Science Behind a Confident Smile Series- Part 1 of 4

July 12th, 2019

Science Behind a Confident Smile Series- Part 1 of 4

Think of your mouth like a car. (Stay with me here, it will make sense in a minute.) If you take good care of your vehicle, you don’t just visit the mechanic when you hear funny noises or the engine starts to smoke. You rotate your tires, change your oil regularly and do a multi-point inspection just to make sure everything is in good working order.

Like your car, it is just as important to check for signs of a healthy mouth as it is to check for signs of disease. Understanding what goes on in a healthy mouth helps you keep everything in good working order and stay vigilant for signs of a problem.

On that note, we put together our own multi-point inspection for a healthy mouth. Here is what to look for in a well-tuned mouth, preventative steps you can take to keep it that way, and of course, the science behind it all.

Your Gums: A Consistent Color

Like skin tone, healthy gums range in color. Yours might be red, pink, or dark brown. The important thing to look for is consistency, both throughout your entire mouth and over time. If your gums change color in a short period of time, or if portions of your gums are darker or lighter than usual, this is a cause for concern.

A change to your gum color might be the result of something innocuous like an amalgam tattoo — harmless and caused when particles from fillings and crowns become dislodged — or it might be the sign of something more serious, like gingivitis or trench mouth, an acute form of gingivitis that causes a layer of dead tissue to build up over the gums.

As the first stop on your multi-point inspection, scan your gums to check for dark or light spots or changes in color. If you notice anything unusual, it’s time to give your dentist a call.

Your Gums: Firm to the Touch and Flush to Your Teeth

Color isn’t the only thing to look for when it comes to healthy gums. Your gums, aka gingiva, play an important role in keeping teeth in line, anchoring them in your mouth, and protecting them from shocks. Made up of fleshy tissue, they are covered by a layer of mucous membrane and adhere to your teeth with tiny fibers called the periodontal membrane.

In a healthy mouth, your gums appear snug against your teeth, not loose. This snug fit minimizes the chance of gum disease by keeping bacteria away from your roots. Healthy gums are also firm to the touch, not puffy, and they rarely bleed when you brush or floss. Puffiness and bleeding are early signs of gum disease.

If you notice puffiness, bleeding, or pocketing on your gums, a week or so of vigilance is often enough to remedy. Floss daily and brush twice a day in a gentle circular motion. If these symptoms continue, make an appointment with your dentist.

For more information or to schedule you and your family for a dental exam and cleaning, please call us at (425) 318-7689. Dr. Jessica Chen at Duvall Family Dental is acaring and compassionate dentist looking forward to answering your questions.



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Summer Care for your Teeth

June 23rd, 2019

Summer sun brings summer fun. While warm months are perfect for spending time together, summer vacation can also throw off your usual dental routine. Here are three ways to prevent summertime tooth decay:

Stay on a routine 

Whether your kids are staying up to catch fireflies or a fireworks show, resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime—or let it slide when they sleep in the next morning. “Don’t forget about your smile over the summer,” says ADA pediatric dentist Dr. Mary Hayes. “It’s important for families to consistently brush and floss, which keeps kids on track for healthy back-to-school dental visits.”

No matter how eventful the upcoming months become, supervise that they are brushing twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Simple things like brushing calendars can help everyone stay on track over the summer. Plus, it’s a chance to spend more time together. Brushing alongside your children for 2 minutes, twice a day for the three months of summer gives you 6 extra hours together, so make the most of them!

And don’t forget to clean between those teeth once a day. “Your children should be flossing between any two teeth that touch,” Dr. Hayes says. “However, many kids don’t have motor skills to floss until they are over 10 years old.” If your child needs help, try different types of interdental cleaners or put your hands over theirs to guide them and get the job done at the same time.

Say no to sugary drinks and snacks 

As the temperature rises, it’s common for families to sip and snack during sports tournaments, festivals or nearly any community event. “Watch your family’s intake of lemonade, juice and soda,” says Dr. Hayes. “Consider sugary drinks treats to enjoy once in a while, and not often.” Instead, offer water (even better if it has fluoride) to beat the heat, or milk to drink with meals. And, don’t let summertime grazing damage your child’s smile. “Taking a break from snacking is healthy for your teeth,” says Dr. Hayes. “It allows time for saliva to bathe the teeth, wash away leftover food and get stronger.”

If you find yourself spending more time at home, snack smarter, and let your children tell you when they’re hungry instead of offering snacks throughout the day. “They’re not afraid to let you know when they want something to eat!” she says.

Make your back-to-school dental visit early 

Some schools require back-to-school dental visits for certain grades, and these checkups can be a good way to be sure your child’s teeth stayed healthy. It is a good idea to make your child’s back-to-school appointment early in the summer to avoid the August rush and help insure you get the appointment time that works best for you. “We can help spot and take care of any issues, so your child doesn’t have to miss class once school starts,” Dr. Hayes says. “Visiting the dentist regularly can help your child’s smile stay healthy all year long.”

adapted from the ADA

6 things a dental cleaning can do for you

March 15th, 2019

6 things a dental cleaning and do for you

  1. Prevent cavities  The whitish film that builds up on your teeth is called plaque and is the leading cause of tooth decay. This acidic substance eats away at the tooth enamel and, if left unattended, can lead to cavities. Plaque can be removed by brushing, flossing and dental cleanings.
  2. Stop tooth loss Gum disease, which starts with built-up plaque, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, plaque moves further down the tooth where it can destroy the supporting bone in your jaw, causing teeth to loosen and fall out. Luckily, the chance of this happening to you can be greatly reduced through regular dental cleanings combined with good oral hygiene habits.
  3. Brighten your smile Drinking coffee, tea and wine or using tobacco can stain your teeth. A dental cleaning can remove built-up stains and leave you with freshly polished teeth. The result? A whiter, brighter smile!
  4. Freshen your breath  Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent persistent bad breath. Even if you brush and floss regularly, getting a cleaning is a great way to keep your mouth healthy and odor-free.
  5. Boost your overall health  Studies have shown a connection between oral and overall health. Regular dental cleanings may help lower your risk for some diseases, like heart disease and stroke. Many medical conditions, some of them life-threatening, can be detected in their early stages by your dentist during a routine oral exam.
  6. Save money  Get the most value from your dental benefits. Most Delta Dental plans have low or no copayments/coinsurance for dental cleanings and oral exams.4If you take advantage of your benefits now, you may be able to save money in the long run by helping to protect your oral health and potentially avoiding more costly and extensive procedures.

Thirsty? Always looking around for water? Could be your medications at play.

March 15th, 2019

The Link Between Medications and Cavities

You may wonder why you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years. As we get older, we enter a second round of cavity prone years. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

This is just one reason why it’s so important to tell your dentist about any medications that you’re taking. Your dentist can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and prevent cavities. Here are some common recommendations:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges (xylitol) to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.

Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities. She may also prescribe a fluoride toothpaste for prevention as well.

For more information or to schedule you and your family for a dental exam and cleaning, please call us at (425) 318-7689. Dr. Jessica Chen at Duvall Family Dental is a caring and compassionate dentist looking forward to answering your questions.

Information from American Dental Association

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