Tag Archives: Dental Health

Are White Fillings Harmful to Kids?

Recently, white fillings (tooth colored)  came under fire for possibly contributing to poor behavior in kids. The media has highlighted that the BPA (bispenol A) containing fillings had a small but significant correlation to behavior issues in children.  The point not highly emphasized was that the level of BPA released from whiteReno Dentist - Tooth Colored Fillings fillings in the mouth was not measured.  It is not known what, or if, any chemicals are actually being released from these fillings. “It’s generally assumed that the amounts leached are tiny”1 Children with multiple white fillings, according to this study, constantly scored up to 6 points worse on a behavior survey answered by their parents.1  Effects from BPA have been noted as being “far from clear,” even looking back to a story from Reuters late October 2011. 

Important Points to Consider about Dental Fillings:

1.  Dental caries is a preventable disease by practicing good oral hygiene habits, limiting exposure to dietary acids (citric acid) and sticky sugars (dried fruits), and keeping regular dental cleaning appointments.

2. White fillings are primarily a silicate glass which is bound by a resin containing small amounts of BPA, which levels of BPA release have not been measured.

3. Silver Amalgam fillings are an alternative to white dental fillings, but a little more tooth is removed in the preparation.  Though it is one of the most researched dental materials and deemed safe by the ADA, they contain small amounts of mercury, and these fillings have been known to discolor and darken teeth. 

4. Any concerns you may have should be discussed with your dentist.

References:

Tooth fillings made with BPA tied to behavior issues

BPA tied to behavior problems in girls: study

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Tooth pain: Don’t wait till it is too Late

All too often, we see patients that have had some sensitivity and ignore it until the tooth pain keeps them from sleeping or functioning in their daily life. Tooth pain can mean several things such as deep cavity, a cracked tooth, clenching or grinding, periodontal disease, a sinus infection, and impacted wisdom teeth. Each source of tooth pain has a different treatment to correct the discomfort. The focus of this posting is the progression of decay, when it should be treated, and the more extensive treatment required to save the tooth if it is allowed to progress.

Tooth Ache caused by a Cavity:

 Generally patients do not realize that the initial onset of tooth decay is a painless, chalky white spot. Depending on a person’s oral hygiene habits this spot can be maintained and sometimes reversed. Once the cavity spreads to the dentin the tooth decay is best treated by removing the infected tooth structure and replaced with a filling.If left untreated the tooth decay will continue to spread and often create an annoying sensitivity to cold, sweets and sometimes pressure. At this point the pulp in your tooth is inflamed from the irritation of the bacteria getting close to the pulp. Most of the time, the symptoms can be resolved by removing the tooth decay and filling the tooth. The problem with a cavity this size is the tooth is considerably weakened by the amount of infected tooth that needs to be removed. The point that too many people address the tooth pain is when the cavity reaches the pulp and there is severe sensitivity to cold or heat that lingers, pain to pressure and tapping. The lingering sensitivity to hot or cold indicates to us that your pulp is irreversibly inflamed or necrotic (dead). At this point the tooth needs all tooth decay removed an root canal therapy to clean out infected tissue and to seal the canals from the rest of the body to treat the tooth pain.

Tooth decay due to a rapid onset of dental caries.

 After the symptoms are treated we then look to restoring the tooth which commonly involves building up lost structure and placement of a crown. Every case has its own special qualities about them and it is always recommended to save what you can, but on occasion you may be faced with having to lose the tooth.

Weight Loss Could be Good for Your Oral Health

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Not all Candy is Created Equal : Sweet vs Sour

 We all know that something sticky and sweet is not a treat, well now we can add sour candy to that list. During our daily battle to improve our population’s dental health, we advise our patients to avoid various foods or treats that can have a negative impact on their dental health. In the midst of one such day, I stumbled upon an article that mentioned sour candies containing the up to a 92% greater potential to erode enamel and initiate tooth decay, than the original flavor counterpart (1). The main source of this increased risk is due to the greater amount of dietary acids such as citric acid, malic acid, and fumaric acid found in the candy. Citric acid seems to be the most commonly used acid not only in candy, but other foods and drinks that line our store shelves.

As we go through our day our busy day, the pH of our mouth fluctuates from a safe level (teeth recalcify) to a harmful acidic level (calcium is lost and tooth decay starts) every time we eat. If we are constantly snacking on candy or other foods our mouth is not given the chance to come back to the safe pH. If these snacks contain citric acid it makes maintaining your dental health a greater battle. If you need something in your mouth a sugarless gum is best because it keeps your acid fighting salivary glands stimulated. Also, snacks consisting of foods such as cheeses or walnuts can be less detrimental to your dental health.

Dental Health Tips:

1. Brush and Floss your teeth at least twice a day if not after every meal.

2. Do your best to avoid citric acid and other dietary acids in your diet.

3. Chew a sugarless gum, preferably containing Xylitol, usually a mint variety, since the fruit gums typically incorporate citric acid. Two things occur when you chew gum; saliva flow is stimulated by the gum (aiding in the buffering of acids), and the gum helps flush saliva between your teeth (aiding in bringing the pH between your teeth to a basic level that takes less time in other places in your mouth).

4. Stay hydrated with water so your salivary glands can produce plenty of saliva. Though it is good to dilute the acid by drinking water, keeping water in your mouth can increase the risk by diluting and washing away the calcium and proteins in your saliva that buffer the acids.

5.Visit your Dentist regularly so that your risk of dental decay can be monitored and any areas of dental decay can be addressed while the cavity is still small so we can save healthy tooth structure. 

Sources:

  1. Sour Worse Than Sweet for Your Teeth
  2. Journal of the American Dental Association