Archive for January, 2014

Take Vitamin D for Your Teeth!

About one-third of Americans are at risk for low vitamin D levels or  are vitamin D deficient, meaning that they do not get enough of this essential vitamin from their diets or safe exposure to sunshine.

A simple blood test reveals whether your vitamin D levels fall within the recommended range of 50 to 125 nanomoles per liter of blood. People who fall just below that, with 30 to 49 nanomoles per liter of blood, are considered at risk of a deficiency.

What does Vitamin D do?

Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium for stronger bones and teeth. Your muscles use vitamin D to move and your nerves use it to relay signals throughout your body. Vitamin D also helps the immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. Low levels of vitamin D have also been correlated with bad moods and depression.

Studies have shown that vitamin D may decrease tooth decay by as much as 50 percent in children. Since vitamin D helps the body fight off bacteria, experts believe it may help the body to fight cavities caused by infections. A combination of healthy vitamin D and calcium levels can help prevent age-related tooth loss.

How can I get more Vitamin D?

You body absorbs or produce vitamin D through safe sun exposure, food, and supplements. A winter climate, limited sun exposure, or use of sunscreen to protect from harmful rays can all decrease your body’s vitamin D production.

Getting your vitamins from food and supplements may be a safer option for those concerned about sun exposure. The following foods are high in vitamin D: fatty fish, milk, egg yolks, and fortified products such as orange juice, yogurt, milk, and breakfast cereals. Minimize your intake of sugary sodas, which can suppress your D levels and lead to tooth decay.

Vitamin D supplements are available at most major pharmacies and grocery stores. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D in supplement form is 600 international units (IU) for people ages 1 through 70 years. Due to concerns about bone health, adults 70 and older have an RDA of 800 IU.

Do you want to start taking better care of your smile? Contact Dr. John Carson, DDS, to make an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning by calling (520) 514-7203. Dr. Carson helps Tucson patients with their preventative and cosmetic dentistry needs.

Let Dr. Carson Help You Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

Do you feel tense or nervous about visiting the dentist? If you experience feelings of panic or anxiety around dental procedures, you are not alone. About 75 percent of Americans suffer from a mild to severe fear of the dentist, also know as “odontophobia.”

There are solutions for dental patients to feel more at ease and relaxed when undergoing a basic cleaning or procedure. In this article, we will show how Dr. Carson can help you overcome your fear and achieve a healthier smile.

Communicate About Your Fears

If you can, find a dentist that specializes in treating patients with dental phobias or anxiety. Communicate with the receptionist when scheduling the appointment and alert the hygienist and dentist if you feel anxious during your visit. Ask your provider if you can listen to music in your headphones during treatment, as this may help you to relax.

Agree On a Signal for When You Need a Break

For many patients, dental anxiety stems from a fear of helplessness or loss of control. One way to alleviate this fear is to communicate with your dental provider to develop a hand signal for when you need a break. Knowing that you can alert the dentist when you want them to pause during a cleaning or procedure can help you to feel more in control.

Inquire About Sedation Options

Sometimes the root of dental anxiety is a fear of pain. Mild, moderate and deep sedation techniques are available to help patients who have had a negative or painful dental experience in the past or fear a painful experience. Sedation can help patients to relax and manage any pain associated with a procedure. Mild sedation involves nitrous oxide or laughing gas, which relaxes the patient but allows the patient to remain conscious and responsive during the procedure.

For more mild to severe anxiety, a patient may opt for an oral sedative or an intravenous (IV) sedation method. With oral sedation, a patient is conscious but will not remember most of the treatment. IV sedation means the patient will be in an unconscious state and feel pleasantly asleep during the procedure. For both Oral and IV sedation, the patient will need a friend or family member to accompany them to the appointment.

To learn more about overcoming your dental anxieties or fears, contact the offices of Dr. John Carson, DDS. Our Tucson dental practice specializes in preventative and cosmetic dentistry. Give us a call today at (520) 514-7203 to schedule an appointment.

How To Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth

It can be difficult to motivate young children and teens to brush their teeth regularly and properly. Children who do not brush effectively are prone to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems later in life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 5 years and 50 percent of children aged 12 to 15 years are affected by tooth decay. So how can parents help their kids to avoid oral health problems? Below are some of our top tips for getting kids to brush regularly.

Get the Right Brush and Toothpaste

Have children use brushes with soft bristles so as not to damage their gums. Select a kid-friendly toothbrush design in your child’s favorite color. Replace the brush about every three months. Ask your children to help select the toothpaste of their choice too.

Teach Proper Brushing Techniques

Many younger children will think it is only necessary to brush their front teeth. Even older kids may not understand how to brush effectively and reach all of their teeth. Explain to children why they are brushing and share the risks of poor brushing habits. Use online resources like this quiz about teeth on to test your children’s knowledge.

Sing a Song

For the best results, kids should brush for about two minutes twice a day or after meals. To help children brush for two minutes at a time, you may want to use a tooth brushing song like this one from Elmo on Sesame Street. Or find a pop song that your kids like and have them brush for two minutes of the track.

Brush Together

Make brushing a family activity so you can lead by example. When you brush together, show your kids how to reach all of their teeth and even brush their tongue and gums gently. Taking care of your teeth together as a family will make brushing more fun!

To schedule a cleaning and exam for your family, contact the offices of John Carson, DDS, at (520) 514-7203. We help Tucson families keep their smiles healthy and beautiful.

All-Natural Toothpaste: Is It Really Better?

Have you noticed how many all-natural types of toothpaste there are on store shelves today? Are all-natural toothpastes really better or healthier than regular products? Does the added cost of natural toothpaste outweigh any health benefits? In this article, we’ll take a look at some questions you can ask to decide if natural toothpaste is the right choice for you.

What does ‘natural’ really mean?

The American Dental Association (ADA) defines “natural” as not containing artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The ADA seal, however, does not indicate that a product’s ingredients have been checked against this definition. The ADA seal only indicates that the product is safe and effective for use. If you see an ADA-approved all-natural toothpaste, it’s best to look at the ingredient list.

What’s inside the tube?

Don’t be fooled by natural-looking labels or packaging; go right to the source and read the ingredient list. You may want to compare a tube of all natural and regular brand toothpaste side-by-side. When reviewing ingredients, watch out for these unnecessary additives and potentially harmful ingredients:

  • Artificial sweeteners: Even though saccharin was linked to cancer in 1970s medical studies, many toothpaste brands add saccharin and other sweeteners such as aspartame to enhance flavor. It’s best to avoid products with such added sweeteners.
  • Preservatives: Common preservatives in toothpaste include formaldehyde and parabens. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and parabens may disrupt hormone levels. If a product includes these ingredients, you may want to pass on it.
  • Artificial colors: Blue 1 and 2 are banned in many countries outside of the U.S. But these coloring agents are often found in toothpastes. Look for products that do not use artificial colors.
  • Tricolsan: This ingredient is used to prevent gingivitis, but it may negatively disrupt thyroid and estrogen hormone levels.

What are my needs?

When purchasing toothpaste, it’s best to look for products that meet your health needs, such as tooth sensitivity, whitening, or tartar control.  If you have questions about selecting the right oral hygiene products, contact Dr. John Carson, DDS, by calling (520) 514-7203.

Acid Reflux: Bad For Your Teeth Too?

Do you ever experience a burning sensation in your chest and throat after eating? As many as three out of 10 people report occasionally experiencing this symptom of heartburn. Heartburn is also a primary symptom of acid reflux disease, otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. In a recent study, scientists uncovered a link between GERD and oral health. The study followed patients with and without GERD for six months and found that half of the patients with GERD also suffered severe tooth wear and erosion.

How Acid Reflux Affects the Teeth

When acids from the stomach enter the mouth, they can wear down tooth enamel more rapidly. Patients with tooth damage from acid reflux will have thin, cratered, and chipped teeth. There is no way to replace tooth enamel once it is worn down and this leaves the tooth exposed to decay.

What Can Patients With Acid Reflux Do?
If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, you can protect your oral health with the following tips:

Seek Medical Treatment: Consult with your primary physician about your symptoms. There are many diagnostic tools and medications a physician can use to identify and alleviate your symptoms.

Avoid TriggersWhile trigger foods and beverages may differ from person to person, there are a few common heartburn triggers, including alcohol, red wine, garlic, raw onions, spicy food, citrus, coffee, peppermint, and tomatoes. Heartburn or GERD patients should also avoid eating large meals in one sitting and eating right before bedtime or lying down.

Adapt Your Brushing Routine: If you do experience a heartburn or reflux episode, rinse your mouth out with water afterward. Then wait at least 60 minutes before brushing your teeth following an episode. Inform your dentist of your condition so he or she can check for related signs of tooth wear and erosion.

To schedule an appointment for a dental exam or cosmetic consultation, call the Tucson offices of Dr. John Carson at (520) 514-7203. Dr. Carson offers treatments for patients with severe tooth wear and decay.

3D Printing and Dentistry: What’s the Connection?

Have you noticed the phrase “3D Printing” popping up more and more frequently in the news? 3D printing involves creating a digital model on a computer and then using a machine to build the object. A 3D printer adds thin layers of material (typically plastics) to form the shape of the desired objects. This technology has wide applications in the dental industry. Until recently, 3D printers were very costly and only used in larger dental labs. But now there are affordable desktop systems like the Objet30 OrthoDesk 3D Printer to help dental professionals provide digital dentistry services. Let’s take an in-depth look at the applications of 3D printing in dentistry.

No More Messy Models
Have you ever had to bite into a goopy tray at the dentist’s office to make an impression of your teeth? Dentists use this process to create a model of your mouth for crafting crowns, bridges, or orthodontic devices to fit your smile.  The impression is typically sent to an outside lab and the resulting dental device is sent back to the dentist a few days or weeks later.

With in-office 3D printing, dentists will be able to take a digital scan of your mouth, design a digital model of your teeth, and print the dental device immediately using a 3D printer.  This saves time, increases accuracy, and eliminates the need for messy, uncomfortable impressions.

Crowns, Bridges and Orthodontics

The most common dental applications for 3D printing are crowns and bridges, which dentists use to restore or protect your smile if you suffer tooth loss or advanced decay. 3D printing technology can also help dentists to create orthodontic devices like clear aligners, to correct malocclusions and create a more perfect smile.

Dr. John Carson, DDS, is a leading preventative and cosmetic dentist in Tucson, Arizona. Call Dr. Carson to maintain the health and beauty of your smile. Schedule an appointment today by dialing (520) 514-7203.