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Get the Facts About Fluoride

Though found naturally in soil, water, foods and several minerals, fluoride -- the 17th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust -- is also synthesized in laboratories. Synthesized fluoride is commonly added to your drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwashes and various chemical products, and is fantastic for promoting the health of your teeth. Here’s what you need to know about this mineral.

Toothpaste alone doesn’t cut it when it comes to oral health

The best way to protect your teeth from decay is with fluoridated water. Though your toothpaste contains fluoride, this alone is not enough to protect your pearly whites.

Studies conducted in communities that fluoridated water in the years after fluoride toothpastes became common have shown a lower rate of tooth decay than communities without fluoridated water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after looking at all the ways we obtain fluoride, recommended that communities fluoridate water at 0.7 parts per million. Any amount less than this puts our teeth’s health at risk.

Dental HealthWater authorities add fluoride to your drinking water

Proven benefits for public health result from having the optimal level of fluoride in the water – just enough fluoride to protect our teeth and reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in the local population, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Scientists discovered in the early 1930s that people brought up in areas with naturally fluoridated water had up to 67 percent fewer cavities compared to those living in areas without fluoridated water, according to Medical News Today. Several studies since that time show that when fluoride is added to people’s drinking water in areas where levels are low, the prevalence tooth decay decreases.

Fluoride contributes to the prevention of tooth decay

Numerous scientific studies and reviews recognize fluoride as an important nutrient for strong, healthy teeth. Fluoride protects from demineralization, which occurs when bacteria in the mouth combines with sugars and produces an acid that erodes tooth enamel and damages teeth.

Fluoride also accumulates in demineralized areas, or areas where teeth are already damaged by acid, and begins to strengthen the enamel in a process called remineralization.

Fluoride both prevents cavities and makes teeth stronger, contributing to optimal overall oral health.

Both adults and children need fluoride

Children need fluoride to protect their permanent teeth as they form and adults need fluoride to protect their teeth from decay.

Fluoride treatment benefits those at higher risk of tooth decay, such as those individuals with snacking habits, poor dental hygiene, little to no access to a dentist, diets high in sugars/carbs and a history of tooth decay.

Fluoride is obtained in two forms: topical and systemic

Topical fluorides strengthen teeth and make them more decay-resistant. These include toothpastes, mouth-rinses and professionally applied fluoride therapies. Systemic fluorides are ingested into the body and become incorporated into forming tooth structures. These fluorides give topical protection because fluoride is present in salvia, which continually bathes teeth. Systemic fluorides include fluoridated water or dietary fluoride supplements like tablets, drops or lozenges.

Even with so many ways to incorporate fluoride, at Genesee Dental we may recommend a home regimen or a professional treatment to bolster the effects of fluoride for your dental health. While fluoride alone isn’t a substitute for good brushing, flossing and cleaning habits, it’s a vital part of keeping an overall healthy mouth and teeth. We offer comprehensive, professional fluoride treatment options as part of our many dental services. Call us to find out more or schedule an appointment online today.

Solutions for Missing Teeth

Whether you’ve lost one tooth or more to an accident, decay or any other reason, it can often leave a gap in your smile that can be uncomfortable and make chewing or speaking a painful ordeal. Fortunately dental bridges, partial dentures and dental implants provide solutions that can literally bridge the gap in your teeth and help restore your smile.

A leading option is dental implants. While this option requires that a patient has surgery to install a permanent anchoring post for the new artificial tooth or teeth, it can prove to be a more reliable and stable option for many patients. First, an anchor is installed – usually made of titanium – and given time to heal so that new bone can grow around the installed anchor to help stabilize it and keep it in place. Next, depending on the installation, a post may need to be installed separately. This post is what will hold the new artificial tooth, which is installed in the same way as a crown but over this new post instead of a prepared existing tooth.

Implants offer a greater level of permanence than the other options, but some patients may also be poor candidates, depending on their existing bone structures. Fortunately there are several other options available if implants aren’t the right choice for your situation.

Dental Implants Vs. Fixed BridgeAnother leading option for tooth replacement is the fixed dental bridge. Many different types of bridges exist for use in different locations in your mouth and different dental conditions. The fixed bridge adds in an artificial tooth – or teeth, if there are multiple teeth missing in a gap – by using the existing teeth as anchoring points to put in the new fixtures. The most common type of bridge, this method uses crowns made of porcelain and metal atop the two existing anchor teeth that then hold the new artificial tooth or teeth in place in the gap in between.  These bridges are fixed and permanent, and cannot be removed.

The last common option is partial dentures. With partial dentures, a set of mounted artificial teeth are attached to a bracketed frame that affixes to other teeth in your mouth, creating a replacement option for multiple missing teeth. The new teeth are generally mounted on a plastic base that is designed to match the color of your gums, which also provides a more natural-looking solution. Partial dentures are not designed to be continuously worn, and should be removed and cleaned daily to help prolong their viability for years to come. Additionally, these can require a lengthier fitting process and are more susceptible to being lost or damaged than permanent, fixed bridges.

At Genesee Dental, our dentists can work with you to identify the best options for your specific situation. We can discuss your best course of action, and perform all necessary procedures in our office. Find out more by giving us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

Dental sealants: Providing extra protection

We all know that the best way to prevent issues with your teeth and gums and promote positive dental health overall is through regular brushing and flossing. These practices clear the mouth and hard-to-reach spaces between teeth and the gums from bacteria and plaque that can cause cavities and other oral hygiene problems. However, especially in younger children who are still developing good dental habits (more on that here!), we may suggest taking an extra step, like using dental sealant to help protect teeth.

Sealants are a layer of protection that is applied to teeth to add a synthetic layer of defense between tooth surfaces and the various contaminants and food particles in the mouth. The sealants are essentially a thin coating of plastic that is painted onto a tooth and quickly hardens to create a barrier to prevent cavities from forming. Sealants are also sometimes used at the first sign of cavities to prohibit their growth, and are quite commonly used with children who have their first adult teeth. They can also be applied to baby teeth and in adults, providing further protection for teeth with deep grooving or pitting that can make them more difficult to keep clean.

Another great thing about sealants is that they tend to be exceptionally durable. After having a tooth or multiple teeth sealed, keeping your regular dental appointments ensures that your dentist can check the integrity of the seal and verify that sealants haven’t worn away or chipped. Even with regular use, which is to say eating, drinking and brushing as you normally would, sealants can last up to 10 years, says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Having sealants applied isn’t a painful process at all, and usually takes only a few minutes. The NIDCR offers this great infographic that illustrates the process. Following application, patients can also resume eating and drinking as normal very quickly, with only a slight lingering sensation while getting used to the new tooth surface.

A tried and true solution to prevent and staunch tooth decay since entering dental practices in the 1960s, sealants are a great way to keep teeth healthy through childhood and into an adult lifetime. At Genesee Dental, we perform sealant applications as a regular part of our cleaning and prevention services. Find out more about sealants here, or contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

The Role of Mouthguards in Professional Hockey

If you're into professional hockey – or just a resident of one of the rabid hockey regions of the country – you've probably heard the phrase "Smile like a Hockey Player." This statement has been a long-standing joke that references the many professional hockey players who are missing teeth or have suffered major mouth injuries. With the Stanley Cup Finals winding down this week, it’s a great time to think about the importance of this oft-misunderstood piece of equipment.

The mouthguard’s commonly held purpose is to protect teeth from impacts with pucks, players and the ice, not to mention the occasional opponent’s (or maybe even teammate’s) stick. Surely the importance of a mouthguard is obvious in that respect, but as professionals, we understand that there are even more important benefits to these simple devices. Your first thought on mouthguards is probably that they exist solely to prevent damage to the teeth and jaw, but the truth us that they do so much more.

For example, a hockey puck to the face can mean more than just missing teeth. It can also mean a concussion, bone structure damage and brain injuries. While protecting your teeth is an important part of a mouthguard’s job, it also does much more to prevent serious injuries during gameplay. Learn more about preventing concussions during hockey practices and games from hockeycanada.ca. This safety announcement covers tips on protecting children, college and professional hockey players. Click here to read the full article and see a video on how concussions can occur.

Mouthguards are used in many other sports as well, and are mandated by the National Federation of State High School Associations for athletes playing football, ice and field hockey and lacrosse. While old-school hockey was played with little gear, most players today at all levels opt to keep themselves – and their mouths and brains – protected.

If you still need convincing, head over to Bleacher Report and check out this article on the 25 Worst Smiles Seen in the NHL.

Tips to Help Prevent Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a disease that affects many adults.  It starts off with irritation and swelling of the gum tissues, but if left untreated, can result in the loss of teeth.

This is something that no one really wants to deal with, so how can it be prevented?

Tips for Preventing Periodontitis

Before we begin the list, we want to put out a disclaimer: Some individuals, despite a rigorous oral health care regimen, are predisposed to getting periodontal disease because of their genetics. However, if your family members don’t have it and you’re looking to prevent it, there are plenty of ways to do just that.

Brush your teeth regularly

This is a staple for preventing any diseases involving the teeth and gums. If you stay on top of the amount of plaque that builds up, then there is less of a chance of developing periodontal disease.

Flossing ManFloss regularly, too!

Flossing can take a little bit more skill than just brushing your teeth, especially to get to those teeth in the back. Thankfully floss picks and water picks can make this process easier. No matter how you do it, it’s an important part of keeping your teeth plaque- and bacteria-free.

Stay away from tobacco products

As if you needed more reason to shy from tobacco use, tartar buildup happens more frequently in those who smoke and use other tobacco products. It has also been found that those who smoke do not heal from injuries as quickly as those who don’t, not to mention the teeth staining and other gum and mouth problems that can arise from smoking or smokeless tobacco use.

Work on your stress levels

Those who suffer from chronic anxiety will have a compromised immune system. When stressed, it is harder for your body to fight off diseases and infections. This can directly affect your gums, as well.

Swish with mouthwash

When you’re going through your oral care routine, add mouthwash to the mix. The liquid can get into pockets that you might have missed with brushing or flossing. Look for alcohol-free mouthwashes the next time you go grocery shopping.

If you’re ever in doubt, talk with your dentist from Genesee Dental. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have!

Keeping Your Smile Bright and White

One of the most common elective dental procedures these days is teeth whitening. Everyone loves to smile, and if your teeth aren’t as pearly white as you’d like, it can leave you feeling very self-conscious of your smile. Fortunately, there are many options available to keep your teeth looking and feeling clean and bright.

Whitening toothpaste

One of the options that has been on the market for a while is whitening toothpaste. Several major dental hygiene product manufacturers offer whitening toothpastes, which can employ either polishing agents or chemicals that help lift surface stains from teeth. These pastes don’t involve any bleaching, and typically work by improving or maintaining the bright luster of your teeth with daily brushing and cleaning. Plus, several whitening toothpastes have received the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Over-the-counter whitening kitsTeeth Whitening

Another popular product with many people in recent years is the over-the-counter whitening kit. These kits typically use a bleaching agent, like a peroxide solution, that works to deeply penetrate and change the tooth color. While not as involved as professional whitening, these kits can often help improve those with minor staining problems to improve the white of their smile. There are a wide variety of applications styles, including strips, trays and paint-on kits, as well as different concentrations of the active bleaching ingredients, leaving a large variability to the effectiveness of these kits. However, several of the kits are participants in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program, though the only those kits that are ADA-rated presently use a 10 percent carbamide peroxide solution.

Professional bleaching

Of course, dental offices offer some of the most effective whitening options for severe staining issues. Dentist-provided whitening includes a generally stronger bleaching agent than OTC solutions – with bleaches that are often two to four times as concentrated – and offer a greater degree of whitening. At Genesee Dental PC, our whitening process is done in two visits. During the first, a mold is made of your teeth so that we can manufacture plastic trays that are custom fitted to your teeth and mouth. At the second, we ensure the fit and apply the first whitening solution, as well as instructions and additional solution to meet the needs of your particular staining or whitening requirements.

We also now offer a “Free Whitening for Life” program. In this program, all patients who participate in their regular re-care appointments will receive a free tube of whitening gel at the end of their session. Any patient – new or existing – can participate in the program, and it’s a great way to keep your smile as bright as the summer sun.

No matter what route you take, there are plenty of ways to rejuvenate your smile. Before starting on any whitening regiment, you should consult with your dentist to make sure that there are no risks of damage to any existing dental work or potential conflicts with any medicines or health conditions. Contact us today to or schedule an appointment or to discuss a whitening strategy with our team.

Five Fast Tips to Help Develop Kids’ Dental Habits

Good brushing, flossing and rinsing habits are not always something that comes naturally or without a struggle. Even though they still have their baby teeth now, the habits they develop early in life will forge their routine for the rest of their lives. Here are some handy tips to help ensure your child’s dental health stays in great shape well into adulthood.

Make it fun

One way to encourage kids to brush is to liven up the experience by incorporating bright and colorful toothbrushes or ones that have pictures of their favorite cartoon or other characters. By personalizing the experience and incorporating colors and entertainment, they are more likely to enjoy brushing and continue to do it on their own.

Don’t make it a chore

As much as you want to encourage your kids to regularly brush, you don’t want to force it upon them and make it seem like a tedious chore. Children are often rebellious, and if something seems like they’re being made to do it, they’ll want to do it even less. Encourage your son or daughter to regularly brush, but give them some freedom in the morning and evening schedule to allow them to brush on their own.

Be modern

Another way to make cleaning teeth appealing to kids is to liven it up with modern implements. Today’s children are growing up in an electronic and digital world, so try appealing to their contemporary lifestyle by using modern home dental implements like an electric toothbrush or a water pique. Both are great options to keep teeth looking and feeling clean, and offer more interaction than a stationary brush or strand of floss.

Sing a song

To ensure that brushing reaches all the areas of the mouth and that they’ve brushed for long enough a time, try using a bit of music to keep time. This can be an old traditional song like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or something more modern that is catchy and keeps their interest. Brushing should typically last for at least 2 minutes, so pick a song they like and will last for the full time (or can be resung to make up any difference).

Lead by example

Lastly, children love to mimic their parents, and if they see your brushing habits as part of your daily routine, they’ll be inspired to incorporate it into their daily regimen. Brushing with your kids creates a shared experience, and allows younger children to see how it’s done. It’s also a good way for you to show them how to brush properly, and even let you brush their teeth – or vice versa – to practice their skills. Plus, it guarantees that you get your daily brushings in too!

We love children at Genesee Dental, and we’re sure to love yours! Let’s work together to make sure your child’s smile stays bright. Give us a call today or schedule an appointment online.

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