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How We Breathe Can Affect Our Teeth

August 18th, 2022

YOU MAY HAVE heard the insult “mouth-breather” in recent years thanks to the popularity of the show Stranger Things. There are actually many good health reasons to avoid breathing through your mouth if nose breathing is possible. We should consider mouth breathing an emergency backup, not our main way to breathe. In both the short term and the long term, mouth breathing has negative health effects.

The Short-Term Effects of Mouth Breathing
There are several negative effects of mouth breathing that kick in either immediately or very quickly. A major one is lower oxygen levels. When we breathe through our noses, we trigger nitric oxygen production, which helps our lungs absorb oxygen. Mouth breathing skips this process, making it harder to get the most out of each breath, resulting in less oxygen absorbed and less energy for mental and physical tasks. Other short-term effects include:

Impaired speech: when the mouth is always open, it can make certain sounds more difficult to say, particularly for children.
Lethargy, irritability, and inattention: getting less oxygen means sleeping worse and having a harder time focusing at work or school. This can seriously impact kids’ learning.
Dry mouth: breathing through the mouth, unsurprisingly, dries it out. This is a problem because saliva is the first line of defense against oral bacteria. We also need it to use our sense of taste effectively and speak clearly.
The Effects of Mouth Breathing Compound Over Time
The short-term effects are already unpleasant, but a mouth-breathing habit can lead to worse issues if it continues, including serious developmental effects for kids who grow up with this habit.

Increased likelihood of sleep apnea: this sleep disorder comes with a wide range of health complications of its own, including chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as low energy, poor concentration, and a weakened immune system.
Altered facial development: when a child’s mouth is closed, their tongue exerts pressure on their dental arches, helping them to develop correctly. A mouth-breathing habit takes that pressure away and leads to narrower arches, flat features, drooping eyes, and a small chin.
More complex orthodontic problems: that altered facial development will often include a lot of dental crowding and other issues that require orthodontic treatment to correct.
Tooth decay and halitosis (chronic bad breath): over time, these are likely results of dry mouth. Saliva helps neutralize oral pH when we consume acidic foods or drinks or when harmful bacteria produce acid, so without saliva, we tend to have worse breath and become more susceptible to tooth decay.

It’s Time to Break the Mouth-Breathing Habit!
Some people breathe through their mouths because of a problem with regular nose-breathing, like a deviated septum or a sinus infection, but anyone who can comfortably breathe through their nose should try to do that as their default option. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about mouth breathing and its impacts on oral health.

Our patients are the best!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions

Can We Smile Our Way to Better Health?

August 9th, 2022

IT’S NOT ACTUALLY true that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile; smiling takes at least ten muscles while frowning requires as few as six. We think the saying should be changed to “smile to burn more calories!” And that isn’t the only health benefit of smiling.

Smiling Releases Endorphins

We obviously smile when we’re happy, but studies have suggested that the mere act of smiling is enough to make us feel happier. The feeling of happiness and the physical action of smiling are so tied together in our brains that even a fake smile can release endorphins.

Smile to Relieve Stress
In the short term, endorphins reduce pain and relieve stress, functioning a lot like painkillers. Over time, the effects compound into health benefits like reducing our risk of getting cancer and becoming more resilient against illnesses. This is because when we are better at managing stress, our cells go through fewer stress-induced mutations.

Smile to Live Longer
In a lifetime of smiling, we might actually accrue enough health benefits from the cumulative endorphins to give ourselves longer lives. One thing that makes it easier to smile more is to be confident in our smiles, and that’s where professional dental care and diligent brushing and flossing come in.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Dental Habits

June 14th, 2022

PARENTING CAN BE such a wild time that you might struggle to find a moment to brush your own teeth, let alone brush theirs and teach them how to do it themselves. We have a few tips we hope will make this process a little smoother for your family.

Prioritize the Health of Baby Teeth
Temporary doesn’t mean unimportant. Just because your child’s baby teeth will be replaced with permanent teeth, it doesn’t mean it’s fine if they end up full of cavities. They need their baby teeth to chew their food, pronounce their words, and smile. Baby teeth are also placeholders for adult teeth. To protect them, aim for twice-daily brushing and daily flossing of any teeth that touch each other.

Begin Building Life-Long Habits Early

It isn’t always easy to teach a young child important life skills. They have boundless energy and short attention spans, so a session of sitting still with a toothbrush isn’t always going to go as planned. Following these tips might help as you’re trying to impart these essential skills:

Show them that brushing is a priority. If brushing your child’s teeth comes across to them as an inconvenient chore, they’ll see dental hygiene as an inconvenience. Frame it as something easy but unskippable — a part of every morning and evening.
Feel free to take brushing outside of the bathroom. All you need is a toothbrush to brush your child’s teeth wherever it’s easiest. It could save a lot of frustration.
Using toothpaste isn’t as important as using a toothbrush. If your child practiced their finger-painting skills with the entire toothpaste tube, simply brush without it until you can get more.
Let your child choose their own toothbrush. This will help them feel more ownership over the process and make it more exciting.
When possible, brush in front of the mirror so they can watch how the process works. It will also help them feel more involved.
Make brushing fun! They’ll be happier to cooperate if you treat it like a game. Maintain a cheerful attitude and play fun music in time with their two minutes of brushing.

Our Expertise Is for Your Benefit
We’re eager to hear all about your brushing routine with your child. Do you have a strategy that’s working well? How much have our tips helped? Make sure to tell us about it at your child’s next dental appointment.

We love to see your child’s healthy smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical condition

Time for a Lesson in Dental Anatomy!

June 8th, 2022

THERE WON’T BE a pop-quiz later, but we still want our patients to be familiar with the anatomy of their teeth, starting with the crown and going down to the roots. Everything visible above the gums is the crown, which has three layers.

Tooth Enamel

On the outside is the enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies. It needs to be that hard to withstand a lifetime’s worth of chewing our food, but enamel doesn’t replace itself once it’s gone. That’s why it’s so important to brush, floss, limit our consumption of sugary and acidic food and drink, and schedule regular dental cleanings.

Dentin and Pulp
Underneath the enamel is the dentin, a more bony layer that is yellow and porous. At the very center is the pulp chamber, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp is how our teeth feel temperature changes and pain if something is wrong. Never ignore dental pain; it’s a natural warning sign from the body!

Beneath the gum line are the roots of the teeth. They’re longer than the crowns, anchored deep in the jawbone and cushioned by the periodontal membrane. Unlike the crowns, roots are only protected by gum tissue and cementum (which isn’t as hard as enamel). Each root tip has a tiny hole, through which nerves and blood vessels connect to the pulp.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.