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Fun Tooth Facts

August 9th, 2018

We've come a long way in our dental knowledge through the years, and it's fun to look back and see what our ancestors thought about our pearly whites. We also know so much more about how teeth develop -- it may happen a lot earlier than you think! Thank you Colgate for this entertaining article!

3 Fun Facts About Teeth

by Wendy J. Woudstra

People today tend to know a lot about their oral health, but the humans of ages past relied entirely on conjecture for answers about their teeth. Here are some fun facts about teeth that our ancestors certainly did not know.

Cavities Are Not Caused by Tooth Worms

In medieval times, most people thought dental cavities were made by tiny tooth worms. These little worms were thought to bore holes in teeth and then hide, out of sight, beneath the surface. The wiggling they did inside the tooth was believed to cause the pain of toothaches.

Today, of course, science has told us the truth about cavities, namely that they are really tooth decay caused by enamel-eroding bacteria in the plaque that builds up around teeth. When we eat sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria feed on the remnants left on our teeth, while simultaneously creating an acid that eats away at enamel.

Thankfully, we also know a lot more about preventing and treating tooth decay today than our medieval ancestors did; with preventative dental care, good oral hygiene, and a tooth-friendly diet, we can keep our teeth healthy for a lifetime. You can learn more about maintaining good oral health in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Everyone Has the Same Number of Teeth (Mostly)

The great philosopher Aristotle believed that men had more teeth than women. Even though he was married, he must never have counted, because men and women both develop 20 primary or baby teeth, and when their permanent teeth come in, both sexes receive 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 10 secondary molars.

Things get complicated, however, when it comes to the third molars, often called wisdom teeth. While most people grow wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 21 years old, in about 35 percent of the population, wisdom teeth never develop. Some scientists believe that in the future that percentage will continue to grow until humans no longer grow wisdom teeth at all.

Your Primary and Permanent Teeth Start to Develop Before You're Even Born

You may not realize that although you don't have any teeth visible when you're born, the tooth buds of your 20 primary teeth, as well as the 32 permanent teeth you will one day develop, are already present in your jaw. The only exception is your wisdom teeth, which don't begin to develop at all until adolescence.

All these fun facts about teeth serve as reminders that you can never know too much about taking care of your teeth and gums. Daily preventative care and regular visits to the dentist will ensure that you have a healthy smile for years to come.

Check-ups are for for more than just a cleaning!

August 2nd, 2018

Your mouth is a part of your whole body, and it can tell you a lot about your health in general! In addition to keeping your teeth clean, check-ups with Dr. Smith always include a free oral cancer screening. You can be confident that at Got Smile Dental you are always getting top-notch, thorough oral care!

This article from PatientConnect365 details the importance of an oral cancer screen at each checkup - we agree!

Another Reason Not To Skip Your Dental Visits

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It’s also among the most preventable and curable when caught early.

And, believe it or not, your dentist is a critical partner when it comes to detecting this form of cancer.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and one of the most serious.

Researchers are not certain as to its causes, but according to studies completed at the University of Minnesota, repeated exposure to the sun is considered a “commonly associated factor.”

That said, even though melanoma is understood in layman’s terms to be a “skin” cancer, we can’t always prevent it by applying sunscreen. Biologically speaking, melanoma can manifest anywhere melanocytes exist, whether that’s in our skin, mouth, heart, or other tissues.

It’s precisely for this reason that maintaining regular visits to your dentist can literally save your life.

How does the dentist help and what are the symptoms?

As with any cancer, early detection is key. And a regular visit to your dentist who can see more areas of your mouth at close range is your best course of action. There are signs and symptoms, however, that should elicit concern if you experience them.

If you have a frequent sore throat, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and red or whitish patches within your mouth, you should see you doctor. Likewise, changes in the color, shape or size of skin pigmentation should prompt a visit to the doctor.

How often do I have to have my mouth checked for this?

Your dentist should review your mouth and neck to look for any abnormalities or changes in tissue at every appointment. This exam often takes place without you even being aware it’s happening, but if you’re ever curious, just ask your dentist to walk you through it during your next appointment.

Due to their ability to detect cancerous lesions early, an oral cancer screening can literally save your life. Your dentist may also offer additional screening opportunities using special medical screening devices. These also help with early detection by illuminating mouth tissue with a special light.

Ask if your doctor has such a device in their office, or can recommend you to a physician who does.

It’s worth repeating …

Your teeth aren’t the only things in your mouth worth protecting. So be sure to visit your dentist regularly for an oral health screening.

Your dentist plays a critical role in the early detection and treatment of oral cancer concerns, so get that checkup!

How to Help Kids Avoid Cavities

July 26th, 2018

We all know that brushing, flossing, and keeping up with dental checkups are the best ways to help prevent cavities for anyone. However, when it comes to kids who sometimes have less-than-reliable brushing and flossing habits there are extra tricks to help them avoid cavities! This article from PatientConnect365 has some great tips:

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

There's nothing worse than subjecting your child to the whir of a dentist's drill because simple oral hygiene habits were not followed.

Sure, kids hate flossing as much as adults, but if we're successful at instilling good behavior early on in life, those habits will provide them with a healthy mouth that will keep them smiling indefinitely.

“Ignore your teeth and they'll go away," the old saying goes. Protecting your child's teeth from cavities can be as simple as following a few simple recommendations.

Here are 11 easy things you can do to keep cavities from taking root in your child's mouth.

1. Regular brushing and flossing: Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day.

2. Don't share your food and drink: Cavities can actually be contagious! Because the bacteria that causes them can be passed from one user to the next, it's best to avoid sharing foods and drink with children.

3. Visit to the dentist: Most dentists recommend you should bring your child to a dentist after their first tooth arrives. Then, thereafter, based on the recommendation of your dentist.

4. Avoid frequent snacking: Constant snacking, particularly on sweets, provides the perfect environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their work.

Limit snacking to healthy foods, and if your children can brush, or use water as a mouthwash after snacking, that's even better.

5. Eat crisp, water-dense fruit: Fruits high in water help keep your child's mouth hydrated, particularly useful during a lunchbox meal.

6. Avoid additional sugar: This is good for the body as well, and common sense when it comes to teeth. Soda is a big no-no, of course.

7. Consider dental sealants: Your dentist can place a protective sealant on your child's teeth to prevent decay. The process is simple and can save future headaches.

8. Drink a lot of water: Water should be the beverage of choice. Bottled water is okay, but fluoridated tap water is best. Use a filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water.

9. Minimize juice beverages: It's best to drink these in moderation. Juice can be acidic and sweet - two things that are not so good for our teeth.

10. Avoid sticky foods: Items like fruit leathers, cookies and candies aren't good choices for healthy teeth any day of the week.

11. Consider cheeses and nut butters: Nuts and cheese have ingredients that help remineralize our teeth, and can be good additions to a lunchbox.

If you have a child with allergies, soy nut butter might possibly be an option. However, always be sure to check with your allergist first to be certain if soy nut butter is safe for your child to consume.

How to Help Prevent Gum Disease

July 19th, 2018

Image result for gum disease

Gum disease is common. It is caused by may factors and can wreak havoc on your smile! Luckily it is treatable, preventable, and even reversible if you're willing to put in the work. This article from Patient365 provides some great tips on how to help prevent gum disease and keep your mouth healthy. :)

7 New Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

To avoid gum disease, a solid oral care regime is imperative - brush twice a day, floss at night, and use mouthwash. This is the familiar refrain, so let's step away from that simple 3-step plan and look at other ways to prevent gum disease.

Gingivitis and its advanced cousin, Periodontal disease, are silent offenders. Most often, you may not even know you should be concerned. After all, the serious problems take place beneath your gum line where you can't see them.

What's worse is that a growing number of scientists believe that plaque and gum disease can also influence and exacerbate conditions like heart disease and stroke - certainly conditions we do not want to encourage by a lack of attention to good oral hygiene.

So with no further ado, here are seven easy things you can do to help protect your mouth from gum disease.

1. Eat More Chicken! This is more than just a prominent fast food slogan. Consuming more chicken, as well as other meats, cheeses, nuts, and milk does a body good.

All are believed to provide your teeth with calcium and phosphorous needed to remineralize enamel after it’s been bombarded by the acids that cause tooth decay.

2. Eat more Veggies! Everyone knows we need more vegetables in our diets. Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content, as well as their vitamin and mineral profiles. There's no doubt about it, veggies are good for you.

Not a big fan? Incorporate them into soups, or in a great fruit smoothie … you won't notice the difference, but your teeth and gums will.

3. Use an anti-microbial mouthwash: The key here is using a mouthwash that is anti-microbial. Find one you'll actually use every day, and use it once in the morning after brushing, and again after brushing before bed.

Try to find one that’s low in alcohol or without it altogether, as alcohol dries out your mouth and can contribute to tooth decay. More saliva equals better oral health.

4. Try a toothbrush that moves: Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush that’s been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).

These toothbrushes are more effective than you'll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing.

5. Chew Gum! Keep that saliva flow going after a meal with sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol -- a natural sweetener derived from plants. It doesn't break down like sugar, and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth.

If you want to avoid Aspartame in your Xylitol chewing gum, search online or ask your dentist. It’s difficult to find gum without Aspartame these days, but such a product does exist.

6. Get Braces! That's right, getting braces can help protect you from gum disease.

Crooked teeth are great enablers of tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease by allowing bacteria and plaque to colonize in the areas where your teeth are not aligned.

Getting your teeth aligned eliminates these hideouts where your toothbrush cannot reach, all while straightening your smile at the same time.

7. Quit Smoking! This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is always bad for your body, your gums, and your teeth.

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