Women’s Oral Health

Men and woman share many qualities and health trends but there are quite a few differences when it comes to oral health. Though women have some oral health advantages that men lack, there are also some disadvantages that woman have whereas men don’t have to worry about. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

TMJ and Sjögren’s Syndrome

Women account for 90 percent! of people suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, or chronic pain or soreness in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The most obvious cause is teeth grinding known as bruxism. Other causes may be the result of stress, joint structure, vitamin deficiency, medical conditions like arthritis, and even hormones.

Another condition women are far more prone to than men is Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks salivary glands and tear ducts this results in dry mouth and dry eye and then can move on to other tissues and organs.

Dry mouth, aside from making chewing and swallowing difficult, is very dangerous to oral health, because saliva washes away food particles, fights bacteria, and neutralizes the mouth’s pH from acidic to neutral. With both syndromes, regular dental visits are crucial so that you can get a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that will keep your mouth healthy.

Puberty, Pregnancy, and Menopause

Hormones play a large role in women’s dental health, particularly when they are going through significant changes, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Gingivitis and inflamed gums are common during puberty and pregnancy, which is why it’s especially important to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing under these conditions.

Dry mouth is a common problem for women going through menopause, another common problem is bone loss. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, it can compromise the gums and the roots of the teeth. It’s very important for menopausal women to discuss these potential effects with their dentists, ideally before any negative symptoms appear!

Eating Disorders and Teeth

A startling fact is that more than twice as many teenage girls suffer from eating disorders than teenage boys, and that ratio persists in different age groups. Eating disorders are life-threatening. They have negative effects on every system in the body, and the mouth is no exception.

Malnutrition, particularly a deficiency in vitamins and minerals essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, can lead to a variety of oral health problems, but eating disorders can do more direct harm as well. Bulimia in particular can lead to tooth erosion from frequent exposure to stomach acid during purges.

Anyone suffering from an eating disorder should seek psychiatric help to recover mentally, but it will take rigorous dental hygiene and help from dental professionals to maintain or restore good oral health.

You And Your Dentist Make A Great Team!

By this point, you might think women got the short end of the stick all around when it comes to oral health, but one major advantage women have is their tendency to take better care of their teeth. Women are more likely to brush twice a day, floss daily, and keep up with their regular dental appointments than men. They’re also much less likely to try toughing it out whenever they experience tooth pain or other symptoms. These healthy habits and seeking out help for symptoms combine to greatly reduce the impact of all the above conditions, so keep up the good work!

Let’s keep those mouths healthy, ladies!

What is your Oral Health’s Most Valuable player?

SALIVA IS SUCH an ordinary thing that you probably haven’t given it much thought, but it’s actually super important to the healthy function of our mouths. The best analogy I can think of is saliva to the mouth is as important as oil is to a working car engine. Saliva is an essential component of our ability to eat, taste our favorite foods, and speak, it’s crucial to a healthy immune system, and it’s our first line of defense against many oral health problems.

Saliva Production And Stages

In a healthy mouth, saliva is produced continuously by the major and monor salivary glands, which are located under our tongues and in our cheeks and lips. These glands produce between two and six cups of saliva every day! Saliva is 98% percent water, and the rest consists of proteins, digestive enzymes, antimicrobial factors, and electrolytes.

Depending on where food is in the digestive process, saliva goes through a few different stages: cephalic, buccal, oesophageal, gastric, and intestinal. When you smell something delicious and your mouth waters, that’s the cephalic stage! Actually eating moves it to the buccal stage, which helps us swallow food. The oesophageal stage helps move swallowed food down the esophagus.

The last two stages are less pleasant, but still important. If you’re about to throw up, your salivary glands work overtime in the gastric stage so that the stomach acid won’t do as much damage when it comes up and out with the partially digested food. The intestinal stage is similar, activating when the body doesn’t agree with food that reaches the upper intestine.

Saliva And Oral Health

There are many reasons we have saliva, but the most important role it plays for your teeth is keeping your mouth’s pH balanced and flushing away remnants of food to keep everything clean. Eating food tends to make our mouths more acidic, and even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies, it only takes a pH of 5.5 to start dissolving it. Many of the foods we eat are far more acidic than that, which makes saliva critical in protecting our teeth.

The antimicrobial factors in saliva also fight bacteria, protecting us against gum disease and bad breath. Growth factors in saliva are why injuries in your mouth (like a burned tongue or a bitten cheek) heal faster than injuries elsewhere on the body. And those are just the benefits to oral health, but saliva does much more.

When The Spit Runs Dry…

All of these benefits are why dry mouth is such a serious problem. It can happen for a number of reasons. Our mouths tend to go dry in stressful situations. We also tend to produce less saliva in old age. Drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all cause dry mouth as well. Unfortunately, many prescription medications cause dry mouth as a common side effect. This could lead to gum problems and quick forming cavities.

Let’s Get That Mouth Watering!

If you’ve been experiencing dry mouth for any reason, schedule an appointment with us. We can discover the cause and get that saliva flowing again so that you won’t miss out on any of its great health benefits!

Thank you for trusting in our practice!

When Should I See the Dentist?

BECAUSE PREVENTION IS such a major part of good dental care, it’s critical to visit the dentist for regular checkups. In most cases, two regular dental cleanings a year will be all you need, but not always. So what are the signs that you shouldn’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to come back? For this blog post, we’ve listed the top five.

1. Pains Of Any Kind

If you’re experiencing tooth aches, that could mean a cavity has gotten to the point where the dental pulp is getting inflamed. Please do not “tough it out” thinking that it will just go away on its own. Other types of pain you should bring to the dentist are an aching or soreness in the jaw and/or frequent headaches. These are often connected to oral health issues such as bruxism – teeth grinding, and the Dr. Davidowitz can help!

2. Bleeding Gums or Sores in the mouth

Mouth sores most usually go away on their own, but they can also be a sign of infection or disease, so it’s important to get those looked at when they appear. If you notice that you’re bleeding after brushing or flossing, it is a sign that it is time to come see the dentist, particularly if you’re already using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms of gum disease called gingivitis, so don’t ignore the signs!

3. Previous Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work done in the past and there’s a problem with it now, don’t wait until a regular appointment to get that fixed, because it will likely get worse. A cracked or broken restoration needs to be repaired quickly so that infection or further degradation doesn’t set in. Old looking stained or opened fillings need to be replaced to prevent bacteria from thriving in the gaps between the tooth and the filling.

4. Serious Medical Concerns

Serious medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, eating disorders, and gum disease affect our oral health more than we realize, and sometimes the treatments have negative impacts too. Many common prescribed medications cause dry mouth, which can seriously jeopardize oral health. That’s why if you are diagnosed with a chronic disease and/or have new medications prescribed to you, your dentist needs to know about it.

5. Bad Breath

Few things are as mortifying as being in a social situation and realizing you have bad breath or being told by a loved one about it, but did you know that bad breath is sometimes a symptom of gum disease or other health problems? If you find yourself having an unusually hard time keeping your breath minty fresh, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist so we can discover the underlying cause.

Remember: Keep Up with Your Regular Dental Visits!

While we hope you come to see us right away if you notice any of these signs, we want to reemphasize the importance of scheduling regular appointments. Most dental health problems appear gradually, and an appointment every six months is enough to catch these problems before they become serious.

Thank you for trusting in us to take care of all your dental concerns!

Soda Versus Our Teeth

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? This phenomenon is what happens to our teeth when we drink too much soda. The term actually comes from rural Appalachia, where that particular brand of drink has long been the carbonated beverage of choice and tooth decay is alarmingly rampant. But this doesn’t just happen in Appalachia, and Mountain Dew isn’t the only drink that contributes to tooth decay.

The Dangers of Sugary Drinks

When we eat or drink things with sugar in it, the sugar will stick to our teeth afterward. Sugar itself doesn’t do any damage to our oral health on its own, but it is unfortunately the favorite food of the bacteria that lives in our mouths. These bacteria, known as strep mutans, eat the sugar and then excrete acids that erode our tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay (cavities). They can also cause inflammation that increase the risk of gingivitis and gum disease.

Any source of sugar can negatively impact oral health. Sugary drinks (including fruit juice, but especially soda) are particularly dangerous because they aren’t filling like solid food and are therefore easy to keep drinking.

Effects Of Carbonation

So if sugar is the problem, then can’t we keep our teeth healthy by switching to diet soda instead of giving up carbonated beverages altogether? Diet soda is certainly an improvement, but sugar isn’t soda’s only threat to dental health. The other is acid. Sugar leads to tooth decay because oral bacteria eat sugar and excrete acid that erode tooth enamel. Soda cuts out the middle man and applies acid directly to the teeth.

Even diet sodas and carbonated water contain acid. The three types of acid commonly found in soda are citric, phosphoric, and carbonic. Any drink with citrus flavoring will have citric acid, many colas get their flavor from phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid is what makes these drinks fizzy in the first place.

Protecting Your Smile

It would be best for your teeth to avoid soda and other sugary drinks entirely. If you can’t bring yourself to give up your favorite drink completely though, there are a few ways to enjoy it while protecting your teeth. A big one would be to only drink soda with a meal instead of sipping from a can or bottle throughout the day so that the sugar and acid aren’t sitting in your mouth for long periods.

You can also help balance your mouth’s pH and rinse away remaining sugar by drinking water after the soda. Finally, you can clean away the last traces of sugar and acid by brushing your teeth, but it’s a good idea to wait until the pH balance is back to normal before brushing, which takes about thirty minutes.

It is particularly important for children and people with braces to avoid overindulging in sugary drinks. Children have the highest risk of enamel erosion because their enamel isn’t yet fully developed, and braces plus a soda habit is a great way to end up with stained teeth when the braces come off.

Don’t Forget That We Can Help Too!

Following these good habits will go a long way towards protecting your teeth against decay and erosion from the sugar and acid in soda. Still, don’t forget that your dentist is also an important part of the equation. Keep scheduling those visits every six months!

Thank you for always being our valued patients!

Men’s Health

MAINTAINING GOOD ORAL HEALTH is crucial for everyone, but that can mean different things for men than for women. That led us to put together a list of things men should particularly watch out for, as well as some tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy!

Brush That Charming Smile to be a true Prince Charming!

Many women say a man’s most attractive feature is his smile. However, recent research surveys have shown, men tend to not take care of their teeth as well as women do, and that puts those charming smiles at risk! According to a national survey, men were 20% less likely than women to brush their teeth twice a day. It also found that men change their toothbrushes less often. Make sure you’re brushing two minutes twice a day and regularly replacing that toothbrush every 3-4 months!

Rocking the Beard? There is some good news for those bearded men. Your luxurious beard might actually be helping you keep harmful germs away from your face and out of your mouth!

Minimizing Risk Factors For Disease

Because men tend to chew tobacco, smoke, and drink more than women, they become more susceptible to the oral health consequences that come with those substances, such as dental cavities, gum recession, periodontitis, tooth loss, and even oral cancer. Make sure to avoid habits like these that put your oral health at risk!

Greater Risks Of Dry Mouth

Men are statistically more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease than women, and with these kinds of diseases comes the need for medication. One very common side-effect of many such medications is Xerostomia or dry mouth.

Saliva is crucial to good oral health because it washes away bacteria and regulates the mouth’s pH. When the saliva runs dry, there’s an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. If you’re experiencing problems from dry mouth, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.

Be A Man: Go To The Dentist

This leads us to another problem that impacts men more than women, and that is the tendency to neglect regular dental visits. Prevention is crucial to good oral health, which is why we recommend that all patients schedule an appointment every six months, whether or not anything seems to be wrong with their teeth.

Let’s Keep Those Pearly Whites Shining!

Don’t take the “tough guy” approach with your dental health by holding out until you’re experiencing significant tooth pain or some other obvious problem before you come see us. Always make sure to schedule those regular appointments so that we can help you get ahead of any problems, and keep up with your good oral health habits in the meantime! Small problems found during regular checkups are typically an easy fix. Waiting for tooth pain to get worse or for a dental emergency could be many times more difficult.

As always, we love helping our patients!