Posts for: June, 2015
While your teeth may look smooth, the outer surface, called the enamel, is actually very porous. It contains tiny pits, ridges and crevices. These little spaces in the enamel trap the pigments from deeply pigmented food and drinks and over time, change the color of your teeth from white or off-white to grayish or yellowish. Here, the office of Drs. Jeffrey Hosford and Carol Karofotias of Comprehensive Dental in Atlanta, GA explains the science behind staining from two popular drinks - coffee and wine - and how to keep your teeth white while enjoying them.
Raw coffee beans are actually light green in color, but when they are heated above 285°F, the melanoidins they contain turn the beans a deep brown. This roasting is also what gives coffee its complex flavor. Melanoidins are the pigments that stain your enamel.
Red wine gets its deep hue from the amount of time that the fermenting juice is exposed to the outer skin of the grape. Wine aged in wooden barrels, specifically those made of oak, will also draw in some of the wood's pigments as well. The compounds that give grapes their color are called tannins, which contains molecules that are naturally inclined to bind to surfaces on which they make contact. When that surface is your teeth, they eventually become discolored.
What can be done?
Compounding the problem is the fact that both coffee and wine contain acids, which actually "etch" the enamel and add to the uneven microscopic landscape the teeth naturally have. The most effective solution, therefore, is to avoid these drinks altogether. However, this can be a daunting task for those who need coffee to get their morning started or enjoy wine tasting as a hobby. In this case, your Atlanta cosmetic dentists suggest chewing a piece of sugarless gum after imbibing. This process stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the acid buildup from the beverages. Dr Hosford and Dr. Karofotias can also apply whitening treatments in their Atlanta dental office for noticeable stains.
Regular use of whitening toothpastes and keeping up with your bi-annual visits to Comprehensive Dental in Atlanta will help you retain a bright smile while enjoying your favorite beverages.
Exchanging passionate kisses with big-screen star Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a dream come true. But according to Liam Hemsworth, her Hunger Games co-star, it could also be a nightmare… because J.Law’s breath wasn’t always fresh. “Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth said on The Tonight Show.
Lawrence said the problem resulted from her inadvertently consuming tuna or garlic before the lip-locking scenes; fortunately, the two stars were able to share a laugh about it later. But for many people, bad breath is no joke. It can lead to embarrassment and social difficulties — and it occasionally signifies a more serious problem. So what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?
In 9 out of 10 cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. (In rare situations, it results from a medical issue in another part of the body, such as liver disease or a lung infection.) The foul odors associated with bad breath can be temporarily masked with mouthwash or breath mints — but in order to really control it, we need to find out exactly what’s causing the problem, and address its source.
As Lawrence and Hemsworth found out, some foods and beverages can indeed cause a malodorous mouth. Onions, garlic, alcohol and coffee are deservedly blamed for this. Tobacco products are also big contributors to bad breath — which is one more reason to quit. But fasting isn’t the answer either: stop eating for long enough and another set of foul-smelling substances will be released. Your best bet is to stay well hydrated and snack on crisp, fresh foods like celery, apples or parsley.
And speaking of hydration (or the lack of it): Mouth dryness and reduced salivary flow during the nighttime hours is what causes “morning breath.” Certain health issues and some medications can also cause “dry mouth,” or xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water can encourage the production of healthy saliva — but if that’s not enough, tell us about it: We may recommend switching medications (if possible), chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.
Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a great way to avoid bad breath. The goal of oral hygiene is to control the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath — so keeping them in check is good for your overall oral health. Remember to brush twice and floss once daily, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and visit the dental office regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
So did J.Law apologize for the malodorous makeout session? Not exactly. “[For] Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, yeah, I’ll brush my teeth,” she laughed.
Hemsworth jokingly agreed: “If I was kissing Christian Bale I probably would have brushed my teeth too. With you, it’s like, ‘Eh. Whatever.’”
If you would like more information about bad breath and oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than Just Embarrassing.”
If your tooth sustains damage that compromises its structure — typically through decay or trauma — you have several options depending on the extent of the damage: One of them is a crown. This method saves the tooth and its root and completely conceals the visible portion of the tooth, or crown, under a natural-looking cap made to mimic as closely as possible the size, shape and color of the original tooth.
Crowns also hide imperfections in the original tooth like discoloration, chipping, fractures, excessive wear (from bruxism, or tooth grinding, for example), or abnormalities in the way the tooth formed. And they’re used following root canal treatments, which treat infected pulp at the center (canal) of a tooth root by removing the pulp and replacing it with an inert, rubber-like material.
Saving the natural tooth has long been the goal of dentistry because normal micromovements of the tooth root, which is suspended in its jawbone socket by elastic ligaments, stimulate the surrounding bone to rejuvenate. Without that stimulation, the bone continues to lose old cells, but no longer replaces them. Crowns are also designed to restore tooth function.
The function and location of the damaged tooth can determine what material the crown will be made of. If the damaged tooth is clearly visible when you smile, porcelain, the most realistic-looking material, is almost always used. If the tooth receives significant bite force, a stronger material is considered — either, a gold/porcelain combination, or a high-strength ceramic. If you are restoring a second molar, an all-gold crown may be considered.
With the advent of dental implants, saving a damaged tooth is no longer the only option for preserving the health of the bone surrounding the tooth root. The implant — a tiny biocompatible, titanium screw-like artificial root — is placed in the jawbone and is then capped with a natural-looking crown of course!
If you would like more information about dental crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”