What is Fluoride and What are the Benefits of Using It?

We’ve all heard of it- but what is fluoride exactly? What does it do for your teeth, and what’s the best way to consume it? Our team at Snow Family Dentistry has all the answers!

What is it?

Fluoride helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay. Unfortunately, tooth enamel is under constant attack by acid-producing bacteria in our mouths. Your body rebuilds and re-mineralizes weakened enamel, but sometimes not well enough, resulting in tooth decay. Fluoride optimizes the remineralization process and takes the place of the hydroxl molecule, binding enamel to teeth more strongly.

The best ways to get fluoride:

  • Drink tap water
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes.
  • Have your Snow Family Dentistry dentist apply fluoride to your teeth directly with a varnish, gel, foam or rinse.
  • Take a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist if your water supply isn’t fluoridated

Facts about fluoride:

  • It’s natural- Fluoride is a mineral compound found in the environment and is naturally present in rocks, soil and water. Many of the foods we eat contain small amounts of fluoride, including oatmeal, grapes, asparagus, seafood, etc.. Fluoride occurs naturally in the body, too, as calcium fluoride. It’s a nutrient we need to build strong bones and teeth.
  • Fluoride works all the time- It combines with your saliva so that your teeth are getting a constant fluoride bath. This provides continuous protection against bacteria.
  • It’s difficult to get enough fluoride by diet alone- Although fluoride is naturally present in water and in many of the foods we eat, the amount is small and varied. Even foods with the highest amount of fluoride contribute only 2% to 4% of daily adequate intake per serving.

 

Need help taking your dental care to the next level? Schedule a free consultation with Snow Family Dentistry today!

 

What to do if you have a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies come in many forms, and some are more urgent than others. How do you know what is serious and what isn’t? Continue reading to find out!

Lost Tooth

If your tooth gets knocked out, you need urgent dental care.

Generally, your chances to save the natural tooth decreases after 30-60 minutes. Here are some tips if your tooth has come out of the socket, and you can locate it:

  • Stay calm.
  • Contact your Snow Family Dentistry
  • Hold your tooth by the crown only, which is the part used to chew food.
  • Rinse your tooth in water. Do not rub or agitate your tooth, and do not use soap or chemicals. Do not wash any tissue still on the root of your tooth.
  • The best way to preserve your tooth is to hold it in the socket that it came from. If this is not possible, then place your tooth in a container of milk or your saliva.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply a cold compress to your face in the area of the injury.

What if your tooth can’t be saved?

If our experts can’t save your tooth, we will replace it with a dental implant.

Broken, Chipped or Cracked Tooth

Teeth can also crack while eating, especially if you bite into a hard piece of food, candy or ice cube. Typically, a tooth with a small chip can be fixed with a tooth filling and does not require urgent treatment if the nerve is not exposed. Also, a larger piece of a broken tooth may be restored with a dental crown.

Tooth or Gum Abscess

A pocket of pus that develops at the root of your tooth is known as a tooth or gum abscess, and can drain pus into your mouth. As a result, you may have a foul taste in your mouth.

Signs and symptoms that you have a tooth or gum abscess can include a consistent throbbing toothache, fever, foul smelling breath, swelling of the gums, jaw, or face. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck. You can also experience these symptoms without experiencing dental trauma. If this is the case, you may have tooth decay that has penetrated the inner pulp of your tooth.

If you think you have an abscess, you should get urgent treatment.

When to Contact Snow Family Dentistry

Some situations require an immediate visit to your Snow Family Dentistry dentist. In summary, you should see your dentist immediately if you have:

  • Swelling around your mouth or facial area
  • Knots or swelling in your gums
  • You are bleeding from the mouth
  • A loose tooth
  • You are in a severe amount of pain that doesn’t dissipate even after taking a pain reliever

Our highly trained team of experts at Snow Family Dentistry specialize in urgent care dentistry, and treat various dental emergencies with compassion and care. For more information regarding our services, please click here.

 

How to Boost Your Immunity

With everything going on during this unprecedented time, our team at Snow Family Dentistry put a list together of things you can do to boost your immunity.

Here are preventive measures you can take to optimize your body’s defense against infection and illness.

Consume Good Bacteria

Bacteria are everywhere: on our skin, hair and nails, and also inside our body. In our intestines, these organisms are called the gut microbiome. We don’t notice they’re there until they are changed or imbalances in the types due to illness or a condition give us symptoms such as gas or diarrhea.

Some research supports the use of prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health by creating a healthier balance of bacteria type in your gut microbiome.

Eat plant-based foods and whole grains to get prebiotics. Prebiotics help create a healthy environment in the gut for the “good” bacteria to flourish, Fermented foods including yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are good sources of probiotics.

Drink in Moderation

Drinking in moderation is okay, but consuming alcohol in excess can lead to the deterioration of your immune system. There’s evidence from both human and animal research that overconsumption of alcohol decreases immune reactivity, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection.

Exercise

Current guidelines advise Americans do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. Research shows the immune system benefits from engaging in regular physical activity.

This is because exercise boosts the production of microphages, cells that attack the bacteria that can trigger some of the upper respiratory tract infections we get. And physical activity increases the circulation of many cells in our body that help fend off viruses and harmful bacteria.

Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is frequently the culprit when people find that they’re getting sick more often or unable to fend off ailments. Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended to restore your body fully.

Wash Your Hands

People with contaminated hands can infect themselves and other, leading to respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. At Snow Family Dentistry, we recommend washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

You should wash your hands:

  • Before and after handling or eating food.
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  • After shaking hands with another person.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After touching an animal or handling animal waste.
  • After using public transportation.
  • After handling garbage.
  • After treating a sick person.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

From our family to yours, we hope you stay and healthy during this pandemic. If you have a dental emergency or need a check up, please click here to contact us today.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is divided into two different categories.

One type can occur in your lips, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of your tongue, and the floor and roof of your mouth. The other type of oral cancer occurs in the oropharynx, which is the middle region of your throat that includes the tonsils and base of the tongue.

Research shows that early detection results in better treatment outcomes, and may help keep you or someone you love from becoming one of the 10,030 people whose lives may be claimed this year by the disease.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

It’s important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks:

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches on your gums
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in your mouth or on your lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Who Is At Risk?

Research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing oral cancers. For instance, men are twice more likely to get oral cancer than women. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers older than 50 are also at a greater risk.

The human papilloma virus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted, has also been associated with throat cancers at the back of the mouth. HPV-positive head and neck cancers are related to the rise in throat cancers in non-smoking adults. HPV-positive head and neck cancers typically develop in the throat at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils making them difficult to detect.

How Can My Dentist Help Detect Oral Cancer Early?

During each exam at Snow Family Dentistry, Dr. Snow performs an oral cancer screen in and around your mouth to ensure early detection of anything abnormal.

If something unusual is found, you may be referred to a physician for additional testing, or Dr. Snow may choose to reexamine the area one or two weeks later before providing additional follow up. This will determine if the area in question healed on its own or if it needs further testing.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

Do you think you may have oral cancer and want to get checked out? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation today!

 

 

 

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints, also known as TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Your TMJ are located on each side of your head and work together when you chew, speak or swallow. The temporomandibular joints include muscles, ligaments, and your jaw bone, and also control the lower jaw as they move forward, backward and side to side.

Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

Causes of TMJ Disorder:

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tooth and jaw alignment
  • Stress and teeth grinding

Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the Snow Family Dentistry dental examination includes checking your joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may refer you to a physician.

How to help TMJ pain at home:

  • Eat softer foods
  • Avoid chewing gum and biting your nails
  • Modify your pain with heat packs
  • Practice relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation

If you have tried the above mentioned techniques and are still experiencing pain, you may need to try a more permanent form of treatment. In some cases, your Snow Family Dentistry dentist may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

For over twenty years Dr. Paul Snow has effectively treated head and neck pain associated with TMJ. Dr. Snow has attended years of education to effectively help his patients that experience this common problem. If you experience TMJ, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

 

 

How Do Vitamins Help My Teeth?

Vitamins are very important for overall health. However, many people don’t realize the benefits vitamins can have on your teeth!

At Snow Family Dentistry, we know that vitamins can:

1: Build Enamel Strength

The vitamin K2, is critical for getting calcium to the surface of your teeth. Your teeth send out certain proteins when they need more calcium, and vitamin K2 activates those proteins, helping them carry calcium back to the enamel. However, this vitamin is not the only one needed for
calcium absorption. Other vitamins needed for good calcium production include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Vitamins such as vitamin D, A, and C can also help build enamel by improving mineral density and helping your body process and absorb other minerals such as phosphorus, which is another crucial building block of teeth.

2. Provide Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Gum disease is caused when bacteria, plaque, and tartar multiply along your gum line and your body fights back with inflammation. Unfortunately, this often turns into chronic inflammation, which can create pockets where the bacteria can continue to thrive. The more inflamed and painful your gums are, the less likely you are to clean around the gum line thoroughly.

Several vitamins, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory properties can help get the chronic inflammation under control while you and your Snow Family Dentistry dentist work together to eliminate the bacterial proliferation.

3. Build Gum Tissue

A vitamin C deficiency can result in a condition called scurvy, which can cause gums to deteriorate and loosen. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to fall that far behind on your vitamin C intake on a modern diet. But did you know that eating extra vitamin C-filled foods (such as colorful vegetables and fruits) can benefit your gums?

That’s because, in addition to working with calcium and providing antioxidant activity, vitamin C can actually help build connective tissues needed to keep the gums healthy. Vitamin C is an important ingredient when your body is building collagen, which it then uses to maintain and repair gum tissue, periodontal ligaments, and mucous membranes. 

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

The beneficial impact of vitamins can be a great complement to ongoing home oral hygiene and professional cleanings. If you are behind on getting your teeth cleaned, or just want a check up- click here to schedule an appointment today!

How Allergies Can Affect Your Oral Health

Spring is often filled with outdoor adventures, especially here in Arizona.  However, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, seasonal allergies affect more than 50 million Americans. If left untreated, allergies can escalate to a sinus infection, which can cause facial pain, congestion, bad breath, coughing, and dental pain.

Snow Family Dentistry Allergy Tips

Try the following options to relieve your allergy symptoms:

  • Antihistamine: This is your typical allergy medicine. Some examples of over-the-counter brands include Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin.
  • Decongestant: This medicine will help relieve your congestion. Sudafed and Mucinex are a couple of medicines that can help.
  • Humidifier: Keeping air warm and humid can help relieve the symptoms of allergies.
  • Stay inside: Check your local weather for pollen counts and windy days. These are good indicators of when you should avoid being outside
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy): If none of the above options work, you may need to take allergy shots. This is a series of shots that slowly allows your body to acclimate to the allergen causing your symptoms.

When to See a Dentist

If your teeth hurt and you have a sinus infection, don’t worry! It’s most likely due to your maxillary sinus cavity not being able to drain properly. This puts pressure on your teeth, causing pain.

While a sinus infection can be the cause of your tooth pain, your teeth may also be the cause of your sinus infection. If you deal with allergies, it may be hard to determine the cause of the pain in your teeth.

If you have a prolonged toothache, we recommend that you go to you a dentist like Snow Family Dentistry for an examination. A dentist will be able to determine whether there is an issue with your mouth that is causing your pain. If we do not find anything notable in your examination, we may refer you to an endodontist who can check for nerve damage.

If you have had tooth pain with or without a sinus infection, click here to schedule your free Snow Family Dentistry consultation today!

 

How Smoking Can Affect Your Teeth

Everyone knows that smoking can wreak havoc on your health, but many don’t realize the level of damage it can also do in your mouth.

At Snow Family Dentistry, we want you to live your best and healthiest life, and therefore want you to realize the danger of tobacco can have on your teeth and gums.

Tobacco use can cause:

Yellow Teeth

The more you smoke, the more likely you are to notice tooth discoloration. In fact, regular tobacco use can turn your teeth yellow or brown. The amount you smoke will also play a role in how discolored your teeth become, as well as how long you smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products.

Tooth Decay

Tobacco can cause tooth decay, which can lead to cavities or broken teeth. Large cavities that exist around the gum line can lead to infections and can weaken your teeth overtime. Broken teeth are very painful and costly to repair.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that occurs in your mouth. Over time, this infection impacts the gums significantly.

The first sign of gum disease is usually bleeding gums, but sometimes a receding gum line can also be noticed.

While the early stages of periodontal disease can often be reversed if you see a dentist, long-term smoking and tobacco use can make it severe.

Permanent Damage

If gum disease is left untreated for too long, the infection can spread into tissue and bone, which can then become weaker. Over time, bone damage can occur.

In severe cases, periodontal disease can get so bad that surgical intervention is necessary. Bone grafts and restorative surgery are sometimes required in these cases.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

No matter what kind of shape your teeth are in at the moment, many of the problems related to smoking and using tobacco can be fixed or stopped.

In many cases, discoloration can be fixed with cleaning, polishing and whitening procedures. Decay can be treated with fillings, root canals and crowns. Additionally, periodontal disease is often reversible via deep cleaning, sometimes referred to as scaling and root planing.

At Snow Family Dentistry, we offer all of these services! Click here to schedule a free consultation today

When to Replace a Toothbrush

Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric one, over time the bristles become less effective at cleaning your teeth. So, how often do you change your toothbrush or electric brush head? Continue reading to find out!

When to Know It’s Time

At Snow Family Dentistry, we recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Additionally, you should consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick or if your toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes.

When in doubt, we also suggest looking at your toothbrushes’ bristles. If they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly. Most children brush harder than adults, and therefore have to have their toothbrushes replaced more often.

Different Types of Toothbrushes

There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider, including manual and electric. At Snow Family Dentistry, we suggest choosing what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly.

For instance, a manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums. However, it might not clean as effectively as an electric toothbrush. The rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier for electric toothbrushes to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don’t press too hard.

Maintaining Your Toothbrush

No matter which type of toothbrush you use, you need to keep it clean. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends rinsing your toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. After you are done, store your toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.

This is because storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, therefore it’s best to let the bristles of your toothbrush fully dry between each use. At Snow Family Dentistry, we even recommend using disposable toothbrushes if you’re traveling.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

Interested in learning more about proper toothbrush hygiene or care? Schedule an appointment with us today!

What Do Energy Drinks Do to My Teeth?

Despite many reports stating energy drinks are bad for your health (and teeth), they continue to gain popularity. What most people don’t know is that the high acidity level in these beverages can strip teeth enamel and leave permanent damage. It’s time to consider whether the extra boost is worth the permanent risk to your smile.

What Qualifies as an Energy Drink?  

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states:

“Energy drinks are widely promoted as products that increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance. Next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults.”

Some of the most popular brands of energy drinks sold in North America include Red Bull, Monster, and RockStar.

Energy Drink Ingredients

Most energy drinks contain the following ingredients:

  • Caffeine
  • Taurine (an amino acid that shows no evidence of providing energy)
  • Guarana (a plant native to the Amazon region that contains a very high concentration of caffeine)
  • Sugar

Why Energy Drinks Are Bad for Your Teeth

Energy drinks cause cavities in the same way sodas do: high sugar content and very acidic pH level.

Mouth bacteria consumes sugar, which produces acid. When this acid stays in contact with the enamel surface of your teeth, it begins to weaken it. This process creates cavities.

Additionally, all energy drinks, even the sugar-free versions, have a very low pH level. Consistently drinking very acidic drinks predisposes you to a higher risk for cavities.

How to Quit Energy Drinks

You might have a dependency on caffeine if you are used to drinking multiple energy drinks per day. To quit drinking them altogether, you may have to practice small steps. Here are a few methods to consider:

  • Drink smoothies and juices: Using natural sources like fruits and vegetables can help supply your body with Vitamin B, which helps your body perform at optimum levels.
  • Green Tea: Green tea contains natural caffeine in small quantities and also carries health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
  • Water: Water is actually a great energy drink because your metabolic reactions slow down when you’re dehydrated. This can lead to lower energy levels.

Why Choose Snow Family Dentistry

If you need more suggestions on how to stop drinking energy drinks, or have concerns about tooth damage resulting from consuming them, schedule a free consultation with us today!