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A Tooth Friendly Easter Basket

tooth friendly easter basketChocolate bunnies, heavenly hash, and bright yellow peeps are the traditional part of Easter Basket fun. The National Confectioners Association says that Americans spend more than $1.5 billion on Easter candy each year, second only to Halloween candy! This is the equivalent of 25 pounds per candy per person! However, here at your favorite Lafayette dentists office, we have it on good authority from the Easter Bunny that there are many fun items you can include in a tooth friendly easter basket that are not filled with sugar. 

Whether you’re 5 or 35, Easter candy can be incredibly tempting. However, too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing – 92% of adults age 20-64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, each person in that same age group has an average of 3.28 decayed or missing permanent teeth and 13.65 decayed and missing permanent surfaces. And it’s not just grown-ups: The Pew Center on the States says that about 60% of children have dental decay. 

Going easy on the sugary, sticky candy that hangs on to teeth long after the taste is gone is a better idea than you might think. Sugar in candy combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create acids, which attack the enamel of your teeth. What tastes so great in the moment can lead to cavities and other dental problems down the road. And if you skip the sugar in your child’s basket, you might even avoid the sugar rush! You can have them to drink plenty of water between each piece of candy. Rinsing their mouth frequently will clean their smile of some acid formation and bacteria from sugar. Since dry mouth is more conducive to bacteria, hydrating your mouth is a good practice for daily oral hygiene. But a better alternative is simply replacing the candy in your tooth friendly easter basket!

Tooth Friendly Easter Basket Ideas:

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t have fun with it. 

  • Novelty tooth brush
  • Play Dough
  • Bubbles
  • Glitter Pens
  • Stickers –scratch n sniff of course
  • Legos
  • Fruit snacks
  • Dark chocolate

 

As always, there’s no substitute for brushing and flossing at the end of the day to keep teeth clean and cavity free. The easter bunny never intended for tooth decay to go hand in hand with his delightful reputation.

If you need help keeping your family’s mouth healthy contact Dr. Chauvin’s office today and schedule a check up or teeth cleaning.

 

What’s in toothpaste and how should I pick?

 

whats in toothpaste and how do I pick

whats in toothpaste and how do I pick

Toothpaste no longer comes in simple choices of fluoride and fresh breath. Paste is not even the only option! You also have a choice of an array of colors and flavors. With so many varieties available, it may be difficult to know which features or combinations of ingredients are best for your mouth. Dr. Chauvin and our amazing Lafayette Louisiana team are here to help!

When it comes to dental care products, toothpaste is one of the most important components of proper dental hygiene for kids and adults. It cleans and polishes your teeth and removes bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease, dental decay, and bad breath. Toothpastes contain various ingredients that work in different ways. Detergents produce foaming action to better remove plaque and food particles. Abrasives help remove stains, and fluoride strengthens and protects teeth. The toothpaste you choose should reflect your personal dental care needs.

Types of toothpaste

  • Fluoride Toothpaste –  The most common ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride.  It aids in cleaning the teeth and strengthening the enamel.
  • Desensitizing Toothpaste – Contains active ingredients such as potassium nitrate or arginine that assist in blocking the nerve pathways from the tooth.
  • Whitening Toothpaste –  Usually does not contain bleaches but contain relatively coarse abrasives which function by abrading the stains on the tooth surface, giving a whitening effect. You may want to keep in mind that whitening toothpaste does not do the job of a professional bleaching – it simply helps to remove minor stains and touch up a faded smile and are often too harsh for the average tooth.
  • Tartar Controlled Toothpaste – These help to prevent any further build up of tarter but cannot reach the tartar that collects below your gum line. However some companies are looking to produce toothpaste which fights gum disease.
  • Smokers Toothpaste –  These are specially designed to remove nicotine and tar stains on teeth caused by smoking.
  • Children’s Toothpaste –  These are fairly similar to the adult versions the only difference being that they will contain a smaller amount of fluoride and have more child friendly flavors.

One very important thing to know about your toothpaste is it’s abrasivity.  Toothpaste makers regularly measure their product’s abrasivity. It’s necessary for FDA approval, and usually is not included in marketing. Abrasivity measurements are given by what’s known as an RDA value which stands for radioactive dentin abrasion or relative dentin abrasivity.

There is an ever changing chart to keep up with the values. Anything below 70-80 RDA is considered low abrasive.

 

RDA Dentifrice brand and variety Source
07 straight baking soda Church & Dwight
08 Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder Church & Dwight
30 Elmex Sensitive Plus Elmex
35 Arm & Hammer Dental Care Church & Dwight
42 Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Peroxide Church & Dwight
44 Squigle Enamel Saver Squigle
48 Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive Church & Dwight
49 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Tartar Control Church & Dwight
49 Tom’s of Maine Sensitive (given as 40’s) Tom’s
52 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular Church & Dwight
53 Rembrandt Original (RDA) Rembrandt
54 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Bold Mint Church & Dwight
57 Tom’s of Maine Children’s, Wintermint (given as mid-50’s) Tom’s
62 Supersmile Supersmile
63 Rembrandt Mint (‘Heffernan RDA’) Rembrandt
68 Colgate Regular Colgate-Palmolive
70 Colgate Total Colgate-Palmolive
70 Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive Church & Dwight
70 Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint (given as 50-70) Colgate-Palmolive
79 Sensodyne Colgate-Palmolive
80 AIM Unilever
80 Close-Up Unilever
83 Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength Colgate-Palmolive
91 Aquafresh Sensitive Colgate-Palmolive
93 Tom’s of Maine Regular (given as high 80’s low 90’s) Squigle (Tom’s)
94 Rembrandt Plus Rembrandt
94 Plus White Indiana study
95 Crest Regular (possibly 99) P&G (P&G)
101 Natural White Indiana study
103 Mentadent Squigle
103 Arm & Hammer Sensation Church & Dwight
104 Sensodyne Extra Whitening Colgate-Palmolive
106 Colgate Platinum Indiana study
106 Arm & Hammer Advance White Paste Church & Dwight
107 Crest Sensitivity Protection Colgate-Palmolive
110 Colgate Herbal Colgate-Palmolive
110 Amway Glister (given as upper bound) Patent US06174515
113 Aquafresh Whitening Indiana study
117 Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel Church & Dwight
117 Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control Church & Dwight
120 Close-Up with Baking Soda (canadian) Unilever
124 Colgate Whitening Indiana study
130 Crest Extra Whitening Indiana study
133 Ultra brite (or 120-140) Indiana study (or Colgate-Palmolive)
144 Crest MultiCare Whitening P&G
145 Ultra brite Advanced Whitening Formula P&G
145 Colgate Baking Sode & Peroxide Whitening (given as 135-145) Colgate-Palmolive
150 Pepsodent (given as upper bound) Unilever
165 Colgate Tartar Control (given as 155-165) Colgate-Palmolive
168 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint Church & Dwight
200 Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/Whitening or Icy Blast/Whitening (given as 190-200) Colgate-Palmolive
200 recommended limit FDA
250 recommended limit ADA

 

The ADA Seal

The most important thing you should look for when buying toothpaste is the seal of the ADA (American Dental Association). According to Dr. Ada Cooper, an ADA spokesperson, “This shows the product has been tested, its claims are legitimate and its ingredients are effective.”

The ADA seal indicates that the toothpaste contains fluoride, an ingredient that removes plaque. One of the biggest threats to your dental health, plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums and can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

You may also want to consider the flavor of your toothpaste. You are more likely to use toothpaste in a flavor you enjoy. If you’re curious about testing a new flavor, but aren’t sure whether you will like it, try a travel-sized tube instead of a full size. Or, ask your favorite Lafayette La dentist, Dr. Chauvin for a sample during your next dental visit!

 

Visiting your dentist

Once you find the toothpaste that is right for you it is important to keep up with good dental hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and make sure you schedule your routine teeth cleaning every six months with Dr. Chauvin.

Why are they called wisdom teeth?

why are they called wisdom teethWisdom teeth are actually our “third molars.” They are located all the way back in the jaw, and they tend to come in some time between the ages of 16 and 25, if they come in at all.

For many people, they affect the other teeth when they come in and often require surgery to remove them. Wisdom teeth get their name because of their fashionably late arrival to the party – right around the age when a person matures into adulthood and is “wiser” and said to be gaining a bit of wisdom in life.

Most cases involving wisdom teeth in the modern world cause problems, resulting in their removal or else damage the jaw line. So, the theroy suggest that we develop these teeth because our early ancient ancestor’s diets were so rough, including raw meat, leaves, nuts, berries, leaves, etc. These foods required extra chewing and as a result, experts believe that they are evolution’s way of giving us a helping hand, so to speak. The problem is that in today’s world of ever more processed food, they could be said to be several million years too late, making them not quite as wise as they would have us believe!

What should you do about your wisdom teeth?

If wisdom teeth grow in properly, fit in your mouth well, and have healthy gums around them, they can be left untreated. But more often than not, wisdom teeth don’t come in as they should. Sometimes the jaw simply isn’t large enough to accommodate them, so they’re not able to break through the gum line properly.

Then they become impacted wisdom teeth; stuck in the jawbone underneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling, pain, and infection of the gum tissue surrounding the area. They can also cause shifting of the other teeth as they try to erupt. If you are a part of the 85% of people that need their wisdom teeth removed, you will be looking at an extraction.  

How easy or difficult it is depends on the position of the tooth and how far along it’s developed. A wisdom tooth that’s impacted usually takes a little longer to extract. But have no fear, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Chauvin will discuss your individual situation with you and let you know exactly what’s involved with the removal of your wisdom teeth and how we can manage any of your concerns.

What happens during wisdom teeth removal?

After discussing the procedure, you and your dentist will choose the type of anesthesia that will be used during your surgery. There are three main options for wisdom teeth removal.  There is local anesthesia in the form of an injection near the surgical site; sedation anesthesia, which is given to you through an IV in your arm; and general anesthesia, where you inhale medicine through your nose. If you’re having all four teeth removed, you will most likely be put to sleep during the surgery. 

The night before the procedure, you won’t be allowed to eat anything after midnight. Once arriving medical team will give you anesthesia to make you fall asleep or apply local anesthesia to numb the surgical areas of your mouth, depending on your procedure type.

To remove the tooth, the dentist will cut your gum and remove your tooth – Typically, being cut into sections.

After the procedure, the dentist will sew up the area with some stitches, if necessary. Most dentist use sutures that dissolve or fall out on their own. You’ll have some gauze placed in your mouth to help stop the bleeding. If you’re having four wisdom teeth removed, the procedure will take about 30 minutes.

 

If you end up needing wisdom teeth extracted contact your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist Dr. Chauvin today and schedule an appointment.

How to get rid of white spots on your teeth

white spots on teethWhite spots on teeth can be worrisome if you do not know how they got there or how to treat them.  On top of that, white spots on your teeth can be unsightly and your confidence can take a hit. These spots are typically a cosmetic issue but can turn into a health concern. The untreated result being tooth deterioration.

Causes of white spots on teeth:

If the spots have been present since you were a child, you may have experienced a disruption in enamel formation as your teeth grew. This is better known as enamel hypoplasia.  White spots can also appear in childhood when kids ingest too much fluoride toothpaste. This is called fluorosis. Both of these causes are common in childhood, and can cause lasting spots on teeth.

White spots that have formed more recently on adult teeth are often caused by plaque build-up, which can cause hard, scaly spots near the gum line and make the teeth look discolored. The most concerning reason for white spots on teeth can be the beginning stages of tooth decay or cavities can sometimes look like white spots. As bacteria produce acid, it then begins to dissolve the mineralized surface of a tooth, appearing bright white. 

Lastly, braces often leave theses spots but can be avoided with the proper care.

Treatment and prevention of white spots on your teeth:

There are various methods by which a dentist can get rid of the calcium deposits from your teeth. Your dentist might whiten the teeth to remove calcium deposits by concealing the discoloration. If the whitening process does not work, there are a few more options.  There is the air abrasion procedure, in which your dentist will  use a device that blows crystal particles towards the calcium deposit. Any remaining spots will be fixed with filling material. This professional treatment is called microabrasion, this is a process where the dentist rubs a mixture of pumice and acid on the teeth to get rid of white teeth spots.  However, if the white spots are very large microabrasion might not be a viable option. In that case, a porcelain crown or a cap would be needed to cover up the spot or spots.

The most important part is alway prevention.  You can start by practicing good oral hygiene. You must brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and visit your dentist after every six months for a regular dental check-up.  

Do your best to avoid acidic and sugary drinks and foods that can damage your tooth enamel. If you wear braces then you must make additional effort to take excellent care of your teeth so that when the braces are removed to expose your straightened teeth, you do not catch sight of unpleasant spots on your tooth.

 

At Dr. Chauvin’s Lafayette Dental office, we know it can sometimes it can be difficult to determine what white spots mean. Too often it is an early sign of tooth decay that can be handled but you must visit a dentist. We will be able to assess the damage and recommend treatments that are suitable for your situation. Contact Dr. Chauvin today to make an appointment.

 

What you need to know about Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a severe problem, in which the gums have actually pulled away from the teeth. Pockets then form at the base of the teeth. These pockets fill with debris, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Once they get infected, the body begins to fight the infection. The bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place get caught in the crossfire, and begin to be destroyed. If left untreated, a person will begin to lose their teeth.

Luckily, this isn’t an overnight process. Periodontal disease is actually the second stage of gum disease, the first being gingivitis. No bone loss or irreversible damage happens until the late stages of periodontitis, so as long as it is caught and diagnosed early, it can be reversed.

Symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Swollen, tender, reddened gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • If your bite feels different
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while chewing
  • Smelly breath that doesn’t go away after brushing

Can periodontal gums be corrected?

Yes they can. You have to discover it early and be diligent. Complex periodontal gum conditions can also be treated, but they need a special cleaning, which your dentist can provide.

Green mouthwashAdopting an intense oral hygiene routine can go a long way to improve periodontal gums. Brush thoroughly once you get up each morning and prior to going to bed every night. Brushing, or at the very least, rinsing with drinking water after meals and snacks may also help remove germs trapped between teeth, assisting in slowing down periodontitis. Rinse the mouth with an excellent antibacterial mouthwash for a complete thirty second cycle, twice every day. This can help reach germs trapped in pockets below your gum collection, aiding in reversing periodontal gum illness. Floss each day, and pay special focus on flossing just underneath the gum line for reversing periodontal gum illness.

While a diligent dental hygiene program can go quite the distance in assisting the treatment of periodontal gum disease, sometimes that’s not enough, and it’s time for professional help.

Your dentist can perform periodontal cleaning, if x-rays show heavy pockets of germs surrounding all of your teeth below the gums. There are several treatment options, but they are all focused on removing bacteria from below the gum line. You may be prescribed a special antibacterial mouthwash, or have to have a very in depth cleaning.

If necessary, he might perform actual periodontal medical procedures. These involve lifting the flaps of the gum, making it possible for heavy cleaning, and then suturing them back in place. Following the procedure, you should have several appointments to be sure of the achievement of the cleaning. This type of treatment is very successful, and most regain normal use of their teeth when everything has healed.

The important thing is to seek help once you notice any signs of trouble with your gums. Periodontal gum illness can be absolutely corrected when it’s found early. If you need to get your gums checked out, give us a call!

ancient dental tools

The History of Dentistry

Dentistry is not a new profession. In fact, it’s probably much older than you think it is. It wasn’t a Renaissance idea, or even a Roman idea. Dentistry can trace its roots all the way back to 5000 BC! There is a Sumerian text that says that dental decay is caused by “tooth worms”. Gross! Fortunately they were wrong.

Flash forward about 2400 years, to 2600 BC, to the death of the first dentist. An Egyptian scribe named Hesy-Re had the following inscribed on his tomb: “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.” This is the first recorded instance of a person identifying as a dentist. Also in Egypt, between 1700 and 1550 BC, a text was found that refers to toothache remedies and tooth disease. This document was called the Ebers Papyrus.

A thousand years later, two of the most famous philosophers ever documented, Hippocrates and Aristotle, wrote about dentistry. They got into great detail! Discussing how teeth erupt, how to remove teeth, how to treat gum disease and tooth decay, and how to stabilize damaged teeth and jaws with wire.

The next thousand years see three major dental developments:

  • 100 BC: A medical writer from Rome, named Celsus, wrote about oral hygiene, how to treat toothaches, jaw fractures, teething pain, and how to stabilize loose teeth.
  • 166-201 AD: Dental prosthetics, including fixed bridges and gold crowns, are developed and used by the Etruscans.
  • 700 AD: Silver paste, an amalgam used for fillings, is mentioned in a Chinese medical text.

ancient dental toolsThe Guild of Barbers is created in 1210 in France. These were not all the “shave and a haircut” barbers we know today. There were two groups that emerged. The traditional barber, or “lay barber”, who performed haircuts, but some of their duties also included teeth extraction and bleeding! The second group were called surgeons, and were trained to perform complex surgery. Could you imagine going to get a haircut and a tooth pulled all by the same person?

The Guild of Barbers ran into trouble in 1400. Royals in France decreed that lay barbers must cease all surgical procedures, except for extracting teeth, leeching, bleeding, and cupping.

Between 1500 and 1600, two books are published. They both contain information on oral hygiene, the drilling of teeth, how to perform fillings and tooth extractions, and how to treat tooth decay.

By the 1700s, dentistry had become a well known profession.  In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon referred to as the Father of Modern Dentistry, published his influential book, The Surgeon Dentista Treatise on Teeth, defining a comprehensive system for oral hygiene and treatment of teeth.  He also presented the idea of dental fillings and the use of dental prosthesis, and identified that acids from sugar led to tooth decay.

In 1840, the first dental college (Baltimore College of Dental Surgery) opened.  In the United States, Alabama led the way by enacting the first dental practice act in 1841 to regulate dentistry in the U.S. Nearly 20 years later, the American Dental Association (ADA) was formed. The first university-affiliated dental institution, the Harvard University Dental School, was founded in 1867.

By 1873, Colgate had mass produced the first toothpaste, and mass-produced toothbrushes followed a few years later.

What may come as a surprise is that the first African American to earn a dental degree dates all the way back to 1869, and the first female dental assistant, Malvina Cueria,  was employed in New Orleans in 1885. What might be most surprising of all is that most Americans did not adopt good brushing habits until after World War II, when soldiers stationed abroad brought the concept of good oral health back to the United States!

If you want to learn more about the history of dentistry, click here. If you have questions about your dental care, give us a call! We’ll be happy to answer your questions!