- from Susan B. (Dental Hygienist)
One of the most important things we do as Dental Hygienists in our office is one-on-one patient education at recare appointments. One of the most frequently asked questions that we answer is "Why should I do a fluoride treatment since I am an adult? Don't they only help children?" The answer is simple. It is one of the easiest, most cost efficient ways to help reduce future cavities. In this day and age, our teeth are exposed to so many acidic foods and beverages, that it is important to help them stay strong. Let's face it, we all have good intentions about our home care (brushing and flossing), but it is really hard to be perfect. Office fluoride varnishes that we use in our office strengthens and remineralizes the tooth by 76%! That is for adults as well as children. As an added bonus, they can help decrease sensitivity. It is a win-win answer!
- from Susan B. (Dental Hygienist)
"If I buy one of those fancy new toothpastes, will my teeth be cleaner???"
Unfortunately, no - a special toothpaste will not clean your teeth better. Your teeth get clean by the motion of your toothbrush and floss touching the teeth to remove the soft plaque and food debris. Toothpaste is recommended because it contains fluoride. Fluoride can help strengthen our teeth and prevent cavities.
Some of those special new toothpastes have a lot of extra ingredients in them that you do not need and can even cause sensitivity issues for some people. Some of those ingredients may cause staining, sensitive teeth or mouth sores. Everyone reacts differently; someone may use a certain kind and not have any problems, but another person may have issues like sensitivity or staining.
Sometimes it's best to stick with the basics: the kinds of toothpaste that have been around for years instead of the fancy new ones. So next time you go shopping and are looking at the shelves of toothpaste, look towards the floor as the cheaper and not brand-new kinds are usually not at eye level. Just because a toothpaste is cheaper does not mean it doesn't work. Remember, it's the motion of your toothbrush and floss that do the cleaning, and you use the toothpaste for the benefit of fluoride. You might even save some money!!!
- from Kim B. (Dental Hygienist)
A new, large scaled study in the Journal of the American Dental Association reviewed how effective topical fluoride is at preventing the progression of small “starting” cavities, or incipient lesions. While they are not yet full blown cavities, these incipient lesions can easily progress if they are not maintained with meticulous brushing, flossing, and use of fluoride. This study found that topical fluoride varnish was very effective as an aid to reversing or maintaining these spots and preventing future decay. Fluoride varnish was also found to be effective in both baby and adult teeth. While it with never take the place of good oral hygiene and minimizing the food and drinks that cause cavities, research supports that fluoride varnish can provide a strong boost to preventing tooth decay.
- from Dr. Tim Jernberg
One of the easiest ways to get more fluoride is simply by drinking more water. Since 1945, we have been adding fluoride to community drinking water supplies and the ADA states that 70 years of scientific research shows that this safe method prevents tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. This fluoride is added to the water at about 1 ppm (parts per million).
The next option is OTC (over-the-counter) fluoride rinses; an example would be ACT. These rinses are recommended to be used daily and contain approximately 230 ppm of fluoride, which is the highest concentration of fluoride allowed in OTC products.
Then we have the daunting toothpaste aisle! The amount of fluoride in OTC toothpaste is approximately 1,000-1,500 ppm. And it is recommended to be used twice a day.
For people that don’t want to add an extra step to their routine, a prescription toothpaste such as Prevident 5000 is available. Just like the name, it has 5000 ppm of fluoride in it.
And finally, the highest concentration of fluoride you can get, 22,600 ppm, is called fluoride varnish. It is painted on your teeth by a dental professional and is recommended two times a year.
- from Pam B. (Dental Hygienist)
Many people ask the question: "Is fluoride really that beneficial to me?" The answer is "YES."
Many years ago the American Dental Association used to think fluoride was most beneficial to developing teeth, and once you had all of your permanent teeth you really didn't receive much benefit from it. Well, fast forward to the age of sports drinks, soda pop, and bottled water, and now we see a different story.
The American Dental Association recognized the decay rate rising again and after some research found out that many people are not drinking plain tap water any more; they are using some type of filtration system for their water or buying bottled water. This takes all of the fluoride out of the water. Before, when we used water straight out of the faucet we were getting a fluoride dose constantly, but not any more. Plus, with the easy access of flavored waters, sports drinks, vitamin water, and soda pop, we are continuously bathing our teeth with carbonic acid and destroying them.
So, the ADA changed their recommendation and now they recommend a fluoride treatment for EVERYONE. Their studies show that fluoride helps to remineralize the tooth surface by 76% and also helps to desensitize the teeth by 76%.
The fluoride gets around the edges of fillings and crowns where the tooth and the restoration meet and helps to remineralize that area. It is also very beneficial for anyone who has recession. When you have recession the root part of your tooth is now exposed. The covering on the root is not the same as the top part of your tooth. The root is covered with cementum and not enamel. Cementum is much softer than enamel, which makes you more susceptible to having root surface decay. Fluoride helps to strengthen the root surface area.
We offer fluoride to each and every one one of our patients because of all its benefits. It is our standard of care that we strive to achieve. Yes, we understand that most insurance companies don't cover the cost of fluoride, but it really is to your benefit to have fluoride placed every 6 months to help protect your teeth. Insurance companies do not cover the entire cost of a filling or crown either, so why not protect your own investment, your smile!
- from Julie C. (Dental Hygienist)
If you have sensitive teeth, you are not alone. 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 20 and 40 complain of sensitivity. It also affects women more than men. Some of the causes of this common complaint are recession (or exposed root surfaces), “scrubbing” tooth brushing technique, and erosion or “wearing away of the enamel” from chemical causes such as toothpaste that is too abrasive, acid reflux, and foods or drinks that have a high acid content. If we looked at this exposed area of your tooth under a microscope, it would look like Swiss cheese and our goal is to “fill in” all those holes to stop the pain. A very easy and effective way to help your sensitivity is to apply a fluoride varnish to these exposed areas. It takes less than a minute to paint on the fluoride and for some people it can provide relief for up to 6 months! Please let us know if you would like more information about treating tooth sensitivity.
- from Pam B. (Dental Hygienist)
There is not one toothpaste that is better than others. We use toothpaste for the fluoride content to help strengthen teeth. The motion of the toothbrush and floss help to remove bacteria and food debris. When you buy toothpaste look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance; most major brands of toothpaste have it. The ADA Seal means that the fluoride toothpaste has met ADA's requirements for safety and effectiveness in reducing decay. For a complete list of ADA Seal products and more information, see www.ada.org.
There are special toothpastes that may be recommended by your dental professional for high rates of cavities or sensitive teeth. Dental professionals may recommend a prescription toothpaste for people with high rates of cavities. These toothpastes contain usually five times more fluoride than over the counter brands. A sensitive toothpaste may be recommended for people with sensitive teeth. (Refer to our blog entry "Tooth Sensitivity," written 4-18-12.) For many people, basic fluoride toothpaste works great to help fight cavities.
The best toothpaste for you may not be the same for others. Personal preference plays a role in selection. You can buy basic fluoride toothpaste as either paste or gel. You do not have to buy the most expensive toothpaste to get good results. In fact, some people have experienced sensitivity or problems with some of the new types of toothpaste on the market. Like all products, toothpaste companies try to beat the competition with a toothpaste that can do it all and every year they come out with something new. Sometimes new with all kinds of claims is really not the best. Use the toothpaste you prefer or the kind your dental professional recommends for you.
- from Kim B. (Dental Hygienist)
Adding a topical fluoride treatment to your dental cleaning can provide many benefits. Our method at Commerce Drive Dental of the professional in-office fluoride is varnish. This type of fluoride adheres to the teeth immediately and stays in contact for several hours, making it more effective. Fluoride varnish is an inexpensive product that is effective in preventing cavities on primary and permanent teeth.
Fluoride enters the teeth and hardens them. This helps to stop new cavities from forming on the crown and exposed root surfaces by almost 70%. Varnish also re-strengthens teeth that have beginning cavities, helping to prevent the need to have the beginning cavities filled. Fluoride varnish is also proven to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
Varnish is safe for patients of all ages and application frequency can be discussed at your next visit. The application process is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Because a small amount is used, almost no fluoride is swallowed. Once the varnish is applied we will give you brief instructions and you will be on your way.
- from Amber C. (Dental Hygienist)
Commerce Drive Dental team members all contribute to this blog, including our dentists, assistants, hygienists, and business team personnel.