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Posts Tagged ‘plaque’

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

In Dental Care on October 11, 2011 at 4:30 AM

In addition to October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dental practices across the land will be celebrating proper dental hygiene the entire month!

In honor of this dental-centric October occasion, we’d like to take this opportunity to showcase some seemingly obvious, but far too often overlooked, dental hygiene facts, courtesy of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene.

Brush 2 minutes, 2 times per day toothbrush_national_dental_hygiene_month

Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day remains a critical component to maintaining a healthy smile.

Studies have shown that brushing for two minutes is perhaps the single most important step an individual can take to reduce plaque build-up and the risk of plaque-associated diseases, such as cavities and gingivitis.

Floss Daily

Proper flossing or interdental cleaning removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended. toothbrush_national_dental_hygiene_month

Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and at the gumline, where periodontal disease often begins.

Studies have revealed that only 16% of 961 periodontal patients followed over an eight-year period, complied with the recommended maintenance schedules.

Click the link to learn more about what to expect at your next Dental Hygiene Appointment.

Remember to floss daily, and brush for 2 mins per day – 2x day!

This simple oral health care regimen will not only lead to a happier encounter with our dental hygienists, and a healthier smile, we could also go a long way toward protecting ourselves against future maladies, such as heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.

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What is the Oldest Disease Known to Humans?

In Dental Care on June 21, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Nope, it’s not the common cold. Nor is it arthritis, malaria, or leprosy.

According to Healthplex Dental trivia, tooth decay is not only the oldest disease we know of, but also the most common and widespread.

A quick internet search should reveal plenty of claims to the contrary, with even the Guinness Book of World Records getting in on the action.

Tooth decay, which is also called dental cavities or dental caries, is the destruction of the outer surface (enamel) of a tooth. Decay results from the action of bacteria that live in plaque, which is a sticky, whitish film formed by a protein in saliva (mucin) and sugary substances in the mouth. The plaque bacteria sticking to tooth enamel use the sugar and starch from food particles in the mouth to produce acid.1

How can we keep this cavity coalition at bay?

Brush our teeth, floss, keep our regular dental appointments…lather rinse repeat!

It has been estimated that 90% of people in the United States have at least one cavity, and that 75% of people had their first cavity by the age of five. Although anyone can have a problem with tooth decay, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk. Other high-risk groups include people who eat a lot of starchy and sugary foods; people living in areas without a fluoridated water supply; and people who already have numerous dental restorations (fillings and crowns).2

Prevention is Key

With the cost of dentistry and health insurance limitations sometimes compounding the issue of proper treatment, we can all take a little preventative maintenance. According to the Medical Dictionary; It is easier and LESS expensive to prevent tooth decay than it is to treat it.

The four major prevention strategies include: proper oral hygiene; flouride; sealants; and attention to diet.

Proper oral hygiene equates keeping our dentist appointments, and brushing twice a day. Throw in some daily flossing and we’re ahead of the game!

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that slows the destruction of enamel and helps to repair minor tooth decay damage by remineralizing tooth structure. Toothpaste, mouthwash, fluoridated public drinking water, and vitamin supplements are all possible sources of fluoride.3

A sealant is a thin plastic coating that is painted over the grooves of chewing surfaces to prevent food and plaque from being trapped there. They cost less than fillings and can last up to 10 years, although they should be checked for wear at every dental visit.

As Americans, we can all probably use a little help on the diet. Big Macs and super sized sodas taste great, but maintaining a healthy and balanced diet will keep us having less fillings.

By knocking out foods high in sugar, we can deal a blow to the cavity creeps before they get entrenched in our mouths.

If it’s good for our teeth, it’s good for our overall physical health too.

If you have any questions about tooth decay, dental sealants, flouride treatment, or with help maintaining a proper diet…ask your dentist. Our teeth and gums act as early warning indicators of more serious physiological issues, don’t let the cavity creeps call in reinforcements!

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

In Dental Care on March 1, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Here’s some interesting stuff from Delta Dental…The average American has three decayed teeth by age 17, in large part due to eating sugary foods. The sticky plaque on your gums and teeth that causes decay is a magnet for sugar. The bacteria in plaque turn sugar into acids that are powerful enough to dissolve the hard enamel that covers your teeth. That’s how cavities get started. If you don’t eat much sugar, the bacteria can’t produce as much of the acid that eats away enamel.1, 2

Stay away from these sweet culprits to reduce harmful acids that destroy your teeth:

  • Sugary candies and sweets that stick in your mouth
  • Starchy carbohydrates that can get stuck in your teeth
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Fruit juice

Go for the whole fruits with lots of fiber and less sugar. Juices sometimes have added sugar, so they are more damaging to your teeth than the natural sugar in whole fruits.3 Besides being laden with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel.3 Starches, which are complex carbohydrates, can also linger in your mouth. If you eat sweets, go for those that clear out of your mouth quickly.1 So thumbs down for lollipops, caramels, and cough drops that contain refined sugar.

If you eat sweets, it’s best to eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. Whenever you eat sweets—in any meal or snack—brush your teeth well with a fluoride toothpaste afterward.1

 

1 “Snack Smart for Healthy Teeth.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. www.nidcr.nih.gov/health/pubs/snaksmrt/main.htm 

2 “Tooth Decay.” Academy of General Dentistry. www.agd.org/public/OralHealthFacts/files/pdfgenerator.aspx?pdf=FS_ToothDecay.pdf  Accessed 2008.

3 ”Nutrition.” Academy of General Dentistry. www.agd.org/public/OralHealthFacts/files/pdfgenerator.aspx?pdf=FS_Nutrition.pdf Accessed 2008.