A Clean Tongue 101

Did you know that 50% of the bacteria in your mouth live on the surface of your tongue? Also, a tongue cleaning is the single most important step you can take toward diminishing bad breath.

germs - bacteriaWe all know just how important brushing and flossing is to our oral health, and sometimes tongue scraping takes a seat behind these important steps. However, tongue scraping is just as important! The best way to rid you of bad breath is by scraping the smelly bacteria off. While scraping off tongue bacterium sounds somewhat gross, imagine all the bacteria just sitting on your tongue!

The tip of your tongue is less likely to harbor odor-producing bacteria since it constantly comes into contact with your hard palate when eating and speaking. The friction and contact creates a cleansing action that prevents debris build up. However, the back of your tongue only touches your soft palate, and results in a build up of bacteria. Even if you stick out your tongue while looking in the mirror, you’ll see white, or even a brown colors on the surface of the back of your tongue.

Brushing your tongue is better than not paying any attention to your tongue, but there are other much more effective ways to get your tongue to be squeaky-clean. If you do choose to use your toothbrush, gently move the toothbrush from back to front and along the sides. Try to brush as far back as possible to get all the gunk on the back of your tongue. Be careful, you might find that you have an active gag reflex, but don’t worry there’s a good chance it will diminish over time.

Another option is using a tongue scraper. Many people find that scraping the tongue is much more effective than brushing. You can either purchase a tongue scraper in the toothbrush aisle of your local drugstore, or even use a spoon from home! Just moisten the spoon, turn it upside down and place it at the back of your tongue and drive it forward. You’ll notice that using a tongue scraper/spoon has less of a tendency to gag.

Daily tongue cleaning is a well-established practice in many cultures, however is much less spoken about in the US and Canada. Since cleaning your tongue is relatively easy and quick, we recommend that the tongue be cleaned both morning and evening. According to studies, practicing good tongue cleaning is especially good if you have significant stress, as tongue coating tends to increase during stress. In addition to your tongue cleaning, be sure to brush and floss your teeth daily!

Soft & Healthy Foods After Dental Implant Surgery

Foods-After-Surgery1-300x300On our website and social media channels, we have thoroughly explained why and how oral surgery is beneficial. Here’s a reason that has gone unmentioned: it will make you appreciate the solid foods and acidic drinks that you aren’t able to eat or drink immediately after your procedure.  Sandwiches, chips, and orange juice should all be avoided after your wisdom tooth removal, dental implant surgery, orthagnathic surgery etc. Too much chewing can possibly re-open the sensitive areas of your mouth, and can cause bleeding or even infection. But don’t worry – we have a few healthy food and beverage recommendations when your mouth is delicate.

First 24 Hours

For the first 24 hours after your surgery, your teeth/jaw will need some time off. Therefore, smoothies, low-fat jello/puddings, and cold soups will be the most beneficial for your healing process. It is extremely important to refrain from using a straw, as the sucking causes excess strain, which ultimately can delay the healing process. Here are a few recommendations:

Banana Mango Shake- A healthy, filling way to start the day after your surgery. Also, bananas help replace electrolytes and maintain fluid balance within your body.

Applesauce- You can’t eat apples, but this is the next best thing!

Tomato Soup- A great snack even when your mouth isn’t sensitive.

Cold Pasta- Ever tried a Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo? Might be the perfect time to expand your taste buds!

Next Few Weeks

Over the next few weeks, you will start easing into enjoying solid foods again. Here are some tasty transitional foods (some can even help the healing process!)

Broccoli Omelet: Who would’ve thought thathealing from oral surgery could be so healthy? Broccoli contains enough calcium to speed up the healing process, and the eggs provide enough protein to make this a fully substantial meal while taking it easy on your teeth/jaw.

Chicken Salad: Finally some real meat! Chicken that is chopped up into small pieces can be eaten with a salad, or even a cold pasta. The chicken provides the protein, while the salad (with soft vegetables) provides the healthy goodness.

 

5 Points for Wearing a Mouth Guard During Sports

It’s easy for people to not realize what they have until it’s gone. Imagine what it would be like if you were missing one of your front teeth? You’d probably be a bit embarrassed smiling and talking, and not to mention eating would feel pretty abnormal as well. The good news is that taking preventative measures to protect your smile can diminish the chances of you having a toothless smile.

Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports decreases the risk of injuries to the mouth or jaw. Some sports players don’t like to wear mouth guards because of the inconvenience of their appearance while wearing one, but more injuries can happen when not wearing a mouth guard that can affect your appearance in a much more inconvenient way. Here are five reasons why you should always protect your pearly whites when participating in any contact sports or collision sports where unexpected contact can happen:

1. Protection Against Tooth Fractures

Mouth guards protect your teeth from chipping and breaking. Even though tooth fractures can usually be saved, why go through the risk when wearing a mouth guard can save you all the trouble.

2. Protection Against Tooth Replacement

Wearing a mouth guard is cushion for your teeth, so if a ball hits your face your teeth don’t receive a crushing force. However, if a ball hits your mouth without a mouth guard, it can result in completely breaking or ruining your tooth, leaving you with a toothless smile and an emergency call to Dr. Silberg’s office. Having a gap in your smile due to an accident that could have been prevented isn’t worth it.

3. Protection Against Soft Tissue Injuries

Some contact sports involve quick impacts that could leave you biting through your tongue or lips! A mouth guard can prevent soft tissue injuries by creating a soft resistance from teeth contacting your lips and tongue.

4. Protection Against Concussions

According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards could help reduce the severity and incidence concussions. A properly fitted mouth guard decreases the likelihood of sustaining concussive injury because the padding between the mandible and the maxilla can lessen the force of the mandible pushing up on the skull near the brain, which causes a concussion.

 

5. Protection Against Jaw Fractures

Wearing a protective mouth guard protects you from jaw fractures. Impact to the neck or jaw could result in serious injury, but with the protection of a mouth guard during an impact, it reduces the likelihood of jaw dislodgement or neck trauma.

 

The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year! Using a mouth guard won’t only help prevent you from dental and jaw injuries but can also prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work. If you’re ready to take the step to save your smile when playing sports, contact Dr. Silberg for more information about mouth guard protection.

 

The Warning Signs of Periodontal Gum Disease

GingivitissHave your gums ever bled when brushing them? Bleeding gums is one of the first tell tale signs of periodontal disease when brushing or flossing. Many people experience bleeding gums when practicing oral hygiene but simply assume it is from brushing too hard or not flossing enough. However, bleeding of the gums is not normal and should be considered a red warning sign of gum disease. In order to actually bleed just from brushing your teeth and damage healthy tissue, you’d have to be brushing extremely hard. If your gums regularly bleed when brushing your teeth, we recommend calling Dr. Silberg for an oral cancer exam. Curious about what other warning signs might be? We’ve listed them for you below:

The Warning Signs:

Bleeding gums during/after tooth brushing or flossing

Red, swollen, or tender gums: changes in the appearance of gum tissue or sensitivity to gums is another common symptom. Some cases may also lead to receding gums when the tissues are very thin.

Persistent bad breathe: besides bleeding gums, bad breath is one of the most common signs. Bad flossing habits can lead to plaque collecting in the area between teeth making them especially prone to gum inflammation. Another symptom similar to this is a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away.

Loose or shifting teeth: for some that have Periodontal Disease and are unaware, they may experience movement or migration of their teeth. The rate of movement will depend on the particular type of gum disease you may have. This can make major changes to the way your teeth fit together and your smile overall.

Gum disease can progress painlessly, producing few of these obvious signs, even in the later stages of the disease. While many of the symptoms of gum disease are typically subtle, Dr. Silberg recommends an oral cancer screening during regular check ups with your Dentist or Periodontist. This serious dental disease, which pertains to the mouth, lips and throat, is often highly curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages.

Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options include:

-Removal of plaque and calculus through scaling

-Medication

-Surgery in order to stop or minimize the progression

If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact Dr. Silberg to schedule a consultation and learn more about the disea

Implant Supported Dentures

implantdenturesMost patients see dental implants as a procedure that is perfect for replacing one or two teeth. They don’t, however, conclude that a dental implant surgery is the solution for missing an entire row of teeth. In this instance, most people are still reverting to the outdated methods of receiving dentures. But there is actually an efficient way to obtain a mouth full of secure teeth through the dental implant process. This new technique is called “implant supported dentures,” which gives patients new reasons to smile.

A Team of 4 is Stronger Than 15 Individuals

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Wouldn’t it be a long, grueling process to take in 15 or so dental implants in the same surgery?” That is hard to argue with. A mouth with 20 dental implants drilled into it seems like too many metal rods for one person to own. They probably wouldn’t be allowed on airplanes. This is why oral surgeons now have a procedure where they use 4 titanium implants to connect an entire row of teeth. Picture it as 4 pillars with metal bridges connecting them. On the metal bridges is were the fully customized row of teeth will be placed.

Too Real to be Called Artificial

The word “artificial” is misleading when describing the new set of teeth. These teeth are now permanent, and will be treated the same as natural teeth. They need to be well maintained as regular teeth do, and cannot be taken out. It is impossible to distinguish implant-supported dentures from natural teeth. Even oral surgeons would have trouble picking apart the differences. Most patients are concerned with not being able to enjoy food like they used to. These new rows of teeth know when they encounter hot and cold food, and can still bite through the roughest of surfaces. Ultimately, “new and improved” is an acceptable replacement for “artificial” when describing implant supported dentures.

The Time is Now

The oral surgeons who are trained at this process are able to have the patient’s teeth completed in roughly 2.5 hours. This surgery leads to lifelong fulfillment of having a lively smile, so this may be the most productive 2.5 hours ever spent. When the entirety of one’s mouth looks like it’s ready for a makeover, implant supported dentures are the key to rebuilding.

Three Superstar Teeth Corrections

When we see celebrities walking on the red carpet with their dazzling smiles, it’s hard to believe that their teeth were ever imperfect. Unfavorable teeth, however, were common for many of today’s hottest stars. They realized the magnanimous impact a beautiful smile could make, and took action. Lets look at a few celebrities who transformed their smiles into superstars.

                                                                                    50 Cent

In the hip hop industry, rappers are continuously searching for ways to ridicule the competition. When rapper 50 cent realized that his teeth were becoming the laughing stock of the rap business, he decided to straighten things out- literally. He fixed his disproportionate teeth by receiving an entirely new set. Now, 50 cent can officially say he is shining from head to toe.

50 Cent Celebrity Teeth

                                                                                                     Matthew Lewis:

We all remember the chubby, crooked teethed “Neville Longbottom” in the Harry Potter movies. Matthew Lewis, who played Longbottom, was told on his contract that he must not fix his teeth or lose weight. Sadly, the teenager who was on set with numerous attractive women, was forced to maintain his unattractive appearance for the greater good of the legendary Harry Potter saga. Once his role in Harry Potter was ceased, he immediately fixed his teeth, which made him unrecognizable in comparison to his teenage days. Changing your teeth can change the overall nature of your look, as shown below:

Matthew Lewis Celebrity Teeth

                                                                             Miley Cyrus

Lets pretend that we aren’t familiar with Miley’s recent media meltdown, and simply focus on her improvements over the years. When she started as a Disney channel actress, most viewed her as the perfect child. Unfortunately, her teeth were miles from perfection. While her current persona may be a bit crooked, her teeth are perfectly straightened, which she credits her dentist for.

Miley Cyrus Celebrity Teeth

 

For many celebrities, the first task at hand after being nationally endorsed is fixing their teeth. Their publicists and stylists all admit that superstardom does not align with uneven teeth. But celebrities aren’t the only ones who promptly need beautiful teeth.

All Oral Bacteria is Not Equal

All Oral Bacteria are Not Created EqualThe mouth harbors a diverse and plentiful and microbial community due to its hospitable environment. It is warm, nutrient-rich and maintains an ideal pH balance. This highly diverse microflora inhabits the various surfaces of the normal mouth- gums, teeth, tongue, cheeks. What many people don’t realize is that most of the bacteria are beneficial organisms and live in harmony with each other and the human body.

The “Bad Guys” of Dental Bacteria

Interestingly, a new born baby’s mouth does not contain bacteria, but becomes colonized rapidly in the early stages of life. Nobody knows for sure how many different bacteria species there are. Estimates in the oral cavity alone vary between 500 to 650 different species. Only a few specific species are believed to cause dental caries, including Steptococcus mutans, considered the most important bacteria involved with tooth decay. However, the type of bacteria varies according to the progress of tooth destruction.


This harmful bacteria collects around the teeth and gums forming a sticky, creamy-colored mass called plaque. Some areas of the mouth collect plaque more commonly due to less salivary flow, such as grooves in molars and between teeth. The oral cavity actually contains the only known part of the human body that does not have a regulated system of shedding surfaces: the teeth. This allows plaque to adhere to the surface of teeth for long periods of time. At first, plaque is soft enough to come off easily with a toothbrush. However, it starts to harden within 48 hours. After about 10 days, the plaque becomes dental calculus, called tarter, and is now difficult to remove.

Villains Love Carbohydrates

Sugars from candy, soft drinks, and fruit juice can play a significant role in tooth decay. When sucrose (table sugar), the most common of sugars, coats the surface of the mouth, some intraoral bacteria interact with it. The result is lactic acid, which decreases the pH in the mouth. This demineralization allows for greater bacterial invasion deep into the tooth.

Cariogenicity, or the extent to which tooth decay is likely, depends heavily on how long the sugar remains in the mouth. Surprisingly, it is not the amount of sugar ingested but the frequency of sugar ingestion that is the most important factor in tooth decay.

Bacteria’s Kyrptonite

Oral hygiene is key to battling the bacteria “bad guys”. Brushing your teeth twice a day will reduce dental plaque and food particles collecting around your teeth. Additionally, it is imperative to floss daily to wipe all your enamel surfaces free of plaque to discourage bacterial growth. Good general oral-health habits can usually prevent enough bacterial growth to keep tooth decay from starting.

Enjoy Halloween…but don’t let your treats play rotten tricks on your teeth!

Halloween Dental HealthFor children celebrating Halloween, it is a fun time of costumes and candy that they look forward to all year long. Parents and caregivers also get involved early—finding the perfect costume is critical. One tip for making your Halloween healthier without spoiling all the fun is to offer to buy back the candy they have collected, so they are actually rewarded for giving. Another replacement option for candy is to look for products like mints and chewing gum that contain the sugar substitute xylitol, as it actually has been proven to reduce decay causing bacteria in the mouth not only of children, but also adults. And when you do let your children dig into their bags of treats, monitor what kind of candy they eat. Candy like toffee that sticks in the little nooks and crannies of teeth is particularly damaging. Eating chocolate is better, by a little, not a lot. Instead, confine the time your children eat candy and other sugars to mealtimes when their mouths are more likely to be exposed to both acids and bases. This is important because it takes saliva at least 30 minutes to an hour to buffer or neutralize the effects of acid. So eating one piece of candy per hour between meals means their mouths are always acidic—the perfect conditions for promoting decay. Follow-up these occasions with proper brushing particularly with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing—a valuable lesson that will benefit them throughout their lives.

How Implants Can Save a Smile

issue1&startid=28The essence of treatment planning is to first define what issues and concerns need to be solved from both the patient’s and treating doctors’ perspectives, and then arrive at an agreed-upon plan of action – “the treatment plan”. While it is important to realize a certain amount of “treatment” is necessary to treat disease, it is just as important to accommodate the patient’s elective needs as closely as possible, especially when that involves aesthetic concerns. The following patient’s story is an excellent example of this process.

 

Presenting Dental Implant Treatment Plans for Patient Understanding and Acceptance

Dental Implant Treatment Plans by Pittsburgh Periodontist Mark SilbergThe following are a few thoughts on how to present the advantages of dental implant treatment plans versus crown and bridge treatment plans to patients who are missing teeth. The patients can be advised that:

Dental implants represent “additive” dentistry by replacing teeth that were lost rather than “subtractive” dentistry which involves damaging teeth severely by removing all of the tooth enamel for crowns to support a bridge. Continue Reading Presenting Dental Implant Treatment Plans for Patient Understanding and Acceptance.