Dr. Stewart answers your frequently asked questions

Today, Dr. Bruce Stewart wanted to address some questions that our office hears regularly and may be of interest to many of our patients. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave us a comment or ask us at the office!

Q. Are x-rays really necessary?

A. X-rays allow us to see cysts, abscesses, and decay between the teeth, as well as periodontal disease damage. Without x-rays, we would not be able to see the problem until it was larger.

Q. Why, in my retirement, am I suddenly getting new cavities when I went many years without cavities?

A. Often cavities in advanced years are associated with decreased saliva flow. This can occur simply with age. However, more likely it is medication that has a side effect of making the mouth dry. A significant number of common medications can cause dry mouth. Snacking between meals and sucking on mints, lemon drops, etc…can also promote rapid tooth decay.

Q. How can I prevent decay when I have receding gums?

A. The result of gum recession is exposed roots. They are much more susceptible to tooth decay than the upper portion of the tooth which has an enamel covering. Professionally applied fluoride varnish, xylitol gum and mints, and prescription-level fluoride toothpaste are all beneficial in helping to prevent, or minimize, decay around exposed roots.

Q.How can I help my decay-prone teenagers prevent tooth decay?

A. Caution them about the high sugar and acid levels in sports and energy drinks, which are often comparable to the levels in soft drinks. What dentists have been saying for years is true: candy and soft drinks (sugar) are bad for teeth. The same products that can help prevent decay around exposed roots will help prevent or minimize tooth decay in teenagers. Brushing and flossing daily are very beneficial in preventing decay. Decay really can be controlled and is preventable!