WORD OF MOUTH: Oral Health Advice

KesslerandMoradVivianSurgery2Growing up, my friends and I didn’t have tooth decay or cavities, but my kids seem to be prone to these defects. I am very health conscientious, making sure their diets have lots of fruits and vegetables, while monitoring foods that contain sugar. But their dental check-ups are less than acceptable. I need your help figuring this out! There are many reasons we are seeing a resurgence of tooth decay in children today. This may sound very contrite, but convenience of pre-packaged foods/ drinks and the public’s acceptance of preservatives in the preparation process, giving products longer shelf life, are the culprits.

As consumers, we have a responsibility to read labels. Sugar comes in many forms. There is plain sugar, molasses, Florida crystals, corn syrup, high fructose, glucose, dextrose, (evaporated) cane juice, honey – no matter the description, sugar is sugar is sugar! Fruit juices, sport drinks, energy drinks – the label says it all – sugar by any other name is still sugar! Right about now you are probably saying to yourself, “but my kids drink only bottled water.” Good, but… there are no sugary substances, but there is no fluoride either. Our drinking water (from the tap) in Miami-Dade County is fluoridated during the treatment process. The American Dental Association supports community water fluoridation as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay: “Water fluoridation is a powerful strategy to reduce disparities in tooth decay among different populations and is more cost-effective than other forms of fluoride treatments or applications.” So while drinking the ole Dade County tap water may not be convenient, it certainly protects your teeth, your children’s and the elderly population’s teeth as well.

I am addicted to sucking on lemons and limes – the fresh taste makes my teeth feel squeaky clean. Lately though, especially when I drink anything cold, my teeth are ‘uncomfortable’ and sensitive. What is causing this problem?

You are eating acid! Like a car battery that forms acid and eats away at the connections, every time you suck on a lemon or lime you are bathing your teeth and gums in acid. Oranges, grapefruit and tomatoes are acid based as well. The acid is eroding your tooth structure (enamel) and resulting in gum recession (exposing the nerve endings in your tooth).

You have two options to correct this situation. Your dentist can cover the area with filling materials or if the damage is really extensive, construct crowns. If the exposed portion of the teeth is advanced, gum grafts would be necessary. The sensitivity will not stop just because you stop eating the acidic food. The condition must be addressed in a timely manner or the damage to the teeth and gums will compound.

Dr. Kessler’s office is located in the Dadeland Medical Building, 7400 N. Kendall Drive, directly across the street from Dadeland Shopping Mall and he may be reached at 305-670-3800 or at Lkgums@aol.com.

For more information, visit <www.WeSaveSmiles.com>.

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