Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Timing: The Dental Connection!

It's all about "Timing" the saying goes, but when it comes to brushing your teeth, it has now been determined by research that there are times when it is better to rinse and wait, than to brush! That colleague who always brushes his teeth immediately after lunch may be doing more harm than good. A recent study suggests that scrubbing immediately after eating may have the opposite effect upon enamel.

Cavity Culprits

Sugary foods, especially those that are sticky or liquid, are bad for your teeth because the bacteria or plaque on the enamel metabolizes sugars, producing acids that can lead to gum disease, inflammation and cavities.  Conventional wisdom taught that immediately removing those food particles would reduce the incidence of decay.  However, research has now concluded that cavity producing foods are also very acidic in and of themselves.

Too Much Acid

When consuming something acidic, the pH in the mouth lowers for an extended periodic of time, causing the oral environment to become very acidic as well.  The ideal pH of a mouth is about 7, while a soft drink -even a diet one- can be as low as 2.5 or about the same as household vinegar! Acid demineralizes and weakens tooth structure, making it more more prone to decay.

The scrubbing action of a toothbrush in an acidic state can actually encourage the process, much like the same process that is used to etch glass with acid.  Immediately brushing after drinking a sports drink, soft drinks or wine can etch the enamel.  However, waiting for about 30 minutes before brushing, will allow the saliva to naturally return to a more neutral pH and decrease the possibility of rubbing acid into the tooth structure.

Rinse, Repeat

Rinsing with water has actually been shown to balance the mouth's pH after ingesting acidic foods and beverages.  It's much better than brushing within the first 30 minutes.  An antibacterial mouthwash can also help prevent plaque from producing more acids.

Cheese Whiz

Studies have shown that chewing two specific things can reduce tooth decay.  First, chewing string cheese will reduce the pH of bacterial plaque by elevating the production of saliva.  The proteins in the saliva buffer the acids.  Second, chewing sugarless gum, which also increases the production of saliva, can be a good option if a toothbrush is unavailable.  Studies have also suggested that xylitol, which is the sweetening agent in gum, actually has anticariogenic characteristics.

Finally, it is best to brush for two minutes twice daily.  However, if you are unable to brush twice a day and you must choose the most important "time" to brush, the bedtime is the best, since that is when your mouth salivates less, allowing cavity-causing substances to take hold.  If you have any other questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, January 15, 2016

Gum Disease: The Health Connection!

Many people can be very confused by the diagnosis of periodontal disease, but the good news is that it is treatable and manageable with a little work on the part of the patient!  Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease, which is an infection of the gum tissue, bone, and supporting structures for the teeth.  Diagnosis is commonly made through a combination of dental X-rays, periodontal readings (called probe depths), and visual clinical findings.

The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body and can provide clues to the patient's overall health.  In fact, the first signs of some chronic diseases appear in the oral cavity;  they can be a hint for the dentist to refer the patient to a medical doctor for a thorough exam.

There are two major types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis.  The first is very common and is usually caused by a lack of adequate home care (brushing and flossing) and infrequent professional cleanings every 6 months.  The second is usually a progression of gingivitis.  Like bronchitis that can progress to pneumonia, so gingivitis can progress into periodontitis.  Although the symptoms are very similar, if left untreated, periodontitis can lead to premature tooth loss, sensitivity, and chronic or acute mouth pain.  If you have diabetes, you are more prone to periodontal disease and can experience greater difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels.  The body ends up spending so much energy fighting the low grade infection in the mouth that it cannot achieve balance elsewhere.  Studies have shown that once periodontal disease is treated, the glucose levels become more responsive to control as well.

Although periodontal disease is considered to be "silent," which means that you may not always experience pain as a signal of infection, when caught early and subjected to proper daily oral hygiene care, treatments are usually successful.  If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Economy: The Dental Connection!

With the continued unpredictable nature of the U.S. and global economy, many patients, justifiably so, continue to be conservative with their finances.  Our team has noticed that most patients respond to the economy in one of two ways: completing only the treatment that is medically necessary, or by pursuing cosmetic work they've been saving for and are ready to get done now. Despite the economy, our practice has been very blessed to continue to slowly grow over the past few years!

The growth of our practice first and foremost must be attributed to God!  With His help, we have assembled a great dental team that are highly trained and ready to meet our patient's dental needs. Our team enjoys listening and talking to our patients, and providing treatment plans that address their concerns.  And in spite of the economy, we have even completed some really beautiful smile designs with Lumineers over the past few years!

If you are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123 and begin the journey to a healthier, happier you!

God Bless,

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year: The Dental Connection!

With the start of the new year, we get asked a lot of questions from our patients.  The ones that we hear most frequently are "How long is this procedure going to take?" "Will it hurt?" "What are we doing today?" What types of materials will you be using?" "Does my insurance cover this procedure?"

We enjoy answering any questions that you may have, but there are also some questions that you should ask our dental team that we don't hear as often, yet we believe are very important for maintaining your oral health, such as:

  • How can I prevent this from happening again?
  • How can I keep my teeth for a lifetime?
  • What are the benefits of a regular dental cleaning schedule?
  • How are my teeth and how well am I taking care of them?

These questions, or any other dental questions that you can think of, our entire team are here to answer!  You can ask us at your next appointment or by calling us at 918-455-0123.

God Bless,