Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Tooth decay (also called dental cavities or dental caries) –  The destruction of the surfaces (dentin and/or enamel) of a tooth and infiltration of bacteria into tooth structure. Tooth decay results from the action of bacteria that live in plaque. Plaque is a sticky, whitish film formed by bacteria and food debris which adheres to the pellicle (a protein layer on the tooth surface). The plaque bacteria sticking to tooth enamel breakdown the sugar and starch from food particles in the mouth to produce acid.

Only Cake, Candy, and  Sugary Drinks Cause Tooth Decay.

Myth, but it’s almost a fact.

Guess what sugar is? You guessed it a carbohydrate. White rice, french fries, bagels, chips and fruits are all carbohydrates. The stickier the carb, like white rice, caramel, or fruit gummies, the longer they stay lodged between teeth and stuck in grooves. The truth is that the acid produced by the bacteria while breaking down carbohydrates is what causes tooth decay. The bacteria makes the acid when you eat anything with carbohydrates that stick and stay on your teeth. The resulting acid melts through the strong outer enamel and allows bacteria to enter into the inner layer (dentin). The bacteria are not visible to the eye, and the breakdown is slow and steady forming a hole, better known as a cavity.

An important fact to know: It is not the amount of carbohydrates you consume that end up causing tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a high amount of carbohydrates for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, chewing on gummy bears, sucking on tic tacs, that continuous exposure is far more unhealthy for your teeth. Dentists have a saying, “sip all day and get tooth decay“.

All Dental Restorations Need to be Replaced Every Few Years.

Myth.

An amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced only if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it, or if the tooth breaks or fractures. If none of those problems occur, you can keep the same filling for quite a long time. Most dental restorations do have a life expectancy but it depends on each individual. Tooth wear due to clenching or grinding, diet, and dental hygiene habits,  play a huge role in how long these restorations last, some last more than 50 years! Maintaining proper oral hygiene and maintenance  will help your dental restorations last longer.

Once You Get a Tooth Capped, the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A Cap or a crown covers and protects underlying tooth structure. However, the area where the crown edge ends and tooth is not covered ( the margin), is where bacteria like to stick. It is the least smooth part of the tooth, and where bacteria can break the seal between the tooth and crown. Once the seal breaks, bacteria can move up and under the crown to slowly breakdown tooth and root structure. A dentist always checks margins around teeth to try to find breaks in margins, however, when breakdown occurs in between teeth it is harder to detect and  usually decays much further before it can be detected on an x-ray.

When You get a Root Canal, the Roots are Removed and the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A root canal treatment does not remove roots, what is removed are the nerves, blood vessels, bacteria, and debris from inside of the roots. The dentist then fills and seals the roots with a rubbery filling and sealing paste. This prevents bacteria from re-entering a tooth. Once the root canal is completed, the tooth should heal, and usually be covered and protected with a crown to help prevent cracking. Tooth decay can happen, just as in any tooth.

Children are more prone to Tooth Decay than Adults.

Myth.

Advances in pediatric dentistry have allowed us to cut childhood tooth decay in half over the last 20 years. These advances include sealants, fluoridated water, dietary consultations, and preventive care. As we see advances in pediatric dentistry, and decreases in tooth decay a different population has had increases in tooth decay. Seniors have an increase in cavities due to an increase in advances in pharmacology, limited dexterity, insufficient professional cleanings, and dry mouth. Many medications have a side effect of causing dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay.

If You Have Tooth Decay, You Can Feel it.

Myth.

Tooth decay may or may not cause any symptoms. Everyone and each individual tooth varies in it’s pain threshold. The pain associated with tooth decay may be detected very early in some and when it is in a more advanced stage and is actually causing damage to the nerve in others. Allowing tooth decay to progress untreated can and will lead to much more expensive and extensive dental procedures, like root canals and oral surgery. That’s why regular dental examinations are so important.

Teeth can only repair themselves when initial enamel breakdown is occurring, and the bacteria have not entered the dentin. Some enamel can repair with natural calcium remineralization and some can harden and repair with fluoride . Persistent bacteria will cause a cavity to forms which will continue to grow and progress into the tooth, eventually working its way into the dentin and then the nerve of the tooth.

Cavities Are More Likely Between Teeth.

Fact.

Any place in the mouth where you cannot reach and bacteria can hide is a place for tooth decay to form. That is why brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial and fluoride rinse (such as Purple Listerine) are so important. They allow you to reach areas brushing alone cannot. Flossing is one of the few ways to get in between teeth and properly avoid tooth decay between teeth.

Chips and Cracks in Teeth Lead to Decay.

Fact.

Cracks and chips in teeth can create a hiding place for bacteria and make those areas more prone to tooth decay. Using a fluoride rinse can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth Means You Have Decay.

Myth.

Tooth sensitivity could just mean you have hypersensitive teeth, or gum recession has exposed some root.

You could also have a cracked or broken tooth or could need a root canal. There are many things, including tooth decay, that could lead to sensitive teeth. If your teeth are sensitive you should schedule a dental examination to make sure it is not something serious.

Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals.

Myth.

Root Canal treatment is caused by a variety of things including tooth decay. Root canal treatment is needed if the nerve inside a tooth is damaged which can be a result of decay or trauma.  Trauma can result from accidents, grinding, clenching, biting into a very hard object (piercings, hard candy, etc.), ice chewing, etc.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Cavities in Baby Teeth.

Myth. 

Baby teeth are needed to hold the space for permanent teeth. Also, tooth decay in baby teeth can develop into serious pain, dental abscess and serious infection. On occasion the infection can spread to other parts of the body and has even caused death if left untreated.

Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing and a Healthy Diet Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities.

Fact. 

Definitely. Preventive dentistry is the key to staying cavity free. The bacteria must be removed from the teeth.

Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, and floss and rinse daily. Antimicrobial rinses target bacteria, reducing plaque, bad breath, and the severity of gingivitis. Rinses with fluoride make teeth more resistant to tooth decay. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth. Eat healthy foods, and limit exposure to carbohydrates.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

There are many misconceptions about what causes tooth decay and what doesn’t. The facts remain, A healthy diet, and proper oral hygiene will not only help you prevent tooth decay, but keep your whole body healthier.

Brushing at bedtime is one of those things that most of us just do, never questioning why. It starts as our teeth develop and our parents brush for us and hopefully we continue it throughout life. Do you know why it is recommended to brush before bedtime?

Top Bedtime Dental Hygiene Benefits

1. Remove Buildup of Bacteria In The Mouth. Our mouths are bombarded throughout the course of the day with a variety of environments. It could range from an acidic, hot cup of coffee in the morning to that pen you chewed on while sitting in a meeting at work. These daily activities introduce harmful elements to our teeth. That pen, for example, has been handled by many people and placed on desks throughout the day picking up bacteria and germs. So it is a good idea to brush your teeth and use an antibacterial rinse to rid your mouth of some of these harmful germs, acids, and plaque bacteria building up inside your mouth.

2. Avoid Plaque Buildup Overnight. Plaque is a yellowish film that builds up on our teeth usually along the gumline and between teeth. As the plaque bacteria eats the left over food particles on your teeth, a white film of plaque colonizes and builds up in your mouth. Plaque is acidic, and given time, will exert its damage onto the teeth and gums. So by brushing multiple times per day, and especially just before bed, we are cutting down on the risk of damage to our teeth and gums from this harmful plaque.

3. Sleeptime Causes A Dry Mouth. It is normal that as we sleep our mouths produce less saliva. Hence, why we tend to be thirsty first thing in the morning. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for plaque bacteria. This can lead to increased tooth decay and even the development of periodontal disease. Our mouths need saliva to not only help break down food as we eat but also to bathe the mouth to dislodge food and bacteria from between our teeth and gums. Brushing before bed will again get your mouth ready for that dry environment to come, by removing a good portion of the bacteria and plaque that could cause damage.

4. Preventing Periodontal Disease. As mentioned above, removing plaque and bacteria form the mouth will significantly reduce bacterial damage to your teeth and gums. The same plaque that can cause tooth decay can also be prevalent in periodontal disease. Once periodontal disease progresses, it is very difficult to treat and control. It can lead to teeth shifting, receding gum tissue, and even tooth loss.

5.  Awaken In The Morning Feeling Fresh. We have all had those nights where we either fell asleep on the couch or simply forgot to brush, the next morning we wake up with a terrible taste in our mouths. Think about all the foods and drinks you ingested the day before. That means they were allowed to stay in your mouth for a full 24 hours allowing the bacteria in your mouth to feed unchecked for a full day. Take the time before bed to brush properly, rinse with a fluoride rinse such as purple listerine, and you will feel more refreshed in the morning and have better “morning breath” that your partner and family will appreciate.

Conclusion

Brushing and maintaining dental hygiene should not feel like a chore. If you we get into the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing it becomes second nature. A good dental hygiene regimen should not take 30 minutes to complete. In as little as 5-7 minutes 2-3 times per day you can ensure you are doing your best to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible so you get to keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Flossing is often overlooked as part our oral hygiene regimen. Although it is often overlooked, it is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brushing alone cannot remove food debris and bacteria in and around our teeth. Flossing is able to reach areas in between teeth and in the back areas of the mouth. Flossing really is a simple act, but many often overlook it and ignore the habit of flossing. For those of us who do floss, improper technique can also cause problems.

Common Flossing Mistakes

1. Skipping The Back Teeth – When we floss it is essential to not only concentrate on the front teeth. It is equally important to get in the back of the mouth, between and around molars, and keep those areas clean. This removes food and plaque bacteria in areas from which a toothbrush can not reach. You need to keep your teeth as clean as possible to avoid the onset of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

2. Not Rotating The Floss At Each Area – The purpose of flossing is to remove bacteria, food debris, and bacteria from between the teeth. If you do not rotate the floss at each tooth you are just replacing the removed bacteria and debris back into the mouth.

3. Flossing Too Aggressively – Some of our teeth have tighter spaces than others and this could cause a more aggressive approach to flossing. It is better to gently work the floss up and down between your teeth, following the natural curve of the tooth, so as not to snap the floss down and cut your gums. You should floss using a mirror to watch what you are doing, it is easier to see if you are missing anything. You should NEVER , “shoeshine” your teeth. Side to side aggressive motion, over time, causes notches into the roots of the teeth.

4. Not Flossing Because Your Gums Bleed – At times our gums can bleed if we are not maintaining proper oral hygiene. This is the earliest sign of periodontal disease, called “Gingivitis”. This stage of periodontal disease can be reversed. If you see some blood, continue gentle flossing, and rinsing with warm salt water. As the bacteria and irritants are removed the inflammation will subside and so will the bleeding. It might take 1-2 weeks for that to happen.

5. Keep Track Of Where You Are Flossing – It can be very easy to miss a tooth or two while flossing. Create a good routine to keep on track and not get distracted.

6. Not Flossing At All! – This is the biggest mistake! Many have been lucky enough not to have decay or serious problems, and have never flossed. This may have “worked” for you in your youth, but it will put you at risk for periodontal disease as you get older. People who have never had a cavity, and do not have good oral hygiene habits are at much higher risk for gum disease. Those pearly whites may stay beautiful until they day they all start to fall out!

Conclusion

Don’t wait for problems to begin. Floss regularly and correctly, and you are setting yourself up for good success in maintaining your oral health. Remember, to floss gently, properly, and often. As many dentists say,” You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!”.

Tooth brushing has been a part of our lives since we can remember. It has become an activity that, for most, seems to be second nature. Brushing your teeth, as with any habit, can become tedious. You may forget the proper way and get sloppy, or may never have learned proper tooth brushing techniques to begin with. Improper tooth brushing technique can lead to many problems, including root and enamel wear, gum recession, cavities, and gum disease .

Tooth Brushing Mistake #1

-Choosing the wrong tooth brush. Not all toothbrushes are the same. Things to consider when choosing the right type of toothbrush include size of head, size of handle, and type of bristles. The head of the toothbrush should be the right size to enable you to reach all tooth surfaces. If you are straining to open wide enough to get the brush into your mouth, having a hard time cleaning around back molars, or banging into other teeth, then the brush is probably too large for you. The handle needs to be comfortable for you to use and fit your hand properly. The bristles should be soft to extra soft. If it the bristles are any harder, you increase surface abrasion.  Abrasion slowly causes wear and damage to your teeth and gums while brushing. As for manual tooth brush vs electric tooth brush, most research shows that electric toothbrushes get the teeth far cleaner than a manual brush, and if used properly, cause less abrasion.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #2

-Not brushing enough. This includes both, time of actual tooth brushing and the times per day you brush. It is recommended that you brush a minimum of twice per day for at least two minutes each time. Many of us do not brush for the recommended amount of time,instead brushing for only 15-30 s, this can definitely lead to insufficient removal of food and plaque bacteria. Brushing after each meal is ideal, removing food particles before they begin to cause problems. Timers can help you spend the correct amount of time, or humming a tune, many electric toothbrushes have an advantage in that many have a built in timer to monitor the time you are tooth brushing. Carrying a spare toothbrush or having one in your desk at work, may help you to brush more frequently.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #3

-Brushing too aggressively. Tooth brushing too vigorously can erode tooth enamel, expose the roots of the teeth, and wear away gum tissue. Erosion causes increased sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets. Develop the proper tooth brushing technique utilizing the right amount of force to keep your teeth clean. An aggressive tooth brushing technique is difficult to change, especially if you have been doing it this way for a long time. Electric toothbrushes are ideal for changing technique, as you hold them over each tooth, letting the brush do the work, and do not “brush” with them.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #4

-Using improper tooth brushing technique. The tooth brush should be angled at a 45 degree angle and use short strokes when brushing. This will allow you to brush safely but also give yo the ability to remove the plaque at the gum line. The strokes should be soft, going up and down, and circular or vertical. Be sure to brush the outer AND inner surfaces of your teeth along with the chewing surfaces and finally your tongue.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #5

-Not Rinsing? Cleaning your brush. Bacteria will grow on an un-rinsed, wet toothbrush. If you do not rinse, and clean your toothbrush, you will be putting plaque bacteria back in your mouth each time you brush. Rinse and dry your tooth brush after you brush to help remove any leftover toothpaste, and rid of the moist environment that bacteria love. There are many techniques to clean your brush, including UV sanitizers, soap and water, and anti bacterial rinses. Keep your mouth cleaner with a clean, dry toothbrush.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #6

-Not changing your toothbrush regularly. The recommendation from the American Dental Association is to change to a new brush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles appear worn.  Research shows us that, as toothbrush bristles splay, their ability to remove plaque decreases significantly. You know how often and how hard you use your brush, which will help you evaluate when it is time for a new brush. Do a visual inspection every so often to ensure the bristles still have their original flexibility. There are even some brushes now that have colored indicators on them to tell you when brushes need changing. You may need to change every 1-2 months if you are a frequent brusher.

Conclusion

Tooth brushing is a very important daily habit. The premise is simple, but the technique is critical to good oral health. It is never too late to learn proper tooth brushing technique. Don’t be shy, ask your hygienist if you are doing it correctly, he/she may have some great pointers for you. The next time you see your dentist  for a dental examination and professional cleaning, take full advantage of their knowledge, and ask questions. You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome, healthier teeth and gums!