9 Things to Know about Cavities

For most people, a trip to the dentist might involve filling a cavity. These erosions in teeth are often painful and sometimes unsightly. But what are cavities? How do they form? What can you do to prevent them? Here are nine things you should know about cavities.

What Are They Called?

Cavities, caries, erosions – they all amount to the same thing – a hole in your teeth that may become painful and will grow larger if left untreated.

Are They Caused by Worms?

Many ancient cultures believed cavities were caused by worms that drank the “blood” of your teeth and ate the roots. While inaccurate, that’s not too far from the truth. Instead of a worm, bacteria cause cavities.

The 1-2-3 Combo

The bacteria that live in your mouth need a couple of things to thrive and cause cavities – a lack of frequent brushing, a diet rich in sugar and/or processed foods, and saliva.

More Veggies, Please

Bacteria love highly processed foods but cannot process whole foods (think broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). A diet rich in whole foods, particularly vegetables, can help you prevent cavities.

It’s All About the Acid

Bacteria don’t cause cavities directly. Instead, the acid produced when these microorganisms eat is responsible for eroding your tooth enamel. It’s a natural byproduct of consuming food debris in your mouth.

Remineralization Can Happen

If you give your teeth enough time and prevent bacteria from permanently colonizing the area, they’re capable of re-mineralizing damaged areas (before the damage becomes too severe). That’s what brushing and flossing do – they remove bacteria so that your teeth have time to heal.

Multiple Types

Did you know there was more than one type of cavity? The three most common are pit and fissure cavities, which tend to form on the tops of molars, smooth surface cavities, which form on the sides of teeth, and root cavities, which form just below the gum line.

Many Stages of Development

A cavity continues to grow the longer it’s left untreated. They begin as enamel cavities. Here, the hole only affects the enamel of the tooth – the outermost layer. Next, they progress to dentin cavities, where the hole erodes into the softer second layer of dentin.

Pulpitis is the next stage, where the cavity reaches the tooth pulp. This is the most painful stage and can lead to infection. Finally, the cavity results in periodontitis, which can result in bone infection and can usually only be treated by oral surgery.

How to Treat Cavities

In most cases, cavities are treated the same way. Your dentist will drill out the decayed part of the tooth and then replace the hole with a filling. In the past, fillings were often made from silver or gold, but porcelain and amalgam are more commonly used today.

Here’s to Your Oral Health

Cavities affect most people in the US at some point in their lives, but they’re not unavoidable. Regular brushing and flossing will help keep bacteria from building up and destroying your enamel. Regular visits to your dentist will also help keep your teeth clean and free of damage.


What Can I Expect from My Teeth as I Age? How Can My Dentist Help Me?

Every aspect of your health changes as you get older, and what goes on in your mouth is no exception to that rule. It’s natural that your teeth begin to change after years and decades of eating, drinking, and life in general. The kind of dental care you need will evolve alongside them, although some things will remain standard throughout your whole life.

What Happens to Teeth with Age?
The rate of tooth decay triples once you are past the age of 65. There are many reasons for this, but one of the major culprits is that decades of untreated or under-treated conditions cause mounting damage. Periodontal disease, and all the unfortunate things it brings with it like gum recession and jaw deterioration, may have been brewing for years in an aging mouth. This is a common cause of tooth loss in later years.

A common condition in older adults is xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. This underproduction of saliva can have profound and rapid effects on the mouth. Xerostomia increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay and can cause difficulty eating and swallowing. It is frequently listed as a side effect of many medications, so it may not be possible to avoid. Luckily, it is possible to treat by drinking more water and finding other ways to prompt your mouth to create more saliva.

Rates of oral cancer also increase with age, becoming more common above the age of 45. Several things can further increase the risk of developing oral cancer, like smoking tobacco and HPV. As you get older, it’s important that you and your dentist monitor for signs of oral cancer.

Aging teeth may also appear less bright or more yellow than you’re used to. Stains build up over time from food, drinks, smoking, and other things. Teeth whitening is an option to combat that, but it’s important to discuss with your dentist what whitening methods may work for you. Some cause increased sensitivity to an already increasingly sensitive mouth.

What Can Your Dentist Do?
Routine dental care is important at any age, and it is particularly vital as you get older. Age comes with unique health concerns that will be best addressed by your dentist. Regular cleanings are still an important part of your overall dental health in order to combat concerns like gum disease and tooth decay. Getting older doesn’t have to mean giving up on your natural teeth, but they do require extra attention! If you do suffer from tooth loss, your dentist will be your biggest asset in your journey to replace your teeth.

Brushing and flossing at least twice a day is the cornerstone for healthy teeth throughout your life, but other needs may change as you get older. Make regular visits to your dentist to closely monitor the health of your teeth and mouth. It’s the biggest favor you can do for yourself!


Dental Strategies to Treat Sleep Apnea

Do you or someone you love have sleep apnea? If you do, then you know just how difficult it can be for them to get a good night’s sleep. Of course, it is also often hard for others in the house to sleep well because of the snoring. Those who are often tired and aren’t certain why might find that sleep apnea is the culprit. Fortunately, there are various ways to help treat this type of condition today. Some of those ways to potentially help with sleep apnea are dental strategies, which we will discuss below.

Use of Oral Appliances

One of the first options to consider with your dentist will be oral appliances. Using certain types of appliances can often help with sleep apnea problems. Some of the most common types of appliances used for this purpose include mandibular advancement devices and mouthpieces that retain the tongue.

The MADs are custom-made for each person. They look very similar to a mouthguard that would normally be used for sports. The mouthpieces work simply, but they are quite effective. They will help to ensure the lower jaw and tongue are in a position that allows the airway to remain open. This is helpful since a lot of the problems with sleep apnea are due to the position of the tongue and lower jaw.

The tongue-retaining mouthpiece is another appliance that could work. It helps to ensure the tongue is kept in the correct position and that it doesn’t fall into the airway when sleeping. It should also help to prevent you from grinding your teeth.

Orthodontics Treatment

Many people who have sleep apnea suffer from the problem because they have smaller lower jaws. The smaller jaw could allow the tongue to slip into the airway. This will cause an obstruction and cause the person to snore. Typically, dentists are going to want to take care of this type of problem as early as possible. If it is not fixed at an early age, patients tend to see their mild symptoms get worse over time. This can cause them to develop sleep apnea when they get older.


When someone has a “tongue tie”, it means that their tongue has a restricted range of motion. The symptoms can vary, but in some cases, they are severe. A lot of people don’t realize they have a tongue tie until it starts to affect other aspects of their life, including sleeping. Having a frenectomy conducted by a dental professional can help to reverse this problem. It is a relatively simple procedure.

Myofunctional Therapy

Those who have trouble swallowing, speaking, and breathing will often have sleep apnea. These are exercises that help to retrain the muscles in the tongue and face, so they can make breathing through the nose easier while sleeping. This therapy has the potential to be a huge benefit to those who suffer from sleep apnea, but it will take some time to work. You also need to be sure you are performing the exercises correctly.

Sleep apnea is no fun. It can cause serious problems with a person’s health over time, and it is not something that should be ignored.

Anyone who suffers from sleep apnea should look for a solution that will help them (and those around them) get to sleep at night. Take some time to speak with your dentist about the options available, so you can find a solution that helps. Get in touch with Foutz Family Dentistry today to talk about your sleep apnea case and to find the right strategies to use.


How Can Retainer/Mouthguard Therapy Help Me Even If I’m Not Straightening My Teeth?

Retainers and mouthguard therapy are often used to help straighten teeth, but they have several other potential benefits, which we will look at below. Even if you don’t need to straighten your teeth, you might still want to consider this option to help in other areas of your life.

Help with Teeth Grinding

Are you someone who clenches and grinds their teeth at night? This is called bruxism, and it is unfortunately common. Over time, it can lead to some serious issues with your teeth. For example, you might find that your teeth start to hurt or that they crack and break. You might begin waking up with headaches, a sore jaw, or general pain in your face. Many people also find that they don’t get good sleep, which can lead to fatigue throughout the day.

Bruxism is a problem for a large number of people. Fortunately, there are some solutions that could work, and retainer or mouthguard therapy is one of the best. You can find a range of mouthguards on the market today that could help.

Most people grind their teeth at night occasionally. As long as it is not a chronic problem, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and it can be treated. However, there are also those who have chronic bruxism, which could eventually lead to loss of tooth enamel, broken teeth, and lost teeth.

What are the causes of bruxism? Unfortunately, the cause is not entirely known or understood, but there are some theories. Many believe that it could be due to stress and anxiety. There could be other factors that are causing problems, too, including caffeine, smoking, and having an abnormal bite, for example. Regardless of the cause, it may be worth considering mouthguard therapy as a solution. You might be able to ensure your teeth stay a little bit safer.

Help with Sleep Apnea

However, mouthguard therapy can help with more than just teeth grinding. One of the other ways mouthguard therapy is commonly used is to help with sleep apnea. With the right type of appliance, it is possible to ensure the tongue doesn’t fall back into the throat and create an obstruction. Some of the appliances can also help to move the position of the lower jaw slightly. Again, this should help to prevent sleep apnea.

Many of the same issues associated with teeth grinding cause sleep apnea. It can also be caused by being overweight. Regardless, you don’t want to deal with the fallout of sleep apnea, as it can cause some serious health problems. Some of those health problems include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and early death.

As you can see, there are quite a few dangers when it comes to sleep apnea. If you or a loved one has this condition, you will want to get it checked out and dealt with sooner rather than later. Sometimes, something as simple as using a high-quality mouthguard could help.

Get in Touch with a Dentist?

Are you concerned about the state of your teeth because of grinding your teeth? Are you worried about snoring? As you have seen, mouthguard therapy has the potential to help. Make sure you are working with a great dentist, such as the professionals at Foutz Family Dentistry. They can help you get a better understanding of what this type of retainer or mouthguard therapy could do for you, and they may have some other suggestions to help get your oral health in tip-top shape.


How Do I Know What Kind of Floss I Should Use?

Those who want to have excellent dental health need to make sure regular flossing is part of their routine, along with brushing and visiting the dentist for checkups. While it might initially seem that all floss is the same, that’s not the case at all. There are many different options when it comes to dental floss, and you will want to be sure you are choosing the right one.

Benefits of Flossing

Flossing serves as preventative dental care, and it helps to reduce not just food in the teeth but also bacteria. It can get to places in your mouth that regular brushing just can’t reach. When you floss, you will also be able to prevent tartar build-up on the teeth. Plaque tends to accumulate quickly, and when it isn’t removed, it could harden and become tartar. When you floss each day, it helps remove the plaque from your teeth.

One of the other reasons you will want to floss regularly is because it can help to prevent bad breath. The food and bacteria can start to create a terrible odor, and flossing helps to remove this. Of course, flossing along with brushing will help you have better overall dental health, and it could prevent gum disease.

Types of Floss

You need to be sure you are using the right type of floss for your mouth and needs, of course. When you have the right floss, it can make a difference in how well it works. Let’s get a closer look at some of the options.

Waxed Floss

This is one of the most common options and the style that most people typically think about when it comes to flossing. This will work nicely for those who have teeth that are sitting tightly near one another. It is typically made from nylon, and it has a thin wax layer coating that helps it slide between your teeth easily.

You can often find the waxed floss in different flavors, such as mint or cinnamon, which can help to freshen your breath. You can find unwaxed floss, too, but this isn’t as strong and will snap easier.

Dental Tape

Another option to consider is dental tape. It is a good choice for those who have more space between their teeth. The tape is wider than normal floss. You can find this option either waxed or unwaxed. Again, the waxed tends to be stronger. This type of floss is often used for those who have dental appliances and dental work done, including things like crowns and bridges.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are another option that a lot of people like. They are especially useful for those who are on the move a lot. They are handy, and they can help you reach into some areas that might otherwise be difficult. However, you should use these only on occasion according to most experts because the same small piece of floss is used for the entire mouth. They can work in a pinch though, and when you don’t have access to standard waxed or unwaxed floss. Some people might like these floss picks if they have trouble holding and using traditional floss. You might want to choose the picks for when you are at work.

Find Your Floss

Of course, if you still aren’t sure which type of floss might be a good solution for you, consider talking with a dentist. The experts at Foutz Family Dentistry can help you find the best floss. Get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly and it will improve your dental health.


DIY Teeth Whitening: Why It Does More Harm Than Good

According to the Internet, you can find an at-home, DIY solution to just about every problem. People use these remedies for beautiful skin, improved health, and even whiter teeth.

But what many people don’t know is that DIY teeth whitening can actually do more harm than good.

Why You Should Avoid These 3 DIY Teeth Whitening Remedies

These are three of the most popular DIY whitening remedies.

1. Baking Soda and Other Scrubs

Baking soda can actually brighten the teeth up quite a bit. The problem, though, is that it is very abrasive. The abrasive powder scrubs off surface stains. Other scrubs, like activated charcoal, work the same way.

The issue with these scrubs is that the abrasiveness can damage tooth enamel. Over time, the use of these scrubs thins enamel and causes sensitivity.

2. Spices Like Turmeric

Some people use spices – turmeric especially – to whiten their teeth. Though using a spice that stains the skin seems counterintuitive, many people swear by it.

Turmeric is an astringent and abrasive, which is why it can sometimes brighten teeth. However, both the astringent and abrasive qualities can damage the enamel.

3. Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

The over-the-counter whitening industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Every year, people try whitening toothpastes, strips, trays, and paint-on bleach.

The problem with these products is that they often don’t work very well, especially for people who want quick results. Another problem is that many of them burn the gums and make the teeth extremely sensitive.

Professional Teeth Whitening: The Safest Way to Whiten Your Teeth

Barton H. FoutzLearning that at-home treatments aren’t very safe or effective can be discouraging. Thankfully, you can obtain beautiful results from my individualized bleaching treatment plans. When patients see me for bleaching, they can try prescription bleach with custom bleach trays that they use at home. Or, they can opt for in-office bleaching. Whatever choice they make, they can be sure that professional bleaching offers the safest, most effective solution for teeth whitening.

If you’re ready for a safe, fast, and effective way to whiten your teeth, give me a call. We’ll get you scheduled for a consultation to discuss which of my bleaching options are best for you.


Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074
(702) 792-5929

Ezbond A. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
1st Generation:

Great Grandfather

Dr. Ezbond A. Foutz
Harold B. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
2nd Generation:


Dr. Harold B. Foutz
Lawrence C. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
3rd Generation:


Dr. Lawrence C. Foutz
Barton H. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
4th Generation:

Family and Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Barton H. Foutz