Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Coolest Teeth In The Animal Kingdom

MOST OF US already know that sharks constantly grow new teeth, venomous snakes use their fangs like syringes full of poison, and elephants have enormous tusks. As lovers of teeth of all shapes and sizes, today we’d like to take a moment to spotlight a few lesser known bizarre teeth out there in the wild.

Crabeater Seals

Contrary to their name, crabeater seals’ diets consist almost entirely of antarctic krill, but you probably wouldn’t guess that by looking at their teeth. Where we have our molars, they have some very bizarre teeth. These teeth are like if a normal sharp canine tooth had many smaller canine teeth coming out of it. All together, they look like they’re packing deadly saws in their jaws.
Even though they look deadly, crabeater seals use their teeth in much the same way that we use strainers for pasta: they’ll take a big gulp of ocean water, then squeeze the water back out while their teeth trap all the tasty krill inside. Yum!

Beavers 

You’d be horrified if you woke up with orange teeth, but that’s because you aren’t a beaver. Beaver teeth become orange over time because of the iron in the food they eat. The iron makes their teeth harder, which helps them chew through trees to construct their dams. But even iron doesn’t fully protect against wear and tear, which is why their teeth constantly grow.

Narwhals

Narwhals are often called the unicorns of the sea because of the single spiral horn protruding up to ten feet long from the males’ heads. However, those aren’t really horns. In fact, they are tusks—in this case, elongated canine teeth that grow through the upper lip. Usually only the left one manages to grow that long, but some male narwhals end up with two full-length tusks, and occasionally a female narwhal will grow one or both as well.
As recently as May of this year, scientists still weren’t sure about the tusks’ purpose, but new footage has shown narwhals using their tusks to stun fish, making it easier to eat them. There’s probably more to it than that, though, because the tusks also contain millions of nerve endings, which likely means narwhals use them to sense their surroundings.

Keep Taking Care Of Those Chompers!

We might not be able to bop fish over the head, saw through trees, or strain krill with our ordinary human teeth, but we still need them to be healthy and strong in order to chew our food, speak clearly, and share beautiful smiles with the people we love. Always remember to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss once a day, schedule regular dental appointments, and contact us if you’re having any dental problems in between appointments!

As cool as animal teeth are, human teeth are still our favorite!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cooking For A Happy, Healthy Sweet Tooth

MOST OF US find ourselves craving something sweet every once in a while—or perhaps more often than that! Unfortunately, as good as sweet treats taste, they can have a big impact on our dental health.


Sugar And Your Teeth

There are many ways that sugar is bad for our overall health, but it’s also specifically bad for our teeth. Our mouths are diverse microbiomes containing dozens of species of bacteria, both harmful and beneficial, that can reproduce multiple times per day. Sugar may taste good to us, but harmful bacteria love it. They eat the sugar that sticks to our teeth and excrete acid that dissolves tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay.
Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is usually enough to keep the bacteria populations under control, but your teeth will thank your for avoiding excess sugar. So how can we satisfy a sweet tooth craving without also satisfying the cravings of millions of harmful bacteria? By cooking sugar-free desserts, of course!

Healthier Sweet Options

There are a few ways you can cut down on sugar without cutting down on sweets when you’re cooking. Some of them can be pricey, so your budget might play a role in determining which one you use.

Rebaudioside A

Rebaudioside A is a polyol or sugar alcohol produced by Stevia, a leafy South American plant. The FDA has approved rebaudioside A as a safe food additive, which means we can cook with it. But what makes it better for our teeth than sugar? Well, all those hungry bacteria in our mouths can’t digest sugar alcohols. We get to enjoy the sweet taste, but they don’t! The only downside is that it can leave a bitter aftertaste if you use too much. Since you only need one teaspoon to match the sweetness of a whole cup of sugar, it’s easy to overdo it.

Xylitol and Erythritol

Xylitol and erythritol are two more sugar alcohols that serve as excellent sweeteners. You may be familiar with xylitol, because that’s what sweetens sugar-free gum. While it’s even better for your teeth than other sugar alcohols–which is why dentists recommend it–it might not be the best to cook with, as it can cause digestive discomfort if you eat too much of it. Erythritol doesn’t have that drawback, but it can be pretty expensive.

Fruit

Fruit is another great sugar substitute. If you’d rather work with ingredients you already know, unsweetened applesauce, bananas, dates, and figs are four great replacements for table sugar that you can use in many recipes. You’ll end up with desserts that are still sweet and moist, but which contain far less sugar, which your teeth will appreciate. Fruits are sweet because they contain fructose, a type of sugar, but you’ll use less sugar overall by using pureed fruit instead of table sugar.
Need some extra inspiration for a sugar-free treat? Check out this sugar-free cheesecake recipe below!

Keep Up With Your Oral Health Basics

Even if you completely cut out all foods that are bad for your teeth out of your diet, it’s still crucial to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and come see us for a cleaning appointment every six months! Be sure to bring your favorite sugar-free dessert recipes the next time you come!

Your Dental Health Is Our First Priority!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dentures Then And Now

AS RECENTLY AS 2012, one fifth of American adults over sixty-five had lost all of their natural teeth. Whether the tooth loss is from age or other causes, it is a problem dentists have been dealing with for thousands of years.

Dentures Have Ancient Roots

False teeth have been around in some form since at least 700 B.C., when they were made out of human or animal teeth. Tooth decay became a much bigger problem after the Industrial Revolution when refined sugar became cheap and our intake of it shot through the roof. Because more people were losing teeth, more people needed false ones, and denture technology advanced.
Easily the most famous man who needed dentures back in the day was George Washington. We’ve all heard about his wooden teeth, but they’re actually a myth. He had several sets of dentures, custom made for him from hippo ivory and human teeth, with gold wires and brass screws to hold them together.

Modern Dentures Have Come A Long Way

Today, dentures are typically made of plastics and acrylic resin, but they come in several different types, so let’s look at the main ones.

The Classic: Full Denture

When none of the natural teeth can be saved, a conventional full denture is a common choice. The denture isn’t placed in the patient’s mouth until after the gum tissues have finished healing, which can take several months.
Many people don’t like going so long without teeth, so immediate full dentures can be used in the meantime. Because the bone changes shape over the course of those months, immediate full dentures have the drawback of not always fitting very well, and they can irritate the healing gums.
Want to learn how dentures are made? Check out the video below:

The Hybrid: Partial Denture

When at least a few of the natural teeth are still present, they serve as excellent anchors for partial dentures that replace the missing teeth. Partial dentures can be inserted and removed in much the same way as retainers. Alternatively, a permanent bridge can be installed. Partial dentures are a great option because the more of your original teeth you have, the stronger your jaw bones will be.

Going Bionic: Implant-Supported Denture

The main drawback with removable dentures is that they do little to prevent the bone loss in the jaws that occurs with tooth loss. Permanent options like dental implants, bridges, and implant-supported dentures do much better at continuing to apply the bite pressure the bone needs in order to stay strong, which preserves the shape of the face. They also make it easier to speak and chew than removable dentures, because they don’t have the risk of falling out.

Take Proper Care Of Your Dentures

All false teeth need regular cleaning to prevent discoloration and plaque buildup, whether they’re removable or permanent. They need to be brushed along with your gums, tongue, and palate. It’s important not to let them dry out, so you should store them in a denture soaking solution or even water when you’re not wearing them—just not hot water. Ultrasonic cleaners will also help keep them clean (but they don’t replace brushing).

Come See Us!

If you are considering dentures, don’t hesitate to talk to us! We can provide any information you need. It can be difficult to have confidence when you have missing teeth, but dentures can let you take charge again.

We’re here to help you love your smile again!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Easy Ways To Improve Your Dental Health

WE’VE ALL HEARD that if we want healthy teeth, we should brush twice a day, floss once a day, and schedule regular dental cleaning appointments twice a year. Definitely keep doing those things, but if you want to step up your oral health game, here are a few easy ways to do that.


Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly

One of the simplest ways you can improve your dental health and hygiene is to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis. Vigorous brushing will make the bristles fray and reduce the brush’s cleaning ability, but that’s not the only reason toothbrushes should be replaced often.
A lot of the bacteria we brush off our teeth stays on the bristles of our toothbrushes. Proper storage–meaning storing the toothbrush upright and letting it dry out between uses–can keep a toothbrush from getting smelly and nasty too fast, but it’s still important to replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months.

Use A Tongue-Scraper

Brushing your teeth twice daily is a no-brainer, but don’t forget your tongue! The same bacteria and gunk that flourishes on teeth can hide on your tongue too. Using a tongue scraper or just running your toothbrush over your tongue will leave your mouth feeling much fresher than if you only focus on your teeth and gums.

Don’t Brush Too Hard

Sometimes it seems like we need to really work at those teeth when we brush, to get absolutely all of the food particles and plaque out. However, if we brush too hard, we risk scraping away at the tooth enamel, which is your teeth’s first line of defense against decay. Brush gently or use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging your teeth.

Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods

Many foods are bad for your teeth. Sugar and carbs feed the harmful bacteria living in your mouth and acidic drinks erode tooth enamel. Avoiding some of these foods will help, but there are also plenty of foods you can eat that are actually good for your teeth.
Adding more cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, apples, carrots, celery, and almonds to your diet will make your teeth happy, whether by scrubbing them as you eat, fighting bad bacteria, treating gum disease, neutralizing your mouth’s pH, or remineralizing your enamel.

We’d Love To See How Your Teeth Are Doing!

If it’s been a while since your last dental exam, we’d love to see how your teeth are doing, and we’ll be excited to see how adopting these simple habits will affect your oral health by the time we see you again!

We Love Our Patients!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Looking Back On Our Summer Jobs

WHETHER IT WAS DURING high school or college, whether the goal was to have spending money or to pay rent, most of us know the struggles and the joys of working a summer job. Because we are feeling nostalgic as summer draws to a close, we’ve collected summer job stories from members of our team!

Worst Summer Job Ever

Sometimes we find ourselves in summer jobs where the only good thing about them is that they only lasted a summer. Do any of our team’s stories sound familiar?
Jackson
I worked in a front desk job one summer, and in my third week all our computers were stolen.

McKall

I worked at a drive-in shake place, and I made shake after shake after shake until I was a splattered mess of Oreo, raspberry, chocolate, and banana from head to toe every day by close. This job cured me of any cravings for ice cream for a while. In the three weeks I worked there, it was enough for me to decide the fast food industry was not for me.
Check out this video from Jimmy Fallon to hear about some more bad summer jobs!

The Good Times

Just as there are bad summer jobs, there are also good ones. Maybe nothing particularly dramatic happened, but they still hold a fond place in our memories.

Mel

I worked at a music store. One of my best friends worked with me and I remember us sitting on the counters, having deep life discussions, and not getting much work done.

Michela

I worked at a booth that sold Dave’s Killer Bread at various Costco locations, and even though it was just a couple of weekends that summer and we didn’t have much time to get to know each other, everyone on that team worked so well together. We were the supervisor’s only team to get the booth completely sold out, which was pretty cool.

Wacky Hijinks

Whether the summer job itself is good or bad, it’s the funny stories and the crazy moments that stand out the most.
Michela
I graded AP exams two summers in a row, and the first year, a crazy drunk guy chased me and two of my friends outside the convention center. The second year was better because we got to see an outdoor Twelfth Night production.

Colin

I spent a summer as a cook at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory when I was 16. Standing over a boiling cauldron of fudge and caramel all day wasn’t the best way to escape the summer heat, but at least I got free chocolate!

Now, It’s YOUR Turn!

What was YOUR most memorable summer job? Share your own experiences in the comments section below or send us a message on our Facebook page!

Thanks for being a part of our practice’s story!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mouth-Breathing: Breaking Unhealthy Habits

BECAUSE BREATHING IS something we all do all the time without really thinking about it, the idea that there are unhealthy ways to do it might take some people by surprise.
Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can lead to a wide array of health and hygiene problems. It’s important to establish healthy breathing habits early in life, so today we’re going to discuss the effects of mouth-breathing on children, and how you can help your kids break the habit.

Why Is Mouth-Breathing Bad For Kids?

Mouth-breathing can cause all kinds of short-term issues for children, many of which are connected to poor sleep quality from getting insufficient oxygen by breathing through the mouth. If your child is exhibiting the following symptoms, it may be due to mouth-breathing.
  • Impaired speech: when a child’s mouth is always open, certain sounds become more difficult to say.
  • Halitosis (chronic bad breath): an open mouth tends to be a dry mouth, which means there isn’t enough saliva to clean out the germs.
  • Tooth decay: other serious byproducts of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.
  • Irritability, lethargy, and inattention: less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.

Negative Effects Continue Past Childhood

While the above issues are bad enough, the problems that come from mouth-breathing don’t stop there. If left unchecked even as the person grows up, mouth-breathing can cause the following:
  • Extended Orthodontic Treatment: braces will take longer and there will be a higher chance of the teeth shifting back to their pre-braces position.
  • Altered Facial structure: the bones in the face can actually develop differently because of mouth-breathing, resulting in flatter features, droopy eyes, a narrow jaw, and a smaller chin.
  • Sleep apnea: mouth-breathing can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that makes it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.
Mouth-breathing can also potentially lead to other oral health issues such as TMJ:

If It’s So Unhealthy, Why Do Kids (And Adults) Do It?

The habit of mouth-breathing can be caused by many different things. For some kids, it’s simply habit, in which case parents can encourage them to breathe through their noses. For others, mouth-breathing could be the result of a different condition. A misaligned bite that makes it difficult to keep the mouth closed, allergies that clog up the nose, and large tonsils that obstruct the airway are all causes that make mouth-breathing a more complicated matter to fix.

Helping Your Child Breathe Healthy For Life

If your child has a mouth-breathing habit, it often isn’t as simple to break as telling them to stop. When it’s caused by one of the problems listed above, they will need treatment before nose-breathing can become natural (and in some cases, possible). Schedule an appointment with us so that we can determine the cause of the mouth-breathing and what action to take next to encourage healthier breathing.

We love to see our patients healthy and happy!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Medications’ Impact On Oral Health

MANY OF US need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions. However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.


Medicine And Oral Chemistry

Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.
Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.

Side-Effects For Your Mouth

Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.

Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding

If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth(or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.
To learn more about the risks of gum disease, watch the video below:

Altered Taste

Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.

Dry Mouth

The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.
Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Taking Medications? Let Us Know!

The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.

At our practice, we’re rooting for your oral—and overall—health!