Sipping On Sodas All Day Long?

Sipping on sodas, or anything other than water, all day long can soften tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.  The normal pH of saliva ranges from 5.6 to 7.9.  As food and drink enter the mouth, the pH of saliva lowers to a more acidic state causing an environment for tooth decay.  Sipping on a soda all day long leaves your mouth in an acidic environment.  Therefore, it is best to drink the soda at once, or with a meal.  Rinsing your mouth out with water, chewing sugar free gum that contains xylitol, and brushing your teeth with fluoride tooth paste are all ways to help your mouth return to a normal, decay free solution.

Dry Mouth and Tooth Decay

Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, can increase a person’s risk of tooth decay. Saliva contains enzymes that help break down food particles and rinse the mouth of bacteria.  Without adequate saliva flow an increase in tooth decay can occur.  Symptoms of dry mouth include a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth and throat, frequent thirst, sores in the mouth, burning, tingling sensations in the mouth, dry, red, raw tongue, problems swallowing food, hoarseness, and bad breath.  Dry mouth at night is a very common condition.  Salivary glands do not flow as well during sleeping hours.  Therefore, it is important to practice good oral hygiene right before bed. Persistent dry mouth during sleeping and waking hours can lead to more severe problems. Causes of dry mouth include side effects of certain medications also known as drug-induced xerostomia, side effects of certain diseases and infections, side effects of radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy treatment for cancer, nerve damage to the head and neck, dehydration, surgical removal of salivary glands, smoking or chewing tobacco, and mouth breathing.  If you think that your dry mouth is caused by medication, talk to your doctor.  He or she may be able to adjust your medication or switch you to a different medication that does not cause dry mouth.  If medication can not be altered, over the counter saliva substitutes can be used.  Products such as Biotene and Oasis help increase the production of saliva.  Good oral hygiene is also very important.  Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, using fluoride rinses and gels, and regular dental exams will help decrease tooth decay.  Overall, if you notice increase in tooth decay due to dry mouth, consult with your dental professional on ways to control this issue.

Dental Xrays

Dental Radiographs, also known as dental x-rays; are used to detect and diagnose cavities, bone loss and dental structures of the mouth and teeth that cannot be seen with the human eye alone. The dosage of a dental xray is typically small (around 0.150 mSv for a full mouth series, according to the ADA). Here at Ponchatoula Family Dentistry, we have digital radiographs which use less radiation than traditional film based x-rays.  Lead vests with thyroid collars are also used as an extra precaution for the protection of our patients.

We do four different types of dental x-rays here at Ponchatoula Family Dentistry.

1st  Full Mouth Series, also known as an FMX.  An FMX consist of 18 films.

4 bitewings

8 posterior periapicals

6 anterior periapicals

By taking an FMX we are able to give you an more accurate dental diagnosis and put together a treatment plan that best fits your dental needs.


2nd Bitewing Film

We use bitewing xrays to view the crowns of the posterior teeth (premolars and molars).  This is helpful in diagnosing decay between the teeth and evaluating the bone levels surrounding teeth.


3rd Periapical Film

A periapical is a single film that can be taken on any tooth in the mouth.  A periapical film is very useful in detecting infection at the apex of a tooth; ie the root portion of a tooth.


4th Panoramic Film

Panoramic, also known as a panorex, is an xray that is taken outside of the mouth.  The panorex is used to diagnose TMJ disorder, detecting bone loss for denture patients, 3rd molar aka wisdom tooth extractions, detecting maxillary and mandibular fractures and oral pathologies.






Dental Sealants

            A dental sealant is an inexpensive resin filling that acts as a barrier to help prevent decay.  Sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of posterior (back) teeth.  Although brushing and flossing help to prevent cavities, sealants serve as an extra step to protect the pits and fissures of teeth.  Cavities begin at a young age, so children and teenagers are candidates for early preventive sealants.  Sealants are recommended to be placed on first molars that usually erupt around six years of age, and second molars that are estimated to erupt around twelve years of age.  Sealants are also recommended for adult who may have missed this preventive treatment as a child. 

            The application of a sealant is quick and painless.  No dental anesthetic is required.  The tooth is isolated with cotton rolls and dried.  The sealant material is brushed directly onto the chewing surface of the tooth and is dried with a curing light. The material protects the deep grooves of the teeth where food and plaque commonly accumulate.  Sealants will be evaluated at following dental appointments, and may need to be reapplied.  Ask your dentist about sealants at your next dental appointment.


Your first visit to Ponchatoula Family Dentistry establishes a vital foundation in our relationship with you.  We want to do everything possible to make this a life-long relationship.  At your first visit, we will obtain important medical information to allow us to serve you best.
Patients do not always realize how their dental health affects their physical health, and how their physical health affects their dental health.  Oral health is essential to your general health and well being.
The Medical History form will provide the dentist and other staff members with important information about your overall health.  It increases awareness of any diseases, allergies and medications that might interfere with your dental treatment.  Dental exams can reveal gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, and poor oral health conditions that are linked to diabetes, and heart disease and poor overall health.  The answer to these questions help us determine risk factors to help us provide you with better treatment recommendations that are specific to you.  Whatever your particular situation, it is important to provide accurate and up to date information.  Inaccurate information, or no information, can lead to life threatening consequences or an uncomfortable allergic reaction.
For some patients, going to the dentist can be an overwhelming experience, especially first time visits.  Let the staff at Ponchatoula Family Dentistry put your concerns and anxieties to rest!

National Children’s Dental Health Month

          February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  The month is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of oral health across the United States.  It is important to teach children at an early age proper home-care techniques and healthy eating habits. 

          Brushing at least twice daily for two minutes is an important step in creating and maintaining a healthy mouth.  Brushing two times daily will help reduce the accumulation of bacteria known as plaque and calculus (tartar), and can reduce the risk of cavities and gingivitis. 

          Daily flossing is another crucial step in creating a healthy smile.  Flossing removes food and bacteria from between the teeth and gums where a toothbrush cannot access.  The lack of flossing is related to decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.

            Another step in your daily home-care routine should be rinsing with mouthwash.  Numerous over the counter rinses are available.  Fluoride can be found in some rinses, such as Listerine Total Care, ACT, and Crest Pro Health. Fluoride is an active ingredient that decreases the risk of decay and tooth sensitivity.  Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash are all important steps in creating a healthy smile.

Sneak a Peak into Dental Insurance

Here at Ponchatoula Family Dentistry, one of the services that we provide is verifying your insurance as a courtesy.  We also will file your dental insurance from start to finish. This means no paper work for you, just show up and we do the rest.
Insurance can be a complicated and difficult to understand at times, we are here to help simplify the process and help you with any questions that you may have concerning your insurance.  Please keep in mind that everyone’s insurance plan is unique.
For starters, your dental insurance has three main components. These components are your deductible, your yearly max and the breakdown coverage.
What is a deductible?
Deductible – This is the amount that has to be paid out of pocket before you insurance will pay.  Your deductible can be yearly or an anniversary date.  A yearly deductible is when you have to meet a certain amount at the beginning of the year, every year.  An anniversary date is when you have to meet your deductible on your effective date each year.
What is a yearly max?
Yearly Max– This is the maximum amount your insurance will pay toward your dental care each yr.
What is my coverage breakdown?
One of the most common breakdowns that we see is where the insurance will cover, 100% for your preventive care, 80% for your basic care and 50% for your major care.  Your insurance plan determines what is considered basic and major.  Keep in mind as I stated above each insurance plan is unique.  
As most of you are aware, your insurance also has frequencies.  Your frequencies determine how often each service can be rendered.   I would suggest, getting to know your insurance.  It will benefit you and your teeth.  Most  insurances will cover two cleanings per year.

Oral Health during Pregnancy

Often times during pregnancy, mothers can experience an increased incidence of swelling, redness, and bleeding in their gums, a.k.a. gingiva.  This condition is known as gingivitis and can be attributed to the rise in hormone levels associated with pregnancy. Gingivitis during pregnancy may also be associated with the decrease in oral hygiene (brushing, flossing) during a pregnant mother’s first trimester due to morning sickness and her inability to brush adequately without inducing gagging or vomiting.  Preventive dental cleanings and checkups during pregnancy are not only safe but recommended according to the American Pregnancy Association.  Studies have shown that pregnant mothers with healthy mouths are at a lower risk of having a preterm birth. In other words healthy mothers with healthy mouths equal healthier babies! 

Emergency dental work can be done during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pain and infection. The most ideal time to perform dental work on a pregnant mother is during the second trimester. Because fetal organ development occurs during the first trimester; it is best to avoid all potential risks at this time if possible. If non-emergency dental work is needed during the third trimester, it is usually postponed until after the birth.

X-rays are necessary to diagnose most dental conditions. Routine x-rays on pregnant mothers should be limited to a “need only basis”. Of course, an abdominal lead apron should be used as precaution, but fortunately, according to theAmericanCollegeof Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following for all pregnant mothers:

-Eat a well balanced diet.

-Brush regularly and thoroughly at least twice a day for 2 minutes with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.

-Floss daily.

-Have preventative check-ups and cleanings throughout your pregnancy.

-Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or until after delivery, if possible.

-All elective procedures should be postponed until after the baby is born.


Gum chewing is a common daily habit.  When purchasing gum, be sure to look for “sugar-free” on the label.  Sugar-free gum can wash away food particles, and neutralize saliva to prevent cavities and plaque.  Some gums include a natural sweetener called Xylitol.  Xylitol is safe for everyone, and dramatically reduces the risk for new tooth decay.  Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after eating significantly reduces the incidence of cavities.  You can visit to learn more about the benefits of sugar-free gum.