Do you ever get heartburn? Most people do, with about ten percent of Americans suffering daily from the discomfort this condition causes. While heartburn is common, it’s not actually natural, and it’s caused by a disorder called acid reflux or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). And while the most well-known symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, that’s far from the only way this problem affects the body. In fact, chronic acid reflux can be very hard on your teeth. Let’s look at why, and what you can do about it.
First, what is acid reflux? When your digestive system is working the way it’s supposed to, you swallow and your food travels through the esophagus to the stomach. The stomach has acids that digest the food, but there is a muscle that connects the stomach and esophagus, and it closes to keep the food and acid from going back up the esophagus- the wrong way. In people suffering from GERD or acid reflux, this muscle is weak, and it allows the food and stomach acid to travel back up, causing burning in the chest, neck and throat, and a bitter acidic taste.
If you think about the mechanics of acid reflux, you can probably already deduce why this condition would cause problems for your teeth. Your teeth are covered with tooth enamel, which is the strongest substance in the body and protects the teeth from things like bacteria, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. However, over time, this enamel and begin to erode. Stomach acid hastens that erosion, in effect dissolving the enamel and leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay. In fact, in some cases, stomach acid can dramatically decrease the size of your teeth.
How do you know if acid reflux is damaging your teeth? You might notice that your teeth are more sensitive, especially to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. Your teeth also might chip, seem thinner or smaller, or have sharp edges. You may experience pain and irritation in your mouth, and your teeth may become discolored or dark.
If you have acid reflux, what can you do to protect your teeth from these problems?
- Start by controlling your acid reflux. Talk to your primary care physician or a gastroenterologist about lifestyle changes you may need to make. Things like removing trigger foods from your diet, quitting smoking, losing weight, and sleeping with your head raised may all be recommended. You may also choose to use antacids to control your symptoms, but do this sparingly, as this type of medication can cause dental problems.
- Be careful with your teeth. Drink through a straw if you’re drinking anything acidic, like soda, coffee, or juice. Drink water with your meals, and drink water between meals, to continually rinse your mouth. Brush with fluoride toothpaste, but avoid brushing for 30 minutes to an hour after eating, so that you don’t brush your enamel when it’s softened. Eat a piece of cheese or drink some milk after your meals, to neutralize the acid.
- See your dentist regularly. Your dentist can alert you to signs of tooth erosion, and can also offer a variety of treatments to help restore your enamel and offset the damage of acid reflux.
If you’re looking for a dentist in New York, why not choose the dentist voted best in the city? At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.
How is your gum health? About half of all people over 30 suffer from periodontal disease, and this is the leading cause of gum recession. Gum recession is a problem, because when your gums recede too far, they can allow your teeth to fall out! Further, receding gums create pockets between the teeth and gums, and this can allow bacteria to grow and cause infections. In this way, even if your gum recession is not caused by periodontal disease, it can create an ideal environment for periodontal disease to progress. Once gums have receded, they don’t grow back, but there are some strategies you can employ to slow the recession. First, you need to know what is causing your gum line to recede.
- As mentioned, periodontal disease is a major cause of receding gums. The bacterial gum infections of periodontal disease can destroy not only gum tissue, but also the bone that holds the teeth in place. Catching periodontal disease in the early stage, called gingivitis, when the gums are simply inflamed, can help forestall its progression.
- It could be your genes. Sometimes, genetics just don’t work in your favor when it comes to your gums. About 30 percent of people have receding gums, leading to periodontal disease, no matter how well they care for their teeth.
- You might not be taking good care of your teeth. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tartar build-up, and when this happens, it can cause your gums to recede.
- On the other hand, you might be brushing too enthusiastically. Aggressive brushing can wear away your enamel and damage your gum tissue.
- Your teeth may be crooked. Believe it or not, misaligned teeth can wear on your gums. Teeth that don’t come together properly put too much force on the gums, causing them to recede.
- It might be hormones. Hormonal fluctuations, like the ones experienced during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can cause your gums to recede.
- Mouth trauma can damage your gums. If you get punched in the mouth or fall on your face, your teeth can be knocked loose, and your gums can sustain damage that causes recession.
- Your orthodontia may be the issue. It makes sense that using constant force to reposition your teeth could cause your gums to become inflamed and recede.
- If you grind your teeth, your gums might recede. In fact, receding gums may be your first warning sign that you grind your teeth at night.
- Tobacco use can lead to receding gums. Smoking and chewing tobacco are bad for your oral health in such a variety of ways that if you use tobacco, you really need to stop.
You might notice your gums receding, or you might notice some other warning signs. Your teeth may become sensitive to heat, cold, and sweets, or they may be sensitive when you’re brushing, flossing, or getting dental cleanings. You may also experience pain or discomfort near the gum line. Without treatment, gum recession could cause your teeth to feel loose. Fortunately, while receding gums won’t grow back, your dentist can help you slow the recession, as well as offering non-surgical and surgical treatments to improve the condition.
When you’re looking for a dentist to help with your teeth and gums, trust the dentist voted best in New York. At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.
If you’re like most Americans, the day doesn’t quite start until you’ve had your morning coffee. Coffee is a delicious beverage that boosts your energy and may even be good for your heart health, but it can be hard on your smile, leaving your chompers less than pearly white. Beyond the stains it leaves behind, is coffee actually harmful? Could your morning cup of joe be ruining your teeth?
The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. If you’re a coffee drinker, you already know that it is a substance that stains. It will stain your favorite shirt, the upholstery in your car, your best tablecloth, and, yes, your teeth. It stains because it contains plant-based compounds called tannins that leave behind discoloration. The acidity in coffee helps with this staining because acid softens tooth enamel, making it easier for stains to penetrate the teeth. Because the stains seep through the enamel, though, coffee stains are difficult to remove with tooth brushing.
What’s more, as you get older, your tooth enamel begins to change, becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to staining. So, if you have a five cup a day coffee habit, you’re likely to have some noticeable stains after you’ve sustained it for several years. But beyond the yellowing teeth, does coffee do any damage?
There is, of course, the matter of coffee breath. Along with the acids, coffee introduces bacteria into your mouth, and it sticks to your tongue, causing halitosis. Fortunately, this is easily remedied by brushing your teeth after you drink coffee. Then, too, coffee is not alone in bringing bacteria into the environment of your mouth: any drink that isn’t water will do that. Fortunately, your saliva helps counteract the bacteria and allow your enamel to repair itself, but it’s important to brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities. Be aware that the sugar (or syrup) that goes into your coffee is much more damaging to your teeth than the coffee itself.
How can you continue to enjoy your coffee without staining your smile? You can’t, completely, but there are some things you can do to minimize the issue.
- Limit your coffee. Don’t drink coffee all day long, instead sticking to one or two cups of coffee at one time of day.
- Brush your teeth. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste after every cup is best because brushing removes bacteria and fluoride strengthens enamel. Bonus: you’ll lose the coffee breath. It is important to note, however, that you should wait about 30 minutes after your coffee to brush and floss, because immediately after you drink it your enamel will be soft enough to sustain damage from your toothbrush.
- Drink your coffee through a straw. When you use a straw, you can keep most of the coffee away from your teeth, which limits staining.
- Wash your coffee down with water. Water is always a good choice, whether you’re drinking coffee, eating food, or drinking alcoholic beverages. Why? Because water helps to keep the saliva flowing and rinses debris and bacteria away from your mouth.
- See your dentist regularly. Semi-annual cleanings can make a world of difference in the look of your teeth. Beyond just cleaning the teeth, they polish the enamel so that it can do a better job protecting your teeth from stains. Your dentist can also offer teeth whitening treatments to remove discoloration that has already appeared on your teeth.
If you are looking for a dentist to do those semi-annual cleanings and handle all your other dental needs, choose the dentist voted best in New York. At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.
So, your dentist has just told you that you need a crown, and you’re flattered! You didn’t expect to be treated like royalty, and yet, it’s all about to happen. You eagerly await your coronation. Though we hate to interrupt this flight of fancy, we have some bad news for you: it’s not that kind of crown. A crown is actually a cap for damaged teeth, and if your dentist is telling you that you need one, it means you have a tooth problem.
Why would someone need a crown, anyway? It could be that you have a cavity to large for a filling. It might also be that you have a tooth that’s worn down, cracked, or weak, and needs a crown to protect it. Similarly, if you’ve had a root canal, your fragile tooth may need the protection of a crown. If you need a dental bridge or implant, you may also need a crown.
There are different types of crowns, made of a variety of materials. Your dentist will discuss your options with you, and you’ll need to consider several factors, like the cost, strength, and durability, as well as where the crown will sit in your mouth. Generally, there are four different materials from which to choose when deciding on a crown.
- Ceramic crowns, which are actually made of a porcelain-based material, are typically used for front teeth, because they blend with the natural color of your teeth.
- Crowns made of porcelain fused to metal are extremely durable.
- Gold alloy crowns, made of gold, copper, and other metals, bond well to the tooth and don’t fracture or wear away the tooth.
- Base metal alloy crowns, made of non-noble metals, are very strong and resistant to corrosion.
In addition to the materials from which they’re made, crowns come in a variety of types. Sometimes, your dentist will place a temporary crown in your mouth while you’re waiting for a permanent crown, which you will get at a second appointment. In other cases, a crown can be placed in a single appointment, if your dentist offers computer-aided design and manufacturing. Some crowns don’t cover the whole tooth. These are called onlay or ¾ crowns. Your dentist can let you know what type of crown you need and how many appointments will be required.
Getting a crown is not typically painful. You will be given a local anesthetic, after which your dentist will get the tooth ready for the crown by removing some enamel, as well as any decay or filling material. The goal is to start with a healthy tooth structure on which the crown can be built. An impression or intraoral 3D scan is made, so that the crown will fit perfectly. Then the dentist places either the temporary or permanent crown, depending on what’s required. Once you have your new crown, take care of it by brushing, flossing, and refraining from eating hard foods like ice, which could break your crown. Crowns typically last seven to 15 years, but with careful maintenance, they can last much longer.
If you need a crown, make an appointment with the dentist voted best in New York. At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.
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