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Fact of the Week:

Did you know that nearly 27 percent of patients experience their first adult tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30?? Nearly everyone in America has a doctor that they refer to as their “primary care physician” but 46 percent of Americans report that they currently do not have a “primary general dentist.” Just as people have a primary care physician, it is equally important that people have a “primary care dentist.” At Scottsdale Dental Arts it is believed that everyone should have a qualified and professional dentist looking out for their dental care. Dr. McCargar stresses the importance of dental exams and hygiene cleanings every 6 months to maintain a healthy smile. Afterall, overall physical health is directly linked to oral health.

Eating for Two also means Brushing for Two

Pregnancy can cause unexpected oral health changes. The hormonal changes that occur can exaggerate the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis – red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed. If you already have gingivitis and become pregnant the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss. “Pregnancy gingivitis” affects a large number of pregnant women to some degree and general begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy. There is a link between gingivitis and pre-term delivery and/or low birth weight babies. The reason is because excessive bacteria from your swollen gums can enter into the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. When bacteria encounters the uterus it releases chemicals called prostaglandins which can induce premature labor. Dr. McCargar says that “during pregnancy it is especially important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice daily. More frequent dental cleanings also will help to control plaque and prevent gingivitis.” Your overall health is directly linked to your oral health, so it is especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy and discuss your dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy with your dentist.

Are sports drinks bad for the teeth?

After a workout, many of us like to rehydrate with a sports drink. The advertisements claim it replaces lost electrolytes and quenches thirst, but did you realize that sports drinks can actually cause cavities? That was the evidence according to a recent study by the International Association for Dental Research in Miami. The results show softening of the dentin (the dental tissue that determines the size and shape of the teeth and lies directly beneath the enamel layer) and also damage to the tooth enamel (the protective layer on the outside of the teeth). The study immersed cow teeth in either water or a sports drink for 75 to 90 minutes, then measured the damage. It was concluded that sports drinks can damage the teeth even more than soda because of the acidic components, the sugars, the dyes, and the additives. The high acid content can weaken the enamel and cause bacteria to sneak into cracks and crevices in the teeth, and sugar exacerbates that situation. The scientists conducting the study wanted to stress that the most important factor is exposure, if you are drinking the beverage all day it has a longer time to break down your teeth versus if you just have the beverage occasionally on a limited basis. To decrease exposure you can also use a straw or drink plenty of water afterwards.

Healthy Teeth and Vitamin D

We have heard over and over that calcium helps to maintain strong teeth and bones, but did you know that Vitamin D is just as important? Vitamin D allows calcium to be absorbed by the body, so without Vitamin D your bones and teeth will be weak and brittle. Most people get adequate amounts of Vitamin D from the sun. 10 to 15 minutes of sensible sun exposure to the arms and legs at midday 2 to 3 times per week may provide an adequate amount of Vitamin D for people not at high risk for skin cancer. But, for most of us (especially in Arizona) we know not to go outside without our sunscreen and this makes it difficult to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D. But, don’t worry because you can also get it from plant sources and you can find it in your vitamin aisle. Often it is already paired with the calcium (for example Citracal and Caltrate are great brands–but don’t overlook the generic because often it has the same ingredients but for less price). Current FDA guidelines recommend 100IU (international units) per day for kids and 400 to 600 IU/day for adults. (Some newer studies are recommending closer to 1000IU/day for adults). Adequate Vitamin D levels can reduce muslce and bone pain, and decrease the incidence of falls and fractures. It is also showing in some studies to lower the incidence of some cancers and heart disease. Not to mention that you will have a healthier, prettier smile and less painful dental visits!

Dental Crowding or Gapping

Crowding of teeth or gaps between teeth can affect your self confidence. When you smile if you feel self-conscious about the spacing of your teeth, then there are many dental procedures that can help to fix that. Porcelain veneers can not only realign teeth, but can also conceal chips, cracks, and stains. Procelain veneers are extremely thin “shells” that are affixed to the teeth. Dr. McCargar can do complete mouth makeovers or just a few teeth with porcelain veneers. First the teeth are reshaped, then a mold is taken. The mold is given to a local lab to make the veneers, while this is being done, you will be fitted with a temporary set of veneers. During this time you will evaluate how you like the look and feel of the temporary teeth. At the last visit the permanent veneers will get set into place and you will have a completely new smile!