timberlake dental

Sealants

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a protective barrier, covering the most vulnerable surface of the teeth and shielding them from cavity-causing bacteria. The sealants are most commonly applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most frequently. They can also be applied to any deep pit or groove that is high risk for decay, including the back of upper front teeth.

How does a sealant help prevent decay?

A sealant is a dental material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This material has a micromechanical bond to enamel in the deep pits and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque, bacteria and acids.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But in some cases, toothbrush bristles cannot reach the depth of pits and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by filling in the grooves to prevent any accumulation of bacteria, plaque or food, and by creating a shallower, more cleansable surface for the toothbrush.

Is sealant application a complicated procedure?

Sealants are easy for your dentist or dental hygienist to apply, and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an etching solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then “painted” onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
The only difficult aspects of sealant application are the bad taste of the materials used and the need to keep the tooth dry. If a child is very cooperative, the sealant can be applied without his or her ever tasting the materials. There is no pain associated with the application of a sealant.

Sealants are just for kids, right?

The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. Children typically do not have the manual dexterity necessary to adequately clean their teeth, so they are at a higher risk of developing cavities. Adults can benefit from sealants as well. An easy way to determine where a sealant would be most beneficial for an adult is to look for dark stains in the pits and grooves of the teeth. A deep crevice that is accumulating stain which cannot be removed by brushing is a high-risk area for a cavity to start. If it is collecting
stain, it is also collecting bacteria. Over a period of time, the bacteria is very likely to start damaging the enamel surface, leading to a cavity.

“CDC Promotes Dental Sealants in New Report

According to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report, dental sealants are an extremely effective intervention for preventing most of the cavities children get in their permanent back teeth, but the majority of children still don’t have them. The report also found that children from low-income families, who are at increased risk for cavities, are less likely than children from higher-income families to have dental sealants. Increasing sealant use prevalence could substantially reduce untreated decay, associated problems, and dental treatment costs, the CDC report concludes.
Additional findings of the report include:
 School-age children (ages 6-11) without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than those with sealants.
 Although the overall number of children with sealants has increased over time, low-income children are 20 percent less likely to have them and two times more likely to have untreated cavities than higher-income children.”

Sounds great! Can I have dental sealants on all of my teeth?

Once a tooth already has decay, it cannot be sealed. The decay must be removed and restored with a filling. A one surface filling to fix this type of cavity costs over $200. Placing sealants can prevent this type of decay, decreasing your costs for dental care in the long run. A thorough evaluation of all of your teeth should be performed by your dentist to determine which teeth could benefit from sealants.

Do sealants last forever?

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. They can be damaged by habits such as teeth grinding and chewing ice. During your dental evaluations, Dr. Chowning will confirm the effectiveness of the sealants and have them re-applied when necessary.

Would you like to know more about sealants?

Call our office at 940-382-1750 to set up an evaluation with Dr. Chowning.

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Sports Drinks

Sports drinks make up a multi-billion dollar industry ($6.8 billion in 2014 according to the Wall Street Journal), and the growth of sports drinks is outpacing the growth of soft drinks.  Many analysts think this trend is due to an improved awareness of the health risks associated with the consumption of soft drinks.

Most people know that a Coke is not good for you.  There is a mindset, encouraged by the sports drink industry in its advertisements, that sports drinks are healthier than soft drinks and even better for you than water.  They spend a lot of money to make people think that if you’re going to be a real athlete, you have to drink Gatorade.

Unfortunately, sports drinks are not quite the “healthy” option they claim to be.  This blog will address the dental consequences of sports drinks.  Click HERE to read about the general health consequences according to some 2012 studies published in the British Medical Journal.

Sports drinks have two characteristics that make them bad for teeth: 1) high sugar content, and 2) very low pH.  You can see from the following table that the sugar content varies pretty widely, but the pH is consistently as low as a soft drink.

Most people know that sugar causes cavities.  What you need to know is that a low, or acidic, pH makes it much easier for cavities to start.  In the same way that acid etches glass, acid also softens and weakens enamel.  Enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body, is damaged when the pH of its environment drops below 5.5.  All of these drinks fall far below that threshold.

So if you know you are a cavity-prone individual, or your teenage athlete has a bunch of new suspicious areas on his or her teeth (called incipient lesions by your dentist), it’s time to trade the Gatorade for good old-fashioned water.

A few things to remember when considering a sports drink:

  • Always look at the serving size when assessing the nutritional facts. If the serving size is different than the size of the bottle, you’re going to have to do some math.  Gatorade labels have nutritional information for a 12 fl. oz. serving.  This means if you drink the whole 32 oz. bottle, you need to multiply those grams of sugar by 2.66 to get the true amount of sugar you just ingested.
  • Think about the volume you actually drink. Most people drink much larger amounts of a sports drink than they ever would of a soda.
  • Pay attention to the length of time it takes you to drink your sports drink. Sipping on a sports drink throughout a long sporting event is much worse for your teeth than quickly guzzling 32 ounces at the end of a game or practice.

 

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What Does It Mean To Be High Risk For Cavities?

What is a cavity?

A cavity is the destruction of tooth structure caused by a combination of bacteria, sugar and acid.  When bacteria in the mouth digests sugar, acid is produced.  The acid destroys enamel, just like it etches glass, and this process is called demineralization.  Once a cavity has grown through the outer layer of enamel, it cannot be reversed.

What are the different types of cavities?

Cavities can form on any surface of the tooth, including the pits and fissures on the biting surface, smooth surfaces and any exposed root.  Pit & fissure cavities are the type that can be prevented by placing dental sealants before a cavity has formed.  Smooth surface cavities, most commonly in between the teeth, are discovered with bitewing x-rays, typically taken by your dentist once a year.  Root cavities can be seen on visual examination, or on an x-ray if they are large.

How do cavities happen?

Four things are required for a cavity to form: 1) bacteria 2) sugar, 3) acid, and 4) time.  The bacteria present in the mouth thrive on simple carbohydrates, the sugars in most crackers, cookies, candy, soda, sports drinks, and most juices.  The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more likely you are to get a cavity.  This factor emphasizes the importance of daily home care and regular dental cleanings.  The more sugar your teeth are exposed to, the more likely you are to get a cavity.  This factor emphasizes the importance of your diet.  The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar or acid, the more likely you are to get a cavity.  This factor emphasizes the importance of your habits (i.e. sipping on sugary or acidic beverages for long periods of time).  The more acidic your mouth is, the more likely you are to get a cavity. This factor also emphasizes the importance of diet, specifically acidic beverages like sparkling water, sports drinks, juices, and sodas.

What does it mean to be high risk?

There are multiple factors that can make you high risk.  You may present with one or more of these factors:

  • Poor plaque control
  • High risk diet
  • Multiple existing restorations (like fillings or crowns)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Decreased salivary flow or dry mouth
  • Systemic condition
  • Active decay
  • Unsealed grooves and pits
  • In orthodontic treatment, either braces or Invisalign

What can I do about my risk for cavities?

By altering the four factors in the above diagram, you can reduce your cavity risk.

  1. Sugar – Limit sugar intake, especially in between meals.  Cut back on sodas, sweetened coffee or tea, sports drinks, or juices.  Don’t chew sugar-containing gum, mints or other hard candy.
  2. Bacteria – Reduce the bacterial levels in your mouth by having your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis, and performing good oral hygiene at home.  FLOSS!
  3. Acid – Reduce your intake of acidic foods & drinks (this includes DIET SODAS, coffee and tea), drink plenty of water, use sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate salivary flow, and control any acid reflux problems.  Neutralizing the pH in your mouth may involve using recommended mouthrinses or gels.
  4. Time – Limit the length of time that your teeth are exposed to acid or sugar.  Sipping on an acidic or sugary beverage is one of the most common causes of cavities.  You may only drink one soda per day, but if you sip on it for several hours, you are increasing your cavity risk exponentially.

What if I don’t do anything?

Untreated cavities expand toward the nerve inside the tooth.  Large cavities can cause nerve irritation and sensitivity to hot and cold.  If the cavity reaches the nerve, causing it to become infected with the cavity’s bacteria, a severe infection and toothache can ensue. Not all tooth infections hurt, so evaluation of teeth with dental x-rays is important!   Tooth infections can extend through the root and into the surrounding jaw structures, and worst-case scenario, end in death by closing off the airway or spreading into the brain.

Think you may have a cavity?

Call our office today at 940-382-1750 to set up an evaluation with Dr. Chowning.  He will assess your risk factors, diagnose any cavities that need treatment, and discuss your treatment options with you.

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Healthy Start Appliances

What is Healthy StartTM?

Healthy StartTM is a new treatment option offered by Dr. Chowning that provides an exciting way to treat sleep-disordered breathing issues in children, address certain orthodontic and growth concerns, and correct bad habits such as thumb-sucking or pacifier use.  The Healthy StartTM system was developed by Dr. Earl Bergersen to meet the need for a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical treatment for sleep-disordered breathing in children.  Dr. Bergersen is an orthodontist in Illinois who practiced orthodontics for 37 years and taught dental students about growth and development for over 25 years.  He has been developing orthodontic appliances for almost 50 years.  His early orthodontic treatment procedures have been the subject of major research studies in the U.S., Brazil and Finland.  Dr. Bergersen’s years of experience and research have given him the firm foundation on which he based the Healthy StartTM system.

The Healthy StartTM system is a series of oral appliances custom-made to fit each patient and address his or her specific concerns.  Each patient’s treatment plan is individualized for his or her particular needs.

How does Healthy StartTM work?

The Healthy StartTM appliances are worn at night to control the position of the patient’s upper and lower jaws, teeth and tongue.  Depending on the patient’s needs, appliances also may need to be worn for several hours during the day, and treatment could include some exercises to train the oral and facial muscles into a proper posture.  The Healthy StartTM appliances not only provide the correct positioning of the oral structures for good airflow and breathing at night; they also function to create a better airway for life!  They guide the growth of the jaws, direct the placement of the permanent teeth as they come into the mouth and control any abnormal habits like tongue-thrusting or teeth-grinding.  This allows the airway to develop with the correct anatomy to permit good airflow and breathing during sleep for the rest of the patient’s life.

Who needs Healthy StartTM?

There are many factors that contribute to the shape of a child’s airway and that can predispose him or her to breathing issues when sleeping.  The factors addressed by the Healthy StartTM system include the anatomy of the mouth and jaws, the position of the teeth, and the posture of the tongue.

Some children have poor muscle tone in the facial and tongue muscles, which can lead to a slackness of the tissues in the airway, making it more likely to be restricted.  Facial muscle tone begins developing in utero, so poor muscle tone can be a problem that has its roots as far back as during pregnancy.  Patients with poor facial muscle tone will likely require some muscle exercises in addition to wearing the Healthy StartTM appliances.

Others have high-risk anatomy of the upper and lower jaws.  This high-risk anatomy includes a narrow, high palate (roof of the mouth), a retruded lower jaw, and/or an opening between the upper and lower front teeth (an anterior open bite).   These abnormalities are either naturally created by a growth and development problem or caused by a harmful habit such as thumb-sucking, long-term pacifier use or a tongue thrust.

When is the right time for a child to begin wearing a Healthy StartTM appliance?

The earlier, the better.  A child can start wearing a Healthy StartTM appliance as early as age 3!  The most common time to start treatment is from 5-7 years of age, when the child begins to get their first permanent teeth.  Because the appliance is made to help guide the permanent teeth into the correct position, it is worn until all of the permanent teeth have come into the mouth, which is typically around age 12.

Is it difficult for a child to wear the Healthy StartTM appliances?

There is an adjustment period, during which the child must get used to wearing an oral appliance at night.  They are made of a soft material and described to the child as a “pillow” for their teeth.  One father described his experience with his daughter wearing a Healthy StartTM appliance, and he stated that it took about a week for her to be able to sleep through the night while keeping the appliance in.  Because the quality of sleep the child experiences while wearing the appliance is so much better than without, it becomes very easy for her after the initial adjustment period.

What are the benefits of the Healthy StartTM system?

Due to an improved quality of sleep, improved quantity of sleep, and improved oxygen levels, your child will be well-rested and show improvements in many of the following areas:

  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Sleep-talking, sleep-walking and bed-wetting
  • Daytime tiredness and irritability
  • ADD/ADHD and poor school performance

After wearing the Healthy StartTM system, many patients need very little orthodontic movement of their teeth because they have already been guided into the proper position as the child grew.  Some patients need no orthodontic intervention at all.

Are you interested in learning more about Healthy StartTM?

The Healthy StartTM website is a wonderful resource with frequently asked questions and both educational and testimonial videos.  If you would like to find out if your child could benefit from Healthy StartTM, please call our office at 940-382-1750 to set up a consultation with Dr. Chowning.

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Invisalign®

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What is Invisalign®? 

Invisalign® is a method of straightening teeth that does not require metal brackets or wires.  It consists of a series of removable clear plastic aligners (or trays) that are custom made for each individual’s teeth.  When a patient decides to straighten their teeth with Invisalign®, Dr. Chowning makes a personalized treatment plan for his or her orthodontic needs.  This unique plan is communicated to the AlignTech® laboratory, where each aligner is fabricated via CAD/CAM technology.  The aligners are virtually invisible, and it is one of the most esthetic ways to straighten your teeth.

What are the advantages of using Invisalign® to straighten teeth?

Aside from the obvious cosmetic advantages, Invisalign® provides the patient with the ability to clean the teeth much more easily than in traditional braces.  Because the aligners are removable, they are simply removed for a normal, good oral hygiene routine that includes mouthwash, brushing and flossing.  With traditional braces, adjunctive products such as special flossers, interdental brushes or picks or Waterpik tools are often needed to keep the teeth free of food debris and bacterial plaque.  The Invisalign® aligners make perfect custom whitening trays, so you can whiten your teeth while you straighten them.  The aligners can also be removed for special occasions like weddings, photo sessions, speeches, etc…

What are the disadvantages of using Invisalign® to straighten teeth?

Like the advantages, the disadvantages also stem from the fact that the aligners are removable.  Unlike braces and wires, which cannot be removed by the patient, Invisalign® aligners can be taken out at any time.  This means that the success of treatment depends on patient compliance.  If the aligners are not worn for at least 22 hours per day, the teeth will not move as prescribed by your dentist.  There are times when the orthodontic movement of teeth can cause discomfort or tooth pain.  This makes it very tempting to remove the aligners for relief from the pressure being put on the teeth.  There are many people who do not achieve a successful result with their Invisalign® treatment because they do not wear the aligners as prescribed.

How does Invisalign® work?

Through the use of its patented design, Invisalign® aligners move your teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force.  To put it simply, Invisalign® moves teeth by pushing them into the desired position.  Invisalign® not only controls the amount and direction of force, but also the timing of the force application.  This means that your dentist can prescribe exact movements for each individual tooth, including which teeth not to move, like implants or teeth that are part of a cemented bridge.  Certain teeth can be held in place while others are being moved.

Why do some people get Invisalign® and others get braces? 

There are some limitations to the type of tooth movements Invisalign® can accomplish, and not every patient is a candidate for straightening their teeth with Invisalign®.  An orthodontic evaluation of your teeth is necessary to determine if your goals will be met by using Invisalign®.

What is the cost for Invisalign®?

For Invisalign® treatment, the cost is similar to that of traditional orthodontics and has a wide range depending on the length of treatment.  Once Dr. Chowning has done a thorough orthodontic evaluation, he will estimate the length of treatment and number of aligners required to meet your goals.  Our office offers CareCredit® financing upon approval.

Does my dental insurance cover Invisalign®?

Many dental insurance companies do provide coverage for Invisalign®.  It is claimed as a benefit for Adult Orthodontics and typically ranges from $1500-2500.  To find out if you are covered, you can call your dental insurance company and ask if you have adult orthodontic coverage.  Teenagers are often covered under their insurance plan’s orthodontic benefits, up to a certain age limit, which varies depending on your specific insurance plan.

How long will it take to straighten my teeth?

Treatment time varies based on how much movement is required to achieve your goals and how compliant you are with wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours per day.  New studies suggest that each aligner may be worn from 7-14 days.  This range means that some patients may achieve quicker results than others.  Average treatment time for an adult is about 12-18 months.

How often do I have to see the dentist during Invisalign® treatment?

After treatment has begun, your dentist will typically see you every 6 weeks, which means you will wear 3 sets of aligners between each visit.  Sometimes more frequent appointments are required to monitor the progress of the teeth.

What are the eating and drinking restrictions during Invisalign® treatment?

Because aligners can be removed for eating and drinking, there are no restrictions to what you can eat or drink when the aligners are not in your mouth.  You can eat with the aligners in, and the chewing force actually contributes to tooth movement.  If you choose to eat with the aligners in, it’s essential that you remove them afterward to properly clean both the aligners and your teeth.  It is important that you do not drink anything besides water with the aligners in.  Because the aligners keep your saliva from properly bathing the teeth, any acid or sugar from a beverage could be trapped under the aligners and increase the likelihood of cavities.

Why now?

There is no better time to straighten your teeth than now!  Over time, teeth continue to shift and move, and most problems are aggravated as we age.  Spacing between teeth continues to increase so gaps get noticeably larger.  Crowding on upper and lower front teeth typically gets worse so teeth appear more and more crooked.  Straightening teeth earlier, rather than later, allows for shorter treatment time and more time to enjoy your new, beautiful smile.

Interested in Invisalign®?

Call Timberlake Dental today at 940-382-1750 to set up an orthodontic consultation with Dr. Chowning.

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Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Why Is My Dentist Asking If My Child Snores?

Some of you may have noticed that when you bring your child in for their professional cleaning and periodic evaluation, Dr. Chowning asks questions about your child’s sleep patterns.  “Does your child snore?  Does he grind his teeth?  Does she wake up with a raspy voice or a sour stomach?”  We treat adults who have obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance.  After much study and continuing education on the subject, it was only natural that we continue our learning with research into pediatric sleep apnea.  Because we have a chance to look inside their mouths (and inevitably, down their throats) a few times a year, we are in a perfect position to evaluate their airway on a regular basis.

Refresher: What is Sleep Apnea?

An apnea occurs when breathing stops for a period of time.  It is generally caused by an obstruction or blockage in the airway, which causes a disruption of normal breathing.  Snoring is an important warning sign because it indicates that there are excess tissues vibrating in the airway.  These same excess tissues can collapse and block the airway, causing apneas to occur.

 Why Is Pediatric Sleep Apnea an Important Issue?

According to a 2002 study, children with obstructive sleep apnea consume 226% more health care services than children without.  According to a 2007 study, these children have 40% more visits to the hospital than children without OSA, as well as higher consumption of anti-infective and respiratory system drugs.  The risks of undiagnosed sleep apnea include problems with behavior, learning and development, and in severe cases, failure to grow, heart problems and high blood pressure.

What Causes Pediatric Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by anything that makes the opening of the airway (through either the nose or the mouth) smaller than it should be.  Some children have very large tonsils or an enlarged tongue that blocks the opening at the back of the throat.  Some may have a jaw that is smaller than normal or a palate (roof of the mouth) that is very long and hangs down into the back of the throat.  Even a deviated nasal septum or an enlarged turbinate can cause a decreased amount of airflow.  The shape of the upper and lower jaws are important in shaping the airway.  Certain growth patterns make some children more susceptible to airway problems than others.

What are the Warning Signs of Pediatric Sleep Apnea?

  • Snoring, snorting, gasping or squeaking sounds during sleep
  • Restless sleep, nightmares, sleep walking or bedwetting
  • Sleeping in abnormal positions with the head at an unusual angle
  • Heavy, irregular breathing or mouth breathing
  • Grinding teeth
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning

What are the Steps in Diagnosing and Treating Pediatric Sleep Apnea?

If your child exhibits several of the warning signs and has any narrow airway risk factors, Dr. Chowning will discuss the next step in diagnosis of sleep apnea.  It may involve treatment in our office as well as referral to several different doctors, including a sleep physician, an ENT, an orthodontist, an allergist and possibly 3D imaging to visualize the child’s airway.  In certain cases, your child may be treated with an oral appliance that opens and shapes the airway as the child sleeps, such as the Healthy Start system.  A sleep physician conducts a sleep study to gather all the data needed to diagnose or rule out a sleep-disordered breathing problem.  If your child is diagnosed with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, it is possible that an adenotonsillectomy (surgery to remove the adenoids and tonsils) could be recommended, and you would be referred to an ENT for that procedure.  Because the shape of the jaws can affect the breathing space, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to change the shape of the jaws, thereby increasing the airway space.  An allergist can be helpful in decreasing the size of inflamed tissues through allergy therapy.

Do you think your child may have sleep apnea?

Please contact our office at 940-382-1750 to set up a consultation. Dr. Chowning will discuss the risk factors your child exhibits and the treatment options available.  He is trained in the recognition and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in children with Healthy Start appliances. These FDA approved appliances offer a non-surgical approach to treating a constricted airway.  Healthy Start appliances will be discussed in more detail in a future blog post.

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Sparkling Water

Is Sparkling Water Bad for Your Teeth?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Most people know that foods and drinks high in sugar can cause cavities.  It is common knowledge that sodas and candy are bad for your teeth. What many people are unaware of is that sparkling water can also damage the teeth.

Due to an increase in its popularity in recent years, we are frequently asked about sparkling water (carbonated water) and whether it can damage your teeth.  Although most sparkling water contains nothing more than carbonated water (perhaps with a few minerals and flavors), most people do not expect it to be as acidic as soda, which contains phosphoric acid. Unfortunately, sparkling water is very acidic due to the carbonation process which forms carbonic acid.

Yes, Sparkling Water Can Harm Your Teeth!

A group of researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom wanted to find out if sparkling water can cause enamel erosion.

First, they measured the pH of various sparkling waters and found a pH of around 3 (ranging from 2.7-3.4). This pH level is just as low as most sodas!

This research group took some extracted teeth and placed them in glasses filled with different types of flavored carbonated waters. They found that the sparkling water does erode away tooth enamel.  In fact, they found that flavored sparkling water has as much or more of an erosive effect on teeth than orange juice, which is known to be very damaging to teeth.

The following is what this group of researchers concluded:

“Flavored sparkling waters should be considered as potentially erosive, and preventive advice on their consumption should recognize them as potentially acidic drinks rather than water with flavoring.”

In other words, sparkling water can erode your tooth enamel and should not be considered “water” at all. Rather, it is more appropriately classified as an “acidic drink”.

What does this mean for your teeth?

Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.  It is a protective coating over the core nerves and blood vessels in our teeth.  The purpose of our teeth is to chew food; the enamel serves to withstand the mechanical and chemical forces that teeth are subjected to as they do that job.  Anything that softens, erodes, or breaks enamel is bad because it weakens the tooth.  Enamel erosion makes it easier for the bacteria in our mouths to cause cavities and can cause major breakdown of your teeth, which causes the need for more dental work in your future.

A healthy mouth has a pH level slightly above neutral (7.0).  Anything below neutral is an acid.  Enamel begins to soften or demineralize at a pH of 5.5 or below.  Many of the things we eat and drink are lower than 5.5 pH.  In a normal, healthy mouth, saliva can act as a buffer and bring the pH back up to neutral once the acid is gone (i.e. you’ve stopped eating or drinking).

What should you do?

  • Be aware of the sparkling water that you consume. Some sparkling waters are flavored with citrus flavorings such as lemon, lime, orange, etc… which add citric acid on top of the carbonic acid.
  • Pay attention to the amount of sparkling water that you consume.  You should never be drinking more sparkling water than regular water.
  • Do not slowly sip on acidic drinks throughout the day. This makes it more difficult for your saliva to keep your mouth at a neutral pH.  Drink it quickly.
  • After drinking a sparkling water, rinse your mouth with water to help quickly return it to a neutral pH.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after drinking something acidic.  This helps to stimulate good saliva flow and return the pH to neutral.

Special Considerations:

If you have a high risk for cavities, you should stay away from all acidic drinks.  If you don’t know your cavity risk, ask Dr. Chowning!

If you have a dry mouth, you do not have the proper amount of saliva to counteract the acid in these drinks, so you should stay away from all acidic drinks.

Need more information?

If you’d like more information on sparkling water and how it can affect you personally, please call 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.

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Can Your Mouth and Gum Disease Really Cause Heart Problems?

soft kiss

Curated News:

By Timberlake Dental curated from ClevelandClinics.com

– Image Courtesy of Flickr – Kate Dreyer 

“We see a great deal of overlap, but no research is strong enough to link gum disease and cardiac disease, heart attack or stroke,” Dr. Jellis says. “But, we know that people who brush and floss regularly have better overall health with less gum disease and less periodontal inflammation.

See full article on ClevelandClinics.com

Commentary:

As stated in the article, “Oral and heart disease are both linked with inflammation, and that’s always created the suspicion that there is a link between the two,” she says. “While that’s not borne out by research, investigations are still ongoing to see if there’s something there.”

Which Is Contagious: Your Canker Sore or Cold Sore?

Cold Sore

Curated News:

By Timberlake Dental curated from ClevelandClinic.com

– Image Courtesy of Flickr – AJC1

“Canker sores appear inside your mouth; cold sores happen outside, says Todd Coy, DMD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Dentistry.

Also, while canker sores are not contagious, cold sores involve a very contagious virus. You risk passing cold sores along when you kiss someone, drink out of the same container or share silverware with other people.”

See full article on ClevelandClinic.com

Commentary:

As stated in the article, “Canker sores will usually go away by themselves after a week or so, but they can make it difficult to eat or talk, so you may want to seek relief in the meantime. Cold sores tend to typically stick around for about two weeks, but there are steps you can take to shorten flare-ups.”

Do Teeth Whitening Kits you Use at Home Really Work?

Smile

Curated News:

By Timberlake Dental curated from ClevelandClinic.org

– Image Courtesy of Flickr – Rupert Taylor-Price

Most of us wouldn’t mind making our pearly whites a little brighter. Teeth can get discolored from tea, coffee and wine stains, smoking or simply from growing older. But if you want to whiten your teeth at home with a teeth-whitening kit, here are five things you should do.

See full article on ClevelandClinic.org

Commentary:

As stated in the article, “Whitening is very safe, but you should use it judiciously,” says Hadie Rifai, DDS. “Overuse can cause tooth pain or sensitivity. You should consult your dentist before using prescription dental whitening products.”

Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs has monitored the development of tooth-whitening products for roughly two decades, as they continued to become more popular.

However, Dr. Rifai cautions that if you have periodontal disease, you should not use the home whitening products without first consulting a professional.”