ADA Recommends Expanded Use of Fluoride Toothpaste for Children

The American Dental Association is an American professional association with over 155,000 members.  Founded in 1859, it is currently the nation’s leading source of oral health related information for dentists and their patients.

Recently, the ADA expanded their recommendation for the use of fluoride toothpaste for young children.  Their new guidelines recommend that caregivers brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes in.

To help prevent tooth decay in children, the ADA now recommends that caregivers use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste (approximately the size of a grain of rice) for children younger than three years-old and a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste for children 3 to six years old.

This change was made as an attempt to prevent cavities in young children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease with more than 16 million children suffering from untreated tooth decay in the United States.  Additionally, oral disease causes children to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually.

Previously, the ADA recommended using only water to brush the teeth of children under the age of two and to brush children between the ages of 2 and six with years-old with a pea-size smear of fluoride toothpaste.  The ADA made this change to their recommendations based on a review of the scientific evidence surrounding the use of fluoride toothpaste in young children.  They hope that this will serve to reduce the incidence rates of dental decay in young children in the United States.

If you are a parent and are concerned about the oral health of your child, visit a pediatric or family dentist today.  He or she can evaluate your child’s dental health and make the appropriate recommendations to safeguard his or her long-term oral health.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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What is Your Tooth Sensitivity Trying to Tell You About Your Dental Health?

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem faced by many people everyday.  You may feel that zing when you drink your coffee in the morning or enjoy your ice cream in the afternoon.  Maybe brushing and flossing is a little bit painful.  So what does this mean in terms of your dental health?

Tooth sensitivity is caused when the tooth’s dentin loses its protective covering.  This can cause hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort when you chew, drink cold or hot liquids or breath through your mouth.  Some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity include tooth decay, a cracked tooth and tooth roots that are exposed as a result of overly aggressive tooth brushing, gum recession and periodontal disease.

So how can you prevent tooth sensitivity?  The best way is to practice good daily oral hygiene including brushing your teeth thoroughly (but not too aggressively) at least two times per day and flossing your teeth thoroughly at least one time per day.

If you have tooth sensitivity, you may also try desensitizing toothpastes.  If this does not ease your sensitivity,  your dentist may recommend an in-office procedure where a fluoride gel or special desensitizing agent is applied to the affected teeth.  Finally, if your gum tissue has been lost, exposing the root, your dentist may recommend a surgical gum graft to cover the root and reduce the sensitivity.

If you are experiencing severe and persistent tooth sensitivity, it may being trying to tell you something important about your overall dental health.  If so, schedule an appointment with your dentist so he or she can diagnose the source of the problem and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Finding Ways to Pay For Your Dental Care

In today’s economy, every dollar counts.  Even though things seem to be getting better, there are still many individuals in the United States who are unable to find full-time employment, or any employment at all.  This can make it difficult to pay for the necessities in life, including preventive dental care.

If you are fortunate enough to be employed by an employer who offers a health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) option, you know what a great benefit this is. A healthcare FSA is a tax-advantaged financial account that can be set up through a cafeteria plan by an employer in the United States. An FSA allows an employee to set aside a certain amount of their earnings to pay for eligible healthcare expenses. The money that is deducted from an employee’s payroll check and placed in an FSA is not subject to payroll taxes. This provides a very smart and cost-effective means for employees to pay for their healthcare expenses, including dental care.  FSA funds can be used for dental expenses such as teeth cleaning, sealants, fluoride treatments, X-rays, fillings, extractions, dentures and more.

In addition, many dental practices now offer in-house and/or flexible payment plans.  This provides another good option to help families and individuals pay for needed dental care.  These plans allow you to get the care you need now and to spread the payments out over time.  This can be especially helpful when a major dental procedure such as dental implants or root canal therapy is needed.

The worst thing you can do, in any economy is to neglect your oral health.  This will only lead to more serious, painful and expensive dental health problems down the road.  You can avoid costly dental bills in the future by getting regular general and preventive dental care today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 
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Dry Mouth: More Than Just a Nuisance

Dry mouth is a common problem and can be a real nuisance.  But, did you know that it is actually a real medical problem?  The medical term for dry mouth is Xerostomia.  This term refers to dryness in the mouth due to either reduced saliva or the absence of saliva.  Although it is considered a nuisance by most, dry mouth or Xerostomia can also have a negative affect on your oral health.

Dry mouth can lead to serious dental health issues because the saliva in your mouth has the important job of preventing tooth decay.  Saliva prevents tooth decay by limiting the growth of bacteria in your mouth and by washing away food particles.

If your body is not producing enough saliva, you may notice symptoms such as dryness in your mouth, sore throat, bad breath, cracked lips, an altered sense of taste, difficulty swallowing and more.  In many cases, dry mouth is a side effect of a medication.  In this case, changing the medication or altering the dose may eliminate or reduce the problem.  Aging, cancer therapy and nerve damage to your neck and head can also cause Xerostomia.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist.  Your doctor may recommend changing your medications or altering the dose of medication you are currently taking.  Your doctor or your dentist may prescribe medication to stimulate saliva production.  Your dentist may also fit you for coverings filled with fluoride to wear over your teeth at night, to protect them from cavities.

Whatever you do, do not dismiss persistent dry mouth as simply a nuisance.  If you are experiencing persistent dry mouth, talk to your dentist or doctor today about how you can deal with this problem and safeguard your long-term dental health.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 

 
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Dental Erosion

Dental erosion is one of the most common causes of cavities and tooth loss.  It occurs when the enamel (the protective layers on the outside of the teeth) is destroyed, exposing the underlying dentin.  When this occurs, your teeth are left vulnerable to sensitivity and decay.

There are a variety of different foods and beverages that can cause dental erosion due to their high acidity.  These foods and beverages include the following:

•  orange juice

•  apple juice

•  grapefruit juice

•  citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.)

•  tomatoes

•  pickles

•  white wine

•  soda

•  sports drinks

•  energy drinks

•  sour candies

•  tea

•  coffee

If you enjoy foods or beverages on this list, no need to panic or to necessarily cut them out of your diet completely.  Some of them (citrus fruits, tomatoes, tea, etc.) are really good for you and contain important vitamins and minerals. However, if you eat them all day long or everyday, you may want to think about limiting your intake.  If you are going to eat or drink these highly acidic foods and beverages, rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth after eating or drinking them will help to limit the exposure to your teeth.

If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold foods, this could be a sign that you are experiencing dental erosion.  If you have cavities or dental carries, this could be another sign.  If you suspect that you may have dental erosion, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.  After a thorough evaluation, he or she can recommend the best method or methods for dealing with this common and serious dental health issue.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Don’t Let Your Fear of the Dentist Ruin Your Dental Health

Is a dental phobia or fear of the dentist negatively affecting your dental health?  If so, you are not alone.  It is estimated that about 15% of the population has some degree of fear and anxiety about going to the dentist.  This can range from a racing heart beat and sweaty palms to fear that is so intense, it is debilitation.

As a result of this fear, many individuals do not seek the dental health care they need to maintain good oral health.  Unfortunately, this can lead to serious dental health problems that require attention.  It is a vicious cycle!

So what is the answer to dealing with dental anxieties?  The first step is to find a dentist and a dental practice that you feel comfortable with.  The second step is to talk to your dentist about your fears and how they can be overcome.  In some cases, it may be as simple as listening to soothing music while you are getting treatment.  In other cases, sedation can be used to ease your fears and anxieties.

Most dental practices today offer some type of Sedation Dentistry.  This can range from inhaled Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) to oral sedative medications to I.V. sedative medications.  Patients who have a fear of the dentist can definitely benefit from Sedation Dentistry.  It is also a good option for patients with a severe gag reflex, individuals who have trouble getting numb with local anesthetics and individuals who have physical limitations that make it difficult to receive dental care.

Don’t let fear keep you from taking good care of your teeth.  Talk to your dentist about your options for Sedation Dentistry today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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