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Posts Tagged: oral health

Common Teeth Alignment Problems

 The 8 Common Teeth Alignment Problems

Perfectly aligned teeth are not that common. If you see someone with really straight teeth alignment, it’s quite likely that she wore braces — that’s because most people just don’t naturally grow their teeth that way. On top of that, there are certain habits that affect proper teeth alignment such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. Plus, other variables contribute to the problem as well.

So, what are the common teeth alignment problems most people suffer from? A Prescott, AZ dentist rounds up eight of them below:

  1. Malocclusion – This condition is also known as “poor bite” and it basically means you have crooked teeth. It is often hereditary and it’s frequently associated with other dento-facial deformities.
  2. Deep overbite – This is when your upper teeth cover the entire row of your lower teeth when you bite. This condition may not be unsightly and it also may not look like a big problem but when lower teeth bite into the palate or gum tissue behind the upper teeth, this can lead to bite discomfort and bone damage.
  3. Underbite or lower jaw protrusion – This is the complete opposite of an overbite and it tends to look more unnatural. It can create speech difficulty, with the lower jaw protruding to some degree longer than the upper jaw.
  4. Crossbite – This is when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth. This can make biting and chewing difficult, which is why early orthodontic treatment is recommended for correction.
  5. Overjet or protruding upper teeth – While it may seem similar to a deep overbite, an overbite doesn’t necessarily mean that the upper front teeth protrude a lot; with this case it does. It’s a serious problem because it makes the lower front teeth quite prone to injury. Typically, this condition is associated with a lower jaw that is shorter in proportion to the upper jaw.
  6. Open bite – This when the upper and lower incisor teeth do not touch when biting down. You can see an open space between the upper and lower rows. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t look nice, this teeth alignment issue overworks the molars.
  7. Teeth crowding – This usually happens when the dental arch is small and/or the teeth are just too big.
  8. Teeth spacing – When teeth are small or a few teeth have been removed, this causes “shifting,” which then creates spaces between teeth. It doesn’t look nice and it also makes the gums more prone to damage.

Thankfully, all these teeth alignment problems have solutions. Consult your dentist if you have any of these issues to see which corrective treatment is most suitable for you.

Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Aging gives birth to a lot of health woes, which is why it becomes more and more important to pay close attention to your well-being as you continue to get older. It can be a lot of work, but you can be certain that your efforts will have a huge impact on your overall health.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

For example, with oral care, taking care of your teeth as you age will involve additional steps and even special products at different stages in your life. But if you commit to all of these, you do not only get to preserve your teeth and their proper functioning — you also avoid health complications associated with common mouth diseases for aging folks.

If you want to get serious with your oral health in order to feel and look good throughout your life, a Prescott, AZ dentist has these tips for you:

  1. Use soft-bristle toothbrushes – they’re kinder to aging teeth and gums.
  2. Consider an electric toothbrush, especially if meticulous brushing is difficult for you. An electric toothbrush doesn’t need much manipulation to effectively clean your teeth.
  3. Use sonic air floss instead of waxed nylon flosses. This product may be a tad expensive but you can use it for a long time. The advantage provided by this special kind of floss is that it’s so much easier to use and you can avoid cutting your gums as you try to dislodge food debris between your teeth and gums.
  4. If you have dentures, make sure to clean them regularly and to use the appropriate cleaning agents. Don’t clean your dentures with toothpaste – that’s a big no-no. Also, it’s healthier to remove your dentures before going to sleep; doing this will help preserve your gums.
  5. Use a mouthwash to maintain the pH balance of your mouth and prevent bad breath-causing bacteria from proliferating.
  6. Drink water often. Water can also contribute to maintaining the right pH level of your mouth. Plus, it contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay.
  7. If you still smoke, better stop. Smoking dehydrates the mouth and a dehydrated mouth is the perfect breeding place for bad breath- and tooth decay-causing bacteria. Likewise, it increases your risk for lung and other cancers.
  8. Eat healthier. Getting loads of vitamins and minerals from your meals will boost your immune system. A healthy immune system will make you less prone to oral diseases.
  9. And lastly, visit your Prescott Dentist regularly for cleaning, treatments and oral cancer screening.

To schedule a dentist appointment with Dr. Costes or Dr. Reed contact us today!

How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

Since you were a young kid, you’ve heard the adults tell you to limit your consumption of sugary treats. They reasoned out that food laden with sugar can lead to tooth decay, or even worse, tooth loss.

“How does sugar cause tooth decay?” you might ask.

It’s actually not the sugar in food

Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not exactly sugar itself that causes tooth decay and other dental problems.

Sugar is just one of the major factors involved in a series of events that occur after eating sugary and starchy food.

A glimpse into your mouth’s eco-system

Much as you would like to believe that your mouth is clean and free from bacteria, the truth is that it is home to hundreds of bacteria.

Now, some of these bacteria may be harmful, but there are also beneficial bacteria that can be found inside your mouth.

When you consume food rich in sugar, you are essentially feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and then release acids.

In turn, these acids corrode the teeth’s enamel, the protective layer of the tooth. Over time, these acids can create a hole in your teeth. Left unchecked, these holes can go to the deeper layers of the teeth which lead to toothaches and even tooth loss.

Little helpers inside your mouth

Your teeth are constantly bombarded by acids that corrode the enamel. But your teeth are not defenseless.

The acids in your mouth remove minerals from the enamel through a process known as demineralization.

But another key process takes place inside your mouth: remineralization. In this process, the minerals leeched away from the teeth’s enamel are replaced and the teeth are strengthened.

Your saliva plays a crucial role in this process, providing the teeth with minerals like calcium and phosphate. These minerals help repair the teeth.

Your teeth need your help

However, the saliva can only do so much. When you eat too much sugary and starchy food, your teeth has little time to repair themselves.

This is why it is crucial to limit your intake of treats laden with sugars and starch.

But apart from limiting your consumption of sugars and starches, a Prescott, AZ dentist says there are a few other things that you can do to protect your teeth against cavities.

For one, you should add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These facilitate the production of more saliva. Dairy products, on the other hand, are rich in the minerals that help strengthen the teeth. Drinking green and black teas can also control the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Dentists also recommend drinking fluoridated water and brushing the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse it during the early stages. Schedule an appointment with our doctors today!

Basic Dental Care Exam

Dentists recommend regular dental care to preserve your oral health. They can also help you in finding the most suitable yet affordable treatment. Routine oral health care is a great way to achieve a healthy mouth and teeth for years to come. Regularly visiting your dentist for basic dental care exams and cleaning is a great start!

Reputable Prescott, AZ dentist, Dr. Mark Costes suggests scheduling a visit with your local dental hygienist to clean and polish your teeth every six to nine months. Also, you need to have routine examinations and X-rays. Based on the findings from these examinations, additional preventative dental care may be suggested to ensure good oral health longterm.

Dental Exam and Common Procedures

Complete Oral Examination – This will detect problems such as deteriorating fillings and conditions affecting your overall health such as oral cancer and gum disease. Your dentist will explore each tooth, gums, the tongue.

Panoramic X-ray – This refers to taking a shot of all of your teeth as well as your upper and lower jaws to gain a clear picture of your mouth’s condition. It shows the entire mouth in one image, identifying problems like fractures, bone abnormalities, infections, tumors, and impacted teeth. This imagery method is often used when planning treatments like dentures, braces and implants.

Dental Surgery – This includes everything from a simple tooth extraction to a complicated procedure like dental implant surgery. It is primarily done to relieve pain as well as to boost the appearance and function of your smile. It can be performed in a dentist’s office without having to be referred to another office.

Dental Care Basics

  • Brush at least twice a day – Do not rush when you brush. Proper brushing will require at least two minutes. Also, do not neglect the gum line, areas around fillings, crowns and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Clean in between teeth – Your toothbrush can’t reach all the areas to be cleaned. As such, it is very crucial for you to use floss or interdental cleaners to clean the areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. Brushing your tongue is also important since this will remove bacteria to ensure fresh breath.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Make it a habit to eat a balanced diet that contains foods from the five major food groups. You need to limit snacks containing high levels of sugar.
  • Visit your dentist regularly – Dental visits must be done every six months or more for early detection of any dental problem including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Routine fluoride application is also a must. This can be done during your routine dental examination and cleaning.

Basic dental care will involve your daily participation. Your smile will greatly depend on these dental care basics, so always keep them in mind and put them into practice. Call us today to set up your appointment!

How Smoking Affects Your Mouth (and Ways to Treat This)

If you think smoking is bad enough because it destroys your lungs, then you haven’t gotten to the most obvious effects yet.

Tobacco and cigarettes contain tar and nicotine that build up inside your mouth. These gather in between teeth, allowing more bacteria to take refuge in these spaces and attack the surrounding teeth. Since there are about 600 bacterial species that make up the oral microbiome, just imagine how much the act of smoking further aggravates the problem by boosting the growth of the bacteria.

One of the most important things to understand about how smoking affects your mouth is that it also has other effects on your teeth. When plaque or tartar accumulate and harden around your teeth, for example, they create stains, usually yellowish and black in color, that can give you a less attractive smile.

The stains can be very difficult to remove and often cause damage to the surface of your teeth as well. Your teeth are coated with a protective layer called enamel; once the enamel is damaged, bacteria can freely contaminate and infect the core of your teeth, which eventually leads to rotting and extraction.

Another serious effect of smoking is gum disease. Because the nicotine coats the teeth and gums in plaque, oxygen is blocked from properly reaching the bloodstream. This prevents gums from healing as fast as it can, causing in the further development of different kinds of oral diseases. Although smoking can severely damage one’s dental condition, there are ways that can help you treat the damage it has done on your gums and teeth.

Brushing and flossing the right way

Brushing your teeth and flossing should be done the right way in order to achieve optimal results. Brushing three times daily and flossing after every meal is the typical advice, but keep in mind that you also have to do these correctly — you have to use the right strokes and perform the right procedures to remove every bit of tartar stuck on the surface of your teeth. By making a real effort to make a habit out of brushing and flossing regularly, you prevent the cavities from spreading further to your other teeth.

Installing crowns or veneers

When the degree of staining on your teeth is too serious too remove, you can simply cover it up with dental crowns or veneers. These dental solutions can be easily installed by your dentist and would not take too much time to accomplish. They serve as protective coverings and come in a porcelain white color to improve not just function of the teeth, but also their appearance.

Do not allow your teeth to deteriorate and completely lose their beauty. Visit a Prescott, AZ dentist today; these credible dental experts have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to help bring back the perfect smile you lost from smoking.

Celebrate World Oral Health Day by Taking Better Care of Your Teeth and Gums

Annually, people from all over the world celebrate World Oral Health Day on March 20.

But beyond this important day, it is crucial for people to pay attention to their oral health and take better care of their teeth and gums. Your oral health impacts your self-confidence, personal relationships, and even your overall health.

In fact, poor oral health has been associated with the increased vulnerability to a host of diseases ranging from diabetes to heart disease to some forms of cancers.

How can you take better care of your oral health? Here are some helpful tips from a Prescott, AZ dentist.

Change what you can change

When it comes to some dental health factors, there are some risks that you can do nothing about. These factors include your age, sex, and the genes you have inherited from your parents.

But there are also other risks factors that you can control. These include your lifestyle and habits and your behaviors. Some of the risk factors that you can change include tobacco use, your diet, alcohol consumption, and oral hygiene.

Making key changes in these areas can help boost your oral health while minimizing risk factors.

When you are looking to modify your diet, one of the first things that you need to check is your sugar consumption. That includes sweets and soft drinks which increase your vulnerability to oral diseases. As much as possible, limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.

If you are a smoker, you need to be aware that your habit is wreaking havoc on your oral health. In fact, many studies have associated tobacco use with a long list of conditions ranging from gum disease to oral cancer.

While you do not have to totally avoid drinking alcohol, keep in mind that excessive consumption can leave you vulnerable to dental caries and oral cancer.

The easiest thing to modify is your oral hygiene. By simply brushing and flossing your teeth properly and regularly, you can protect your teeth and gums from a diverse array of conditions, including tooth decay and gum disease.

Beyond World Oral Health Day

Celebrating World Oral Health Day is a good way to underscore the importance of the health of your teeth and gums.

However, taking care of your oral health is something that you need to constantly remember every day, and not for just one day in a year. Take charge of your oral health by contacting us today!

What Causes Gum Recession?

After brushing, you check your teeth and gums in the mirror and you notice something unusual. It’s either your teeth have become longer or your gums have become smaller.

What’s happening here? The answer: gum recession.

Gum recession is a condition wherein the area where the teeth and gums meet pulls back. When this happens, more of the tooth becomes exposed. This also creates what a Prescott, AZ dentist calls pockets which can leave your teeth and gums vulnerable to the build-up of bacteria. Left unchecked, gum recession can lead to damage to the supporting tissues and bones, and eventually, tooth loss.

Gum recession is fairly common and most people do not know they have receding gums until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage.

There are, however, a few signs that indicate that a person has receding gums. These include increased tooth sensitivity and longer-looking teeth.

What causes gum recession?

There are several possible causes of gum recession.

Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession.

This bacterial infection destroys both the gum tissues and the supporting bones of the teeth.

Another common cause of this condition is poor oral hygiene.

If you fail to properly and regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque can easily build up in your mouth and eventually form into tartar.

But sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Take brushing, for example. If you brush your teeth too hard or if you do not brush your teeth properly, you risk wearing away the enamel on your teeth and cause your gums to recede.

Some people have receding gums simply because they are genetically predisposed to suffer from this condition.

According to some estimates, about 30 percent of people will get receding gums even if they take great care of their teeth and gums.

Pregnant, menopausal, and young girls undergoing puberty are also vulnerable to gum recession as changes in their hormones adversely affect their gum tissues.

Cigarette smokers and people who use tobacco products are also highly likely to have receding gums. This is because these people have more plaque on their teeth which can cause gum recession.

If you have bite problems or crooked teeth, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to gum recession if you do not seek the appropriate treatment. Your condition places too much force on the gums and bones which may cause recession. The same thing can happen to people who clench and grind their teeth.

Gum recession may also be caused by piercings on the lip or tongue. When your body piercing jewelry rubs against your gums, this can cause irritation and eventually gum recession.

Gum recession is a serious concern and you should immediately see your dentist for the appropriate treatment.

What Causes Gum Recession?

Gum RecessionWhat Causes Gum Recession?

When it comes to oral health, a lot of people focus mainly on their teeth. Too often, caring for the gums comes as an afterthought. As the old adage goes, out of sight, out of mind. However, taking good care of your gums is crucial both for excellent oral and overall health. Failure to take care of your gums can lead to a host of problems, including receding gums or gum recession.

What is Gum Recession and What Causes Receding Gums?

Dentists sometimes compare the teeth to a potted houseplant. If you try to remove the soil to expose the roots, these roots will not receive the water and nutrients these need. Subsequently, the plant grows weaker and eventually dies.

The same thing applies to your teeth. When you have receding gums — a condition wherein the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth recedes or wears away — the lower portion or roots of the teeth also become exposed. This, in turn, deprives the teeth of the nutrients these need and can make the teeth vulnerable to bacteria.

How Common is Gum Recession?

Gum recession is a fairly common oral health problem due to the number of factors that can cause it. These include gum disease, poor or inadequate oral health care, hormonal changes, genetics, brushing too hard, tobacco consumption, bruxism or grinding of teeth, poor alignment of the teeth, lip or tongue piercings, traumas and accidents, diabetes, poor nutrition, some types of medication, drug abuse, and ill-fitting dental appliances like crowns and bridges.

Unless you are paying close attention to your gums, it can be hard to detect gum recession. This is because gum recession happens very slowly, often during a span of several years. This is why it is important that you regularly check your gums and visit your dentist at least twice a year.

Warning Signs

There are, however, a few warning signs that you can look for. These include swelling of the gums, a purplish or bright red color, tenderness to the touch, pus coming out between the teeth and gums, changes in your bite, loosening of teeth, bad breath, sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, and an increase in the space between the teeth.

When you are looking at your gums in the mirror, check whether your teeth seem to have grown longer and if the spaces between your teeth and gums have grown wider. Run a finger over your teeth. If you feel a notch where your gum line used to be, that means that your gums have receded. Receded gums also have a tendency to be sensitive to hot and cold food and liquids.

There are a variety of ways to treat receding gums. However, the simplest way of treating this gum condition is by addressing the root cause. For example, if your gum recession is due to poor oral health care, you need to invest more time and effort toward taking care of your teeth and gums. Or, if you are a smoker, you should kick your bad habit as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing some of the warning signs of gum recession, it is important to schedule an appointment with your Prescott Dentist immediately. The friendly professionals at Horizon Dental Group will help you with a dental plan that works for you.

What Is a Canker Sore and What Causes It?

Canker SoreWhat Is a Canker Sore and What Causes It?

You’re enjoying your lunch or dinner, and then you suddenly stop because of the sharp pain you felt in your gums. You excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to check out your mouth and notice round, white or grayish sores. You’ve got a canker sore.

Canker sores refer to small ulcers that appear in the mouth. Often, these sores make eating and talking painful or uncomfortable.

Canker sores are classified into two types: simple and complex canker sores. Simple canker sores can appear three to four times a year, usually in people aged between 10 to 20 years old. These canker sores often last for a week.

Types of Canker Sores 

Complex canker sores are not as common as simple canker sores. You are likely to get these canker sores if you have had them before.

Symptoms of canker sores include pain that comes from either the sore or other parts of your mouth (soft palate, tongue, cheeks), and a burning sensation before these sores emerge. Sometimes, people with canker sores experience other symptoms like fever, sluggishness, and swollen lymph nodes.

Cold Sores

Sometimes, people mistake canker sores for cold sores. These two types of sores are different. Cold sores, also known as herpes simplex type 1 and fever blisters, are caused by a virus and can be spread from one person to another. Additionally, cold sores can be found outside of the mouth, unlike canker sores which are found inside of the mouth.

To date, medical and dental experts still do not know what exactly causes canker sores. A lot of these experts suggest that canker sores may be caused by trauma or stress, although there are some types of foods, especially acidic ones, which can also cause these sores to appear and aggravate the associated pain. People who wear braces or poor-fitting dentures may also suffer from canker sores.

Cure for Canker Sore

To date, no cure for canker sores has been developed. And if you have had these sores before, it is likely that these will come back. Typically, these sores will disappear from a few days to two weeks without requiring treatment.

If you notice that: the sores have become larger or seem to be spreading; they have lasted more than three weeks, or they have become too painful, or if you are having difficulty drinking or are suffering from high fever, you need to go to a dentist as soon as possible.

Although canker sores are incurable, there are a few steps that you can take to prevent these sores from recurring.

As much as possible, avoid food and drinks that irritate your mouth, including spicy and acidic foods. Also, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush in cleaning your mouth. Make it a habit to brush and floss daily to keep your mouth free from food particles that may trigger canker sores.

Another possible cause of canker sores is poor health, especially cases which are due to nutritional problems or diseases related to the gastrointestinal tract.

If you are looking for a great dentist in Prescott, contact the dental professionals at Horizon Dental Group today!

Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom Teeth
Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Over the course of human evolution, there are a few body parts that have been rendered essentially useless. These body parts are called vestigial organs and include the appendix, tailbone and wisdom teeth. While these body parts were once considered important to prehistoric humans, these are no longer useful. Some body parts, like the appendix, can even be removed without causing any adverse side effects.

As such, it is not unusual for your dentist to recommend removal through oral surgery. In fact, roughly 5 million people have had this dental procedure completed.

You might be asking “Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed?”

Dentists recommend the extraction as a preventive measure. There might be nothing wrong with your wisdom teeth now, but there is a possibility that it can become impacted. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it simply means that these cannot break through the jaw. One reason behind that may be because there is no room for these to grow out. It is also possible that the teeth are growing at an angle against another tooth which can lead to damage to that tooth. When these teeth push nearby teeth, these can also cause pain and bite problems. In addition, a wisdom tooth can lead to the formation of cysts. Left unchecked, these cysts can lead to nerve damage and the hollowing of the jaw.

Is it Hard to Remove A Wisdom Tooth?

Another reason why dentists recommend the extraction of wisdom teeth, especially at a young age, is that it is easier to do so. As a person ages, the bones get harder, making the task of extracting wisdom teeth harder. Additionally, removing wisdom teeth when you are younger can prevent problems like heavy bleeding, fractured teeth, and minor loss of jaw movement.

Additional Issues

Other problems caused by wisdom teeth include sinus problems, inflamed gums, and cavities. If you have undergone alignment work like braces and crowns, wisdom tooth impaction can reverse some of the progress you have achieved with these treatments.
If you are unsure about whether extracting your wisdom teeth is best for you, your dentist in Prescott can explain the rationale behind his or her recommendation. You may also request to wait a few months before making a final decision. However, if problems like bad odor, swelling or pain at the back of your teeth occur, it may be time to reconsider having your wisdom teeth extracted.