A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Heart

happy healthy smileIf you pride yourself in your smile, then chances are that you brush and floss your teeth every day and attend your six-month dental checkups and cleanings. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your diligent dental care may also benefit your physical wellbeing by helping to keep your heart healthy and disease-free. Numerous studies have linked the presence of gum disease and the bacterial infections that cause it to the development of certain cardiovascular disease. As a dentist in Lafayette, LA, Dr. Michael Young has extensive experience treating the various stages of gum disease, and explains how ignoring it can jeopardize more than your teeth and gums.

The Transmission of Bacteria

Last week, we tested your knowledge of mouth germs with a brief quiz that mentioned one of the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation and disease. This microbe, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, manipulates your immune system to prevent your body’s defenses from destroying it. As a result, uncontrolled inflammation can cause your gums to swell and bleed, offering a pathway for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As it travels, P. gingivalis can potentially incite the same reaction in other areas of your body, such as your heart valves, arteries, and tissues. (more…)

Test Your Knowledge of Mouth Germs

cover your mouthDo you know why brushing and flossing your teeth helps protect them from infection and disease? The simple answer would be that daily dental maintenance keeps your mouth clean. The more detailed answer would describe the hordes of bacteria that gather to form dental plaque, then stick to your teeth and gums. Not all of these microbes are dangerous, but the ones that are undergo processes that, if left to their own devices, would thoroughly destroy your teeth and their supporting structures of soft tissue and bone. To help strengthen your knowledge of these malicious mouth dwellers, take the oral bacteria quiz below, provided by your Lafayette dentistDr. Michael Young.

The Oral Bacteria Quiz

Questions

Bacteria are a part of your mouth’s natural ecology. On average, how many different kinds of bacteria inhabit a healthy human mouth?

  1. 100
  2. 400
  3. 600
  4. Billions (more…)

How Many Ways Can Your Teeth Be Cleaned?

cleaning teethHopefully, you know that maintaining your oral health requires you to diligently brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. It also requires you to attend your routine dental checkup and cleaning at least every six months. However, not everybody practices their dental hygiene with the same attentiveness, and every one’s oral health is unique. To accurately and efficiently clean your mouth, your dentist and/or dental hygienist can offer a professional dental cleaning specific to your needs. Lafayette dentistDr. Michael Young, explains the different kinds of dental cleanings and how each can benefit your oral health.

Different Dental Cleanings

Prophylaxis—This is a routine dental cleaning that is necessary at least every six months for continuing dental maintenance. Ideal patients for a prophylaxis have healthy mouths, possibly with localized area of gingivitis (mildest form of gum disease), but no signs of periodontal disease (severe form of gum disease). (more…)

Need to Fix Your Teeth? You Have Options

beautiful woman with bright smileLast week, we discussed the difference between dental fillings and dental crowns, explaining the dental issues that each addresses. Both can resolve similar problems, but deciding which treatment is the better option determines on the severity of your condition. This is true for any dental issue, and today’s dentistry focuses on offering patients different options, each of them optimal for specific cases. As we continue to explore the diversity of dentistry, Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young explains two more common procedures that he employs to create masterpiece smiles for his patients.

Fix Discolored or Chipped Teeth with Dental Bonding

If your tooth is lightly to mildly stained, then professional tooth-whitening treatments can typically resolve the issue. Sometimes, however, a stain can be more stubborn than the whitening agent, or it may originate from within the tooth. Either way, stains may not always react favorably to chemical bleaching, in which case your smile requires an innovative solution. Using the same white composite resin material used for dental fillings, Dr. Young can apply the resin to surface of your tooth, mold the material to the precisely correct shape, and harden the material with a special curing light. The resin closely matches the natural color and tint of your smile, offering a restoration that discretely completes your smile. Dental bonding is most popular for correcting chipped teeth, craze lines (small cracks in your tooth’s enamel), odd spaces between teeth, and many other cosmetic dental issues. (more…)

Tooth Filling or Dental Crown? Lafayette Dentist Explains the Difference

beautiful girl showcasing her smileTeeth are strong. In fact, their outer layer (tooth enamel) is the strongest material your body produces. Teeth are not, however, indestructible, nor are they immune to disease and infection. Luckily, the field of dentistry has advanced considerably since its humble beginnings (which, so far, have been traced as far back as 7000 BC). Even if your resilient chompers do fall victim to misfortune, you have plenty of options for restoring the beauty and function of any afflicted tooth. Today, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, explains two of the most common recourses for treating and protecting ill teeth—tooth fillings and dental crowns.

Replacing Decayed Tooth Material

One of the most common afflictions to befall human teeth is decay. Indeed, over 90% of adults in America have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. The standard operating procedure for treating tooth decay is to remove the decayed tissue before the infection spreads any more. Like most oral health issues, tooth decay is progressive, and if not stopped, the decay will eat away the structure of your tooth until it falls out or requires extraction. Before it reaches the center of your tooth (called the pulp), decay can typically be treated by removing the decay and replacing the extracted tooth tissue with a manmade dental filling. Made from composite resin, these innovative fillings are dyed to match the color of your teeth, providing a discrete solution while reinforcing and strengthening your tooth. (more…)

Don’t Wait Until the New Year to Make Dental Health a Resolution

new years resolutions, incompleteAs the year approaches its end, and its successor draws nearer, reflection is common. It is a time to ponder things you’ve yet to do, and make resolutions to achieve the most important of those goals in the year to come. Eating healthier, exercising more, and taking better care of yourself overall is always an excellent resolution. However, if your dental health is among the things you wish to improve, than your Lafayette dentist warns that you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to seek tooth decay treatment. Dr. Michael Young explains how, when it comes to your oral health, time can be a greater enemy than you may realize.

Tooth Decay Waits for No Man (or Woman)

The decaying of a tooth begins with acid. Dental plaque, which accumulates on your teeth and along your gum line, contains certain bacteria that convert sugars and carbs into lactic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel (the strong, highly-mineralized layer that surrounds and protects your teeth). To inhibit enamel from reinforcing itself, acid also saps minerals from your tooth, leaving enamel no resource for strength. As time progresses, enamel erosion will dissolve your tooth’s protection, making the path easy for bacteria to reach your softer underlying tooth structure. The longer you wait to treat tooth decay, the greater the destruction to your tooth and the less chance you’ll have of saving it. (more…)

True or false: Bad Breath Quiz from Your Lafayette Dentist

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Your date is heading straight for the mistletoe, and you’re going to get your big moment to steal a kiss. After all, it’s tradition, right? Unfortunately, if you have halitosis (chronic bad breath) the thought of being caught under the mistletoe with the object of your affection might sound like a nightmare. Your Lafayette dentist has a true or false quiz to see if you’re prepared to deal with bad breath.

Questions:

Q1. True or false –  Bad breath is a sign of internal health problems; not poor dental health.

Q2. True or false – Brushing your teeth after foods that bring about pungent breath (like garlic and onions, for example) will make the offensive odors go away.

Q3. True or false – Antibacterial mouthwash can reduce the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Q4. True or false – Chronic bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Explains How Oral Hygiene Can Keep You Healthy

You may not be shocked to learn that keeping your mouth clean can help prevent tooth decay and other dental issues. However, you might be surprised to learn that maintaining adequate oral hygiene can help you keep the rest of your body healthy and free of disease. The concept that your mouth‘s health is linked to your physical wellbeing is not a knew one: the first known dentist, Hesi-Re, was a renowned physician in ancient Egypt, and even Hippocrates (the Greek philosopher and physician) believed that physical deterioration was linked to dental diseases. The oral-systemic connection, as this link is now called, has been exhaustively studied by researchers around the world. Within the last few decades, however, it has been increasingly supported by scientific results and evidence. As a dedicated dentist in Lafayette, Dr. Michael Young is also concerned with his patients’ wellbeing as well as their oral health. Today, we explain some of the methods by which the oral-systemic connection can affect your health.

Oral Bacteria—A Common Thread?

While there are several different oral-systemic theories, each regarding a different aspect of your physical health, one common thread among the majority of them is the transfer of bacteria. At any given moment, there are over 600 different kinds of bacteria lounging around in your mouth. Not all of them are harmful, but the ones that are warrant extreme caution considering the damage they can lead to. For example, the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which enables tooth decay by producing acid to erode your tooth enamel, is of the same bacterial family that causes strep throat (a throat infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria). A more dangerous culprit, however, is the germ associated with advanced gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis. By inciting your immune system’s inflammatory response, P. gingivalis accelerates the destruction of your gum tissue and supporting jawbone structure. It is also suspected as a risk factor for other chronic inflammatory diseases. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Spreads the Word About Diabetes and Oral Health

November is National Diabetes Month. While there isn’t much to celebrate about diabetes, there is plenty of awareness to be raised, and this month, health professionals across the country are focusing their efforts on doing just that. The majority of discussions regarding diabetes awareness may focus on the various health conditions and complications associated with diabetes, but not many health professionals discuss the importance of proper oral health care in the midst of the disease. To help bring attention to the serious risks involved in poor oral hygiene, Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young explains why diabetics should pay extra attention to their oral health.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to properly process sugar in your blood. Insulin, a naturally-occurring hormone whose purpose is to regulate blood sugar, garners special attention in diabetic cases. Most patients either have too little insulin, are resistant to insulin, or both. Irregular blood sugar can also help bacteria multiply and flourish, increasing your risk of developing serious oral health issues such as gum disease.

The Prevalence of Gum Disease

In America, over 70% of adults over the age of 60 have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Despite its wide-spread occurrence, periodontal disease is not contagious. It does, however, form rather easily in the midst of poor or inadequate oral hygiene. When oral bacteria collect, they form dental plaque to protect them and adhere to your oral surfaces. As plaque accumulates on your gumline, the bacteria release toxins that irritate your gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, creating pockets for plaque and bacteria to gather and continue their destruction. Diabetes lowers your body’s ability to fight infections and invading microorganisms, making periodontal disease development more likely and proper oral health care more important. (more…)

Is Your Snoring More than Annoying?

Sleeping next to a snoring partner can be annoying. It can also keep you awake and grate on your nerves, and in extreme cases, snoring can even strain the relationship between two otherwise loving people. Sometimes, however, there is more than meets the ear, and snoring may be more than a mere irritation, even if you don’t realize it yet. Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young explains how a snore can be more than a snore, and why you shouldn’t ignore the nighttime nuisance.

Why Do People Snore?

When you sleep, all of the muscles and tissues in your body relax. This includes the muscles and tissue in your mouth and throat. When oral and throat tissues relax too much, they can collapse into your airway, limiting the space for air to travel through as you breathe. Snoring is actually the sound of air trying to squeeze past compacted tissue as it travels through your airway. But what happens if this tissue collapses enough to completely block your airway? (more…)