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Monday, July 16, 2018

Your saliva and why it's so important

You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth but, if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.
Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.
It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.
Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.
Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.
When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.
Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.
Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.
Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Taking steps to stop oral cancer before it's too late

Oral cancer hits more than 30,000 Americans every year but you can minimize the risk by taking steps to ensure it's caught early enough.
The first indications of oral cancer may be a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore that you are not even aware of.
In a routine examination, your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue.
If they notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore, this may be completely harmless. But harmful spots or sores often look the same as harmless ones.
To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, such as a brush test. This collects cells from the lesion which can them be analyzed.
Any positive results from a brush test must usually be confirmed by a biopsy before deciding the next step.
If precancerous cells are found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a separate procedure.
When caught early enough, the chances of preventing the cancer developing are high but only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
That's why regular dental examinations are so important for your overall health and not just to have good teeth.

Monday, July 2, 2018

How to take care of your teeth with braces

Braces are orthodontic apparatus used to help fix crooked and crowded teeth.
While modern braces can be comfortable and inconspicuous, you may have to take extra steps to care for your teeth when wearing them.
It's important that you continue good oral hygiene practices while wearing braces.
You need to continue brushing regularly, following the approach suggested by your dentist, as well as flossing daily and making regular visits to the dentist.
People with braces should stick to a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals.
Your dentist may suggest that you avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. This can include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods such as chewing gum or caramel.
You can still continue to enjoy sports and other activities but a protective mouth guard is often recommended to reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. Your dentist will suggest an appropriate mouth guard when the braces are in place.
Braces can make a big difference to your smile and your future dental health. Modern technology and following good practices means you should be able to wear them with comfort and confidence.

Monday, June 25, 2018

How your oral health links with your general health

Research has shown strong links between periodontitis (advanced form of gum disease) and other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia.
And pregnant women with periodontitis may be at increased risk of delivering pre-term and/or having babies with low birth weight.
However, just because two conditions occur at the same time, doesn’t necessarily mean that one condition causes the other. The relationship could work the other way.
For example, there is evidence that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontitis and have more severe periodontitis than non-diabetics.
Alternatively, two conditions that occur together may be caused by something else.
In addition, people who smoke or use alcohol have a higher than average risk of developing periodontitis and other conditions, including oral cancer.
Research is looking at what happens when periodontitis is treated in individuals with these problems.
The aim is to find out whether periodontitis does have an effect on other health problems.
If one caused the other, improvement in periodontal health would also improve other health problems.
While the research is not yet conclusive, the potential link between periodontitis and systemic health problems, means that preventing periodontitis may be an important step in maintaining overall health.
In most cases, good oral health can be maintained by brushing and flossing every day and receiving regular professional dental care.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Your options if you have many missing or damaged teeth

People who have not followed adequate dental care for some years may have already lost most of their teeth and feel a little hopeless.
Sometimes they ask a dentist to remove the remaining teeth as they are often broken and have deep cavities.
It’s true that, sometimes, removal of the remaining teeth and replacing them with full dentures is the only option.
But more often there are other options available.
Some or all of the remaining teeth could be repaired and used in conjunction with a partial denture. While a full denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw, a partial denture replaces some of the teeth.
If only a few weak teeth remain on the upper jaw, it might be preferable to have them extracted and a full upper denture made. Full upper dentures can be more secure than lower ones as the upper denture gets added stability from the palate and is not easily dislodged by the tongue.
If only a few teeth remain on the lower jaw, however, the dentist will usually aim to save them and use a partial denture if necessary.
Ideally, all teeth that can be saved should be saved but this is not always possible – often due to finances.
In such cases, having teeth removed and dentures may be the only option.

Monday, June 11, 2018

What is plaque and how does it affect your teeth?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth and, when we eat something, these bacteria release acids that attack the tooth enamel.
When these attacks are repeated over time, the enamel will break down and this will eventually lead to cavities.
When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and cleaning it hardens into calculus or tartar. When tartar collects above the gum line, brushing and cleaning between the teeth becomes more difficult.
The gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this happening:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner
– Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
– Ask your dentist about sealants these are protective coatings that can be applied to the back teeth where decay often starts.
If you take steps to remove the plaque each day, you have a greater chance of avoiding tooth and gum problems.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Why to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance

When buying dental products, its a good idea to look out for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
The first Seal of Acceptance was awarded in 1931 and its regarded as an important symbol of a dental product’s safety and effectiveness.
Although the Seal program is strictly voluntary, approximately 100 companies participate in it and they commit significant resources to testing their products in clinical and laboratory conditions.
More than 300 consumer dental products carry the Seal of Acceptance. These include toothpaste, dental floss, manual and electric toothbrushes, mouth rinse and chewing gum.
You can get more information about the seal and how it is awarded for specific products at http://www.ada.org/ada/seal/
This site also contains links to the most current lists of accepted consumer products.