Mark Friedrich, DDS, PC

Timing Your Brushing!

timetobrushWhen do you brush your teeth? It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. But in the end it’s really up to you to decide when brushing best fits into your schedule (as long as you make time to do it!)

Here are some interesting notes about how food, brushing and time affect your teeth to help you better “time” your brushings:

Brush to Remove Plaque
The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque. Plaque bacteria along with the carbohydrates and sugars in your food create acid, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. By removing the plaque, you can help minimize the amount of acid that is created and may avoid some types of decay. Because plaque builds up overnight while you are sleeping, we generally recommend that you brush first thing in the morning when you wake up to minimize the process of plaque bacteria feeding on sugars in your mouth.

But Don’t Brush Right After Eating
Plaque bacteria create acid almost immediately. Within seconds of bacteria’s exposure to sugars, the acidity of saliva changes from a neutral pH of 7 to an acidic pH of 4.5. This acidity leaves tooth enamel in a vulnerable state – not a good time to brush your teeth as the bristles may cause damage to the unprotected tooth. It takes about thirty minutes for saliva to return to a neutral, non-acidic pH so if you must brush after your meal, wait for at least a half an hour.

A Word on Acidic Foods/Drinks
Similarly to carbohydrate-rich foods, those that contain citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, also weaken tooth enamel. By brushing soon after eating these foods, you may cause damage to your teeth. Furthermore, exposure to phosphoric acid, found in soft drinks, can also cause acid erosion, wearing away enamel from the tooth surface and causing permanent damage. The bottom line is that to keep acid erosion at bay, limit soda consumption and be mindful of sugary snack foods.

Regardless of the time of day you choose to brush, the best defense is a good offense! Grab your toothbrush, toothpaste and get ready to attack that plaque! Call Mark Friedrich, DDS, PC on 512-255-4229 to discuss your oral health options or to add an exam and cleaning to your oral health routine!

Strong Teeth

Teeth and bones are hard, heavy with calcium. However, teeth are very different from bones. Teeth are composed of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. They are mostly made of calcified tissue called dentine, covered in hard shiny enamel. Unlike bone, teeth cannot heal themselves. Bone is also tucked away under the skin and teeth are bare and on display – which is why it’s important to look after your pearly whites!strong-teeth

Now it’s time for some trivia!

What’s the strongest substance found in living organisms?

A) Elephant tusks
B) Human bones
C) Spider silk
D) Bear claws
E) Snail teeth

If you chose E, you’re right! Aquatic snails, commonly called limpets, have teeny tiny teeth that are made of the hardest biological material ever found. Their teeth are made from a composite of proteins and minerals, and is 5 times stronger than spider silk (the previous record-holder), and almost as strong as artificial carbon fibers! And as long as we’re comparing, limpet teeth are about 10 times harder than human teeth.
Snail teeth are pretty hard to see because they’re so small–often less than a millimeter long. So why do snails even need such strong teeth? According to recent research, these snails use their extra strong teeth not only to scrape yummy algae from rocks, but also to excavate small shelters in the rocks themselves!

Teeth are always important, no matter how tiny! Let Mark Friedrich, DDS, PC look after your pearly whites for you! Call us today!

 

Orange Juice and Toothpaste

orangejuicetoothpasteEverybody’s day starts a little differently, but we can agree brushing your teeth should always be a part of your morning routine!

Are you a before-breakfast brusher? If so, you know the dreaded orange-juice-and-toothpaste taste that can follow! Orange juice is bitter and cereal with milk tastes strange! It’s only temporary, but it can really put you off your breakfast!

Why does food taste so bad right after you brush your teeth?

The reason for this bad taste is sodium lauryl ether sulfate, known as SLES or SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), which makes toothpaste foamy and disperses it around the teeth. However, sodium laureth sulfate is not as helpful when it comes to the tongue. Although completely harmless, sodium laureth sulfate suppresses the taste bud receptors for sweetness, and amplifies the taste bud receptors for bitterness. This heightened sensitivity to bitterness and dulling of sweetness is what makes your breakfast taste so strange.

Your tongue is covered with taste-sensitive cells spotted with proteins. If a particle of food you have eaten hits one of these cells, it sends a message to your brain signaling which taste sensation it is; sweet, bitter, sour, salty or umami.

Sodium laureth sulfate is a “detergent” molecule, which disperse fat molecules. This works in soaps for your body, hair or dishes. However, SLS affects the membranes of our tongue cells, blocking our sweet taste buds and enhancing our bitter taste. This results in the unpleasant flavor you get drinking orange juice after the SLS in your toothpaste has dulled your taste buds!

It is only temporary, but if it bothers you, try purchasing a toothpaste made without sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). However, keep in mind that some of these natural toothpastes may also be made without fluoride. Fluoride is absolutely essential in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities. If you have concerns about SLS or fluoride, call us on 512-255-4229 here at Mark Friedrich, DDS, PC!

High Quality H2O

Whether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well! High Quality H2O

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

Water cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call today!

Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.LearnTheLingoImplants

What They Are

Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.

Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.

Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.

Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.

Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them

Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.

Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today to discuss your options with an implant specialist!

10 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease can be serious business if left untreated. The good news is, with regular maintenance and good oral hygiene, you can avoid and even reverse the early stages of gum disease. We’ve put together some tips for you that will help you prevent gum disease.  10 Tips Prevent Gum Disease

Maintaining a Clean Mouth

Brushing your gums, as well as your teeth after every meal is the best way to take care of your teeth. Remove those food particles without being too hard on your enamel. We can show you the best method at your next appointment. 

Dental floss can reach those spaces in your mouth that a tooth brush just can’t get to. Get in between your teeth with floss before you brush, so that any food you pull out can be picked up by your tooth brush.

While you shouldn’t rely on mouthwash alone, certain mouthwash products are great for killing bacteria. Consult our office for suggestions as some products are better than others.

Practice Good Overall Health

Keeping a balanced diet keeps your whole body healthy. Staying away from eating too much sugar is a great place to start. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need helps your body fight bacteria, including those that can cause gum disease.

If you are a smoker, quit! Smoking is not just awful for your lungs, smoking leads to tooth decay, tooth loss and poor gum health. Smoking leads to the creation of pockets in your gums, where bacteria collect and form tartar. It also degrades the tissues that hold your teeth in place.

Talk to Your Doctor about your Medications

It may be worth talking with your doctor about the side effects of any medication you may be on. Some drugs lead to bacteria build up in the mouth, or affect the flow of saliva that keeps that bacteria from settling.

Hormones can also play a role in oral health. If you are experiencing hormonal changes, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, and promoting the development of gum disease.

Stress

Stress affects your body’s ability to fight infection. Evaluating the stress in your life and what you can do to manage it is a great idea to promote your general health.

Appointments

Regular oral health visits are the best way to pin down gum disease. The professionals at our office are trained to notice the kinds of things you may not see in your mouth.

You may not have considered that your crooked teeth put you at risk for gum disease. Having straight teeth means eliminating certain pockets where gum disease can develop. Braces are a great way to do this.

Contact our office today to set up your next appointment!

Popular “Crowns” in History

Crowns are one of the most common restorative procedures we perform in our office! Here are some other interesting facts about teeth and our favorite “crowns”: CrownsInHistory

Myth:
Did you know a common myth surrounding one of our founding fathers, George Washington, was that he had wooden teeth? Contrary to popular belief, Washington actually had false teeth made of ivory, gold and even lead, but the stained wooden appearance of the contraptions he wore made them seem like they were made of wood.

Fact:
In 1847 Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, had their first daughter’s milk tooth made into a brooch! It was a gold enamel brooch in the shape of a thistle with the baby tooth at the top of the “blooming” flower.

Fact:
Prince Albert also loved hunting and there are several jewels that are set with the teeth of stags. It is possible that stag’s teeth jewels and infant teeth were examples of Prince Albert introducing Queen Victoria to German forms of commemorative jewels. Prince Albert was born in Bavaria in southeastern Germany, and deer teeth are part of traditional Bavarian dress to bring good luck in hunting. Prince Albert gave the tooth necklace to Queen Victoria in 1860. It contains 44 teeth from stags that he had hunted on the royal estate at Balmoral. Along with the necklace, in 1851 Prince Albert also had a holly brooch set with two stag’s teeth tied with Royal Stuart tartan ribbon. It was a souvenir of Balmoral and a birthday gift from his wife.
Check out these interesting jewels here! https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/sites/default/files/V%20and%20A%20Art%20and%20Love%20(Gere).pdf

Ancient Fact!
Even further back in history than tooth jewelry, is jewels in teeth! A skull found in Chiapas, Mexico had teeth adorned with jade and blue stones, evidence that fashion and dental restorations existed as far back as the 1500s!

Get the royal treatment here with us and have a crown to be proud of!
Call us today to discuss your restorative dental options!

Dental Implants 101

Whether you are missing a tooth, or at risk of losing many, dental implants may be a great solution   for you. Dental implants are an increasingly popular fix for missing or dying teeth, and have many benefits. Dental Implants 101

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are high tech teeth. The root of your current tooth is removed, and replaced with a screw attached to a ‘cap’ that looks identical to a natural tooth. Many people report higher confidence and comfort after receiving their new tooth.

What’s so Great About Them?

The cool thing about implants is that if taken care of, they can last for life. Usually all that needs to be replaced, if anything, is the cap. The other great thing about implants is that they can’t die like natural teeth. You still have to clean and maintain them like your other teeth, but no roots are any longer at risk of causing that tooth to fail. In addition to that, many implants can last a lifetime!

What is the Surgical Process Like?

The process is done either all at once, or in steps. This depends on the recommendations for your particular case. The first step is to remove the root of your natural tooth, and place the implant in its place. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, we may encourage you to have bone grafting first. The gum is then stitched closed and allowed to heal. This can take five to six months. The next step is to reopen the gum and place an abutment on the implant, along with a temporary crown so you can heal while the permanent crown is made for you. You then return to get your permanent crown attached in a few weeks. In other cases, all of these steps can be done in a single visit, but it depends on your specific case.

If you have any questions, please call our office for more information, we would be glad to help!

Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time when your body is going through many changes. You may be wondering how this will affect your teeth and gums. This blog is meant to answer your oral health questions and give you the information you need to help both you and your baby! pregnancy and oral health

Keep Up Your Routine. It is important to keep up your brushing and flossing routine. You may be indulging your cravings for sweets, so make sure you brush regularly. It is important to continue regular check ups and cleanings. Let us know your stage of pregnancy when you make your appointment, as well as any changes in your medication or special advice you may have received from your doctor. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or other medical condition, we may recommend certain procedures be postponed.

Pregnancy Gingivitis. During pregnancy some women are prone to a mild form of gum disease, called gingivitis that causes gums to be red, tender, and sore. Keeping your teeth clean is important for the prevention of pregnancy gingivitis. We may recommend more frequent cleanings to help control any signs of the disorder, because if left untreated, it can lead to more serious gum disease.

X-ray Safety. If you suffer a dental emergency or need an assessment, dental X-rays are sometimes necessary. Don’t worry – you will be covered with a leaded apron that will protect you and your baby from any harmful exposure.

Food for You and Your Baby’s Teeth. While pregnant, many women tend to crave sweets or snack more, both of which can put you at higher risk of tooth decay. It is important to choose low-sugar snacks that contain the nutrients your body needs. Your baby’s teeth will begin to develop between the third and six months of your pregnancy. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium, and phosphorous will give both you and your baby what you need for good dental health.

Morning Sickness. If you have frequent vomiting or morning sickness, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth.

Being a mother is exciting, but it is a huge responsibility. Start your healthy dental routine now for the benefit of you and your baby!

 

Smile Emergency: Facial Trauma and Cosmetic Dentistry

Accidents happen! Facial trauma can occur anywhere from sporting events and motor vehicle accidents, to work or home. Something as simple as an accidental fall could leave you with severely damaged teeth – but there’s no need to worry! Oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry offer a world of solutions for traumatic tooth injuries. Take a look at some common tooth injuries and available treatment options!

Smile Emergencies Facial Trauma and Cosmetic DentistryTooth Injury:
Broken blood vessels in the tooth’s pulp can cause tooth discoloration. Tooth trauma causes blood to leak into the dentin layer and become visible through the enamel.

Treatment

Veneers are porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of teeth to improve appearance. They’re designed to match the color of your natural teeth, making them a perfect solution for treating discoloration – chipped teeth, too! Veneers are durable and, if properly cared for, will only have to be replaced after 10-20 years of use.

Whitening is another treatment for trauma-induced discoloration. There are a variety of whitening options to restore your tooth’s natural color, from at-home whitening treatments to in-office bleaching.

Tooth Injury:
Chipped and fractured teeth are among the most common results of sports injuries and falls.

Treatment

As mentioned above, veneers don’t just treat tooth discoloration – they also fix chips and fractures. However, they’re not always necessary. Bonding is sometimes all it takes to fix minor chips. During a bonding treatment, we etch the surface of the tooth and place a plastic, tooth-colored resin with a bonding liquid to replace any missing tooth fragments.

Crowns are porcelain caps that are secured over damaged teeth and cemented in place to restore appearance and function. They also correct tooth decay and fractured fillings, stabilizing teeth after root canal therapy. Porcelain crowns resemble natural teeth and can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years.

Tooth Injury:
Avulsed (knocked out) teeth need to be replaced to maintain your jawbone health. Without teeth to support, the jawbone deteriorates from underuse.

Treatment
In some cases, the missing tooth can be reattached. However, this isn’t always an option. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are secured in the gum with a metal screw and serve as placeholders for missing teeth. They look just like real teeth and are equally functional.

Give us a call if you want to transform your smile emergency. We are more than happy to discuss treatment options and get you back on track after your facial injury!