Choosing A Toothpaste

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     CHOOSING A TOOTHPASTE

 

         We are often asked what is the best brand of toothpaste?

       Toothpaste has come a long way since the Egyptians invented it 5,000 years ago (way before the invention of toothbrushes).  Its basic function – to clean the teeth and improve the breath hasn’t changed but, the ingredients fortunately have; crushed eggshells mixed with ground hooves and spices doesn’t sound at all appealing.

 .      Toothpastes today not only clean and freshen the breath they fight decay, harden softened enamel, desensitize teeth, and slow down the buildup of tartar which occurs if plaque is not removed at least every 24 hours.  The tartar builds up and makes teeth and gums even more susceptible to decay and gum disease. This can then create a negative cycle of gingivitis, serious periodontal disease, and in turn possibly heart problems. 

     Two of the most recommended current toothpastes are "Crest Pro-Health and Colgate Total" Both of these contain fluoride and triclosan, a biocide that kills the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. This material remains active between brushings, even after you eat and drink.  These toothpastes are not recommended for children under 6 years old, and because these contain sodium lauryl sulfate, can sometimes irritate sensitive mouths.  For those prone to canker sores or sensitive teeth can,Sensodyne Pronamel, which contains fluoride but not SLS may be a better choice. 

     When it comes to “whitening” toothpastes, dentists are skeptical.  No toothpaste can change the color of your teeth, they can only work to remove stains so that your natural tooth color shows through.

    "Xylitol" is the newest toothpaste ingredient that's attracting attention.  Clinical studies confirm that this natural sugar aids in preventing cavities and gingivitis, and when combined with fluoride is an especially beneficial combination.

     The bottom line is that with so many options to choose from, toothpaste is a personal preference for flavor, thickness and texture.  Any toothpaste that contains fluoride is effective when used often and well enough.  The trick is to find one that encourages you to clean your teeth.  

 Your Gentle Dentists

 

Dr. Simmons  (661) 947-3163

Oral Bacteria Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

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Oral bacteria linked to pancreatic cancer

      Growing evidence shows that the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth may reveal increased risk for pancreatic cancer, and earlier, more precise treatment.  Pancreatic cancer patients are known to be susceptible to gum disease, cavities, and poor oral health in general, say the study authors. That vulnerability led the research team to search for direct links between the makeup of bacteria driving oral disease and subsequent development of pancreatic cancer.  A disease that is difficult to detect, and kills most patients within six months of diagnosis.  Pancreatic cancer is responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

      According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, men with a history of gum (periodontal) disease could be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.  The purpose of the study was to determine if gum disease or tooth loss may be related to pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, smoking history, diabetes, obesity, diet and other potential contributors to pancreatic cancer, the reviewers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men without a history of gum disease.

     Nobody knows why gum disease may be linked to pancreatic cancer. Although the study showed an association between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, a definite cause and effect relationship was not established. Researchers speculate that chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can potentially promote the growth of cancer.

    Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth.  It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and it’s supporting tissues to break down.  Periodontal risk factors include tobacco smoking or chewing, diseases such as diabetes, some medications, dental work that no longer fits properly, defective fillings, pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives.

     Except in most cases, the risk of periodontal disease can be controlled with good dental habits:  brushing and flossing your teeth, and regular visits to your dentist.  So, don’t delay, call your dentist today and schedule an appointment for a check-up!  

     Let us help keep your smile and your health at it’s best!

 

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

Dr. Simmons

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

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Are E-Cigarettes Safe 

    Although electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) don’t contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine from the tobacco plant.  They work, using batteries, to produce an aerosol that you inhale or “vape”.  To create the e-liquid, nicotine is extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base (usually propylene glycol), flavorings, colorings, and other chemicals.

 

    In 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that “e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.”  Clinical studies are ongoing to understand e-cigarettes’ impact on health.

******What Parents Should Know******

-  Nicotine can affect brain development in children and teens.

-  Some e-cigarettes have candy flavoring, which could make them appealing to kids.

-  They don't leave a smell like tobacco. So it's harder for parents to know if their kids are vaping.

******Nicotine******

     The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. If you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depression, restlessness and anxiety.  Vaping can be dangerous for people with heart problems. And it may harm your arteries over time.  E-cigarettes can cause gum recession and other oral health problems even though the nicotine dose is lower than traditional cigarettes.  Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins. Without sufficient blood flow, the tissues in the mouth do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy.  The result is gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause bad breath, and inflammation throughout the body.  And as you no doubt remember, inflammation caused by gum disease causes or promotes heart disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.

******Nicotine Intensifies Teeth Grinding******

     Nicotine, being a stimulant,  fires up the facial muscles, making you grind your teeth more intensely if you’re already a grinder.  It may even prompt you to start grinding your teeth, which will eventually wear down your teeth.

 

If you are going to use e-cigarettes, you must be vigilant about seeing your dentist more often.  Visit your dentist every three months to monitor your gums and teeth for gum disease in order to prevent tooth and bone loss.

Please call us for an appointment for your next dental exam and cleaning.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons (661) 947-3163

    

 

 

 

 

Your Dental Health and Alzheimer's

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     A new study published in the journal "PLOS One" this spring showed that Alzheimer’s patients with gum disease experienced six times faster mental decline than those with healthy gums.

     Gum disease is prevalent in about half the adult population. And lately more and more research has uncovered just how many different kinds of bacteria grow in our mouths – the count now is up to 500 species. Some of the more devastating ones, like P. gingivalis, travel through the blood to other sites – like the brain – and actually stick themselves to our cells, causing inflammation.

     This is something I’ve been saying since I was in medical school back in 1998. This study further supports the idea that many of the worst diseases, like dementia, stem from infection and inflammation. And although we need more research into gum disease and Alzheimer’s, it could be a real factor in brain health.

    So kill these critters before they travel through your body. Brush and floss daily. Do what I do and use baking soda to brush your teeth because of its high pH. This helps neutralize acids (lower pH) in your mouth, removes bacteria, and strengthens tooth enamel.

Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons

 

Gum Recession / Gum Loss

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                                                                 Gum Recession/Gum Loss

       There’s an expression “to be long in the tooth”, which means you are wise due to your advanced years.  But what this really means for your mouth is that you have exposed tooth roots due to the gum receding away from the teeth, whether you’re young or old.

           Gum recession is an incredibly widespread problem that dentists diagnose and treat on a daily basis.  Gingival recession refers to the progressive loss of gum tissue, which can  result in painful tooth root exposure, if left untreated.  Gum recession is most common in adults over the age of 40, but can even begin in the teenage years. 

 Reasons why gum recession can occur:

 * Over-aggressive brushing – Over brushing can be as dangerous to the gums as too little brushing.  Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can erode tooth enamel at the gum line, and irritate and inflame the tissue.

* Whitening toothpastes – Over the counter tooth whitening pastes usually contain abrasives that may contribute to gum recession.

* Inherited predisposition to thin gum tissue.

* Clenching and grinding of teeth

* Nervous habits like chewing on foreign objects or scratching the gums with foreign objects.

* Poor oral hygiene – Not brushing or flossing properly, and the subsequent plaque build up begins to affect the teeth.  The plaque contains various bacteria, which can promote infection and erosion.

* Malpositioned teeth

  • * Chewing tobacco – Any kind of tobacco has devasting effects on the entire mouth.

 

Symptoms of Recession

* Sensitive teeth

* Visible roots

* Longer-looking teeth

* Bad breath, inflammation, and bleeding

 Tips to prevent gum recession

* Have regular dental cleanings and check-ups.

* Use only ultrasoft toothbrushes.

* Make sure your bite is comfortable, or have your dentist adjust if needed.

* Consider orthodontics to help align your teeth into the proper position.

* Consider a nightguard to reduce stress grinding on your teeth while sleeping.

* Possible gum grafting to increase the amount of gum tissue at the gum line.

 Please call us if you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment.

 Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons

(661) 947-3163

 

 

 

The Origin of the Tooth Fairy

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   The Origin of the Tooth fairy!

 

    The tradition of leaving a tooth under a pillow for the tooth fairy to collect is practiced in various countries around the world.  Tooth disposal has always been a touchy subject.  Back in the Middle Ages, it was believed that witches could gain control over you if they had a piece of you -hair, clothing, or teeth - and thus could work their magic.  In other times, the teeth were thrown into the fire so that the person would not have to search for their baby teeth after they died.  So, as you can see, it was important to properly dispose of teeth.

    Some parents would bury their children's baby teeth in the garden so new adult teeth would grow in strong and straight.  And the Vikings believed that having a child's tooth was good luck in battle, so they would often create jewelry from baby teeth.  The Vikings tradition was called a tooth fee, and the child was paid for their lost teeth.

    The Ratoncito Perez (the mouse) originated in Madrid in 1894.  The tradition is almost universal in Spanish cultures for the child to place his lost tooth under the pillow so that Ratoncito Perez will exchange it for a gift.  Italy's tooth fairy is replaced by a small mouse. 

   In Japan, the custom calls for the lost upper teeth to be thrown straight down to the ground and the lower teeth straight up into the air; the idea being that incoming teeth will grow in straight.

 

    We see lots of children in our practice starting at age 3.  One of the questions most frequently asked is: 

 

How Should I Clean My Child’s Teeth?

 * Rub baby's new teeth and gums with a pad of gauze or washcloth after mealtimes. Get your child used to the feeling of clean teeth.

 *  When the first teeth appear, use a toothbrush designed for children, with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. ***** It’s important to watch your child when they first start brushing their teeth to make sure they do not eat the toothpaste, especially toothpaste containing fluoride.

 *  Children need supervision when brushing their teeth until they are at least seven years old.  It is a good    idea to let them brush first, then follow that up by brushing them once more yourself.

 * Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums.

 * Make brushing a routine – in the morning and before bedtime.

 * Remember a child thrives with encouragement and praise.  Set a good example by brushing your teeth at the same time.

 *Diet is very important. Avoid sugars in bottles when your child sleeps. Fruit juice and milk, however healthy, can cause early decay. Stick with water at bedtime.

 *Consider sealants, even for primary teeth if they form deep grooves. Healthy "baby" teeth mean healthier permanent teeth.  (We have a spring special on sealants $10.00 off).  Valid thru June 30, 2016.

 Please call us if you have any questions or concerns we can help you with. We look forward to seeing you.

 Your Gentle Dentists,

  Dr. Simmons

(661) 947-3163

 

 

Dental Trauma Among Our Children

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Dental Trauma Among Our Children

 

     Tooth injuries can be very upsetting to both the parent and the child.  It is estimated that 30% of all children experience some type of dental trauma during their childhood years.  Trauma is often due to a mishaps, sporting injuries, or vehicle accidents.

     Injuries to the mouth often include knocking out a tooth, breaking a tooth (teeth), pushing a tooth up into the gum or out of position, and loosening a tooth.

     The highest incidence of tooth trauma occurs when the toddler becomes mobile, but has not gained coordination - between the ages of 18 months to 4 years old.

      What should you do when your child has a tooth injury?

  First find out if your child lost consciousness – if so do not wait.  Take him or her immediately to the emergency room.  If your child did not lose consciousness apply a cold pack to the area to restrict any facial swelling (or give them a popsicle to suck on).  If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the area using a wet gauze.  It should stop bleeding soon.  If an adult tooth is knocked out either store it in milk and get to the dentist as soon as you can or push the tooth back into its socket yourself without touching the root.  If there is pain, children’s Tylenol or Advil will help.

  Fortunately children heal very fast and recover quickly.  Although parents don't want to rush to the dentist every time their child bumps their tooth, they also don't want to overlook an injury that may not be obvious.  We suggest you contact your dentist when any of the following occurs:

 ** There is pain or sensitivity to hot or cold in a tooth

**  If there is bleeding that does not stop in a reasonable period of time

**  If there is a broken, missing or loose tooth after the event

**  If there is significant swelling in or around the mouth

**  If there is an object stuck in the mouth or if there is contamination to any area of the mouth -       

     Do not remove the object yourself.

**  If there is a significant cut in or around the mouth

**  If the throat area is damaged in any way

**  If the child has a fever after the trauma

**  If there are any signs of infection

**  If unsure - be cautious and call the dentist.

 If your child plays sports, it is worthwhile getting them a mouth guard to prevent dental injuries.

  

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

 

Dr. Simmons

(661) 947-3163

 

 

 

Decoding the Dental Jargon

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In most dental offfices, after the hygienist cleans your teeth, the dentist comes in to examine your teeth. Then, out of nowhere, she starts rattling off alpha-numeric terms, like 3MOD, 5DO, 13MBD, and so on. The dentist is not looking a bowl of alphabet soup, but, rather using a form of dental shorthand. The numbers represent which teeth have cavities or other problems. Tooth number one is the upper-right third molar or wisdom tooth, the farthest tooth back in the mouth. Tooth number 16 is the upper-left third molar, and so on. So, teeth #1 - 16 are on your upper arch, and teeth #17 - 32 on your lower arch. The letter part of the code refers to different parts or surfaces of the tooth. An "M" mesial or "D" distal is the front or back surface of the tooth, respectively. An "O" occlusal, is the top or biting surface of a back tooth (molar or premolar), and "I" incisal, is the biting edge of front teeth (incisors and canines). A "B" buccal, is the surface of the tooth towards the cheek, and an "L" lingual is the surface of the tooth towards the tongue. So, if the dentist says number 3MOD, you'll know that you have a cavity on your upper right first molar, involving the front, top, and back parts of the tooth.

So next time you visit our office, we hope you will have a better understanding of the “language” spoken regarding your care. Please remember, we are always here to answer questions about your dental health.

We cannot tell you what a pleasure it has been to serve this community for over 35 years. We thank you for referring your friends and family to our office, and do not take your trust for granted.

One of the ways we say thank you is giving back to our community. For the last 25 years, we have visited the local schools and talked to them about “what to expect when you visit the Dentist”. It’s fun for both the kids and us.

If you share our belief in quality dentistry – the best dentistry we can possibly do – then we’ll find a way to make it a part of your life.

Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons

Why Do My Teeth Get Discolored?

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Why do my teeth get discolored?

     Tooth discoloration and staining can cause embarrassment and self-consciousness.  Though many causes of tooth discoloration are under your control, some are not.

 1.  Food and drinks:  Coffee, tea, red wine and spices tend to stain teeth, especially when sipped or eaten over a prolonged period.  Keeping regular teeth cleaning appointments followed with a tooth whitening procedure can help reverse these effects.

2.  Smoking/Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco not only affect tooth color, they also have a negative effect on gum health, and breath.  Again regular teeth cleanings followed with tooth whitening can minimize the discoloring effects of smoking. 

3.  Dental Fillings - Metal fillings tend to breakdown at the edges and may reduce the transparence of tooth enamel.  Replacing metal fillings with tooth colored material or porcelain reverses these effects. 

4.  Age - Ultimately the natural aging process comes with tooth staining.  The outer tooth enamel wears down with time, causing teeth to appear more yellow.  Porcelain veneers or crowns replace that worn layer and restore the youthful glow of teeth.

5.  Chemicals and medications - During the tooth development of a child, certain antibiotics such as tetracycline, or excessive ingestion of fluoride can cause permanent tooth staining.  Though these stains cannot be cleaned or whitened, veneers or crowns can give the stained teeth a new face.

            If you are concerned about the color of your smile we are offering Free Consultations for Teeth Discoloration!

We are accepting new patients and enjoy seeing our current patients.  Give us a call and find out why our patients love us. 

(661) 947-3163.

    Your Gentle Dentists,

 Dr. Simmons

A Toothache Can Turn Deadly

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     A Toothache Can Turn Deadly

 

     It's hard to imagine how a toothache could turn deadly - but it can and has.  Even mild discomfort (pain while chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold, or redness and swelling) can quickly turn into a potentially serious condition.  The first stage is  an abscess, a pus-filled infection inside the tooth or between a tooth and the gum.  At first pain may merely be annoying, but within a day or so, it can turn into the intense, throbbing pain that is the telltale sign of an abscess.  The number of Americans hospitalized for dental abscesses has increased by more than 40%. If not treated the bacteria in the abscesses can spread into the bloodstream, the consequences of which can be fatal.  Dr. Gerald’s cousin, by marriage, died from a brain infection caused by an untreated abscessed upper canine.

      If there's a breach in a tooth's protective enamel - from tooth decay, a chip or even gum disease - you're at risk for an abscess.  Some cracks can be taken care of with bonding or a crown.  But if bacteria travels down the crack and into the tooth, an abscess can form, and a root canal will be needed.

      Other Signs to watch for:  In addition to the symptoms described above, other red flags of an abscess may include persistent foul breath, a swollen face, jaw and/or neck glands, and a fever.  (Some people have described the pain as the worst they've ever experienced).

      Get help immediately - An abscess will not go away on its own.  Worse, the infection can spread as quickly as overnight.  An abscess can even cause death if untreated if the infection spreads to the brain or heart or causes neck swelling that cuts off the airway.

      When to be especially suspicious:  If you have a pain in one of your back teeth.  They're the ones that do most of the chewing, and they're the ones that are harder to reach to brush and floss.  If you crunch something hard, such as popcorn, ice, or even an almond, a back tooth is the one most likely to be cracked.

   Treatment of an Abscess

  *****   You may require antibiotics if the infection has spread beyond the tooth..

*****     Incision and draining.  If the abscess is between the tooth and the gum, your dentist will make a small incision, drain the pus, and clean the area.  Afterwards the tooth will still require additional treatment.

***** Root canal - This is the most widely used treatment for an abscess near the tooth root. 

***** Extraction - This is the most permanent treatment for a deep abscess.

 If you cannot see a dentist go immediately to the ER.  Here atSimmons Dental we have a 24 hour, 7 day a week answering service where you get to talk to a real life human being who can put you in contact with one of our doctors.   

Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons