Wellness Blog

MEDICAL PROBLEMS ARE an issue none of us ask for but many of us have.  With medical problems come medications, and with medications come side-effects.  Unfortunately, these side-effects often have a negative impact on oral health.
 

The Delicate Balance Of Our Mouths

Our oral health does best when our mouths can stay close to a neutral pH — neither acidic nor basic.  The food and drink we consume tends to temporarily disrupt this pH balance, and so does medicine.  When we eat chewable vitamins or drink syrupy medicine that contains sugar, it feeds their oral bacteria, which excrete acid onto their teeth.  This acid then wears away tooth enamel.

Another common problem with medication comes from asthma inhalers, which can lead to the development of oral thrush (white fungus patches in the mouth).  The easiest way to avoid any of these issues is to to rinse with water after eating vitamins, using inhalers or drinking cough syrup.

Oral Side-Effects Of Medications

Even if the medication does not do any damage while you are ingesting it, it can still be harmful to your mouth over time.  Some of the side-effects that might show up after starting a new medication include:

  • Dry Mouth. This is the most common oral side-effect of over-the-counter and prescribed medications.  Our saliva is our first line of defense against bad oral bacteria, and when it dries up, it leaves us vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Abnormal bleeding.  Some medications contain blood thinning components, and this makes it easier for us to bleed.  If you start noticing more bleeding from your gums after brushing, it could be because of the medication.
  • Inflamed gums.  Gingival overgrowth (or excessive growth of gum tissue) is a side-effect of several medications, and it increases the risk of gum disease.
  • Change in taste.  Heart medications, nervous system stimulants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can leave a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth or interfere with your sense of taste in general.  While unpleasant, this side-effect is not necessarily serious.
  • Bone loss.  In rare cases, drugs used to treat osteoporosis can cause a loss of bone tissue in the jaw, putting patients at risk of tooth loss and gum recession.
     

Your Dentist Can Help!

No matter what medication you take on a regular basis, prescription or over-the-counter, it is critical that your dentist knows about them.  Sometimes, the oral health side-effects can be minimized or stopped, but only if the dentist knows!  If you are taking medications, or noticed any of the above problems, make sure to mention them during your next dental appointment!

Remember to speak up about your medications!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

42 PERCENT OF CHILDREN will get at least one cavity between ages 2 and 11, and tooth decay is the most common childhood disease.  Why is it so common, and what can we as parents do to keep our children’s teeth healthy?  Well, before we can fight childhood tooth decay, we must understand its causes.
 

Sippy Cups And Baby Bottle Rot

One of the biggest dangers to a child’s oral health comes from sugary drinks and the way children consume them.  Whether the drink is soda, fruit juice, or even milk, the sugars in the drink will feed your child’s oral bacteria and increase the risk of decay.  Sugars in drinks become particularly dangerous if a child has access to a bottle or sippy cup that they can keep drinking from over a long period of time, because their teeth are constantly exposed to more sugar.

This is such a common problem that it has actually earned its own name: baby bottle tooth decay, or bottle rot.  We are not suggesting a total ban on all sugary drinks, but the less time your child’s teeth are exposed to them, the better.  Sugary drinks are much safer for teeth when consumed quickly at mealtimes.  If a sippy cup or bottle is the only thing that helps your child fall asleep at naptime and bedtime, then the healthiest option for their teeth would be to fill it with water.

Sugary Snacks And Candy

Sugar does not have to be in liquid form to cause trouble for the teeth, which brings us to our next oral health danger for children: snacks.  Everything from candy to healthier options like cheese and crackers contains sugar.  Every time we eat, our saliva needs at least half an hour to wash away all the remnants of the food, but when children have access to snacks all the time, their mouths never have a chance to recover.

So just like with sugary drinks, it is best to consume sugary foods during mealtimes instead of nibbling on them throughout the day.  Cutting back on treats with the most sugar, like candy, is also a good choice for dental health.

What Parents Can Do

Apart from cutting down on juice-filled sippy cups and sugary snacks, there is a lot that parents can do to ensure that their children remain cavity-free.  The most important thing is to teach them how to effectively brush and floss their teeth and help them get to a point where it becomes a routine rather than a chore.  Giving them a toothbrush and toothpaste they like will make this easier.  Also, avoid doing things that will spread bacteria, such as sharing spoons or cleaning a dropped pacifier with your own mouth.

The Role Of Your Child’s Dentist

Even if you are already doing everything in this post with your children, sometimes a cavity will still appear.  Do not get discouraged!  Everyone’s teeth are different, which is why the final crucial thing you can do as a parent to help your child keep their teeth healthy is bringing them in to see us for cleanings and dental exams!

Keep up the good work raising kids with great oral health!

 

Top image by Flickr user Upsilon Andromedae used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

EVERYONE LOVES A good sweet snack once in a while.  Unfortunately, that includes the bacteria in our mouths.  Those little germs’ favorite food in the world is sugary treats, and the more sugar they get, the more they put our teeth at risk of tooth decay.  So how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without giving your harmful oral bacteria a treat?  By snacking healthy!
 

A Few Healthy Treats To Enjoy

Sometimes it seems like the healthy snacks are the ones that take longer to make or cost more, but that is not always true!  So before you reach for that jelly-filled doughnut or bowl of ice cream, take a look at some of these quick, affordable, tasty options that are better for your teeth:

  • Coconut whipped cream with strawberries.  Coconuts are exceptional bacteria killers and they can also reduce the amount of plaque build up.  Strawberries are great for scrubbing away plaque too!  Coconut whipped cream is a great substitute for dairy whipped cream because it is low in sugar and high in healthy fats.
  • Frozen dark chocolate bananas.  This treat is great because bananas are full of important nutrients that help keep teeth and gums strong, and dark chocolate is good for your teeth too.  You could also switch things up and put the coconut whipped cream on the bananas and the dark chocolate on the strawberries!
  • Fruit smoothies with yogurt and applesauce.  Toss your favorite fruits in a blender, but instead of adding sugar or ice cream, use unsweetened applesauce and frozen yogurt for a refreshing smoothie that is low in sugar!
  • Yogurt and granola.  Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics.  Crowd out that harmful bacteria in your mouth with the good bacteria in yogurt.  Yogurt is also a great source of calcium for building strong teeth.
  • Fruit Bowls.  You can never go wrong by throwing together a bowl of berries and sliced fruit.  While fruit does contain natural sugar, eating it whole is much healthier than drinking fruit juice (which is not much better for your teeth than soda).  The fiber in the whole fruit makes it harder for the sugar to reach your teeth (or your digestive system!), and you get all the great vitamins too!

Want More Healthy Snack Ideas?

If you like these healthy treats and want more, we can help you find them!  From sugar substitutes in baking to easy on-the-go snacks, we have you covered!  And do not forget to keep up your other good oral health habits, such as brushing twice daily for two minutes, flossing, and scheduling those regular dental appointments!

And do not worry, we have sweet teeth too!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

ANIMALS MIGHT NOT BE as concerned with maintaining their oral health and hygiene as we are, but that does not stop some of them from having very interesting teeth!  Like our teeth are adapted to an omnivorous diet, animal teeth are adapted to the foods they eat.  In some cases, the results can be pretty strange.  In this blog, we are going to focus on four of the weirdest sets of chompers we could find.
 

1. The Tusks Of The Babirusa

Babirusas are pigs native to Indonesia, but they are not like the farm animals we are used to.  No, these pigs have a serious dental problem in the form of their multiple pairs of very large tusks.  These tusks are actually the babirusas’ canine teeth, which continue to grow through their lives.  The males’ upper canines grow right through their upper lips and keep growing, sometimes so much that they end up curving all the way back around towards their skulls!  Yikes!

2. The Icepick Teeth Of The Payara

The payara is a carnivorous fish from the Amazon Basin whose lower fangs have earned it nicknames like “vampire tetra” and “saber-tooth barracuda.”  These long, thin fangs range from four to seven inches long, and the payara uses them to impale its prey, including piranhas!  Payara can grow to up to four feet long and 80 pounds!

3. The Serrated Bill Of The Goosander

At first, you might think a goosander looks like any other duck, but if you catch one yawning or chomping down on food, you will notice its rows of tiny, razor-sharp teeth!  These European birds are members of the Merganser genus, also called sawbills — so named because of the 150 teeth lining their bills, which are designed to saw through whatever they eat, such as small mammals and sometimes even other birds!

4. The Red Fangs Of The Triggerfish

Triggerfish are a group of about forty different species of brightly colored fish marked by the lines and spots in their scales, but do not let their beautiful scales distract you from their teeth!  Triggerfish have very powerful jaws and teeth that they use to crush the shells of crustaceans.  The redtoothed triggerfish is perhaps the weirdest species of the group, with bright red fangs protruding from its mouth!

Taking Care Of Your Teeth

Do you know of any other weird teeth out their in the wild?  We would love to hear about them!  In the meantime, make sure you continue taking great care of your own pearly whites by brushing and flossing regularly.  We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

We love helping our patients take care of their teeth!

 

Top image by Flickr user peterichman used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

MANY OF US HAVE TO deal with tooth loss as we get older, whether it be because of an injury or tooth decay.  What can we do when this happens to us?  Fortunately, the field of prosthodontics (false teeth) has come a long way, giving us plenty of options for filling those gaps back in.
 

Dentures Throughout History

The first known dentures were made around 700 BC in northern Italy.  These dentures were made from human and animal teeth, and although a set of these dentures would deteriorate quickly, they remained the norm for two and a half millennia.  However, the industrial revolution in the 1800s led to a massive increase in the amount of sugar people consumed, and this caused the demand for higher quality dentures to increase dramatically.

It was around that time that people started trying new materials, such as ivory, which lasted much longer.  In fact, hippo and elephant ivory are what George Washington’s dentures were really made of, not wood!  Nowadays, false teeth are made of porcelain or acrylic resin, depending on the situation.  These are much stronger and more durable materials.

Modern Denture Types

Your individual situation will determine the type of denture that would work best for you.  Someone who still has some of their natural teeth will not require the same kind of denture as someone with no natural teeth, so what are the different types?

  • Full dentures are a complete set of removable false teeth.  They can be just the top teeth, just the bottom, or both.  These may be made of porcelain, which imitates the look and feel of natural teeth, and they can last from 5-10 years.
  • Partial dentures are for people who still have some healthy natural teeth.  The new teeth fill the gaps so the natural teeth do not start to shift and cause new oral problems.  They are often made of acrylic resin, which will not wear down the natural teeth like porcelain will, but do not last as long.
  • Fixed dentures, meaning non-removable dentures, come in a few different varieties.  There are implants, which are surgically placed into the jaw bone and fuse over time to mimic the old root; bridges, which fill gaps by being cemented to the teeth on either side of the hole; and implant-supported dentures, which use implants as anchors for dentures.

Which Dentures Are Right For You?

Figuring out the ideal replacement teeth for you can be tricky, particularly if you have never needed them before, but that is why you have us!  Schedule a visit with us as soon as you can so we can talk about what type you need and set up a plan to get you on your way back to a bright, full smile!

As always, thank you for putting your trust in us!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.





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