Probiotic use is typically associated with digestive health and even as a “good bacteria” replacement after a round of antibiotics. But can probiotics also be beneficial for oral health? At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’ve been hearing about some research that may show a positive correlation between certain probiotics and healthier mouths. In this blog, we take a closer look at those studies to see if there is in fact an oral health benefit to taking probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
We know that probiotics have been heavily talked about in recent years, but what are they, exactly? Basically, probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that help support the digestive system. The term bacteria has typically always meant something negative, something that makes us sick. The truth is, there is both bad and good bacteria. Probiotics fall under the category of good bacteria, or friendly bacteria.
Different Probiotics Treat Different Things
Different probiotics tend to help with different things. Most commonly when we talk about probiotics, we’re referring to those that help in digestion. These are the ones that are found in yogurt and other foods that contain “active cultures.” But the probiotics researched in relation to oral health are different.
These probiotics are often referred to as oral probiotics. This term is not necessarily used to describe probiotics that are taken orally, but rather those that have been researched to see if they have impact on oral health. Following several studies, research suggests that there may be a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.
A Closer Look at Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus
Easier to explain than to say, the probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the ones mainly associated with probiotic research in relation to oral health. These strains are naturally found both in the bodies and mouths of mammals, including humans. During several research studies involving Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, there has been evidence of a correlation between an increase in the probiotics and healthier mouths. While none of the limited amount of research available conclusively identifies the link, there have been cases where Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have helped in the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and has seemed to reduce the risk of cavities.
Again, there is still more research to be done on the relationship between probiotics and oral health. Because of this, we don’t recommend starting yourself on a probiotics regimen before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Erdenheim.
As we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our dental office in Erdenheim wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child to the dentist before school starts.
Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too
While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your children’s dentist in Erdenheim not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:
- Heart disease
- And Obesity.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health issues. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.
Keep Kids in School
It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.
Hygiene at Home
Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.
Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Erdenheim dental office can keep your child smiling and in good health all the way through the school year.
If you’re looking for a Erdenheim dentist for your child, schedule an appointment today!
You may have heard us talk about your “occlusion” during your visits to our dental office in Erdenheim. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.
What is Occlusion?
Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including overbite or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.
In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites
There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common.
- Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
- If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
- Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth completely cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
- If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
- Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
- If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.
If you suspect any potential issues with your bite, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy, pain-free smile that lasts a lifetime.
When it comes to choosing the right toothpaste, the number of options can be intimidating. There are various flavors, different formulas for different needs, and even some labeled specifically for kids. But is there really a difference between kids toothpaste and adult toothpaste besides the fun colors and characters on the packaging? Our dental office in Erdenheim knows the truth.
The main difference between adult toothpaste and toothpaste designed just for kids is the amount of fluoride they contain. Fluoride is found naturally in many foods and is often added to public water sources. It’s also one of the best ways to protect both permanent and baby teeth from decay. Children’s toothpastes typically have less fluoride to help kids from getting too much of it. When kids are exposed to too much fluoride, their teeth may form little white spots known as fluorosis.
More About Fluorosis
Fluorosis occurs while teeth are still forming below the gumline, so it’s important to monitor the amount of fluoride your child is getting to help avoid getting those white, streaky spots. Even if fluorosis does occur, don’t panic. It’s not usually harmful and can be treated.
When to Start Using Toothpaste
Taking care of your child’s oral health can and should begin early. But the use of toothpaste should wait until his tiny teeth start to erupt. Until then, gently rubbing his gums with a wet, soft cloth will work well.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you can start using fluoride on teeth as soon as they start to appear. However, your adult toothpaste probably has too much fluoride, so make sure you choose a toothpaste that is designed for kids. Use a tiny smear of a low fluoride toothpaste in kids under 2 with a toothbrush sized appropriately for tinier mouths.
As kids get older, you can start to increase the amount of toothpaste they use. Between ages 2 and 5, a pea sized amount of kids toothpaste is appropriate. Remember, your child will still need your help brushing properly and spitting the leftover paste instead of swallowing. Around age 6, talk with your dentist in Erdenheim to see if it’s time to switch your child to an adult toothpaste.
No matter how old your child is or what toothpaste they’re using, it’s always important to brush twice a day, early and night, to ensure a healthy mouth. Also, don’t forget to visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups.
If you’re little one needs a dentist, we’d be happy to see him at our Erdenheim dental office. Give us a call to schedule his visit today!
Grab a mirror, open up, and say “ah” because we’re talking tongues today. Did you know the color and even the shape of your tongue can say a lot about what could be going on healthwise in the rest of your body? Our dental office in Erdenheim (and your primary care doctor too) are always on the lookout for signs or symptoms that your tongue may be trying to tell us! Check out these helpful tips about tongue health to learn more.
What You See: A Glossy, Raspberry Red Tongue
What it Means: Have you ever looked at your tongue and it looks like you just finished eating a strawberry or raspberry popsicle? This is actually a common side effect of having a vitamin deficiency – primarily B12. It can also indicate that your body is low on iron. Vegetarians are especially prone to this.
What You See: Wrinkles
What it Means: As we age, our tongues do too! A cracked or wrinkled appearance to your tongue is generally nothing to worry about. It’s very important to maintain good hygiene and brush your tongue to avoid infections in the wrinkles.
What You See: Painless, White Patches
What it Means: These white marks known as leukoplakia are usually caused by the growth of too many cells in one area. Sometimes they are a result of an accidental bite while we’re chewing food or maybe you have a tooth that’s rubbing you the wrong way. If you’re experiencing these kinds of patches or any other tongue troubles, it’s always good to give your dentist in Erdenheim a call to take a look!
What You See: Painful Sores
What it Means: Usually when we see patients with a sore on their tongue they all have one thing in common: they’re stressed. Sometimes when you’re run down from illness or everyday stress this causes canker sores to erupt on the tongue and cheeks. They’re usually painful for a few days and will subside within a week or two.
What You See: Unevenness, Peaks, and Valleys
What it Means: It may sound strange but there’s actually a common condition called “geographic tongue,” and it’s absolutely harmless. It makes your tongue look like it has some pretty bumpy, rough terrain and it’s actually known to affect up to 14% of the population. Doctors aren’t sure what causes the condition but it most likely has something to do with your taste buds. Geographic tongue doesn’t require any special treatment or medication. If it becomes painful, be sure to talk to your dentist.
Our Erdenheim dental office knows how important it is to keep a close eye on your teeth and your tongue because they’re pretty accurate indicators of other things that your body might be experiencing or trying to make you aware of. If you have any questions about the health of your tongue, please call!
These days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our dental office in Erdenheim wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. There are some extremely excellent benefits to bottled H20 but did you know there are also some cons too, especially for kids?
Pros of Bottled H20: The Good News!
- Conveniently Hydrated on The Go
Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. It’s helpful when you’re venturing to different places where potable drinking water may not be readily available. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.
- Storage and Taste
In the event of a disaster or other emergency, having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.
Cons: What’s Bad About Bottled Water?
- Comparing The Costs
Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.
- Considering The Risks
Your children’s dentist in Erdenheim wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A(BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.
- Telling The Difference
Did you know that in some cases bottled water is just filtered tap water? It’s really no different than what’s coming out of your faucet! Some of the most popular brands of bottled water come from the same factories that produces soft drinks who simply bottle up that water. It’s not from a special source or a spring, it’s origins start in a factory. Sometimes it just makes more sense to fill your own water bottle from a source that you know is clean. It also helps cut down on waste created by the huge percentage of plastic bottles that end up in our nation’s landfills.
We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! Our Erdenheim dental office knows how important it is that you and your family stay healthy and hydrated. That’s why we’re here to help. If you have any questions about what we discussed here today, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We look forward to seeing you and your family at your next dental visit.
Nail biting is a habit that can affect not only the appearance of your nails, it can also cause damage to your oral health. As with any habit, nail biting can be difficult to break, but at our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re hoping that by providing our patients some information about the dangers of nail biting, both in regards to oral health as well as overall health, we’ll be able to help encourage nail biters to quit.
Oral Health Concerns
Nail biters have a higher incidence of chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and worn down teeth. What’s more is according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding. Bruxism brings on its own host of problems like headaches, recessed gums and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If someone is a nail biter and also wears braces, root absorption can be a real problem. Root absorption is when the tooth roots shorten, making the teeth weaker and more prone to premature tooth loss.
You don’t need your dentist in Erdenheim to tell you that you shouldn’t put your hands in your mouth because they’re usually loaded with germs and bacteria. Your nails are no different. Common bacteria found under nails includes both Salmonella and E. coli which can be very easily transferred into the body through nail biting. Both of these bacteria can lead to serious infectious disease and would require immediate medical attention.
Top 4 Tricks To Quit Biting Your Nails
As we’ve discussed, nail biting is a habit, and habits are hard to break. Whether you bite your nails when you’re bored, or subconsciously when you’re nervous, identifying the triggers that cause you to put your fingers to your mouth is the first step. Once you know, try the following tips to help you quit.
- Use a nail polish (don’t worry, it’s clear) that’s designed specifically to help nail biters quit. It has a bitter flavor and can help you associate nail biting with an unpleasant taste.
- When people bite because of stress, it’s helpful to find an alternative stress reliever. Try taking up yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to help you relax without nibbling on your nails.
- If the kind of bacteria that tend to live in nail beds grosses you out, look at close-up images of these germs. Just prepare yourself in advance as they can be pretty nasty.
- The longer the nails, the easier it is to bite them. Keep nails trimmed short to give you less to bite.
While you’re working on quitting, stay persistent as it may take a few tries to totally stop. If you happen to have a setback and experience any oral health damage such as a chipped tooth or gum damage, give our Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll be happy to help.
We get asked a lot of questions at our dental office in Erdenheim, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients’ parents know, the healthier their children’s smiles will be. One thing we hear quite often is wanting to know more about dental x-rays and the different types, why we use them, and if they’re safe.
The 4 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays
There are several different types of x-rays that your dentist in Erdenheim may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.
- Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on and allow the dentist to see places in between teeth not visible with the naked eye. Sometimes, your child won’t have this type of x-ray until they have their first permanent molar, or until their back teeth touch each other.
- Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from front to back, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints (TMJ) as well as the top sinuses. While no film inside the mouth is need with these, a patient does need to stand still for up to 18 seconds.
- Periapical X-rays. This type of x-ray is pretty cool and can show the permanent teeth before they erupt through the gums. They’re also used to check the bone structure, for gum disease, or abscesses.
- Orthodontic X-rays. Orthodontic x-rays actually look at both the teeth as well as the head. Taken from the side, the images produced from the x-ray can help a dentist or orthodontist create an accurate treatment plan.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have helped the x-rays perform faster, meaning less exposure to the already low amount of radiation. Dental x-rays emit minimal radiation and are very safe for both children and adults.
We recommend that your child visits our Erdenheim dental office at least once every six months, but she may not need to have x-rays at every appointment. Some children don’t need x-rays as often as others. Your pediatric dentist will look at your child’s oral health and development to determine how often she should have x-rays taken. If there’s been a history of cavities or a higher risk of decay, we’ll probably follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guideline of taking x-rays twice a year.
Using tobacco products of any kind can not only have a detrimental effect on your overall health, there are multiple oral health diseases and problems that can also occur from the habit. Smokeless tobacco, also referred to as, dip, chew, spit, or snuff, is no exception. During this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our Erdenheim dental office would like to share some of the risks associated specifically with smokeless tobacco.
By now, everyone knows that smoking can cause all types of cancer, including oral cancer. But a lesser known fact is that using smokeless tobacco can also increase the risk of oral cancer. If not diagnosed and treated early, oral cancer can lead to death, which is one reason you should visit your dentist in Erdenheim at least twice a year. It’s also why you should know the signs of oral cancer, even if you don’t use tobacco. If you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.
Signs of Oral Cancer
- A white, scaly patch on the inside of the cheek or lip
- Sores or lumps in the mouth or throat
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
- Sensation of something being stuck in your throat
Chewing tobacco is typically done by placing a pinch of tobacco in the mouth between the teeth and lip or cheek and leaving it there. This can cause the gums to recede. Gums normally protect the roots of the teeth, but once they recede, the roots and the nerves in those roots are exposed. This makes the chance of developing cavities much more likely. Not only that, it’s also common for people with receded gums to suffer from tooth sensitivity pain.
Using any kind of tobacco tends to transform teeth from bright and white to a more yellowish appearance. It’s due to in part to what’s in tobacco products, and also because of how often those addicted to tobacco use it. Nicotine and tar, which are commonly found in tobacco products, are a dangerous duo for several reasons, including discoloring teeth. While nicotine is colorless on its own, when it combines with oxygen, it takes on a yellow tint. When exposed to teeth, the tar and nicotine can penetrate tooth enamel, causing the teeth to appear yellow.
At our dental office in Erdenheim, we care about the health of our patients. And while we encourage each and every one of them to avoid tobacco, we understand that the habit may be difficult to break. If you’re looking for help trying to quit, we’ll be happy to help. Or head over to the American Cancer Society website to get started today.
Welcoming new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill and the surrounding areas.
This time of the year, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the pastel packages of chocolate bunnies, gooey marshmallow chicks, and sugary sweet treats of all kinds. At our children’s dental office in Erdenheim, we know how difficult it can be to limit your child’s intake of candy, especially during holidays when it’s a common gift. But we’re hoping this year we’ll able to talk a bit about which candies are the worst for teeth so you’ll able to make a smarter choice.
What to Avoid
- Pure Sugar. Any type of candy that’s simply powdery sugar is bad news for teeth. The reason why is pretty straightforward. It’s just sugar. That’s it. And as anyone knows, sugar causes decay. A straight shot of it to the teeth can definitely increase the likelihood of cavities.
- Anything Sticky. Caramels, gummy animals, and taffy are notorious for getting stuck in the grooves of teeth. The longer these sugar-packed treats are left behind, the more likely it is for bacteria to start eating away at the tooth’s enamel. A special note to parents with kids in braces: sticky foods can cause damage to the brackets and wires and require repairs. It’s best to avoid it.
- Super Sour Stuff. Another cavity-causing culprit is acid, and sour candies are loaded with it. Acid erodes the teeth’s protective layer of enamel, making it easier for bacteria to get in the hard-to-reach places, leading to cavities.
- Hard Candies & Lollipops. There are a few reasons these tough little candies cause problems. First, they’re hard, and if someone bites on them too quickly it could result in a chipped or cracked tooth. What also makes your Erdenheim children’s dentist cringe is that they usually take quite awhile to eat, which means teeth are being soaked in sugar that whole time.
Choose Something Smarter
We know we’ve eliminated some of the most popular types of candy in our list, but there are other options that are just as tasty and a lot less damaging. When searching for sweets any time of the year, look for:
- Dark Chocolates (bonus if it’s hollow!)
- Sugar-Free Snacks
- Bars Packed with Nuts
A sugary snack is alright every now and then, just try to not over due it. And always remember to guide your little one with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our Erdenheim children’s dental office at least every six months.
Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill and the surrounding areas.