Dental learning is continuous.
Dr. Miedema is an avid learner when it comes to the dental health field. It is important to her that he stays on the pulse of advancements in dental technology and techniques. While every dentist must pursue continuing education courses to maintain their licensure, Dr. Miedema genuinely loves the opportunity to seek out more dental health facts and hone her craft.
To provide you with the best possible services, it’s imperative to know what the latest improvements in the field are.
Lifelong learning also keeps boredom at bay and can increase your self-confidence. Which is why we have 5 more little-known facts about dental health for you to keep your brain working and deepen your understanding of good oral health.
Cavities are a chronic disease.
Tooth decay is considered a chronic disease and the second most common with the common cold holding first place.
Our teeth start to form well before we are born. During the sixth week of formation in the womb, the fetus begins to develop tooth buds that will eventually form into teeth. By eight weeks, the tooth buds of all of the primary, or baby, teeth have formed. And by twenty weeks, the tooth buds of permanent teeth have begun to develop.
By the time they are school age, roughly 75% of children worldwide have dental cavities.
And 78% of Americans have had at least one cavity by the time they reach the age of 17.
What is a cavity exactly? Well, it’s a hole in the top-most layer of your tooth, the enamel. Enamel is a strong protective layer made up of minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride.
Enamel is very strong but it can become compromised by the buildup of plaque on its surface.
Plaque contains bacteria that break down the sugar and starches they find on the surface of our teeth. As they break down sugars and starches, they produce acids that eat away at our enamel, leaching it of the minerals it needs to stay strong.
Once enamel is worn away, we can’t reform it. We can only take preventative measures to strengthen it with fluoride and brush twice a day to sweep away plaque that has formed throughout the day. This is also why it is so important to floss daily. Floss reaches between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t remove plaque and where food debris will build up.
Bacteria in your mouth can be a good thing.
A study found that there are as many as 500 different bacterial species in the human mouth with an individual harboring 250 to 300 at any given time.
Bacteria can be the cause of gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. But they can also be beneficial to our health.
For example, the bacteria known as Streptococcus salivarius K12 can counteract the bacteria that cause bad breath, helping to maintain a more neutral smelling odor.
There are also bacteria that help to aid in the process of digestion. There are bacteria that will trigger the enzymatic reaction in your saliva to begin the digestion of your food.
There is evidence that bacteria found in probiotics could help to prevent oral diseases such as thrush, gum disease, and dental decay. These bacteria can stimulate saliva production which maintains a healthy environment by washing away food particles and bacteria that can lead to these diseases.
Gum disease is very common.
It is estimated that as many as 65 million American adults have gum disease. That’s 47% of the adult population!
Gum disease is an infection in the gums that can start with inflammation known as gingivitis. As the disease takes hold, the gum line recedes forming deep pockets as they pull away from the tooth. This receding often occurs from plaque and tartar buildup causing irritation to the gums though it can also result from dry mouth or even misuse of at-home whitening treatments.
As the infection spreads, your body, in an attempt to fight off the disease, will also breakdown the tissue and bone of your jaw that holds your teeth in place. This leads to bone loss and loose teeth that, if not treated in time, will fall out.
You can significantly decrease your chances of developing the disease by flossing once a day and brushing twice daily. Maintain your regular dental cleaning appointments so we can monitor the health of your mouth and remove tartar build up that may have formed (unlike plaque, tartar can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist).
Root canals are rarely painful.
When the term “root canal” is mentioned, many think of a painful procedure. While this may have once been true, it is, thankfully, no longer a dental health fact. The advancement of technology and dental practices allow us to provide a far more comfortable experience for patients requiring root canal therapy. And here at Tory Hill Dental, we can often complete the procedure in just one visit.
Root canal therapy alleviates the pain you may be experiencing from damage to the nerve tissue within a tooth. This pain can stem from an infection of the tooth pulp (called pulpitis), broken teeth, or a dying nerve within the root of the tooth.
During a root canal procedure, tooth pulp, a soft tissue within the tooth, is removed. The infected tissue is gently filed out of the root of the tooth and then filled with a material specifically designed to help make your tooth strong and infection free. Since we remove nerve tissue during the procedure we are also removing the blood supply to the tooth. Over time due to the lack of blood flow, the tooth will become brittle and susceptible to breakage. This is why once the root canal procedure itself is completed we place either a filling or crown to protect the integrity of the tooth.
There is a link between gum disease and type II diabetes.
Both gum disease and type II diabetes are inflammatory-related diseases. Because of this, they are closely linked, and if you are diagnosed with either you should also be closely monitored for the other.
If you have type II diabetes, you are not only at a higher risk of developing gum disease but you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease that progresses rapidly. This why it is so important to inform your dentist if you have type II diabetes. We will know to carefully monitor signs of periodontal disease and also be able to create an effective treatment plan if you do exhibit signs of the disease.
Since the two diseases are so closely linked, it is also advisable that if you are diagnosed with gum disease you should have your blood sugar tested. If you find that your levels are high, you are either at risk or have type II diabetes. Signs of high blood sugar are increased thirst, headaches, trouble concentrating, impaired vision, frequent urination, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
Has it been a while since you last had a dental checkup? Come see us and Dr. Miedema. The two of you can talk about more dental health facts while she takes a look at your teeth.