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5/8/2017 9:00:00 AM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Think you may be suffering from periodontal disease? Here are a few common signs to watch for:

a)  Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
b)  Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods
c)  If you notice your teeth becoming loose or separated

If you or a loved one is noticing the beginning stages of periodontal disease, visit us for an appointment and we’ll work to assess your current oral health. We know that happy smiles start with healthy gums and teeth, and we’re happy to answer any questions our patients have about the best ways to maintain their oral health!



2/10/2017 12:45:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

We've all heard the expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." But perhaps that should be changed to dentist. In addition to being good for your health, apples are also quite good for your teeth. In fact, if you find yourself without a toothbrush, an apple can fill in nicely.

Apples actually act like toothbrushes because of their fiber-rich flesh. This works like a scrub on not only your teeth, but your tongue and gums as well. An apple can also help remove food particles that are hiding out between your teeth and sticking to your gums.

As well as cleaning your teeth, because they are mildly acidic and slightly astringent, apples can also help get rid of plaque and stains. On top of that, apples can freshen breath. Is there nothing this super fruit can't do? The next time you have an after lunch meeting and forgot your toothbrush, head down to the cafeteria and grab an apple instead.



11/22/2016 4:25:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Thanksgiving is one day out of the year where Americans find it socially acceptable to eat their weight in turkey and gravy. While it can be tempting to take a sample plate of everything at the buffet, choosing the right foods can help prevent your waistline from increasing as well as improve your dental hygiene. 


Cheese and Yogurt 
While heavy amounts of cheese is not recommended, eating some cheese, maybe as an appetizer, lowers the acidity in an individual’s mouth, which directly lowers their risk for developing cavities. Cheese and yogurt also contain calcium, a mineral that increases bone density and strengthens enamel. Furthermore, yogurt contains probiotics that take up the space harmful bacteria would otherwise occupy. 

Kale, Spinach, and Broccoli 
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain high amounts of protein and calcium, materials your body utilizes to build bones and teeth. Furthermore, leafy green vegetables carry lots of micronutrients, products the body uses to make sure everything in your body runs efficiently, boosting your natural immune system. 

Apples, Carrots, and Celery 
Hard, fibrous foods act as a toothbrush, gently loosening plaque which can be washed away with saliva. Eating foods like apples, carrots, and celery does not replace brushing and flossing, but rather encourage good dental hygiene by maintaining a cycle of cleanliness. Eating these foods increases the effectiveness of brushing and flossing since it’s consistently removing old plaque, lessening the chance of plaque turning into tartar. 

Sesame Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, and Olive Oil 
Oil pulling, or simply rinsing the mouth with about a tablespoon of oil, is a great technique to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and promote good dental health. Many dentists advise patients to practice this easy detoxification process at home; however, ingesting foods already containing sesame seed oil, coconut oil, or olive oil kills two birds with one stone. 

While Thanksgiving can be a time when people overindulge in foods high in sugar content, being aware of the benefits foods can have on teeth and the body can encourage to put down that extra pint of gravy in favor of a healthier choice.



8/17/2016 12:02:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Brushing everyday is one of the best ways to take care of your teeth. However, it's not just that simple. For optimal dental care, follow these six tips.

1. Pick the right brush - Not all brushes are the same, and you need to choose one that fits your mouth.

2. Brush the right way - You should hold your brush at a 45-F-degree angle to your gums and use an up-and-down motion with short strokes.

3. Take your time - While brushing twice a day is recommended, three times is probably best. Also, whenever you brush, make sure you do it for at least two minutes.

4. Don't overdo it - Conversely, don't brush too much or for too long, as this can wear down enamel and hurt your gums.

5. Keep it clean - Always rinse your brush, as germs can linger on it.

6. Let it go - Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or if the bristles are becoming frayed or broken.



4/7/2016 4:39:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

The American Dentistry Association seal of approval is awarded to consumer oral hygiene products that meet ADA-defined standards. The seal is intended to help consumers make informed choices about the products they use.

Products that are ADA-approved have undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy, to ensure that any claims made about them are factually correct. Companies that submit products for assessment have to submit ingredient lists and data from laboratory studies and clinical trials that support the product claims, and show that the product is being made using good manufacturing practices. Each product is assessed by around 100 consultants, from a variety of scientific disciplines relevant to oral health and hygiene. Once a product has been approved, the packaging is required to display the ADA seal.

So is it okay to use products that are not ADA-approved? If a product hasn't been approved, that doesn't automatically mean it's unsafe or ineffective—but using ADA-approved products takes the guesswork out of choosing and using effective products. For example, if an ADA-approved toothpaste claims to be effective at preventing tooth decay, the presence of the seal means you can be sure it's a valid claim. Many Crest, Aim, Listerine and Tom products are ADA approved, just to name a few.



2/18/2016 4:30:00 PM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Wine lovers everywhere, rejoice! Already known for its health benefits, research shows red wine protects against cavities, too! A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explores the effect a selection of red wines and grape-seed extract has on communities of disease-causing bacteria, called biofilms. Biofilms erode the teeth causing gum disease. Gum disease is a result of the build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and in the soft tissue of the gums – pockets of infection cause inflammation and discomfort and pain. But some treatments can be abrasive, and side effects of some mouthwashes include discoloration of the gums, and altering taste. 

In order to understand how effective red wine is in preventing the growth of biofilm, researchers developed a biofilm model of plaque that combined five types of bacteria most commonly found in gum disease and tooth decay. The biofilm cultures were then dipped in numerous varieties of wine – with and without alcohol – for a couple of minutes. The results showed that all red wine and red wine containing grape seed extract were more likely to get rid of the bacteria. Of course, the study wasn't designed with excessive drinking in mind; everything in moderation! Rather, as the researchers said, "these findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effect of red wines (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health." We'll drink to that – cheers!



11/2/2015 11:18:00 AM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

Often, a family trip to the dentist will feature the use of an x-ray camera. The dental hygienists will cover you or your children with a heavy apron and make you chomp on some bitewings, while the camera moves and clicks around you. Of course, the images produced by the x-rays have a purpose: cavities, jawbone degradation, and other oral health issues are made easily visible, allowing the dentist to address these issues directly. However, x-rays are a form of radiation, and some people are concerned with that exposing someone to dental x-rays will cause cancer. These concerns are especially strong for parents taking their children to the dentist. 


X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, and ionizing radiation has been shown to cause cancer. Ionizing radiation, upon passing through the body, strip electrons from the atoms this energy passes. The resulting protons, known as free radicals, then can damage the cells of the body. While these cells return to normal most of the time, on rare occasions the cells will heal with some abnormalities. These abnormal cells, consequently, can grow into cancer. From this alone, people believe that dental x-rays will cause cancer. 

However, you’re always exposed to ionizing radiation. On average, your body is exposed to 3.1 millisieverts (mSv) of natural radiation alone per year. At .005 mSv, the radiation you receive from the aforementioned dental x-ray is less than 1.6% of your daily background radiation exposure. You are exposed to the same level of radiation just from sunlight each day. Additionally, each x-ray is an individual dose rather than constant exposure, which is another factor in the cancer risks of radiation exposure. X-rays only increase the odds of dying of cancer by 1 in 2,000; compare this to the natural 1 in 5 chance you have of dying of cancer. 

Moreover, there are precautions in place for younger patients to help minimize their exposure. Technically, children do have a higher risk of developing cancer from radiation than adults, so dentists make up for it with stricter safety measures. Lead aprons are almost ubiquitous, but many doctors will also reduce the amount of radiation emitted by the camera when taking x-ray images of pediatric patients. The same precautions can be given to pregnant women, as fetuses are assumed to be just as vulnerable as children. Your children could be receiving special considerations regarding radiation exposure risks already. 

Ultimately, the benefits of detecting an oral health issue as early as possible far outweighs the negligible cancer risk. Not only are healthy teeth and gums alone something worth keeping, but many recent studies have shown connections between oral health and overall bodily health as well. Being able to detect and address these issues is paramount to your health and your children’s health. So, the next time your dentist readies the bitewings and camera, don’t be afraid. The benefits are high, the risk is low, and the dentist is likely being extra careful with your children anyways.



8/20/2015 10:32:00 AM | ProSites, Inc. SMM

What it is

Periodontal disease, known as gum disease or periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. In the United States, it is estimated that half of Americans aged 30 or older have advanced gum disease. While highly prevalent, this dental condition is preventable with a good oral health regimen.

Cause
Periodontal disease symptoms become apparent as bacteria and debris accumulate around teeth and below the gum line and hardens into tartar. If not removed by a professional, tartar and bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums and weakening of teeth.

There are variables that can increase your risk of periodontitis that range from genetic predisposition and underlying health conditions, to certain lifestyle habits. Diet, taking certain medications, decreased immunity, and hormonal changes can also increase your chances of developing gum disease.

Stages
Periodontitis begins with the onset of gingivitis. In this early stage, bacteria builds up, irritating the surrounding gums. As bacteria accumulate and plaque builds and hardens into tartar, there is a weakening of bone and connective tissue that keeps teeth in their sockets. As bacteria spreads, pockets that trap further bacteria begin to form around teeth and under soft tissue. In patients with advanced periodontal disease, teeth become loose and fall out.

Symptoms
One of the most difficult aspects of spotting periodontal disease without help from a dentist is that the condition can progress slowly in patients and may not always produce obvious signs. Patients may notice:
  • Gum tenderness
  • Gum recession
  • Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth or a change in teeth alignment
Diagnosis of gum disease typically involves visiting a dentist for a visual examination of your oral condition, as well as charting pocket depths and using X-Rays to check bone loss in areas with deeper periodontal pockets.

Treatment
Early diagnosis gives patients the greatest chance of reversing damage with nonsurgical treatments. These procedures include root scaling and planing, which removes tartar and bacteria from surfaces of teeth and beneath the gums and smooths root surfaces,. Antibiotics that are either taken orally or topically as a rinse, can also be used to reduce bacteria and inflammation.
For patients with advanced periodontitis, dental surgery may be the most effective option to reduce pocket size and restore the healthy appearance and supportive structure of soft tissue.

Prevention
Periodontal disease is preventable by practicing consistent and good oral hygiene. As a rule of thumb, you should be taking between 3-5 minutes twice day to care for your teeth and gums by flossing first to loosen any food particles and bacteria, and brushing to clean all surfaces of teeth. You should also visit your dentist twice a year for thorough teeth cleanings. Patients displaying early signs of gum disease may require more frequent dental visits throughout the year.
If are exhibiting signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you can receive treatment, the more likely you will be able to reverse any damage caused by periodontal disease.



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