Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!

Here’s an interesting quiz for you.

Who originally dispensed the famous recommendation to “see your dentist twice a year?”

We all know it’s true (or do we???) – so when and where do you think that bit of advice originated?

a)      The American Dental Association in 1933

b)     The world’s first dental college – The University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1845

c)      An article in The Journal of Oral Surgery by Dr. Henry Horseacre in 1909 entitled “Proper Protocol for Dental Cleanings.”

d)     A radio ad for Pepsodent Toothpaste in 1929

Believe it or not, if you guessed “d” you are correct!

Most of us know the famous order to “see your dentist twice a year.” Some insurance companies even use that interval to define their standards for payment. But the fact is that phrase was developed with no scientific basis at all – and to sell toothpaste!

Another example of this logic was the ad campaign for Pear’s Soap in the late 1800s. The slogan “Have you used Pear’s soap today” ushered in the habit of daily bathing! And while that was certainly a good thing, the fact is that we are all different and to expect that everyone requires the same schedule for their health needs just does not make sense.

When you wash your hair, do you “rinse and repeat?” Do you associate diamonds with engagement rings? Are you convinced that Volvo builds the safest cars? If so, you have been influenced by advertising, not necessarily facts. Don’t worry – we are all guilty of it!

At our office, we don’t believe in a cookie cutter approach when your health is involved. In order to determine the correct dental treatment for you (including how often you should have your teeth cleaned) we perform a thorough examination, checking your teeth, gums, medical history, bite, jaw muscles and more. We even do an oral cancer screening at every check-up.

Everyone is different, so despite what the ad men from Pepsodent once said, let’s scientifically determine the correct schedule for your dental visits by looking at the facts, not an ad slogan. Then you can look forward to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums – and keep smiling forever!

If you have any questions or you would like to schedule a visit, please call 1-734-485-2200. We are here to help you!

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The Fighting Features of Fluoride

Dozens of studies by universities, government and public health organizations have concluded that the regular use of fluoride, whether ingested through local drinking water or fluoride supplements, or applied topically through toothpastes, gels or mouth rinses containing fluoride, reduces the likelihood that your child’s teeth will develop cavities.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in various foods and water supplies to help defend teeth against decay. It is added to the water supplies in many communities across North America as a cost efficient way to provide fluoride protection to large numbers of people. If your community does not include fluoride in its water supply you should ensure that you and your children brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, and use a fluoride rinse at bedtime. For those at high risk of developing cavities we may also recommend additional fluoride supplements through our office.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer – the enamel – on teeth against the harmful effects of the acids that are produced by the bacteria in the mouth. The fluoride then goes on to remineralize, or repair, any damage caused by the bacteria’s acid to the microscopic crystals that make up the structure of teeth.

While various studies have shown a marked decline in tooth decay rates due to fluoride use – up to 50 percent in children specifically – be aware that like anything else, you can have “too much of a good thing” with fluoride. Dental fluorosis is a non-health threatening condition that is a result of a child getting too much fluoride, and it shows up as white specks on a child’s teeth. The child may be getting too much fluoride because of the combination of fluoridated water plus fluoride toothpaste, rinses or supplements in the household. If you notice spots on your child’s teeth, please talk to us about possible causes for this condition in your child and the treatment available.

Talk to us about if you have well water, it may not contain the right amount of fluoride for your teeth, or if you and your family may require fluoride supplements.  734.485.2200  We’d love to hear from you with any questions you have!

Understanding Morning Breath

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Here’s a mystery – if we floss and brush before we go to bed and settle down to sleep with a fresh mouth every night, why is it that just mere hours later, we wake up with dreaded “morning breath”?

The simple answer is that during the day, saliva works as nature’s mouthwash by washing away bacteria and the volatile sulfur particles that cause bad breath. When we go to sleep, saliva production decreases and our mouth dries out, providing the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.

Bad breath (or “halitosis”, as it’s officially known) can come from a number of different sources such as a dry mouth, bacterial decomposition of food particles in and around your teeth, and foods (such as garlic and cabbage) that contain certain sulfur compounds. Halitosis may also reflect medical conditions, from chronic infections in the lungs to kidney and liver failure. Even dieting and fasting can slow down the stimulation of saliva flow and result in offensive breath, while talking for long periods of time will dry out your mouth with the same result. Most everyday bad breath, however, can be controlled by following these four simple steps:

  1. Floss between your teeth to remove any hidden food particles;
  2. Brush your teeth after every meal, and brush or better yet, scrape your tongue too.  Afterwards gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash that targets VOC’s like Listerine, Breath Rx or Crest Pro Health – up to 50% of the bacteria in your mouth can be found hiding on the surface of your tongue;
  3. Keep your mouth moist with frequent sips of water;
  4. Maintain regular dental checkups so that your dentist can check for periodontal disease – a treatable cause of bad breath – during your routine gum exam.
  5. Eat yogurt! Health bacteria actually helps to minimize the VOC’s that build up on your tongue and eating crunchy toast in the morning can help to clean off the back of your tongue as well to get the area clean that you can’t get to!

Talk to us if your concerns go beyond morning breath. We’d be happy to give you some “fresh” oral hygiene tips.

Baby Bottle Blues

Baby bottles filled with milk or juice provide both nutrition and comfort to most babies. However, you need to be aware that your baby’s ritual of falling asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth could lead to a dental condition known as “baby bottle tooth decay” that could destroy your child’s teeth.

The most common cause of tooth decay in babies and toddlers results from the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugar, including milk, formula and fruit drinks. Saliva helps to wash some of this sugar away, but when the child falls asleep, saliva production decreases. Bacteria in the mouth convert the sugars to acids that then etch and subsequently damage the enamel of the teeth, leading to decay.

Baby bottle tooth decay can cause painful toothaches that can not only hinder eating, but can develop into infections and the need to extract baby teeth. If your child’s teeth are damaged or lost too early, he or she may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged or discolored adult (permanent) teeth.

 

So how best to prevent baby bottle tooth decay? Awareness of the problem is an important first step, followed by these preventative tips:

  1. After each feeding, wipe your child’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth or a clean gauze pad.
  2. Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or any sweetened liquids. If your child refuses to fall asleep without a bottle, fill it with water, and then remove it from his mouth when he falls asleep.
  3. Plan on scheduling your child’s first dental appointment around his or her first birthday, or earlier if you think your child may have dental problems.

The process of tooth decay is quite gradual, and no one may notice anything until the damage is done. Follow the simple steps above to ensure a good start to your child’s dental health.