Wellness Blog

Posts for: June, 2019

 

YOU MIGHT REMEMBER a little bit about pH from a science class you took years ago in middle school or high school. Even if you don’t, that’s okay; it’s time for a refresher course because pH plays a major role in our oral health.
 

The Basics (And Acidics) Of pH

We could go into some really complicated things about hydrogen ions, but the important thing to know is that a pH of 7 is neutral — neither acidic nor basic. For example, water has a pH of 7. As the numbers get smaller than 7, the substance becomes more acidic, and as they get larger than 7 (up to 14), it becomes more alkaline or basic. Make sense? Good. Now let’s look at what this has to do with our mouths.

Acid Versus Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it’s pretty tough. It is, however, highly susceptible to acid erosion. All it takes is an environment of pH 5.5 or lower for the enamel to begin dissolving.

There are many ways our teeth can be exposed to acid. The most obvious is when we eat or drink something sour or tart because we can actually taste the acid. When we consume something sugary or starchy, oral bacteria eats the leftovers stuck between our teeth and produces acid as a waste product. Acid reflux and vomiting also expose our teeth to stomach acid, which is very strong.

Saliva: The First Line Of Defense

The best natural defense our teeth have against acids is saliva, which has a pH slightly above 7. Saliva washes food particles away and helps keep oral bacteria populations in check. This is why dry mouth is such a dangerous problem for oral health. The less saliva we have, the more vulnerable our teeth are.

Sipping soda or snacking throughout the day is also a problem for our teeth, because saliva needs time to neutralize our mouths afterward, and constantly introducing more acid makes that much harder.

A More Alkaline Diet Will Help Your Teeth

A great way we can help out our saliva in the fight to protect our teeth, aside from the usual methods of daily brushing and flossing and regular dental appointments, is to eat fewer acidic foods and trade them for alkaline ones. That means adding in more fruits and veggies and leaving off some of the breads, dairy, and meats — and we should definitely cut back on soda and other sugary treats.
 

We Can Fight Enamel Erosion Together!

If you’d like more tips for how to protect your tooth enamel, just ask us! We want you to have all the tools you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong so that they will last a lifetime.

Our top priority is our patients’ healthy smiles!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


June 17, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
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WE ALL WANT a perfect, pearly-white smile. Sometimes all it takes is a good brushing and flossing habit and regular dental visits, but not everyone is lucky enough to have naturally strong teeth that are easy to take care of. For some people, a healthy smile is much harder to achieve because of a condition called enamel hypoplasia.
 

The Importance Of Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel makes up the outermost layer of our teeth. It’s the hardest substance in the human body, and it’s composed of minerals like hydroxyapatite. It forms a barrier to protect the more vulnerable inner layers of the teeth. Even though it is a very hard substance, it’s vulnerable to erosion from acid, and because it isn’t made up of living cells, when it wears away, it doesn’t come back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgglPA3tkyQ

What Is Enamel Hypoplasia?

Enamel hypoplasia is a defect that affects the way the teeth develop, causing them to have poor enamel matrix formation. Symptoms of enamel hypoplasia include:

  • Pits, grooves, depressions, and fissures in the teeth
  • White spots
  • Yellowish-brown stains
  • Temperature and acid sensitivity
  • Irregular wearing of teeth
  • Increased vulnerability to tooth decay and cavities

A similar condition is hypomineralization, in which the enamel has insufficient mineral content and is softer and more translucent. If the hypoplasia only affects a single tooth, it is called Turner’s hypoplasia, which often the result of trauma or infection while the tooth was developing.

Causes Of Enamel Hypoplasia

Hereditary enamel hypoplasia is a genetic defect that impacts odontogenesis. There are several different hereditary conditions that can cause it, but environmental factors are also a culprit. Prenatal conditions, lack of prenatal care, and premature birth or low birth weight can hinder the formation of healthy teeth, as can direct trauma, infection, deficiency in calcium or vitamins A, C, or D, and certain diseases.

Keeping Your Teeth Strong

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for keeping teeth with enamel hypoplasia healthy. Treatment may come in the form of resin-bonded sealant, fillings, crowns, and professional whitening. The goals are to prevent tooth decay, help the patient maintain a good bite, preserve the structure of the teeth, and keep the teeth looking their best.

Fight For Your Teeth, With The Help Of Your Dentist

There is a lot your dentist can do to help your teeth stay healthy, and there’s a lot you can do too! Your daily oral hygiene routine is crucial, so always remember to brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, and use lukewarm water if your teeth are sensitive. Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks when possible, and keep up with your regular dental check-ups!

We’re rooting for our patients’ healthy smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


A GOOD-LOOKING SMILE with white, even teeth is a major confidence booster and really helps make a good first impression.  The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society, combined with internet culture, has given rise to a number of popular do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods.  While these might seem like great life-hacks to try, many of them can actually do serious damage to our teeth.
 

Common DIY Whitening Trends

Over the last couple of years, you have probably heard about some of these trendy teeth whitening approaches, such as activated charcoal, lemon juice, and oil pulling.  Oil pulling is an ancient folk remedy, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims about its health benefits.  Lemon juice is absolutely a bad idea, because you are essentially applying a strong acid directly to your teeth.  Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acid, and the enamel loss is permanent.

Activated charcoal might be able to absorb stains and toxins, but those benefits are debatable when it comes to teeth, because charcoal is also abrasive and can scrape away enamel as it removes stains.  Hold off on buying that tube of charcoal toothpaste until you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and do not mix up your own.

What About Peroxide And Baking Soda?

Another recent DIY whitening trend is using the baking soda in the pantry and the hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet to bleach teeth.  The reasoning behind this idea is that hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening and baking soda is present in many ADA approved whitening toothpastes, and both have been proven to be effective at removing stains.

While it is true that peroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are used in professional and approved whitening products, that does not mean these are safe chemicals to apply to our teeth however we want.  There is a delicate balance between using too little, which will not produce much of a whitening effect, and using too much, which can damage the enamel and the soft tissues of the mouth.  Only dental professionals have the knowledge, training, and materials needed to strike that balance.
 

Come To The Right Place For Whitening

Your teeth will thank you if you put your trust in dental professionals for your whitening needs rather than trying something risky at home, so bring your teeth whitening questions with you to your next appointment.  Together, we can make a plan for how best to whiten your smile.  In the meantime, the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright are to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing habits, avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and do not smoke.

We are here to help you get the smile of your dreams!

 

Top image by Flickr user Rupert Taylor-Price used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.