Category Archives: dry mouth

The Components Of Dental Implants – How They Work.

A growing number of adults are choosing to replace missing natural teeth with Dental Implants. As the reputation of implants grows, more people are learning that implants are safe, dependable, look and feel natural and are designed to last your lifetime.

Too, Dental Implants have one of the highest implant-in-bone success rates (including that of knees and hip joints). Dental Implants do not decay, will never need a root canal and do not rely on support from neighboring teeth. The most appealing aspect of implants, however, is how they restore your ability to bite and chew comfortably, laugh with confidence and speak without worry.

Dental Implants have been around for decades and have been perfected over the years. There are many types of implants, each designed to accommodate specific needs. A qualified, experienced dentist can determine the type that will work best for you.

In addition to the different types of implants, they come in various shapes and sizes and have different components. Some are placed in unique angles or in various intervals. To understand how implants work, we’ve provided an explanation below.

For example, some implant systems are designed to support non-removable teeth while others may support teeth that are detachable for cleaning. Some implants support one or several teeth while others are designed for placement in minimum bone mass.

•  The ‘implanted’ portions of Dental Implants are actually tooth root replacements. This portion is placed in your jaw bone where it will become secured by the bone growing around it. This process is known as osseo-integration.

•  The process of osseo-integration takes several months. This process can be likened to a tree branch that grows around a rope tied around it for a very long time. Osseo-integration is similar but occurs at a much more rapid pace.

•  After 3-6 months, the implant has become secured by the bone. A post is then inserted into the center of the implant and a replacement tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post. Your new tooth looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth.

•  Keep in mind that the ‘implant’ is not the tooth. The implant is designed to support the post that holds the tooth (referred to as the ‘restoration’). By being placed in the jaw bone, just as a natural tooth root, the implant can support the attached tooth with a firm foundation for optimal stability.

• An implant can support more than one tooth, in most cases. Therefore, is not necessary to place an implant for each missing tooth. One implant is often used to support two or a bridge of teeth. Several strategically-placed implants can support a full arch of teeth.

• Dental Implant treatment costs are largely based on the number of implants placed. When an implant can hold a bridge of teeth or several implants are used to secure a full arch of teeth, this helps to keep overall treatment fees to a minimum.

Regardless of the type of implant placed, it is important to remember that implants do occasionally fail. Night-time clenching or grinding teeth can be a factor. Smoking dries out oral tissues and delays the healing process, which can also contribute to implant failure. Poor oral hygiene routines can also lead to failure. If infection sets in and reaches the implanted portion, the implant may need to be removed to fully resolve the problem.

In our office, we strive to make sure each patient understands their treatment and all options available that coincide with their needs and goals. If you’ve considered Dental Implants, call 586-739-2155 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.

During this time, we’ll discuss the implant types that are best suited for your needs and goals and anticipated costs. We can also have our Financial Coordinator explain various payment options that are interest-free with no down payment required.

Marijuana Use May Increase Risk For Periodontal Disease

Cannabis or medical marijuana has been said to be a beneficial treatment for pain, seizures and spasms. As its use widens, researchers are finding new ways to utilize this now-legal substance in appropriately prescribed doses.

While there is a debate as to side effects of its use, many researchers feel there is too little data along those lines. For instance, insufficient data exists regarding some claims that cannabis exposure in children and adolescents may cause impaired brain development or lead to mental illness.

However, there are a number of studies showing undesirable side effects when it comes to the oral health of frequent marijuana users. In one, as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, study participants who used cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months had more symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease than other participants. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170524152634.htm)

This increased propensity for gum disease has also been shown in a long-term study of nearly 1,000 New Zealanders. In that study, people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years had more gum disease even though other health factors were no worse than those of non-smokers.

For decades, it has been known that the harmful chemicals of cigarette smoke were toxic to the soft tissues of the mouth. A study is also underway to determine the risk factors of e-cigs, or vaping, which users claim is a safer method of smoking. However, the argument has been that chemicals are easily absorbed by the moist tissues in the mouth and, therefore, the potential for detrimental side effects is greater.

Regardless of your use or non-use of cannabis, it is wise to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. These include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, persistent bad breath, and pus pockets that form on gums at the base of some teeth.

Not only is gum disease the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to serious health problems. It has been shown that the infectious bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body.

The inflammatory triggers associated with gum disease bacteria have been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, preterm babies, some cancers, impotency, diabetes and arthritis. As more research is being conducted, a growing number of health problems are showing links to this potent bacteria.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, seek treatment at your earliest convenience. Gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in more treatment time and expense. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule.

Avoid Losing Teeth By Decisions You Make Now

Imagine standing on the side of the road, stranded beside a car that has stopped running. For most of us, there is a sense of dread for this type of situation since we know the time, expense and frustration that comes with correcting the problems involved.

Now, imagine learning that the car is stranded because you failed to add necessary fluids, fell behind on oil changes and ignored warning lights.

As a dentist, I see a fair number of patients who have lost teeth. While some have lost them due to an accident or injury, most have lost them because of inadequate oral hygiene, failing to have regular dental care, and poor health choices (such as smoking).

For those who have lost teeth due to these choices, any one of them will tell you if they could go back in time, they would have taken better care of their teeth.

A tooth lost must be replaced or else neighboring teeth will shift. This shifting can cause chipped, broken or worn teeth. As the fit of upper to lower teeth moves out of its proper position, it can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time grinding and clenching, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

With poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental check-ups, continued tooth loss is almost assured. As each tooth is lost, the one adjacent to it is at the highest risk to be the next you’ll lose. It’s a vicious cycle.

Teeth are easy to take for granted, They are hard and strong, giving the appearance of being ‘rock solid.’ They can weather an enormous amount of force. Yet, teeth are a natural part of our overall makeup. and do have vulnerabilities. This is why cavities and breaks can occur.

The main reason we recommend crowns for teeth at risk is to save the tooth. While the portion of a tooth you can see is important, it’s the portion beneath the gum line that we are even more concerned about.

Tooth roots nurture and ‘feed’ not only the tooth, but the jaw bone that supports them. Without these roots in place, the bones begins to atrophy. In dentistry, this is known as resorption. Simply put, it’s a melting away of jaw bone where tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, a number of things begin to occur. The tooth roots adjacent to the area of resorption are more vulnerable. The tooth above or below elongates, creating risk for damage mentioned prior (chips, breaks, etc.).

Facial changes can be seen as the bone thins further. For example, when the mouth appears collapsed into the face and the chin points, this is referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This occurs due to severe resorption of someone who has lost all of their teeth.

Earlier facial changes can also be seen when someone is missing natural teeth. Deep wrinkles form around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turn downward even in a smile, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

As unfortunate as these changes in appearance are, trying to eat properly when the jaw bone has declined is worse. People who wear dentures or partials often struggle when chewing or biting when their denture lacks a high foundation on which to balance.

When the bone shrinks, the ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once held begins to flatten. This is a slow but continual process that gives a denture an ever-decreasing surface. After a while, even denture adhesives or pastes are of little help.

To replace missing teeth, we often recommend dental implants. Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, halting the rate of bone loss. Because they are supported by the jaw, implants restore the same, dependable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Another advantage of dental implants is their ability to ‘stand alone.’ Since implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as with crown-&-bridge combinations. This means you won’t need to have otherwise natural, healthy teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting a bridge.

To correct a common misconception, an implant is NOT always needed for each missing tooth. In many cases, one implant can support a bridge of two or more teeth. When a full arch of teeth is needed, several strategically-placed implants can provide adequate support.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System is one example of several implants supporting a full arch of teeth.

If you’ve lost teeth, the best way to halt the process is to replace those you’ve lost (and the sooner, the better). Then, be ultra-committed to your oral health. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Drink plenty of water and limit snacking and your intake of sugar and carbs. If you have teeth at-risk, have them crowned or other necessary repairs.

In our office, we respect all patients. We pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone’ and are here to support each individual, regardless of what brought them here. For those who have lost natural teeth, our goal is to restore them to a healthy, confident smile they’ll feel good about.

Begin with a free consultation to discuss your oral health needs and the smile you’d like to have – and share, often! Call 586-739-2155 and ask to meet with me personally. I look forward to meeting you!

 

How To Enjoy Your Dental Implants For A Lifetime

What holds one of the highest success rate of all in-bone implant types? It may surprise you that Dental Implants have a nearly 97% success rate, surpassing knees, hips and other implant-in-bone procedures.

Over the years, the design and placement of Dental Implants have been fine-tuned, so much so that they’ve grown to be one of the most sought-out forms of tooth replacement.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), more than 35 million Americans are missing all their upper or lower (or both) teeth. While 15 million have chosen crown-&-bridge combinations for replacing missing teeth were appropriate, 3 million have opted for Dental Implants and this number is growing by 500,000 a year. (http://www.aaid.com/about/press_room/dental_implants_faq.html)

 

In addition to its high success rate, the growing popularity of Dental Implants is due to their longevity. Made from titanium, a biologically-compatible metal originally created by NASA, Dental Implants are designed to last a lifetime.

Although the initial costs for Dental Implants are higher than dentures, partials, and crown-&-bridge, the investment is a wise one – a ‘one-and-done’ solution for missing teeth. Once placed, Dental Implants do not experience decay, need root canals, break or cause problems for neighboring teeth.

However, like any procedure that involves an implant in human bone, there is an element of risk.  Although it’s not a frequent occurrence, having an implant removed due to infection or malfunction is a loss for the patient in several ways.

When an implant requires removal, the investment by the patient is lost. To replace a failed implant, they must endure additional procedures, expenses and time.

While implant removal is not a common occurrence, the reasons for it lie largely in the hands of the patient. Surprised? Let’s look at some of the reasons for implant failure so you can minimize this risk:

First, one of the most important factors in any successful medical or dental procedure begins with the doctor you select. Your implant doctor should never be selected based on the lowest fee but chosen based upon his or her training and experience. Proper diagnosis means the implant system the doctor chooses is best for your specific needs .

You doctor should also have advanced skills in the placement of implants. Successful placement involves assessing for adequate bone mass to support an implant without interfering with adjacent structures.

While the doctor involved in your treatment is important, much of the risk falls into the patient’s hands after the placement process. The patient’s role in a successful implant begins once the implants are placed.

To begin, closely follow your post-placement instructions. For a few days after implant placement, we recommend you eat only cool, soft foods. This helps to minimize swelling and bleeding so gum tissue incision sites heal faster. Faster healing means reduced risk for infection.

Another risk factor to implant success – smoking. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are very drying to gum tissues, causing the healing process to take longer. For smokers, this creates a higher risk for implant failure. The longer it takes gum tissues to heal, the greater the risk for infection.

If you grind or clench your teeth during sleep, Dental Implants can become overburdened by the force. Clenching and grinding are typical symptoms of bite misalignment. Some clenching is so intense the force is likened to that used to crack a walnut. Clenching or grinding can also lead to worn, chipped or broken teeth. If you suspect you grind or clench, mention this prior to treatment so measures can be taken to resolve the problem.

Most important to implant success, however, is the patient’s commitment to good oral health. Although Dental Implants do not experience decay, the gum tissues and bone structures that support the implants are as susceptible to oral bacteria as before. When the infectious bacteria of gum disease reach implant sites, treating the infection may require removing the implant.

Along with a commitment to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, your exams and cleanings will likely be scheduled for every 3-4 months. During these visits, your hygienist will remove accumulated oral bacteria and assess the condition of your gums. These visits are proactive measures to help you avoid problems or catch any that occur at their earliest stages.

Dental Implants are a wonderful investment. Patients who opt for implants to replace missing teeth are able to eat healthy foods and enjoy social outings without worry. With proper selection, placement and care, your implants will provide you with a lifetime of benefits.

Our goal, for every patient, is to help each enjoy a confident smile for every stage of their life! If you’ve considered Dental Implants, let’s discuss the types that may be best for you. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free, no-obligation consultation.

How To Make Dental Implants Last A Lifetime

Of all implant-in-bone procedures performed today, Dental Implants hold the highest success rate of all – over 94%. That includes hips and knees. However, like any medical procedure, Dental Implants can fail. How can you help to ensure an optimal result and enjoy a confident smile for your lifetime?

One of the keys to the lasting success of implants begins with the Doctor you choose. An experienced and skilled implant Doctor will make a proper diagnosis, selecting the best implant system for your needs. The Doctor will also provide precision placement so the implanted portions are to a proper depth and angle.

The highest risk of implant failure actually occurs after an implant patient leaves the office. The implant recipient has a significant role in the life of their implants.

Fortunately, removing a dental implant is a rare occurrence. Most often, an implant has to be removed because of the onset of an infection that cannot be adequately treated while the implant remains.

Infection typically occurs when oral bacteria amasses and creates an inflammatory state. Once this inflammation penetrates the gum tissues and bone surrounding the implant’s post, it becomes more difficult to treat. With prompt treatment, some infections can be resolved without complications. However, at a certain level the implant must be removed.

What leads to the problems associated with inflammation caused by oral bacteria? After all, we all have bacteria in our mouths, don’t we? Yes, oral bacteria is a normal part of any mouth. The problems begin when too much bacteria develop and are not sufficiently removed on a daily basis. While the most common cause is poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes contribute as well.

Another lesser-known but significant reason for failure is teeth grinding. Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth during sleep) contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is as much of a problem for natural teeth as for teeth held by implants. The force of grinding is often so much that it wears the tops of teeth down, referred to as worn teeth. Not to be outdone, the force of clenching can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness, and sore facial and neck muscles.

Obviously, a newly-placed implant is not up for the challenges of bruxing. That’s why it is important to resolve the problem before implants are placed. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation.

Bruxing and clenching are the result of a misaligned bite in most cases. Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, mild cases may be corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. More severe misalignment may require the placement of crowns to adjust tooth height or even orthodontics.

Keeping a clean, healthy mouth and ensuring your teeth are in proper position will help in protecting the life of your implant, After placement, we will advise you on ways to avoid risks and potential failure. It is our goal for every patient to have a positive experience and successful outcome.

While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that thorough communication with patients is important. It is our belief that patients are able to increase their success potential when they understand the importance of their role.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, most interest-free with no down payment required.

When Mouth Is Dry, Oral Bacteria Run Rampant

Hot, parched, arid, dry… words that should not be used to describe the inside of your mouth. However, it doesn’t take much to dry a mouth out, and some of the ways this can occur may surprise you.

First, let’s discuss why a dry mouth is a problem, other than it just feels bad. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleansing agent. It serves as a rinse that removes food particles from the mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing, good saliva flow helps to keep bacteria levels under control.

When saliva flow is compromised, oral bacteria are able to reproduce and multiply quickly.  As bacteria accumulate, a sticky film forms on teeth and gums from this buildup. As bacteria coat the interior of your mouth, bad breath begins.

If this film (known as plaque) is not removed daily, it can hardened into a concentrated mass of oral bacteria. This hardened form of bacteria is commonly referred to as tartar, or calculus. Tartar attaches to teeth and eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues.

Oral dryness is one of the biggest influences in developing gum disease. Even though poor oral hygiene is a key factor when it comes to bacteria overload, dry mouth is a common contributor because it has many causes.

Common drying factors include smoking, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolate), and side effects of some medications. Other drying causes may surprise you. In addition to mouth breathing (most often from snoring and sinus problems), some illnesses or health conditions can lead to frequent mouth breathing.

Aging is another common factor as our bodies produce less oral moisture in our senior years. People who have Sjogren’s Syndrome or are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer are more susceptible to dry mouth.

So, how do you avoid having a dry mouth (and the subsequent bad breath and oral health risks associated with it)? First, be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home. This includes twice daily brushing (at least two minutes per time), daily flossing, limiting caffeine and having 6-month dental cleanings and exams. These visits are designed to remove tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits BEFORE damage can occur.

Rather than reach for a soft drink, choose bottled water instead. Most colas contain caffeine, which actually dehydrate your system rather than moisten it. Along with the sugar contained in most colas, you’ve got a recipe for costly dental problems.

Also, consider using an oral rinse to replenish moisture if your mouth is frequently dry. Certainly, DON’T smoke or use other nicotine products.

It is also important to be proactive when dry mouth becomes an ongoing problem. While oral bacteria can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss, research has also found it is an inflammatory trigger for health problems elsewhere in the body.

Studies have found a correlation between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies, memory loss and even impotency. Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff.

If you don’t think oral bacteria is a problem, notice just how quickly the sticky film of plaque can form in the brief time between brushing in the morning and at night. Now, imagine the damage these reproducing organisms can do without the continual cleansing action of saliva.

Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.
Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.

Remember, oral bacteria are living organisms. This means they eat and produce waste – in your mouth! YUCK! That image, in itself, should be good incentive to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum!

Rather than deal with dry mouth problems that can require expensive and time consuming treatment, let’s work together to help you prevent these problems in the first place.

Call 586-739-2155 to arrange an exam. Or, ask for a free consultation to begin. This will allow you to meet us and have your questions answered in a no-cost, no obligation conversation.

Protect Your Dental Implants For A Lifetime Of Benefits!

Today, Dental Implants have become so fine-tuned that they hold one of the highest success rates of all in-bone implant types – nearly 97%.

One of the reasons that modern Dental Implants are such a wise investment is that they are designed to last for a lifetime. However, as with any procedure that involves an implant in human bone, there is an element of risk.

Although not a frequent occurrence, removing an implant means the patient has lost their investment and must endure additional procedures and expenses for repair and replacement. But, it is the patient who plays an important role in helping to minimize this risk.

One of the most important factors in any successful medical or dental procedure begins with the doctor who coordinates your care. Your doctor should never be selected based on the lowest fee. The doctor chosen should have training and experience in the diagnosis and placement of all implant types in order to select the system most appropriate for your individual needs.

In selecting your doctor, you should also look for a good track record in the placement of implants. Successful placement relies on the ability to assess for adequate bone mass to support an implant without interfering with adjacent structures.

Obviously, a qualified doctor can enhance your potential for a successful outcome. While the doctor involved in your treatment is important, much of the risk falls into the patient’s hands after the placement process.

Patients can improve their potential to have a successful outcome almost immediately. When the implants are placed, the patient should closely follow their post-op instructions. For most patients, we recommend they eat cool, soft foods for the first few days. This helps to keep swelling and bleeding to a minimum and enables the gum tissues to heal faster around the incision sites, which helps to lower infection risk.

Once home, other factors can also put your implants at risk. For smokers, their risk for implant failure is high because of the chemicals in cigarette smoke. These are drying to oral tissues and delay the healing process. The longer the sites take to heal, the greater the risk for infection to set in.

A surprising but destructive force to Dental Implant success is grinding or clenching your teeth. Also known as bruxing, teeth clinching and grinding is a common symptom of bite misalignment. As a matter of fact, the force of clenching can be so intense it can be similar to that used to crack a walnut. Signs of clenching or grinding are worn, chipped or broken teeth. If you suspect you grind or clench, mention this prior to treatment so corrective measures can resolve the problem.

Most important of all is the patient’s commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene. Even though Dental Implants do not experience decay, the gum tissues and bone supporting the implants are as susceptible to oral bacteria as before. When oral bacteria infection is able to move its way down the implant sites, the only option for ridding the infection may involve removal of the implant.

Having Dental Implants will require you to be more committed than ever to your at-home oral hygiene regimen. We may also schedule your dental cleanings to occur every four months rather than twice a year. These visits allow our hygienist to remove accumulated bacteria in your mouth and around implant sites.

In our office, we are very proud of the success rate our implant patients enjoy. When adults are able to regain the ability to bite, chew and laugh with confidence, we are as thrilled as they are! We want every patient to have a confident smile for a lifetime!

If you’ve considered Dental Implants, let’s discuss the types that may be best for you. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a consultation. We’ll discuss the various options available in today’s implant dentistry as well as anticipated costs and payment options.

Don’t Let Those Holiday Parties Compromise Your Smile

The coming holiday season is traditionally a time to gather with friends and family. Food is often the centerpiece of these gatherings, with cocktails opening many of the events. When it comes to your smile, certain precautions can keep you from having greater risk for cavities, bad breath and gum disease.champagneclink

Let’s begin with beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Alcohol has a drying effect on oral tissues, which means that saliva flow is not as efficient at rinsing bacteria out of the mouth. The more bacteria in your mouth, the faster they reproduce. This leads to bad breath and can progress to gingivitis (an initial stage of gum disease). When sugary mixers are added to alcohol, you up your risk for developing cavities and gum problems even more.

Although many people feel wine is a healthier choice, it isn’t beneficial when it comes to your smile. Not only can red wine can stain teeth, white wine has a tint and can contribute to discoloration.

Wine is also highly acidic. In the mouth, this acid mixes with digestive acids produced each time you eat or drink. This acidic double whammy can erode the protective shell of enamel on teeth, which ups your risk for cavities. This acid level is so high that it can soften tooth enamel within just ten minutes of consuming wine.

HELPFUL HINT: To minimize potential risks to your smile, ask for a glass of water and take a couple of gulps about every 10-15 minutes with your cocktail. Let the water sweep over the teeth before swallowing to dilute the acid buildup. Or, slip away to the restroom and swish with water after each beverage.

Now, let’s move on to hors d’ouevres and the nibbling that can go on for hours. The holidays are filled with delicious ‘finger foods’ that are easy to pop in the mouth as you mingle. As mentioned prior, every time you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in your mouth. This acid remains at a high level for 20-30 minutes.

This means that an acid attack began when you put that first sausage ball in your mouth and will continue – without a break – whenever you add in another goodie every 20 or so minutes. If the bite is sugary or carbohydrate-laden, the acid becomes even more potent.

HELPFUL HINT: Try to consume your nibbles in a short amount of time rather than draw eating out for hours. Fill a cocktail plate and enjoy it – and be done with nibbling for the evening. Consider loading up on the veggies and dip moreso than the candied pecans and cheese straws! (This is also better for your waistline!)

Because eating and drinking put teeth at risk for 20-30 minutes after consumption, wait that long before brushing. With enamel in a softened state, the abrasiveness of tooth paste combined with the scrubbing motion of a toothbrush can wear away enamel. Wait before brushing to give these acid levels time to subside.

Tooth enamel, once worn away, is gone forever. Do everything you can to protect it for the sake of your smile. Also, if you’ve experienced staining, ask us about our in-office Zoom 2 whitening system. This provides a high level of whitening in just one, brief appointment (and also makes a terrific gift for a smile you love)!

Smile with confidence as you enjoy the holidays with others! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to discuss whitening or cosmetic enhancements. We can also help you achieve a healthy mouth for fresher breath as you prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Begin with a free, no obligation consultation.

Be Fresh-Breath-Ready For Holiday Gatherings

As we enter the holiday season, many of us find it’s a busy time of gatherings with friends, family and co-workers. These events provide wonderful opportunities to catch up in close conversations we often don’t have a chance to enjoy at other times of the year.

We’ve all been in these situations where we wondered if our breath was fresh. And, most of us have also been in conversations where the other party was in dire need of a Tic Tac!

While none of us want to be remembered for bad breath, having fresh breath all the time can be a challenge. A tuna salad sandwich at lunch, several cups of morning coffee, or waking up in the morning aren’t breath-friendly. However, with some proactive measures, you can find yourself with far less anxiety in close conversations.

In a nutshell, bad breath occurs due to oral bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms that thrive on food particles in the mouth and bits stuck between teeth. As bacteria reproduce and accumulate, they form a sticky film known as plaque that coats the teeth and gums. If not removed through brushing, plaque hardens into calculus, a cement-like mass of bacteria that attacks tender gum tissues.

As oral bacteria growth progresses, the gums become inflamed. They are tender and bleed easily when brushing.  One of the symptoms of gum disease is persistent bad breath. Brushing, chewing gum and using breath mints will mask it for very brief periods. However, the odor exists because oral tissues are being destroyed in the mouth. Until this ceases, having fresh breath is a fruitless battle.

Dry mouth is another factor when it comes to bad breath. Saliva is your mouth’s natural rinsing agent and washes bacteria away on a continual basis. Without adequate saliva flow, oral bacteria are able to reproduce at a more rapid rate.

Causes for dry mouth include smoking, certain medications, some health conditions, snoring, and breathing through the mouth. Saliva flow is also reduced by the aging process. Consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages also have drying effects on oral tissues.

When you feel your mouth is dry, the ideal response is to drink water. Not only does water support your oral health, it helps keep your body hydrated so it can function more efficiently. Chewing sugarless gum can also trigger saliva flow. Oral rinses are also available over-the-counter, which help replenish oral moisture.

tongueA tremendous source of oral bacteria is actually the tongue. With millions of tiny grooves, oral bacteria take up residence in the warm, moist haven the tongue offers. Consider using a tongue scraper or brushing the tongue with your tooth brush to lower the bacteria levels in your mouth. Be sure to reach the back of the tongue where the majority of oral bacteria exist.

The best way to ensure your breath is fresh as often as possible is to begin with a clean slate. Schedule an exam and cleanings so we can remove buildup in the mouth and reduce the bacteria levels to a minimum. We will also check for signs of gum disease and make recommendations to halt its progress if found.

Once your mouth is ‘dental office clean,’ your at-home care will help you keep it in great shape. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, floss daily, and use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar-laden foods and beverages. Swish after eating or drinking (especially coffee, colas or wine) to counteract drying effects.

Go into this holiday season with a confident smile and fresh breath. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an appointment. In addition to feeling comfortable in close conversations, you’ll also be helping to prevent problems in your mouth brought on by oral bacteria overload.

Smoke? Lecture-Free Ways To Keep Your Smile Healthy

If you smoke, the last thing you probably want to hear is a lecture on why you should quit. Chances are, you know a number of reasons why. We understand that smoking is addictive and not easy to quit. As a matter of fact, it’s very difficult.

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that “more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.”

The majority of smokers who try to quit do so without assistance, though only 3 – 6% of attempts to quit without assistance are successful. So, whether you plan to quit or are content with your habit, we want your smile to stay in good condition. And, it can with proper care and regular check-ups.

First, let’s deal with a dire issue. Because smoking (as well as smokeless tobacco) is responsible for nearly 90% of oral cancers (lips, mouth and throat), it is paramount that you have an annual oral cancer exam. We do these as part of your six-month cleaning and exam appointments.

Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers because symptoms rarely emerge until it is at rampant stages. Before symptoms are obvious to you, we may be able to detect signs of oral cancer visually and by touch.

Smoking is drying to oral tissues, which creates an environment where oral bacteria are able to actively thrive and reproduce. Periodontal (gum disease) begins with persistent bad breath, tender gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing.

As gum disease progresses, pus pockets form at the base of teeth. Teeth loosen as oral bacteria attack the bone and tissues that support tooth roots. Eventually, these teeth will require removal.

The bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers and impotency. This occurs because the potent bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues, causing inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.

Smoking also gives you an increased risk of bad breath, increased plaque and stained teeth. By keeping oral bacteria in your mouth under control, you can avoid the treatment time and expense for gum disease, cavities and whitening. (Our Zoom WhiteninZoom_Logo copyg system works wonders for our smoking patients, by the way!)

Be aware that smokers have longer healing times following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery. When healing takes longer, there is a higher risk of bacteria settling into incised tissues. It is a fact that smokers have a higher risk of implant failure.

The best way to avoid many of the problems mentioned above is to keep oral bacteria under control. How do you do that?

First, be very committed to your at-home oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a fluoridated toothpaste and soft to medium bristle tooth brush.

Brush your tongue after your teeth. This dislodges a vast amount of bacteria from the tongue. Be sure to get to the back area of the tongue, where most bacteria are embedded. Gently run the brush over the roof of the mouth, under the tongue and inside of the cheeks before rinsing.

If you use a mouthwash, check the label to make sure yours contains no alcohol. Alcohol dries out oral tissues, which makes bacterial growth easier. And, to combat dry mouth, consider using a mouthwash especially formulated to replenish oral moisture. These are available over-the-counter at most drug stores. Be consistent in using these products.

Floss daily. I can’t stress this enough. If flossing seems awkward, ask our hygienists to help you with your technique. We have a flossing video on our web site you may want to check out: http://www.banrbarbatdds.com/videos.php#flossing_tips

You may want to try one of the water or electronic flossers now available. There are also floss holders that make the process easier for some people. Just be sure to avoid ‘popping’ the floss between the teeth onto tender gum tissues. This can cut into the gums, leaving them vulnerable to oral bacteria.

Be sure to keep your 6-month check-ups. These cleanings and exams remove buildup that can occur between visits and help you avoid problems before they occur or catch others while still small.

Drink lots of water — not coffee, tea, colas, sports drinks or energy drinks — most contain caffeine, which is very drying to the mouth.

Limit sugar and carbohydrates. These are oral bacteria super boosters. Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and cheese.

We don’t lecture our patients. It is our job to help patients have the very best smile they can regardless of our own preferences and opinions. If you smoke, we care just as much about your smile as our patients who do not. Know that we are here for you regardless of your needs or goals.

If you’re past due for a dental check-up and cleaning, call 586-739-2155. Let’s get you in so you can have a clean slate with your renewed commitment to a healthy smile!