Ensure Purr-fect Oral Health for the Whole Family!

While this obviously isn’t a pet clinic, we know that many of our patients have cats and dogs, so we thought it worthwhile to spend a few minutes discussing dental issues to watch out for in your pet’s mouth.

Like humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to gum disease. In fact, by the time your pet is three years old, there’s an 80 percent chance that his or her gums are already under attack. The same research that has linked poor dental health to poor overall health in humans is applicable for animals. Like in humans, any bacteria and infection in an animal’s mouth may spread through the bloodstream to cause heart, kidney or liver disease. These diseases can cause serious damage to the organs and potentially lead to premature death.

Does your pooch have “doggy breath”? This can actually be odor from the by-products of bacteria in the mouth, and it is often the first sign that your pet has gum disease or other dental problems. Your veterinarian should give Fido or Fluffy a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year, but, in between visits, you’ll need to make an effort to remove plaque from your pet’s teeth, too. Ask your veterinarian about the many pet-specific oral cleaners and oral hygiene solutions available today, and about dental-friendly foods and treats that will make achieving good oral health easier for both you and your pet

Be your pet’s best friend by ensuring many years of health and happiness, from head to tail!

Great Gums!

Today’s society promotes straight, white smiles as the ideal goal for both men and women aiming for a more attractive appearance. As dentists, we know that while beautiful teeth are an integral part of an ideal smile, gums deserve just as much, if not more, attention.

Beautiful teeth can only sustain themselves if healthy gums support them. Healthy gums help retain teeth in their sockets, in addition to helping to cosmetically frame the teeth, providing attractive aesthetic contours.

While we strongly encourage flossing to remove what your toothbrush can’t reach, there are also other options available for people who may need alternatives to dental floss. Here are some choices that you may want to consider:

  • Interdental brushes: This is a type of toothbrush that has a very small tapered or cylindrical head with fine bristles. It is excellent for getting in and around braces and bridges, and is also beneficial for those with widely spaced teeth or implants.
  • Interdental woodsticks: These wooden sticks help clean between your teeth while massaging your gums.
  • Irrigation devices: An oral irrigator is a machine that blasts a precise, pressurized stream of water to clean around the gumline. It can be used with water alone, or with a mouth rinse. Note that this is not a replacement for flossing, but can be a helpful tool to help clean around braces, bridges and implants, and aid those who may find flossing difficult due to compromised medical states.

Ask us to explain more about these interdental aids, and about tips or tools that may make flossing a more efficient process for you.

Healthy Smile, Healthy Outlook

While each dentist may focus on different priorities in their practices, we all preach the same mantra: Take care of your teeth, and they’ll take care of you.

Teeth begin to develop before birth, and throughout our lifetime are responsible for allowing us to process the foods that will keep us healthy, while enabling us to speak properly, have a more attractive appearance and even place higher on a social level. In fact, research shows that a beautiful smile can make you appear more intelligent, interesting, successful and wealthy to others!

A beautiful smile begins with healthy bones, gums and strong teeth. Covered with enamel, the hardest substances in the body are teeth, which are necessary for tearing, cutting and grinding food in preparation for swallowing and digestion. Each type of tooth is responsible for a specific function in the eating process. Starting at the front, the incisors — the front teeth — cut food when you bite into them. The longer, sharper canines beside them tear the food, while the premolars behind them grind and mash the food with their flatter surfaces. The molars, at the back of the mouth, make sure food is well chewed before entering the digestive track.

Knowing the specific function of each type of tooth, you can understand why it’s so important to have a full set of healthy teeth, to ensure you’re able to eat all the right foods to keep your whole body healthy. Good general health starts with good nutrition. This is the reason we constantly stress the importance of taking care of your teeth through daily flossing and brushing, and regular dental visits.

If you haven’t already reserved a convenient time to come in for your next dental checkup, please take a minute to call us now. We look forward to helping you improve and maintain, not only your beautiful smile, but your overall health, too!

Protect Your Teeth Against Enamel Erosion

Enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of your teeth. If it erodes, it can be very uncomfortable, with symptoms ranging from tooth sensitivity and discoloration, to painful cracks in the teeth. What is tooth erosion caused by, and how can you prevent it?

The acid in the foods and drinks we put in our mouths can cause tooth enamel to wear away. While the calcium contained in your saliva will help remineralize (strengthen) your teeth after enamel is exposed to small amounts of acid, saliva alone is not enough to fight a constant barrage of acids from carbonated drinks, fruit juice or wine, or even the effects of acid reflux or frequent vomiting.

Follow these tips to help avoid the destructive effects of acid on your tooth enamel:

    • Reduce or eliminate drinking carbonated drinks.
    • If you do enjoy an occasional carbonated or acidic drink, have it pass through your mouth quickly — don’t sip it over an extended period of time — and use a straw, when possible, to reduce the liquid’s exposure to your teeth.
    • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming an acidic drink, and wait an hour before brushing, to allow the enamel to remineralize.
    • When you do brush, use a soft toothbrush, and fluoridated toothpaste.

Please ask us to discuss the causes, effects and steps necessary to fight Enamel Erosion in order to maintain the most healthy, comfortable and attractive smile Possible.

Save Your Breath!

You may already have completed your spring-cleaning and organized your spring wardrobe, so why not view the new spring season as an opportunity to embark on a fresh oral hygiene program, too?

Halitosis (bad breath) is a common oral health concern. Whether one’s chronic bad breath (as opposed to temporary “morning breath,” or bad breath from garlic, onions or other odorous foods) is caused by dental hygiene issues or gastrointestinal problems, the culprit can usually be traced back to bacteria — the root of many dental problems. In fact, bacteria is directly linked to dental caries (cavities) and gum disease, as well as bad breath. Keeping excess bacteria in check is a continual process, beginning with proper dental hygiene.

It’s essential that you brush and floss your teeth daily in order to get rid of the food that can collect between your teeth, on your tongue and in and around your gums. If food particles are not removed, they can decay, leaving an unpleasant odor in your mouth. Because oral bacteria excrete volatile sulfur compounds, it’s essential to continually remove those bacteria from your teeth, gums and tongue. In fact, stick out your tongue. If you see a white layer of plaque at the back of your tongue, you can be sure it’s creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria — and therefore bad breath — to flourish.

Persistent bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. If you notice you have red, swollen or tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, or gaps in-between your gums and your teeth, you may be experiencing the first signs of gum disease. Talk to us about steps you can take to halt or even reverse the indications of this preventable disease.

Dry mouth can trigger bad breath when the production of saliva, known as “nature’s mouthwash” because it washes away bacteria and sulfur compounds in the mouth, slows down. Dieting, fasting, dehydration and certain medications can slow down the production of saliva, as can salivary gland problems or continuous breathing through the mouth. In addition to bad breath, dry mouth can also put patients at risk for cavities and gum disease. When saliva is not present to flush away foods, food particles might adhere to teeth and begin the decay process.

As mentioned earlier, what you eat can cause bad breath, but what you don’t eat can also leave a bad smell in your mouth. For example, low-carb diets force the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As excess fat gets burned away, the body releases ill-smelling chemicals called ketones through the breath and urine. The high-protein component of low-carb diets can also contribute to halitosis from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds.

Tobacco use, a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbances, and liver or kidney ailments are also some possible sources of bad breath. If we determine that your mouth is healthy and that your oral hygiene is on track, we may suggest a visit to your family doctor to determine alternate medical causes of bad breath.

If you have any concerns at all about your breath, please don’t be embarrassed to ask us for suggestions.