Posts for: April, 2016
Smoking has countless ill effects on your health. Thanks to life-threatening and complex diseases associated with smoking, tobacco’s effect on your teeth and mouth are often overshadowed. However, tobacco use does more to your teeth than just cause them to change color. Learn more about smoking and your teeth with help from your Huntersville, NC dentist.
What does smoking do to my teeth?
Smoking’s most obvious effect on your teeth is the staining and yellowing it causes. Additionally, tobacco’s scent causes bad breath. Smoking weakens the body’s immune system, making it more difficult to heal wounds and ward off infection. These weaknesses give smokers twice the risk of gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss, than non-smokers. Cigars and pipes have just as much risk as cigarettes.
Is using smokeless tobacco safer than smoking?
Though smokeless tobacco may seem safer due to its lack of smoke, that is simply not the case. Smokeless tobacco users have 50 times the risk of non-users to develop mouth cancer and about four times the risk of tooth decay. Smokeless tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, giving it a higher chance of addiction. Finally, smokeless tobacco rests against the gums, eroding the tissue until the teeth’s roots are exposed, causing further complications, such as tooth sensitivity, to your oral health.
How can my Huntersville dentist help?
In addition to your dentist’s expertise on the effects of smoking on your teeth, there are countless options available to help you quit smoking. Over-the-counter nicotine gums and patches help you wean off of your nicotine addiction to quit smoking. Prescription medications are also available to help you quit. Support groups give you the resources you need to quit for good. Your dentist can work with you to determine which quitting option is best for you.
For more information on kicking your smoking habit, please contact Dr. Michael Wing DDS at Birkdale Dental in Huntersville, NC. Call (704) 997-8280 to speak with an associate about scheduling a regular examination and cleaning today!
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
It would seem the best time to turn your attention to orthodontic problems with your child is when their permanent teeth have come in around early puberty. In fact, you should be attentive much earlier at around 6 years of age.
Here are 3 reasons why an early orthodontic evaluation could be beneficial to your child’s dental health.
We may be able to detect the first signs of a malocclusion. Also known as a poor bite, it’s possible for an experienced dentist or orthodontist to notice the beginning of a malocclusion as the permanent teeth start coming in between ages 6 and 12. Crowding of teeth, abnormal space between teeth, crooked, protruding or missing teeth are all signs that the teeth are not or will not be coming in properly and some type of treatment will eventually be necessary to correct it.
We might spot problems with jaw or facial development. Not all malocclusions arise from faulty erupting teeth position: sometimes they’re caused by abnormal development of the jaw and facial structure. For example, an orthodontist can detect if the upper jaw is developing too narrowly, which can create a malocclusion known as a cross bite. The difference in the source of a malocclusion will determine what present or future treatment will be needed.
We can perform “interceptive” treatment. While braces won’t typically be undertaken until the permanent teeth have come in, there are other treatments that can “intercept” a growing problem to eliminate or lessen future treatment needs. Orthodontists may recommend appliances that help guide incoming teeth, coax impacted teeth to come in fully or expand portions of the upper jaw to normal dimensions.
As with other areas of health, the earlier orthodontic problems are found the better the chances of a successful and less interventional outcome. By having your child examined orthodontically you may be saving money and future difficulties.
If you would like more information on when to begin monitoring bite development in your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”