Best Dental Pearls of Wisdom | Part 1
Author: Matt Hannan, DDS
Updated: July 6, 2023
According to a recent study, Only 25.8% of children reported a high oral health knowledge. Yet, we have many resources to learn about healthy dental habits, revolutionary dental products, and preferred dental treatments.
After years of clinical practice and fielding countless questions, we’ve compiled a list of the Best Dental Pearls of Wisdom | Part 1 for individuals seeking to improve their oral health.Recommended Reading: Best Dental Pearls of Wisdom | Part 2
1. Limit frequency of sugar consumption
Sugar-rich foods and beverages are a common factor in the formation of tooth decay. The more carbohydrates bathe the tooth, the more likely bacteria will proliferate and carry out an acid attack.Related: Learn more about Cavities
If you think of carbohydrates as a bacteria’s food source, less frequent consumption of these foods and drinks will decrease or eliminate the supply and minimize tooth destruction. Consuming sugar-rich beverages through a straw will also reduce the carbohydrate contact with the teeth.
Also, sipping water or chewing gum after sugar consumption will increase the pH (cavities prefer acidic environments) and stimulate salivary glands to wash away sugars.
2. Fluoride and dental sealants prevent cavities
Enamel is the strongest substance in the body and is composed of calcium and phosphorus; however, when bacteria attack enamel, it can lead to irreversible cavities. Fluoride is an essential line of defense that can replace lost elements and bind to the existing enamel structure. Fluoride is in most toothpaste and mouthwash; however, small amounts are in tap water.
Our teeth are constantly under attack!
Dental sealants are plastic-like coatings painted onto the chewing surface of 6 and 12-year molars. This preventative treatment prevents cavities from forming in the deep grooves and pits prone to harboring bacteria. In addition, sealants are painless, easily applied, and require no drilling.
Related: Read more about Kids Dentistry
3. Your toothbrush matters
Next time you’re shopping for a new toothbrush, consider these recommendations. First, bristles matter! Only use a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush to prevent gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and irreversible enamel wear. We believe electric toothbrushes are best!Recommended Reading: Top 7 Best Battery-Powered Toothbrush
Only brush with toothpaste twice a day, and if you brush more often, don’t use toothpaste during the additional times. Toothpaste is highly abrasive and will damage gum tissue and tooth enamel if used too often. Replace your toothbrush (or brush head) every three months to prevent the bristles from harboring bacteria.
Related: Best Electric Toothbrush Under $50
4. Periodontal disease is not a gimmick
Nearly 50% of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease, and when you reach 65 years and older, periodontal disease increases to over 70%. Therefore, patient education is key to understanding what causes periodontal disease, managing it, and what treatment is necessary.
Signs & symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Bone loss
Fortunately, this disease is painless, so routine visits to the dentist are critical for early diagnosis and prevention. Scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, is the necessary treatment to remove disease-causing bacteria. Also, the patient will require periodontal maintenance after gum-disease treatment to prevent further damage.
5. Amalgam fillings are durable
Amalgam fillings have been a hot topic, including high mercury content and possible health risks; however, the American Dental Association (ADA) says that amalgam fillings are safe and effective. Many patients desire to remove amalgam fillings because they’re unsightly.
However, they understand that the space becomes larger after removal and may lead to further problems for the new filling or tooth. In addition, amalgam fillings can last 30+ years. Talk about getting your money’s worth!
When should amalgam fillings be replaced?
- Fractured or damaged
- Leaking (opening for bacteria to advance)
- Lost or ill-fitting
- Recurrent decay (cavity under filling)
Related: Best MDA Recommended Products
My Experience & Expertise
Patient education and empowerment are beautiful things that every dentist strives to accomplish. Dentists continually learn about new products and techniques to help their patients achieve exceptional care.
Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!
- Darwish MSA. Oral health knowledge and sources of oral health information among school children in Qatar. J Dent Health Oral Disord Ther. 2015.
- American Dental Association (ADA)