Posts for: October, 2021
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs wrapped up the NFL regular season in January, setting single-season records in both catches and receiving yards. The Bills handily beat the Miami Dolphins, earning themselves the second seed in the AFC playoffs, and Diggs certainly did his part, making 7 catches for 76 yards. But what set the internet ablaze was not Diggs' accomplishments on the field but rather what the camera caught him doing on the sidelines—flossing his teeth!
The Twitterverse erupted with Bills fans poking fun at Diggs. But Diggs is not ashamed of his good oral hygiene habits, and CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan expressed his support with “Dental hygiene is something to take note of, kids! There's never a bad place to floss” and “When you lead the NFL in catches and yards, you can floss anytime you want.”
We like to think so. There's an old joke among dentists:
Q. Which teeth do you need to floss?
A. Only the ones you want to keep.
Although this sounds humorous, it is borne out in research. Of note, a 2017 study showed that people who floss have a lower risk of tooth loss over periods of 5 years and 10 years, and a 2020 study found that older adults who flossed lost an average of 1 tooth in 5 years, while those who don't lost around 4 teeth in the same time period.
We in the dental profession stress the importance of flossing as a daily habit—and Stefon Diggs would likely agree—yet fewer than 1 in 3 Americans floss every day. The 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that only 30% of Americans floss every day, while 37% floss less than every day and 32% never floss.
The biggest enemy on the football field may be the opposing team, but the biggest enemy to your oral health is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food debris that builds up on tooth surfaces. Plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss among adults. Flossing is necessary to remove plaque from between teeth and around the gums where a toothbrush can't reach. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by the specialized tools used in the dental office. Regular professional dental cleanings are also needed to get at those hard-to-reach spots you may have missed.
If Diggs can find time to floss during a major NFL game, the rest of us can certainly find a couple minutes a day to do it. While we might not recommend Diggs' technique of flossing from one side of the mouth to the other, we commend his enthusiasm and commitment to keeping his teeth and gums healthy. Along with good dental hygiene at home—or on the sidelines if you are Stefon Diggs—regular professional dental cleanings and checkups play a key role in maintaining a healthy smile for life.
You can restore your smile and boost your confidence with dental implants from Dr. Casey Hart in Marietta, GA. His team of experts provides dental care in a friendly and comfortable environment.
Why Dental Implants are Important
Dr. Hart's Office specializes in improving your smile by restoring your missing teeth. Here are some benefits of dental implants:
Improve Your Dental Health
Your doctor fills empty spaces in your smile with dental implants in Marietta, GA. Not replacing your missing teeth can be harmful to your oral health in the long term. The teeth that have remained could change their position. Shifting teeth cause more gaps, spaces, and misaligned teeth. You, even increase your risk of gum or periodontal disease.
Partial dentures that use metal clasps and hooks may not give you a permanent solution for lost teeth. But dental implants offer you a natural look without the risks of shifting teeth. They're easy to maintain and more stable.
Boost Your Self-Esteem
Empty spaces in your mouth can affect your confidence and limit your opportunities because a smile is how you make a great first impression. Dental implants can come to your rescue. They can restore your natural-looking smile by giving you a new set of teeth.
Prevent Bone Loss
Losing or removing a tooth can lead to bone loss in your jaw. You may not notice bone loss immediately because it happens over time. You'll see a sunken look as your jawline and face change. It becomes worse if you remain with very few teeth. Dental implants can correct this problem. They strengthen the supporting bone as they fuse with your jawbone. Also, dental implants activate bone growth, which prevents a sunken appearance.
Improve Your Quality of Life
Missing teeth rob you of enjoying your favorite foods. That's because you can't chew the food properly anymore. Dental implants can replace cracked, broken, or missing teeth. Because of this, you can chew again and feast on your favorite foods. You will also be able to properly digest your food because it is chewed thoroughly.
Get back your beautiful smile by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Hart in Marietta, GA, at (770) 926-8371 for dental implants today.
Although getting an implant requires surgery, it's usually a minor affair. Chances are good that after just a few days recuperation you'll be back completely to your normal activities.
But like many other minor surgeries, an implant procedure does pose a slight risk of post-op infection. That's especially so with any dental procedure like implant surgery, since the mouth harbors numerous strains of bacteria that could escape into the bloodstream. For most people, though, a post-op infection doesn't pose a major problem since their immune system kicks in immediately to defeat it.
But some patients with less than robust immune systems or other health problems can have serious complications from an infection. Among other things, infected tissues around an implant may not heal properly, putting the implant at significant risk for failure.
If you have a condition that makes a post-op infection problematic, your dentist or physician may recommend you take an antibiotic before your procedure. Known as prophylactic (preventive) antibiotic treatment, it's intended to give a weakened immune system a head-start on any potential infection after a procedure.
Using antibiotics in this way has been a practice for several decades, and at one time were recommended for a wide list of conditions. That's changed in recent years, though, as evidence from numerous studies seems to show the risk to benefit ratio isn't significant enough to warrant its use in all but a handful of conditions.
Both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association recommend prophylactic antibiotics for patients with prosthetic heart valves, past infective endocarditis, a heart transplant and some congenital heart conditions. Some orthopedists may also recommend it for patients with prosthetic joints.
Even if you don't fall into these particular categories, prophylactic antibiotics may still be beneficial if you have a compromised immune system or suffer from a disease like diabetes or lung disease. Whether or not a prophylactic antibiotic is a prudent step given your health status is a discussion you should have with both your physician and your dentist.
If they feel it's warranted, it can be done safely in recommended doses. If your health isn't as robust as it could be, the practice could give you a little added insurance toward a successful implant outcome.
If you would like more information about dental implant surgery, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Implants & Antibiotics.”
October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day, putting the spotlight on this degenerative bone condition and the impact it has on millions of people. Not only does it significantly increase the risk of potentially life-threatening fractures, but it can also indirectly affect dental health.
This connection arises from the use of certain treatment drugs that ultimately could lead to complications following some forms of dental work. These particular drugs, mainly bisphosphonates like Fosamax™ and RANKL inhibitors like Prolia™, destroy bone cells called osteoclasts, whose function is to clear away worn out regular bone cells (osteoblasts). With fewer osteoclasts targeting them, more older osteoblast cells survive longer.
In the short-term, a longer life for these older cells helps bones afflicted by osteoporosis to retain volume and density, and are thus less likely to fracture. Long-term, however, the surviving osteoblasts are less elastic and more brittle than newly formed cells.
In the end, these longer living cells could eventually weaken the bone. In rare situations, this can result in parts of the bone actually dying—a condition known as osteonecrosis. The bones of the body with the highest occurrences of osteonecrosis are the femur (the upper leg bone) and, of specific concern to dental care, the jawbone.
The effect of these medications on the jawbone actually has a name—drug-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (DIONJ). Fortunately, there's only a 1% risk of it occurring if you're taking these drugs to manage osteoporosis. It's also not a concern for routine procedures like cleanings, fillings or crown placements. But DIONJ could lead to complications with more invasive dental work like tooth extraction, implant placement or periodontal surgery.
It's important, then, that your dentist knows if you're being treated for osteoporosis and the specific drugs you're taking. Depending on the medication, they may suggest, in coordination with your physician, that you take a "drug holiday"—go off of the drug for a set period of time—before a scheduled dental procedure to ease the risk and effects of osteonecrosis.
Because infection after dental work is one possible consequence of osteonecrosis, it's important that you practice thorough oral hygiene every day. Your dentist may also prescribe an antiseptic mouth rinse to include with your hygiene, as well as antibiotics.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for osteoporosis that pose a lower risk for osteonecrosis. These can range from traditional Vitamin D and calcium supplements to emerging treatments that utilize hormones.
Osteoporosis can complicate dental work, but it doesn't have to prevent you from getting the procedures you need. Working with both your dentist and your physician, you can have the procedures you need to maintain your dental health.
If you would like more information about osteoporosis and dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation.
Maintaining a healthy smile begins with good dental hygiene, but many of us miss some important steps. Brushing and flossing every day are the steps most of us follow, but too many of us end up pushing dental visits off our schedule and don't take into account the importance of diet for a clean and healthy smile. Learn more about everything that you can do to improve your hygiene habits by reaching out to your general dentist Dr. Casey Hart in Marietta, GA.
The Problem With Plaque
Plaque is the sticky stuff that clings onto our teeth every day. The problem with plaque is the millions of bacteria that it is home to. As they share in the food we consume, they produce acids that can harm the enamel on our teeth and our gum tissue. Plaque can harden and become tartar which can only be removed by a dentist.
Brushing and Flossing
The basics of good dental hygiene begin right in front of your bathroom mirror. It's as simple as brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day. Both combined can keep plaque from building up on your teeth and keep food particles from becoming stuck, which the bacteria in plaque love to feed on.
Tooth Friendly Diet
The bacteria within plaque especially love the sugary foods and drinks we consume. We are feeding them directly if we don't limit our intake of these types of foods. Such a diet will not only improve the health of our smile but our health overall. Some foods will also stain the teeth like coffee or tea.
In-Office Dental Cleanings
While all of the above are aspects of good dental hygiene, regular office visits are essential. In-office dental cleanings can remove all the plaque left behind as well as tartar. These cleanings are accompanied by a thorough examination by your dentist. Checkups are very important to make sure there won't be any invasive, and costly, surprises down the road.
General Dentist in Marietta, GA
If you've been away from the office or just aren't sure if you are due for a visit, schedule an appointment with your general dentist, Dr. Hart in Marietta, GA, by dialing (770) 926-8371.