How Stress Affects Oral Health

Dec 21st, 2018
Easton Dentists Dec 21st, 2018

Most of our patients know a thing or two about stress. Whether you’re dealing with chronic stress, or a brief stressful life circumstance, we all encounter it from time to time. Most people associate stress with heart attacks or ulcers, but do you know how stress can affect your oral health?

Stress may negatively affect your oral health in indirect ways.

For starters, stress can cause folks to reach for coping strategies that aren’t so good for your teeth (or the rest of your body).

Junk food, sweets, cigarettes, or alcohol are just a few examples. When these substances interact with your teeth, they can do a lot of damage in the way of gum disease and tooth decay.

Secondly, when we are stressed, we tend to stop making positive health behaviors a priority. Let’s say you’re in the hospital after a car accident; your brushing and flossing routine will not be forefront on your mind.

Even a minor bout of stress from a tough day can have us reaching for our cozy bed and some relieve instead of taking the time to brush first.

And of course, keeping up with routine dental visits may fall completely off our priority list while under stress. This can prevent us from finding the early signs of decay and can cause more pain and stress later on.

How does stress affect our mouths directly?

Well, lots of folks grind their teeth as a physical way to deal with stress. You may be doing it without even realizing it! Ask a partner or someone who knows you well to tell you if you have this habit. Many of our patients benefit from wearing a mouth guard at night to protect against the damage of grinding their teeth. It protects wear and tear damage and alleviates muscle tension from the forces exerted when tightly clenching your jaw.

Also, when we are stressed we have higher levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that put our body in a “flight or fight” state. This causes our blood pressure and blood sugar to increase, and our digestive and immune function to decrease. When our immune system isn’t functioning as it should, this can make periodontal disease more likely. It can also slow down the healing of other oral issues or injuries we may have.

What can you do about it?

The best thing you can do to prevent the stress of oral health issues is to maintain good dental hygiene and visit us regularly for routine visits. We want what’s best for you — and that includes a healthy mouth for a lifetime! Schedule an appointment today!

Is It True That Gum Disease Can Cause Heart Attacks?

Nov 26th, 2018
Easton Dentists Nov 26th, 2018

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can affect more than just oral health. There are many studies showing that people with gum disease also have significantly high rates of developing cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke. While scientists continue to research the theory, it has been recognized that there is a strong relationship between gum disease and heart attacks.

Heart attacks are considered the most common medical condition in the general population. It is also known that heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. On the other hand, many researchers have found that gum disease affects nearly half of American adults over the age of 30. Because the two conditions similarly affect the population, the idea that gum disease links to heart attacks is prevalent. During a study that was conducted in 2012, known as PAROKRANK, researchers evaluated a group of dental patients to back up the theory. The results showed that 43% of heart attack patients also suffered from gum disease. They also found that people with gum disease had a 50% higher chance of a heart attack than those without.

When it comes to the link between gum disease and heart attacks, inflammation caused by bacteria may be the culprit. It is understood that the common factor between gum disease and heart attacks include the same type of bacterial infection. The bacteria found in gum disease produces inflammation in other areas of the mouth when left untreated. By continuing to live with this condition, the bacteria can eventually spread to other parts of the body. Infection caused by gum disease can easily enter the bloodstream through everyday activities, such as brushing, flossing, and chewing food. As the bacteria spreads throughout the body, it can eventually reach the circulatory system, causing blood vessels to swell and increasing the risk of blood clots and heart attack. Because inflammation is the body’s instant response mechanism, the inflammation can cause the formation of plaque. It is known that the existence of excess plaque can cause the clogging of arteries, similar to how it causes tooth decay.

With the proper care and consistent follow-up with your dentists, the possible health risks of gum disease can be avoided. Everyday care is essential to keeping the signs of gum disease at bay. Continuing to correctly brush and floss each day as well as avoiding alcohol and tobacco can prevent gum disease from forming. Regular cleanings and dental visits can also help with early diagnosis of gum disease. During dental appointments, your dentist can evaluate and measure the gums for inflammation, build-up, and possible bone loss.

The bottom line is that prevention and treatment of gum disease can ultimately save our bodies from further health conditions, such as heart attacks. That is why it’s important to contact your dentist if you suffer from any of the related symptoms:

* Red, swollen, tender gums

* Bleeding gums after brushing, flossing, or eating

* Receding gums

* Loose or separating teeth

* Pus surrounding the gums

* Mouth sores

* Bad bread

* A change in bite

Gum disease has been debated as a possible cause of heart attacks for many years. While research continues to be conducted on the direct link, it’s best to take the proactive steps to beat the possibility

How Late In Life Can One Get Braces?

Nov 26th, 2018
Easton Dentists Nov 26th, 2018

Childhood is frequently viewed as the prime time to get braces. However, more adults of all ages are choosing orthodontic treatment to fix many of their oral health problems and opting for braces. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, one in five people who seek the treatment of braces is over age 18.

While the appearance of a beautiful, straight smile is a common motive for adults to get braces, there are many other reasons why someone might be interested in their later years of life. Whether it is the natural effects of aging, misalignment, or underlying health conditions, it is never too late to seek orthodontic care. In fact, proper teeth alignment becomes even more crucial as people grow older.

 

Braces are more than just creating attractive smiles.

Braces help correct improperly positioned teeth, which will also prevent common oral health issues. Crowding pressure, tooth decay, and the deterioration of enamel can cause a substantial amount of pain and discomfort without the proper treatment. Getting braces to fix the positioning of your teeth can end up saving a lot of distress and money in the long run, no matter the age.

Aging can cause the teeth to shift. As we age, it is not uncommon for our teeth to start moving. As the jawbone changes, the midline shifts from it’s ideal positioning. This can happen even if our teeth have been straight throughout our whole life. The continuous, yet slow shift of the midline can ultimately result in crowding and overlapping of the teeth. Braces can undoubtedly straighten age-related crooked teeth at any age.

Some health conditions contribute to misalignment. While aging is a large factor, sometimes health conditions and injuries can influence our teeth to move in an undesirable way. Periodontal disease, a condition caused by bacteria living under gum tissue, can also lead to the spreading of teeth. Stress is another common factor when it comes to teeth shifting and misalignment. Grinding, clenching, nail biting and tongue thrusting are all examples of unconscious habits that cause wear and tare on your teeth. If an adult is noticing that their teeth are changing their shape and size, they might seek the advice of an Orthodontist to see if braces are right for them.

Problems that were left untreated as a child can get worse with time. Common oral issues, such as a misaligned jaw or bite, can lead to further health complications that might urge a person to be interested in braces. Headaches, TMJ, and gum disease name a few conditions that a person might run into when misalignment is left untreated. As an adult, the getting braces can help correct these issues and improve your overall health and wellness.

Neglecting the use of retainers. Sometimes, adults who have had braces when they were younger may need to go through a second or third course of treatment. This is usually due to not wearing retainers as instructed by their orthodontist. The proper use of retainers long after wearing braces can prevent the teeth from shifting back to its original state. When a previous orthodontic patient neglects that responsibility, the chances are high that their teeth might become crooked again. It is not uncommon to see an adult get braces multiple times throughout their life.

Modern braces make a difference. Sometimes, children and adolescents choose not to wear braces for aesthetic reasons. Now, with more reliable options such as clear brackets and Invisalign, braces are more socially acceptable, even for adults. That is not to mention that braces today are more affordable than they have been in the past. Adults might decide on orthodontic treatment later in life due to financial reasons. Today, most orthodontic offices accept dental insurance and create reasonable payment plans for all patients.

With the right treatment, braces can be beneficial at any age. Braces used to be a type of dental care that was more commonly seen on children and teenagers. Now, statistics show that more than 20% of orthodontic patients are adults, including those in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It’s never too late to make improvements to our health and wellbeing, which is why more adults are getting braces to straighten their smiles.

Should I Brush Before Flossing?

Nov 16th, 2018
Easton Dentists Nov 16th, 2018

The age-old question – should you floss before you brush or after? If you asked any one of our team members, you just might get a different answer on this one!

Before you report them for not knowing their stuff, each response can be right! As long as you’re doing a thorough job, we don’t care when you floss!

The Case for Flossing Before Brushing

Theoretically, flossing first dislodges the gunk between your teeth, letting the fluoride in your toothpaste reach those crevices better.

Also, behavioral scientists say since most people don’t like to floss, it’s better to get the least-pleasant half of your dental routine out of the way first – you’ll be less likely to skip it. Once you have a minty, fresh mouth from brushing, you might be less inclined to feel the need to floss afterward.

The Case for Flossing After Brushing

Some say flossing last is better because it clears your mouth from extra food and debris that could otherwise be carried by the floss into the very spaces you’re trying to clean out.

Plus, it might be more pleasant to put those flossing hands into a clean mouth versus an unbrushed one.

Bottom Line

Floss when it works for you. But make it a habit! Choose the same time every day, floss once a day, and floss thoroughly.

And don’t forget to use the right flossing method: for each new set of teeth, use a new section of floss, and hug each side of the tooth by dragging the floss upward in the shape of a “C.”

Want us to show you how? Just ask!

Electrical or Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?

Oct 26th, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 26th, 2018

This is one of our most frequently asked questions! Our answer? It’s not the brush that matters, it’s who’s doing the brushing.

Let’s break that down. The goal of tooth brushing is to remove plaque from your teeth on a consistent (daily!) basis, so that we prevent the buildup of tartar which leads to tooth decay. A manual toothbrush is a great and inexpensive tool that helps us do just that. Make sure to brush two minutes per day, twice a day. Gently brush ALL surfaces and make sure to reach those back molars.

For some people, it can be difficult to brush properly with a manual toothbrush. Those with some form of motor disability or arthritis may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. An electric brush can also be helpful for kids or anyone with braces.
The same tooth brushing rules apply – two times per day, two minutes at a time. One advantage of an electric toothbrush is that some have a built-in timer. If you’re one of those quick brushers who has a hard time making it to two minutes, consider using a timed electric brush.

At your next dental visit, ask us whether we think you would do better with a manual or electric brush! And, as always, don’t forget to floss!

What Should You Do When a Dental Emergency Occurs to Your Child?

Oct 12th, 2018
Easton Dentists Nov 12th, 2018

You are sitting with other parents while the kids are in the middle of playing in a Little League game. All of a sudden, everyone is looking at you and you can hear the unmistakable sound of your young baseball player sobbing and holding his mouth in obvious pain. He’s been hit in his front teeth on a misplayed ground ball, and a brand new permanent tooth has been knocked out.

While you try to calm your wet-faced, bloody son, one of the parents suggests that you to put the tooth in a glass of cow’s milk. What kind of suggestion is that? You wonder if that has to be an old wives tale, but it turns out not to be. One thing you know for sure is that you need to get him to an emergency dentist as soon as soon as you can.

Dental emergencies can happen at any time. Knowing what to do when the moment arrives can mean the difference between your child keeping or losing his tooth.

 

A Few Common Dental Emergencies and How to Handle Them

Make an effort to have a dentist saved on your cell phone. Severe pain or broken teeth can happen at any moment and can bring even the most stubborn people to the dental office.

 

Knocked Out Tooth

Kids rough house, teenagers play sports, and adults take a “you only live once” approach to learning how to skateboarding. At the moment when a tooth does get knocked out, pick it up by the crown (not the root), gently rinse with water, and try to gently push it back into the socket. Should this not be possible, place it in a glass of milk and make contact with your dentist (or one that you can get a more immediate appointment.)

 

Toothache

A toothache can totally immobilize you. Possible causes can be: tooth decay, infection, tooth eruption, an abnormal bite, or trauma to the tooth. Make an appointment with a dentist and rinse your mouth with warm salt water, take an ibuprofen or acetaminophen, apply an over-the-counter antiseptic and a cold compress to the outside cheek next to where  you believe the afflicted area is located to relieve pain or swelling.

 

Crown or Filling Falling Out

Should your crown falls out, gently wipe the crown or filling clean, proceed to wrap it in a clean cloth, , and schedule an appointment with your dental center.

 

Chipped or fractured tooth

Cracked or chipped teeth don’t always hurt, but the nerves can get damaged if you wait t0o long to get it taken care of. Even if it’s not a big bother, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with a dental professional to get it taken care of.

 

Concussed Tooth

Should your little boy have an incident where he bangs his tooth on a girl’s head and it doesn’t fall out, he still might experience a discolored tooth. Other than having unfortunate year-of-the-dark-tooth school photograph, it’s not exactly a serious dental emergency, but may still be worth getting it examined.

 

How to Avoid Dental Emergencies:

 

  • Don’t use your teeth for anything other than eating or chew very hard foods (such as lollipops)
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing in athletic games
  • Schedule regular teeth cleanings & checkups
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily

Should you have a need of an emergency dentist, contact Easton Dental Center immediately for an appointment ASAP.

How Does Smoking Impact Dental Health?

Oct 11th, 2018
Easton Dentists Nov 12th, 2018

The use of tobacco products is the leading preventable cause of disease and early death in the United States.

Smoking has been linked to a myriad of dental health problems. The most well-known are bad breath and tooth discoloration. On a more serious note, smoking can be linked to a higher risk of gum disease, loss of bone mass in the jaw, and oral cancer.

And yet, approximately 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes!

Every year, the American Cancer Society’s celebrates the Annual Great American Smokeout – one day each year that is set aside to encourage people to make the pledge to quit smoking.  Easton Dental strongly encourages people to quit smoking and thus promote better dental health. Why?

Because…

A person that smokes has twice the risk for gum disease as a non-smoker. The American Academy of Periodontology makes the assertion that the use of tobacco is one of the greatest risk factors in both the origin and progression of gum disease.

Not only does smoking increase likelihood of gum disease, but has also been discovered to make the treatment of gum disease not as effective.

A list of serious health conditions due to tobacco use includes heart attack, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.  Gum disease has been found to also be a leading cause of tooth loss, along with being linked to complications during pregnancy.  At least 75% of cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue and throat are found in people that use an excessive amount of tobacco.

But all is not lost. It has been found that the effects of smoking begin to reverse themselves almost immediately once a smoker quits this harmful habit.  According to the American Dental Association, even after many years of heavy tobacco use, reducing the amount a person smokes or quitting all together is very beneficial.  This action can greatly reduce the health risks, even so far as reducing the likelihood of gum disease to the point as if that person had never smoked!

A life without the cigarettes can lead to: Better breath, whiter teeth, healthier gums, and overall better health. Who would not want that?

How Apples are Good for Your Teeth

Oct 5th, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 5th, 2018

Good for my teeth

People have been asserting that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” since the 19 th century. While it may not necessarily be true that those who eat apples never have to see a doctor, apples certainly have great health benefits for our bodies! Did you know they can even be good for our teeth? Let’s take a look at what the research says …

It’s widely thought that chewing a crisp, fresh apple can help brush away plaque on our teeth. We’re not too sure on this one, as some studies show a higher plaque content on teeth after eating an apple. At the same time, there is evidence to suggest some polyphenols in apples can lower the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to adhere to teeth. Further, some studies have shown that the antioxidants in apples can help prevent periodontal disease.

Apples even contain a (very) small amount of fluoride. This is worth noting, as fluoride is so important in helping prevent cavities.

Lastly, the act of chewing an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Remember, though, apples contain sugar and acid so it’s best not to go overboard with them.

You can even swish with water after eating one to wash away some of the sugar left behind. As the science continues to look into how apples affect our teeth, one thing we know is true: regular dental visits, along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, is your best defense against tooth decay! Schedule an appointment today!

Are Dental Procedure Costs on the Rise? 

Sep 30th, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 30th, 2018

Over the last several years, the cost of dental care has been increasing at a faster rate than most healthcare services. With such rapid developments made to dental procedures, technology, and education, the average American cannot afford many of the treatments that are often recommended by dentists. Although most Americans are insured with some form of healthcare, the expense of a dentist visit often outweighs those benefits, especially during the more demanding procedures, such as root canals and tooth extractions. As a result of this abrupt increase in the cost of dental care, research has shown that only 36% of Americans actually go to the dentist on an annual basis. Unfortunately, when cost is the only thing standing in the way of proper dental care, we are either forced to pay the expenses out of pocket or skip the recommended treatment overall. This in turn, can lead to further health complications down the road. 

With such an increase in dental bills, many of us find ourselves wondering why a trip to the dentist is so expensive. Professional dentistry requires extensive knowledge and advanced technology in order to deliver the highest quality of treatment. Studies show that 80% of what a patient pays after their dental procedure goes toward the expense of running an up-to-date dental practice. Considering the cost of office space, payroll of certified staff, health and business insurance, taxes, supplies, and updated technology, it’s no wonder why dental visits are costly. The quality of products that are manufactured in dental labs are also on the rise, resulting in a much higher demand in order to afford reliable crowns, dentures, and other dental products that are being placed inside patients’ mouths.  

Dental Fillings 

Dental fillings have come an extremely long way over the last 150 years. Dental filling advancements that might affect the higher treatment costs, include the variety of updated bonding techniques. Now, we have the option of treating our cavities with dental fillings that blend with the actual color of the tooth, making it more aesthetically pleasing to the patient. Tooth composites are also being produced to be a stronger, more translucent material. While a traditional, silver amalgam filling can cost as little as $50, there are some porcelain fillings that can cost almost $4,500. With so many options to choose from, the price of treating tooth decay will most likely continue to increase. 

Tooth Extractions 

Sometimes, dental procedures require surgical and non-surgical extractions to fix the issues that can’t be treated. While the cost of tooth extractions depend on the difficulty and length of the treatment, the actual procedure usually involves administering anesthesia. Furthermore, the latest anesthesia technology is expensive, and even the most basic forms can get pricey. Depending on the severity, the average tooth removal can cost anywhere from $75 to $700 per tooth. 

Root Canals and Crowns 

Dental procedures, such as crown placements, normally follow a root canal, turning the treatment into a couple weeks worth of dental visits. The cost of a crown is usually tied to the type of material that it’s made of. Dental labs are making the material more durable so that there are less chances of the crown cracking later down the road. The improvements made in the material of dental crowns make the overall costs range from $300-$700. That’s not to mention that the root canal procedure can cost a couple hundred dollars as well. 

Running a Dental Office 

With the rise in modernized dental procedures and technology, running a dental office as a professional can cost a small fortune. A small dental office serving roughly 1500 patients per year can cost several hundred thousand dollars per year to operate.  

Studies have recently shown that more and more people continue to skip the dentist office all together because of the unpleasant bill that comes along with the visit. However, it’s important to remember that the high costs are associated with giving the patient the best quality of care and satisfaction. Dental care is an essential part of living a healthy life, thus why such extensive measures have been taken to make all dental procedures as reliable as possible. 

 

Does Teeth Whitening Damage Teeth?

Sep 3rd, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 3rd, 2018

There is a common misconception that teeth are supposed to be as white as a sheet of paper. The reality is that tooth enamel can be a number of different shades that actually produce an off-white, almost yellowish color. Over time, the natural color of our teeth can start to become darker. Whether that change is from genetics, aging, or from the use of certain medicines, there are multiple factors that can create an unwanted appearance of dark yellow looking teeth or pesky stains. Teeth whitening is a procedure that uses safe chemical treatment to brighten the tooth and change its natural exterior to appear white. There are a handful of ways that you can achieve this look, including the use of abrasive toothpastes and over the counter whitening agents. In most cases, professional bleaching tends to be more beneficial and longer lasting.

What Whitening Can Manage: Discoloration happens to even the healthiest of teeth, but there are ways to reverse it. Having your teeth professionally bleached may help conserve your overall oral condition by removing unhealthy stains almost immediately. Discoloration from coffee, tea, and pigmented foods can sometimes lead to other oral issues, such as tooth decay and enamel breakdown. Having your teeth whitened every now and then might be a positive step toward managing such stains. The process is fast and easy, making it more appealing for those who are looking for quick fix.

The mental effect that teeth whitening has on patients can also help promote healthier habits. Having a brighter looking smile may boost confidence levels, resulting in higher determination to want to take care of your teeth. Being proud of the color of your teeth might just be the ticket to necessary cleaning and maintenance. Keep in mind that before committing to a bleaching treatment or any other kind of whitening procedure, you should consult with your dentist to be sure that it is the right practice for you. What it Cannot Manage: Another common misjudgment that some patients make is assuming that teeth whitening can replace the daily practice of personal oral hygiene. Whitening is certainly not a substitute for healthy habits such as routine cleanings, brushing, flossing or the avoidance of certain food and drink. That’s not to mention that even whitening doesn’t last forever. It takes appropriate maintenance and upkeep in order to hold those sparkling results for longer than a few months. The only way that you can ensure long-term whitening is by following the basic oral health guidelines. Avoiding smoking, coffee, tea, wine, and other acidic food and drink to help prevent staining and darkening. By taking good care of your teeth at all times, you may not need another treatment for another 12 months.

Again, it is important to consult with your dentist to confirm that your oral history won’t affect the results of teeth whitening. For example, those who suffer from tooth decay and receding gums might be extremely sensitive to the treatment, causing unnecessary nerve and gum pain. Also, whitening will not cure cavities or tooth decay. In fact, it’s highly recommended that all cavities and areas of decay are treated beforehand. Bleaching veneers or teeth that have porcelain or ceramic crowns can also result in an unsuccessful process.

It’s crucial to understand that while teeth whitening can be very useful toward improving the brightness of your smile, it can also cause some unwanted symptoms if used incorrectly. That’s why the guidance of a professional can help you reap the full benefits of teeth whitening in the safest way possible. It’s no secret that creating a whiter smile can be a favorable change to your overall health. If you are struggling with tough stains on your teeth or discoloration, it might be worth your time to learn more about how teeth whitening can help manage your teeth!