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Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a sugar substitute. Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health. It has been shown to reduce tooth decay to a third in regular use.

How does Xylitol Work for Better Dental Hygiene?

There have been numerous research studies that have shown the benefits of chewing gum sweetened with Xylitol after meals and snacks. Xylitol makes an excellent sweetener, as it has many of the same properties as regular table sugar (sucrose). However, unlike table sugar, xylitol reduces tooth cavities.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It contains far fewer calories than table sugar and has less of an effect on the bodies overall blood sugar levels. Xylitol has a low glycemic index of 7, compared to sugar’s level of 83. It also does not break down like sugar and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol has the ability to inhibit the creation of acid in the mouth. By lowering the acid content in the mouth, this in turn lowers the risk of tooth decay.

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This acid attack causes tooth decay and cavities to begin to form.

Products sweetened with xylitol create an unwelcome environment for bacteria. They simply cannot stick to teeth in a xylitol rich environment.  This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped. The bacteria in the mouth that are causing cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced. The number of acid producing bacteria may decrease by as much as 90%. No acid is formed because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases. Many people are not aware of this ancillary benefit because such a claim makes xylitol into a drug. This crosses a legal boundary not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.

It has been recommended that you chew a piece of xylitol gum after every meal or snack to gain maximum benefit to your teeth. Xylitol is recommended by dentists and physicians worldwide as a sweetener for anyone concerned with dental health, upper respiratory health, and sugar consumption, in general.

Can Xylitol Repair Damage to Enamel Too?

Research has also shown that the use of xylitol helps repair damage to the enamel. Saliva protects the mouth and teeth. Stimulated saliva in particular contains all the components needed to repair early tooth cavities. If sugar is only taken a couple of times a day, the saliva can do the job alone. But most people take sugar so often that the mouth’s own defensive tools are not enough.

Saliva that has xylitol is more alkaline than saliva stimulated by other sugar products. After taking xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, and plaque pH rises as well. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Therefore, soft, calcium deficient enamel sites begin to harden again.

Xylitol Conclusion

Xylitol can help maintain a healthy oral environment, but does not replace dental hygiene!

Xylitol can be an excellent adjunct to normal brushing and flossing coupled with regular dental visits and professional cleanings. The best part is it is quite easy to incorporate xylitol into your daily routine.

Tooth issues can occur no matter what age you are. From the littlest child to the oldest adult, having good education when tooth issues arise is paramount. Have you ever wondered what parts make up your teeth? Why they are so strong?

Anatomy Of A Tooth

The anatomy of a tooth is actually quite simple. A tooth is made up of various layers that work together to give us our beautiful smiles. Every tooth is made up of multiple parts. These parts are as follows:

-Crown. This is the part of the tooth that you see when smiling. The crown is covered in a white colored material called enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body. Even though enamel is very strong, it can easily be broken down by the acids produced by oral bacteria and the acids found is many popular drinks like soda.

-Dentin. Dentin is the layer right beneath the enamel.  Although not as hard as enamel, it’s hardness rating is comparable to that of bone.  Another great quality of dentin is it’s flexibility.  For example, if you bite down on a very hard food, the dentin is able to flex a little bit and can keep your tooth from cracking like it might if teeth were just made of enamel.

-Pulp. This is the inner most layer of the tooth.  The pulp provides bloodflow and nutrition to the tooth. The pulp also allows for the nerves to enter the tooth. Without proper bloodflow and innervation of the nerves a tooth will die. The pulp of a tooth is removed during root canal therapy. This procedure allows your dentist to save the tooth for form and function. Once the pulp is removed from a tooth it becomes more brittle with an increased risk of breaking. This is why dentists often recommend placing a dental crown over a tooth that has received root canal therapy.

-Root. This part of the tooth is hidden under the gum tissues. This can be visible when the gums recede as can happen during periodontal disease. The root is what anchors the tooth inside the bone allowing for support during chewing of food. One other portion of the root is called cementum. The cementum is a thin layer that anchors the tooth to the bone thru the periodontal ligament.

-Periodontal Ligament (PDL). The main function of the periodontal ligament is to attach the teeth to the bone.  The peridontal ligament also sends sensory information to the brain.  For example, if you are eating some popcorn and bite down hard on a popcorn kernel, your jaw suddenly opens to alleviate the pressure.  The periodontal ligament sends that pressure signal to your brain, causing that reflex. The tooth doesn’t feel the pressure since the tooth is only capable of sending pain messages to your brain.

-Gingiva (GumTissue). The gums form a collar or sheath around the teeth that protects the underlying bone.  When you stop brushing your teeth for an extended period of time, the gingiva become red and puffy as the body begins the inflammatory process. This is the body’s way of defending against the plaque that has built up.  If you completely stop brushing, the gingiva will eventually start to lose the war against plaque and recede from around the teeth resulting in periodontal disease that can eventually loosen your teeth.

-Bone. The bone holds the whole tooth in its place.  The bone is constantly remodeling itself. This is in response to various forces it experiences in the mouth.  For example, if you have braces on, there are forces pushing on the teeth.  The bone remodels itself to help the tooth move to the position in which it is being pushed.

Different Types Of Teeth

Every tooth in the mouth has a specific function. The teeth in your mouth are as follows:

-Incisors. These are the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four upper, four lower). They are used for cutting foods.

-Canines. These are sometimes called cuspids, these teeth are shaped like points and are used for tearing foods.

-Premolars. These teeth have two pointed cusps on their biting surface and are sometimes also called bicuspids. The premolars are used for crushing and tearing.

-Molars. These teeth are used for grinding, these teeth have several cusps on the biting surface.

Conclusion

An educated patient is an informed patient who can make smart decisions regarding their dental and health care. Our teeth are quite strong but they are under constant bombardment from outside forces at all times. If you are experiencing any tooth issues see your dentist immediately to put your mind and dental health at ease.

For many of us, whiter teeth are a sign of youth, beauty, and vitality. If your teeth look dull and lifeless, you may lose some self confidence causing you to miss out on precious moments in life. As we age, our teeth will lose some of their natural whiteness, changing instead to a yellowish, even brownish/gray tinge. This occurs from our daily habits like drinking coffee, possibly smoking, or drinking red wine.

We are bombarded by magazine and television ads displaying models with perfectly white teeth. After awhile, you begin to wonder whether you can have whiter, brighter teeth too? Luckily, there are many options out there to do just that. The traditional way has been to go to the dentist and have them professionally whitened under controlled conditions. Today, we have other options like teeth whitening toothpastes. Are these toothpastes effective at whitening our teeth?

What Is Special About Teeth Whitening Toothpastes?

Most of us use toothpaste every day just to maintain our dental hygiene. It is a product we are all very familiar with. Manufactures have now found a way to add an extra element to your favorite toothpastes allowing the addition of teeth whitening materials into the mix to give you an added benefit.  Some are more abrasive to help remove surface stains, some have peroxide and other additive ingredients to actually allow for some deeper whitening to occur. It should be noted that teeth whitening toothpastes do work, but they will NOT whiten your teeth as effectively as your dentist can. Also, each individual’s results will vary.

Teeth whitening toothpastes commonly contain the following ingredients:

-Hydrogen peroxide. The same teeth whitening ingredient used in most teeth whitening strips. This is found in the new Colgate Optic White toothpaste.

-Sodium Hydroxide. This is another ingredient used to whiten teeth. Crest 3D white toothpaste utilizes this as it’s main teeth whitening agent.

-Sodium Tripolyphosphate. Do not be scared off by the long name. This chemical is effective in removing stains from the enamel on your teeth.

-Blue Covarine. This chemical is present in some teeth whitening toothpaste. Blue covarine has the ability to adhere to the surface of teeth creating an optical illusion that can make our teeth appear less yellow.

-Abrasives. These abrasives, such as baking soda, will provide a perfect cleansing and polishing on the teeth surface and over time will remove light stains that make our teeth appear yellowish or brown.

When used twice a day, teeth whitening toothpaste generally takes from two to six weeks to make teeth appear whiter and brighter. Teeth whitening toothpastes that contain blue covarine can have an almost immediate effect on your smile.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste Conclusion

Americans spend over $1.5 billion on toothpaste per year and it is a rapidly growing market. Many of the toothpastes have become quite specialized, especially those geared towards teeth whitening. But do teeth whitening toothpastes really work? The simple answer is yes, but to what degree?. If your teeth are brown and discolored, it will not work as effectively as a professional teeth whitening. The difference being, that the dentist uses chemicals specifically designed to whiten teeth (and applied under very controlled conditions) whereas many of the teeth whitening toothpastes on the market use much lower concentrations of these whitening agents, or none at all. Don’t get overly frustrated if using teeth whitening toothpastes don’t do much for you. They are helpful in some mild degree of whitening, but will not give you the super white smile that actual professional whitening will. They are best used as an adjunct to a professional whitening, to help keep your teeth whiter and brighter longer, or for younger people to brighten up an already nice smile. Teeth whitening toothpastes are a cost effective way to brighten your smile, discontinue use if they begin to cause sensitivity.

It is always recommended you see your dentist for professional cleanings and dental examinations. This is a perfect time to discuss teeth whitening options and what method would work best for you. Teeth whitening can be a very personalized choice and each program can be tailored to each patient’s needs and expectations. Find out today how to get your teeth whiter and brighter.

What many people don’t realize, is that a tooth has nerves and blood vessels just like the rest of our body. A tooth is “vital” or alive. There are reasons why a tooth can become non vital, or dead. ItCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS is not always easy to tell, and sometimes can be quite painful.

A dead tooth is simply a tooth that no longer has access to nutrients and blood flow. Our teeth are composed of three layers: the enamel, the dentin and the nerve or “pulp”. A healthy tooth has living cells and tissue inside.This living tissue plays a role in the development of the teeth. The nerve is the part of the tooth that can sense temperature, when you drink or eat something really cold or hot. It can also sense how hard you are biting into something, and feel pain.

All the blood vessels and nerve fibers are located in the pulp and this means that when the pulp is dead, then the tooth is dies as well. What can happen if a tooth becomes non vital, and why does it die?

What Causes a Tooth To Die?

The two main causes are:

-Tooth Decay - Tooth decay or a bacterial infection, when left untreated, will begin to invade deeper into the tooth eventually penetrating through enamel and into the second layer, the dentin. When the decay or infection reaches deep inside the tooth, the cells of the pulp try to fight it off by triggering the inflammatory process. This includes action by the white blood cells. Pus develops when some of the white blood cells die during the battle against the infection. If the infection is not treated at this stage, all the white blood cells will die and the blood flow will stop completely.When this occurs, tooth sensitivity is usually the first sign of trouble and this sensitivity will eventually reach the pulp and results in a severe toothache.

-Dental Trauma – This can occur from traumatic injuries, falls, severe grinding and clenching, biting into very hard objects, and sometimes idiopathic internal resorption (a tooth self destructs from the inside out for no apparent reason) . When dental trauma occurs, the blood supply can be severed immediately, resulting in the pulp dying off. Sometimes it is a slow progressive breakdown as teeth wear and crack from bad oral habits. Prevention is the key whenever possible. This is why sports mouth guards are recommended for all contact sports activities. Nightguards are recommended for clenchers and grinders. Extremely hard foods should be avoided such as popcorn kernels, corn nuts, and the mouth should not be used in place of tools such as scissors or a bottle opener.

Signs and Symptoms

It can be very difficult to identify a dead tooth just by looking at it and that is another reason why it’s important to visit a dentist regularly. It is possible to have no symptoms when a tooth becomes non vital. However, a non-vital tooth may exhibit some a tell tale symptom like turning darker. This discoloration is usually the dead pulp becoming visible. Another sign of a non-vital tooth is an unexplained swelling, or a raised white pimple like area. These signs are normally a result of a periodontal abscess, caused by periodontal disease or injury, which can rupture and produce an infection in the gums and mouth. A dead tooth will eventually become loose due to the destruction of surrounding bone by the infection process. It can also produce a foul odor and even more severe pain.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDSTreatment Of A Dead Tooth

Many patients will ask, “If the tooth is dead why not just leave it alone?”.Simply put, the dead tissue in the pulp chamber will become a breeding ground for bacteria. If left untreated, an abscess can occur along with pain and discomfort. There are usually two options for treatment of a non vital tooth:

-Extraction – A tooth extraction can be performed if the tooth is not savable, or it can be chosen due to finances becoming an issue. A tooth extraction is usually the least expensive option but it can also can leave other issues on the long term horizon (such as tooth shifting, cosmetic and functional issues). Once extracted, tooth replacement can be done using a dental implant, a fixed bridge, or a removable denture.

-Root Canal Therapy -  This procedure is performed when a patient chooses to save the tooth. Root canal therapy allows the dentist to clean out the dead tissue and infection, ridding of the decayed part of the pulp. This will allow the dentist to rebuild on the sterile tooth to return full form and function. With today’s modern technology, root canal therapy can be a painless and comfortable experience and, if done early, can save a tooth by preventing further infection and subsequent tooth loss. The procedure usually begins with anesthesia to prevent any pain, then a dentist will make an opening for the cleaning instrument to penetrate the affected inner parts of the tooth. The infection is cleaned out and the opening is then closed with a filling. The tooth can then be bleached to turn it whiter or a veneer or a crown can be placed over the tooth to make it look natural.

How To Prevent A Tooth Becoming Non-Vital

Maintaining a proper dental hygiene regimen including brushing and flossing regularly can prevent the buildup of food and bacteria that gets trapped between teeth and gums, which can cause infection and tooth decay leading to dead teeth. Regular visits to the dentist are also very important, since your dentist will be able to identify and diagnose early signs of tooth issues. There are other early signs that you can recognize on your own that include sensitivity to heat or cold, pain when chewing or biting down, slight discolorations, bad breath, gum swelling and facial swelling. Saving a dead tooth depends on early detection and early treatment. Do not ignore the signs and symptoms – get it checked out to decrease your chances of infection and tooth loss.