Are X-Rays At Your Dentist Safe?

digital dental xrays

One of the most powerful tools your dentist has to help diagnose and treat dental health issues is the use of x-rays. Dental x-rays let your dentist see what’s going on, not only on the surface of your teeth but inside them, as well as inside the gum and jawbone areas to help determine a tooth’s growth and progression as well as overall health.

Traditional dental x-rays were performed by your dentist or dental technician using a special film that reacted to the x-rays passing through your teeth and gums; today’s digital radiography uses a sensor to capture images in much the same way, but without the wait for the film to be developed. In addition, modern digital radiography procedures use considerably less radiation — as little as 10% of the amount used to create x-ray images with traditional film procedures.

Obviously less radiation is better than more — although for most patients who were getting x-rays at most twice a year, there was never in any danger from developing radiation-related problems even with the film-based x-rays. But for patients who need more imagery because of particular conditions or procedures they are undergoing, having 1/10th the amount of radiation involved is of course a good thing.

In addition, today’s digital radiography images are of considerably higher resolution; they can be easily manipulated by your technician or dentist on their computer, as well, allowing them to change lighting and contrast in ways that help them diagnose small problems well in advance of them becoming big ones — the proverbial “stitch in time” that can keep dental issues from becoming worse. X-rays are important to your dental health, and today’s modern digital imagery gives your dentist a better tool than ever before to help keep your teeth at their best.

Shockingly Sugary Foods And Some Alternatives

sugary foods

Everyone knows that cakes and soda are full of sugar, but there are also a host of foods that look innocent, which in fact contain massive amounts of ‘stealth sugar’, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Below is a selection of foods that are often shockingly sugary – and some alternatives you can use to sweeten your meals.

Pasta Sauce

While pasta sauce bought from the supermarket might taste savory, on average, a half-cup serving of it will contain anywhere between 6 and 12 grams. To avoid this you should take the time to make your own sauce, using freshly chopped tomatoes, olive oil and herbs.

Salad Dressing

It’s very clear that eating salad is a healthy thing to do. However, when you cover your salad in shop bought salad dressing, you are also covering it in sugar. Two tablespoons of salad dressing can contain up to 7 grams of sugar. To avoid this, you can make your own salad dressing using vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil.

Iced Tea

When buying bottled iced tea, you should carefully check the label. The sugar levels can vary widely depending on the brand. Some are virtually sugar free, while others can contain up to 32 grams of sugar in every bottle – which is like eating 8 teaspoons of sugar every time you drink one!

Ketchup

Before you cover your fries in ketchup, you should consider that every squirt adds around 4 grams, or one teaspoon, of sugar to your meal. You could consider using yellow mustard instead, which contains only one gram of sugar per squirt on average.

Energy Drinks

Many people think that the thing that gives them a buzz when they have an energy drink is the caffeine. However, that rush also comes from the massive hit of sugar each drink gives you. On average, an 8 ounce serving of energy drink will contain around 25 grams of sugar, which is more than your daily recommended intake. You can avoid this by drinking unsweetened tea or coffee instead.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw can seem like a very healthy dish to have on the side of a meal, but most fast-food coleslaw will contain up to 15 grams of sugar. Avoid the coleslaw when eating out, and make your own low sugar homemade coleslaw using vinegar, mayonnaise, garlic powder, white cabbage and carrot.

Yogurt

While yogurt is full of calcium and protein, it can also contain a lot of sugar. An average serving of sweetened and flavored yogurts can contain between 17 and 33 grams of sugar. To avoid this, buy plain Greek yogurt and add chopped fruit.

Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal can make a great breakfast that is full of fiber, but a serving of instant oatmeal from a packet usually contains between 10 and 15 grams of sugar. Instead, you can buy your own oats to prepare at home using milk or water, adding fruit to flavor it.

Keeping the amount of sugar you consume down is a major part of the battle for healthy teeth and gums.

Bleeding Gums When You Brush?

If you have ever been brushing your teeth and noticed blood in the sink, the chances are it came from bleeding gums. While it can seem like a minor irritation, bleeding gums can be a signal that your oral health is not as good as it could be. Below we look at what causes bleeding gums, and the action you should take to combat this problem.

Gum Disease

Bleeding gums are often a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed by a bacterial infection. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to a more serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis and gingivitis are one of the major causes of adult tooth loss.

The Cause of Gingivitis

Because your gums attach to your teeth below the visible edge of the gum, this creates a space called a sulcus. Food and other debris can become trapped in the sulcus, and can cause infected gums.

If plaque which builds up on teeth is not removed it will harden into tartar. When this extends below your gum line, it can lead to an infection, and damage to the tissue and bone which support your teeth. If this is left untreated can cause the teeth to separate from the gums. Eventually, the tooth may fall out, or need to be removed by your dentist.

Risk Factors

Below are some risk factors which increase the chance of gingivitis:

  • Diabetes
  • Medications (such as oral contraceptives, anticonvulsants and steroids)
  • Broken Fillings
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Crooked Teeth

Treatment

The treatment of gingivitis involves maintaining good oral hygiene over an extended period of time. Depending on how far the gum disease has progressed, your dentist may also use other treatments to get the condition under control.

Cleaning

Your dentist may perform a deep clean of your teeth to remove any build up of tartar above and below the gum line. This can be carried out using scaling and root planing to smooth or remove infected parts of the teeth.

Medication

Your dentist may also prescribe medication to help to treat gingivitis by killing bacteria in the mouth. This will normally be in the form of oral antibiotics or an antibiotic mouthwash.

Surgery

In advanced cases, your dentist may recommend surgery to treat gum disease and save teeth. There are two forms of surgery which are normally used to combat gum disease:

1. Flap surgery. During this procedure the gums will be lifted back so plaque and tartar can be removed. The gums will then be sutured to close the gap between the tooth and gum.

2. Bone and tissue grafts. This procedure is used when the teeth and jaw are damaged to a point that they will not heal.

Complications

If left untreated, in the long term, gingivitis is associated with other health problems such as heart attack, lung disease, diabetes and stroke. So, if you notice any blood when you brush, make an appointment for a check up with your dentist and beat this problem before it beats you!

10 Most Common Causes of Tooth Decay and Cavities

You attend your bi-yearly dentist visit and are told you have a cavity. Your surprise is evident, as you have never had one before and can’t figure out why. Thinking it is simply a fluke, you continue on as before and attend your next visit. Another cavity has appeared. What has happened and what can you do to stop more cavities from forming?

Stopping the Decay

The first thing you need to do is get the current cavities filled. Leaving them untreated leaves you open for the decay to spread to other teeth. Once this is done, you need to examine your life and look for something that may have changed over the past year.

Here are some of the most likely causes of cavities suddenly occurring:

  1. Brushing Too Much Brushing too often can create damage to the enamel on your teeth. Once the enamel is damaged, decay can set in quickly.
  2. Not Brushing/Flossing Correctly Not brushing the proper length of time or in the correct manner can see you missing spots. Not flossing can see bits of food left behind to create decay.
  3. Exercising More Exercising causes a dry mouth. Teeth are more likely to decay when there is no saliva to help wash away impurities.
  4. Cold or Flu Again, a prolonged period when your mouth is dry, as can be caused by medications. Dry mouth leads to many dental issues that cause tooth decay.
  5. Receding Gums This can cause your tooth roots to be exposed to bacteria. As roots don’t have protective enamel covering, they become more susceptible to decay.
  6. Chemotherapy The drugs used in chemotherapy can result in a dry mouth, which causes tooth decay and cavities over time.
  7. More Acidic Foods Many common foods that you eat daily contain acid. Acidic foods, such as fruits and juices can damage tooth enamel.
  8. Increased Sugar Intake Sugar hides in many forms in products you may not expect. The bacteria start feeding on sugar producing damaging acids that result in plaque formation.
  9. Braces It becomes harder to brush and floss your teeth with braces. These can make it difficult to reach all the crevices between teeth.
  10. Stress can lower your immune system and cause many other body changes. It can also cause you to forget normal routines like regular brushing or see you eating more comfort foods containing sugar.

It’s important to avoid these common causes of cavities to get a healthy mouth. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis prevents many dental issues. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Al Villalobos , a dentist in Jupiter and prevent tooth decay.

What is Dental Bonding?

Discover how this simple and painless procedure can fix minor dental issues.

Nothing is more attractive than a healthy smile. And if you have a beautiful smile then you’re more likely to show it off. And, as we all know, smiling can certainly boost your mood, alleviate stress and rev up your immune system. Enjoy all the benefits that smiling affords you by visiting your Jupiter FL dentist Dr. Villalobos and finding out more about dental bonding.

About Dental Bonding

Whenever possible your Jupiter, FL cosmetic dentist believes that conservative cosmetic treatments are the best options for enhancing smiles. Dental bonding can be an ideal option for those looking to fix small imperfections and to improve smile aesthetics.

Bonding is a cosmetic treatment that uses either tooth-colored plastic or composite resin to apply to certain issues like discolorations, chips, cracks, unevenness or gaps between teeth. Instead of opting for more invasive procedures like dental veneers or crowns, bonding can easily make over a smile without any tooth preparation or irreversible changes.

The Benefits

This is a fast and completely painless procedure that often takes less than an hour to complete. It doesn’t require any removal of your tooth’s structure like other cosmetic procedures and won’t require anesthesia. Plus, the procedure is one of the most inexpensive cosmetic options.

The bonding resin is also matched to the rest of your teeth so you’ll get a flawless, even smile every time.

Getting Dental Bonding

Before you get bonding in Jupiter, FL we will need to thoroughly clean your teeth beforehand. Once clean, we will apply a solution over your teeth to help improve how the resin bonds with the tooth.

The resin is then applied in several layers. With each layer, we will sculpt the resin to the proper shape and then harden it with a special dental light.

Caring for Your Bonded Teeth

If you want your bonded smile to last you’ll want to care for your smile properly. This means maintaining good oral hygiene, particularly if you consume coffee, tea and other foods and drinks that could stain your bonded tooth. Keep in mind that bonding won’t last as long as other cosmetic options and may either need to be repaired or replaced every five to 10 years.

If you are looking for a fast and affordable way to improve the look of your smile then it’s time to find out if bonding is the right option for you. Schedule an appointment today at our Jupiter, FL dental office. Let Villalobos, DMD give you a smile to be proud of.

Perio Maintenance Explained

Perio Maintenance: What Does It Mean?

“What is the difference between a regular cleaning and perio maintenance?” a routine question encountered by almost every dental professional.  This post will attempt to explain the differences and reasoning behind the differentiation.

There are two kinds of routine dental cleanings, a regular cleaning and a periodontal maintenance cleaning.  Regular cleanings are designed to assist healthy mouths by removing stains and tartar that can only be removed by a dental professional.  Perio maintenance appointments are designed for patients that have been treated for periodontal (gum) disease.  The reason for this deeper cleaning has its roots in what we know about gum disease.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a persistent bacterial infection around the gums and bone that support your teeth.  Any of the following signs may be an indication that you have an infection:

·         Red, swollen, and tender gums

·         Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing

·         Persistent bad breath

·         Pain while chewing

·         Loose teeth

Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors including smoking, non-smoke tobacco, some RX and OTC medications, genetics, diabetes, hormonal changes in girls/women, and diabetes.

Our hygienists can assess your tissue for periodontal disease by performing a quick, relatively painless test to measure the size and depth of the pockets in the gums.  Pockets that are 5mm or more in depth generally indicate an infection.

If, after an exam, it is determined that you have gum disease you may need a special cleaning called “scaling and root planing”, or possibly periodontal surgery.  After those initial treatments the type of routine cleanings that are recommended are called periodontal maintenance therapy.  The purpose of these special cleanings is to preserve the progress that you have made.

Once periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very important that you get periodontal maintenance care on a regular basis from your dentist, hygienist, or periodontist (a dentist with a specialty in treating gum disease).  Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check.  A normal cleaning removes stains and tartar from the surface of teeth that could not be removed otherwise.  Patients with gum disease however have developed pockets in the gum surrounding their teeth, these pockets can fill with plaque and tartar, and require a deeper cleaning in order to remove and halt the effects of that buildup on the health of your gums.

Periodontal disease is a condition (like Diabetes or High Blood Pressure), this means it cannot be completely cured, but it can be managed.

If you are concerned about the health of your gums, or just overdue for your bi-annual cleaning please give us a call 561 744 0677 to schedule a consultation today!

Dental Habits that are Surprisingly Bad for Teeth

You may think that you’re taking the best possible care of your teeth.  Perhaps you visit your dentist twice each year for an examination and cleaning.  You may avoid enamel damaging foods or drinks and brush and floss regularly.  Yet, there are likely some dental habits you still have that you weren’t even aware could damage your pearly whites.  Even products specifically designed for the health of teeth and gums can have a much different effect if used improperly.

Below, you’ll find four of the most common dental habits that may also be wreaking havoc on your oral health.  Fortunately, most of these require only a small change on your part in order to prevent future damage, and by making some simple adjustments, you can feel completely confident in your smile!

 

Brushing Incorrectly – Brushing twice daily is the single most important step in maintaining oral health and hygiene.  However, brushing incorrectly can be harmful and may not effectively ward off issues such as bad breath and tooth decay.

What Should You Do? – Take care not to brush too vigorously, and use proper form.  Rather than using back and forth strokes, brush teeth in a gentle, circular motion to preserve the base of the tooth and gum line.  Additionally, you should take care to ensure that you are focusing adequate time on all areas of the mouth.  Do this by dividing the mouth into four sections and brushing each for 30 seconds.  Finish up by scraping your tongue and rinsing with cool water.

 

Using the Wrong Toothbrush – Just as brushing too forcefully can be harmful to teeth, using the wrong kind of toothbrush may be as well.  Furthermore, not replacing your toothbrush frequently enough may result in exposure to any number of harmful bacteria.

What Should You Do? – Choose a soft or extra soft toothbrush that will clean effectively without being unnecessarily abrasive to your teeth and gums, and find one with a smaller head to make cleaning in difficult to reach places easier.  You should also replace your toothbrush about every three months to ensure that it remains sanitary.

 

Using Toothpicks – Toothpicks can be an effective tool for removing food from between teeth after a meal.  However, it’s also easy to use these too aggressively, resulting in gum damage.

What Should You Do?Carry dental floss with you as an alternative to toothpicks after eating.  Floss will efficiently remove any particles stuck between teeth and is less likely to result in damage.  If you do decide to use a toothpick, do so by holding it lightly, thereby preventing your ability to use it too forcefully.

 

Whitening With Baking Soda – It’s an old trick that many people have tried at some time or another, and while it can be effective, baking soda can also be abrasive on tooth enamel.  Using this trick too often can have adverse side effects.

What Should You Do? –  If you must use baking soda, do so sparingly.  However, ADA recommended toothpastes and professional whitening treatments are a preferable means by which to keep your smile bright.

 

Keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible not only requires proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing, but it also calls for avoiding potentially harmful practices.  Habits such as smoking and drinking coffee are well known culprits of some common dental concerns.  However, as these examples show, there are some recommended practices which can also be damaging when not performed correctly.

Ask your dentist for his or her advice on best practices for keeping your smile healthy, and be sure to visit them at least twice a year.  If you are in the Jupiter area, contact Dr. Al Villalobos to schedule a consultation to address any concerns that you may have.  Simply click here, or call us directly at (561) 744-0677

Why Does Everything Taste Bad After You Brush Your Teeth?

If you have no idea why we’re pondering that question today, go brush your teeth real quick and grab a drink (orange juice, iced tea, beer—anything except water). Awful, isn’t it?

You can thank sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) for ruining your drink, depending on which toothpaste you use. Both of these chemicals are surfactants — wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid — that are added to toothpastes to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth. They’re also important ingredients in detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides.

While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they’re broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.

So, anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. Is there any end to this torture? Yes. You don’t need foam for good toothpaste, and there are plenty out there that are SLES/SLS-free. You won’t get that rabid dog look that makes oral hygiene so much fun, but your breakfast won’t be ruined.

Over-brushing Is A Thing: How Often to Brush Your Teeth

Everyone wants a clean mouth and bright smile. The number of teeth whitening products on the market can attest to this fact. A good oral hygiene regime consists of keeping plaque from the teeth by brushing regularly, as well as flossing and regular dentist visits. Some people, however, can take it overboard. Brushing is essential to a healthy mouth but too much brushing can be harmful. Few people realize that over-brushing can cause more harm than good; the key is to understand your teeth, and the basics of oral hygiene.

Brushing Recommendations

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily. Eating and drinking leaves particles of food and sugar on the teeth. Plaque is also found on the teeth, and the buildup of plaque is a natural process that cannot be stopped. When foods interact with the plaque, it releases bacteria that attacks the protective enamel on the teeth, eventually causing cavities, gum disease and pain. Plaque also turns into tartar if not removed regularly; this deposit is hard and not easy to get rid of.

We are taught from an early age to brush our teeth in the morning and before bed, but also after every meal and following sugary snacks. This could be three, four, five times a day or more. While it seems like a good thing to keep the mouth clean and free of plaque, there are several reasons not to brush more than two to three times a day, as recommended by the ADA.

Twice a Day

Brushing excessively will cause enamel to wear down. It irritates the gums and eventually exposes the roots of the teeth. Exposed roots lead to all sorts of dental issues and can cause serious pain. Once plaque is removed, it takes approximately 12 hours for it to build up to a dangerous level again. Brushing twice per day is enough to remove all plaque.

When to Brush?

There is also the question of when to brush. Brushing at the wrong times can be more harmful than not brushing. Acidic foods and drinks weaken the enamel, so, after eating these types of foods, one should wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing. This allows the enamel to strengthen. Brushing immediately after ingesting acidic foods can remove some of the enamel from the teeth.

Bacterial Threats

There are other dangers as well. People who carry a toothbrush with them everywhere are also exposing their teeth to a plethora of bacteria and germs, which can adhere to the bristles of the brush in a purse or other compartment. Even inside a plastic sandwich baggie, bacteria can transfer from the toothbrush to the bag and vice versa, both ending up in your mouth.

Some people cannot associate a clean mouth with anything but a freshly brushed one. The truth is that brushing at the wrong times, or too much, can be harmful to your teeth as well and can cause pain. If you just don’t feel clean until you brush your teeth, try chewing a piece of sugar-free minty gum or using a breath freshener. Many are designed to help keep teeth clean and plaque-free between brushing.

Have you ever heard of a tongue scraper?

When I first saw a friend using one, I had no idea why anyone would want to scrape their tongue every day when they wake up.  Now, after years of using one, I use one every day, and miss it terribly when I don’t have it. 

What the heck is a tongue scraper?

A tongue scraper (also called a tongue cleaner or tongue brush) is an oral hygiene device designed to clean off bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue.  The film that develops on your tongue while you sleep is a good indicator of what’s going on inside your body.  It can be clear, thick, white, yellow, brown, or even green.  The bacteria and fungi on the tongue are related to many common oral care and general health problems and can be a leading cause of bad breath for many.

What is one of the first things many Eastern doctors or practitioners ask to see?  Yes, your tongue……

Tongue cleaning has been around since ancient times in India.  Ayurveda,  the Traditional Indian Science of Medicine,  recommends cleaning the tongue as part of your daily self-care regime to remove ama, toxic debris that builds up in the body. During sleep when the body is resting, the digestive system works to detoxify itself.  These toxins are deposited on the surface of the tongue via the internal excretory channels, and are responsible for the coating usually seen on the tongue first thing in the morning. Tongue scraping  has found it’s way into Western society as folks discover the benefits of cleaning the tongue every day.

 

5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue Every Day

#1 Improves the breath: 

Removing the bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the tongue significantly reduces the odor from the mouth.  You may have been told to use your toothbrush for this purpose, but brushing the tongue does NOT efficiently remove all of the film that develops on the tongue.  You will be blown away the first time you  do this by the amount of gunk that comes off of the tongue.

#2 Improves your ability to taste:

Removing build-up from the surface of your tongue will better expose your taste buds.  This will lead to better enjoyment of the flavors of your food.  Ayurveda teaches that the better we enjoy and savor our food, the better our bodies digest and assimilate, leading to better over all health.  Also, Ayurveda teaches that blocked taste buds and tongue receptors interferes with our body’s ability to communicate with our brain about what types of foods we need to maintain our health, leading to false cravings.

#3 Avoid toxins being reabsorbed into your body:

As you sleep, your body is detoxifying.  Much of the film on your tongue is toxins excreted from your body.  You don’t want to re-ingest that do you?  NO!  Scraping your tongue first thing in the morning will remove this sludge from your tongue and from your body, improving your over all health and improving your immune system.

#4 Improves dental health:

By removing bacteria and toxins, you are also contributing to better dental health as well, leading to healthier teeth and gums.  The bacteria that you remove from your tongue are responsible for things like periodontal problems, plaque build-up, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession, and even loss of teeth.

#5  Get to know your tongue:

Did you know your tongue is a mirror reflection of your internal organs?  Just like with hand or foot mapping, the tongue is mapped out to reflect various parts of your internal body.  You can learn so much about what is going on in particular areas just by looking at your tongue every morning.  Also, by scraping your tongue, you are actually stimulating and massaging those corresponding internal organs, just like in acupressure or acupuncture.  Pretty cool, huh?

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How to scrape your tongue:

Tongue scraping should be done on a regular basis, preferably in the morning.  It involves using a long, thin, flat piece of metal (sometimes plastic), which is bent in the shape of a ‘U’, to scrape the surface of your tongue.   To do this, extend the tongue and place the scraper as far back on the tongue as is comfortable. Gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue using one long stroke, until you have scraped the whole surface. Rinse the scraper and begin again.  Scrape firmly, but gently. Do this until the tongue feels clean and is free of coating.   Wash the scraper well after each use with hot water.  When you first get started scraping your tongue, be extra gentle.  Your tongue will get used to it quickly.  You will be amazed at how much stuff comes off of your tongue in the morning!!

 

Where to buy a tongue scraper:

Many health food store sell tongue scrapers.  You can also buy them online. They are inexpensive, and there are a few different kinds out on the market.  I prefer the ones made from stainless steel because they are easier to clean.