Before determining if you have a cavity or not you need to know what exactly a cavity is and what type of damage can it cause.
A cavity, also called tooth decay, is actually a permanently damaged area in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities are especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults but anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants! In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says close to 30 percent of American adults have untreated dental cavities.
Cavities left untreated can destroy your teeth and possibly create more serious issues. Identifying a cavity can be difficult because the signs and symptoms may not always be easily visible. However, there are some common signs that you should look out for if you think you might have a cavity.
Symptoms of cavities can vary. When one is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all! As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
Hot and cold tooth sensitivity
Lingering sensitivity to sweets
Pain when you bite down
Visible holes or pits in your teeth
Toothache, spontaneous pain, or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
If you think that one or more of these signs are present, it is important to seek professional dental care. Fox Dental is here to help with your cavities. We can provide comprehensive services from diagnosis and treatment planning to filling the cavity itself. Our experienced team uses modern techniques to make sure you get the best results possible.
Good oral and dental hygiene can help you avoid cavities. Here are some tips to help prevent cavities:
Brush with fluoride toothpaste
Visit your dentist regularly
Consider dental sealants
Avoid frequent snacking and sipping (especially with sugar)
If you think you might have a cavity, don’t wait to get it checked out. Contact Fox Dental today and let us help restore your teeth and give you back a healthy smile.
Have you ever wound up with an annoying little bump on your cheek or inside your lips after you accidentally bit inside your mouth? These obnoxious little sores are known as canker sores.
Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums and can make eating or talking uncomfortable. Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they aren’t contagious.
Types of Sores
There are several different types:
- Minor canker sores
- These sores are common and may show up several times throughout the year. They are typically small, oval-shaped, and have a red edge. They are most common in people between the ages of 10 and 20 and will usually heal without scarring in one to two weeks.
- Major canker sores
- Far less common than minor canker sores, these sores are typically bigger and can last for more than two weeks and leave behind extensive scarring. They’re usually round with defined borders but can have irregular edges when they’re larger. These can be extremely painful.
- Herpetiform canker sores
- This type is far less common and usually develops later on in life. Despite the name, they are not actually caused by the herpes virus. These appear in clusters of 10 to 100 sores, are often pinpoint in size, and sometimes merge into one larger ulcer. They also have irregular edges and can heal without scarring in one to two weeks.
Canker sores can be painful and often make eating and talking uncomfortable. Although the exact cause of most canker sores is unknown, there are a number of things that may play a factor.
For minor sores, these include:
- Tissue injury from a sharp tooth or dental appliance
- Certain acidic fruits and vegetables
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
- Allergy to something like your food, toothpaste, or mouthwash.
Canker sores as a whole are relatively common, with about 1 in 5 people getting them regularly. They are more common in women, perhaps due to differences in hormones, and can even run in families.
Are cold sores the same thing as canker sores?
No. Although these sores are often confused with each other, they are not the same. Cold sores, also called fever blisters or herpes simplex type 1, are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious. Canker sores are not caused by an infection and are not contagious. Also, cold sores typically appear outside the mouth — usually, under the nose, around the lips, or under the chin, while canker sores occur inside the mouth.
Conclusion and when to see a doctor
Although most canker sores are completely harmless, there are some situations when it would be good to visit your dentist or general practitioner to have them examined. If the sores are unusually large, they recur frequently, last for more than two weeks, extend to the lips, cause pain you can’t control with self-care measures, cause difficulty with eating or drinking, or you have a high fever alongside the canker sore, it’s necessary to have it checked by your doctor.
Smokeless tobacco can cause serious health problems. Just because you are not smoking it, doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. Many types of cancers, as well as your teeth and overall oral health, are certainly not safe from the adverse effects of tobacco products.
Types Of Smokeless Tobacco Products
- Chewing Tobacco – This involves products that come in the form of dried and usually flavored tobacco which the user chews or lets sit in their mouth. Most of the time the user spits out the tobacco juices as nicotine gets absorbed through the tissues of their mouth.
- Snuff – Snuff is tobacco that has been finely grounded and placed in a can or pouch. It is usually placed in one’s mouth if moist or inhaled if dry.
- Snus – Instead of being in a loose container like snuff can be, it is held in small tea-bag-like pouches which are placed into a user’s mouth. It is usually seen as a more discrete version of tobacco use than most other types because the need to spit is not as present.
- Dissolvable Tobacco- There are many kinds of dissolvable types of tobacco products that are candy-like, being able to be held in one’s mouth, sucked on, and/or chewed on until dissolved.
What Type Of Health Risks Are Associated With Smokeless Tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco can have bad effects on your oral health.
- Gum Disease
- Gum Recession
- Bone Recession
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Loss
Cancer – Smokeless tobacco is linked to mouth cancer, throat cancer, and pancreas cancer. Smokeless tobacco also can cause leukoplakia patches which are white, blotchy patches that have a high potential to cause cancer.
Addiction – Just like their smoking counterparts, smokeless tobacco products are highly addictive due to their nicotine content. There is no disparity between the amount of nicotine that can enter one’s system and the type of tobacco product used.
As you can see, smokeless tobacco products are just about as bad for you as smoking tobacco products. The harm tobacco products can do extends much farther than just your dental health. Your best course of action is to avoid these types of products altogether. If you need help quitting, do not be afraid to reach out to your doctor to see what they can do to assist you. We are here to help you receive the best dental health, whether you are a smoker or not.
Starting and practicing good dental habits at a young age can help keep their teeth and gums healthy for decades to come! Below are some frequently asked questions we receive about children’s dental care:
- A toothbrush will remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants should be used twice daily.
When should we begin using toothpaste and how much should we use?
- Starting at birth, it is recommended to clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth with water during bath time.
- Parents should use a tiny smear or rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt with a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.
- Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size amount and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing.
- Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
What age can children begin brushing their own teeth?
- Toddlers can and should be encouraged to help brush their teeth as soon as they can hold a brush.
- Parents should brush preschoolers’ teeth and supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age (about the same time they can tie their own shoelaces or write in cursive).
When should we begin flossing my child’s teeth?
- When all sides of a tooth cannot be cleaned by brushing alone, it is time to begin flossing your child’s teeth.
- Initially, floss your child’s teeth for them. As he or she matures, supervise his or her flossing. Your child should master this skill by around age 10.
- Floss picks, or flossers, work great for kids as they are easier to maneuver.
What is the best toothbrush for kids aged 9-13 years old?
- By the time your child reaches 9-10 years old, many adult teeth are now present and an adult toothbrush/toothpaste can be used. Any soft-bristled toothbrush should be used two times a day for two minutes.
Once your child can brush their own teeth, encourage them to get into a routine of twice-daily brushing. Contact Fox Dental with any further questions.
Bad breath is something that no one wants to deal with, but what causes it? In this article, we’re going to cover some of the causes of bad breath plus what you can do to prevent it.
Causes of Bad Breath
There are several reasons why you may be experiencing bad breath, they include bacteria, dry mouth, gum disease, food, tobacco, and certain medical conditions. While most of these are harmless, some can be more serious and should be discussed with your dentist or a physician.
Bacteria, although not all of them are bad, can cause bad breath. The bacteria that are present in your mouth are a direct result of the types of food that you eat. If the bacteria are feeding off of certain foods the result is less than kissable breath.
Saliva helps keep your mouth clean and if you do not produce enough saliva, it may result in halitosis (bad breath) since there isn’t enough saliva to properly clean your mouth. There are a few causes of dry mouth, including certain medications or issues with your salivary glands.
Your mouth can also become infected and result in foul-smelling breath. Certain medical conditions such as respiratory or sinus issues, diabetes, liver or kidney diseases, and gastric reflux will result in bad breath as well.
As if you need another reason to quit, smoking and tobacco use is not only bad for your overall health but also makes for terrible breath. Even worse, tobacco use affects your sense of smell so you can’t even tell how your breath smells!
Plus, tobacco use and smoking cause gum disease another cause of bad breath. Bacteria resulting in plaque is a contributor to developing gum disease, can also result in bad breath or even just a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away.
What Can I Do for Bad Breath?
If you know that you have bad breath, the first thing you’ll want to do is find a solution to fix it.
Luckily, there are several remedies you can use for fresh breath.
Maintaining a regular dental care routine is a good first step in defeating bad breath. That should consist of twice-daily brushing and flossing. This helps to remove the bacteria that can cause bad breath. Mouthwash can also be a good addition to fighting halitosis, even if it is only a temporary solution.
If you have dentures, make sure to remove and properly clean them as well as remove them at night. You can click here to read an article on properly caring for your dentures.
Quitting smoking and the use of tobacco products not only will help your breath but also improve your overall health.
Finally, regular visits to your dentist to make sure there are no serious issues that cause bad breath. Make an appointment today for your check-up at our office.
Seeing a sleep doctor will help you determine whether or not a home sleep apnea test is a good fit for your specific situation or not.
Your physician will decide which is more appropriate and then your specific test must be approved by the insurance company before you can proceed with a sleep study.
In this article, we will discuss some of the facts to know about how home sleep studies work and how accurate they are.
One of the advantages of taking a home sleep apnea test is that you are able to perform the study in your own bed following typical nighttime routines. While you are encouraged to bring a pillow from home for sleep studies performed in a lab it won’t feel like your bedroom!
How Do They Work?
If your doctor suggests a home study, a device is either sent home with the patient or sent through the mail.
Home sleep apnea tests use sensors like a probe on your finger to measure oxygen, and a mask with tubes similar to an oxygen mask, as well as additional sensors on your midsection and chest.
An in-lab sleep test will monitor many things but it is important to understand that the home tests will only monitor your breathing rather than also measuring how long you are in a light or deep sleep.
The home test results are sent to your doctor for review. In rare circumstances, your doctor may want you to come in for a study in a sleep lab if the home test results are inconclusive.
Home tests are not quite as accurate since a physician isn’t there to monitor you if a sensor should become displaced while you are sleeping. There are other sleep disorders besides sleep apnea that an at-home test may not register, but an in-lab test may. It is important to be evaluated by a physician so they can recommend the best test for your specific symptoms.
Some patients will opt to try the at-home test before committing to the cost and procedure involved with an in-lab study since there is a convenience factor as well as generally being lower cost.
If you have completed a sleep study, been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and you’d like an alternative to CPAP give us a call.
What you put into your body matters more than making sure you are getting the proper nutrition. The foods and drinks you consume also have a big effect on your oral health.
In this article, we are going to cover some of the most detrimental consumables for your teeth.
We all know that too many sweets can be harmful to your oral health, but there are other foods as well that might not be as obvious problem-causers as candy and sugar.
Sticky and Crunchy Foods
Dried fruit is a sticky food that while it might seem like a healthy snack but they stick to your teeth and the natural sugars cause decay.
Crunchy foods such as chips and pretzels can result in chipped or broken teeth. Also, chips have starch in them that can easily get stuck between your teeth.
While all sugary treats are hard on your teeth, hard candy exposes teeth to sugar for an extended period of time.
Not only does hard candy expose your teeth to sugar, but the hardness of these sweet treats can also result in a broken tooth.
Citrus, while it contains high concentrations of Vitamin C to boost your immune system, it also is very acidic.
Foods with high acid concentrations can actually erode your teeth and limiting them is best for your oral health! Please leave it out of your water as well
Any drink with added sugar puts your teeth at risk for decay, just like their candy or confectionary counterparts. If you do drink a soft drink or a sports drink make sure to be drinking water to remove the residual sugar from your teeth.
Ice is meant to keep your drink cold only, chewing ice is very damaging to your tooth’s enamel. Plus it can also break or chip your teeth easily.
Consuming water in liquid form is great – it has no added sugars!
While it might not necessarily be specifically coffee affecting your oral health, it is what you are putting in it that is the actual culprit.
Oftentimes people add sugar, or creamers with sugar, to their coffee and tea. Plus, they are both very drying and dry mouth can lead to other problems in your oral health.
Drink plenty of water in between cups of coffee to keep the negative effects to a minimum and avoid staining.
Choosing Better Options
Try reaching for foods like cheese, chicken, or nuts. Fruits and vegetables like apples and cucumbers are also great choices, they contain a lot of water and increase saliva production to keep your mouth from getting dry.
As the American Dental Association saying goes, snack and sip all day, risk decay
Try to limit snacking and sipping on drinks throughout the day. That will limit your exposure time to decay-causing substances, which feed bacteria constantly throughout the day.
Many medications, both those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy on your own can affect your oral health. A common side effect of medications is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque. Those acids can damage the hard surfaces of your teeth.
Dry mouth increases your risk for tooth decay.Saliva helps keep food from collecting around your teeth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque. Those acids can damage the hard surfaces of your teeth. Your soft oral tissues such as gums, cheek lining, and tongue can be affected by medications as well.
Other side effects from medications:
Generally speaking, medicines are designed to make you feel better. But all drugs, whether taken by mouth or injected, come with a risk of side effects and hundreds of drugs are known to cause mouth (oral) problems.
Medicines used to treat cancer, high blood pressure, severe pain, depression, allergies, and even the common cold, can have a negative impact on your dental health. That’s why your dentist, not just your doctor, should always know about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter products, vitamins, and supplements.
For people with breathing problems that use inhalers. Inhaling medication through your mouth can cause a fungal infection called oral candidiasis. Sometimes called thrush, this infection appears as white spots in your mouth and can be painful. Rinsing your mouth after using your inhaler may prevent this infection.
Cancer treatments also can affect oral health. If possible, see your dentist before beginning treatment. Your dentist can ensure that your mouth is healthy and, if necessary, can prescribe treatments to help you maintain good oral health. Your dentist also is interested in the medications you are taking because many can affect your dental treatments. Your dentist may want to speak with your physician when planning your treatment. Rare but serious jaw problems also can occur in people who’ve received bone-strengthening drugs to treat cancer and, to a lesser extent, osteoporosis.
These are only a few examples of how medications can affect your oral health. It is important that your dentist knows about the medications you are taking so that he or she can provide the best dental care for you. Tell your dentist about your medication use and your overall health, especially if you have had any recent illnesses or have any chronic conditions. Provide a health history including both prescription and over-the-counter products. Always let your dentist know when there are changes in your health or medication use.
Be sure to talk with your dentist about how to properly secure and dispose of any unused, unwanted, or expired medications, especially if there are any children in the household. Also, take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
Over the last several years there have been studies conducted showing that there is a correlation between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease.
How Are They Related
According to this article from Harvard Health Publishing, there are several theories as to why there could be this connection between oral health and an increased chance of heart attack or stroke.
Bacteria Infecting Gums
The bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis have been found in the blood vessels that are in parts of the body not near the mouth. In other areas of the body, this bacteria causes inflammation of the blood vessels, blood clotting, and can lead to a heart attack.
The Body’s Response to Inflammation
The body responds to any bacteria or infection with inflammation and this is also considered as a triggering factor brought on by gum disease or tooth loss.
3rd Risk Factor, Such as Smoking
Another theory on the correlation between oral health and heart disease is a 3rd factor. These could be smoking, not having access to health care, and other lifestyle choices.
Poor Oral Health Affects the Entire Body
Having poor oral health affects more than just cardiovascular health. There has also been research that the same bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis have been linked to pancreatic cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Beyond overall health, keeping your teeth is a good reason to maintain good oral health
Although there is a slight correlation between tooth loss and coronary heart disease, maintaining optimal oral health and avoiding tooth loss can be incentive enough to stay on top of your routine dental appointments.
Call 717.761.0341 today to schedule an appointment.
Along with brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing regularly, going to the dentist to get a cleaning and check-up every 6 months is an essential part of a good oral hygiene regimen. The cleaning is usually performed by one of the hygienists at your dentist’s office. These cleanings are important because your hygienist will be able to cleanse and polish your teeth, clean areas more effectively, and reaching places you normally wouldn’t be able to. Normally, cleanings are painless and go smoothly. However, your teeth can become sensitive after a cleaning, depending on various factors, including how deep the cleaning is and the state of your teeth and gums before the cleaning.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There are a variety of factors that can affect tooth sensitivity. Your teeth are more susceptible to becoming sensitive when the area beneath your enamel, called dentin, is exposed and unprotected. The area is greatly affected the more recession there is in your gums. This recession can be caused by gum disease, aging, overly aggressive brushing, tobacco use, and lack of proper oral hygiene, among other reasons.
Other than gum recession, tooth sensitivity can increase due to aging, improper brushing technique, and bruxism (teeth grinding). You are most likely to experience extra sensitivity when consuming foods or beverages that are overly cold or acidic.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive During A Cleaning?
Your teeth can be sensitive after a cleaning due to a previous condition such as a cavity, gum recession, enamel breakdown from abrasive brushing, teeth grinding, or another underlying factor mentioned in the previous section. If you receive a deep cleaning, tooth sensitivity can occur due to the areas being cleaned heavily to remove plaque and tartar. Sensitivity from deep cleanings should not last more than a week.
These conditions create more sensitivity when a cleaning occurs because they break down and get rid of plaque that has accumulated in your mouth with more effectiveness than you are probably used to doing yourself. It is hitting the hard-to-reach spots that tend to be more sensitive as they have not been cared for as much as other areas within your mouth.
If the tooth sensitivity is severe enough to hinder your daily quality of life, contact your dentist and they will be able to diagnose the root of your issue and provide a solution to it.
How Can I Treat Tooth Sensitivity?
Since tooth sensitivity stems from a diverse amount of causes, you will need to consult your dentist to help with your specific situation. Gum disease and cavities are needed to be solved in an office with a tooth restoration procedure or deep cleaning of the gums. If exposed gums are the culprit of your issue, you have different options depending on the severity of your exposure and sensitivity. These options include:
- Limiting acidic foods (coffee, orange juice, etc.) and including enamel-strengthening foods (eggs, tea, diary, etc. in your diet)
- Using anti-sensitivity toothpaste
- Rinsing with fluoride daily to strengthen your teeth’s surface
- Getting fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel and exposed dentin.
- Gum grafting – covers receding gum lines to protect the exposed enamel.
- If the affected area is bad enough, a root canal may be required.
What Can I Do To Avoid Sensitivity In The First Place?
The best way to prevent sensitivity from occurring after a cleaning is to see how you can make your oral hygiene routine more effective. Some examples of this are flossing more, using a soft-bristled toothbrush over a medium bristle, or using a mouth rinse. It is possible through aging or unlucky genes that you simply develop more sensitive teeth.
Your dentist wants to work with you to ensure you can have a healthy, happy smile, so be sure to consult with them so they can help you decide the best course of action to help deal with your sensitivity issues. Most sensitivity issues should not last long term. If your teeth’ sensitivity and soreness are directly affecting your everyday quality of life, we recommend scheduling an emergency appointment to get on track to resolve the issue as soon as possible.