Habits That Can Cause Tooth Damage

Are there bad habits I should avoid to prevent teeth damage?

tooth damage by chewing on a pencil tooth damage Habits That Can Cause Tooth Damage tooth damage by chewing on a pencilChewing on Things

Many people have a habit of chewing on things, especially when they are focused on a task or stressed. Common victims of nervous chewing habits are pens and pencils.

Will chewing on pencils damage my teeth?

Chewing on pencils, pens or other hard items can chip or crack your teeth.

Is chewing gum good for my teeth?

Chewing sugary gum can be very bad for your teeth, bathing them in sugar that bacteria feeds on; it increases your risk of developing plaque and tooth decay. However, many studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum triggers the production of saliva to prevent tooth damage as a result of cavities.

Is chewing on ice okay for my teeth?

Ice is natural and contains no sugar, but, like other hard objects, chewing on it can chip or crack your teeth. It can also irritate the soft tissue inside your teeth, leading to increased sensitivity and pain that can be sharp and quick or a lingering toothache.

If you have a habit of chewing on things, ice included, prevent tooth damage by switching to sugarless gum.

How bad is biting my nails?

Biting your nails is not only hard on your teeth and cause tooth damage, it also increases the risk of infection.

How can I stop grinding my teeth?

Teeth grinding is usually a result of stress and sleeping habits. While you can work at training yourself to stop grinding your teeth during the day, you cannot control grinding your teeth while you sleep; wear a mouth guard to prevent tooth damage at night. Stress management techniques can help both day- and night-time bruxism, a big word for teeth grinding.

Opening Things with Your Teeth

Do you ever open plastic packaging or bottles with your teeth? It may be convenient, but the damage you could do will not be. If you want to limit your chances of cracking or chipping a tooth, use your teeth only for eating. Use scissors or a bottle opener to prevent tooth damage from using your teeth as tools.


Which type of candy is worst for my teeth?

While no candy is good for teeth, which is worst is a good question. Gummy candies not only promote tooth decay by bathing your teeth in sugar, they can also remain stuck to your teeth for hours, trapping sugar and the resulting acids where they can keep damaging your tooth enamel.

How do potato chips damage teeth?

Bacteria does not just eat and break down simple sugars to acid, it also likes starchy foods. When starchy foods are stuck to your teeth, the resulting acid is there to damage your teeth longer. Starch is bad enough, but paired with how easily foods like potato chips get stuck in your teeth, they are one of the worst snack choices for your teeth. To minimize potential damage, brush and floss after eating snacks like potato chips.

If chewing gum can help prevent tooth damage, can snacking be good for my teeth?

While chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals may reduce your chance of tooth decay, snacking does not work the same. Snacking does not produce as much saliva as eating an entire meal, which can leave food stuck in your teeth producing acid for hours. Avoid snacking too often, and choose snacks that are low in sugar and starch.

What if I have already suffered noticeable tooth damage?

See your dentist as soon as possible! If you do not have one, get one! In the Watertown, Belmont, Cambridge and Newton, Massachusetts area, you can trust Watertown Dentistry to repair and preserve your beautiful smile.

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What is a Root Canal?

During the month of November, Watertown Dentistry is offering free consultations for root canals.

Serving the residents and workers in Brighton, Cambridge, Waltham, Watertown, & Belmont, MA

Root canal therapy, or endodontics, is used to treat an infection inside a tooth. A root canal is the removal of the infected nerve and pulp of the tooth. After the infected nerve and pulp are removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected, then filled with a rubber-like material. The filler material returns structural integrity to the tooth, as well as sealing it to prevent further problems.

root canal Waltham Belmont Cambridge MA root canal What is a Root Canal? root canal Waltham Belmont Cambridge MAWhat is dental pulp?

The soft area inside a tooth is called pulp. It contains blood vessels and connective tissue that nourish the tooth. When bacteria finds its way into the tooth pulp, there is no way for your body’s natural germ-fighting defenses to effectively reach it and fight the infection. The nerve will degenerate and leave space for the bacteria to thrive. If the infection is left untreated, pus will accumulate at the root of the tooth and cause an abscess, which can be very painful.

Will removal of my tooth’s nerve cause problems eating or speaking?

After a tooth has erupted through the gums, the nerve serves no vital function. It merely allows the tooth to “feel” heat and cold.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

You may need one if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain from pressure like chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures after the heat or cold has been removed
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums

It is important to remember that a tooth infection may cause no significant symptoms until it is quite severe, so if you have reason to suspect you have an infected tooth, be sure to share your concern with your dentist at your next scheduled appointment. If you do not have an appointment scheduled in the near future, call and make one.

Should I have a root canal or ask my dentist to pull my tooth so I don’t have to deal with the problem any more?

Once your tooth is gone, it is gone. A gap between your teeth can cause unnecessary strain and wear on your remaining teeth. You may not be able to eat all of your favorite foods if you have a gap left by a pulled tooth. A root canal can preserve your existing tooth, allowing it to function the way it did before it became infected. The filling material and a filling, or crown if necessary, will allow you to continue eating the foods you love while helping you avoid further intervention to deal with problems that may develop with teeth surrounding a gap. A root canal will relieve any pain you are suffering, from your infected tooth, so you can chew normally again. It will also keep swelling and infections from spreading to your gums or through your cheek to your skin, and eliminate the threat of bone loss at the tip of the root. All this, and it preserves your smile!

Do root canals hurt?

Despite what you have heard, modern root canals can be at least relatively comfortable during the process and recovery. Most patients say the discomfort of having a root canal is similar to that of having a tooth filled. Compared to the pain you may experience before you take the step of having a root canal, and the pain you will experience if you do not get your tooth treated, the pain of the procedure is small.

Depending on the amount of damage to your tooth, the root canal treatment can be accomplished in only one or two visits.

Who can I trust for a root canal in Massachusetts?

If you are in the Watertown, Belmont, Cambridge, Waltham or Newton, MA area, you can trust Watertown Dentistry for all dental needs, including endodontic care, that big word for root canal. If you are experiencing pain or persistent sensitivity, call us today for a root canal consultation.

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Can my child’s teeth be damaged playing sports?

What type of tooth damage can occur when a child plays sports?

teeth be damaged playing sports teeth be damaged playing sports Can my child's teeth be damaged playing sports? teeth be damaged playing sportsSports and various recreational activities can increase your child’s risk of tooth damage as a result of falls, collisions, and contact from sports equipment, or with other hard surfaces. It is possible for teeth to suffer various types of visible damage; they may be knocked out, chipped, fractured or displaced.

Following a hard bump that may leave no immediate visible damage, you may later notice your child’s tooth turn gray. In a baby tooth, this can occur as a result of blood from ruptured blood vessels showing through translucent tooth enamel. The discoloration may slowly clear up by itself as the blood dissolves. If the tooth does not clear up and your dentist confirms that it is only a cosmetic issue, the tooth will probably be left to fall out normally. If a permanent tooth becomes discolored following an injury, it is more likely to mean that the nerve is damaged and has started the degeneration process. When this occurs, the best option is usually a root canal.

It is always important that your child sees your dentist whenever you suspect dental injury, including when you notice any discoloration, to prevent further harm from the initial tooth damage.

What should I do if my child’s tooth is knocked out?

If your child suffers an injury in which a permanent tooth is knocked out, it is important to do all you can to maintain the integrity of the tooth for the best chance of replanting. Find the tooth and rinse it gently in water only. If possible, place the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place with gauze or a clean washcloth. If the tooth cannot be put back in, submerge it in salty water. If that is not available, use saliva or water. Get your child and the tooth to your dentist immediately. The sooner you get them to the dentist the more likely the tooth can be saved.

If your child has a baby tooth knocked out, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Unlike a permanent tooth, a baby tooth should not be replanted. Replanting a knocked out baby tooth could damage your child’s developing permanent tooth.

Can I limit the risk of tooth damage if my child plays sports?

Children who play team sports should wear a protective mouth guard on the field for practice and games. If your child plays football, hockey, or lacrosse, it is likely that mouth guards are required. Mouth guards are very important for children who play baseball or softball. Mouth guards should also be used by children who participate in soccer, volleyball, wrestling, and martial arts. You may also want to consider a mouth guard if your child participates in gymnastics. Leisure activities such as bicycling, skateboarding, and inline or roller skating also pose a significant risk for tooth damage. You may consider requiring your child to wear a mouth guard for these activities as well.

How do I choose the best mouth guard for my child?

There are three basic types of mouth guard to limit the risk of sports-related tooth damage:

Over-the-counter stock mouth guards are considered the least effective option to limit the risk of teeth damage because they are bulky, ill-fitting, and can make breathing and talking difficult. However, they may be suggested if your child is young and in a phase of rapid baby-tooth loss and permanent-tooth growth.

So-called boil and bite mouth guards are made from thermoplastic material that, after being softened in boiling water, can be shaped around your teeth using pressure from your teeth and tongue.

Your dentist can provide the most effective option for most children. Custom-fitted soft plastic mouth guards provide the best protection for teeth, lips, cheeks and gums. You may even be able to protect your child from teeth damage with your team color!

Is Watertown Dentistry my best choice for dental care?

If you are in the Watertown, Cambridge, Belmont, or Newton, Massachusetts areas, Watertown Dentistry will provide you with the best professional pediatric dental services. We can treat any type of tooth damage and look forward to the opportunity to keep your whole family’s smiles looking beautiful!

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Dental Sealants for Children

Will Dental Sealants Benefit My Child?

How do dental sealants protect my child’s teeth?

In a previous post, we discussed fluoride and its benefits to children’s dental health. Using fluoride in conjunction with dental sealants as your child grows, provides even better protection. Your dentist or hygienist can cover your child’s rear molars with a clear sealant coat to protect them from decay. This is usually done around age six for permanent teeth, or earlier for baby teeth. If your baby’s teeth appear vulnerable to decay, your baby’s dentist may apply sealants to keep the teeth from being lost too early.

The American Dental Association (ADA) supports the use of dental sealants because regular tooth brushing does not effectively remove plaque from the deepest grooves in molars. Sealants significantly limit the development of tooth decay.

But are dental sealants safe?

Dental sealants Newton Belmont Waltham MA dental sealants Dental Sealants for Children Dental sealants Newton Belmont Waltham MAThere has been some controversy surrounding sealants, over concerns related to the possibility of Bisphenol A (BPA). According to the ADA, BPA is not a formula ingredient in dental sealants. It can, however, be present in dental sealants as a trace ingredient, as a result of how they are produced and processed, or due to degradation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found that the possible exposure to BPA as a result of the use of dental sealants is negligible. The ADA, HHS and FDA all consider sealants safe and very effective.

If you do not protect your child’s baby teeth, they will be left open to the effects of harmful bacteria. If not properly dealt with, the growth of bacteria is likely to lead to decay and fillings, which could eventually lead to a crown or a root canal. Dental sealants prevent the whole potentially painful and costly process from the start. Your dentist can address any concerns you may have regarding the safety of sealants.

Is there anything else I should know about the use of dental sealants to protect my child from tooth decay?

It is important to remember that sealants do not replace the need for a proper dental care routine. Your child must continue regular visits to his dentist for preventive dental care, and brush and floss daily. You can read more about proper flossing in a previous post. Dental sealants should be checked regularly and, if necessary, can be replaced at any time. They typically last five to ten years.

How are sealants applied to the teeth?

The application of sealants is easy and painless for your child. Visit our Pediatric Dentist page to learn more about how we apply dental sealants to a child’s teeth.

Are dental sealants covered by dental insurance?

Because they are so effective in preventing tooth decay that would otherwise result in more extensive and expensive treatment, many insurance companies cover the application of dental sealants. Check your plan or contact your dental insurance carrier to be sure your plan covers dental sealants. Your dentist’s staff may be able to help you with this.

Why is Watertown Dentistry my best choice for a baby’s dentist and for the care of my child’s teeth throughout childhood?

Watertown Dentistry is experienced in pediatric dental care. We provide a full range of services to keep your entire family’s teeth healthy and beautiful. We take pride in protecting your child’s dental health and look forward to caring for all of their dental needs!

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Baby Tooth Decay

Brushing and Flossing to Prevent Baby Tooth Decay

Baby Tooth Decay Newton Waltham MA baby tooth decay Baby Tooth Decay baby dentist newton watertown cambridge belmont maIn a previous baby dentist blog post, we have talked about the importance of beginning your child’s preventive dental care before you can see the teeth. Wiping your newborns mouth with a soft cloth and brushing and flossing as soon as there are teeth are all important to limit the growth of harmful bacteria, limit any baby tooth decay and to get your child used to proper oral care. Your child’s baby tooth enamel is 50% thinner than yours, so proper dental care is important to avoid baby teeth decay. Today we will take a closer look at how to properly care for your child’s teeth and help them learn to take care of their own teeth.

How should I begin brushing my baby’s teeth?

When your baby graduates to a toothbrush, be sure to use a finger brush or a toothbrush designed specifically for babies. Baby toothbrushes are safe for use for thin enamel, have a small head to fit in the baby’s mouth and large handles to allow for a good grip. Dr. Ray Hanna and our st can give you advice on the best choice for your baby. If your baby resists opening their mouth, gently pull down on their chin. Special attention should be given to the area where the teeth meet the gums. Be sure to keep watch for signs of baby tooth decay – spots that are white or brown.

What about flossing to avoid baby teeth decay?

Take about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap each end around your middle fingers. Gently slide the floss between teeth using a saw-like motion. At the gum line, gently pull each end of the floss to form a “C” around one tooth. Carefully pull the floss up and down against the tooth to remove the plaque and repeat the process on adjacent teeth.  Do not forget the far side of each last tooth in the back! If you are uncertain, your baby’s dentist can show you how to effectively floss your baby’s teeth.

Is baby tooth decay really a big deal since baby teeth will fall out anyway?

Yes! Untreated cavities will become painful. Decayed teeth can interfere with proper nutrition. Baby teeth that fall out too early can cause crooked adult teeth because the missing baby teeth could not properly hold the places for their replacements. If children are not taught proper preventive dental care, it will be very difficult for them to establish a healthy routine for their adult teeth.

How can I get my toddler to brush his own teeth?

Make brushing fun! Your baby’s dentist can offer many great ideas, but here are some to start:

  • Play dentist. Allow your child to care for the teeth of a favorite toy before caring for their own.
  • Make it a team effort!  Brush your teeth alongside your child or let your child brush your teeth.
  • Use a timer. Let them know how long is appropriate to brush and make it a fun challenge.
  • Reward them! Stickers that can be prominently displayed are one inexpensive motivator.

Here at Watertown Dentistry, our staff members know the importance of protecting your child against baby tooth decay. Our goal is to keep our patient’s smile healthy and beautiful for a lifetime.

Call us for more information (617) 600-3442


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