Most people don’t think of tooth decay as a “disease” but a recent study called the Global Burden of Disease 2010 founded that untreated tooth decay – also known as dental caries – was the most common of 291 major diseases and injuries. They estimate that cavities affect close to 4 billion people and the resulting toothache and pain prevent them from eating and sleeping properly.  Professor Wagner Marcenes said “This total does not even include small cavities or mild gum diseases, so we are facing serious problems in the population’s oral health.”

Here in America we have been seeing an increase in tooth decay, especially among children. The reasons most likely include: constant snacking on high carbohydrate foods, drinking soda, energy and other sugary/acidic drinks, and drinking less fluoridated water.

The good news is we can prevent many cavities from forming by forming good dental hygiene habits and visiting the dentist regularly will let us catch small problems before they become big ones.

If you do need to have a cavity filled we are long past the days of mercury-filled amalgam fillings which left ugly black shadows on your smile. Today dentist use tooth colored composite material that are free of metal and mercury. These dental fillings match the color of your teeth so your smile looks just as beautiful after your filling as before!

When a cavity is extremely large or if an old, large filling has failed and decay has formed below it you may need to have a dental crown. Very large fillings leave a tooth vulnerable to cracking and breaking — even using modern dental materials. The solution is the dental crown. This enables us to save the tooth and ensure that a long lasting, strong restoration is in place that will last for years.

Find out more about preventing cavities and your options for treatment if you do have cavities by contacting Medford, OR cosmetic dentists Rothfus Family Dental  at 541-858-7994 today.

Which is worse – meth mouth or soda mouth? Drinking large quantities of diet soda can harm teeth and be just as damaging as abusing the illegal drugs, meth or crack cocaine according to a new study. The case study was published in the journal General Dentistry and found that the use of illegal drugs and the intake or large amounts of soda cause very similar types of damage to the mouth because of tooth erosion.

Tooth erosion is the wearing away of tooth enamel which leads to tooth sensitivity, decay and eventual tooth loss.

This case study compared the damage that had been done to the teeth of three people. One was an admitted user of methamphetamine, one was a long-time user of cocaine and the third drank excessive amounts of diet soda. The soda drinker averaged 2 liters of diet soda per day for three years! All of the three had poor oral hygiene and had not visited the dentist on a regular basis. Researchers found the same type of severe damage from tooth erosion in each persons mouth.

“Each person experienced severe tooth erosion caused by the high acid levels in their ‘drug’ of choice — meth, crack or soda,” explained Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny. He continued, “The citric acid present in both regular and diet soda is known to have a high potential for causing tooth erosion.”

If you drink lots of soda (diet or regular), fruit juices, energy drinks or sports drinks you could be destroying your enamel. All of these beverages contain high levels of acid which are harmful to dental enamel. The first sign is usually sensitivity to hot or cold.

Find out about your options for treating sensitive teeth and prevent future cavities  by contacting the preventive dentists at Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR today at 541-858-7994.

Teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks make life miserable for a lot of people. Researchers have reported in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials a novel advance toward dealing with sensitive teeth using ideas from Mother Nature.

Our teeth become sensitive, especially as we get age, because  the enamel and the underlying layer of dentin is worn away. Why does this occur? Enamel is lost over time because of acids we consume in substances like soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary snacks. There are special toothpastes and sugar free gums that can help with tooth sensitivity but the researchers wanted to find a substance that would help rebuild both enamel and dentin at the same time.

The research team got their inspiration from a sticky substance that allows mussels to attach to rocks. This is a very strong, sticky substance that stands up to water and the washing action of waves. They believed that the sticky substance could help keep minerals in contact with dentin long enough for the rebuilding process to occur. Otherwise the minerals would wash away in saliva. The scientists  performed tests that involved bathing human teeth with worn enamel and dentin in a liquid containing the sticky substance and minerals. The teeth reformed both dentin and enamel. However when the teeth were bathed in minerals only, they reformed only the enamel layer.

This research might also help prevent tooth decay. When our tooth enamel is weakened, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can do their damage! This research might help both tooth sensitivity problems and tooth decay.

Please contact Medford, OR general dentists at Rothfus Family Dental today at 541-858-7994 to schedule your appointment if you are experiencing sensitive teeth or tooth decay.

Find out more about protecting your teeth by contacting

What do you think about a filling that actually regenerates tooth structure? A cavity in your tooth happens when the mineral content of the tooth has been dissolved. The oral bacteria living in the plaque on your tooth surface secrete acids which eat away at the tooth.  Even when a dentist removes the decay from the tooth there are still some bacteria left behind. A new filling material may change that.

Scientists at the University of Maryland are working on a new material that may change filling cavities in the future. The new fillings are designed with special antibacterial agents that kill harmful bacteria remaining in the tooth and regenerate tooth structure lost to decay. This new dental filling at the University of Maryland is still in the research stage and will be a huge leap in caring for dental decay.

Dental fillings have come a long way since the  mercury based silver amalgam of yesteryear. The tooth colored composite fillings we use today not only look nicer but are far superior to those old silver fillings. Composite filling materials avoid mercury exposure for both dentist and patient, they are long lasting and don’t expand and contract when exposed to hot or cold substances like old style fillings did. This expansion and contraction often led to cracked fillings or even broken teeth.

Prevention is the key to a healthy smile but cavities can happen. When they do remember to contact Rothfus Family Dental in Medford, OR at 541-858-7994 to schedule your appointment.

Yesterday the New York Times reported on the increasing number of preschool aged children developing cavities – lots of cavities! The story was picked up by the NBC Nightly News and is now spreading across the newswires. Hopefully this publicity will be a wake up call for everyone involved in protecting our kids teeth.

For the first time in 40 years the CDC reported an increase in cavities in kids – cavities had decreased dramatically once water was fluoridated but now people are drinking more bottled water. Other reasons for the increase include too much snacking, drinking juices and sweet beverages throughout the day,  poor dental hygiene care at home and never visiting the dentist.

The Times article stated that an increasing number of children are presenting with so many cavities and decay so severe that they require treatment under general anesthesia. Decay in over half of the 20 baby teeth is not uncommon and sadly most of this decay could be prevented. Proper home care including brushing and flossing are important. Drink tap water instead of bottled or ask your pediatrician about fluoride drops. Placing sealants on the chewing surfaces of teeth help protect against decay.

It is important to bring your child to the dentist early. This enables us to gauge their current dental health and get an idea of what their dental future may hold. Children who visit the dentist early and often also avoid developing anxiety or fear about the experience because it is part of the routine.

Please contact Rothfus Family Dental today at 541-858-7994 to schedule an appointment for your child. Conveniently located in Medford, OR we love Making Smiles Happen, Daily!

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