Thursday, March 27, 2014

Does Pregnancy Cause Cavities?

            There is a common misconception that a developing fetus can actually steal calcium from your teeth during pregnancy. The enamel of the tooth is not directly affected by the pregnancy, but calcium can be taken from the bones of an expecting mother if their diet is inadequate. However, there are other changes during pregnancy that can affect your oral health that are important to understand to avoid any major issues during or after your pregnancy.

            There are a number of studies indicating that dental disease can negatively affect a developing baby. The studies show a link between gum disease and low birth weight from being born too early. The premature babies are then at higher risk of developing other health related issues that include cerebral and hearing or seeing problems. We also know that a mother’s decay causing bacteria can be passed to their child, which makes it very important to make sure their mouth is very healthy before, during, and after the child is born.

            But why are there so many anecdotes about women developing cavities after pregnancy? A common cause is the pregnancy hormones can make your gums more sensitive to plaque, which is a sticky layer of bacteria on your teeth. This plaque leads to gingivitis as the bacteria make your gums red, tender, and susceptible to bleeding. All of the extra bacteria harbored around the teeth can make you more likely to get decay in those areas.

            So then what can you do to avoid or limit these potential problems? The first thing you can do is eat a healthy diet. Not only is it important for your own health, but the baby’s teeth begin to form in the second month of pregnancy. And what about those pregnancy cravings in between meals? Do your best to avoid sugary foods that can lead to tooth decay and try to find healthy foods for a between meal snack. If those will not satisfies those cravings, try to brush, floss, and rinse after each snack.

            So while pregnancy itself does not always lead to cavities, there are certainly some risk factors to know about. Be sure to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist to develop a personalized plan involving good homecare and a healthy diet.

For more information, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Common Misconceptions about Brushing and Flossing That Everyone Should Know

Myth: The harder or stiffer the toothbrush, the better it will clean my teeth.

Fact: It is universally recommended that a soft toothbrush should be used to avoid abrasion of the teeth and the gums. A hard brush can cause the gums to recede and subsequently abrade the underlying tooth surface. Notching of the root surface will result and may need to be restored with a gum graft and/or a filling.

Myth: I should use toothpaste with an abrasive ingredient to clean my teeth better.

Fact: The ideal abrasive ingredient cleans well with no damage to the tooth. A paste that is too abrasive can cause permanent damage to the teeth and the gums.

Myth: As long as I brush my teeth it does not matter how long I brush.

Fact: It has been found that to effectively clean your teeth you should brush for at least 2 minutes each time.

Myth: I need to scrub my teeth hard to get them clean.

Fact: Excessive force is not needed to remove plaque from the tooth. Electric toothbrushes, which are typically more effective for ideal homecare, only require you to move the brush head along the surface of the tooth and don’t need any extra pressure to adequately clean the teeth.

Myth: If my gums bleed when I floss, then I should stop flossing.

Fact: If you find yourself bleeding when brushing or flossing, it is a sign of gum disease. You should definitely continue brushing and flossing. The more consistently and correctly you care for your gums, the less bleeding you will see.

Myth: I get a bad taste when I floss, so I should stop

Fact: A bad taste can mean many different things. It is commonly the result of old food other debris in between your teeth. When removing the debris during flossing, it can taste poorly. It is also possible there is an area of tooth decay that is trapping food and contributing to the problem. And if there gum disease is developing in your mouth, it is common to notice a bad taste. No matter what the case is, continue to floss and be sure to see your dentist.

Myth: My teeth are so tight or close together that I don’t need to floss.

Fact: You are not flossing to simply remove debris from between your teeth. You are also removing bacterial plaque from the tooth surface. If the bacteria are not removed, you will be prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

For more questions or concerns, visit us at

Kathy Newman, RDH

Brown and Kupper, DDS

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is All Floss the Same?

            Just like there are different styles of toothbrushes and toothpastes, there are a number of different types of floss available depending on your dental needs. For most teeth, the traditional thin, waxed floss will do the trick. But for anyone cleaning around bridges, braces, or areas of gum and bone loss, there are some other options that can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

            For anyone ever tasked with keeping the tissue around a dental bridge clean, they know that regular floss doesn’t always do the trick. Superfloss is designed with yarn around the floss to better clean larger spaces. After threading it under the bridge, it can then be used like traditional floss to clean the area under the bridge. For areas that have historically been an area of irritation, Superfloss can make things easier in keeping tough to clean areas healthy.

            A floss threader is a great tool for anyone with braces or a permanent retainer. The threader itself is not a type of floss, but instead is used to place the floss under or around wires and brackets on the teeth. The floss is placed through a loop in the threader, and the threader is then guided into difficult to reach places. For anyone that has braces or a permanent retainer, the floss threader is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to keep your gums and teeth healthy.

            Another popular adjunct or substitute for floss is a proxybrush or soft pick. These are small, flexible, tapered bristles that are used to fit between small and wide spaces to dislodge food and clean the gums. They can prove very helpful around bridges, braces, implants, and otherwise hard to reach and clean places.

            Whether you are using traditional floss or a combination of products, it is important to come up with a plan for you. With so many different options, be sure to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about how to properly use each product and which ones will work best in your situation.

For more information, go to


Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

(513) 860-3660

Friday, March 7, 2014

What Type of Mouth Rinse Should I Use?

         With so many different options out there, patients frequently ask which type or brand is best for them to use at home. Our goal is to evaluate your dental history, your homecare compliance, and any medications you are taking when choosing the best product for you. Below we will discuss three common types of mouth rinse we recommend depending on your risk factors.

            The most common mouth rinse we recommend for those with good homecare and a low risk of dental caries is Crest Prohealth. Within this product family, there are a number of different variations of the rinse. Unless instructed to use a specific rinse within the product family, the best and easiest advice we can give is to find one that you enjoy using and stick to it. This will hopefully encourage your willingness to use the rinse on a regular basis. However, if you see a product claiming to whiten your teeth through a mouth rinse, don’t expect to see significant results or changes.

            For those with a higher risk of cavities or recurrent issues around old fillings or crowns, we may discuss the use of Act Fluoride Rinse. The extra fluoride found in these rinses helps in fighting tooth decay around fillings, crowns, bridges, and root surfaces. Again, there are some different offerings within this product family, but the most common we recommend for adults is Act Anticavity. There is also an Act product line for children that has proved to be very helpful when they are in braces or when the child lacks the motivation or dexterity to properly brush their teeth. They also offer different fun flavors that improve compliance at home.

            When we are looking to dramatically improve the health of the gums before or after dental cleanings, we may recommend a prescription mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine gluconate. We typically only endorse its use on a limited basis because prolonged use can result in staining of the teeth. However, a standard 2 week protocol should not have any significant effects on the shade of the teeth. This is not meant to replace the need for brushing and flossing, but rather to be used as an adjunct to help control inflammation or disease in the oral cavity.

            When used properly, mouth rinses can be a great addition to your dental hygiene at home. However, they are not meant to replace traditional brushing or flossing. When in doubt or if you have any questions or concerns, always talk to your dentist or dental hygienist for instructions on how it can best be added to your daily routine.

For more information, visit us at          

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.
(513) 860-3660

Monday, March 3, 2014

Should I use Fluoride Toothpaste with Young Children?

           Many parents often wander how they should help their young children care for their teeth. They worry that not using fluoride may make their kids more susceptible to tooth decay throughout their life. But they are also concerned that too much fluoride can cause lasting effects. The American Dental Association (ADA) has recently released some new guidelines to help best care for the oral health of young children.

            Dental fluorosis is a developmental disturbance of the enamel that is caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development. It typically results in small, white streaks on the teeth (most common case), but the more severe cases can result in discoloration or brown markings. To avoid this, the ADA has recommended the following guidelines:

1.      From the time of the first tooth eruption until the age of 3, use a ‘smear’ of fluoride containing toothpaste across the brush. This amount is similar to a grain of rice. The parents should assist the child in brushing twice per day.

2.      For children between the ages of 3 and 6, you only need a ‘pea-sized’ amount of fluoride toothpaste. Parents should continue to help the child brush during this time and it should be completed twice per day.

For most, the guidelines above will be adequate for dental caries prevention in children. However, it is important to maintain regular check-ups and discuss any changing circumstances with your dentist and dental hygienist. Depending on the risk assessed for your child, changes may be made to the standard protocol. The decision would be based on the child’s total fluoride exposure (includes water and toothpaste) and any other dental or medical history that may place them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Additional rinses, pastes, foams or gels may be added as needed.
While it is important to be aware of the risks of over exposure to fluoride for your children, the important thing to remember is the long term benefits of fluoride far out-weigh any risks. With frequent exams, we can help customize a plan for your family to achieve strong teeth and good dental health.    

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.
(513) 860-3660