Posts for: February, 2022

By Sandusky and Lexington Dental Care
February 15, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  
AddressTheseRiskFactorstoPreventToothDecay

Put teeth in contact with acid from oral bacteria and you've created the conditions for tooth decay. Also known as caries, tooth decay is the most common human disease on the planet, responsible for destroying countless teeth.

We fortunately have effective treatments for arresting decay and minimizing its damage. But it's a far better strategy to prevent it in the first place—a strategy well within your reach if you and your dentist can reduce your individual risk factors for the disease.

Of these risk factors, there's one in particular we can't control—the genes we inherit from our parents. Researchers estimate up to 50 possible genes can influence whether or not a person develops cavities. Fortunately, though, most think the overall genetic influence has minimal impact on a person's oral health.

And although there's not much about your genetic makeup regarding cavity development that you can change, there are other factors you can definitely do something about. Here are 3 of the most important that deserve your attention if you want to prevent tooth decay.

Dental plaque. The main trigger for tooth decay and other dental diseases is a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces called dental plaque, the main food source for the bacteria that cause disease. You can reduce this risk by removing plaque daily with brushing and flossing, along with a professional cleaning every six months.

Saliva. This essential bodily fluid helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acid. Problems can arise, though, if you have insufficient saliva. If you suffer from "dry mouth," you can improve saliva flow by talking to your dentist or doctor about changing medications, drinking more water or using saliva enhancement products.

Diet. Bacteria feed mainly on sugar and other refined carbohydrates. So, the more sweets, pastries and processed foods you eat, the more bacterial growth you can expect to occur. By changing your diet to more whole foods like fresh vegetables, protein and dairy, you may be able to reduce bacterial growth and your risk for decay.

Tooth decay always happens for a reason. By addressing these and other controllable risk factors, you may be able to stop decay from forming.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What Everyone Should Know About Tooth Decay.”


By Sandusky and Lexington Dental Care
February 10, 2022
Category: Oral Health
KevinBaconsMango-SlicingTrickandOtherWaystoRidFoodBetweenYourTeeth

During the COVID-19 quarantines, stir-crazy celebrities have been creating some “unique” home videos—like Madonna singing about fried fish to the tune of “Vogue” in her bathroom or Cardi B busting through a human-sized Jenga tower. But an entertaining Instagram video from Kevin Bacon also came with a handy culinary tip: The just-awakened film and TV actor showed fans his morning technique for cutting a mango to avoid the stringy pulp that gets between your teeth. After cutting a mango in half, he scored it lengthwise and crosswise to create squares and then turned the mango inside out for easy eating.

With his mango-slicing video garnering over a quarter-million views, the City on a Hill star may have touched a nerve—the near universal annoyance we all have with food stuck between our teeth. Trapped food particles aren't only annoying, they can also contribute to a bacterial film called dental plaque that's the top cause for tooth decay and gum disease.

Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to avoid stuck food if you love things like popcorn, poppy-seed muffins or barbecue ribs. It's helpful then to have a few go-to ways for removing food caught between teeth. First, though, let's talk about what NOT to use to loosen a piece of stuck food.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 adults found that when removing something caught between our teeth, we humans are a creative lot. The makeshift tools that survey respondents said they've used in a pinch included twigs, safety pins, screwdrivers and nails (both the hammer and finger/toe variety). Although clever, many such items are both unsanitary and harmful to your gums and tooth enamel, especially if they're metallic or abrasive.

If you want a safe way to remove unwanted food debris, try these methods instead:

Brush your teeth: The gentle abrasives in toothpaste plus the mechanical action of brushing can help dislodge trapped food.

Use dental floss: A little bit of dental floss usually does the trick to remove wedged-in food—and it's easy to carry a small floss container or a floss pick on you for emergencies.

Try a toothpick. A toothpick is also an appropriate food-removing tool, according the American Dental Association, as long as it is rounded and made of wood.

See your dentist. We have the tools to safely and effectively remove trapped food debris that you haven't been able to dislodge by other means—so before you get desperate, give us a call.

You can also minimize plaque buildup from food particles between teeth by both brushing and flossing every day. And for optimally clean teeth, be sure you have regular dental office cleanings at least twice a year.

Thanks to Kevin Bacon's little trick, you can have your “non-stringy” mango and eat it too. Still, you can't always avoid food getting wedged between your teeth, so be prepared.

If you would like more information about effective oral hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”


By Sandusky and Lexington Dental Care
February 05, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
WhyStoppingGumDiseaseShouldbeaTopDentalCarePriority

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of U.S. adults over 30 are afflicted with some form of periodontal (gum) disease—and one in five could be classified as severe. What's more, the incidence of disease only increases with age.

February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, a subject well worth its own focus month. The disease can be highly destructive and ultimately affect your overall well-being.

The various forms of the disease all have a common origin—dental plaque, a thin, bacteria-laden food film that naturally accumulates on teeth. The multiplying bacteria within plaque can first infect the surface tissues of the gums, especially around the gum line.

Although the body initiates an inflammatory response and releases antibodies to fight the infection, it's often not enough. Fueled by plaque, the infection can continue to advance into the gums and ultimately reach the tooth roots and supporting bone. If this occurs, the outcome could be devastating to both your oral and general health.

For one, an infection can weaken the periodontal ligaments that help secure teeth in place. This can cause them to detach from the teeth, creating infection-filled voids between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets. The gums may also pull back or recede from the teeth, further exposing their roots to infection.

The spreading disease may also directly infect and damage tooth roots and the supporting bone. As a result, both the teeth and bone can lose a substantial amount of their structure.

As this process continues, the affected teeth may eventually pay the ultimate price and become lost. Losing teeth affects not only a person's appearance, but their overall dental function as well.

Given the odds of an encounter with this disease and the potential devastation that may follow, it's well worth doing everything possible to avoid it. The most important thing you can do is to eliminate the regular accumulation of plaque through daily brushing and flossing, as well as dental cleanings at least twice a year.

It's equally important to remain alert to any signs of infection. If you notice your gums are red or swollen, or if they bleed easily when you brush, call us as soon as possible for a closer examination.

Hopefully, your personal oral hygiene and regular dental care will keep you out of the reach of this harmful oral infection. And, should gum disease occur, the sooner we catch it and begin treating it, the less likely your mouth suffers extensive damage and tooth loss. Your oral health and well-being depend on it.

If you would like more information about preventing and treating periodontal disease, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”




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