Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Time Has Arrived: Candy Invasion in 3...2...1....

Believe it or not, the time of year for spooks, and ghosts is upon us!  We want to remind you of a few things that you can do to keep your children safe, as well as your pocketbook!  

The Academy of General Dentistry in their, "Know Your Teeth" series has some fantastic tips on how to do just that.

Don't Get Stuck
"Sticky, chewy candies are cavity-causing culprits," says AGD spokesperson Connie White, DDS, FAGD. "Gummies, taffy, caramel—they all get stuck in the pits and grooves of teeth, where it's nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away. The longer that candy remains stuck in the teeth, the higher the risk of developing cavities." Encourage children to brush their teeth following candy consumption. If a toothbrush isn't handy, says Dr. White, give them a glass of water to help swish away the sugars.

If the candy is sour, however, hold off on the brushing. Sour candy is likely acidic, so it's best to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing. The action of brushing can actually spread the acid onto more tooth surfaces, increasing its erosive action on tooth enamel.

Eat, Then Treat
On Halloween night, allow children to enjoy a few pieces of candy, but only after they've eaten a nutritious meal.

"Chewing during a meal stimulates saliva, which has protective enzymes and minerals to cleanse the teeth and protect against cavities," says AGD spokesperson Mark Malterud, DDS, MAGD. "Plus, eating before treating will give kids nice full tummies, tummies that might have a little less room for candy." 

Do Your Part
When trick-or-treaters visit your home, pass out teeth-friendly treats. For example, sugar-free lollipops, hard candies, and chewing gum are better options than their sugary alternatives. 

"Sugar-free gum actually can help prevent cavities," says Dr. Malterud. "Not only does it dislodge food particles from between the teeth, but it also increases saliva to help wash away the sugars."

Brushing Basics
"No matter what season it is, kids should be brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day," advises Dr. White. "It's especially important to brush before bedtime. Otherwise, sugars willlinger on the teeth all night long, increasing their risk of cavities."

We know that if you take a few minutes to implement these strategies you will be pleased with the results, and trick will NOT be on you this year!

Be safe and Have Fun!
Dr. Clark & Staff
Don't forget to stop by for your new toothbrush!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's Not Just Your Teeth That Needs Cleaning!

World Dental Health Magazine published an article about the importance of the tongue, and why we should take care of this organ in our body.  

We have focused a lot on brushing and flossing, but do you recognize the fact that your tongue needs just as much attention in order to have a clean mouth?

Imagine your tongue like an organ which basically traps and collects bacteria. These bacteria produce acids which can damage your teeth and the tissues of your tongue. So brushing your teeth without cleaning your tongue is like performing 50% of the task…

According to different oral health studies, about 1/3 of the bacteria that live in a person’s mouth can be found striving solely on the tongue. This means that if you do not cleanse your tongue, those specific bacteria are never killed from your mouth.

Every single time your brush the teeth, you should use the tongue scraper as well (not the toothbrush, because that is not as efficient). Reaching as far back as possible onto the tongue is important, and with a scraper is much easier than with a toothbrush which might give you a strong, unpleasant gag reflex.

Patients who have certain underlying health problems, or who do not have the dexterity to cleanse their tongue, as well as people who breathe mostly through the mouth will develop a crusty tongue. Now while you brush the teeth, the tongue might hurt because of these cracks and crusts that formed. A good idea would be to use a special mouth moistening formula and apply it onto the tongue before brushing (essential oil extract moisteners such as tea tree oil which also has an antibiotic effect).

The tongue is susceptible to developing cancer. About once a week it is important to run a self check and see if there are any new formations appearing on the tongue (such as white or red spots, wart like formations, etc.,).

Oral cancer can go without any symptoms for a very long time, this is why it is of primordial importance to get an oral cancer check at last once per year. Sticking out the tongue and analyzing it closely in the mirror can help observing even the tiniest changes in the tissue or coloration of the tongue.

If possible, stay away from tongue piercing. Dentists are totally against this type of body ornament because it can easily cause infections within the mouth. Your mouth is a constantly humid area where as many as 500 different bacteria are living.

You don’t want more bacteria, and you don’t want to make those bacteria “angry” and facilitating a nasty infection because of your piercing. Your teeth and gums are also damaged by the tiny piece of metal that is almost constantly there, so make sure to avoid such jewelry.

If you have any type of concern about the health and/or care of your tongue please give us a call.  Do not let a concern go unheeded.  Any warning sign heeded can end up saving your life.

Call us today!
(541) 451-1440

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You May Be Losing More Than Just Your Teeth

Mail Online, out of the UK, recently published an article that gives one something to think about.  The article reasons that adult tooth loss can be connected to memory loss. Their research shows people who have lost teeth struggle to perform as well on memory tests as those who have not lost teeth.  
This connection certainly is interesting, and their study shows that this lack of memory recall may be due to reduced sensory input to the nervous system through connective fibers that attach teeth to the bone in the jaw.  Another cause they present could be these people avoid certain foods, leading to a lower intake of vitamins, proteins and calories.

"A gap-toothed grin is one of the risks of growing older, and absent-mindedness is another – but the two could go hand-in-hand.  Research suggests that losing our teeth is actually a cause of memory loss. Sensory impulses created by the movement of our jaw and teeth are fed to the area of the brain that forms and retrieves memories, say scientists. 
Those without their own teeth produce fewer signals to be sent to this region, which is called the hippocampus.

Losing your teeth as you age can damage your memory - this could be because people who are missing teeth may avoid certain foods meaning they miss out on vital nutrients
Losing your teeth as you age can damage your memory - this could be because people who are missing teeth may avoid certain foods meaning they miss out on vital nutrients.

The number of teeth an individual has is linked ‘uniquely and significantly’ to their performance on tests of episodic memory, where they recall events from  the past, and semantic memory, involving factual information.

After taking other factors into account, older people with most of their own teeth had on  average a 4 per cent better memory than those without, the study found. However, the results could also be down to chewing, which increases blood flow in the brain.
The research, published online by the European Journal of Oral Sciences, involved 273 participants, aged 55 to 80 and was carried out by universities in Norway and Sweden. 

The average number of natural teeth each participant had was 22 - 10 fewer than the full dentition of 32. More than 70 per cent of all missing teeth were molars.

Participants then faced a series of memory tests.
False teeth improve memory somewhat but do not restore it to the level it would have been at without the loss of any teeth
False teeth improve memory somewhat but do not restore it to the level it would have been at without the loss of any teeth
‘In line with the stated hypothesis, the number of natural teeth was positively associated with performance on episodic memory, recall as well as recognition,’ wrote the authors from Umea University and Stockholm University in Sweden, and the Institute of Clinical Dentistry in Tromsx, Norway.

‘Alone, number of natural teeth could account for 20 per cent of the variance in episodic recall, 15 per cent of the variance in episodic recognition, and 14 per cent of the variance in semantic memory.’ 

The researchers suggested reduced sensory input from our teeth could be damaging our memory. Although artificial dental implants ‘can restore sensory input to some extent’, they still result in fewer signals to the brain.

Another interpretation hinges on general chewing ability. Chewing increases blood flow in the brain and has been shown to increase activity in numerous brain areas.

The authors said it is possible brain activity changes because people lacking teeth and denture wearers avoid certain foods, leading to lower intakes of vitamins, proteins and calories.

A study last year linked clean teeth to staving off dementia. Researchers at the University of California who followed nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period found those who brushed their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed three times a day.

Some studies have also found that people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than others.  It’s thought that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage."

Read more: 

If you have any concerns about loose or missing teeth Dr. Clark would love to sit down with you for a free consultation to discuss what options are available to you.  Being proactive now can say a lot of time, expense and future health problems.

Call us to schedule your FREE Consultation today!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Burden of Oral Disease

The CDC issued a great article on oral health that we wanted to highlight on our blog.  There are some health issues that come to us due to no fault of own, however oral diseases are almost always caused by the lack of proper care.

Oral health is often taken for granted, but it is an essential part of our everyday lives. Good oral health enhances our ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey our feelings and emotions through facial expressions. However, oral diseases, which range from cavities to oral cancer, cause pain and disability for millions of Americans each year. For example,
·         Tooth decay (cavities) is a common, preventable problem for people of all ages. For children, untreated cavities can cause pain, dysfunction, school absences, difficulty concentrating, and poor appearance—problems that greatly affect a child's quality of life and ability to succeed. Children from lower-income families often do not receive timely treatment for tooth decay, and they are more likely to suffer from these problems.
Tooth decay is also a problem for many adults, and adults and children of some racial and ethnic groups experience more untreated decay.
·         Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused by bacteria that gets under the gum tissue and begins to destroy the gums and bone. Teeth become loose, chewing becomes difficult, and teeth may have to be extracted. Gum disease also may be connected to damage elsewhere in the body; recent studies link oral infections with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature, low-weight births. Further research is under way to examine these connections.

Most Oral Diseases Are Preventable

Many children and adults still go without simple measures that have been proven to be effective in preventing oral diseases and reducing dental care costs. An example is water fluoridation. Fluoride prevents tooth decay, and the most cost-effective way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community is through water fluoridation—that is, adjusting the fluoride in the public water supply to the appropriate level for decay prevention. However, only 27 states have met the Healthy People 2010 objective of having 75% of their citizens on public water systems with water fluoridation.

Fluoridation is cost effective. One CDC study found that in communities with more than 20,000 residents, every $1 invested in community water fluoridation yields about $38 in savings each year from fewer cavities treated.

Make the commitment today to take care of your mouth.  This includes brushing, flossing, keeping your tongue clean, not smoking and eating healthy foods.  

Thankfully technology has advanced in great measures giving us incredible tools to heal oral diseases.  If you haven't taken time to learn about our LANAP procedure (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) that has saved many from tooth loss and even restored gum health, click here.

Call us today for a free consultation about LANAP.  
It really does reverse damage!