The Many Benefits of Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

We all know that practicing good oral hygiene is essential for maintaining the health of our teeth and gums, however, besides ensuring you have a beautiful smile, good oral hygiene offers a variety of other health benefits.

How Good Oral Hygiene Benefits the Teeth and Gums

Good oral hygiene reduces the risk of developing potentially painful issues like cavities (aka dental caries) and gingivitis (aka periodontal disease and gum disease).

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. If left untreated, the disease continues to progress, causing permanent damage to the teeth, gingival tissue (i.e., gum tissue), and even the jawbone.

Signs of tooth decay include:

  • Surface stains.
  • Tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity is frequently associated with temperature changes and consuming foods and beverages that are highly acidic (e.g., oranges, lemons, limes, etc.).
  • Tooth pain.
  • Pits or holes in the teeth.

There are four levels of gum disease:

  1. Gingivitis.
  2. Slight periodontal disease.
  3. Moderate periodontal disease.
  4. Advanced periodontal disease.

Early symptoms include inflamed gingival tissue, irritation, redness, and bleeding while brushing. Any damage incurred during this early stage can be reversed, however, damage resulting from the other three cannot.

Symptoms experienced during the more serious stages of gum disease:

  • A receding gumline.
  • Red gums that are swollen and tender.
  • Loose or shifting teeth.
  • A bad taste remains in the mouth.
  • Halitosis (i.e., chronic bad breath).
  • Pockets of pus at the gumline.

5 Other Potential Benefits Associated with Eliminating Bacteria by Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

  1. May Help Prevent the Onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Studies indicate that individuals with gum disease experience more issues related to cognitive skills and memory than people with healthier mouths. It is believed that the oral bacteria enter the nerve channels and bloodstream leading to the brain, once there, the bacteria kill brain cells, resulting in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

  1. Can Decrease the Likelihood of Developing Cardiovascular Problems

Once gingivitis develops and the gums begin bleeding, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, allowing it to spread throughout the body, increasing chronic inflammation. This inflammation can lead to a variety of cardiovascular problems including heart disease and stroke.

  1. May Improve a Woman’s Fertility

A study conducted in 2014 found that when a woman has gum disease, it will take her longer to conceive than a woman with healthy teeth and gums.

  1. Decreases the Likelihood of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

It is believed that, once again, the oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream increase widespread inflammation, leading to insulin resistance.

  1. Reduces the Risk of Some Cancers

The oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream may actually boost cancer cell growth. In addition, individuals with gum disease may be at an increased risk of developing oral or pancreatic cancer.

How to practice good oral hygiene:

  • Brush twice a day, in two-minute intervals.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA’s Seal of Approval.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use a mouthwash recommended by the ADA.
  • Limit sugar consumption.
  • Avoid using tobacco.
  • Have biannual cleanings and exams at Travis Wilson Family Dentistry.

If you are in the greater Beaver Dam area, Morgantown or Owensboro, Kentucky, and you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with gum disease or you are due for a dental cleaning and exam, contact Travis Wilson Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with an experienced and caring dentist.

Travis Wilson Family Dentistry has offices located at 2014 Triplett Street in Owensboro, Kentucky, and at 1042 North Main Street in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. You can either use our online appointment request form, or contact the office of your choice via telephone. To contact our Owensboro, Kentucky, office please call: (270) 926-6040. To call our Beaver Dam, Kentucky, office, please dial (270) 274-3645.

Brushing Teeth for Baby and You – Taking Care of Your Smile During Pregnancy

Pregnancy may mean you are smiling more than usual. Make sure you are taking good care of that smile for the health of you and your growing baby.

Common Dental Health Problems During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body. Beyond the typical things like gaining weight and feeling more hungry than usual, a lot of biological things are taking place as well. For one, your hormone levels drastically change, which can bring about cravings for different foods and changes in your mouth. Pregnant women can be more at risk of periodontal disease because of these changes. Additionally, you may have some problems with swollen or bleeding gums due to increased blood flow. Some women are more prone to cavities during pregnancy as well, which may be partly related to craving new foods but also related to swollen gums more likely to allow bacteria below the gumline. It is also worth noting that morning sickness that leads to vomiting can cause oral health concerns because of the excess stomach acid that ends up in your mouth.

How Poor Oral Health Can Affect Your Growing Baby

The growing fetus is getting everything it needs from its mother. Unfortunately, this exchange of nutrient delivery and shared blood flow also means that problems mom has in her mouth can mean the fetus is also exposed. The CDC says that bacteria from decaying teeth may be transmitted to the growing baby, which may mean the child will eventually be more prone to dental decay after they are born. Likewise, if you have untreated conditions like an abscessed tooth, the infection could potentially be passed to the baby and create a worrisome situation. There are also some known links between periodontal disease and premature delivery.

Dental Care Product Safety During Pregnancy

Of course, you want to be vigilant about oral health care at home during pregnancy, which means plenty of brushing and flossing. Nevertheless, you do need to make sure the products you use are safe for you and your growing child. Make sure the products you use for brushing, rinsing, and flossing are safe for use during pregnancy and discuss any questions about products with your dentist to be safe.

You want your baby to love your smile as soon as they come into this world, and you want your baby to grow to be healthy with a beautiful smile of their own. Reach out to us at Travis Wilson Family Dentistry in Owensboro to schedule an appointment.

Why getting regular dental check ups is so important

As adults, we have one set of teeth that need to serve us our entire lives. Protecting those teeth is essential. And, one of the cornerstones of good dental hygiene and health is regular dental checkups.

What Happens at a Check Up?

A dental checkup has two parts. First, cleaning is performed, a dental hygienist will perform a service known as scaling. During scaling, special dental tools are used to remove tartar, a hard substance that can accrue on your teeth near the gum line. You will probably also have your teeth polished. Polishing involves using a gritty substance to remove any surface stains to improve the appearance and cleanliness of your teeth. Finally, the hygienist will floss. This removes any material from between teeth and helps dental professionals assess the health of your teeth and gums.

dentist and patient

The other part of your dental checkup involves a dental exam. Your dentist or another professional from the office will visually examine your teeth, gums, tongue, and the interior tissue of your mouth. They will look for issues that can include cavities, cracked teeth, inflammation, and more. Your gums will be checked with special tools that help assess the depth of the spaces between your gums. In healthy gums, those spaces are shallow. However, when someone has gum disease, the spaces may become deeper as gums recede.

X-rays may also be a part of your dental exam. These can reveal issues with your teeth that are not visible to the naked eye.

Catching Potential Issues Early

During this exam, your dentist may see issues that include cavities, gum disease, and more. When problems are noticed, dental care can be scheduled to correct them.

Experts recommend that you go for check-ups twice a year. Going this often allows your dentist to catch any potential issues early before they become big problems. The sooner a problem is found, the easier it is to correct.

By engaging in regular preventive care, you can keep your teeth stronger and healthier now and throughout your life. Is it time for your next checkup? Call to schedule one today.

How to Keep Your Smile Looking Its Best

Smile — Beautiful Smile in Owensboro, KY

Smiling has a significant impact on your health and how you are perceived. Like a prescribed anti-depressant, a smile causes an increase in the serotonin levels in the brain. Additionally, anti-stress hormones, such as endorphins and dopamine, are released as you smile, lowering your blood pressure. Smiling even helps others to view you as more attractive.

Still, you might find it difficult to smile often and freely if you feel that your smile is disappointing. Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your smile is at its best every time you flash a grin.

Whiten Your Teeth

Based on the findings of a recent study, people with whitened teeth are more apt to be hired and receive a larger salary offer than their counterparts with dental discoloration. Whitened teeth may even increase the likelihood of a person being asked out on a date.
Nowadays, whitening your teeth doesn’t have to be cumbersome, time-consuming, or uncomfortable. Professional teeth-whitening applications, such as Zoom whitening, can whiten the teeth quickly and safely.
The Zoom whitening system, which can only be prescribed by a dentist, can be applied in-office or used as an at-home treatment. The system, which can whiten the teeth up to eight shades, can transform the appearance of the mouth without causing dental sensitivity. Additionally, because a special whitening light is used during the treatment, the results of the system are accelerated.
In-office whitening applications offer multiple benefits when compared to over-the-counter whitening kits. Here are a few of them:

  • Faster whitening results. Over-the-counter kits may require weeks or even months to achieve optimal results. In-office procedures can whiten the teeth by several shades after a single application.
  • Less dental sensitivity. Because over-the-counter kits are self-applied, there is an increased likelihood of misuse that could lead to chronic dental sensitivity. In-office treatments are applied by trained dental professionals.
  • More dramatic whitening results. Over-the-counter kits tend to whiten the teeth less effectively, even when applied precisely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The Zoom whitening treatment can increase the whiteness of the teeth by eight shades in less than an hour.

Dental discoloration that results from the teeth’s exposure to pigments in the foods and drinks that you consume is considered temporary. However, a dental whitening application may be needed to brighten the color of the teeth.
Whiter teeth can improve the look of your smile and help increase your self-confidence. As a result, after having your teeth whitened, you may be apt to smile more often.

Replace Lost Teeth

Gaps in your smile are often considered unattractive. If you have lost one or more teeth and you want a great-looking smile, restorative applications, such as dental implants, can help.
A dental implant is a titanium post or screw that is used to replace the roots of a lost tooth. The implant can be fitted with a connecting mechanism and a dental crown to fully replace a missing tooth.
An implant can also be used to support other dental appliances that replace lost teeth, such as dentures and fixed bridges. The use of implants in conjunction with other applications is often preferred when a large number of teeth are missing from a palate.
In addition to improving the look of your smile, a dental implant offers other benefits:

  • Bone stimulation. The implant transfers bite pressure to the jawbone to stimulate the production of additional bone cells.
  • Longevity. Dental implants rarely fail and are designed to remain in place for the remainder of the patient’s life.
  • Stability. Implants can withstand the same amount of pressure as natural teeth, making it easy for patients to enjoy a wide range of foods.

If you are interested in improving the appearance of your smile, contact Travis Wilson D.M.D. We can help your teeth look their best.