Your Oral Health Matters…And Not Just For Your Teeth!

In years past, medical professionals were not making connections between oral health and overall health and wellness. New research suggests that the two are very much connected. Called the oral-systemic connection, studies are beginning to make links between the health of an individual’s mouth and the rest of the body.

New connections and theories are being discovered all the time, not all of them completely proven. However, there are a few connections that are convincing enough to become widely accepted.

Respiratory Infections

Our mouths are breeding grounds for bacteria, which is what makes oral hygiene so important. This bacteria causes a variety of oral ailments from tooth decay to gum disease. New findings suggest that this same oral bacteria can travel from the mouth into the lungs and cause a variety of respiratory infections including pneumonia and emphysema. Those prone to these sorts of conditions need to make their oral health a priority!

Diabetes

Bacteria, like many people, love sugars – especially glucose. Oral bacteria will thrive on glucose, which is linked to diabetes. When blood sugar levels are poorly controlled it affects more than just diabetes. If there are high glucose levels in your mouth, it will dramatically increase the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) officially recognized this connection between oral health and diabetes in 2008.

Pregnancy

These studies haven’t been as conclusive as others, but there have been findings linking gum disease and preterm birth. While more research needs to be done in this area to be certain, any expecting mothers with periodontal concerns should have those treated as soon as possible, just in case.

Heart Disease

Bacteria can cause havoc anywhere, and that includes cardiovascular areas. There are studies that suggest that clogged arteries, stroke and heart disease could potentially be caused by infections initiated by oral bacteria. Also, a condition known as endocarditis (an infection of the inner heart lining) is caused from bacteria coming from other areas of the body, spread through the bloodstream, and attracted to damaged heart areas.

There are other health concerns that have been linked to the mouth including eating disorders, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome. If any of these are a concern for you or your loved ones, we would encourage you to do a bit of digging to uncover how proper oral hygiene might benefit you.

There is still a lot of work to be done in creating conclusive findings. However, what we do know is that the overall condition of your mouth, teeth and gums plays a much larger role in your health that anyone ever considered.

A proper oral hygiene routine is the best prevention for a variety of health problems. What if an electric toothbrush and regular floss could be enough to save a life?

Be certain you are scheduling your six-month dental appointments so your dentist can evaluate any potential oral problems that are oblivious to the untrained eye. Staying on top of your dental health will, in the long run, save you money, frustration, and could improve your body’s ability to function optimally.

The Great Debate: The Fluoride in Our Water – Why Fluoride is in our water systems and why there’s a debate going on about it.

Water fluoridation is the addition of fluoride (derived from fluorine) to public water supplies for the purpose of reducing cavities.  Currently 74.6% or 190 million people in the United States have fluoridated water in their homes.

Why do communities add fluoride to drinking water?

In 1945, the city officials of Grand Rapids, MI decided to add small amounts of fluoride to their water supply.  Their intent was to test the theory that the fluoride would help against tooth decay, especially for children. Before the experiment had been studied for the recommended 15 years, the overall rate of tooth decay in the children observed dropped over 60 percent.

By 1960, over fifty million Americans had fluoride in their drinking water, and the Centers for Disease Control considers fluoridation one of the most important public health advances of the 20th century.

Is it safe?

  • For people of all ages, fluoride works topically on tooth surfaces. Fluoride mixes with saliva, and when the saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria on teeth, the fluoride joins the enamel crystals on the tooth surfaces, healing and protecting the teeth from further decay.
  • Fluoride combines with the calcium and phosphate of the developing teeth and makes them more resistant to decay, especially during the first few years after they come into the mouth.

Is it ethical?

  • Fluoride is not a medication – it is a type of nutrient.  The practice of adding nutrients to consumable products include Vitamin D being added to milk to prevent a disease called rickets and iodine is added to salt to prevent goiter, which affects the thyroid gland.
  • Chlorine is added to drinking water to prevent outbreaks of E. coli or other forms of bacteria. Having a community water system means a city or town cannot pick and choose which households receive chlorinated water and which ones do not. The same is true for fluoride.

Is it effective?

  • A 2010 study confirmed that the fluoridated water consumed as a young child makes the loss of teeth (due to decay) less likely 40 or 50 years later when that child is a middle-aged adult.
  • At a time when more than 100 million Americans lack dental insurance, fluoridation offers an easy, inexpensive preventive strategy that everyone benefits from simply by turning on their tap.
  • Fluoridated water is also the most inexpensive way to provide fluoride. The per-person annual cost of fluoride rinse programs is roughly double the cost of fluoridated water. The per-person annual cost of fluoride supplements is more than 70 times higher than fluoridated water. Fluoride varnishes or gels also cost more than providing fluoridated water.

Fluoridation does spark a heated debate between opponents and supporters.  A reverse-osmosis filter can be used to remove the fluoride in your tap water, but be aware of the benefits you are denying yourself and your family – especially your children who benefit the most from the addition.

Dental X-Rays: What Are They & Why Are They Helpful?

Get The Skinny On Dental X-Rays:

When you go to the dentist and they take pictures of your teeth, these include photos of the teeth, bones, and delicate tissues around them to help uncover potential issues with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. The purpose of the x-ray is to reveal any cavities, hidden dental structures or possible bone loss that can’t be seen during a visual examination. These dental photos are also used after any treatments or procedures to ensure things are going as planned.

Types of Dental X-Rays

Bitewing – These are used to snap a shot of the upper and lower back teeth in one image. Helpful when determining the shape of a person’s bite or to look for decay between the teeth in the back of the mouth.

Periapical – These shots are essentially close-ups of a single tooth from crown to tip of the root.

Occlusal – These focus on the roof or floor of the mouth and are commonly used to locate extra teeth, fractures, clefts, abscesses or other abnormalities in the mouth.

Panoramic – These extend past the teeth to include the jaw and joints, as well as the nasal and sinus areas.

Reasons to Take Dental X-Rays

Since x-rays do generate small amounts of radiation, a common question is why should anyone take the risk to have their teeth x-rays done? There are many benefits to doing this at least once a year (or as needed, per your dentist recommendation).

  • Not every problem can be seen simply by looking into the mouth. While a dentist is experienced is spotting potential problems that you won’t notice, they still can’t see what is going on beneath the surface.
  • Early detection could save you time, money, and your teeth. An x-ray will display decay, bone loss or damage, injury, disease, infection and other concerns that could quickly escalate to bigger problems.
  • Without an overall picture of how the teeth are lined up and the condition they are in, orthodontics would be stumbling in the dark when it came to developing a treatment plan.
  • Not every child’s teeth come in perfectly, or in the right timing, and an x-ray could identify what is keeping the tooth from coming in (or falling out).

While a few people stress over the radiation from X-rays, there truly is no need for concern. Present day innovation has decreased radiation levels to miniscule sums. The American Dental Association has distributed suggestions to reassure families that radiation is as low as possible. Furthermore, dental specialists play it safe using defensive garments and collars to shield patients from radiation. They also make the process brief by utilizing the latest tech.

The most value in dental x-rays come in finding a concern or issue before it becomes a challenge. Early detection, combined with the latest technological advances, are the best approach for keeping teeth healthy. Wouldn’t it be lovely to only go to the dentist when you needed a cleaning because your teeth are so strong and healthy? Dental x-rays help keep you out of the treatment chair and smiling big and proud for the world to see.

Your Dentist Needs To Know These Four Things

Things to Tell Your Dentist At Your Next Appointment

Six months is a long time to go without talking to someone, especially if that someone is your dentist. Recent studies prove that your dental health is connected to your overall health so your connection with your dentist is more important than you thought. This is why it’s so important to establish a trust with your dentist. A dental professional will be able to provide better care for their patients only if the channels of communication remain open and honest. This doesn’t mean you need to talk to them about your love life. But, it does mean you should clue them in on topics that have an effect on your oral health.

Want your pearly whites to stay healthy? Keep reading to see what you should be telling your dentist at your next appointment.

Status Update

Each time you visit your dentist office you should let them know how things are going. If you’ve had any health issues since you last saw them, you probably want to ask if it will affect your oral health in any way. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell them issues you are currently dealing with. Not only does you dentist care about your teeth, but they also care about your well-being. Items that should be included are sensitivity, pain, odor, build-up changes, color changes and bleeding. If you aren’t sure, ask about it anyway. The more information they have, the better they will be to uncover the root of the issue.

Diet

Clue your dentist in about your diet, as certain foods and drink can have a great effect on your teeth. You may be eating food that is healthy for you but is damaging to your teeth. While we all want to eat healthy, there are those times where an ice cream craving kicks in. Relax; your dentist will keep your sweet tooth a secret. What we consume, and the way it’s consumed, has an impact on our dental health.

Dental Tools

A common dental hygiene practice that you may sometimes forget is to floss. Your dentist is somewhat of a detective. They’ll be able to tell how much or how little you’re flossing. Be sure to talk to them about why you haven’t been flossing. Dentists are full of great advice and will be able to give you some tips on how to include flossing in your at-home dental routine. Also, ask their advice on the type of toothbrush and toothpaste they recommend.

Fears and anxieties

If you’ve ever had a terrible experience with a dentist, you may groan at the thought of your next appointment. Instead, tell your dentist about past experiences that make you anxious. Or, if you’re about to go under a more invasive procedure ask as many questions as possible. This will ease any anxieties you have and ensure you that your dentist knows what they’re doing.

Having open communication with your dentist establishes a trust making it easier to maintain oral health and decreasing the stress associated with these appointments.  If we know what is going on with you, we can help address your needs!

5 Ways To Get That Beautiful Smile You Deserve

Stop feeling embarrassed by your smile! Cosmetic dentistry can help.

cosmetic dentistry

Embarrassed By Your Smile?

Don’t like your smile? Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to change your smile and feel more confident in your everyday life! Here is a list of options to get that beautiful smile you have always wanted.

  1. Teeth Cleaning & Whitening

Ok, so this one is the most basic of procedures. If your teeth themselves are in great shape, just a little yellow, try whitening them for an instant improvement. You will pass that tissue test for sure!

  1. Inlays & Onlays

Are there areas of your teeth that are chipped or decaying? Inlays and onlays are made from a composite resin and can be placed over mild to moderate tooth decay. If the cusp of your tooth is in good shape, then an inlay may be the best choice. If a big part of your tooth or the cusp is damaged then an onlay will be put onto your entire tooth surface. These handy procedures will help strengthen, restore their shape, and prevent your teeth from more decay.

  1. Composite Bonding

This procedure is similar to a filling. If you have a decaying part of a tooth, the dentist will remove and place the composite in the hollowed space. It will then be sculpted and cured. The composite will match the color of your tooth enamel and virtually erase the evidence of your rotten tooth.

  1. Dental Veneers

Maybe you wish that you just had a new set of teeth… well dental veneers may be a solution for you. Without taking out your natural teeth, a tooth veneer can be placed over top masking what is underneath. Veneers are made from medical-grade ceramic and are custom-made tooth by tooth. They can be used to cover discolorations, cracked enamel, crooked teeth, and remove gaps in your teeth.

  1. Implants

Not your typical implants! Dental implants are usually used to replace a missing tooth. Implants are a permanent tooth replacement that can’t decay or suffer from other ailments such as gum disease. A crown is placed over the implant to seamlessly blend in with the rest of your smile. Implants are also great for people considering dentures. In some people dentures can cause certain issues, and implants bypass all of that by being placed like a natural tooth. You can eat whatever you want without worry, can you say FREEDOM?!

Sure cosmetic dentistry may not be seen as life or death, but it can do wonders for your confidence. Talk to our dentists about the options you may have to dramatically improve your smile.

What Can You Do With An Old Toothbrush?

What to do with your toothbrush after you retire it:  Creative ways to use a toothbrush

denHave you ever wondered if a toothbrush could be used for a purpose other than wiping the grime off your teeth? We use them for a little while and then just toss them in the trash. You might think it is a bit wasteful. Well guess what? We think so too! Here is a list of ways to use your retired toothbrush and get more bang for your buck!

  1. The Scrubber! 

A classic….Think of all those stories of moms punishing their kids by scrubbing the toilet or bathtub with a toothbrush. It may not be fun, but man does it leave your surfaces clean! Use your toothbrush to clean the grout in your tile, get up under the rim of the toilet, or remove mildew around the drain of the tub. It is the small brushes and durability that makes this a great asset for cleaning supplies.

  1. Garlic Grater?

When you grate garlic, it can be a huge pain to clean afterwards. Try dipping the old toothbrush into some baking soda and then scrub the garlic off in a circular motion. The gumminess of the garlic will break down and your grater will be ready to soap up! This can also be used for zesters, strainers, and sifters.

  1. Splinter Extractor

This one is pretty cool. Run your old toothbrush under warm water and put a drop of dish soap on the bristles. Gently rub in a circular motion over the pesky splinter and it will gradually bring it to the surface. This one isn’t for used brushes. Be sure to use a clean toothbrush to avoid infections.

  1. Dirty Shoes

Did you step in mud, or maybe a pile of your dog’s waste in the backyard? Don’t waste your time waiting for the mud to dry in the sun or running the hot bath water over them. Instead use your old toothbrush to clean all the nooks and crannies in the tread of your shoes. The bottoms of your shoes will be squeaky clean by the time you’re done!

  1. Dirty Fingernails…

If you find yourself with dirty fingernails and no normal nail scrubber in sight, try a toothbrush. These work just as well if not better at removing dirt and grime under your nails, leaving you clean and free of disgusting germs!

  1. Bike Chains

Do you love riding your bike? Maybe you don’t get to do it too often, but decide to pull it out of the cobwebs. Bike chains tend to collect grease, dust, and other gunk in all the little links that it is made out of. Spray that chain with a little WD-40 or brake cleaner and scrub away with your toothbrush. Just like that brush gets into all the corners of your mouth, it’ll do the same for your bike chain. You’ll be back on the open road in no time!

  1. Bling

And finally… with a slightly damp soft toothbrush, you can polish and clean your beautiful jewelry with ease. Just remember, use gently so you don’t damage your pretties!

The Interesting Connection Between Oral Health & Your Overall Health

Finding Balance in Our Busy Lives Can Help Dental Health

We know, you are busy. Like, really busy! However, that doesn’t mean that you should just ignore yourself. Research suggests our overall health and dental health are linked, which means that balance in life could help not only your stress levels, but those pearly whites too!

In between your visits to the dentist, there are other daily routines that put us on the path to great health and better balance in life.  Here are just a few!

Stress

Did you know that stress can actually damage your teeth? Well, it can! When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol suppresses your immune system. That is why when you are really stressed out, you often get sick. Talk about insult to injury. When your immune system isn’t working well your system is unable to kill the bacteria in your mouth. This causes plaque to build up and eat away at the enamel of your teeth. It is believed that this can lead to periodontal and cardiovascular disease. I think that is a good enough reason to schedule that spa day, don’t you?

Smoking

We talk about this one a lot. Smoking and chewing tobacco causes harm to your body and your dental health. Here are just a few of the health problems associated with smoking.

Body

  • Cancers including lung, pancreatic, cervical, kidney, liver, mouth, lip, throat, bladder, stomach, & leukemia to name a few.
  • Respiratory problems including Emphysema & Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
  • Circulatory problems including Coronary Heart disease & stroke.
  • Hormonal disorders including Diabetes.
  • Digestive issues including ulcers.

Mouth

  • Increased risk of plaque buildup and periodontal disease.
  • Bad breath (halitosis), yellow/brown teeth & cavities.
  • Delayed healing from dental procedures or mouth injuries.

Smoking just isn’t a good idea. If you need help quitting, check out www.Quit.com for advice and resources.

Hygiene  

We aren’t just talking about dental hygiene, although that’s important too! When you do not practice proper personal hygiene your skin is prone to infections and inflammation. This weakens your immune system and could lead to serious complications. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and is just as important as the others. Chances are, if you are not showering you probably aren’t brushing your teeth either. Take care of the body you are in and practice proper dental and personal hygiene.

 

Fear  

Maybe you figure that if you brush your teeth regularly you shouldn’t need to visit the dentist. Is fear holding you back? Our minds have so much control over our actions. A lot of people hate going to the dentist, but it is crucial to your dental health. Dentists care for you in many ways including helping you find cavities before they become a big issue. Research and find a dentist you trust. Be open with your dentist about your fears and create a plan together.

Your body is connected in more ways than you may think! Take great care of your whole self and your mouth will thank you too!

 

10 Wacky Facts About Teeth

Bet you didn’t know some of these!

Teeth might not seem too interesting, but there’s more to them than you may think! There are some pretty wacky facts out there about teeth. Here are 10 of our favorites!

 

  • Tooth Tattoos

 

How awesome is that? You can now get a picture or words tattooed onto your tooth in the dentist office. Some of these tattoos even help fight bacteria!

 

  • Norwegian tooth bank?

 

The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) in Norway is collecting children’s baby teeth for scientific study. They are using these teeth to check for pollutants in the child’s body and using the results to figure out how environmental pollutants affect mothers and their children.

 

  • Cloning John Lennon

 

Canadian dentist Michael Zuk is the proud owner of one of John Lennon’s molars. Lennon gave his molar to his housekeeper as a souvenir for her daughter. Zuk bought it in 2011 for $30,000 and is working with scientists to clone the rock and roll legend. He plans to have Lennon cloned by 2040.

 

  • The boy with 232 teeth

 

17-year-old Ashik Gavai thought he had mouth cancer. When the surgeons opened up his swollen jaw, they were shocked to find hundreds of little teeth! The condition is called Odontoma, and Ashik had it bad. 232 teeth later, he now holds a Guinness world record for most teeth removed!

 

  • Toothy nosebleed?

 

An unnamed 22-year-old man was constantly having nosebleeds. When he went to his doctor to check it out, they found a tooth growing into his nose! There was even a 13-year-old boy in 1978 named Doug Pritchard who discovered a tooth growing in his foot! Between 0.15% and 3.9% of people in the world have spare teeth, and they don’t just grow in your head.

 

  • Toilet Toothbrush

 

Did you know that your toothbrush is probably dirtier than your toilet bowl? When you flush the toilet, waste particles are blasted into the air and can land on your toothbrush. So gross! Try putting the lid down before flushing and disinfect your brush with hydrogen peroxide regularly.

 

  • Love Your Teeth Day

 

Ok, so there are lots of wacky holidays out there, but we really like this one! In China, September 20th is national Love Your Teeth Day and helps get people excited to visit their dentist. We think we should start this in the U.S., what do you think?

 

  • Mountain Dew Mouth

 

Sorry Dew lovers, but you might want to think before you drink that sugary beverage again. In the Appalachian region many people are of low-income and Mountain Dew has become the unofficial drink of choice. So much so that it is common for this community to have severely rotten teeth, coined Mountain Dew Mouth.

 

  • Beeswax Fillings

 

The Neolithic humans used beeswax to fill their cavities. This was discovered from a 6500-year-old mandible found in Slovenia. It’s natural right?!

 

  • Ashy Toothpaste

 

Before minty fresh breath, we had ash breath! Some of the first toothpaste was made from ash, charcoal, or tobacco. Urine was even used as a teeth-whitening mouthwash… Thank goodness we have Crest and Colgate right?

 

The Effects of Sugar on the Body & Dental Health

Many of us likely suffer from a condition we call “The Sweet Tooth”. It can be a hard and difficult condition to live with, leaving you craving anything sugary in sight. You probably indulge in these delicious treats more than you would like to admit, and we don’t blame you! Sugar is sweet and satisfying in the moment, but don’t be a victim of its charms. Here’s just a few reasons why you should consider putting down the donuts and Snickers bar the next time you begin feeling impulsive.

Weight Management

Okay, so I’m sure this is probably the first one that you thought of when I mentioned the negatives to sugar. Yes, refined and other sugars can lead to weight gain. If you are like me you may have wished once (or a gazillion times) that your super power would be to eat whatever you want without ever gaining a pound. I am so there with you! However, that just isn’t true for most people. Sugar causes your body to produce more insulin. Insulin helps sugar absorb into the cells in your body. This sugar is then stored away as “fuel” for when your body needs more energy. If you are not working off the same amount of energy as you are storing, then you end up building up fat throughout your entire body. I know it isn’t a great fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless and we can’t ignore it.

Dental Health

And now we are back to the “Sweet Tooth”, but we aren’t just talking about the cravings this time. When you were little you were probably told that if you eat all that candy your teeth will fall out of your head. There is some truth to that! We all have bacteria in our mouths even if we brush our teeth often (Gross!). A lot of types of bacteria in your mouth feed off of sugar. The bacteria then breaks down the sugar, creating acid. The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at your enamel until you brush your teeth again. Even if you brush morning and evening all the other hours in between brushings can be harmful when you are eating sugar on a regular basis. Once your enamel is damaged, the bacteria can then have a free for all and create cavities.

Acne

Finally, just a quick final nail in the sweet tooth coffin… Acne. Yes, sugar makes you break out! Sugar affects your hormones by releasing more insulin. The side effect of that is increased sebum in your pores. Sebum is an oily waxy substance that is secreted through your skin. Again, so gross and I’m sure not the look you’re going for.

I know sugary treats are so tasty and hard to resist. However, it is best to actually eat them as a TREAT, not a regular staple in your diet. Indulging our sweet tooth doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, but remember to do so in healthy moderation. Your body and your teeth will thank you for it!

When should my child start going to the dentist?

Dental health guidelines for parents of young children

When you have kids it feels like you constantly have to keep up with their always-changing bodies. Checkups at the doctors, vaccinations, discovering food allergies, vision care, and so much more. We’re never bored! Something some parents overlook though is taking their youngest children to the dentist. Their baby teeth are just going to fall out anyways, why do they have to go before their permanent teeth come in? Well there are many considerations, and very important reasons, to take them sooner, not later. Check out our list below to see why they should start going sooner than you think.

When?

According to the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), kids should start going when their first baby tooth shows up. That usually starts happening at 6 months old. You can safely have your first visit within 6 months of that first tooth, but it is not recommended to wait any longer.

Why?

Well, there are lots of reasons. First, just because they are not permanent teeth, doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Their baby teeth are place holders for their grown up teeth and need to be healthy too. If the baby tooth is allowed to grow in whatever direction it chooses or forms a cavity this can compromise the future health and placement of the grown up tooth.

What?

What kind of issues can be prevented by taking your kiddo to the dentist early? Many, let us list the ways…

  • Prevent tooth decay.
  • Discover any possible mouth or tooth abnormalities. These can include missing or crooked teeth and pallet problems.
  • Maintain good oral health.
  • Prevent plaque from building up.
  • Warn you of other health issues. Their mouth can show early signs of other health problems throughout their little bodies.
  • Comfortability. The earlier kids go to the dentist, the less scary it is later.
  • Education. Sometimes learning how to care for their teeth from someone other than mom and dad helps kids take brushing and flossing more seriously.
  • Encourage a lifelong practice of caring for their teeth.

Who?

What kind of dentist should you take your kids to? You can take them to your dentist if your dentist offers family or pediatric dentistry and you have a good feel about their quality of care. Often the best option is to seek out a pediatric dental office. The biggest reason for this is because these offices are usually kid friendly and super fun! The staff is also used to working with little kids and can get them excited about their teeth. Some offices even have TV, books, and video games to keep your kiddo entertained and comfortable. Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be miserable and scary, it can be a lot of fun for your child!

We know that adding yet another thing to your list can be frustrating. The good news is that taking your child to the dentist only needs to happen twice a year, maybe annually if your dentist approves. That is a small commitment of your time to start a lifetime of healthy teeth for your little one. You’ve got this!

Request an Appointment

Our Patient Promise

  • 5 minute or less wait-time
  • Same-day new and emergency appointments
  • Insurance benefit analysis
Learn More
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT CALL US TODAY AT 1-888-Smile-10 (1-888-764-5310)