Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727

While many people think that tooth loss is an inevitable consequence of aging, it doesn't have to be. The health of your teeth and gums should remain a priority throughout your life so that you can avoid dental diseases in your later years. Here are four tips for protecting your oral health as you get older.

Fight Sensitivity

There are two primary factors that come with age that can lead to increased sensitivity in your teeth: enamel erosion and gum recession. Your enamel creates a protective barrier around the soft dentin inside your teeth that is sensitive to temperature and acidity. The gums serve a similar purpose by shielding the sensitive roots of your teeth.

Maintaining good dental hygiene habits is the best way to slow these processes that lead to sensitive teeth. Brushing and flossing twice each day and using a fluoride mouth rinse will keep your gums and enamel healthy for as long as possible. You should only brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush and avoid abrasive products such as whitening toothpaste.

Talk to Your Dentist About Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a particularly common problem among the elderly. While many people think dry mouth is simply a consequence of getting older, it can usually be attributed to many medications that elderly patients take that cause dry mouth as a side effect. Many people look for a remedy for dry mouth due to the discomfort it causes, but it can also pose a health risk.

Adequate saliva production provides many benefits for the health of your mouth. Saliva is responsible for rinsing food particles and bacteria off of your teeth and gums and reducing the occurrence of infections and mouth sores. If dry mouth has become a continuous problem, talk to your dentist so they can recommend treatment and possible medication alternatives.

Have Dental Work Inspected Regularly

While many advances have been made in the effectiveness and longevity of dental restorations, no filling or crown will last forever. The average dental filling will last around 10 years, while crowns may last five to 15 years, according to WebMD. As you age, it is a good idea to have your dental work inspected regularly so that you can have your crowns or fillings replaced before complications arise.

The cement that is used to hold fillings and crowns in place is more susceptible to damage from aging than the dental prosthetic itself. This can cause a crown or filling to fall out, and bacteria can hide in small cracks in the cement. Your teeth and gums will naturally recede around the edges of the crown or filling, so your dentist should watch for decay in these sensitive areas.

Know the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer can occur at any age, oral cancer rates increase after age 50 and peak between the ages of 60 and 70. The causes of oral cancer are not fully understood, but healthy lifestyle choices such as stopping the use of alcohol and tobacco products can reduce your risk. Even with low risk, you should still receive regular cancer screenings from your doctor and dentist.

Oral cancer is often detected during a routine dental visit, but you should still be aware of the symptoms so you can bring your concerns to your dentist. Sores, lumps, and discolored patches on the mouth or lips are the most common symptoms. Pain, numbness, and bleeding in the mouth are other warning signs.

Protecting your oral health as you get older is not difficult if you maintain good dental hygiene and are aware of the complications that can arise with age. Visit us at Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for professional dental care that can keep your mouth healthy for a lifetime!

Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and reduce the risk of ailments like cavities and gum disease. The idea of tooth brushing is pretty simple at its core, but actually, many patients do have a few lingering questions about this care. The following are some of the most common questions asked.

1. What Is the Best Toothpaste?

There is no single toothpaste that works best for everyone, and many great toothpastes on the market do a good job of cleaning your teeth and preventing decay. Don't worry too much about the brand, and instead, look for the ADA seal.

The ADA seal indicates that the American Dental Association has approved the toothpaste as being safe, effective, and free from sugar and other flavoring agents that might contribute to tooth decay. It also indicates that the toothpaste contains fluoride, which is an essential ingredient for strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities.

If you have sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity. Your dentist can prescribe a stronger one if the over-the-counter options are not helping enough. If you want whiter teeth, a whitening toothpaste that caries the ADA seal may help gently whiten your teeth. These toothpastes generally contain mild abrasives, so they're better at scrubbing stains from the surface of your teeth.

2. Should You Brush Before or After Breakfast?

Although instinct may tell you that you should brush your teeth immediately after eating, you're actually better off brushing as soon as you wake up — and then eating breakfast. If you brush too soon after eating anything acidic or sugary, the abrasive action of brushing may actually do more damage to your tooth enamel.

By brushing immediately upon waking, you're removing bacteria and acids that accumulated on your teeth overnight. After you eat, rinse your mouth well with water or mouthwash to remove food particles and sugar.

3. How Long Do You Need to Brush?

Many people rush through brushing their teeth, and as a result, they miss spots and leave plaque in some areas. When you rush, you're also more likely to brush too hard, which can cause enamel damage and tooth sensitivity.

Brushing for two minutes twice per day is sufficient, but if you can manage to spend three minutes brushing your teeth, that's even better. Focus on spending at least 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth so you can be sure all of your teeth get equal attention. Setting a timer to buzz every 30 seconds, reminding you to move onto the next quadrant, can help you develop better brushing habits if you tend to rush.

If you tend to apply too much pressure when brushing, another tip is to brush with your nondominant hand. You'll automatically brush more gently.

4. Why Do Your Teeth Hurt After Brushing?

Sometimes patients avoid brushing their teeth because of pain experienced after brushing. Your teeth should not hurt after brushing. This is a sign that something is wrong — either with your teeth, your gums, or your brushing technique.

If your teeth are sensitive after brushing, this could indicate tooth decay, weak enamel, or gum disease. If your gums are sore, this is also an indicator of gum disease, which is an infection of the gum tissue.

Have your dentist take a look at your teeth and gums to see what is amiss. If everything looks normal, you are probably just using too stiff of a toothbrush. Switch to a soft-bristled brush, and be gentler when brushing; the pain should subside.

Hopefully you now know a little more about brushing your teeth. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a professional cleaning appointment, contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC.


Is your child about to lose their first tooth? If your child is in kindergarten or early elementary school, chances are a few of their baby teeth are loose and ready to fall out. Take a look at the top questions that parents often have about childhood tooth loss.

Which Teeth Fall Out First?

Like every other physical milestone your child goes through, tooth loss also happens in a regular pattern. For most children, the front bottom teeth are the first to go. The top front teeth typically follow behind closely.

Not only will your child lose their teeth in a regular pattern, but the new ones will typically erupt in the same way. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the permanent lower central incisors (bottom front) break through the gums around six to seven years of age and the top incisors come in from seven to eight years.

Should a Child Pull a Loose Tooth Out?

Your child's wiggly tooth looks like it's about to fall out. Should you grab it, twist, or pull? Before you pull:

  • Test the tooth. According to the ADA, you can gently squeeze a tooth that's about to fall out (place a tissue around the tooth first) — if it bothers your child. Never attempt to pull a tooth that isn't ready to fall out or causes your child pain.
  • Talk to the dentist. If you're in doubt, consult the professional first. The dentist can help you to determine what the next step is or provide information about your child's individual dental needs.
  • Put the string away. Never tie a string around your child's tooth and pull. The same goes for any other potentially traumatic or painful method.
  • Wash your hands. Even if you use a tissue wrapped around the tooth to pull it out, you still need clean hands too. This reduces the risk of infection.

If your child is apprehensive or anxious about their loose tooth, don't attempt to remove it yourself — even if the tooth is about to fall out. 

What Happens If the Gums Bleed?

Whether your child's tooth falls out naturally or they wiggle it out themselves, you may notice some blood around the gums. A small amount of bleeding is normal. If your child's gums gush, the bleeding persists, or they have unexplained pain, contact the dentist as soon as possible.

Comfort your child, and use a clean piece of gauze or towel to stop the flow from their gums. Ask your child to bite down on the gauze or towel gently until the bleeding stops.

What Happens If the Child Swallows the Tooth?

Whether the tooth fell out mid-meal or your child just couldn't catch it in time, some kids accidentally swallow their own baby teeth. In most cases, this won't cause a serious problem. Again, if in doubt, contact the dentist immediately.

How Much Money Should the Tooth Fairy Leave?

This is often the most important question for your child. The answer depends on your beliefs, values, and financial situation.

While the going Tooth Fairy rate was probably close to a quarter when you were young, your child likely expects more. Many parents choose to leave more money for the first lost tooth or if the lost tooth has a special circumstance.

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll, in 2018 the average payout was $3.70 per tooth. Even though this is the national average, you can choose another amount or to give something else entirely. The Tooth Fairy can leave behind a gift or even a sweet note.

Does your child need a check-up or cleaning? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information.

While most people know that poor oral hygiene can cause gingivitis and cavities, many are unaware that systemic diseases can also have an effect on the oral cavity.

While oral manifestations of chronic illness or systemic diseases typically occur with poorly managed or long-standing illnesses, they can develop early on in the progression of diseases and may also occur when illnesses are well-managed. Here are some systemic diseases that can affect your mouth and what you can do about them.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can cause dry eyes and a dry mouth, as well as painful and swollen salivary glands. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of Sjogren's syndrome are not fully understood; however, an infection may trigger this autoimmune disorder.

Sjogren's syndrome is more common in women, but it can also occur in men. When your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to wash away infection-causing oral bacteria, you may be at a higher risk for gum disease and cavities.

In addition, Sjogren's syndrome can also raise your risk for oral yeast or fungal infections such as candida, or thrush, which can cause white patches to develop inside your mouth. Oral fungal infections can also cause burning sensations inside your mouth, difficulty swallowing, and a bad taste inside your mouth.

Your dentist can prescribe an oral antifungal medication to treat your thrush infection, which should resolve in a couple weeks or so. If you have Sjogren's syndrome, work with both your primary physician and your dentist. When your autoimmune disorder is well-managed by your physician, you may be less likely to develop oral problems related to dry mouth or thrush infections.


Diabetes is another systemic medical condition that can cause oral problems. It can raise your risk for periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which can cause excessive plaque buildup on your teeth, bleeding and inflamed gums, pain when eating, gum recession, and tooth loss.

If you don’t manage your diabetes well, your risk for gum disease may be especially high. If you have periodontal disease as a result of high blood glucose levels, maintain a strict regimen of brushing and flossing and see your dentist on a regular basis for routine examinations and professional cleanings.

These interventions will help heal your gum tissue and reduce your risk for oral infections, however, you will still need to get your blood sugar levels under control by taking your prescribed medication, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress levels, and getting enough exercise.

Acid Reflux Disease

Acid Reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can cause heartburn, a dry cough, frequent throat clearing, feeling as though acid is rising up in your throat, and a bad taste inside your mouth. If you have acid reflux disease, you may be at risk for acid erosion, especially of your back molars.

Stomach acid is very irritating and can dissolve or weaken your tooth enamel, which may raise your risk for cavities. When your enamel thins as a result of acid erosion, bacteria can get inside your tooth, causing an infection or cavity.

After a reflux episode, rinse your mouth out with water to help dilute the acid so that it is less likely to cause enamel erosion. Also, if you have acid reflux, visit your dentist regularly so that he or she can closely monitor the condition of your dental enamel.

Management of acid reflux disease includes avoiding your trigger foods, not smoking, sleeping with the head of your bed elevated, taking antacids or acid blocking medications, and losing excess weight.

To learn more about how systemic diseases such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and acid reflux can affect your oral health, today.

If you have a cavity that is too large to be corrected with a filling, you may be a good candidate for a crown. During a crown procedure, your dentist will shape your tooth with burs and then place a prosthetic over the remaining enamel. This restores its appearance, function, and occlusal anatomy.
Your dentist will also need to take an impression of the prepared tooth. This impression will be sent to a dental lab, where the negative space will be filled with gypsum to create a model of your tooth. Technicians at the dental lab will fabricate your crown from this model, so it must be extremely precise.
You may think there's not a lot that you can do to help the dentist capture this impression, but here are three tips to keep in mind.

1. Make Sure You Schedule Ample Time for Your Appointment

Although your dentist may only need about fifteen to twenty minutes to prepare your tooth, there are other aspects of the crown procedure, such as:
* Applying anesthetic
* Taking x-rays
* Cleaning out any remaining decay or old fillings
* Creating and fitting a temporary crown
Dentists and their assistants try to move as quickly as possible, but sometimes the impression material distorts, so they may need to take another one. Some dentists may also prefer to take more than one impression so that the laboratory technicians can choose the best version to work from.
Ultimately, it's important to schedule a good block of time so that your dental team can get the best impression possible.

2. Make Sure Your Dentist Is Up to Date on Your Medications and Health Conditions

In order to capture the margin — a ledge-like ring around the prepared tooth — your dentist will need to use a retraction cord. Retraction cords gently push gum tissue away from the edges of your tooth, so that the impression material can capture as much information of the tooth as possible.
However, some retraction cords are soaked in hemodent, a liquid that helps to restrict bleeding. This kind of drug is known as a vasoconstrictor and narrows blood vessels, so if you have any health conditions or take any medications, it's important to let your doctor know so they can decide if you have a contraindication or not.
If you have a medical issue, the team can use a retraction cord that isn't presoaked so they can still get a good impression and keep you safe.

3. Ask about Practice Bites if You're Sore or Numb

Dentists use local anesthetics, like lidocaine, so that you don't experience any discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist may also place a bite-block, or a wedge-shaped tool for you to rest your teeth on if you have trouble keeping your mouth open.
However, there is a hidden downside to these elements. When you bite down in the impression tray, the crown preparation may be accurate, but your bite may be inaccurate due to numbness and muscle soreness.
Believe it or not, how your upper and lower jaws come together is important for crown fabrication. When a dental lab designs a crown, they need to know the height and contours of cusps and fossa so that when a patient bites down, he or she doesn't place undue pressure in one area or another.
Dental technicians often work with less than one millimeter of clearance, so again, these bite impressions, or registrations, need to be accurate. Before the dentist places the impression material in your mouth, ask him or her if you can take a breather to massage your cheeks. And be sure to do some practice bites since the anesthetic may be making your favor one side or another when biting.
For more information about crown procedures, we at the Airport Road Dental Associates can help you out. Contact ( Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today for more details!

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