Girl brushing teeth

Everyone grows older. Your teeth do too, but that doesn't mean they can't last as long as you do. The right dental attitude makes a difference. Some would call it dental aptitude, and that would be more to the point.

Do intelligent people have a better chance of keeping their teeth for life? You don't have to be a bona fide genius, but the answer is yes for anyone who knows that holding on to your teeth for life means:

  • Intelligent brushing. This is one of the most important parts of your daily dental routine, and it's one that needs to take place twice a day at the very least. For the best results, however, try to brush after every meal if possible, using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush that fits comfortably inside your mouth. To do this the smart way, hold your brush at a 45 degree angle and use short strokes. Pay special attention to the gumline, and keep the action going for two minutes at least.
  • Intelligent flossing. The American Dental Association considers daily flossing to be an essential tool for anyone interested in hanging on to natural teeth life. However, if you have a problem with flossing, interdental brushes will also do a credible job of removing plaque from in between the teeth.
  • Intelligent life choices. The decisions you make on a daily basis are bound to affect your well-being, but there's even more to it than that. The truth is that anything that harms your body is going to harm your teeth as well. If you smoke, chew tobacco, drink to excess or indulge in drugs, your chances of keeping your teeth for life are certainly slim to none.

On the other hand, there are some positive things you can do. These include:

  • Eating apples. The rough and crunchy texture of this particular fruit has a talent for scrubbing away plaque and lessening stains. There is just one caveat: Apples are sweet and mildly acidic, so a good after-brushing is always recommended.
  • Drinking milk. Everyone knows that calcium is vital for healthy bones. Your teeth need it just as much, and milk is one of the easiest ways of getting it. Nevertheless, if you don't like milk or cannot physically tolerate it, cheese, tofu, yogurt and even broccoli can serve as excellent alternative sources.
  • Throwing out an old, worn toothbrush. Nothing lasts forever, and every time you brush your teeth, the bristles on your toothbrush wear down a little more. The more they degrade, the less effective they become at removing plaque from your teeth and gums. Most dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush at least four times a year, although if you should catch a cold, have the flu or suffer from a mouth infection, the purchase of a new one when you start feeling well will guard against re-infection.
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis. Fluoride coats your teeth with a protective layer that not only puts the brakes on plaque buildup but also shields against sugar's damaging effects.
  • Just saying no to tobacco products. All forms of tobacco can damage your mouth, and this is true regardless of whether you smoke it or chew it. Tobacco does more than just stain your teeth. It also weakens their structure while leaving the gums vulnerable to disease and tissue damage. Studies have also implicated tobacco in as many as eight out of every 10 cases of oral cancer.

Most importantly of all, intelligent stewardship of your teeth will always call for regular visits to a dental professional. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth each day, only professional cleanings can remove the stains and plaque buildup that would otherwise send your teeth down the slippery slope toward an early grave. Regular dental visits with Dr. James White will also catch problems in the initial stages before things get so out of hand that your teeth no longer stand a chance.

Do you think you rate an A for dental aptitude? Take a cue from our list of guidelines above. Just these few intelligent moves could provide the help you need to hold on to your natural teeth for life.



If you've never heard of tooth resorption, you're not alone. The condition is not a common one, and if you're lucky, it's not something that will ever happen to you. If it does, however, you might be the last one to know.

The condition is one in which your body attacks its own teeth, eroding them either from the inside out or from the outside in, and it often causes no symptoms whatsoever. In other words, your teeth could be eating themselves away without your ever being the wiser until your dentist discovers the problem or the affected tooth itself begins to wobble inside your mouth.

Internal Tooth Resorption

Internal resorption occurs when the tooth's pulpal walls and dentin resorb inside the root canal. The process sometimes causes the affected tooth to acquire a pinkish appearance. While the disorder can result from trauma, this is not always the case, and in many cases, the original cause never does make itself known. If your dentist discovers the condition early enough, however, there are things that he can do to save that tooth.

External Tooth Resorption

External tooth resorption is the same process by which a person loses his baby or primary teeth, at which time it exists as a perfectly natural process. When resorption affects your secondary teeth, however, there's nothing normal about it. Some have likened the condition to an autoimmune disease in which the body misguidedly attacks what it believes to be a threatening alien object. In this case, your body sees the affected teeth as some sort of foreign invaders.

Whereas internal tooth resorption takes place inside the root canal, the external variety concerns an attack by the body's living cells against the root of the target tooth. The damage often first appears as microscopic indentations on the root's surface. Without the proper treatment, this can progress to the point of destroying the root entirely.

The causes of external tooth resorption include:

  • Unnatural pressure on the surface of the root.
  • Trauma.
  • A chronic inflammatory condition.
  • The eruption of a misplaced tooth in the root's path.
  • Occlusal overload.
  • Fast-growing tumors or cysts.
  • Improper tooth reimplantation.

There have been times when the pressure of braces against the teeth have led to tooth resorption some years after the fact. In truth, anything that forces the teeth to submit to unnatural or unexpected stresses could be to blame. Habitual tooth grinding falls into this category, as do certain dental procedures and even bleaching methods.

Recently, some researchers have discovered a potential connection between tooth resorption and such conditions as asthma or various endocrine system disturbances, but the link is likely to be a weak one. However, many cases of tooth resorption do appear to have a genetic basis which some researchers propose to be as high as 70 percent. Therefore, if a close family member has suffered from the condition, your chances of developing it too would appear to be that much higher. Furthermore, if you have suffered from tooth resorption in the past, you could be far more likely to experience the problem again in the future.

Saving a Tooth from Resorption

Any success in treating tooth resorption depends in large part on how far the condition has progressed. Small lesions often respond well to the removal of any damage-causing tissue cells followed by repair with filling material. Orthodontia to move the tooth outward by degrees can also help by allowing the buildup of new bone behind the problem tooth prior to gum surgery. In the case of internal resorption, root canal treatment will often succeed in repairing the tooth.

It also helps to realize that many cases of tooth resorption progress in a leisurely manner. Some barely worsen at all, and in the earliest stages, they may require nothing more than close watching. Even in the later stages of this disorder, it is often possible to slow or reverse the damage. Of course, if the situation has become sufficiently severe, extraction may be your only option.

This is not always the case, particularly if the problem is discovered early and acted upon promptly. Nevertheless, early detection is critical to the successful treatment of tooth resorption, so if you suspect any problems in this regard, contact Dr. James White as soon as you can. He can diagnose the condition and treat it before it gets any worse. Don't delay. Call Dr. White today.



If your body's tissues were going toe-to-toe in a power competition, the enamel that covers your teeth would take top honors. However, despite its enormous strength, there are limits to what tooth enamel can do. Although you might think otherwise, it cannot prevent your teeth from chipping, cracking or breaking under stress. While it normally takes a hefty blow to cause this sort of damage, some teeth will suffer the same fate when subjected to such seemingly innocuous habits as nail biting or pencil chewing.

Although anyone's teeth can suffer this fate, those already weakened through decay or erosion are the ones most likely to be at risk. The potential types of damage will include:

  • Cracked or crazed enamel. Often shallow and painless, this least-serious type of injury may do well with nothing more than a quick polishing to even out the tooth surface.
  • A small chip. It may look unsightly, but unless it is causing you pain, a negligibly chipped tooth may not require immediate professional treatment. Nevertheless, it's best to have a dentist check it out.
  • A crack. When it comes to your teeth, a simple chip has nothing on a crack or fracture. This sort of injury will often extend through the enamel all the way to the nerve. It can only worsen with time, and without immediate dental treatment, the tooth could split in two and become unsalvageable.
  • A break. A broken tooth is likely to hurt, particularly when the fracture has exposed the nerve. This will require immediate professional treatment.

If you have cracked or broken a tooth, the damage may be hard to see. What's less easy to ignore, however, will be the associated pain. Teeth that have suffered in this manner have no way of repairing themselves. A trip to the dentist is imperative.

While you are waiting to get there, though, there are a few things you can do. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water may help to relieve the pain. In addition, if the edge of the broken tooth is causing discomfort, you can cover it with a piece of soft paraffin or sugar-free chewing gum to protect your tongue and the inside of your mouth. Eat only soft foods for the time being and avoid chewing in the region of the affected tooth.

What Your Dentist Can Do for Your Cracked or Broken Tooth

If the crack in your tooth is sufficiently minor, your dentist may need to do nothing more than fill or bond it, using a tooth-colored resin if necessary for cosmetic reasons. The procedure consists of roughening up the tooth surface, adding adhesive and applying composite resin. After shaping the bonding material to match your natural teeth, the dentist will harden it with ultraviolet light. It is a simple procedure that rarely requires the assistance of Novocain.

On the other hand, if the damage to your tooth has reached the pulp, you are likely to experience swelling, sensitivity or pain. A crack or break this severe will normally require root canal treatment. This consists of removing the tooth's nerve and all decaying material, cleaning the canal, sealing it and topping everything off with a crown if needed. Root canal treatment can prevent the spread of infection and allow the tooth to be saved.

If you have suffered unsightly damage to your front teeth, dental veneers will provide you with an attractive solution. Made of porcelain or composite resin material, a veneer will cover the entire front portion of the tooth and leave you with a beautiful and natural-looking smile. If the tooth has broken off entirely, a post-and-crown repair is another option.

Getting Your Teeth the Help They Need

A broken or fractured tooth can never get better without professional assistance. Fortunately, Dr. James White will be able to resolve the problem in most cases. It is vital, however, that you do not delay. The tooth may be broken, but the chances are good that it can still be saved if you have it taken care of in a hurry.

If you should find yourself in this situation, contact Dr. White's office as soon as you can. He will do whatever is needed on an emergency basis to restore your appearance and save that tooth.