Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Five Habits That Destroy Your Teeth

In October the Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Steven A. Ghareeb, DDS, FAGD, offered advice on how to keep your smile healthy by avoiding five bad oral health habits. We've discussed these at length in previous posts but a refresher is always good.  Please take a minute to quiz yourself and your family and see where you can improve.

CHICAGO (October 2, 2012)—Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Steven A. Ghareeb, DDS, FAGD, offers advice on how to keep your smile healthy and pretty by avoiding these five bad oral health habits.

1. Not flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but many patients don’t realize that flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving—and maintaining—a healthy smile. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth. “Although bleeding and irritation sometimes can occur when you first start flossing, it’s important to keep at it,” says Dr. Ghareeb. “Your gums will toughen up and your oral health will be better for it.”

2. Brushing too soon after eating
Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as sports and energy drinks, citrus fruits, wine, and tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your pearly whites!

3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough
Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. “It’s also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

4. Excessively bleaching your teeth
Overzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.

So how did you do?  Is there room for improvement?  As the stores gear up to tempt you at every corner with candy and sticky treats, we hope you take extra time to make sure you are giving your teeth the protection they need.  Like we've said in the past, take care of your teeth today and they will take care of you tomorrow!

Call us today at (541) 451-1440 or 

TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Kids

The Academy of General Dentistry recently published and article entitled, "Best and Worst Halloween Candy Options for Children's Teeth".  This information will help you make better choices as you and your child sort through all of the candy they will receive.

CHICAGO (Oct. 15, 2012)—Halloween is just around the corner, and although candy consumption is almost unavoidable this time of year, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) wants parents and children to know that there are both good and bad candy options, both of which may find their way into children’s trick-or-treat bags this fall.

“Of course, dentists do not advocate that children eat large amounts of sugary treats, but it is that time of year, so we want to clarify for parents which treats are better for their kids’ teeth and which ones may increase the risk of developing cavities,” says AGD spokesperson Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD.

  •  Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit can be difficult for children and adults to resist, and even more difficult to remove from teeth. “These candies are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away,” Dr. Sherwood says.
  •  Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. The good news: Saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. Dr. Sherwood recommends that patients wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies; otherwise, they will be brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
  • Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, all contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
  •  Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. “A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities,” Dr. Sherwood says.
  •  Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva—which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
  • Dark chocolate and its antioxidants, according to some studies, can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.
“Parents should closely monitor their children’s candy intake this Halloween—and all year round—and continue to promote good oral health habits,” Dr. Sherwood says. “Kids also should be brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes.”

Make it a fun activity to sit down with your child and sort through their "loot" after Halloween. You can make picture categories your child is young or you can come up with a game that makes it easy.  It's best to consume candy with other foods and drink lots of water.  Make sure they are brushing at least twice a day.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call.

Call us today at (541) 451-1440 or 

TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tooth Loss - Are You at Risk?

The Academy of General Dentistry shares some insightful information regarding tooth loss:

Tooth loss, is when one or more teeth fall out or are extracted due to injury or disease such as mouth trauma, tooth decay or gum disease.

Kids, adults and seniors are all at risk for tooth loss, especially if proper oral hygiene is not practiced. Although tooth loss is typically associated with the elderly, research suggests that nearly 27 percent of patients experience their first tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30. Tooth loss is expected to increase with aging baby boomers, perpetuating a phenomenon among a generation of people that saw their parents fall victim to tooth loss due to lack of dental care.
  • Kids:  As kids become more active, they are susceptible to two types of traumatic tooth loss premature loss of a baby tooth or loss of a permanent tooth due to injury or neglect. Children should wear protective mouth guards when playing sports, and parents should consult a dentist immediately in the case of an injury.
  • Adults: Most people do not know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Tooth loss is also linked to smoking, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Seniors: As people age, plaque accumulates and becomes harder to eliminate. Gum recession, older fillings and dry mouth put seniors at a higher risk of losing their natural teeth.

Educating yourself about the causes and consequences of tooth loss can prevent it from happening to you. Visiting the dentist for cleanings twice a year is an important step toward prevention. Improving oral hygiene habits at home by brushing and flossing daily is also key to preventing problems from developing. It is important to talk to your dentist about proper oral healthcare and other lifestyle changes that can improve the odds of keeping your natural teeth.

While it's understandable that decisions about replacing teeth can seem overwhelming at first, both from a psychological and financial standpoint, we want you to know we are here to help.

By scheduling a free consultation you can you can weigh the options and the pros and cons of replacement teeth or even learn more about our Laser Gum Therapy that has been proven to save teeth and regrow bone.  Dr. Clark has seen some amazing results with Laser Gum Therapy and is a leading expert in this treatment.

Dr. Clark is ready and willing to sit down with you and discuss the exciting options that are available.  He can help you set short-term and long-term goals which will enable you to have the healthiest mouth possible.

Give us a call today!

(541) 451-1440 or 

TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kicking the habit? Your mouth will thank you.

Kicking the habitDelta Dental Insurance has a great post on the benefits of "Kicking the Habit" of smoking.  Today, thanks to the increase of knowledge in our medical community we can link many of our daily habits to health issues that we struggle with. The Surgeon General has been very helpful in listing the side effects of smoking and educating the public.  One commonly overlooked side effect  from smoking is Gum Disease.

Larry Smith, 49, has been smoking cigarettes since he was in college. “It seemed harmless enough at the time,” he says. “I’d go out with some of my buddies on the weekends, and we’d have a few drinks, smoke a few cigarettes. Or, I’d be up late studying for an exam, and a couple of cigarettes would keep me alert enough to get through the material.”
But the years after college changed an occasional occurrence into a daily habit. “I never thought it would become a habit,” says Larry, “but here I am, more than 25 years later, smoking half a pack a day, and I just can’t seem to quit.”

Warning signs of gum disease

At Larry’s most recent dentist visit, his dentist noticed that his gums seemed redder and more inflamed than during his last visit and were starting to recede from his teeth.
“I was shocked when my dentist told me that I had gingivitis, or the early stage of gum disease. He said that because smoking may suppress the immune system and leave gums prone to infection, my smoking was most likely the cause of the problem. He also said that smokers were more than 50 percent more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. Can you believe that?”
Larry’s dentist told him that in addition to red, tender, swollen gums, the receding gums and the occasional bleeding while brushing and flossing were also signs of the beginnings of gum disease.

Smoking affects your oral health, too

While Larry, like many people, was aware of the negative impact that smoking cigarettes could have on his overall health, he says he only became aware of the effects that cigarette smoking could have on his oral health after his visit to the dentist.
In addition to an increased risk for gum disease, smoking can increase your risk for many other oral health problems, including:
  • Mouth pain and cavities
  • Tooth loss (twice that of non-smokers)
  • Infected tooth root (twice that of non-smokers)
  • Reduced ability to fight infection, including in the mouth and gums
  • Slower healing of gum tissue after oral surgery or from injury
  • Reduced effectiveness of gum disease treatments

Kicking the habit

The good news is that the risk of gum disease, tooth loss and many other oral health problems decreases after you quit smoking. After learning that he was developing gum disease, Larry told his dentist he wanted to quit smoking. His dentist prescribed a transdermal nicotine patch (worn for 24 hours over several weeks with a dissipating flow of nicotine) to help him kick the habit.
There are a variety of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) available to help people quit smoking, including nicotine gums, lozenges, sprays and inhalers. People who wish to quit smoking may also be helped by counseling and support programs. Aside from your physician and dentist, other sources for referrals to counseling and support programs include your local hospital, health department, American Cancer Society chapter (800-ACS-2345 or 800-227-2345) and the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines (800-QUIT-NOW or 800-784-8669).

You can do it

Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but many people have succeeded in quitting. Soon after you stop smoking, you may notice that food tastes better, your sense of smell is more acute and you can more easily be active without getting winded. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re keeping your mouth — and your entire body — healthy.
We want you to be successful in accomplishing healthy goals and are here to help you.  Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions you may have concerning smoking and gum disease.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tooth Loss From Disease

Many of our blog posts have centered around the effects of tooth disease.  In our opinion we cannot share enough about the importance of investing a little time and effort now to guarantee the best results possible for your future dental health.

WebMD had a great post entitled, Are You At Risk For Tooth Loss by Annie Stuart.  We'd like to share parts of her article that we feel are great reminders.

Tooth Loss From Disease

Plaque -- bacterial buildup that resides in sticky stuff on your teeth -- causes decay and can lead to periodontal disease, which inflames gums and destroys supporting tissues such as ligaments and bones. And with their demise can come loose -- and eventually lost -- teeth.
Poor oral hygiene and lack of professional care are big contributors.
Other factors that put you at greater risk for periodontal disease and potential tooth loss include:
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis
Changing hormones during pregnancy can also affect a woman's response to disease. So it's especially important to get regular professional care throughout pregnancy.
People with developmental and other disabilities are at greater risk as well, due to the challenges of home care. This means caregivers need to be creative about helping with this task.
Early onset of periodontal disease is another concern. "If I see a patient under 40 with periodontal disease, that's worrisome to me because I know this person will be particularly susceptible," says Donald S. Clem III, DDS, a periodontist in Fullerton, Calif., and the 2010-2011 president of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Keep Your Dentist Appointments

Dental care to prevent tooth loss is a partnership between you and your dentist. Make those routine appointments and keep them.
How often you need to go depends on your particular case. Twice a year is typical, but if you have gum disease, you may need to go more often.
Make sure your dentist is doing a complete periodontal evaluation at least yearly, Clem says. This includes measuring spaces under gums with a periodontal probe and getting a complete set of X-rays to assess bone levels.

Brush and Floss

First, wash your hands. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once a day.
"You wouldn't have to floss if you could reach all the parts of your mouth with a toothbrush, but you can't -- no more than you can vacuum a whole house without certain attachments for getting into corners," Price says. If you don't know how, ask your hygienist or dentist.
Other tips to prevent bacterial growth:
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Wash your toothbrush once in a while in the dishwasher or place it in a cup of mouthwash.
  • Let your toothbrush dry completely after each brushing.
  • Don't share your toothbrush with anyone.

Control Clenching and Grinding

Clenching and grinding can wear down your teeth. Stress control and relaxation techniques can greatly help. Also, if you clench and grind at night, your dentist can make a bite guard to even out the stresses on your teeth.
Whether it's stress management, a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, or nutritious food, many healthy lifestyle habits can cut your odds of periodontal disease or slow its progression.
"The better you take care of your body, the broader the health benefits," Clem says.

Feed Your Teeth the Right Stuff

You don't need a special diet. Sound nutritional habits will do the trick. However, meeting your daily requirements for calcium and vitamin C, plus plenty of water, may be especially helpful for your teeth and gums.
"We know that sugar is a super fuel for bacteria that produces acids and enzymes," Price says. "So either cut down on the sugar or get it out of your mouth before it produces harm."
If you do lose your teeth, it may limit your diet.
"People who don't have their teeth tend to eat soft, high-carbohydrate diets," Clem says. "They are not able to eat high-protein, high-fiber foods, which are even more important as they age." And that could contribute to a whole host of other problems, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Quit Smoking

Smoking affects the blood supply that feeds your gums, increasing the incidence and severity of periodontal disease.
"Smokeless tobacco has an even more deleterious [harmful] effect on gums," Price says.
Smokers are harder to treat, says Clem, and their response to treatment is less predictable. But if you quit smoking, you'll cut your odds of heart disease, as well as periodontal disease.

Manage Chronic Diseases

If you have a chronic disease, you may need to take extra care of your teeth.
People with poorly managed diabetes, for instance, may have difficulty with fighting infection and wound healing.
If you have diabetes, you need to pay special attention to blood glucose control, as well as dental care and regular checkups.
Contact your dentist if you see signs of periodontal disease: red, sore, or bleeding gums.
Taking care of your teeth now is like putting money in your dental health account for the future.  Cut back on the expenditures or things that will do harm to your mouth now so that you will have a healthy and vibrant mouth to enjoy the rest of your life.
Please contact us with any concerns that you might have regarding tooth loss.  There are so many options to help you.  You do not need to suffer with pain or embarrassment that often accompanies this dental condition.  
We look forward to talking to you soon!

Call us today at (541) 451-1440 or 

TEXT us at 541.6DC.DDS2