Conquering Your Excuses for Flossing Your Teeth

Do you floss your teeth everyday?  If not, 2015 is the time to start this very healthy habit.  You may not realize it, but dentists agree that flossing your teeth everyday is just as important as brushing.  This is because dental floss can remove food particles from between the teeth that are not accessible with a toothbrush.  Despite this fact, many American children, teens and adults are not currently flossing their teeth everyday.  There are many excuses for not flossing your teeth.  Read on to find out how to conquer each of these excuses so you can safeguard your long-term dental health.

Time is one of the biggest excuses people use for not flossing.  However, investing in the one or two minutes it takes each day can save you from hours of time in a dental chair getting dental work such as fillings, crowns and root canals.  In addition to saving this time, flossing everyday can help you save money on expensive dental restorations.

Some people complain that their teeth are too close together to comfortably floss.  If this is the case, try dental floss that is waxed so it glides more easily between the teeth.  You could also use a threader or loop to help you find an entry point between the teeth.

Others complain that it hurts to floss their teeth.  If you experience pain when flossing, give yourself two weeks.  Make sure that you are not flossing too roughly.  A gentle touch is best.  If your gums still hurt and/or bleed when you floss after two weeks, it is time to see your dentist.  Your gum pain and irritation may be a sign of periodontal disease.  If this is the case, your dental hygiene becomes even more important.

Start out 2015 by resolving to floss your teeth everyday!  Experts say that it takes 21 days to form a habit so after three weeks, it should be easy going!

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

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This Thanksgiving, Be Thankful for Your Dental Health

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings.  This can include family, friends, wealth and even our health.  If you are blessed enough to have good oral health, you probably have not spent enough time thinking about this particular blessing.  However, when our dental health goes south and we experience painful and expensive dental problems, it is then that we realize what a big blessing this is. Good dental health gives us the ability to chew and eat properly and to properly digest the foods we eat.  It also has a big effect on our confidence and our quality of life.

Unfortunately, many American adults are not blessed with good oral health.  This is evidenced by the fact that according to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 20 million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth.  The ADA also reports that more than 100 million people in the United States are missing between 11 to 15 of their teeth. Tooth decay in America is also a problem, especially in children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects more than 1/4 of U. S. children between the ages of 2 and 5 and half of children between the ages of 12 and 15.  Lastly, periodontal disease is rampant in American adults.  According to the CDC, half of American adults have some stage of periodontal disease, many of them undiagnosed.  This is unfortunate because untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.

Cavities, periodontal disease and missing teeth are largely preventable dental health conditions.  Many of these cases can be avoided with proper daily dental hygiene, regular dental care and a healthy, well-balanced diet.  If you are one of the many Americans who is not blessed with good oral health, now is the time to turn things around. Talk to your dentist today about the steps you can take to improve your dental health in the new year.

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

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EPA Wants New Standards to Reduce Dental Mercury Entering the Environment

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that can be mixed with other metals to make amalgam:  a popular compound used to make dental fillings.  However, Mercury is a know neurotoxin and exposure to Mercury at certain levels has been linked to a number of health problems.  As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned about the amount of Mercury entering the environment.

Mercury is introduced into the environment when dentists remove old amalgam fillings or remove excess amalgam when placing new fillings. As a result, about half of the Mercury that enters water treatment systems comes from dental offices.  The EPA is proposing new standards to reduce the amount of Mercury released from dental offices.  These changes would fall under the Clean Water Act and would reduce metal discharge to water systems by almost 9 tons a year.

Currently, there are standards set by the American Dental Association (ADA) that give guidelines for the safe removal and disposal of amalgam materials.  Many state and local governments currently require amalgam separators and other practices in dentists’ offices in order to reduce the release of mercury. The American Dental Association strongly recommends such measures. These standards are already in place in approximately 40% of dental offices across the country.  This new rule would serve to strengthen the human health protection that is already in place.

Due to health concerns regarding exposure to Mercury vapors from amalgam fillings, many individuals are electing to have their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite resin or porcelain fillings.  Others make this decision purely for cosmetic reasons.  If you have amalgam fillings in your mouth and would like to have them removed, talk to your dentist about the safe removal of these fillings today.

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

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Choosing the Right Toothpaste

If you take a stroll down the dental health aisle at any grocery store or drugstore, you will see over 40 different types and brands of toothpastes. There are toothpastes with added fluoride, toothpastes for kids, teeth whitening toothpastes, tartar control toothpastes, toothpastes for sensitive teeth and more. With all these choices, how do you choose the one that is right for you? Here are some tips:

1. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to strengthen your teeth. Studies have shown that using a fluoride toothpaste helps to increase the concentration of fluoride in the teeth. This can help protect your teeth against tooth decay.

2. Choose a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Toothpastes that have earned the seal of approval from the ADA have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent panel of experts. All toothpastes that are approved by the ADA contain fluoride.

3. Consider any special needs including tooth sensitivity, tartar buildup or tooth discoloration. If you have any of these issues, you may want to choose a toothpaste that is specially made to treat your condition.

Most dentists agree that the type of toothpaste you choose is not the important factor in your dental health. The most important factor in your dental health is your daily dental hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily and flossing your teeth at least one time per day.

If you are still confused over which type or brand of toothpaste to buy, talk to your dentist. He or she can give you some recommendations based on your particular dental health needs and dental health history.

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

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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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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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If You Are Trying to Get Pregnant, Now is a Good Time to Visit the Dentist

If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, you probably have a long lists of things to do to prepare for your pregnancy. You will need to buy a crib, decorate a nursery and figure out childcare, if you are a working professional.  You may also need to make some important lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight or limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine.  All these things are important to increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.  Is visiting the dentist on your list? If not, it should be.  If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, it is a good idea to visit the dentist for a routine dental checkup now, before you actually become pregnant.  This will give your dentist the opportunity to diagnose and treat any dental health issues such as tooth decay, gum recession and periodontal disease, before you become pregnant.  This way, if anesthesia is required for your procedure, you do not have to worry about exposing your unborn child to it.  Additionally, some individuals experience anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist for dental procedures.  Due to the harmful affects of stress on the body, it is important to minimize stress and anxiety as much as possible during pregnancy.

The other reason that it is important to visit the dentist before you become pregnant is because the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.  Since periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, getting regular professional dental cleanings is important to prevent this serious condition.  Once you do become pregnant, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups to prevent periodontal disease.

If you have questions about pregnancy and your dental health, talk to your dentist today.  If it has been over six months since you last visited the dentist and you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, visit your dentist today for a routine dental checkup.

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

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

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American Academy of Pediatrics Offers New Dental Recommendations

If you have a baby or toddler, you have the important job of caring for your child’s dental health.  The preventive dental care that your child receives today can have a large effect on his or her dental health in the future.  For this reason, it is important to be aware of the recommendations made by dental health experts for the care of children’s teeth.  You may be interested to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently offered new dental recommendations.  These new recommendations were published online on August 25 in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the new guidelines, all children should start using toothpaste with fluoride as soon as the teeth appear.  This is regardless of their risk for developing cavities.  However, the amount recommended for use does vary according to the child’s age.  The AAP recommends using a smear (the size of a grain of rice) for children under the age of three.  Starting at age three, they recommend using a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste.

The AAP guidelines also recommend the application of a fluoride varnish by a dentist every three to six months, as soon as the teeth appear.  This is to protect against tooth decay, one of the most chronic diseases affecting American children. However, the AAP does not recommend the use of fluoride rinses in children under the age of six.  This is due to a concern about the risk for children under the age of six swallowing more than the recommended levels of fluoride.

If you have questions about your child’s dental health, talk to your dentist today.  As a parent, you are your child’s best defense against tooth decay and other serious dental health issues.

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

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Preventive Dental Care

Do you have fire extinguishers and smoke alarms in your home?  Do you have a home security system?  Do you have car insurance, homeowners insurance or a life insurance policy?  There is a good chance that you have answered “yes” to all or most of these questions.  These are all examples of preventive measure we take to ensure that we have a long and healthy life and that our finances stay in check.  So what preventive measures do you take to protect your long-term oral health?  After all, your teeth play a big role in your health and your overall quality of life.

Unfortunately, many of us fail to take preventive measures that can help to increase the chances of our teeth lasting for a lifetime. Failing to take preventive measures to protect your teeth today can lead to painful and expensive dental health problems and even tooth loss in the future.  Just think about how many advertisements you have seen on television or heard on the radio about dentures and dental implants.  The reality is that tooth loss is still a big problem for many adults in the United States.

So what are the preventive measures we can take today to safeguard our dental health in the future?  You can start with visiting your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and examinations.  Six-month checkups and cleanings are recommended for most people.  However, if you have dental health issues such as periodontal disease or tooth decay, your dentist may recommend that you come in more often than every six months.

Practicing good daily oral hygiene at home is also vitally important to your long-term dental health.  This means brushing your teeth thoroughly at least two times per day and flossing thoroughly at least one time per day.  Your dentist or oral hygienist can show you the proper techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth.  If you have the tendency to brush your teeth with too much force, you may want to invest in an electric toothbrush.  This will help to prevent gum damage and gum recession from overly aggressive tooth brushing.  If you have periodontal disease, your dentist may also recommend that you rinse your mouth daily with an antimicrobial mouthwash.

Sealants and fluoride treatments are other preventive measures that can be taken to prevent cavities and make the teeth more resistant to decay.  These preventive dental treatments are commonly used for children.  In some cases, they may be recommended for adults.

If you have not been to a dentist in more than six months, schedule an appointment today.  Together, you and dentist can come up with a strategy to help you achieve and maintain good dental health, for life.

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

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Preventing Tooth Decay

What is the best way to treat tooth decay (dental caries)?  The best way to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.  It seems that in the case of your dental health, that old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true.

Brushing your teeth thoroughly at least two times per day and flossing your teeth thoroughly at least one time per day can go a long way in preventing tooth decay.  So can regular professional cleanings from your dentist.  In addition, preventive measures such as sealants and fluoride treatments can be used to make your teeth less susceptible to decay.  What you eat can also play an important role in your dental health.  Staying away from sticky, sugary and highly acidic foods and beverages can cut down on your chances of developing tooth decay.  If you cannot stay away from these types of foods, brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth with water after consuming them will help.

However, if you are not able to prevent tooth decay from occurring, then the next best thing is to treat it when it is in its earliest stages.  If you want to make sure that tooth decay is detected in its earliest stages, it is vitally important that you visit your dentist at least every six months for a routine dental checkup.  This will give your dentist the opportunity to examine your teeth to look for signs of decay.  Your dentist can also order dental X-rays, if necessary.  Dental X-rays can be used to detect tooth decay that is not able to be detected in a physical examination.  In addition, some dentists are now utilizing high powered lasers to detect cavities that cannot even be detected using X-ray technology.

If you have not been to the dentist for a routine dental examination in over six months, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.  What you do today can have a large effect on your dental health in the future.

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