Dental News

04.10.18

Clean Your Tongue, Protect Your Health

The oral cavity is an interesting organ composed of major players like the teeth, gums, and the tongue. While individuals may view the components as separate entities, the fact is when oral health is intact, they work together in perfect harmony. Concurrently, when something is amiss with one of those elements, dental health may decline as a result. While everyone knows how important brushing and flossing teeth is to dental health, individuals should know that the tongue is worthy of special attention all on its own.

The human tongue is an intricate muscle covered in countless papillae and taste buds. Not only is the device essential for enjoying the five basic flavors of salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savory of nutritious foods, but it is incredibly important for communication. Combined with saliva, the tongue also serves as natures tooth cleaner. That is why individuals concerned about oral health and dental problems such as halitosis, tooth decay and gum disease need to ensure that a tongue is kept as clean as the other parts of the human mouth.

The Human Tongue as a Trap

Estimates suggest that there are 2,000 to 8,000 taste buds on the human tongue. While from a distance, the fractions appear to make up one solid muscle, the reality is that each bud is independently attached to a tongue and in between there are countless nooks and crannies that can trap oral bacteria. Individuals concerned about oral health must ensure that tongue brushing or scrapping is part of their daily oral hygiene regime, or risk the dental problems associated with having too many oral bacteria.

Oral bacteria are naturally occurring organisms in the human body. Their main function is to work with natures other teeth cleaners like the tongue and saliva to remove food waste and keep teeth healthy. Oral bacteria tend to get active after a person consumes food and trace elements are deposited in the mouth. Oral bacteria will band together to help remove the food and once in a group, they comprise dental plaque. As the bacteria/plaque digests the sugars present, acid will be produced as a byproduct. The acid byproduct is the culprit for causing issues such as tooth-erosion and decay, and individuals must forcibly remove the substance or risk developing dental problems.

Clean Tongue, Fresh Breath

Once the oral bacterium is trapped in the net of taste buds and tissue, they will happily reside. While they are having the time of their lives, the community will not only put dental health at risk, but can also cause the unsavory side effect of halitosis. Fortunately that condition can be combated with dental care and oral hygiene.

Eventually those bacteria will die and once they do they will decay. That process will reduce a volatile sulfur, the culprit that generates the pungent smell associated with halitosis. Scientific studies have shown that in 80 to 95 percent of all cases of bad breath, oral bacteria trapped in the tongue is the main cause ("Scientists find bug responsible for bad breath". Reuters. 2008-04-07.).

Individuals are encouraged to take the time to remove excess build up on a daily basis. A tongue scraper is a tool that has been specifically designed to aid in oral hygiene by making it easier to remove excess plaque build up from the tongue. While brushing a tongue with a toothbrush (designed for hard teeth) may help a bit, the soft bristles are not strong enough to thoroughly clean a soft tongue.

Clean Tongue, Healthy Body

Within the human mouth there are hundreds of different types of oral bacteria, all of which can survive and thrive on the human tongue. The tissue provides a perfect place for the bacteria to band together and form a community of plaque. Once the critters are organized, the excess plaque levels can contribute to a number of dental health issues including gum disease, gum recession and tooth loss. Additionally, high levels of plaque have been linked to a number of general health issues including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and so much more. Once again, keeping the tongue clean will act as a type of preventative dentistry and smart overall health move.

 

 

03.02.18

Food That Fight Oral Bacteria

The human mouth is bristling with activity 24/7 thanks to the oral bacteria present. Estimates suggest that adult mouths can contain up to 1,000 different variety of oral bacteria which, when in perfect harmony, are essential organisms for aiding in digestion. However, when those levels get out of whack, the critters can band together to create dental plaque and the assortment of dental problems associated with the growth. Practicing oral hygiene and following through on preventative dentistry can help keep that balance in check, especially when backed by the decision to eat specific foods know for fighting oral bacteria.

Oral bacteria are an essential component to the human digestive system as the organisms help break down trace particles of foods and sugars deposited on teeth after consumption. Once sucrose (the chief component in many foods such as carbohydrates and sugars) is located on the teeth, oral bacteria will feast on that food source. As they do, they may band together to form a community (called dental plaque) and will naturally release tooth-eroding acids as a byproduct of their work. Fortunately there are super-foods that are known for reducing the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Licorice Root

Licorice root is as old as time itself and for thousands of years it has been coveted not just as a delicious flavor enhancer but also for its medicinal benefits. The herb is has been used to control chronic hepatitis, treat melasma and to treat mouth ulcers. Current research has shown that the plant also is powerful enough to kill the oral bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.

Scientists from the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Pharmacognosy conducted research that resulted in the discovery of two naturally occurring substances in licorice that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Licoricidin and licorisoflavan A are the elements featuring antibacterial properties, and they have been found to kill Streptococcus mutans (the main oral bacteria known for causing cavities) as well as a number of other strains that contribute to dental problems.

Individuals looking to incorporate the cavity fighter in their diet have several options. One is chewing the licorice root in its natural form; although it looks like a tree branch, the substance is soft and chewing on the stick will release a sweet, licorice flavor and all the cavity fighting components.

Raisins

Thanks to an aggressive 1980s ad campaign, dried grapes were branded "California Raisins" and the fruit was never quite the same. Although some dental care experts advice eating dried fruit with caution as the food can stick to teeth and possible attract oral bacteria, there are compounds in raisins that have been clinically proven to reduce the number of cavity-causing oral bacteria in the mouth.

Research has shown that raisins are naturally rich in phytochemicals, a naturally occurring compound that helps give plants specific characteristics (like scent and color) and are believed to fight a number of diseases including cancers and strokes. Raisins have been found to have a healthy mix of five of those compounds and tests have showed that raisins made from Thompson Grapes are effective in lowering levels of cavity causing Streptococcus mutans.

Red Wine

Many consider wine to be the nectar of the Gods and numerous studies have shown the health benefits of drinking that specific alcohol in moderation. The drink is rich in antioxidants, has been shown to boost heart health and is sometimes used to fight the common cold. Red wine is produced from a pressing of grapes and the hue is attributed to the fruit skin being included in the mix. The skin has been found to contain polyphenols that has been proven to kill Streptococcus mutans.

While all these foods can indeed help fight unhealthy levels of oral bacteria, brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods and seeing a dentist regularly are still the best ways to help prevent cavities.

 

02.16.18

Exotic Foods for Dental Health

Proper nutrition and focusing on the government's Nutrition Plate have long been associated with general well being and dental health. The process involves eating a diverse diet low in soda and processed foods and high in vitamins and nutrients and focusing on fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. Plus individuals with a sense of adventure can also get additional oral hygiene benefits by eating some exotic foods that have been scientifically shown to reduce the occurrences of dental problems including cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

Statistics indicate that in 2010, the average American consumed close to 2000 pounds of food (http://naturalsociety.com/infographic-average-american-diet/). Dental health savvy options including dairy foods (including cheese), vegetables and fruits are part of the mix, but combined with the approximately 142 pounds of sweeteners, 110 pounds of red meat and pork and nearly 86 pounds of fat (including butter and oils) each person consumed annually, Americans have plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, there are some small and exotic food choices that can help make a diet more solid while improving the dental health of eaters.

Durians, A Natural Cavity Fighter

Thanks to changes import and export policies, American supermarkets are loaded with exotic fruits nearly any time of year. Once such food is durian; a fruit from Southeast Asia that can weigh from 2 to 7 pounds, has an unusual scent and is covered in an intimidating thorn-covered skin. Those who boldly incorporate the exotic fruit into their diet can help keep the development of dental caries at bay.

Students from the faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chulalongkorn in Bangkok, Thailand made the announcement at the Annual Meeting of the American Dental Association. According to the work they conducted, durians have a type of sugary gel that natural lowers the level of the oral bacterium called Streptococcus mutans (http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/scope/news/region/usa/id/...). It is this oral bacteria that breaks down simply sugars deposited on teeth and produces a tooth eroding acid as a result. Studies on lab rats indicated that the durian gel helped neutralize the dental caries causing agents.

Sesame Seeds Fight Gum Disease

Statistics indicate that a majority of America's adult population is unknowingly walking around with some level of gum disease (called gingivitis in its earliest stages and periodontal disease as it advances). There are a myriad of reasons causing the epidemic, including poor oral hygiene,tobacco, alcohol and obesity and it seems like the tiny sesame seed may be able to assist in reversing the trend.

Sesame seeds are an ancient food that has long been heralded for their flavor, culinary uses and oils produced from the seeds are highly regarded in the Hindu religion. The seeds come from the bloom of the genus Sesamum plant, native to Africa and pack not only a delightful flavor, but high levels of Omega-3, the fatty acid accredited with naturally fighting gum disease.

Harvard researches set out to determine if there was a correlation between Omega-3 and gum disease. Based on their research it was found that individuals who had diets rich in Omega-3 foods had a 23 percent to 30 percent decreased odds of having gum disease. Sesame seeds pack a powerful punch of the dietary necessity and can provide a tasty way of delivering the necessary vitamins and nutrients.

Chocolate Strengthens Tooth Enamel

When ancient Mayans converted cocoa seeds into a frothy, bitter drink or when the ancient peoples who consumed sugary cocoa at Puerto Escondido, the food was not consumed for its dental health benefits, but simply for the taste and the naturally occurring euphoric side effects. Things have changed.

The average American consumes an average of 10 to 12 pounds of chocolate a year and for good reason. The treat has been proven to boost serotonin levels, lower the risk of developing blood clots, fight bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure and provide cardiovascular benefits. Research has also indicated that pure cocoa extract is rich in fluoride and can naturally strengthen tooth enamel.

Research conducted by Tulane University doctoral candidate Arman Sadeghpour has helped show how the food can benefit dental care dental care. Sadeghpours research found that cocoa extract has a similar structure to caffeine, which is known for the ability to strengthen tooth enamel. The harder the enamel, the lower odds a tooth may become subject to tooth decay.

Individuals looking to get the dental health boosting properties of cocoa are advised to eat dark chocolate (featuring 75 percent cocoa) in moderation. The food is rich in antioxidants (called flavonoids) that are thought to improve the flexibility of blood vessels and will provide health benefits along with its delicious taste (CNN.com).

In addition to eating exotic foods, the best way to boost dental health is by practicing daily oral hygiene as well as seeing a dentist with regularity.

 

 

01.26.18

Improve Dental Health With Massage

Massage techniques have been utilized for thousands of years to help humans function more smoothly, relive pain, improve healing and relieve stress. The ancient art is still viable and in those seeking dental care, the manipulation of muscle and connective tissue is a major benefit of spa dentistry as it can be utilized as a natural way to lower dental anxiety levels. New research has found that individuals can take the technique one step further to help prevent dental problems including cavities.

1800Dentist.com reports that "Dental cavities, also known as tooth decay and dental caries, are a disease of the teeth that results in the destruction of tooth enamel. A tooth cavity develops when foods containing 'bad' carbohydrates such as soda, cake and candy are left on your teeth." Scientific evidence has shown that practicing oral hygiene of daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to lower the levels of dental plaque know for being the main culprit behind the issue.

Importance of Two and Two!

Before the study results, the most common advice for oral hygiene was to ensure brushing teeth twice a day for a full two minutes a session. Many people seem to struggle with the time associated with the process, however it is essential especially for those who want to incorporate a once daily tooth massage session to get the full benefits provided by oral hygiene.

An electric toothbrush is one such tool that can help prevent fatigue and ensure the proper amount of attention is spent. If an electric tooth brush is not in your budget, then brushing your teeth to a two minute song can help the time fly by.

Dentist Visit Provides Icing on Dental Care Cake

The best levels of dental health require the combined oral care efforts of a patient backed by the skills and insight provided by a professional dental care team comprised of dentist, dental hygienists and any other dental office staff that may be on duty.

Dental care professionals will be able to provide professional cleanings to remove any dental plaque that has hardened to become tooth eroding dental tartar. Additionally they can see if there are dental problems developing by providing a visual examination of the mouth backed by an inside peek courtesy of X-rays. Based on those findings they can provide patients with preventative dentistry or restorative care when needed. They can also deliver tips on how to incorporate oral massage into any oral hygiene regime.

 

01.19.18

Use Mouthwash, Avoid a Premature Delivery

Expectant mothers concerned about the future of their offspring are wise to pay special attention to their dental care and general health during pregnancy to avoid any complications from arising. Previous research has indicated that women naturally experience a decline in dental health when with child and that can up the odds of a premature delivery. However, new information has indicated that using alcohol-free mouthwash two times can help increase the chances of a woman delivery a healthy full term baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 8 babies delivered in the country are classified as preterm, meaning that the kids have arrived before 37 weeks gestational age, not the 40 weeks associated with a full-term birth. The early entrance to the world is the leading cause of death in newborns and can cause life-long health issues such as learning disabilities, Cerebral palsy, respiratory problems, vision/hearing loss, and potentially feeding and digestive issues. Fortunately, soon-to-be mothers can reduce the risks of delivering their children too early by making sure that visiting a dentist and practicing exceptional oral hygiene is part of the prenatal routine.
How Mouthwash Can Help

Mouthwash has long been used as a device for freshening bad breath and for quickly invigorating a mouth. A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that a mouthwash rinsing routine can potentially be beneficial in reducing the vast number of preemies that annually enter the world.

The study analyzed 71 pregnant women, all of which were diagnosed with pregnancy gingivitis. Group participants were divided into two groups, one that rinsed their mouths with alcohol-free mouthwash twice a day and the other that only used water for their mouth rinsing rituals. Of the pregnant women who rinsed with mouthwash, the result was 1 in 20 delivered preemies, while 1 out of 5 water rinsers welcomed their children to the world earlier than anticipated.

Not only did the mouthwash uses experience lower levels of gum inflammation, based on these findings, the study team hypothesized that pregnant women who rinse with an alcohol free mouthwash twice a day can lower the risk of delivering a preemie by around 75 percent.

See a Dentist, Save Your Baby

Expectant mothers are wise to include practicing oral hygiene daily and visiting a dentist on their prenatal care to do list in order to reduce their odds of a premature bundle of joy. Brushing twice a day, flossing at least once, exercising and eating a nutritious diet have long been associated with lowering levels of dental plaque and delivering preventative dentistry at home and on a budget. Those behaviors backed by mouth rinsing similar to the study conducted in Philly can help keep dental health up to par and your baby's delivery on schedule.

Those behaviors backed by regular exams and dental treatments implemented by a dentist can help. Mothers are also encouraged to see a dentist at least once during their pregnancy, but to skip getting dental cleanings or dental work during the second and third trimesters as those are vital time periods for a child's development in the womb.

 

12.15.17

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Senior Dental Visit

Basic oral hygiene doesn't change much as you age -- brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly are still important for keeping your teeth healthy. Whether you have all of your natural teeth or wear a full set of dentures, regular dental visits allow your dentist to watch for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer and other dental problems, and take action at the first hint of trouble. Plus, taking care of your oral health protects your overall health.

It's easy to understand that regular dental visits may seem more like a luxury than a necessity, especially if you live on a fixed income. But preventive dental care is much less costly in the long run than waiting until a problem requires extensive and expensive repair work. Here are five ways to make your senior dental visit an affordable, low-stress experience you won't want to put off:

1. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to see a dentist.

Regular dental visits allow your dentist to check for problems before they become too serious. Most people should have a senior dental visit twice a year. However, those with ongoing dental concerns such as the need for gum disease treatment may need to go more often. Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, you should still see the dentist at least once a year. The dentist can check to make sure your dentures fit well and are in good condition. Your dentist will also examine your mouth, gums, cheek and tongue for signs of oral cancer, which is more common after the age of 40.

2. Seek out affordable care.

If you have dental insurance, preventive care such as dental exams and X-rays is usually covered. Ask for an estimate of costs so you'll be prepared for any out-of-pocket expenses. 

3. Plan ahead.

Pick a good time for your appointment, whether that's first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon, to ensure that you are feeling your most energetic and least stressed. If you have any special needs, suffer from dental anxiety or have a disability, let our staff know in advance so they can better accommodate you.

4. Keep your dentist informed.

Mention any sores, swelling or pain you might be experiencing in your mouth. Let your dentist know if you smoke, have any allergies or have any existing medical conditions. Also, tell your dentist about all the medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. Some can cause problems such as dry mouth; others may interact with medications your dentist may prescribe.

5. Know what to expect.

As with all regular dental visits, your senior dental visit will likely consist of the following:

X-rays -- X-rays are not required at every visit, but may be needed at some point depending on the status of your dental health. They are used to spot problems undetectable to the eye such as bone deterioration below the gum line.

Dental Cleaning -- The dentist or dental hygienist will scrape off any dental plaque or tartar from above and below your gum line, then polish and floss your teeth.

Dental Exam -- The dentist will check your mouth, teeth and gums for signs of cavities, a loose tooth filling and gum disease. He or she will also look at your neck, lymph glands, cheeks, tongue and lips to check for signs of infection or oral cancer.

Treatment Plan -- Depending on what the dentist observes during the exam, he or she will recommend a dental treatment plan. Your dentist can also review proper self-care tips for brushing, flossing and caring for dentures.

 

11.06.17

Help Your Kids Love the Dentist

Kids don't come with a built-in fear of the dentist. But they are impressionable. A place like the dentist's office -- with its big chairs, bright lights, strange noises and funny looking tools -- can be scary for little ones. The trick is finding a way to make these strange and new experiences fun, not scary. The better your child's experiences are with the dentist early on, the less likely he or she will be to develop a fear of the dentist.

Skipping dental checkups shouldn't be an option. Regular dental visits help protect against cavities, dental abscesses and other more serious and painful dental problems. It's important for kids to visit the dentist regularly -- once every six months -- even when there's nothing wrong. Routine visits are far less traumatic than infrequent visits that involve discomfort or pain.

If you're not sure how to help make your child's initial experiences with the dentist positive, don't panic! Try these five helpful hints to ensure your little one's relationship with the dentist gets off to a good start:

5 Ways You Can Help Your Kids Love the Dentist

1. Start Early

The earlier your child sees the dentist, the better. Your child's first dental visit should be around the age of 1. This visit won't be too long; think of it as a chance for your child to get to know the dentist and the dentist's office. It's also a great chance for you to ask the dentist any questions you might have about dental care for your little one's baby teeth, including tips for brushing and flossing and ways you can prevent cavities.

2. Read & Role-Play

Many favorite children's characters are featured in books about going to the dentist. Reading with your child gives you a chance to talk about why visiting the dentist is important. It also helps your child become familiar with the dentist and what to expect during a dental checkup.

Role-playing a visit to the dentist can be fun for kids. You can begin by asking your child to "open wide," then count his or her teeth. Then let your child pretend to be the dentist while you play patient.

3. Let Your Child Tag Along During Your Visit

Taking your child along during your routine dental checkup will give your little one a chance to become familiar with the dentist office environment. (Check with your dentist to make sure it's okay first.) The goal is for your child to see that there's nothing scary about going to the dentist.

4. Consider a Specialist

A pediatric dentist undergoes additional training in the dental needs of young patients. Pediatric dental offices tend to be very kid-friendly, often with waiting rooms full of toys, books and other things that will interest kids. A dentist who treats children should know how to cope with any initial fears and put your child at ease. A "kid dentist" may be especially helpful if your child is shy, anxious or has special needs.

5. Keep Your Fears to Yourself

If you've got dental anxiety, your child will pick up on that and be fearful, too. Avoid negative words when you're talking about the dentist and never suggest that anything will be painful. And don't share any negative experiences you might have had with the dentist with your child. The goal is for your child to look forward to seeing the dentist every six months, not dread it.

 

10.06.17

Affordable Dentures

Your dental health directly impacts your overall health. Having your natural teeth removed to prevent more major health issues can be a hard decision, but often turns out to be the best course of action. Most dental patients who have had multiple extractions will choose to get dentures to protect not just their health, but their smiles, speech, and ability to properly chew their food. The problem is that finding affordable dentures isn’t always easy.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report, Oral Health in the US: Key Facts, 15% of the US population lives in dental Health Professional Shortage Areas. Forty percent of Americans have no dental insurance, according to US News and World Report, even though enrollment in a dental plan is the primary indicator of a patient’s ability (and likelihood) to get proper dental care.

So, what is the problem?

Cost.

Getting dentures – full or partial - can easily cost thousands of dollars. How do you find quality, affordable dentures? Prices can seem astronomical.

Affordable Dentures Aren’t the Same as Cheap Dentures

Before we discuss the factors that will impact your buying decision, let’s first make a very important distinction: Seeking out affordable dentures prices is not the same as getting “cheap” dentures. You can get fitted by a seasoned, skilled dental professional and get quality dentures at an affordable out-of-pocket price. Affordable dentures refer to the value you get for your financial investment, and you can get well-crafted dentures that fit properly without paying thousands of dollars for them.

Cheap dentures, on the other hand, refer to both the quality and the cost of the dentures. Usually, when you go for the cheap dentures, the dentures themselves carry a small price tag but they end up costing you more in the long run for maintenance and frequent relining (refitting). Add to that the fact that you will probably have days and weeks of discomfort to endure.
 

 

09.29.17

How the Sun Impacts Oral Health

Without the sun, Earth as we know it would not exist. The fiery star delivers solar energy essential for plant life (and the entire food chain), light, heat and holds the secret to life itself. Additionally, humans also benefit from the beams generated by the powerful star; sunlight can help relieve depression, helps aid in the digestion of food, lower blood pressure, help reduce anxiety, relieves body pain, improve cardiovascular strength and can impact dental health.

Over the years sun exposure has gotten a bum rap thanks to the risks associated with too much of a good thing. There is know denying that the suns rays can cause premature aging, skin cancer (the most prevalent cancer in the nation), cold sore outbreaks, allergies, eye damage and painful sunburns. However, despite the risks researchers believe that the risks are far outweighed by the health benefits linked to absorbing a steady stream of light.

The Good: Vitamin D

Vitamin D is as the "sunshine vitamin" and many Americans are not getting enough of the stuff. According to the statistics from the 2011 U.S. National Center for Health, 25 percent of the U.S. population is at risk for vitamin D inadequacy, while 8 percent of the U.S. population is at risk for vitamin D deficiency which can contribute to dental problems caused by bone lose.

The sun is the best (and free) source of Vitamin D; skin directly exposed to sunlight will kick off the bodies natural production of the organic compound. Vitamin D is essential to the bone mineralization process as it makes calcium more readily available for absorption. The Fact is the body cannot absorb sufficient amounts of calcium without vitamin D and calcium is one of the most important nutrients to promote dental health.

Not only are people with low levels of Vitamin D at a greater risk for fracturing bones thanks to osteoporosis, they may also have a weakened immune system, stand a bigger chance of developing multiple sclerosis, rickets and increase the odds of individuals dying from specific internal cancers(http://www.news-medical.net/news/34041.aspx).

The Bad: Cold Sores

Cold sores are tiny oral blisters and those small infections can pack a wallop of pain. The unsightly growths are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 that typically infect people before age ten. According to 1-800-Dentist, "The Herpes Virus Association estimates that 6 out of 10 people carry HSV-1 - the virus that causes cold sores herpes above the waist (commonly appearing on the face or lips)," and sun exposure can trigger outbreaks, even after many years of the virus laying dormant.

Regardless of if a person is trying to up their Vitamin D levels or are simply heading out for the day, protecting lips with a product featuring a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 is a must! That level of protection can help shield individuals not only from cold sore outbreaks but sun damage that may contribute to oral cancer.

The Ugly: Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the generic name for when uncontrollable growth of cells invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue, specifically in the neck and head. Oral cancer has a higher mortality rate than other cancers as the disease typically receives a late diagnosis and by that time, the infection has spread elsewhere. According to http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/, "Close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years." Sun exposure is one factor that can up the odds of developing the condition.

Although tobacco and alcohol use is the biggest contributor to oral cancer, sun exposure (especially at an early age or continued frequency) also increases the odds of the troublesome cells of developing. The culprit is the ultraviolet radiation distributed via sunlight.

Caution needs to be implemented in order to get the perk and minimize any complications from arising from sun exposure.

 

09.15.17

Cleft Palate

I Had a Cleft Palate -- Will My Child Have One, Too?

Cleft palate develops during the very early stages of pregnancy, and can be attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. So if you had a cleft palate that doesn't necessarily mean your unborn child will develop one, too.

In fact, scientists have determined that the chances of a cleft palate recurring is dependent upon a variety of factors, including the number of persons affected in your family, the closeness of affected relatives, the race and sex of all affected persons and the severity of the cleft.

A child born with a cleft palate is treated by a team of several different specialists. Cleft palate treatment can include a variety of procedures, including cleft palate surgery, orthodontic dental care and speech therapy, and occurs in a coordinated effort over a period of years.

Separating Fact From Fiction

Contrary to popular belief, cleft conditions have no relation to mental retardation. However, a learning disability can be present if a cleft palate or cleft lip occurs in conjunction with a group of disorders or a syndrome.

The term harelip is often used to describe a cleft lip. But it is a misnomer and viewed as derogatory by professionals. "Harelip" actually refers to a rabbit, which has a natural indentation on the center of its lip that looks similar to a cleft lip.

If your child was born with a cleft palate, an initial visit to a general or pediatric dentist can get them started on their dental treatment.

 

09.08.17

Factors Impacting Dental Care Costs

Estimates suggest that Americans spent $106 billion on dental care in 2010 (The Pew Center on the States). While consumers may not think it is fair that they have to pay substantial money just for an hour of a dentist's time, that is not the only factor that influences costs implementing dental treatments. The reality is that there are various components that influence the cost of dental care.

According to Slate.com, professional dental care makes up 4.5 percent of the total health care expenditures for the average American and a majority of the bills need to be paid out of pocket as countless individuals have no dental insurance. The price tags for dental care will vary based on the type of dental treatments implemented (a basic dental cleaning is a bargain compared to the price tag for dental implants), however the prices for each dental treatment will also fluctuate from dentist to dentist and there are many factors that influence the structure.

Education

Some economic experts have predicted student loan debt is going to help pave the way to the countries next economic disaster. Overall, there is more than $900 billion dollars in active student loan debt, with the average college responsible for about $25,000 starting with the first day of graduation. Dentists have to achieve an education level equivalent to the likes of a traditional doctor or lawyer and that cost up to $75,000 more.

Unlike other fields that require higher learning, dentists do not bill patients an hourly rate and instead set their price point to cover not only office expenses but in order to turn a profit in order to best manage their fiduciary responsibilities. Since every dentist has had a different path to achieve their career goals, pricing for their work will fluctuate based on their education and as they see fit.

Dental Office Equipment

The average dental clinic has a ton of equipment that looks as if it has come off the set of a science fiction film. While a doctor can make do with a stethoscope and wooden tongue depressors, in order to be through, dentists need to rely on expensive supplies such as on-site X-ray machines, dental drills and adjustable chairs. All that paraphernalia is expensive. Estimates suggest that an average of $450,000 to $500,000 is needed for dental office start up costs and chances are the pricing dental treatments includes a portion being allotted to paying off those expenses and manage the upkeep to ensure the devices all work properly.

Dental Insurance

For thousands of years, humans have relied on insurance to minimize their financial losses due to health issues, car accidents and fires. While many patients know that dental insurance can provide a financial break, dentists also need coverage to protect their assets just in case and that can add up.

A professional dentist has to pay an assortment of premiums to prepare for the worst case scenarios including malpractice coverage, disability insurance, life insurance, office overhead insurance and workers compensation. Combined, the coverage will help protect a dentist and his heirs from the worst case scenarios. Ultimately those costs will also impact how much a dentist may charge for their efforts.

The Great Recession has forced thousands of Americans to skip their annual dental exams as many feel that the cost for dental care is too much. According to a 2009 Harris Interactive/HealthDay Poll, 50 percent of uninsured and 30 percent of insured Americans skipped their annual dental care to save money.

Those who choose to skip the dentist are making a big mistake as paying to repair dental neglect is far more expensive than paying for preventative dentistry in the first place.

 

07.21.17

Not Brushing Correctly: A Worldwide Phenomenon

The world is filled with close to seven billion people and countless smiles filled with teeth. Each country has their own set of rules and laws to be observed but despite these differences there is one phenomenon that connects all humans, the failure to brush teeth correctly.

Throughout human history dental health has been a hot topic of conversation. In ancient Greece, scholars like Aristotle and Hippocrates discussed malocclusion and how gentle force could be applied to gradually shift teeth. In contemporary times dentists and other medical experts are figuring ways to improve dental health without the aid of a dental drill. Despite all the great advancements regarding dentistry, practicing oral hygiene is still the best way to lower levels of dental plaque for oral health, but sadly most people are not doing the job well.

Many Use Wrong Brushing Technique

Sweden is known for being the homeland for pop-group Abba, furniture line Ikea and for its citizens having the longest average life expectancy (80.51 years in 2006) of any other European country. In regards to the latter, the Swedish could even potentially live longer if only they brushed their teeth properly, but research has indicated that nine out of ten of them are not doing the job correctly.

Two studies conducted by the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg have shown the truth regarding the nasty side of Sweden's oral hygiene behaviors. Researchers analyzed the brushing behaviors of 2013 Swedes representing a variety of demographics (aged 15-16, 31-35, 60-65 and 76-80). The clinicians focused on topics including daily brushing occurrences, time spent on the task, if fluoride toothpaste was used, how much toothpaste per session and how much water was used during and after the task (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/245477.php).

The Right Way to Brush

The right way to brush teeth includes:

- Brushing sessions should last a total of 2 minutes, 30 seconds for each quadrant.

- Take another 5 seconds to brush your tongue to reduce the chances of developing bad breath.

- Electric toothbrushes can help individuals brush more effectively.

- Soft bristled toothbrushes are best.

- Brush in a gentle, circular motion.

- Use a 45-degree angle to make sure you are scrubbing the area around your gum line.

- All toothpaste used should have some time of cavity protection ingredient; fluoride is the number one recommendation but individuals concerned about that compound may prefer using a toothpaste with xynitol.

- Toothpaste amount used should be no bigger than the size of a dime.

- Flossing once a day (preferably after brushing teeth at end of day) will put more muscle behind any tooth brushing efforts.

 

07.14.17

Conquering Dental Anxiety

Ten percent of all adults are categorized having some type of dental phobia and of all the options out there, dental anxiety is considered to be one of the most common fears. The stress caused by the sights, sounds and smells of a dental office may be too much for some patients to handle. In response, dentists are proactively making the efforts to make the experience more relaxing for patients in order to implement dental care.

According to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association, nearly 25 percent of all Americans avoid the dentist because of dental fear. While some of them may choose to try their own methods of minimizing dental anxiety, a professional dental dentist skilled in the art of reducing dental anxiety is the best line of defense.

Dental Schools Teaching Importance of Communication

Within the medical industry, doctors who tested poorly on patient-physician communication skills were far more likely to generate patient complaints to the authorities in charge (ScienceDaily.com). Those findings are not shocking as it is common knowledge that the right type of communication can bring positive results, while poor connection skills can cause misunderstandings, stress and anxiety. That is why dental schools are taking the time to educate dental professionals on the importance of bedside (in this case chair-side) manner.

At the New York University College of Dentistry, actors are being used to coach third year students on the best ways to interview patients (Wall Street Journal). The process involves actors receiving character information regarding a variety of dental problems and fears. The actors realistically portray patients suffering from dental woes such as dry mouth, fear of needles and other common scenarios. The students must then rely on a combination of their interviewing skills and dental know-how to develop the best course of action to deal with the dental scene being portrayed.

Seinfeld, introduced the concept of medical actors to a majority of America as 'Cosmo Kramer' was a medical actor in an episode entitled, "The Burning." While the concept may seem based out of fiction, it is a real way to train students in both the medical and dental industries. Ultimately, the education will prepare students for dealing in real life scenarios calmly, professionally and kindly.

Pain Reduction

No two dental anxiety sufferers are identical and while the sight of a dentist office can trigger panic attacks in some, others may have a dental fear based on pain. In order to coax patients into their offices, some dentists are using the latest technology to make dental treatments of any nature virtually pain free.

Faster and more efficient drills are replacing older compressed air models. Some dentists have gotten rid of their drills altogether and now use air abrasion (where tiny particles of aluminum oxide or silica are blasted on affected areas) to for remove tooth decay and prep a tooth in preparation for treating dental caries. Topical anesthetics are readily applied from the get go to minimize any discomfort, even that of a simple dental exam and cleaning. Pain pathways can be blocked courtesy of technology that emits low-dose electrical pulses in lieu of traditional anesthetics.

Creating a Soothing Atmosphere

Some patients may experience dental anxiety from the moment they step into a cold and sterile dentist office. In order to minimize that particular dental phobia, dentists are now taking the time to make their reception area inviting and soothing. Aromatherapy candles, soft music, plush couches and decor are some of the touches professional dentists are focusing on in order to minimize anxiety before a patient sits in the chair.

 

07.07.17

Neglect Costs More Than Money

According to a 2009 Harris Interactive/HealthDay Poll, 50 percent of uninsured and 30 percent of insured Americans skipped seeking annual dental care to save money. That decision can actually end up costing more than just money in the long run as individuals who choose to skip the dentist are making a big mistake as paying to repair dental neglect is far more expensive than paying for preventative dentistry in the first place.

Estimates suggest that for every one dollar invested into preventative dentistry (including the process of practicing daily oral hygiene, getting annual check-ups, tooth cleanings and other dental treatments) can result in a savings ranging from eight to fifty dollar per dollar investment. Although money is certainly an issue, dental neglect can contribute to other issues ranging from small paychecks to knocking on heaven's door.

Death

Dental neglect will not only contribute to conditions such as bad breath and tooth decay as the reality is that behavior can kill. The family of seventh grader Deamonte Driver sadly learned that lesson the hard way.

Deamonte Driver was an average twelve year old living in Washington DC. Factors linked to coming from a low income family (including but not limited to lack of access to regular dental care and not getting proper nutrition) helped contribute to the pre-teen developing a painful dental abscess.

Deamonte's complaints resulted in his mother looking to find a dentist who was part of the Medicaid program. She had no luck. When Deamonte's condition worsened, a trip to the local ER resulted in a him receiving medicine to treat his symptoms (headaches, sinusitis and a dental abscess) and was then sent home. That proved not to be enough as the excess of oral bacteria that caused his dental problems spread to his brain and despite medical efforts (two surgeries, specialized care and additional therapy) Deamonte died on February 25, 2007. After the fact it was concluded that a tooth extraction (ranging in cost from $75 to $300) would have remedied the condition and spared his life.

Diminished Mental Health

PBS suggests that approximately 15 million American adults (around 8 percent) of the U.S. population eighteen years and older suffer from depression annually. Of that group, 80 percent of them do not receive any type of treatment. Those who suffering with the conditions may experience dental neglect (and subsequent) dental problems as a result as that low-down feeling may prevent a person from seeking professional dental care (courtesy of dental anxiety) practicing oral hygiene and eating a healthy diet and instead fuel their passion for self medicating via tooth destroying vices (such as smoking, drinking, binge eating).

The relationship also works the other-way around as dental neglect can contribute to depression. While some individuals have a genetic disposition for depression, there are a variety of causes that can also drag people down. Some cause-and-effect examples include a death of a loved one, divorce and job loss; diminished dental health can also may a person beyond blue.

Dental neglect (caused by lack of time or knowledge) will allow levels of oral bacteria to explode and create mounds of dental plaque and tartar as a result. As those levels skyrocket and are left unchecked, dental health will be negatively impacted and individuals can experience an assortment of dental problems (IE bad breath, cavities, tooth decay and tooth loss). Ultimately, that can destroy a smile and make a person less attractive to the world at large and to themselves. That low self esteem can make a person feel worthless and influence poor decision making choices; that can contribute to a vicious cycle and more dental problems down the line.

Lame Love Life

Most people find that life is better with love and invest effort into finding their better half. However, individuals suffering from dental neglect may be laden with low self-esteem that prevents them from being attractive to others as well has having sexual dysfunction linked specifically to their oral health.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that supports the teeth and high oral bacteria levels caused by dental neglect can contribute to the issue. Not only can the infection cause gingivitis, periodontal disease, missing teeth, strokes, depleted red blood cell counts and diabetes, research has shown that the oral condition can be linked to erectile dysfunction. One study showed that  as complications surrounding erectile dysfunction increased, so did gum disease levels (Pradeep, A R., Sharma Anuj., and Arjun Raju P. (2011). Association Between Chronic Periodontitis and Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction, Journal of Periodontology, 0:0, 1-7).

Regardless of gender, dental neglect is also a big romantic turn off. Research conducted by Kelton Research, indicated oral hygiene incredibly important to setting the mood. Their findings indicated that 59 percent of Americans would be turned-off if their partner skipped the basic dental care behaviors of brushing or flossing his or her teeth for a week.