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…)
The mere mention of a root canal procedure can make the mightiest of men cringe. Some people would rather risk the extreme tooth sensitivity taking their chances with a little mild tooth decay. Besides, your body fights infection, so as long as you keep brushing and flossing, the infection should go away, right? Wrong. Although discomfort can be experienced at the beginning stages of a cavity, the sensitivity can be a warning that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth, and you are in danger of losing that tooth. Also, tooth decay means microbes are essentially eating your tooth away into nothingness. In other words, it will not go away on its own, and treatment is necessary to stop it. These myths, along with the myth that root canal procedures are painful, are probably responsible for as much tooth loss as tooth decay itself. In order to clarify lies that may cost you your continued good oral health, Dr. Michael Young explains the need for a root canal procedure, and why neglecting one can cost you more than just the loss of one tooth.
Why Does My Tooth Hurt?
If the excruciating discomfort of a sensitive tooth is not enough reason to compel you to undergo a root canal procedure (if necessary), then let us consider why your tooth is sensitive and why the procedure would be needed. Tooth decay occurs when acids attack your teeth. The first line of defense, your tooth enamel, has no nerves, so you don’t feel these attacks. In fact, the only part of your tooth that has any nerves or blood vessels is the very center of your tooth, called the tooth pulp. If your tooth hurts, it could mean that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth and has infected the pulp, which can cause the tooth to form an abscess (a collection of infected material, or pus). The infection can continue to spread down through the canals of the tooth root that are anchored into the jawbone, leading to tooth loss, bone degradation, and further infection. (more…)
The bright sun, beautiful foliage, and relaxed atmosphere of July make it the ideal month for enjoying nature. That may be the reason why the powers that be have designated July as National Picnic Month. Before you pack your basket full of goodies, however, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, gives you some ideas for packing a healthy picnic meal that won’t wreak havoc with your oral health.
The Main Course
Although a large pizza or a bag full of burgers may be tempting, littering would contradict the wholesome ambience of a picnic. Besides, you have everything you need for the perfect picnic already in your kitchen, or not too far away at your local grocery store. The best food choices are chicken (or other meat), cheeses, nuts, and milk. These foods are rich in calcium and phosphate, which are the same minerals your tooth enamel is made of. When enamel is weakened by bacterial acid attack, which dissolves your tooth’s minerals in a process called demineralization, calcium and phosphate allow enamel to restrengthen itself through remineralization. Eating foods rich in these calcium and phosphate facilitates the remineralization process and strengthens your teeth quicker.
It should come as no surprise that candy, cookies, cakes, and pies are a bad choice as far as your dental health is concerned. Good snack choices include firm or crunchy fruits like apples and pears. These fruits have a high water content, which dilutes the sugars they contain. They also stimulate the flow of saliva, which further buffers the acid your oral bacteria produces from the sugars you eat. Acidic foods like oranges, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to help neutralize decay-causing acid. (more…)
How often do you think about your oral health? If you are like most people, then the answer is probably “not very often.” Your teeth, however, are essential to everyday functions like eating and speaking and deserve at least a little consideration. Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young encourages you to take this Basics of Oral Health Quiz to gauge your knowledge of oral health.
Basics of Oral Health Quiz
1. What is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America?
c. Gum disease
d. Tooth fairy
2. These teeth, commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth,” are believed to be relics of our ancient past, and no longer needed.
b. Third molars
c. Fourth molars
d. Milk teeth
3. This tissue is the strongest substance that your body produces, even stronger than bone, but is still susceptible to cracks and breaks.
d. Mucosa (more…)
Wisdom teeth have grown quite a notorious reputation, not just for the discomfort they cause, but because of their seemingly complete irrelevance to the function of the mouth. You may have had your wisdom teeth removed before they caused you any trouble. If you are like most people, however, you’ve experienced the discomfort of third molars trying to force their way into the space at the back of your mouth. While you were cursing your wisdom teeth, and possibly calling them every name in the book (and some that aren’t), did you ever wonder what was the point of wisdom teeth in the first place? Dr. Michael Young takes a closer look at wisdom teeth and why they appear at all.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Our third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to form and usually do not erupt (rise out of the gums) until the late teen years. Because of the discomfort and oral issues associated with these teeth, many people choose to extract them as soon as they appear, even if they have not caused trouble at that point. So why would we grow a set of teeth just to take them out as soon as they show up? Scientists believe the third molars did serve a purpose at one point. The diets of our early ancestors consisted of tougher, coarser food, such as raw plants and roots. Excessive chewing was needed to grind this food into something digestible, and constant tooth wear may have been a common problem. The extra molars provided the additional chewing power our ancestors required. These early humans are believed to have had wider jaws as well, so crowding due to third molar eruption must have been much less common than it is today. As we evolved and began cooking food to soften it, the third molars became unnecessary, and today evolutionary biologists consider wisdom teeth vestigial organs (no longer needed due to evolution). (more…)
Thirst is strongly associated with summertime. With the sun blaring down at full capacity, not much time passes between stepping outside and feeling like you need to rehydrate. Doctors recommend drinking at least 8-12 cups of water a day, possibly more due to excessive moisture loss from constant sweat. Many people, however, prefer flavored drinks, like sweet tea or sodas, for their pleasurable taste. Dr. Michael Young explains the folly of relying on sugar-loaded drinks to quench your thirst this summer.
The Usual Suspects
Some drinks are naturally associated with summer. Iced tea and lemonade scream summer every time they are poured into a glass. While refreshing and, in most cases, exceptionally tasty, both of these beverages contain large amounts of sugar that can damage your teeth. Most sugars today are refined. When refined sugars and fermentable carbohydrates interact with plaque, oral bacteria become acidic and attack your tooth enamel. Acidic bacteria weaken your teeth by sapping your enamel of crucial minerals, like calcium, that it needs to remain strong. When the enamel is weakened or damaged, your teeth are essentially defenseless to bacterial attack and tooth decay.
Lemonade and lemon iced tea hold extra risks because of citric acid, which also attacks tooth enamel. The urge to slowly sip lemonade and iced tea to savor their sweet flavor exacerbates the risk, because the longer your teeth are exposed to sugar and acid, the greater the chance of tooth decay. (more…)