SmilesByGlerum News

Karen Glerum DDS

Smiles by Glerum News – January 2013

January 2nd, 2013

Aesthetic Dentistry Helps Self-Esteem of Children

Children with damaged, discolored or missing teeth sometimes have problems with self-esteem that can be improved through aesthetic dentistry.

When a child has lost one or more front teeth, the dentist can replace these teeth with an aesthetic maintainer. The artificial teeth can be placed onto a removable or cemented dental appliance. Also, dentists can apply aesthetic veneers, or plastic facings, on discolored primary front teeth.

For mildly or moderately decayed front and back teeth, dentists now are able to place tooth-colored dental fillings. These materials have been dramatically improved and eventually, dentists no longer will need to place silver fillings. These tooth-colored fillings are bonded to the tooth surface and they not only are beautiful but strong as well.

For severely decayed front and back teeth, silver-colored dental crowns no longer are the norm. Dentists now have tooth-colored plastic and porcelain materials that can be used to cover the entire surface of the tooth to restore both function and aesthetics. Some of these crowns have metal linings but still have tooth-colored facings that allow for beautiful aesthetic restorations.

Many children benefit dramatically from aesthetic dental care on their primary teeth. Be sure to consult with your dentist if you have questions about whether aesthetic dentistry is right for your child.

How Medications Affect Your Dental Health

If you’re taking medications for certain health conditions, it may not have crossed your mind that they can also impact your oral health. After all, medications are supposed to bring equilibrium back to your system, not stir things up, right? Truth is a variety of prescribed medications can affect your teeth.

Antihistamines may cause dry mouth syndrome, which can lead to sore gums, making the mouth more prone to infection. Contraceptives and blood pressure medications may cause mouth sores, gum inflammation and discoloration. Blood thinners can interfere with your ability to form blood clots or cause heavy bleeding after a tooth extraction. Anti-seizure medications can cause an overgrowth of gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) and make it difficult to practice good oral hygiene.

When you’re taking medications and start taking other medications — whether prescribed, over-the-counter or illegal – it can change the effects of both the original and the new medications. Simply put, when certain drugs interact, they may increase or decrease the effects or produce another, unintended effect. This is why it’s so important to keep your dentist informed about all the medications you take; any teeth medications you are prescribed will take this into consideration.

Soda Drinkers More Prone to Cavities

Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker. These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.

A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths. Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities. Soda may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because it is acidic as well.

Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches!

A study examined the effect of several types of sweetened soda and mineral water on the teeth. Teeth exposed to cola, orange and lime soda had significantly more decalcification than those exposed to mineral water. Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content promotes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.

The easiest way to prevent cavities is by brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed. Reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages can decrease the risk of forming cavities.

If you have to have sweetened soda, it is better to drink it at one sitting than sip it throughout the day. Better yet, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether.



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