Category: Checkups

Revenge of the Peeps – Winning the holiday candy battle

brushing teeth fights candy residue
Holidays like Easter are great times to reinforce healthy brushing habits with children.

According to CNBC, Easter barely edged out Halloween in 2016 as the most candy-ful holiday in the U.S., with $823 million in sales. But if you’re a parent, all the numbers boil down to one thing – your little one probably has jellybeans and marshmallow Peeps stuck in their tiny teeth this week.

Easter is a great opportunity to teach or reinforce good brushing habits with your kids. It’s also good time to establish expectations about consuming candy and sweets. This is important for not just their dental health, but also for overall nutrition and healthy eating habits.

Too Early?

Parents can begin brushing from the appearance of baby’s first teeth. You should continue to brush and/or supervise the child’s daily mouth care routine until they are ready for elementary school. The American Dental Association recommends that by the time your child can tie their own shoes, they should also be able to brush and floss their teeth by themselves.

Some standard guidelines for brushing kids’ teeth;

  •    Children should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and not swallow it
  •    Clean all tooth surfaces – inside, outside, and tops – all the way to the gum line
  •    Brush gently, back and forth
  •    Don’t forget to brush that tongue!

You can begin flossing and letting children help brush their own teeth at around age four. Of course, you should supervise and help form healthy brushing habits from the beginning. Additionally, candy-heavy holidays like Easter, Halloween and Christmas are the perfect opportunity to teach kids where, when and how much candy its appropriate to consume.

If you need additional tips or help teaching your kids how to brush their teeth, let us know in the message section when you schedule your next check-up.

The Changing Face of Fillings

Take a look at new alternatives to traditional metal fillings
New developments in materials and techniques are improving the appearance and performance of dental fillings.

For the vast majority of Americans, tooth decay is a fact of life. A study published in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control showed that 42 percent of children have at least one cavity (medically known as a dental caries). And it gets worse with age – By the time we reach 65, all but 4 percent of us has experienced a cavity and (hopefully) a filling of the damaged area.

History

The first recorded filling of teeth occurred in Europe in the early 1800s. 20th-century advancements took the artistry of filling teeth from its infancy to the host of advanced options available to today’s dental patients. From the soft metals in the early days, to the amalgams developed during 1900s, to modern porcelain and composite resin fillings used today, the techniques for repairing tooth loss are continuing to evolve.

Amalgams are the most widely used filling substance world-wide, despite growing concerns over radiant health risks associated with Mercury that many contain. In the U.S., metals have generally lost their luster as a surface material for damaged areas. This is partially due to those Mercury concerns, but also because amalgams darken over time and become more noticeable. The aesthetically-oriented nature of U.S. dentistry is driving numerous research efforts focused on improving the delivery, performance and appearance of fillings.

New Developments

Modern composites are applied to damaged teeth as a fluid substance, and then ‘cured’ to hardness with ultraviolet light. New UV light activators allow a more complete repair of deeper cavities in teeth, and the addition of reinforced silica fibers to acrylic-based composites is reducing the shrinkage of fillers during the curing phase.  Lithium disilicate glass-ceramic composite shows promise for its strength, durability and chemical properties that match the natural coloration of teeth.

Beyond traditional fillings, Meyer & Johns patients have many more choices for repairing damaged teeth, with options that include onlays, crowns and veneers. These options are especially important for filling cavities or damage on highly-visible front teeth. If you think you have a cavity, schedule an appointment today – we’ll find the problem, and offer a solution that will look and feel great!

Oral Cancer: Hidden causes and prevention

Most people don’t think much about oral cancer, but we do. Consider this – 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with cancer of the oral cavity or pharynx, and one in five of those people will die from it, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. That’s why every time we look into your mouth, we’re watching for signs of cancer, just to be sure you stay healthy.

And during every regular checkup/exam/cleaning at Meyer & Johns Dental, we specifically conduct an oral cancer screening. It’s that important.

Oral cancer screenings save lives
  Regular dental screenings can spot signs of oral cancer before they surface.

How Can You Tell?

Oral cancer generally presents itself in obvious and painful ways; sores or growths in your mouth that don’t heal after two weeks, lumps or swollen lymph nodes under you jaw or in your neck, unexplained numbness or bleeding in your mouth, difficulty or discomfort swallowing, or changes in how your bite feels.

Monthly self-exams can help identify problems early. Regularly look at the inside of your mouth, and feel your cheeks and neck for lumps or painful swelling. If you find something unusual or uncomfortable, visit us right away or contact your physician.

Oral Cancer’s Risk Factors

The risk is higher in men than in women, and increases significantly after age 40, but it can appear in anyone. Many factors can heighten your risk of developing oral cancer, including:

·      Tobacco use (either inhaled or smokeless)

·      Heavy alcohol consumption

·      A diet low in fruit and vegetables

·      HPV (Human papilloma virus) infection

·      Excessive sun exposure (particularly as a child)


The Good News

You can mitigate your risk by eliminating tobacco use, drinking only in moderation, eating balanced meals, and using sunscreen. Your body will thank you for these actions, regardless of the risk of oral cancer.

Also, it’s a very treatable disease. American Cancer Society statistics show that the 5-year relative survival rate for localized stage oral cancer is 83%. Radiation therapy is the most common method, although chemotherapy is occasionally used as well.

But early detection is your best defense, and another reason that regular dental visits are so important. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We want you – and your mouth – to be as healthy as possible.

Periodontal Disease: Dentistry Isn’t Just About Teeth

Avoid periodontal disease with good oral hygiene.

Your gums are a critical component of oral health, and deserve some discussion of their own.

Healthy gums support and cushion your teeth and help to protect them from decay. Taking care of your gums is taking care of your teeth.

Gum disease is most often caused by plaque build up due to poor dental hygiene, but other factors such as genetic predisposition, illnesses that affect the immune system, and smoking can increase the risk significantly. There are two major types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of bacteria that live in plaque. This causes the gums to become red and inflamed, which can cause bleeding and pain during brushing. Although the gum tissue is irritated, no damage occurs to the teeth or jaw at this point. However, if allowed to progress, Gingivitis can (but doesn’t always) lead to a more serious condition, periodontitis.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis, or infection of the gums, is a serious disease that can damage gums, cause tooth loss, and even damage the jawbone. It occurs when the gum tissue and bone pull away from teeth, forming small pockets that can become infected. Toxins collect in these spaces, and slowly erode the bone and tissue that surround teeth. This erosion loosens teeth, eventually causing them to fall out, and can eat away at bone in the jaw.

Prevention

The great news is that gum disease can usually be prevented—and often reversed, if identified early—by good oral hygiene. Brush and floss daily, and have your teeth cleaned twice a year.

If regular brushing hurts your gums, or if you notice them bleeding, you can always come in for an exam to be sure everything is okay. We’re always here to help.