Learning About Fluoride’s Amazing Benefits for Teeth

Fluoride in Toothpaste, Mouthwash and Water

You’ve heard about fluoride in your toothpaste, in your mouthwash, and even in your tap water. These are the different fluoride sources highly recommended by the dental community and governing bodies, and widely accepted as a tooth decay prevention program. Learn more about the benefits of this mineral on the overall oral health of users, from the youngest to the oldest.

Fluoride is a mineral found in teeth and bones, and is a naturally-occuring element in the environment, like soil, plants and water. It has many applications, but is more commonly used in improving dental health. Fluoride remineralizes the enamel of teeth, strengthening it against the attack of acid and bacteria, and slowing the breakdown of enamel crystals due to continuous use. Hence, though teeth are porous, they remain hard and more resistant to decay with regular fluoride use.

Acids from plaque formation can penetrate the enamel and weaken its structure, a process referred to as demineralization. It can lead to brittle areas on the surface, which may end up as cavities. So it is important to have fluoride defense in your day-to-day routine.

Fluoride in Toothpaste

Majority of toothpaste brands incorporate fluoride as a means of preventing cavities and tooth decay from children to adults. With regular use, brushing with fluoride strengthens weakened spots on teeth and may even reverse the process of cavity formation. It promotes mineralization of the enamel and makes it more resistant to plaque formation and acid attacks.

Fluoride in Mouthwash

Using mouthwashes or rinses does not substitute with regular tooth brushing and flossing. Not all mouthwashes contain fluoride. However, some freshen breath, others provide an anti-cavity benefit, while others contain germicidal components to help prevent plaque buildup. A fluoride mouthwash doesn’t remove plaque, but rather protects the teeth from acids produced by the bacterial plaque.

Fluoridated Water

In many communities, the water system contains safe fluoride levels, again for the benefit of oral health, protecting children and adults. Tap water contains regulated amounts that are safe to drink. Bottled water may not contain fluoride, though. In such cases when fluoride is insufficient, your dentist may recommend other means to obtain the beneficial element, such as fluoride tablets or fluoride drops.


Learning More About Fluoride at Bellevue Overlake Dental

See how fluoride plays an essential role in the oral health of children and adults? It’s about time you include it in your regular dental care routine. Come see your Bellevue dentist for more information.

What is Pericoronitis and Does It Need Treatment?

Signs and Symptoms and Treatment Advice

Pericoronitis is the swelling and infection of the gum tissue that surrounds the wisdom teeth. It won’t just go away, so it needs treatment. Know more about this condition which is common among late teens and those in the early 20’s.

In many instances, a partially erupted or impacted molar has not fully emerged through the gums. It is most common around the lower wisdom teeth, although it can also happen to the upper molars. If the wisdom teeth on the upper jaw emerge before those on the lower jaw, the upper tooth may bite down on this impacted tooth, which can cause irritation and swelling of the soft tissue around the lower molar.

That partially-erupted wisdom tooth can leave a flap of gum tissue that collects food particles and other debris, including bacteria. Since such teeth are harder to clean, they increase the risks of infection, and can lead to gingivitis. Hence, the condition of pericoronitis occurs.

What are the symptoms of pericoronitis? Some of the milder symptoms are swollen and painful gum tissue around or near the partially erupted tooth. It can cause pain and discomfort if you bite down or hit that tooth while eating. A pus discharge from the affected gums may produce a foul odor or taste in the mouth.

If left unattended, severe symptoms may include swelling in that part of the face, swollen lymph nodes, and jaw pain. This means that infection has spread further, even reaching the throat and neck. Breathing and swallowing may become difficult, and that is quite alarming. A dentist visit is essential.

How is pericoronitis treated?

Your dentist may start by flushing out the area around the impacted tooth to remove debris. Antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the pus. After some x-rays, extraction of the affected tooth and its opposing one may be recommended, either in one sitting or in separate visits. It’s generally a good idea to remove both top and bottom wisdom teeth if either is likely to remain impacted and if you want to avoid the increased risk of gingivitis due to tooth misalignment. In severe cases, if a flap of gum tissue is present, minor oral surgery may be done.


Watching Out for Gum Health in Bellevue

If you or a member of your family are within the age bracket of wisdom tooth eruption, see us at Overlake Dental for some helpful information about gum health.

Oral Cancer: The Smokers’ Risk on Oral Health

Oral Cancer Symptoms and Early Detection

Smoking’s effect on oral health can never be overemphasized. While smoking can cause a host of ill effects, like bad breath and gum disease, a more significant risk is threatening – the risk of developing oral cancer, which includes cancer of the mouth, throat, salivary glands, tongue or lip. Let us help you understand why quitting is best.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer to watch out for?

At the start, in its early stages, oral cancer and throat cancer may present symptoms like a toothache, or there may not be any pain felt. More often oral cancer may be far advanced before it is discovered. Here are some of the most common telling symptoms:

  • any swellings, thickenings, lumps, rough spots, crusts, or eroded areas on the lips, gums, cheek, inside the mouth
  • white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth
  • unexplained bleeding in the mouth, unexplained numbness, loss of feeling in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks, or a soreness in the back of the throat
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue, or pain in the jaw
  • hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or voice changes
  • ear pain
  • unexplained weight loss

If you are a smoker, bad breath is an early sign of oral cancer, though it can also affect even non-smokers. Smoking is a major risk factor for the development of oral cancer. Note that cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and the lips. Note that if it is caught early, oral cancer is much easier for doctors to treat.


Discovering Oral Cancer Early in Bellevue

Regular dentist visits is one of the ways to detect early signs of oral malignancy. Here at Overlake Dental in Bellevue, oral examinations are routine for our patients.

Ways To Get Teeth Stains Removed And Get Teeth White Again

Understanding Teeth Whitening

As appearances matter, as well as the perception of good health, you want any stain or discoloration on teeth treated and removed. It helps if you understand the procedure of restoring the original color of your teeth to its natural white hue.

Teeth whitening procedures happen in two ways. For extrinsic stains, it is important to remove the stains found on the outer layer of teeth, the enamel. Intrinsic stains, the ones that are found after the enamel surface, the dentin, any stain must also be removed. The second process is to ensure that new stains do not come back. Hence, the process involves stain removal, stain bleaching, and stain protection.

Where stain removal on the surface of teeth is concerned, your dentist uses products that perform physical and chemical actions that bring about abrasion and stain disruption. When the stain compound is disrupted, it gets destroyed and easily removed. This leaves the natural enamel whiteness to come through.

When it comes to stains that have accumulated below the enamel, meaning involving the dentin already, a chemical process is prescribed that removes the oxidation brought about by the stain molecules. The process is called bleaching. It uses the bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide, in specific concentrations depending on the degree of whiteness appropriate or is required.

Professional teeth whitening is your best option for an effective and safe teeth whitening procedure. While one-off whitening products are readily available and cheap, they may cause damage to your teeth and gums as they are usually of strong and harsh chemicals.

How do you protect your teeth from new stains? First of all, proper oral hygiene is paramount. Brushing twice daily with fluoride, flossing once daily, and the occasional mouthwash is essential. Avoid food and drinks, and certain habits like smoking, to keep your teeth’s whiteness. Regular dentist visits also keep your pearly whites in good condition.


Choosing Bellevue Dentist For Effective Whitening

If you have decided to be confident again with a bright and healthy smile, consider teeth whitening at Overlake Dental. Bellevue dentistry provides safe and effective professional whitening without worries.

Why Do Teeth Stain and What Causes Teeth Staining?

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors to Watch Out

Why do teeth stain? Firstly, know where teeth get their coloration. Then know the factors that contribute to why teeth stain or discolor or darken with time.

Teeth are made up mainly of calcium and phosphate which are minerals that render your teeth extremely hard. The enamel is the outer layer of teeth that has a natural whitish hue. However, you can have other minerals in teeth that add shades of gray and yellow. Beneath the enamel is the teeth’s second layer – the dentin – which is yellow in color.

Aging is one of the factors that contribute to tooth color. As one ages the outer enamel of teeth can erode or become thinner. This process gradually allows the yellow dentin to show through. The dentine layer also increases in size as one ages, making the middle part – the pulp – to decrease in size. Now teeth can look somewhat darker as the translucency of teeth is reduced.

Extrinsic or outside factors also cause stains or discoloration of teeth. A particular lifestyle can stain your teeth yellow, especially if you are a smoker or if you chew tobacco. Your choice of certain drinks like coffee, tea, colas, and red wine can cause yellowish to brownish discoloration if taken beyond moderation and without proper oral care. Certain dark-colored fruits like blueberries may also cause staining.

Another external factor to consider is poor dental hygiene. Not brushing and flossing your teeth properly and regularly can cause a buildup of plaque which may cause seemingly discolored teeth.

Intrinsic or internal factors can also cause teeth to darken. The dentin within can be especially affected. Certain medications can discolor teeth. For example, meds for high blood pressure, antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines, and some drugs for chemotherapy can cause stains. Trauma or injury to a tooth, and tooth decay can cause the tooth to darken. Excessive use of fluoride is also contributory. It can lead to fluorosis that manifests as white patches on the tooth surface and a mottled enamel.


Keeping Your Smiles Bright In Bellevue

Know more about teeth staining and discoloration from your Bellevue dentist. Learn from us what to avoid and good habits to pick up to maintain your pearly whites.