Coronavirus update

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update

Dear Friends,

As all of you have likely heard by now, an executive order in Oregon is mandating that all dental offices cease non-urgent care for our patients until June 15, 2020, at the earliest. Since this situation has been changing so rapidly, we decided to wait on issuing a statement until we felt confident that the order would not be changing anytime soon. The main reasons for the order are to preserve personal protective equipment for those on the front lines of this battle and to limit close interpersonal contact and generation of aerosols created during dental treatment.

Though our office is closed, Diane is still manning the phone lines from home, and we are available for on-call urgent or emergency services. What qualifies as urgent or emergency care? The American Dental Association has issued guidelines that boil down to severe swelling, severe pain, and tissue trauma. If you have any questions, please call our office at (503) 246-8447, and we will do what we can to help. If it is a procedure our office is not set up to manage, we will get you in touch with one of the fabulous specialists we work with.

During this time, it is more important than ever to maintain or step-up your home care routine. Since we are unable to provide maintenance care in our office, your diligence at home will carry the biggest impact on your tooth and gum health over the coming months.

Though we are counting down the days until we get to see you all again, we strongly support our community’s commitment to keeping each other healthy and doing what we can to bring this unusual time to an end. Take care of each other, and let’s do what we can to see the good and beauty in the world during this time of crisis. 

Dr. Ben and Dr. Amanda

Cosmetic Dentistry 101

At Burlingame Dental, your choice for family dentists in SW Portland, our doctors always want to provide our patients with the best smile care possible. That’s why we offer a wide range of procedures including cosmetic dentistry services that can help improve your smile.

Sometimes we think that improving our smile can be a lot of time and money, but this luxury is possible for anyone. If you want a smile you are proud of there are certain things you can do.

A smile that looks great will not only make you feel better but you will feel more confident, it will also help you be healthier and it can help your personal and professional life.

There are many benefits to cosmetic dentistry even thought some patients don’t fully understand what the different procedures can include. To help calm down any uncertainty, here is a brief explanation of common cosmetic dentistry procedures.

Dental Bonding
Bonding is one of the main procedures that will use a tooth-colored resin to improve a smile. The resin is applied to the tooth, and a small light is used which will harden the material into one place, hence the word “bonding” it directly to the tooth. Dental bonding is generally one of the easiest cosmetic dental procedures for our doctors to perform, and it is generally used to repair a chipped or cracked tooth, eliminate certain gaps, or even to change the shape of a tooth.

Dental veneers are another common procedure, they are thin, custom created little shells that will fit over the front of a surface on the tooth. Veneers are always bonded to the front of the teeth, which will sometimes alter the color, length, shape, or size of a patient’s teeth. Veneers can offer most patients a more conservative method to alternating the color and shape of the teeth, especially when compared to another procedure like dental crowns. The dental veneer process is most often not reversible.

Crowns can help to improve the size, shape and strength of the tooth. Most crowns will last anywhere from five to 15 years, they are made from materials as metal, porcelain, ceramic, or resin. Before a crown is placed in the mouth, the existing tooth will be filed down; the crown will be cemented over, this allows the crown to fully encase the patients tooth.

This is a term that is usually thought of with braces, as orthodontics will help correct a patient’s teeth that are crooked or misaligned. Braces will correct a patient’s teeth through a pressure and steady pressure, which will slowly move the teeth back into a straight position over a period of time. As a patient’s teeth may shift, the bony tooth sockets will also begin to change shape because of the pressure that is applied. Orthodontic technology has certainly come a long way in recent years, and braces are not just for children. New techniques exist now that doesn’t require metal brackets. This allows for nearly invisible realignment.

Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening will help to correct years of consuming enamel staining foods and drinks. We provide your teeth with a special bleaching agent that we can place into the clear tray that we will custom fit to your teeth. This whitening agent will help remove stains on your teeth’s enamel. Once your teeth are the preferred brightness, occasional treatments will be needed to maintain your new, brilliantly white smile.

Make Your Smile Shine By Chewing Your Food

We all know it’s important to always remember to brush your teeth, but did you also know that it’s good for you to chew what you eat longer? By not chewing food enough, people can affect their health and oral fitness. Properly chewing what you eat is key in things like digestion, mouth health, and losing weight. By chewing your food 30 to 50 times, you can not only be more mindful in general, but also help your overall health.

When you take care of your mouth, then your whole body can benefit. That starts with what and how you decide to eat. At Burlingame Dental Arts, our Doctors care about your complete health, not just your teeth. Here are some different ways that improve your health through the simple act of chewing your food more.

It Aids Digestion

It may seem obvious, but all the digestion in you body starts with chewing. By chewing food, your body senses the nourishment coming in and singles the digestive track.  When we chew food longer, the enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients are broken down better, which help your body. This allows all those good things faster entry into the blood system.

Rallies Your Oral Health

By properly chewing your food for a longer period of time it can create saliva in your mouth. Saliva is very beneficial to your oral health, as it can behave like a mouthwash and removes bit of food and bacteria that are known to cause cavities. The more you chew, the more saliva you produce. The salivary glands, which produce saliva, are located inside your cheeks by your jawbone in the lower part of your mouth.

Sends a Signal

The chewing of food also lets your digestive track know when it is supposed to do its job. The act of chewing sends a message to start digestion through signaling the pancreas, which is a glandular organ in our digestive system. The pancreas is full of digestive enzymes that help with the absorption of nutrients. These enzymes help to also break down carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. It has also been found that people who eat more slowly, simply eat less. This is great for those trying to lose weight. When you chew, a dispatch is sent from the brain to signal that you are becoming full. If you eat too fast, you may inhale many more calories then you really need, leading to weight gain

Protein Power

As may know, food is full of proteins, and these can help the body construct and repair damaged cells. Proteins also aid in the digestion, as they help break down acids which assist in repairing those injured cells. If you don’t chew your food for very long, it can harm those digestive proteins.

If you have any questions about chewing and oral health, or for an appointment, contact us today.

Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month By Saluting Your Dental Hygienist

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and this year also marks the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s 100th anniversary!

In honor of all the hardworking men and women who work diligently to improve patients’ smiles as dental hygienists, especially our extraordinary staff here at Burlingame Dental Arts, we’d like to take a minute to dispel a few of the myths commonly heard about this invaluable profession.

Myth: It’s Easy to Become a Dental Hygienists

In truth, becoming a dental hygienist requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Earning a degree to become a hygienist requires being accepted into an accredited college program. Because of the high demand for hygienists, entry into these programs is incredible competitive, with far more individuals applying than slots available.

Of course earning the degree is only the first step. After graduating, a hygienist must then pass a series of difficult national board exams, clinical regional exams, and state licensing exams. Once all necessary certifications have been obtained, a hygienist still must apply for and receive a license from their state’s Board of Dentistry before they can begin providing patient care.

So as you can see, the dentist isn’t the only highly trained individual helping to take care of your oral needs when visiting our office.

Myth: Hygienists Enjoy Nagging People About Flossing

What every hygienist as Burlingame Dental Arts really enjoys is seeing patients with healthy teeth and gums. The best way every patient can help prevent gum disease and periodontitis is by brushing and flossing daily. When a hygienist sees a patient that neglects such an important oral hygiene habit, they understand the long-term risks poor oral health can have on a person’s health.

In recent years, a number of studies have found substantial links between gum disease and a variety of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. By failing to floss, patients don’t just hurt the health of their teeth and gums, they also increase their risk of developing serious problems that can negatively impact their quality of life.

Now that you know the risks, maybe you can appreciate why hygienist feel the need to lecture some patients who clearly don’t floss.

Myth: Hygienists Love to Cause Pain

Our hygienists strive to provide every patient with the best care possible, and make every effort to help you feel comfortable and relaxed. Usually it’s the patients who are lackadaisical when taking care of their oral hygiene at home that experience uncomfortable dental appointments. So if you make it a point to brush and floss daily, then you’ll have a much better experience during your next appointment. We promise.

Myth: Hygienists Just Clean Teeth

While removing built up plaque from patients’ teeth and offering helpful reminders about the importance of flossing rank as two of the most important aspects of a dental hygienist’s job, the position also requires the completion of other vital tasks. In a typical day’s work, a dental hygienist may also review a patient’s medical history, perform a preliminary assessment for periodontal disease, screen for oral cancer, offer tips on the best oral hygiene habits, take x-rays, offer oral care product recommendations, administer anesthetic, help increase a patient’s comfort level while decreasing their anxiety levels, apply fluoride, and answer any questions you may have regarding your oral health. Quite the busy day indeed!

So the next time you visit Burlingame Dental Arts, remember to smile when you see our dental hygienists, and remember how important they are to the health of that smile.


Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dental tools

Study Finds Dental Anxiety all in the Head

At Burlingame Dental Arts, you best family dentist SW Portland has, we understand that not every patient enjoys visiting our dental office. While everyone can appreciate what scheduling regular dental appointments means to the health or their teeth and gums, many people harbor feelings of anxiety about visiting the dentist.

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that 35 percent of adults suffer from some form of dental anxiety, while 12 percent suffer from serious anxiety. The study found that individuals suffering from dental anxiety were significantly less likely to schedule dental appointments when compared to individuals without a fear of the dentist.

While a number of reasons are often cited to explain why people fear the dentist – ranging from a dislike of needles to feeling self-conscious when being examined – a new study has brought researchers closer than ever to an explanation.

According to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, Japanese researchers have found that patients suffering from dental anxiety exhibit marked differences in how their brain responds to the sounds of dental drills and suction instruments when compared to patients who feel relaxed while sitting in a dentist’s chair.

Researchers hope that by determining how the brain reacts to specific dental related sounds it will enable them to find different methods for helping patients feel more relaxed.

All in the Head

As part of the study, researchers asked 21 female and 12 male patients between the ages of 19 and 49 to complete a survey that measured their individual dental anxiety levels. Researchers then split the patients into two groups – high anxiety and low anxiety – based on their survey scores.

Patients then underwent a brain scan using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI). During the scans, researchers played a variety of dental related sounds- such as the rasping of a suction tool or the high-pitched whine of a dental drill – mixed with neutral sounds. Patients were isolated while undergoing the fMRI scan to eliminate any outside distractions.

Patients in the low dental anxiety group exhibited little difference in their brain patterns when hearing dental sounds than when exposed to neutral sounds. Their brain activity showed that when hearing dental sounds, the area of the brain known as the left and right superior gyri – a primary auditory area of the brain – was stimulated more when compared to them hearing neutral sounds.

Patients in the high dental anxiety group had a completely different response when exposed to the sounds of drills and suction tools. These patients exhibited a strong response in the region of the brain referred to as the left caudate nucleus, a part of the brain that plays a role in how we learn. Researchers suspect this area of the brain may play a role in remembering the sounds of a dental office and associating them with feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Researchers hope that by better understanding how certain parts of the brain can negatively associate certain feelings with sounds doctors may be able to develop cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help patients suffering from severe dental anxiety.

Dental Abscesses Can Cause Patients Serious Problems

Despite the confusion that has surrounded its release and the political hot potato it has become, the Affordable Care Act – more commonly referred to as Obama Care by the media – was designed to provide medical coverage to the millions of Americans who were either without insurance or under insured.

Due to the unfortunate death of Deamonte Driver – a Maryland boy who died after an untreated tooth abscess infection spread to his brain – improved access to dental care for children has become one of the primary goals of the ACA.

In addition to imparting the importance of available dental care to both children and adults alike, Deamonte’s story offers a harsh reminder of how dangerous dental abscess can become if left untreated.

Studies have shown that hundreds of thousands of patients visit the emergency room each year due to dental abscesses, with many of those patients needing admittance to the hospital to undergo treatment.

To help you understand the danger presented by dental abscesses and how to protect you and your family, here is what every patient of Burlingame Dental Arts, your SW Portland kids dentist of choice,  should know about these painful infections.

What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is bacterial infection that is typically caused by an infected or decayed tooth or an infection located along the gum line or jawbone. Bacteria in the mouth that sticks to your teeth – causing decay and cavities to develop – can also negatively impact your gums, as well. If this bacteria isn’t removed by daily brushing and flossing, it can begin to spread to the soft tissue located inside your teeth and gums. Here an accumulation of pus begins to form, resulting in the formation of an abscess.

Types of dental abscesses

The two main types of dental abscesses that can form in a patient’s mouth come from two different types of infection. These types of abscesses include:

  • Periapical abscess – This type of abscess occurs when the pulp inside of a tooth becomes infected, which typically happens when the nerve of a tooth begins to die. An abscess begins to form at the tip of the tooth’s root and can spread from there to the surrounding bone structure that holds the tooth in-place.
  • Periodontal abscess – This type of abscess occurs when bacteria accumulates in the space between a patients teeth and gums. An infection then develops within the deep pockets that have formed along the gum line as a result of poor oral hygiene.

While these types of abscess form in different regions of the mouth, they both can cause trauma and advanced tooth decay to patients suffering from the condition.

Sign and symptoms

Patients suffering from a dental abscess may notice several symptoms of the condition that will let them know to seek treatment by scheduling an appointment at Burlingame Dental Arts.

Symptoms of dental abscess include:

  • Severe toothache coupled with a sharp, shooting, or throbbing pain
  • Loose tooth
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Discomfort while chewing
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
  • Swelling along the gum line, particularly over the infected tooth
  • Swelling along the upper or lower jaw

Treating an abscess

In most cases patients will need a take a prescribed antibiotic to help fight off the infection caused by the abscess. However, patients need to understand that abscesses won’t go away on their own, and need additional treatments to become fully healed. The longer a patient waits to treat an abscess, the more damage can occur to the long-term health of their teeth and overall physical health.

In cases involving a periodontal abscess, patients will need to have their gums treated, a process that can include making an incision along the gum line, cleaning out the infected material, and repositioning the gum flap to heal. Patients suffering from a periapical abscess may require root canal therapy in order to save the infected tooth.

If you have any questions about the symptoms or treatment options involved in dealing with a dental abscess, make sure to ask any of our doctors at Burlingame Dental Arts.

The World’s First Smart Toothbrush Has Arrived

The World’s First Smart Toothbrush Has Arrived

Few daily habits play as vital a role in maintaining your overall health as brushing. A clingy biofilm made of lingering food particles and bacteria called plaque sticks to your teeth throughout the day, transforming the sugars and carbohydrates you consume into harmful substances that eat away at the hard outer layer of your called enamel. At Burlingame Dental Arts, your Southwest Portland dentist of choice, we work to keep ahead of the trends and let our patients know about what is coming in the dental world.

Failing to brush allows plaque to build up on your teeth where it can cause even more damage to your oral health over time. Fortunately, brushing twice daily allows you to remove plaque from the surface of your teeth and prevent the damage that occurs due to acids produced.

Of course, if you’re like most people, you’ve probably gotten a little lacks with your brushing routine and technique. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day- once in the morning and just prior to bed. Unfortunately, despite the AMA’s recommendations, studies show that the average adult only spends ¼ of the amount of time brushing they should daily.’

The World’s First Intelligent Toothbrush

If you count yourself among those who don’t brush as well or as often as you should, help is on the way in the form of the world’s first intelligent toothbrush.

Announced at this year’s International CES Show in Las Vegas, the Kolibree smart toothbrush is the world’s first brush that actually keeps tabs on your brushing habits. Due to be released later in 2014, the Kolibree provide users with detailed information about their brushing habits and provide tips on how users can improve their oral health.

According to the brush’s manufacturers, the Kolibree with help users focus on their long-term oral health progress by analyzing an individual’s brushing habits, the way the user holds and moves the brush around their teeth and gums, and keep track of how long the user brushes each day.

After downloading the toothbrush’s app to a smartphone, the Kolibree communicates with the phone via a Bluetooth connection, recording every stroke. The data then syncs to the apps dashboard, providing users with a breakdown of their brushing habits and whether they are successfully hitting those hard to reach places in the mouth. The app can even be synced to several brushes at once, so everyone in the family can have their dental habits analyzed and recorded.

Brush Better and More Frequently

The Kolibree even helps to motivate family members to brush better and more frequently by allowing members to earn badges as they score higher on the correct brushing scale. Each time a user goes to brush, the Koilbree’s app generates a score that represents how well they did. This allows users to visualize their progress by monitoring scores and setting new goals in order to stay involved and motivated. The better a user’s brushing habits become, the more badges they’ll earn.

The one drawback this new technology seems to have is that it all but eliminates the childhood honored tradition of running a toothbrush under the faucet and assuring mom and dad that you really did brush.

While the price for the world’s first smart toothbrush has yet to be determined, it’s expected the Kilibree will cost between $100 and $200.

Smiling young man brushing his teeth

10 Terrible Things that Happen When You Don’t Brush

If you’re like millions of Americans, you probably find yourself with too little time to properly take care of your oral health. After all, with the late nights at the office, getting the kids home from practice and fed, or just trying to find some time for yourself, the day has become quite full already without trying to find the time to correctly brush and floss.

If your oral hygiene habits have gotten a little loose lately, you’re not alone. Studies conducted by the American Dental Association have found that 50 percent of adults in the U.S. fail to floss on a nightly basis, and 20 percent fail to brush twice a day. While you probably feel bad whenever you shrug and decide to put off flossing or brushing till tomorrow, the long-term ramifications of poor oral health may have you reconsidering that decision.

Taking care of the health of your teeth and gums is more than about preventing cavities or avoiding bad breath. Not only does the mouth acts as a gateway for the body, a number of studies in recent years have uncovered that an individual’s oral health can have a profound effect on their overall health.

So while failing to brush and floss daily will probably result in the development of decay and cavities, you could be increasing your risk for a number of far more serious chronic health problems by not brushing. With that in mind, here are 10 terrible things that happen when you don’t brush from your choice for family dentistry in SW Portland, Burlingame Dental Arts:

Gum Disease

If you suffer from red, tender or swollen gums that bleed after brushing or flossing, you’re probably suffering from early stages of gum disease. The mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, causes inflammation, gum discoloration, tenderness, swelling and the aforementioned bleeding. Gingivitis has become such an issue that over half of all American suffer from the disease.

What makes gingivitis so problematic is that when left untreated it develops into periodontal disease, a more serious form of gum disease. Periodontal disease attacks the underlying tissue and bone structure that hold your teeth into position. Eventually the disease completely destroys your teeth’s foundation, leading to tooth loss. Considering the number of Americans with gingivitis, it’s little wonder that periodontal disease ranks as the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Bad Breath

While a steady diet of liverwurst and onion sandwiches will cause your breath to smell less than fresh, failing to brush and floss nightly also directly attributes to how fair or foul your breath smells. Bacteria in the mouth that contributes to the development of tooth decay also happens to be rather malodorous. Failing to brush allows foul smelling bacteria to build up, transforming your breath to a less than fresh state in the process. Similarly, food particles that remain trapped between your teeth begin to decay the longer they stay in the mouth. Needless to say, the word decay has never really been associated with springtime and roses, so you can imagine how not flossing can also affect your breath.


A recent long-term study involving residents at a retirement home found that individuals who suffer from poor oral health have a higher risk of developing dementia later in life. The study found that individuals who reported not brushing daily had between a 22 to 65 percent greater risk of developing dementia when compared to those who brushed daily.


When harmful pathogens remain in the mouth, you breathe them directly into your lungs, where they can cause all sorts of trouble. Research has suggested this link explains an existing increase between an individual’s oral health and pneumonia cases in hospital patients. In one study examining this correlation, researchers were able to decrease the number of patients suffering from pneumonia by 40 percent by improving oral health habits among all individuals admitted for treatment.

Brain Abscess

A collection of pus surrounded by swelling and inflammation, abscesses are often caused by bacterial infection. When left untreated in the brain, an abscess becomes a fatal condition. While brain abscesses are considered rare, researchers believe a correlation exists where periodontal disease can spread harmful bacteria to other parts of the body, potentially leading the development of an abscess.


Oral health experts have long understood that diabetes ranks as a risk factor for periodontitis, however, new research has begun to suggest that the relationship may actually be a two way connection; meaning that individuals with diabetes also have an increased risk of developing gum disease. Poor oral health may also make an individual more resistant to insulin and diabetes due to an increase of inflammation. Some research has even suggests that patients with diabetes may have a better chance of controlling the disease by improving their oral health.

Tooth Loss

Failing to brush daily leads to decay, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. If you don’t think that tooth loss should be a real concern, consider that adults between the ages of 20 to 64 lose an average of seven teeth. Approximately 10 percent of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 50 to 64 have no teeth left at all. So make sure you consider that long-term risks before deciding not to brush.

Kidney Disease

Approximately 3.7 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from kidney disease, but some find themselves at a higher risk than others. Individuals suffering from periodontal disease have a 4.5 times higher chance of developing kidney disease, which makes poor oral health a more reliable means of predicting the disease than high cholesterol.

Heart Disease

A number of studies have suggested a possible link exists between an individual’s oral health and heart disease. While a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, the authors of a 2008 review of the topic conducted by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended that gum disease be considered a risk factor for heart disease.

Complications with Pregnancy

Gingivitis affects between 60 to 75 percent of all pregnant women. Studies have shown that infants of women with poor oral health have a higher likelihood of developing cavities themselves when older. Oral health problems have also been linked to such pregnancy complications as low birth weight and premature delivery.

Best Ways to Improve Your Smile

Best Ways to Improve Your Smile

At Burlingame Dental Arts, the best dentist in Southwest Portland, we understand that our patients have a lot of questions about their oral health, especially when it comes to improving their smile. Having a healthy and attractive smile not only makes it easier for you to engage in daily activities like eating, talking and drinking, but a great smile can also improve your confidence and help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Fortunately, every patient of Drs. De Graff can enjoy the benefits of a brilliant smile by taking the time to look after their oral health, and by practicing quality oral hygiene habits. With that in mind, here are three tips that will help you achieve great oral health and improve your smile.

Improve Your Oral Hygiene Habits

Since childhood, you’ve probably heard about the importance of brushing and flossing nightly. Whether from a parent who cautioned you about sugar rotting your teeth or from a friendly pediatric dentist who talked about what could happen if you didn’t maintain your oral health, the idea that not brushing leads to tooth loss has probably stuck for most of your life. However, just because you understand the importance of brushing and flossing doesn’t mean you practice those habits adequately enough.

When it comes to their oral health, most patients could stand to improve their daily hygiene habits in one of three ways: brushing more frequently, brushing longer or flossing daily.

If you only brush once a day, you’re not cleaning your teeth frequently enough to prevent the risk of decay. While brushing right before bedtime might seem adequate enough to remove any lingering food particles that have remained on your teeth throughout the day, brushing in the morning means just as much to your long-term oral health.

The number one risk to the health of your teeth is plaque, a sticky biofilm made of bacteria and food particles. Plaque constantly builds up in the mouth, and uses the foods we eat to produce harmful substances that damage tooth enamel, the hard outer shell of your teeth that protects the delicate roots in the center. The more plaque on your teeth, the more damage that occurs whenever you eat.

Brushing helps remove plaque from your teeth, as does the saliva your mouth produces throughout the day. Unfortunately, when you sleep at night, the body produces far less saliva; most of which probably ends up on your pillow. So by only brushing once a day, you give plaque a 24-hour head start on doing damage to your oral health. But by brushing once in the morning and again at night, you can keep plaque under control.

Even if you do brush twice a day, you’re probably not brushing for long enough. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes at a time, or four minutes a day. Studies have actually shown that the average adult only spends about 30 seconds brushing, or one minute a day total. That’s a quarter of the time you should be spending on cleaning your teeth.

Run your tongue along your teeth and you can feel all the bumps and crevices were food could linger. By only giving your teeth a quick brushing, it’s unlikely that you’re hitting all of the hard to reach places of the mouth that can harbor bacteria and harm your oral health. So take your time when you brush and make sure to give each area of your mouth – including the front and back of your teeth – the time it deserves.

Finally, when you hear about the importance of flossing it doesn’t mean you need to floss once a week or every other day, it means you need to floss everyday. To many oral health experts, flossing actually plays a more important role than brushing when it comes to preventing tooth decay. That’s because flossing helps to remove plaque from areas of the mouth your toothbrush cannot reach, such as between teeth and along the gum line.

Sadly, despite the importance, studies have shown that only 51 percent of adults floss daily, and 10 percent never floss at all. If you don’t think flossing can really make that big a difference, consider that the most frequent place in the mouth for cavities to develop is actually between your teeth. Keep that in mind the next time you consider putting off flossing till tomorrow.

Watch What You Eat & Drink

What you eat and drink regularly can have an enormous impact on your long-term oral health. Foods and drinks high in sugar like sodas, carbs, candy and artificially sweetened fruit juice provide plaque with plenty of fuel to secrete harmful acids that erode away at your teeth’s enamel. So if you start every morning washing down a bagel with a glass of orange juice or a mid-day snack means grabbing a bottle of soda and a candy bar from the vending machine, your oral health already has the deck stack against it for the rest of the day.

It’s not just sugar than can a negative impact on your oral health. You can stain the color of your teeth if you drink tea, coffee, red wine and soda on a daily basis as well. Coffee, fruit juice and soda are also highly acidic, which can soften enamel and make the effects of plaque more damaging to the health of your teeth.

As a general rule, consider that any food consider healthy for your body is also probably good for your teeth. So diets high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can not only help improve the way you look and feel, they can also help add a little luster to the health of your teeth.

Call a Professional

You can perform all of the preventative maintenance necessary on your car and still need to visit a mechanic from time to time to ensure that it runs properly. The same can be said for the health of your teeth.

While brushing and flossing at home and watching what you eat can go a long way to improving your smile, still need to schedule regular appointments to see either Dr. De Graff to enjoy the best oral health possible. Regular checkups and cleanings will provide our doctors with the opportunity to assess the health of your smile, spot any potential signs of decay or gum disease, remove plaque deposits that have built up along the gum line and perform oral cancer screenings.

Once you stop believing in the Tooth Fairy, you only get one set of teeth for the rest of your life. Considering the long-term impacts associated with poor oral health, the effort you make to improving your smile today can make all the difference later in life.

New Breakthrough Offers Potential for Combating Oral Disease

New Breakthrough Offers Potential for Combating Oral Disease

New Breakthrough Offers Potential for Combating Oral Disease

When it comes of preventing the effects of tooth decay and gum disease, researchers continue to make new breakthroughs and discoveries. Few branches of science have made the kind of remarkable progress over the last 30 years as dentistry. Patients today have a variety of oral care options available that would of seemed impossible just a few short years ago.

Now science has made another advance in dental technology, as researchers from Case Western Reserve University have discovered a less invasive procedure to extract individual rare immune cells from the mouth to examine how the mouth’s natural defenses prevent inflammation and infection.

  • By isolating these specialized immune cells to determine who they fight off diseases in the mouth – or reject foreign tissues, such as in cases of failed organ transplants – researchers hope to discover more about preventing and treating a variety of chronic issues like cardiovascular disease, oral cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases.Up until today, researchers had to rely on examining and growing immune cell from blood. Examining tissue immune cells allows researcher to discover how they function when interacting with an infection.

    While the role adaptive immune cells plays in the intestines and stomach is better understood by science, the role these types of cells play in the mouth has yet to become clear. No reliable techniques exist for extracting immune cells from the mouth, which are still easier to extract than from either the intestine or stomach.  Furthermore, until now, immune cells gathered from the mouth could not be separated enough or grown to study their activities.

    This new breakthrough, however, offers a new method for study with great potential for future advancements in understanding how to prevent oral disease.

    The results of this study were published in the journal Biological Procedures.

Method of Discovery

As part of their new method, researchers isolated two important types of immune T lymphocytes that play a key part in fighting oral disease. The cell functions in the body’s adaptive immune system where cell respond to pathogen entering the body.

Researchers took tissue samples from the mouths of mice and washed them multiple times with chemical solutions containing antibiotics and saline. Researcher then disintegrated the tissue using enzymes and salts. The resulting solution was then centrifuged and strained to separate the remaining tissue components until cells remained that could be grown and studied.

With the ability to create an endless supply of usable tissue samples, researchers hope that the dental community will gain a better understanding of how bacteria that causes dental disease attacks the body.

A recent World Health Organization report cited tooth decay and gum disease as global problems, afflict billions of people worldwide. By understanding better how oral bacteria functions in the body, researchers are hopeful that new treatment methods may be developed that could offer relief to those suffering from oral disease and provide better means of prevention.

Until a breakthrough occurs that eliminates plaque and oral bacteria for good, we’ll just have to keep relying on the toothbrush and dental floss as the first line of defense against gum disease and decay.