5 Simple Ways to Prevent Cavities

ways to prevent cavities

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Cavities

All you hear is, brushing and flossing will help keep cavities away. Yet, you find one in four adults in America with tooth decay while half the teenage population either have or had cavities. Having a good oral regimen can prevent cavities and help maintain both teeth and gums. Brian Leeson DMD from 4th Street Family Dentistry discusses the measures individuals can take to keep cavities away:

Know your risk of developing cavities

Your dentist can help you determine your cavity risk level by conducting a thorough dental exam. The exam will analyze the current state of your oral health and its risk to cavities. As you continuously go to your dentist for regular visits, they will be able to detect bacteria forming immediately and suggest preventative dentistry measures to take to fight the cavity. This can be changing your oral regimen and or diet. 

Brush regularly 

Brushing cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to fighting cavities and tooth decay. Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria that are looking to pounce at the opportunity to multiply and lead to decay. You need to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes to ensure you keep the bacteria at bay while also getting rid of harmful bacteria.

Dr. Green, a dentist in Parker CO, adds that When brushing, you want to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is so it doesn’t harm your gums. Brush with gentle circular motions and go from one end to the other. Once you are done with your teeth, be sure to also brush your tongue because bacteria can build upon it.

Focus on your diet

It may be hard to go without your daily cup of tea or coffee but you may have to. Coffee and tea are both acidic which are not good for the teeth. Acidic food is as bad as sugary foods. Both increase the risk of cavities so you need to control your diet and limit consumption of both. As you reduce your intake, you should consider drinking more water. Water consumption helps flush bacteria out of the mouth while also distribute the nutrients properly. 

Develop a habit of flossing

Flossing isn’t fun but it does keep your teeth and gums healthy. Most people think that brushing is enough but there are parts of the teeth you can’t reach with the brush, specifically between the teeth. Floss lets you clean out any food particle stuck between teeth and in the outer part of the gums. You don’t have to floss after every meal but try to do it at least once a day. 

Quit smoking

Smoking and tobacco are known to cause numerous diseases which include mouth cancer. Smoking leads to bad oral hygiene and makes your mouth more susceptible to bacteria leading to cavities. If you want to take care of your mouth and you smoke, quitting would be the first step. 

For anyone looking to improve their oral health in St. Petersburg, FL, contact 4th Street Family Dentistry. The team consists of experienced dentists and dental assistants that can help treat and prevent cavities and help you achieve the picture-perfect smile you’ve always wanted.

Everything You Should Know About Dental Sealants

dental sealants

Everything You Should Know About Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are generally used to prevent tooth decay. It is a thin plastic coat that is painted on to the surface of the teeth, specifically the chewing part, and forms a protective shield for the enamel. The purpose of the sealant is to ensure that food particles don’t easily get lodged in the nooks and crannies of yout teeth. While both brushing and flossing do this also, there are times when you don’t do either properly so particles remain and lead to bacteria build-up and decay.

Who Should Consider Getting Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent decay in the premolars and molars due to bacteria cultivation in the groves. Therefore, it is recommended for teenagers and children. Children are prone to cavities from 6 to 14, the sealant protects them from it. At times if children younger than 6 have deep grooves in their teeth, a dentist may recommend getting a sealant. 

How is Sealant Applied?

The application of sealants is painless and simple. Your dental hygienist can do it in a matter of minutes. The process starts with the cleansing of the mouth and teeth. The hygienist will perform a dental cleaning to have them prepped for the sealant. 

The teeth are then dried off and an absorbent material such as cotton is placed around them so the teeth remain dry. To help the sealant bond to the teeth, an acid solution is applied to the teeth after they are rinsed and dried off.

The sealant is then brushed on to the tooth enamel and it bonds and hardens to it. Your hygienist may also use a curing light to ensure it hardens properly. 

What is the Lifespan of Sealants?

Dr. Kacos, a dentist in Shreveport LA, says that with proper care, sealants can effectively protect your teeth for up to 10 years. Your dentist can check up on their condition to ensure there are no chips or wear each time you visit them. 

Are Sealants Covered by Insurance?

Depending on your dental coverage, sealants can be covered in the insurance plan specifically for children under the age of 18. You can contact your dental insurance company to check if they cover sealants. 

Where to Get Sealants?

While the process of getting sealants isn’t complex, you still want to make sure you go to a dental clinic you can trust. The dentists in St. Petersburg, FL at 4th Street Family Dentistry can help you get the dental care you need. They have been serving the city of St. Petersburg for decades, helping individuals achieve their best smiles. 

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

how to prevent tooth decay

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is also referred to as caries or dental cavities. It describes permanent damage to the hard outer surface of your teeth that results in holes or tiny openings. Research shows that nine in ten adults in the U.S. have ever had cavities, so this makes tooth decay one of the most common health problems people of all ages face. Should you, therefore, resign to having this problem as part of your reality? Our dental care experts at 4th Street Family Dentistry in St. Petersburg FL don’t think so and urge you to implement the following recommendations to keep tooth decay at bay.

Brush Properly, Regularly and Using the Right Toothbrush

The simplest things, like brushing correctly and frequently, can have the most profound positive effect on your dental and overall health.

Dr. Brian Leeson, a dentist in St. Petersburg FL, explains that there are millions of microbes in your mouth. These microbes feed on the remains of what you eat or drink. As the bacteria feeds, it creates an acidic biofilm (plaque) that sticks on your teeth. If you don’t brush regularly (at least two times every day), dental plaque will allow bacteria to remain in contact with your teeth for longer and tooth decay will progress rapidly.

It is therefore important for you to brush correctly using the right toothbrush (a soft-bristled one) using fluoride toothpaste for a minimum of two times each day. This way the plaque-formation process can be halted.

Floss Every Day

Brushing is often inadequate in cleaning the spaces between your teeth. An interdental cleaner, such as dental floss, is necessary to get rid of the food debris trapped in these tiny spaces between your teeth. When done correctly, flossing can prevent cavities since bacteria will not have any food to feed on and grow.

Cut Back on Acidic and Sugary Drinks

We have already mentioned that bacteria feeds on the residues of what you put in your mouth. Acidic and sugary drinks are the worst culprits in terms of allowing bacteria colonies to multiply rapidly.

For this reason, St. Pete dentists recommend that you reduce the amount of sugary or acidic drinks you consume. These substances include soda, citrus juice, and alcohol. Such a step will save your teeth from being attacked by the acids in those drinks or the acidic residues left behind.

Eat Healthy

Proper nutrition is important in keeping tooth decay and other dental health problems at bay. For example, the vitamins and minerals that are contained in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and other food groups will provide the nutrients needed to mineralize your teeth. This means your teeth are more likely to fight off any infections that develop.

In the same vein, emergency dentists in St. Petersburg advise that you refrain from snacking frequently between meals. This is especially true if you like sugary snacks. Those snacks keep sugar on your teeth and that results in acidic damage to the surface of those teeth.

Visit Your Dentist

It is very important for you to visit your dentist in St. Petersburg FL regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.

A comprehensive exam by a St. Pete dentist will rate your tooth decay risk. That assessment will determine how frequently you need to visit 4th Street Family Dentistry. For example, if an existing medical condition increases your risk for tooth decay, Dr. Brian Leeson may recommend you come in every three or four months. If, however, your risk for cavities is low, then the frequency of visiting a general dentist in St. Petersburg FL will be lower.

The other advantage of visiting the dentist regularly is that the hygienist will have an opportunity to advise you on how to tweak your brushing and flossing techniques. This would be in light of any potential problem areas that are observed during the professional dental cleanings. Acting on the advice given will result in a reduced risk for tooth decay.

Get Dental Sealants

Another key way to reduce the chance of developing tooth decay is by getting dental sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. The sealant forms a protective shield that prevents acids and bacteria from damaging the teeth. Dr. Beth Herko, a dentist in New Providence NJ, says that while dental sealants are very common among kids, people of all ages, including adults, can benefit from them.

Use Mouthwash

If you are particularly prone to tooth decay, the St. Pete dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash. You can use this on a daily basis to keep bacterial activity minimal in your mouth. Even without a specific recommendation, you can buy an antibacterial over-the-counter mouthwash. Use this to rinse your mouth at home after brushing and flossing.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free gum is helpful in fighting to keep cavities at bay. This gum helps increase the production of saliva in your mouth, thereby neutralizing any acids quickly. Saliva also regulates the pH levels in your mouth. This means that it gets harder for bacteria to thrive there. Buy sugarless gum that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. 

You don’t have to fight tooth decay on your own. We are here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact 4th Street Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment for a complete evaluation. Your healthy smile is just a call away!

What to Expect During a Dental Visit

What to expect during a dental visit - 4th Street Family Dentistry

What to Expect During a Dental Visit

It’s recommended that you visit your dentist in St. Petersburg, Fl, every six months for a comprehensive exam and cleaning. These visits are necessary for optimal oral health. In this article, we discuss what happens during these routine dental visits.

Your Routine Dental Checkup Visit

As already mentioned, this visit normally occurs every six months or at intervals recommended by your general dentist in St. Petersburg, FL. You can expect the following to take place at your next visit with 4th Street Family Dentistry.

The Professionals Who Will See You

You are likely to be treated by two professionals, a dental hygienist, and your St. Pete dentist. Our hygienist is the first professional who will see you. He or she will examine your gums and note down any parts of your mouth that need to be looked at more. The hygienist will also document any changes to medication that you are taking for any health conditions that you have. Then, they will talk to you about your brushing and flossing techniques. Your hygienist will then clean and polish your teeth thoroughly.  

Once those questions have been answered, your St. Pete dentist will come to see you. Dr. Brian Leeson will examine your oral structures and look into any concerns you or your hygienist had during the initial exam. He will also review how well the hygienist cleaned your teeth, and the dentist will conduct further checks, such as for oral cancer and any other disease. If any oral health problems are observed, Dr. Brian Leeson will make treatment recommendations and discuss them with you. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your oral health.

Teeth Cleaning

While you can keep the accumulation of plaque minimal by flossing and brushing at home, only a professional can clean your teeth and remove the tartar (hardened plaque) that inevitably builds up. Your hygienist uses a variety of metallic hand tools to clean your teeth thoroughly. Dental professionals recommend getting a dental cleaning every six months.

Teeth Polishing

Your hygienist at 4th Street Family Dentistry will then polish your teeth using a mild abrasive and fluoride. This leaves the surface of your teeth sparkling clean and free from calculus. 

Educational Information

The hygienist is also likely to give you further instructions on how you can take better care of your oral health at home. These instructions will arise from the observations made during the initial exam and the queries you raise as the hygienist is attending to you. The general care instructions are also likely to be brought up by Dr. Brian Leeson as he talks to you.

X-Rays

You may or may not need to have x-rays done during your routine dental visit to 4th Street Family Dentistry in St. Petersburg FL. The decision to have x-rays done will depend on your dental history, the results of the oral exam and your level of cavity risk.

Treatment Recommendations

If the oral health exam reveals a dental health problem, Dr. Brian Leeson, a general dentist in St. Petersburg, will recommend the most appropriate measures to take to deal with that problem. For example, he may ask you to come back to the dental office to have cavities filled or he may refer you to a specialist (such as an orthodontist) for the care you need.

Undergoing a Comprehensive Dental Exam

Dr. Brian Leeson explains that patients normally undergo comprehensive dental exams when they visit a new dentist or it’s time for their annual checkup. This exam may include some of the following:

Soft Tissue Examination

The tongue, the roof, and the floor of your mouth, and the inside surface of the cheeks and lips constitute the soft tissues inside your mouth. The dentist in St. Petersburg will take a close look at these soft tissues. Additionally, Dr. Leeson will look at the back of your mouth to check for any lesions, growths, swelling, or cuts that could point to a potential oral health issue.

Gum Tissue

Dr. Brian Leeson, an emergency dentist in St. Petersburg, will pay special attention when examining your gums and other support tissues around your teeth. Any sign of gum disease, such as swollen or red gums, may prompt the St. Pete dentist to recommend immediate treatment or refer you to a specialist.

Occlusion

This refers to how well your lower and upper teeth come together when you close your mouth. Georgetown KY dentists at ThoroughDent Smiles explain that occlusion can be examined by asking you to bite down on a piece of wax so that the impression left is analyzed. Alternatively, the dentist in St. Petersburg may simply look at the way the teeth meet to ascertain whether you have any occlusion problems. 

Clinical Teeth Examination

The experts at 4th Street Family Dentistry in St. Petersburg FL will also look at each of your teeth during this comprehensive exam. The purpose of this close examination is to check for cavities or to confirm that any dental work (crowns, fillings, and dentures, for example) are defect-free. St. Pete dentists often use dental explorers to identify which sections of enamel are healthy and which bits are decayed.

X-Rays

You are also likely to have dental x-rays done during a comprehensive dental exam. These help the dental care professionals take a close look at your teeth and other structures, like the roots of the teeth. In this way, tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental health problems will be caught early. As you can see, the specific activities that will be focused upon during your oral exam will depend on whether it is a routine dental visit or a comprehensive exam visit. When was the last time you visited your dentist? If you have taken more than 6 months, call today to schedule an appointment at 4th Street Family Dentistry so that Dr. Brian Leeson and the team can examine you. You will be given treatment recommendations so that your oral health can be maintained at peak levels.