When the economy’s down, keep your dental health up!

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: many households across America are suffering the effects of the current economic slowdown, and people are worried about their finances. When household budgets are tight, consumers start looking to cut down on what they consider to be unnecessary services, and in some cases that includes dental checkups. Before you cut us out of your schedule, please consider carefully the many repercussions of this decision, and how it could rebound to end up costing you more money in the long run.

It’s a proven fact that overall health is linked to oral health. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology has evidence that infections in the mouth can lead to a host of other, seemingly unrelated, medical problems in some people. The rationale behind this is that periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection, and infections starting in the mouth could easily enter the blood stream and travel to major organs to begin new infections.

While more research continues to be conducted, findings to-date suggest a possible link between periodontal disease and a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, preterm births and respiratory disease.

Even if your mouth and teeth feel fine to you, we, as dentists, cannot stress strongly enough the importance of regular dental checkups. Gum disease is something that is often hard to detect without a formal examination, which is why your dental visits should be a regular part of your health schedule.

We urge you to be diligent with your dental appointments especially if you already have heart or lung disease, diabetes or osteoporosis and low bone mass, if you are thinking of becoming pregnant, or if you have a family member with periodontal disease. Routine oral examinations can also uncover symptoms of oral cancer, eating disorders, substance abuse and HIV.

Thorough dental checkups, including X-rays when necessary, are an essential part of preventive health maintenance. Don’t wait until something hurts; if you haven’t already scheduled your next dental checkup, please call us today! 734.485.2200

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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!

Mind the Gap!

 

Missing a tooth? Don’t leave a gap in your dental care!

 

If you’re missing one (or more) of your front teeth, you will most likely – from a cosmetic standpoint – want to fill the space as soon as possible. A missing back tooth usually doesn’t result in the same urgency, but there are very good reasons why you still need to replace any missing back teeth (even if it’s not as visible as a missing front tooth).

 

Your teeth keep each other in line. When one is knocked out, or lost due to dental decay, the resulting gap opens up space for surrounding teeth to drift out of position, shift, or tip into the empty space and change your bite. This could potentially lead to pain in your jaw, cavities, gum disease and the potential to lose more teeth.

 

As more teeth go missing, you’ll be forced to chew in other areas of your mouth, which can sometimes lead to tooth fractures from overloading, excessive erosion and/or TMJ (jaw joint) problems.

 

Please call us to arrange a full explanation of all your tooth replacement options, including one, or a combination of, the following:
– Removable partial dentures.
– Fixed dental bridges.
– Full dentures, for patients who have lost all of their teeth on the top and/or bottom of their mouth.
– Dental implants, which involve surgically implanting a replacement tooth root and then capping it with a natural-looking replacement tooth.

 

Early intervention will help you avoid more extensive —and expensive! — dentistry in the future. Call us if you’d like a consult or a full eval of your mouth! We’d love to see you!  734-485-2200

 

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.