Mount Auburn Dental Care
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Phone: 617-923-0706
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Fun Tooth Facts 
Q: Teeth are tiny.  How can something so small hurt so much? 

A:  Did you know that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? It acts as armor, maintaining a sterile enclosure that protects the delicate, tiny and complex inner world of your tooth!  Beneath this outer layer of enamel, each tooth is filled with a beautiful architecture of crystals, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. If the protective enamel is damaged, the once-sterile interior of the tooth becomes vulnerable to bacteria in the mouth. This is when the blood vessels and nerves inside your tooth can become inflamed, irritated, and angry with you. Don't be fooled by your tooth's simple tough exterior, it is sensitive and complex on the inside, and will let you know when it's been hurt.
Q: I brush every day.  Do I really need to floss too?

A: Yes.  Flossing plays a very important role in maintaining healthy gums and preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease, in addition to helping prevent cavities that can develop between teeth.  To properly floss, hug the side of each tooth with floss and slide up and down the entire length of the tooth, making sure the floss slides down completely below your gumline. Then wrap the floss against the adjacent tooth and repeat the same steps.
Q: I've heard that coffee and wine stain enamel. Is that all they do? What other drinks could affect my teeth?

A: Any drink that contains acids can be potentially unfriendly to your enamel. Soft drinks, coffee, energy drinks, fruit juices, wine and even milk all contain strong acids which soften and weaken the tooth's enamel, or outer layer. Over time, this makes enamel and teeth much more susceptible to erosion, wear and decay. A quick swish with a little bit of water after you enjoy an acidic drink will help neutralize or remove these acids and reduce their harmful effects.  If you want to brush after consuming an acidic drink or food, wait at least 30 minutes before doing so.  This allows enamel enough time to re-harden. Your enamel will thank you!

Q:  How does my oral health affect my general health? 

A:  We have up to 70 different strains of bacteria in our mouths! Some are friendly bacteria that help to aid digestion and protect enamel. However, without proper diet and hygiene, harmful strains of bacteria can take over, leading to inflammation, tooth decay, and periodontitis - a disease affecting the tissues and bone that serve to support your teeth. Numerous research studies have discovered a strong connection between harmful oral bacteria and endocarditis, heart disease, and inflammatory arthritis, to name a few.  New connections continue to be found, confirming that good overall health truly starts with good oral health.  Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body!
Before the invention of toothbrushes 500 years ago, many cultures used "chewing sticks" - twigs from certain plants or trees - that would help keep their teeth free of plaque and provide anitbacterial, cleansing and whitening compounds. In many places in the world, this is still a common practice.
The human bite can produce between 200-250 pounds of force per square inch. For comparison, the crocodile has a bite force up to 3,700 pounds per square inch, and a T. Rex has been estimated at almost 13,000 pounds per square inch. Ouch.
Saliva helps break down the food and sugars in our mouth and helps keep harmful bacteria at bay, reducing the risk of decay and gum disease. In order to maintain healthy saliva flow, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine and smoking - all of which contribute to a dry mouth. In addition, some medications may cause dry mouth. If you suspect your medication is causing your dry mouth, discuss this issue with your physician. Remember: chronic dry mouth leads to significantly higher risk for decay and gingivitis.
It is best to floss first, then brush.  Flossing clears the way for your toothbrush and toothpaste to reach every nook and cranny of your tooth's surface.
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Every day we encounter radiation from the sun and stars, the earth, and even each other! This is labeled as natural background radiation. Other sources of radiation include medical x-rays and spending time at higher elevations. Research estimates that a set of dental x-rays equals .005 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation, roughly equivalent to a one hour flight, or one day of natural background radiation.
Q: Why do I need x-rays? 

A: X-rays allow dentists to see between teeth and below the gum line - areas that cannot be seen with just a visual exam. Complete dental care includes occasional diagnostic x-rays, as unfortunately many issues - from cavities to gum disease to infections - can exist in your mouth without symptoms. If left undetected, they will silently advance, sometimes to an irreversible stage.  The only way to detect and treat these issues before they become an oral health problem is through the use of x-rays.  If your oral health is stable and your oral hygiene is good, you will not have x-rays taken at every check-up.  We recommend taking x-rays only when necessary to detect, diagnose or monitor a potential issue.
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