Posts for: September, 2017
As if the preteen years didn’t give kids and their parents enough to think about, new oral health concerns loom on the horizon. Along with major changes to the body, brain and emotions, additional risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease appear during adolescence — the period of development starting around age 10 and extending through the teen years that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Even with declining rates of tooth decay across the nation, the cavity rate remains high during adolescence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in every 5 adolescents has untreated tooth decay. What’s more, the onset of puberty — usually beginning around age 10-11 in girls and 11-12 in boys — brings changes in hormone levels that can affect gum health.
We all have millions of microorganisms in our mouth, representing hundreds of different species of mostly helpful, but some harmful, bacteria. Research has shown that total oral bacteria increases between ages 11 and 14, and new types of bacteria are introduced, including some that are not friendly to teeth and gums. Some unfamiliar microbes trigger an exaggerated inflammatory response to dental plaque, so gum bleeding and sensitivity are experienced by many children in this age group. In fact, “puberty gingivitis,” which peaks around age 11-13, is the most common type of gum disease found during childhood.
A combination of hormones, lifestyle changes and poor oral hygiene habits raises the risk of oral health problems among adolescents. A more independent social life may be accompanied by a change in eating habits and easier access to snacks and beverages that are sugary, acidic (like sports drinks and soda) or full of refined carbohydrates — none of which are tooth-healthy choices. And as children move toward greater independence, parents are less likely to micromanage their children’s personal care, including their oral hygiene routines. Good oral hygiene can keep dental plaque at bay, lowering the chance of having gingivitis and cavities. But let’s face it: Adolescents have a lot to think about, and keeping up with their oral health may not be a priority.
To help your preteen stay on top of their oral health, keep healthy snacks at home for your children and their friends and make sure you are well stocked with supplies such as new toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. In addition, most preteens (and teens) can benefit from gentle reminders about oral hygiene routines.
For optimal oral health through all stages of life, make sure your preteen keeps up with professional teeth cleanings and exams, and talk with us about whether fluoride treatments or sealants may be appropriate for your child.
For more on your child’s oral health, read “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health” and “Dentistry & Oral Health For Children” in Dear Doctor magazine.
Everyone knows that in the game of football, quarterbacks are looked up to as team leaders. That's why we're so pleased to see some NFL QB's setting great examples of… wait for it… excellent oral hygiene.
First, at the 2016 season opener against the Broncos, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was spotted on the bench; in his hands was a strand of dental floss. In between plays, the 2105 MVP was observed giving his hard-to-reach tooth surfaces a good cleaning with the floss.
Later, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was seen on the sideline of a game against the 49ers — with a bottle of mouthwash. Taylor took a swig, swished it around his mouth for a minute, and spit it out. Was he trying to make his breath fresher in the huddle when he called out plays?
Maybe… but in fact, a good mouthrinse can be much more than a short-lived breath freshener.
Cosmetic rinses can leave your breath with a minty taste or pleasant smell — but the sensation is only temporary. And while there's nothing wrong with having good-smelling breath, using a cosmetic mouthwash doesn't improve your oral hygiene — in fact, it can actually mask odors that may indicate a problem, such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Using a therapeutic mouthrinse, however, can actually enhance your oral health. Many commonly available therapeutic rinses contain anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients, such as fluoride; these can help prevent tooth decay and cavity formation by strengthening tooth enamel. Others contain antibacterial ingredients; these can help control the harmful oral bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that can build up on your teeth in between cleanings. Some antibacterial mouthrinses are available over-the-counter, while others are prescription-only. When used along with brushing and flossing, they can reduce gum disease (gingivitis) and promote good oral health.
So why did Taylor rinse? His coach Rex Ryan later explained that he was cleaning out his mouth after a hard hit, which may have caused some bleeding. Ryan also noted, “He [Taylor] does have the best smelling breath in the league for any quarterback.” The coach didn't explain how he knows that — but never mind. The takeaway is that a cosmetic rinse may be OK for a quick fix — but when it comes to good oral hygiene, using a therapeutic mouthrinse as a part of your daily routine (along with flossing and brushing) can really step up your game.
Dental implants are rapidly becoming one of the most popular tooth replacement options. No matter how many teeth you've lost, implants offer an excellent way to restore your smile. McDonough, GA, dentist Dr. Robert Brooks of Brooks Cosmetic & Family Dentistry shares a few facts about dental implants.
If you take good care of your implants, they may just last your entire life. Implants are made of titanium, a metal that is capable of fusing to the jawbone. Dental implants function as substitute roots. Once they bond to your jawbone, they're there to stay. The bonding process starts after you receive the implants during a minor oral surgical procedure. In about three to six months, full bonding will occur. When it does, you're ready for the next step, the attachment of a dental crown in our McDonough office.
The crown will not only fill in the gap in your smile but will also make eating much easier. Your new crown will be attached with a special connector, called an abutment, that will be added to the top of the implant.
Dental implants are very comfortable
Poorly fitting dentures can slide around in your mouth when you take a bite of food. Painful irritation tends to occur when the bottom of the dentures slide against your sensitive gum tissue. Although irritation is less likely to happen with bridges, it can occur if they don't fit well. Dental implants offer a much more comfortable chewing experience because your crowns don't rest on your gums, but are attached to the implants. For many people, implants feel just like real teeth.
Dental implants can prevent other oral health problems
Other teeth may be affected by the loss of a tooth. One problem occurs when the teeth begin moving toward the open space in your mouth. As the teeth drift, they overlap, which makes it difficult to remove plaque, a sticky film that causes cavities.
Root replacement offers important benefits for your smile. The loss of a tooth causes your jawbone to weaken. As it shrinks, it may no longer be able to hold other teeth firmly in place. Facial sagging can also occur as a result of receding jawbone. When you replace lost roots with dental implants, the implants continue to exert pressure on the bone, preventing these unfortunate consequences.
Keep your smile strong and healthy with dental implants. Call McDonough, GA, dentist Dr. Robert Brooks of Brooks Cosmetic & Family Dentistry at (678) 583-0300 to schedule an appointment.