Family and Cosmetic Dentist - Livonia
31574 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Establishing good dental hygiene habits should start as soon as the very first baby tooth pops out of a child's gums. Babies' first teeth can be brushed with a soft "baby" toothbrush and water or simply wiped with cotton swabs - at this age they don't need to use toothpaste. As soon as there are two adjacent teeth in the mouth, a nightly flossing ritual needs to be introduced to the dental routine too. Good dental habits are easier to maintain if they are established early, as part of a normal daily routine.
When a child's first permanent molars erupt into the mouth at about 6 years of age, you will want to talk to us about applying a plastic coating, or "sealant" on those back teeth. We simply paint the sealant on the chewing surfaces of the molars to provide a safe and effective barrier to food getting trapped in the grooves of the teeth, which could eventually lead to the formation of cavities. A second application of sealant should be applied at about 12 years, when the second permanent molars arrive.
The teenaged years sometimes bring with them eating disorders, including bulimia (self-induced vomiting). Patients suffering from this disorder will experience erosion on the back of their upper front teeth due to the acid in the vomit, and may also develop sores at the corners of their mouth. Tongue and mouth piercings are popular with the teenage set, but they have their own set of problems, from oral hygiene issues and infections to fractured, cracked or chipped teeth. As the adult years approach, some gender differences start to emerge. While both men and women need to be vigilant with their dental hygiene, studies show that men are less likely to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health until a problem arises. Problems can range from bad breath to gum disease and tooth loss to oral cancer - all problems that are treatable if identified early.
Women's oral health can be linked to different stages of life, and fluctuating levels of hormones. For example, pregnant women have a risk of increased inflammation of the gums because of a surge in estrogen and progesterone. Rigid attention to dental hygiene and regular cleanings at the dentist are a must in order to keep teeth and gums clean, and to prevent plaque from forming, If plaque isn't removed, it may lead to gingivitis and subsequently to more serious periodontal diseases, which have been linked to pre-term, low-weight babies.
Menopause brings its own set of dental concerns. During this time some women can experience dry mouth, burning sensations and changes in taste. Hormone replacement therapy may cause gums to bleed, swell and become red.
As your dental professional, we're here to help you and your family through each life stage. Regular visits and open communication about health or medication changes will allow us to monitor any changes in your oral health, and make each stage as healthy and comfortable as possible.
We all have oral behavioral patterns, from eating habits to nervous actions that we need to be aware of in order to give our mouth the best chance at long-term health.
People often unconsciously engage in habits that can, over the years, result in harm to their teeth and gums. Starting as children, thumb sucking is a common habit that can result in long-term dental repercussions. The pressure of the thumb on the teeth and roof of the mouth may force a child's teeth out of position and affect the shape of the jaw. Beyond age 6, problems ranging from protruding teeth to speech defects may form due to changes in tooth and bone structure.
Teenagers and young adults may suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa - secret binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting - which can severely erode tooth enamel. Anorexia nervosa is another eating disorder where people simply eat as little as possible in their quest to become as thin as possible, and in the process deprive themselves of the vitamins and nutrients they need for good oral and overall health.
People who snack constantly throughout the day are at the other spectrum of the scale, as their increased risk of tooth decay comes from the constant supply of food that feeds the plaque that forms on teeth, producing acids that then attack tooth enamel and contribute to tooth decay.
Some people find themselves reacting to daily stresses by grinding their teeth at night. Chronic grinding can lead to a multitude of tooth, gum, and jaw problems, often causing headaches as well. Once we identify that you do grind your teeth, we can provide you with a custom-made night guard that will limit the potential for permanent damage.
Tobacco use is, of course, a whole other topic, as smokers are not only at an increased risk for oral cancer, but also for periodontal disease - confirmed by research that shows that smokers are much more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers. Tobacco users are also prone to:
And sometimes we need to be reminded that our teeth were made for chewing food - not for opening things or use as all-around backup tools! Take an extra few minutes to hunt for a pair of scissors or whatever tool you need before substituting your teeth for the job. Biting into and chewing on ice is another common practice that puts a tremendous amount of bite stress on the teeth. Biting into ice cubes can lead to tooth pain, cracking, fractures and in some cases even broken teeth.
Being aware of your bad dental habits is the first step to a healthy dental future. Please feel free to talk to us about how we may be able to help you solve your particular unhealthy dental habit.