Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Can You "Catch" a Cavity?

Photo Courtesy of

Time Healthland posted an article entitled "Are Cavities Really Contagious?"  This article brings to light a study in which it was discovered bacteria can be transferred from one mouth to another, effecting the dental health of the participants.
"So much can be communicated in just one kiss — including the bacteria Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, which flourish on teeth and gums and cause cavities.
Sugary candies are usually blamed for rotten teeth, but the real culprits are bacteria. They subsist on food particles left in your mouth, and the acid they produce eats away teeth. The bugs travel easily from person to person. Reported AOL Health:
“Particularly, the easiest way to catch a cavity is when a mother is feeding a child,” Dr. Irwin Smigel, creator of Supersmile, told AOL Health. The mother will taste the food to check the temperature and then continue feeding the child. “Immediately, that’s how kids get cavities,” he says.
Kissing between couples can also cause the spread of harmful bacteria. Smigel has seen many patients, particularly women, who have clean, healthy mouths, discover a cavity or two after entering into a relationship with a man who has cavities, gum disease or hasn’t been to the dentist in several years.
Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the bacteria. A 2007 study conducted at the University of Queensland’s School of Dentistry in Australia found that cavity-causing bacteria was found in the mouths of 30% of 3-month-old babies and more than 80% of 24-month-olds with primary teeth. 
To prevent the germs from multiplying, dentists recommend avoiding sticky candies, rinsing with mouthwash after eating, drinking water throughout the day to flush away plaque and bacteria, and flossing. You can also chew sugar-free gum, which promotes beneficial saliva.
But by far the best way to ward off cavities is to brush your teeth twice a day, and especially at night: during sleep, the mouth produces less saliva, which allows bacteria to proliferate on teeth and gums."
So before you "pucker up" or go to test that baby food, make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe!    Avoid sticky candy, and as we have discussed before brush at least twice a day and floss.  Rinsing with mouthwash after eating and drinking water throughout the day help flush away plaque and bacteria.  Chewing sugar-free xylitol gum will produce more saliva which also helps reduce plaque build up.

We have learned in recent continuing education that we can help you control the bacteria that causes tooth decay even before we do the fillings.  This will decrease the likelihood of passing oral disease to your family.

Call today to begin your journey to a lifetime of 
whole family oral health!

(541) 451-1440 or 
TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Are Your Pearly Whites Telling You?

Name a part of your body that you use constantly...every second?  If you guessed your mouth, including teeth and gums you are correct!  Your mouth is one of the most used parts of your body.  Think about it, you breathe, speak, eat, smile, frown, sing - the list is endless!  We don't give our mouths a second thought, but just think what life would be like without it!  Caring for your mouth should be top priority!

We've previously discussed many ways we can prevent dental problems by brushing, flossing and eating a well balanced diet.  However, when things go wrong, our miraculous bodies have their own warning systems built right in.  There are many warning signs your mouth can give to alert you to potential problems.  If you choose to ignore these warning signs, the likelihood of avoiding major problems is not that favorable.

So what are some of the warning signs to look for?
  1. Loose Teeth.
  2. A mouth sore that bleeds or simply won't heal.
  3. Heavy bleeding when flossing.
  4. Changes in the skin color inside your cheeks.
  5. Acute pain in the mouth, jaw or lips.
  6. Swollen or pus filled gums.
  7. Changing of your bite - you notice your teeth come together differently.
  8. Numbness in your mouth.
  9. Lumps or white spots anywhere in your mouth.
  10.  Frequent headaches.
  11. Painful tongue or difficulty speaking.
  12. Thick or stringy saliva.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list, but many of the very serious dental problems that can arise will present themselves in like manner.  The best thing you can do for yourself or a loved one is to call our office and set up an appointment.  If these warning signs are heeded early, you can save yourself a lot of pain and in many instances you can save money by not needing major dental intervention to save your teeth or gums.

Listen to your mouth - what it is telling you is very important!  

Call us at (541) 451-1440 or Text us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WAIT! Don't Brush Your Teeth...Just Yet!

Photo Courtesy of  World
This week we have been discussing several different tips or techniques related to tooth brushing. We hope that you have been learning a little bit more and that your oral health will continue to improve and yield great results for you!

We all know brushing our teeth is extremely important, but did you know that the "when" you brush your teeth is just as important?

The New York Times recently ran an article entitled, "Really? Never Brush Your Teeth Immediately After a Meal".  Author Anahad O'Connor reports, "Research shows that brushing too soon after meals and drinks, especially those that are acidic, can do more harm than good.  Acid attacks the teeth, eroding enamel and the layer below it, called dentin.  Brushing can accelerate this process, said Dr. Howard R. Gamble, president of the Academy of General Dentistry.  "With Brushing, you could acutally push the acid deeper into the enamel and dentin," he said.

In one study, a group of volunteers were followed for three weeks are researchers examined the impact of brushing on their teeth after they drank soda.  The scientists found an increase in dentin loss when brushing in the 20 minutes after drinking soda. But there was considerably less wear when brushing took place 30 or 60 minutes afterwards. 

It is concluded that for protection of dentin surfaces," the authors wrote, "at least 30 minutes should elapse before tooth brushing after an erosive attack."  In the meantime, to get rid of acid, Dr. Gamble suggested rinsing the mouth out with water or using an acid-neutralizing mixture: one part baking soda, eight parts water."  

In conclusion we share this short and simple video from the ADA summarizing the benefits of proper tooth brushing and flossing. 

Great habits yield great results!  We hope you set a new goal to 
improve your overall dental health!

Please call us with any questions or concerns you have!

Call us at (541) 451-1440 or Text us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tips for Teaching Children to Care for their Teeth

You've heard the old adage "teach them while they are young".  Nothing is more true than this statement when it comes to oral hygiene.  Habits are taught  from a young age, and learning the correct and good habits yield positive results to last a lifetime!

We want your children to love taking care of their teeth.  When brushing and flossing are made part of their daily routine it will become second nature by the time they are adults.  A bad habit, once acquired, is very difficult to break!

There is a great article found on, entitled 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Care for their Teeth.  We think these tips are great and if implemented early, your dental costs will be greatly reduced overtime.  Think of it as an investment in your savings future.  We all know raising children is an expensive venture!

Here are the 10 Tips:

  1. Lead by example – Kids love to emulate their parents, so leading by example is a must. Let your children watch you brush and floss and explain to them what you’re doing and why. They’ll love to feel like they’re able to something just like the grown-ups do.
  2. Start early – Children won’t be able to brush their teeth by themselves until the ages of 3 or 4, so you’ll have to do it for them until then. This will give them time to get used to the idea that this is a part of a normal daily routine and they’ll look forward to when they can do it on their own.
  3. Make it fun – Try to make brushing and flossing a fun activity and something to look forward to instead of just a chore. You can invent little games to play and be excited about it when they do a good job.
  4. Rewards – Be sure to reward kids when they achieve goals like brushing by themselves for the first time or not having to be reminded. Give them an extra bedtime story or let them stay up another 15 minutes to prove how grown-up they are.
  5. Plaque monsters – You can invent stories to help explain what happens if they don’t take care of their teeth. Tell them that after they eat food invisible plaque monsters are hiding in their teeth and they need to be brushed and flossed away.
  6. Give them choices – Get children involved in the dental hygiene process by giving them choices. Let them pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste, and keep a variety on hand so they don’t get bored. Floss and mouthwash even come in different fun colors and flavors that they can choose from.
  7. Music – It can be difficult to get kids to brush long enough, so music can help. Play their favorite song and tell them to keep brushing until the music stops. Pretty soon they’ll be brushing and flossing to the rhythm of the beat.
  8. Egg trick – Children have a hard time grasping the concept of why it’s so important to care for their teeth. Explain how a hard boiled egg is like a tooth because the hard shell is like enamel. Place the egg in vinegar for 2 days and let them see how the shell has softened and explain that’s what happens to teeth with acid and bacteria in the mouth.
  9. Apple cavities – Another experiment that helps explain cavities can be done with an apple. Cut a small chunk out of an apple and tell the kids it’s just like a cavity in a tooth. Set the apple somewhere so they can observe what happens over time. This will give them a visual example of how cavities rot the teeth just like the apple.
  10. Start off right – Make sure kids learn how to brush and floss properly from the very beginning and correct them until they get it right. Muscle memory will keep them doing it correctly for a lifetime instead of having to relearn later and try to break bad habits.
Regular visits to the dentist will help to reinforce what you teach your children at home.  The kids are more likely to listen to the dentist and hygienist as authorities while they go over proper dental care techniques. These tips should help get your children off to a good start when it comes to caring for their teeth.

Dr. Clark and his team are great with children and can help get them excited about their dental successes during their regular visits.  Be consistent, be an example and don't give up!

Happy Brushing and Flossing!

Don't hesitate to give us call with any concerns about your child's dental needs. We are here to serve you!

Call us at (541) 451- 1440 or Text us at 541.6DC.DDS2