Christmas List

Your Dentist Is Coming To Town!

You better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I’m telling you why:

Your dentist is coming to town!

He’ll check your teeth,

then check it twice,

He’s gonna find out if you’ve been naughty or nice.

Your dentist is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re brushing,

He knows when you have flossed.

He knows when you’ve been bad or good,

So use mouthwash for goodness sake!

OH!…You better watch out, You better not cry

You better not pout, I’m telling you why.

Your dentist is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re eating,

He knows when you have too much chocolate.

He knows when you’ve been bad or good,

So brush for goodness sake!

Toothpaste

How much Fluoride is too much Fluoride?

Last week, we talked about what fluoride is, how it works, and where it is found. Now, it is important to discuss why there is such a thing as too much fluoride. In fact, ingesting too much fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis in children.

Fluorosis is caused by overexposure to fluoride or too much fluoride being consumed during the years that teeth are developing inside the jawbone, especially during the first eight years of life. As a result, this condition affects children whose permanent teeth are developing. While the main cause is too much fluoride, this can be caused by a combination of too much fluoride from a variety of sources such as swallowing toothpaste, drinking too much water with fluoride in it, or even taking the fluoride supplements prescribed by a dentist.

When fluorosis occurs, you will notice structural or aesthetic defects with the teeth. At first, the teeth may appear discolored and be a lacy white color. At this point, it may be so slight that only a dentist would detect it. As it gets worse, the teeth can become stained a yellow to brown color, and the surface will become irregular. Some describe it as the teeth looking as though they are erupting or mottled.

As discussed in last weeks post, fluoride is in may more substances than most people know. From baby formula and tap water to juice, processed cereal, and seafood. Being aware of the different ways children can be exposed to fluoride is the number one most important way to reduce the risk of fluorosis.

Second, your dentist is an extremely important resource and guide. As a specialist, they will know the proper amount of fluoride that children should be exposed to, and they should be aware of what the local fluoride concentrations are in your area. As a result, they can give advice and recommendations on whether or not you need to increase or decrease fluoride consumption and how to do this.

Finally, fluoride can be harmful to anyone in large doses in the same way any other medication would be. The amount in which you would need to consume in order for it to be toxic is based on weight, but in general, excessive amounts are toxic. This normally would only be an issue if someone consumed more than the prescribed amount of medication.

Fluoride found in food and water is in such as small amount that it is highly unlikely you could consume enough in one period for it to be toxic. The FDA and other regulatory bodies also limit the amount of fluoride in things as common as toothpaste. However, if you have any questions or want to discuss proper levels of fluoride exposure, be sure to contact your dentist.

Smile

Fluoride and Your Teeth

When most of us hear the word fluoride, we think of that fun part of our dental visit where we get to swish around a special fluoride solution for sixty seconds before spitting it out, and then we are unable to eat directly afterwards. Despite that fact that most of us put this solution in our mouth twice a year, we are completely unaware of what it is, what fluoride is found in, and how it works.

The first thing you should know is that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be found most often in water sources, and it is present in all water that we drink, unless filtered out. The reason that fluoride is important to your dental health is because it has been shown repeatedly in studies to combat tooth decay and reduce cavities. Fluoride then is a powerful tooth for taking care of your teeth.

There are two ways fluoride works. With children who are still developing their teeth and growing, swallowing fluoride is effective. When children ingest it, it enters the bloodstream and adds to their saliva helping to develop and strengthen their teeth. After teeth stop developing though and children reach adulthood, the only effective way to protect teeth using fluoride is by applying it to the outside of the teeth.

The most obvious way we get a good dose of fluoride applied to the outside of our teeth is through the professional fluoride treatments performed by dentists. While not all fluoride is administered in the way mentioned above, it is common for treatment to be given in this format. However, it can also be administered by your dentist as a gel, foam, or varnish.

Additionally, some dentists may prescribe fluoride supplements for children if the dentist is concerned the child is not getting enough fluoride. This is commonly done for children between the ages of six to sixteen who live in an area with less than adequate fluoride amounts in their water supply. It can also be given when a child is at an increased risk of cavities or tooth decay. The medication can be given in liquid or tablet form. Again, ingesting fluoride in this manner would only be effective for children whose teeth are still developing.

While our dentist can provide children with fluoride supplements, children can get additional fluoride into their bloodstream in a number of ways. Fluoride can be found in some foods such as processed cereals and seafood and in some liquids like tap water, juice, soda, and teas. For infants, fluoride is often in infant formula.

Additionally, there are a number of ways that we can get fluoride that helps both children and adults. Most toothpaste and oral rinses have fluoride in them already, and it applies the fluoride to the outside of your teeth, helping adults who cannot get fluoride in other ways. Adults can also get some extra fluoride by drinking wine and beer or by smoking cigarettes. Second hand smoke, while not suggested, also includes fluoride.

While a simple and common mineral, fluoride is a great resource for preventing cavities and tooth decay. Plus, some studies show that for every dollar invested in fluoridation, you saw thirty-eight dollars in dental costs to fix problems that would have been present without the fluoride. Just make sure that like with everything, moderation is key, and you can have too much fluoride.

Dental Visit

Cold Sores vs. Canker Sores: What’s that pain in your mouth?

Cold sores and canker sores are two of the most commonly confused oral issues among patients, and there is a big difference between the two. For starters, one is highly contagious while the other is harmless. Knowing the difference and how to identify these two different different ailments then is extremely important.

The easiest way to know the difference between the two is by the way they look and where they are located. Cold sores will appear outside the mouth, whereas canker sores are located inside the mouth. This is the simplest rule of thumb to follow. Also, cold sores will look like a blister or pimple with fluid inside, and canker sores will be white with red surrounding it highlighting the irritated area. This is another way to tell the difference.

Once you identify which type of sore you have, you may wonder what caused them. With canker sores, stress and hormones are the most common causes, as well as other stress related issues such as biting the inside of your mouth. The things you put in your mouth can also cause canker sores. When food is sharp, it can cut the insides of your mouth and cause them, or if you have an allergy to a certain type of food, this can cause canker sores to appear.

While canker sores can be very irritating, they are harmless and will go away eventually on their own. However, there are options to help alleviate the irritation or get rid of these sores faster. The best option is to rinse your mouth with salt water. The salt will help will not only reduce the inflammation and irritation, but will also help speed up the healing process. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent canker sores other than being aware of and avoiding its main causes such as stress.

On the other hand, cold sores are much more serious and harder to eliminate. This is because cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 virus. While it is related to genital herpes virus, it is not the same thing. However, cold sores are extremely contagious and about 90% of the population are carriers of this HSV-1 virus. As a result, it is critical that you see your dentist or a health care professional as soon as you notice cold sores.

Your dentist can provide you with treatment options that range from creams and topical medications to laser treatment. Regardless of your situation, your dentist can work with you to get rid of the cold cores and prevent future outbreaks from occurring. In the future, you should attempt not to share food or drinks that would cause an opportunity to spread the virus.

If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health or are unsure if you have a cold sore or a canker sore, be sure to contact your dentist for information and guidance.