Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

Archive for influence of oral health on overall health

Do you really know how to brush your teeth???

Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way

This topic never gets obsolete and we cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Proper brushing is probably the most important way to keep your mouth healthy.  Brushing correctly and with the proper frequency can help you prevent problems before they appear.  There are four important things you will need to properly brush your teeth:  a toothbrush with soft bristles, toothpaste with fluoride, the correct angle of brushing, and brushing in a pattern.  Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your brushing.

  • It is important to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
  • You should use a toothbrush with soft bristles.  Soft bristles with rounded tips are gentler to your teeth and gums, and they also make it easier to remove plaque below the gum line where periodontal disease starts.
  • Use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth.  It can stop a cavity before it worsens as well as provide you with more resistance to future cavities.
  • Angle the brush along the gum line at a 45-degree angle and apply firm pressure so that the bristles slide under the gum line.
  • Vibrate the brush while you brush in short back and forth strokes and in small circular motions.  Brush two or three teeth at a time and then move to the next two or three, allowing some overlap.
  • Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the backs of the front teeth.
  • It is OK to brush in any regular pattern you choose but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth and then move to the insides of the lower teeth.  Then switch to the outsides of the upper teeth and then the outsides of the lower teeth.  Brush the chewing surfaces of the upper teeth, then the same on the lower teeth.  Complete your routine by gently brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth.  This will remove germs that can cause bad breath.
  • Change your toothbrush at least every three months or when the bristles are worn or bent.  Old bristles don’t clean well under the gum line and they host more plaque and disease-causing bacteria than new ones.

We also recommend electric toothbrushes, like Sonicare, as they do a really great job. Call us with any questions or for more instructions on oral hygiene. (512) 329-5555.

We always love to see you smile!

Mom’s gum disease treatment safe for baby

Pregnant women can safely be treated for gum infections without having to worry about their baby’s health, according to a new study.

The concern among dentists had been that treating the problem could cause bacteria to get into the mothers’ bloodstream, where they could harm babies’ development.

Gum disease — caused by a bacterial infection that breaks down gum tissue and can cause tooth loss and serious health problems — is a particular problem during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes appear to make a pregnant woman more susceptible to developing it, yet the standard antibiotic-based therapy is not recommended because it stains the baby’s teeth.

What’s more, dentists have shied away from aggressive teeth-cleaning, which is also effective, out of fears they’d help the bacteria get into the bloodstream. In principle, that could harm the brain development of the fetus.

But those fears are baseless, the new study shows.

“Women can be confident that it’s not going to have clinically meaningful effects on their child’s development,” said Dr. Bryan Michalowicz, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.

Michalowicz, a dentist at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in Minneapolis, and his colleagues tested more than 400 two-year-olds, who’d been born to mothers with gum disease.

Half the mothers had been treated with aggressive teeth-cleaning — called scaling and planing — during pregnancy, while the rest had not.

The researchers found the kids did just as well on language, motor and mental tests regardless of whether their mothers had been treated.

On the other hand, treatment didn’t seem to benefit the kids either. That was the researchers’ original hypothesis, because earlier studies have linked gum disease to developmental delays.

“We asked the question, does treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women improve child development?” said Michalowicz. “We found it doesn’t.”

The researchers did find a slight increase in toddlers’ test scores when the mothers’ gum disease improved. But the effect was so small it doesn’t have any practical consequences, they say.

Nonetheless, he said, “As a dentist I think that improving oral health is a goal in its own right.”

Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a dentist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who wasn’t involved in the study, said it couldn’t rule out that treatment might benefit the baby in some cases.

“You need to have a higher risk population in order to draw a conclusion,” she told Reuters Health. “I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that we should let periodontal disease run rampant in pregnant women.”

But, she added, women should try to maintain good oral health in the first place.

“They need to use a soft toothbrush and floss the right way,” wrapping the floss around the tooth, she said. “The first goal with almost all dental disease is prevention, prevention, prevention.”

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/e3YPjA Pediatrics, April 11, 2011.

Austin's Dentist Standard of Care. Planning in Dentistry.

Clinically, planning is everything in dentistry. It’s what we believe at Austin Smile Creations, your Westlake Dentist. We drive this point home among colleagues, patients and, well, really anyone we have the pleasure of meeting. Planning is the difference between success and failure, we believe. While any dentist may experience success without planning, it’s the risk they are willing to take at a patient’s expense. Planning goes hand-in-hand with perfection in all areas of dentistry, and because we strive for perfection in all areas of dentistry, the key to reaching that is all in Dr. Gotun’s expert planning.

So what does this mean for the patient? Put simply, we give each patient the best quality and most individualized care that can be offered in dentistry. When we say Dr. Gotun tackles each case on a case-by-case basis that’s exactly what we mean. He dissects each case individually, after thorough examination and in-depth diagnostics. Remember all those x-rays that are taken at an initial appointment- 18 to be exact? Or what about the gooey impression material needed to create exact replicas of each individual’s teeth and bite? Or maybe a 3D image called a CBCT scan- Cone Beam Computed Tomography– basically a 3D map of both head and jaw? All are diagnostics, which are part of necessary planning in what we consider our only option at Dr. Gotun’s office: taking really good care of people. Because we care about each patient’s health in it’s entirety (did you know your dental health affects your overall health? More on that later…), we are absolutely keen on proper planning for patient’s to recieve only the best dental care.                                                  

From a patient perspective, if you ask me, there’s nothing else I would want more than knowing and trusting I’m getting the best dental care. Any dentist has the ability to cement a crown, but is that dentist looking at how that crown will affect your bite? Does the dentist look at the way the temporomandibular joints align and possible tension on those muscles and joints naturally? Do they study if a procedure will affect your comfort? Are they using a semi-adjustable articulator to analyze your models before even beginning to plan treatment? Do they complete in-depth research of what will treat the problems and not just the symptoms? This is our standard of care at Austin Smile Creations, because this is the philosophy we all believe in.

Ultimately, we want patients to know what kind of quality they receive in our practice. We want patients to be involved, understand and ask about treatment options. We dedicate ourselves to finding the longest lasting results, because we want to have the happiest patients! For the team at Austin Smile Creations to reach these goals and provide exceptional dental care all begins with proper planning in every stage of dentistry.

You or Your Car? Why oral health is often a key to overall health.

Sometimes it seems that we will faithfully change the oil in our cars on a regular basis while putting off routine dental care for ourselves. . . unless we run into a speed bump such as a toothache. Pain is a powerful motivator, and a lot of us depend on emergencies or roadblocks like that to persuade us to change the road we’re on. But maintenance of your dental health can be one of the most important routines you can establish! Whether you are old or young, good dental care can even become the deciding factor in maintaining quality of life – or life itself. It’s not just a matter of filling cavities!

Probably the most widespread and insidious cause of dental health-related problems is gum disease. Studies indicate that 3 out of 4 adults will develop it in their lifetimes, and if you’re a man with gum disease, you’ll run twice the risk of a heart attack and three times the risk of a stroke. There is a strong connection between gum disease and diabetes; if gum disease is under control, most diabetics see an improvement in their overall health. Ladies, hormonal changes affect gum disease, especially if you are pregnant, and it can complicate pregnancy in a variety of ways. The development of rheumatoid arthritis may be aggravated by gum disease. And for those of us over 40, studies link gum disease with dementia. Who needs all that?

Don’t forget, each time a patient comes in for a procedure, Dr. Gotun always checks for any suspicious signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms because it so often goes undetected until it is advanced. It is becoming more common than some of the more well-publicized forms of cancer. Early signs are often subtle: most patients don’t even know they have it. It is not hard to diagnose, yet the survival rate is low just because it is often found so late. Smokers or those who chew tobacco run a special risk, but everyone diagnosed with human papilloma virus (HPV) should be checked on a regular basis, too. Any sore spot in your mouth that does not heal within 14 days should be seen, and we are here to help you if you need an appointment. Learn more about oral cancer…

Are you putting off getting those recommended fillings because you half-humorously tell yourself “I can always get dentures”? Do you like food you have to chew? Dentures are a good solution for severe problems, but they only provide about 10% of the chewing capacity of your own teeth. So if you like a good, chewy slice of ciabatta or you are a steak lover, plan to keep your own teeth!

In other words, the next time you look at that little sticker on the windshield and think it’s about time to schedule another oil change, let that be a reminder to take care of yourself as well. After all, you are more important than the car. Call for an appointment: we’ll be glad to “take a look under the hood” and keep you on the best route to good health!

Dr. Gotun and Staff.