Category: Dental Hygiene

Is Your Toothbrush All That It Can Be?

young woman holding a toothbrushPerhaps the most well-known fact about dental care is that you should brush and floss your teeth often to keep them clean and healthy. Like all tools, though, proper care and maintenance (as well as proper use) of your toothbrush is vital to how effective it is at performing its job. To successfully maintain your good dental hygiene, you should replace your toothbrush at least once every three months, or as soon as the bristles look frayed. In the meantime, you can keep it effective by learning how to properly use, store, and clean your toothbrush every day.

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Why Chocolate’s Not the Culprit We Thought it Was

excited woman eating chocolateDo you worry about gaining weight, developing acne, or rotting your teeth every time you bite into a delicious bar of chocolate? Myths abound about the long-loved treat, most of which paint the picture that chocolate is too good to be anything but bad for your oral and overall health. The truth, however, is that plenty of research has shown chocolate might prove more beneficial to your teeth, and your health, than at first believed—good news to those who have trouble putting chocolate down.

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Can Smoking Cause Tooth Loss?

Smoker GuyYou already know that smoking is incredibly harmful to your overall health. The number of diseases and unpleasant side effects which are directly related to the unfortunate habit is staggering. Beyond the bad breath, yellowing teeth, and oral cancer risk, you can add tooth loss to the list. West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, notes a research study which shows the devastating link between oral health issues and  tobacco use.

A 30-Year Study

Tufts University was the site of a study which tracked the oral health of approximately 500 men for 30 years. The male participants were initially divided into two groups: smokers and non-smokers. As some of the male smokers quit the habit, they formed a third group. On average, the consistent smokers lost almost three teeth every ten years. The non-smokers  lost slightly more than one tooth over the same period of time. The group of smokers who quit lost an average of 2.5 teeth while smoking. However, the rate of tooth loss declined dramatically after they quit. Tufts conducted a similar study among roughly the same amount of women. The researchers found that smoking women were two times as likely to lose teeth as non-smoking females.

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Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

Popsicle SensitiveIf you have sensitive teeth, extremes are probably an issue. Hot and cold  beverages are likely to create unpleasant experiences. Extremely sour or sweet foods and beverages can also cause you discomfort. Des Moines dentistDr. Jessica Johnson, is here to help if you find yourself cringing from sensitive nerves in your teeth.

Are your Teeth Weak?

Teeth are more than just what you see. The crown above the gumline is comprised of dentin covered by enamel, and is the most visible part of your smile. However, the real nerve center (literally) is called dental pulp. Dentin is full of tubules and responsible for transmitting sensations to the nerves below, in case there is something really wrong with a tooth. When protective tooth enamel is compromised because of acids and tooth decay, sensations can become much more intense without there necessarily being a serious problem. Your gums provide extra protection for the roots of your teeth, but they naturally recede with age or poor dental health. Someone with notably sensitive teeth is usually a victim of  dentin exposure due to gum recession.

Are you Being Hard on your Smile?

You might think that adding to your regular brushing routine will result in healthier teeth and gums, but it’s important that you strike a balance. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are direct results of poor brushing habits. However, you are also at risk for sensitive teeth, if you brush too often, or too hard. Timing is also important. While it’s a good idea to brush and floss after consuming a sugary treat, the acid from something like a soda or fruit pie (even a plain apple)

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Learning about the Mouth-Body Connection

Oral-SystemicOral-systemic health is an interesting concept that makes connections between your dental health and the rest of your body. Gum disease (or really the bacteria which cause it) have actually been found in other parts of the body. One example is a study which uncovered these same germs responsible for periodontal infection in the knees of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Learning more about oral-systemic health is likely to inspire you to take better care of your teeth and gums.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

There is a strong correlation between periodontal disease and heart disease. Some medical professionals believe that people who suffer from periodontal disease have twice the chance of ending up with clogged arteries. While the exact path to this connection has not been definitively uncovered, it is thought that germs can enter the bloodstream through your mouth, from your inflamed gums. The bacteria can then travel to your heart, causing swelling in your arteries. Even if there isn’t definitive proof of this, there is enough evidence to surmise that  good oral hygiene could lead to better overall health.

Gum Disease and the Brain

Your heart isn’t the only vital organ which is potentially in danger from the infiltration of insidious oral bacteria. Evidence of a connection between gum disease and dementia is compelling. The idea that periodontal disease bacteria can travel to your brain sounds like something out of a horror film. Some studies have made links between Alzheimer’s disease and unhealthy gum tissues. Just as with heart disease, it is believed that bacteria can enter your blood stream through infected gums. This is just another of many reasons to keep up with your preventive dental care and visit Dr. Johnson every six months.

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Contact

MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm