Category Archives: Dental Health

Caring for Cleft Lip & Palate

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Patients who have a cleft lip or palate will face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in in malformed or malpositioned. Adults with cleft palate typically do not have a normally formed teeth and roots which requires the additional work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.

An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look natural and function normally for the patient.

Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. Typically, many procedures and trips to both the dentist and doctor will go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.

Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.

If you or someone in your family has cleft lip or palate, don’t hesitate to give Flawless Dental a call or to schedule an appointment to see what we can do to help achieve the smile you deserve.

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Veganism and Oral Health

Going vegan has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice in the past decade. While people have a variety of different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet, many vegans tend to have one thing in common: weaker teeth than carnivores. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or newly considering making the switch, read on to learn what you can do to keep your teeth strong and cavity-free.

Although many healthy diets include eating lots of fruit, vegans may find themselves eating even more than their non-vegan peers. While your body will thank you for all the vitamins and minerals you’re giving it, your teeth may not. Sugary foods, even natural ones like fruit, can wear away at enamel and cause cavities. Your best bet? Swish a little water around your mouth after eating that juicy peach to flush away the excess sugar.

Another factor that can cause vegans to have weaker chompers than their meat-eating counterparts is an important amino acid called arginine. Typically found in meat, fish, and dairy, a 2015 study of salivary bacteria in petri dishes showed that in the dish where arginine was added, the growth of cavity-causing biofilms was inhibited. Great news for carnivores, but how can vegans get the same benefits? Happily, there are some vegan-friendly foods rich in arginine, such as black and soy beans, as well as toothpastes and mouthwashes enriched with powerful decay-fighter.

Whatever your reasoning, if you recently have, or are considering drastically changing your diet, contact your dentist for tips on how best to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
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Marijuana Use and Gum Disease

As legalization of marijuana is becoming the next big policy push in many states, more and more research is being done about potential health benefits and detriments of the drug. We all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, but what about marijuana? Marijuana has been shown to have few adverse health effects in most areas, however, there is one part of your body that marijuana has been proven to negatively affect: your gums.

Any kind of poor oral health is likely to lead to gum disease down the line, but the findings on marijuana were surprising. Originally, researchers thought that perhaps frequent marijuana users simply were less likely to brush and floss properly, but after creating a control group for proper dental hygiene, the marijuana users were still found to have gums in worse shape than non-users.

While the correlation is still somewhat uncertain, one thing is for sure: smoking weed is still not as bad for your teeth and gums as cigarettes. So, if you must smoke something, better to stick to the green stuff as long as it’s legal in your state. But in our professional opinion, avoid smoking altogether to keep a healthy mouth for life!

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Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes—while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with less frequency, but it doesn’t make them any less crucial. Read on for a few lesser-known insight into your mouth that only the pros know.

1. White Teeth Aren’t Always Healthy Teeth

We all want our teeth to look beautiful. Your smile is often one of the first things others notice about you, and everybody wants to make a good impression. It’s easy to prioritize looks over health—but don’t. If your mouth is riddled with cavities, it doesn’t do you much good to get a whitening treatment, nor do white teeth mean there are no underlying health issues.

2. Dental Health Isn’t Necessarily Hereditary

When you visit your doctor, you’ll often have to discuss your family’s medical history with them in order to determine your risk for certain diseases. Luckily, dental health doesn’t work exactly the same way. If your parents and grandparents wound up with dentures later in their lives, it doesn’t mean that you’ll inevitably need them. Most of your dental health is contingent on your own habits, so keep up the brushing!

3. Do More Than Clean

While hopefully most of your visits to the dentist will only include a simple cleaning, it’s important to periodically ask for additional exams such as oral cancer screenings or x-rays. A little extra time in the dentist’s chair ahead of time can help you avoid larger problems later on.

For more helpful tips and tricks, or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us!

How Stress Might Be Hurting Your Teeth

We all know that stress can take a toll on our overall health. Chronically stressed people are more likely to develop anxiety disorders and sleeping disorders, as well as more serious health concerns such as heightened blood pressure, risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. But what impact does stress have on your teeth?

When it comes to oral health, stress can manifest itself in a number of harmful ways, not the least of which is the grinding and gnashing of teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is common among those who hold stress and tension in their jaws.

A 2010 study by Head & Face Medicine found that sleep bruxism is common in people who experience daily strain and problems at work. That means that the pressure you feel at your desk to get things done, impress your boss, and move up in the company could be hurting your oral health overnight.

It seems small in the short term, but grinding or clenching your teeth can lead to cracks and chips. In fact, many people don’t even realize that they are grinding at night until they break a tooth. In order to prevent having multiple dental procedures to reverse the effects of bruxism, try using a night guard, or talking to your dentist about how you can stop or minimize grinding and its negative effects on your teeth.

Most importantly, find a method to reduce stress that works for you. Spending time with friends, yoga and meditation, or simply taking a few moments a day to breathe deeply and regroup can have innumerable positive effects on your overall health and well-being.

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What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Child’s Oral Health

It’s no secret that kids don’t always have what’s best for their teeth at the forefront of their minds – which can lead to a toothache for them and a headache for parents. Between eating too much sugar, not brushing and flossing enough, and skipping brushings, kids run a high risk of cavities and oral health issues. But have no fear! Here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.

1.Letting kids brush alone.
While it might feel easier to send them to the bathroom alone to brush their teeth before bed, a little parental supervision can save time and money in the long run. Kids are brushing their teeth, especially those new to the habit, need pointers, and kids younger than 8 actually lack the motor skills necessary to brush effectively.
Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before a group activity like story time. This is a great way to watch your kids brush while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time so that they can pick up tips from you.

2.Not taking regular trips to the dentist.
Kids need to visit the dentist regularly just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, they are more likely to have a myriad of unaddressed oral health issues, potentially making the visit more difficult for both you and your child.
Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health issues. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist, they may already have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, your child is more likely to have ongoing fear and anxiety around dental visits. By starting early, you’re encouraging a positive and happy association with the dentist’s office for your child.

3.Not using fluoride.
Not only does the American Dental Association recommend fluoride – studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so take advantage of it! However, families who drink a lot of bottled water or don’t use a fluoride toothpaste may be missing out on the benefits.
Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity-free and which toothpastes may be right for them.

The best thing parents can do for their children’s oral health to start healthy habits early. Just like healthy eating or exercise, good oral hygiene can become second nature with a little practice!

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Is Losing Teeth Related To Losing Other Functions?

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The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently published a study that showed people aged 60+ who had none of their own teeth performed worse in memory and walking tests than people who still retained their own teeth.

Even after adjusting for a myriad of variation in behavior, like socio-demographics, existing health conditions, physical health, smoking, drinking, depression, and socio-economic status, people who didn’t have their own teeth still performed slower than those with teeth.

Tooth Loss

According to the lead author, Dr. Georgios Tasakos, “tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60-74 year olds…excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are missing a few teeth you should worry about suddenly developing mental problems—it’s just a good indicator of decline that should be noted in older adults. It’s just another reason to keep up healthy oral habits life-long.

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Therapy & Dental Anxiety

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For some people, fear of the dentist can be debilitating enough to prevent them from seeking the routine or even emergency care they need. As a result, these people are often in poorer oral health, as their lack of treatment snowballs into larger issues.

An Answer to Anxiety?

Now there may be a new answer. Used for years to treat depression, phobias and anxiety disorders of various kinds, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is gaining popularity in treating dental anxiety. CBT is generally a short-term therapy, lasting between 6 and 10 sessions.

A recent study in the British Dental Journal has shown that CBT can be a great tool in combatting dental anxiety. 130 patients were initially surveyed, out of which ¾ were determined to have a true dental phobia, as defined by the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS).

CBT Results

After all dental phobic patients completed their courses of CBT, 79% were able to have dental treatment without sedation, while 6% were able to complete treatment with sedation. The average number of therapy sessions required before receiving dental care was five.

This is big news for anyone with a crippling fear of the dentist. While overcoming your phobia may seem hopeless, there are treatment options that can change the way you view the dentist’s office. The earlier you overcome the fear, the healthier your teeth will be.

Here at Flawless Dental we strive to offer the most comfortable experience possible to each and every patient. Should you have anxiety about visiting the office, give us a call to talk over options for overcoming your fear while still addressing your oral health needs.

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The Scary Link Between Childhood Obesity and Tooth Decay

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Obesity in Children

Childhood obesity has been plaguing America’s youth for quite some time. the obesity rate in children has risen to 17% over the last two decades, it’s more important than ever to consider the link between weight and oral health.

We live in a world where everything is big. Our restaurant chains are big, our portion sizes are big, and the waists of our children are big, and they keep growing. Kids are ingesting more high-fat and high-sugar foods than ever before, and studies show it is taking a serious toll on their teeth.

The Research

According to an article in the British Dental Journal, the culprit behind tooth decay in obese children is snacking. “Snacking on treats in front of the television for several hours a day not only increases a child’s risk of becoming obese, but also of developing dental decay.”

The daily snack diet of an obese child doesn’t typically consist of teeth-healthy foods such as celery, apples, and carrots. Instead, it typically consists of snacks high in sodium and sugar like candy, cookies, and chips.

Sugary treats wreak havoc on teeth, especially when they are on the teeth for a long period of time. Due to the nature of snacking most people don’t think to brush their teeth after enjoying a snack. Unfortunately for the snacking type, snack foods tend to linger in the mouth for longer, furthering the risk for decay. Dentists recommend that we limit snacking to protect our teeth because the longer food stays on teeth, the higher risk for decay.

The scary truth is that snacking throughout the day is hurting more than just your child’s waistline. Try to feed your kids teeth-happy snacks, like crunchy fruits and veggies, and limit snacking during the day to keep their teeth healthy.

If you’re interested in how your family’s diet might be affecting your oral health, schedule an appointment with Flawless Dental for expert advice from your local Newton, MA dentist.

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Travel & Health: 3 Dental Tips to Pack for Your Next Vacation

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Vacations can be relaxing, restful, and the best way to “get away” from it all. Travel, on the other hand, can be stressful, tiring, and can leave you longing just to be home.

Travel & Oral Health

Taking care of your health, especially your oral health, before leaving on your next trip can help ensure that what you’ve left behind doesn’t catch up with you in the form of extra fees, dental bills, insurance problems, and painful procedures.

  1. 1. Get Treated

  2. If you have any existing oral conditions, leave enough time to receive the treatment you need from your regular dentist. Remember that follow-ups that may be necessary. If there is the possibility of needing a surgical procedure such as a root canal, don’t take the chance of putting it off until after your trip – pain can take away some of that zest for adventure.

  3. 2. Get Connected

  4. So you’re a world traveler – you know that you have to be prepared, tucked into your under-clothes money pouch you have your medical insurance card. But are you prepared for dental emergencies too? Jot down some numbers and names in case you need dental treatment abroad. Ask your dentist if they are members of any associations with international branches. Even ask your insurance provider about emergency coverage in the places where you are headed. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

  5. 3. Go Shopping

  6. Instead of digging out that spare toothbrush that stays in your travel kit, consider spending the spare change and buying a new one for your next trip. Old faithful has served you well, but travel toothbrushes get tossed around in a variety of germ-ridden environments. While you’re at the store, purchase a toothbrush cover with holes for ventilation and some extra floss in case your current supply unexpectedly runs out (it happens to all of us).

    For those long bus rides next to strangers you’d rather not scare with your breath, keep sugar free gum handy! Remember that sum countries have limited access to adequate teeth brushing facilities. Do a little planning ahead, a little homework, and a little shopping, and you can avoid an unsavory holiday. Bon voyage!

For more expert advice from your local Newton, MA dentists, schedule a visit to Flawless Dental today!

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