Fluoride is a critical weapon in the war against tooth decay. But this natural chemical proven to strengthen tooth enamel has also aroused suspicion over the years that it might cause health problems.
These suspicions have led to rigorous testing of fluoride's safety. And the verdict from decades of research? We've found only one verifiable side effect, a condition called enamel fluorosis. Caused by too much fluoride present in the body, enamel fluorosis produces white streaks and patches on teeth, and can develop into darker staining and pitting in extreme cases. But other than having an unattractive appearance, the teeth remain sound and healthy.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of fluorosis by limiting fluoride exposure to within recommended limits. Fluoride can show up in processed foods and other substances, but the two sources you should focus on most are oral hygiene products and fluoridated drinking water.
Dentists highly recommend using toothpaste with fluoride to fight tooth decay. But be careful how much your family uses, especially younger members. An infant only needs a slight smear of toothpaste on their brush for effective hygiene. At around age 2, you can increase the amount to about the size of a vegetable pea.
As to drinking water, most utilities add fluoride to their supply. If yours does, you can find out how much they add by calling them or visiting cdc.gov ("My Water's Fluoride"), where you can also learn more about recommended levels of fluoridation. If you think it's excessive, you can switch to water labeled "de-ionized," "purified," "demineralized," or "distilled," which contain little to no added fluoride.
Even if your fluoridated water is within recommended levels, you may wish to take extra precautions for infants nursing with formula. If possible, use "ready-to-feed" formula, which usually contains very low amounts of fluoride if any. If you're using the powdered form, use only water with the aforementioned labeling for mixing.
Before making any drastic changes that might affect your family's fluoride intake, consult with your dentist first. And be sure you're keeping up regular dental visits—your dentist may be able to detect any early signs of fluorosis before it becomes a bigger problem.
If you would like more information on maintaining the proper fluoride balance with your family, 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 “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make if you want to reduce your risk of oral cancer, with quitting a tobacco habit at the top of the list. You should also moderate your alcohol consumption and practice safe sex to prevent the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV 16) linked to oral cancer.
And there's one other area that might be ripe for change—your diet. The foods we consume can work both ways in regard to cancer: some, especially processed products with certain chemicals, increase your cancer risk; more natural foods, on the other hand, can help your body fight cancer formation.
Although how cancer forms and grows isn't fully understood, we do know some of the mechanisms involved. One major factor in cancer growth is damage to DNA, the molecule that contains all the instructions for normal cell growth. Certain chemicals called carcinogens cause much of this DNA damage.
One example of these dangerous chemicals are nitrosamines, found in substances used to preserve meats like bacon or ham. Nitrosamines also occur in beer during the brewing process, some fish and fish products, processed cheese and foods pickled with nitrite salt. It's believed long-term consumption of foods with these chemicals can increase the risk of cancer.
On the other hand, there are foods with substances called antioxidants that help our bodies resist cancer. Antioxidants protect cells from unstable molecules called free radicals that can also damage DNA. You'll find antioxidants in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those high in fiber. Vitamins like C and E found in many natural foods also have antioxidant properties.
So, to help keep your risk of cancer and other diseases low, make sure your diet includes mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, along with plant-based fats found in nuts or olive oil. At the same time minimize your consumption of processed foods with preservatives and other chemicals, along with animal and saturated fats.
A change in eating not only reduces your cancer risk, it can also improve your overall health and well-being. You'll also find a healthy diet can be dental-friendly—it can help keep your teeth and gums disease-free and healthy.
If you would like more information on dental-friendly nutrition practices, 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 “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”
How root canal treatment from your dentist in Kissimmee, FL, can help your smile
If you have been told you need a root canal, you may be fearing the worst. The truth is, root canal treatment is nothing to fear. Modern root canal therapy is easier than you think, and it’s the perfect solution to remove tooth pain, and avoid tooth extraction. Dr. Vincent Grosso II in Kissimmee, FL, offers root canal therapy to help your smile.
Your tooth can hurt for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, infection, trauma, periodontal disease, and other causes. So, how do you know if you really need a root canal? There are some signs and symptoms which may indicate a root canal can help you. Let your dentist know if you experience:
- Increasing pain when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages
- Increasing pain when you bite down or chew your food
- A red or white bump appearing on your gums next to a tooth root
- Drainage including blood or pus coming from the bump on your gums
- A tooth becoming noticeably darker or grayer than the teeth next to it
If you do need a root canal, don’t worry! Dr. Grosso begins by creating a small opening in the top of your tooth. Using ultra-thin instruments, he will draw out the infected and inflamed tissue through the opening. A temporary sedative filling is then placed inside your tooth. This sedative eliminates inflammation, pressure and pain.
When your symptoms have subsided and your tooth is no longer painful, Dr. Grosso will remove the sedative material and fill your tooth with an inert material. The opening is then sealed up with a permanent filling.
Your root canal is complete, and your pain is gone! You also have kept your complete smile! To find out more about how root canals help your smile, call your dentist, Dr. Vincent Grosso in Kissimmee, FL, today!
There have never been more options available to invest in a straighter, healthier, and more attractive smile for children, teenagers, and adults. Traditional metallic braces are just one of several options available to correct common bite and alignment problems like crowding, overbite, open bite, crossbite, and excessive gaps and spacing. Dr. Jeff DiMariano, your dentist in Sacramento, CA, recommends Invisalign clear aligner trays for teenage and adult patients looking for a discreet and minimally invasive alternative to braces. Read on to learn more about the different types of braces!
The Traditional Orthodontic Treatments Available at Our Sacramento Office
Traditional braces are available in a few different styles depending on the patient's alignment needs and personal preference:
- Metallic braces with wires and brackets
- Ceramic braces (the clear version of wires and brackets for a more discreet look)
- Lingual braces (the appliances are placed on the back of the teeth so that they aren't visible)
- Self-ligating braces (they use clips instead of rubber bands for less pressure and adjustments)
The Benefits of Invisalign
Given that many older teenagers and adults are understandably reluctant to wear metallic braces for personal and professional reasons, Invisalign can be a good alternative to discreetly straighten your teeth.
Invisalign can correct many of the same issues as traditional braces, and it offers a number of additional benefits for qualified patients. The trays can be removed for up to two hours every day, allowing you to keep up your oral hygiene routine and enjoy the same foods and diet. In some cases, the length of treatment time is shorter with Invisalign. However, some orthodontic problems are too severe to warrant the use of Invisalign—depending on the type and severity of your bite problems, your dentist will recommend the best type of orthodontic appliance for your needs.
Interested? Give Us a Call!
To learn more about which orthodontic options is best for you, contact our Sacramento office today by calling (916) 929-3898 to schedule an appointment with Dr. DiMariano!
The 2019 Grammy Awards was a star-studded night packed with memorable performances. One standout came from the young Canadian singer Shawn Mendes, who sang a powerful duet of his hit song "In My Blood" with pop diva Miley Cyrus. But that duo's stellar smiles weren't always quite as camera-ready as they looked that night.
"I had braces for four and a half years," Mendes told an interviewer not long ago. "There's lots and lots and lots of photo evidence, I'm sure you can pull up a few." (In fact, finding one is as easy as searching "Sean Mendes braces.")
Wearing braces puts Mendes in good company: It's estimated that over 4 million people in the U.S. alone wear braces in a typical year—and about a quarter of them are adults! (And by the way: When she was a teenager, Miley Cyrus had braces, too!)
Today, there are a number of alternatives to traditional metal braces, such as tooth-colored braces, clear plastic aligners, and invisible lingual braces (the kind Cyrus wore). However, regular metal braces remain the most common choice for orthodontic treatment. They are often the most economical option, and can be used to treat a wide variety of bite problems (which dentists call malocclusions).
Having straighter teeth can boost your self-confidence—along with helping you bite, breathe, chew, and even speak more effectively. Plus, teeth that are in good alignment and have adequate space in between are easier to clean; this can help you keep your mouth free of gum disease and tooth decay for years to come.
Many people think getting braces is something that happens in adolescence—but as long as your mouth is otherwise healthy, there's no upper age limit for orthodontic treatment. In fact, many celebrities—like Lauren Hutton, Tom Cruise and Faith Hill—got braces as adults. But if traditional braces aren't a good fit with your self-image, it's possible that one of the less noticeable options, such as lingual braces or clear aligners, could work for you.
What's the first step to getting straighter teeth? Come in to the office for an evaluation! We will give you a complete oral examination to find out if there are any problems (like gum disease or tooth decay) that could interfere with orthodontic treatment. Then we will determine exactly how your teeth should be re-positioned to achieve a better smile, and recommend one or more options to get you there.
If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”
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