Are You at Risk of Jailbreak Bacteria?

jailbreak bacteriaYour mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad; that’s a given. However, the bad bacteria can affect your well-being beyond your oral health. This occurs due to jailbreak bacteria, which escapes your mouth and relocates to other areas of your body.

What Is Jailbreak Bacteria?

The term describes bacteria that “jailbreaks” from the mouth and enters the blood stream. This is why bleeding gums is a serious matter. Plaque-causing bacteria uses the blood system as an escape route where they reach internal organs and cause blood clots.

Why Jailbreak Bacteria Can Be Deadly

Bad bacteria in the mouth is known as streptococcus bacteria, which causes periodontal disease. When they reach the bloodstream, they use a protein to bind together in the blood, eventually creating a clot-inducing clump. This also leads to inflamed blood vessels that block blood flow to the heart and brain. Continue Reading →

What Is the Best Age Range for Braces?

best age for bracesWhen should you enquire about braces? Can you be fitted for braces too early or too late? What age range is the ideal window of opportunity? We’ll evaluate the best age range for braces and why understanding the differences is important.

The Ideal Age Range for Braces

We don’t have a universal answer because various factors are at play. Here are our recommendations.

Ages 7–9

Our family dentists recommend evaluations for children starting between ages seven and nine. Will they apply braces at this age? Not necessarily, but an exam is important for determining whether your child will require them down the road. Continue Reading →

How to Commit to Your Dental Appointment

dental appointmentWe normally recommend some dental resolutions as the year comes to a close. One of the resolutions is committing to every dental appointment. It’s fine if you have to postpone every now and then, but too many patients cancel and never reschedule. Often,“later” becomes “never.”

Why Patients Cancel

Patients cancel appointments for varied reasons. Others simply don’t show up, without even canceling. A published study under Science Direct actually takes a look into this. According to the report, one out of every four respondents has missed an appointment. 40% have also canceled at least once.

The number one reason for missing an appointment? The patient simply forgot. The second cause was a conflicting schedule, such as a last-minute work or family commitment. Those that missed an appointment were also far more likely to have cancelled on at least one other occasion. Continue Reading →

Getting Your Kids to Brush This Holiday

getting your kids to brushYoung kids see brushing as a chore. Parents need to be proactive in getting their kids to brush every day, and to follow the correct brushing methods. With the holidays around the corner, we figured you can use this time of year to your advantage for this purpose.

Getting Your Kids to Brush Doesn’t Have to Be a Challenge

Food intake increases during the holidays. Schools and other venues serve sugary snacks and beverages, including gingerbread cookies, Hershey Kisses, eggnog, and fruitcake. This is why you need to instill good brushing habits as Christmas looms. Continue Reading →

Types of Teeth-Safe Sugars?

Teeth Safe SugarsSugar leads to cavities; that’s a given. However, not all types of sugars are bad for your teeth. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, consider using teeth-safe sugars. These make great alternative ingredients for that homemade pumpkin pie or cranberry dip. They also receive the nod of approval from our family dentists.

Not All Sugars Destroy Your Teeth

Numerous types of sugars exist. The good news is that at least two are teeth-safe sugars. The bad news is that the sugar found in 95% of foods are of the varieties that do cause decay.

A study published in the Washington Post analyzed 28 natural sugars and seven artificial sweeteners.

Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that the most common sugar varieties, such as table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and brown sugar all cause teeth decay. Our oral surgeons warn against any processed foods high in these sugar types. Continue Reading →

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 →