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At White Bear Smiles, we strongly believe in education, both for ourselves and for our patients. We've found that patients who take charge of their dental care and ask questions about their health, our practice, and dentistry in general tend to have better overall outcomes.
So go ahead! Ask us your questions! We're happy to take the time to give you the information you need to make decisions about your care.
We've collected some of our most commonly heard questions here, but if you need more information or you don't see your question, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to help.
Gum Disease in Women
There are certain times in a woman's life when she may be more susceptible to gum disease. The changes a woman goes through, puberty and menopause among them, pregnancy and menstrual cycles also, cause hormonal changes in the body. Those changes may require a woman to adjust her diet and exercise patterns.
For instance, as we all know, pregnant women tend to snack a lot. It's important for them to avoid sugary, sticky snacks.
The changes can affect many of the tissues in the body, including the gums. The gums can become unusually sensitive and can react strongly to hormonal fluctuations. All this can leave a woman vulnerable to gum disease. Studies have also shown that pregnant women with gum disease are far more likely to deliver pre-term, low birth weight babies.
Talk to Your Dentist About Your Risk of Gum Disease
If you are a woman, talk to your dentist about any special steps you should take to maintain good oral health while going through the different periods of your life. At White Bear Smiles, we specialize in treating gum disease in patients of all ages and genders. Contact our comfortable dental office in White Bear Lake, MN to learn more about gum disease.
Adult and Geriatric Oral Health
Unfortunately, the possibility of having dental problems doesn't necessarily diminish as we age. Although the baby boomer generation has benefited from water fluoridation programs and fluoride toothpaste, problems can still crop up in the adult's mouth.
The Problem of Gum Disease
Gum disease, for instance, remains a problem for adults. Some 14 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have severe gum disease.
Signs and symptoms from soft-tissue diseases like cold sores are common in adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 19 percent of adults aged 25 to 44 are affected by such soft-tissue ailments.
Other Dental Problems
Every year more than 400,000 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are afflicted with oral problems like painful mouth ulcers, loss of taste and dry mouth as a result of malfunctioning salivary glands.
The CDC reports that employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year because or oral health problems. So the message is keep brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Don't sit back and relax.
Hard-to-Reach Spots Can Lead to Cavities
Regardless of how carefully you tend to your teeth, they should be cleaned professionally every six months. You simply can't reach every spot at home. It's on those hard-to-reach spots that plaque will accumulate and turn into cavity-causing compounds called tartar and calculus. Bacteria live in plaque and calculus and converts foods to acids that attack tooth structure. Either your dentist or hygienist will do the cleaning, which consists mainly of scraping off the accumulated hardened deposits of plaque.
The Dental Cleaning Process
Generally, the cleaning will involve hand scraping of the accumulation with a small sickle-shaped instrument called a scaler or with use of an ultrasonic machine that generates high-frequency sound waves. Those waves are generated through a tip that actually vibrates plaque deposits loose. The plaque particles are then flushed off with water. Because part of the reason for cleaning your teeth is to avoid gum disease or periodontal disease, it is necessary to clean the sides of the roots as well as the crowns. Once the teeth are thoroughly cleaned, the dentist will polish them with a mild abrasive, leaving you with clean teeth and a glistening smile.
If you're due for a dental cleaning, contact our office to schedule your appointment. We want to ensure you have a beautiful and healthy smile for a lifetime!
While more and more Americans are keeping all their teeth, tooth loss still happens and there are consequences – none of which are good.
First of all, teeth support each other, like good neighbors. When one tooth is lost, the teeth next to the vacated spot begin to shift. This can lead to problems with chewing and cleaning. Once remaining teeth begin to tilt, food can get trapped in gaps between the teeth and the gum. This can contribute to both tooth decay and periodontal, or gum, disease.
When teeth are lost, the pressure of chewing is thrown off and can make eating difficult. Teeth bearing an inordinate amount of pressure in the new chewing pattern may shift and eventually loosen.
You may also notice a change in the sound of words you speak.
If you do lose a tooth, your dentist can advise you on whether a bridge – an artificial tooth fastened to neighboring teeth – or an implant may be right for you. The best advice, though, is to keep your natural teeth through a regimen of good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist.
Causes of Bad Breath
Don't worry. Most people, at some point, are going to have a problem with bad breath. And the problem stems from bacteria. We all have bacteria in our mouths. The bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which have a pungent odor. While most people's systems keep the bacteria in balance, some people simply produce more bacteria than others. Some 25 percent of the population has a chronic problem with an overabundance of bacteria.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
The American Dental Association recommends that you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. This helps produce the saliva that washes away excess bacteria.
Another place where bacteria can collect is on your tongue, especially on the back of it. This is considered to be the main source of bad breath. What we recommend is that everyone use a good tongue scraper every morning. After a thorough scraping, then brush your teeth and tongue with an ADA approved toothpaste. This will also help with gingivitis and gum disease, the second most common reason for bad breath.
If bad breath is a periodic or constant problem for you, talk with your dentist about ways to address it. Call our office in White Bear Lake, MN for an expert consultation.