Posts for: June, 2017
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
Is oral hygiene a priority in your life? Good oral hygiene habits can help you avoid tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Our San Bernadino, CA, dentist, Dr. Sanjay Patel of My Dentist, shares a few oral hygiene tips you'll want to make sure you follow.
Do you spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth in the morning and evening? If you don't, you might not be removing all of the plaque from your teeth. Cavity-causing plaque eventually turns into tartar, a hard substance that's responsible for gum disease. When you brush for a full two minutes and concentrate on brushing every single tooth, you'll lower your cavity risk.
Use soft bristles
Harder bristles can damage your sensitive gums and erode tooth enamel. When your enamel is eroded, your teeth look yellow because the dentin layer is exposed. Erosion can also increase tooth sensitivity. If you buy a toothbrush with soft bristles and use gentle pressure when you brush your teeth, you'll avoid these problems.
Keep plenty of floss on hand
Flossing daily offers a simple way to prevent cavities between teeth. Reduce plaque by gently sliding the floss up and down between your teeth. Don't forget to wrap it around the base of your teeth to remove get rid of plaque on your gums.
Brush your tongue
Do you brush your tongue when you brush your teeth? If you don't, your mouth may not stay clean for long. The bacteria from your tongue will eventually travel to your teeth if you skip this crucial step. If you avoid brushing your tongue because you tend to gag, consider buying a tongue scraper at a San Bernadino store and scrape instead of brush.
Take advantage of the protective properties of mouthwash
Mouthwash extends the protection offered by brushing your teeth. Look for products that contain fluoride and provide anti-bacterial production. Fluoride strengthens your enamel, while the anti-bacterial ingredients kill the bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. After your use the mouthwash, spit, but don't dilute the protection by rinsing.
Keep your smile healthy with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits. Call our San Bernadino, CA, dentist, Dr. Patel of My Dentist, at (888) 599-7005 to schedule an appointment.
One of the top concerns in public health today is exposure to the metallic element mercury within the environment. At abnormal levels, mercury can have a toxic effect on our nervous systems and cause other health problems.
These concerns over mercury have also increased attention on one material in dentistry that has included the metal in its makeup for over a century — dental amalgam for filling teeth. Amalgam is a metal alloy that can include, in addition to mercury, silver, tin, and copper. When first mixed dental amalgam is a moldable material used for fillings in prepared teeth. It then hardens into a durable restoration that can withstand biting forces.
While the use of amalgam has declined with the introduction of life-like colored fillings, it's still used for teeth like molars subject to high biting forces. With what we now know about the ill effects of mercury (which can make up to half of an amalgam mixture) is it safe to continue its use?
The American Dental Association has performed extensive research into amalgam safety. They've found that mercury is stabilized by the other metals in the amalgam. This prevents "free" molecules of mercury, the real source of harm to health, from escaping into the blood stream in the form of vapor. Although trace amounts of mercury vapor from the amalgam are released as a person chews, those levels are well below the threshold that could cause harm.
From a patient standpoint, the biggest drawback to dental amalgam isn't safety — it's the appearance of teeth it's used on. Silver fillings aren't considered attractive. And now there are viable filling alternatives that not only look like natural teeth but can withstand biting forces almost as well as amalgam. These materials include composite resins, mixtures of glass or quartz within resin, or glass and resin ionomers. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages depending on how and where they're applied.
After a thorough dental examination, we'll be able to advise you on what filling material will work best to produce the best result. And if we do suggest dental amalgam you can rest assured it will be a safe choice.
If you would like more information on the safety of dental amalgam, 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 “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”