My morning doesn’t start until I’ve had my first cup of tea. How bad is this for my teeth?
Tea and coffee are safe to drink in moderation. However, over time, large amounts can cause
staining and damage. In addition to caffeine, tea and coffee contain chromogens, deeply
pigmented molecules that adhere to dental enamel. They also contain tannins, which boost a
chromogen molecule’s ability to attach to dental enamel. Black tea is worse than black coffee,
because coffee is lower in tannins.
How can I protect my teeth from damage?
The enamel on our teeth is hard, but as we all know, it can be chipped and cracked. In addition
to following the instructions of your hygienist, here are some other ways you can protect your teeth:
- Avoid chewing ice, cracking nut shells, or opening packages with your teeth.
- Avoid “hard foods” such as popcorn.
- Limit acidic soft drinks and sugary foods that stick to your teeth.
- Decide against tongue and lip piercings, which can fracture teeth and increase infection risk.
Should I update my manual toothbrush to an electric?
When used appropriately, a manual toothbrush is as effective as a powered toothbrush. The key
is to brush for the recommended two to three minutes, using short strokes at a 45-degree angle
to the gums, and covering the entire tooth surface – inner, outer, and chewing.
I’m pregnant. Is it safe for me to go to the dentist?
Congratulations! Yes, you should continue to see your dentist, as pregnancy can increase certain
dental issues. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant and if you’re experiencing any
changes in your oral health.
When should my child receive his/her first dental check-up?
Ideally, you should seek a dentist for your child when the first tooth appears and no later than
their first birthday.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Yes. New digital X-ray machines limit the low-dose radiation to a beam that targets only the areas
needing to be filmed, faster film speeds allow for shorter exposure times, and the use of film
holders prevents slipping, reducing the need for repeated exposure due to retakes. Stray radiation
is almost non-existent with the use of modern dental X-ray machines, but the use of lead-lined,
full-body aprons protect against even that possibility. Every two years, federal law requires X-ray
machines to be checked for safety and accuracy, and some states have even more stringent regulations.
I’ve heard that my silver-colored fillings contain mercury. Should I have them replaced?
Dental amalgam (silver) fillings contain silver, tin, copper, and liquid mercury, which are combined
to form an inert (non-active) alloy. According to the FDA, CDC, the American Dental Association (ADA),
and a number of other public health agencies, there is no link between this type of filling and any
known health issue. Because of speculation and controversy, amalgam is the most researched and tested
dental filling material on the market.
Why don’t my dentures fit right anymore?
The tissues and bones of your mouth may shrink (atrophy) with the passage of time or with the gain or
loss of body weight, causing a change in the fit of your dentures. A simple reline may help them fit
snugly again. However, if you’ve worn your dentures for a number of years, or the bases are too far out
of shape, it may be time for replacements. It is counterproductive to use more denture adhesive to try
to make them hold better, because this may lead to faster bone loss and additional problems with the
fit of your dentures.
This is just a sampling of often-asked questions. Have one of your own? Don’t hesitate to give us a
call at (712) 239-5900 so we can assist you.