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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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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Tobacco and Your Teeth

Tobacco, whether it is smoked or chewed can have lasting negative effects on your oral health.  At best, it can cause severe tooth discoloration that is hard to treat.  At worst, it can cause oral cancer, an extremely aggressive and often deadly type of cancer that forms on the mouth or throat.  Smoking tobacco (cigarettes) can also make you more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease and eventually tooth loss.

It can be very difficult to remove tobacco stains from your teeth using traditional methods of bleaching/teeth whitening such as over-the-counter treatments, professional take-home whitening kits (purchased from a dentist) and professional in-office whitening treatments.  Therefore, individuals with tobacco-stained teeth are many times forced to consider more expensive options such as bonding and porcelain veneers.

The facts related to oral cancer are very sobering. According to statistics posted on the Oral Cancer Foundation website, “close to 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.  It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades.” This highlights the importance of getting regular oral cancer screenings from your dentist.  Most dentists will screen for oral cancer on a regular basis.  If you smoke, your dentist may recommend more frequent oral cancers screenings for you.  Early detection is one of the best ways to fight this serious disease.

Both current and former smokers have an increased risk for developing periodontal disease and are at risk for developing more severe periodontal disease than people who have never smoked.  This is because smoking causes systemic immuno-suppression and impairment of soft tissue and bone cell function.  If you are a current smoker or you smoked in the past, it is vitally important for you to get regular dental checkups so your dentist can check for signs of periodontal disease such as red, swollen or bleeding gums and gums that are receding.  This will enable your dentist to detect and treat gum disease when it is in the earlier stages.  Early detection and treatment will help to prevent the tooth and bone loss that can occur with late-stage, untreated periodontal disease.

If you are a current smoker and are concerned about your dental health, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.  If you would like to quit smoking or using tobacco products, it is a good idea to talk to your physician.  Your doctor can help you find the resources you need to break this habit.

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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Calcium and Your Dental Health

Calcium is an important mineral that everyone needs to stay healthy.  Most everyone knows that getting an adequate daily intake of calcium is good for your bones.  However, did you know that getting enough calcium is also vitally important for maintaining good dental health?  That is because according to the National Institutes of Health, 99% of the body’s calcium reserves are stored in bones and the teeth.  Calcium is and important mineral that promotes strong teeth and bones.

Not getting enough calcium in your diet can weaken the structure of your teeth and can also make you more at risk for developing periodontal disease, a leading cause of tooth loss.  So, what is the recommended daily intake of calcium for the average person?  The answer is that it depends on your age and your gender.  For men and women ages 19-50 years, the daily recommended calcium intake is 1000 mg.  For women between the ages of 51-70, the daily recommended calcium intake is 1200 mg.  For men of the same age group, the daily recommended intake is 1000 mg.

How can we get an adequate amount of calcium into our diet?  The best way is to eat a wide variety of foods that are rich in calcium such as milk, yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens, legumes and certain types of fruit.  There are also a number of foods that are enriched with calcium including orange juice, breads and cereals.  If you are not able to get an adequate supply of calcium into your system through your diet, your doctor may recommend that you take a daily calcium supplement.  Your doctor can recommend the correct dose to meet your needs.

If you want to have good dental health in the future, it is important to get an adequate intake of calcium today.  The next time you are at the grocery store, make sure that you pick up some calcium-rich foods.  Your teeth will thank you!

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Have You Skipped Your Regular Dental Checkup?

Have you skipped your regular dental checkup?  If so, you are not alone.  In fact, in a Gallup poll conducted in 2013, one third of Americans said they did not visit the dentist at all in the past year.  This is unfortunate because regular dental visits provide an opportunity for your dentist to spot oral health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable.  That is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting your dentist regularly:  every six months for most people.  However, if you have dental health problems such as periodontal disease or tooth decay, you may need to visit the dentist more frequently.

The same Gallup poll showed that women are more likely to visit the dentist than men.  It also found marked differences between different age groups and races.  For example, fifty-five percent of both African Americans and Hispanics reported visiting the dentist at least once during the last year while the percentage of whites and Asians was seventy.  Adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine were the least likely to have visited the dentist during the last year.  Interestingly, married adults are more likely to visit the dentist than single adults.  Perhaps the most dramatic differences in dental habits were among the different income groups.  This makes sense because access to care is mainly determined by financial resources and/or employer provided dental insurance.  Those who earn $120,000 or more annually are about twice as likely as those who earn $12,000.00 or less to visit the dentist each year.

The bottom line is that getting regular dental care including visiting your dentist for regularly scheduled dental cleanings and exams is very important.  Getting good dental care now can prevent you from needing more costly and painful dental care in the future.  If you skipped your last dental appointment, call and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

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

Receding gums are a common dental health problem affecting a large number of Americans.  Gum recession refers to the process by which the gum tissue that surrounds to teeth pulls back or wears away, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root.  When this occurs, pockets or gaps form between the teeth and the gum line, leaving a place for bacteria to accumulate and cause problems.  If left untreated, this harmful bacteria can damage and destroy the supporting tissue and bone structure of the teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss.

There are a number of factors that can lead to gum recession including periodontal disease, genetic factors, hormonal changes, overly aggressive tooth brushing, using tobacco products and grinding and/or clenching your teeth.  If your receding gums are being caused by periodontal disease, you need to visit your dentist for treatment.  There are a variety of treatments that can be used to treat periodontal disease including a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), antimicrobial medications and even surgery.  If your gum recession is being caused by hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancy, puberty or menopause, your dentist may recommend more frequent dental cleanings than every six months.  If your receding gums are being caused by overly aggressive tooth brushing, your dentist may recommend that you invest in an electrically powered toothbrush such as a Sonicare.  This type of toothbrush will prevent you from placing too much pressure on the gums when you brush and will help to prevent you from dragging the toothbrush against your gums.

One thing is for certain:  gum recession should not be ignored.  If you notice that your gums are receding or are experiencing tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.   After a thorough evaluation, your dentist can recommend the most appropriate treatment or treatments to help safeguard your long-term dental health.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Today’s Dentures

Today’s dentures are not like the dentures of the past. In the past, many denture wearers complained of uncomfortable, loose-fitting dentures that had the appearance of false teeth.  For these reasons, this tooth replacement system left a lot to be desired.  However, with today’s advanced technology and manufacturing processes, today’s dentures look more like natural teeth, are better-fitted and are more comfortable to wear.  That is good news for the large percentage of Americans with missing teeth.

The Dentca CAD/CAM denture system represents the greatest advancements in denture technology.  The computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing system provides for a faster, more cost-effective method of manufacturing dentures that takes the margin of error out of the process.  Dentures manufactured using the Dentca system require one visit before final denture delivery as opposed to the five visits required by dentures manufactured the conventional way (by hand). As a result, a patient’s chair time is reduced from three hours to only forty-five minutes.  And, using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing reduces the processing time from approximately thirty days to approximately ten days.

Unfortunately, tooth loss remains a problem for a large population of American adults despite advances in dental technology and dental hygiene.  To avoid tooth loss, it is important to visit your dentist for regularly scheduled dental cleanings and checkups and to seek prompt treatment for any dental health issues, especially periodontal disease.  It is also important to practice good daily oral hygiene at home.

If you are currently wearing dentures and are unhappy with their fit or appearance, or are in need of a new pair of dentures, visit a certified Dentca dentist in your local area.  After a thorough evaluation, your dentist can determine whether or not the Dentca denture system is right for you.

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

 
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Non-Surgical Treatments for Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease is a common dental problem that is characterized by an infection of the gums, soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. It is progressive in nature and can range from simple inflammation to serious disease that results in damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth.  If it is not detected and treated early, it can lead to very serious dental health issues, including tooth loss.

The earliest stage of gum disease is referred to as “Gingivitis.”  With Gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen and/or bleed easily. This is caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria called “plaque” on the surface of the teeth. This mild form of gum disease can usually be reversed with daily flossing and brushing and visiting a dentist for a professional dental cleaning. Gingivitis does not involve any loss of the bone and tissue that support your teeth. However, it is really important to treat Gingivitis so it does not progress to Periodontitis.

Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and form spaces or pockets that become infected. As the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line, the body’s immune system fights this harmful bacteria. The body’s natural response to the infection will start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth into place. If Periodontitis is not properly treated in a timely manner, the teeth may become loose and have to be removed.

There are a variety of non-surgical treatments that can be used to treat periodontal disease including antimicrobial medications as well as scaling and root planing.  Scaling and root planing involves a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing is often followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis. In cases where periodontal disease has progressed to severe Periodontitis, surgery may be required.  They key is to find and treat it early, so surgery can be avoided.

If you have swollen or red gums or gums that bleed easily, this could be a sign of periodontal disease. Schedule an appointment with your dentist so you can get it treated before it progresses to Periodontitis.

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

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