Can Gum Disease Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

For decades, experts have known that there is a link between the health of your mouth and your physical wellbeing. Numerous studies support the link, and some of them have established undeniable evidence of the connection; however, more research must be done to understand exactly how one affects the other. In a step towards understanding the oral-systemic connection, dental researchers at New York University have linked the destructive inflammation of gum disease to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this November, Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young explains how gum disease and dementia are connected.

The Circumstances of Gum Disease

Although not as often discussed as most chronic systemic diseases, gum disease has been dubbed “the silent epidemic” by some experts. It affects over 75% of adults in America, and is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the country, as well. It starts with dental plaque, which is comprised of hundreds different types of oral bacteria. When plaque accumulates at your gumline, the bacteria release toxins that irritate the gum tissue, causing it to separate from your teeth and create pockets for more bacteria to collect. Left unchecked, the infection will continue to work its way down through your gums, destroying the connective tissue that holds it to your teeth and eroding the supporting jawbone that holds your teeth in place. Certain bacteria also incite your immune system’s inflammatory response to harmful biological agents, and oral inflammation is the driving force behind the compounding destruction of gum disease. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Reminds You Not to Forget Hygiene this Halloween

The season is ripe for the candy harvest, and children of all ages are gearing up to roam the streets searching for sweet treasures or crash monster parties to celebrate. In fact, candy largely makes Halloween the successful holiday it is today. Aside from making Halloween special, however, candy also poses a considerable threat to your oral hygiene if you’re not careful. To help you protect your teeth this Halloween, Lafayette dentist Dr. Young revisits proper dental hygiene practices.

Tips for a Healthy Mouth

  • Brushing your teeth is perhaps the most important dental hygiene habit. If you do it incorrectly, however, it can prove more of a hindrance than a help. Be sure to gently brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush with an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Brushing too roughly, or with a stiff-bristled brush, can wear away your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to bacteria and infection.
  • The ADA also suggests brushing your teeth twice a day for about two minutes each session to ensure a thorough cleaning. Pay close attention and ensure that you brush every surface of every tooth. Brushing to a short, catchy song can help you keep track of the time during your routine. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Explores Different Teeth of the World

The human tooth is an interesting biological study. Although small and perhaps the most commonly lost body part next to hair, teeth are surprisingly strong. Your teeth are strong enough to continually handle a human bite, which can exert up to 200psi of pressure. The enamel that covers them is the second strongest substance on earth next to diamonds, and yet is susceptible to decay and acid erosion. Our teeth are interesting enough to have garnered the attention of our earliest ancestors, and evidence from as far back as 7000BC points to ancient attempts at treating toothaches. Yet, humans only possess a very small portion of the world’s teeth. Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, explores the teeth of our animal neighbors, and finds that our teeth are not the only interesting ones around.

Interesting Animal Teeth Facts

  • A healthy adult human mouth contains 32 teeth, including the four last molars known as wisdom teeth. Giraffes also have 32 teeth, dogs have 42, and cats have 44 teeth.
  • Humans are only granted two sets of teeth in our lives; our first set, or primary teeth, are usually completely replaced by our teen years. A shark’s mouth, however, contains row upon row of teeth, and while they lose teeth every week, these are replaced. In fact, a shark can have more than 20,000 teeth total in its lifetime. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Gives You Tips to Handle a Dental Emergency

Our readers and patients know that brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once are essential habits for maintaining your oral health. Dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease typically begin with excessive plaque buildup, which proper oral hygiene can help you limit. Unfortunately, however, the best dental habits cannot always protect you from an emergency situation, such as severe tooth sensitivity or trauma. Your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, shares these dental first-aid tips to help save your tooth in the face of a dental emergency.

Improve Your Chances of Saving That Tooth

  • Severe Tooth Sensitivity: Tooth discomfort can indicate a number of different oral health issues, from tooth decay to dental trauma that has left the tooth root exposed. If your tooth suddenly becomes uncomfortable enough to be considered an emergency, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water, and use dental floss to dislodge any food particles. To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack or cold compress to your cheek. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Quizzes You on the Importance of Saliva

Saliva is the clear, watery liquid in our mouths that we don’t generally wish to think a whole lot about. You may be surprised to know that saliva plays a rather important role in your dental health. Saliva is like a soldier waging battle against bad breath, dry mouth, and bacteria. Your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, challenges you to a quiz on the dental benefits of your salivary glands.

Questions

Q1. True or false – Most saliva production occurs while you sleep.

Q2. True or false – Saliva helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

Q3. True or false – There are two major salivary glands on either side of your cheeks.

Q4. True or false – Dry mouth is a minor condition that is uncomfortable, but harmless. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Discusses How Marine Sponges Can Battle Tooth Decay

The sugar craving bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, are key components in tooth decay. However, when distributed correctly, such as inside the human intestines, bacteria can play a role in achieving good, balanced health. With this information, we can potentially control S mutans when they reach harmful levels in the mouth.Your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Young, explains how a research study of marine sponges focuses on understanding how bacteria work.

Bacteria’s Role in Tooth Decay

Bacteria gather into densely populated colonies called biofilms. Scientists have been able to discover that bacteria use something called quorum sensing to communicate with each other, and collectively attach to hard surfaces, like teeth. Food debris, saliva, acid, and bacteria meld to create plaque. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist Discusses How to Protect Teeth through Halloween Season

Candy, candy everywhere, so let’s all have a bite. Starting in October, children will be leveled with a barrage of seasonal candy displays in grocery stores. As school carnivals sweep in with cakewalks and apple bobbing, it might seem impossible to protect children’s teeth.  However, Dr. Michael J. Young provides a few tips to help avoid extraneous dental sugar-shock.

Eliminate Over-Consumption This Halloween

Every child dreams of loading their grab-bag with more sweets than they could possibly carry. Participating in trick-or-treating is a joyous event, and children should be allowed to collect as much candy as desired. Allow children to accrue their desired amount of candy, but then require them to select a limited number of items to be consumed periodically.

(more…)

Lafayette Dentist Warns: Don’t Ignore Tooth Decay

By the age of 39, approximately 86.7% of adults in the United States have had at least one instance of tooth decay in their permanent teeth. By the age of 59, that number jumps to 95.1%. Because cavities are such a common occurrence, many people are lulled into believing that tooth decay is a normal, natural occurrence. Live long enough, and your teeth will decay, they believe. The truth, however, is that your teeth were not meant to sustain decay, and you should not accept tooth decay with a laissez-faire attitude simply because it occurs frequently. Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young explains tooth decay, the dangers it poses to your oral health, and the steps you can take to help prevent it.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, which leaves holes in your teeth called cavities, begins when organic acids attack your teeth. Some foods and beverages are naturally acidic, while others contain nutrients (such as sugar and starches) that oral bacteria consume and convert into acid. These acids attack your tooth enamel—the protective outer layer of your tooth’s crown (top, visible part of your tooth). While enamel is the hardest substance your body produces, it is also the most mineralized and consists entirely of minerals such as calcium and phosphate. When acids attack, they weaken tooth enamel and sap enamel-building minerals from your teeth, eventually rendering the substance too weak to protect the tooth against bacteria. Once past the enamel, bacteria can easily irritate and infect the interior of your tooth. (more…)

Dental Bridge FAQs Answered by Dr. Young

Our Lafayette dental office provides several options for replacing missing teeth. Addressing tooth loss is important for a number of reasons, from cosmetic enhancement, to restoring tooth function and preventing dental issues. Your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, will explain some of the benefits of a particular tooth replacement method, dental bridges, as well as answer some common questions.

What are dental bridges?

Like a structural bridge, dental bridges rely on two points for the foundation of the bridgework. These points are two porcelain crowns attached to the teeth surrounding the void, called abutment teeth. With the dental crowns covering the entire exposed portion of the abutment teeth, the artificial tooth can be bonded between the two crowns. The artificial tooth sits in the gap left behind form the missing tooth, hovering just slightly above the gum line.

What are the benefits of a dental bridge?

Aside from replacing tooth function, dental bridges can also improve your smile. These dental restorations fill in for missing teeth, allowing you to smile with confidence, instead of hiding a gapped-tooth smile. Adding to the cosmetic appeal, dental bridges are made from realistic-looking porcelain, color-matched and shaped to fit your smile seamlessly.

Dental bridges can also prevent teeth drifting, a common problem with missing teeth. These dental restorations prevent the oral health problems that can accumulate as a result of tooth loss. You will not have to worry about other excessive tooth wear or even further tooth loss because of too much pressure on your remaining teeth.

How do I care for a dental bridge?

Maintenance for a dental bridge is only slightly different from caring for your natural teeth. Like your natural teeth, you can brush and floss your dental bridge twice daily. Aside from this, you will need to floss underneath your dental restoration to prevent food from accumulating beneath the bridgework.  With interdental brushing, or special flossing techniques, you can keep your dental bridge healthy for years to come. (more…)

Trust Us, Pick the Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Before the invention of acrylic, toothbrush bristles were made from all kinds of materials we would not think of putting in our mouths today. While other mammals contributed to the animal hair toothbrush bristle industry, the most popular toothbrushes were made from boar’s hair bristles. One of the major disadvantages to these animal hair toothbrushes was hygiene. The bristles would never fully dry, attracting bacteria to the moistened hair. Another disadvantage was the harshness of the bristles.

Which Toothbrush Is Right for You?

Today we have toothbrushes made with acrylic bristles, and while we have many more hygienic options than in the past, some harder bristled toothbrushes can have the same damaging effects as boar’s hair toothbrushes of the past. Our Lafayette family dentist, Dr. Michael Young, will explain which toothbrushes to avoid.

In your grocery store’s dental hygiene aisle, you may find yourself staring at hundreds of toothbrushes at once. Each claims a different unique feature to fit your needs and each has varying bristle hardness. Many people think that harder toothbrush bristles means deeper cleaning. On the contrary, harsher toothbrush bristles can actually harm your teeth.

Hard Bristles Weaken Tooth Defenses

The American Dental Association recommends buying soft bristled toothbrushes because hard bristles wear away tooth enamel. As the hard outer layer of defense on each tooth, your enamel protects your smile from cavities and tooth sensitivity. Hard or medium bristles can erode your tooth enamel, making you more susceptible to these dental health issues.

Harsh Bristles Contribute to Gum Recession

Another danger of hard bristled toothbrushes is gum recession. Your damaged gingival tissue will shrink away from your teeth exposing sensitive tooth roots. This will not only create extreme tooth sensitivity, but also make your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. (more…)