west cobb

The Aging Mouth: What is Normal, What is Not

 

The natural process of aging takes its toll on your teeth and mouth just as it does your body. Here are some common oral health changes you can anticipate as you age:
Enamel Wear — Chewing, cleaning and the normal aging process means your teeth will eventually wear down over time.
Darker Tooth Color — Aging dentin (the tooth’s middle layer) holds stains easier than younger dentin, making your teeth appear slightly darker.
Gum Changes — Aging gums naturally recede over time.
Cavities — Cavities around the root of the tooth are more common as you age. Any fillings you have are also aging and can weaken or crack.
Other changes to your teeth and gums aren’t normal and shouldn’t be overlooked. These symptoms could signal something more serious and are reason to see your dentist right away:
Tooth Loss — Dental cavities and gum disease are the leading culprits of tooth loss in seniors, but neither is a normal part of aging. If your teeth and gums are healthy, there’s no reason why your teeth should fall out.
Dry Mouth – As you age, you may notice a reduced flow of saliva, sometimes as a side effect of medical conditions, medications or medical treatment. Saliva is important because it lubricates the mouth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque.
Bleeding Gums — Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in seniors. But gum disease is not an inevitable result of aging; it’s caused by the build up of plaque. Left untreated, gum disease is linked to other health concerns like arthritis and heart disease.

Why So Sensitive? 5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt

Do your teeth hurt when you drink or eat something hot or cold? Most people think this is normal, but that’s not always the case. When your teeth hurt, they’re trying to tell you something: See your dentist.

More often than not, tooth sensitivity is a sign of a dental problem like tooth decay or gum disease. But there are other reasons why your teeth may be hurting:

  • You might have a cracked or broken tooth
  • One of your fillings could be broken or rotten
  • You might be grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • You could be brushing your teeth too hard
  • There might be dental plaque buildup on your tooth roots

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring sensitive teeth or trying to self-treat. If your sensitivity lasts longer than a couple of days or keeps recurring over a couple of weeks, make an appointment to see your dentist. The longer you wait, the worse it can get and the more expensive treatment will be. A quick exam can reveal exactly what’s going on and get you back to living pain-free.

Dental Care Checklist for Adults

Don’t let dental visits slide! Adult life can sometimes be a juggling act and it may feel like you just can’t find the time for a dental visit. But making time for regular dental visits now can help keep you out of the dental office in the future.

Brush and floss daily, even if it’s late. You’ve heard this a million times by now, but the importance of regular brushing and flossing can never be emphasized enough. Even if you’ve been good about your oral hygiene all your life, resist the temptation to let it slide for even one day; the longer plaque stays on your teeth, the more destructive it becomes.

Eat well-balanced meals. When you’re juggling work, home and kids, it can be tempting to turn to fast food, soda and sugary snacks as a way to save time and feel more energetic. But sugar is a tooth decay demon and can cause you to crash after that initial “sugar high.” Be sure to integrate plenty of fresh vegetables into your daily meals and eat fruit, nuts and celery or carrot sticks as snacks.

Exercise regularly — it’s good for your teeth! Studies show that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle — exercise and eating right — are 40 percent less likely to develop advanced gum disease.

Consider treating yourself to cosmetic dentistry. Whether you want a quick boost or a complete smile makeover, there are plenty of cosmetic dental treatments available to help you achieve your dream smile. One-hour laser teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth 8-10 shades whiter, and porcelain veneers can mask stained teeth, chipped teeth or crooked teeth.

Hot Beverages Contribute to Tooth Staining

Estimates suggest that annually Americans consume 45 million pounds of caffeine and hot coffee and teas are the most popular sources for the legal psychoactive stimulant drug. Both beverages are associated with having dental health perks as black coffee has been found to lower acid levels on teeth, reducing the odds of cavity development and green tea has been found to be powerful in reducing gum inflammation and subsequently gum disease. Despite the perks of the beverages, when consumed at their steamiest stage, the unflattering side effect may be tooth staining.

Science has shown that heat will cause molecules and atoms to vibrate faster, increase space between atoms and cause expansion. Tooth enamel is one such substance that will expand under heat and during that stage, the tannins in coffee and tea can lodge into the void and as the teeth cool down again, tooth staining can be the result.

Proper oral hygiene can help teeth stay clean and lower the level of dental plaque, and brushing with a whitening toothpaste may help alleviate some of the discoloration. Patients may also choose to get professional teeth whitening from a dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry.

Oral Hygiene is a Must for Germ-a-Phobes

Those suffering from Misophobia or Mysophobia are burdened with the fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs. A study has shown that nearly 80 percent of American’s are concerned about the little critters on their hands, but the reality is they should focus more on their dental health if they really want to lower the chances of defiling their health.

According to Sigmund Socransky, associate clinical professor of periodontology at Harvard University “In one mouth, the number of bacteria can easily exceed the number of people who live on Earth,” (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/08.22/01-oralcancer.html). These organisms band together and form colonies leading to excess dental plaque.

While the plaque community, a sticky film that can look off-white in appearance, can look harmless because of its size, the reality is that it will cause health issues. If left unchecked, the community will lead to gum disease and all the dental problems associated with that infection including halitosis and tooth decay. Science has proven that an excess of dental plaque can cause health problems such as strokes, diabetes and heart disease.

When it comes to cleaning the human mouth, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily is the best way to remove harmful bacteria. Brushing should take a full two minutes allowing 30 seconds for each dental quadrant. Using a fluoride toothpaste is also recommended. Individuals should pay special attention to brushing teeth gently while maneuvering a toothbrush to reach the back teeth and the gum lines. If dental plaque has already hardened into dental tartar, only a cleaning from a professional dentist will do.

Coronavirus Safety Protocols

We want to reassure you that we continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. Our dental office always has been – and will continue to be – one of the safest places to be.

Our team members strictly adhere to, and exceed the standards for, infection control by wearing personal protective gear, using hospital-grade disinfectants, practicing the latest sterilization protocols, utilizing single-use disposable materials, increased frequency of hand washing, practicing social distancing when possible in the office and more. We will continue to disinfect all areas that each patient comes into contact with after each visit, including but not limited to all counter tops, equipment and dental chairs.

Given the current situation, we have established additional safety protocols to minimize the risk of infection for both our you and our team:

  • As a precaution you will have your temperature screened prior to entering the office. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher (as recommended by the CDC) will have their appointment rescheduled for another day.
  • We ask that if you have any symptoms associated with either the Coronavirus or the flu, to please reschedule your appointment. If you have been in contact with anyone who has had symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus or the flu, we ask that you please reschedule your appointment. To see what the symptoms of the Coronavirus are, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html .
  • You are requested to wait in your car until called into the office for your appointment. When it is time to begin treatment, we will contact you via phone or text and you will be brought directly back into the x-ray and operatory area of the office. We will reserve the waiting room for patients that had to use either public transportation or were dropped off for their appointment. This allows us to limit the number of people in the waiting room following all “social distancing” protocols.
  • We ask that you wear a mask or face covering while in the office – with the exception of when you are in the dental chair and are asked to remove them. We request that you please bring a mask or face covering with you.
  • When you arrive – and before you leave – you will be directed to a sanitary hand washing station to wash your hands.
  • For parents or guardians of minors: only one (1) adult may enter the office with a minor patient. This allows us to adhere to the “social distancing” guidelines.