Federal Way Family Dentistry – Useful Facts

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How Healthy is Xylitol?

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As refined sugars are one of the bigger enemies to your dental health, many people are interested in finding alternative sweeteners that can give candy the taste we love without harming our teeth as much. This is the purpose behind a substance known as xylitol, which has shown some potential toward this end. Researchers have observed that this substance causes less damage to your teeth than conventional sugar, and some are even going as far as to claim that xylitol can actually kill off the harmful bacteria in your mouth. But is this claim too good to be true?

A team of researchers explored this question with a series of ten studies involving about six thousand participants. Some were instructed to use a xylitol-based toothpaste, while a control group used normal fluoride paste. The team found “low-quality evidence” that the xylitol toothpaste resulted in 13% less tooth decay. This is considered insufficient to draw any conclusions. Meanwhile, the studies did not explore the potential side effects of the substance.

You can learn more about healthy dental care from our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

When Should Children Begin Brushing On Their Own?

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If you have children, you’re eventually going to have to transition them to brushing on their own. So, how do you know when a child is ready?

Properly brushing your teeth requires fine motor skills and understanding that is probably beyond children under the age of about six. Such children may assume that their teeth are clean simply because the look or feel clean. They may not grasp that they need to brush all of their teeth, and not simply the exposed part of their front teeth. With the minty taste of their toothpaste, they may not know to not swallow it when they’re done brushing.

In their early years, it is a good idea to let children watch you brush your own teeth and do some practice brushing under your supervision. Put a pea-sized drop of paste on their brushes, then guide their hand in front of a mirror. Assure that they cover the top, front, and back of each tooth, scrubbing in a circular motion and gently massaging their gums. If you require any further help, bring your child to our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

Dental Care Following a Stroke

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There are many problems associated with suffering a stroke, and your dental hygiene is one that can easily be overlooked. Not only may it be more difficult for you to properly brush and floss, but you will likely experience dry mouth as an aftereffect of your stroke or a side effect of your medication. With this in mind, take special care following your stroke to save yourself from unnecessary decay.

Firstly, be sure to tell our Federal Way dentistry clinic of whatever medication you may be taking as a result of your stroke. Of particular concern are anticoagulants, since they encourage excessive bleeding during your procedures. Further, if you are suffering from memory loss, you may benefit from having your dentist write your your instruction down for you following your treatments.

At home, consider getting new products to accommodate your weaker grip. An electric toothbrush or a flossing tool may be helpful for you. In some cases, you may only need to wrap some extra padding around your existing toothbrush.

Defeating Dry Mouth with Cell Therapy

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Dry mouth has many possible causes, many of which involve the destruction of your salivary glands. The big problem with treating such conditions is that salivary glands are not very good at regenerating themselves. Fortunately, modern research into the potential of cell-based therapies are showing a lot of potential to give new hope to people suffering from this condition.

A team from the University of Texas at San Antonio described in Tissue Engineering Part A how they managed to make use of silk fibers to guide stem cells into producing fresh salivary glands. These fibers act as something of a scaffold for the cells, after which a nourishing medium is added to facilitate growth. After several weeks, the cells created a solid structure around the silk, which eventually biodegrades.

Though the process is not quite ready to treat patients yet, the team is optimistic that they will be able to produce fully functional salivary glands from stem cells in the near future. Until such a time, seek out our Federal Way family dentistry clinic for help overcoming your dry mouth problems.

Is Gum Disease Linked to Pancreatic Cancer?

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There are many reasons to maintain good oral hygiene that go far beyond avoiding cavities and gum disease. After all, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Bad oral health is linked to a slew of other bodily diseases, which certain research indicates may include pancreatic cancer.

According to a research team from the Harvard School of Public Health, there is strong evidence that pancreatic cancer may have a significant link to gum disease. Specifically, it appears to be related to a form of gum disease known as periodontitis, which affects the gum tissues that support your teeth and can lead to a loss of bone around your jaw. One study showed that men with a history of such gum disease had a 64% greater risk of pancreatic cancer, when compared to men who never had gum disease. Whether this points to gum disease increasing your risk of pancreatic cancer, or a risk factor of pancreatic cancer making you more likely to suffer from gum disease, is unclear at this time.

One way or another, it remains clear that regular visits to your dentist are a vital part of keeping up good health. Contact our Federal Way dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Bruxism and Social Anxiety

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It has long been understood that stress can be a contributing factor to bruxism. Thanks to a study from Tel Aviv University, we now know more about the relationship between bruxism and social anxiety. According to this study, if you suffer from social anxiety, interaction with other people is likely to trigger tooth grinding.

This study looked at a group of seventy-five men and women in their early thirties. Forty of the participants had social phobia, about half of which were on medication to treat their problem. The remaining thirty-five participants had no social phobia. All participants had their oral health and psychiatry examined. The results were that moderate-to-severe wear was found on the teeth of 42.1% of those with social phobia, as opposed to 28.6% of the control group. The occurrence of jaw play was present in 32.5% of the socially anxious, and only 12.1% of the controls. Finally, symptoms of waking bruxism were found in 42.5% of the socially anxious, against a scant 3% of the controls.

If you suffer from social anxiety, there are measures you can take to protect your teeth. Talk to our Federal Way dentistry clinic for more.

Is There Fecal Matter on Your Toothbrush?

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How clean is your toothbrush? It’s common enough for your brush to gradually take on bacteria while you brush it, which is why it is important to rinse it out every so often. However, if you are not careful, you may end up brushing your teeth with something far more unsavory.

According to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, a surprising number of toothbrushes are contaminated with human fecal matter. The study took a collection of brushes that are stored in shared bathrooms, finding fecal particles on more than 60%. Further, it was found that there was an 80% chance that these contaminants were coming from somebody other than the brush’s owner, which is less healthy than waste originating from your own system.

Contamination happens largely because of the light spray of water which results from flushing your toilet. Therefore, you should take measures to store your brush away from the line of fire. Putting your brush in a closable container, but preferably still exposed to the air so that it can dry out between brushings, is preferable. Contact our Federal Way dentistry for more information on proper toothbrush maintenance.

What is Pulp Therapy?

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When you look at your teeth, all you’re seeing is the sturdy, bone-like part. However, inside this thick white structure, there is a node of soft, fleshy tissue. This is what dentists call the pulp of the tooth. It is from this pulp that the tooth derives its nutrients and is kept healthy. When the pulp is threatened by disease, it’s up to your dentist to save it with pulp therapy.

You may need to have pulp therapy if you have a severe cavity or suffer trauma to the teeth. Whenever the outer structure of the tooth breaks enough so that bacteria can infect the delicate pulp inside, you need to address it before the tooth can die. Pulp therapy involves going into the damaged tooth, removing any diseased tissue, purging the infection, and then sealing up the break. For more information on pulp therapy, consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

What is Fluorosis?

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When a child receives too much fluoride in his or her first eight years, his or her permanent teeth can come in with a condition known as fluorosis. This is a largely cosmetic problem, but it can adversely affect the self-esteem of a child. Symptoms include the following:

  • Discoloration in the teeth, ranging from faint white stains to dark brown.
  • Irregularities on the tooth’s surface.
  • Severe and highly noticeable pitting.

Fluorosis affects roughly a quarter of Americans. Fortunately, it can be easy to prevent the condition, and there are many options available for people with serious symptoms. Consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic to learn more.

A Cleaner Tongue Means Stronger Tastes!

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You probably already know that tongue-scraping is an important part of your daily dental hygiene. Failing to clear away the plaque and detritus that gathers on your tongue is a good way to invite tooth decay and gum disease upon yourself. And, in case this is not enough to motivate you to get a proper tongue scraper, also consider the additional benefits that tongue scraping has for your dining experience.

When you neglect to scrape your tongue, your taste buds aren’t able to do their job. You’re tasting your food through a thick layer of plaque. Blocked taste buds also bring about false cravings and a reduced ability to enjoy your food. It is only by regularly cleaning your tongue that you can properly enjoy all of your favorite dishes.

Consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic to learn more about proper tongue scraping.

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