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How Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Whole Body

We all know that poor oral hygiene can cause cavities and rotting teeth, but did you know it could affect other parts of your body as well? You oral health is more important than you may realize, and poor oral hygiene could result in serious consequences.

How can this be? Before we get into how the mouth can affect the rest of the body, we need to understand how things can go haywire within the mouth. You mouth is filled with bacteria, which is normally under control with consistent proper oral care. However, if the bacteria build up too much, then the mouth becomes infected, which can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.  This will continue to worsen until the infection and inflammation is brought under control.

There are several conditions that could be linked to oral health:

  • Diabetes: Inflammation in your mouth cause by poor oral health is correlated with your ability to control blood sugar, which can make your symptoms for diabetes worse. This relationship doesn’t just go one way either. On the flip side, people with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease because the high blood sugar makes it easier for infections to develop. On the bright side, managing one of these diseases will help to bring the other one under control.
  • Cardiovascular disease/endocarditis/heart disease: Cardiovascular disease and heart disease are linked to infections in the mouth. Bacteria from your inflamed gums can travel through the bloodstream to your heart’s arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Another cause for the linkage between cardiovascular disease and poor oral health is that they have many of the same risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and poor diet.
  • Osteoporosis: The linkage between osteoporosis and periodontal disease is that both cause the loss of bone mass.Because periodontal disease only affects the bones in the mouth and osteoporosis mainly affects longer bones, this linkage is somewhat controversial. However, some studies have shown that over half of women with osteoporosis also have gum disease.

As you’ve seen, oral health goes beyond your mouth. In addition to the diseases outlined above, poor oral hygiene can also affect Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, and respiratory conditions. The best way to ensure your health is to care for both your oral health and your overall health. We recommend brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and visiting your dentist once every six months. Also be sure to consult your dentist or physician if you notice changes in your oral or overall health. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us today!

Smile

The Secret To White Teeth

We all want pearly white teeth, but it’s hard to get them with so many teeth staining foods and beverages that are part of many of our daily lives. Drinking coffee, tea, and soda as many of us do will cause teeth to become discolored and lack-luster. There are many, many methods of teeth whitening, and a lot of misinformation on the Internet. So how do you get white teeth in the most effective, safe manner?

First, we will discuss why you need to whiten your teeth in the first place. Teeth whitening would not be necessary if teeth did not become discolored. Tooth enamel can be stained from any dark substances such as coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. The staining can be surface staining, while is often removable from brushing and regular dental visits. However, the staining could be below the surface. This staining has resulted from years of drinking these dark beverages. Because this staining is below the surface, it is much harder to change.

So how do you remove those below the surface stains? There are many over the counter whitening treatments available at your local pharmacy, but these products may be dangerous and lack longevity. The safest, most effective way to whiten your teeth is to have it done professionally by your dentist. We recommend first seeing your dentist to ensure tooth discoloration is just staining and isn’t due to a health problem. Once you determine that your discoloration is due to staining, many dentists will give you the option of in-office whitening or take-home trays.

The in-office treatment offers the most powerful whitening treatment, and also gives the dentist more control to ensure the color is perfect. This also allows the dentist to ensure your gums are protected from the whitening agent. In addition, it allows the dentist to blend the whitening treatment with existing crowns and fillings, because these items will not be affected by the treatment.

The take-home treatment will require the dentist to make a cast of your teeth that will be used to create custom whitening trays. The dentist will then provide the whitening solution for you to take home and use in conjunction with the trays. This process will give you similar results to the in-office treatment, but it may take a few weeks since the whitening solution is not as concentrated.

We hope this helped you learn more about teeth whitening. Please contact us to find out what method is best for you!

Flossing

The Ultimate Flossing Secret

Have you seen the recent news reports have questioned the effectively of flossing? These reports state that there is a lack of evidence proving that flossing is a necessary daily routine. So is it really necessary or is flossing just a scam? We still recommend daily flossing in order to practice your best oral hygiene. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 statement. Flossing can remove pesky plaque that brushing cannot always get. It may also aid in reduction of gum disease and cavities. Stopping flossing will just put you more at risk for poor oral health.

There are several flossing methods you can choose from to make flossing more convenient. You can use regular floss, a pick, a water flosser, a pre-threaded flosser, or other options. It is important to consult with your dentist before choosing an alternative flossing option as to ensure you are properly educated on how to use it.

Another flossing question that is often asked if whether you should floss before or after you brush. The answer is: it doesn’t really matter as long as you get it done. Just be sure to allocate a few extra minutes one time daily to get your flossing done. Whether you do it before or after you brush will not make a difference on the effectiveness of flossing.

Please remember flossing is not something you do only when food gets stuck in your teeth. Although flossing with help remove the food, that is not its purpose. Flossing is necessary to remove plaque buildup from in between your teeth. This hard plaque is often not removed from brushing alone. Therefore, you must floss daily to remove it. Otherwise, it will sit on your teeth until you go to your dentist for a deep cleaning. Over time, plaque buildup can cause major damage to your teeth and gums. It is important to remove it as quickly as possible through thorough flossing.

Many people, especially children, have trouble flossing. We’ve outlined a few tips below to help you master the technique. Remember the alternative options listed above if normal flossing is difficult or uncomfortable for you.

  • Use 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around your other middle finger.
  • Grasp the string tightly between your thumb and forefinger, and use a rubbing motion to guide it between teeth.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C to follow the shape of the tooth.
  • Hold the strand firmly against the tooth, and move it gently up and down.
  • Repeat with the other tooth, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of your teeth.
  • Use fresh sections of floss as you go.

We hope you better understand the importance of flossing. Although it can be a hassle, it is necessary for optimal oral health. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us today.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Dental Implants

Dental implants are replacements for the roots of your teeth.

1. They are made of titanium.

Dental implants are used to replace bone because Dental implants are made of titanium because of its strength and ability to fuse with bones. Titanium is often used in bone implants because it is lightweight and is a metal that is not rejected by the body.

2. They have a success rate of up to 98%.

As with any procedure, the success rate of dental implants can vary. However, success rates can be as high as 98% in some cases where patients are ideal candidates. Ideal candidates have enough bone to support the implant and healthy gums that can undergo an oral surgery. Most patients with good oral hygiene will be good candidates for dental implants, but of course you must be evaluated by your dentist on an individual basis.

3. Dental implants are not painful.

The name dental implants make the procedure sound painful and daunting. However, most patients report less pain than a tooth extraction. There is often local anesthesia involved, which decreases the discomfort of the procedure. Dentists also recommend treating any remaining pain with over-the-counter-pain medication.

4. Dental implant surgery is one of the most predictable procedures in dentistry.

Although there are risks as with any surgery, complications are rare. Of course, risks are higher for patients who have pre-existing conditions. Be sure to discuss your risks with your dentists before beginning any procedure.

5. Dental implants can’t get cavities!

Although you still have to brush and floss your crown, it cannot get cavities like natural teeth. For any other questions about dental implants or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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4 Things You Didn’t Know Diabetes and Oral Health

1. Those with diabetes are more likely to develop gum problems

2. Gum problems can influence the development of diabetes

This is not a one-way street. Just as diabetes can affect oral health, oral health can affect diabetes. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise and may make diabetes harder to control. Serious gum disease can also contribute to the progression of diabetes.

3. You can control both your gum disease and your diabetes

Practicing good oral hygiene can help control your gum disease. Be sure to go to your dentist for regular check-ups and inform him of any changes you notice in your mouth. Diet and exercise can also contribute to minimizing the effects of diabetes and preventing gum disease. Some tips include:

  • Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
  • If you have dry mouth, try a mouthwash without alcohol.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing to protect any tooth enamel that’s been softened by acid in the food.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Rinse daily with an antiseptic mouthwash.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily. Do not sleep in them.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

4. Your doctor and dentist need to work together

Your dentist should be informed about your diabetes, and your doctor should know about your oral health condition. They need to work together to create a cohesive treatment that will help both conditions.

If you have any further questions about diabetes and oral health, feel free to contact us today.