The importance of fluoride for children

You may have heard your dentist talk about the need for fluoride, but have you ever paused to consider exactly what it does? Fluoride is an element that is used to prevent tooth decay by strengthening a person’s teeth. By hardening molars and other teeth, fluoride helps to prevent cavities in adults and children alike. However, it is especially important for children to get enough fluoride because their teeth are still growing and are prone to decay.

Fluoride is found naturally in water and some foods, but most people get supplements from products like toothpaste and mouth wash. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that most children up to age 16 may need some time of fluoride supplement. It’s important to talk to your dentist about your child’s dietary and oral hygiene habits in order to determine a need for extra fluoride. Children who consume large amounts of sugar or have a history of decay are especially at risk. If it is decided that a fluoride supplement is needed, a dentist will use one of several options. He may use water fluoridation or also suggest a topical treatment in the form of a gel or foam.

These treatments are applied at the office and are considered to be both safe and effective. Only a small amount of fluoride is needed to make a difference, but the earlier a child’s teeth can be treated, the better. Keep this in mind as you consider asking your dentist about your children’s fluoride needs. A little treatment now could save them many cavities down the road.

Did you know? Interesting facts about the eye

The human eye is one of the most fascinating and complex parts of the entire body. From its reversed way of seeing the world to its connection with the brain, the eye can amaze even the most brilliant of scientists. Here are some of the most interesting things about your eyes that you likely never knew:

  • • According to the Midland Eye Institute, the retina contains 120 million rods that are used specifically for “night vision.”
  • Unlike many other organs, the eye cannot be transplanted. Boulder Eye Surgeons attribute this phenomenon to the optic nerve, which can never be repaired once its connection to the brain is severed.
  • Most Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes because melanin – a pigment molecule that produces color – hasn’t yet been deposited in a baby’s iris. Also, people’s eyes tend to darken after being exposed to light when they are born.
  • Only about 1/6 of the eye is visible; the rest is hidden within a person’s eye socket.
  • The little spots of light you see when you shut your eyes tightly are called “phosphenes.” These are typically caused when pressure is put on the eye (such as when you rub your eyes). This pressure stimulates the retina, causing a person to “see” light patterns, even though no light can get into the eye.
  • The eye has the equivalent of 576 megapixels. However, the eye acts more like a video stream than a single camera shot. Together with the brain, eyes produce extremely high-resolution images.
  • The images on a person’s retina are upside down, but our brain allows us to see things right-side up. Similarly, the brain coordinates the images taken in from both eyes in order to produce one cohesive visual field. Many scientists theorize that babies see everything upside down for the first few days of their lives until they grow accustomed to vision.

Sleep your way to better oral health

May is “Better Sleep Month”, so you deserve to know how sleep can affect your oral health and how to sleep more soundly. According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, lack of sleep is the second-most common lifestyle contributor to poor oral health, behind only smoking. Researchers found that people who get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night are less likely to have progressed periodontal disease than people who sleep for six or fewer hours. But how can you make sure to get as much sleep as possible?

Try establishing a routine at night that includes some sort of relaxing activity. Taking a warm bath or reading a light novel before bed both help relax your mind and prepare you for rest. It’s important to avoid exercising and using the computer or TV before bed because these activities will not easily allow your mind to relax. That’s why people who watch TV in bed typically have a harder time falling asleep – the stimulation from the light makes it difficult to rest their eyes. For this reason, try keeping your room dark, slightly cool, and comfortable. Having a space that is reserved for sleep instead of work or other activities will train your body to automatically start unwinding in that space.

Finally, do whatever you can to cut down on stress in your life. Stress often leads to insomnia, and is also another lifestyle factor that can negatively impact your periodontal health. For both of these reasons, you will stay healthier when your mind is free of the day’s stressors. Everyone has a different method for relaxing, so find one that works for you and do it daily. It will work wonders for both your oral and total-body health.

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Basics

The field of cosmetic dentistry is growing at an unprecedented rate.  When home whitening strips came out, the effectiveness grew into a viral explosion of people becoming obsessed with the color of their teeth.

There are two major types of teeth whitening and we will take a look at each.  As all both of them vary in their effectiveness.

In-Office Cosmetic Whitening:
This is the most effective and quickest way to whiten your teeth.  The procedure uses a highly concentrated amount of peroxide gel.  This procedure cannot be done at home because certain precautions need to be taken to protect the gums.  The dentist will put a protected with the help of a rubber dam to prevent the peroxide from hurting the gums.

The cost for this type of treatment can be pricey.  The peroxide is normally left on your teeth from 15 to 20 minutes.  In some cases they will leave it on for an hour, if there are stubborn stains.  Normally this procedure will cost around $650, and normally dental insurance will not cover it.  However you can normally get the procedure discounted from 20-60% by using a company like True Dental Discounts.

Professional Take-Home Cosmetic Whitening Sets:
Take home strips are recognized by many dentists as a legitimate product to whiten your teeth over time.  Take home strips and gels contain lower concentration of peroxide gel.  These OTC strips normally cost around $100 to $400 and need to be left on your teeth overnight.

Teeth Whitening Options:
OTC teeth whitening strips and gels are the cheapest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth.  Normally you can find teeth whitening strips or gels, in any major department store.

The gel can be applied in a few different ways, the most popular being whitening strips, whitening trays, or whitening gels.

Sometimes these whitening kits are not designed to whiten all your teeth, but only whiten the front teeth.  The kits normally range between $20 to $100.

The home whitening kits generally work well for most people with mild staining, however many people with severe stains end up disappointed by the results.  If you do have more severe staining it is best to go to a dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Top Root Canal Myths

People have the tendency to cringe when they hear the word root canal. Root Canals have gotten a bad rap, but the truth is there have been many major dental advancements over the years that change the way dental practices perform their procedures. So I want to set the record straight, so the next time you hear you need a root canal you do not need to suffer for unnecessary anxiety.

Root Canals Are Painful
The ADA of Endodontists say that the root canals have the greatest perception of being painful. This was true decades ago, however these procedures are performed much differently now. Today we have much better anesthetics, which make the root canal no more painful than a filling.

Root Canals Make You Sick
Although this is a common belief there is no evidence to support the theory. Actually research has shown just the opposite, there is evidence to support that there is no correlation between root canals and illness.

Crowns Cause Teeth to Need Root Canals
Crowns do not cause people get root canals. If this does happen it would most likely be a result of an abscessed tooth or decay that has gotten underneath the crown.

Root Canals Remove the Roots from the Teeth
This is not correct, when a root canal is performed the pulp is removed from inside the tooth. The roots of the teeth remain intact.

You Cannot Have a Root Canal if Your Pregnant
Although this may be a common belief the truth is pregnant women can and do have root canals performed on a regular basis. A small x-ray does need to be taken, however it is localized to the mouth and a lead apron is placed over the abdomen so no radiation reaches the fetus.

Root Canals Can Not Be Performed in One Visit
This may have been true in the past, but with the recent developments in dental technology a root canal is done all at once.

Even With A Root Canal, The Tooth Will Eventually Fall Out
The fact is that if you take care of your teeth, there is a good likelihood that the natural tooth will last the rest of your life.

After Having a Root Canal, Your Tooth is Completely Fixed
After you have a root canal procedure performed it is important to make a follow up appointment with your dentist. Once the pulp is removed from the tooth, it can become brittle. You will need to have it permanently restored to help protect it from future fractures.

If You Need a Root Canal, You Will be in a Lot of Pain
If your tooth is throbbing you will definitely want to have it checked out. However, there are plenty of situations where a root canal is needed where there are no painful symptoms.