10 Ways to Love Your Teeth

Ah, February, the month of love. Which also happens to be American Heart Month! Did you know that to keep your heart healthy you need healthy gums as well? Your gums are there to hold the roots of your teeth in place. When you don’t properly take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once, they’re at a higher risk of periodontal disease.

 

More commonly known as gum disease, its effects vary from redness and swelling, to complete destruction of the tooth’s bone support. Which often ends in tooth loss. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also travel into your bloodstream, causing blood vessel inflammation and damage to your heart. It also leaves tiny blood clots in its wake, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily there are a bunch of things you can do to keep that smile, and heart, safe and healthy!

 

Here are 10 tips and tricks to keep your mouth, and your heart healthy this Valentine’s Day!

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  1. Brush your teeth correctly:  Brushing is extremely important to your oral and overall health. The ADA recommends that you brush gently, in short strokes, and at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes. This prevents the bristles from removing the enamel that protects your teeth. When brushing the backs of your teeth, it’s best to turn the brush vertically and make multiple short strokes on every tooth.
  2. Know when to toss it: Your toothbrush only needs to stick around for about 3 months, or until the bristles start to fray. When they begin to fray, your brush won’t do its job properly leaving your mouth defenseless against harmful bacteria. Speaking of which, after a while, your toothbrush will start to gather food particles and bacteria that can’t be rinsed away with water. When you don’t replace your brush, all that bacteria gets reintroduced posing a bigger threat to your dental and heart health. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long you’ve had your brush, notice what condition it’s in, and take action when it’s time for a new one.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste:  Fluoride, known as natures cavity fighter, is a mineral found in the earth’s core. Before our teeth come in, our body is absorbing fluoride through our nutrients to help build a resistance to tooth decay, this is called a systemic benefit. Once our teeth are in, brushing or using other dental products with fluoride helps rebuild the eroded enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. With the risk of tooth decay lowered by using fluoride products, your chances of a heart attack or stroke also decrease.
  4. How to rinse: Contrary to common belief, you are not supposed to rinse your mouth with only water immediately after brushing. When you do this, you are taking all that wonderful fluoride we talked about in #3 and spitting it down the drain. By rinsing right after you brush you aren’t giving the fluoride enough time to attach to your teeth and patch up all that worn-down enamel. It’s best to rinse with water before you spit the foamy left-over toothpaste out. This allows your teeth to absorb the fluoride while rinsing out all the toothpaste.
  5. What to do about sweets: As you may know, sugar is possibly one of the worst things out there for you. Besides its obvious risks of excess sugar, obesity and diabetes, sugar can have a bad effect on your teeth, gums, and heart. Sugar can increase the triglyceride (fat) in the blood, that fat can then get clogged in your arteries which could result in heart failure. Sugar also puts your teeth and gums at risk of acid attacks. When sugar binds with the bacteria in our mouths it creates acid. This acid can stick to enamel and cause it to erode. It’s best if you eat and drink sugar in small portions; and, if you’re craving something sweet have a bowl of fruit or some dark chocolate. They are both great for your heart and your smile.
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  6. Valentine’s candy and ortho appliances: If you have braces, the same candy rules still apply, chewy or sticky candy can get stuck in your brackets. The sugar then reacts with the bacteria in your mouth creating a white film around the brackets. This substance is nearly impossible to clean and can cause extended acid attacks and increases your risk of cavities.
  7. Floss daily: While flossing may be the most tedious part of your dental routine it is also the most important. The bristles on your toothbrush are too wide to get all the yucky plaque that gets stuck between your teeth. When you don’t floss that plaque sits in-between your teeth and hardens. After it has adhered to your tooth it will then make its way down to the root which can cause gum disease and recession.
  8. Cut the Tobacco: Another thing that may be worse for your mouth than sugar is tobacco products. Usage minimizes the amount of blood flow to the gums which can cause and hide signs of gum disease. While using tobacco you are 3 times more likely to develop gum disease, which elevates your risk of heart disease. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow and causes dry mouth. Both can end in tooth loss due to the lack of moisture in your gums.
  9. Tongues are important: When you forget to brush your tongue, all the bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque that causes cavities just sits there. Even after you have brushed your teeth if you don’t brush your tongue all the bacteria and plaque will attach itself onto your tooth roots and gums. This can lead to gum disease as well.
  10. Checkups: This is the most important part of your dental routine. By visiting your dentist twice a year you are showing your teeth the necessary TLC with a little professional help. Your dentist can clean your teeth, check for cavities, and catch issues in your mouth before they turn into bigger problems

 

Remember to brush 2x a day and floss at minimum once a day because dental hygiene is a vital part of your overall health. These are only a few tips and tricks, ask us at your next appointment how you can give your teeth some love. Make your heart and teeth happy by scheduling your appointment today!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

How Much Do You Know About Your Teeth?

Do you consider your teeth as living things? They contain nerves, living tissues, and our mouth produces bacteria. They are always active with chewing, biting, talking, and grinding. Dental problems are hardly enjoyable, but on the bright side, most are preventable. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, regular check-ups, and proper eating is important for preventing future dental problems. The more you know the healthier and cleaner your mouth will be.

Common Dental Problems For All Ages

  • Tooth Decay- Cavities (caries)
  • Gum Disease- Periodontitis

Common Dental Problems For Children

Just because baby teeth aren’t permanent doesn’t mean that they should be neglected! Their tooth enamel is 50% thinner than the enamel on adult teeth. When it starts to decay it will cause more damage faster. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria using sugar from foods and drinks to create acid that deteriorates your teeth.

Are your kid’s thumb suckers? It is a natural self-soothing reflex for them. It’s a hard habit to break but the earlier you try to get them to stop, the easier. After permanent teeth come in it can cause problems with the palatal growth and teeth alignment.

Long-Term Effects of Thumb SuckingThumb sucking

  • May form a lisp because of jaw positioning
  • The roof of the mouth changes or can become more sensitive
  • Teeth are pushed around and can result in an overbite or an underbite. Other orthodontic treatment might be needed as well.

Common Dental Problems For Teens

Did you know that about 75% of teens need orthodontic treatment after their adult teeth have grown in? Common problems are teeth being overcrowded, crooked, or having a lot of space in between them. Misplaced teeth are more challenging to clean and maintain leading to problems down the road.

Does your teenager play contact sports? More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur every year. Protect them with a mouth guard! Be sure to keep it clean by rinsing and leaving it in the container when not actively using it.

Avoid oral piercings! A tongue or other mouth piercings can easily chip teeth when asleep, eating, or talking. After the piercing, many experience swelling, which can lead to infections or trouble opening and closing your mouth to speak and eat.

Common Dental Problems For Adults

We have a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth that typically emerge after the rest of our adult teeth. They can cause pain and create crowding leading to more dental problems in the future. 85% of adults have their wisdom teeth removed. They are often harder to clean leaving them more susceptible to tooth decay.

Have you been dreaming of a bright white smile? One of the most common dental cosmetic procedures is teeth whitening. As you get older tooth discoloration occurs from constant exposure to certain foods and drinks. This can be done only after they are cleaned and cavity free. Otherwise, the whitening solution can penetrate the inner part of the tooth causing pain and sensitivity to those unhealthy teeth.

The average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 have three or more decayed or missing teeth. Your jaw is constructed to function with 28 teeth, once one goes missing neighboring teeth begin to drift into the vacant space. This makes your good teeth more prone to decay and gum disease. After you lose a tooth, the bone around it begins to shrink over time altering your face leading to that sunken jaw look.

Options To Replace Missing TeethBlog

  • Dental Implants
  • Bridges
  • Dentures

Dental implants are popular because they look and feel like your natural teeth. They are also the new standard of care. With good oral hygiene, they can last up to 20 years or more. A bridge consists of both a false tooth with the support of two abutment crowns. Think of them as “bridging” the gap left by the missing tooth.

There are several types of dentures; partial, complete, and implant supported. A partial replaces some of your teeth using surrounding teeth as an anchor. A complete denture is removable and replaces all teeth. Implant supported dentures are recommended if you have a healthy jaw for support and would like a more secure fit.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Bacteria flourish in a dark and wet environment that contains plenty of sugar which is why your mouth is usually their home. Without regular maintenance, they tend to stick around and create plaque on your teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease. Take care of your teeth, you only get one set!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

Modern vs Historical Dental Practices

Did you know barbers were the go-to people for concerns about your teeth? In the past, they not only groomed your face but also extracted and whitened your teeth. It wasn’t until 1840 that the first college Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened. Today, the United States has over 60 schools and dentistry is considered a specialized practice. Let’s take a look back and see how modern dentistry came to be.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss

  • In ancient times chew sticks were used to help keep the mouth clean, they believed that it would get rid of unwanted particles.
  • The first toothbrush was made in China in 1498, handles were made from animal bones or bamboo, and the bristles came from the back of a pigs neck.
  • In 1824 soap was put into toothpaste and in the 1850s chalk was added.

Nowadays toothbrushes are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The handles are plastic and the bristles are made of nylon. Which is a long way from bones and pig hair!

Toothbrush

In 1873, Colgate produced the first toothpaste in a jar and by the 1890’s toothpaste was packaged in tubes. Imagine dipping your toothbrush into a jar. Now imagine everyone in your house dipping their toothbrush into that same jar. Doesn’t it just make you appreciate the growth in this field?

Source: Colgate

In 1815 silk thread was recommended for cleaning in between teeth and by the 1940’s nylon became the standard.

Source: Oral-B

Modern Dental Techniques

Modernized dentistry has greatly reduced the risk for infections and implants, crowns, and bridges, are now common cosmetic procedures.  Modern crowns are made of composite, porcelain, and metals. They strengthen damaged teeth and can improve your tooth’s overall shape. Bridges are used to fill the tooth gaps and are secured with a neighboring crown on each side. Today, dentistry is a specialized practice and after earning a dental degree, dentists are required to annually continue their education.

Dental implants are now the standard of care for missing teeth. These titanium roots are placed into your jawbone and fuse over time. Implants can anchor crowns, bridges, and dentures. They’ve gained popularity as they look and feel natural like your own teeth.

Implants

  • Crowns/Bridges
    • Crowns were made of human teeth, gold, ivory, and bone.
    • Bridges were gold and a sign of wealth.

Gold Crown

  • Implants
    • Whole tooth implants were from deceased lower class citizens, slaves or animals, and infections were common.
    • Seashells, sculpted bamboo, and copper were also used.
    • Iron pins supported a gold tooth to showcase your riches.

Putting on someone else’s teeth to replace yours is unheard of today because of our modern resources and technologies. Would you consider using people’s teeth to replace yours as resourceful or gross?

In the 1970’s orthodontists said goodbye to headgear and wiring and hello to stainless steel brackets. To fix your bite hooks are placed in your mouth and you will get a pack of rubber bands, slowly adjusting your jaw position with tension over many months.

Giving thanks to new technology we have another option called Invisalign. Packaged as a set of clear plastic aligners, every two weeks you change the tray. There are slight changes to each aligner and your teeth will slowly adjust into the perfect smile of your dreams. Besides not having metal in your mouth, Invisalign is taken out before every meal and snack. Is remembering to take them on and off too much of a hassle?

Ortho

  • Orthodontics
    • One of the first forms of teeth straightening had animal intestines as cords and it wrapped around each individual tooth.
    • Gold bands were also used and preferred because they didn’t rust. Silver was also used and wasn’t as expensive.
    • Ivory and wood were also used.

Can you believe that current teeth whitening procedures were accidentally discovered? In the past, peroxide was used to help strengthen patient’s gums but they got whiter teeth. Today teeth whitening can be done in office or with a take-home whitening kit from your dentist.

  • Whitening
    • Ancient Romans used human urine because the ammonia is an amazing stain remover.
    • Ancient Egyptians used ground pumice stone and white vinegar to make a whitening paste.
    • Barbers could file your teeth down and spread acid on them to help you have a whiter smile.

We have come a long way from pig hair, cadaver teeth and animal intestines in our dental care. Our dentists are highly trained with years of specialized education and we continually work to improve your overall health along with your dental and oral health. Reflecting back to where dentistry once was, we can remember where this field started and appreciate its success.  Call us to schedule your appointment today.

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501