Articles on remineralisation of teeth

Happy Teeth or Snappy Teeth: A List of Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Dr. Ragini Parmar, Dentist
The world is full of these incredible deliciously mouthwatering foods, don’t you agree? Some are good for your mouth and some are terrible for oral hygiene. Let’s have a closer look at what makes your teeth happy and what makes them snappy.GOOD FOODS!Foods good for your mouth help prevent tooth decay and work towards destroying plaque buildup.Dairy ProductsMilk and other dairy products contain calcium and phosphates. Consumption of dairy products makes teeth stronger. Cheese is a saliva maker as well, which is important because saliva helps reduce the effect of acids and harmful enzymes.Fruits and VegetablesFruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber are also good for the mouth. They get saliva flowing and act as a detergent in the mouth, cleaning out unwanted bacteria. They are the best home remedy for prevention of tooth decay and cavities.Sugarless Chewing GumGum is a saliva maker and helps remove leftover food particles in the mouth. The lack of sugar in the gum is simply an added advantage for prevention of cavities. Also the chewing action helps develop facial muscles. This creates a good jaw line and tones the face helping get rid of double chins. Lots of actors use this trick to enhance their facial features. However, one must practice caution as too much gum is not the healthiest option.TeaGreen tea and black tea contain polyphenols, which are an organic chemical and considered as micronutrients in our diet. These destroy plaque and bacteria, and hence are an asset in the mouth. However, watch the quantity, as too much tea could stain your teeth too.Fluoride FoodsAny kind of food with fluoride helps your teeth. Dehydrated soups, powdered juices, powdered cereals, commercially prepared poultry products and even sea food - all contain fluoride.BAD FOODS!Foods bad for the teeth are easy to spot as they encourage tooth decay and plaque buildup.Carbonated DrinksOther than the obvious high sugar content carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acid both of which wear down tooth enamel.Dry Mouth FoodsAlcohol dries out the mouth which means there is less saliva and hence a weaker fight against bacteria. Some medicines dry the mouth too. A fluoride rinse for your mouth will help.StarchFoods that have high starch composition like tapioca,potato chips or soft breads are to be avoided as they get lodged between the tiny gaps in teeth and are hard to take out.SweetsWhen opting for sweets, go for those that don’t stick to your teeth and are easy to wash off. You can opt for cacao, which has proven to have some health benefits.Choosing the right kinds of food is important as it helps promote oral health. You should choose food that encourage production of saliva, as saliva keeps the teeth moist. So be careful what you eat, because everything you put in your mouth has numerous consequences. Each time you are up in the middle of the night and find yourself starving be mindful and choose the food that offers you a health benefit.

Diet Tips For Healthy Teeth

Dr. Abhijit Lele, Dentist
Keep number of food intakes limited to a maximum of six during the whole day (including tea, coffee), out of which three should be major meals and three snacks.Drink sufficient water. It helps to maintain the salivary flow at optimum levels.Eat fewer sweets. As far as possible avoid eating sweets in between meals. Also avoid anything sweet for an hour before going to bed.It is very necessary that you brush your teeth after having sweets. So it is best to have sweets during or after meals and not as separate snacks.Avoid aerated drinks to keep your oral cavity healthy.If you are not able to brush after your lunch, a sugar-free chewing gum may be a good idea. Please make sure that it is sugar free.Avoid daily intake of orange juice or any citrus fruit juice.In general, every food in its original form is the best. For example, whole orange is better than orange juice and raw tomato is better than tomato sauce or ketchup.After having any of the above acidic foods or drinks, rinse your mouth with water. Do not brush your teeth immediately as the acidic pH and mechanical action of brushing complement each other to produce tooth wear.Your diet should include the necessary amount of fibrous foods and protein rich foods. Fibrous foods perform an automatic cleansing action while we are chewing them.If you are implementing a diet pattern suggested to you by a dietitian for general health or any illness, please consult the dietitian or physician before acting upon the advice given by the dentist. For example, munching on a piece of cheese after acidic foods can bring back the pH of the oral cavity to neutral very quickly so that can be advised by a dentist but that should suit your overall diet scheme.All these rules apply more stringently to kids as they are not well capable of performing brushing. So the parents have to monitor their diet pattern very carefully.

7 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kid's Teeth

Dr. Kumar Raja, Dentist
You know regular brushing, a healthy diet and dental visits are some of the best ways to prevent cavities, yet experts say many parents are falling short when it comes to oral hygiene.In fact, 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. And 21 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here, find out the biggest mistakes Pedodontist say parents are making and learn what you can do to keep your children’s teeth healthy throughout their lifetime.1. Letting kids brush alone. Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re 8 years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.“It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet,” 2. Putting baby to bed with a bottleIt’s the easiest way to cause tooth decay, yet parents are still doing it, experts say. In fact, according to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 85 percent of parents said it wasn’t a good idea to put their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, yet 20 percent did it anyway.Whether it’s a bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup all day long, the habit keeps the sugar and bacteria levels in the mouth elevated all the time. If your baby wakes up at night for a bottle or to nurse, wipe out her mouth with gauze or a soft cloth or brush if she has teeth.“If you start early on it becomes part of the normal routine,” 3. Making the first dentist appointment too late. Expert say it’s common to see children 2 or 3 years-old who need to go under general anesthesia to treat cavities and infections. One of the explanations for this is that parents aren’t bringing their babies to the dentist early enough.The first trip should either be when the first tooth erupts or by your baby’s first birthday. Dental visits every six months from the get-go will also help your child feel comfortable—and even excited—to go every time.4. Offering “healthy” foods like bananas, raisins, and whole-grain crackers seem like healthy fare but foods that are sticky and have concentrated sugars like these will sit in the grooves of the teeth and create cavities. Instead of nixing them entirely, eat them with meals— when there’s more saliva5. Thinking cavities are no big dealYou might think treating a cavity is an easy fix, but cavities can affect your child through out his lifetime. For starters, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for adult teeth. They help guide the jaw so it can grow.Plus, if a cavity becomes infected, it can affect the development of the adult teeth and if there’s an abscess, the child will likely need sedation to treat it. Cavities at an early age, especially if they’re not treated, can also lead to problems with speech articulation, poor sleep, and even low self-esteem and school performance.  6. Not using fluoride. Last year, the American Dental Association revised its recommendations and now suggests children age 2 and under use fluoride toothpaste, too. Although fluoride is controversial, experts agree that the research is clear: it’s one of the best ways to prevent cavities.The appropriate dose, however, is key. For children 3 years old and younger, use the equivalent of a grain of rice, and for children 3 to 6 years old, a pea-sized amount is enough. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to fluoride in the water and toothpaste, talk to your dentist.7. Loading up on sports drinksA common cause of tooth decay in older kids is sipping on sports drinks and soda at lunch, at games and at home. By bathing their teeth in acid all day, there’s no opportunity for the PH to re-balance. If you can’t persuade your child to completely nix it from his diet, encourage him to limit the amount, then drink it and be done with it.

How Healthy Are Sugary Snacks for Your Teeth?

Dr. Abhinav, Dentist
Here is a list of ways sugary snacks affect your teeth. Be careful before you binge on them. What's wrong with sugary snacks, anyway?Sugary snacks taste good — but they are not good for your teeth or your body. The sugar candies, pastries, cookies, wafers and other processed foods that kids love to eat between meals can cause tooth decay. Some processed foods have a lot of fat in them, too. Kids who consume sugary snacks eat many different kinds of sugar every day, including table sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose). Starchy snacks can also break down into sugars once they're in mouth.How do sugars attack your teeth?Invisible germs called bacteria are commensals in your mouth and are present all the time. Some of these bacteria form a sticky material called plaque on the surface of the teeth. When you put sugar in your mouth, the bacteria in the plaque gobble up the sweet stuff and turn it into acids. These acids are powerful enough to dissolve the hard enamel that covers your teeth. That's how cavities get started. If you don't eat much sugar, the bacteria can't produce as much of the acid that eats away enamel.Note to parentsRaw food has less decay-causing potential. However, knowledge to date indicates that they are less likely to promote tooth decay than are some of the heavily sugared foods children often eat between meals.Candy bars aren't the only culprits. Foods such as pizza, breads, and hamburger buns all contain sugars. Check the label. The new food labels identify sugars and fats on the Nutrition Facts panel on the package. Keep in mind that brown sugar, honey, molasses and syrups also react with bacteria to produce acids, just as refined table sugar does. These foods also are potentially damaging to teeth.Your child's meals and snacks should include a variety of foods from the basic food groups, including fruits and vegetables; grains, including breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; and meat, nuts and seeds. Some snack foods have greater nutritional value than others and will better promote your child's growth and development. However, be aware that even some fresh fruits, if eaten in excess, may promote tooth decay. Children should brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals. (So should you!)Please note: These general recommendations may need to be adapted for children on special diets because of diseases or conditions that interfere with normal nutrition. 

Everything About Sweets and Tooth Decay

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
You've probably heard it all your life: Eating sweets will rot your teeth. But while a diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities (as well as other medical problems, such as obesity), sugar itself isn't the real culprit behind tooth decay.Dental cavities — also known as caries, the Latin word for "decay" — are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such debris might include the refined sugars found in cookies, candy and other treats, but can also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with saliva to form that nasty stuff your dentist warned you about: plaque.It's plaque — not sugar — that leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn't brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth's surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavity formation.And those tiny holes can do a lot of damage if left untreated. Eventually, the acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth's blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and abscesses in the mouth.Ultimately, sugar is just one of many carbs that can land you in the dentist's chair, but that doesn't mean you should trade in your apples for candy corn just yet. The way you consume food is just as important as the kinds of food you eat. For example, chugging a can of soda actually does less damage to your teeth than sipping on a soda throughout the day, because the acid created by mouth bacteria sticks around for 30 minutes after you eat or drink. So every time you munch another chip or take a sip of soda, you restart the plaque-production clock and increase your risk of developing cavities.

Q&A: Helping Children Who Grind Their Teeth

Dr. Ishwari Bhirud, Dentist
Q: My child, age 3, grinds his teeth at night. What can we do to prevent him from doing this? What is this doing to his teeth?A: Grinding teeth, or bruxism, is surprisingly common in children. Nearly one in three children does it at some point, nearly always during sleep.Nobody knows the cause. There are theories, including teeth not fitting together properly (malocclusion), a problem with the joint of the jaw (temporomandibular joint), anxiety or just habit. The cause may be different in different children.Luckily, children usually stop by themselves—and there is usually no damage to the teeth. If they grind hard enough for long enough it can wear down the teeth and increase the risk of infections, but this is uncommon.It’s important, for all sorts of reasons, that you take your child to the dentist regularly. The next time you do, mention your concerns about teeth grinding. If the dentist sees more than the average wear and tear, he or she may prescribe a mouth guard. It’s most likely, though, that nothing will need to be done.Because bruxism can be associated with stress, be on the lookout for any changes in your child's behavior—and think about whether anything in his life may be worrying or upsetting him (like a new school, new sibling, conflict between parents) and whether there is anything you can do about it. If your child has been having changes in his behavior, and if your efforts to help him aren't making a difference, talk to your pediatrician.

5 Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth

Dr. Shefali Gupta, Dentist
Teeth play an important role to look attractive and  in overall nutrition and general health. Teeth allow you to follow a healthy diet and stay well nourished by preparing the food you eat for swallowing and digestion.However loss of teeth can have several hidden consequences-ON GENERAL HEALTH-The nutrition of elderly people is of growing interest to many health professionals.Missing teeth results in limited food choices.  Thus, nutritional changes begin to cause medical problems and affect your general well being.Even after the loss of one tooth, the jaw bone irreversibly changes. Without chewing pressure to stimulate the bone it begins to dissolve away immediately after extraction and continues forever unless any prosthesis is placed.FACIAL COSMETIC PROBLEMS-The deterioration of the jaw bones affects the appearance of how the face “drapes”over the bone. Facial sagging makes you look older, which is due to shrinkage in the upper and lower jaw bones further it may  cause profound emotional effects on individual.TOOTH DRIFTING AND DESTRUCTION OT THE REMAINING TEETH-When all the teeth are present they support each other much like the bricks in a roman archway.When some teeth are missing, the opposite teeth have no “counter acting force” and will erupt upward into the mouth. When no back teeth are touching the stress is now placed on the front teeth, this ‘overloads’ them and forces them to move forward and outward. When back molars are missing the damage is even more serious.The back chewing teeth begin to erupt down into the empty spaces where the lower molar teeth are missing. The chewing forces have shifted to the front teeth and due to overloaded stress the front teeth begin to flare and fan apart creating spaces.The fanning and spaces get worse over a period of time. This ‘’fanning out’’ and ‘’opening of the front spaces’’ eventually leads to looseness and gum disease and the loss of the front teeth.Even a single missing teeth can lead to drift (this is just like taking a brick out of an arch way and seeing the arch collapse). That one missing tooth can set you up for a “domino effect” of losing teeth for the rest of your life. Gum disease due to the movement and misalignment of the teeth can cause more tooth loss and decay.HEADACHE FROM MISSING TEETH-Without the support of back chewing teeth, as the teeth randomly drift, unusual dental bites develop that cause excessive stress and damage to the joints (TMJ) that connect the two jaw bones with pain and headaches being a common side effect.CHANGES IN SPEECH-Speech is a very sophisticated autonomous, and unconscious activity.They are intimately related as the mouth, lower jaw, lips,teeth and tongue are used for both activities. Any alteration of these structures will inevitably mediate a disturbance in the system.NEED TO REPLACE LOST TEETH-Earlier we see the various consequence due to loss of teeth, it affects the patients in many aspects. So it is necessary to have artificial replacements for the natural teeth becausethe body cannot function properly if some of the important organ involved in speech, swallowing and mastication are lost. Common approaches to replacing a lost tooth are the dental implants, fixed partial dentures, removable partial dentures. The most appropriate for you will depend on a variety of factors that you should discuss with your dentist.

Wisdom teeth- The Problems & Their Solutions

Dr. Prasanth Pillai, Dentist
What are impacted wisdom teeth?Wisdom teeth are molar teeth, which are the last to erupt into the mouth, usually after the age of 15 years, or even much later. They are four in number – one each situated in the four corners of the mouth, behind the second molar teeth and have no clearly defined shape or form unlike the other permanent teeth. They are often called wisdom teeth as they erupt at an age when the person is in the transition phase from childhood to adulthood. The remaining 28 teeth normally erupt into the oral cavity by the age of 13 years.Wisdom teeth are considered impacted when they are unable to erupt into their normal functional positions, mainly due to lack of space for their eruption. Approximately 20% of the population has impacted wisdom teeth. Less than 5% of the population has sufficient room to accommodate the wisdom teeth. Of the other permanent teeth in normal individuals, very few are found impacted except the canines.What are the causes for impaction of wisdom teeth?It has been found that during the process of evolution, the jaws are progressively becoming smaller in size and the braincase is expanding at the expense of the jaws. This is said to occur because with the passage of time, man is increasingly using his brain whereas the use of the jaws for chewing has been progressively on the decline, as the diet we are having has become refined and soft. Hence the chewing efficiency of the jaws is not put to full use. Masticatory force (force exerted while chewing) has been found to be contributory to jaw growth. Soft diet thus adversely affects jaw growth. An underdeveloped jaw will not be able to accommodate all 32 teeth. This reduces the space for the wisdom teeth, which erupt last, to erupt into place. Evolutionary trends also point to a gradual reduction in the number of teeth, though this may occur only over a considerable period of time.Another important factor, which predisposes to development of impacted wisdom teeth, is heredity. It has been found that parents who have impacted wisdom teeth are likely to pass on the trait to children. However, this may only be a very small part of the evolutionary design.Certain disease conditions such as rickets, endocrine dysfunction, anemia, achondroplasia, cleidocranial dysostosis, Treacher Collins syndrome etc. have also found to be associated with impacted teeth. Here, impactions of teeth other than that of the wisdom teeth are also found frequently.What are the problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth?Infection is the most common problem encountered associated with impacted teeth. It may range from a localized gum infection to acute, extensive, life-threatening infections involving the head and neck. Localized gum infections tend to recur intermittently when complete eruption of the tooth is not possible. Recurrent infections (which may be subacute and not painful for the patient) will frequently lead to gum disease and decay on adjacent teeth, which can ultimately result in the loss of these teeth in addition to the wisdom teeth.Sometimes wisdom teeth erupt in abnormal positions and angulations making them non-functional, as they are unable to contact their corresponding opposing wisdom teeth. In such situations, frequent cheek biting or tongue biting can result from the abnormal positioning causing injuries to the cheeks and tongue while chewing. Besides this, the unsupported upper wisdom tooth also starts over-erupting, lengthening out from the supporting gums, thereby leading to food trapping, decay and gum infections in the region.There are situations when the wisdom teeth do not erupt at all into the mouth. They lie buried within the gum tissue or bone. Often, patients do not experience problems in such situations. There are also instances where wisdom teeth are totally absent in certain individuals.What can happen if impacted wisdom teeth are not treated?Serious problems can develop from partially blocked teeth such as infection, which may turn life threatening and possible crowding of, and damage to adjacent teeth and bone. Another serious complication can develop when the sac that surrounds the impacted tooth fills with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst causing an enlargement that hollows out the jaw and results in permanent damage to the adjacent teeth, jawbone and nerves. Left untreated, a tumor may develop from the walls of these cysts and a more complicated surgical procedure would be required for removal.Rare instances have been found when the impacted wisdom teeth remain asymptomatic without causing any problems. However, no prediction can be made as to when an impacted molar will cause trouble, but trouble will probably arise, and that too at inconvenient times. When it does, the circumstances can be much more painful and the teeth can be more complicated to treat. Here, the tooth cannot be removed until the infection or other complications have been treated. This means loss of more time and added expense along with some added risk. It's best to have impacted teeth removed before trouble begins.How are impacted wisdom teeth treated?X-rays of the wisdom teeth are made to help assess the positions, shapes and sizes of the crowns and roots, the surrounding bone and the nerve, which usually runs below the roots of the teeth. X-rays also help in identification of associated disease conditions such as cysts and tumors in relation to the teeth, apart from aiding in planning of the surgical procedure.In certain cases of impacted teeth, where there seems to be adequate space available for eruption, the dental surgeon may advise a pericoronal flap excision (removal of the gum tissue overlying the impacted tooth) and observation. In such cases, the tooth may erupt into place after the procedure. However, in many cases, infection of the overlying gum tissue has been found to recur. Here, there is no other choice other than the removal of the offending wisdom tooth.In light of the clinical experience that most impacted teeth will ultimately give rise to some type of problem or disease, it is generally felt that preventive removal of impacted third molars is indicated. Because complications are significantly reduced when the impacted tooth has no associated disease conditions, and because difficulty of removal increases with age, it is recommended that impacted teeth be removed early. It is best done as soon as it becomes apparent that there is insufficient space or that they are not positioned for normal eruption. Generally, this will occur somewhere between the ages of 16-18. At this age, the roots of the developing tooth are usually between one half to two thirds formed and the bone is less dense, which makes their removal easier and the post-operative recovery smoother. A young patient usually is also in optimal general health, which facilitates safe anesthesia and rapid, complete healing. In older patients, removal before complications develop is key to shorter recovery and shorter healing time, besides minimizing discomfort after surgery.Before the removal of the impacted wisdom tooth, the patient is normally put on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to eliminate existing infection and inflammation in the area. The removal of an impacted tooth is normally a minor surgical operation, lasting 10 - 45 minutes. It often requires incision of the gum, cutting the tooth and probably some removal of bone too. The oral surgeon may provide anesthesia options of local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia to make the procedure more relaxing for the patient. The surgical wound is often sutured with silk (non-absorbable) or with absorbable suture materials. Some surgeons advise extraction of the corresponding upper wisdom teeth also during the same sitting.When taken up under local anesthesia (LA), removal of impacted teeth is done on one side at a time. This allows a patient to chew on the other side, facilitates faster healing and recovery. In certain situations, impacted wisdom teeth on both sides are removed under general anesthesia (GA) as a single procedure. If the impacted teeth are very deeply situated, or if they have abnormal shapes and forms making the procedure difficult to undertake, GA may again be required for surgical removal. If the surgical procedure is found to be complex, then the dental surgeon may refer the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who is trained in surgical treatment of such problems.After the surgery, the patient is asked to continue the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs which should be meticulously taken by the patient without break in order to facilitate better wound healing without complications. The patient is given pressure packs to bite on over the surgical area and ice packs to be placed over the jaw, immediate post-operatively. The patient is advised to rinse the mouth with ice-cold water about half an hour after the procedure, after the gauze/cotton pressure dressings in the area are removed. After 12 hours have elapsed, the patient may start having warm foodstuffs. However, it would be ideal if the patient has semi-solid or liquid food (yogurt, eggs, fruit juice, milkshakes, protein supplements etc.) for about a day or two after the surgery, after which he/she may have normal food, without disturbing the surgical area. The patient should also abstain from smoking and drinking during the post-surgical phase, to facilitate better healing and to avoid complications. The patient may also rinse the mouth with luke-warm saline twice or thrice a day after the 24-hour period.