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West Branch MI Dentist | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores. 

West Branch MI Dentist | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

What do they look like? 

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center. 

What causes them? 

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit. 

What can I do? 

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team. 

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.  

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing you. 

West Branch MI Dentist | How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

During pregnancy, it is essential that you don’t neglect your oral health. A fluctuation in hormones can cause drastic changes in your mouth. Oral health complications have been linked to increased risk in other significant overall health issues. Here are the most common oral health problems, how they can affect your pregnancy, and how to prevent them. 

West Branch MI Dentist | How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy 

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy. Regular visits to our office while expecting can allow us to detect potential issues early. Gingivitis is the biggest concern during pregnancy. The buildup of plaque is more likely to cause an expecting mother to have red, swollen, and painful gums that bleed. If the gums become even more swollen and irritated, it can cause non-cancerous pregnancy tumors. If oral health problems are left untreated they can lead to serious diseases.  

Ways to Prevent Gum Problems 

The best way to decrease any risk of getting gingivitis is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure you brush the full tooth, all the way to the gums. Flossing your teeth regularly will also keep your gums healthy. Seeing your dentist more frequently for cleanings will reduce plaque and minimize any problems.  

How Bad Oral Health Can Affect Your Baby 

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests a link between gingivitis and having a preterm or low-birthweight baby. If an expecting mother has gingivitis, it can cause bacteria to enter in the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. The bacteria triggers chemicals that may induce early labor. 

Maintaining good oral health is important in combating problems during pregnancy. Gingivitis is the most common concern that can be managed with the help of your dentist. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can lead to other health issues that not only affect you, but also your pregnancy. Keep yourself and your child safe by having a consultation with your dentist before or during your pregnancy. We also recommend that you bring your new baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth grows in so they can get started on the path to a healthy life.  

Contact our dental team today to schedule an appointment.  

West Branch MI Dentist | I Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do?

It usually starts pretty innocently. You’re biting into your favorite hard candy and suddenly you realize that there’s one little hard piece in your mouth you can’t seem to dissolve. You check it out and fear overcomes you when you see it’s a little chipped piece of a tooth. 

West Branch MI Dentist | I Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do?

Enamel may be one of the hardest substances in the body but like most things in life, it has its limit. Whether you are chewing on ice or grinding your teeth at night, there’s always a chance of putting your teeth at risk. If you have chipped your tooth, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things we can do to restore your beautiful smile: 

Tooth Bonding 

Tooth bonding has many structural uses, and it can be very helpful for repairing chipped teeth. Tooth bonding is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any numbing. The bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match your teeth. Your smile will look good as new, and people will have a hard time noticing you ever chipped a tooth to begin with.  

Dental Crown 

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that helps protect your teeth, while at the same time improving its appearance. An AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) dentist will likely use a tooth colored crown made out of porcelain or zirconia to look identical to your teeth. Crowns will also provide the durability and strength your teeth need to withstand daily use. You may only need a partial crown if our dentist sees that the chip doesn’t affect the entire tooth.  

Porcelain Veneers 

Porcelain laminate veneers are made up of several thin layers of ceramic used to repair chipped teeth. They will be bonded to the teeth to replace the original enamel of the tooth with a special adhesive. Dental veneers are a fantastic way to get your tooth to look whole and healthy again.  

If you have a chipped tooth and would like more information on these methods, or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today. 

West Branch MI Dentist | Oral Cancer Risk Factors

During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer. 

West Branch MI Dentist | Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer. 

Age 

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age. 

Gender 

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.  

Tobacco 

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.  

Alcohol 

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination. 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office. 

Sunlight 

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team. 

Diet 

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination. 

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our dentist to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.   

West Branch MI Dentist | Dentistry – Past, Present, and Future

“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today. 

In the Beginning 

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E. 

Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.  

The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s 

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book. 

In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.  

The Progressive 1800s 

The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery. 

That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.  

Scientific Advancement of the 1900s 

The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices. 

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease.  By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.  

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold? 

Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.  

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you. 

West Branch Family Dentistry
3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661 Phone 989-345-7750

West Branch MI Dentist | Fruit Juice and Your Teeth

Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines. 

No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months 

The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger. 

A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar 

Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.  

Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth 

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.  

According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar. 

Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks. 

Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health. 

To schedule a visit to our dental office, please contact our team. 

48661 Dentist | Optimal Gum Health for Seniors

Dentist in West Branch MI

For seniors, it is imperative that gum health is a top priority. As you age, your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease increases. Periodontal disease is both preventable, and in many cases, reversible. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as bloody or swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Even more alarming are the numerous studies connecting periodontal disease to other serious illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about gum health as you age.

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London uncovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those who suffer from early Alzheimer’s disease. In patients with periodontal disease, the study found cognitive decline underwent a rapid change, occurring six times as fast on average.

Periodontal disease has also been found to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Risk factors for these serious issues increase with age, among other causes, and it is especially important to limit potential risk factors where possible. This can be as easy as improving your gum health with a visit to our office.

The Numbers You Need to Know

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors aged 65 to 74. The number increases to more than 20% for those over 75 years of age. Men were found to be more likely than women to have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Smoking was also found to have a significant impact. The same study showed 32% of current smokers had periodontal disease, compared to 14% for those who never smoked.

Steps You Can Take

As you age, it is essential to keep up with your gum health. Doing so is an important link in lowering your risk factors for other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. You can keep your gums healthy by brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. Be sure to regularly floss your teeth as well. Flossing is an effective way to clean the hard-to-reach cracks and gaps where plaque builds up. Schedule a visit with our team for a complete gum evaluation. We can work with you to devise a course of action to ensure healthy gums.

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515, West Branch, MI 48661

Resources:

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/datastatistics/finddatabytopic/gumdisease/periodontaldiseaseseniors65over.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310141330.htm

Dentist in 48661 | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

West Branch WI Dentist

The food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515, West Branch, MI 48661

Dentist in West Branch MI | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease

48661 Dentist

The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.

While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.

While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.

Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.

Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.

By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.

As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.

To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.

3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515, West Branch, MI 48661

West Branch Dentist | 7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Dentist Near Me

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our office.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750