Posts for: February, 2017

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 17, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

While your chances of losing teeth increase as you age, it's not a given. With proper hygiene and care your teeth could last a lifetime.

But brushing and flossing can become more difficult in later years. Arthritis or strength issues in the fingers and hands make holding a toothbrush an arduous chore and flossing next to impossible.

But you can accommodate these physical changes. Many seniors find using a powered toothbrush much easier to handle and effective for removing disease-causing plaque. A tennis ball or bike handle grip attached to a manual toothbrush can also make it easier to handle. As to flossing, older people may find it easier to use floss threaders or a water irrigator, which removes plaque from between teeth with a pressurized water spray.

You may also find changes in the mouth that increase your risk for dental disease. One such issue is xerostomia, dry mouth. As you age you don't produce as much saliva, which neutralizes acid and restores minerals to enamel, as when you were younger. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications. Older people are also more likely to suffer from gastric reflux, which can introduce stomach acid into the mouth.

With these dry, acidic conditions, you're more susceptible to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You can help offset it by increasing water consumption, taking a saliva stimulator, changing to alternative medications if available, and relieving gastric reflux.

Another area of concern in aging is the higher risk for inflammatory diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which could also increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Seeking treatment for gum disease and other similar systemic diseases may help ease the effects of each one.

Taking care of your mouth can be challenging as you grow older. But tooth loss and other unpleasant results aren't inevitable. Invest in your teeth and gums today and you're more likely to have a healthy life and smile all through your golden years.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth and gums as you age, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Aging & Dental Health.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 15, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Hygiene  

Good oral hygiene is an important facet of your general health. Keeping your teeth clean and healthy helps prevent serious dental oral hygieneconditions like tooth decay and periodontal disease. Learn more about the importance of your oral hygiene routine with Dr. Michael Lenz, Dr. Anthony Vattilana and Dr. John Lenz at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE.

How should I care for my teeth?
A strong at-home oral care routine should consist of two consistent things: brushing and flossing your teeth. However, you must perform both the correct way for these important tasks to be effective. Brush all sides of your teeth and oral tissues, including your tongue, using a soft toothbrush for at least two minutes twice a day. Floss between each tooth with dental floss at least once every day. Remember to floss behind the back of your last molar as well.

How often should I see my dentist? 
Taking care of your smile at home is only half of the battle against tooth decay and gum disease. Patients at average risk for these conditions should see their dentist at least twice a year for regular dental examinations and cleanings. These important dental visits act as a preventative treatment alongside any necessary procedures which you may require. Your regular visit will consist of a physical examination and a professional cleaning performed by a dental hygienist.

The Importance of Regular Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Wilmington, DE
Regular dental examinations twice a year allow your dentist to find and treat any potential dental issues such as cavities early. This early detection means that your dentist could solve the problem with a simple dental filling rather than a root canal, saving you time and, potentially, an additional dental visit. Regular cleanings will keep your teeth free of decay-causing plaque and tartar.

For more information on your oral hygiene, please contact Dr. Michael Lenz, Dr. Anthony Vattilana, and Dr. John Lenz at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE. Call (302) 654-6915 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
February 02, 2017
Category: Oral Health

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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