7 Habits That Are Harmful to Your Teeth (and What to Do About Them)!

  1. Nail Biting
    Nail biting may be less common today but I still see it quite often. It can cause teeth and fillings to chip and wear.

    Solution: Be mSugary drinksindful. Paint your nails with a bitter tasting clear polish available at your local pharmacy.

  2. Brushing Too Hard
    Toothbrush abrasion is one of the leading causes of “notching” along the gum line and gingival (gum) recession.

    Solution: Always use a soft toothbrush and never “scrub”. It’s not how hard you brush but how thoroughly. Plaque is easily removed if you are meticulous with your home care. This is also another reason why I now prefer electric brushes. They are less likely to cause damage!

  3. Grinding and Clenching
    Bruxism (grinding) and clenching, especially at night while asleep, is a very destructive habit. It causes tooth wear, fracturing of dental restorations and can contribute to jaw joint dysfunction and muscle soreness.

    Solution: If it’s during the day you can catch yourself and stop. Remember the Rule: Lips together- teeth apart! While sleeping you don’t have that control and therefore would need a Night Guard to protect the teeth and jaw muscles.

  4. Chewing Ice Cubes
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that chewing ice cubes, “jaw breakers” or other rock hard objects has the potential to break things. I once broke a tooth trying to eat a frozen snickers bar!

    Solution: Don’t do it!

  5. Constant Snacking
    “Grazing” may not be so healthy for your teeth depending on what you eat. If you are frequently eating a lot of sugars or other refined carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth are constantly churning out acids which attack the enamel causing cavities.

    Solution: Snack on nuts and cheese if you’re feeling hungry. Better for you and your teeth.

  6. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Teeth are for chewing food and nothing more! I see many emergencies from folks who thought they could use their teeth for something they weren’t intended for.

    Solution: Find the right tool for the job!

  7. Sugary and Acidic Drinks
    Sodas and energy drinks are the biggest culprits, especially if you sip on them throughout the day. The acids eat away at the enamel and promote an environment that decay causing bacteria love!

    Solution: Drink water. If you must have an occasional soda or energy drink, consume it at one sitting and rinse with water afterwards.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to protect your teeth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

6 Tips to Help With Tooth Sensitivity

tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints I encounter in the office, especially at this time of year when the weather gets frigid outdoors. Sensitivity results from exposure of the nerve endings that connect to the pulp tissue inside the tooth, commonly referred to as “the nerve”. This typically occurs when the protective tooth structure insulating the pulp is eroded or abraded away. So here are some tips that may help if you are experiencing this problem.

  1. Use a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity.

There is only one FDA approved active ingredient to reduce sensitivity – 5% potassium nitrate! This is contained in Crest Sensitive, Sensodyne Pronamel and several other over the counter toothpastes. The effectiveness of these toothpastes depends on regular usage over an extended period of time. Always check the ingredient labels to make sure they contain 5% potassium nitrate!

  1. Use a soft tooth brush.

As mentioned, sensitivity occurs when the protective outer layers of the teeth are lost from abrasion or wear. Overzealous scrubbing with a hard tooth brush is one cause that is easily avoided by using a soft brush and gently moving it in a circular motion along the gum lines. You will remove the disease causing dental plaque without promoting sensitivity.

  1. Keep up your routine

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I give “homework” to our patients. Do it! Slacking off, i.e. around the holidays or while away at school, allows the bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids that further erode tooth structure. This promotes tooth decay, gum disease and of course, sensitivity.

  1. Make sure you are not grinding your teeth

Many of us grind our teeth when stressed, especially at night. Grinding (bruxism) creates premature and excessive wear on the teeth. This results in increased sensitivity and often sore jaw muscles. Check with your sleeping partner to make sure you’re not doing this at night. It’s more common than you think and is a major contributor to sensitivity.

  1. Avoid whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes contain carbamide peroxide and frequently very abrasive compounds that wear away tooth structure. Carbamide peroxide becomes hydrogen peroxide in the mouth and promotes sensitivity. It should be avoided or at least done with professional supervision.

  1. Avoid acidic foods

Energy drinks, sodas and other acidic foods and beverages chemically erode tooth structure just like the bacterial plaque that live on our teeth. This promotes sensitivity. Occasionally when I indulge, as many of us do, I will rinse with water or chew some gum sweetened with xylitol to neutralize the acids immediately and then wait 30 minutes before brushing. Brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods can increase the amount of tooth wear!

I hope these few tips will help if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. As always, please check with us if you experiencing this issue as sensitivity can also be a symptom of other and more serious problems. If you’re not certain about your technique, please ask us the next time you are in the office Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667. We are only too happy to help. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dental Check-ups = Prevention

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Sometimes I feel like a broken record, constantly reminding people of how important it is to see their dentist for regular dental check-ups. Two recent experiences though remind me of how important it really is to “hold the line”.

A month or so ago I helped to deliver over a million dollars in donated dental services to more than 2,000 needy people in the Allentown area in one weekend! This event, called a MOM (Mission of Mercy)-n-PA Event, was staffed by over 400 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and assistants. Many of the patients receiving care had not seen a dentist in years, and believe me, it showed. Most people were having hopeless and infected teeth removed – a result of years of neglect. It’s just sad that so much of this could have been so easily prevented.

The second case actually occurred in my own practice. A patient who visits me infrequently came to have her teeth cleaned. I hadn’t seen her in the office in over a year. Decay had started without her knowledge under a large filling in one of her back molar teeth. Now, instead of an inexpensive repair, the tooth needs to be restored with a crown and may even need root canal therapy.

There are lessons to be learned in all of this: An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, especially at today’s prices! People also have to take responsibility for their own circumstances to the extent that they can. I can tell people to brush and floss, Even show them how to do it, but I can’t make them do it.

As your dentist, my goal is to help you achieve optimal dental oral health. Whenever you have questions about any dental care product, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA with any questions or concerns or to schedule your next visit so we can talk more about this. Remember, brushing two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily are important ways to take care of your dental health.