Tag Archives: cavities

What is Fluoride?

fluorideWhat is fluoride?

Fluoride is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of fluorine and one other elements. Fluorides are present naturally in water and soil at different levels.
In the 1940s, scientists became aware that people living near drinking water supplies had naturally occurring fluoride levels of approximately 1 part fluoride per million parts water or greater had fewer dental cavities.  Many  studies over the past 70 years have supported this finding (1).
It was later found that fluoride can prevent and even reverse tooth decay by hindering bacteria that produce acid in the mouth.  It also boost remineralization, the process through which tooth enamel is “rebuilt”” after it begins to decay (1, 2).
In addition to building up in teeth, ingested fluoride accumulates in bones. Moderate amounts prevent dental caries (cavities),  but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems.  The control of drinking-water quality is therefore critical in preventing fluorosis and only providing help for dental cavities.

What is water fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is the process of adding fluoride to the water supply so the level reaches approximately 0.7 ppm, or 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water; this is the optimal level for preventing tooth decay (1).
Fluoridating the water began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They adjusted the fluoride content of its water supply to 1.0 ppm and thus became the first city to implement community water fluoridation. By 2008, more than 72 percent of the U.S. population served by public water systems had access to fluoridated water (3).
More than 70 years of scientific research has consistently shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, Americans can benefit from fluoride’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Where can people find additional information on fluoridated water?

The CDC has information on standards for and surveillance of current fluoridated water supplies in the United States.The Environmental Protection Agency can provide more information about drinking water and health, including details about drinking water quality and safety standards.
Selected References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public Health Service report on fluoride benefits and risks.JAMA 1991; 266(8):1061–1067. [PubMed Abstract]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Achievements in public health, 1900–1999: fluoridation of drinking water to prevent dental caries. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999; 48(41):933–940.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (August 2010). 2008 Water Fluoridation Statistics. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  4. Bucher JR, Hejtmancik MR, Toft JD, et al. Results and conclusions of the National Toxicology Program’s rodent carcinogenicity studies with sodium fluoride. International Journal of Cancer 1991; 48(5):733–737.[PubMed Abstract]
  5. Committee to Coordinate Environmental Health and Related Programs, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Fluoride (February 1991). Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks. Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  6. National Research Council, Subcommittee on Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride. Carcinogenicity of fluoride. In: Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.
  7. Kim FM, Hayes C, Williams PL, et al. An assessment of bone fluoride and osteosarcoma. Journal of Dental Research 2011; 90(10):1171–1176.

Dental Facts to Chew on!

Dental Facts to Chew OnDental Facts to Chew On!

Dentistry has come a long way since the beginning of time.  Enclosed is a list of Dental Facts for you and your family to chew on.

  • The number of cavities in the average mouth is down and people are keeping their teeth longer with the advances in dentistry.   People, on average, have healthier mouths than even 10 years ago.
  •  60% of people don’t know that a sore jaw, when combined with chest pain, can signal a heart attack – especially in women.
  • The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing their teeth over a lifetime.
  • The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day, the recommended amount of time is 2-3 minutes.
  • More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque.
  • Just like fingerprints, tooth prints are unique to each individual.
  • 32% of Americans cite bad breath as the least attractive trait of their co-workers.
  • Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
  • A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans
  • Only 40% of  young people age 6 to 19 have experienced their first cavity.  That’s down from 50% a decade ago.
  • Over the last ten years the number of people age 60 who’d lost all their teeth had decreased from 33% to 25%.
  • 44% of dental care expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.
  • It has been estimated that 69 percent of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and one in four over the age of 74 have lost ALL their natural teeth.
  • Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.
  • More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental related illness.
  • 94% of Americans say they brush nightly’ 81% say they do it first thing in the morning.
  • People who drink 3 or more sugary sodas daily have 62% more dental decay, fillings and tooth loss.
  • People with red hair are more sensitive to pain and consequently need more anesthetic during operations than other patients. Those with red hair needed 20 percent more anesthetic to numb the pain, according to New Scientist.
  • The enamel on the top surface on your tooth is the hardest part of your entire body.
  • Many diseases are linked to your oral health, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
  • If you get your tooth knocked out, put it in milk and hold it in your mouth—this will help your tooth to survive longer. Make sure you see a dentist right away.

Cavities FAQs


Cavities FAQs

Most of us have had at least one. Some of us have quite a few. So what makes cavities so persistent, keeping more children out of school than any other disease? Usually, the answer is simple: not enough brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist. Snacking on sweets and slurping sodas doesn’t help either. But rather than feel guilty, get informed.
Q: What’s the difference between tooth decay and tooth cavity?
A: Good question! Most people think tooth decay and tooth cavity are the same thing. But they’re not. Tooth decay refers to a gradual process during which bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy the surfaces of teeth. Over time, tooth decay can erode enamel to the point that a hole, or cavity, forms.
Q: How do I know if I have cavities?
A: Cavities are one of the first things your dentist looks for during a regular dental exam. X-rays allow your dentist to diagnose whether you have dental cavities and how extensive they are. Sometimes a tooth cavity is visible to the naked eye; if you see black holes in your teeth, those could be signs. Another cavity red flag is a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.
Q: How do dentists treat dental cavities?
A: Treatment depends on the size of the cavity and the degree of damage. Although many dental cavities are treated with fillings, onlays may be necessary to treat large cavities affecting the cusps of teeth, while cavities affecting the areas in between the cusps may be treated with inlays. In some cases, dental crowns are used to protect a tooth from further tooth cavity damage. Dental sealants are often applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure against cavities.
Still have questions about cavities or other dental problems? Your dentist will be happy to answer them during your next checkup.

Soda Drinkers More Prone to Cavities

sodaSoda Drinkers More Prone to Cavities

Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker. These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.
A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths. Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities. Soda may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because it is acidic as well.
Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches!
A study examined the effect of several types of sweetened soda and mineral water on the teeth. Teeth exposed to cola, orange and lime soda had significantly more decalcification than those exposed to mineral water. Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content promotes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.
The easiest way to prevent cavities is by brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed. Reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages can decrease the risk of forming cavities.
If you have to have sweetened soda, it is better to drink it at one sitting than sip it throughout the day. Better yet, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether.

What can your Mouth tell your Dentist?

  Information Your Mouth can Tell

mouth and dentist


There are many reasons to visit your dentist but what is not commonly known is the story your mouth can provide to the overall health of your body. The condition of your teeth and especially your gums can be an alert system for potential health problems.  Your dentist is a big part of keeping you healthy. Regular check-ups are essential for keeping your gums, teeth and tongue in good repair but it could be an early detection of something else in your body needing to be addressed.

Common Syndromes your Mouth can Tell

Stressed Out– When you are nervous or stressed, your body creates higher levels of cortisol in the body.  Higher levels of cortisol are strongly associated with inflammation.  These elevated levels also makes it more difficult for your body to fight off an infection.  In turn, this can create sensitive teeth and gums. It also can contribute to gum disease.

Anemia–  Light pink pale gums can be a heads up to your dentist that you might be iron deficient.

Dry Mouth–  Certain antihistamines used for allergies as well as a list of drugs used to manage mental health issues can cause dry mouth.  A dry mouth can contribute to tooth decay.  To avoid this issue, your dentist can order sprays and saliva substitutes to help protect your teeth.


8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610
Charlotte, NC 28262


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Monday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
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Friday: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. – Every Other Week
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed



Cut The Cheese for Healthy Teeth

Consuming dairy products is vital to maintaining good overall health, and it’s especially important to bone health. But there has been little research about how dairy products affect oral health in particular. However, according to a new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), consuming cheese and other dairy products may help protect teeth against cavities.


The study sampled 68 subjects ranging in age from 12 to 15, and the authors looked at the dental plaque pH in the subjects’ mouths before and after they consumed cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion, which is a process that wears away the enamel (or protective outside layer) of teeth. “The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities,” explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

The subjects were assigned into groups randomly. Researchers instructed the first group to eat cheddar cheese, the second group to drink milk, and the third group to eat sugar-free yogurt. Each group consumed their product for three minutes and then swished with water. Researchers measured the pH level of each subject’s mouth at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption.

The groups who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths. Subjects who ate cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH levels at each time interval, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

The study indicated that the rising pH levels from eating cheese may have occurred due to increased saliva production (the mouth’s natural way to maintain a baseline acidity level), which could be caused by the action of chewing. Additionally, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.

“It looks like dairy does the mouth good,” says AGD spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD. “Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities.”

For any oral health concerns Contact Glasscock Dental

8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262

Areas Prone to Dental Cavities

Tooth decay and dental cavities are among the most common health problems in adults. Not only can dental cavities be a significant cause of pain and discomfort, they can lead to deteriorating oral health over time. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of tooth decay and dental cavities, and to be aware of which areas of your mouth are most prone to dental cavities. This can help you work harder to prevent dental cavities and keep your mouth in good health.


Hot Spots for Dental Cavities

While you can get dental cavities in virtually any tooth, there are  certain areas of your mouth that are most likely to be afflicted by tooth decay and dental cavities. Familiarizing yourself with these areas can help in  the prevention  of dental cavities. Here are a few things to consider as you work to maintain the best oral health and prevent dental cavities.

  • Watch Your Back Teeth: Your molars and premolars, located in the back of your mouth, have a lot of grooves, nooks, and crannies that can collect food particles that lead to plaque, tooth decay, and dental cavities. They are also harder to reach with your toothbrush, so make an extra effort to brush these areas carefully.
  • Look Out for Receding Gums: When your gums pull away from your teeth, plaque has easier access to their roots. If your gums are receding in any area of your mouth, those areas can be prone to dental cavities. Flossing regularly and brushing with an antiplaque/gingivitis toothpaste can help prevent gum disease and dental cavities.
  • Check Your Dental Fillings, Caps, and Crowns: Try to take regular inventory of your dental work to be sure everything remains in its proper place and is undamaged. Your dentist should do this during your regular visits, but you should also keep a close watch, as these areas can be prone to dental cavities if they aren’t maintained. When a filling gets weak, plaque can build up more easily and cause tooth decay. (1)

Want to Reduce Your Chances for Dental Cavities? Make Oral Hygiene a Habit

Work to prevent dental cavities—keep a close watch on these areas and maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Make your dental hygiene routine a habit. Have your spouse, children, or roommates remind one another to follow the routine daily, and make it a priority to take better care of your teeth and mouth to prevent dental cavities.

See a Professional Regularly

Make appointments to see a dental professional twice a year for routine cleanings and dental exams. The professional cleaning will take care of plaque build-up that you can’t remove at home, and the professional exam will help identify problem spots and early signs of weak spots in the enamel before they escalate into significant issues. Weak spots that go undetected or untreated for too long can lead to more tooth decay resulting a dental cavity, infection, and other complications.


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