Wisdom Teeth Problems: Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Young woman biting her finger nail with the questions, do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Whether you are an adolescent, parent, or grown adult, you’ve probably heard someone tell you about getting wisdom teeth removed.

And, we get it… hearing about a dental procedure is never fun or exciting.

Well…except to us. But that’s beside the point.

If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed yet, you’re probably wondering:

Do I really need my wisdom teeth removed?

Getting your wisdom teeth removed has become a sort of rite of passage – but not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed.

Let’s find out if you need this procedure and what can happen if you keep your wisdom teeth.

What are wisdom teeth?

Not to disappoint you, but…

No, wisdom teeth do not you smarter.

Wisdom teeth get their name because they usually come in when you are older – and one would hope, wiser.

You can expect these teeth around the ages of 17 to 21.

These teeth are located behind all your other teeth, in the very back of your mouth. You can expect two on the top and two on the bottom. Although, this isn’t the case for everyone, but more to come on that.

Wisdom teeth are molars and complete your set of 32 adult teeth. These molars are the toughest of them all, used to grind food, which is why they are wide…

And also cause a lot of problems.

These wisdom teeth problems are why, more often than not, they need to be removed.

Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Here are the four main reasons why your dentist may say you need your wisdom teeth removed:

  1. They are impacted: This means your wisdom teeth cannot come in properly. Most often they lie horizontally, instead of upright, and remain below the gumline. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain.
  2. They come in at the wrong angle: By not coming in straight and upright, they can push against and damage your surrounding teeth.
  3. Your mouth isn’t big enough: Simply put, your jaw does not have enough room for an extra set of molars. Some people theorize that this is because our jaws have changed over time from our diets.
  4. You can’t maintain optimal oral health: If you can’t reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush and floss, then you are going to be more susceptible to cavities and gum disease.

If you ignore your dentist’s advice and keep your wisdom teeth, then you will be putting your smile and health at risk.

Here’s how…

I got 99 problems...are my wisdom teeth one?

Common wisdom teeth problems

Before you read our list of wisdom teeth problems, you should know that:

Each year, 10 million wisdom teeth are removed in the United States.

This is a very common procedure and for good reason.

If you ignore your dentist’s recommendation to have your wisdom teeth removed, then watch out for these common wisdom teeth problems:

  • Ruin your smile: If your extra set of molars do not grow in properly, they can push your other teeth, causing mouth pain and bite problems. Have you had orthodontics? This could throw it all out the window and may require more orthodontic work to straighten everything out.
  • Jaw damage: Cysts can form around unsuitable wisdom teeth. If left untreated, they can destroy bones, roots, and nerves. If a cyst turns into a tumor, you may require surgery.
  • Sinus pain: Wisdom teeth in your upper jaw can push against your sinuses, leading to pain, pressure, headaches, and congestion.
  • Cavities and gum disease: Inflamed gums can be hard to clean. As pockets between the teeth and gums form, bacteria can grow, which can cause cavities and gum disease – the number one cause of unintentional adult tooth loss.

When should I get my wisdom teeth removed?

There isn’t an exact age for wisdom tooth removal.

However, the general rule of thumb is:

The younger the better.

As you get older, your bones become harder, which can make the removal and recovery process more difficult.

So:

If you or your teenage child have never had a wisdom tooth evaluation, then we recommend you schedule one with your dentist.

Your dentist will use x-rays to determine:

  • If you have wisdom teeth – you may not even know if they are hidden
  • If you need to have wisdom teeth removed
  • How many wisdom teeth need to be removed
  • When you should have your wisdom teeth removed

If you need wisdom teeth removed, you and your dentist will outline a treatment plan. To save time, you may be able to have multiple wisdom teeth removed in one appointment.

So, do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

This is honestly a question for your dentist.

Just because you have wisdom teeth doesn’t necessarily mean you need them removed.

You might be lucky and have your wisdom teeth will grow in perfectly straight and healthy.

Or you might be missing one or more wisdom teeth. After all, wisdom teeth are the most commonly missing teeth in adults.

However:

Many people with wisdom teeth get theirs removed to ensure their oral health, comfort, and beautiful smile.

To answer the question, “Do I need my wisdom teeth removed?” contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment or bring it up at your next six-month cleaning.

 


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Gum Disease: Get the Facts [Infographic]

Gum disease: Facts and symptoms.

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a very common illness among adults. You may wonder, “What is it? What are its causes? And is it preventable?”

When plaque isn’t removed by brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, it can become a problem. Bacteria in plaque produce toxins that can infect gum tissue, causing redness, irritation, and bleeding.

As gum disease progresses, gums pull away from teeth, creating pockets. Over time, these pockets can become deeper, and as they fill with bacteria and toxins, gum tissue and bone are destroyed. This could ultimately result in tooth loss.

Initial stages of gum disease can be painless, so it’s important to see your dentist regularly so you can spot the signs and symptoms early!

Early periodontitis can be treated by your dental hygienist. A deep cleaning procedure called scaling, and root planing removes the buildup and bacteria from below the gum line or in areas your toothbrush cannot reach, thus allowing your gums to begin the healing process. After this treatment, the disease can be kept in check with brushing, flossing, and regular maintenance cleanings by your dental team.

Learn more about gum disease in the following infographic.

Gum disease causes, symptoms, and prevention

 

Infographic showing symptoms and causes of gum disease

Regular cleanings and checkups by your dental team are vitally important to keep your gums healthy! If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to express your concerns during your next dental visit.

 


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Do Genetics Influence Oral Health?

Do genetics influence oral health?

We’ve all heard about growing scientific evidence of the effects our genetic makeup may have on a predisposition for certain diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. But what about dental diseases? Have you inherited a genetic inclination for cavities, periodontal disease, crooked teeth, or oral cancer?

You might be surprised to learn what the latest studies have to say about the connection between your genes and your oral health. What part of your oral health is actually in your control?

Genes and cavities

Are genetics a significant factor when it comes to developing cavities? Yes and no. Cavities are caused by bacteria. Sugar in the foods we eat feed the different types of bacteria that live on our teeth. The acid these bacteria produce is what erodes enamel and causes cavities.

A recent study showed that although there was a genetic disposition to some types of tooth bacteria, these generally weren’t the ones associated with tooth decay. Instead, the types of bacteria that could form cavities were those influenced by controllable factors, like eating sugary foods.

However, genetics also affect such things as the strength of your tooth enamel and how much bacteria-fighting saliva you produce. If your family seems to have a high incidence of dental cavities, what can you do? Ask your dentist about protecting your teeth with dental sealants. These can give your teeth the extra protection they may need to fight off the damaging effects of decay.

In the final analysis of the question of “nature or nurture” when it comes to cavities, the likelihood of your getting a cavity is probably more largely affected by environmental factors and not your genes. The best way to prevent cavities is still the dentist-recommended routine of daily brushing and flossing and regularly scheduled hygiene visits.

Genes and gum disease

Gum disease is characterized by sensitive and inflamed gums and if left untreated, can result in tooth and bone loss.

While genetic factors are known to play a role in gum disease, a lot of research still needs to be done to understand all the factors involved in its development. Periodontitis is a complex chronic inflammatory disease which is affected not only by genetic risk factors but also environmental factors and lifestyle. Today, dentists recognize that while genetic factors may be involved, the biggest contributing factor to gum disease is still a lack of consistently good oral care.

Is gum disease a problem members of your family have struggled to control? It would be good to mention it to your dentist. Early diagnosis and treatment is still the best way to protect your gums and teeth.

Is your family to blame for your bad teeth?

Genes and misaligned teeth

If you need braces, you’re probably not the only one in the family. Genetics play a significant role in determining the size of your jaw and teeth. When the jaw doesn’t have sufficient room to accommodate a full set of teeth, it can cause crowding, gaps, overbites, and underbites.

If tooth misalignment is a common problem in your family’s dental history, be sure to tell your dentist and don’t wait to get orthodontic treatment for your child. The earlier the treatment, the better. Early treatment can allow developing bones and teeth to grow in properly and prevent more serious and costly problems later.

Genes and oral cancer

Thousands of Americans die from oral cancer each year. Although lifestyle choices, such as tobacco and alcohol use, are the top risk factors for oral cancer, genetics can also play a minor role. Individuals carrying certain genetic markers have been found to have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Most dentists routinely screen for oral cancer during a patient’s hygiene visit. They use special equipment that can detect early cancer lesions before they have an opportunity to develop any further. If your dentist does not offer this life-saving exam as part of their routine treatment exam, then be sure to ask about it.

Who should you blame?

When it comes to problems with your oral health, as we’ve seen, there are many factors involved. Some of them you can blame on the collective gene pool of your parents; for others, sorry to say, you can only blame yourself.

When it comes to your health, a proactive, preventive approach is always the best course to take. If you know of genetic factors that could affect your oral health, be sure to talk to your dental provider about them, and as for factors you can control, take advantage of these by practicing an excellent oral care routine.

 


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

 

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Wedding Planning – Getting Your Smile Ready for the Big Day

Make your smile shine as white as your wedding dress on your big day!

You’ve finally found the ONE! Wedding planning is underway. There are invitations to design, choosing the bridal party and wedding clothes, deciding which wedding venue to use, and getting to taste-test all those yummy wedding cakes. It’s a day you will remember for the rest of your life, and you want to get everything absolutely perfect.

Getting a talented photographer to document your big day is, of course, imperative. After all, those photos will live on in family albums forever. But even more important than getting the best photographer is making sure your smile is its best!

What can you do to make sure your smile is wedding photo ready? Here are some fast and affordable dental options that will do the job.

Brightening your smile

One of the quickest ways to enhance your smile is with teeth whitening. Teeth can become stained because of the foods you eat and drink, medications you may be taking, or the natural yellowing that comes with age. Professional whitening is the best way to remove built-up stains or yellowing. Your dentist may offer a variety of whitening options.

In-office whitening: This is done in your dentist’s office and can be done in two ways:

  1. Under the supervision of a dental professional, a gel is applied to your teeth, and the powerful whitening agent in it is activated by exposure to a special light. This treatment can dramatically whiten your teeth up to eight shades in just one hour.
  2. Custom-made mouth trays are created for you that will hold professional grade whitening gel securely against the surface of your teeth. Your dentist will supervise the treatment to make sure you achieve the degree of whitening you desire. Length of treatment will depend on how white you want your smile to be.

At-home whitening: This option is similar to the second mentioned above. Custom-made whitening trays and gel are provided for you that will ensure thorough and even whitening results. You will then be able to use this at home whenever and how often you want. You decide!

Nothing says “Bride” more than a gorgeous white dress and matching smile!

It's your wedding! Smile big with a perfect smile.

Repairing your smile

Bonding: If your smile is less than perfect because of chips or cracks, this is a very affordable solution for perfecting it. Bonding is one of the quickest and easiest ways to repair a tooth. A composite resin is color-matched to your teeth and then applied to the surface and shaped. Once you and the dentist are happy with the way it looks, it is hardened with a proprietary light and polished. It will blend beautifully with your smile and look natural.

The best thing about this treatment is that it can erase those irritating flaws in just one visit!

Straightening your smile

Crooked teeth can be embarrassing, especially on a day where your smile is the focal point of everyone’s attention. You may think you don’t have time to improve your smile before your wedding day, but there are a couple of orthodontic treatments you should consider.

Porcelain veneers: If your wedding day is just a few months away, porcelain veneers could be the right solution for you. Often called “instant orthodontics,” porcelain veneers are thin shells of enamel that are adhered to the front of the teeth, changing the shape, size, or color. If your teeth are only slightly crooked or are irregular in size, veneers can make over your smile in only two or three visits. Your dentist will be able to tell you if this is a good option for you.

Invisalign®: If you have more time before the big day arrives, say a year or so, then Invisalign® could be a great option for you. Invisalign uses a series of clear, polymer aligning trays to move your teeth into their correct position. The nearly invisible aligners can be removed to eat, brush, and floss. Treatment with Invisalign® typically takes about 12 months.

Smile for the camera

Having a white, straight, flawless smile will give you the confidence you need to smile big and bright on your special day. There will be no regrets as you look back over your wedding photos, only beautiful, happy smiles and happy memories. So, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials and we hope it will be everything you dreamed it would be!

Schedule your appointment!


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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What Causes Receding Gums?

Smile with receding gums causes and solutions

Receding gums refers to gum tissue that has begun to pull away from the tooth structure, thus exposing more of the tooth and tooth root. What causes gum recession? Should you be alarmed if it happens to you? And can receding gums be fixed?

Left untreated, gum recession could make the tooth root or even bone tissue completely vulnerable—risking damage to the tooth nerve, losing the tooth, or a more severe infection! In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and real solutions for the condition known as receding gums.

What causes receding gums?

As with any condition, many factors can contribute to receding gums.

Periodontal disease takes home the first place prize of what causes receding gums. This spreading infection of the gingivae slowly eats away at your healthy gum and bone tissue.

Brushing your teeth too hard or too much can cause your gums to recede, according to the Journal of Periodontology.

Inadequate oral hygiene contributes to bad bacteria and plaque buildup—which destroy your gums.

Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make your gum tissues more vulnerable to recession. The use of birth control hormones may also have a similar effect.

Tobacco users usually have more plaque buildup that hurts gums. Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gums, causing gum (periodontal) disease. To enhance the flavor of smokeless tobacco, sugar is often added, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Grinding your teeth or a misaligned bite can cause irregular wear patterns on your gums and teeth, resulting in gum recession in the affected areas.

Certain medications or medical conditions can also inflame your gums or cause them to be more susceptible to periodontal disease.

How can you tell if your gums are receding?

Now that we know what causes receding gums, what should you do if you suspect your gums are pulling away? Only a qualified dental professional can properly diagnose and help you treat the condition. Healthy gums are a nice healthy pink color and the gum line looks consistent around all your teeth. If your gums are receding, you will likely begin to notice:

  • Gums that are pulling away from the tooth
  • Teeth appear to be longer than others
  • Swollen gums
  • Pockets or gaps between teeth
  • Reddish or bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Teeth that are becoming loose

How can you fix receding gums?

Woman brushing her teeth to prevent what causes receding gums

Do you experience any of the above symptoms? Since gum tissue does not grow back, you need to talk with your dentist about personalized ways you can prevent gingival recession and stop gums from receding further. If you have gum disease, your gums and bone structure may put up a good fight against this progressive issue, but they cannot win the battle without help from a qualified oral health expert!

Depending on the amount of damage caused by gum disease, you may be able to get a deep cleaning and antibiotics to help clear out the infection and harmful bacteria. For more advanced cases, surgery or tissue grafting will be needed to regenerate the damaged gum and bone structures.

Remember that gum disease is not the only cause of receding gums. Preventive measures such as aligning your bite, using a custom night guard, quitting smoking, and treating cavities early on will help prevent damage to your precious smile!

You can fight gum recession!

You can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, attending regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist twice a year, and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. We might say this a lot, but prevention is key. Simply knowing what causes receding gums won’t solve the problem. If you suspect your gums are receding, you should contact your dentist immediately to find out the cause of receding gums and prevent further damage.

Healthy gums are the foundation for a healthy smile, so taking care of your gums is tantamount to taking care of your pearly whites!


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Giving to Others Can Help You Live a Healthier and Happier Life

Kindness gives us happiness

Who hasn’t heard the adage, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving”Recent studies have shown that not only are givers happier, they are also living longer and healthier lives!

Researchers have recently looked into what is known as the “helper’s high” – that warm fuzzy feeling you get from helping others – and how it affects us emotionally and physically. Since this is a time of the year when people are thinking about gratitude and giving back, let’s talk about some of the ways having a giving spirit can benefit you.

Benefits of giving

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” 
~Winston Churchill

In everyday life, many people volunteer — whether it’s serving at soup kitchens, cleaning up litter, taking seniors to the grocery store, or helping a next-door neighbor. These people are motivated by an unselfish desire to help others with no thought of repayment. Nevertheless, there are dividends to be reaped from having a giving spirit. Here are just a few:

  • Endorphin boost – The good feeling you get from doing something for someone else acts on your body the same way physical exercise does, releasing a flood of endorphins that make you feel good. This hormone rush is the “helper high” that many volunteers report feeling.
  • Feelings of satisfaction – Being able to help someone else adds meaning to a person’s life. This has proven to be especially true for older adults. Those who volunteer in their communities experience less depression, have lower blood pressure, a greater sense of connectedness to others, and feel they have a purpose in life.
  • Deepens the feeling of gratitude – When you give of your time, energy, talents or assets, you can be profoundly affected when you see how it helps someone else’s life. Often, this makes people think about all the things they have in their own lives for which they are grateful. And studies have shown that grateful people are happier people!
  • You forget your own problems – Concentrating on someone else’s needs can help you to get out of your head for a while. You can take a vacation from your day-to-day worries and spend a few hours helping someone else with theirs. In fact, when people with medical conditions  “counsel” other patients with those same conditions, the “counselors” often experience less depression, distress, and disability.
  • Improves your health – Scientific studies have been done to research how helping others affects the body. Acts of kindness lower stress levels. And lowered stress levels are good for your body for many reasons. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and enhance the body’s immunity by stimulating the production of antibodies. And it’s been shown that when a person has a pattern of giving in their life, it can impact their lifespan in a positive way!

List of physical and emotional benefits that result from showing acts of kindness to others

Can you give?

Giving benefits both the giver and the receiver. Would you like to experience the “helper’s high” and gain the benefits that come from giving to others?

There are many opportunities available in every community to do something good for someone else. Check with your local food banks, nursing homes, hospitals, or community groups for a need for volunteers. Or look for ways to help others around you at work, home, or in your neighborhood. As we have discussed, the rewards you will get far outweigh any sacrifice you may make!

Do you have favorite ways of giving?  What do you feel you receive? We’ll be interested to read your comments below!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Fall Food Favorites That Are Good for Your Teeth

Delicious fall food favorite: Apple cinnamon overnight oats

There are a lot of things to love about the fall season: cooler weather, beautifully colored foliage, and the kids being back in school! But one of the highlights for most of us is the special foods we look forward to enjoying each autumn.

Being honest, we’d have to admit that most of the foods we associate with fall holidays and festivals aren’t very good for our teeth. But did you know there are some delicious Fall foods that are good for you?

Fall food favorites to enjoy

Here are a few foods that will let you enjoy the warm and cozy feeling of autumn while enhancing your oral health!

Apples

Apples have long been known for their health benefits, and we all look forward to enjoying these sweet and delicious treats each fall in ciders and pies. But you can do your teeth a favor by choosing to eat your favorite variety of apple in its natural, raw state. Yes, they are high in natural sugars (about 19 grams per apple), but they counteract that by also being high in water content and fiber.

Apples benefit your teeth in two ways by their crunchy texture:

  1. When you chew crunchy foods, your mouth naturally produces more saliva, which contains bacteria-neutralizing agents that protect your teeth from decay.
  2. Crunchy foods act as nature’s scrubbers on your teeth. They are especially good at getting around and between teeth to clean away plaque and leftover food particles.

So throw some apple slices into your work lunch or the kid’s school lunch and reap the healthy rewards of this sweet and yummy snack.

Pumpkin

When you think of fall foods, one of the first that often comes to mind is pumpkin. We’ve all seen the stampede at Starbucks for their seasonal pumpkin spice latte; and each fall, Pinterest is inundated with the latest pumpkin recipes. But, you may not know how good pumpkin actually is for you!

Pumpkin is a nutrient-dense food, and it’s full of vitamins and minerals that are important for your oral health. Here are just a few of its many benefits:

  • Pumpkin contains zinc, and a deficiency in zinc is associated with poor dental health, weak bones, and bleeding gums.
  • It has magnesium, which works along with calcium to build a hard enamel surface on your teeth necessary to resist decay.
  • Pumpkin has 100% of your RDA for Vitamin A for promoting healing, especially important if you have damaged gums.
  • It provides  20% of your RDA for Vitamin C, needed to build up your immune system and fight off infections and inflammation.
  • It is also a rich source of beta-carotene, which can play an important part in fighting several types of cancers.

As you can see, pumpkin is a vegetable superfood when it comes to your teeth, so eat up! But skip the sugary lattes and opt instead for the soups, oatmeals, quick breads, and smoothies featured in these healthy and tasty recipes.

Enjoy a pumpkin spice “fix” without the sugar and calories with this delicious Pumpkin Spice Smoothie recipe:

Recipe for a fall food favorite - healthy pumpkin spice smoothie

  • 1/2 cup frozen pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup milk or unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients, too – especially fiber (there’s more than 5g in 1oz of pumpkin seeds) and phosphorus, along with protein, calcium, and iron. Tooth enamel is made of calcium and phosphorus, so eating foods rich in these minerals will help to keep your teeth strong. And iron helps to keep your tongue healthy.

Most nuts and seeds are high in protein and low in sugar, while also providing great vitamins. So next time you are carving a pumpkin, why not try roasting the seeds and harvest the rich nutrient dividends for you and your family!

Cranberries

Cranberries are another seasonal snack good for the health of your teeth. They contain polyphenols that act as a bacteria repellant, blocking the molecules from sugar-causing bacteria from forming a decay-causing sticky layer on your teeth. Cranberries also encourage the good bacteria in your mouth to thrive!

Because cranberries are naturally tart, many times cranberry products are loaded with sugar, so use only unprocessed cranberries or 100% juice with no added sugars. A hot mug of cranberry juice spiced with cinnamon, orange zest, and cloves is the very essence of fall!

Healthy choices

Making healthy choices is easier when we know why they are important and how they will benefit us. Hopefully, this look at healthy fall food choices and how they will benefit your teeth and oral health will help you to make wise choices for you and your family. And we hope you will try some of the recipes we’ve shared!

Let us know in the comments below which recipes your family enjoyed the most!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Does Xylitol Prevent Cavities? The Facts You Need to Know

Patient having dental exam but wondering: does xylitol prevent cavities?

What do you really know about xylitol? As a naturally occurring sugar, typically processed from birch trees and corn cobs, xylitol has gained popularity as a sugar substitute and potential dental hygiene game changer. If you’re grasping to understand how anything sweet can improve your oral health and shocked that your dentist is talking about it, you’re not alone. We’re here to give you the facts and answer the question: Does xylitol prevent cavities?

How does xylitol prevent cavities?

Most people don’t realize that dental caries (or cavities) are the result of an infectious and transmittable disease caused by one of the many oral bacteria living in your mouth called Streptococcus mutans. When this particular bacteria feeds on the sugar you eat, it produces acid that contributes to tooth enamel erosion, plaque production, gum disease, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. How does xylitol prevent cavities?

  • Xylitol has properties that make it indigestible to bacteria, which decreases the number of bacteria with negative effects and reduces the instances of cavities.
  • Xylitol raises the pH of the mouth, creating an alkaline oral environment which limits the growth of bacteria.
  • Xylitol creates higher calcium levels in saliva which contributes to the production of enamel.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the amount of xylitol consumed must fall within a certain range (three to eight grams) and be spread throughout the day for maximum benefits. You can find xylitol in the following products:

  • Gum: Be sure to check the amount of xylitol in each piece (not serving) and if there are other sugar additives, like sorbitol or aspartame.
  • Mints and Candies: See a great list of products here.
  • Granular: Can be used for baking to replace refined sugar.
  • Syrups: This may be a better option for children under four years of age to reduce the risk of choking.

These are the scientific reasons why xylitol fights against cavities; however, clinical studies showing that xylitol reduces cavities are difficult to perform, leaving conflicting research on the validity of the claims.

What are the facts you should know about?

Scoop of xylitol with a table of pros and cons

Natural doesn’t mean unprocessed

Although xylitol is found in fruits and vegetables (not chemically produced like artificial sweeteners), it is still highly processed. The best source of xylitol is derived from hardwood birch trees, rather than genetically modified corn products.

Xylitol is not zero calorie

Xylitol is not sugar-free, although it contains 40% fewer calories than sugar. People with diabetes should be aware that although it has a low glycemic index of seven (compared to 84 for refined sugar), it may still affect blood glucose levels unlike other natural sweeteners like stevia.

Xylitol can cause gastrointestinal issues

Like most sugars, xylitol will pull water into the intestinal tract, which can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. People with IBS should avoid consuming xylitol. To minimize side effects, it is recommended that xylitol is introduced slowly, over a week or more, for the body to adjust.

Xylitol is dangerous for pets

You will want to keep your xylitol away from your dog and avoid sharing food that contains the sweetener. Xylitol will cause their body to produce insulin, leading to hypoglycemia or even liver failure.

A multi-faceted approach to cavity prevention

So to answer the question: “Does xylitol prevent cavities?” – the answer can be yes and no. Your conclusions may be based on your values. Are you looking for a natural, healthier alternative to refined sugar? Are you one who needs evidence-based results from clinical trials? Are you looking for ways to reduce your risk of cavities any way possible?

Xylitol has its place among a multi-faceted approach to dental hygiene. It would be extreme to say that chewing any sugar-free gum will ever replace daily brushing and routine visits to your dentist. And it would be just as unbalanced to claim that xylitol has no benefits to oral care at all. So we leave the choice up to you.

Caring for your family’s oral health involves educating yourself on trending topics, prioritizing regular visits to your dentist, promoting a healthy diet and maintaining a routine of brushing and flossing. What we can say with certainty is that your dentist and hygiene team are always here to put your smile first!

 


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Affordable Ways to Enhance the Power of Your Smile

Power up your smile!

Did you know your smile can have an impact on the world? Not only does having a healthy, beautiful smile enhance and boost confidence, it can help you feel more apt to smile regularly, which can have a powerful effect on those around you.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 92% of people believe a smile is a great way to brighten someone’s day. Smiling can even add years to your life and can boost your immune system! But some individuals hold back because they just don’t love their smile. What about you? Is there anything you dislike about your smile?

If so, there is good news: There are many affordable ways to improve your smile! If you don’t quite have the budget for a full makeover, that’s okay. The following smile enhancement options are inexpensive and can pack a powerful punch for a minimal cost.

Teeth whitening

Achieving a whiter, brighter smile is a great way to improve your self-esteem. While there are many inexpensive at-home treatments available, including whitening strips and whitening toothpaste, you’ll get the best bang for your buck with in-office whitening.

While the upfront cost is a bit more than at-home options, in-office whitening delivers more value: dramatic results (up to ten shades whiter) and long-lasting effects (a year or longer)! When you add up the costs of over-the-counter treatments, you may end up getting better results for less money with in-office whitening.

Bonding

Bonding is a cost-effective cosmetic dentistry option and can be long-lasting with the right care and maintenance. Bonding can repair:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Gaps and spacing
  • Broken teeth
  • Misshapen teeth

Dental bonding is an affordable alternative to veneers for patients who are looking to upgrade their smile on a budget. Bonding requires the removal of less tooth enamel than veneers and anesthesia is typically not required. It can usually be completed in just one visit, making it convenient, conservative, and cost-effective!

Maintain at-home care and regular checkups

Preventive dentistry is the best dentistry! Maintaining healthy dental habits at home can help prevent serious and potentially expensive problems later on. A solid at-home dental routine is one of the most affordable ways to improve your smile. Here are our recommendations for at-home care:

  • Brush teeth twice a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco
  • Limit sugary sodas and acidic beverages
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables
  • See your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings

Maintain healthy dental habits at home to maximize your smile's potential.

Get a Smile You’ll Love

A beautiful smile doesn’t have to break the bank! As you can see, there are many affordable ways to improve your smile. Maintain healthy dental habits at home and see your dental team for cleanings and check-ups regularly. Ask your dentist for personalized recommendations that fit your needs, goals, and budget.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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Vaping – Is it Safe?

Is vaping a healthy alternative?

It seems like everywhere you go nowadays you see someone vaping. That large, white, cloud of steam escaping from their mouth and floating around their head is a common sight. Vaping has been around for many years, but it’s only been in the last few years that its popularity and use has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Why is vaping so popular and just how safe is it for your health?

Vaping 101

Vaping involves inhaling vapor from a small cylinder (similar in size and shape to a cigarette) filled with chemicals and flavors. The vaping pipe has a heating element built in it that changes the liquid in the pipe to steam.

Vaping, or e-cigarettes, are promoted as being a healthy alternative to tobacco-based cigarettes. Some are even encouraged to use vaping as a stepping stone in their struggle to break free from their addiction to nicotine.

How safe is vaping?

For those who really enjoy “riding the mist” and think that they are choosing a safer alternative than cigarettes, it will be disappointing to learn that vaping isn’t really any safer.

Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same highly addictive chemical found in traditional cigarettes. Stopping the vaping habit will cause the same nicotine withdrawal symptoms as quitting cigarettes. It will also cause the same dangerous side effects to your health, which is why pregnant woman are warned to avoid vaping.

Many who vape mistakenly believe that steam is safer than smoke. But in reality, the same carcinogenic chemicals are released by both processes. And just as second-hand cigarette smoke is dangerous to others, the vapor from e-cigarettes has been shown to worsen the air quality of a room, mainly by introducing nicotine and other chemicals (including formaldehyde and lead) into the atmosphere. Exposure to this is especially dangerous for smaller children.

One of the most troubling trends with e-cigarettes is their growing use among teenagers – middle school and high school age. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made the statement that nicotine is harmful to the developing teenage brain. And no teenager should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing products.

Did you know? Vaping increases your oral cancer risk.

 

Vaping and oral cancer

The occurrence of oral cancer has been rising in the U.S. and is a genuine danger with both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Tens of thousands of Americans die from oral cancer every year. If you use e-cigarettes, here are some of the oral cancer symptoms you should be on the watch for:

  • Sores in the mouth and on the lips that don’t heal
  • Red or white patches of skin in the mouth
  • A persistent sore throat or hoarseness
  • Numbness or swelling of the lips or mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

The best prevention would be to just not use e-cigarettes at all, but if you do continue to vape, ask your dentist on your regularly scheduled checkups to screen your mouth for oral cancer. A dentist has special equipment that helps spot cancer in the developing stages when it is more easily and successfully treated.

To vape or not to vape

We hope looking at these facts will help you to make an informed decision about the wisdom of vaping. In the end, it’s up to you, of course, to decide. But, we hope this information will make you think before you inhale!


 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Re-posted with permission: source.

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