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.
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
For over 4,000 years, green tea has been a staple of Asian culture. Ancient Chinese and Japanese civilizations believed drinking the liquid could cure diseases and heal wounds. In modern times, green tea’s popularity has drastically risen in Western culture, and research is establishing the beverage’s health benefits, including weight loss, heart health, and cancer prevention. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that regular consumption of green tea can help promote healthy teeth and gums, too. Lafayette dentist Dr. Young discusses how green tea can have so many beneficial properties.
Green Tea’s Attack on Harmful Agents
The main reason for the belief in green tea’s healing properties lies in its wealth of antioxidants, called catechins. These antioxidants act as helpful scavengers, hunting down free radicals that can damage cells and lead to illness. Other foods, like berries and dark chocolate, also contain antioxidants, as do other teas. Green tea, however, is made from withering and steaming the leaves, so its antioxidants are more concentrated than those of its fermented brethren, like black and oolong teas. (more…)
Discomfort in your temporomandibular joints, or TMJ disorder, can be excruciating. The joints connect your lower jaw (mandible) to the temple area on either side of your skull (temporal bone). Along with the muscles that surround them, the joints are responsible for allowing your jaw’s diverse range of movements. Several factors are associated with TMJ disorder, including injury to the jaw area, a misaligned bite (malocclusion), and constant tooth grinding and gnawing (bruxism). As an experienced dentist in Lafayette, Dr. Michael Young understands that TMJ trouble must be taken seriously.
How Do I Know if it’s TMJ Disorder?
A distressed TMJ exhibits symptoms that are similar to many other maladies and is often wrongly diagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Dr. Young can perform a comprehensive diagnostic exam to determine the source of your discomfort if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Frequent headaches, especially in the morning
- A tendency to grind or clench your teeth (more…)
In today’s hectic society, finding time to sit and eat a home-cooked meal three times a day can be difficult. You may be too rushed to eat breakfast before you fly out the door on your way to work. Stopping at a fast-food restaurant for a quick breakfast may seem like a good idea when your stomach is screaming at you for sustenance. The same can be said for lunch if you do not bring food from home to sustain you in the middle of the day. While not eating is definitely a bad idea, eating unhealthily is almost as bad. Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young explains how a diet of fast food can help destroy your oral health.
Would You Like Fries with That?
When you think of a hamburger and fries, sugar may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind. Many fast-food chain French fries, however, include sugary solutions as additives to enhance their flavor. Even if you skimp on the fries, the meal still contains an incredible amount carbohydrates. When bacteria in your mouth come in contact with sugars, starches, and carbs, they produce lactic acid, which is excreted over the surface of your teeth. Acid attacks your tooth enamel and robs your tooth of essential minerals. Among these minerals are calcium and phosphate, which your tooth enamel needs to become strong again. Weakened enamel forms tiny holes, which offer sanctuary to bacteria and grow as attacks continue. When the enamel is compromised, bacteria have access to your inner tooth structure to attack and cause tooth decay. (more…)
Doing the most you can for your oral health is as simple as one, two, and three; brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once, and visit your dentist at least twice a year. As simple as the proper oral hygiene routine is, if done incorrectly, you may wind up causing more harm than good. Dr. Young, your Lafayette dentist, explains the proper method of maintaining your excellent oral health at home.
Brush, Don’t Scrub, and Other Brushing Tips
When your teeth feel especially grimy, it can be tempting to put a little extra elbow grease into cleaning them. Your teeth may temporarily feel cleaner for your extra-mile effort, but you’re actually scrubbing away your tooth enamel, the protective layer that covers the crowns of your teeth. If enough enamel wears away, your teeth may become sensitive, and bacteria will eventually be able to infiltrate your tooth structure. The best toothbrushes are made of soft bristles, such as nylon, and carry the ADA seal of approval. Harsh, natural bristles, such as those made from animal hair, can exacerbate enamel erosion. When you use your soft-bristled toothbrush, do so gently. Be sure to brush every surface of each tooth as though you were carefully trying to remove bacteria and debris, paying special attention to the molars in the back. Rough bristles and harsh brushing can also irritate the gums, causing them to recede from your teeth and create small pockets where bacteria can accumulate and cause gum disease. (more…)