Category: General Dentistry

New Year’s Dental Resolutions That We WISH Everyone Made

Dental resolutions
Maybe your 2018 goals include eating healthier or exercising regularly. We have some resolution suggestions for your mouth.

As we begin the New Year, almost half of Americans will make a New Year’s Resolution. Unfortunately, 80 percent of those resolutions will fall by the wayside within six weeks, according to a U.S. News article.  But the good news is that for one out of every five people who make a positive change, they will stick with it long enough to become a habit.

The most common areas targeted for improvement are health-related and include weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and stopping smoking. But if Doctors Meyer and Johns could put together a list of resolutions for our patients, it would include:

Brush and floss daily

Sure, it’s a no-brainer. But we see a lot of patients who aren’t as consistent as they think they are. More than the occasional missed brushing can be the beginning of bad habits.

Pay attention to your gums

As we’ve mentioned, gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors. Make sure you to check for any discoloration or soreness, and point out any problem areas at your next appointment.

Cut the sugar

This may go hand-in-hand with one of your other resolutions. Limiting processed sugar intake is a simple way to improve overall health. Plus, reducing the number of sugary drinks (soda, sports drinks, sweetened/frozen coffees) positively impacts the overall amount of plaque that can accumulate between brushings.

Don’t ignore pain

If you have discomfort in a tooth, gum or jaw, call us! Sudden or persistent pain can be a sign of something seriously wrong in your mouth, so don’t wait to get it checked out.

Whatever your resolution, or even if you don’t make one at all, each of us at Meyer & Johns Dental wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Celebrate safely, and we’ll see you in 2018!

 

No smoke? You’re still playing with fire.

vaping and teeth
Vaping may be better for lungs, but what about your teeth?

Despite the host of other damaging effects, evidence of smoking is usually most obvious on a person’s teeth. But what about “ Vaping ” — the recent trend of smokeless electronic devices? They deliver a vapor-based dose of nicotine, tobacco’s addictive stimulant, while eliminating the harmful and annoying by-products of smoke.

The Evils of Tobacco

And there are a lot of those. Tobacco smoke produces tar (burned plant residue) and hundreds of other harmful chemicals. Many of these cause cancer and other health issues for smokers and those around them. Public awareness of the dangers has cut the nationwide number of smokers by 20% in the past decade, and by nearly 70% since 1965.

Since vaping was introduced in the U.S. in 2005, it has steadily gained popularity. In fact, as early as 2014, it had surpassed of all other tobacco products (including conventional cigarettes!) in total number of current users. More disturbingly, its use among young people has increased exponentially, with the number of current users among high school students tripling in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaping Risks

While vaping won’t blacken your teeth like cigarette smoking, nicotine can negatively affect your oral health. The chemical itself is a vasoconstrictor, which limits blood flow to the topical areas of the mouth by causing the blood vessels to contract. This prolonged lack of blood supply can lead to receding gums. Nicotine has also been shown to contribute to dry mouth and cause an increase in bacteria, which can play a part in everything from tooth decay to periodontal disease.

If you are one of the millions of Americans using a vapor device to quit conventional smoking, CONGRATULATIONS! Be sure to talk to us at your next appointment about getting rid of those last remnants of tobacco stains from your teeth. We have a variety of whitening options for bringing your smile back to its natural, tobacco-free color.

 

 

Cavity Prevention Pills?!

cavity prevention
             Someday reducing cavities could be this easy.

What if you could simply take a daily pill to reduce your risk of cavities? There’s no such Silver Bullet today, but it is a very real possibility for the future.

New Research

That prediction is based on the findings of a 2016 study by University of Florida Health. Published by the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the study identified a new strain of bacteria – a form of Streptococcus, called A12. Researchers from the University of Florida College of Dentistry were originally trying to determine the causes of high pH in the mouth. But in the process, they discovered that A12 had an unexpected benefit. It combats “bad” bacteria in the mouth, specifically bacteria which cause excess acid in saliva.

The Importance of Acid

As we discussed in our last post, too-high pH levels can erode enamel and damage teeth. The discovery of A12’s acid-neutralizing powers could lead to probiotic supplements to boost its concentration in the mouth. That simple pill could balance oral pH and help keep your teeth strong and healthy.

While this new development might someday help protect against cavities, it wouldn’t replace healthy brushing habits or regular visits to Meyer & Johns Dental. If you are overdue for your six-month check-up, schedule it today!

Can extra body weight lead to gum disease?

High blood sugar from diabetes harms teeth
Elevated blood sugar is NOT OK for your teeth!

Heart disease, joint problems, lack of energy – We hear a lot about the consequences from being overweight and inactive. Diabetes gets most of the attention, since the number of diabetic Americans has ballooned to 30 million in recent years. That’s nearly 10 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2017. That number represents a 400 percent increase in the disease prevalence in just the last 20 years.

Diabetes and your mouth

And now new research is showing that diabetes can also contribute to periodontal (gum) disease.  As reported in the journal Science Daily this month, a new University of Pennsylvania study found that diabetes causes changes in the oral microbiome, or the microscopic environment of the mouth and upper throat. The elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels common in diabetics also lead to glycemic imbalance inside the mouth. That disruption creates favorable conditions for gum inflammation, leading to infection (periodontitis), and enhanced risk of bone loss from the disease.

The study clinically affirmed a previously ignored link between diabetes and periodontal disease. However, the researchers noted that the risk to diabetic individuals is greatly reduced with effective glycemic control, either through diet and exercise, or supplemental insulin treatments. Also, the team specifically called out good oral hygiene as a tool to further reduce individual risk.

Effective Gum Care

As mentioned in our blog post from last year, gum health is a critical component of good overall oral health. Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – is caused by a buildup of bacteria found in plaque, and can lead to periodontitis. The good news is that gum disease is preventable with regular check-ups, professional cleanings and good oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing and flossing daily, and telling your Meyer & Johns dental professional if you have any pain or bleeding in your gums.

If you experience these symptoms, let us know when you make your next appointment. We’ll make sure you’re armed with everything you need to make healthy choices for both your body and your mouth.