crackers, bananas, potato chips and breakfast cereals. The sugars in these foods combine with the bacteria normally in the mouth to form acids. These acids cause the mineral crystals inside the teeth to begin to dissolve.

The dental caries lesion forms when these acids start to dissolve a tooth's outer protective layer, the enamel. A cavity forms when the tooth decay breaks through the enamel to the underlying layers of the tooth. You can reverse a caries lesion (before it becomes a cavity) by using a variety of fluoride products. These include fluoridated water, fluoride rinses for use at home, and, of course, any commonly used fluoridated toothpaste.

Every time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid. Therefore, the more times you eat the more times your teeth are exposed to an acid attack.

Types and Stages of Decay

Dental decay, also known as dental caries, begins first inside the tooth. A white spot appears on the enamel where the tooth has started to weaken inside. At this stage, the tooth can repair the weakened area with the help of fluoride and minerals in saliva. But if the decay continues and breaks through the surface of the enamel, the damage is permanent. The decay must be cleaned out and the cavity filled by a dentist. Left untreated, the decay will worsen and destroy a tooth all the way through the outer enamel layer, through the inside dentin layer and down to the pulp or nerve of the tooth.

In young children, teeth that have recently emerged have weak enamel and are highly susceptible to acid decay. A type of decay called baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries destroys enamel quickly and is common in children. This type of decay can eat through enamel and leave a large cavity in a matter of months.

Older adults sometimes have chronic caries: cavities that don't seem to get any worse or do so at a very slow rate. Teeth with chronic caries will tend to be darker in color because the edges of the cavities become stained from normal eating and drinking.

Root caries (decay in the roots of the teeth) are more common in older adults. Older adults are more likely to have gums that have receded from years of hard brushing or periodontal disease. They also are more likely to have dry mouth (xerostomia), which increases the risk of decay. Dry mouth is caused by many common medicines. Be sure to ask the doctor or pharmacist if any of your medicines cause dry mouth.

Decay can form beneath fillings or other restorations, such as crowns. Sometimes, bacteria and food particles can slip into a tooth if a filling hasn't been placed properly or if the filling cracks or pulls away from the tooth, leaving a gap.

Preventing Cavities

Do you or your family members get cavities frequently? Dental research has identified factors that increase your risk of getting decay. Next time you visit the dental office, ask about your risk factors and discuss the best ways to reduce your risks and limit dental decay.

To prevent your teeth from decaying, you can do two things — strengthen your teeth's defenses with fluoride and sealants, and reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

Fluoride strengthens teeth by penetrating the tooth structure and replacing lost minerals to repair acid damage. Everyone should brush with a fluoride toothpaste every day. Dental offices sometimes recommend additional toothpastes, gels and mouthrinses for both children and adults.

Sealants are protective coatings placed over the tops of chewing teeth — molars and premolars. They block bacteria and acids from sticking in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces of these teeth. Children should get sealants soon after their teeth erupt into the mouth.

Although you can never get rid of all the bacteria in your mouth, you can control bacteria by brushing regularly and flossing daily, seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for a thorough cleaning and check-up, and reducing the number of times each day that you consume fermentable carbohydrates.

Some prescription mouthwashes (those that contain chlorhexidine) can help prevent decay by reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth. Chewing sugarless gums, especially those with xylitol, can help reduce decay and increase the flow of saliva.

Thanks for the great article, Colgate!

The Truth Behind Six Popular Dental Myths

September 4th, 2012

Myths about dentistry and general dental care abound. These myths are passed on by word of mouth and are presented as being factual; although they are typically inaccurate. There are dangers associated with dental misconceptions. By believing in these dental myths, you are placing your oral health at risk and you may not be receiving proper dental care. Find the answers behind many popular dental myths.

Myth: It is not important for young children to care for their baby teeth.

Fact: Although baby teeth are not permanent, long-term problems with permanent teeth can develop if baby teeth are not properly cared for. The malpositioning of permanent teeth, misalignment issues, and early orthodontic treatment are just a few of the concerns related to losing baby teeth too early as a result of tooth decay. It is crucial that children learn the basics of proper oral hygiene at an early age. Doing so will help them form permanent habits that are essential for oral health.

Myth: If you are not having problems with your teeth, seeing a dentist is not necessary.

Fact: Most dental issues are not evident in the early stages. It is only when they have progressed further that you start to notice there is a problem. In most cases, only a dentist can detect when there is a problem. Scheduling an appointment in our office twice a year for regular cleanings and exams is a vital component to your dental health. In this way, dental problems can be treated early before they become a serious concern and require a more advanced form of treatment.

Myth: You should avoid brushing and flossing if your gums are bleeding.

Fact: If your gums are bleeding, it is usually a warning sign of gum disease or gingivitis. You should continue to brush and floss your teeth gently during this time since poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of bleeding gums. If the bleeding worsens or continues to be a problem, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum is a good substitute for brushing your teeth.

Fact: Although chewing sugar-free gum offers the benefits of freshening your breath and minor teeth cleaning between meals, it should not be considered a substitute for brushing and flossing. Dental plaque and food particles can only be thoroughly removed by brushing and flossing.

Myth: Cavities are only a concern when you are a child.

Fact: Cavities can develop at any age. There are many situations and conditions that place both adults and elders at risk for the development of cavities. As an adult, you are more prone to developing receding gums, which can quickly result in tooth decay. Many adults and elders also take prescription medications that cause dry mouth. This can cause tooth decay as there is an insufficient amount of saliva within the mouth to wash away bacteria and neutralize acids.

Myth: Once you treat a decayed tooth, it will not become decayed again.

Fact: It is possible for other areas of the tooth to become decayed; although proper brushing and flossing will prevent the treated area of the tooth from becoming decayed again. If a filling gets old and begins to break down, there is a possibility that bacteria can become trapped inside and cause tooth decay.

Back to Top