Stop Teeth Being Sensitive!

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STOP TOOTH SENSITIVITY!

 Do you have sensitive teeth?  What can you do to fix that?

                               

If many teeth are sensitive to cold food or drink, start using Sensodyne Toothpaste- or any toothpaste containing potassium nitrate.  That toothpaste will be labeled, “FOR SENSITIVE TEETH.”  Check the active ingredients.  It  really, truly works, but takes  1-2 months.  Then keep using it.

      KNOW WHAT CAUSES SENSITIVITY THEN STOP DOING IT!-)

Drinking too many acid drinks is notorious for making teeth sensitive.  All drinks tart like orange juice are acidic.  OJ is high in sugar, too. (See my last blog on Acid Foods and Drinks).  Don’t drink too much and rinse with water after you drink it.

                   

I had one patient last year who suddenly developed very sensitive teeth.  She was not drinking any acidic juices at all.  She was eating a lot of fresh tomatoes in season that spring.  So watch out for acidic foods, too.  Too much vinegar salad dressing can cause tooth irritation, too.

 If you develop sensitive teeth, ask yourself, “Am I doing a lot of something lately?”  You will almost always find the cause as something you are doing too much.

       When one tooth is especially sensitive, it can be something else:

         1. A cavity in that tooth.

         2. Your bite hitting too hard on that one tooth.

         3. Gum tissue recession exposing the root.  (Roots have feeling.)

         4. An injury to the tooth.

 The only way to find one of these problems is to see your dentist.

 It is reasonable to give mild pain a couple of days to go away on its’ own.  If it is strong discomfort, don’t wait!  That is a different symptom.  Your teeth should feel comfortable when eating and brushing.  Do whatever it takes to keep your teeth!  They are important and unique to your sense of self- as well as to your eating!

W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571

Visit his website: docsatterfield.com

The Myth of Whitening Toothpastes

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The Myth of Whitening Toothpastes

Most “Whitening” toothpastes do NOT bleach your teeth.  That is a myth.  Check the list of ingredients.  There is no active bleach in them.  The one active ingredient in most ‘”whitening” toothpastes is fluoride, which does not bleach.  All other ingredients are inactive.

 How can so many manufacturers claim to “whiten?”  Toothpastes are slightly abrasive so they remove surface stains of teeth.  That’s it.  The ADA seal of approval assures that toothpastes have a safe abrasive level.

Bleach Your Teeth With Peroxide

True bleach penetrates and brightens the color of your enamel.  Look for the active ingredient peroxide, carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide or peroxyl urea.  Bleaching is safe and it works.

 The downsides to bleaching:

1. The lighter color does not last.  You have to keep rebleaching your teeth, either with toothpaste or with a bleaching treatment.

2. Your teeth can get sensitive.  Mild or strong, it always goes away.

3. Bleaching removes the warm color of your teeth.  They are whiter and brighter, but with a slightly bluish tint.

 4. Some teeth can’t be bleached.

 

Rembrandt toothpaste contains peroxide.  Crest Whitestrips have it, too (Platinum works the best).  Dental offices dispense different strengths of bleach and have access to every manufacturer.  They have a solution you can use in home bleaching trays to desensitize teeth if they become sensitive.  Their trays are custom fit and bleaching is easy.  Dental office bleaching costs more than store products like Whitestrips, but it’s easier, usually works faster and you have the expertise of a Hygienist and dentist.

Remember “whitening” is not bleaching.  Bleaching has its’ limitations, but it’s safe, it works and won’t hurt your teeth.

W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571   Visit his website: docsatterfield.com

Don’t Let Acid Foods and Drinks Dissolve Your Teeth!

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Don’t Let Acid Foods and Drinks Dissolve Your Teeth!

Do you know the sour taste of lemon juice?  That is a very strong acid.  Never bite into lemon wedges or drink straight lemon juice.  It’s too strong and will dissolve your teeth!

           

Lots of liquids we drink and foods we eat are acids, too- just not as strong as lemon juice.  Acid tastes sour.  Any food or drink with that sharp, sour taste is acidic.  Orange juice, cranberry juice and vinegar (in salad dressing and pickles): acids!  Sour candies like Sweet Tarts, daiquiris and dry wines all dissolve enamel of teeth.

                                                                                                        

 There is another source of acid that doesn’t taste sour.  Know what it is?  Sugar!  Bacteria in our mouths turn it into acid in seconds.  It doesn’t taste sour.  Each bite or drink of sugar puts acid on our teeth for 30 minutes.  Bad news for the enamel on our teeth!

How do our teeth survive if acids dissolve the enamel of our teeth?  If the dissolving (de-mineralizing) hasn’t gone too far, teeth harden up again (re-mineralize), taking up minerals from our saliva and non-acidic foods and drinks.  This process is constantly going on when we eat and drink.

 Prevent Irreversible Damage to Your Teeth by Doing 3 Things:

1. Avoid acids that are too strong: lemon juice, Sweet Tarts, and hard candy.

2. After eating mildly acidic foods, swish and swallow with plain water. This dilutes the acids and stops harm to your enamel.

3. Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after eating.  This re-mineralizes the enamel 3 times every day.

 Our teeth are normally smooth, slippery and glide easily over one another.  If your teeth have been de-mineralized on the surface by a strong acid, they will squeak and drag when you grind your teeth together.  Do not brush immediately if this happens!  You will brush away the softened enamel.  Rinse with water and wait one hour.  Even better, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash (ACT), but do not brush until your teeth are smooth and slippery again.

Acid erosion of teeth is old news.  Be smart and prevent harm to your good enamel.  Plan on keeping your teeth in good shape for your entire life!

 W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571   Visit his website: docsatterfield.com

Brushing: Mini-Fluoride Treatment

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Your Toothbrush is a Fluoride Applicator

When you brush your teeth, think of your toothbrush as a fluoride applicator.  Use a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved toothpaste.  The active ingredient proven for ADA-approval is fluoride.

 Fluoride has 3 main actions:       1. Stop DE-mineralization of your teeth.

                                                 2. RE-mineralize softened enamel.

                                                 3. Kill harmful bacteria.

Fluoride hardens enamel, making it better at resisting acid attack.  It also restores slightly softened enamel, as good as new.  Fluoride also kills decay-causing bacteria. It freshens breath, too!  A quadruple plus for one ingredient!

You intend to brush every day and floss every night, just before bed.  Sometimes we don’t.  This is what to avoid:  Never go days without brushing!  Even if you do a sloppy job of it, always, always, always apply fluoride toothpaste every day.

Plaque is a white film that causes decay and gum disease.    It covers your teeth when you don’t brush it off.  The answer?  Remove it every day.  Even if you don’t brush well, apply fluoride toothpaste.  Fluoride-filled plaque doesn’t hurt teeth nearly as much as when it is left undisturbed for 2 days. Longer is worse.

Before you start brushing, smear the toothpaste over every tooth, in BOTH arches, inside and out.  Use your toothbrush as a fluoride applicator.  Then do your usual brushing technique.  The fluoride is in contact with your teeth for much longer with this technique.

The best:  brush and floss every day.  The minimum:  Fluoride toothpaste every day.

    W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571.  Visit his website: docsatterfield.com

How to Keep Your Breath The Best!

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How to Keep Your Breath The Best!

It isn’t only your mouth that influences the smell of your breath: your nose and stomach do, too.  Let’s look at each area in order of importance:

 MOUTH CAUSES   

 1. Not Flossing Every Day

Failure to floss is maybe THE most common cause of breath odor.  Always floss (and brush) before going to bed.  Never fail to do this.  Food particles lie dormant for 8 hours, providing odor- and acid-forming bacteria the perfect conditions to do their worst.  This causes inflammation of the gum tissue, making it permeable to bacteria and their waste products.  It is then hard to get those compounds and microorganisms out of the gum tissue, eliminate the inflammation and have it become an odor-free, odor barrier again.  The Sonicare toothbrush is the best at stimulating blood flow in the surface capillaries, correcting all this. All electric toothbrushes do a better job than manual brushes.

When someone has periodontal disease, their breath has a characteristic odor.  Flossing prevents breath odor caused by the build-up of gum tissue-destroying bacteria.  Massage your gum tissue with your toothbrush, to keep blood flow stimulated and vigorous. This helps the most to alleviate breath odor.  Doing that also removes plaque, preventing periodontal disease and cavities.

2. Eating Spicy, Strong Foods

The most common, it is temporary and easy to fix.  Oral odor sources are from food particles which digest in the mouth to form VSC’s: volatile sulphur compounds.  Other compounds also cause breath odor: spicy foods, onions, garlic, curry, etc.  Avoid those well-known foods;  frequent use of a masking agent (mouthwash or breath mints) helps.  Some mouthwashes claim to neutralize VSC’s. Oxyfresh is one which contains chlorine dioxide, others contain zinc compounds. Their effectiveness is not universally accepted.

3. Dry mouth.

Medications and mouth breathing cause dry mouth.  Drink water to keep hydrated and improve breath fragrance. I frequently recommend Biotene moisturizing breath spray.  It has a pleasant minty fragrance as well as moisturizing the mouth.  It is sugar-free.  ALWAYS use sugar-free mints or candies, NEVER anything with sugar because those will destroy teeth and feed bacteria in the mouth.  I had a nice tasting moisturizing spray containing fluoride from Omnii, but that manufacturer stopped making it.  I’m still looking for something with fluoride.  That is especially good for people getting cavities.

STOMACH CAUSES 

1. Reflux

GERD (reflux), ulcers, digestive disruptions and medications definitely throw off normal healthy complete digestion.  Specific systemic conditions can also cause breath odor.  One has to take symptom-focused medications for systemic ailments.  Decreasing symptoms improves breath freshness, but the side-effect of some medications is dry mouth.  Drinking more water decreases symptoms from this.

Regular exercise helps digestion.  Exercise 30-45 minutes 5 times per week, minimum.

NOSE and THROAT CAUSES   

1. Post nasal drip, sinusitis, allergy, colds and flu.

Things which decrease post nasal drip and other cold symptoms help improve breath quality. Avoiding allergic reactive conditions like dust or animal dander, as well as symptom-focused medications help a LOT.  Milk and milk products form the base constituents of catarrh, mucous.  I avoid dairy products, mostly.  When I am good with that, I don’t have allergic symptoms or a runny nose.  It just doesn’t happen.  I’m sure I’m still exposed to the dust and pollen I am allergic to, but no symptoms occur.  It might help you.  It’s worth a test trial period to see if avoiding dairy products helps prevent nasal symptoms.

Use these tips to get and keep a fresh, clean breath – they work!  Make them work for you!

W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD  Doc Satterfield  General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching.  Things work!

Phone: 281-363-1571.   Visit his website: docsatterfield.com

Make Flossing Super-Easy

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A New Technique
Using the REACH Manual Flosser
By W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD

The breakthrough design of the REACH Flosser, used with the biting technique, has corrected these problems, making flossing as easy as brushing.
The long handle and angled head are big improvements, but THIS IS THE KEY (REACH designers don’t know about this technique): BITE THE FLOSS INTO PLACE. This gives you enormous control to prevent your going too far and hurting your gum tissue- the main fear when flossing. We control our jaw movements way better than we control our hand, finger and arm movements.

Hold the Flosser like your toothbrush; position the floss on  the contact between any two teeth. Gently bite down on the top of the floss holder. The floss easily pops through the contact. To remove, keep the floss head in contact with the opposite teeth and open a short distance quickly. The floss pops back out. This works in every contact, on upper and lower teeth.

Using this flosser is not nearly so easy without this biting technique.
Practice in front of a mirror on front teeth first. You will get the feel of it quickly and won’t need the mirror.  Once you are comfortable using the Flosser technique, gently push, and then pull the floss against each tooth while you are moving your jaw up and down, 3-4 times, flossing.

Use the disposable floss head until the floss breaks. Rinse it off after each use. REACH said to use a new one every time, but it is good for several uses. I used my first floss head for twelve complete flossings.

A few patients informed me that they had to use a new head every time because they had rough contacts that break the floss. That can be fixed. I can smooth your contacts easily with a Proflex Scaling Strip and no drilling or anesthetic. Ask at your next cleaning appointment. The Hygienist can do this, too. I will be glad to smooth your contacts for no charge. You ought to get more than one complete flossing from each head.

The REACH Company did not consult me about their design and I have not contacted them about the biting technique or my review. I have absolutely no financial interest in their company.

The REACH Flosser and biting technique makes flossing SUPER easy. Think about what this could do for you. Almost everyone I see tells me they want to floss daily. Try out this flosser and biting the floss into place. It will improve your oral health and quality of life!

Bryon Satterfield, a dentist with decades of experience: things work!  Taught part time at the UT Dental School for 16 years.  Dentistry by appointment in The Woodlands, TX.  Visit our website: docsatterfield.com, or call 281-363-1571.

Quick Dental Hygene Quiz to Test your Knowledge

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So you think you know how to take care of your teeth…take your shot at this quick quiz and let me know how you did.

Here are 5 quick questions for you….Answers are below:

1 How much flossing is enough ?

2 Why do you brush?

3  Is an electric toothbrush as good as a manual brush?

4  Does not flossing enough cause breath odor?

5  Can you clean your teeth so well that you never need to go to the dentist?

Answers:

1.  Once per day is enough.  Daily flossing prevents cavities from forming between teeth.  At bedtime is best.

2.  To prevent decay, remove stains, freshen breath and stimulate gum tissue for periodontal health.

3.  It’s better!  Electric toothbrushes are proven to remove more plaque than a manual brush.  Plaque is the cause of both decay and gum (periodontal) disease.

4.  Yes.  Brushing helps, but not flossing guarantees breath odor.  It can also be caused by sinus problems and acid reflux.

5.  No.  A hygienist still has to clean the hard scale deposits (calculus) that form on your teeth under the gumline.  That still forms even with the best brushing and flossing.

W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD   General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571

Visit his website: docsatterfield.com