Brushing and Flossing

The most important care you can give your teeth is thorough brushing and flossing. It is important that you do it every day and that you do it properly. It is normal for a healthy mouth to host hundreds of different types of bacteria for a total population in the billions. While some of these bacteria are helpful others are not. If left to accumulate they will combine with saliva, food particles, and their own waste products to form plaque. The longer the plaque stays in the mouth the more damaging it becomes. It can result in gum diseases such as gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis. These are bacterial infections that attack the tissues and bone supporting the teeth. They can also cause wounds that allow bacteria to enter your blood stream. Studies have produced results suggesting that these bacteria may be associated with general health problems:

  • Diabetes:
    Periodontal disease can make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. The associated infections and inflammation can impair the body's ability to process insulin. And, because diabetics have a lower resistance to infection and a harder time recovering, they are more susceptible to periodontal disease!
  • Cardiovascular Disease:
    People with periodontal disease have elevated levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is now believed to be a factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney Disease:
    Research done at the University of North Carolina indicates that subjects with periodontal disease were much more likely to have kidney disease compared with those without this risk factor. And if you are a dialysis patient the resultant imbalances in blood chemistry make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.
  • Premature/Underweight Babies:
    There is a growing body of research that suggests an association between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as prematurity and low birthweight.

Symptoms of periodontal disease may be mild and painless. They include red or swollen gums, gums that bleed easily or recede, chronic bad breath, and loose teeth.  So don't wait to find out if you have a problem. Start to prevent it today. We recommend that you visit the web site of Oral-B® Laboratories for instructions on proper brushing and flossing techniques and info on the latest electric toothbrushes.

Exams and Cleanings

Along with brushing and flossing, seeing your dentist on a regular basis for an examination and cleaning is crucial to maintaining the health of your teeth. For most of our patients we recommend scheduling a preventive care appointment every six months. Have you made yours?

Dangers of Smoking

How would you rationalize to an alien being who came to our planet and asked you to explain why humans take dried leaves from a toxic plant, roll them up in paper, ignite it and inhale the fumes? Furthermore the nicotine is an alkaloid poison similar to strictnine which together with the tars are documented to increase the risk of oral and lung cancer, decay, gum disease, damage to the lungs of those that occupy the same space as you, a major cause of house fires and they are expensive! Still many people smoke in the face of these facts. The best explanation for this addiction is that it takes a strong will to quit. Given the many competing priorities for our time and energy, quitting smoking usually falls somewhere between trimming the dog's nails and visiting the dentist. It takes a lot of courage to stop smoking. You have to do it for yourself. When it comes down to values, the most important gift you can give yourself is good health. Spending money and time on a smoke quitting program is like admitting that you do not have the will power to control your own life. Quitting because others tell you to do so is a reactive response and will eventually fail. The only long-term proven technique is to be proactive and rally all of your internal energy and good sense to overcome this habit. Quitting smoking is something you must do, or not do. Do not try to quit ... just do it, because you believe in yourself and your ability to take control of your life.

Since nicotine is very addictive, it can be difficult to stop smoking cold turkey. If you can do this you are to be applauded. Some people need a way to stop smoking while gradually tapering off the nicotine. To do this you can reduce the number of cigarettes a day, however this technique has poor results. Another method is to use nicotine patches that will taper you off nicotine gradually and smoking immediately. These patches can be dangerous if you do not follow the instructions.