Eating with Missing Teeth: What Happens?

eating with missing teethPeople with missing teeth sometimes eat solid food without filling the gap with dental implants or dentures. Our oral surgeons caution against eating with missing teeth. This can cause damage to the jaw and gum line.

Why Eating with Missing Teeth Is Bad

Teeth provide between 200 and 250 pounds of bite force. Dentures provide much less at around 50 pounds, though that’s still better than nothing.

In the absence of teeth or dentures, your jaw and gums have to pick up the work. Initially, this only causes soreness. Over time, however, this leads to more serious issues, such as infected gums and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The jaw may also weaken and become vulnerable to fractures.

Digestion Issues

The lack of bite force also means you swallow food before it’s adequately broken down to mush. The digestive tract has to worker harder to break down the food. As a consequence, the body isn’t able to extract as many nutrients. The food also sits longer in the colon where it becomes fodder for bacteria. This leads to gas, bloating, and lethargy. Continue Reading →

Clean Your Teeth with Detergent Foods

detergent foodsEating doesn’t always make your teeth dirtier. In fact, some foods actually make them cleaner. In family dental circles, we refer to these edibles as detergent foods. We’ll list some of these foods for you to add to your daily diet.

Eat More of These Detergent Foods

Here is a short list to consider:

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Pears
  • Popcorn (minus the salt, cheese, butter, and other flavoring)
  • Cheese (and other unsweetened dairy products)
  • Unsweetened dark chocolate

Continue Reading →

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Suitable for Teens?

Cosmetic Dentistry for TeensParents of teenagers know just how conscious their children are of their appearance. Parents have often asked us if cosmetic dentistry is suitable for teens. Of course, the enquiry came after their child begged them for some sort of teeth whitening procedure. We’ll talk a bit about this issue and how parents can turn it into a teaching moment.

Cosmetic Dentistry for Teens; Yes or No?

The short answer is yes. In fact, Mukilteo Dental Arts treats teens all the time. Teeth whitening is the most common procedure. We often do this for teens right before the start of school or before a school dance. However, we believe that parents should also take this time to educate their children. Be sure that they know that white teeth do not equal healthy teeth.

Teens also have a notorious tendency to binge on sugary snacks. This can lead to cavities and expensive oral surgeries down the road. We don’t recommend policing everything they eat because they are learning to make their own decisions. Neverthelss, drill into them the principles of moderation and common sense. Continue Reading →

Dental-Friendly Foods for a Summer Fiesta

Dental-Friendly Summer FoodsSummer is finally here. This is the time of year to break out the grill and patio furniture for a fun-under-the-sun luau. As family dentists, we frown on the typical summer foods, such as potato chips, lemonade, and popsicles. These are teeth destroyers and a no-no on our list. Instead we recommend the following dental-friendly summer foods for your next outdoor soiree.

Dentist-Approved Summer Foods

Crunchy Vegetables

Serve a veggie/fruit platter that includes crunchy apples, carrots, and pears. Crunchy foods are natural toothbrushes that stimulate saliva and scrubs off build-up. Include a ranch or hummus dip; this will make it more enjoyable for the kids.

Cheese

Burger and hotdogs are common summer foods. We don’t exactly approve of them, but we know most people are going to serve them anyways. If so, then throw in a slice of natural cheddar. Dairy contains calcium and phosphorous, which strengthen enamel. Continue Reading →

Should You Whiten Your Teeth with Activated Charcoal?

activated charcoalA new DIY teeth whitening method is trending among younger folks. Some people are using activated charcoal as a way of producing pearly whites. Is this method safe? Find out what our cosmetic dentists have to say about activated charcoal as a teeth whitener.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is not a whole lot different than the charcoal used to fire up your grill. Activated charcoal, however, is porous, which allows it to absorb and trap certain chemicals. Charcoal in this form has various medicinal uses, such as lowering cholesterol and treating intestinal gas.

Activated Charcoal as a Teeth Whitener

To use activated charcoal you apply it directly on the teeth where it binds with the surface. When you remove the charcoal, some of the plaque and other teeth-staining particles come off with it. Activated charcoal is effective for removing minor stains and grittiness on the teeth. But it doesn’t create the level of whiteness you can achieve from professional bleaching. Continue Reading →

Teeth-Friendly Easter Candy for Children

teeth friendly easter candyLike any other holiday, Easter is an occasion to let your little ones indulge in tasty sweets. You’ll probably even indulge yourself in the process. We’re not discouraging this, but our family dentists do recommend sticking to teeth-friendly Easter candy. By “teeth-friendly,” this doesn’t mean good for your teeth; it just means not as bad.

Avoid These Candies

Cadbury Chocolate Eggs

Cadbury is a famous chocolate brand that produces egg-shaped chocolates. These are filled with caramel coating on the inside. The sugar itself is bad enough, but the sticky coating means the sugar will linger on your teeth even longer. Such treats are partially to blame for the severity of some tooth decay that makes oral surgery a necessity. Continue Reading →

Responsible Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day DrinkingSt. Patrick’s Day isn’t particularly a major holiday, but it’s still a day where people like to go out for a night of fun. This entails drinking with friends and pinching anyone not wearing green. The former can be a bit of a problem from a dental standpoint. By all means, have fun, but be sure you engage in responsible drinking this St. Patrick’s Day.

Why be a Responsible Drinker on St. Patrick’s Day?

First of all, too much alcohol can be bad for your teeth. One study showed that frequent drinkers are three times more likely to suffer from permanent tooth loss. Beer is acidic and can erode teeth enamel. It also dries the mouth and strips it of plaque-removing saliva. This eventually leads to tooth rot that requires oral surgery.

Finally, much like coffee, beer stains the teeth. Alcohol contains a compound called chromogens that attaches to enamel and causes discoloration. On top of that, some bars also put green dye in their beer as part of a St. Patrick’s Day tribute. Food dye is another notorious teeth stainer. Continue Reading →

4 Dental-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gifts

dental-friendly valentine’s dayIn our opinion, Valentine’s Day is almost as bad as Halloween when it comes to holiday treats. This is the day for showing your romantic interest that you care. This often entails gifts in the form of heart-shaped, chocolatey confections. Of course, anything involving sugar is a no-no for you and your loved one’s oral health. Here are some dental-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts and activities we suggest instead.

Alternative, Dental-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gifts and Activities

1. Spa/Massage Gift Card

Take your partner to a spa or massage and spend the day loosening those sore muscles. You’ll feel great, and you won’t have any of the guilt associated from over indulging in candy.

2. Solid Chocolate Candy

If you insist on sending candy, then we suggest solid dark chocolate. Those Hershey Kisses, and most similar items, are mostly chocolate with no nougat fillings. Our endodontists recommend this as a lesser evil since there is no sticky coating that can cling to the teeth and lead to cavities. Continue Reading →

What the Numbers Mean in a Periodontal Exam

Periodontal Exam NumbersSeeing a family dentist is a wonderful New Year’s resolution if you don’t already have a dentist. An initial visit usually starts with a periodontal exam to assess your teeth and gum health. This involves a dentist poking and prodding your gums while reading off some numbers to the dental assistant. Many patients later ask what those numbers in a periodontal exam mean. We’ll explain in full detail what those digits entail.

Numbers in a Periodontal Exam Explained

The numbers the dentist or hygienist reads aloud indicate the state of health of the bone and gums around each tooth. Each tooth has six areas the examiner measures and assigns a number. The numbers range from zero to seven, and sometimes higher.

Essentially, the numbers refer to the size of a gum pocket, or the gap between the gum tissue and the tooth. A higher number indicates a larger gap. Large gum pockets are bad because they leave the tooth surface vulnerable to tartar buildup. Continue Reading →

Common Christmas Desserts Bad for Your Teeth and Health

Christmas Desserts Bad for TeethThe holidays often mean lots of yummy treats. Unfortunately, most Christmas desserts are bad for your teeth and overall health. We’re not going to be the Grinch and tell you not to partake, but you should practice moderation. Our family dentists have compiled a short list of snacks to stay away from or only consume in small morsels.

4 Christmas Desserts Bad for Teeth

Candy Canes

Candy canes are bad for the same reason all hard candies are bad for your teeth. Not only are they virtually nothing but sugar, but they can also damage your teeth when you bite on them. Our endodontists have had to treat kids and adults who chipped a tooth because they bit on hard substances like candy or ice.

On the bright side, candy canes do give you minty fresh breath. Nevertheless, the potential damage outweighs the possible benefits here. Continue Reading →