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My morning doesn’t start until I’ve had my first cup of tea. How bad is this for my teeth?
Tea and coffee are safe to drink in moderation. However, over time, large amounts can cause staining and damage. In addition to caffeine, tea and coffee contain chromogens, which are deeply pigmented molecules that adhere to dental enamel. They also contain tannins, which boost a chromogen molecule’s ability to attach to dental enamel. Black tea is worse than black coffee because coffee is lower in tannins.
How can I protect my teeth from damage?
The enamel on our teeth is hard, but as we all know, it can be chipped and cracked. In addition to following the instructions you receive from your hygienist, here are some other ways you can protect your teeth:
- Avoid chewing ice, cracking nut shells, or opening packages with your teeth.
- Avoid “hard foods” such as popcorn.
- Limit acidic soft drinks and sugary foods that stick to your teeth.
- Don’t pierce your lips or tongue, as they can fracture teeth and increase your risk of infection.
Should I update my manual toothbrush to an electric?
When used appropriately, a manual toothbrush is as effective as a powered toothbrush. For the best results, brush for two to three minutes, using short strokes at a 45-degree angle to the gums. This will ensure that you clean the entire surface of the tooth.
I’m pregnant. Is it safe for me to go to the dentist?
Yes, you should continue to see your dentist, as pregnancy can increase certain dental issues. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant and if you’ve experienced any changes in your oral health.
When should my child receive his/her first dental check-up?
Ideally, you should find a dentist for your child when their first tooth appears, or try to schedule their first appointment no later than their first birthday.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Yes. New digital X-ray machines limit the already low dose of radiation to a beam that targets only the areas that need to be filmed. Faster film speeds allow for shorter exposure times, and the use of film holders prevents slipping, reducing the need for repeated exposure. Stray radiation is almost non-existent with the use of modern dental X-ray machines, but the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protect against that possibility. Every two years, federal law requires X-ray machines to be checked for safety and accuracy.
I’ve heard that my silver-colored fillings contain mercury. Should I have them replaced?
Dental amalgam (silver) fillings contain silver, tin, copper, and liquid mercury, which are combined to form an inert (non-active) alloy. According to the FDA, CDC, the American Dental Association (ADA), and a number of other public health agencies, there is no link between this type of filling and any known health issue. Because of speculation and controversy, amalgam is the most researched and tested dental filling material on the market.