Dental Articles for Individuals

Dental Articles for Individuals

3 Simple Health Tips for Feeling Better

While we all know some of the standard practices for staying healthy and feeling good - eat a balanced diet of moderate amounts, wash your hands regularly to avoid germs... here's three other simple tips to stay healthy and feel better more of the time:

Get a good night's sleep.  Not everyone needs 8 hours, but that's a standard. Whatever amount is your 'good' amount, work to get that much every night, consistently.  Some say that the amount of that time slept before midnight is of higher quality. 

Move.  Yep, that's right. Not 'hit the gym for 3 hours' or run a marathon or swim the channel, but just get up and move around regularly.  Walking continues to be regarded as one of the best types of exercise for humans. 

Take care of your teeth.  

Besides the superficial aspects of what having a nice, clean, white smile does for your sense of feeling good, many problems - and pain - can originate with your teeth and in your mouth. Researcher have found that the plaque buildup and gum disease can lead to inflammation, which can lead to heart problems.  Plus, as you age, bad dental health conditions can lead to major problems. 

Get your teeth cleaned regularly with a preventative care package available with Spirit Dental (and other plans) so you can avoid problems in the future. 

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Dental exams can be extremely valuable for overall health

Usually, when you think of going to the dentist, you’re thinking about teeth.  Cleaning teeth, maybe there’s a problem with a tooth – a cavity,  a chip, discoloration – maybe you’re thinking about braces or other straightening needs… or the dreaded root canal problems. 

However, did you realize that the dentist may be able to recognize and diagnose numerous other potential problems with your health?

According to Dawn West, DMD, RN with Tuffs University School of Dental Medicine, when you go for a dental checkup you might actually be saving so much more than just your teeth or find out about other oral health related complications, because the mouth is the gateway to your entire organism and there might be several important signs of other diseases existent in there.

Some of the other non-dental related diseases that a dentist can spot include the sexually transmitted diseases (STD), diabetes, heart disease, and even several types of cancerous diseases.

The dentist is basically looking in your mouth for signs of different diseases such as inflammation, bleedings, dry mouth or sores, and damages to the gum line. Some other dentists do actually perform neck and head exams, Blood pressure and even blood sugar or other blood issue tests.

So don’t look at that dentist visit as simply a pain that has to be done every 6 months, think of it as a great check up on your overall health! 

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Dental X-Rays - XRays Risk - Dental Xrays Concern

A lot of patients are worried about having dental x-rays taken on an annual basis. They are fearful that since they have had medical x-rays taken recently, the additional dental x-rays will cause some sort of a medical problem. First, a complete series of 16-20 dental x-rays emits as much radiation as does one hour in the sun. Most dental offices now offer digital x-rays which produce 1/10 the radiation that the old style x-rays produced. Also, if x-rays are not taken, only about 50% of the tooth structure can be examined for problems. Without the help of x-rays, you are asking your dentist to work with one hand behind his/her back. And without x-rays you will probably have to contend with bigger dental problems when they can be seen by eye.

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Bad Breath - What Causes Bad Breath - Halitosis

A common question you hear at most dental office's is – “What causes bad breath?”

Many times the complaint is not from the offender but from a long suffering spouse or family member. There are many causes of bad breath (which we call “halitosis”) – some serious and some not. And while many people have decided to just hold their nose and live with it, the good news is diagnosing and treating bad breath is something that can easily be done.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of the reasons people may be slowly backing up during conversations:

Foods Containing Pungent Oils

Yes – garlic and onions are very healthy, but they also contain oils which may cause an unhealthy reaction to those around you. These odors come from the lungs, last up to 72 hours and can be tough to cover up. Mints, gum and rinses are your best bet – or make sure everyone around you has had the same yummy food as well!

Routine Illnesses

Colds, sore throats, coughs and sinus infections all cause yucky smelling mucus (or snot, depending on your age), to get trapped in our mouths, throats and noses, which causes foul breath until the illness is taken care of. Of course, if you have one of these highly contagious problems you shouldn’t be that close to someone anyway! If a sinus infection, sore throat, cough or cold doesn’t clear up in a few days to a week, you should probably see your physician to make sure things aren’t of a serious nature.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth lets dead cells accumulate on your gums, tongue and cheeks. And while morning breath is a perfectly normal phenomenon due to lowered salivary activity at night – it shouldn’t last all day. Those who snore, mouth-breath, take certain medications, or even have lasted into middle age are prone to a dry mouth.


Smoking dries out your mouth (see above) and also, tobacco just plain stinks. If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t reason enough to give up the ciggies, maybe a constant foul mouth will help you make that life-saving decision.

Chronic Diseases or Conditions

Many serious diseases such as lung infections, kidney failure, diabetes, cancer, GERD, anorexia, bulimia and others can cause very specific types of halitosis. The good news is that these are on the rare side, but if anything along these lines is suspected, a referral to the appropriate practitioner is in order.

Poor Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease

Ahhh… this is our favorite! Not because we like people to have poor dental hygiene and gum disease, but because these are very common causes of bad breath and we can usually treat them quite easily. But please don’t wait too long! Gum disease, which usually starts with poor brushing and flossing habits as well as a lack of routine dental visits, can do much more than make your mouth stinky.

In just a short period of time, gum disease can advance and eat away at the gums and bone which hold your teeth in place. The result? Loose, unstable teeth which will eventually be lost if not treated. Catching gum disease early is great as treatment is typically conservative. Wait too long and it gets much more difficult and extensive.

Bad breath is not normal! Seeing your dentist and dental hygienist on a routine basis is your best bet for making sure your teeth and gums stay healthy, your smile stays bright, and your breath doesn’t cause others to run in the opposite direction.

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Smoking and Tooth loss - Dental Health - Smokers Dental Health

Studies are showing that smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to lose teeth.  

Current smokers were 2.5 times as likely to have lost all of their teeth as people who never smoked. Former smokers were 1.5 times as likely to have lost all of their teeth.

Even people who had quit smoking 30 years ago were at increased risk for tooth loss.

The more cigarettes a day someone smoked, the higher the risk for tooth loss. The highest risk was among current smokers who smoked 25 or more cigarettes a day. It was lower for those who smoked 1 to 14 cigarettes a day.

This pattern held in former smokers, too. Those who had smoked the most cigarettes in the past were almost twice as likely to have lost all of their teeth as those who had smoked the fewest. The time a person had smoked also mattered. Risk of tooth loss was highest for people who had smoked 50 years or more. It was lower for people who had smoked for 35 years or fewer.

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke also increased the chances of tooth loss. People who had never smoked were 1.22 times as likely to lose teeth if they were exposed 1 to 5 hours a week to someone else's smoke. This went up to 1.37 for people who were exposed for 6 or more hours a week.

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February is National Dental Health Month - focus on children's habits now

Everyone knows that brushing every day is a key to strong, healthy teeth - but that's not all there is to do.  

Figures from the Adult Dental Health Survey reveal that common dental products such as mouthwash and dental floss aren't being used as part of an all-round routine, with just 31% of people using mouthwash and just 22% using floss.

The same data also showed 42% of adults only use a toothbrush and toothpaste, with only 27% saying they use an electric brush.

That could be why two in every three adults have visible plaque, and also why one in three children will start school with obvious dental decay.

That's also one reason why the American Dental Association (ADA) promotes February as National Dental Health Month, and often has a focus on children's oral and dental health, so as to star the right habits early.  

Some common tips to teach children about dental care include:

Start healthy habits early. The standards are:

  • Brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, or for better results, brush after every meal.
  • Floss teeth daily, or use an interdental cleaner to remove plaque from the gumline area and the sides of the teeth.
  • Limit the number of between-meal snacks.
  • Visit the dentist regularly.

Keep on the look out for Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually caused by plaque that produces toxins which irritate gum tissue. During puberty, gums can become more sensitive to these toxins because of hormonal changes. If your kids notice any of the following signs of gum disease, take them to the dentist:

  • chronic bad breath
  • a bad taste
  • pus that appears at the gumline
  • red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • detachment of gums from the teeth
  • teeth that have loosened or changed position

Watch What They Eat

Kids are known for eating sweet snacks, fast foods and meals on-the-run, and these are habits that create tooth decay and dental problems. If desserts are going be eaten, they should be eaten at meal times when other foods help neutralize their damaging effects. When snacking, encourage eating foods that are good for teeth like nuts, popcorn, cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, and sugarless gum or candy.

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National Dental Hygiene Month - Dental Hygiene - NDHM

With the theme "Healthy Habits are Easier than You Think" for its National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) celebration this October, the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), in collaboration with Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, manufacturer of Orbit® sugarfree gum, promotes the idea that good oral hygiene habits are simple to establish and maintain, even for the person living an active lifestyle.

"It is imperative to our overall health to have a healthy mouth," ADHA President Caryn Solie, RDH, said. "Brushing, flossing, rinsing with an anti-microbial mouth rinse and chewing sugarfree gum are easy ways to help avoid issues that could affect the status of your oral health."

"Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew" is a reminder that maintaining good oral hygiene habits can have lasting effects. Keeping a healthy mouth can help prevent oral disease.

Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily can reduce plaque build-up and the risk of diseases like cavities and gingivitis; flossing removes plaque and food particles under the gumline and between your teeth; rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouth rinse is another important step in preventing gum disease; and chewing sugar-free gum like Orbit® after eating stimulates saliva production, which helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles.

In tandem with this initiative, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation has established a Community Service Grant Award program with the ADHA Institute for Oral Health to fund initiatives providing oral health services and education in all 12 of the ADHA's districts across the country.

"Wrigley is committed to improving the general understanding of the role of sugarfree gum as part of a healthy oral care routine," says Pat Alexander, Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program. "We are committed to providing services that help improve oral health and lives; this extends to our support of the American Dental Hygienists' Association National Dental Hygiene Month."

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Dental Implants - Dental Technology - Implant Information

Dental implants have offered a successful way to restore teeth for more than 20 years. New challenges for improving the process include shortening the time to restore functionality and meeting aesthetic demands. Altering implant surfaces to help promote bone integration is one solution. SLActive, a new chemically-modified surface for titanium, the standard material of which implants are constructed, has shown positive results in this area.

An article in the August issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology reports a 98.2% success rate for SLActive at dental patients' one-year follow-up. A noninterventional study was conducted to compare these results with previous findings of high survival and success rates among the same type of implants in a controlled clinical trial.

In this noninterventional study, results were obtained under common dental practice conditions where patient selection was not restrictive and technique was not controlled. Thirty dental clinics in Italy participated, and 226 patients were treated. Patients presented with a variety of risk factors, and both early (48 hours to 3 months) and traditional (3 to 6 months) loading of the implant was performed.

Osseointegration-the connection between living bone and artificial implant-can determine stability of the implant over time. Surface properties of the titanium implant, such as topography and roughness, can assist the chemical and biological interface that occurs in the early stages of healing and thus influence the long-term outcome.

The 98.2% success rate of this study was similar to that reported in formal clinical trials. The high success rate in both studies shows that the SLActive implant surface can be safely used with consistent, predictable results. Patients can expect integration of their implants that restores functionality for chewing and speech as well as aesthetics.

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