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.

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.

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided bone regeneration surgery is a dental procedure that uses the barrier membranes in a patient’s mouth to help guide and direct the growth of new bone and tissue in areas with insufficient volumes. This procedure is mainly for prosthetic restoration in patients with dental implants although esthetic restoration is sometimes used as well.

Guided bone regeneration is applied in the oral cavity to support new hard tissue growth to allow stable placement of dental implants. A very reliable and successful procedure when using bone grafting with guided bone regeneration.

The use of barrier membranes to help direct bone regeneration is not a new practice and the theoretical practices date back to 1959. By excluding unwanted cells from lining healing sites, the growth of desired tissues is much easier. Positive clinical results of regeneration led to the focus on the potential for re-building alveolar bone defects using regeneration. The theory of regeneration was challenged in the use of dentistry for awhile, but is now seeing a resurgence in positive clinical trials as a safe and effective treatment.

With the use of dental implants becoming widespread and predictable for the restoration of missing teeth and other cases, it’s clear the regenerative technique is an important step which assists the process of bone regeneration. The clinical success of implant therapy was taken from the direct anchorage of the implant in the bone tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue. Clinical trials have been positive in proving to promote bone growth.

Guided bone regeneration has been reported as a reliable and successful means for augmenting bone regrowth in the case of vertical and horizontal defects in particularly edentulous patients. The data pulled from these implants suggests that GBR should be considered a safe technique to obtain bone formation and placing dental implants, especially in cases in which it would be otherwise impossible.

As patients with dental implants increase, so has the demand of treatment protocols that take less time and require fewer surgeries. With GBR, the patient undergoes a surgical procedure once, placed with initial stability, so the tissues regrow back without any pockets or problems that will cause the implants to uproot from there. It is clear that the use of a regenerative technique with dental implant placement is an important step which assists the process of a bone regeneration. Isolating the bone defect from the surrounding connective tissues provides bone-forming cells with access to a secluded space intended for the regeneration to take place.

The evolution of surgical techniques, awareness of tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue, and the considerable research conducted to promote bone growth have all led to positive, safe, results.

Based on the research, GBR is not only a safe and effective technique for obtaining bone formation, but also makes dental implants available in situations where it would not otherwise be possible.

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

Being pregnant is such a magical time, bringing with it, glowing skin, luxurious hair, and fantastic nails. Those same hormones that bring you your pregnancy glow are the same hormones responsible for the changes you may also experience in your mouth. Due to this constantly changing hormonal state the gums become very sensitive, and pregnant women may find themselves more vulnerable to oral problems. These discomforts can manifest in a few different ways, but with a diligent maintenance routine, they’re easily manageable.
Pregnant women may find that they become more susceptible to gingivitis because of their changing hormonal state. It is a mild form of gum disease that causes your gums to be red, tender and sore or irritated. Keeping your teeth clean, with flossing and mouthwash diligently on top of brushing, should keep the susceptibility of the disease developing very unlikely. If for whatever reason you’re experiencing any symptoms that look like gingivitis, go to your dentist before the problem worsens. Gingivitis can become a serious issue if not treated and taken care of appropriately.
What you eat is also really important when you’re thinking about how to take care of your teeth. Being sure you’re stocked up on vitamins and healthy snacks are a great way to keep your Ph balance in check and keeps your teeth and bones strong and healthy. Also keep in mind that whatever you eat, you also pass down to your developing little one. Although cravings can be a humorous aspect of pregnancy, as your appetite increases with your growing body and baby, keep in mind that mindless snacking can be an invitation to plaque. Foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for both of you are things like, raw fruits and vegetables, and/or yogurts and cheeses. Your physician will be able to provide advice as to what foods to avoid and enjoy while pregnant.
Morning sickness is a less fun side effect of growing a little one, but it happens to almost every woman. Unfortunately, on top of being uncomfortable, vomiting can also be detrimental to tooth health. The rising acid levels eat away at your enamel, and some women who experience many months of morning sickness can also experience unpleasant mouth symptoms. If you are getting sick frequently, be sure to take extra care of your teeth and mouth. An easy swish with a mix of baking soda and water will neutralize any acid left hanging around and will protect the integrity of your teeth.
It’s safe to go to your dentist at any point during your pregnancy if you’re having uncomfortable symptoms or have questions about oral changes. Dentists, like doctors, are well versed in handling dental care at any point of a person’s life and if you’ve been with your dentist a while, like most of my patients have, they’ll be excited to see you during this beautiful and exciting time of your life. A little extra TLC will go a long way in protecting your new, slightly more sensitive teeth so be sure you’re flossing with every brush and not skipping.
Never hesitate to get your dentist’s opinion on anything that may pop up that you’re not sure about. Sometimes mild canker sores and ulcers can form due to the changing hormones, if you have a question, contact us! I’m always happy to see and answer any questions my patients may have so I can support and be excited for them on the next chapter in their lives.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

The link between your oral health and physical health is growing stronger every day as more and more research is completed. Many illnesses and diseases develop preliminary symptoms that are being found, firstly, in a patient’s mouth. One of the newest correlations found, is between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer – the 4th most common cause of cancer related mortality.

Pancreatic cancer is expected to rise to the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths, and even though it accounts for only 3% of new cancer cases each year, it’s lack of symptoms can lead to a late diagnosis. In this particularly aggressive form of cancer, and a late diagnosis is the difference between life, and death.

Thankfully researchers come bearing good news. Evidence indicates that chronic infections, and inflammation, of the gums is associated with an increased risk of cancer development. Frequent occurrences of periodontal disease may be one of the earliest forms of detection available for pancreatic cancer. Now before you become worried about the state of your health, keep in mind there are two types of bacteria that can cause periodontal disease. Participants with Porphyromonas gingivitis had a 59% greater risk of cancer development than those without. This study concluded that those who had poor oral health, may be at a predisposition for pancreatic cancer to develop.

While genetics still remain to be the most steadfast way of determining a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, the new research available from NYU concluded that periodontal disease, did, in fact, precede pancreatic cancer. This is important and exciting news for anyone with a history of illness. Being able to catch pancreatic cancer in its developing stages might be the best way to decrease its mortality rate.

It is important to acknowledge that these findings do not confirm that one causes the other, only that, in some, way they’re correlated. It’s more plausible to think that periodontal disease acts as a symptom of developing cancerous cells. Inflammation in the body is a known precursor for cancer development.

The medical field is expanding constantly, and rapidly, and we’re lucky to live in a country that is on the cutting edge of research. I’ve always known that the mouth is a glimpse into the rest of the body and being able to monitor my patients’ health more thoroughly is exciting and important to me.

Most of my patients have been with me for many years, their loyalty is my bread and butter. Keeping them healthy is my top priority and in hard cases like these, cancerous illnesses and the like, it breaks my heart to discover bad news. But with early detection, as this research detects, hopefully we can start winning more battles against pancreatic cancer.

Be sure you’re scheduling with me regularly especially if you notice inflammation in your gums. Keeping your mouth healthy is a necessary step in keeping the rest of you healthy as well.

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Almost no one reaches for a glass of milk or water anymore, instead our convenience stores are lined with refrigerated soft drinks and sports drinks. We start our mornings with coffee or juice and end our evenings with wine or beers. While these things are okay in moderation, they may be doing more harm than good to our teeth.
These drinks cause suffering to the consumer by altering the natural PH balance in your mouth. An overall mouth PH balance less than 4.0 is considered to be corrosive to teeth, and make them more prone to decay. Most sodas have a PH of 2.37 – 3.4. Gatorade and Powerade have a PH balance in the high 2s, things like Vitaminwater are doing a little better, at around 3.2 and orange juice is at 3.8.

For adults, alcohol can cause some serious damage to our teeth as well. Alcohol not only strips away at the enamel; it can also turn into sugar in your metabolism which settles onto your teeth. Alcohol also strips your body of water, leaving you dehydrated and with a dry mouth. A lack of saliva means that bacteria is more likely to grow out of control and we know what that means – more plaque buildup.

It’s near impossible to keep track of the PH levels of all the drinks you’re consuming throughout the day, but it is important to keep in the back of your mind that sugary drinks have real ramifications on the health of your teeth. When the sugar interacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth, acid is formed that latches onto the surface of the teeth. This creates plaque and plaque dissolves the tooth structures and can even leave holes, cavities, in the teeth.

For the parents out there, kids and teens are much more susceptible to decay and tooth erosion because the enamel isn’t quite developed. Teach them good brushing habits young and try to encourage as much water intake as possible so they learn to think twice about reaching for that soda first.

Enjoying the things we sip on is a wonderful facet to life, and like with anything, everything is okay in moderation. If you’re prone to dental disease, sugary drinks might be the culprit. There are some easy tricks to make sure that your mouth stays balanced and your teeth stay healthy.

You can use a straw to make sure the soda stays as far away from your teeth as possible. ‘Rinse’ or swish your mouth with water after drinking a soft drink so that the natural PH balance is restored more quickly and the sugar doesn’t have a chance to settle on the surface of your teeth. Never go to sleep without brushing your teeth and try to only keep water at your bedside to rehydrate. The longer sugar sits on your teeth, the more problems it leads to.

Also be sure you schedule checkups regularly with me so I can keep your teeth in tip top condition. I’ll be able to tell you if your diet is working for you just by looking at your teeth and you might hear me suggest to cut back on sugary and acidic drinks, but only because I’m looking out for you!

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

As more and more research gets released on the negatives health consequences of smoking, it comes to no surprise that oral health is on the front lines of assault in the mouths of smokers. The mouths of people who smoke are a difficult terrain for even the most experienced dentist to navigate. Patients who smoke up to a half a pack a day are 6 times more likely to suffer from Periodontal disease than those who abstain from smoking. Most procedures, like dental implants, which normally have a 95% success rate, are at a high risk of failing in smokers vs. nonsmokers. So before you pick up another pack, think about these few things:

1. Periodontal disease is a very real problem. Although most adults, at some point in their life, will suffer from some form of this, the likelihood of recurring infections and severity of the disease increases dramatically with smoking. Since smoking dries out the mouth, there is a higher buildup of plaque along the teeth, which leads to the formation of harmful bacteria. The first sign of gum disease is usually bleeding, but if you smoke, the gum has become hardened due to the inhalation of tobacco and chemicals. Because of this, smokers are less likely to show these initial symptoms. This allows disease to spread unnoticed and can wreak havoc on the soft tissues of the gum and can even lead to jaw bone infection.
2. Procedures like crowns and bridges can have a dramatically positive effect on your smile and they look amazing when first placed. If you smoke, the gum pulls away from the teeth and what once looked shiny and perfect, becomes deteriorated. Porcelain laminates also start to lose their luster much faster if you’re a smoker. Those cosmetic procedures aren’t cheap, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste.
3. Dental implants can replace damaged and lost teeth in the mouths of smokers, but smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail. Especially in the first weeks of the healing process, which lasts between two and three weeks. Smoking in the post-surgical time period after implants are inserted delays healing and increases the likelihood of infection and complications.

Smoking is incredibly hard on all aspects of our health and places and immense amount of stress on our bodies. Your mouth and teeth are just one facet of this problem, but they often are the most visible indicator of poor health. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting before you run into oral complications. If you have no intention of quitting soon, be sure you’re paying extra time and attention to your oral hygiene. Schedule dentist appointments regularly and keep on top of attending them. I love taking care of my patients and aim to make sure they’re looking and feeling their best, reminding them of the consequences of their habit is a well-intentioned attempt to look after their wellbeing.

Medicare and Dentistry

Medicare and Dentistry

If you’re nearing 65 this year, or headed for blissful retirement, you’ve likely heard of your eligibility to start receiving Medicare benefits. This is great news in some aspects of coverage. Medicare is a great social program that helps build a safety net for injuries and diseases, whose treatment costs can get expensive. However, the list of benefits and services Medicare provides is limited, it won’t cover everything. There are a handful of very basic healthcare services you might be surprised aren’t covered by your new benefits plan. Being aware of the gaps in your coverage is necessary because what used to be considered a routine health care appointment, all of a sudden, might no longer be covered.

One of the biggest gaps in Medicare’s coverage is dental care. If you’re looking for a preventative cleaning or routine checkup – you’re looking to foot the bill for those expenses. Cavities fillings, oral surgeries, root canals and even dentures are not covered by Medicare’s senior plan. As people age, they grow increasingly susceptible to cavities. An increase in medications that increase dry mouth among patients come with an increased difficulty in maintaining good oral health. Dry mouth affects your teeth and gums which leads to a higher probability of gingivitis and cavities. Besides being just a nuisance to deal with, these symptoms can often be a warning sign for other greater health issues that might make someone sick, like, strokes, diabetes and pneumonia.

This makes a good oral hygiene system almost essential for any senior. Brushing, flossing, mouthwash every day. But even taking these careful measures might not be enough to stop the onset of dental problems. Routine trips to the dentist are just as important as an at-home-maintenance ritual but with Medicare not covering even these routine examinations, many seniors are finding themselves footing the whole bill for their dentist visit.
The only time Medicare will step in to cover a dental expense is a service that renders the patient hospitalized. In that case, the Medicare Part A plan will help cover some cost of the service. Beyond that, seniors are on their own with the expense.

This, is obviously, a huge inconvenience for anyone 65 or older. As we age, the teeth age too, making them, just like any other body part, more susceptible to problems and wear and tear. Most people will need dentures at a point in their life and without insurance coverage, the bottom line of that bill can get pricey.

We understand your frustration with this insurance policy. My passion since entering Dentistry has always been, bottom line, the love of helping people. If you find yourself in a sticky situation regarding your Medicare coverage, call our offices today and set up an appointment, we can talk about solutions and discuss different options available to get you the care you need and depend on.