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Dental Health 101

Dental Hygiene: Dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene, is the process by which preventative dental care is provided to avoid dental emergencies. At the core of dental hygiene is the in-home dental care regimen you perform. Your at-home regimen is supplemented with professional preventative dental care provided by dentists and licensed dental hygienists. Over time, calculus builds up on the teeth. If calculus forms below the gum line, bacteria can invade and create a host of other dental problems. (Read More)

Diet & Dentistry: Maintaining a proper diet is essential for good oral health. When and how often you consume certain foods and beverages affects your general health and the health of your teeth and gums. Eating patterns and food choices, particularly among children and teens, are important factors that affect how quickly tooth decay develops. The more often you eat, and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more potential damage to your teeth can occur. Some foods, in particular, are more likely to cause oral health problems than others. (Read More)

The Eating Disorder Effect: Eating disorders – generally affecting more women than men – are serious illnesses in which people become fixated or how much they eat. Two of the more common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Regardless of the specific eating disorder a person may suffer from, the body becomes deprived of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients that are essential for maintaining good health. In the long run, lacking vitamins and other nutrients the body needs could lead to serious injuries affecting the major organs, muscles and even the teeth and oral health. For example, self-induced vomiting can essentially cause a breakdown of tooth structure. (Read More)

Dental Flossing: Flossing in between your teeth is an essential oral hygiene practice for avoiding gum disease and preventing tooth decay. Many people don’t realize the importance of flossing and often forego the hygienic practice, believing that tooth brushing is adequate for the removal of plaque, the sticky substance that forms on the surface of and in between the teeth. Flossing your teeth is not hard, does not take much time and should be performed at least once daily. (Read More)

Fluoride: According to the American Dental Association (ADA), widespread availability of various sources of fluoride has greatly diminished tooth decay rates in America and abroad. Fluoride makes teeth stronger to help prevent initiation of dental caries and tooth decay resulting from acid contained in sugars and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Your dentist can help determine if you are receiving an appropriate amount of fluoride in your diet. (Read More)

Gum & Oral Health: An estimated 60 million Americans have periodontal disease. Over the past decade, an increasing amount of scientific evidence has shown an association between periodontal disease – along with the bacteria that cause it – and systemic diseases affecting other areas of the body, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and preterm low birth weight babies. Linking what happens in the mouth to what occurs throughout the rest of the body is a similar inflammatory response. (Read More)

Mechanical Toothbrushes: Mechanical toothbrushes – also called electrical, power or automated – feature brush heads made of nylon bristles or tufts that move in a powerful way to effectively remove plaque and food debris from teeth and gums. Helping to power people’s dental hygiene and dental health, these advanced toothbrushes can be classified into two main power types: battery and rechargeable electric power. How do they differ and what should you know about buying mechanical toothbrushes? (Read More)

Neuromuscular Dentistry: Neuromuscular dentistry is an approach to dental treatment that focuses on the correction of jaw misalignment. Neuromuscular dentists determine the optimal position of the jaw in order to correct misalignment and adjust how the upper and lower teeth come together (occlusion). By realigning the jaw joint through the use of cosmetic dental restorations, tooth recontouring (equilibration) or orthodontics, neuromuscular dentists strive to alleviate stress from the jaw muscles and eliminate painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). (Read More)

Occlusion: When your dentist examines your occlusion, he or she is looking at how chewing forces, or those forces that occur when your teeth come together, could cause a breakdown of the teeth, gums, muscles and joints. Force is also exerted on your teeth when they come together during clenching or grinding. Your dentist will assess what might be done, if necessary, to prevent or correct any problems associated with chewing force. If you and your dentist determine that your occlusion is contributing to and/or causing dental problems – whether pain, chipped or broken teeth, failing restorations or other consequences of a bad bite – a treatment plan may be developed to adjust your occlusion. (Read More)

Oral & General Health: Failure to adequately care for your teeth, gums and your bite can result in the development of medical conditions far more serious than gum disease (periodontitis) or tooth loss. Studies suggest that a number of secondary health issues can be caused as a result of poor oral hygiene. As Dr. Mayo of the Mayo Clinic once said, “If a person can take care of their teeth and gums they can extend their life by at least 10 years.” Further, recent studies have determined a connection between untreated dental infections and death. (Read More)

Oral Health & Pregnancy: Expectant mothers and women contemplating pregnancy have unique considerations when it comes to dental care. Failure to adequately care for your oral health during this sensitive time could have serious consequences for you and your child. During pregnancy, your teeth and gums are more susceptible to bacterial accumulation due to an associated increase in hormone levels. It is important to properly care for your teeth before, during and after pregnancy to safeguard your oral health and that of your unborn child. By maintaining your oral health, you will reduce your risk of pregnancy complications that can result if dental conditions are left untreated. (Read More)

Oral Piercing: Despite its esthetic qualities, oral piercing poses some serious health risks and can result in a number of complications. Because the mouth contains millions of bacteria, infection is a possible and common complication of oral piercing. There are many other potential complications of oral piercing. (Read More)

Oral Rinses: An oral rinse (mouth rinse or mouthwash) is a liquid solution that you swish around your entire mouth – teeth, gums and tongue – to help promote oral hygiene, reduce oral discomfort, provide moisture to oral tissues or help with bad breath. Oral rinses may be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) or via prescription, and can be categorized as cosmetic, therapeutic or a combination of the two. Your dentist may recommend or prescribe certain types of oral rinses if you are at high risk of tooth decay, gum inflammation, dry mouth (xerostomia, a lack of saliva that can cause an increased risk of tooth decay) or gum disease. There are various rinse types, including natural rinses, rinses for children and specialty therapeutic rinses. (Read More)

Preventive Dentistry: If you don’t take care of your teeth and properly manage your oral health, you may find yourself forking over thousands of dollars in restorative dental care. Did you know that a full mouth reconstruction can cost between $45,000 and $80,000? By practicing preventive dentistry, you can safeguard yourself from these exorbitant dental costs. (Read More)

Saliva: Saliva is a fluid that flows throughout the mouth, playing an important role in bolstering and maintaining the health of oral soft and hard tissues. Among the body’s defense mechanisms, saliva works to lubricate, digest and protect. (Read More)

Scaling & Root Planing: Scaling and root planing is a thorough dental cleaning of tooth root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar (calculus) from around teeth and periodontal pockets in the gums, and to smooth the teeth roots to remove bacterial toxins. (Read More)

Sealants: For more than 30 years now, sealants have offered a protective plastic coating that covers the surfaces of teeth to help prevent tooth decay. For more than 30 years now, sealants have offered a protective plastic coating that covers the surfaces of teeth to help prevent tooth decay. (Read More)

Smoking & Dental Care: If you are a smoker, your dental care needs are considerably more demanding than those of a non-smoker. In fact, cigarette smoking is a leading cause of tooth loss. Smoking also increases your risk for periodontal disease (gum disease), loss of bone structure, inflammation of the salivary gland, leukoplakia (precancerous condition) and development of lung, throat or oral cancer. Furthermore, smoking is associated with a slower healing process following dental work, and a lower rate of success for procedures such as dental implants. In fact, smokers may not be implant candidates at all. (Read More)

Teens & Dentistry: Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important for overall health at any age, the teenage years being no exception. Brushing, flossing, maintaining a healthy diet and visiting your dentist on a regular basis help ensure a healthy and attractive smile. At a time when you’re faced with making choices about many aspects of your life, it’s important to consider the impact that certain behaviors and decisions – both positive and negative – can have on your oral health and the appearance of your smile for years to come. (Read More)

The Oral Health Exam: If you are unfamiliar with what to expect during a typical oral exam, you may find it extremely helpful to get an idea of the step-by-step process before your visit. The dental examination is a systematic process during which your dentist will investigate many facets of your oral and systemic health in order to identify pathologies or concerns and develop a uniquely customized treatment plan that is catered towards maximizing your oral health while meeting your goals and expectations. (Read More)

Tooth Brushing: Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is arguably the most essential component to the maintenance of good oral health. Tooth brushing cleans and whitens your teeth, while helping prevent the onset of tooth decay and gum disease, one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Removing tooth stains and avoiding bad breath are added benefits of tooth brushing. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes, preferably after eating. (Read More)

Tooth Extraction: When it comes to dental procedures, tooth extraction – or having teeth “pulled” – is among patients’ most dreaded prospects. Also referred to as exodontia, tooth extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. Before your dentist considers extraction, every effort will be made to try to repair and restore your tooth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary. (Read More)

Tooth Injury: Tooth or dental trauma is injury to the mouth, teeth, soft oral tissues or jawbones. Tooth trauma can be caused by sports, car accidents, fights, falls, biting on hard foods/objects and drinking hot liquids. Injuries affecting the mouth and teeth are often quite painful, resulting in bleeding, lacerations and/or punctures. (Read More)

Xylitol: Xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol used worldwide as a low-calorie sweetener, is clinically proven to reduce cavities and help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Eating sugar causes tooth decay by creating an acidic condition in the mouth. Acidity strips minerals from tooth enamel, causing it to weaken and be more vulnerable to bacteria, leading to tooth decay or demineralization. Using xylitol instead of sugar and/or refined carbohydrate foods may help to lower the risk of polycystic ovarian syndrome (a condition that disrupts or stops the ovulation cycle), ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome and possibly breast cancer. (Read More)