Let’s Answer Some Dental FAQs!

A LOT OF PATIENTS and parents of patients come to us with the same dental health questions, so let’s have a quick FAQ session! 1. How often do I need to visit the dentist? Twice a year is a good general rule, though it may vary depending on individual circumstances. Regular dental visits are critical for combating tartar buildup and catching problems early. 2. Why do I need a filling if my tooth doesn’t hurt? A cavity typically doesn’t start to hurt when it’s still in the outer layer of the tooth, but that makes it the best time to get to it with a filling, to keep it from getting deeper! 3. Why are my teeth turning more yellow? Over time, our teeth naturally get darker or more yellow, but tooth discoloration can also be the result of trauma or consuming a lot of substances that leave stains. 4. When

READ MORE

Dental Health: Men Vs. Women

MEN AND WOMEN have a lot in common, but they face significantly different challenges when it comes to keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Men’s Dental Health Issues Here are some of the major dental health problems that affect men more than women: Being less likely to brush and floss regularly. Men are 20% less likely than women to brush twice a day, floss daily, and even replace old toothbrushes! They’re also less likely to go to the dentist for a regular preventative checkup. This is one reason it’s so important to cement good oral health habits at an early age, so parents of young boys take note! Because men are more likely to drink, smoke, and chew tobacco than women, they are at greater risk of advanced gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Dry mouth can affect men more because it’s a common side-effect of high blood pressure and

READ MORE

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

IT CAN BE DIFFICULT to get any enjoyment out of a cozy mug of hot cocoa if every sip comes with a jolt of pain from sensitive teeth. An eighth of the U.S. population (including kids!) deals with some level of tooth sensitivity, so what causes it and how can we protect our teeth? The Nerves Inside Our Teeth A healthy tooth consists of a protective outer layer of enamel over a more porous layer of dentin, with a pulp chamber at the center. Dental pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels, and those nerves receive sensory input for things like pressure and temperature changes through the thousands of microscopic tubules running through the dentin. When Sensory Input Works Against Us Enamel erosion is one of the main causes of tooth sensitivity. If the protective enamel layer wears down, then it exposes the tubules in the dentin, which leads to the

READ MORE

Oral Health Goal: Cut Sugar Intake in Half

SUGAR GOES BY MANY NAMES and hides where we’d least expect it. Molasses and maltose? Sugar. Corn syrup and sucrose? Sugar. Honey and agave nectar? They’re sugar too! We Consume a Jaw-Dropping Amount of Sugar Sugar in some form is added to 74 percent of packaged foods, and the average American consumes 57 POUNDS of added sugar every year. That’s a lot of fuel for the harmful bacteria living in our mouths (particularly during orthodontic treatment when there are so many extra nooks and crannies for food to stay trapped after meals and snacks). Sugar Versus Oral Health Sugar has many negative health effects, but as dental professionals, we’re focused on how it impacts our teeth. Sugar consumption is closely linked to gum disease and tooth decay, and it can eventually lead to needing treatment like fillings and root canal therapy. Cutting Back on Sugar So how can we avoid sugar

READ MORE

Stress and Our Smiles

MENTAL HEALTH AND physical health are tied together in ways we don’t always expect. That even extends to the relationship between oral health and stress. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools we can use to protect our smiles from the effects of stress. Stress Could Be Behind a Teeth-Grinding Habit Habitual teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching are called bruxism. Clenching and grinding are natural responses to frustration and stress for many people. The typical signs of bruxism include a sore jaw and, eventually, flattened chewing surfaces of the teeth. Bruxism brings with it significant oral health risks, and the people with this habit might not even notice they’re doing it — particularly for those who grind their teeth in their sleep. Stress Can Compound the Symptoms of TMD Another oral health condition stress can contribute to is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a disorder of the muscles, joint, and nerves in the jaw that

READ MORE

The First Black Woman Dentist in the US

IDA GRAY WAS BORN in Clarksville, Tennessee in 1867. She became an orphan when her mother died in her early teens, after which she went to live with her aunt in Cincinnati. While Gray attended segregated public schools alongside her aunt’s three children and worked as a seamstress, she found time to work in the dental offices of Jonathan Taft, an early advocate of training women as dentists. Ida Gray’s Education and Practice After three years working in Taft’s office, Gray had learned enough to pass the entrance examinations into the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry, where Jonathan Taft had previously served as the dean, and begin her studies in 1887. She graduated three years later, making her the first Black woman to become a dentist in the United States. She opened her own office in Cincinnati, where she serviced patients of all races and was celebrated as a role

READ MORE

Smoking and Vaping Versus Dental Health

A SMOKING HABIT damages every organ and system in the body, including teeth and gums. We usually think of lung cancer first when it comes to the harm smoking can do, but it can cause a wide variety of problems for oral health. Tobacco and Oral Cancer Four out of every five people diagnosed with oral cancer either smoke or chew tobacco. The early symptoms of oral cancer include unusual white patches in the mouth, persistent mouth sores or pain, numbness, swelling, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and the sensation of having something stuck in the throat. The dentist is a key figure in early detection of oral cancer. A Strange Effect of Smoking: Smoker’s Keratosis In some cases, a smoking habit can cause white patches to develop on the roof of the mouth. They typically aren’t painful, but they can be pre-cancerous. These patches are smoker’s keratosis (or stomatitis nicotina), and the condition is

READ MORE

Diabetes and Our Teeth

DIABETES, WHETHER TYPE 1, 2, or even gestational, makes it more difficult to maintain good dental health. There is a reciprocal relationship between oral health and diabetes, meaning that it’s harder to keep your teeth and gums healthy if you aren’t carefully managing the diabetes, but the diabetes also becomes harder to control if you aren’t prioritizing oral health. An Overview of the Types of Diabetes All three types of diabetes impact oral health, but they work in different ways. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed early in life, and it involves the pancreas being unable to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes (up to 95% of cases) is usually diagnosed decades into adulthood, and it involves the body failing to use insulin efficiently to regulate blood sugar. Gestational diabetes affects some pregnant women, who become less able to regulate blood sugar during pregnancy. What Does Blood Sugar Have to Do With

READ MORE

What to Do With a Knocked-Out Tooth?

LOSING BABY TEETH is a totally normal part of a child’s development, but what happens if an adult tooth gets knocked out? This counts as a serious dental emergency. If a whole tooth gets knocked out in one piece, there is a limited window (not much longer than an hour) in which the tooth has a chance to be successfully replanted, so the sooner the dentist sees it, the better. To give the tooth its best shot, put it back in the socket on the way there and hold it in place with a washcloth or gauze. If that isn’t possible, store it in cold milk. What NOT to Do With a Knocked-Out Tooth Here are a few important don’ts for knocked-out teeth: DON’T touch the root. DON’T let it dry out. DON’T scrub or clean it with soap, alcohol, or peroxide. DON’T put it on ice. Any of these could

READ MORE

Dental Care Tips for Parents of Young Kids

THE LIFE OF A PARENT is a hectic one. Keeping track of everything your growing child needs can be a real juggling act, so maybe we can take one of the balls out of the air by offering a few easy tips for how to stay on top of your kids’ dental health (without neglecting your own)! 1. Choosing the Right Toothbrush Brushing (whether with a manual or electric toothbrush) is the easiest and most important method of cavity prevention, but it can be tricky to find the right toothbrush for your child with so many different options available. A good place to start is by looking for a toothbrush with soft, polished (round-ended) bristles. These brushes clean effectively but are still gentle to the gums. Make sure the brush is designed for small hands and mouths, and try to replace it every few months or so. A brush with frayed, smashed

READ MORE