Why Your Oral Health Matters

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Most of us have heard, “brush twice daily, floss once daily.” Some of us follow these directions, and some of us don’t. Those who don’t may be wondering why it matters how often we brush our teeth, besides the obvious reduction of bad breath, plaque, and cavities. The truth is, our oral health really does matter, and what’s going on in our mouths can affect our overall health.

Here are 3 reasons why the state of your teeth matters:

  1. When you don’t take care of your teeth, you’re likely to lose them, which can make daily functions more difficult. Without teeth, it can be hard to talk and eat solid foods.
  2. Failing to brush and floss can lead to the development of gum disease, which has been linked to other health issues. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer,54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.”
  3. People pay attention to your smile. One survey indicates that”52 percent of adults older than 50 and 45 percent of the 18-49 demographic are most likely to remember a smile after they’re introduced to someone for the first time.”

So, what can you do to take care of your teeth and gums? You guessed it…brush and floss. While these tasks aren’t complicated, you do want to make sure that you are brushing and flossing correctly. So, next time you pick up your toothbrush or a strand of floss, keep these tips in mind:

  • Brush correctly. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth.
  • Don’t forget your tongue. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
    (Note: Do not swallow any toothpaste, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing.)
  • Brush at specific times each day. The best times to brush are
    • In the morning after breakfast
    • After lunch or right after school
    • After dinner
    • At bedtime
  • Use your middle fingers to floss. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque.
  • Switch to clean sections of floss as you go. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish.
  • Don’t forget the teeth in the back! Floss behind all of your back teeth.
  • Pay attention to your teeth when you floss. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not stop after the first few times flossing, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

We hope that the information in this article have encouraged you to take your oral health seriously. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit our website or call our office to schedule an appointment – (919) 468-6410.

Take care of your smile!

 

 

Tooth Decay Prevention

You’ve probably been told several times in your life that you should brush your teeth twice a day. Have you ever wondered why (besides the simple “it’s good for your oral health” answer, of course)? Brushing and flossing your teeth is part of an important hygiene regime that helps prevent tooth decay.

What is tooth decay? The infographic below breaks down everything you need to know about tooth decay, including how to prevent it and how it’s treated.

Tooth Decay Prevention

The following video further explains how the tooth decay process occurs inside the mouth.

 

So remember, if you are concerned about tooth decay, the best thing that you can do is practice good oral hygiene, limit your sugar intake, and visit your dentist regularly.

Take care of your smile!

Ten Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This day of giving  thanks is also known for being a day when we indulge in our favorite foods with our loved ones. Though tasty, certain foods can be harmful to our oral health. But don’t worry, having a more mouth-friendly Thanksgiving doesn’t

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Crunchy foods like carrots and apples clean your teeth as  you eat them! (Photo courtesy: “Carrot Dice” by Steven Jackson)

necessarily mean that you have to avoid that sweet potato pie. Here are 10 tips for a healthier (and safer) holiday.

1. Drink water. While it may be tempting to reach for that bubbling soda, swap the drink out for a glass of water. The sugar and acids in drinks such as soda and orange juice can damage your enamel and lead to the formation of plaque.

2.Remember to brush and floss. It is recommended that people brush twice a day and floss once daily. No matter how tired you are after all of the festivities, please try to set aside two minutes to give your teeth a proper cleaning.

3.Add a little crunch to your salad. Fresh vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery can add a pleasant crunch to a salad. These foods also help clean your teeth as you chew.

4.Don’t chomp on those ice cubes. Some people enjoy being able to chew on ice cubes. Even though they may not seem incredibly hard, doing this can cause teeth to crack or chip.

5. Chew sugarless gum in between meals. When looking to freshen your breath in between meals, try chewing sugarless gum. It doesn’t contain the sweet stuff that bacteria prey on, and it helps stimulate saliva production.

6.Quit those bad habits “cold turkey.” This goes along with tip #4. WThe holidays can be a stressful time. When some people get stressed, they begin to grind their teeth or bite their nails – neither of which is good for teeth. Try not to practice these bad habits. To lower your stress level, ask family members to help with the meal preparation, setting the table, etc.

7.Save the sweets for dessert. Instead of snacking on foods high in sugar throuout the day, allow yourself to enjoy  sweets at one specific time. This limits how much your teeth are exposed to the damaging effects of sugar.

8.If it’s “hard-as-a-rock,” don’t eat it. Use caution when eating hard foods like nuts and croutons. Like ice, trying to chew these items can cause damage to your teeth.

9.Avoid using your mouth as tool. Plan ahead so that you have scissors, a can opener, a bottle opener, and any other tools that you will need on hand when cooking. Using your mouth to open packages is dangerous and can cut your gums and/or damage your teeth.

10.Be careful when playing sports. No one wants a friendly game of backyard football to end in someone knocking out a tooth. Wear a mouthguard to protect yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And, as always…

…Take Care of Your Smile!

Periodontal Disease

When people think of oral health, the most common problem that comes to mind is often cavities. However, your gums deserve just as much attention as your teeth. Periodontal (Gum) disease can begin in quite a short amount of time when gums are not properly cared for.

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Floss once a day to keep your gums healthy. (Photo source: https://goo.gl/fAujl4)

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Gum disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. The infection starts when the gums become inflamed due to the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth.

There are three types of Gum disease: Gingivitis, Aggressive periodontitis, and Chronic periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, causing the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is no or very little discomfort associated with this stage of the disease. With a good oral hygiene regimen, the results of gingivitis can be reversed.
  • Aggressive periodontitis displays rapid bone destruction and attachment loss in clinically healthy patients.
  • Chronic periodontitis is one of the most common forms of gum disease and is frequently seen in adults. The stages progress slowly and can be recognized by gum recession and pocket formation.

How is Gum Disease Treated?

While gum disease may sound scary, the good news is that it can be treated. As a Periodontist, Dr. Kazmer specializes in treating gum disease. Non-surgical options such as professional cleanings are available, as well as surgical options for when non-surgical treatments are not enough.

Surgical treatments for periodontal disease offered by Dr. Kazmer include:

  • Pocket reduction
  • Soft tissue grafts
  • Bone regeneration

Dental implants may also be suggested to replace teeth that have been lost to gum disease.

The next time you go to brush your teeth and consider skipping flossing, consider this: “half of American adults suffer from gum disease.” The best way to protect yourself from gum disease is to brush and floss everyday and visit the dentist regularly.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions or concerns that you may have.

Take care of your smile!

Making Flossing a Priority

When it comes to taking care of our teeth, there are many different options available. Dental care products include toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, whitening strips, tongue scrapers, and of course plain old dental floss.

Statistics show that more people brush then floss. A survey found that 69 percent of Americans brush their teeth at least twice a day. The amount of people who floss is much lower, with 41 percent of Americans admitting to flossing at least once a day.

While it may not seem necessary to floss your teeth after a good brushing has left your mouth feeling minty fresh, flossing should be just as much of a priority as brushing. Dental floss reaches the areas in between the teeth that the toothbrush cannot. This removes plaque and promotes gum and tooth health.

Why is it that Americans are not as eager to take the time to floss? Dentist Mark Burhenne suggests that “the problem with flossing is there is no instant gratification, no clearly defined reward. People don’t think it’s working.” Burhenne then offers tips to help you make flossing a habit.

Flossing may not make your teeth instantly feel cleaner like brushing does, but – just like with brushing – choosing not to floss can have serious consequences. Flossing helps guard you against gum disease and tooth loss.

To make flossing an easier, more comfortable experience, here a few solutions to common complaints regarding flossing:

#1: I  don’t know how to floss.  

Learning to floss can take practice, but it is worth the effort. This video from the American Dental Association shows you the proper way to floss.

#2: I find using string floss difficult.

If you find using strung floss difficult, there are many other inter-dental options available. These include products such as floss sticks or the Waterpik.

#3: The feeling of floss in between my teeth is uncomfortable.

There are several different types of floss.PTFE floss, nylon floss, and waxed floss are a few examples. You may want to try out different types of floss to see which type feels the most comfortable to you.

#4: I don’t have time to floss.

It is important that you take your time while flossing, but doing so does not have take an extensive amount of time. If you do not enjoy flossing because you find that it takes a long time, you may want to try this one minute flossing technique.

Just as you make time to brush, it is important to set aside a time to floss your teeth. Whether this is the in the morning or evening, it may help you to choose a specific time of day to floss and stick to it so that you create a routine.

Feel free to contact our office with any questions or concerns that you may have about flossing.

Take care of your smile!