Could you or your child benefit from a mouthguard while playing sports? Mouthguards play an important role in protecting the teeth and jaws while playing contact sports such as football, soccer, and basketball. They are worn by many professional athletes and are a great idea for young competive athletes and are often required for school sports.
Ask Dr. Yoon about custom fit sport guards at your next appointment. They can be made in custom colors as well to match school uniforms!
Establishing an oral hygiene routine with your dentist and dental hygienist is an essential part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Everyone has different oral health needs, but everyone can find some benefit from this basic routine. This routine includes techniques on brushing, flossing, and using a daily fluoride mouth rinse! Here is a list of Heather’s oral hygiene routine that she uses:
She brushes 2 times daily, for 2 minutes, using her electric toothbrush with a rechargeable, wall-outlet battery. It is important to note that if you do choose to use an electric brush, you let the brush do most of the brushing work for you so you are not scrubbing too hard. A manual brush is also good to use, if used with good-brushing techniques, that your hygienist will go over with you! For both electric and manual brushes, using a soft head brush and not applying too much pressure while brushing is key, as this can cause wear to the teeth and even cause gum recession if you are brushing too hard! A simple, gentle, circular motion for 2 minutes, angling the toothbrush head where the gum meets the tooth, will keep your healthy and clean!
2.She gently flosses, using a waxed floss to removed plaque/bacteria from in between the teeth, where the toothbrush can’t reach. Wrapping the floss around 2 fingers she hugs each tooth to bring bacteria and plaque up and out of the gum-pocket.
Her next step is to inspect her teeth in mirror for any white, plaque left over on the teeth, usually right along the gum-line. Sometimes spots of plaque can be missed while brushing, and it is important to take a glance at your teeth after you are done brushing and flossing to see that you have removed all bacteria and food from the teeth. If you notice there is still white plaque on your teeth, be sure to go back with the toothbrush and floss!
Heather last step in her oral hygiene routine is to swish with a non-alcohol containing, fluoride mouth rinse before bed for 1 minute to reduce amount of bacteria in her mouth, and leave a protective layer of fluoride on the teeth to prevent cavities, while she sleeps. She does not rinse with water after using the mouth rinse, because if she does, this will reduce the effectiveness of the fluoride on the teeth. She does this step right before bed because she will not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using the mouth rinse to leave the fluoride layer on her teeth, to reduce her chances of getting a cavity by strengthening her tooth enamel.
The next time you offer your children a healthy smoothie instead of a soda, you may want to remember that it could contain as much as 13 g/100 ml, equivalent to around 2.5 tsps in a 3.5-oz serving, or approximately two thirds to a half of a child’s recommended daily sugar intake. New research, published in the online journal BMJ Open, describes the sugar content of fruit drinks, natural juices and smoothies, in particular, as "unacceptably high."
According to Yale Health, the average American consumes around 22 tsps of added sugar every day; for teens, the figure is closer to 34. One 12-oz can of soda contains 10 tsps of sugar.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend no more than 3-4 tsps of sugar a day for children, and 5 tsps for teens.
In the UK, guidelines recommend a maximum of 19 g, or just under 4 tsps for children aged 4-6 years, and 24 g at age 7-10 years, or just under 5 tsps, according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
As awareness spreads about the impact of sweetened drinks on weight gain and tooth decay, many people are turning to fruit juices and smoothies as healthy alternatives to sodas, iced tea and other favorites.
Even 100% juice is not guilt-free
However, even 100% fruit juice is not as innocent as it seems. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving juice to infants under 6 months, and children aged 1-6 should have no more than 4-6 oz, or one half to three quarters of a cup. The recommended amount for 7-18 year-olds is 8-12 oz, or 1-2 cups.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of London in the UK assessed the sugar content per 100 ml (approximately 3.5 oz) of fruit juice drinks, 100% natural juices, and smoothies aimed at children, using information from the pack label.
They checked the amount of "free" sugars in 203 standard portion sizes (200 ml, or around 7 oz) of UK-branded and store-brand products.
Free sugars include glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar, which are added by the producer, as well as naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Although fructose occurs naturally in fruit, when consumed as a drink, it can cause dental caries – as can any other sugar.
There are other naturally occurring sugars in whole fruits and vegetables, which the body metabolizes differently, and they act to curb energy intake. These were not included.
Over 40% of drinks contain 4 tsps of sugar
The sugar content in the drinks surveyed ranged from 0-16 g/100 ml, and the average was 7 g/100 ml, or around 1.5 tsps. It was significantly higher in pure fruit juices and smoothies.
The average sugar content of the 21 pure fruit juices assessed in the survey was as high as 10.7 g/100 ml or just over 2 tsps, and in the 24 smoothies, it was up to 13 g/100 ml, or just over 2.5 tsps. Over 40% of all the products, contained 19 g, or around 4 tsps, of free sugars, the maximum daily amount recommended for children.
Around 78 products contained zero-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame. While classed as safe, health experts say they are not helping children’s taste buds to get used to a less sweet diet.
Based on the findings, the team recommends:
Not counting fruit juices, juice drinks and smoothies with a high free sugar content as one of the "5 a day"
Consuming fruit whole, not as juice
Diluting fruit juice with water or opting for unsweetened juices, and allowing these only during meals
Limiting intake to 150 ml/day, or just over 5 oz
Requiring manufacturers to stop adding unnecessary sugars to fruit drinks, juices and smoothies, if necessary, through government intervention.
Medical News Today asked Dr. Simon Capewell, who led the research, whether, in the light of these findings, we should reduce our fruit intake, too.
He told us:
"No. Fruit is very good for the health. Vegetables likewise. Indeed, we would recommend unlimited fruit and vegetables."
Whole fruit has a higher fiber content than juice, it takes longer to consume, it is more satisfying, and there is evidence that the body metabolizes whole fruit in a different way, adjusting its energy intake more appropriately than it does after drinking juice.
A limitation of the study was that researchers only looked at products that are available in supermarkets, and there may be alternatives with a lower sugar content.
MNT recently reported on research suggesting that health warnings on sugary drinks could encourage parents to think twice about getting them for their children.
Sugar isn’t the only culprit when it comes to tooth decay. High levels of acid in everyday foods and drinks can be just as harmful. From oranges to wine, high-acid foods and drinks can wear away your teeth, causing decay, sensitivity and discoloring. But that doesn’t mean you have to strike all acidic foods and drinks from your diet. The way you consume these items can lessen their damage on your teeth.
What is tooth erosion?
When the enamel, or protective surface of your teeth, wears away, it exposes the underlying material, called dentin. This leaves your tooth vulnerable to plaque and bacteria, which cause decay.
What causes tooth erosion?
Calcium is a key ingredient in building strong teeth. Unfortunately, exposing your teeth to acid can leach calcium from your enamel, causing this protective surface to break down. Acid can come from many sources, including the following:
Carbonated drinks. All soft drinks, including "diet" options, contain high levels of acid that can easily dissolve your enamel.
Wine. Whether you choose red, white or rosé, drinking wine will soften your enamel.
Fruit juice. The most acidic options include lemon, cranberry, orange and apple.
Citric fruits. Snacking on oranges, lemons and limes can wear down your teeth.
Candy. No sugary sweets are good for your teeth, but you should pay extra attention to avoid sour gummies and candies.
Sugar. Even though sugar itself does not contain high levels of acidity, it promotes the growth of acid-creating bacteria in your mouth, creating an acidic environment.
Stomach acid. Vomiting and reflux also can cause serious tooth damage when stomach acid comes into contact with your teeth. If you suffer from an eating disorder, acid reflux or a related condition, seek professional help.
What are some signs of tooth erosion?
Acid wear may lead to serious dental problems. It is important to notice the signs of tooth erosion in its early stages (sensitivity and discoloration) before more severe damage occur, such as cracks, pain and decay.
Sensitivity. As your teeth’s protective enamel wears away, you may feel a twinge of pain when you consume hot, cold or sweet food and drink. As more enamel is worn away, teeth become increasinglysensitive.
Discoloration. Teeth can become increasingly yellow as the thinning enamel layer exposes the underlying dentin.
Rounded teeth. Your teeth may have a rounded or "sand-blasted" look.
Transparency. Your front teeth may appear slightly translucent near the edges.
Cracks. Small cracks and roughness may appear at the edges of teeth.
Cupping. Small dents may appear on the chewing surface of the teeth, and fillings may appear to be rising up out of the tooth.
What can I do to prevent tooth erosion?
Follow these tips to reduce the effects of acid on your teeth.
Eat with meals. Instead of snacking throughout the day, save acidic foods for mealtimes. This will reduce their contact with your teeth and help neutralize the acid by eating it with other foods.
Wash down with water. Sip water alongside or after the acidic food or drink to wash it out of your mouth.
Use a straw. If you must drink acidic beverages, reduce their contact with your teeth by using a straw and finishing the drink quickly, instead of sipping over a long period of time.
Say no to bubbles. Swap out carbonated drinks with water, milk or tea.
Wait before brushing. Acid softens your enamel, so brushing immediately after eating or drinking high-acid foods or drinks can actually cause damage. Wait at least half an hour and then start brushing. In the meantime, you can always rinse your mouth with tap water.
Dr. Yoon participated in the 2016 North Shore Tour de Cure. It was his 3rd consecutive year completing the cycling event, which raises funds for diabetes research. Visit the website of the American Diabetes Association to learn more about diabetes and this wonderful event!
This year, our office was happy to attend the 2016 Yankee Dental Congress at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The annual dental convention allows our team to participate in continuing eduction lectures and workshops, as well as browse the new and innovative products on display in the convention hall. Here are a few photos of our day!
Dr. Yoon had the pleasure of hosting a table at the Children’s Arts Festival in Cambridge this past weekend.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Dr. Yoon was able to meet many local kids at this fantastic event. He spent the day teaching about good nutrition, proper brushing technique, and the importance of regular dental care.
Here is a list of some of Dr. Yoon’s favorite dental products for keeping your mouth clean and healthy!
We love electric toothbrushes! The Oral-B Professional Care is one of our favorites. Electric toothbrushes have been shown to remove more plaque and keep gums healthier than manual brushes. This Oral-B is Professional Care is rechargable and easy to travel with. The brushheads are also easy to change or replace and it’s a great value!
Sensodyne Pronamel is a fluoride toothpaste that can be used every day. It has very low abrasiveness so that it’s gentle on your tooth enamel and it also can provide relief from tooth sensitivity.
Glide is our favorite dental floss! It has a special coating that allows it to slide through tight contacts much more smoothly than regular dental flosses. If it’s "too hard to floss" this may be the product for you!
Act Restoring is a mouth rinse that can be used daily. It contains fluoride to strengthen teeth, kills bacteria in the mouth, and is also alcohol-free so that it does not irritate the mouth.
Act Anticavity is a great daily rinse for kids. It helps fight cavities and it a must for patients who wear braces!
Biotene is a rinse meant to be used by patients who suffer from a dry mouth. It’s a gentle alohol-free rinse that soothes the irriation and soreness caused by decreased salivary flow.
With so many dental products available at stores, a common question that many of our patients ask us is:
"Should I be using a mouthwash every day?"
"There are so many different types. Which one is right for me?"
It’s absoutely true that there seem to be dozens of different types of mouthwashes in all sorts of colors and flavors that all promise to have different benefits including freshening breath, preventing cavities, killing germs, whitening teeth, and more. But which one is right for you?
Not everybody needs a daily mouth rinse. For many patients good toothbrushing (with a fluoride toothpaste) and daily flossing, along with regular dental checkups and a healthy diet, is all that is needed to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
However, there are several situations where patients may benefit from specific types of mouthwashes. For example, an alcohol-free fluoride rinse may be helpful for patients who have a higher risk of tooth decay. This includes patients with a history of dry mouth, patients who have had a high rate of cavities in the past, and patients who have difficulty cleaning their teeth because of poor dexterity or have appliances such as braces that make it difficult to brush and floss well. Some examples of alcohol-free fluoride rinses are: Listerine Total Care Zero, Crest Pro-Health Complete, and Act Anticavity/Restoring.
Other patients who suffer from gingivitis and periodontal disease can sometimes benefit from mouthwashes that are designed to kill bacteria in the mouth that can lead to bleeding and inflammation of the gums. However, it is important to realize that some of these types of mouthwashes (which are also made by Listerine and Crest) contain alcohol, which can have some side effects such as drying or irritation of the tissues in the mouth. For these patients it is a good idea to have a conversation with your dentist or dental hygienist to come up with the best routine based on your specific needs.
A basic alcohol-free mouthrinse such as Listerine Zero can be used to freshen breath, but often halitosis can be cause by other issues such as diet, GI health, poor brushing and flossing technique, and gum disease.
In the end, the most important steps to maintaining a healthy mouth are a healthy diet, consistent and effective brushing (with a FLUORIDE toothpaste) and flossing, along with regular dental checkups and cleaning. Make sure to ask at your next checkup if you would benefit from the use of any over-the-counter mouthwashes and we’ll let you know if it’s something that could help in your daily routine!
Dr. Yoon and the team recently attended the 2015 Yankee Dental Congress. Yankee Dental is Boston’s annual dental convention, which is held at the Boston World Trade Center. We spent the day attending continuing education courses as well as browsing the latest and greatest in dental products, equipment, and technology on the convention hall floor.
With the arrival of the snowy season here in North Andover, we thought that we would take a moment to review our policies regarding appointment cancellations and office closures due to poor weather.
When we expect very bad weather, we will contact all of our scheduled patients as early as possible to confirm appointments or to inform of office closure.
In the event of an office closure we will notify our patients via phone and e-mail as well as posting information on our office facebook page.
Please contact us as soon as possible to inform us if you will not be able to keep an appoinment. There will be no cancellation fees or charges for missed appointments due to severe weather, but it is important to notify us prior to the appointment time.
We can be reached at our regular office phone # 978-655-1583.
Voicemails left on our system are forwarded immediately and directly to Dr. Yoon or Gaby 24-hours a day including weekends.
We are officially one week away from the 2015 Yankee Dental Congress! Yankee Dental is Boston’s huge annual dental convention. It will be held again at the Seaport World Trade Center. The conference is a great opportunity for our office to see and evaluate the newest breakthroughs in dental supplies, equipment, and technology. We will also be attending continuing education courses. Stay tuned for our next post. We’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures of our trip and updates of the new products and ideas we will be bringing into our practice for 2015!
Our annual holiday dinner party! This year Dr. Yoon and the team chose to celebrate the holidays at Sorellina restaurant in Boston. We all had a wonderful night in a beautiful restaraunt with delicious Italian food. Here’s wishing all of our friends a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!
Recently we had the opportunity to demo an exciting new piece of dental technology at Dr. Yoon’s Dental Office. The 3m True Definition Scanner is an instrument that allows us to acquire digital models of teeth without having to take impressions. Using a 3D scanner we can create a virtual model that can be used to create dental products and prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, nightguards, retainers and more. Imagine, no more moulds and impressions at the dentists office! Check out some photos from our product demo and expect some exciting changes at our office in the near future!
I recently read an article presented by the American Dental Association that showed that there may be a correlation between training for edurance sports and an increased risk of tooth erosion and decay.
As an avid runner, occasional triathlete, and full-time dentist I found the article to be very interesting. Tooth erosion and cavities are generally caused by a decrease in the pH of our saliva. As the environment in our mouth becomes more acidic our teeth begin to erode and deteriorate.
In the study, it was shown that a group of 35 people who exercised over 5 hours per week in training for triathlon had a lower saliva pH during training than a group of people who were inactive. The study also showed a correlation between training time and rate of developing cavities.
The article stated possible reasons as decrease in salivation during excercise, additional drying of the mouth from open-mouthed breathing during hard efforts, use of sugary and carbohydrate-rich sports bars, gels, and drinks, and possibly even lower pH in swimming pool water.
So if you are a runner, swimmer, biker, or triathlete, what should you make of this study? My thoughts… Plenty of water (over sugary sports drinks) for good hydration. Don’t overuse energy gels/blocks/bars. Perhaps a really good swish and rinse with water immediately after consuming them. And of course good old-fashioned dental hygiene. This should including a healthy nutritious diet, brushing 3 times daily, daily floss, daily fluoride rinse, and regular checkups and cleanings.
It’s that time of year again! It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for the holidays! Besides eating too much turkey, Dr. Yoon and his family have made it a Thanksgiving tradition to participate in the Feaster Five Road Race in Andover each year. The race has a 5 mile, 5K, and Kid’s fun run. This will be Dr. Yoon’s 5th consective year running the 5 mile event. Visit the event website for information of this great local event and to register! Maybe you’ll bump into Dr. Yoon, Stacey, or Dr. Yoon’s mother and father out on the course!
This past weekend, Dr. Yoon and Stacey ran a 5K in Hartford, Connecticut. The 5k was one of the events associated with the Hartford Marathon. Stacey participated with the team representing Donate Life Connecticut. It was rainy and gray, but a great day for a run, and a great time was had by all!
Has someone ever told you that they hear you scraping or grinding your teeth when you are sleeping?
Have you noticed that the edges of your teeth seem worn down or are chipped and rough?
Do you suffer from jaw pain or headaches when you wake up in the morning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be possible that you suffer from Bruxism. What it bruxism? Bruxism is excessive grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw that occurs when we are not eating. Millions of Americans clench or grind their teeth. It can happen during the day or at night when we are sleeping. Some people may brux when they are exercising, sitting in front of a computer at work, when driving a car, or even when walking outside on a cold day.
What causes bruxism and what problems can it lead to?
The most common cause appears to be stress, but it can be caused by other factors such as our teeth not meeting properly, and as a side effect of certain medications or health conditions. It can lead to pain in our jaw joint and muscles, interrupted sleep, wear and destruction of teeth as well as loosening of the teeth.
How can I manage or treat it?
Of course decreasing stress in our lives is important for optimal health and often can help to reduce clenching and grinding of the teeth. For people who brux when sleeping or playing sports a protective appliance called an occlusal guard can be worn to protect the teeth. This appliance, which is made by your dentist, is worn over the teeth so that they are protected from the scraping and clenching that can be damaging to the teeth and jaw. In some cases orthodontic treatment or small adjustments to our teeth can make our teeth bite together in a more comfortable and stable way which can also help to reduce bruxism.
So if I brux my teeth, what should I do?
See your dentist. Dr. Yoon a dentist in North Andover MA who provides comprehensive dental care, which includes evaluating patients for signs of tooth grinding or jaw clenching. Your dentist can check for these issues and make a specific recommendation for how to manage or treat bruxism in the way that makes sense for you.
The most common reason why our teeth can become discolored is from exposure to pigments in the foods and drinks that we consume. The stains that result can be both extristic (on the surface of the teeth) or instrinsic (embedded in the microscopic pores within our teeth).
How can I get rid of this discoloration so that my teeth look whiter?
Extrinsic surface stains can be removed using whitening toothpastes and by having your teeth professionally cleaned and polished at your dentist’s office. Intrinsic stains require a tooth whitening procedure in order to remove.
Tooth whitening removes intrinsic stains using an agent containing peroxide (not bleach!). The peroxide penetrates into the pores within the teeth where they break down and eliminate the stained particles embedded in the tooth enamel. The result is whiter, brighter teeth.
Does tooth whitening work for everyone?
Tooth whitening works effectively for most people, but there are some conditions where it may not be the best option. Teeth that are discolored as a result of conditions such as fluorosis, tetracycline staining, decalcification, or developmental disorders of the tooth enamel usually do not respond to traditional tooth whitening. Also crowns, veneers, and fillings will not change color with whitening.
How do I know if tooth whitening will work for me?
If you are interested in whitening your teeth, your dentist should complete a thorough clinical exam and also review your past medical and dental treatment history to make a recommendation. It is also important that the mouth be clean and healthy with no cavities, infections, or active gum problems before considering tooth whitening.
What if I’m not a good candidate for tooth whitening? Are there other ways to get a whiter smile?
Your dentist can review options such as bonding, veneers, or crowns as alternative options if whitening is not an option.
What type of tooth whitening does Dr. Yoon recommend?
At Dr. Yoon’s office we recommend ZOOM whitening. It is a procedure that is completed in our office in a single visit that takes about 60-90 minutes to complete.
Is Zoom whitening better than the whitening strips that I can buy at the store?
Whitening strips purchased over the counter can be effective when used properly. They usually require that the strips be worn daily for up to two weeks to see results. The advantage of the Zoom! system is that it uses a more effective concentration of whitening peroxide that is only available in a dental office. It works much more quickly and effectively and is completed in a single session.
Are there any side effects to tooth whitening?
The most common side effect of any tooth whitening system is sensitivity of the teeth and gums either during or for a short time after the procedure. This temporary sensitivity is a result of the peroxide drying out the teeth. The level of sensitivity varies from person to person, but can be managed with desensitizing toothpastes and rinses if needed.
How long will tooth whitening last?
On average, the results of a professional tooth whitening system such as Zoom may last around one year. However, this varies greatly based on diet, home care, and commitment to regular professional dental cleanings.
Dr. Brian H. Yoon is a dentist in North Andover, MA. He practices comprehensive general and esthetic dentistry for adults and provides care for children as well.
Our project here at Dr. Yoon’s dental office is almost completed! Our new treatment chair and cabinets have been installed as well as the new monitors and digital imaging units. The new room with allow Dr. Yoon and his dental team to continue to provide outstanding patient service as we grow and expand!
We’re excited that the buildout for the new treatment room at Dr. Yoon’s dental office has officially begun! If you come by our office this week you may notice that a big project is underway. We are adding a new treatment chair as well as new equipment, cabinets, a new computer, tv and more. This room is being built specifically for our hygienist Samantha to work in for checkups and cleanings. Check out these photos of our new equipment!
Summer is the time for cookouts which means plenty of delicious food and drinks to go around! Sodas, sport drinks, popsicles, and other cavity-causing foods are all around this time of year. Dr. Yoon recommends that you do your best to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water to avoid unnecessary visits to your favorite North Andover dentist.
Don’t forget your brush and floss!
Always remember to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss when going on a trip. Especially when going camping or to a sleep-away camp where it may be hard to get your hands on a new one. Our home care kits are perfect for travel!
Summer is a great time for sports like soccer, frisbee, tennis, lacrosse, swimming and diving and much more. A mouthguard not only protects teeth from the accidental elbow, ball, stick, or racket, but can also protect the lips, cheeks and jaws from some injuries as well. It an injury occurs make sure to get in touch with us asap!
This past Sunday Dr. Yoon participated in the 6th annual Krit Classic. The Krit Classic is a 5K road race which is run each year to celebrate the memory of Krit Kearins who passed away in 2008. The proceeds from this event go toward a scholarship given to a deserving member of the graduating class of Andover High School. To learn more about this event and about Krit visit http://kritkearinsclassic.com/
It was a gorgous and sunny day at Andover High School and a perfect day to go for a run! There was a great turnout and it was fun to go back and see the old high school and run into old friends!
Dr. Yoon and Stacey on "the Rock" after finishing 5K
I am a dental hygienist. I help Dr. Yoon take x-rays, check teeth for cavities, and do gentle cleanings when patients come in for their checkups.
If you could do absolutely anything besides working at Dr. Yoon’s office, what would you do and where would you do it?
I love being a part of the dental team at the office, but if I could do ANYTHING… I would probably be a competitive sand castle builder in Hawaii.
If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Easy question. Chicken marsala. From Theresa’s Restaurant in Middleton. Yum.
What is your favorite daytime television show?
Do you have any special talents that most people don’t know about?
Not many people know that I have amazing frisbee throwing skills. I’m probably good enough to be a professional frisbee player. If there were such thing as a professional frisbee player. (Dr. Yoon’s note: this is absolute truth)
Last night Michelle, Samantha, and I attended a lecture on managing medical emergencies that may occur at the dentist’s office. This course was provided by Dr. Moavenian and Dr. Braasch who run an outstanding oral surgery practice with locations in both Salem and Nashua, New Hampshire.
At any dental office it’s necessary to be prepared and trained to deal with medical emergencies. Common ones that we prepare for are fainting, allergic reactions, asthma attacks, seizures, blood sugar issues, and heart issues.
We prepare for potential emergencies by taking a thorough medical history of our patients, regular training and re-certification for emergency management, and maintaining emergency medications, oxygen, and an emergency defibrillator. We also try to make our appointments as relaxed and stress-free for our patients as possible.
Preparing to deal with a potential medical problem is essential. However, prevention is always best. Here are a couple tips to reduce your chances of having a medical emergency at the dental office or anywhere else.
-Know your own medical history. See a physician regularly for checkups, even when you are healthy.
-Be open, honest, and thorough when we ask about your medical history. Tell us about all of your past medical issues, current medications, and known allergies. No detail is too small or irrelevant. If you can’t remember something, tell us so we can find out.
-Communicate with us. Tell us if you aren’t feeling well. Tell us if you fainted once when you had a filling done. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to make you more comfortable. Tell us if you forgot to take your usual medication today.
-Be prepared. If you have an inhaler, epi-pen, nitro tablets, or any other emergency medications that your physician has prescribed for you please bring them to you appointments.
On May 18, 2014 the "Tour de Cure North Shore" will take place starting at the Topsfield Fairground in Topsfield, MA. This event is part of a series of charity bike rides run by the American Diabetes Association. Last year these events raised $26 million which went towards scientific research as well as direct assistance and support for those suffering with diabetes.
Over 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes. There are several types of diabetes which can affect people of all ages. It is a condition that requires constant monitoring and management as well as the support of countless healthcare providers, loved ones, and family members of those who suffer from this condition. Undoubtedly, it has affected somebody in your life.
The Tour de Cure North Shore includes a 15, 31, 62, and 100 mile bike ride. So far the event has over 700 registered riders and has raised over $135,000. I’ve decided to register for the 62 mile ride. That’s about 25 miles further than I’ve ever ridden before! I’ve already met my minimum fundraising requirements. I don’t need any more donations in order to participate in the ride, but please take a moment to visit their website. Learn about this great organization and consider sponsoring me as a rider, making a general donation, or signing up and joining me for the ride!
Our third room already has lighting, paint, flooring, and is plumbed and wired for dental equipment. The next steps include cabinets, a treatment chair, a digital x-ray unit, and all of the little tools and pieces that make dentistry happen. Of course at our office that includes a new TV, computer, and digital intraoral camera.
Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, and at least by the child’s first birthday. By this time, the baby’s first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns. Conditions like gum irritation and thumb-sucking could create problems later on. Babies who suck their thumbs may be setting the stage for malformed teeth and bite relationships. Another problem that can be spotted early is a condition called "baby bottle tooth decay," which is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby’s future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth. One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Avoid dipping pacifiers in sweet substances such as honey, because this only encourages early decay in the baby’s mouth. Encouraging your young child to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.
Teething, Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking
Teething is a sign that your child’s gums are sore. This is perfectly normal. You can help relieve this by allowing the baby to suck on a teething ring, or gently rubbing your baby’s gums with the back of a small spoon, a piece of wet gauze, or even your finger. For babies under the age of 4, teething rings and pacifiers can be safely used to facilitate the child’s oral needs for relieving gum pain and for suckling. After the age of 4, pacifiers are generally discouraged because they may interfere with the development of your child’s teeth. Moreover, thumb-sucking should be strongly discouraged because it can lead to malformed teeth that become crooked and crowded.
Primary and Permanent Teeth
Every child grows 20 primary teeth, usually by the age of 3. These teeth are gradually replaced by the age of 12 or so with a full set of 28 permanent teeth, and later on, four molars called "wisdom teeth." It is essential that a child’s primary teeth are healthy, because their development sets the stage for permanent teeth. If primary teeth become diseased or do not grow in properly, chances are greater that their permanent replacements will suffer the same fate. For example, poorly formed primary teeth that don’t erupt properly could crowd out spaces reserved for other teeth. Space maintainers can sometimes be used to correct this condition, if it is spotted early enough.
Babies’ gums and teeth can be gently cleaned with special infant toothbrushes that fit over your finger. Water is suitable in lieu of toothpaste (because the baby may swallow the toothpaste). Parents are advised to avoid fluoride toothpastes on children under the age of 2. Primary teeth can be cleansed with child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrushes. Remember to use small portions of toothpaste (a pea-sized portion is suitable), and teach your child to spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste when finished.
Fluoride is generally present in most public drinking water systems. If you are unsure about your community’s water and its fluoride content, or learn that it has an unacceptable level of fluoride in it, there are fluoride supplements your dentist can prescribe. Your child may not be getting enough fluoride just by using fluoride toothpaste.
Toothaches can be common in young children. Sometimes, toothaches are caused by erupting teeth, but they also could indicate a serious problem. You can safely relieve a small child’s toothache without the aid of medication by rinsing the mouth with a solution of warm water and table salt. If the pain doesn’t subside, acetaminophen may be used. If such medications don’t help, contact your dentist immediately.
You can help your child prevent oral injuries by closely supervising him during play and not allowing the child to put foreign objects in the mouth. For younger children involved in physical activities and sports, mouth guards are strongly encouraged, and can prevent a whole host of injuries to the teeth, gums, lips and other oral structures. Mouth guards are generally small plastic appliances that safely fit around your child’s teeth. Many mouth guards are soft and pliable when opened, and mold to the child’s teeth when first inserted. If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see our office. Remember to hold the dislocated tooth by the crown—not the root. If you cannot relocate the tooth, place it in a container of cold milk, saline or the victim’s own saliva. Place the tooth in the solution. First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the cheek near the injury. This will keep down swelling. For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling. If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged. If a child’s primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum. Irritation caused by retainers or braces can sometimes be relieved by placing a tiny piece of cotton or gauze on the tip of the wire or other protruding object. If an injury occurs from a piece of the retainer or braces lodging into a soft tissue, contact our office immediately and avoid dislodging it yourself.
Sealants fill in the little ridges on the chewing part of your teeth to protect and seal the tooth from food and plaque. The application is easy to apply and typically last for several years.
An estimated sixty-five percent of Americans have bad breath. Over forty-million Americans have "chronic halitosis," which is persistent bad breath. Ninety percent of all halitosis is of oral, not systemic, origin. Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over the counter halitosis products, many of which are ineffective because they only mask the problem.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors. In most cases, it is caused by food remaining in the mouth – on the teeth, tongue, gums, and other structures, collecting bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives your breath an unpleasant odor. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash only mask the odor. Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath from fasting. Periodontal (gum) disease often causes persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, and persistent bad breath may mean a sign that you have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque – the sticky, often colorless, film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Dry mouth or xerostomia may also cause bad breath due to decreased salivary flow. Saliva cleans your mouth and removes particles that may cause odor. Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods and irritate your gum tissues. Bad breath may also be a sign that you have a serious health problem, such as a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. Here are characteristic bad breath odors associated with some of these illnesses:
Diabetes – acetone, fruity
Liver failure – sweetish, musty
Acute rheumatic fever – acid, sweet
Lung abscess – foul, putrefactive
Blood dyscrasias – resembling decomposed blood
Liver cirrhosis – resembling decayed blood
Uremia – ammonia or urine
Hand-Schuller-Christian disease – fetid breath and unpleasant taste
Bad breath may also be caused by medications you are taking, including central nervous system agents, anti-Parkinson drugs, antihistamines/decongestants, anti-psychotics, anti-cholinergics, narcotics, anti-hypertensives, and anti-depressants.
Caring for bad breath
Daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. And don’t forget your often overlooked tongue as a culprit for bad breath. Bacterial plaque and food debris also can accumulate on the back of the tongue. The tongue’s surface is extremely rough and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices. Controlling periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health helps to reduce bad breath. If you have constant bad breath, make a list of the foods you eat and any medications you take. Some medications may contribute to bad breath. Improperly cleaned dentures can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that the odor is not oral in nature, you may be referred to your family physician or to a specialist to determine the cause of the odor and possible treatment. If the odor is due to gum disease, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum tissues. Gum disease can cause gum tissues to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. When these pockets are deep, only a professional periodontal cleaning can remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate. Mouthwashes are generally ineffective on bad breath. If your bad breath persists even after good oral hygiene, there are special products your dentist may prescribe, including Zytex, which is a combination of zinc chloride, thymol and eucalyptus oil that neutralizes the sulfur compounds and kills the bacteria that causes them. In addition, a special antimicrobial mouth rinse may be prescribed. An example is chlorhexidine, but be careful not to use it for more than a few months as it can stain your teeth. Some antiseptic mouth rinses have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their breath freshening properties and therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Instead of simply masking breath odor, these products have been demonstrated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about trying some of these products.
Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth’s inner dentin material. These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Soda, candy, ice cream—even milk—are common culprits. Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque. The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures. If cavities aren’t treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body’s own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing. Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
Teeth that change color.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby’s future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth. One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.
Simple toothaches can often be relieved by rinsing the mouth to clear it of debris and other matter. Sometimes, a toothache can be caused or aggravated by a piece of debris lodged between the tooth and another tooth. Avoid placing an aspirin between your tooth and gum to relieve pain, because the dissolving aspirin can actually harm your gum tissue.
Broken, Fractured, or Displaced Tooth
A broken, fractured or displaced tooth is usually not a cause for alarm, as long as decisive, quick action is taken.
If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see your dentist.
First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the cheek near the injury. This will keep down swelling.
If you cannot locate the tooth back in its socket, hold the dislocated tooth by the crown – not the root. Next, place it in a container of warm milk, saline or the victim’s own saliva and keep it in the solution until you arrive at the emergency room or dentist’s office.
For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.
If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.
If a child’s primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.
Flossing is a method for removing bacteria and other debris that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. It generally entails a very thin piece of synthetic cord you insert and move up and down between the sides of two adjoining teeth.
Why is flossing important?
Many dentists believe that flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In any event, daily flossing is an excellent and proven method for complementing your brushing routine and helping to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental problems later in life. It also increases blood circulation in your gums. Floss removes plaque and debris that stick to your teeth and gums.
How often to floss
Floss at least once every day. Like brushing, flossing should take about three minutes and can easily be done while doing another activity, such as watching television. Do not attempt to floss your teeth while operating a motor vehicle or other machinery.
There are two common methods for flossing, the "spool method" and the "loop method".
The spool method is the most popular for those who do not have problems with stiff joints or fingers. The spool method works like this: Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle finger. Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the middle finger of your other hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Move the floss between your teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Maneuver the floss up and down several times forming a "C" shape around the tooth. While doing this, make sure you go below the gum line, where bacteria are known to collect heavily.
The loop method is often effective for children or adults with dexterity problems like arthritis. The loop method works like this: Break off about 18 inches of floss and form it into a circle. Tie it securely with two or three knots. Place all of your fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through your lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going below the gum line and forming a "C" on the side of the tooth.
With either method of flossing, never "snap" the floss because this can cut your gums. Make sure that you gently scrape the side of each tooth with the floss.
Your gums may be tender or even bleed for the first few days after flossing – a condition that generally heals within a few days.
Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from your teeth and gums. Getting the debris off your teeth and gums in a timely manner prevents bacteria in the food you eat from turning into harmful, cavity causing acids.
Most dentists agree that brushing three times a day is the minimum; if you use a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you can get away without using toothpaste during the middle of the day. A simple brushing with plain water or rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch will generally do the job.
Since everyone’s teeth are different, see me first before choosing a brushing technique. Here are some popular techniques that work:
Use a circular motion to brush only two or three teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.
Place your toothbrush next to your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in a circular motion, not up and down. This kind of motion wears down your tooth structure and can lead to receding gums, or expose the root of your tooth. You should brush all surfaces of your teeth – front, back, top, and between other teeth, rocking the brush back and forth gently to remove any plaque growing under the gum.
Don’t forget the other surfaces of your mouth that are covered in bacteria – including the gums, the roof and floor of your mouth, and most importantly, your tongue. Brushing your tongue not only removes trapped bacteria and other disease-causing germs, but it also freshens your breath.
Remember to replace your brush when the bristles begin to spread because a worn toothbrush will not properly clean your teeth.
Effective brushing usually takes about three minutes. Believe it or not, studies have shown that most people rush during tooth brushing.
For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, which thereby helps to prevent decay of tooth structures.
Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety-related organization in the world. Communities make it a common practice to "fluoridate" their drinking supplies in order for the general population to benefit from this inexpensive and effective preventative treatment. According to the American Dental Association, more than 144 million U.S. residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, most from public water supplies with sodium fluoride added artificially.
Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure
Can the consistent use of bottled water result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Can home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes to both. Read how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride, in this article from the American Dental Association.
ADA statement on FDA toothpaste warning labels
The American Dental Association`s Council on Scientific Affairs believes that one part of the warning now required on fluoride toothpastes by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes. The label language, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately," is now required on all fluoride toothpastes. But the ADA, in a letter sent to the FDA last year, pointed out that a child could not absorb enough fluoride from toothpaste to cause a serious problem and that the excellent safety record on fluoride toothpaste argues against any unnecessary regulation.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she receives too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.
CDC web site provides information on community water fluoridation
People seeking information on whether their water system is fluoridated can now find out by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new feature, "My Water`s Fluoride," allows consumers in participating states to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates. States that are currently participating include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.