What’s In a Kiss?

In 2006 International Kissing Day was established and it’s celebrated on July 6th. In our society, a kiss is a sign of affection or a warm greeting. Did you know a single kiss can spread up to 80 million bacteria?

We are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities. Studies have proven that parents often infect their child before 2. Once your child becomes exposed they are prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth. In fact, babies can also begin to develop them before their first tooth erupts!Blog

Tooth decay is a disease known as dental caries. It is caused by specific germs and is easily spread throughout families by sharing a cup, utensils, or toothbrushes, and lasts a lifetime. Did you know it’s more common for a child to have cavities than any other chronic illness? Bacteria loves sugar and attacks the structure of teeth by diminishing calcium. It also creates plaque which builds even more enamel-eroding acid.

Can tooth decay be spotted early?

Early tooth decay can be hard to see. A sign is a white strip along the gum line at the base of the teeth. During the early stages, you might be able to see brown spots on the teeth, and gums are red and inflamed. When more advanced, the spots are blackened.

If you have had your fair share of troubles with your teeth, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to your child’s dental care. It’s recommended to bring your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. The best way to limit cavities is to brush and floss with your kids daily. Setting the example, helps create and reinforce these healthy habits.

Tips for keeping decay away from your children:

  • Wipe down your baby’s gums with a washcloth after feedings, even if the first tooth has not erupted.
  • Start brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste as the first tooth erupts.
  • When your child is two or three years old, begin using toothpaste with a small amount of fluoride, and begin flossing when two teeth are touching.

What can happen to untreated cavities?

Cavities don’t go away by themselves. If you ignore a cavity, it continues to grow. They are small holes in your teeth that will become wider and deeper making your teeth more fragile, increasing the risk to crack. If left untreated, the cavity will next reach your tooth’s nerves, which is likely to cause severe pain. Depending on your situation, your tooth will either need a root canal or require extraction. If your tooth is infected you will need antibiotics along with cavity treatment.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection at your gum line which may result in damaged jaw bone.
There are three different stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque. If not removed it hardens and turns into tartar while plaque continues to form more build up. The only way for it to be removed is by visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are pulled away from teeth- making teeth look longer
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bad breath

stages of perioWhat happens if I don’t treat my Periodontitis?

The first stage of gum disease might be easy to miss, but if left untreated it will result in larger problems. If you notice any of the warning signs or think you may have gum disease contact us today. Lack of treatment results in tender gums, receding gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, and eventually leads to tooth loss. Let’s prevent that together!

Have you ever wondered why we kiss with our eyes closed? Maybe it’s because when oral care wasn’t popular nobody wanted to see others teeth up close… Just kidding! But because of dental advancements, it’s easy to keep your smile in tip-top shape. Protect you and your family from bacteria and tooth decay by requesting your appointments today!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

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Navigating the Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Okra
    • Apples
    • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.
  • Cheese and Dairy
    • Plain yogurt
    • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Eel
    • Tuna
    • Most seafood has fluoride.Food

Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.Moderation

We wish you happy holidays and good cheer!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

How the Holidays Affect Your Teeth

christmas-table-1909796_1920The holidays are infamous for being diet-breakers, but let’s not forget the effect excessive sweets can have on your oral health! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to convince you to pass on pecan pie or skip the cider; however, it is important to continue practicing healthy habits, even with some well-deserved indulgences peppered into your seasonal celebrations. Sugar affects everyone’s teeth, no matter how old. Younger children’s smiles are still in the process of development, which means they need added care throughout the growing stages.

The Start of Gum Disease and Cavities

To better understand why it’s important to monitor sugar consumption, we must first address the development of gum disease and cavities. When you eat normally throughout the day, food particles and bacteria collect in your mouth and on your teeth. As you brush and floss, these particles and bacteria are removed with no harm done. However, the presence of sugar fuels the bacteria, which creates enamel-destroying acid; left untreated, the acids corrode a hole in the tooth that deepens over time. Additionally, infection can occur in the gum tissues and lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain. It’s important to limit the bacteria’s opportunity to spread by practicing consistent oral care, and keep your mouth free of disease and infection.

Dental Decay in Children

christmas-1078274_1920When teeth are still in development, the story can be a bit different. The above still applies, but the stakes are higher during the formative years of cutting teeth. It isn’t uncommon to hear “oh, they’re just baby teeth”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child tooth decay is a rampant condition and, although completely preventable, is five times as common as asthma. It’s entirely possible for the infection to spread beneath the gum line, and compromise the healthy adult teeth growing below. Until children are a certain age, it’s imperative for parents to teach sustainable healthy habits. Fortunately, we have a tip or two for the whole family!

When it comes to limiting sugar intake, but also being practical enough to live a little (especially during the holidays!) we stress that it’s actually the timing of sugar consumption that affects dental health more than the quantity consumed. That means less sweets eaten throughout longer periods of the day can actually harm your teeth more than a large serving of dessert eaten at once. Additionally, serving sweets along with the meal can also prevent over-exposure, as they are less likely to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Bearing these facts in mind, we suggest instead of leaving sweets all over the house, limit consumption until meal time, and then allow yourselves and the kids to enjoy your share of holiday confections!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you

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You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’). To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a ‘periodontal probe’ to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that becomes prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there is significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process.

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can removed built up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straight forward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you, if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

 

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Common Dental Myths Debunked

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Facts About Dental Myths

With the magnitude of information available to us these days, it’s harder than ever to separate facts from myths; especially when it comes to your health. There are a million dental related myths that might steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to a healthy smile. It’s important to be informed and know the facts. Here are a few common dental myths, followed by the facts.

Oral Hygiene Only Affects Your Teeth

Many people hear the phrase “oral hygiene” and they think of the simple act of brushing or flossing. While oral hygiene is important for keeping your teeth healthy, poor oral hygiene can be linked to several other health problems- including heart disease. Taking care of your mouth actually means taking care of a lot of things within your body. Untreated periodontal disease contributes to more low birth weight babies than both drinking and smoking combined.  Having poor oral hygiene can cause a multitude of problems- not all of them related to your teeth.

You Shouldn’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out Until They Start to Hurt

Typically, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your dentist will generally advise you of the same. If you wait for your wisdom teeth to become painful, they might have already done other damage to your gums or teeth. Many people believe that as long as they have no pain, there’s no reason to have an unnecessary surgery. In rare cases, wisdom teeth can stay intact as long as they are not interfering or causing damage. One of the most common reasons to remove wisdom teeth is because they are so difficult to keep clean and rather than incurring costly repairs to those teeth many dentists will suggest having them removed.  Frequent exams are necessary in this case to monitor and maintain your health. It’s generally better to have your wisdom teeth removed before any pain, rather than take the gamble.

White Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Teeth are actually not meant to be pure white. Tooth color can vary widely, for example, depending on your race, pigmentation varies greatly.  Also, as you get older, your teeth will naturally take on a more faded color as things do with time, however they can still be perfectly healthy. A color beyond a light yellow could be cause for concern, but generally the pinkness of your gums is a better indication of oral health as opposed to how white your teeth are.

If Teeth Look Healthy, and Are Not Hurting, There is No Reason to Visit a Dentist

The most common mistake people make regarding their dental health is skipping regular preventive visits because they do not see or feel any problems. Even in the absence of a visible problem or discomfort, regular visits for x-ray exams, cleaning and necessary restorative care are necessary to maintain your teeth and gums for life. Discovering diseases in the mouth earlier rather than later will typically reduce cost, recovery time and severity of dental treatment that may need to be performed.

It’s important to educate yourself on the facts surrounding whole body health and well-being. Muddled information and common misperceptions can leave people confused. The best way to combat myths and augment dental health is to see and speak with your dentist regularly. Have open dialogue and productive conversations about what is and is not true. Being informed, savvy and educated will keep you and your dentist smiling.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
(860) 447-1787