Science Experiment – Proven Benefit of Fluoride

Sugary drinks like soda, powdered drink mixes, and sports drinks may be refreshing, but they can be harsh on the hard-outer shell of your teeth (enamel).  This experiment will show what sugary and acidic drinks can do to your teeth, as well as the protective abilities of the fluoride found in your toothpaste or mouth rinse.

You’ll need:

  • 2 fresh eggs (make sure there aren’t any cracks!)
  • 1 can of cola/soda
  • Fluoride mouth rinse (you can find it in the dental aisle)
  • White vinegar
  • 4 small, clear plastic containers or cups (big enough to hold an egg)


Place the eggs in two of your plastic containers. Fill one container with cola and the other with fluoride mouth rinse. Let the eggs sit in the liquids overnight.

Remove the eggs from the liquids and place them in the remaining containers. Fill both containers with white vinegar and observe their reactions. The cola egg should become covered in small bubbles, while there should be no reaction on the fluoride egg.

Lesson Learned:

The acids in the cola have weakened the eggshell, making it more vulnerable to the acid in the vinegar. The bubbles on the shell are caused by air escaping the egg through the thinner, weaker shell.

The vinegar’s acid doesn’t have any effect on the egg that was soaked in fluoride mouth rinse because the fluoride strengthened the shell in the same way it strengthens teeth. That’s why it’s so important that kids (and parents!) brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and drink water with fluoride from the tap.

Source:  American Dental Association –  Mouth Healthy™ Kids



What to do when you can’t clean your teeth.

Are you busy running the kids to events?  Do you have back-to-back meetings scheduled?  Does your mouth feel stale? Or, can you feel something stuck between your back teeth?  Do you wish you could get away to brush your teeth?  Some days we just don’t have the opportunity or the facilities to stop and properly take care of cleaning our teeth.

Here are some tips for days like these:

  • Drink water or chew sugar free gum. It’s not ideal, but water and sugar free gum can help hydrate your mouth and clear out debris.
  • Carry a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. They don’t take up much space in your pocket, purse or even in your hand. Even though 2-3 minutes is recommended for normal brushing, don’t be afraid to do a quick 60 second brush followed by a fresh water rinse.
  • Have some floss-picks on hand to quickly remove any food that is stuck between your teeth.
  • In a perfect world, you’d have the time and space for a full brush, floss and mouthwash rinse, but unfortunately that’s not always possible. Just remember that something is better than nothing. Even just rinsing with mouthwash is better than nothing.

When you get home, take extra care to thoroughly brush and floss.

Set Healthy Limits on Juice

Juice is high in sugar and calories; water and milk are always the best options for your children. In fact, if your child is under one year of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests completely removing juice from his or her diet.

Children ages 1-6 should have no more than 4-6 oz. of juice each day, according to pediatric guidelines.

Children ages 7 to 18 should drink no more than 8-12 oz.

(Many juice boxes are about 6 oz. in size, so younger children should have no more than one per day, and older children no more than two.)

Allowing your child to sip on juice throughout the day puts him or her at a higher risk for tooth decay because you are giving the cavity-causing bacteria more opportunities to eat and produce the acid that eats away at teeth. This can also happen with juice that is watered down.

We suggest having a variety of colorful, refillable water bottles or cups that your child can use only for drinking water. Other beverages should be in a plain cup.


Summer’s Coming! Don’t Wait!

We are all dreaming of blue skies and warm temperatures.  Summer fun is just around the corner; whether it be on the golf course (Dr. Thor’s favorite), time at the cottage, or a family vacation to Disney.  Whatever you are looking forward to this summer, I am sure it is not a toothache.  We don’t want this summer’s memory to be missing out on the fun because you put off calling us about a discomfort you are experiencing.  Schedule your preventative oral health exam to prevent problems and save time and money.

Call us TODAY 608-873-7277 and have fun this summer!

Nail Biting and Your Oral Heath

Nail biting not only affects the appearance of your nails, but can chip, crack, or break your teeth. It can even cause jaw problems. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), reported that people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding.

Of course, don’t forget your hands and nails are a host for germs and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli which can be easily transferred into the body through nail biting.

The following tips can help you break the habit to protect your teeth and overall health.

  1. Keep your nails trimmed short.
  2. Apply something with a bitter-taste to your nails. You can purchase safe over-the-counter products to apply to your nails.
  3. Get regular manicures. If your nails look nice, you may not want to ruin them by biting.
  4. Try playing with a stress ball or silly putty instead to keep your hands busy and away from your mouth.
  5. Identify what triggers you to bite your nails. For example, boredom, stress, or anxiety. Knowing when you are most likely to bite may help you to stop.
  6. Some doctors recommend small steps to break the habit. Try to stop biting one set of nails, such as your thumb nails. When that’s successful, choose your pinky nails etc. Keep trying until you no longer bite any of your nails.

If you experience a chipped tooth or sensitive gums due to nail biting, please call Yahara Dental at 608-873-7277 to schedule an appointment.

What Is the Best Time to Clean Between Your Teeth—Before or After Brushing?

The most important take home message about cleaning between your teeth is to do it. As long as you do a thorough job, it does not matter if you floss first or brush first. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your dental care. People who are too tired at the end of the day may benefit from cleaning between their teeth first thing in the morning or after lunch. Others might like to go to bed with a clean mouth.

And don’t forget, children need to clean between their teeth too! Start as soon as your child has two teeth that touch. Because cleaning between teeth demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to do a thorough job on their own until age 10 or 11.

Keep in mind that cleaning between your teeth should not be painful. If you do it too hard, you could damage the tissue between your teeth. If you’re too gentle, you might not be getting the food out. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you first start, but don’t give up. With daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth, that discomfort should ease within a week or two. If your pain persists, make sure to mention the problem to Dr. Thor at your next visit to Yahara Dental.

Source:  American Dental Association:

Six ways to prevent tooth decay in children

  1. Care, don’t share
    Don’t share utensils with your child or “clean” a
    pacifier by putting it in your mouth. You can
    transfer cavity-causing germs to your child.
  2. Eat healthy and drink fluoridated water
    Get fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  3. First dental visit no later than age 1
    Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon
    as they first appear—which is typically around age
    six months.
  4. Seal out decay
    Ask your dentist about applying dental sealants to
    chewing surfaces of teeth.
  5. Use fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth come through the gums.
    Most children age 6 and under are not effective
    enough to manage brushing alone. We recommend
    young children practice brushing their own teeth first
    with parents finishing up.
  6. Call Yahara Dental to schedule a preventative exam.

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Winter Sensitivity

As the temperatures start to dip and the snow starts to fall, you may notice your teeth are more sensitive when you are outside. Sometimes, people tend to clench their teeth and tense up when they are out in the cold. Clenching can cause jaw and teeth erosion issues which cause sensitivity.

Sipping hot chocolate or coffee may feel comforting while being out on a cold day, but the temperature difference can cause sensitivity.

The winter months also come with holiday treats. Caramels, candy canes, and peanut brittle to name a few. Sugary treats put you at a higher risk for cavities. In addition, hard, crunchy candies put you at risk for damaged or chipped teeth. Both cavities and damaged teeth are sensitive to cold air. To help protect your teeth, drink a glass of water to rinse away the sugar and acids that are left on your teeth after enjoying a holiday treat.

To be more comfortable during the winter months, try breathing through your nose or wearing a scarf over your mouth. You can also try using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If the problem persists, please mention it to Dr. Thor at your next dental exam.

Wisdom Teeth

Third molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth generally come through or erupt at a more mature age between 17 and 21.

Anthropologists believe we have wisdom teeth because our ancestor’s early diet required more chewing power. With today’s expanded food choices and cooking techniques, the third molars are not necessary for function.

If wisdom teeth come in with proper alignment, they generally work with the other molars in chewing.  With the help of dental x-rays, we are able to determine if your wisdom teeth will be properly aligned. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves

Fred Quarnstrom, DDS from the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology, reports there is some evidence modern jaws are smaller than those of prehistoric humans. The x-rays will also show if there will be enough room in your mouth for the additional teeth.

Crowding can cause the tooth to become “impacted” meaning it is unable to break through the gums. Because it’s in an area that’s hard to clean, it can attract bacteria that leads to gum disease and infection.

Dr. Thor recommends if your wisdom teeth cause problems or x-rays show they might down the line, they should be removed and he will refer you to an oral surgeon.