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Is it Possible to Have Too Much Sugar?

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) distilled 8,000 studies and research papers and found strong evidence that overconsumption of added sugar contributes to three major chronic illnesses: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver disease.

Right now, the reality is that our consumption of sugar is out of whack, and until we bring things back into balance, we need to focus on helping people understand what the consequences are to having the average American...consume too much added sugar." -Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy at UCSF

According to the research, the average person in America consumes the equivalent of 19.5 teaspoons a day in added sugars, but there are no federal guidelines recommending a limit. That means it's up to you and your family to self-regulate your own sugar intake.

The research team at UCSF has created a website called SugarScience that contains information such as the following facts about sugar:

4 Types of Sugar
4 Types of Sugar
  • 74% of packaged foods contains added sugar.
  • Fructose sugar can damage your liver similar to how alcohol can
  • One 12-ounce can of soda a day can increase your risk of dying of heart disease by one-third

And those facts don't even include the increased risks of cavities from sugar. Sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks are some of the worst offenders.

If you think you already have cavities and are in the Indianapolis area, call Dr. Reese for a consultation. You may need a filling, but only a trained dentist can make this diagnosis.

Does Cod Liver Oil Help Remineralize Teeth?

You may have heard people sharing stories online about how cod liver oil has helped them to remineralize their teeth or in some cases, heal cavities. I decided to look into the science behind this phenomenon and this is what I found out.

Limitations of Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel has no living cells, which means the body has no way of repairing it when it is chipped or cracked. But that's not the end of the story because saliva containing calcium helps to remineralize teeth and enamel is only one part of the tooth. The interior parts of the tooth (dentin, cementum, and pulp) all do contain living cells. Cod liver oil nutrients affect both the saliva that can remineralize teeth and the living bone tissues under the enamel. It cannot repair a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth.

Cod Liver Oil Nutrients

Like anything, cod liver oil is a sum of it's parts and it's these parts that people are claiming to remineralize teeth. Cod liver oil contains DHA, EPA, and Vitamin A, but there are two other nutrients that (along with calcium) the body can use to rebuild bone in the body: Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.

What Can Remineralize Teeth?

Remineralization of the tooth occurs from nutrients in the saliva, but saliva is unable to penetrate through plaque. This is why both good nutrition and good oral hygiene is required to prevent tooth decay.

Holistic Nutrients

No nutrient acts alone in the body. Calcium needs Vitamin D to be absorbed into the body and it needs Vitamin K2 to decide where to go in the body. Together, calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K2 work together to rebuild bones in the body.

What is Vitamin K2?

Vitamin K2 is a set of compounds of Vitamin K, but as it relates to dentistry, much of the research you'll see comes from a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The book was written by Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and dental researcher in the 1930’s who collected food samples from groups of people with low tooth decay and found that their diets contained at least four times the quantity of minerals and water-soluble vitamins as normal Americans. While high amounts of K2 in the diet has not been proven to increase bone density, low amounts of K2 has been found to increase the fragility of bones.

Whole Body Dentistry

Our bodies are truly remarkable in their abilities to self-heal. The way saliva helps remineralize teeth to combat the acids from foods is truly amazing. But what we eat and how we take care of our teeth also matters. We must use our mind in conjunction with our body to work together as one whole body.


Toothaches - what are they? Nobody likes them: they hurt, they may worry you, and they don't always go away on their own. But what is a toothache and what do I do about it? A toothache is a pain on or around the tooth that could be caused by a variety of different reasons:

  • a cavity
  • gum disease
  • a cracked tooth
  • an exposed root
  • jaw pain

Indianapolis Toothache

In some cases, the pain is not actually in your tooth, but in your sinuses instead, but if it is one of your lower teeth, that's unlikely. Let's be clear that we are talking about toothaches and not sensitive teeth or some emergency like a broken tooth or other accident.

What can you do about a toothache? And how do you know whether or not it's bad enough to visit the dentist? According to WebMD, see a dentist as soon as possible if any of the following conditions exist:

  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
  • Your toothache is severe
  • You have a fever, earache, or pain upon opening your mouth wide

A toothache could be a sign of an infection in the mouth that could spread to the rest of your body, causing serious health issues. It's best to get it checked out by a dentist who can do an x-ray and other tests to check for infections.

Toothache Treatments

Treatments for toothaches depend on the cause of the toothache so let's go through each one:

Preventing Toothaches

Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay so practicing proper oral hygiene (ie. brushing, flossing, and regularly seeing the dentist) will go a long way in preventing toothaches. Some people are prone to cavities, but by limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you eat usually help prevent cavities and their associated toothaches. Exposed roots can happen from heavy brushing and jaw pain could be from many different issues.

Toothache in Indianapolis

Dr. Reese is an Indianapolis dentist that understands how bad toothaches can hurt. He's helped people just like you get out of the pain and discomfort that a cavity, cracked tooth, or jaw pain can cause by offering biocompatible fillings, root canals, crowns, and TMJ treatment right here in Indianapolis. If you're looking for a dentist who is holistically-minded like you, give Dr. Reese a call at 317-882-0228 to setup a consultation.

Are Some People Prone to Cavities?

Many people have a question popping now and then in their minds: "Are some people prone to cavities?" Cavities are the different type of holes in the teeth. In the dental terms, a film of bacteria develops on the surface of the teeth and ferments the food particles. These organisms secrete an acid, which demineralizes and destructs the tooth’s surface, thus leading to the formation of cavities. It is also called as caries in the dental terms. It can occur only on the exposed parts of the teeth in the oral cavity and not in the ones present within the bone.

Are Some People Prone to Cavities

There four factors which lead to the formation of caries in the mouth and two other factors modify the caries occurrence and development:

  1. The bacterial organisms which are most responsible for the creation of the acidic layer on the teeth are Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli. These organisms are actually present in the mouth without harming the normal mechanism of the mouth. But once they find food deposition in between the teeth or in the grooves of the teeth, these organisms attack the teeth. They start the fermentation of the food particles, thus leading to the formation of cavities or dental caries. This can be symbolized by pain in the particular affected tooth, discomfort and difficulty in eating.
  2. A susceptible tooth is more prone to develop dental cavities. If you are having deep developmental grooves in your teeth, deposition of food particles becomes very easy. Here, the bacterial organisms can easily ferment the particles and lead to the formation of lactic acid. So one should take care that after having meals, especially at night proper brushing should be done. Apart from this, brushing teeth twice everyday becomes mandatory. This will help you to prevent attracting conditions which can cause cavities in your mouth.
  3. Carbohydrates, which have a fermentable property like glucose, fructose and most importantly sucrose, make the teeth vulnerable to cavities. The process of fermentation will deteriorate the mineral content of the teeth. This demineralizes the teeth, making it more prone to cavities. To cease the action of the acid via the bacterial organisms it’s essential to rinse mouth with mouthwash i.e. chlorhexidine. Saliva can also interfere in the process of fermentation.
  4. Time plays a crucial role in the occurrence and development of dental cavities. If the fermentable food stuffs are present in the mouth for a long time, then the chances of developing cavities are quite faster. But if precautions are taken then the time taken to develop cavities will be quite long.
  5. The exposure of teeth to environments which can create acid attack can be a big reason for cavities to occur.
  6. Reduced salivary flow in the mouth due to improper functioning of the salivary glands can cause the development of the cavities. Dry mouth in Diabetes as well as on consumption of medicines like antidepressants and antihistamines are one of the common reasons for the occurrence of cavities.

How Diet Affects Cavities

What you eat has a direct effect on how cavities develop on your teeth. What you eat causes cavities - from the acid that weakens and destroys teeth enamel to the nutrition that is needed bacteria to cause further damage and form cavities - everything is directly dependent on your diet. Of course, proper dental hygiene plays a big role too but recent studies have shown how diet affects cavities more than how often you are brushing your teeth or not. How Diet Affects Cavities

How Diet Affects Cavities

Here are some examples how diet affects cavities and how what you eat can cause (or prevent) cavity formation.

  1. The nutrition needed by bacteria that cause cavities comes from your diet. There are foods that are more cavity-forming than others (more acidic on teeth than others).
  2. The longer the food or drink stays in the mouth clinging to the teeth, the more likely it can come in contact with plaque bacteria that produce the acid that causes cavities.
  3. If you often snack or drink sodas, the acid has more time to attack your teeth.

And you might be surprised that both under and overeating can cause cavities!

Your gums, teeth, chewing (mastication) muscles are all living tissues, and they have the same nutritional requirements as any other living tissue in the body. When they aren't fed with nutritious food, oral health may be compromised and nutrient-deficiency diseases, such as scurvy can develop. In contrast, when food is freely available, as in many first world countries, oral health may be compromised by continuous intake of (unhealthy) food which can result to diabetes and obesity.

It is therefore correct to conclude that one's diet not only affects cavities, but also is an important factor in the development of periodontal disease (gum disease).

Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

Learning how diet affects your oral health — long-term and short-term — is the first step towards establishing healthy eating habits.

How Diet Affects CavitiesWhat To Eat

To help people understand these guidelines, the USDA has replaced the old Food Guide Pyramid with a new, interactive tool called MyPyramid. The new tool is actually many different pyramids customized for a person depending on age, gender and physical activity.

Your diet, like the pyramid, should have a strong base of grains; at least 2½ cups of vegetables a day; at least 2 cups of fruits a day; at least 3 cups of calcium-containing milk, yogurt and cheese; and proteins such as meats, beans, eggs and nuts. Eat fats and sweets sparingly.

How Often to Eat If you want to prevent cavities, how often you eat can be just as important as what you eat. That's because food affects your teeth and mouth long after you swallow. Studies have shown that those who eat sweets as snacks between meals have higher incidences of decay than those who eat the same amount of sweets with their meals.

Preventive Dental Care is Very Important

Nutritional counseling is becoming an increasingly important part in preventive dental care. Adequate nutrition, or the lack of it, plays a big part in the prevention and occurrence of disease. And it all starts in our mouths! This is why during dental checkups, Dr. Reese may often ask about your eating habits.. You should visit your dentist twice a year to have your teeth cleaned as there are teeth that are more prone to cavities even if you brush your teeth regularly and watch what you eat.

Indianapolis Dentistry is located just north of Greenwood, Indiana, 5 minutes south of I-465 on US 31 between I-65 and Highway 37. To make an appointment or to call for directions, please call 317-882-0228.

How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity? Warning Signs to Look For

Cavities are the most common dental problem of everyone, regardless of ageUnderstanding how cavities develop so one can prevent it from happening is better than treating it. Fortunately, when detected early, cavities are easily repaired with no significant damage done to the tooth. However, when treatment is delayed, costly and painful procedures are needed. How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity

How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?

Most of the times we only notice a cavity has formed when there is a hole in our tooth already. This means that the cavity has already progressed. There are symptoms that might alert you that a cavity is forming in your tooth:

  • Pain, especially when it is concentrated on a particular tooth, is a symptom that a cavity might be forming. You might experience pain while chewing or when consuming cold or hot foods. Eating sweets can make your tooth extra sensitive when a cavity has formed.
  • Development of chips or cracks on the tooth. When decay occurs, it destroys the underlying tooth foundation, which causes tooth to become brittle and break.
  • Appearance of dark areas on teeth or darkening of an entire tooth.
  • Occurrence of white spots or chalky areas on the tooth, which is an early warning sign that minerals are being lost.

How is a Cavity Treated?

Treating a cavity depends mainly on its progression. If the cavity is small and has not affected the structure of the tooth, a filling removes it and prevents additional damage. During a filling, a dentist removes the damaged portion of the tooth and fills it in with a dense filling material.

Molars or teeth situated at the back of our mouths are prone to cavities because these aren’t easily reached when you brush your teeth. Sealants may be recommended to help protect them.

Cavities that are left untreated continue to worsen over time. Severe cavities cause the inner pulp of the tooth to die and may cause abscess formation and infection to occur. Don’t let this happen! Have a dental checkup regularly.

We Value Preventive Dental Care

Preventive dental care includes health promotion and health education of eating choices, dental hygiene and oral care.

At Indianapolis Dentistry we care so much about preventative care that we have shaped our 5-year warranty program around keeping regular cleaning appointments. As long as you continue to keep your oral hygiene visits every 6-months you can be eligible for free replacement or repair of Dr. Reese’s dental work within the previous 5-years. And if you’ve already had dental treatment, existing patients can be grandfathered into this program.

Our office also offers preventative dental products that you can buy at our office on the south side of Indianapolis, just north of Greenwood on US 31! Call the office today to for a caries assessment evaluation – 317-882-0228!

Tooth Decay - Is There a Cure?

At Indianapolis Dentistry, we are firm believers in holistic dentistry, viewing dental and oral health in conjunction with overall health and treating the root causes of dental problems aside from treating problems symptomatically. Tooth decay is the most common dental problem most patients, regardless of age, face and we focus on preventive dental care and health promotion to ensure that cavities don’t develop. According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay develops because:

"[Tooth decay] occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, pop, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay."

Inasmuch as we educate patients on the proper dental hygiene of regular, proper brushing and flossing, diet and proper nutrition play important roles whether or not tooth decay develops.

What actually causes tooth decay

The foods we eat give us cavities. The diet many people eat daily is what is causing tooth decay. Remember the phrase, “You are what you eat”? The same thing happens with your teeth. Your teeth reflect what you eat!

Tooth decay boiled down to three factors, according to a research made by Dr. Weston Price:

• Not enough minerals in the diet.

• Not enough fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in the diet.

• Nutrients not being readily bioavailable, and your intestinal system not properly absorbing them. The presence of phytic acid largely influences this factor.

Managing Tooth Decay using Natural Methods

  • Removing sugar in one’s diet
  • Removing Phytic Acid-- Phytic acid not only doesn’t allow you to absorb in minerals in your food, it also leaches minerals out of your body, bones and teeth!
  • NO processed food, packaged food or fast food.
  • Raw Dairy and Nutrient Rich Foods - Remember, if you’re going to beat tooth decay, you need to increase your fat soluble vitamin intake and mineral intake.
  • Mineralizing toothpaste
  • Oil Pullingit is even recommended by dentists!

Tooth Decay – Is There a Cure?

There are studies that point that tooth decay is reversible with proper nutrition and avoidance of foods that enhance an acidic environment conducive for decay to develop. These have not been verified by medical or dental associations.

Tooth decay can easily be prevented with proper diet and nutrition, especially when it comes to children. Decay at its early stages might even be reversible. However, choosing to eat properly and avoid decay-forming foods isn’t a one-time deal but a lifestyle change. Once decay forms into cavities and become larger or deeper, it is not reversible and will require dental treatments such as fillings.

Prevention is Better Than the Cure

Dr. Reese knows the importance the role of dental health promotion and prevention, practicing integrative dentistry through fluoride-free cleanings and other services designed to help his patients keep their teeth cavity-free for many years to come. Together with his dental services, the clinic offers dental products that help keep your teeth, mouth and gums healthy and prevent diseases. Call 317-882-0228 to order by phone and have it shipped. You can also schedule an appointment today!


Dry Mouth – Understanding Its Causes and Risks

Have you suffered from dry mouth?

Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is normal. We have all experienced the sticky, dry feeling in our mouths and throats at some time. We usually experience it when we are nervous, upset, under stress or dehydrated. It is normal. However, if you consistently suffer from dry mouth, you are setting up your mouth’s environment for promoting tooth decay.

Saliva plays an important role in reducing cavities. A consistently dry mouth is not only uncomfortable and unpleasant but also probably more serious than you think. Take note that dry mouth is NOT a normal part of aging. So if you suffer from it, consult with your dentist or physician. It maybe a sign of a more serious problem.

Dry Mouth

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth occurs when there is an insufficient flow of saliva. Your major salivary glands are located in two places:

  1. inside the checks by the back top molars and
  2. in the floor of the mouth, with about six hundred tiny glands scattered throughout your mouth.

Between two and four pints of saliva are secreted every day, saliva is the key for protecting your teeth from decay. Smoking, taking medications, not drinking enough water and alcohol consumption are common causes of dry mouth. A dry mouth is not a disease, but maybe a symptom of an underlying disease.

Why is Saliva Important?

  • Saliva lubricates your mouth for chewing, eating, digestion and even speaking.
  • Saliva neutralizes and buffers acids caused by bacteria and food (soda, sugar) to protect the enamel of the tooth and prevent it from eroding, causing tooth decay.
  • Saliva can reverse de-mineralization with its high mineral content.

Healthy saliva actually re-mineralizes the outer layers of tooth enamel, but the process can take 30-60 minutes. That's why it's important not to snack on sugars or drink sodas between meals or your mouth will be acidic all the time.

What Can We Do for a Dry Mouth?

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Use a humidifier at night.
  • Visit your dentist more frequently than every six months to address your increased risk of tooth decay.

Consult with Dr. Reese

If your mouth is usually dry, make an appointment with us to assess the causes of the problem. The solution may be as simple as drinking more water and using good daily oral hygiene, or it may necessitate prescription medication to promote more saliva flow. However it may be more serious with medical implications. Dr. Reese may recommend the use of HA Nano Gel to prevent dry mouth, erosion and decay. This product is also fluoride-free! Make sure to ask whether this product is right for you at your next appointment with Indianapolis Dentistry!

Drop us a call at 317-882-0228 or email today!

How to Prevent Cavities: Understanding How Cavities Develop

One of the questions patients usually ask is, “Why do I get so many cavities?” followed up with a question “How do I prevent it?” For you to know how to prevent cavities, you must first understand how cavities develop.

What is dental cavity?

You probably know that a dental cavity is a hole in a tooth. But did you know that a cavity is the result of the tooth decay process that happens over time?

Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and/or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.

How does a cavity develop?

According to the NIH, repeated exposures to acid -- for example, if you eat or drink often, especially foods or drinks containing sugar and starches – otherwise known as acid attacks, cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. An early sign of decay maybe a white spot on your teeth. This means that this spot has lost minerals.

Tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva or other sources such as red meat. This is why there are dentists who suggest you space out eating acidic foods (coffee, soda, sweets) every four hours, to help your teeth recover from an acid attack.

But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. A cavity is permanent damage that a dentist has to repair with a filling.

How to Prevent Cavities

1. Brush your teeth regularly and properly.

You need to brush your teeth twice a day and for at least two minutes each brushing. Children need guidance when they brush their teeth.

2. Floss daily.

Food debris gets caught in between our teeth when we eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities. Flossing everyday is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.

3. Eat a balanced diet.

Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health. Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugary drinks will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.

4. Visit your dentist regularly.

Many cavities can only be detected by a dentist or a dental X-ray. Visiting your dentist for regular check ups and cleanings are a key factor in preventing cavities and staying on top of good oral hygiene.

5. Have Sealants Placed

Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth of children. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Teeth at the back of our mouth, particularly molars, would benefit from sealants as they are usually not reached by our toothbrushes when we brush. There are also teeth that have deep ridges that toothbrushes have a hard time cleaning properly.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

At Indianapolis Dentistry we care so much about preventative care that we have shaped our 5-year warranty program around keeping regular cleaning appointments. As long as you continue to keep your oral hygiene visits every 6-months you can be eligible for free replacement or repair of Dr. Reese’s dental work within the previous 5-years. And if you’ve already had dental treatment, existing patients can be grandfathered into this program.

Cut the Sugar, Cut the Cavities: Harmful Effect of Sugar on Teeth

It’s time to cut the sugar and not just the calories. There is new evidence of the harmful effect of sugar on teeth. A study by Newcastle University researchers into the effects of sugars on our oral health recommends cutting down on the sweet additive as part of a global initiative to reduce tooth decay.

The study, commissioned by the World Health Organization, was published in the Journal of Dental Research and reflected the finding that when less than 10% of total calories in the diet is made up of free sugars there are much lower levels of tooth decay.

Free sugars are the sugars added to foods by manufacturers, cooks, or consumers and those that are naturally present in fruits we eat.Cut the Sugar, Cut the Cavities: Harmful Effect of Sugar on Teeth

Cut the Sugars to Keep Teeth for Life

Since 1990 the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that intake of "free sugars" should be less than 10% of total energy (calorie) intake. The research findings show that halving this threshold for sugars to less than 5% of calories -- around five teaspoons a day -- would bring further benefits, minimizing the risk of dental cavities throughout life. They claim halving the 10-teaspoon level would allow people to keep their teeth for life.

Be Mindful of the Sugar

Paula Moynihan, Professor of Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University said:

“Part of the problem is that sugary foods and drinks are now staples in many people’s diet in industrialized countries, whereas once they were an occasional treat for a birthday or Christmas. We need to reverse this trend.

“People now expect to keep their teeth into old age and given that the effects of sugars on our teeth are lifelong then limiting sugars to less than 5 per cent of the calories we eat would minimize the risk of dental caries throughout life.” (source)

**Researchers looked at 55 dental health studies dating back to the 1950s.

Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria that causes plaque can use sugar as a form of energy. They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue that they use to stick themselves to the tooth surface. This makes it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva. Each time you eat a snack containing sugar or starch (carbohydrates), the resulting acid attack on your teeth can last up to 20 minutes, and a lot of snacks and drinks contain sugar.

According to Healthy Teeth, here are some of the sugar content equivalent of some foods we usually eat: Chocolate Cake: 4 oz piece —10 tsp. of sugar Chocolate Eclaire: 1 — 7 tsp. of sugar Chocolate mints: 1 piece — 23 tsp. of sugar Cream puff (iced): 1 — 25 tsp. of sugar Donut: 1 — Up to 34 tsp. of sugar Fruitopia fruit drink: 20 oz size — Up to 17 tsp. of sugar Fudge: 1 oz square — 4.5 tsp. of sugar Hard candy: 4 oz piece — 20 tsp. of sugar Peanut brittle: 1 oz — 3.5 tsp. of sugar Raisins: Half-cup — 4 tsp. of sugar Sherbet: 1 scoop — 9 tsp. of sugar Slice of berry Pie: 1 slice — 10 tsp. of sugar "Slush" frozen drink: 32 oz size — 28 tsp. of sugar Soda pop: 12 oz size — Up to 10 tsp. of sugar Sunkist Orange Soda: 12 oz size — 13 tsp. of sugar

What You Can Do

Oral hygiene needs to be consistently done for it to be effective. Diet plays a big role in preventing tooth decay too.

Prevention is Better Than the Cure

Dr. Reese knows the importance the role of dental health promotion and prevention, practicing integrative dentistry through fluoride-free cleanings and other services designed to help his patients keep their teeth cavity-free for many years to come. Together with his dental services, the clinic offers dental products that help keep your teeth, mouth and gums healthy and prevent diseases. Call 317-882-0228 to order by phone and have it shipped. You can also schedule an appointment today!

The Effect of Breastfeeding on Early Childhood Cavities

There has been some controversy about the effect of breastfeeding on early childhood cavities. Most have the belief that breastfeeding, particularly at night, is just like letting a baby sleep with a milk bottle. The pediatric and dental associations have divided opinions on this matter.

Different Opinions on Effect of Breastfeeding on Early Childhood Cavities

The Canadian Dental Association supports breastfeeding as it provides nutritional benefits to the infant and is recognized as an effective preventive health measures. In the absence of daily oral hygiene care, breastfeeding is one of the many risk factors that may contribute to the development of dental caries. Therefore, it is vital that mouth cleaning or tooth brushing be part of the daily routine for all infants, including those who are breastfed. CDA Board of Directors - Approved June 2013 Source: CDA Board of Directors, Does Breastfeeding Increase Risk of Early Childhood Caries, JCDA, June 2013, Vol 79, No 5, pg 280-281.

“Breastfeeding ensures the best possible health as well as the best development and psychosocial outcomes for the infant.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)

Infants who are strictly breastfed are more resistant to tooth decay. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)

The potential for early childhood caries exists for the breastfed child and is related to the extended and repetitive feeding times with prolonged exposure of teeth to fermentable carbohydrate without appropriate oral hygiene measures. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)

"Ad libitum nocturnal breastfeeding should be avoided after the first primary tooth begins to erupt. If the infant falls asleep while feeding, the teeth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed." Ad libitum means at will, or on cue. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)

If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give the child a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. American Dental Association

The AAPD recognizes the need for further scientific research regarding the effects of breastfeeding and the consumption of human milk on dentofacial growth and oral health. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)


The Link Between Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Cavities

The Effect of Breastfeeding on Early Childhood Cavities

It is easy to blame breastfeeding as a cause of early childhood cavities but a link has not been made between the two. According to the Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

These data provide no evidence to suggest that breastfeeding or its duration are independent risk factors for early childhood caries, severe early childhood caries, or decayed and filled surfaces on primary teeth.

Establishing the Link: Did the Generations Before Formula was Made Suffer from Early Childhood Cavities?

Before formula was invented, every baby was breastfed. Studies of dental records dating from historic times show very little proof that tooth decay existed, even though it is assumed that babies went through prolonged breastfeeding even experiencing night feeding, suckling at their mothers’ breasts.

Breastfeeding is different from Bottle Feeding

Sucking on the bottle is different from sucking on the breast. When a baby sucks on a bottle, the milk is released in front of the mouth and swishes its way around the teeth. When a baby is breastfed, nipple is drawn far back into the mouth to be able to suck it properly, releasing milk into the oral cavity to the throat, stimulating the baby to swallow. Furthermore, nightfeeding on a bottle allows continuous flow of milk while milk won’t flow from the breast unless a baby actively sucks on the breast.

Dental Care for Babies: Identifying Contributors to Early Childhood Cavities

Following the dental care tips for babies endorsed by the American Dental Association together with identifying causative factors of tooth decay in babies can prevent caries to form.

Sugar intake is big causative factor. Once your baby starts feeding on solids, it is recommended that he drinks water every after meal and that you clean the insides of his mouth with a damp washcloth. Once teeth come out, brushing should be done.

Dental Health Promotion

Whether you child is breastfed or not, it is essential that you start bringing them to a dentist as early as possible. This is for a routine dental check-up, allowing your dentist to get a baseline on your baby’s primary teeth, whether they are growing correctly and even to check for tongue ties. Dr. Ted Reese is an Indianapolis dentist who does pediatric cleanings (kids get a toy and a special bag with their own toothbrush and toothpaste) to prevent cavities, frenectomies for children with tongue or lip ties, and traditional or ceramic braces for teens and pre-teens. He practices minimally-invasive dentistry to make it as pain-free as possible (there are also various sedation modalities that can be used) for your child. You can schedule an appointment by calling 317-882-0228.

How Does Age Affect Cavities?

People have a misconception that cavities largely affect children only. While it is true that cavity development can be affected by age, studies show that adults are actually more prone to cavities than children due to a number of factors.

Are you more prone to cavities in your 30s?

Today a larger number of older adults have their natural teeth than in past decades. According to a survey done by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, untreated and treated dental cavities in adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have declined since the early 1970s. We can trace this improvement to better nutrition, accessibility of dental care, and health promotion - treatment for dental problems and disease. How Does Age Affect Cavities?

This doesn’t mean that adults have less cavities than children. As we age, our teeth wear out and our gums can recede. These make our teeth more susceptible to cavities. Saliva production is decreased too because of several factors like lifestyle changes, dietary choices and even increased medicine intake. In fact, the majority of people over age 50 have tooth-root decay.

Here are some highlights on the statistics research:

  1. 94.30% of people ages 35 to 49 years old have dental cavities.
  2. 25.56% of these people have untreated cavities (no fillings).
  3. Educational attainment and income levels affect prevalence too.
  • White adults and those living in families with higher incomes and more education have had more decay.
  • Black and Hispanic adults, younger adults, and those with lower incomes and less education have more untreated decay.

What does it all mean?

By the age of 39, 86.7% of the United States population has had at least one tooth affected by decay. (source). The older people get, the more teeth that are decayed. This is even with all the advancements in the dental industry. Experts have stressed the importance of nutrition in one’s diet. Our society, especially those living between the middle and higher income class brackets, have access to poor nutritional choices like junk foods, colored drinks (sodas), sugary snacks and sweet treats. No matter how one regularly maintains a proper brushing schedule on his teeth but still consume foods that make the environment in his mouth acidic, he will still be prone to having cavities than the person who maintains and follows a proper diet.

Dental Oral Health

Preventive dental care includes health promotion and health education of eating choices. Dr. Reese will not only provide fluoride-free teeth cleanings, he will also review the integrity of your teeth and gums in order to help prevent or treat gingivitis, periodontal disease, or oral cancer. Your over-all health is important to Dr. Reese as he is an integrative dentist. He will make sure you are aware of the status of your oral health and will recommend whatever options you might need regarding your dental care. The clinic also offers preventative dental products that you can buy in their clinic. Call the office today to for a caries assessment evaluation - 317-882-0228!


Are Sports Drinks as Harmful to Kids’ Teeth As Soda?

Dentists have always taken a stand against the consumption of too many juices, flavored drinks, or soda (carbonated beverages) with kids. But today, together with the American Academy of Pediatrics, dentists are now taking a stand against sports drinks too. While most people would equate drinking sports drinks with fitness and assume that it’s a better choice than taking soda, juices and even water, the facts show something different and that our assumptions about sports drinks may need to be realigned with reality.

Are Sports Drinks as Harmful to Kids’ Teeth As Soda?

What’s in a Sports Drink?

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, electrolytes, minerals, and flavoring. They are intended to replace the water and electrolytes lost during excessive sweating during sports activities. While they are ideal for young athletes who engage in long, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary for ordinary daily consumption. Plain water is still best as sports drinks contain extra calories that young children don’t need.  The calories can just lead to potential obesity and dental problems.

Are They A Better Option Than Soda?

Like soda or carbonated beverages, sports drinks can contain high levels of sugar. Sports drinks can contain as much as two-thirds the sugar of soda drinks:

  • A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that 12 ounces of a leading brand of cola and a leading brand of energy drink each contained 42 grams of sugar, while a leading sport drink contained 21 grams of sugar.
  • According to a University of Iowa study, a leading sport drink had the greatest erosion potential on both enamel and roots of teeth when compared to leading brands of energy drinks, soda and apple juice.
  • Studies showed that enamel damage caused by sports drinks and flavored juices were three to eleven times greater than carbonated drinks.

What Do Sports Drinks Do to Our Teeth?

According to the International Association for Dental Research, consuming sports drinks often may cause softening, staining, and even erosion of the teeth.

Because of the acids and additives found in sports drinks, teeth enamel may undergo irreversible teeth erosion.  The enamel - the thin, outer layer of the teeth that maintain structure and shape and protect it from decay – can lose calcium because of the acidity present in the sports drinks.

Sugar isn't actually the only causative agent that rots teeth. It is the acid that is produced when sugar reacts with bacteria in the mouth. This is why one may be prone to tooth decay more when they drink sugary drinks all throughout the day (SEE Why Do I Get So Many Cavities?).

Why Sports Drinks Cause More Damage to the Teeth

When one consumes sports drink, they are usually thirsty and are not consuming the drink while having a meal. During a meal, saliva usually neutralizes the acidity in one’s mouth, protecting the teeth. But when one is thirsty, saliva production is decreased so your mouth environment becomes acidic.

When you drink sports drinks to quench your thirst, the amount of sugar in your drink and the acidic environment in your mouth may be greater and cause more harm than drinking soda with a meal. In addition, the chewing of food will increase your saliva flow, reducing the decay began by these sugary drinks.

Preventive dental care for children is of utmost importance because it sets the precedent on how much orthodontic work will be done in their later years. For routine dental check-ups and oral hygiene care in the Indianapolis area, contact Dr. Reese at 317-882-0228. You can also request an appointment for a consultation at their clinic located just north of Greenwood, Indiana in Indianapolis, five minutes south of I-465 on US 31 between I-65 and Highway 37.

Indianapolis New Year's Dental Resolutions

A New Year's resolution is a great opportunity that many people use to establish some health goals for each year. Unfortunately, most of these goals are too lofty and completely overlook oral health. When you consider that many Americans have some form of gum disease (such as bleeding when brushing or flossing) and don't do anything about it, you begin to understand that this is one area of oral health where action is necessary and in need of some improvement.

Establishing improved oral health goals should start with a thorough dental exam, oral cancer screening, and cleaning. Use this visit to get a refresher course on proper brushing and flossing techniques, sometimes that's all it takes to get your oral health under control.

As for going forward throughout the year, here are some basics that every member of your family should adopt:

  • brush at least twice a day with a soft brush and toothpaste
  • floss once daily
  • limit your intake of sugar, sports drinks, and sodas
  • eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • drink an adequate amount of water.

Read more about why you get cavities or ask your dental hygienist or dentist for more tips to ensure optimal oral health!

Air Abrasion Technology

For those of you who are afraid of the dentist or can't stand the sound of a dental drill, we've got a great alternative! Our dental practice offers an alternative method to remove tooth decay called air abrasion. We'd love to tell you more about it on your next visit to see if it would work for you. Air abrasion uses a process that "sandblasts" the tooth to rapidly remove surface tooth decay and enamel. A pressurized stream of microscopic, non-toxic abrasive powder removes the decay. Many patients prefer air abrasion because it is quiet. The only noise is a sound similar to a vacuum cleaner and it doesn't produce the vibration or the heat that a drill does.

For many patients, the procedure requires little or no anesthesia. Air abrasion is especially useful for small cavities, children, phobic patients, people who dislike the drill or its noise, and those who cannot have local anesthesia.

If you'd like to learn more about whether air abrasion is an alternative for you or interested in other forms of pain-free dentistry like laser or sedation dentistry, call our office today at 317-882-0228 to set up an appointment. Again, thank you for choosing us as your Indianapolis dental provider!

How to Protect Your Children

Did you know that there's a way to help prevent tooth decay that's easy and affordable? At Indianapolis Dentistry we know that your children's dental health is a high priority in your family, and we wanted to let you know about sealants, which are a fantastic weapon against cavities. A sealant is a clear or white material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. The sealant acts as a barrier that keeps out plaque and food and decreases the risk of tooth decay. Sealants are easy to apply; each tooth requires only a few minutes for application.

What's more, sealants are very cost-effective. Properly applied and maintained sealants are extremely effective in preventing pit and fissure decay. So you'll save both dollars and your children's discomfort by applying sealants rather than allowing cavities to develop.

Please call our office today at 317-882-0228 if you'd like to learn more about how sealants can help protect your children against tooth decay. We want to provide you with the very best in preventive care that Greenwood, Indiana has to offer.

What Exactly is Holistic or Whole Body Dentistry?

Holistic, biological, or whole body dentistry is a form of integrative dentistry. Here are some of the descriptions of what integrative medicine is:

  • An appreciation and understanding of how oral health affects your whole body health whether it be the spread of bacteria present in gum disease to the heart valves which creates or aggravates heart disease, or the recognition of oral conditions, filling materials, and inadequate dental conditions that affect the well being of the jaw, TM joint, or facial muscles.
  • An ever increasing awareness of how our bodies are ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made.
  • Openness to utilize holistic supplements along with allopathic or traditional medicines.
  • TMJ/Craniofacial pain remedies thru nonsurgical methods.
  • Dental dam isolation in removing mercury fillings.
  • Options to dental dams also available. Ie. isolite, Clear Vac device, Hepa filters in the operatory for removal of aerosols containing mercury during removal.
  • Latex free, nitrile gloves for a low allergenic environment Fluoride free preventative care.
  • Utilization of digital xrays for early cavity detection.
  • Laser cavity detection device for early detection of cavities before they become threatening.
  • Utilization of laser for cavity removal and gum disease treatment.
  • Treatment for Sleep apnea (with and without CPAP) to improve whole body strength and vitality, and allow the needed period of healing required for optimum living and health.

Why Do I Get So Many Cavities?

Does it seem like you’ve always gotten more than your fair share of cavities? Are you the one who always brushes and flosses diligently, but still get more cavities than anyone else in your family, office, neighborhood!?

Don’t despair, there is new technology and products that will be of benefit for you.

The dental profession has long recognized the role of sugars and bacterial plague as causative factors in getting cavities.  For the past 30 years we’ve also recognized that some people are more prone to cavities due to poorly mineralized permanent teeth and/or deep grooves in the chewing surfaces that trap food and bacteria and subsequently end up decaying.

Now a new causative factor is recognized and being addressed!

Just as salt on the roads leads to rust on your car.  Acidity in your mouth (or the pH of your saliva) has come to the forefront of playing a huge role in cavity formation.  I’ve long recognized that kids and adults who indulge in daily soft drink consumption are prone to large and fast cavity formation.  Mountain Dew is notorious, and the newer energy /pep drinks are claiming their notorious place in dental history.  While soft drinks are laden with high sugar content, the acidity(pH) levels of these drinks and their continuous exposure (daily sipping on a soft drink) combines for an extremely detrimental environment to ENAMEL!


  1. Recognize that soft drinks are much more harmful than earlier thought.   So when you indulge yourself, drink it, rinse with water to neutralize the acidity, and wash away the sugar residue.
  2. Neutralize your saliva pH!  Although that may sound difficult it isn’t. Carifree product line has a home care kit, 3 month regimen, that only requires you to use twice a day, brush and rinse, with an acidity reducing rinse, and xylitol containing tooth gel.  Easy and effective!
  3. Eliminate unnecessary sugars in your diet.  Gum chewing w/ sugar gum has to be replaced with xylitol containing gums.  The xylitol is a non sugar sweetener that also changes the microbial environment of the mouth making cavities less likely to occur.

View our preventative dental products online or call the office today to for a caries assessment evaluation! 317-882-0228