Hi, I am Dr Teresa Wade and I love children and helping all patients stay healthy by providing childrens dental care, adult’s dental care, and teaching everyone about dental health issues. Today I have been asked to explain the purpose of the good tasting pumice.
Why, when adults and children come to our dental office every 6 months, do we use fun flavored (Watermelon, Bubblegum, Mint, Chocolate, Cookie Dough, Orange-vanilla, well you name it!) pumice?
Immediately, after I gently clean away the hard calculus and the soft plaque from the teeth the dentist uses that fun flavored paste. It makes your teeth feel so smooth and wonderful, but it has the purpose to help prevent dental toothaches caused by dental cavities.
The key to dental health is keeping teeth clean. Soft plaque and hard calculus contain bacteria. Those little bugs eat the sugar and starch we share with them in our diets. Those bugs in turn make an acid which destroys our teeth and gums.
We can combat those bacteria by brushing our teeth, flossing in between your teeth, and research from the American Dental Association supports their recommendation of dental cleaning (the dental prophy) two times every year.
The prophy paste contains pumice which is actually a product of the lava from an erupted volcano. It provides the scrubbing action, much like those brushes do for our cars, in the car wash, both act by providing mechanical removal of unwanted products.
The process of twice a year prophy is necessary because immediately after your teeth are perfectly cleaned at the dental office your mouth’s bacteria go to work building a pellicle; a protein coating on the tooth’s enamel surface. The bacteria choose certain glycoproteins (sugar bound to protein) from your saliva and build this furry skin (biofilm) on your teeth. The biofilm prevents the saliva’s natural repairing actions for damaged enamel and that furry, hairlike pellicle gives bacteria a surface to hang on to.
As the process continues, different types of bacteria colonize on the teeth with each bringing a different, harmful action for your teeth and gums. The long and short of it is prevention. You knew I’d say it and we can’t help to because we love you guys….floss your teeth at least once every single day, brush your teeth after meals and especially before going to sleep (saliva decreases during sleep so you have less protection during that nap) and use a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association to assure adequate fluoride (it’s printed on the back of the box if it is approved). And of course come and see us every 6 months, at Dr Teresa Wade, DDS-Family Dentistry at 612 Hospital Drive or give us a call (432) 523-7782.
Let’s prevent dental decay together. We would love to help you.
Note: this informative article was written by Dr Teresa Wade and exclusively for the people of Andrews, and west Texas only. It may not be reproduced by other dental providers or advertisers, without the written consent of Dr Teresa Wade.