Sunday, January 18, 2015


Teeth help us bite and chew are food, but how much do you really now about your teeth. Most likely if you don't work in the dental field you have very little knowledge on what your teeth are made of and the different types of teeth we have!

Babies start teething around 6 to 12 months old and by the time they are 3 years old they should have a full set of 20 milk teeth, also known as baby teeth. Once they have reached 6 years old the child's teeth Begin to fall out making way for the adult teeth.

By the age of 14 most children have lost all their baby teeth and have their adult teeth. Adults have 32 teeth total. Around the age of 17 we start to gain four more which are called the wisdom teeth. If you experience any pain when the wisdom teeth are coming through consult your dentist, these may have to be removed.

There are four different types of teeth:

  • Incisors- The four front teeth top and bottom. Used for cutting and chopping.
  • Canine teeth- The pointy teeth on each side of the incisors top and bottom. Used for tearing.
  • Premolars- Also known as bicuspid teeth. These are located next to the canine teeth. Used for grinding and crushing.
  • Molars- Strongest teeth, work along side the tongue to help swallow your food, helps with the mashing of the food.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Common Dental Problems Facing Seniors

As We Age...
  • Darken teeth : are caused by changes in the dentin which is the tissue under the enamel.  This is often the result of consuming staining beverages, foods, or tobacco over the years.
  • A diminished sense of taste: is caused by dentures, medications or diseases.
  • Xerostomia  (Dry mouth): is caused by decrease flow of saliva, and it is often the result of head & neck radiation therapy.  There are other various diseases and medications that can also cause dry mouth leading to dental problems such as Caries (decay) & Halitosis (Bad Breath).
  • Periodontal Disease (Gum disease) : is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, and it is worsened when food is left on the teeth.  Tobacco products, poor diet and dentures that do  not fit can also contribute.  Diseases such as cancer, anemia, diabetes and several others may contribute to gum disease.
  • Tooth loss : is caused by Periodontal Disease (Gum disease).
  • Root Caries (decay) : is usually caused when the gingiva (gum tissue) recedes, roots become exposed to acids that cause breakdown & leading to cavities
  • Resorbed/Atrophic Ridge : (An uneven jawbone) is often caused by tooth loss.
  • Thrush: is caused by a buildup of Candida fungus, which is often the result of drugs or diseases that effect the immune system.
  • Denture- induced stomatitis: is caused by ill fitting dentures, a buildup of Candida fungus or poor oral hygiene.
Age is not always the main factor for determining oral health.  Some people who are in their 70's have healthier teeth and gums than people who are in their 20's who have bad genes.  Some medical conditions that are related to age may affect how a person performs oral hygiene tasks.  For example, a person with arthritis in the hands may find it more difficult to brush & floss regularly.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Senior Citizens :
Daily brushing is essential, and seniors should try to floss every day to prevent food buildup between teeth.  If oral hygiene is neglected, plaque will quickly build up and start eroding the enamel.  The following tips are helpful:
  • Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Routine visits (~3mos,4mos, or 6mos, as recommended by the dentist ).
  • Floss daily
  • Use antimicrobial mouth rinses to prevent plaque buildup which may lead to caries (decay) & periodontal disease (gum disease).
Dental Exam:

A dentist will screen for oral cancer (check the face , tongue, neck, lymph nodes, & jaw), and check your occlusion (bite) and dentition (teeth) during the exam.  A dentist should ask the following details:
  • The date of the last oral exam.
  • The reason for the last appointment.
  • If the patients has noticed any sensitive or loose teeth.
  • If the patient has noticed changes in the mouth.
  • If the patient has noticed a diminished sense of taste.
  • If the patient has had difficulty swallowing, chewing, or tasting.
  • If the patient has bumps, swelling or lumps in the mouth.
  • If the patient has discomfort, sores, or bleeding in the mouth.
* Dentist will also look for signs of irritation in the mouth and examine the appliances (dentures, partials, bridges...) themselves for problems.

Dental Financial Aid For Seniors:

If a senior is on a limited or fixed income, it can be difficult to afford dental care.  Many professionals offer services at reduced process for seniors with help of society/community-sponsored programs.  The best way to find a relevant information is to contact the local dental society.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to nurse a weekend toothache :

So it's the weekend and everyone is busy.. And where are you? At home with a toothache, wishing Monday would hurry up and arrive so you can get to a dentist.
Here's a few tips on how to make it throughout that painful weekend :
Try rinsing your mouth out first. Take a mouthful of room-temperature water and rinse vigorously. Many times, a painful toothache can caused simply by trapped food.
 * If that doesn't work, try flossing GENTLY. This should get rid of the problem, unless your problem is something other than just stuck food.
 * Numb the pain- Take a shot of whiskey (do not swallow it), and hold it in your mouth right over the painful tooth. Your gums will absorb the alcohol and it will numb the pain.
 * Rinse with salt water- Make sure the water is room temperature. This is very soothing and cleansing and will help keep it from getting any worse.
 * Massage your hand- Rubbing an ice-cube in the V-shape between your index finger and your thumb for 5-7 minutes can reduce the pain by 50%.
 * Put a little clove oil on it- You can purchase this over the counter. Simply drop a little right on the tooth.
 * Try not to bite-  Obviously, if you have a toothache, try not to bite on that side whatsoever.
 * Try icing it up- This may not work if you have sensitivity to cold. If you don't, you might try sucking on an ice cube- on or near that tooth. If sucking on an ice-cube isn't going to work, try puting an icepack on your cheek in 15 minute intervals.
 * Close your mouth- If you are having sensitivity to cold, breathing through your mouth can cause even more pain. Try breathing through your nose.
 * Take Aspirin- Don't put it directly on your tooth or gum, this can cause damage. Actually take and swallow an aspirin every 4-6 hours.
 * Keep it cool- Try to avoid getting to warm or hot. And definitely avoid placing heat on the area. Heat draws infection to the surface, making it worse and more painful.
 * These tips are to GET YOU BY until you can see a dental professional.