All Posts in Category: Health Basics

toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride: The Myths And The Truth

Myths about fluoride abound, but the following 15 facts may provide clarification about this essential element. If you have questions about fluoride, or other oral health topics, contact our dentist office today.

Myth: There’s enough naturally occurring fluoride in the water supply to protect teeth.
Fact: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s found in almost all water supplies, but there isn’t enough to protect against cavities. Federal regulations were recently revised to require 0.7 parts per million for adequate protection, which means that more than 72 million Americans lack sufficient fluoride in their drinking water to adequately protect their teeth from cavities.

Myth: Adding fluoride to water is the same as forcing people to take medication.
Fact: Fluoride is a mineral, not a nutrient or a medication. Fluoride is the negative ion of fluorine, which is element 9 on the periodic table of elements. Like iodine is added to salt because of the health benefits, fluoride is added to water to fortify our teeth. The U.S. courts have ruled that fluoride is not a medication. Therefore people aren’t being forced to take medication they don’t want.

Myth: Not adding fluoride to water saves money.
Fact: Fluoridating water is a very cost-effective method for improving dental health. Research has indicated that between $38 and $45 is saved on healthcare costs for each dollar invested in fluoridation.

Myth: Fluoride is in toothpaste, it doesn’t need to be in the water supply.
Fact: Research has shown that communities with fluoridated water have lower rates of dental decay than areas without fluoridation. Many of the studies were conducted in areas after the introduction of fluoridated toothpaste but before their water supply was fluoridated.

Myth: Fluoride can cause fluorosis.
Fact: Although fluorosis occurs throughout the U.S., it’s usually mild. It doesn’t adversely affect the teeth or cause pain and appears as white specks on the teeth. Recent revisions by the federal government in the levels of fluoride in the water supply should continue to supply the needed fluoride while it reduces the occurrence of fluorosis.

Myth: Fluoridating water is the best way to prevent tooth decay.
Fact: The best defense against tooth decay is good oral hygiene. Fluoridated water alone isn’t sufficient. The combination of the two, however, can provide the best defense against dental decay.

Myth: If a child swallows fluoridated toothpaste, they can develop fluorosis.
Fact: Toothpaste is meant to be spit out of the mouth. It shouldn’t be swallowed. However, if a child swallows their toothpaste occasionally, they shouldn’t develop fluorosis. They should, however, be supervised when brushing their teeth.

Myth: Fluoridation causes cancer.
Fact: Many of the leading health and medical organizations endorse fluoridated water as safe and effective with demonstrable health benefits. No correlation has been shown to link fluoridated water with an increase in cancer rates.

Myth: People should be able to choose whether they want fluoride in their drinking water.
Fact: Since fluoridation of the drinking water requires community approval, it was approved by the people in areas where the natural water supply was fluoridated. In other areas, however, fluoride was present whether it was added or not. Almost all water contains fluoride. The only question is the amount of it.

Myth: Fluoride causes arthritis.
Fact: Research has indicated that the incidence of arthritis in areas that have fluoridated water is no higher than in areas that lack additional fluoridation in their water supply. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in almost all water.

Myth: Fluoride causes allergies.
Fact: Most foods and water supplies contain fluoride. Research has shown no correlation between fluoridated water and increased allergies.

Myth: Fluoridation is bad for infants.
Fact: Many international health organizations have endorsed fluoridated water for people of all ages. It improves dental health for infants, toddlers, and adults.

Myth: Fluoridated water isn’t allowed in Europe.
Fact: European countries and Latin America fluoridate their water but they use a different method than the one used by the U.S.

Myth: Fluoridation increases the risk of autism.
Fact: Research has indicated that there’s no correlation between the use of fluoridated water and the incidence of autism.

Myth: Fluoride isn’t a natural substance.
Fact: Fluoride is the negative ion of the element fluorine, which is number 9 on the periodic table of elements.

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oral care while pregnant - 3v dental associates

How to Maintain Oral Care While Pregnant

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Maintaining good oral health is important for everyone regardless of age or life circumstances. Pregnant women, or those planning to become pregnant, are no exception. Oral health refers to healthy teeth, gums, and jawbones and plays a major role in the quality of life. According to the American Dental Association, it is important for a woman who is considering getting pregnant to schedule a dental assessment with their local dentist prior to becoming pregnant. Dentists want their patients to understand that it is important to take proper care of teeth and gums every day, but they require special attention while pregnant.

How Does Being Pregnant Affect Oral Health?

Many hormonal changes take place during a woman’s pregnancy that can have an effect on teeth and gums. The amount of harmful bacteria increases in the mouth during pregnancy. Dental plaque buildup increases causing gums to become sore and irritated. Women who suffer from morning sickness find that vomiting introduces acid into the mouth that may cause tooth enamel to erode over time. It is important to brush the teeth after each episode to rinse away this harmful acid. Brushing itself is problematic for some women because the smell and taste of toothpaste sometimes induces morning sickness. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to serious gum disease. Changes in the diet early in pregnancy and reduced attention to proper mouth care can result in the serious gum disease gingivitis. Ignoring or postponing professional teeth cleaning may aggravate periodontal disease during pregnancy. Improper brushing and flossing can lead to tooth decay that needs immediate attention.

Do I need to Tell My Dentist I Am Pregnant?

It is important to tell your dentist you are pregnant before receiving any type of dental care. Pregnancy is a medical condition that the dentist needs to know about in order to keep medical records up-to-date and accurate. Most dental procedures can be performed without issues during pregnancy, but the dentist needs to be aware of your condition before making dental decisions. Pregnancy should have very little effect on routine dental visits, but the dentist may take extra precautions when taking X-rays or prescribing medication. Your dentist should always be informed about any medical condition that might have a detrimental effect on your dental well-being.

Is it Safe to do Dental Work during Pregnancy?

Being pregnant should not be a reason to eliminate having dental work done. Preventive dental work may even be more important for an expectant mother, who must try to avoid gum diseases and other infections during pregnancy. Many pregnant women are concerned about having X-rays taken at annual exams and question their safety. The truth is that a single diagnostic X-ray does not expose a person to enough radiation to cause any adverse effects, even in a pregnant patient. According to the American College of Radiology, dental X-rays are safe for a pregnant mother when appropriate shields are in place. The risk of developing a serious gum disease is a greater threat when dental exams are put on hold during pregnancy. All preventive dental work is highly recommended and safe for most pregnant women. Most dentists advise avoiding elective dental procedures such as teeth whitening during pregnancy. In order to avoid any adverse effect on the developing baby during dental work, dentists choose to use the smallest amount of anesthesia. Certain antibiotics are considered safe to use to prevent infections in pregnant women. Penicillin and clindamycin are two of the most common medications that can be taken safely during pregnancy.

Dental Guidelines for Pregnant Patients

A normal pregnancy does not preclude routine dental work in most cases. According to the American Dental Association, preventive dental maintenance and annual exams are recommended during pregnancy. These essential dental exams can spot infections or gum diseases before they become a problem. Failing to practice good dental hygiene during pregnancy can cause damage to the teeth and contribute the onset of gum disease. Problems should be treated in a timely manner, especially advanced tooth decay. If extensive dental work is required during pregnancy, it is best to wait until the second trimester. To be completely safe, any unnecessary procedures should not be completed until after the baby is born, unless pain is causing stress for the mother and baby. Sometimes a root canal or a badly damaged tooth cannot wait and are considered emergencies.

Pregnancy & Oral Care: The Basics

  • Continue dental checkups to have teeth checked and professionally cleaned on a periodic basis. Have needed dental work done
  • Maintain a healthy diet and eat calcium-rich foods. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eliminate most starchy foods
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration during pregnancy. Drinking water and eating ice chips can help relieve morning sickness and prevent vomiting that can cause acid in the mouth
  • Brush and floss teeth at least twice a day to prevent cavities and gum disease
  • Pregnancy is a Good Motivator to Begin Practicing a Healthy Lifestyle

Being pregnant is both scary and exciting. When a woman becomes pregnant, her primary focus becomes staying healthy and giving birth to a healthy child. Her physical, mental, and dental conditions become especially important. A pregnant woman who neglects to address dental issues is putting herself and her unborn child at risk. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of pregnant women do not see a dentist during pregnancy. Women who do practice good dental hygiene during pregnancy are reducing the risk of premature birth and ensuring a healthier baby with a healthy mother.

If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, and have questions that remain unanswered, contact our Port Washington dental office today and speak with one of our helpful team members today.

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teeth grinding | dentist port washington ny

Reasons and Treatments for Grinding Your Teeth

Biting your nails, tapping a table with your fingers and fidgeting are all habits that many people share. They’re simply movements that occur when you’re thinking, actively bored or nervous about a situation. Grinding your teeth may be a habit also. If you notice teeth grinding as a regular occurrence in your life, it’s time to pay careful attention to it. The grinding action can damage your teeth. At 3V Dental Associates, a Port Washington NY dentist, patients often ask why they might grind their teeth and how they can prevent teeth grinding in the future. Let’s explore a bit more below…

Stress and Anxiety May Cause You to Grind Your Teeth

A common cause for teeth grinding is stress or anxiety. In today’s fast-paced world, there’s more stress than ever before. You might unconsciously clench your jaw and grind your teeth.

When this reaction is irregular, there’s no real need to worry. Serious treatment isn’t necessary because it’s more of a harmless habit. People who’re diagnosed with anxiety, however, may experience a different scenario.

People who’re constantly stressed out might find themselves with clenched jaws every day. The teeth cannot deal with that much force on the enamel. A prevention plan must be put into action. Ask your dentist how you can prevent teeth grinding. A common, non-invasive solution might be using a mouth guard, but it’s always best to check with your dentist first to ensure the teeth grinding is not related to something more severe.

Bruxism Diagnosis

If you’re noticing symptoms that point to teeth grinding, you may have an ailment called Bruxism. This term simply defines the activity of grinding your teeth as a real disease. You may not even notice that you’re clenching your jaw in the first place. For this reason, people who find themselves in this predicament should seek out treatment.

The average person with Bruxism will clench the jaw throughout the day. It’s an entirely involuntary action. Researchers are still trying to narrow down how or why this ailment occurs. At this point, the ailment is being considered as both a genetic and psychological phenomena.

Nighttime Teeth Grinding

It’s not unheard of for Bruxism-related symptoms to spill over into the evening hours. People who clench their jaw during the night have a different form of this disease. The symptoms of grinding the jaw are the same, but they occur as you sleep.

Most professionals see this ailment as a sleep-related disorder. It’s researched alongside sleep apnea and other issues. Nighttime grinding can go unnoticed until the teeth have significant damage. With enamel breaking down, the teeth can slowly wear down with chips and cracks in severe cases.

Concerning Side Effects from Teeth Grinding

Prevention is the key to a healthy smile once again. The side effects to continual grinding are significant. The jaw becomes tender and delicate as you try to chew food. Your teeth chip, crack and possibly fall out.

Your jawbone and facial structure also suffer. The bones may have damage that requires surgery or other procedure. Teeth grinding isn’t an ailment that can be ignored, especially if it’s a regular habit. The side effects are subtle and slow going, but they will cause permanent damage without professional help or advice from your dentist.

Your Local Dentist Can Help!

When your teeth grinding continues to be a problem, don’t hesitate to seek out a professional’s opinion. Contact 3V Dental today to talk to one of our dentists and get the treatment that’s right for you. Our professional team can spot dental problems from a mile away, so don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment if your teeth grinding is becoming a concern.

Be proactive about your attention to teeth grinding. If you notice a loved one with a similar issue, make them aware of the activity. Teeth can withstand a lot of pressure, but they aren’t immune to damage. Taking care of the cause of this ailment will solve many problems associated with it. A bright smile can be yours once again.

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what does it mean if my tongue is color

What Does it Mean When Your Tongue is…

If you’re like me, you probably take your tongue’s color for granted. We have an image of what a tongue should look like, but what happens when your tongue’s color or texture is no longer in-line with what you THINK it should be? There are actually many health conditions that can affect the look and feel of your tongue. So if you tongue is not a healthy-looking pink, say “ahhhh” in the mirror and take some notes. You may be able to spot an illness or medical condition based on what you see in the mirror! At 3V Dental we take dental and oral health care very serious. If you have any questions about your oral or tongue health, contact our local Port Washington dentist office today to schedule a consultation.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is White?

If you can’t remove the white coating from your tongue with frequent brushing of your teeth or by rinsing your mouth, then the papillae on the tongue are likely contaminated with bacteria. This bacterial overgrowth is a buildup that occurs between the papillae of your tongue, and it is often difficult to remove. To remove this debris, you should use an antibacterial mouthwash and a tongue scraper several times a day.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Black?

When you notice a black hairy growth on your tongue, it is likely caused by yeast or bacteria on your tongue. The papillae on your tongue can become contaminated and irritated, causing the taste buds to lengthen and grow rather than shedding from the tongue’s surface. It is important to take medication for this condition so that the bacteria and yeast don’t infect your mouth’s gum tissue or alveolar bones. If you notice that your tongue is black, contact our dental office today to schedule a consultation.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Red?

You can develop a red tongue from eating or drinking certain types of foods or beverages, but this condition can also occur from chronic inflammation inside your mouth or throat. The antibiotic treatment to cure strep throat can also make your tongue’s surface turn red. If you have white patches on top of an inflamed tongue, then you probably have oral thrush. To eliminate a yeast infection, you will need specialized medication to destroy the fungus.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Bumpy?

If you have a bumpy tongue, then something is irritating your mouth, causing an allergic reaction. Alternatively, you may have burned your tongue with a hot beverage or a spicy food, and the papillae on the tongue’s surface can swell and become tender. In most cases, the bumps will disappear within a few days, but occasionally, bumps on the tongue can indicate that you have cancer inside your mouth. However, before thinking the worst, contact our Port Washington dental office today to speak with an oral care consultant.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Coated?

A coated tongue will have a pale surface from an overgrowth of bacteria or because the papillae on the surface of your tongue are inflamed. You might have a coating on your tongue when you have a severe sore throat that is frequently caused by streptococcal bacteria. This coating on your tongue causes a foul and distinctive odor that is repellent. You will probably have a bad taste in your mouth when you have a coated tongue.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Fuzzy?

When your tongue feels fuzzy, you may want to visit a dentist for a professional teeth-cleaning procedure. The debris that collects on your tongue is made from dead skin cells, bacteria and food particles, and if your tongue has fuzziness, then it indicates that you aren’t brushing and flossing enough. Not only should you have your teeth cleaned to remove the bacteria, but also, you need to buy a plastic tongue scraper to keep your tongue cleaner.

What Does It Mean When Your Tongue Is Wrinkled?

During your examination for gum disease or cavities, a dentist can determine if you have a scrotal-type of tongue condition that causes deep fissures that makes it look wrinkly. Seeing a wrinkled tongue is one of the signs of having a serious infection in the mouth or body. It is also a symptom of having severe malnutrition that can affect the health of your alveolar bones, gum tissue or teeth. In most cases, this tongue condition is painless in the beginning, but it indicates that you must improve your daily diet to boost your immune system.

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dental cleaning port washington ny

Teeth Cleaning for that Perfect Smile

Caring for your teeth is both a medical and cosmetic issue. Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and problems in your mouth can create or indicate problems in other parts of your body. That’s why proper dental care, including cleanings, is critical. But if you don’t know what to expect from a dental exam or cleaning, going to the dentist can be intimidating, and possibly even downright scary.

We want to ease your mind prior to your visit as much as possible. We hope the information provided on this page will make you feel better about what’s coming, and make you feel more confident about scheduling your appointment.

Why you need regular cleanings

The mouth is under a lot of stress. You use it to eat, to drink, to talk, and in some cases, you even grind your teeth. All of these things take a toll on your body. Proper brushing, flossing and rinsing at home goes a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy, but even with the best at-home care, tartar and plaque can still build up. Regular cleanings remove this tartar and plaque before it can create a problem elsewhere in the body. Regular cleanings and dentist visits also ensure that we can catch cavities before they destroy the tooth, and allow us to simply assess the overall health of your mouth.

What to expect from a cleaning

First, the dentist will do a general examination of your mouth, looking for tooth decay or gum disease, and possibly order X-rays to look for signs of problems that aren’t visible.

After that, the hygienist looks for cavities and any fillings you already have to ensure their integrity is still intact. She’ll then use special tools to remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth. As she does these things, she’ll keep you informed of her findings, letting you know where problems exist, and what you can do to improve or prevent them going forward. She may use a polishing compound and apply a fluoride treatment to finish up.

Cleanings typically don’t hurt, but if you’re anxious, let us know so we can help you with that. A regular dental exam and cleaning is critical to your overall health, as well as your visual appearance, so it’s important you don’t delay. Our energetic and enthusiastic Port Washington dental staff is eager to assist you with your dental health, so come check out our office. If the atmosphere and local feel don’t put you at ease, talking with one of our experienced staff will.

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signs of gum disease dentist port washington ny

How to Tell if You Have Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when the bones and tissue that surround the teeth become inflamed and infected. Also known as periodontal disease, the condition has two types. Gingivitis involves the gums alone while periodontitis is more severe and occurs in the tissue under the teeth.

How to Recognize Gingivitis


Notice the inflammation and redness around the gum line.

Healthy gums have a pink color and will have a firm fit against the teeth. When gingivitis is present, it will have the following symptoms:

• Swelling, redness and tenderness

• Bleeding after eating or when the teeth are flossed and brushed

Gingivitis is not always painful, which may lead to a delay in treatment.

How to Recognize Periodontitis


Unlike gingivitis, the symptoms of periodontitis are more obvious.

• Gums that recede away from the teeth

• Consistent bad breath

• A discharge of pus from the gums

• Changes in the bite

• Loose teeth

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease begins with gingivitis and proceeds to periodontitis without proper treatment. It occurs when the bacteria in plaque, a substance produced in the mouth, grow out of control due to poor oral hygiene. The bacteria feed on sugars and food particles to create toxins. In time, plaque can harden into tartar, which causes severe mouth irritation and results in the gums pulling away from the teeth, leaving large pockets that may contain pus. All of these symptoms require immediate attention from one of our qualified dentists.

Gum Pocket Test

Even if there is no gum pain, that does not mean there is no disease present. This is why dentists will perform a gum pocket test to measure the distance between the gums and where the tooth is seated. A normal pocket measures from one to three millimeters. Any distance greater than that requires treatment.

Gum Disease Treatment

Gingivitis may require antibiotics to clear up the infection. This may be done with oral medication, or a special toothpaste and mouthwash. Periodontitis is more complicated and may require the following procedures:

• Root planing and scaling. This removes the tartar buildup above and below the gum line.

• Gingivectomy. This eliminates the pockets between gums and teeth where plaque builds up.

• Flap procedure. This repairs damaged bone and cleans the roots of the teeth.

• Extraction. Teeth that cannot be saved are removed for the patient’s health.

Antibiotics may be required after each of these procedures. The patient may also need to use an antibacterial mouthwash.

In order to avoid gum disease, brush and floss daily, and see your dentist twice per year for checkups and cleanings. Eat a healthy, balanced diet without sweets and avoid poor oral habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

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4 Very Common Oral Health Issues and How to Treat Them

A beautiful smile is not the only benefit to taking care of your teeth. By regularly seeing to your oral health, you can also ward off a variety of unwanted health issues. Some of these problems only cause mild discomfort, but some can be extremely painful. Brushing and flossing regularly can help you keep your teeth happy and healthy, but it is also important to regularly visit your dentist in order to keep the following oral health issues from affecting you.


While most people only think of their teeth when it comes to taking care of their dental hygiene, your gums also play a large role in your oral health. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can happen to anyone. It is caused by an accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Gum disease can easily go unnoticed, because it typically does not cause any painful symptoms until its later stages. Late stage symptoms might include red, swollen, or irritated gums that bleed during brushing and flossing. Think you have early stages of gingivitis? Certain gum treatments may be right for you.


Probably one of the most common signs of poor oral health is bad breath, or halitosis. An easy way to combat this problem is by brushing your teeth daily, regular dental cleanings, and making sure that you drink plenty of water. However, if the problem persists, it could mean that other factors are causing it. A dry mouth, for example, makes it easier for bacteria to live and grow in your mouth. Another cause may be that your teeth are aligned in such a way that food particles easily become trapped between them, and stay there without you noticing.

Dental Cavities

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria settles on your teeth. The bacteria slowly eats away at the enamel on your teeth until a hole is formed. If left untreated, the cavity can become infected, which can be extremely painful. The chance of getting a cavity varies from person to person, however, diet plays a large role in your chances of getting one. Sugary foods in particular can attract certain bacteria that can damage your teeth. Did you know that 3V Dental Associates offers the latest laser decay detection services? Ask us how we can help you fight decay!

Root Infection

This can occur when the bottom portion of the tooth, where the nerves are housed, becomes infected. A root infection can be caused by a deep cavity, or by a crack in the tooth. It can lead to extreme pain as well as swelling in the gums around the tooth and in the face. However, if treated quickly by your dentist, the problem rarely progresses to this state.



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how oral health impacts your physical health

Is There a Connection Between Oral Health and Your Physical Health?

The importance of good oral health is well known; something we’ve all been taught from a young age. To avoid cavities, gum disease and tooth loss, regular visits to the dentist is crucial. However, there are also links between poor mouth health and poor body health that are not as commonly known. In this article, we will examine some of the surprising connections between the health of the mouth and the health of the body.

Oral Health and Diabetes

The connection between diabetes and periodontitis is one of the strongest of all the connections between the mouth and body. The inflammation originating in the mouth due to periodontitis weakens the body’s ability to control blood sugar. According to Pamela McClain, DDS, former president of the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease further exasperates diabetes because the inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin. But, because of the relationship between periodontics and diabetes, getting one condition under control will result in better management of the other. Good blood glucose control is vital to controlling and preventing mouth problems.

Oral Health and Heart Disease

According to Robert Bonow, MD, past president of the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, although there are threads of evidence between oral health and heart disease, they’re not yet tied together. However, many experts tend to agree that there are credible reasons why mouth health and heart health may be intertwined. Several of the large National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded that gum disease is a significant risk factor for diseases of the blood vessels. Data from another study of more than 50,000 people found that those with fewer teeth and more gum disease had a higher risk of stroke. And yet, other studies have uncovered no association between gum disease and stroke. Despite the lack of absolute evidence completely linking gum disease and heart disease, the factors are significant enough to warrant more studies.

Oral Health and Osteoporosis

People with low bone mass might experience oral problems that their dentist may recognize as the first stages of osteoporosis. There are several signs that alert dentists to the possibility of osteoporosis such as bone loss in the jaw and around teeth, tooth loss, loose or poorly-fitting dentures, and gum disease. Early intervention can often prevent the broken bones and tooth loss that accompanies advanced osteoporosis.

Regularly scheduled dental exams and diligent care are key to overall oral health.  To schedule a checkup with 3V Dental Associates today, please contact us today. We look forward to your visit.

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