Best Sugar Alternatives and Sweeteners for Your Teeth

October 15th, 2015

Best Sugar and Sweetener Alternatives for Your TeethJust because you have a particularly hungry sweet tooth doesn’t mean you're doomed to have cavities. There are a handful of sugar and sweetener alternatives out there that aren’t bad for your teeth. In fact, some of these sweet substitutes have actually been found to be good for your teeth. We’re here to let you know which sugar alternatives and sweeteners are best for your teeth.

Why Is Sugar So Bad for Your Teeth?

Surprising to many, it’s not actually sugar that is your teeth’s enemy. Rather, it’s the bacteria that turn sugar into enamel-eating acids. Sugar is extremely easy for bacteria to break down into acid, which is why dentists want you to avoid eating a lot of sugary food, candy and drinks. When the sugar is broken down into acids, the acids break down your enamel, causing cavities, dental decay, and eventually, an unhappy trip to the dentist.

Best Sugar and Sweetener Choices to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Unlike sugar, sugar alternatives aren’t as easy for bacteria to break down into acids. A group of sweeteners known as polyols actually have antibacterial properties, according to The New York Times, making them the best possible sugar and sweetener alternatives for your teeth. If sweeteners are antibacterial, they cannot be broken down by bacteria in your mouth and won't cause cavities.
So what are these polyols? Polyols are sugar alcohols that come from a chemical process. Not only are they great for your teeth, but they also contain fewer calories than sugar. Common polyols include xylitol, sorbitol, malitol, and isomalt. Since these sugar substitutes won’t cause cavities, they are often used in gum. In fact, a 1998 article from The British Dental Journal found that chewing gum containing sugar sweetener alternatives, like sorbitol and xylitol, actually helped to prevent cavities due to increased saliva flow.

Are Polyols Healthy for You in Other Ways?

So now that you know that polyols such as xylitol, sorbitol, malitol, and isomalt are good for your teeth, you’re probably wondering if they’re safe for the rest of your body too. According to the Calorie Control Council, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized some polyols as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and others have been approved as food additives. An Expert Committee of the World Health Organization has concluded that polyols are safe for human consumption after careful review.
For very sensitive people, polyols have been found to cause gastrointestinal problems, such as gas or laxative effects, but these issues aren’t permanent. Polyols have been used for many years by people all over the world. They are pretty well documented as being a safe and effective sugar and sweetener alternative.
You don’t have to sacrifice delicious sweets in order to keep your teeth healthy. Polyols taste just as delicious as sugar without the harmful tooth decaying effects! If you have any more questions about the best sugar and sweetener alternatives for your teeth, you should reach out to us on Facebook!

5 Reasons Why Your Bottom Teeth May Hurt

September 24th, 2015

5 Reasons Why Your Bottom Teeth May HurtConstant tooth pain is irritating, and can be downright debilitating if it hurts enough. If you experience regular bottom teeth pain, the first thing you should do is visit your dentist so that whatever is wrong doesn’t get worse. But it doesn’t hurt to learn what might be causing your bottom teeth to hurt in the meantime. Here are 5 reasons why your bottom teeth may hurt.

You’ve Got A Cavity

Cavity Tooth Pain Symptoms: Typically, pain caused by cavities can be felt sharply, consistently and suddenly in one or more teeth when you bite down. Cavities can also cause sensitivity.
If you haven’t been getting rid of all of the plaque on and around your bottom teeth by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, you may have cavity. Cavities can also be caused by gum recession. Cavities are holes in your teeth created by acids, which love eating away at your enamel. Thankfully, fixing a cavity is quick and easy. All your dentist has to do is fill it in with dental filling material.

Your Root Might Be Infected

Infected Root Tooth Pain Symptoms: If you experience a severe and constant bottom toothache that causes throbbing or shooting pain, you may have an abscessed tooth, or root infection. Your teeth may also feel sensitive to extreme temperatures and when biting down, and your gums and glands may be swollen.
Severe tooth decay is usually the reason why an infection develops at the root of your tooth. When acids have been allowed to dissolve your enamel for a while, bacteria infects the center of your tooth (the pulp) between your gum and your tooth. If you don’t see a dentist to cure your infection, it can spread to the bones that support your bottom teeth. A root canal can be performed to rid your teeth of the infection.

You’re Clenching and/or Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching/Grinding Tooth Pain Symptoms: If you bottom teeth pain is less severe, and more of a constant throbbing or achy pain, you may grind or clench your teeth too much.
Many people clench their teeth when they are concentrating or working out at the gym. You may also grind your teeth while you’re sound asleep. When you grind or clench your teeth often, you wear down your enamel, which exposes the tubes that lead to your nerves. This can lead to sensitivity and tooth pain. If you think you clench or grind your teeth, speak to your dentist about wearing a mouth guard.

You Fractured Your Tooth

Fractured Tooth Pain Symptoms: If you experience irregular pain in a bottom tooth when you’re chewing or when your tooth is exposed to extreme temperatures, you may have a fractured tooth.
The center of your tooth contains soft tissue, called the pulp, where your nerves are located. Your enamel and dentin, which is the hard layer underneath your enamel, protect your nerves. The closer your pulp is to being exposed, the more you irritate your nerves, which can cause pain and sensitivity. There are several different dental procedures that treat cracked teeth, depending on the severity, from crowns to root canals.

You Have Other Serious Health Issues

Bottom teeth pain isn’t always a sign that you have dental issues. Teeth pain can also be caused by a variety of other serious health issues that you might not even think of. These include heart attacks, sinus infections, cluster headaches, viral infections, diabetes, nerve-related disease, alcohol or drug abuse, and more.
The only way to truly find out what is causing your bottom teeth to hurt is to speak to your dentist. They’ll be able to get to the root of your teeth pain and provide you with solutions to make you pain-free again.

What is the Difference Between Caps, Crowns, Veneers, Inlays and Fillings?

August 13th, 2015

What is the Difference Between Caps, Crowns, Veneers, Onlays and Fillings?From putting on caps to placing dental veneers, dentists do a lot of interesting things to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. If you live your daily life outside of the dental world, you might find all of the stuff we do to be a bit confusing. We’re here to break down some of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments we offer at Water Tower Dental Care to help you better understand which procedures can best help your smile. Here’s the difference between caps, crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays and fillings.
Dental Crowns and Caps are actually the same thing. Dentists place crowns, or caps, on a tooth for three reasons: when it needs more strength, to keep two parts of a cracked tooth together, or to add material to a broken tooth or a worn down tooth. Typically, the materials used include metal, porcelain or a variety of the two. Learn about our CEREC One-Visit Crowns here!
Dental Veneers are used for purely cosmetic purposes, masking crooked, gapped, chipped, broken, worn down, stained or oddly-shaped teeth. Veneers are extremely thin pieces of porcelain or resin composite materials that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth to make them look better. We offer Minimal Prep and Porcelain Veneers at our Chicago dentist office.
Onlays are used to fill in large cavities that are too severe for a normal filling, but not severe enough to require a crown. Onlays cover one or more of the rounded edges of your teeth, or your entire tooth’s chewing surface. They can look just like your natural tooth and are typically made up of gold, porcelain or composite metal. Onlays require your dentist to remove less of your natural tooth than crowns. This is why they are sometimes called partial crowns.
Dental Inlays are used for the same purpose as onlays, but only fill in the space between the rounded edges of your tooth, at the center of its chewing surface. They fill in a tooth that is too damaged for a filling, but not so severe that it needs a crown.
Fillings are used to replace decayed portions of your tooth (cavities) with fillers, such as gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, composite resin fillings or tooth-colored plastic. Fillings can also be used to fix and improve the appearance of broken or worn-down teeth.
Now you’re one step closer to becoming a dental expert! If you have any more questions about your teeth or dental solutions, feel free to chat with us. We would love to help put you on a better path to a healthy smile for the rest of your life with better knowledge about your teeth.

6 Steps to Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Cavity Free

September 11th, 2014

Stepts to Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Cavity FreeCaring for your child’s teeth at an early age and following important guidelines can help prevent cavities. Even a child’s baby teeth can develop cavities, which can be a painful nuisance. Here are six simple ways to help prevent cavities from developing in your children’s teeth.

  1. Keep Their Fingers Out Of Their Mouth

Try to prevent your child from putting their fingers in their mouth when you can. After putting their hands on things such as the floor, toys, food and other children, a baby’s fingers can transmit unwanted bacteria into their mouths. Of course, completely keeping your child’s fingers out of their mouth is almost impossible to do, as younger children tend to put many things in their mouths. However, even a small amount of prevention can go a long way.

  1. Not Sharing is Caring

Try to avoid giving germs to your child by not sharing utensils, straws, cups, bites of food, toothbrushes and other items like these with them. An adult’s mouth can often have more germs than a child’s body has learned to fight. A young person’s mouth will experience harsher consequences as a result of the germs you may share with them. So try and stop the passing of bacteria by keeping your germs to yourself.

  1. Start Brushing Early

Once your child first begins developing teeth, it’s important to keep them clean by regularly brushing them. Purchase a Baby’s First Toothbrush, which is smaller and has softer bristles. Then, you can use a very small amount of children’s toothpaste and brush your child’s teeth after meals. This can go a long way in preventing cavities in baby teeth.

  1. Avoid Sugars

Try to keep your children away from sugary drinks and snacks that will feed the bacteria in their mouth. You can’t avoid all sugar, of course, so it’s good to know some helpful tips to reduce the risk that sugary food and drink will cause cavities. Try not to give your child a sugary drink or snack before a nap or bedtime. It’s best to give your child lots of water after a sugary snack as well to help wash away the sugars left in the mouth.

  1. Clean Right

Many parents wipe off their children’s pacifiers by using their own saliva or clean off a spoon by licking off the food. This is an easy way for bacteria to transfer from their mouth to their children’s. If you need to clean a utensil or pacifier, wash it under the faucet and use a sanitized towel before giving it back to your child.

  1. Visit the Dentist

You shouldn’t only visit your dentist when you need a tooth repaired. Dentists can also help to prevent any cavities and damage to the teeth that may be looming on the horizon, so it’s good to visit them regularly even if your child isn’t experiencing any problems. Bringing your child to the dentist at a young age will help keep their teeth clean and help keep cavities at bay.
By following these simple steps and taking action when needed, your child can grow up to have a healthy and bright smile. Most importantly, by practicing good oral hygiene, your child will learn the proper steps to take care of their teeth for years to come. And remember, leading by example is the best way to help show your child how to treat their teeth well.
If you have any more questions on how to prevent cavities in your child’s teeth, contact Water Tower Dental. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you need.

Signs and Symptoms of a Dental Cavity

July 31st, 2014

Signs and symptoms of a dental cavityCavities are a major concern of any mouth, but it can be hard to know if you have one or not without a trip to the dentist. Luckily there are plenty of signs and symptoms that can help indicate that you might have a cavity in your mouth.
A cavity is a hole on the exterior of your tooth due to the breakdown of your enamel (the outer covering of your tooth). Enamel breakdown is caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Once enamel is broken down, the tartar is able to slowly eat away at the tooth. Here are signs that you might be developing a cavity, or have one already.

Sensitive Teeth

The most obvious sign is highly sensitive teeth. If hot or cold temperatures irritate your teeth, this is a sign of enamel being worn down. Often, it may be a specific area of sensitivity that can indicate exactly where a cavity might be.

Food Stuck In Your Teeth

We all can get food stuck in our teeth. But, if you’re noticing a frequent occurrence of food sticking in your teeth, this can signify a bigger problem. Also, note how the food is sticking in your teeth. If you notice food often getting stuck at the top of your teeth, in areas that don’t normally get food stuck in them, there is a good chance a cavity is forming.

Opaque or Chalky Spots on the Teeth

When mineral loss occurs on the surface of your teeth, you will notice a change in color. This is one of the best ways to detect early signs of a cavity.

Difficulty Chewing with Certain Teeth

You may notice certain areas of your mouth where it is harder to chew, especially if the foods are high in sugar or are acidic. When tooth decay and cavities form, the innermost areas of the tooth, including blood vessels and nerves (this is known as the pulp) become exposed. These are highly sensitive areas that will cause pain if reached.

Bad Breath

If you practice daily oral hygiene, but notice your breath is still bad, you may have a cavity. Food and bacteria gathering in the crevices of decaying teeth and cavities can cause bad breath. If that is the case, your breath can continue to smell bad even after brushing and flossing.

New Gaps Between your Teeth

If cavities go untreated for a long time, you may start to notice gaps in your front teeth. This is because your tooth has left enough space in your mouth for your teeth to shift.

Swelling in the Gums

When a cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth, your gums will begin to swell and puss will form. This is the most serious sign that you are having an oral issue, and you should immediately seek dental assistance.
If you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, we recommend contacting Water Tower Dental to help assist you. We can fill your cavity, help remove tartar and plaque from your teeth, and help you get on the right track to have a bright and shining smile for years to come.