Repairing Your Smile on National Junk Food Day

Today is National Junk Food Day, a holiday to celebrate and enjoy all of your favorite guilty gastronomic pleasures. While sipping on soda, munching on chips, and feasting on fried Twinkies can be fun, and certainly tasty, these snacks can wreak havoc on your smile. Houston dentist Dr. Craig Armstrong and our team want you to have your cake and eat it too while preserving your dental health. Obviously, avoiding unnecessary junk foods can help you maintain your oral and general health, but there are steps you can take to take care of and repair your smile even as you indulge in junk foods. Read on to learn more about how you can preserve and enhance your smile even in the midst of National Junk Food Day.

Consequences of Junk Food

Certain snacks are referred to as “junk” for a reason. In addition to contributing to weight gain and having little nutritional value, many of these snacks can seriously impact your dental health. There are several aspects of junk foods that can lead to decay:

  • They are often very sugary. The cavity-causing bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and then produce acids that can degrade your enamel.
  • They can be full of starch. While carbohydrates are undeniably delicious, they can affect your teeth in the same way as sugar.
  • Sticky junk foods adhere to your enamel. Gummy candies, taffy, tootsie rolls, and other treats can remain on your teeth for hours after you eat them, giving bacteria even more time to consume them and create caries.
  • Acidic foods and beverages can directly impact your enamel. Foods that are high in acid can erode your enamel, causing decay and making your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria.
  • People tend to nibble on junk food for hours. The more frequently you munch on junk foods, the greater the impact they can have on your teeth. For example, absentmindedly munching on chips or candies while watching television constantly exposes your enamel to these junk foods’ effects.

Our Tips for Careful Consumption

In an ideal world, no one would eat unhealthy foods. However, we recognize that sometimes, you need to enjoy some junk food (perhaps especially on their national holiday!). When you eat your favorite munchies, you can protect your teeth by:

  • Drinking and swishing with water directly after you’ve finished eating.
  • Limiting your consumption to a set period of time rather than throughout the day.
  • Chewing xylitol gum. This sweet-tasting compound can prevent decay-causing bacteria from reproducing, lowering your risk for cavities.
  • Brushing and flossing as soon as possible after indulging.

Mending Your Teeth with Composite Fillings

The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research reports: “92% of adults 20 to 64 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth” and “26% of adults 20 to 64 have untreated decay.” If your junk food habit has damaged your enamel, Houston dentist Dr. Armstrong and our team members can help you repair your smile with composite fillings. He will match these sturdy, cosmetic restorations to the shade of your natural enamel for a realistic, aesthetic appearance. To place a composite filling, Dr. Armstrong will remove the decayed portion of your tooth, clean it, insert the resin, shape it, and cure it with a special light.

Celebrate National Junk Food Day Wisely

Houston dentist Dr. Armstrong can help you relish your preferred junk foods while protecting your smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or find out more.

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Everything You Need to Know About Veneers

Most of us would like to enhance some aspect of our smile. Perhaps you’d like to whiten your enamel, lengthen your teeth, or straighten your grin. At our Houston practice, cosmetic dentist Dr. Craig Armstrong can simultaneously improve numerous aspects of your smile with porcelain veneers, an advanced multipurpose treatment. This procedure involves covering the front and sometimes sides of your teeth with thin, custom made porcelain shells. You may have heard of porcelain veneers, but might not be sure how they actually work or if they’re right for your needs. In the following blog, we explain everything you need to know about veneers so you can make an informed decision about your approach to cosmetic dentistry.

Their Star-Studded Origins

Porcelain veneers are often referred to as one of the dental tricks of the stars. Many celebrities use this cosmetic treatment to correct imperfections in their teeth and achieve beautiful, camera-ready smiles. It makes sense that porcelain veneers are particularly popular among the Hollywood elite because they were invented for this group. Back in 1928, California dentist Charles Pincus created the first set of veneers to beautify child star Shirley Temple’s grin for a movie shoot.

What Cosmetic Imperfections Can They Correct?

Porcelain veneers can address a variety of aesthetic issues. This treatment can enhance teeth that are:

  • Crooked (although more severe orthodontic issues may require braces).
  • Gapped. Dr. Armstrong can custom make your veneers to fill small spaces between your teeth.
  • Broken or chipped. Veneers cover the outer surface of your teeth, obscuring damage caused by injury while protecting your enamel from further harm.
  • Misshapen. Dr. Armstrong will manufacture your veneers according to your distinctive preferences for a more symmetrical, proportional smile.
  • Stained or discolored. You will choose the exact shade you’d like for your veneers, so you can brighten your smile with this treatment. In addition, porcelain is stain-resistant, ensuring that you can enjoy a whiter smile for many years.

How Long Do They Last?

Porcelain veneers can last up to 15 years or longer with proper care. If you undergo this procedure at our Houston office, cosmetic dentist Dr. Armstrong will help you maintain your restorations at follow-up appointments and regular biannual exams.

Will They Match My Other Teeth?

Some patients are concerned that their smile will have different shades if they place veneers on some teeth and not others. However, Dr. Armstrong can work with you to whiten your surrounding teeth so your veneers blend beautifully into your grin.

Who is a Candidate?

Most patients are eligible for porcelain veneers, but you must meet certain basic criteria to qualify. You may be a good candidate for this treatment if you:

  • Have thick enough enamel to secure the veneers. Dr. Armstrong will need to remove a small amount of your teeth in order to shape them so that they can hold veneers. You must have sufficient tooth structure to withstand this process and safely hold these porcelain shells.
  • Are in good dental, oral, and general health. If you suffer from decay or periodontal disease, Dr. Armstrong may need to treat these conditions before proceeding with veneers preparation and placement.
  • Do not grind your teeth. If you suffer from bruxism, you may end up wearing down your veneers by clenching your top and bottom teeth together, interfering with the results of your treatment. Dr. Armstrong may provide a mouth guard to help you treat your bruxism.

Does Insurance Cover This Treatment?

Each provider has different requirements for coverage. In general, however, insurance companies will only assist with the cost of porcelain veneers if you are able to prove that they are a medical necessity rather than an elective cosmetic procedure. Your provider may cover porcelain veneers if you would like to place them over teeth that have undergone fillings, root canal therapy, or other restorative procedures.

Find Out More About Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a versatile, effective cosmetic treatment that can help you enjoy a dazzling smile and boost your confidence. To learn more about them or schedule a consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Armstrong, contact our Houston practice today.

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