December 28th, 2023
Every January 1st, you have your resolutions ready. No more nail biting. Lose ten pounds. Stop smoking. None of us are happy about those annoying bad habits we’ve picked up over the years. But if nothing else has helped you keep your resolutions, maybe seeing how they can improve your oral health will give you some extra willpower.
- No More Nail Biting
You can easily see how nail biting affects your fingernails, but its effects are more than cosmetic. The pressure this habit puts on tooth enamel can lead to cracks, chips, and enamel erosion. Nail biters have a greater risk of bruxism, or teeth grinding. (More on that below.) And the transfer of germs from fingers to mouth and mouth to fingers is a vicious circle that can lead to illnesses and infections in both fingers and mouth.
- Cut Down on Junk Food
Sugars and carbs help pack on the pounds, no doubt. Did you know that they can also help create cavities? Sugar is a favorite food for oral bacteria, which allows them to produce acids which attack and weaken tooth enamel. And carbs? They convert easily to simple sugars. Choose nutritious snacks and beverages, and you will keep those teeth healthy. You might even lose a few pounds!
- Lower the Volume
If your partner complains about sleepless nights thanks to your nocturnal teeth grinding, or your friends ask you to quit chewing on that cup of ice while they’re trying to watch a movie with you, listen to them! (If you can hear them over the grinding and chewing.) Bruxism can fracture teeth, cause headaches and jaw problems, and might even lead to loose teeth. Chewing hard foods can have the very same effects. Too much pressure from any source can damage your teeth. Grinding, chewing ice, crunching down on hard candies—any habit that’s loud enough to annoy others could be a warning to be more careful of your teeth.
- Don’t Put That in Your Mouth!
Helping you eat and chew nutritious foods—of course. Smiling—absolutely. Ripping off a piece of duct tape, tearing open a potato chip bag, holding your dog’s leash while you look for your keys, opening a tight bottle cap—no, no, no, and really no. Fractures and chips are common injuries when you use your teeth as tools. Your teeth have a crucial job to do, but that job description never includes “scissors” or “nutcracker” or “bottle opener.” Take that extra minute and find the tool you need!
- Drink in Moderation
Along with all the other consequences of over-indulging, too much alcohol in your diet can be bad for your oral health. Alcohol, especially paired with sugary drinks, helps create that acidic environment that leads to weakened enamel. More than that, it’s dehydrating. Without sufficient hydration, we don’t have the optimal saliva production we need to fight cavities. After all, saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria, neutralizes acids, and strengthens enamel through remineralization. Ring in the New Year—moderately!
- It’s Time to Quit
Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco—there is no tobacco product that is healthy for your body or your teeth! We’re all familiar with the discoloration tobacco can cause, but it also has serious oral health consequences. Oral cancer, gum disease, early tooth loss—all these conditions have been linked to tobacco use. Today there are more methods than ever before to help you quit. Make this your year!
You don’t have to wait for the New Year to start working on healthier habits. If you’d like to tackle teeth grinding, banish nail biting, stop smoking, or work on any other habits that can damage your health and your teeth, talk to Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha at your next visit to our Anthem office. And, don’t forget—resolving to see us twice a year for a checkup and a cleaning is a resolution that’s extremely easy to keep!
December 21st, 2023
Sometimes cavities are hard to avoid. Our team at Daisy Mountain Dentistry wants you to know you aren’t alone when it comes to getting cavities. They can appear in both children and adults, and in order to avoid the pain and hassle, you need to understand how they form and what to do to prevent them from developing in the first place.
Cavities form when bacteria, acids, or sugars build up and form plaque on your teeth, which can destroy your enamel. When you don’t brush and floss properly, the build-up can cause cavities to form. In essence, a cavity is a decayed part of your tooth that cannot be repaired by your body’s immune system. This is why a dentist will need to treat your cavity with a filling. If it grows for too long and manages to infect the root of your tooth, a root canal may be the only solution.
Cavities are often symptom-free; you might not experience any pain at first, other than the occasional irritation when you drink a hot or cold beverage. Other signs of possible cavities include persistent bad breath, pus or discharge around a tooth, black or brown discoloration, small pits or holes in a tooth, and perhaps a sticky feeling when you bite down. It’s crucial to treat cavities sooner rather than later if you wish to avoid excessive pain and the necessity of a root canal.
You can avoid cavities by keeping up with good oral hygiene, eating a well-balanced diet, and scheduling regular cleanings with Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha. They can still occur at any time, no matter what age you are, so make sure to brush, floss, and rinse every day. If you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact our Anthem office and schedule an appointment.
December 14th, 2023
There are lots of ads out there for toothpastes that claim to repair damaged tooth enamel.
Can you treat cavities and tooth decay at home? Well, mostly, no, you can’t.
Can you strengthen your enamel at home? Very possibly—in some circumstances. Let us explain!
Cavities and tooth decay start forming when the enamel on the tooth’s surface breaks down. To discover what causes this breakdown, we need to see how chemistry works with our biology.
Tooth enamel is mainly made from calcium and phosphate ions. These minerals combine to form hydroxyapatite, crystals which make up around 95% of our enamel. Hydroxyapatite crystals are so strong that tooth enamel is the hardest part of our bodies. What can weaken a substance this strong?
Acids. Acidic foods and drinks, as well as acids created by the bacteria in plaque, strip away calcium and phosphate ions in enamel, weakening the surface of the tooth. This is a process called demineralization, and it’s the first stage of tooth decay. Left alone, weak spots will become bigger and deeper until they form cavities.
And tooth enamel, unlike the rest of your body, isn’t living tissue. It can’t regenerate. Once bacteria and acids have created a deep enough cavity, only Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha can repair it by removing decay and filling the tooth.
Wait, this sounds a lot more like “No, you can’t repair your enamel” and much less like “It’s possible to strengthen your enamel.” But we’re not through!
Demineralization doesn’t equal cavities—yet. Careful attention to your habits and your diet can make a difference in whether your enamel continues to weaken or becomes stronger.
Our body’s first defense against demineralization is saliva. Calcium and phosphate ions in saliva bathe the teeth throughout the day, restoring the minerals which have been lost. This is called remineralization. Saliva also helps neutralize acids from the foods we eat. But with a diet heavy in acids, or a lot of plaque buildup, saliva just can’t keep up with the damage.
That’s where “enamel-repair” toothpastes come in. Toothpastes are available that contain hydroxyapatite to restore calcium and phosphates to weakened enamel. But for many of the most common enamel-repair toothpastes, the not-so-secret secret to their effectiveness is fluoride.
Dentists recommend fluoride toothpastes for several very good reasons. Fluoride is attracted to the minerals in tooth enamel and bonds with them. Once bonded, fluoride attracts the calcium and phosphate ions in saliva, helping restore lost minerals to the enamel. Even better, when fluoride bonds with the calcium and phosphate in our enamel, fluorapatite is created. This is a crystal even stronger and more acid-resistant than hydroxyapatite.
If you’re concerned about the strength of your enamel, and especially if you notice any signs of acidic erosion, talk to our Anthem dental team right away. Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha can:
- Recommend over-the-counter toothpastes or professional fluoride applications to help reverse early demineralization
- Provide dental bonding, a crown, or a veneer to protect a tooth with serious erosion
- Treat a cavity caused by more advanced tooth decay.
Keeping your enamel healthy at home can take many forms. By careful brushing and flossing to remove plaque, by watching the acids in your diet, by making sure you’re properly hydrated, and by using fluoride toothpaste, you can both reduce the risk of demineralization and help restore weak spots in your tooth enamel.
So, can enamel-repair toothpastes effectively repair your teeth? Yes, they can be effective—if demineralization is in its early stages and if you make them a regular part of your daily dental routine.
December 7th, 2023
We’re not talking post-holiday “I can’t eat another bite” discomfort. No, we’re here to talk about the discomfort caused by bite pain.
Usually, our teeth and jaws work so harmoniously that we don’t even think about biting and chewing. But when a sharp jolt or a dull ache accompanies any sort of pressure on your tooth, it’s time to call Daisy Mountain Dentistry. Let’s look at a few of the possible causes.
- Tooth Decay
When a cavity reaches below the enamel and into the dentin, the middle part of the tooth, you might feel discomfort and sensitivity. If a cavity reaches the inner pulp, which contains the tooth’s blood supply and nerves, it’s not only very painful, it can lead to a serious infection called an abscess.
Root canal treatment can help save a tooth when decay has reached the pulp, but prevention is always the best option! Good dental hygiene, regular checkups, and prompt treatment of small cavities will help prevent deep cavities from forming.
- Damaged Dental Filling
A loose or damaged filling can be uncomfortable. Even worse, bacteria can get under a damaged filling where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach, causing decay which can eventually reach the pulp if undetected.
During your regular checkups, Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha will look for any signs of decay around and under your fillings, and will find any fillings which need replacing. If you notice a loose filling, or suffer discomfort when you bite down on a filling, don’t wait until your next checkup to visit our Anthem office.
When your teeth and jaws aren’t aligned properly, you can’t bite comfortably. And that can be just one of the troubles caused by a malocclusion, or poor bite. Alignment problems can include difficulty eating, speaking, and sleeping, tooth damage, headaches and jaw pain, and facial asymmetry.
If your bite pain is the result of tooth and/or jaw misalignment, we can refer you to an orthodontist to evaluate the way your teeth and jaws are working together.
- Bruxism (Tooth Grinding)
Your jaws can provide more than 20 pounds of pressure to your teeth when you need to chew food. When you grind your teeth, your jaws can produce hundreds of pounds of pressure on your teeth all night long. It’s no wonder you wake up with tooth or jaw pain. Over time, nightly grinding will damage enamel and can chip and even crack teeth.
Your dentist can create a custom-made nightguard that will protect your teeth from grinding pressure—relieving tooth and jaw pain, preventing more serious damage, and giving you a better night’s sleep!
- Cracked Tooth
A cracked cusp or a crack in your tooth needs to be treated as soon as possible. Some cracks can be treated by Drs. Peter Vogel, Vijal Vadecha, some might require a referral to an endodontist or an oral surgeon, and some cracked teeth are so badly damaged that they require extraction.
A painful cracked tooth can be obvious after a trauma, or it might not be obvious at all. So whenever you suffer dental trauma, call our office immediately for instructions. Speedy medical attention might be the difference between a repaired tooth and a lost tooth. (And save yourself from avoidable trauma by wearing your mouthguard whenever it’s appropriate!)
When the pulp inside a tooth is infected or inflamed, the result can be a painful abscess. Abscesses are pockets of pus caused by bacterial infection. An abscess isn’t just painful, it’s dangerous, because it can cause bone loss around the tooth and further infection if it’s not treated promptly.
Continuous severe pain, a swelling in the gums near your tooth, redness, fever, chills, a bad taste in your mouth, or bad breath can all be signs of a tooth abscess. See your dentist as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of an abscess. Your dentist may recommend a root canal procedure or refer you to an endodontist for root canal treatment or endodontic surgery.
Pain is an important signal that something is wrong, and you need to get to the root of the problem. Conditions which cause you pain often become more serious over time. For your comfort and your health, make an appointment at our Anthem office right away whenever you hesitate to take another bite.