Is Fluoride Safe?

Is Fluoride Safe?

Dentists insist it’s essential to prevent tooth decay. Other health experts claim it’s poison. What is it? Nothing other than the controversial mineral fluoride.

What do the facts show? Is fluoride good or bad for you?

The Facts on Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found all over the world. It’s in drinking water, seafood, tea, and ends up in foods prepared with water that contains fluoride. Over 100 national and international health organizations acknowledge the benefits of this mineral for dental health.

Why You Need Fluoride

Fluoride upgrades certain elements in tooth enamel and these blocks of new material are stronger than the original tooth. This makes the tooth more resistant to the effects of decay and acids. Fluoride facilitates the remineralizing process in teeth to encourage the uptake of other minerals such as calcium and phosphate. There’s also evidence that fluoride can inhibit the activity of bacteria that cause cavities.

It’s undeniable that fluoride plays a major role in reducing decay rates all over the world. Tooth decay is the primary cause of tooth loss in children so introducing fluoride into kids’ “dental diets” during crucial phases of tooth development can help them avoid cavities altogether.

You can get fluoride through toothpaste and rinses. Topical fluoride applications like these keep adult teeth healthy for life. Fluoride consumed in food and water (systemic) will fortify teeth in kids’ mouths before they even erupt out of the gums.Fluoride is inexpensive and easy to use and it can reduce future dental care costs by preventing tooth decay. Additionally, fluoride contributes to improved oral health and thus promotes a healthier quality of life.

Dental professionals could go on all day about the benefits of fluoride. But is there a dark side to this mineral that you should know about?

The Dangers of Fluoride

Consuming a lot of fluoride at once is toxic. Ingesting too much can lead to gastrointestinal distress and muscle spasms and can require a trip to the emergency room.

There are some long-term effects of excess fluoride exposure, as well. These can include:

●    Skeletal fluorosis
●    Thyroid problems
●    Potential neurological development problems for infants in utero

Such problems tend to be found in parts of the world where there are extremely high levels of naturally-occurring fluoride in the local water.

The most common issue, however, is dental fluorosis. This happens when teeth that are still growing in the jawbones of kids are exposed to too much fluoride. The teeth are usually healthy, but they can form unsightly chalky white streaks and patches in their enamel.

Fluoride does have some risks, but it is still very safe to use. It all comes down to how much you’re exposed to and when.

Safe Fluoride Use

You’ll be relieved to hear that you won’t experience fluoride poisoning from fluoridated water. Toxicity only occurs in extremely high concentrations such as by consuming a fluoride-based product.

You can avoid such a dangerous incident by keeping fluoride products out of the reach of small children who may unwittingly eat them. And don’t worry – swallowing a little toothpaste on accident won’t be enough to cause poisoning.

Some children need supplements if they don’t have access to systemic fluoride in water sources. But you should never take or give out fluoride supplements without a dentist’s prescription.

Remember that when it comes to many other healthy and “safe” foods and substances it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The same is true of fluoride. It isn’t a cancerous toxin and there are no records of it causing any problems when it’s used as recommended. The dangers really lie in being exposed to too much fluoride over a long period of time.

So using a fluoridated toothpaste won’t make you sick, but having too much fluoride in your water could.

Here are a few official recommendations to keep in mind:

  • The World Health Organization states that fluoridated water levels should stay under 1.5 parts per million to remain safe

  • The Department of Health and Human Services recommends those water fluoride levels not exceed 0.7 parts per million

  • If you test your home’s water source and find levels measuring above 2 parts per million then you should contact the Environmental Protection Agency right away

Ultimately, the benefits of fluoride easily outweigh the risks which are very easy to minimize by following the direction of a medical professional.

Talk with Tacoma family dentist, Dr. Duke Bui, to find out more about safely meeting your family’s fluoride needs.

Is Baking Soda Safe For Your Teeth?

Is Baking Soda Safe For Your Teeth?

Sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda, is a popular at-home teeth whitening solution. It’s also been used as a simple toothpaste substitute for decades.

But just because this DIY dental remedy is commonly used doesn’t make it safe. How does baking soda affect your teeth?

Baking soda has both risks and benefits for your oral health. It all depends on how you use it.

Baking Soda for Brushing

There are a surprising number of benefits to using baking soda in your dental care routine.

For starters, the sodium in baking soda has mild antimicrobial properties. It can inhibit the growth of some bacteria that are responsible for gum inflammation and bad breath.

Baking soda is quite basic on the pH scale. This means it can neutralize acids. Rinsing with baking soda water or brushing with the powder itself can help balance out the pH of your mouth after eating an acidic food or after an episode of vomiting. If your mouth stays acidic for too long, your teeth will start losing enamel so a baking soda rinse is a great way to protect your teeth.

The abrasive grittiness of baking soda makes it perfect for scrubbing away sticky plaque and stubborn stains. Baking soda’s ability to brighten teeth this way is probably it’s most popular feature.

It almost goes without saying, too, that baking soda is a very cheap toothpaste substitute.

So with all of these benefits, why shouldn’t you use baking soda more often?

Baking soda has a dark side you need to know about.

The Dangers of Baking Soda

Baking soda’s gritty powder may clean teeth and buff away stain, but it’s also a bit problematic.

Brushing with baking soda can be a messy affair. There’s also a risk of gagging on the powder if you accidentally inhale a bit while brushing in a hurry.

The worst thing about baking soda is how it’s abrasiveness can harm your smile. It can cause gums to recede and wear away the surface layer of your enamel. Scrubbing your teeth too hard or too often with baking soda can cause permanent damage.

There is another hidden danger of sodium bicarbonate: the deceptive idea that baking soda is healthy for your teeth. Given that it’s chemical- and soap-free, many people feel that sodium bicarbonate is a healthful tooth cleaner.

The problem, however, is that baking soda doesn’t contain any fluoride which is the key ingredient in traditional toothpastes. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay, but baking soda doesn’t have any such benefits. If you use it in place of regular fluoridated toothpaste, you’re denying your teeth some much-needed cavity protection.

Additionally, baking soda can weaken orthodontic glue so you shouldn’t use it if you have braces or a fixed retainer.

Can You Bleach Your Teeth with Baking Soda?

Even if you can’t brush with baking soda every day, you might wonder whether it’s good for whitening teeth.

Sodium bicarbonate can lighten tooth color, but its effects are quite limited. It only works through mechanical abrasion as the tough particles scrub out surface pigment. Baking soda cannot access discoloration that’s deep inside enamel pores so it doesn’t actually bleach teeth.

If you’re searching for effective teeth bleaching methods, then you should look for something more professional than baking soda.

Ultimately, brushing with baking soda is safe when done on occasion. As long as you don’t use it often, you can enjoy its benefits to the full with no harm to your teeth.

Learn more about safe baking soda use in oral hygiene by planning a consultation with a Tacoma dentist. The team at Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry will also be happy to help you find a teeth whitening system that gets you the results you want.

What Does It Take To Be A Dentist

What Does It Take To Be A Dentist

Being a dentist is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but it requires a lot of hard work.

What does it take to be someone who fills teeth?

Dentistry – An Essential Field of Care

To begin with, consider how important dental care is.

Your teeth keep your smile looking attractive and young. They’re also vital to chewing food properly for good nutrition. Diseases like tooth decay and periodontitis, however, can cause tooth-loss, pain, and damage to your self-esteem.

A dentist’s job is to prevent and treat disease in one of the most complex parts of your body: your mouth.

Dentistry is not easy. But dentists are willing to perform the difficult work so that you can stay healthy and smile with confidence.

Your dentist thus plays a very important role in your oral and overall health.

How does someone become a dentist?

Learning to Be a Dentist

Admission into a dental school usually requires a bachelor’s degree or a minimum of a few years of undergraduate study. A potential dental student also needs to pass the Dental Admission Test.

Dental school itself usually lasts around four years. The first two years focus on studies and lectures while the last two emphasize clinical training and experience. The resulting degrees are either DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery).

It doesn’t end with the degree, however. Dental school graduates need to be licensed before they can start practicing. This process includes intense written and practical exams. After passing the tests and getting his or her license, the new dentist is ready to open up a dental office or join a dental team.

Some dentists continue their studies for two, four, or even more years in order to become specialists in areas like orthodontics, endodontics or periodontics.

Why Become a Dentist?

Dentistry has an appeal because there is a large demand for dentists to meet the needs of a growing and ever-changing population. The work generates high income and enables a flexible lifestyle, making it easy to raise a family.

But becoming a dentist isn’t just about the money and dentistry isn’t a good profession for just anyone.

Dentistry is challenging. It’s all about solving complex and painful problems in a tiny workspace while being crunched for time. A good dentist needs to have qualities such as:

●    Compassion
●    Dedication
●    Organization
●    Patience
●    Attention to detail
●    Confidence
●    The ability to remain calm in stressful situations

Dentists find all the hard work rewarding because they get to help people enjoy a high quality of life. It’s makes dentists feel good to see a patient feel proud of their new smile and build greater confidence in themselves.

Additionally, a healthy mouth equals a healthy body, so dentists are happy to contribute to the health of their local communities by providing valuable dental services.

Who Is Your Tacoma Dentist?

General dentists and specialists alike take continuing education courses that help them stay up-to-date on the latest in research on treatment techniques and new dental technology.

You too can find out the latest in the dental field and learn more about the rewarding career of dentistry by visiting a dentist in person.

You’ll find Tacoma family dentist, Dr. Duke Bui, extremely easy to talk with and very approachable. Ask him anything you’d like to know about becoming a dentist and why dental care is so important for people of all ages.

Contact Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry to schedule a consultation.

7 Tips to Fight Bad Breath On-the-Go

7 Tips to Fight Bad Breath On-the-Go

Does halitosis tend to haunt you at the most inconvenient times? These seven tricks can help you fight bad breath even when you’ve left your toothbrush at home.

1. Mini Bottle of Mouthwash

A good breath-freshening mouthwash contains active ingredients that kill odor-causing bacteria. Even if you use mouthwash regularly, you may still suffer from bad breath when you’re out and about.

Keep a small travel-size bottle of rinse in your bag or desk at work. You can take a quick minute to swish out in the bathroom right before an important interview or meeting.

2. Breath Strips

If carrying around a bottle of swish-and-spit mouthwash isn’t the most practical thing for you, pick up some breath-freshening strips.

These strips dissolve in your mouth and kill bacteria while masking bad breath with a strong mint flavor. Breath strip packs fit easily in your purse, vehicle cup holder, or even your pocket.

3. Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste

One of the best ways to beat bad breath is to brush both your teeth and tongue with fluoride toothpaste. Try to brush after every meal or snack. You can easily brush even while on-the-go if you keep a small oral hygiene kit stowed away in your car or bag.

4. Eat a Fresh Salad

Fresh apples, lettuce, and mint leaves have been proven to remove the lingering odor of garlic after a meal. Pack a fresh salad or green smoothie made from such ingredients to help treat bad breath after eating garlic-loaded food on the road.

5. Drink Some Water

A dry mouth fosters the growth of smelly germs. You need saliva to rinse away food debris, plaque, and odors. By drinking plenty of water, you’ll keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.

6. Chew on Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing on a piece of gum stimulates saliva production. That will help rinse away lingering odors. Plus, the minty or fruity flavors can replace bad breath fumes with the smell of something sweeter.

7. Spice It Up

Did you know that spices such as cloves and fennel are good for fighting bad breath? Chewing on a little piece of spice can have a powerful effect on your breath after a meal. Spices keep well for a long time so it’s easy to store a few in a convenient space for later.

Bad Breath Solutions in Tacoma

Are you still struggling with bad breath? When it seems like nothing you do can keep up with your halitosis, you may need professional help. A dentist can identify the cause of bad breath and recommend treatment that will restore your confidence and sweeten your smile.

Contact Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry today to get more advice on conquering bad breath.

The Dental Impacts of Vaping

The Dental Impacts of Vaping

Vaping has picked up the reputation of being harmless when compared with traditional cigarettes. But emerging studies suggest that vaping may be more harmful to the mouth than originally thought.

Here’s what you need to know if you vape or are interested in trying it.

What Is Vaping?

“Vaping” is the term most commonly used to refer to the use of electronic cigarettes. These devices contain a heating mechanism that converts a liquid into an aerosol. This liquid has nicotine and flavorings to create a pleasant experience for the user.

As the liquid heats up in the device, the user can then inhale the resulting aerosol. The entire experience simulates smoking minus the tar and tobacco. Controlled doses of nicotine allow the user to gradually wean themselves off nicotine use, altogether.

That’s why many people hold up vaping as the superior alternative to cigarettes – it’s very safe in comparison. People trying to kick their nicotine addiction can do so gradually while at the same time immediately stopping their exposure to carcinogens like smoke and tobacco.

Despite these benefits, vaping does hold a few potential risks.

Risks of Vaping

Studies are still underway to determine the benefits and risks of vaping and whether or not those benefits outweigh the risks.

Common sense suggests that vaping isn’t healthy for the lungs. The lungs are designed to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream, so inhaling anything that isn’t oxygen sets you up for potential risks.

For example, one risk associated with vaping is a rare condition called lipoid pneumonia. This is when a lipid substance (like the vegetable glycerin used in vaping solutions) is inhaled into the lungs and causes inflammation. The condition is not common and there is no clear consensus on whether or not vaping can directly cause it.

So can vaping have any effect on the mouth?

Effects of Vaping on the Mouth

As with other aspects of vaping, the ultimate effects it has on the oral environment have yet to be fully understood, but there are a few probable outcomes.

Dryness and irritation. The vaping devices release a very hot aerosol into the mouth so the sensitive oral tissues make the first contact with the vapor. Dry mouth and a sore throat can result.

The dry oral environment is prime for bacteria growth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as well as enamel demineralization.

Oral cancer. There is no definitive information on whether vaping has an effect on oral cancer risk, but long-term studies are ongoing to determine this.

Reduced circulation. Research clearly shows that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is absorbed through tissues in the mouth, not the lungs. Negative effects from the nicotine would thus have the biggest impact right on the mouth

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it restricts blood flow to the affected tissues. As a result, vaping can deprive oral tissues of the oxygen and nutrients they need. This can lead to poor healing, gum recession, and an increase in infections.

Talk with a Dentist to Learn More About Vaping

Vaping may not yet be proven to directly cause problems, but you should know where your oral health stands, anyway. If you already suffer from gum disease or cavities, then you may be more prone to complications from vaping.

Schedule a checkup with a Tacoma general dentist like Dr. Duke Bui to find out the latest on vaping and dental health.