The Hidden Oral Health Threat in Your Swimming Pool

Swimmer’s ear. Sunburns. Hair tinged green by chlorinated water. It’s no secret that swimming in a pool comes with its share of minor inconveniences. What many don’t realize is that spending hours in the pool can also have consequences for your teeth. Dr. Todd Pizzi, who offers dental exams and teeth cleaning in Shrewsbury, MA, discusses the little-known effects of swimming pools and teeth, noting that these guidelines apply primarily to anyone who spends six or more hours in the swimming pool within a single week.shrewsbury-dental-cleaning

Chlorine and other chemicals are necessary to maintain the pH of pool water, as well as to prevent the spread of infection. Dr. Pizzi points out that any acidic substance–citrus fruits and juices, for poses threats to your oral health. Whether teeth are exposed to these acids by ingesting these substances or by direct contact while swimming does not necessarily matter to your mouth–acid is acid.

Erosion of Tooth Enamel

Within seconds of coming into contact with your teeth, acid begins to gradually eat away at the enamel that covers each teeth. If you have strong, healthy tooth enamel to begin with, you are less likely to experience the unpleasant effects of acid. However, someone who already has thinning or worn-down enamel will find the effect compounded. As a result, you become more prone to temperature sensitivity and tooth decay.

Calculus Buildup on Teeth

The effects of exposure to pool water become even more destructive when the swimmer does not practice excellent oral hygiene. In the pool or out, failure to remove all traces of food, bacteria, and plaque results in the formation of what we call swimmer’s calculus. Swimmer’s calculus is easily identifiable as an almost cement-like deposit of tartar, appearing brown in color. Once it hardens, it’s all but impossible to remove with your own toothbrush. If you notice calculus, which usually affects your front teeth, consider scheduling a professional teeth cleaning and exam at our office.

A Simple, Effective Tip

Obviously, you wouldn’t drink pool water to satiate your thirst. However, we recommend keeping a bottle of water nearby at all times while swimming. After every 30-45 minutes, or more frequently if you feel thirsty, rinse your mouth with the bottled water. We find that swishing the water in your mouth for half a minute works nicely.

Keep smiling, swimmers! To learn more about preventive dental care, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Pizzi, contact Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury at (508) 842-8838. We welcome patients living in and around Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, and Northborough.

Invisalign and ClearCorrect: Clearly Superior Straightening

When patients come to us with questions about teeth straightening, they often do so strictly for aesthetic reasons. What they don’t always realize is that having straighter teeth has other benefits, too, especially where your oral health is concerned. Dr. Todd Pizzi, who offers clear braces in Shrewsbury, MA, discusses available options for straightening errant teeth. clear-braces-shrewsbury

Straight Teeth Are Clean Teeth

Plaque and tartar are notorious for hiding within the various crevices and crannies within your mouth, such as those formed by crooked or overlapping teeth. Because these areas are more difficult to reach with dental floss and your toothbrush, they often go neglected–especially if you don’t visit your dentist for professional cleaning every six months. As bacteria and food accumulate in these areas, they release toxins that infect and irritate your gums. Left untreated, the problem leads to periodontal disease, which so happens to be the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Not a good look!

Invisalign and ClearCorrect vs. Traditional Braces

Gone are the days when straightening your teeth meant wearing flashy metal braces. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign and ClearCorrect make caring for your teeth easy during treatment. First, consider the accoutrements of metal braces: orthodontic wax, Proxabrushes, special orthodontic tape for flossing. It’s not unusual to hear patients say that wearing metal braces adds an hour or longer to their daily oral hygiene regimen! Traditional braces can also create some embarrassing faux pas for the wearer. Food becomes trapped between the hardware, and bad breath is more likely. With invisible braces, you simply remove your aligners when it’s time to brush, floss, or enjoy a meal.

Clear Braces, Universal Appeal

Although metal braces have proven effective for many years, it’s clear that they aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as their modern alternatives. Our patients note that their clear aligners are all but invisible during wear, so they needn’t worry about others focusing on the tell-tale glint of metal. This makes ClearCorrect and Invisalign ideal for teens and adults alike. Dr. Pizzi notes that we also offer Six Month Smiles, an accelerated straightening treatment that delivers dramatic results in minimal time.

Say goodbye to metal mouth. To learn more about teeth straightening in Shrewsbury, MA, or to schedule an appointment at Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury, contact us at (508) 842-8838. We welcome patients living in Worcester, Hopkinton, North and South Grafton, Westborough, and the neighboring communities.

What’s in a Name? “Cosmetic” Dentistry for Men

George Clooney. Brad Pitt. Tom Cruise—familiar names and famous faces that owe their stellar smiles to cosmetic dentistry. At our Shrewsbury, MA dentist office, we love to see that so many men are now embracing cosmetic dentistry to enhance their appearance. shrewsbury-cosmetic-dentist

Professional, Personalized Cosmetic Dentistry

Why entrust your teeth and gums to a professional? It’s a matter of customization and control. No two patients, male or female, are the same. The key to designing your ideal smile is understanding the various components of your face and teeth, including your skin tone, jawline, natural tooth color, facial structure, and symmetry. Your dentist will consider these factors, as well as your personal preferences and expectations, in developing the optimal treatment plan.

Does this mean that it isn’t possible to improve your smile outside of the dentist office? Absolutely not! Take over-the-counter teeth whitening products, for example. Relatively simple to use, most OTC whitening kits are capable of removing superficial stains. Even so, they lack the ability to deliver custom, consistent results, much less the stain-removing power of professional teeth whitening.

Oral Health Concerns for Men

It doesn’t take a copy of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” to see that men and woman have very different oral health needs, and that many of these needs can be met in part by cosmetic dentistry. Consider:

  • Men are more likely to sustain damage to teeth in accidents or sports injuries. Tooth bonding and porcelain veneers restore a natural appearance to teeth that have been chipped, cracked, or made jagged by breakage.
  • Untreated acid reflux gradually erodes tooth enamel and is more common among males. Damaged tooth enamel is more likely to become stained, often so badly that OTC whitening is no longer an option. Veneers and bonding work well in this case. If stains are the only problem, your dentist may recommend the Kor whitening deep bleaching system.
  • Men who take certain medications, such as those prescribed for prostate health, hypertension, and diabetes, often experience dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth significantly increases a man’s risk for tooth decay, often resulting in cavities. Unlike metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings appear similar to your natural teeth, making them less conspicuous.

Benefits of a Healthy, Attractive Smile

Men often balk when they hear the word “cosmetic.” This isn’t about masking your appearance; it’s about enhancing it. It’s impossible to deny that the appeal of a bright, well-cared-for smile is universal. Studies confirm that men and women alike respond more favorably to people who have healthy smiles. Women are more likely to associate an attractive smile with a caring, warm personality. Men, on the other hand, associate healthy smiles with such qualities as success and professionalism.

For questions about our services, or to schedule an appointment at Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury, contact us at (508) 842-8838. We welcome patients living in North and South Grafton, Hopkinton, Worcester, and the neighboring communities. For the latest tips and updates from our Shrewsbury dentist office, follow us on Facebook.

More Research Linking Heart and Gum Disease

Oral-SystemicResearch is consistently underway regarding whether or not bacteria in your mouth (the same ones that cause gum disease and tooth decay) can travel into your body and cause other systemic health issues. One recent study at the University of Florida shows distinct data regarding the fact that the same bacteria which cause gum disease also promote heart disease. The more proof scientists can uncover regarding this matter, the closer we can get to better preventions and treatments for oral-systemic conditions.

Periodontal Disease Epidemic

The scientist reported their findings recently at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The data was reported by Irina M. Velsko, a graduate student in the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. Velsko says,”We report evidence that introduction of oral bacteria into the bloodstream in mice increased risk factors for atherosclerotic heart disease. Our hope is that the American Heart Association will acknowledge causal links between oral disease and increased heart disease. That will change how physicians diagnose and treat heart disease patients.” Heart disease is known to be the leading cause of adult fatalities in North America. Periodontal (gum) disease affects 46% of the American population.

Study on Gum Disease Germs

Many other studies over the years have made a connection between heart disease and gum disease. In fact, the American Heart Association published a statement saying (more…)

Save Toothpicks for Non-Dental Pursuits

Toothpick GuyAre you the type of person who likes to grab a toothpick after a meal to clean out your teeth? With a name like toothpicks, what else are you supposed to do with them, right? In fact, you really shouldn’t consider poking so close to your gum tissues with anything sharp. Sure, your dental hygienist uses pointy instruments to clean your teeth, but she is highly trained. Cleaning out the crevices of household items, or participating in crafts are better uses for toothpicks if you want to keep your sensitive oral tissues safe.

Toothpicks are Great for Baking

Other uses for toothpicks might include checking for completion when you bake something like a cake or brownies. When you plunge a toothpick into a baked good and it comes out caked in batter, you know that you still have a few minutes to go in the oven. However, poking a pan of brownies is one thing. Poking yourself in your gums is another thing entirely. You may say, “I’ve been using toothpicks for years, and have never had an issue.” All it takes is one unfortunate poke in the wrong spot and you can end up with major regrets. An open lesion in your gum tissue might heal with no further implications, but it can also open up a gateway for germs.

How to Safely Remove Popcorn from Your Teeth

smiling girl eating popcornWhether you’re at the movies, at home watching a movie, or simply want a light, non-filling treat, popcorn is often the snack of choice. As pleasing as it is to your palate, though, popcorn is notorious for working its way between your teeth and gums, sometimes remaining for days, weeks, or longer, until your mouth grows uncomfortable from its presence. Left untreated, popcorn remnants can threaten your teeth by causing your gums to swell, and by feeding bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and persistently bad breath.

First Thing’s First

The first thing you should do when trying to remove anything that’s stuck between your teeth is to rinse your mouth out thoroughly with warm water, preferably sprinkled lightly with salt. The water will remove all the loose food particles and debris, while the salt helps control discomfort and swelling. (more…)

Is Green Good for your Teeth?

SmoothieYour pH levels inside your body can greatly affect your overall health. Too much acid in your system can make various parts of your body inflamed. This may include your gum tissues. Gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are conditions of infection and inflammation. Striving to consume a healthy diet with the goal of achieving an acidic-alkaline balance (balanced pH level) has been shown to reduce (even erase) symptoms of many health conditions. One of the fastest and easiest ways to saturate your body with balancing nutrients are green smoothies.

Smoothies at Home

Smoothies take less time to make than sitting in line at a fast food restaurant. They are, in fact, the ultimate “fast food.” With the right ingredients, you can blend together a complete nutritious meal with all of the vitamins and minerals you need. What’s even better is that smoothies can be completely delicious. Combining your favorite foods with ice and your milk of choice (try almond, hemp, or rice for an optimal pH balancing boost) is just the start. You can get creative with seeds (chia, hemp, sunflower, flax) nuts, and even green vegetables. (more…)

What Summer Means for Your Dental Health

beautiful woman summer smilingGood dental health isn’t seasonal; your mouth, teeth, and gums are with you always, and need to be kept clean and healthy all year round. Still, it can be difficult not to automatically think of smiling when you think of summer. Even if you’ve long left school and no longer get the whole summer off, the warm, bright sun and overall feeling of relaxation can still encourage more smiles than the dreary months you’ve left behind. For better or worse, the unique conditions of summer can also have a significant impact on your dental health, from the sun itself to the methods you choose to beat the heat and stay hydrated. (more…)

How Bacteria Lead to Gum Disease

young guy with surprised lookThe human body truly is a wonderland, though not exactly in the way John Mayer may have intended. On a microbial level, the interactions between your body’s cells and those of countless other microorganisms dictate much of your physical wellbeing, and your mouth is no exception. In fact, a typical mouth contains more bacterial cells than it does human cells, and when the delicate ecological balance is disturbed, issues like inflammatory gum disease can arise and threaten your oral and overall health.

The Truth About Dental Plaque

If the fact that bacteria live in your mouth comes as a surprise, then you may be even more stunned to learn that these germs are the building blocks of the plaque that sticks to your teeth. (more…)

What’s the Point of a Dental Filling?

woman amazedWhether as a child, teen, or adult, there’s a good chance you may have received a dental filling at some point in your life. After all, the cavities that they’re meant to treat are the most common dental health issue, affecting over 90% of adults in at least one of their permanent teeth. As the name suggests, a dental filling is a manmade material, usually metal amalgam or tooth-colored composite resin, that’s molded into the cavity (hole) caused by tooth decay. By restoring the empty space, the dental filling helps reestablish the tooth’s strength while protecting its interior from further infection. (more…)