Monday, November 25, 2013

Dental Sealants for Kids

Since they were introduced in the late 1970s, dental sealants have evolved into one of modern dentistry's greatest technological advances. Although fluoride use among children makes a significant difference in the fight against cavities, it is not a cure-all. The use of sealants in conjunction with fluoride, flossing, regular brushing, and routine dental visits, provides maximum protection against tooth decay for kids.

Because teeth contain a variety of nooks and crannies, the application of a topical sealant works to prevent bacteria and food particles from entering those hard to brush areas. Sealants are so effective because they are made of a clear plastic material, which is applied directly to the surface of the teeth. With children, sealants can only be applied after the teeth have fully erupted. For most kids, that means between the ages of 5 and 8 years of age.

In a child's mouth, sealants can be applied to both permanent and primary teeth. The material is actually brushed on the chewing surfaces of the molars and along the grooves and depressions of the teeth. For kids, the craggy surfaces of molars are the most common places to develop cavities. For adults, it's sometimes tough to reach all of the spots between the teeth, even with flossing and an electric toothbrush. That is why it is so important for youngsters to receive sealant treatment. They are still learning how to properly take care of their teeth.

The sealant application process is easy, fast, and painless. The tooth is cleaned, dried, and then the sealant is painted on. A special heat light cures or dries the sealant coat and that's it! Sealants are invisible and in no way interfere with a child's day- to-day activities, including playing an instrument, singing, or smiling. They last for years and if they become rough or cracked, they may be reapplied.

Please remember that dental sealants are just one part of an effective dental hygiene routine. Additionally your child should also:
  • Brush twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean between the teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner
  • Eat a balanced diet, with healthy snacks-avoid sugary, sticky foods and beverages 
  • Refer to these Tips for Great Dental Hygiene
  • Visit Dr. Melcher and his friendly staff on a regular basis!
Call our office to consult with Dr. Melcher regarding dental sealants for kids: 919-782-0548

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good Nutrition is Directly Tied to Good Dental Health

As a nation, Americans are finally waking up to the fact that diet is a direct link to overall health and well-being. The foods and beverages we eat and drink affects all of the physical systems that make up the human body. Poor nutrition can be linked to a variety of health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even arthritis. It should come as no surprise then that the foods we eat can either maintain and improve our dental health or destroy it.

Consider the process of eating and digesting food. Next, think of your mouth, teeth, tongue, and gums as the first stop along the "Digestion Highway." Just like a highway sees wear and tear from heavy equipment, eating unhealthy foods inundates your teeth and gums with substances that wear them down and cause decay and disease. In fact, when foods that are full of sugar, acid, salt, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients are consumed, your general health and dental health are likely to suffer.

In its campaign to promote better health for everyone, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which is an agency overseen by he U.S. Department of Agriculture, has created the website

Here are a few suggestions from the site:
  • Of all the food you eat daily, at least half should consist of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread is preferable over highly processed bleached, white flour and other grains that have been stripped of their nutritive qualities, including fiber
  • Low-fat and fat-free dairy products are essential for the development of healthy teeth and bones
  • Protein should be lean such as skinless poultry, fish, or lean cuts of beef and pork. Cook it without added fat by baking, grilling, or roasting. A serving of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards. Also try to have several meatless meals a week with non-animal protein sources such as legumes, soy and beans
Please consider what the American Dental Association says "If your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health."

Be sure to check in on your dental health regularly by scheduling appointments with Dr. Simon Melcher at Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh every six months.  Request an appointment online or call us today at 919-782-0548.

Related Posts:
Rethink Your Drink Campaign
Best "Go-To" Snack Choices for Healthy Teeth
Nutrition and Your Dental Health

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Concerns About Sensitive Teeth

A variety of factors may come into play when it comes to discovering why a patient is experiencing sensitivity in his or her teeth and gums. Sometimes the sensitivity is just minor. However, please keep in mind that although it may be bearable, it is likely a warning sign that something is wrong.

Sensitivity occurs in several ways, such as discomfort brought on by hot or cold foods or beverages, sugary foods, or even brushing and flossing. The cause of the problem is typically due to the fact that the teeth in question have worn fillings, damaged enamel, cracks, or decay. Overly aggressive brushing can also cause the gums to recede, which leaves a tiny portion of the roots of the teeth exposed - ouch!

Periodontal disease is one more contributing factor that can result in painful teeth and gums. Still other explanations for dental sensitivity are the over use of mouthwashes and whitening products. The consumption of highly acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes, pickles, or tea can lead to enamel erosion and make one's teeth and gums sensitive.

To alleviate and prevent the pain and discomfort caused by dental sensitivity, regular visits to the dentist are extremely important. Your dentist and hygienist can review proper brushing and flossing techniques and identify the real source of any problems. For example, you may be grinding your teeth and unaware of it. Your dentist could suggest having a mouth guard made which will protect your teeth in the long run. Some other things that may help are:
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush which is easier on the gums
  • Switching to a brand of toothpaste that is especially for sensitive teeth and gums
  • Using fluoridated toothpastes and rinses which can also prevent the discomfort caused by sensitivity
  • Being diligent about regular brushing and flossing
  • Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of natural teeth cleaners like apples, carrots, and celery
When you follow the guidelines suggested by your dentist and still have problems, please don't worry.  There are a few treatments that can help. Bonding can cover the exposed root tissue, and reduce pain. Applying a fluoride varnish or dentin sealer are also ways to tackle the issues of dental sensitivity.

If you are experiencing any discomfort and would like to have a thorough checkup conducted by Dr. Melcher or one of our highly skilled and professional dental hygienists, please request an appointment online or call us today to schedule an appointment: (919) 782-0548