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Benefits of Sugar-Free Gum

You’ve probably heard it many times before–candy is bad for your teeth. Well, that’s almost always true. But there is one sweet treat that gets our seal of approval, and that’s sugar-free gum! Read on to learn the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum.

1. Stimulates Saliva Production

Chewing sugarless gum encourages your mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva is a natural wash for your mouth, and it is packed with minerals that strengthen enamel and enzymes that fight cavity-causing bacteria. Another plus, chewing sugar-free gum can help those dealing with dry mouth.

2. Protects Enamel

Sugar-free gum has a hand in keeping your mouth clean, both by stimulating saliva and by removing plaque and food particles from your teeth. As you chew, the gum can detach some of the bad bacteria and debris that cling to your teeth. If left alone, that bad stuff would otherwise damage your precious enamel, causing issues like tooth sensitivity, decay, and bad breath.

3. Freshens Breath

Gum often has powerful flavors and scents, from spearmint and cinnamon to watermelon and berry, that give your mouth a boost of delicious fragrance. But instead of simply masking the foul odor like a breath mint, chewing sugarless gum (particularly kinds that contain xylitol) can actually help eradicate the lingering food particles and bacteria that are known to be sources of bad breath.

4. Curbs Candy Cravings

Last but certainly not least, we like chewing sugar-free gum because it keeps you from constantly indulging in sugary delights, such as candy. Candy is packed with sugar, and sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth. In turn, well-fed bacteria accumulate and produce acids that destory enamel and irritate gums. Whenever possible, limit your consumption of candy and reach for a piece of sugarless gum instead.

Comprehensive Care in Tucson, AZ

Though chewing sugar-free gum is a great supplement to your oral hygiene, it is no substitue for daily at-home oral care and routine dental checkups and cleanings. Contact us with any questions about chewing gum or to book your next appointment at Stratman Family Dentistry.

Foods & Drinks That Trigger Sensitive Teeth

Blonde woman wearing a blue shirt cringes in pain and touches her cheek due to sensitive teeth

If you’ve ever cringed after biting into a popsicle or eating a spoonful of ice cream, you know the discomfort of tooth sensitivity. Certain foods and drinks can set it off, making for a painful mealtime experience. Read on to learn about what can trigger teeth sensitivity and how to reduce it.

Foods & Drinks That Trigger Sensitive Teeth

Some of your favorite foods and beverages may be on the list of things that cause teeth sensitivity. These include extremely hot coffee, tea, and soup, in addition to extremely cold ice cream, popsicles, and iced beverages. You’ll notice when you consume these that they can worsen your dental pain. Other foods on this list can include hard or sticky candy, which can make chewing painful and difficult, and highly acidic citrus fruits and soda that can erode enamel.

How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

There are a few things you can do to reduce your discomfort. In addition to limiting your consumption of the foods and drinks listed above, gently brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an anti-sensitivity toothpaste that contains fluoride. This will help to strengthen your teeth and to reduce tooth pain when you eat. Also, drink plenty of fluoridated tap water throughout the day, and chew only sugar-free gum. Keep in mind that chronic tooth grinding and clenching (or bruxism) can also worsen tooth sensitivity. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, consider getting a nightguard to protect your teeth from damage.

Consult with Our Expert Team!


Contact Stratman Family Dentistry in Tucson, AZ if you’re having chronic tooth sensitivity or pain. We want to help reduce your pain and make eating enjoyable again! We can assess if it’s from enamel erosion, advanced tooth decay, an infection, bruxism, or another cause. We can suggest additional ways to protect your teeth from sensitivity and damage, and provide you with a custom-fitted nightguard if you grind your teeth. Let us know if you have any questions.

What Causes Enamel to Deteriorate?

Most dental issues can be traced back to one thing: the deterioration of enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth. We’ll take a look at what causes your enamel to weaken, and how you can help protect your smile!

 

Common Causes of Enamel Damage

1. Diet

Sugar is harmful for your teeth because bacteria and plaque feed upon your dietary sugar and produce acidic byproducts that destroy enamel. Acid in foods and beverages can also slowly strip away the minerals in your enamel. This means that a diet heavy in sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and acids (like from citrus fruits, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks) can increase your risk of tooth decay. A balanced diet rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals can help strengthen and protect your enamel.

2. Injury & Friction

If you grind your teeth at night or if you have chipped or broken a tooth, you’ve damaged your enamel, which means that it’s easier for bacteria to access the more vulnerable inner layers of your teeth.

3. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition where you do not produce enough saliva to properly coat the surface of your teeth. A healthy amount of saliva wicks away bacteria from your teeth, rinses away leftover food particles, and aids in remineralization. Without enough saliva, you have an increased risk of developing more plaque and bacteria, which means you are more likely to suffer from tooth decay.

4. Genetics

Your DNA or certain genetic disorders can make you more prone to thin enamel that is easily weakened and damaged.

5. Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition where acid and bile regularly flows up from your stomach into your esophagus, creating an uncomfortable burning sensation. Sometimes, this acid can reach your teeth and cause your enamel to gradually deteriorate.

How to Prevent Enamel Deterioration

Daily At-Home Preventive Oral Care

The best way to protect your enamel is to maintain proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, brush your tongue every day, and floss between your teeth and under your gumline to keep your teeth and gums clean and free of plaque. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is another very important way to keep plaque and tartar at bay.

Routine Dental Visits

In conjunction with your at-home preventive oral care, twice yearly dental visits will ensure that your mouth is healthy, strong, and cavity-free. So make sure that you schedule your next visit soon! Here at Stratman Family Dentistry, it’s our top priority to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Tips for Treating Denture Discomfort

Dentures can give you a totally new lease on life—they help you eat, talk, smile, and keep your jaws strong. Even though we’ve come a long way in how dentures look and feel, it is common to have some discomfort as you adjust to wearing them. Here are a few tips for dealing with denture discomfort.

1. Dental Pain Relieving Creams & Gels

If your gums are sore, applying a topical dental cream or gel can help alleviate any pain you’re experiencing.

2. Aloe Vera Leaf

The aloe vera plant is known for helping with burns, itchiness, and pain. Applying the juices of the actual leaf (not the skin care product) to your gums twice a day may bring you just as much relief as a topical cream or gel.

3. Salt & Water

Doing a 15-30 second salt water rinse without your dentures can help reduce inflammation that you may have after wearing your dentures. It also helps clean your mouth out.

4. Adhesives

You can try an adhesive to help your dentures stay in place comfortably and relieve pressure on your gums. You can also look into denture liners.

5. Gum Massage

Regular massage will help increase the blood circulation in your gums and reduce any swelling. Not to mention, it feels pretty good!

6. Medication

Your dentist may prescribe you some pain medication to help you adjust to your dentures faster, but you can also use an over-the-counter medication depending on the severity of the pain.

7. Taking Breaks

Give your mouth a break by removing your dentures every once in a while, especially overnight when they need to be cleaned and soaked.

Denture Adjustments

Getting dentures is a wonderful option for those missing their natural teeth, and can dramatically improve your quality of life. At Stratman Family Dentistry, we want to make sure that your dentures are comfortable and functional for you. We don’t charge for denture adjustments for the first year that you have your dentures and we include soft relines with our fees. If you have any questions about adjusting to your new dentures, contact our expert team today!

What Is Bruxism?

Do you ever wake up with a sore jaw and a headache? Do you find yourself clenching your jaw when you’re stressed? Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, is a common issue that can cause oral health issues, and even lead to tooth loss. In this post, we go over warning signs of bruxism, as well as treatment and prevention tips so you can get your oral and overall health back on track.

Warning Signs of Bruxism

  • Sore jaw & temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Morning headaches
  • During the night, you wake your partner with grinding noises
  • Damaged enamel & an increase in tooth decay
  • Cracked, discolored or chipped teeth

Alleviating Bruxism

Depending on the state of your teeth, you may benefit from wearing a custom-fitted nightguard when you sleep to protect your teeth from further damage. This nightguard will not only prevent your teeth from grinding against each other, but it will also help your chewing muscles to remain relaxed. If your teeth have already suffered extensive damage and have cracks, breaks, chips, discoloration, and/or sensitivity, we can help you decide whether a restorative treatment (such as veneers, bridges, crowns, dental implants, or dentures) is a good fit for your unique needs. All of these treatments are quite different from one another, but we will work with you to figure out if one is right for you.

Preventing Bruxism

The main cause of bruxism is stress and anxiety. Stress can wreak havoc on your entire body, so it’s important to identify the cause of your stress and implement healthy ways to eliminate, or at least cope with, the source. Many patients find that exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, spending time with loved ones, enjoying nature, getting a therapy animal, and meditating are all great ways to combat stress!

Consult with Our Expert Team

Don’t let bruxism prevent you from enjoying a healthy, beautiful smile. Whether you’ve just started grinding your teeth or need help restoring your smile after long-term damage, our team at Stratman Family Dentistry is here to help you! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Dental Crown?

When the team at Stratman Family Dentistry recommends a dental crown, you’re bound to have questions. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn why you’d need a dental crown and how our advanced dental technology can give you a dental crown in just one visit.

Reasons for a Dental Crown

There are several reasons why Dr. Stratman may recommend that you get a dental crown:

  • Extensive decay or when your tooth has a very large cavity that requires a filling that will compromise the strength of the natural tooth
  • After root canal therapy
  • Cosmetic reasons, including discoloration and damage like a chip or uneven wear

How Long Does It Take to Get a Dental Crown?

When Dr. Stratman advises his patients to get a dental crown, this is one of the first questions they ask – how long will it take? Although for years crowns were a complicated, multi-step, and multi-visit procedure that was inconvenient and disruptive, this is no longer the case with the advent of CEREC one-visit crowns.

What Is CEREC?

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic. This advanced dental technology uses computer software, special cameras, and an in-office milling machine. With the use of CEREC, we can eliminate the middleman in many cases and create your custom crown in our office for same-day service. CEREC is also pivotal in other dental procedures, including bridges, inlays, and overlays.

A New Crown Over Lunch!

Before CEREC, a crown would take at least two visits – one to X-ray, numb, take an impression of the tooth, send the information off to an off-site milling lab to create the crown, fit a temporary crown, then a second appointment to cement the permanent crown. With CEREC, we will get the images needed to design the restoration, create your custom crown, and cement it to the tooth, all in one visit to our Tucson dental office! Generally we advise our patients to set aside two hours for this procedure – so, essentially an extended lunch break.

Contact Our Team with Additional Questions!

Are you still wondering if a CEREC crown is right for you? We’re happy to answer all of your questions and explain to you why we recommend CEREC crowns for so many of our patients. Contact us today.

Is It Ever Too Late to Visit the Dentist?

red clock

Occasionally, our team will get a call from a patient suffering from a dental malady. They want to know about treatment options, but they also often ask us: “Is it too late?” In a word, no! You haven’t missed your chance for superb oral health. Read on for information about our preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental services for patients from all walks of life.

It’s Never Too Late for Preventive Care

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to begin receiving preventive dental care and to start an at-home oral hygiene routine. Our team regularly performs preventive care by providing professional cleanings, examining your oral health, and taking dental X-rays to build a complete picture of the health of your mouth. You can begin a superb oral hygiene routine at home that involves brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and flossing every day. Our team at Stratman Family Dentistry also regularly performs procedures like filling cavities, applying fluoride treatments, and extracting infected or severely damaged teeth to prevent further problems.

It’s Never Too Late for Restorative Procedures

Whether you’re missing a tooth, living with cracked or chipped teeth, or dealing with painful gum disease, it’s never too late to begin treatment and work toward restoring the health of your smile. Our office offers a variety of restorative treatments such as dental implants, root canal therapy, porcelain crowns, and wisdom teeth removal.

It’s Never Too Late for Your Dream Smile

If you’ve let your dental care sit on the backburner for a while, chances are you have dreams of having a whiter, straighter smile. It’s never too late for a consultation with our team where you can learn about our professional teeth whitening, dental crowns, veneers, or orthodontic services.

Schedule Your Visit Today!

Generally speaking, early diagnoses makes treatment easier and may even reverse some of the effects of many dental conditions. However, it’s never too early or too late to begin treatment and take steps to restore the look and function of your smile. To ask our friendly team any questions or to schedule a visit to our office, contact us today.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Although we don’t all have them, many people will have four additional teeth, called “third molars” or “wisdom teeth”, that come in at the back of the mouth between the ages of 17 and 25. Read on to learn more about these odd teeth.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Although scientists and anthropologists have not found exact evidence for the reason we have wisdom teeth, the generally accepted reason is that pre-modern humans required third molars to handle chewing the nuts, roots, leaves, and meat that formed our ancestors’ diet. Our early ancestors had larger mouths and thus more space for these four extra teeth. But as the human diet changed, our jaws evolved. Now, we no longer need these extra teeth and usually don’t have the space for them.

How Many Wisdom Teeth Do I Have?

Some people have two, three, or four wisdom teeth, while others only have one or don’t have any at all! And in rare cases, a patient may even have more than four wisdom teeth; these surplus teeth are then referred to as supernumerary teeth.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

With an oral examination and X-rays of the mouth, our expert dentists can determine whether the position of your third molars may cause future problems. If so, we will recommend their removal; but keep in mind that our recommendations are always in the best interest of your oral health!

1. Not Enough Space

Since wisdom teeth come in generally between the ages of 17 and 25, many people have already been through orthodontia by the time their third molars make an appearance on the scene. Oftentimes, the arrival of wisdom teeth will alter the landscape of your mouth, causing crowding. Sometimes the problems wisdom teeth will cause are visible before they have even come in, whether the angle is wrong or there simply isn’t enough space in the back of the mouth for more teeth.

2. Impacted

When wisdom teeth do not erupt normally, they become stuck under the gums, or impacted. While these might not cause an immediately noticeable problem, ultimately they can damage the surrounding teeth or become infected. An infection of an impacted wisdom tooth is painful and dangerous, and can even cause bone loss. Impacted wisdom teeth may also cause cysts that can damage the base of nearby teeth and compromise the strength of the bone that supports your teeth.

3. Hard to Clean

Seeing as wisdom teeth are located all the way at the back of the mouth, they can be exceptionally hard to keep clean. They can also make it difficult to floss the surrounding molars. If these hard-to-reach areas aren’t kept clean, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases!

What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Removal

At Stratman Family Dentistry, our caring team knows that wisdom teeth removal can be an unnerving thing to have to go through, but we do everything in our power to make sure that the procedure is as comfortable and painless as possible. To help you have a speedy recovery, we’ll send you home with a list of aftercare instructions and will happily answer all your questions.

To learn more about wisdom teeth, contact our Tucson dental office today!

Bad Holiday Treats for Your Oral Health

The holiday season is filled with many tempting sugary treats. You can enjoy plenty of holiday treats and still be good to your teeth, but read on to learn about a few treats that are best eaten only in moderation.

snowballs with a red scarf

1. Fried Chicken

Amazingly enough, fried chicken is the most popular Christmas dish in Japan, where turkeys are a rare bird. The world-famous KFC chain, founded by the legendary Colonel Sanders with his “secret blend of 11 herbs and spices”, reportedly takes Christmas orders up to two months in advance from its Japanese customers. However, regular consumption of fried chicken can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. And if the batter contains sugar and white flour, these feed the bad bacteria in your mouth, which create dental plaque. And plaque accumulation leads to tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum inflammation.

Alternative

We recommend eating chicken that has not been fried. Instead, pair a poached, grilled, sauteed, or baked chicken with spices, fresh herbs, vegetables, and whole grains for a tooth-friendly meal. In terms of oral health, chicken cooked without added sugar and carbohydrates is great. In fact, its abundance of protein can help strengthen teeth and bones. The only problem is that its meaty strands sometimes can get stuck between your teeth. So long as you remember to floss, and even chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating, chicken is a tasty addition to your holiday table.

2. Fruitcake

Fruitcake is the frequent subject of holiday jokes because supposedly nobody likes them, but the Collin Street Bakery of Corsicana, Texas begs to differ! They sell 1.5 million fruitcakes each year, almost all of them by mail-order. The White House, world leaders, and famous celebrities are among the buyers. This fruitcake contains pecans, pineapple, papaya, red cherries, golden raisins, and honey. The problem with fruitcake is that while fruit contains vitamins that are healthy for your gums, dried fruit is sticky and has a high concentration of sugar. When sticky dried fruit lingers on your teeth, your saliva can’t reach that portion of your tooth to remineralize it, increasing its susceptibility to decay. Moreover, bacteria feast upon the residual sugar, creating damaging acids that dissolve the protective coating of your teeth, called the enamel.

Alternative

Skip the fruitcake, and pick up a holiday nut mix! In general, nuts are packed with fiber, folate, calcium, and other tooth-strengthening vitamins. Pair with fresh fruit and freshly sliced cheese for a refreshing platter of finger-foods that will promote healthy teeth.

3. Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is an old holiday classic. While the pumpkin is rich in gum-strengthening vitamin A, watch out for recipes that contain loads of added sugar in the filling and whipped topping!

Alternative

You don’t have to completely give up your favorite pie when it comes to holiday eats. Just make sure you use a low-sugar recipe or a sugar substitute for the filling and whipped topping. Or, try a sweet potato pie, which tastes a lot like pumpkin pie, but contains even more vitamin A.

Happy Holidays!

All of us here at Stratman Family Dentistry wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you have any particular issue with your oral health, or if you just need to schedule your regular checkup, give us a call today and we will be happy to set it up for you.

What to Do If Your Filling Falls Out

The lifespan of a dental filling depends on various factors, including which type of material is used, the placement of the filling, your eating habits, and your overall dental hygiene. Keeping up with your biannual dental checkups often allows our expert team to detect a problematic filling before it becomes an emergency, but sometimes dental emergencies happen no matter how well you maintain your oral care. Having a filling fall out can be scary, but there’s really no reason to panic, especially if you know what to do in advance. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you be prepared and panic-free if your dental filling falls out:

1. Gently Remove It From Your Mouth

If your filling comes out, chances are you’ll notice it immediately while it’s still loose in your mouth; if so, carefully remove it. Accidentally swallowing a filling is rarely harmful, because it should pass without incident. However, if you inhale it (the technical term is “aspiration”), you might require medical intervention to retrieve it from the lungs with a tool called a bronchoscope (a fiber-optic cable that’s stuck down the windpipe).

2. Keep the Area Clean

When a filling falls out, there obviously will be a hole in your tooth where the filling had been. To prevent food particles from collecting in the newly exposed area, it’s important to keep it as clean as possible by rinsing the area with warm water and gently brushing if it’s not too sensitive. Moreover, adding salt to the warm water can help protect the area from infection.

3. Cover If Sensitive

The exposed area will likely be sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids, and also to air. If it is sensitive, covering it with an over-the-counter (OTC) dental wax will help protect the area and reduce your pain. Even sugar-free gum can help temporarily cover the area. There are also OTC gels and oils containing numbing medicines like benzocaine or clove oil, which are effective but provide only very short-term relief. OTC analgesics like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also help control minor pain.

4. Call Us for Emergency Dental Care

Of course, all of the above tips are just temporary measures until you can get in to see Dr. Stratman. Both our Oracle Road and Wilmot Road locations offer same-day emergency dental care! So if you have a filling fall out, call us immediately.

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