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Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

It can be difficult to explain the importance of oral health to children. Understandably, most are more concerned with playing than with the current and future state of their gums. We have compiled some creative ways you can teach your whole family how to maintain healthy teeth.

One idea to increase receptiveness to the twice daily brushing routine is to let your kids pick a 2-3 minute long song to play while they brush their teeth. This ensures that they brush long enough while also making the task sound a whole lot more appealing. Be warned, if tooth brushing turns into a groovy dance party, watch out for those toothbrushes becoming a hazard! A sand timer also works well if you aren’t able to play music.

Another way to add fun to oral health is by giving your child more control over the details when they brush their teeth. For example, you should change your toothbrush every three months, and you can make this a fun task for kids by letting them pick a toothbrush themed with their favorite TV characters or toys. This will help your child feel more invested and in control of their brushing routine. Additionally, you can allow them to choose the flavor of their toothpaste. Believe it or not, most kids aren’t thrilled with the taste of plain peppermint. They usually enjoy flavors like watermelon and bubblegum much more.

A great way to combine learning about oral health with gaining time management skills is to create a brushing calendar for kids in which they get a sticker each time they brush their teeth. Motivate them by offering a reward at the end of the month if there are no missed days!

On days when keeping up with oral health means actually going to a dentist appointment, we recommend making it a field trip day. For example, when you make an appointment with your doctor you can also plan something fun as a reward for your child’s bravery. After they get their teeth cleaned, head to the zoo or the park so that they will associate their dental appointments with sunshine and good times.

Finally, to continue education about the long-term importance of oral health with your child, try buying an oral health educational coloring book for kids so they can learn about eating nutritious foods and staying on top of their oral health while they play. If you your kids are tech savvy, there are also tons of great resources for learning at Mouthhealthykids.org. This website allows you to access fun quizzes and other oral health learning tools for kids.

Had your fill of fillings?

Had your fill of fillings?

There is a rumor going around that people don’t like going to the dentist since they’re afraid of having a cavity. If that rumor is true, the twice yearly visit to the dentist may be about to get a lot easier. Groundbreaking research regarding a new drug that treats Alzheimer’s Disease is proving to have some incredible oral health benefits! We may be saying goodbye to fillings and hello to a more natural alternative.

When a tooth is damaged by decay, the body creates a thin layer of dentine to fill any holes in the tooth and protect it from further damage. Problems occur when the layer of dentine that the body naturally produces isn’t large enough to fill holes in the tooth. These holes become cavities, and must be filled by a dentist using materials like gold, composite resin, and porcelain.

Though these methods of filling are effective and safe, they do not heal or restore the damaged tooth. A study out of Kings College London recently found that the molecule “glycogen synthase kinase” helps the body naturally produce more dentine to completely restore healthy levels. The researchers found that the exact molecule that was found to naturally repair the holes in teeth was already undergoing clinical trials for a drug that treats Alzheimer’s Disease.

These findings could have a huge influence on the way that we treat cavities and other oral health issues in the near future. Tideglusib, the drug found to reinforce dentine, can be applied to the teeth using collagen sponges and is completely pain free. This method would also mean that dentists wouldn’t need to drill a larger hole in the tooth in order to fill it and the overall risk of infection would be decreased. Due to the drug being in advanced stages of rigorous clinical testing for other causes, it is likely that it would be approved much more quickly for uses in dentistry.

I am always searching for the best, and newest technology to help my patients maintain dental health and a brilliant smile. I’ll be keeping my eye out for this cutting edge, pain free option for dental fillings!

What your Smile Says About You

What your Smile Says About you

Our smile is one of the first things we use to communicate with others when we have a conversation or meet someone for the first time. How we choose to present our smile to others can say a lot about our personality, health, and how we want others to see us. While clothes and other accessories may depict our style or what’s currently trending, our smile and the shine of our teeth give others a peek into our eating habits, genetics, and how comfortable we are with ourselves. Living in a society where we pride ourselves on the condition of how straight or bright our teeth are can be make looking at someone’s smile an interesting starting point in knowing the not-so-obvious traits a person has.

In terms of personality, how we smile in a social setting can tell us a lot about the people we surround ourselves with. A person who doesn’t show their teeth in a photograph may tell you that that person is shy or reserved compared to a person who shows all of their teeth and has a wide smile on their face, which most of the time, we interpret as confidence and expressing happiness.

Let’s go back and compare today to the 19th and early 20th century when it was customary not to smile in photographs. Everyone appeared to be somber, even children. It was hypothesized that because cameras where a new and developing technology, the exposure time to capture an image took as long as one minute and expressions couldn’t be held for the duration it took to capture a picture. A second theory as to why people didn’t smile in their photographs was due to the fact that they did not have good dental hygiene and, thus, were self-conscious about their smile.

As the decades went by, smirks began to sneak in and eventually smiling was an acceptable form of appearing in a photograph that lead us to where we are today. As dental hygiene methods improved, as well as quicker exposure times for camera technology, people began to show their pearly whites.

The color and shape of someone’s teeth are unique to the individual and it is natural for teeth to have a yellow tinge of color to them. However, modern dentistry has helped us improve the appearance of our teeth and now many people opt to have bright, white teeth and love to show them off in selfies. In fact, the Teeth Whitening Industry in 2015 made over $11 billion with an additional $1.4 billion spent on teeth whitening products according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Our teeth are often considered as a part of ourselves that we present to others. It is important to keep them in shape and take care of them just like any other part of our body. By scheduling routine maintenance and dental cleanings every six months and with proper daily brushing and flossing, you will keep those teeth white, bright, and camera ready well into your golden years.

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

When we have a bacterial infection, our immune system kicks in to try to rid our bodies of harmful pathogens. While fighting off foreign bacteria, the immune system sends white blood cells and antibodies to find, destroy, and repair any damage that may have been caused which often results in us feeling sick. The problem with bacterial infections is that the bacteria multiply at a rapid rate making it difficult for the immune system to respond and treat the illness quick enough. However, modern medicine has developed a way to speed up the battle our immune system takes each time a bad bacteria invades our bodies. Antibiotics are prescribed when we are fighting off a bacterial infection and typically help speed up the recovery process.

Essentially, antibiotics work by targeting the pathogens causing the damage and killing the bad bacteria while also slowing down or putting a stop to their harmful multiplication cycle. This in turn allows our bodies to take care of the remaining infection and within a week or two we begin to start feeling like our normal selves.

The problem with antibiotics is that while it kills off bad bacteria, it also rids our bodies of good bacteria as well. Our bodies maintain a balance of bacteria naturally within our digestive system and sometimes when antibiotics are prescribed, this balance can be thrown out of whack. Many doctors, regardless of what bacterial infection you may be experiencing, often recommend to supplement your antibiotic prescription with yogurt to replenish good bacteria.

Another problem with antibiotics is that while they act as a miracle drug to many bacterial infectious diseases, many people do not complete their entire set of prescribed antibiotics. Sometimes we start to feel better after just taking a few days of antibiotics and because of that stop taking what remains in the prescription. This is troublesome because it gives the opportunity for pathogens that remain in our body to find ways to react to the antibiotic and mutate a resistance towards it, making it less effective and harder to fight off the next time we get sick. Unlike a viral infection where a virus is always changing it’s gene pool, bacteria are somewhat stable in their genetic makeup, until they find ways to mutate and combat antibiotics.

The over prescribing of antibiotics is also a cause for concern. It is estimated that 70% of illness causing germs are resistant to at least one antibiotic. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 50,000 deaths due to resistant antibiotic germs. The primary reason of resistant antibiotic germs is excessive use of antibiotics. When we are given antibiotics, it is important to finish all of the pills given to us and that when we are taking medication to be sure it is for something that our immune system needs assistance with in order to get better. Antibiotics have been used for years and have helped us cure many terrible bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, mouth infections, and much more. Without the advent of antibiotics, we would be living in a much more difficult world.

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween is upon us and you want to know what’s spooky? Sugar is the biggest component to the cause of dental decay. Yes, that’s right, the sugar you and your families are about to soon get a lot of. Tricks and treats and you won’t need to smell their feet because cavities are just as near. What are some tips you can use so that you don’t lose out on celebrating Halloween?

1. Brush your teeth after you or your kids eats candy. Brushing your teeth is the easiest and most efficient way to get that candy off of your teeth. Sticky, chewy candy is the worst for oral hygiene and it’s important to get all that sugar residue off as soon as possible. If left on the teeth, the sugar will cause plaque to build up and teeth to start decaying.
2. Encourage your kid to rinse with mouthwash after eating the candy. If we remove even some of the sugar by mouth rinsing, we are reducing the risk of decay. If you’re not near your toothbrush, just a quick swish will do. Again it’s about neutralizing the sugar and getting the candy off of your teeth quickly after eating it.
3. Your kids don’t have to eat all of the candy, after a few weeks reduce the load so the candy consumption will not go on forever. While there are a few reasons to avoid eating all your candy in one sitting, try to think of it as preserving the stash. Your teeth and body will thank you if you don’t overload on the sugar all at one time.

Kids are most likely to develop dental decay for a lot of reasons, so be sure this time of year to be on top of their brushing. It’s so important to celebrate holidays with your family, use it as an opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of themselves while still enjoying themselves. Upset tummies and tooth decay, be gone, because now you and your mouth are armed to the teeth with tips.

The Amazing Bioactive Glass Filling

The Amazing Bioactive Glass Filling

It’s about that time of year when your kids are going to unload pillowcases full of candy. Even if you’re not tempted (kudos to you, you’re doing better than most of us), it probably reminds you of the sweet sticky memories of your own Halloween’s past. Maybe all that sugar led to a cavity of your own, or maybe you had a filling pulled out by a tootsie roll. Whatever the case may be, the fact of the matter is: candy can cause cavities.

Shocking I know, but cavity-havers can breathe a small sigh of relief. Scientists in London have developed new dental material for their fillings, Bioactive Glass. This new material not only blocks decay development, but it can repair any decay that may start to grow. Fillings made with bioactive glass have been proven to make fillings last not only as well as traditional materials, but also for a lot longer.

Eventually all fillings will fail. It’s the nature of things. Bioactive glass has been shown to slow secondary tooth decay and provide minerals that could replace those that have been lost. The antimicrobial effect of bioactive glass is proving to be great for the mouth’s ecosystem. The glass releases ions such as those that are from calcium and phosphate that usually have a toxic effect on oral bacteria, but actually are neutralizing the local acidic environment. The bioactive glass composites release fluoride as well as calcium and phosphate, the needed materials for tooth minerals. Compounds such as silicon oxide, phosphorus oxide, and calcium oxide are the compounds that land the glass its ‘bioactive’ surname. These oxides interact with the body, unlike polymer and other modern tooth fillings.

Even though technology keeps improving our mouths at an astonishing rate, good ol’ oral hygiene habits go a long way. So whoever’s eating the candy this month, (yeah, we know you are too) be sure your little ones are brushing all that gunk off of their teeth. Don’t forget to floss! If you notice a post trick-or-treat toothache, be sure you schedule an appointment with me so we can get you all taken care of.

How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer that can develop in the human body. Responsible for over 40,000 deaths a year, 95% of people diagnosed die within the first 5 years. More and more doctors are turning to the mouth as an early detection tool for these kinds of cancers and diseases.

A certain kind of bacteria that causes periodontal disease has also been linked to patients that have pancreatic cancer. Looking at oral samples, researchers have found connections between Porphyromonas gingivalis. In this study the prevalence of this bacteria was accompanied by an overall 59% greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Those who carried Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were 50% more likely. Both types of bacteria cause periodontitis which is a serious gum disease.
The microbiome of the mouth is a really fascinating place to do bacterium studies. With over 700 different kinds of species of bacteria, there’s a lot of variation. Five previous studies show that those who suffer from gum disease – bleeding, or swollen gums, and those who have missing teeth associated with gum disease are also linked to have an increased likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.

It seemed odd at first but the statistics don’t lie. Looking at what general inflammation means and how that’s important in relation to cancer is important to help with an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis with a cancer as aggressive as pancreatic could mean the difference between life or death with most patients.
Your dentist could be the first line of defense in knowing what’s going on with the rest of your body, so it’s important to make sure you’re regularly seeing them and taking care of your oral health. Anything that raises a red flag to me, I’m sure to notify my patients. I’m always thinking of their health collectively.

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

Is there anything more uncomfortable than getting a shot in your gums? Even if the numbing relief soon follows, the thought alone is enough to set most people’s teeth on edge. Unfortunately, it’s been one of the necessary evils in dental work, that is, unless of course you have Superman’s pain tolerance. However, fret no more, because a new nasal spray anesthetic will take all that pain away without the need of invasive needles.

Kovanaze has been approved by the US Food and Drug administration as a ‘nasal spray anesthetic’ and will soon be available for clinical use. Basically dentists, like myself, can now spray the nose to numb the upper teeth. Since so many procedures require a numbing of the gumline to perform, Kovanaze will be easier to administrate and safe for almost everyone.

Since your sinuses are connected to your mouth, it only makes sense that an anesthetic could be administered nasally. By restricting the blood vessels around this cavity, it makes a successful solution and effective anesthetic. The pain that travels through these nerves can be centralized to reduce discomfort during dental procedures.

Nobody likes needles. My patients get nervous about needles and even most dentists get nervous about administering them. They’re uncomfortable and a little scary, especially when working with kids. We’re excited about this option in my office. Alleviating discomfort on any level is important to us and a nasal spray would certainly help take away a little of the anxiety that comes with most procedures.

Knowing there’s a safe, comfortable way to better treat my patients is always top priority in my book. Using top of the line products like this will ensure that my patients are happy and content sitting in my chair.

The Flossing Feud

The Flossing Feud

As unpopular as flossing may be, the recent post from the Associate Press that claims it’s not important at all, is pure baloney. As much as we’d all like to believe flossing isn’t important, and excitedly cross that off our nightly ritual, countless years of studies have proven flossing’s effectiveness. If you want to keep your mouth healthy, you better keep that string moving.

Most dentists agree on the importance of flossing. With so many years of experience I can tell you that I’ve seen the benefits of flossing, first hand. Not only is plaque removal vital to the sustainability of a healthy oral ecosystem – flossing plays a direct role in removing plaque from the teeth. The trick is to make sure you’re flossing in a C-shape around each tooth. Flossing with intention rather than haphazardly makes a world of difference.

There are so many options available for flossing as well, if you don’t like standard string floss, technology has created water powered flossers for you home. These use gentle water pressure to remove plaque and are very effective in cleaning all your teeth but for those who don’t want to spend extra money on a flossing device, good old traditional floss does the trick just fine.

The studies that were ran that allegedly disproved the notion of flossing haven’t been running as long as the studies that prove its effectiveness. Preventing tooth decay in the long run, into our older years, starts with good flossing habits young. Maintaining the integrity of your mouth is a lifelong battle that’s best set-up for success early on.

Not to mention there are specific people who benefit from flossing more than perhaps the average person. People who suffer dry mouth or who drink coffee or eat other acidic or high – carbohydrate diets will see an improvement in their mouth through flossing. Since these things aid in plaque production, removing it from the source every day becomes especially important to avoid the onset of gingivitis. Flossing also strengthens the gum line so that means when you see your dentist there’s less discomfort and bleeding than in the patients who don’t floss.

Although new data keeps being released all the time about what’s really effective and what’s not, I can say from firsthand experience that I’m pro-flossing, as are most dentists. So when you come to visit me for your next checkup, you’ll still be hearing that timeless reminder to keep floss in your daily care routine.

Mentoring

Mentoring

One of the best ways to learn what your career will actually look like is by doing a mentorship. Dentistry is no different. A highly demanding career, being a dentist is comprised of exciting and rewarding work. After all, working with people’s smiles is the highlight of the career, but there is a lot of technical skill and experience behind any good dentist.

Dentistry has provided me with the best career possible. One of my favorite parts of being a dentist is being able to work in a field that allows for continual learning. Technology is getting more advanced every day, and making our jobs both easier and more educational. With new and improved machines, dentists are on the first line of defense against any oral problem that may be plaguing our patients.

As we learn more and more about people and their health, the human mouth comes as a really fascinating point of intrigue. Not only is a person’s medical history available through their saliva, so is life changing information like their DNA makeup as well as their day to day habits. There truly is a story written in every person’s mouth.
It’s also a job for people who like people. Dentistry has given me the gift of getting to know countless people and then later their families as their kids become old enough to start seeing me. This is one of the most heartwarming experiences, as I get to see families evolve. Most of my patients have been with me since they were little, getting to watch them grow and hear all their stories as they enter adulthood and beyond are really a driving factor in why I love what I do.
Since the science of dentistry is always expanding, my skills are constantly being tested to avoid becoming outdated or irrelevant. This is an exciting career for people who like new things and information. We’re constantly pushing forward and challenging ourselves to remain updated and current on the latest information. Not only does it give us something to talk about at our dentist dinner parties, it also keeps the mind young and fresh and eager to learn.

There’s nothing more rewarding than finding young minds who are looking to start a career in dentistry. Since I’ve found such joy and love and passion in my career, I’m always excited to pass on my wisdom to those excited to hear it. If you have kids that are interested in becoming a dentist, consider bringing them in for a nice chat with me. I’d love to show them the office and equipment and perhaps even spend a day showing them what my day – to – day job looks like.
Being a dentist is certainly a calling and if your kid or someone you know is hearing that call, put them in touch with me so we can explore this mutual passion together.

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