Parents often don’t realize the importance of dental hygiene for toddler teeth. Encouraging the proper care of your child’s teeth will help develop skills they’ll carry with them for a lifetime as well as reduce tooth decay during childhood. There is a risk of decay from the moment a tooth first erupts. This decay can eventually lead to tooth loss, but fortunately, it is easily prevented. Simply follow a few basic hygiene guidelines. Continue reading
Our teeth go through a lot through out our lifetime. They experience incredible pressure over the course of a person’s life. Mix in diets high in cavity-causing sugar and carbohydrates. with poor dental hygiene and/or health issues and it becomes a recipe for painful toothaches that are inevitable. Continue reading
Today, piercing is a common way to express yourself. Those interested in body art should be aware of the risks associated with it, especially when it comes to oral piercings, like a tongue piercing. Other types of oral piercings may involve the lips, cheeks or a combination of sites on the face. Some piercings are problematic, resulting in unexpected conditions. Before you make any choices that can severely affect your health, it’s important to know the realities of different procedures. Continue reading
Wisdom teeth extraction is a procedure many individuals go through, typically between the ages of 16 and 24. In some cases, dental patients do not have to have their wisdom teeth extracted at all. This is often a matter of professional opinion, with some dentists choosing to remove teeth that may cause problems in the future. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make, and it is always wise to consider the benefits of having your wisdom teeth pulled. Continue reading
You may think you’re doing all the right things to keep your teeth healthy and clean, but perhaps you are buying into some common tooth myths that are not completely true. Believing some of these tooth myths can potentially cause damage to your teeth, so it is important to identify fact versus fiction in dental care.
>Myth #1: “I have cavities because my parents had cavities.”
Actually, genetics have almost no influence in your likelihood of developing cavities. Almost every cavity is preventable with a proper diet combined with a good brushing and flossing routine.
>Myth #2: “My teeth are so healthy because I brush after every meal.”
Believe it or not, brushing immediately after eating may actually do more harm than good for your teeth. Your mouth produces extra saliva after eating in order to counterbalance the acids in the foods you just ate. If you brush while those acids are still on your teeth, the brush may scrape off the protective enamel from your teeth. You should, of course, still brush your teeth twice daily. However, try to wait an hour after eating to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.
>Myth #3: “There’s nothing worse for your teeth than sugary candy.”
While candy is certainly not the healthiest food for your teeth (or for the rest of your body), it is not necessarily the worst food for your teeth either. Other foods with high starch contents like chips, crackers and cookies contain lots of sugar and tend to hang around your teeth longer than candy. This can cause more damage than some candies which dissolve quickly.
>Myth #4: “If your gums start bleeding, stop brushing for a few days to give them a rest.”
Gums often bleed due to inflammation from stuck food particles or plaque buildup. Sometimes gums will also bleed because you are brushing too hard. However, the solution to bleeding gums is never to avoid brushing and flossing. As always, if the problem persists, talk to your dentist.
>Myth #5: “You don’t need to brush! Just have a stick of gum!”
Chewing gum (always sugar-free) can be a good way to clean teeth and the spaces in between them. However, there is no substitute for regular, thorough brushing and flossing. Gum simply cannot get into all the cracks and crevices that a brush and floss can reach. Never confuse fresh breath with proper dental care!
It has long been known that postmenopausal women tend to be susceptible to losses in bone loss and fractures. However, a recent study shows that these symptoms may also point to a higher susceptibility for gum disease. Continue reading
Beavers are famous for their prominent front teeth. They are exceptionally hardy, especially given all of the stuff they help their owners chomp through. But, beavers are not known for their remarkable regimen of regular brushing and flossing. So, how do they keep their teeth in such remarkably good shape in the wild and what can we learn from them?
A new Northwestern University study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth that does not rely on fluoride toothpaste or special floss. Their trick, developed from millions of years of evolution, is iron.
Unlike the shiny white teeth of cartoon beavers, real beavers’ front teeth have a reddish-brown pigmentation. It turns out that this is actually iron in the teeth that makes them harder and more resistant to acid than the regular enamel found in most animals’ teeth. Now, scientists believe this finding could lead to new treatments for humans to help improve tooth strength and fight weakening enamel and cavities.
The research team discovered that material surrounding the core structures of tooth enamel were what actually gave the teeth their acid resistance and strength. The teams was the first to discover these structures, and it is believed that this could be a huge step forward for dental science.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, but a major part of the mechanical destruction of the tooth has to do with the emission of acidic compounds by the bacteria. Finding ways to harden teeth against these acidic conditions, as beavers have done by evolution, could be one way to help prevent cavities.
According to the American Dental Association, Americans spend nearly $111 billion a year on dental treatments. An enormous portion of that is spent on addressing cavities or other tooth decay issues. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of all children worldwide, and nearly 100 percent of adults have or have had cavities at some point in their lives. Consequently, finding a way to prevent cavities rather than simply treating them could be a major development.
The biggest downside of using iron as a means of bolstering tooth strength is the reddish brown color it causes the teeth to exhibit. While the teeth of beavers are far superior at resisting acidic conditions than the teeth of other mammals, it is not going to make for a very aesthetically pleasing treatment for humans if it has the effect of discoloring the teeth.
Still, this discovery could be the beginning of revolutionary new breakthroughs in oral health. Better than simply treating the effects of tooth decay, such a treatment could reduce the occurrence of cavities in the first place. But, it will likely be several years before these findings affect the ways we treat our teeth.
When visiting a dentist, you may hear them refer to the condition of your gums. They might use words like “inflamed,” “puffy,” or recite numbers reflecting the relative health of the gums. It is no surprise that healthy teeth and gums are of great concern to a dentist, concerned with maximizing your oral health. Continue reading
Getting kids to brush may be a chore, but it is a vitally important task. In fact, new research shows it may be even more important than once believed. A new study suggests that tooth decay may actually stunt a child’s growth.
The study, published in the online version of Pediatrics Journal, was conducted by a joint research team from the University College London and King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital in Saudi Arabia. In the study, the team set out to see what effects dental health had on child development. Previous studies had turned out inconclusive, so this team took a number of extra steps to ensure valid correlations.
The team’s results were shocking. Researchers examined the state of decay of children’s teeth and compared that to the height and weight of children in Saudi Arabia aged between 6 and 8. An examination of the data revealed a relevant correlation between tooth decay and child development. Children with severe decay had a higher chance of being underweight and shorter when compared to their peers.
To avoid false positives in their research, the team went to great lengths to rule out secondary factors like social values, demographics, etc. Even after adjusting for these factors, the team found that a correlation existed.
Of course, the study does leave some questions to be answered. It is not clear whether the child’s development caused the tooth decay issues or vice versa. However, the researchers point to the results of similar studies that, while inconclusive, did hint at the tooth decay actually being the cause of the low body weight and height, and not the reverse.
While additional research will be required to confirm the team’s findings, the results are quite intriguing. For parents who have a hard time getting their kids to take care of their teeth (which is most parents), this may be one more tool to motivate those children to brush and floss. Unlike promising they can grow big and strong by eating their vegetables, there is actually some hard science backing up the claim that regular brushing will help them in that department.
Researchers at the University College London (UCL) have discovered a correlation between memory and walking speeds of adults and their relative state of tooth loss. The study found that the memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some or all of their own teeth.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at 3,166 adults aged 60 or over. The individuals were participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), an extremely long-term research initiative to track the exact effects of aging in humans. The UCL study compared the research subjects’ performance in tests of memory and walking speed. The results showed that individuals with none of their own teeth performed approximately 10% worse in both memory and walking speed tests than those who still had some or all of their own teeth. Notably, use of dentures or other artificial tooth appliances did not have any effect on the results.
The association between total tooth loss and memory was confirmed only after the results were fully adjusted for a wide range of factors. After all, the results could create a “chicken and egg” paradox, where the tooth loss could simply be another symptom of the true cause of the other afflictions. The factors for which the researchers adjusted included socio-demographic characteristics (income, education, etc.), existing health problems, physical health, behaviors that affect health (e.g., smoking and drinking), depression, relevant biomarkers, and socioeconomic status. However, even after adjusting for all of these possible influences, people without teeth still walked slightly slower than those with teeth.
The correlation between tooth loss and poorer memory and worsening physical function was most pronounced in adults between the ages of 60 and 74. The results were statistically less significant for those over the age of 75. Lead author of the study, Dr. Georgios Tsakos noted:
“Tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60-74 year olds … We find that common causes of tooth loss and mental and physical decline are often linked to socioeconomic status, highlighting the importance of broader social determinants such as education and wealth to improve the oral and general health of the poorest members of society … Regardless of what is behind the link between tooth loss and decline in function, recognizing excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life. There are many factors likely to influence this decline, such as lifestyle and psycho-social factors, which are amenable to change.”
While the results of the study are very interesting, it leaves many questions unanswered. Still, it may be a solid indication of the importance of tooth health to the rest of the human body, particularly later in life. Even if the tooth loss had no effect on mental and physical well-being, it clearly has an impact on quality of life. Thus, regardless of one’s concern about weakening mind and body later in life, good dental hygiene can lead to a better life and a full, toothy smile that lasts a lifetime.