Monday, February 8, 2016

Why is Oral Health Important?

Men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health and, according to surveys and studies, their oral health is equally ignored. Good oral health recently has been linked with longevity. Yet, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being male. Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. When it comes to oral health, statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.

Why is periodontal disease a problem?
Periodontal disease is a result of plaque, which hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria found in tartar irritate gums. These acids cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. See your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or separating teeth 
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, feel free to call us at 410-571-5014 to schedule an appointment for an evaluation

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tobacco Use and Your Oral Health

Tobacco Use and Your Oral Health
It's no secret that smoking is bad for your overall health but using tobacco products can have serious consequences on your oral health, too.

In addition to affecting your overall health, tobacco use and smoking can cause a number of oral health issues, ranging from oral cancer to discolored teeth.

“You can get yellow teeth [and] a yellow tongue," says Thomas Kilgore, DMD, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and associate dean at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. "You see a lot of staining on the tongue.”
Smoking and tobacco use can lead to more serious oral health complications as well, including gum disease and oral cancer.

Smoking and Oral Cancer
“The most serious issue is mouth cancer,” Dr. Kilgore says. “It’s hard to say what percentage of people who smoke will get mouth cancer, but the death rate of those who do get it is high — between 40 and 50 percent of all cases, and that hasn’t changed over the last few decades.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that 90 percent of people with oral cancer (cancer affecting the lips, tongue, throat, and mouth) have used tobacco in some form. Likewise, the risk of oral cancer is six times higher among smokers relative to non-smokers. Your individual risk of oral cancer depends on how long you’ve been using tobacco — the longer you use it, the greater your risk.

Smoking and Periodontal Disease
“Smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause dental decay, but it does cause periodontal, or gum, disease,” Kilgore explains. “Bone loss is part of periodontal disease. It starts out as inflammation of the gums. In the natural and unfortunate progression, the bone supporting the roots of your teeth becomes inflamed,” and then the underlying bone can deteriorate, he adds.
“There are surgical and nonsurgical therapies to reverse or slow the progression of periodontal disease,” Kilgore says, but without proper treatment, gum disease does eventually lead to tooth loss and jawbone damage. One study found that smoking was associated with more than 50 percent of periodontal disease cases.

For Oral Health, No Tobacco Is Safe
People often think that different forms of tobacco are "safer" than others. However, says Kilgore, “Tobacco in any form has risks. It’s hard to figure out which is worse” — when tobacco is chewed, smoked, or inhaled.
The bottom line is that regular exposure to tobacco in any form can compromise your health. Kilgore points out that “pipe smokers may not smoke very often, but they can [still] get cancer of the lips, as they’re always holding the pipe in the same place on the lip.” Additionally, “there’s a myth that chewing tobacco has less risk, but it’s been shown pretty clearly that this isn’t true.”
And people who use smokeless (chewing) tobacco are at a four to six time greater risk of oral cancer than people who don't use tobacco at all. People who use smokeless tobacco are also at higher risk of tooth decay and cavities because some varieties of chewing tobacco contain sugar for a sweeter taste, and sugar is a primary cause of tooth decay.

Protecting Your Oral Heath
The following three principles can help to ensure good oral health throughout the years:
  • Quit smoking. After you’ve quit smoking, your risk of oral health problems decreases significantly. And the longer you remain a non-smoker, the lower your risk becomes. A decade after you’ve quit, your risk for periodontal disease is similar to that of a person who never smoked at all. “A lot of dentists now are taking the initiative to ask patients about their smoking habits, and are talking about the [nicotine] patch” and other ways to help people quit, Kilgore says.
  • Get regular dental checkups. As with most cancers, early detection can improve your outcome. “The good news is that regular checkups by a dentist are a good way to catch oral cancer early,” advises Kilgore. “Any mouth ulcers can be checked out with a biopsy, and you can get a diagnosis.” The sooner you start treatment, the better your odds of survival.
  • Brush properly. “Most people who have periodontal disease develop it from not brushing and flossing properly,” Kilgore notes. The heat and carcinogens found in cigarettes and tobacco are also damaging to your mouth and gums. So people who use tobacco need to be doubly careful about brushing and flossing correctly and doing so as often as recommended. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to watch you brush and floss to make sure you’re doing a thorough job.
Having Trouble Quitting? Visit the Dentist Regularly
If you do use tobacco, cutting back and eventually quitting are some of the most important actions you can take to improve both your oral health and your overall health.
Tobacco use “is a tremendously addictive habit, so in the meantime, regular dental visits can help with early detection” of gum disease and precancerous mouth sores, Kilgore says. He adds that the people at greatest risk for oral cancer are chronic smokers who don’t visit their dentists regularly. “By the time oral cancer is detected, it’s hard to treat," he says. Plus, the treatments can be more challenging at later stages. Surgery and radiation treatments are often disfiguring and can affect your ability to speak and eat. 

Talk to your dentist or general doctor about what can help you to kick your smoking and other tobacco habits today. 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Are You Biting Off More Than You Can Chew?

In our fast-paced lives, many of us may be eating in a hurry, taking giant bites of our food to get done quickly and on to the next task. Fast-food restaurants advertise giant burgers and sandwiches as a selling point, but often those super-sized delicacies are larger than a human mouth.

Taking bites that are too big to chew could be bad for your jaw and teeth, says the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education. At particular risk are people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can restrict the range of acceptable bite size. "People with TMD need to avoid opening their mouths too wide," says AGD spokesperson Barbara A. Rich, DDS, FAGD. "Taking large bites of food can aggravate their condition." So, smoosh that hoagie before taking a bite.

Dr. Rich also cautions against biting into hard candies, which can chip teeth. Even apples can cause problems. "If you need to open your mouth more than feels comfortable to take a bite, then you should cut the item into smaller portions that are easy to chew," Dr. Rich says.

People should always avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and opening nuts with their teeth, which can lead to chipping and breakage of natural teeth and restorations.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

"Are Sugar-Free Foods Good For Your Teeth? Not So Fast…"

The Best Foods for Healthy Teeth

Cleaning your teeth is essential for healthy teeth, but did you know that the kind of foods you eat can also help — or hinder — your dental health? Eating foods that are good for your teeth and being cautious about those that aren’t is key to having a healthy smile.

Foods for healthy teeth

How you eat is also important. In a study from King's College London Dental Institute, researchers looked at more than 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 for links between diet and tooth erosion. They found that eating high-acid foods (such as fruits and their juices) throughout the day can harm a person’s teeth if no effort is made to counteract the effects.

Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Enamel is a tooth’s first defense against decay. If the enamel on your teeth is eroded or damaged, you’re at higher risk for tooth sensitivity and cavities. You can help strengthen your tooth enamel by eating foods high in calcium. Also, adding foods rich in vitamin D to your diet will allow you to better absorb the calcium that healthy teeth need.

The best choices for healthy teeth are foods with:

    Calcium. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are calcium staples that don’t add unhealthy saturated fat to your diet. Hard cheese in particular also helps neutralize the acids found in foods that threaten tooth enamel. Other good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choy, and even Brussels sprouts, which deliver a healthy boost of vitamin C, too.
    Vitamin D. Egg yolks, mushrooms, and most fish are excellent sources of the vitamin D you need to absorb calcium, which builds and maintains healthy teeth.
    Vitamin C. Red peppers and sweet potatoes can provide the vitamin C necessary for healthy gums, which help keep your teeth firmly in place. Citrus fruits like oranges are also high in vitamin C, but you have to be careful of their acidity.
    A healthy crunch. The crisp texture of crunchy fruits and vegetables can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria on your teeth. They can also increase the production of saliva, which helps neutralize bacteria in your mouth. Apples, pears, celery, and carrots are all good choices. However, even a healthy food like an apple can expose teeth to damaging acid when eaten slowly. To reduce the impact of acid, brush your teeth before eating and drink water or rinse immediately after.

Bad Foods for Your Teeth

After you eat, plaque — the sticky film of bacteria that covers your teeth — release acids that break down the enamel on your teeth. Foods that are high in acid can cause your tooth enamel to erode the most, so these foods should be eaten in moderation to minimize damage to your teeth.

Foods that aren’t good for your teeth include:

    Hard or sticky candy. When you suck on hard candies, the candy is left in your mouth for a long time, which means extended exposure to sugar and damaging acid. Sticky candies are also a problem because the sugar sticks to your teeth.
    Carbohydrates. Foods such as white breads, pastas, and potato chips are processed as sugar when digested. And food particles from these carbs tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid.
    Soda and fruit juices. Be especially cautious of sipping them over a lengthy period of time, which promotes prolonged exposure to sugar and acid.
    Too much citrus. Oranges, kiwis, lemons, and grapefruit are great sources of vitamin C for healthy gums, but they’re also high in enamel-damaging acid. Enjoy these foods in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth.
    Hard foods. Peanut brittle, hard pretzels, and ice may offer a satisfying crunch, but they also carry the risk of damage to your teeth. Munching on hard food creates extra pressure and friction that can chip or crack teeth.
    Foods that leave stains. Coffee, tea, and red wine are notorious stain-makers. While tooth stains aren’t harmful, they can become difficult to remove if these foods are consumed in excess. Brushing too hard or using harsh products to remove these stains can damage your teeth and gums.

The Good News on Food and Healthy Teeth

It can be hard to give up a food that you crave, but you don’t have to stop eating sugary and acidic foods altogether. Domenick T. Zero, DDS, director of the Oral Health Research Institute, and professor and chairman of the department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at Indiana University School of Dentistry, explains that any food can be decay-causing if you don’t routinely practice good oral hygiene.

If you crave something that contains sugar — including fruit — here’s what you can do:

    Enjoy it in moderation.
    Eat it with other kinds of foods to help neutralize the acid.
    Drink water to help wash away bacteria and any remaining food particles.

It’s also important to clean your teeth after eating. However, wait 30 minutes to an hour after you have an acidic food or beverage because the acid weakens your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to damage from brushing. Another option is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes to reduce plaque buildup. Following these strategies will help keep your teeth healthy and smile-ready.

At Annapolis Dental Center we care about your health! If you have any questions about this or any other dental issues, or would like to make an appointment for a dental exam call 410-571-5014 or check us out at

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Properly? Somebody’s Watching…

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Properly? Somebody’s Watching…

What Does Your Mouth Say About Your Overall Health?

Living in a fast-paced society where fast food seems to dominate the food chain can mean a great deal for oral health – and poor food choices can even have a negative effect on teeth. In fact, in order for the body's tissues to resist infection and for teeth to remain healthy, minerals and nutrients are essential in a person's diet. The presence of too much or too little of any nutrient can have harmful effects, particularly on the mouth and teeth, and may contribute to oral diseases and infection, according to an article in the March 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"Deficiencies in vitamins can cause poor tissue connectivity which can allow for tissue breakdown and subsequent invasion by bacteria," says AGD President-Elect Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD and AGD spokesperson.  "With the additional factor of poor oral health care, the situation can be exacerbated and exhibit as a more severe case of periodontal disease since nutritional deficiencies can compromise the immune system."

Patients can improve their oral health and reduce the risk of periodontal disease by eating a balanced diet based on the well-known food guide pyramid, which recommends eating a variety of foods from the five food groups-grain, fruit, vegetables, milk and meat.

In addition, Dr. Jones explains, "A diet rich in dark, leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits helps the body to have adequate C and B vitamins," Dr. Jones explains. "Limited amounts of sunshine help the body to produce Vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium, which helps to build strong bones and teeth."

Eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may reduce the risk of other diseases.

What foods may be bad for your mouth?

    Carbohydrates: Chips, bread, pasta, or crackers can be as harmful to the teeth as candy.  
    Sticky, chewy foods: Raisins, granola bars, jelly beans, caramel, honey and syrup stick to teeth and make it difficult to wash the sugar away.
    Sugary snacks: Cookies, cakes or other desserts contain a high amount of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
    Gum and candy: When chewing gum and eating candy, the sugar coats teeth, which can lead to cavities.
    Carbonated soft drinks: Regular and diet sodas contain phosphorous and carbonation, which wears away the enamel on teeth.
    Fruit or vegetable juices: These beverages tend to be high in sugar, which can damage tooth enamel and lead to decay.

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Thank You

A message to our entire new patient of 2014.

We are delighted to have you as a new patient.  We extend our sincere thanks for the opportunity to meet your dental needs.  We looked forward to a new continued relationship with you.  Welcome to our practice, and Happy Holidays.  

Thank you

Dr. Dele.