Posts for: October, 2017
Halloween means loads of fun for kids everywhere: a chance to put on fanciful costumes and have some safe, spooky enjoyment. But the reward for all that trick-or-treating — bags full of sugary candy — can create monstrous problems for young smiles, in the form of tooth decay. Short of taking all those treats away, are there any ways to lessen the impact on your children’s teeth?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the answer is: Yes!
As long as kids are brushing twice and flossing once a day, it’s okay for them to enjoy a few sweet treats on Halloween. But starting that same night, or the next day, you can help protect them from cavities. Here’s how:
Sort It Out:
Some treats are potentially more damaging to teeth than others. For example, candy that’s sticky and clings to teeth — like gummy bears and taffy — takes longer to get cleared away by saliva. Lengthier contact with the teeth increases the risk of tooth decay. The same is true for sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time, like hard candy. Sour candy is often acidic, and that acid can weaken the hard enamel coating of teeth, making them more prone to decay. But there’s some good news: Chocolate, a favorite treat, washes off the teeth relatively quickly — and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.
Give It Away:
You can always give away some or all of your candy stash to people who will appreciate it: first responders or troops serving overseas, for example. Some organizations sponsor donation (or even buyback) programs. Try searching the web for programs like “Operation Gratitude,” among others.
Timing Is Everything:
If you do allow candy, limit it to mealtimes. That’s when saliva production is at its peak — and saliva helps neutralize acids and wash away food residue that can cause cavities. Whatever you do, don’t let kids snack on sweet treats from the candy dish throughout the day: This never gives your mouth a chance to bounce back from the sugary saturation.
Get Healthy Hydration:
For quenching thirst, water is the best choice. It helps your body stay properly hydrated and is needed for healthful saliva production. Sugary or acidic beverages like sodas (regular or diet), so-called “sports” or “energy” drinks, and even fruit juices can harm teeth. Fluoridated water (like most municipal tap water) has been shown to help prevent tooth decay. If you drink bottled water, look for a fluoridated variety.
Following these tips — and making sure your kids maintain good oral health with brushing, flossing, and routine dental office visits — will help keep them safe from cavities, not only at Halloween but all year long. If you have questions about cavity prevention or oral hygiene, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Decay — How to Assess Your Risk” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
Your teeth and gums have a highly sensitive network of nerves. But while it can signal even the most subtle discomfort we may not be able to identify the cause with pinpoint accuracy. As a result, tooth pain could indicate more than one kind of problem including a decayed tooth, root sensitivity, infected gum tissues (like an abscess) or a dying pulp signaled by diseased nerve tissue inside the tooth.
On the other hand, not all tooth pain is the same: it can be dull or sharp, continuous or intermittent. It can feel like a constant, throbbing ache or a sharp wince when you eat or drink something cold or hot, or when you bite down. These differences could point our diagnostic examination in the right direction.
For example, sharp, throbbing pain could indicate deep tooth decay, especially if it suddenly stops. That would likely mean the nerves within the tooth pulp under attack by the infection have died and can no longer transmit pain. The infection, on the other hand is still very much active — this usually requires a root canal treatment (cleaning out the pulp and root canals of diseased and dead tissue and filling the empty spaces) if we’re to save the tooth.
If, however, you’re experiencing sensitivity from temperature or pressure, we could be facing at least a couple of scenarios. For one, your tooth could be fractured. More likely, though, periodontal (gum) disease triggered by bacterial plaque has caused the gum tissues to shrink back (recede) from the affected teeth so that the sensitive dentin layer is exposed and no longer protected by the gum tissue.
If we diagnose gum disease, we’ll need to aggressively remove bacterial plaque from all tooth and gum surfaces. This procedure might require more than one appointment and the possibility of surgery if we encounter deep pockets of infection, especially around the roots. If gum recession is severe you may also need grafting surgery to replace the missing gum tissue or to re-cover the exposed areas of your teeth.
So, knowing the source of tooth pain will direct the course of treatment to follow. With proper treatment, though, the chances are good we can not only restore your teeth and gums to optimum health but we can end the pain.
If you would like more information on treating tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
Have you put off gum surgery because you're worried that it will be a painful experience? Laser gum surgery offers a better way to treat periodontal disease. Our Orange County, CA, periodontist, Dr. Ramyar Elyassian of Dental Implant and Laser Surgical Specialists, discusses the advantages of the surgery.
Why should I choose laser gum surgery?
Laser surgery eliminates scalpels and sutures, reducing pain and shortening the recovery period. Traditional gum surgery involves cutting your gums to reach tartar that has accumulated on teeth roots. The surgery involves scraping off tartar from the roots, reshaping bone affected by the disease and removing diseased portions of your gums. At the end of the surgery, your gums are sutured tightly against your teeth.
Not surprisingly, recovering from traditional gum surgery can be painful. In addition to taking pain medication, you will also need to stock up on soft foods, as you'll be unable to eat anything else for a few weeks.
Laser gum surgery involves removing tartar with an ultrasonic scaler, then using laser light to kill bacteria and remove diseased gum tissue. A tiny laser fiber placed between your teeth and gums delivers the laser light that targets diseased tissue without damaging healthy tissue. A blood clot, rather than sutures, secures your gums to your teeth at the conclusion of the surgery.
Laser treatment offers several important benefits, such as:
- Reduced Pain: After your treatment, you may only need over-the-counter medications to control pain and swelling.
- No Bleeding: Because your gums aren't cut during laser surgery, you won't experience bleeding.
- Fewer Diet Restrictions: You'll need to follow a liquid diet for a few days after laser surgery and a soft diet for an additional three days. Thanks to laser gum surgery, you can return to your regular diet much sooner.
- Faster Healing: Using a laser rather than a scalpel means that you'll heal much faster than people who have had traditional gum surgery. In fact, you can resume your normal activities immediately after your treatment.
- Fewer Treatments: Laser gum surgery usually only requires one or two treatments in our Orange County office.
Laser gum surgery makes treatment of gum disease a much more pleasant experience. If you're concerned about gum disease, call our Orange County, CA, periodontist, Dr. Elyassian of Dental Implant and Laser Surgical Specialists, at (714) 730-3746 to schedule an appointment.