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Canines and Molars and Incisors – Oh My!

Your teeth carry a lot of clout. Whether being featured in a dazzling smile, working hard to chew food or playing a pivotal part in good speech, healthy teeth are vital. Each type of tooth in your mouth has a different role, but all need to be taken care of with proper professional dental care to function their best. Here’s a look at the specialized functions of each of your different type of teeth.

Types of TeethIncisors

The eight teeth at the very front of your mouth (four on top, four on the bottom) are called incisors. You may notice that their name is similar to the word “scissors,” which is appropriate as these teeth work like scissors, cutting through food with their thin edges – imagine biting into an apple, for example. This group of teeth also takes a prominent role in your smile as well, as the front and center teeth.

Canines/Cuspids

Surrounding the incisors are the cuspids, better known as the canines. These are the four sharp teeth that are located at each side of the upper and lower sets of incisors. Known as the “cornerstones of the mouth,” each member of this group of teeth is located as the third tooth away from the midline of the mouth. Whereas incisors slice through food like a blade, canines rip and tear food apart with a sharp pointed edge.

Premolars/Bicuspids

This is the category of teeth that only appears as part of the permanent, or adult, set of teeth. Two premolars, also known as bicuspids, sit next to each of the canines in both the upper and lower jaw. They are used primarily for holding, chewing and crushing food.

Molars

Of all the types of teeth in your mouth, molars are the main chewers and grinders. Most adults will have two sets of molars in each of the four back corners of the mouth. Some people also develop one or more third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth often need to be surgically removed because they cause crowding of the molars and teeth located further forward in the mouth, which disrupts the overall alignment of a person’s bite.

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is a good start, but it is not enough. Professional dental exams, cleanings and X-rays can detect and help prevent problems that can threaten the appearance and functioning of your teeth. Make sure to schedule your next appointment to keep your mouth and your smile looking and feeling great. Call Brockport Dental in Albion today at 585-589-0000 to learn more or schedule an appointment online now.

Electric Toothbrushes – Are They Really Better?

Electric Toothbrush Brushing is an integral part of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. From childhood, our parents and dentists instill upon us the importance of regularly brushing to keep plaque, bacteria and diseases at bay. However, in the past few decades, a new technology has become more popular – electric toothbrushes.

Many people ask whether these brushes are better than the traditional toothbrush. It turns out that better technology truly does provide an improved experience when it comes to dental health. According to studies that have been published in leading dental journals, electronic toothbrushes have been shown to be more effective at the prevention of gingivitis and removal of plaque, notes Go Ask Alice, a health questions resource provided by Columbia University.

The American Dental Association also suggests that electronic toothbrushes may be a smarter option for certain users. Children may find using an electric brush is more fun and appealing than a traditional brush, while people with mobility issues or other movement concerns that can make brushing difficult may benefit from using an electric option.

There are two main varieties of electronic toothbrushes available. The first, electric toothbrushes, are generally capable of making 3,000 to 7,500 brushing motions each minute says Go Ask Alice. The second – and newer – option is sonic toothbrushes, which use sound waves to help break up plaque. The brushing equivalent is much higher on these models – as many as 40,000 strokes per minute – making them capable of providing the most thorough clean possible.

Whichever option you choose, the most important part of brushing is ensuring that you do it. Selecting a brush that you’re comfortable with using and keeping to a regular schedule of brushing is the best way to help keep your teeth clean and healthy between visits to your dentist.

For more information on brushing tips or help selecting the best brush for you, talk to your dentist. Call Brockport Dental today at 585-589-0000 or schedule your next appointment online now.

Research Finds Link Between Oral Health and Heart Disease

Scientists and researchers have performed numerous studies that have indicated that there might be a link between poor gum health and higher risk of cardiovascular disease in patients. Scientists have a few different theories as to why these two diseases might be linked.

The first theory states that oral health is a good indication of overall health; if a patient takes care of his or her teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, then chances are, he or she is exercising and eating right, doing all the right things to prevent heart disease.

Other researchers believe that the bacteria that live in infected gums can move from the gums into the bloodstream, which could ultimately cause problems in blood vessels by contributing to clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, which causes higher blood pressure, leading to increased risk of heart attack.

In a recent study performed by Uppsala University in Sweden, scientists and researchers confirmed a link between poor oral health and heart disease. The study surveyed almost 16,000 people from 39 countries who were known to have heart disease for a period of four years. At the conclusion of the study, scientists and researchers concluded that the fewer teeth a person had, the more likely they were to suffer from a fatal heart attack or stroke.

Gum disease affects 80% of Americans, and oftentimes, the condition goes undiagnosed. If your family has a history of heart disease, make sure you take especially good care of your teeth and gums.

Why Candy is Bad for Your Teeth

tooth decayWith Halloween on the horizon, it's a good a time as any to discuss the effects candy and sugary snacks can have on your gums and teeth. The most important thing to remember is that a little bit of candy is fine in moderation, but over time eating even a moderate amount of candy can result in a number of dental issues.

Did you know that your mouth contains bacteria called streptococcus? When most people hear the word bacteria, they think of something bad that can make you sick. Fortunately, our bodies contain a number of different types of good bacteria that actively work to keep us healthy. Streptococcus is one of these types, and it can actually feed on the sugar from candy you put in your mouth.

When streptococcus feeds on sugar, it actually breaks the sugar down, turning it into a type of acid that is harmful to the enamel on your teeth. The longer sugar is in your mouth, the more time it has to break down and wear away your enamel, which can lead to a number of problems; that’s why eating the occasional piece of candy is generally harmless to your teeth. Problems arise when sugar lingers in the mouth for too long.

We know your child probably loves dressing up for Halloween and going trick or treating, and we hope you have a safe and fun holiday. Just be mindful of how much candy your child eats, and maybe even substitute some pieces for sugar-free versions or other healthier snacks!

The Right Way to Brush Your Teeth

teeth brushing Most people brush their teeth at least twice a day, but the act of brushing alone isn’t enough to ensure clean teeth and healthy gums. There are several mistakes people make when it comes to dental hygiene, and developing an improper brushing technique is just one of many. Brushing your teeth incorrectly can almost cause just as many problems as if you periodically skip brushing. So make sure you avoid the following mistakes to get the most out of your brushing sessions.

While many people brush their teeth once or twice a day, three times is truly ideal. If you can brush after every meal, or at least floss, you can be sure that no food lingers between your teeth, and plaque will have very little chance to build up. In addition to how many times you brush your teeth, you should also be mindful of how long each brushing takes. In general, aim for about two minutes.

Whether or not brushing your teeth is actually effective largely comes down to the type of toothbrush you are using. Make sure you don’t have one that is too big or small for your mouth, and if possible, replace the brush every few months. If you’re having a tough time cleaning a few areas of your teeth, you may want to purchase an electric toothbrush.

Finally, although brushing is incredibly important, don’t go too far. Excessive brushing can actually have a reverse effect by wearing away the enamel on your teeth. If you notice your gums are bleeding afterwards, you may also be brushing a bit too hard. This can actually lead to significant problems so save the strength training for the gym.

Follow these tips and you can expect whiter, cleaner teeth and an overall healthier mouth!

Is your Diet Destroying your Teeth?

whitening mouthwashThere are certain foods especially damaging to your teeth. In conjunction with proper home maintenance, avoiding these foods and drinks will help you avoid cavities and gum disease. The common denominator for all foods especially damaging to your oral health is sugar.

Carbonated soft drinks are among the biggest culprits. They contain a significant amount of teeth-attacking sugar and citric acid that can erode away enamel. And even bread and pasta compromise teeth health, with the heavy starch contents breaking down into sugar. The most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the tooth are then exposed to sugar, just like if you drank a carbonated soda.

Even fruits like lemons, limes and oranges are high in sugar and acid. The acid specifically can eat through tooth enamel making teeth more vulnerable to cavities and sensitively. When consumed quickly, most of the acidity of these fruits can be avoided. However, eating these types of citrus fruits before bed for example can allow the acid to eat away at the teeth causing irreparable damage.

In addition to carbonated, sugary drinks, starches, citrus fruits and dried fruits, there are other foods to stay away from if you want to take good care of your teeth. Food that makes your mouth dry like popcorn as well as very sticky candy can both be detrimental to teeth and gums. Staying away from all of these foods and drinks as much as possible will help keep your teeth strong and gums healthy for years without lengthy, painful visits to the dentist.

Oral Health Translates to Focused Learning, Work

healthy smileHow’s your smile doing? We’re not really referring to your happiness, joy levels, or anything like that, but we really just mean those pearly whites. Do they glisten like newly fallen snow when the sun comes out? Do they glisten like Southern California beach sand? We understand that perfect whiteness when it comes to teeth is a bit of a pipe dream, but this is the time of the year that you want to make sure you and your family have smiles that are up to snuff.

 

There should be no creeping cavities squatting in your mouth. That is no way to start the start the school year. Remember, smiles and school go hand in hand – and by that we mean that dental checkups and going back to school go hand in hand. You don’t want the school year to descend into decay – maintaining healthy teeth absent of decay is a surefire way to get the school year started on the right footing.

 

According to a recent La Crosse Tribune report, “Schedule back-to-school dental visit – avoid oral health issues that could distract your child from learning and cause missed class time by scheduling regular dental appointments for checkups and preventive care, such as cleanings and fluoride treatment.”

 

While a glistening smile is certainly aesthetically pleasing, especially in an academic setting, it’s more prudent to think of dental checkups as being a way to prevent future trouble in the school year. When teeth are hurting, it will negatively affect work performance and enthusiasm. When a tooth hurts, the entire body hurts. How is that any way to greet the new school year?

Easing Pain from a Toothache

toothache If you’re in pain in the source is a tooth, you should schedule a visit to see your dentist as soon possible. However, we understand that you may want a bit of relief until you are able to get to the root of the problem. A toothache isn’t always serious, and it can be caused by several things, but the pain should never be ignored. Whether the pain is due to a cavity, an abscess, or another condition, try the following remedies and see what works for you.

 
There are a few cheap and inexpensive solutions you can try from the comfort of your own home. Simply rinsing your mouth out with warm water can occasionally ease the pain, especially if you have any food irritating the sore area. Making sure your mouth is a clean as possible is the best way to contain the problem and minimize the pain.

 
If the pain gets bad enough, you may need to turn to over the counter medication. Whether you choose Aspirin or a similar medication, make sure you carefully read the instructions and take it responsibly. Please keep in mind that pain medication won’t do anything to get rid of the problem. It just temporarily relieves the pain.

 
The last method we recommend is applying a compress to the outside of your mouth on the side with the toothache. This may provide a bit of relief, and like rinsing your mouth out with water, it is a completely free and simple solution.
Utilize these suggestions to get through the day if you’re toothache is causing too much pain, and don’t go another second without scheduling an appointment to take care of the problem.

How effective are Whitening Rinses?

whitening mouthwashOf course your best course for teeth whitening is the professional route. But in those six months between visits, you will likely enjoy a few glasses of wine and a couple cups of coffee or tea. So taking measures to keep your teeth bright and healthy looking is advised. But there are so many teeth-whitening options.
Of course there are the whitening strips and trays we’ve all heard about. These products do tend to whiten teeth, but they take a lot of dedication. Trays and strips essentially add an extra step to your oral hygiene regiment, weighing on the principle of convenience. They also tend to be time consuming and a little messy. There is even whitening floss available, which—given the inherently minimal contact flossing has on teeth surface—has very marginal proven results.
Your best bet are products allowing you to submerge your teeth in hydrogen peroxide bases without adding steps. Given the typical dentist-recommended oral homecare consists of flossing, rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash and brushing, whitening toothpastes and whitening mouthwashes fit this mold.
In addition to reducing dental plaque and subsequently freshening breath, whitening mouthwashes brighten your teeth. Effectively submersing your teeth in such ingredients as hydrogen peroxide, whitening mouthwashes can produce results in as little as 12 weeks. Not believed by most in the dental community as effective as most over-the-counter whitening products, whitening mouthwashes are the most effective for the money and effort.

Dental Envy; the Plight is Real

Chances are you like dinosaurs. At the very least, you find them interesting. Maybe you saw the new Jurassic Park movie or maybe the first one, so long ago, is one of your favorite movies and you can quote it at the drop of a hat. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re absolutely terrified of them and have reoccurring nightmares that you’re being chased through a dense jungle by a couple of angry (and hungry) Tyrannosaurus rexes.

 

Do you have a son or daughter? Do you read them storybooks about dinosaurs? Look, all we’re saying is that dinosaurs are trending right now (perhaps they’ve always been!) and it behooves us to educate you on a new problem regarding those reptilian skyscrapers – dental envy. Yes, dental envy. Let us elaborate, with the help of The Christian Science Monitor.

 

Sarah Caspari writes, “New research found that unique serrations make Tyrannosaurus teeth highly resistant to damage, thus helping the dinosaur and its relatives secure their place at the top of the prehistoric food chain.” What Caspari means is that there was one and only one reason as to why the Tyrannosaurus was on top of that dinosaur food chain: its teeth. Each T-rex had almost godlike teeth – looking like a collection of woodshed saws that allowed them to tear apart the flesh and bone of their prey, without so much as a dent or an ouch in their mouths.

 

Pretty convenient if you ask us. The article also compares T-rex teeth as being a whirling dervish of impossible steak knives that could damage rocks if the T-rex wanted to. What’s important though is that serrations when so deep that it prevented damage. What’s really interesting is that if by some unlucky chance the T-rex actually lost a tooth, it would grow back just like that. Humans can’t do that.

 

The long and short of it is that T-rexes had suit of armor teeth, nearly impermeable to damage, magic teeth that would grow back – all of this contributed to the T-rex climbing up that dino ladder and not letting go – being a super predator with impossible teeth and impeccable eating habits. Let’s just say the T-rex never had to go to the orthodontist or get dental surgery – and for that, we’re a little jealous; human teeth have a long way to go, which makes it important that you take special care of them!

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