Your Nutrition and Your Dental Health

When most of us think about about dental health, we think about brushing and flossing daily.  We also think about visiting the dentist regularly.  However, when it comes to your dental health, what you eat is also very important.

Periodontal disease and tooth decay (dental caries) are two of the most common disease of modern civilization.  They are also largely preventable with good oral hygiene and a proper diet.  Tooth decay occurs when the teeth and surrounding tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from harmful bacteria in the mouth.  Certain foods and combinations of foods are linked to higher cavity-causing bacteria.  Periodontal diseases is a chronic infection of the tissues supporting the teeth.  When you do not eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, it can lower your immune system.  This negatively affects your body’s ability to fight off infections, thereby making your more susceptible to periodontal disease and making the infection more severe.

Moderation and variety are two keys words when it comes to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Before initiating any major changes in your eating habits, you should talk to your doctor.  When planning your diet, choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Keeping your mouth moist by drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is also important.  This will help your mouth to produce bacteria-cleansing saliva.

Foods that cling to your mouth promote tooth decay.  If possible, limit or avoid eating foods such as sticky candies, sugary gums, and soft, sweet sticky cakes.  Instead, snack on foods such as raw vegetables, nuts, cheese and plain yogurt.

If you want to get more information about how to eat to promote good oral health, talk to your dentist today.  You can also consult guidelines for healthy eating from reputable organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Heath.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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CDC Study Examines Oral Health of Women of Childbearing Age in the U.S.

It is widely known that oral diseases can be prevented or improved with regular dental visits. Additionally, pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease due to the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. For this reason, pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant in the future are encouraged to take especially good care of their oral health. However, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a need for improvement in the oral conditions and number of dental health visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the United States.

The objective of this CDC study was to assess and compare national estimates on self-reported oral health conditions and dental visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women in the U.S. who were of childbearing age.  This assessment used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2004.  In this study, researchers from the CDC analyzed self-reported oral health information on 897 pregnant women and 3,971 non-pregnant women of childbearing age (15-44 years).

Results of the study showed disparities in self-reported oral health conditions and use of dental services among women regardless of pregnancy status.  The results of the study highlight the need to improve dental service use among U.S. women of childbearing age especially in the following groups:  young pregnant women, black women, Mexican-American women and those with a low family income or low education level.  Researchers suggest that prenatal visits could be used as a key opportunity to education women about the importance of seeking preventive dental care during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant in the future, it is vitally important for you to engage in regular dental visits, and to carefully safeguard your dental health by practicing good daily oral hygiene.  Therefore, if you have not been to see your dentist in more than six months, schedule your appointment today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Have You Ever Dreamed That Your Teeth Are Falling Out?

You wake up in a sweat and your heart is racing.  You run to the mirror and check to make sure you have all of your teeth.  Does this sound familiar?  If you have ever dreamed that your teeth are falling out, you are not alone.  Missing teeth or teeth that are falling out  is one of the most common types of recurring dreams.  Psychologists suggest a number of theories behind this dream.  Some say that it means you are worried about money.  Others suggest a feeling of vulnerability or a lack of control over your circumstances.  Whatever the cause, this dream can be terrifying!

Unfortunately, for many American adults, failing and missing teeth are a reality.  Tooth failure and tooth loss can be caused by a variety of factors including lack of proper dental hygiene/dental care, periodontal disease, trauma, untreated tooth decay and more.  In the past, options for replacing missing teeth were limited to dentures (partial and full) and dental bridges.  These tooth replacement options are still popular procedures for replacing missing teeth.  However, neither of these solutions provide a permanent, fixed solution to tooth loss.  Now with the advent of dental implants, individuals with tooth loss have a fixed solution that can last a lifetime, with proper care.  This is good news for the many American adults who are missing one, several or all of their teeth.

Dental implants look like natural teeth and because they are fused to the jawbone, they feel and function like natural teeth.  These factors represent significant advantages over traditional dentures and dental bridges.  Most individuals are candidates for dental implants, and the success rate is very high.  However, if you are a smoker or have other conditions such as Diabetes, your chances for a successful outcome may be reduced.  Additionally, if you do not have a sufficient quantity of bone in your jaw, you may require bone grafting before dental implants can be successfully placed.

If you are living with the reality of tooth loss, talk to a dentist in your local area today.  After a thorough evaluation, your dentist can determine if you are a candidate for this revolutionary tooth replacement system.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Acid Reflux and Your Dental Health

Acid Reflux refers to the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach).   When acid reflux progresses to a more severe form of acid reflux, it is referred to as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).  When this occurs, it can have a negative affect on your dental health.

Acid Reflux and GERD are common problems that affect approximately 7 million Americans.  Acid Reflux and GERD can cause symptoms such as heartburn and upset stomach.  If it is not treated properly, it can also wreak havoc on your dental health.  This is because constant exposure to stomach acid can erode and weaken the outer layer of your teeth, leaving your teeth more susceptible to decay.  Prolonged exposure to stomach acid can also lead to tooth sensitivity.

So, if you have acid reflux or GERD, there are steps you can take to protect your dental health? The first step you should take is to visit your doctor to seek treatment for your acid reflux.  Keeping your acid reflux in check can serve to protect your teeth from exposure to stomach acids.  If you still experience symptoms even with treatment, you should rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or brush your teeth immediately after experiencing acid reflux.  The next thing you can do is visit your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and checkups.  During this examination, your dentist can check for signs of tooth decay and provide treatment, if needed.  Detecting and treating tooth decay in its earliest stages is the best way to prevent tooth failure and eventual tooth loss.

If you have further questions regarding acid reflux, GERD and your dental health, talk to your dentist today.  Your dentist can give you important advice on how to manage your condition and keep it from negatively affecting your dental health.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Diabetes and Your Dental Health

If you are living with Diabetes, you are predisposed to a number of dental health problems.  For this reason, practicing good daily oral hygiene and getting regular care from a dentist is vitally important.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood.  There are three different types of Diabetes including the following:

•  Type I Diabetes

•  Type II Diabetes

•  Gestational Diabetes

There are currently 26 million people in the United States who are living with some type of Diabetes.  Ninety to ninety-five percent of these cases of Diabetes are Diabetes Type II.  So what is the link between Diabetes and your dental health?  Diabetes impairs your ability to fight bacteria in your mouth.  Having high blood sugar encourages harmful bacteria to grow and this harmful bacteria can cause periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums and tissues supporting your teeth.  If it is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. High sugar levels in the blood can also lead to dry mouth and this condition also puts you at a higher risk for developing gum disease.

If you have Diabetes, the best thing you can do to protect your dental health is to control your blood sugar.  This can be achieved by checking your blood sugar levels often, taking any medications prescribed to you by your doctor, eating a diet that is recommended by your doctor and exercising regularly.  The second thing you can do to protect your longterm dental health is to visit your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and exams.  During this time, a dental hygienist can use special tools and techniques to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.  Your dental examination will also give your dentist the opportunity to look for any signs of periodontal disease and if necessary, to provide treatment for this serious condition.  The third thing you can do is practice good daily oral hygiene at home including thoroughly brushing your teeth at least twice a day and thoroughly flossing your teeth at least once a day.

If you would like to get more information regarding Diabetes and your dental health, talk to your dentist.  If you have Diabetes and have not been to a dentist in more than six months, schedule your appointment today!

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Geographical Tongue: Causes and Treatments

Geographical Tongue is a dental health condition that is characterized by a map-like appearance on the tongue and is also referred to as benign migratory glossitis and erythema migrans. It is a hereditary condition that occurs in roughly 1% to 3% of the population and is more common in women than in men.

Geographical Tongue occurs when parts of the tongue are missing layers of bumps called papillae.  While this condition is harmless and benign, it can make it more challenging to remove harmful bacteria from the tongue.  With this condition, brushing the tongue daily to remove bacteria becomes very important.  In most cases, patients with Geographical Tongue do not experience symptoms.  However,  approximately one in ten patients may experience mild discomfort or a burning sensation on the tongue.  Often times, this is due to a sensitivity to certain substances including cigarette smoke, spicy or acidic foods or toothpaste.

The cause of Geographical Tongue is not currently understood, however, individuals with psoriasis and/or fissured tongue are more likely to have Geographical Tongue.  This condition can be diagnosed by a dentist during a regular dental examination.  If you are diagnosed with Geographical Tongue, your dentist can provide you with helpful information about how to clean your tongue to remove the bacteria that can get lodged in the grooves of your tongue.  He or she can also closely monitor your dental health to look for any signs of periodontal (gum) disease.  Your dentist may also prescribe an antimicrobial rinse to help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria on your tongue.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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