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Tooth decay can affect a single teeth or multiple teeth. The oral bacteria responsible for tooth decay live all over your mouth ready to attack day and night. This bacteria will not just go away and they can even be passed onto your children and loved ones through kissing. Can tooth decay be prevented?

Fight Back Against Tooth Decay

Preventing tooth decay is an achievable goal by following the steps below:

Regular Dental Examinations, Professional Cleanings, Great Homecare. Regular maintenance will increase chances of finding tooth decay at its earliest and also to ensure you are doing a good job at home with your dental hygiene. Professional cleanings will remove plaque bacteria, tartar, and tooth pellicle (protein layer that forms on the teeth) to aid in healing gum tissue and decrease bacteria. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing properly will help maintain a healthy oral environment.

Lower Levels Of Harmful Oral Bacteria. The only way to naturally eradicate cavity-forming germs is with xylitol. You only need 1-2 teaspoons a day (in small doses), but you need xylitol at opportune times –when cavity bacteria multiply. Mouth germs flourish after meals or when your mouth is dry or acidic. Xylitol can eradicate 92% of cavity-forming germs in an effective, progressive way.

Maintaining A Well Balanced Diet. Limiting sugar intake is a good first step. Selecting healthier snacks and limiting snacks is even more important. Some good, tooth-friendly snacks are cheese, nuts, and vegetables. Another plus to a healthy diet is that you will feel better and have more energy.

Maintain A Balanced Oral Cavity. Our saliva works hard to maintain a balanced oral environment by rinsing away oral bacteria and buffering acidic drinks. Acid is a by product of oral bacteria and weakens tooth enamel directly. Acids ingested through eating and drinking will weaken teeth by dissolving important minerals out of them. When  the enamel is weakened enough, tooth decay will begin. This is why it is so important to brush and floss after every meal. If you cannot brush, rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acids in your mouth.

Attempt To Strengthen Enamel. Luckily, it is possible to naturally repair tooth decay in its earliest form. A tooth can be “remineralized”, meaning minerals can be added back to the tooth to stregnthen it. This is only helpful when tooth decay has not penetrated deeply into the tooth. Once decay progresses into the underlying layers it is too late to strengthen. Xylitol and fluoride may be used to remineralize teeth.

Know Your Medications. Many prescription (and even over the counter) medications can decrease saliva causing dry mouth (xerostomia). It is important to practice extra diligent dental hygiene if you know you have dry mouth.

Conclusion

For many of us, tooth decay can be a real problem. There are many ways to combat tooth decay. Get to the source of that problem by investigating into what seems to be damaging your teeth. Once you know whether it is diet, frequent snacking, poor hygiene, high acids, low saliva, etc. You can then change your habits to prevent further tooth decay. Ask your dentist and hygienist for their help and input. They may be better at finding the problems and at suggesting solutions that will work for you.



Recent studies have shown an increased risk for periodontal disease in women. Why are women more prone to the disease, and what can be done to help decrease the risks? While there are many risk factors, which seem to be more prevalent?

Female hormones seem to be the main risk factor.  The study done at Case Western University has shown a link between female sex hormones and periodontal disease. For women, this means it effects them over the course of their entire lives. Female sex hormone changes occur at puberty, menstruation, during pregnancy, and throughout menopause. The study found that as female sex hormones fluctuate throughout a woman’s life they can change conditions in the mouth that allow bacteria to grow and enter the bloodstream. This development can and usually does intensify certain health issues like bone loss in the body and especially the mouth.

What can women do to prevent Periodontal Disease?

Some preventive steps  are the same for men and for women. These include, maintaining proper oral hygiene, regular dental examinations, and professional cleanings. For women, the steps may need to be brought to the next level.  Women are presented with different challenges in  life that can at different periods increase the risk for periodontal disease and progression. In its earliest stages, periodontal disease (called ginigivitis at this point) is reversible, but if periodontal disease progresses to the stage called periodontitis it is much more difficult to combat. The following are some tips for women to prevent periodontal disease:

Maintain proper oral hygiene at home. This is doubly important for women especially during the times of their lives when sex hormones are elevated. This includes brushing at least twice a day (after every meal is even better when possible), flossing at least once per day, using an antibacterial mouth rinse, an electric toothbrush and waterpik with periogen, and drinking water. Decrease snacking and try to maintain a healthy diet. You may even want to try oil pulling therapy.

Regular dental visits and professional cleanings. It is recommended to have a dental exam every 6 months and at least 2 professional cleanings per year. The number of cleanings recommended by your dentist is based on your risk factors. Hormonal fluctuations, advancement of gum disease, and bone loss are reason to increase cleanings to every 3-4 months. It was long believed that women should not seek dental care during pregnancy. The opposite is true,  women who are pregnant need to be diligent to avoid developing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to pre term birth as well as low birth weight of children. Women going through hormone fluctuation (menses, pregnancy, menopause) are also at higher risk for tooth decay.

Be Healthy. Smokers are at an increased risk for periodontal disease as are diabetics. Quitting smoking and changing to a healthy diet can help your body increase it’s healing capability and decrease periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease Conclusion

All of us need to be diligent with oral hygiene to keep healthy. The fact that women need to be extra diligent in maintaining proper oral hygiene throughout their lives is important to understand. We are only beginning to understand many of the hormonal risk factors for women. The research has made us aware that women need to work harder to maintain their oral health.

Dental Hygiene – The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and visits to a dentist.

Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene leads to tooth decay.

But this time does not have to be a time being scared of possible dental issues following Halloween. It can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks to maintain their dental health throughout the year.

Dental Hygiene Tips

By following the dental hygiene tips below, parents can help prevent tooth decay for their trick or treaters while teaching them good dental hygiene habits:

1. Be Selective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. A good dental hygiene tip is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good idea might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.

2. Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.

3. Avoid grazing. If you maintain dental hygiene tip #2 this should not be an issue. The idea is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

4. Eat a Healthy Meal first. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.

So there you have it, a few easy dental hygiene tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not maintaining a diligent dental hygiene regimen. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.