We're all interested in how our toothpaste tastes, how it freshens breath or how it brightens teeth. But those are secondary to its most important function, which is how well our toothpaste helps us remove dental plaque, that thin bacterial film on teeth most responsible for both tooth decay and gum disease.
Daily brushing and flossing clear away dental plaque, resulting in a much lower risk for dental disease. But while the mechanical action of brushing loosens plaque, toothpaste helps complete its removal. It can do this because of two basic ingredients found in nearly every brand of toothpaste.
The first is an abrasive (or polishing agent), a gritty substance that boosts the effectiveness of the brushing action (which, by the way, alleviates the need for harmful aggressive brushing). These substances, usually hydrated silica, hydrated alumina or calcium carbonate, are abrasive enough to loosen plaque, but not enough to damage tooth enamel.
The other ingredient, a detergent, works much the same way as the product you use to wash greasy dishes—it breaks down the parts of plaque that water can't dissolve. The most common, sodium lauryl sulfate, a safe detergent found in other hygiene products, loosens and dissolves plaque so that it can be easily rinsed away.
You'll also find other ingredients to some degree in toothpaste: flavorings, of course, that go a long way toward making the brushing experience more pleasant; humectants to help toothpaste retain moisture; and binders to hold bind all the ingredients together. And many toothpastes also contain fluoride, a naturally-occurring chemical that strengthens tooth enamel.
You may also find additional ingredients in toothpastes that specialize in certain functions like reducing tartar buildup (hardened plaque), easing tooth or gum sensitivity or controlling bacterial growth. Many toothpastes also include whiteners to promote a brighter smile. Your dentist can advise you on what to look for in a toothpaste to meet a specific need.
But your first priority should always be how well your toothpaste helps you keep your teeth and gums healthy. Knowing what's in it can help you choose your toothpaste more wisely.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene products and aids, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Toothpaste: What's in It?”
Your child's dental development is in overdrive between birth and early adulthood. The rapid growth of the teeth, gums and jaws occurs mostly on its own—but tooth decay could significantly derail it.
Although most cases of dental disease occur in adults, tooth decay is a major problem for children, particularly involving primary teeth. These teeth are much more important than they seem given their short lifespans: Because they help incoming permanent teeth to align properly, their premature loss due to decay can create future bite problems.
To prevent this from happening, taking steps to prevent tooth decay in young children is well worth the effort. The best strategy is a double-pronged approach. You'll first want to address certain areas that directly contribute to tooth decay. You'll then want to add measures that strengthen the teeth themselves against the disease.
In regard to the former, reducing the levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth tops the list. These bacteria produce acid as a byproduct that in turn softens and erodes enamel, the teeth's natural barrier against decay. We reduce bacteria by eliminating dental plaque, a film of built-up food particles that feeds and shelters bacteria, through daily brushing and flossing.
Certain dietary choices may also contribute to bacterial growth. Refined sugar is a prime food source for bacteria, so limiting it in the diet will help reduce tooth decay. Furthermore, a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods and dairy provide nutrients strengthen teeth against decay.
The other prong in defeating tooth decay mainly involves protective measures provided by your dentist. Sealants applied to the chewing surfaces of a child's teeth help protect the enamel from the buildup of bacteria in these highly susceptible areas. An occasional direct application of fluoride to teeth further strengthens their enamel, and makes them less susceptible to decay.
This approach can minimize the chances of tooth decay, but it won't eliminate the risk altogether. If it does occur despite your best efforts, prompt treatment can limit the damage and preserve the teeth. Working with your dentist, you can help ensure your child's teeth are protected from this damaging disease.
If you would like more information on best dental care practices for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
Teeth whitening from your dentist in Seymour, IN, can give you the smile you deserve.
If you want a whiter, brighter smile, chances are you’ve tried over-the-counter whitening products. They may work for some people, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a teeth whitening treatment that lasts? Well, now you can. You need professional teeth whitening!
Dr. Matthew Pierce, Dr. Haley Doose, and Dr. Douglas Gardner of Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, offer comprehensive dental care, including professional teeth whitening to give you the smile you deserve.
Professional teeth whitening offers several important advantages you need to know about. Consider that professional teeth whitening is:
- Effective, because you can brighten your smile up to 8 shades. Over-the-counter products offer only the bare minimum when it comes to whitening.
- Long-lasting, because your whitening results can last up to 5 years. Over-the-counter products may only last a few months.
- Safe, because all of the products and methods used in professional teeth whitening are tested and approved by the American Dental Association. Over-the-counter products may contain harsh chemicals and abrasive agents which can make your teeth sensitive.
- Quick, because the in-office whitening treatment takes only about an hour. Over-the-counter treatments can take weeks to see an effect.
At Jackson County Dental, you can choose from two effective professional teeth whitening treatments:
- The in-office treatment, which is the fast way to a bright, beautiful smile. This treatment takes only about an hour to see dramatic results. It’s an excellent choice for your busy schedule.
- The take-home whitening kit, which can be done in the comfort and convenience of your home. This is a great choice if you want to whiten at your own pace.
To discover more about the magic of professional teeth whitening in Seymour, IN, call Dr. Pierce, Dr. Doose, and Dr. Gardner of Jackson County Dental at 812-522-8608. Start working on your bright smile by calling today!
At Jackson County Dental, Dr. Matthew Pierce, Dr. Haley Doose, and Dr. Douglas Gardner, your dentists in Seymour, IN, provide comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Your dentists recommend preventative appointments twice a year to protect your smile from tooth decay and gum disease.
Regular professional teeth cleaning appointments are the basis of preventative care for everyone in the family. When plaque is not removed by regular brushing, it hardens and forms into tartar. Tartar cannot be brushed away and must be removed by a dental professional. When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, the bacteria irritate the gums and they start to pull away from the teeth.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if left untreated, so it's best to be examined at least twice a year for signs of gum disease by your dentist in Seymour, IN. Even when you schedule regular dental visits, it's important to keep up a great oral hygiene routine at home. Your dentist will recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. If you have a history of cavities you may want to add a fluoride mouth rinse to your routine.
We encourage all patients to keep up with regular dental visits for preventative care, but we're here when you need help with your smile, too. We provide all general dentistry services and can help when you have an emergency like a chip or a cracked tooth. When you need complete tooth replacements, we offer dentures and dental implants. You can also see us when you have cosmetic concerns about your smile for our cosmetic services including teeth whitening and veneers.
Dr. Pierce, Dr. Doose, and Dr. Gardner of Jackson County Dental are your reliable dentists in Seymour, IN. We help keep your mouths healthy and smiles beautiful! Contact us for an appointment in Seymour, IN, at 812-522-8608.
Root canals often get a bum rap. Although the procedure saves millions of teeth every year, it's often erroneously portrayed as an unpleasant experience. And if that wasn't enough, a long-discredited medical theory has found new life on the internet asserting root canals are a health danger.
First off, root canals play an immensely important role in treating teeth with advanced decay. If not promptly treated, a cavity can turn into a major infection of the interior tooth pulp and root canals, and ultimately the supporting bone. Teeth with this level of decay are not long for this world.
A root canal treatment stops this disease process in its tracks. After numbing the tooth and surrounding gums, we drill a small hole into the tooth's interior and then remove all of the infected tissue within the pulp and root canals. After disinfecting these areas, we fill them with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha.
After sealing off the access hole—and later capping the tooth with a life-like crown—the tooth is secure from further decay. And, by the way, the procedure doesn't hurt, thanks to local anesthesia. If anything, any pain caused by the decay attacking the tooth's nerves has now been alleviated.
So, what about the idea floating on the Web that root canals are dangerous? The "root" for this conjecture is a theory by Weston Price, an early 20th Century dentist, that leaving a "dead" body part in the body leads to various health problems (including cancer). That would include a root-canaled tooth, which has had the living tissue in the pulp removed.
There's just one problem—Weston's theory was fully investigated in the 1950s and overwhelmingly discredited. The supposed cancer threat was also reviewed in a 2013 study, which found no link between root canals and increased cancer risk. In fact, dental patients who had undergone several root canals had a diminished risk.
Like all other health procedures, root canals have some risks of complication. But those complications are far from life-threatening—it's tooth-saving benefits are often worth the risk. So, fear not if your dentist says you need a root canal. It won't hurt and it won't endanger your health—and it could save your tooth.
If you would like more information on root canal therapy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Safety.”
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