Why Healthy Gums Are Important

Why Healthy Gums Are Important

We all know the drill. “Brush your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to floss!” Dentists around the world have played this tape for years, searing into our minds the importance of oral hygiene. But do we really believe in it? Big words like gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease) may sound scary, but what are the real consequences of unhealthy gums? Gum health can have repercussions for not just the mouth, but the whole body as well.

Gingivitis to Periodontitis (gum disease)

Say you’ve slacked on your dental duties. Noticeable plaque has begun to build in a couple problem areas on your teeth. Remember that plaque is an invisible, sticky, bacteria-laden film that can harden to your teeth and become tarter, a cement-like material that is difficult to remove. Needless to say, your gums are not happy with their new bacteria neighbors. Here are some signs that you may have Gingivitis:

  • Gums are red, swollen (inflamed), tender, and subject to bleeding
  • Gums are receding from the teeth
  • A pocket has developed between the teeth and the gums
  • Chronic bad breath, often accompanied by a bad taste in the mouth

Gingivitis can progress to Periodontitis (gum disease) if it is not taken care of. Periodontitis is much more serious, putting you at risk of severely damaging or in some cases losing your teeth as supportive bone and tissue become affected. Periodontitis may be present in your mouth if:

  • Pus has developed between the teeth and gums
  • Teeth are loosening
  • Your bite has changed
  • Chewing has become painful

Treating Gingivitis can be as easy as getting a thorough cleaning from your dentist and recommitting to a regular brush and floss routine. Treating Periodontitis requires a deeper cleaning process called scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing tarter below the gum line, which can sometimes require the use of a laser or ultrasonic device. Root planing smoothes the rough spots of the teeth so that the gums have a place to adhere. Medications such as gels, rinses, and oral antibiotics may be used to keep bacteria at bay. In advanced cases of Periodontitis, surgery may be required.

Bacteria in the Body

The bacteria that cause gum disease can damage more than just your teeth. Research is suggesting that this bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the gums, impacting the heart, lungs, and other parts of the body as well. More research needs to be done to confirm the correlation, but gum disease has been linked to the following health issues:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory Infection/Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Stroke

Gum disease can get complicated. Tooth loss is not out of the question for untreated Periodontitis, which has ramifications for lifestyle and appearance. Health complications like Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Stroke can be life-altering. Why not alter your lifestyle instead and keep up on your dental hygiene? If you think your mouth may show signs of gum disease, talk to your local holistic dentist. She can discuss treatment options with you and provide you with best practices for healthy gums that involve more than just “brush and floss.”

 

Benefits of Natural Toothpaste

The Benefits of Natural Toothpaste

Natural toothpaste is becoming more and more popular for good reason. Your gums absorb whatever ingredients you put into your mouth. That means both the good things and the bad like chemicals in toothpastes and mouthwashes, get connected directly to your whole body through your gums. Therefore, having healthy gums and a healthy mouth is one of the best ways to contribute to your overall physical health. With that in mind, doesn’t it make sense to use the healthiest products out there for your teeth?

Check the labels on your tooth products.

Many common toothpastes and mouthwashes contain elements that are harmful to us in various ways.

  • Most of us have been convinced that we need fluoride in our water and our toothpaste. Most of us are already getting enough in our water (even for children) that we don’t need more in our toothpaste.
  • Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) is used to make toothpaste foam, but believe it or not, it is a detergent. A detergent you’ll find in most shampoos and is a skin irritant for many people. The foaming isn’t something you need; it’s just something we’ve come to expect.
  • Saccharin is a common sweetener in many types of mouthwash and toothpastes but not used in foods due to it causing kidney cancer in lab rats. Many people feel it’s not a big deal because you aren’t eating it. However, since your gums absorb so much, it can be serious.

Benefits of Natural Toothpastes

Most of the benefits of brushing your teeth come from the actual act of brushing, even if you are only using water. It is the bacteria in your mouth that can cause gingivitis and other dental issues. Natural toothpastes can eliminate the bacteria in your mouth naturally with out using harmful chemicals.

Natural toothpastes use natural ingredients like mint and other herbs to freshen your breath. They are free of artificial flavoring and dyes. Many natural toothpastes use natural ingredients like hydrated silica to whiten teeth, which is gentler on your teeth than artificial bleaching agents found in common toothpastes.

Your mouth, your teeth, your gums are a very important part of your overall health. Invest in yourself and try different natural tooth pastes until you find one you like.

Holistic dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska

Why is Holistic Dentistry Important?

More people are adopting the holistic approach to better health and wellness. Dentistry is one particular field where many practitioners have chosen to use holistic methods.

Of course, holistic dentistry can and is often misinterpreted and misunderstood when compared to “traditional” dentistry. Many times, it is perceived that “holistic” dentistry and “traditional” dentistry are two completely different, mutually exclusive practices and that any given practitioner MUST be one or other. So before we start exploring the value of holistic dentistry, it is extremely crucial to remember: every dentist is different. He or she can borrow from both holistic and traditional schools of thought. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s explore what makes holistic dentistry so special!

BACKGROUND OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

The term “holistic” is a reference to “the whole.” So holistic dentistry doesn’t just address your teeth and mouth – it addresses factors that have implications for your entire health and well-being. A holistic dentist will focus on educating their patients on how dentistry plays a major role in their overall health. For example, did you know your dental and oral health can have a direct effect on sleep apnea (and vice versa)? In fact, some dentists even offer things like Ortho-Tain to help resolve sleep apnea issues! General health concerns are completely in considered when you visit a holistically oriented dentist.

 

EXAMPLES OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

Another benefit of holistic dentistry is that practitioners pay very close attention to the effects their dental appliances and materials will have on your overall health. Here are some examples:

  • Holistic dentists tend to avoid things like mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury, of course, is poisonous to our bodies. Even the smallest amounts will put your overall health at great risk. As a metal, mercury fillings can also put extreme pressure on your tooth and as a result, will last longer than the tooth itself.
  • Root canals are addressed with extreme caution and attention to detail, as holistic dentists understand that 100% sterilization of the canal is difficult to achieve. Also, some sterilization chemicals in fact toxic, such as formaldehyde. Leftover bacteria in the canal can also lead to things like breast cancer and heart disease. Many holistic dentists will instead recommend the total extraction of the tooth, but would prefer to provide detailed insights towards preventing symptoms in the first place.
  • Holistic dentists prefer topical fluoride is favored over ingested fluoride. Ingested fluoride can cause health defects like cancer and bone damage, and research has shown that it has no real benefit to your teeth.

Take the time to ask what your local holistic dentist can do for you and your family. You may find that as you utilize this form of care for your mouth and teeth, your overall health will improve as well, leading to a happier, healthier life!

What are the Pros & Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

What are the Pros and Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

Dentures have long been an affordable and practical method for improving the quality of your smile, your ability to eat a variety of foods, and even your self-confidence. Unfortunately, many people recoil at the idea, envisioning the set of teeth floating in a glass of water next to the bed. Dentures have come a long way in recent years and are worth a second look for anyone struggling with missing or decayed teeth.

Types of Dentures

There are four main types of dentures, and your Anchorage dentist can help you determine which one is best depending on your specific needs.

  1. Conventional or complete dentures are fully removable and are usually the ones people think of when they envision the teeth in the glass of water. With this style, you will usually have any remaining teeth removed, and your dentures will be fitted once your jaw and tissues have healed.
  2. Partial dentures fill in the spaces where you might have missing teeth. You must have some teeth that are in good working order that stay in your mouth for partial dentures to work.
  3. Overdentures utilize some remaining teeth as anchors, but the dentures still fit over everything, giving you a uniform, beautiful smile.
  4. Immediate dentures are removable and are ones you can wear out of the dentist’s office on the same day your old teeth are removed. This is nice because you won’t have to be without teeth while your gums heal, but immediate dentures often need to be remade once the healing is finished.

Pros of Getting Dentures

  1. Modern dentures are more comfortable than earlier models and look more natural.
  2. Dentures make speaking easier.
  3. Dentures make eating easier.
  4. Dentures give you a beautiful smile.
  5. Dentures can support your facial muscles, providing a more youthful appearance.

Cons of Getting Dentures

  1. Getting the right type of dentures for you is a process that requires multiple trips to the dentist and possible tooth removal.
  2. You will need to get used to them. They can feel a little weird at first and may even cause some soreness. You may need to learn how to pronounce some sounds differently with dentures.
  3. Eating with dentures takes some practice.
  4. Dentures are fragile when not in your mouth, and you will need to take care of them.
  5. Dentures do wear out about every five years and need to be replaced.

Depending on why you are considering getting dentures, the con list may seem like minor inconveniences to you. If you still have questions and would like to talk to someone, please give us a call to set up a consultation. We would love to chat about your many options.

Anchorage sedation dentistry safe and comfortable way to visit the dentist

Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If the very idea of going to the dentist feels you with fear and anxiety, you are not alone. Colgate estimates about 30-40 million people choose to suffer from tooth or mouth pain rather than face going to the dentist. Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and offers a safe, comfortable way to take care of your teeth.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, medicine is used to relax you during your dental procedure. It can be a part of even the simplest procedures as well as the complicated or time-consuming. There are four standard levels of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation– you stay awake but are very relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation– you are awake, but won’t remember much of the experience, and you’ll probably slur your words.
  • Deep sedation– you are hovering on the edge of being conscious but still awake. You likely won’t remember anything at all about the procedure.
  • General anesthesia– usually used for complex surgical procedures and for extreme phobia suffers. You will be completely unconscious.

Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?

  • People with a phobia about dentists
  • If you have a low pain threshold
  • Those who struggle to sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • If you have very sensitive teeth
  • If you have an overactive gag reflex
  • People who need a significant amount of dental work done

What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

  • The dentist will be able to get the work done faster since you will be relaxed enough to not move around much if at all.
  • You can relax knowing you won’t be filling any fear or anxiety during the procedure. You can even take a pill about an hour before that can help you relax prior to arriving at the dentist.
  • Depending on the level of sedation you will fill little to no pain during the procedure due to the medication. Often your dentist will still use topical anesthesia where they are working.
  • You’ll be memory free! Especially if you have past memories of a horrible dental experience, you probably don’t want to remember this one. Especially if you go with deep sedation or general anesthesia, you will have no memories of the work that was done, just the benefits of your dentist’s handiwork.

Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you in pain or put the health of your teeth at risk. There are options! Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and we can help you have the best experience possible.

Little boy sleeping. Ortho-Tain is a safe treatment for Sleep Apnea in children

Ortho-Tain Safely Treats Sleep Apnea in Kids

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing and then starts again. While it is more common in adult males, children can also suffer from it as well. In fact, more and more studies seem to link intention, bad behavior, ADD and ADHD with a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality in children. Ortho-Tain can help Anchorage children get better sleep and improve their quality of life.

What is Ortho-Tain?

Ortho-Tain is a removable orthodontic appliance that can not only be worn by teens and adults but also by children as young as five. The appliance is custom made to fit your teeth and can be worn during the evening as well as during the day. For many people, it is a safe, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional braces.

In addition to offering an alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments, Ortho-Tain can treat a variety of conditions including overbite, overjet or buckteeth, spacing issues, crowding, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion.

How Does Ortho-Tain Help with Sleep Apnea in Children?

Ortho-Tain offers two appliances, the Nite-Guide and the Occlus-o-Guide, that can make a dramatic impact on the quality of your child’s sleep. Originally, both appliances were designed to straighten teeth, and they still do a very effective job at that. In additional they have been found to promote the healthy downward and outward growth and development of both the upper and lower jaw. This is critical because sleep problems like sleep apnea come from kids not getting enough oxygen while they sleep. When their upper and lower jaw has developed correctly, then their airways can expand fully providing for more oxygen and better sleep quality. The Nite-Guide and the Occlus-0-Guide are both appliances worn while sleeping and can also eliminate teeth grinding and reduce snoring.

Early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in children as young as 5 is not something most parents traditionally consider. However, some Anchorage dentists are hoping to change that mindset. Early treatment tends to be less invasive and shorter in duration. This has many obvious benefits for both child and parents including:

  • Better sleep earlier in a child’s life can reduce or eliminate issues like anxiety, moodiness, hyperactivity, sleep apnea, ADHD, etc.
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction or elimination of more traditional braces later in a child’s teens, which tend to be more expensive, invasive, and painful
  • Early treatment can catch and treat medical conditions like TMJ and stop it before it develops.

Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor if your child is suffering from behavioral issues or even just struggling to pay attention. Ortho-Tain is an option that is less invasive and expensive than traditional sleep apnea treatments and can address teeth issues in addition to the sleep problems.

man snoring, 4 common myths about sleep apnea in Anchorage

4 Common Sleep Apnea Myths

Sleep disorders are a common topic in Anchorage due to our issues with too much or too little light. Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) doesn’t have anything to do with light, but it is a sleep disorder that we are becoming more and more aware of these days. As with most topics that increase in popularity a lot of myths get mixed in with the facts. Today we are going to clear up some of the common misconceptions about sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea isn’t dangerous.

Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea is a very real and hazardous thing. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that truck drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea were five times more likely to get into an accident. This means that unfortunately, the consequences of this sleep disorder can affect more people than just the person dealing with it. Additionally, the health risks for the person with sleep apnea are also dangerous. If left untreated, it can increase the possibility of heart attack, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.

Sleep apnea and snoring are the same thing, right?

Snoring and sleep apnea are both are caused by the blocking of the respiratory tract. But that is where the similarities end. Snoring can be loud and disruptive, but that is usually the extent of it. However, the blockage that causes snoring could get so severe that it causes the sufferer to stop breathing up to hundreds of times each night. This is why loud and persistent snoring is usually an indicator that someone should get tested for sleep apnea.

I’m still young, so I’m not at risk for sleep apnea.

Men who are over the age of 40 and obese tend to be at the highest risk for sleep apnea. However, anyone can have it. Some in the medical industry speculate that the rise of sleep apnea in children could be due to the increasing number of obese kids. A growing number of dental specialists believe that sleep apnea stems from incorrect jaw growth as well as facial development during childhood.

I’ll need surgery to correct sleep apnea.

Outside of some very extreme cases, most people will not need surgery to correct their sleep apnea. One of the most common non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine. A CPAP device gently blows the right amount of air directly into your airways to keep them open during the night. Another route is the orthodontic approach in which your dentist or orthodontist fits you with Othro-Tain or Myobrace appliances. Using the appliances, and with some time, some of the oral-facial issues can be corrected, thus solving or minimizing the sleep apnea problem.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can greatly affect your life or the life of a loved one. There are great options out there for treatment, so it is worth giving a specialist a call to get diagnosed and to explore all of the treatments available.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

With the plethora of choices that we are posed with everyday, it can be difficult to determine what type of toothpaste is right for you. First, there are several brands to choose from as well as for different purposes. Are you looking for something to whiten your teeth, help your enamel, and prevent cavities or another reason? Another huge factor that goes into choosing the right toothpaste is the flavor. Do you like spearmint, regular mint, or possibly cinnamon?

Well, with all of these options, where do you even begin?

American Dental Association

Next time you are on the lookout for new toothpaste, keep your eye out for the ADA’s seal of acceptance logo. This means that this toothpaste is marked as safe and effective by the ADA and that the claims on the packaging are found true.

Cavities

We are all at risk of getting cavities from our diets and our dental care. If you are looking for toothpaste to help with cavity prevention, make sure your choice contains fluoride. If you choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance, it will contain fluoride. (Flossing will also help eliminate the risk of getting cavities.)

Enamel strengthening

When you eat a highly acidic diet, your dental enamel could be at risk. This softens the outer most layer of the tooth, putting it at risk of further damage. By utilizing a remineralization toothpaste, you can strengthen your enamel over time.

Sensitive teeth

There are special toothpastes made especially for tooth sensitivity. This would be useful for root canals or patients with periodontal disease. These products contain ingredients to reduce the pain associated with these conditions.

Flavor

This one is up for personal preference. Some form of mint is most popular, giving your breath a fresh scent.

With all of the options out there, we hope that you can determine which option is best for you. Perhaps you have several uses you’d like to include in your toothpaste, sometimes you can find a brand with several benefits.

Overall, it might be more beneficial to consult your dentist for a specific recommendation, from brand all the way to use.

If you’d like to meet with us in regards to your toothpaste choice, let us know.

If you have other questions or concerns surrounding your dental health, we would love to work with you and find a solution for your specific case.

National orthodontist month

October is the month for us all to appreciate orthodontists. Not only do they create beautiful smiles, they create functional smiles! Orthodontists use external appliances to help guide teeth to a straight shape.

Usually, these treatments are used on kids and teenagers, as this is optimal for best results, but that’s not to say that adults cannot benefit from orthodontia.

There are many options for orthodontia, as technologies are advancing. There are traditional methods such as braces, and there are also more subtle methods like Invisilign.

We know orthodontic treatments can be unattractive to many adults but the benefits are very promising.

Benefits

Straight teeth make for less nooks and crannies that plaque can get caught in. This leads to healthier overall oral health as well as healthier overall body health. A poor bite can cause abnormal wear on the teeth and jaw issues if not corrected.

Depending on your specific case of crooked teeth or misaligned jaw, your orthodontist may recommend special treatment.

For more of an aesthetic problem, Invisilign is normally used to help. You wear the retainer for 24 hours a day and swap out the retainer every couple of weeks, working your way up to the straightest one.

In more complex cases, traditional braces will be used. This method gives the orthodontist much more freedom to correct your teeth and jaw bite with one appliance and some accessories.

It is important to remember that while you may want one version of orthodontia over another, it is best to listen to your orthodontists’ advice based on your specific dental issue.

Another use for orthodontics is TMJ. A simple mouth guard could possibly help your TMJ case.

No matter what your age, you could benefit from orthodontic treatment!

As always, each case is different and everyone will be treated differently according to his or her dental condition. If you have an orthodontic related issue that you would be interested in learning more about treatment options, contact you dentist or orthodontist.

Please join us by celebrating National Orthodontics Month by expressing appreciation for your orthodontist or exploring orthodontic treatment options for your dental condition. A straight smile is a healthy smile!

If you would like to set up an appointment with one of our dentists or orthodontists or if you’d like to learn more about your options, please give us a call. We would love to chat!

Acidic foods and your enamel

Enamel is a very strong substance used to protect your teeth from damage. It does a great job preserving your teeth from normal wear and tear while eating except for when it comes to acidic foods. While other issues can cause enamel to deteriorate, such as grinding or other abrasions, acidic foods can eat right through your most protective layer of your teeth, exposing the vulnerable layers to harsh substances and other factors. Deteriorating enamel can lead to countless other dental issues, so we want to go over how certain foods you eat can damage your teeth and what you can do about it.

So what exactly causes the erosion of enamel?

We’re sure, at this point, that you are aware of the effects that acidic foods have on your teeth. Basically, foods with a low pH level, less than 7, may cause erosion of your enamel. While candies and sodas are sugary and oftentimes harmful to you teeth, they also contain acidic qualities. Many candies contain seriously low pH levels as well as most sodas.

What foods should I avoid?

Surprisingly, foods across all spectrums can be very acidic. Many fruits and vegetables contain low pH levels, while they are healthy, they can also damage your enamel. As listed above, candies and sodas are not good for your overall health. They are also harmful to your tooth enamel.

So what kind of diet should I try to maintain?

This is a better question for your dentist, as they can take a look at your current condition and give you professional suggestions based on your case specifically. However, a general rule is to maintain a diet of a higher pH level or more alkaline.

Specific things you can do to help keep your enamel healthy:

  • Drink water throughout the day to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.
  • Use a straw to drink acidic drinks.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to create more saliva to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.

We hope you take it upon yourself to look at your diet and make changes accordingly to ensure that your enamel stays healthy to protect your oral health. Talk to your dentist and schedule a check-up at least twice a year. They will be able to give you a more personalized plan, should your enamel need extra care.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to make an appointment with us, give us a call.