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Why Going to the Dentist is Like Getting an Oil Change

In Dental Care on August 18, 2011 at 4:30 AM

It’s been said that an oil change every 3000 or so miles goes a long way toward maintaining the longevity of our vehicle’s engine. Jalopy or Jetsons, we’ve pretty much followed this rule as a mandatory maintenance milestone.

Whether or not that recommendation still holds true or not, was the question posed by the NY Times in an article published last September.

It seems that with advancements in fuel technology and engine components, that long standing belief might not hold water anymore…or oil.

Even in the face of this conflicting info between generational automotive axioms and technological leaps forward in everything from manufacturing to maintenance, we can still relate oral health to auto care.

Preventative Maintenance

No matter which side of the oil change debate our family resides, hopefully we can all agree that the main reason – benefit – for changing the oil is to take some preventative maintenance.

Internal engine parts need proper lubrication, changing the oil at regular intervals ensures contamination is kept to a minimum and viscosity is optimally maintained.

This precautionary action maintains optimal engine performance while also saving us money.

The idea being if we invest a small amount of money regularly toward maintaining peak engine performance, we ultimately save ourselves from having to fork over huge sums of money later for things like cracked heads, busted seals, and sludge covered valves.

If we ignore this regular attention to our vehicles, it will come back to bite us in more places than the bank account.

This same principle can be applied to dentistry too, at least from our perspective as dental patients.

Just as internal engine parts require lubrication, our teeth and gums require proper care and preventative maintenance to sustain our own optimal oral health.

Replace cracked heads with cracked teeth, and sludge covered valves with visible tartar build-up, and things start to come into focus.

We need not walk around with a busted grill just because we’ve ignored our smile appeal.

Ignore the dentist and not only will we resemble Austin Powers from the nose down and the chin up, we’ll be doing even more of a disservice to our overall health too.

It’s no secret that oral health directly correlates with overall physical health. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to breast cancer, even to complications inhibiting conception and negatively impacting pregnancy.

This is no joke. For a little preventative dental maintenance, we can not only save ourselves money in the long run, we can also make sure our internal operating systems are at peak performance…or at least somewhere near approaching healthy.

Read more about how oral health affects overall health in this study published in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis.

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the supporting bone and tissues around the teeth. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, and research has suggested gum disease is associated with other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. (Another Reason to Stay in Shape: Healthy Teeth and Gums – perio.org)

Does a regular cleaning, oral cancer screening, and possible diabetes indicating, dental exam appointment really seem like a better choice than ignoring the inevitable?

Don’t change our oil, and our vehicle’s engines will die earlier than they should.

Don’t take care of our teeth…and we can always get dentures, right?

How Does a Beautiful Smile Enhance Communication Skills?

In Cosmetic Dentistry on August 9, 2011 at 4:30 AM

It has been discussed in every forum from Psychology journals supported by research to the blogosphere supported by conjecture; 93% of communication is non-verbal. How that universally accepted but still sort of unproven notion changed with the advent of social media is a subject for another day.

A day when dentists and patients alike unite to socially promote local dentistry!

Gestures, eye contact, body language, and yes even a great looking smile can all have an impact on how we communicate, and more importantly what we’re communicating outside of the actual words emanating from our optimally hygiened oral orifices.

It’s already been proven with zero significant scientific support, that a great smile can help you close the deal at work.

Now let’s identify a couple of ways a great smile enhances communication skills.

Confidence

We may not feel so confident walking into our thrice yearly dental appointments, but how good does it feel leaving the office?

We’ll venture pretty good, at least from our personal experience and extensive office-wide Monday morning poll. (It’s a tiny infinitesimal little office)

Sure there are times when our cheeks may resemble a rotund little chipmunk with more than a mouthful of acorns, but that’s usually few and very far between dental visits…IF we’ve kept up those regular appointments that is.

Generally speaking, most of us leave the dental office in a better mood, projecting more self-confidence, and non-verbally communicating a heightened state of well-being.

Would you agree?

A great smile can do a lot, but self-esteem and self-confidence compose the foundational elements so evident in people who possess those knockout smiles. And when it comes to communication skills, isn’t self-confidence a foundational element there too?

We haven’t exactly pooled our resources to scientifically examine the great looking smile/self-confidence/enhanced communication skills connection.

We just know it’s there.

Game Changer

Picture this, you’re having a conversation with two people while on line waiting for a cup of coffee that shall remain nameless.

One person has a radiant white and bright smile, while the other person looks like they just gargled with butterscotch syrup.

Which person do you think would hold your attention more, or project more self-confidence, or communicate more effectively???

We’ll venture to say the healthier looking smile would come out on top by a more than any standard deviation in most social encounters.

In fact, or at least in conjecture within said blogosphere – wouldn’t the subject with the more attractive and healthier looking smile actually command more trust in what’s being said, or communicate more validity than the corn colored tooth talker?

Try this one on for size; you’re having dinner with an important colleague when you notice a piece of food stuck in their teeth – do you say something?

Never mind that social conundrum; think about how effective a communicator this hypothetical person would be with a visible hunk of grub stuck up in their teeth.

Would their words resonate, would you believe what they’re saying, or would you just be fixated on that piece of food for the duration of the conversation?

We can go back and forth with the make-believe and unscientifically supported guesses, but one thing is certain when it comes to dentistry and communications skills. A great looking smile certainly enhances the conversation.

That point has to be free from scrutiny…but we welcome the inquisition.

The next time you have that big interview coming up, a stellar party, a big deal, or you just want to feel better about yourself when talking to friends and strangers alike…go see your dentist and shape up your smile!

Talk to Your Dentist About Choosing the Proper Mouthguard

In Dental Care, Kids on July 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM

We’re sure there is plenty of common ground to examine between dentistry and the end of the recent NFL labor lockout. Maybe with the price of gold continuing to climb, some players will be leaving the gold teeth in the locker room. Or more likely, we don’t have any idea what we’re hoping to communicate but it’s got something to do with dentistry and sports.

So where are we going with all of this dentistry and sports stretch at a conversation?

Straight to the teeth.

It is estimated by the American Dental Association that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone.

Sure, you may think this would warrant some mention or reach at a correlation involving dentistry and ice hockey, but we’ll leave that one for a more in-depth and timely investigation. Tune in later this year as we showcase the top dentists in sport!

For this mid-summer doldrums social dentistry blog post, we’ll stick to pure vanilla.

What’s the Most Important Piece of Safety Equipment?

We don’t know, nor are we pretending to communicate a final answer. But, what we do know is that mouthguards or mouthpieces are definitely among the most widely used and most important personal safety factors players use regardless of their particular sport.

Football players wear them, basketball players, softball players, soccer players, rugby players, even some ice hockey players have been known to wear a mouthguard from time to time.

So what’s the conclusion?

We’ve previously illustrated how dentistry and baseball have come together to help eliminate chewing tobacco at the ballpark, or just passed along certain surname similarities between a couple of dentists…and a couple of big league pitchers.

Oh, the conclusion about the mouthguards…

One conclusion we can make here is this; unless the mouthguard is in the mouth, it is of no use to anybody whatsoever. Parents, make sure your kids wear mouthguards this increasingly earlier back to school sports season.

Aside from safety, and staying out of emergency dental chair, some mouthguards have even claimed to increase athletic performance by improving the alignment of the jaw, allowing more oxygen to enter the airway during periods of physical exertion. It’s a whole neuromuscular thing that your dentist could surely explain way better than us.

The jury is still out on such claims; some say definitely, others not so much. Click the link for more info on sports dentistry and mouthguards.

If you have questions about what mouthguard is best for you or your children just ask your dentist – we dare you to post such a question to their Facebook wall!

Our trusted neighborhood dentists know a thing or two about properly fitting the mouthpiece according to individual dental factors. Before you or your child suit up this season, be sure to check your mouthguard’s fit with your dentist!