Oral Health

Oral Cancer Facts and Figures

April 25th, 2018

As you may know from last week's post, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  And as you surely know if you are one of our patients, Dr. Powell and Dr. Tiller perform an oral cancer screening on all of our patients every 6 months when you come in for your continuing care.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want to make sure all your friends and loved ones are getting screened.  Help us spread the word!  For every new patient you refer to us this month or even for any review of our office on Google, Facebook, Yelp or elsewhere (to help send people you don't even know), or even just sharing this or any other oral cancer screening post on your Facebook this month, we are donating $5 to the Oral Cancer Foundation.  It's a win/win because more people will know that Powell & Tiller Dental Care is committed to early screening for this disease and more money will go toward treating it.

Oral cancer is largely viewed as a disease that affects those over the age of 40, but it can affect all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Our team at Powell & Tiller Dental Care put together some facts and figures to illustrate the importance of regular screenings.

Our friends at the American Cancer Society recommend an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40. Because early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment, we perform them every 6 months on everyone at their routine continuing care exam.

  • In most cases a patient is not aware that they have oral cancer.  Oral cancer is particularly deadly because it rarely leads to symptoms until it is fairly advanced.  It is often not diagnosed until the cancer has already metastasized to another location in their bodies.  Once any cancer has metastasized, survival rates decrease dramatically.
  • The primary known risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women are tobacco (including smokeless tobacco), alcohol use, and most recently a certain strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16). Your risk is 15 times larger if you smoke AND drink.
  • Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.
  • Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition due to the increase in the prevalence of HPV.
  • Close to 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development, as there is not a comprehensive program in the US to opportunistically screen for the disease, and without that; late stage discovery is more common. Having said that, those who routinely see the dentist should be screened on a regular schedule and certainly if you come to Powell & Tiller Dental Care, we will ensure that you are.
  • It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.

Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection and touch, Dr. Juli Powell and Dr. Ada Tiller and our team at Powell & Tiller Dental Care can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage, when treatment is both less extensive and more successful.

Contact us today if you are overdue for your exam.

February is National Dental and Heart Health Month!

February 13th, 2018

You may remember our post from last week, when we discussed February being American Heart Health Month, but did you know that February is also National Dental Health Month?  Coincidence?  We think not!

Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Visiting our office on a regular basis can help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. If you do have gum disease, it is important to have it treated as this is an inflammatory disease in your mouth that leads to higher levels of inflammatory factors in your blood stream.  Studies are still underway to determine the connection between the increase in heart disease in patients who have gum disease and vice versa.  Scientists believe it could have to do with the bodies inflammatory response in both cases.  Both heart disease and gum disease show higher levels of C-reactive protein.  A protein more prevalent in people with diseases caused by inflammation or autoimmunity.  More work needs to be done to really learn the connection, but no matter what, we want you to keep your mouth and whole body healthy.

Our office is committed to the health of your gums by preventing and treating gum disease and giving you the tools and techniques to keep them healthy after.  Make sure you stay regular with your dental care and keep up with that flossing - you maybe keeping more than just your teeth and gums healthy!

Also, remember that this month Powell & Tiller Dental Care is giving $5 to the American Heart Association for every post on our patient's social media pages where you tell us why you love us and tag our office.  Help us show America's hearts some love!

Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

May 24th, 2017

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth. We’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts With Bacteria
We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal! Brush, floss and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum for good measure. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. A clean mouth, is a fresh mouth!

Choose Breath-Friendly Foods And Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth.

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath
Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse.

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here For You
For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, come in to see us at Powell & Tiller Dental Care so we can address the issue and find the proper solution. We are here to serve you!

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

Your Continuing Care Dental Visit Primer

May 10th, 2017

VISITING POWELL & TILLER DENTAL CARE every six months is an important part of maintaining your oral health. Not only does it keep your smile clean, but it can help you keep an eye on your overall health too!

Many of you are so used to our routine that the minute you see the gauze you stick out your tongue (you know who you are!).  For some, it may have been a while since your last visit or you or a loved one may be apprehensive about coming in. Knowing what to expect can help.  Even for those of you who know the routine, it's great to hear why we do what we do.  So today we want to explain the basics of what happens during your bi-annual check up and how you can prepare for your next appointment!

Gather Necessary Information Beforehand

Discussing your family history may not be the first thing you think of when scheduling your dental appointment, but being familiar with your family’s medical history allows us to better care for your oral and overall health.

Like many other conditions such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer, periodontal disease has strong genetic ties that can run in your family. Knowing your family’s medical history can help your dentist keep an eye out for oral health issues such as gum disease or other conditions which present symptoms in the mouth, such as diabetes.

Aside from gathering any relevant personal or family medical information, be sure to review your dental insurance benefits as you prepare for your appointment. Knowing your level of coverage will help you understand what costs will be associated with your care. If you have any questions about using your dental insurance in our practice or if you would like information about paying for care without insurance, give us a call!

What Happens During Your Appointment?

Although this varies from patient to patient based on their individual needs, a dental check-up generally consists of a professional cleaning, a comprehensive dental examination, and potentially X-rays.

Dental X-Rays

How frequently you need dental X-rays relies largely on your medical and dental history, your age, and your current oral health. New-patient examinations often include X-rays as well.

If required, dental X-rays are generally taken at the beginning of your dental appointment. Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line.

Dental Cleaning

Once it’s time for your cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a small metal instrument known as a scaler to remove tartar above and below the gum line and in between teeth. Drs. Powell and Tiller are committed to the latest in research and technology so we also use an ultrasonic scaler which allows for more comfortable, efficient and effective cleaning for our patients.  We will polish your teeth using a polishing tool and a lightly abrasive paste to deep clean your pearly whites and remove any tartar left behind after the previous step. We will finish your cleaning with a thorough flossing.  Most importantly, we will educate you on the best way to maintain your oral health and provide you the tools that will work best for your situation.  There are so many products available, each with their own advantages.  We will work with you to find the best way to maintain your clean smile and help you prevent decay and gum conditions.

Comprehensive Exam

Dr. Powell or Dr. Tiller will also perform a comprehensive oral examination to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. They will:

  • examine your teeth for signs of decay
  • check for gum swelling and redness, and measure the depth of your gingival pockets to check for signs of periodontal disease
  • test how your top and bottom teeth come together and check for signs of teeth grinding or other potential orthodontic issues
  • examine your neck, lymph glands, and oral cavity for signs of oral cancer

Based on your exam, we’ll further discuss any necessary treatment recommendations and offer helpful tips on how to improve your oral hygiene before your next appointment.

What Should You Do After Your Appointment?

Whether your next appointment is in 6 months or even sooner, we’re looking forward to seeing your smile! Be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and follow any additional instructions provided by your dentist before your next visit. If you have any questions about what to expect from a visit in our office, let us know!

We love our patients and want our focus to be on keeping you healthy so that you don't need so much of us!

Protect Your Teeth This Cold And Flu Season

February 21st, 2017

THE LAST THING YOU WANT to worry about when you’re sick is your dental health. Unfortunately, your teeth can be extra vulnerable when cold and flu season strike. If you find yourself under the weather, read on for helpful tips on protecting your mouth!

Watch Out For Dry Mouth
You know that feeling when your nose is so stuffy you can’t breathe out of it even if you tried? We all have the potential to become mouth breathers when we’re sick, especially at night. Consequently, our mouths become dry, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.

Some of the medications we take when we’re sick–such as antihistamines, decongestants and pain relievers–can cause or worsen dry mouth. Without as much saliva to fend off bacteria in our mouths, our risk of tooth decay goes way up! Protect yourself from cavities and make sure to drink plenty of water when you’re sick.

Being sick can often cause bad breath because of congestion and dry mouth. Learn more about it here!

Go Sugar-free

We all know how bad sugar can be for our teeth. But it’s not usually something we think about when we’re in dire need of a cough drop! Next time you buy cough drops, go sugar-free. Sucking on a sugary cough drop all day is just the same as sucking on a jolly rancher or other sugary candy, and it can do just as much damage to your pearly whites.

Stick With Water
Orange juice, sports drinks, tea sweetened with honey or sugar–these are all beverages we reach for when we’re sick. Just remember to rinse your mouth with water after drinking them, to protect your teeth from all that sugar.

Water will also be your best friend if you have the stomach flu. Vomit is very acidic and can wreak havoc on your teeth. Instead of trying to brush your teeth immediately after, however, just rinse your mouth out with water and make sure to stay hydrated!

Keep Up On Oral Hygiene
Remembering to brush and floss your teeth on a normal day is easy: in the morning when you wake up and at night before going to bed! When you’re sick, the days and nights often run together as you try to rest and recuperate. Losing that sense of routine can be bad news for your teeth if you are forgetting to take proper care of them.

You may be surprised, but brushing your teeth may actually make you feel better! The health and cleanliness of our mouth can have a profound effect on our overall sense of well-being. When your mouth is clean, you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. So, don’t forget to keep up on your oral hygiene routine, even when you’re not feeling so hot.

We Hope You Get Feeling Better!
We sincerely hope that none of our patients get sick this cold and flu season. If you are feeling unwell, get feeling better soon! As always, thank you for choosing Powell & Tiller Dental Care as your dental home!

We love our patients!

How Your Oral And Overall Health Are Linked

January 25th, 2017

WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN… taking care of your teeth and mouth is more than just about cosmetics, it’s about your health! When you think of being healthy, your mouth probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But your oral and overall health are more intertwined than you think.

Your Mouth Is The Gateway To The Rest Of Your Body
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Periodontal Disease And Its Connection To Chronic Diseases
Not only can many illnesses and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, your oral health can also affect your body. This is especially true of periodontal or “gum” disease.

Diabetes
Did you know that gum disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes? People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria and are thus more susceptible to gum disease. In like manner, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Heart Disease
While health care professionals aren’t completely sure as to why, heart and gum disease often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. It is believed that the link between these two conditions is inflammation.

Cancer
These statistics may surprise you, but researchers have found that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.

What’s more, cancer treatments often have oral manifestations. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.

Other Complications

Gum disease has also been linked with stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have preterm births and low birth-weight babies.

The Health Of Your Mouth Is In Your Hands
As you can see, there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. That’s why it’s important to make your dentist a part of your health care team by going to your regular dental appointments and updating them on your medical history. We care about your whole body health!

The good news is that, for the most part, dental disease is entirely preventable. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can keep gum disease at bay and protect you from cavities. Your oral health is in your hands, so choose to be mouth-healthy!

Thank you for supporting Powell & Tiller Dental Care!

Take Care Of Your Tooth Enamel

November 14th, 2016

TOOTH ENAMEL IS THE hardest substance in the human body. But don’t let that fool you–it’s far from invincible. In fact, there are things you may be doing on a regular basis that weaken your enamel, which could lead to more frequent cavities, tooth discoloration and sensitivity.

Tooth Enamel Acts As A Protective Barrier
The enamel makes up the tooth’s protective outer layer and is the first line of defense against harmful acids and bacteria. Unlike other parts of the body, tooth enamel cannot regenerate. This means that once damage is done to the enamel, it cannot be repaired. Weakened enamel can, however, be strengthened.  That is why we want to give you some tips on how to best take care of your teeth and keep your tooth enamel in tiptop shape!

Keep Your Tooth Enamel Healthy And Strong

There are a number of things you can do to care for your enamel and protect it from erosion.

Watch what you eat and drink
Sugary, starchy and acidic foods and beverages are the top offenders when it comes to weakening and ultimately eroding tooth enamel. Calcium-rich foods and drinks, however, help to neutralize acids in the mouth and strengthen tooth enamel. You can find calcium in dairy products, dark leafy greens such as kale, soybeans, and sardines.

Our simple recommendation is to try to eat healthier and cut back on sugary snacks and drinks, soda in particular. Soda is especially damaging to tooth enamel due to its high sugar content and acidity. If you must drink something acidic or sugary, even fruit juice, use a straw!

Drink plenty of water
Drink water throughout the day to avoid dry mouth. Rinse your mouth out with water after meals to get rid of food debris as well as stimulate saliva flow. Not only does our saliva contain antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria, it also consists of calcium and phosphate that remineralize and build up tooth enamel.

Brush and floss properly and regularly
When bacteria in the form of plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for long periods of time, they produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Regular brushing and flossing rid the mouth of plaque and food debris. Be sure not to brush too aggressively as this habit will weaken enamel over time. Using a fluoridated rinse daily can also help remineralize and strengthen your enamel.

See your dentist
Regular checkups and cleanings are vital to maintaining a healthy mouth. When you come in for your biannual appointments we look for signs of tooth enamel wear, such as tooth grinding and cavities, and can help you get them under control early.

Do Your Teeth A Favor
Your tooth enamel works around the clock to defend your teeth. By following the above guidelines, you can return the favor by protecting your enamel from wear and erosion. Do you have any questions about tooth enamel? Feel free to comment below or send us a message on Facebook!

We’re ENAMELED with our patients!

The Spooky Truth About Sugar

October 13th, 2016

MONSTERS AND GHOSTS AND SUGAR, OH MY! Wait… sugar? That’s right. The scariest thing you’ll encounter this Halloween may just be sweets.

Here are some hair-raising statistics about Halloween candy consumption:

Americans purchase around 600 million pounds–or 2 billion dollars worth–of candy each year for Halloween.
Kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween and the average trick-or-treater intakes about three cups of sugar.
The average child would need to trick-or-treat for over 100 miles to burn off what they eat during Halloween.
These statistics may be a bit shocking but what is perhaps even more frightening is how much sugar the average American consumes on a daily basis, not just around October 31st.

According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar makes up 16 percent of the average american child’s daily caloric intake. The American Dental Association recommends that added sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of total energy intake and ideally less than five percent.

More Sugar, More Cavities

It’s no secret that sugar in excess can be harmful to your health. High sugar consumption has been linked to obesity, diabetes and poor heart health. We also know it can be especially damaging to teeth and gums.

When we eat foods that contain sugar, we are not the only ones enjoying the meal–so are the harmful bacteria in our mouths. As a result, these bacteria produce acids that eat away at our teeth and cause tooth decay, or in other words, cavities.

Watch Out For Added Sugars And Try To Cut Back

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk, and fresh fruit and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for are added sugars.

Here’s how we recommend you lower your daily sugar intake:

Read food labels.

Many times we don’t realize just how much sugar we are consuming. You may think you’re making a healthy choice for your child with dried or canned fruit, granola bars, or even yogurt. But many of these food items have a surprisingly high amount of sugar.

Think about your drink.

Did you know that one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake for a child? Even seemingly healthy beverages such as fruit juices contain far too much sugar. The best options for beverages are water and milk.

Cook at home.

By cooking at home you can know exactly what is going into your child’s meals and snacks. You’d be surprised by how much hidden sugar there is in fast food!

Trick Or Treat?

Don’t let Halloween trick you into thinking it’s the only time of year you need to think about your treats! The amount of sugar we consume in October is scary, but our daily sugar intake needs our attention too. Let this Halloween mark the start of your family’s journey to cut back on sugar!

Happy Halloween!

Top image by Flickr user Micah Sittig used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Have You Gotten Screened For Oral Cancer Lately?

September 21st, 2016

THROUGHOUT LIFE PEOPLE get regular prostate exams, mammograms and colonoscopies. These preventative health care exams are extremely important for detecting any abnormalities–including cancer–early, so they can be treated as soon as possible. These exams save lives. So do oral cancer screenings.
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand that a regular oral cancer screening is just as important as these other preventative exams. We want our patients to know that coming in to see us every six months isn’t just to make sure you don’t have cavities; it can actually save your life.

The Truth About Oral Cancer
There are 400,000 people throughout the world who are diagnosed with oral cancer every year–in the U.S. alone, that’s about 100 new cases every day. Oral cancer is a particularly deadly cancer, as only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their diagnosis.

These statistics are frightening, but there is some good news: early detection of oral cancer can boost survival rates 80 to 90 percent.The reason oral cancer is so harmful is because many patients aren’t diagnosed until late in the game. By raising awareness about this disease and the need for regular screenings, we hope to help stop that from happening.

Lifestyle Choices Can Put You At Higher Risk
Certain lifestyle activities can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Familiarize yourself with these risk factors:

Tobacco use–Smoking and other tobacco use makes you three times more likely to develop oral cancer
Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55
UV exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to sunlight increases your risk of developing lip cancer
Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer
While knowing the risks can help us prevent oral cancer, it still occurs in people without any of the above risk factors. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent among non-smoking, healthy individuals. The reason for this shift is the rise of HPV, or human papilloma virus, a common sexually transmitted infection.Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer–even more so than tobacco users.

Monitor Abnormalities And Get Regular Screenings
We’re all used to the occasional canker sore or sensitive cheek that we accidentally bit while eating dinner. While sores in the mouth are common, it’s important to remember that oral cancer often begins as a painless sore that simply outstays its welcome. If you experience any of these symptoms, come in to see us right away:

A lump or thickening of your cheek
A white or red patch on any part of your inner mouth or throat
Numbness inside the mouth
A sore inside your mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks
Difficulty with swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw
The most important thing you can do to combat oral cancer is get regular screenings. Dental professionals are the first line of defense against this disease and we are often the first health care professionals to notice any abnormalities.

So, ask us more about oral cancer screenings when you come in for your biannual checkup. Or give us a call today to set up a screening for yourself or someone you care about. We want to see you healthy and smiling bright for a lifetime.

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice.

Teen “Night Owls” More Likely To Have Tooth Decay

September 6th, 2016

Do you have a teen who stays up late studying or playing video games? A new study finds teenagers who are “night owls” are “up to four times as likely to require fillings as those who prefer an early night.” The researchers suggested this may be due to teenagers neglecting “to brush their teeth before falling asleep.” In addition, the study found teenagers who go to bed late are “more likely to wake up later and skip breakfast,” resulting in “increased snacking throughout the day.” Given this, the Oral Health Foundation is “encouraging parents to ensure their children understand the importance of brushing their teeth before bed, and the impact of tooth decay.” Dr. Nigel Carter, the foundation’s chief executive, said the combined effect of not brushing teeth regularly before bed and skipping breakfast is “a real recipe for disaster” for oral health and increases the “risk of developing tooth decay.”

We have personally seen these problems arise in our office. Teens who have historically had perfect check-ups are being diagnosed with multiple areas of decay, and when questioned about any changes in diet or other habits, late night snacking seems to be the culprit.

We have also seen what we refer to in our office as “the freshman year effect.” We have had patients who we have seen since they were little and sent them off to college without a single filling. Unfortunately, some come home for winter break or summer for their dental check-up to find out they have developed cavities. When we talk to the students, we find it is due to a change in diet and a change in oral hygiene habits. It seems, this is the first time that they have free reign on what they eat and drink. They may be choosing foods that mom and dad didn’t keep at home and often are drinking far more soft drinks. So turns out the “freshman 15” isn’t great for teeth either! Adding to the problem is that students are often up late studying and the trip down the hall to the common bathroom to brush their teeth may not always happen.

Dr. Carter said, “Problems in the mouth can affect the way our children communicate, their relationships and their wider general health, so it is vital they prioritize their oral health.” As your teens are becoming more and more independent, please help us and help them by stressing the importance of a healthy diet and good oral hygiene practices.

How Everyday Habits Affect Your Teeth

July 26th, 2016

TOOTH ENAMEL HAS the pretty cool reputation of being the hardest substance in the human body. So it may come as a surprise to know that while enamel is super tough, it can also break quite easily! The truth is that our teeth are not invincible, and a lot of everyday habits can put our oral health at risk.

Watch Out For These Tooth-Damaging Habits

Many of these habits seem harmless, but over time they can do a lot of damage to that beautiful smile of yours!

Nail Biting

We may refer to closely-matched sports games as “nail-biters,” but that doesn’t mean we should actually be biting our nails! Nail biting can cause teeth to chip or break as well as lead to enamel damage. The front teeth are often the first to suffer wear and tear from nail biting.

Due to the increased pressure on teeth during orthodontic treatment, biting your nails with braces can put you at greater risk for tooth resorption (a shortening of the tooth roots) or tooth loss. For the sake of teeth everywhere, let’s keep the term “nail-biter” as an expression rather than a label for ourselves!

Using Your Teeth As A Tool

That darn packet of ketchup just won’t open! While your teeth may seem to be the perfect solution, using them as a tool will cause more harm than good. As strong as your teeth may be, they are not meant to be used as pliers or any other sort of tool. Doing so can lead to fractured or broken teeth and even tooth loss. As a side note, tooth damage puts you at greater risk of decay and cavities!

Gnawing On Pens And Pencils

You may be solving a difficult problem or simply thinking. Before you know it, the end of your pen or pencil is in your mouth. This oftentimes unconscious habit is an important one to be aware of. We don’t realize how much pressure we’re placing on our teeth when we bite down on something that isn’t food.

Chewing on your pen or pencil puts you at risk for broken teeth and even damage to existing dental work. Constant chewing on hard objects can compromise dental restorations such as fillings or crowns. When it comes to this bad habit, we say stay away!

Chewing Ice

Are you an ice chewer? Chewing on ice is another huge culprit behind chipped, cracked and fractured teeth. The cold can weaken teeth even further, leaving them more susceptible to breakage. Chewing ice cubes doesn’t just chip teeth, it chips away tooth enamel as well, causing serious damage over time. Even your blender needs special blades to crush ice! So next time you’re tempted, just remember your teeth aren’t equipped to crush ice cubes.

Do Your Chompers A Favor

Your teeth are made to chew food and nothing more. If you’ve got one of these bad habits, do your chompers a favor and work on quitting. If you have successfully broken one of these habits, tell us how in the comments below!

Our patients rock!

February is Heart Health Month

February 20th, 2013

Good oral health is important for more than just your smile!  Many studies are currently exploring the link between gum disease and heart disease or stroke. While scientists haven't shown a direct cause and effect relationship, we know increases in one elevates your risk in the other. One theory suggests that oral bacteria may affect heart health when it enters the blood and attaches to the fatty plaque in the heart's blood vessels. This can cause the formation of blood clots. Another theory suggests the possibility that inflammation could be a contributing link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Gum disease increases inflammatory factors in the blood stream which may also contribute to the development of swollen or inflamed coronary arteries.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease is caused in part by the buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries. Blood clots cut off blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Both blood clots and the buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries may lead to a heart attack. Moreover, periodontal disease nearly doubles the likelihood that someone will suffer from coronary artery disease. Periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions. The fact that more than 2,400 people die from heart disease each day makes it a major public health issue. It is also the leading killer of both men and women in the United States today.

 

At Powell & Tiller Dental Care, we want to help you keep your body and heart healthy.  Our charity of the month is the American Heart Association for Heart Health month.  Share this blog or tag us in a post on Facebook or Instagram on why you love our office this month and we will give $5 per tag to the AHA to help further research into heart health.  We <3 our patients!

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