Smoking Puts Your Oral Health At Risk

DID YOU KNOW that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States? It’s well known that smoking can lead to a number of lung-related diseases but in reality, the negative effects of smoking can be seen in almost every part of the body, especially the mouth.

Smoking Compromises Your Oral Health

Among other cancers, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer are smokers. Smoking remains the biggest controllable risk factor for this deadly disease.

Tobacco use is also related to severe gum disease. Becausesmoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection, bacteria build up more easily in your mouth in the form of plaque and tartar. Bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, resulting in bleeding and sensitivity. This can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. Those who smoke are two times more likely to develop gum disease than a nonsmoker.

Other dental problems that can be caused by smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Coated or black hairy tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed healing after tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Lower success rate of cosmetic dental procedures

Watch the video below to see how smoking affected Brett’s smile:

A Note About Electronic Cigarettes

Within the past couple of years, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, especially as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, not much research has yet been published about their long-term health effects. What we do know is that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, most contain nicotine, which is known to cause damage to the mouth.

Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your gums. This means that the gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as putting you at a higher risk of cavities. The reduced blood flow to the gums caused by nicotine use can also mask the signs of gum disease, making it harder to detect and diagnose. This delays treatment and allows the disease to progress.

Until further research is done, we can’t really know how safe e-cigarettes are. As health care professionals, we advise you to avoid them until their long-term effects are known.

Count Us As A Part Of Your Support System

Our patients are more than just patients–they are friends. We care about your health and well-being and want you to count us as a part of your support system to help you quit smoking. If you aren’t quite ready to quit, continue to see us regularly as recommended so we can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. Talk to us about quitting today and how we can help you!

Thank you for your friendship and loyalty!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Take Care Of Your Tooth Enamel

TOOTH ENAMEL IS THE hardest substance in the human body. But don’t let that fool you–it’s far from invincible. In fact, there are things you may be doing on a regular basis that weaken your enamel, which could lead to more frequent cavities, tooth discoloration and sensitivity.

Tooth Enamel Acts As A Protective Barrier

The enamel makes up the tooth’s protective outer layer and is the first line of defense against harmful acids and bacteria. Unlike other parts of the body, tooth enamel cannot regenerate or heal. This means that once damage is done to the enamel, it cannot be repaired. That is why we want to give you some tips on how to best take care of your teeth and keep your tooth enamel in tiptop shape!

Keep Your Tooth Enamel Healthy And Strong

There are a number of things you can do to care for your enamel and protect it from erosion.

Watch what you eat and drink

Sugary, starchy and acidic foods and beverages are the top offenders when it comes to weakening and ultimately eroding tooth enamel. Calcium-rich foods and drinks, however, help to neutralize acids in the mouth and strengthen tooth enamel. You can find calcium in dairy products, dark leafy greens such as kale, soybeans, and sardines.

Our simple recommendation is to try to eat healthier and cut back on sugary snacks and drinks, soda in particular. Soda is especially damaging to tooth enamel due to its high sugar content and acidity. If you must drink something acidic or sugary, even fruit juice, use a straw!

Drink plenty of water

Drink water throughout the day to avoid dry mouth. Rinse your mouth out with water after meals to get rid of food debris as well as stimulate saliva flow. Not only does our saliva contain antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria, it also consists of calcium and phosphate that remineralize and build up tooth enamel.

Brush and floss properly and regularly

When bacteria in the form of plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for long periods of time, they produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Regular brushing and flossing rid the mouth of plaque and food debris. Be sure not to brush too aggressively as this habit will weaken enamel over time.

See your dentist

Regular checkups and cleanings are vital to maintaining a healthy mouth. When you come in for your biannual appointments we look for signs of tooth enamel wear, such as tooth grinding and cavities, and can help you get them under control early.

Do Your Teeth A Favor

Your tooth enamel works around the clock to defend your teeth. By following the above guidelines, you can return the favor by protecting your enamel from wear and erosion. Do you have any questions about tooth enamel? Feel free to comment below or send us a message on Facebook!

We’re ENAMELED with our patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

DIABETES IS ONE OF THE MOST prevalent chronic diseases today. In fact, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and millions more living with the condition don’t even know they have it.

You may know that diabetes can result in other health complications such as vision loss, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. But many are surprised to learn of the impact diabetes can have on your mouth.

Diabetes Is Linked To Oral Infection And Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. What’s more, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. These statistics can be distressing, but a proper understanding of the association between these two diseases is the first step in preventing complications.

So, first and foremost, why does diabetes affect oral health?

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. If that bacteria is allowed to build up, it can lead to gum disease–swollen, bleeding gums as well as bone and tooth loss. Because people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria, they are more susceptible to gum disease. Poor blood glucose control also increases the likelihood of gum problems.

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease, however, is two-way. Because infected gums are an easy access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Beyond gum disease, there are other oral infections and problems associated with diabetes including thrush, dry mouth, cavities and ulcers.

Keep Your Dentist Involved

Keeping us involved is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and other oral complications linked to diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or if there are changes in your condition, let us know. Keep us informed of your medications and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Come in to see us regularly–every six months or more if deemed necessary.

Other things you can do to manage your oral health and diabetes include:

  • Develop good oral hygiene habits
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood sugar

Your Health Matters To Us

Every aspect of your health is important to us, not just your the health of your mouth. If you have questions about how your dentist can help you manage your diabetes, contact us. We are your partners in ensuring both your oral and overall health.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Your Oral And Overall Health Are Linked

WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN… taking care of your teeth and mouth is more than just about cosmetics, it’s about your health! When you think of being healthy, your mouth probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But your oral and overall health are more intertwined than you think.

Your Mouth Is The Gateway To The Rest Of Your Body

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Periodontal Disease And Its Connection To Chronic Diseases

Not only can many illnesses and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, your oral health can also affect your body. This is especially true of periodontal or “gum” disease.

Diabetes

Did you know that gum disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes? People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria and are thus more susceptible to gum disease. In like manner, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Heart Disease

While health care professionals aren’t completely sure as to why, heart and gum disease often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. It is believed that the link between these two conditions is inflammation.

Cancer

These statistics may surprise you, but researchers have found that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.

What’s more, cancer treatments often have oral manifestations. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.

Other Complications

Gum disease has also been linked with stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have preterm births and low birth-weight babies.

The Health Of Your Mouth Is In Your Hands

As you can see, there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. That’s why it’s important to make your dentist a part of your health care team by going to your regular dental appointments and updating them on your medical history. We care about your whole body health!

The good news is that, for the most part, dental disease is entirely preventable. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can keep gum disease at bay and protect you from cavities. Your oral health is in your hands, so choose to be mouth-healthy!

Thank you for supporting our practice!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Björn Söderqvist used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need To Know

GETTING YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED is such a common procedure these days that it’s almost a rite of passage among teenagers. But why do some of us have to get them out anyway, and why do we even have them in the first place? In today’s blog post we’re going to answer these and a few other common wisdom teeth questions!

Wisdom Teeth Are Remnants Of An Ancient Era

The most widely accepted theory about wisdom teeth’s origins goes back to our early human ancestors. Because they had a very different diet–mainly roots, raw meat and fibrous plants–they needed extra molars to grind up tough food. These days, we eat much softer foods. We also have smaller jaws that don’t fit in those third molars quite as well.

Wisdom Teeth Are Removed For A Number Of Reasons

While some people never get their wisdom teeth, they’ll show up for most of us between the ages of 17 and 21. Unfortunately, they don’t always come in the way they should, which is why a lot of us have to get them removed.

If your dentist recommends getting your wisdom teeth taken out, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  1. They become impacted. This means that the wisdom teeth don’t come through and become trapped in the jaw, under the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can form cysts around them and do significant damage to nearby teeth and bone.
  2. There isn’t enough space for them. This can cause damage to nearby teeth, crowding, and pain.
  3. They don’t come in correctly. Wisdom teeth that come in partially or aren’t in the right position can make flossing more difficult, allowing food and bacteria to become trapped and cause problems.

Some dental work may require wisdom teeth removal as well. However, if your wisdom teeth come in correctly and you are able to clean them properly, you will most likely not need to have them removed. And that means that you’ll have some extra molars in your mouth to chew with—awesome!

Remember These Tips If You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out

To facilitate healing after wisdom teeth removal, make sure you get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated and hot beverages for the first 24 to 48 hours. And of course, everyone’s favorite part of the healing process, eat soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, and applesauce for the first day. You can add in broth-based soups one to two days after the procedure, but stay away from hard or chewy foods for one to two weeks.

We Want What’s Best For Your Smile

We treat wisdom teeth removal on a case-by-case basis. We will monitor them closely as they come in and together, we will make the best decision for your smile! And remember, having your third molars come in may cause some discomfort, but if it causes pain, come and see us immediately.

Do you have any more questions about wisdom teeth? We’d love to answer them! Comment below or on our Facebook page to let us know!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

4 Tips For A Younger Looking Smile

THERE ARE COUNTLESS methods we use to try and turn back the clock on our appearance. Whether it’s hip wardrobes and hairstyles or costly cosmetic surgeries, people go to great lengths to recapture the look and feeling of their youth.

Despite all of these anti-aging fads and gimmicks, studies show your smile can do more to make you look younger than anything else!

Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Your Smile Looking Younger, Longer

The simplest thing you can do to keep Father Time at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly promotes healthy teeth and gums and keeps your smile looking and feeling clean. If we ignore these simple habits, we put our smiles at risk of harmful bacteria which can lead to unsightly effects such as:

  • Cavities,
  • Tooth discoloration or tooth loss,
  • And periodontal disease.

Maintaining good oral health throughout your life doesn’t just preserve the appearance of your smile, but it can preserve your overall health too. Bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can allow bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. Research suggests gum disease can increase our risk for serious health problems, including…

  • Diabetes
  • Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Strokes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

For a few tips on how to floss properly to fight off that harmful bacteria, check out the video below!

Brighten Your Smile With Professional Tooth Whitening

Even when you take good care of your teeth, over time they naturally yellow. Micro-fractures, thinning enamel, and built-up stains all make your teeth look duller and older. But, that can be changed with tooth whitening!

There are several tooth whitening solutions, each with their own unique benefits. From over the counter whitening strips to in-office whitening treatments, we can help you decide which whitening solution is best for your smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You The Look You Want

Whether you need just few touch-ups or would like an amazing dental makeover, cosmetic dentistry can provide exactly the look you want. Cosmetic dentistry has both therapeutic and aesthetic benefits. Treatment can repair your teeth and correct your bite, and at the same time give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted!

Be Confident In Your Smile

One of the best ways to appear more youthful is to smile more! This can start a wonderful cycle too! Smiling more can actually make you happier, and make you want to smile more.

We love our patients and love seeing your bright shining smiles each day. If you have any questions about how we can give you a healthier, more beautiful smile, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our practice or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for brightening our day.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Sean_Wright used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Are Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods? Here Are Ours!

THANKSGIVING IS just around the corner! Not only is it a time to share good company, it’s a time to share good food!

It’s Time To Share Our Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes!

Each family has their own signature dish they serve this time of year. Today, we’d like to share some of our team member’s favorites:

From Vermelle:

“My favorite Thanksgiving food is macaroni & cheese and candied sweet potatoes.”

I have a simple yet special apple cobbler recipe that my family really likes which consists of red delicious apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, croissant rolls…mmm, mmm!”

From Dr. Yu:

“Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of turkey, but to be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan.   I think my favorite dish is probably dessert, pumpkin pie.”

“My favorite Thanksgiving memory was over 10 years ago when entire family met at my parents’ home and had this huge Thanksgiving feast, full of asian dishes, a small turkey (for tradition), and the main dish, steamed lobsters.  I remember my mother asking me what I wanted for Thanksgiving dinner that year, and I half-jokingly said, “lobsters!”  I definitely didn’t think she’d go as far as she did…I remember we took a family dinner photo and on each person’s plate was a full lobster. “

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? Feel free to share it with us on our Facebook page or in the comments below!

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, it’s about expressing gratitude. We’re so grateful for each of you—our valued patients and friends. Because of you, we’re excited to come into work each day. Thank you for your kindness and the trust you place in our practice.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Are Your Teeth Sensitive? Here’s Why

DO YOU EVER cringe when you watch someone bite into ice cream? Are you sometimes fearful of that first sip of hot soup or drink of tea? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear about!

Teeth Feel Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed 

On the outside of each tooth is a protective layer of enamel. Over time, the enamel can wear away leaving an inner layer, called the dentin, exposed. This occurs due to normal wear and tear, poor dental hygiene or certain lifestyle choices.

Dentin contains fluid-filled tubules that reach into the innermost part of the tooth where all the nerves reside. Because the nerves inside the tooth are exposed when the enamel is eroded away, sensitivity is the result.

Another form of tooth sensitivity develops when gum recession leaves the root of the tooth exposed to food, drink and air.

Desensitizing Toothpaste Can Help

Desensitizing toothpastes are a great way to ease tooth sensitivity. Many of our patients ask us how these toothpastes actually work! It’s simple: they are specially formulated to either block the tubules in the dentin, protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure, or numb your teeth, in a manner of speaking, so you don’t register the pain of sensitivity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR5JYc6Jo5015

 

It’s important to remember, however, that if your teeth are at all sensitive, your first stop should be your dentist’s office. Some problems that cause teeth to be sensitive can be quite serious and may require more extensive treatment than desensitizing toothpaste can provide.

Follow These Helpful Tips To Avoid Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. To prevent further damage to your teeth, or any sensitivity in the first place, follow the suggestions below:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are frequently the cause of tooth sensitivity. In addition, avoid smoking or any form of tobacco use.
  • Don’t brush so hard. Aggressive brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and enamel erosion. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much force. Plaque comes off easier than you think!
  • Protect your teeth. If you clench your teeth frequently or have been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding), make sure you protect your teeth with a nightguard provided to you by your dentist and try to be conscious of your clenching habits during the day.
  • Make sure your diet is healthy. Eat sugar and carbohydrates in moderation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and vegetables.

Nobody Should Live With Tooth Pain

No matter what your level of discomfort, it’s our belief that nobody should have to live with tooth pain. If you experience any kind of sensitivity in your teeth, come in and see us! We can diagnose the root cause of your sensitivity and ascertain the best way to treat it.

We are thankful for our wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Don’t Let Your Insurance Benefits Go To Waste!

THE END OF THE YEAR IS approaching fast! Before year’s end, our team wants to remind you to take a look at your dental insurance benefits!

Insurance Benefits Typically Don’t Roll Over To Next Year

Each year your dental insurance company probably gives you a maximum amount of available benefits. Since those benefits don’t typically roll over into the following year, you’ll want to contact us now to get your appointment scheduled!

We all know how it is, once the holiday season is upon us—hectic! Life can get really busy and some things fall between the cracks. So remember that your dental health needs your attention too—not just for the sake of your teeth, but for your overall health. If you’re due (or overdue) for an appointment, make sure to talk to our office. Take advantage of those dental insurance benefits before time is up!

Do you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits? Call us! We’re happy to work with you to create a dental health plan that works for you!

Thanks for being our valued patient!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Tips To Keep Teeth Clean Between Meals

WE UNDERSTAND HOW BUSY life can get–between work, school, sports, and having a social and family life, it can be hard to find time for your dental health. Because we know how precious your time is, we’ve decided to compile a list of quick, easy tips to keep your teeth clean in between meals and on the go!

First Of All, Snack Healthy

Did you know that frequent snacking throughout the day can contribute to tooth decay? Try to keep snacking to a minimum. If you do need a pick-me-up during the day, choose tooth-friendly snacks, such as broccoli, carrots, seeds, nuts or apples. These are also great choices when finishing off a meal! Because of their abrasive texture, these foods act as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing your teeth as you chew and removing bacteria and plaque.

Brush And Floss Your Teeth, Even On The Go

This is an obvious one. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and dental disease is to brush and floss often! With that being said, we understand that not everyone has time to make a trip to the bathroom to brush their teeth after every meal. A quick on-the-go tip is to brush your teeth without toothpaste!

Carry a travel toothbrush with you and when you feel plaque or food on your teeth, simply pull it out and brush! Even without the added benefits of toothpaste, this will help remove plaque and bacteria adhering to your teeth. You can do this sitting at your office desk or waiting in the car for your kids to come out from school!

A lot of our patients have also benefited from floss picks. Because of their easy-to-use handle, you can use them one handed and without a mirror. This makes flossing in between meals much easier and more accessible!

Chew Sugar-Free Gum And Drink Plenty Of Water

We’ve mentioned the benefits of chewing sugarless gum after a meal plenty of times before. It’s such an easy and enjoyable way of protecting your teeth from cavities that we can’t say enough about it!

The act of chewing increases saliva flow in your mouth, which washes away food particles and neutralizes acids. Saliva also promotes remineralization, helping teeth to recover from any damage incurred while eating. Just pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth for 20 minutes after a snack or meal to reap the benefits!

Although this video is meant for dental professionals, it provides the perfect explanation as to why chewing sugar-free gum protects your teeth after a meal!

Water, similar to saliva, washes away food debris and cleans between teeth. Rinsing your mouth out frequently, especially after eating, is a simple way to bolster your teeth’s defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

Keep Your Oral Health In Check

We know life gets busy. We hope these tips will make it a lot easier to keep your oral health in check! By taking care of your teeth throughout the day, not just in the morning and at night, you can ensure that your smile will be happy and healthy for a lifetime. Do you have any more on-the-go tips? Let us know in the comments below!

We love to serve you!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Monik Markus used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.