Your Teeth Are Not Tools!

HUMAN TEETH ARE awesome. We wouldn’t have dedicated our professional lives to working with them if we didn’t think so. There are so many things they can do, from chewing food to providing support for the structure of our faces to facilitating clear speech to being part of our beautiful smiles. Unfortunately, a lot of people try to put their teeth to other uses they weren’t designed for, which can lead to serious problems. Just Use Scissors or Nail Clippers We could talk at length about how bad a nail-biting habit is, both for the teeth and the nails, but we’ll keep it short and sweet for now. Fingernails are the least sanitary parts of our hands because it’s so hard to scrub the germs out from under them, and all those germs get into our mouths when we chew our nails. Nail biting also causes a lot of wear and tear to

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Can Smiling Make You Healthier?

WE OFTEN HEAR that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. We’re not sure where that came from, but it isn’t actually true. At least ten muscles are involved in smiling, but it might require as few as six to form a frown. We propose changing the saying to “smiling burns more calories than frowning,” but let’s take a look at the other benefits we get from smiling! The Smiling/Happiness Feedback Loop To say that we smile when we’re happy might seem so obvious that there’s no point in saying it, but the relationship between smiling and happiness is a lot like the chicken and egg question. We do smile when we’re happy, but we also become happier by smiling! It turns out that the simple act of smiling (even when it’s fake) releases endorphins, also known as the feel-good hormones. So it might be a good idea when you’re

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What Are Dental Implants?

MODERN DENTISTRY IS incredible. Tooth decay, accidents, and injuries that once would have left someone with a gap in their smile that they could never fill can now be treated so that everything looks and works about as good as new. In many cases, those teeth can even be saved through root canal therapy. When that isn’t possible, dental implants are effective ways to fill in the gaps. How Implants Compare to False Teeth Dentures have been a solution for missing teeth for centuries, but they have a few notable flaws. When we use our own teeth to chew, it stimulates the jaw bone and keeps it strong. Dentures aren’t very effective at providing this stimulation, resulting in bone loss in the jaws. This, in turn, can lead to the dentures not fitting very well, so they can slip and fall out easily and leave the gums feeling sore. Implants, on the

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Dental Care…for Pets?

DO OUR PETS need dental care? The answer is yes. But wait, wild animals don’t get dental care and they seem to have good teeth, right? Actually, wild animal dental health isn’t quite what it seems. While their diets consist of less tooth decay-causing sugar and carbs, they also don’t usually survive serious dental problems. Pets, on the other hand, have humans to keep taking care of them, and we should take care of their teeth too. Pet Dental Health Problems Just like human mouths, animal mouths contain bacteria that produces plaque. If it’s allowed to build up, plaque becomes tartar and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. The trouble with pets is that they can’t directly let us know something is wrong with their teeth, and they can’t take care of their own teeth or explain what they feel to a dentist, so it’s easy to miss the signs.

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Stopping the Grind of Bruxism

WHEN LIFE GETS stressful or frustrating, a pretty common physical response is teeth-grinding. Unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage if it becomes a habit, and it can even happen while we’re asleep. Chronic teeth grinding is called bruxism. The Causes of Bruxism Teeth grinding during the day is sometimes the result of stress, while nighttime bruxism can be associated with snoring or sleep apnea. However, not everyone dealing with stress or a sleep disorder has bruxism, and not everyone with bruxism will also have stress or a sleep disorder. Missing or poorly aligned teeth (including bad bites) can also make bruxism more likely. Aside from these factors, age also plays a role. Children are actually more likely to grind their teeth than adults. Prescription drugs (particularly antidepressants) can increase the likelihood of grinding, as can tobacco or alcohol use. Bruxism can also run in families, and it can be associated with disorders

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Let’s Raise Awareness of Oral Cancer

THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY estimates that over 53,000 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2020. The death rate of these types of cancer has been decreasing over the last three decades, and we want to help continue that trend by educating our patients on the symptoms and risk factors. Learn the Risk Factors Several risk factors increase a person’s chances of developing oral cancer, and some of them can’t be helped. For instance, men are twice as vulnerable to oral cancer as women, and people over the age of 45 are also at much greater risk. Of all the risk factors, the greatest by far is tobacco use. As much as 85% of oral cancer cases are linked to some kind of tobacco use. Another risk factor that can be avoided is frequent, heavy alcohol consumption. Apart from these, too much sun exposure can lead to lip cancer, neglecting oral hygiene

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Ongoing Personal Coronavirus Precautions

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, some states and cities are starting to reopen, but that doesn’t mean we should immediately stop all precautionary measures and go straight back to life as usual. Every little bit we can do helps ensure that hospitals don’t get more new cases than they can handle, so let’s quickly review the basics. Social Distancing Basically, social distancing means staying at home and avoiding physical contact with other people as much as possible, remaining at least six feet apart and keeping errands and outings to a minimum. The more people do this, the fewer chances the virus will have to spread. Hand Washing COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact or by touching things an infected person has touched. Scrubbing with ordinary soap is an excellent way to kill germs, especially coronavirus, but it’s important to wash every part of our hands to get the full benefit. It also helps to keep our

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Staying Active Is Good for My Teeth?

WE ALL KNOW how important regular dental visits and good daily brushing and flossing routines are to keeping our mouths healthy, but they aren’t the only factors. It might seem strange, but maintaining a healthy weight and staying active also have an effect on the health of our teeth and gums. The Link Between Weight and Oral Health A major factor that connects overall health and oral health is blood glucose. Sugar (which is made up of sucrose, a molecule that contains glucose) is the favorite food of oral bacteria. When we eat or drink anything sugary, it makes our blood glucose go up. We can keep our blood glucose at healthy levels by keeping our sugar intake to a minimum. Doing this also decreases our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease that makes it much harder to regulate blood sugar and fight back against oral bacteria. Staying active and maintaining

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Loose Tooth Game Plan

MOST OF US PROBABLY remember what it was like to lose our first tooth as a kid. Wiggling it with your tongue, accidentally biting down on it the wrong way, getting all kinds of advice from friends, older siblings, and parents, and being a little worried about what it would actually feel like when it came out… It’s something every child will go through, and just like any new experience, it can be scary. We recommend that parents have a plan ready for how to help their kids through this rite of passage. Establish a Good Mindset A great way to make the prospect of losing that first baby tooth less scary is to help your child see it as a rite of passage: losing baby teeth is a major part of being a big kid, just like learning to ride a bike and tie their own shoelaces. It’s a big, exciting

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From Dental Health to Overall Health

WHEN WE THINK of being healthy, how much are we thinking about oral health? Just because we go to our dentists for oral health concerns and physicians for overall health concerns, it doesn’t mean there’s no connection between the two. The Mouth Is the Bridge Between Body and World If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the mouth is definitely the gateway to the body. What we eat affects our health, as well as other mouth-related habits like smoking or nail-biting, and problems in overall health may show their first obvious symptoms in the teeth and especially the gums. It’s easier to maintain good overall health by maintaining good oral health, and vice versa. Gum Disease and Chronic Diseases According to the CDC, as many as half of American adults have some form of gum disease. In its early stage, gingivitis, it’s the result of plaque building up and irritating

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