Plano Dentist Explains: Why Your Teeth are a Marker of Overall Health

Plano Dentist Explains: Why Your Teeth are a Marker of Overall Health

Your mouth can be a window into how your body is doing. Many maladies are reflected in your oral health; as such, you should keep a watchful eye and do all you can to keep your teeth and gums in top shape.

By understanding the relationship between your oral health and the rest of your body, you may see early warnings of health problems in the making. Having that early warning may be all you need to put a stop to it before it develops into a bigger problem.

Here are a few of the health concerns that can be reflected in your oral health.

Cardiovascular Disease

Research indicates that cardiovascular-related problems like strokes, heart attacks and clogged arteries may be somehow linked to the inflammation that oral bacteria may cause. The link between oral health and cardiovascular disease is not yet fully understood, but we know that one reflects the other. Even endocarditis, an infection of the inside lining of the heart’s chambers and valves, usually takes place when germs and bacteria from places like your mouth spread through the blood and to the heart.

Other Risks

Many other diseases have a link to your gums and teeth. Periodontitis, for example, is linked to low birth weights and even premature births. We know that bacteria from the mouth can reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems and even pneumonia. Alzheimer’s disease is also linked to poor oral health; the cause for this correlation is not understood, however.

On the flip side of that coin, other diseases may cause complications in the oral department. Diabetes is known to lower one’s resistance to infection, putting your gums at higher risk. The severity of gum disease tends to be higher with diabetes patients. 

HIV can cause lesions in the mucosal area as well as other problems. Osteoporosis can also wreak havoc on your teeth and bone, causing bone and sometimes tooth loss.

Happy Mouth, Healthy Body Happy Mouth, Healthy Body

Will keeping your mouth in excellent health prevent these diseases? Any Plano dentist will tell you that It will undoubtedly help. 

You should make sure to practice oral hygiene every day. You should brush your teeth a couple of times a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Floss daily and finish your oral hygiene routine by rinsing with mouthwash after brushing and flossing.  

What you eat is almost as crucial as your hygiene. Some foods can hurt your teeth while others help them. You should avoid or limit your sugar intake as this is a known cause for decay. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly and remember that your oral health can act as an early warning system and that by investing in its care, you are investing in your overall health.

Call Today For an Appointment With Dr. David H. Wilhite, The Premier Plano Dentist

Your oral health should not be trusted to just anyone, so make sure you choose wisely.

Dr. Wilhite is highly educated and has a mastership in the academy of general dentistry; fewer than 1% of all dentists can make this claim. With Dr. Wilhite, you are in the best possible hands. 

Contact us at 972-964-3774 or visit our contact page.

Dentist tips for your kids during the holidays

Dentist tips for your kids during the holidays

Dentist appointments are important at every time of the year, all through your life. For kids, it’s important that we establish good dental habits.

During the holiday season though, your kid’s dental health will be put to the test. Snack trays, sweets, pastries and sugary temptations will be everywhere. Well-meaning grownups and grandparents will be more than happy to fill them up with treats.

We want to make sure your children stay healthy during the holidays and don’t head into their next appointment with new cavities.

In order to help, we’re going to share some holiday dental tips for kids provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Read the tips below to keep your kids healthy.

 

Healthy Habits to keep your kids smiling through the holidays and into the new year.

The holiday season is always a busy time, especially for families. With kids out of school, a steady stream of festivities and a new year to plan for, the rhythm of everyday life gets put on hold. And sometimes that means good oral health routines and habits go out the window too.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) wants to remind parents and caregivers that the holiday break is a great time to help your kids establish and maintain healthy dental habits. This includes good brushing, flossing and eating habits that are essential for healthy teeth.

  • The AAPDS recommends that a child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist should be by the AGE OF ONE or when the FIRST TOOTH APPEARS. Regular check-ups should occur every SIX MONTHS.
  • Parents should help their children brush their teeth TWICE DAILY – after breakfast and before bedtime are ideal. It’s recommended that parents/caregivers supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
  • The BEST TOOTHBRUSHES for children have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. The handle should be proportionate to the size of the child’s hand.
  • Parents can begin FLOSSING for their children when two teeth are touching. Children can begin flossing on their own around age 7.
  • Look for FLOURIDE TOOTHPASTE with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
  • Sugary candy, food, and drinks are part of the holidays. With this, the risk of cavities and poor dental health also increases. Parents should try to moderate sugar intake, and WATCH OUT FOR CARBONATED DRINKS, which actually erode teeth more than sweetened drinks.
  • Keep an eye on on snacking – ideally, children should have NO MORE THAN THREE SNACK TIMES a day.
  • COOKED STARCHES CAN LEAD TO CAVITIES just as sugars can. In fact, cooked starches such as bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips frequently take longer to clear the mouth than sugars.
  • LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE by checking labels and buying sugar-free varieties of food options, if available.
  • CHEESES such as aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and Monterey Jack are great as a snack or to eat after a meal because they clear the mouth of food and neutralize the acids that attack teeth.

This story originally appeared on The Mouth Monsters

Healthy Habits at the Holidays Infographic

We hope that you will take these recommendations into consideration for your own children during the holiday season. We want to help parents establish good dental health habits for children so they get a good foundation for health as adults.

Canker sore problems: a real pain in the mouth

Canker sore problems: a real pain in the mouth

A canker sore is a mouth ulcer or sore that is open. They are commonly found on the inside of lips or cheeks. They are also found on the gums and under the tongue. Canker sores are usually white or yellowish oval shaped sores and surrounded by red, irritated tissue. Canker sores are most common during adolescence and young adulthood and become less common as we age. About 1 in 5 children develop a canker sore. Though often confused for cold sores, they are not related. In addition, canker sores are not contagious.

Canker Sore Causes

Researchers are not sure what is the exact cause of a canker sore, however they believe a combination of factors may contribute.

Potential contributing factors include:

  • accidental cheek bite
  • anxiety
  • food sensitivities
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • allergic response to bacteria in your mouth
  • stress
  • hormone changes
  • toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate

Cankers sores may occur because of diseases such as:

    • celiac disease
    • Chrohn’s disease
    • ulcerative colitis
    • Behcet’s disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • immune system issues
    • Treatment

Canker sores usually heal on their own within a few weeks, with pain diminishing in about a week. If your canker sore has not healed in three weeks, you may need to seek medical care. Several over the counter remedies exist, including pastes, gels, or mouth rinses with ingredients to minimize canker sore pain. A doctor may prescribe oral medication for severe canker sores.

To help healing at home you can use a salt-water rinse. In addition, it is advisable to avoid spicy or acidic foods, which can exacerbate the sore. You may also find relief in allowing ice chips to dissolve over the sore. Lastly, it’s important to brush your teeth gently (including with a gentle toothpaste) to avoid irritating the sore further.

If you can identify what triggers canker sores in your mouth, it is best to avoid it. Pay attention to potential food allergies.  Eat healthfully to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Always practice good oral health and brush daily and floss and use mouthwash regularly.

Mouth breather? This can lead to dental problems

Mouth breather? This can lead to dental problems

If you are a mouth breather, it can have negative impacts on your dental health such as risk of decay and periodontal disease, the pathological inflammation of the gum and bone support surrounding the teeth. Mouth breathing leads to dry mouth and decreases the production of saliva. Saliva is important to regulate your mouth bacteria and neutralize acids.

In 2016, a study showed that individuals who are a mouth breather while they sleep experience higher acidity levels than those who do not.

This study measured ten healthy volunteers who slept with a nose clip to force them to breathe through their mouths. They slept with a device that measured the pH and temperature of their mouth. The volunteers wore this device to sleep for two sets of 48 hours. In addition, they wore the nose clip on two nights and without it for two nights to prevent any natural bias from affecting the study.

Mouth Breathing & Teeth: The Results

PH measures acidity, with pH 7 being neutral, under 7 is acidic, and above 7 is basic. An acidity level of pH 5.5 is the threshold in which tooth enamel begins to break down.

The results showed that a daytime mouth pH was 7.3 and during sleep it was 7.0. The mean pH during sleep with mouth breathing was 6.6. At some points during the night, mouth-breathing individuals had mouth pH levels of 3.6, which is far below the level in which tooth enamel breaks down.

The significance of the results shows that breathing through your mouth is detrimental to your overall oral health, but specifically tooth enamel through acid breakdown.

Are You A Mouth Breather?

Signs of breathing though your mouth include:

– Dry lips & throat
– Chronic bad breath
– Crowded teeth
– Snoring
– Red, inflamed gums
– Frequent cavities
– Regular respiratory and sinus infections
– Enlarged adenoids

Recent research has shown similar information

I clench and grind, and also snore. Are these connected?

I clench and grind, and also snore. Are these connected?

Dr. David WilhiteQuestion: My dentist has told me that I clench and grind, and I also snore. Is there a connection between the two?

David Wilhite says:

The problem frequently begins in childhood with allergies and enlarged tonsils. This sets off a whole cascade of events.

The allergies and enlarged tonsils result in a constriction of the airway. The constriction causes the child to breathe through the mouth as opposed to the nose. Now, the tongue assumes a lower position in the mouth to assist the mouth breathing. Without the tongue in the roof of the mouth, the upper jaw does not develop properly and stays too narrow and too highly vaulted. Thus, it takes up space for the nasal airway, further compounding the difficulty of nasal breathing. Under normal conditions, breathing through the nose filters and humidifies the air, removing allergens so that they don’t pass into the lungs.

The increased exposure to allergens inflames the tissues of the throat, enlarges the tonsils, and increases the level of inflammation in the body. Thus, the airway is narrowed and causes snoring– which can lead to sleep apnea even in children as young as 2-3 years old. Therefore any child who snores or grinds their teeth needs to be evaluated for sleep apnea.

Many patients with apnea also clench and grind to open their airway so that they can breathe. Unfortunately, clenching does not completely solve the problem of a constricted airway.

A high percentage of the patients with sleep apnea have acid reflux and vice versa. After an apneic event, the first breath is usually a gasp that brings stomach acid up into the throat or mouth.

Sleep apnea also leads to an accumulation of stress hormones, mainly cortisol, and this leads to more clenching and grinding.

Dental pediatric fear: helping your child

Dental pediatric fear: helping your child

Can you think of a time when the unknown has made you uneasy? Dental pediatric fear can be similar. Familiarizing your child with the dentist and how it is an extension of their at-home dental care can help squash those worries and reduce anxiety. Skipping dental pediatric care can be very harmful as it is an important part of maintaining overall health.

At David Wilhite DDS, you are welcome to bring your child in prior to his or her first visit to look around the office and meet Dr. Wilhite and his staff. Introducing and reiterating that the dentist is just an extension of at-home dental pediatric care will help the experience seem less daunting. Phrasing around the topic will also be important.

Be careful with how you phrase things so not to put thoughts in a child’s head that wouldn’t have been there before. Words like “don’t be scared” or “it won’t hurt” may seem harmless, but they could actually add new fears.

Getting started early on helping your child’s dental pediatric care fears can help reduce anxiety, make dental visits easier and transition into adult dental visits better. Contact us today to set up your consultation. We can discuss your goals and options for pediatric dentistry treatment. Plus, we’ll talk about affordable financing and dental insurance options to make sure your child gets the dental care they need.