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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

young woman after preventive dentistry

Understanding Preventive Dentistry

What is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry refers to the methods used to care for your teeth so that they can remain healthy. When you use an effective preventive routine, you can prevent gum disease, cavities and other forms of dental conditions that can affect your smile.

Types of Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dental care takes place in the comfort of your home and at your dentist’s office.

  • Brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth on a daily basis is one of the most important parts of having clean and healthy teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing with approved fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day or after every meal. This applies to not only your teeth but also your tongue as brushing your tongue aids in removing bacteria and can make your breath fresher.
  • Flossing. Flossing is helpful in removing bacteria and bits of food from the tight spaces that exist between your teeth. If you are wearing braces, you can use floss threaders to reach beyond the metal brackets. However, it is important that you floss correctly to avoid causing damage to your gums. If in doubt, you can speak to your dentist and request a flossing demonstration to ensure that you can benefit from the practice.
  • Dentist Visits. According to the American Dental Association, regular visits to your dentists is necessary to detecting the early signs of dental problems and ensuring that you have good oral health. You should aim for at least two visits a year so that your dentist can provide you with a professional cleaning and can examine your teeth and gums. Additional visits may be necessary if there are indications of dental issues.
  • Eating a Healthy Diet. In addition to regular cleanings, your teeth also require specific nutrients and minerals, particularly fluoride, in order to remain healthy. This requires that you consume a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. You should also avoid consuming an excessive amount of certain foods that can damage your teeth. This includes sugar in any form, which can adhere to your teeth, and acidic foods and drinks, which can erode tooth enamel.

Benefits of Preventive Dentistry

Being proactive about the health of your teeth has multiple benefits:

  • Less risk of dental issues. Preventive dentistry can lower your chances of experiencing tooth loss and other major dental issues caused by cavities, tooth decay, gum disease or other dental issues.
  • Less risk of secondary health issue. Studies have shown that poor oral health is associated with some health ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and osteoporosis, just to name a few. Maintaining good oral health can help you avoid these conditions.
  • Saves money. Preventive dentistry services are far less costly than restorative dentistry services, such crown or implant installations or root canals. Even if you have dental insurance, the costs related to having poor oral health can be very expensive.

If you have questions about what steps you can take to maintain good oral health, don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist. Your dentist can advise you of the appropriate preventive care techniques for your dental situation.

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mouth body connection

The Mouth-Body Connection Could Not Be Stronger

With toothpaste ads hyper focused on fresh-smelling breath and dazzling white teeth, it’s easy to forget that the benefits of maintaining proper oral hygiene extend far beyond minty breath and pearly whites. In fact, because poor oral health can contribute to various other health issues, it becomes even more crucial to develop healthy oral habits. Need extra motivation to brush twice a day? Just read these six health issues that are affected by a good oral hygiene routine (or lack thereof).

Reduced risk of heart disease

A 2007 study published in the Harvard Health Publications linked chronic gum inflammation with heart disease. In particular, the bacteria that is known to cause periodontitis is also present in the dangerous plaque build-ups in blocked arteries. Other cardiovascular issues that can develop in conjunction with heart disease include blocked vessels and strokes. Improving oral health, particularly gum disease lowers your risk of these cardiovascular problems.

Reduce complications from diabetes

Individuals with diabetes often find it difficult for their bodies to fight infections. As poor oral health often leads to inflammation and infections, it becomes that much more difficult for a person with diabetes to fight an oral infection. Prevent gum infections by creating a proper oral routine that includes brushing after each meal and flossing daily.

Improved lung health

Just because an infection begins in your mouth doesn’t mean that the bacteria stay in your mouth. Bacteria from oral infections can easily travel to the lungs, which then increases lung problems such as inflammation. If you suspect you have an infection, call your dentist immediately before the infection grows and spreads.

Pregnancy and birth weight

While morning sickness may create its challenges by exposing the teeth to high acid levels, excellent oral health is vital for maintaining optimal health for both a pregnant mother and the baby. Experts have shown that mothers with gingivitis are at risk to give birth to babies with low birth weight. Remember to keep routine dental appointments during pregnancy and ask your dentist any questions you have regarding pregnancy and oral health.

Reduce inflammation and joint pain

While it may seem odd that inflammation and pain in joints are connected to oral health, studies show that poor oral health contributes to inflammation elsewhere in the body, and that includes joints. Particularly, the study focuses on Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that causes painful joint swelling. How are these two conditions linked? Scientists believe that the method of tissue destruction in gum disease is the same method of destruction in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Improve mental health and memory

Perhaps the most obvious – yet least discussed –effect of poor oral health is on mental health. Poor hygiene, especially in the cases of decayed teeth, leads to extremely noxious breath, which can create embarrassing social situations and low self-esteem. On the other hand, a mouth free from infections, pain, or decay increases self-esteem and confidence. In addition to increased confidence, good oral health also affects memory; gingivitis has been linked to poorer scores on memory tests.

Keeping your mouth clean is more than just improving your smile; the mouth-body relationship is one that will improve your overall health.

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good oral health

Why Good Oral Health Can Prevent Disease and Sickness

Tooth decay and gum disease can affect more than just your dental health. Research shows that your oral health and systemic health are closely linked. The sticky plaque that builds up on teeth is made up of millions of bacteria. If you slack on your dental care, bacteria from the mouth can lead to inflammation or infection in other parts of the body. This is even more likely if your immune system is already compromised by disease or certain medical treatments. Fortunately, good oral health can significantly reduce your risk of developing a disease and other sicknesses caused by oral bacteria.

Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Poor dental care can result in much more than teeth stains and the occasional cavity. In fact, bacteria from periodontal disease and inflammation of the gums can enter your bloodstream and travel to the heart. Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, has been associated with poor dental health. In a recent study that observed the link between cardiovascular and periodontal disease, researchers found that people with diagnosed periodontal disease are four times more likely to develop a lacunar stroke.

Respiratory infection is another risk of poor oral health. Gum disease can cause you to develop infections in your lungs, such as pneumonia. These infections are caused by breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a prolonged period. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, people who never undergo dental checkups have an 86 percent greater risk of developing pneumonia than people who visit their dentist twice a year.

Your oral health can also affect your long-term memory and thinking skills. Bacteria from gum disease or gingivitis can reach the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head. In time, these bacteria can lead to the development of various dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study consisting of donated brain samples from ten people with dementia and ten people without, the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis was found in the brain of dementia patients. These bacteria have been found to induce brain changes in Alzheimer’s patients.

Tips for Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene consists of a mouth free of decay and debris. Your gums should appear pink and should not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss. Also, bad breath should not be an ongoing issue. If you struggle with these issues, it’s time to enhance your oral health care. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to prevent the development of tooth decay and gum disease. You should also visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough examination and cleaning.

How you care for your teeth and gums has a direct effect on the rest of your body. Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and must be properly cleaned on a routine basis to keep the production of bacteria at a healthy level. Neglect your teeth and gums and your health as a whole will suffer. If you are experiencing health problems that you believe are associated with your oral health, discuss your concerns with a dentist.

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probiotics-gum-disease-oral

Using Probiotics to Fight Gum Disease

If you’re experiencing bleeding, swollen or receding gums, these could be signs of gum disease, which is a serious gum infection. The causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, medical conditions or genetic predisposition. Treating gum disease may be as simple as improving oral hygiene or as involved as oral surgery, depending on the severity of the disease. Whatever the cause, gum disease requires immediately dental treatment to avoid further issues such as tooth loss. Common treatments for advanced gum disease is scaling and root planing, and new research suggests that probiotics can help support the effectiveness of this procedure.

Scaling and Root Planing Explained

When someone has gum disease, bacteria thrive and grow between their teeth and gums leading to infection. As the infection worsens, the bacteria makes the space between the teeth and gums larger to make room for their growing numbers, and this leads to larger “gum pockets.” To stop and reverse the infection, a dentist needs to remove the bacteria from the gum pockets through a procedure such as scaling and root planing. During scaling, the dentist removes tartar, the hardened oral bacteria, from the tooth surfaces. Following scaling, the dentist performs root planing that smooths out the tooth area that bacteria made rough. Without smoothing that rough surface, the oral bacteria will return quickly. To aid in the elimination of the remaining bacteria, dentists usually introduce antibiotics to prevent new bacteria growth.

Assistance from Probiotics

Although scaling and root planing is a highly effective way to treat and reverse gum disease, it’s not 100% effective, and sometimes the bacteria starts growing in the gum tissue again, causing a worse infection. This is especially a problem for patients who don’t maintain good oral hygiene or are genetically vulnerable to gum disease. According to a new study, probiotics may be able to help in the fight against gum disease. Probiotics refer to the bacterium or other organisms that have a symbiotic and beneficial relationships with the body. Probiotics can aid in oral health because they attack or compete with harmful bacteria, which helps protect dental implants and prevents reinfection of gums following root planing and scaling. Some probiotics such as Lactobacillus Reuteri can also improve the attachment between gums and teeth and lead to lower incidences of bleeding gums. Probiotics are considered safe and may be an ideal addition to traditional treatments for gum disease.

Creative Dental provides the most innovative, effective treatments to prevent and reverse gum disease so every patient can have a healthy, strong gums and teeth.

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Men Oral Health

Men’s Unique Oral Health Aspects

Men and women are different in numerous ways, and this includes their oral health. Although everyone benefits from practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly for exams and cleanings, there are certain things that differentiate men need to know. Taking a proactive approach to dental health and understanding their unique oral makeup can help men avoid serious dental issues and maintain a healthy smile.

Larger, longer tongues

For whatever evolutionary reason, human males have larger, longer tongues than females, and that may be because their mouths are usually a bit bigger too. That larger tongue needs as much attention as a woman’s smaller tongue and men need to inspect their tongue to ensure it’s healthy. Healthy tongues are firm, pink and free of unusual bumps, dry spots, discolored areas or colored coatings. An unhealthy-looking tongue can be an early indicator of health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or an infection. If a man notices something strange with his tongue, it’s time to visit the dentist for an exam.

Healthy smile can improve dating life

One of the first things both men and women look at when they first meet someone is their smile. In the world of offline and online dating, a man with a confident, healthy smile in person and photos can greatly improve his chances of making a connection. According to certain online dating apps, a man who takes care of his oral health is more likely to take care of his overall health or at least appear that he does.

Men’s beards usually cleaner than their toothbrushes

Although bacteria exist in beards, it’s not the same type of bacteria found in the toilet, which is good news for beard lovers. What’s not good news is that while a man’s beard may be clean, his toothbrush could be teaming with bacteria found in toilets. Actually, anyone who stores their toothbrush on the sink or out in the open somewhere in the bathroom can have traces of fecal bacteria on it. The best way to keep a toothbrush free of such unpleasant bacteria is by storing it inside a cabinet and replacing the entire toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months and after any sickness. To avoid transferring such bacteria to their beards, men should never groom with an old toothbrush.

Nighttime snacking issues

Men tend to snack more at night than their female counterparts do, and they don’t concern themselves with fad diets, but they also tend to skip meals during the day. Studies show that men may start out the day by eating healthy, but by the end of the day snack more and succumb to junk food cravings at night. Add in the fact that at least half of men only brush their teeth once a day and it creates issues for men’s oral health. When men don’t brush their teeth after consuming sugars and acids before bed or during a midnight snack, that bacteria sits on the teeth overnight and leads to plaque buildup and accelerated decay. Men and women both need to brush their teeth at least twice a day, floss daily and maintain regular dental visits to ensure great oral health. A man who wants to keep his smile healthy and handsome also needs to seek treatment for bite or alignment issues to avoid tooth damage and ensure overall health.

There’s nothing “manly” about ignoring your dental health so contact Creative Dental today to set up an exam and cleaning.

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healthy mouth healthy life

A Healthy Smile Equals Healthier Life

When you’re not feeling up to going to the gym, it’s encouraging to know that just flossing your teeth is a healthy and easy way to increase your life expectancy. Daily flossing can increase a person’s life expectancy by 3-5 years because it prevents bacterial mouth infections that can affect the bloodstream, harden arteries and cause heart disease. Even if you don’t like flossing (as most people don’t), it’s worth the effort for a healthier life. Other ways you might not know about show how having a healthy smile promotes a healthier life.

Maintain healthy blood sugar

Over 100 million people in the U.S. have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, which means they have a high risk of developing diabetes. With so many people eating processed, pre-made food that’s full of sugar, diabetes is fast becoming an American epidemic. Fortunately, by maintaining a clean mouth free from gum disease, you can improve your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar. Avoiding gum disease can also prevent other bacteria related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Another great way to maintain oral health and overall health is by reducing your sugar intake, drinking more water and brushing after meals to reduce bacteria that can lead to gum disease.

Lower risk of dementia

A recent study of residents in a California retirement community found that oral health and mental health have a strong connection. The study covered a period from 1992-2010 and involved participants ranging in age from 52-105 with the average age around 81 years old. None of the study participants had dementia when the study began, and they all answered questions regarding their dental health such as if they wore dentures and what condition their teeth were in.

When the researchers returned to the community 18 years later, they conducted interviews, reviewed medical records and researched death certificates to discover that approximately 1/5 of them had received a diagnosis of dementia. Of the women in the study who reported brushing less than once a day, 21 out of 78 had dementia by 2010, which is around 1 case per 3.7 women. The female participants who brushed at least once a day had one case of dementia per 4.5 women. What this indicates is that there’s a 65% increased chance of developing dementia for those who brush less than once a day. Researchers believe the reason for this is that without daily brushing, gum disease can develop, and when bacteria enter the brain, it can cause damage, inflammation and increased likelihood of dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily and maintaining regular dental exams and cleanings does much more than just brighten your smile, it helps keep your whole body healthy. Schedule your exam and cleaning with Creative Dental today to promote your best health.

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tongue ring oral health

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercing such as piercing the lip, cheek or tongue continues to be an appealing form of self-expression for certain individuals. While the practice of oral piercings is not new, that does not guarantee that having it done is always safe. Oral piercings have several health related risks and can affect the health of a person’s teeth and gums without proper care.

Increased risk of gum disease

Anyone with oral piercing has an increased risk of gum disease, but it’s especially bad for those with long-stem tongue jewelry. When the jewelry contacts gum tissue and causes injury, that gum tissue may recede and lead to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Damaged teeth

When mouth jewelry contacts teeth, it can cause cracks or chips that require dental attention to repair. A dental journal report showed that almost half of people who wore long-stem tongue jewelry for four years or more suffered, at least, one chipped tooth.

Oral function difficulty

Tongue piercings stimulate the development of excessive saliva production, and this can lead to drooling. Tongue piercings can also interfere with normal chewing, food swallowing, taste buds and clear speech.

Risk of infections and diseases

Having oral piercing performed increases the risk of infections for several reasons. The piercing creates a wound in the mouth, which is an area already full of bacteria and the jewelry introduces new bacteria. These factors work together to increase the potential for infection. There’s also an increased risk for transmission of diseases including hepatitis B and C and herpes simplex.

Potential development of heart problems

The wound created from an oral piercing can increase the chances of bacteria entering the bloodstream. These bacteria in the bloodstream can result in the development of an inflammation of the heart valves, called endocarditis, in people with underlying/undiagnosed heart issues.

Bleeding and nerve damage

Sometimes nerve damage occurs during piercing, and this causes loss of sensation or numbness as the piercing site and potential movement problems for pierced tongues. Prolonged bleeding can occur if the piercing punctures blood vessels and sometimes tongues swell so severely from piercing that they can block the airway and cause difficulty breathing.

Allergic reactions

Allergic contact dermatitis is a hypersensitive reaction to the metal of oral piercings, and this can lead to health complications.

Risk of swallowing jewelry

If the jewelry of the oral piercing becomes loose, the person can potentially choke on it or swallow it and damage the lungs or digestive tract.

Undergoing an oral piercing is a personal choice, but it’s important to understand all of the potential short and long-term risks before proceeding. Help protect your mouth by maintaining regular dental exams with Creative Dental.

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Allergies and Oral Health

Did You Know Allergies Can Affect Oral Health?

As spring and warmer weather approach, many people are already suffering from seasonal allergies and dealing with sneezing, running noses and itchy eyes. Along with these unpleasant discomforts, allergies can also affect dental health. It’s important to know how certain allergy symptoms can lead to oral trouble so patients can seek treatment when necessary.

Sore throat

When sinuses become congested from allergies, a sore throat is common sinuses drain and mucus travels down the throat causing irritation. The throat can become swollen, painful and itchy and even lead to tooth discomfort without treatment.

Toothaches

Allergies may lead to pain in the teeth, usually the molars and can increase sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages. When a body reacts to allergies, it can create more tooth pain as the immune system tries to deal with congestion and other allergy issues. Located on either side of the nose, sinuses are designed to drain upward but as this is difficult to accomplish in daily life, the sinuses become congested, mucus builds up, and upper molars can become inflamed leading to toothaches.

Dry mouth

Seasonal allergy medicines both over the counter and prescribed tend to dry a person out as they seek to clear sinuses and remove mucus. Unfortunately, this can lead to dry mouth. When a mouth becomes extremely dry, it reduces saliva production and without enough saliva, the mouth can’t remove harmful bacteria and food particles that lead to decay. Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath. A patient suffering from dry mouth due to allergy medications should consult their dentist to find ways to improve saliva production.

Disguises bigger issues

Many symptoms and reactions from allergies that cause oral discomfort can have a connection to bigger dental issues such as tooth decay, infection and gum disease. Patients shouldn’t dismiss oral pain because they feel it’s due to allergies, they need to consult a dentist to make sure the allergies aren’t hiding something more serious. A thorough dental exam can help rule out or diagnose oral issues that require treatment and the dentist can also suggest ways to deal with allergy symptoms while keeping your mouth healthy.

If you’re suffering from allergies and it’s causing oral pain, it’s important to contact a dentist right away to avoid tooth or gum issues. Creative Dental can help keep your smile beautiful no matter what’s in bloom and wreaking allergy havoc this spring and summer.

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diabetes and tooth loss

Diabetes May Increase Risk of Tooth Loss

A diagnosis of diabetes increases a person’s risk of other health complications. Diabetes may result in damage to small and large blood vessels that increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Diabetes can damage nerves, eyes, kidneys and feet. Current research also indicates that diabetes may have a link to tooth loss.

Duke University study

A study conducted from 1971-2012 by Duke University researchers found that tooth loss can be another health issue related to diabetes. The study of over 37,000 Americans showed that people with diabetes lose twice the number of teeth as non-diabetics. The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey revealed that people with diabetes were 34% less likely than non-diabetics to have at least 21 of their natural teeth.

Additional factors affecting diabetic tooth loss

Tooth loss in the United States has been declining for 40 years, but diabetics are still more prone to losing teeth. Ethnicity also plays a role in tooth loss as African Americans with diabetes show a greater risk of tooth loss than Mexican or Caucasian Americans. The leading cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease and for those with diabetes, gum disease is a common complication. Approximately 10% of the population, or 29 million people, have a diagnosis of diabetes, and this represents a bewildering number of people at a higher risk of developing gum disease.

Importance of diagnosis and care

Adding to the increased risk of tooth loss is the fact that approximately 8 million people with diabetes haven’t been diagnosed with the disease. Without knowing they have diabetes, patients don’t know that they need to be more involved with their oral health than those who don’t have diabetes. When people receive the proper diagnosis of diabetes, they can then take steps to protect their overall and oral health and avoid tooth loss. Everyone benefits from good oral hygiene, but it’s especially important that diabetics take a proactive commitment to their oral health. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are some of the best ways to prevent tooth loss.

At Creative Dental, we’re committed to helping all of our patients maintain and protect their healthy smile. If you have diabetes, we can help you avoid tooth loss with regular, thorough periodontal exams and advice on improving oral health habits at home as needed.

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Care after dental restoration procedures

Updated Guidelines for Dental Restoration Care

At the end of 2015, The American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) published new guidelines regarding the care and maintenance of dental restorations. These guidelines covered restorations supported by dental implants and those supported by natural teeth. The new guidelines don’t contain anything surprising, but it’s important to understand the reasoning behind any oral health recommendations.

Long-standing recommendations

The updated recommendations from the ACP uphold what’s been the standard of dental restoration care for a while. The ACP still recommends visits to the dentists every six months for inspection, care and maintenance of dental restorations including dental implants, porcelain veneers and dental crowns. The guidelines encourage dentists to clean natural teeth and restorations thoroughly and with the correct tools to avoid potential damage to restorations.

At home recommendations from the ACP encourage people to follow good oral hygiene practices including twice daily brushing, flossing at least once a day and using any supplement methods necessary to remove food debris and plaque from the gum line and between teeth. Patients with complex and multiple restorations on natural teeth that surround or support a removable restoration, the ACP suggests using chlorhexidine rinses, high fluoride toothpaste and the addition of triclosan antibiotic when necessary.

The need for additional study

One of the biggest revelations from the ACP’s 2015 guidelines was that only a few of the current clinical care recommendations have good, science-based support. In clinical care guidelines, the quality of evidence receives ratings that range from A to D; with A being the best score. The ACP issued a “D” rating for a majority of the guidelines because they’re extrapolated from or based on lower-quality evidence. The recommendations that received an “A” rating from ACP include thorough dental exams, brushing and flossing twice a day and the guidelines for complex and multiple dental restorations. Despite the “lower quality” evidence, it’s still advisable to follow the existing care recommendations as they’re based accurately on existing evidence. Additional study and research will yield better information and help create recommendations that receive a higher rating from the ACP.

The best place to receive recommendations that pertain to your specific dental restorations is from a qualified dental professional. At Creative Dental, we have extensive experience with many forms of dental restorations and understand the proper care and maintenance required to help those restorations last without the need for replacement or removal. Contact us today to discuss ways to improve and protect your smile.

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