Gum Disease Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis? Yep!

October 1st 2013

floss girlResearch has shown a link between gum disease and a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have also long known about a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but they haven’t known why the two were linked. New research is showing why these two inflammatory problems might be connected.

The research, carried out by University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, shows that the bacteria that causes gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to early onset and speeding up progression. This means increased damage to bone and cartilage. Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and destruction of the cartilage in the joints.

Studies have also shown that people with gum disease experience higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.

This is just one more reason that you need to take extra care to prevent and fight against gum disease. The best way to protect yourself from the ill effects of gum disease is through a combination of regular visits twice a year to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing. Many people neglect to floss regularly. It is recommended that you floss once a day, which allows you to sweep away the bacteria that causes gum disease from below the gum line. Brushing alone cannot adequately protect you from gum disease. And gum disease isn’t just linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as well, and contributes to a variety of other systemic diseases.

So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, make sure to make an appointment soon to find out about your gum disease status and any other oral health problems that might be threatening your overall health and wellbeing!

Eight Tips for Keeping Plaque in Check

September 19th 2013

general dentistryHave you ever noticed that your teeth feel a little... well, fuzzy at the end of the day? What you're feeling isn't fuzz, of course, but plaque. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque before, but do you know what it is?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm made up of hundreds and hundreds of naturally-occurring bacteria. These bacteria feed on the food we put in our mouths, and they especially love foods high in sugar or other carbohydrates. As these bacteria feed on these particles, they create an acidic byproduct that damages tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.

So, given how destructive plaque, bacteria, and this acidic byproduct can be, you may be wondering what you can do to keep it in check. Below are eight tips for managing and getting rid of plaque.

Tip #1

Brush at least twice a day, but if possible, after every meal.

Tip #2

Floss at least once a day. Flossing will help you remove pieces of food or particle of plaque from beyond teeth, where they can contribute to decay.

Tip #3

Consider adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your at-home oral health regimen. Reducing the amount of bacteria from your mouth will reduce your vulnerability to decay. A fluoride mouthwash can also help you strength your tooth enamel.

Tip #4

Chew sugarless gum after and in between meals. Gum helps remove particles of food from between teeth and stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid.

Tip #5

Reduce the amount of sweet or starchy foods you consume. Even a natural snack like raisins can be problematic.

Tip #6

Avoid smoking or any kind of tobacco use. Besides being bad for your health, smokers routinely have higher amounts of hardened plaque.

Tip #7

Make regular checkups and cleanings with your local dentist a priority. A cleaning by a professional hygienist will help you get rid of plaque in places that are hard to reach with normal brushing and flossing.

Tip #8

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from bacteria and plaque with a thin layer of plastic. This effective option works especially well for back teeth and may help children who are more vulnerable to decay.

Do you have questions about plaque or how to prevent it? Has it been more than six months since your last checkup or cleaning? Call your local dentist today for an appointment.

Five Myths about Porcelain Veneers and the Real Truth Behind Them

August 30th 2013

30332440Ever since Hollywood celebrities started relying on them for transforming their smiles into stunners, porcelain veneers have picked up steam as a truly transformative cosmetic dentistry method that can cover up stains, chips, cracks, and even gaps. These beautiful restorations are handcrafted in dental labs and customized for each unique tooth, ensuring a completely seamless, natural appearance. However, there are also several rumors that dentists have encountered concerning this procedure that may be scaring off potential patients who're striving for the smile of their dreams. Today, we'd like to clear up five of these misconceptions!

People Will Easily Be Able to Tell That It's Not Your Real Smile

While this may have once been true concerning older versions of veneers, which were very thick and opaque, the right clinician can truly make all the difference. Porcelain veneers are so beautiful and natural looking that they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile!

You Have to Cut Down Your Whole Tooth/Teeth to Have It Placed

This is an exaggeration. It is necessary for your teeth to undergo some reshaping; after all, you don't want your new porcelain veneers to look too bulky simply for the sake of preserving tooth structure. But the amount often mentioned is excessive. If you still feel uncomfortable with the process, "prep-less" veneers are often available as an alternative, which are only 2mm, or the width of a single contact lens.

They Are Painful and Cause Sensitivity

The only instance in which you may experience some pain or sensitivity is when you're wearing your temporary veneers in the interim before your permanent ones are finished. Once your new porcelain veneers have been placed, this sensation will be completely eliminated.

Their Bright White Color Looks Unnatural

While some patients may prefer a blazing white shade, your dentist will be happy to ensure that your porcelain veneers are whatever color you want them to be! It's always up to the patient.

They're Too Expensive

While this may sadly be true for some patients, many dental practices can offer payment plans or alternative financial options that may reduce your monetary obligations down to a couple hundred dollars a month!

Be sure to talk to your local dentist about porcelain veneers! Who knows - your dream smile may not be as far out of your reach as you think.

Before-school Children's Dentistry Visits!

August 15th 2013

kid flossingYou may be ready to send your kids back to school, but don't forget to schedule their dental appointments! It's easier to bring your children to the dentist when they don't have to miss class, and it will be less of a hassle for you. Although kids undoubtedly would like to get out of school for their dental visit, protect their wellbeing and education with an earlier trip to the dentist!
Regular children's dentistry appointments are a vital part of their dental health. It's recommended by the American Dental Association that kids should see a dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups. If your child has never seen the dentist, then don't wait! Examinations are an opportunity for your dentist to check for any decay or growth problems, and to stop them before complications arise.
A children's dentistry exam is also great for reminding your child of the importance of proper dental hygiene. The gentle team at your dental office will explain different, easy-to-remember techniques for daily care. They can also offer handy tips about flossing, a practice that most children won't perfect until well into adulthood. It's never too late early to begin instructing excellent dental care! Dentists want to help your child improve their oral health any way that they can.
Remember, the more regularly your child sees the dentist, the less likely they will be to develop serious dental problems later in life. Great dental hygiene will save your child time in the dental chair receiving restorative treatment, which they will be happy about. Just give your dentist a call today to schedule a children's dentistry appointment.

Bad Breath? It Could be a Sign of a Serious Problem

August 1st 2013

No one wants to have bad breath. If you suffer with bad breath, you might try brushing your teeth more often, mouthwash, and mints to get rid of it. But there may be deeper issues causing your bad breath, which is why you should visit your 837375_98129162Smdentist if you're experiencing chronic halitosis (the technical name for bad breath).

What can cause bad breath? The list includes:

  • Foods with strong odors, like onions or garlic.
  • Excessive dieting.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Gum disease.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Various health conditions.

The first thing you can do to try to get rid of your bad breath is to make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Brushing and flossing removes food particles that may have been left in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums. These food particles, if not cleaned away, will actually begin to deteriorate in the mouth, giving off a bad odor — not to mention contributing to decay and gum disease. Make sure you’re thorough about your oral hygiene.

If you have a lack of saliva because of a medical condition or some other cause, make sure to regularly swish with some water. Saliva helps clean the mouth, and this will help clean away odor-causing debris. Also, make sure you’re not eating any especially stinky foods!

If you’re experiencing bad breath and have tried using better oral hygiene habits and avoiding smelly foods but haven’t found relief, it could be a symptom of a serious problem. Health conditions related to bad breath include liver or kidney problems, lung infections, diabetes, and bronchitis. It is also a common sign of gum disease, which can break down the supporting structures in your mouth and eventually cause tooth loss or other problems if left untreated. Bad breath may seem like a superficial concern, but it can be much more than that. That’s why we recommend you visit the dentist if you’ve been noticing a chronic bad taste in your mouth or bad breath.