Acid Reflux & Tooth Decay
You know that chewing is the first step in the digestive process, but did you know that your digestive health can have an impact on your teeth? If you have acid reflux, it could be eroding your tooth enamel. Once it wears away, enamel can’t be restored. However, you can take action before it happens to protect your teeth.
Before we get into that, let’s talk about why enamel erosion happens in the first place. If you’ve got acid reflux, you know it’s very uncomfortable. Symptoms of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), include chest pain and heartburn. These symptoms occur because acid produced by the stomach has washed back up into the esophagus. That same stomach acid can reach your teeth and wear away their enamel. Strong enamel protects your teeth against pain and sensitivity, but when that enamel erodes, your teeth become vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.
Acid reflux is not the only thing that can erode your enamel. Too much sugar, acidic foods, heavy drinking, brushing too hard, and tooth grinding are among the other culprits. GERD is probably the most damaging of all, so take these steps to protect your teeth:
- Work on getting your acid reflux under control. Work with your doctor to determine the best way to do this. Your plan may include things like losing weight, eating fewer acidic foods, having smaller meals, sleeping propped up, quitting smoking, and limiting your alcohol consumption.
- Change the way you eat and drink. This starts with cutting back on acidic foods like soda, citrus, and even tomato sauce, but that’s just the beginning. You can also protect your enamel by not eating within three hours of bedtime and drinking through a straw. Never brush immediately after a meal, because that can be erosive. Instead, swish water around your mouth after you eat or have a piece of cheese or glass of milk to finish your meal and neutralize the acid.
- Drink plenty of water. This keeps damaging substances from staying on your teeth and can also lessen dry mouth.
- Chew some gum. Chewing sugar free gum can increase saliva production, which strengthens your teeth and helps protect them against erosion and decay.
- Choose a fluoride toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Talk to your dentist about your best options for toothpaste and mouthwash.
- See your dentist regularly. Seeing the dentist every six months is something everyone should do, but it’s particularly important for people with acid reflux. Your dentist will notice any tooth erosion and can help you keep your teeth healthy.
At West County Dental, we provide personalized family dental care using state of the art procedures. Adhering to a standard of excellence, we provide comprehensive treatment, from preventive care to restorative dentistry. When you reserve a visit with West County Dental, you can be confident that our team of highly-trained dental professionals will provide you the care you need for a healthy smile. Call (314) 488-2921 or contact us through our website today!
The Importance of Regular Dental Visits
Everyone wants bright, white teeth and healthy gums, but even the best oral hygiene may not be enough to meet your goals. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting the dentist a minimum of every six months. Some people may need more frequent visits, depending on their oral health.
Despite this recommendation, only 58 percent of American adults see the dentist at least once a year. If you’ve been putting off your next visit, learn more about the importance of regular dentist visits here.
Why Visit the Dentist?
No amount of brushing and flossing can replace having your teeth professionally cleaned. Consider these reasons why regular dentist visits are so important for good oral health:
- Prevent cavities and gum disease
- Brighten your smile
- Combat bad breath
- Stop tooth loss in its tracks
- Promote good overall health
- Save money on restorative procedures
What to Expect During a Dentist Visit
Most routine dentist visits take an hour. However, your visit could take longer if it’s been more than a year since your last dental visit or you need additional treatment for a chronic condition such as periodontal disease.
Dentist visits consist of several parts:
- Digital X-rays: Your dentist may recommend X-rays about once a year or as needed. The image produced by a digital X-ray provides a more in-depth look at what’s going on beneath the surface. It can help your dentist detect problems early on, even if you don’t have any outward symptoms yet. This saves you time and money and preserves your oral health.
- Oral exam: Your dentist examines your jaw, neck, and lymph nodes for irregularities. A mouth exam comes next, where the dentist assesses your teeth, gums, and soft tissues. This includes checking your bite, looking for damaged crowns or fillings, evaluating any dental appliances you have, and checking for signs of oral cancer.
- Teeth cleaning: A hygienist uses specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Flossing then removes any debris caught between your teeth or along the gum line. Finally, polishing your teeth leaves your mouth looking and feeling cleaner than ever. You may also receive a fluoride treatment.
- Personalized recommendations: Perhaps your dentist noticed plaque buildup in a particular area or is concerned about your receding gums or eroding enamel. Your visit concludes with professional suggestions to improve your oral health, such as using a specific toothbrush or mouth rinse, coming in for more frequent cleanings, or wearing a mouthguard while you sleep. Adhering to these expert tips is the best way to keep your teeth and gums in top shape.
General dentistry is the foundation of the services we offer here at West County Dental. We can help preserve your smile with regular cleanings and checkups. We also provide restorative and cosmetic dentistry to correct any flaws in your smile. To reserve a visit with our St. Louis dentist, please call (314) 488-2921 or contact us online.
4 Tips to Save Time and Money at the Dentist
If you are one of the many people who have shied away from visiting the dentist because of time or money issues, you are definitely not alone. The huge cost of dental care can create financial hardships and take up countless sick days, but there are several ways to reduce your dental costs. Here are 4 tips that will help you save a lot of time and money on your next dental visit.
Continue reading “4 Tips to Save Time and Money at the Dentist”
Protecting Your TeethDentists in St. Louis, like Dr. Spalitto, are dedicated to keeping your smile healthy. In this video, the ADA suggests wearing a mouthguard whenever you participate in any athletic activity.
In family dentistry, keeping patients’ teeth and gums healthy is important. A dentist advises both kids and adults to wear a mouthguard whenever playing contact sports, including football, basketball, or soccer. However, dentists also urges patients of all ages to wear a mouthguard even when taking part in solo athletic activities, like biking, running, or rollerblading. Your dentist can fit you with a customized, comfortable mouthguard.
To learn even more about why mouthguards are essential in family dentistry, contact Dr. Spalitto by calling (314) 821-2712 to speak to a dentist.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Dr. Spalitto, your dentist in St. Louis , is committed to helping your family achieve good oral health at all stages of life. That is why baby bottle tooth decay is one issue our family dentistry practice educates patients about. This video explains this risk to your child’s developing teeth.
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when baby teeth are exposed to sugary liquids for long periods. At your next family dentistry appointment, talk to your dentist about ways to avoid this kind of decay, such as never putting your child to bed with a bottle.
Regular family dentistry appointments at West Country Dental will help you manage your baby’s oral health. To schedule an appointment, please call (314) 821-2712 today.
What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning
Visiting your dentist regularly is key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Regular dental exams and dental cleanings can help you avoid dangerous oral problems, such as periodontal disease, and will help you maintain good health and a confident smile.
During your first dental visit, Dr. Spalitto will first examine your mouth and gums for signs of tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. He may also check your jaw, face, and neck for signs of oral cancer or illness. Next, he will take dental X-rays to check the condition and health of your teeth and bones. Your dentist will also check your biting, chewing, and swallowing patterns to make sure that there are no problems.
A member of his team will perform your dental cleaning. She will remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth that can lead to periodontal disease. She will also clean your teeth with toothpaste, and then polish them to remove stains. If a serious problem has been identified, such as a cavity, missing crown, or a tooth that needs to be extracted, she will let you know. Dr. Spalitto is known for being able to do same day dental implants and same day crowns.
Help Your Child Have a Happy Dental Visit
A lifetime of good oral health starts in childhood. Dr. Pete Spalitto understands this, which is why he works hard to create a dentist office near St. Louis that caters to children and their unique needs. Use the following tips to prepare your child for his or her next dental visit:
Talk Positively About the Dentist
The things you say have a big impact on your children. If you want them to feel positive about going to the dentist, you have to talk positively about going to the dentist. While you do not want to give away too much information about what happens at the dentist, you should make an effort to talk about the dental visit positively. Explain to your children how Dr. Spalitto can help them keep their teeth healthy and their smiles attractive.
Lead by Example
Your actions also play heavily on your children and their opinions. If you want your kids to care about their oral health, you have to do the same. Make brushing and flossing a family activity so your kids get excited about taking care of their teeth and gums. You should also visit the dentist regularly to show the children that they have nothing to worry about when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile.
Offer Incentives for Good Dental Visits
You can get your children excited about going to the dentist by offering them an incentive for every good report care they get from Dr. Spalitto. Whether you have a sticker book that you add to or bring the kids to the store for a new toy, these incentives help you encourage your children to focus on their oral care. If he finds a cavity during a visit he’ll make sure to use laser dentistry to treat it so no drill no pain for your child!
Bring Your Kids to Meet the Dentist
If you feel like your children are a little apprehensive about going to the dentist, you might want to set up a consultation with Dr. Spalitto. When they see how nice and welcoming the dentist is, it will make them feel much better about their own visit.
What Happens at Your Child’s First Dental Visit?
When you bring your child in for the first visit at Dr. Spalitto’s dentist office near St. Louis , you can expect a visit that jumpstarts a lifetime of good dental hygiene. Focusing on dental visits while your child is still young leads to a happy and healthy mouth. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from this first dental visit:
You Talk About Your Child’s Medical History
Before Dr. Spalitto starts the exam, he will sit down to talk to you about your child’s medical history. The more information you can give about your child’s health, the more effective the visit will be. You should also list any medications that your child takes so Dr. Spalitto knows how to proceed with the exam.
Dr. Spalitto Examines Your Child’s Mouth
The purpose of this dental visit is for Dr. Spalitto to thoroughly examine your child’s mouth to determine the current condition of his or her teeth and gums. This exam gives the dentist information about future growth and development. It also allows Dr. Spalitto to check out the child’s oral hygiene to determine if there is a risk of tooth decay or if there is already evidence of cavities.
Dr. Spalitto Cleans the Teeth
This first visit also gives Dr. Spalitto the opportunity to clean your child’s teeth and gums to remove any plaque or tartar that you might have missed with at-home brushing or flossing. During the cleaning, Dr. Spalitto can also give you some tips about the proper way to care for your child’s teeth and gums at home.
You Learn More About Pediatric Dental Care
Take advantage of this first dental visit by asking Dr. Spalitto any question you have about your child’s developing mouth. You and the dentist can discuss habits like using a pacifier or sucking the thumb. With your discussion about dental treatments, you can figure out exactly what you need to do to help your child grow up with a healthy, beautiful smile.
Feeding Your Family a Mouth-Healthy Diet
Practicing good oral hygiene will help you avoid dental problems for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, and making regular visits to West County Dental of St. Louis can prevent gum disease and tooth decay. However, good hygiene practices may not mean as much if you don’t eat a mouth-healthy diet. The foods and beverages you consume greatly impact the health of your teeth and gums. To keep your smile strong, keep these diet suggestions in mind:
Focus on Fresh Produce
Dr. Spalitto of West County Dental stresses the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are beneficial for healthy teeth and gums. Many fruits and vegetables are fibrous, which helps with the natural cleaning of oral contaminants. Vegetables typically have low sugar content as well, which limits the ability of bacteria to create plaque. In addition, produce is dense in nutrients, and can provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals that fortify tooth and gum health.
Include Calcium-Rich Products
The bone that supports your teeth is made largely of calcium. This substance helps teeth retain a strong and rigid structure, which is necessary for chewing and eating. Consuming plenty of calcium-rich products—including low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese—can provide ample amounts of calcium to support your oral health.
Restrict Sweet Beverages
Many people know that residual food particles can get stuck between teeth, hastening the development of plaque and gum disease. As a result, they might wash down their meals with a large cup of cola, fruit juice, or sweetened tea in the hopes of dislodging food remnants and lowering the risk of cavities. Unfortunately, sugary beverages only heighten the danger of tooth decay. If you normally drink soda, juice, or another sugar-laden drink, that could be the reason for your dental issues. Instead, make water your beverage of choice. This single change to your diet could dramatically reduce tooth decay and improve your general wellbeing.
The Importance of Visiting the Dentist
Home dental care is crucial for preventing cavities and gum disease. As this video explains, seeing a dentist is an equally important part of oral health. Dr. Spalitto of West County Dental is an excellent St. Louis dentist with more than a decade of experience.
While brushing and flossing reduce the formation of plaque, they don’t entirely prevent the buildup of this harmful substance. Once plaque hardens into tartar, the only way to remove it is via a professional teeth cleaning. Dental exams can also reveal the presence of tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can cause extensive tooth and gum damage. Dr. Spalitto can also detect the warning signs of oral cancer—a life-threatening condition. For the sake of your oral health, make it a priority to visit West County Dental at least twice each year.
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