Category Archives: Preventative Dental Care

Can You Actually “Catch” Cavities?

Can You Actually “Catch” Cavities?Preventative Dental Care | My Scottsdale Dentist

We’ve all been told how important preventative dental care is. Regular check ups, brushing and flossing are things our parents instilled in us from the time we were young.

We’ve also been told over and over again how to keep our teeth healthy. You’ve probably been told that you shouldn’t eat sugary things too often because it’s bad for your teeth. Maybe you’ve cut down on soda, hard candies, or your favorite chocolate bar to save yourself from cavities. However, did you know that you can actually “catch” cavities from someone else’s mouth?

Time.com wrote an article about how contagious cavities actually are. You might be surprised to find out that the bacteria that cause cavities can transfer from mouth to mouth. This can happen via kissing, sharing food, or even feeding your little ones after you’ve tasted a bite to make sure it’s not too hot. Not only do you have to watch your own oral hygiene, but you also have to watch the hygiene of those around you. If not, you could end up with cavities when you have worked so hard to fend them off. Preventative Dental care is not just about your own dental health.

The good news is that by practicing good preventative dental care with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist, you can keep your teeth in excellent health. Dr. Steven Poulos and Dr. Sid Stevens will work with you to make sure your smile is exactly what you want it to be. Whether that means regular dental checkups, veneers, or teeth whitening, My Scottsdale Dentist wants to help you have the best smile and the healthiest teeth.

If you are looking for a new family dentist, or for Cosmetic Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We are a full service family dental practice working with patients of all ages. We look forward to seeing you.

Deep cleaning in Scottsdale: steps to prevent gum disease

Deep cleaning in Scottsdale: steps to prevent gum disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, over half of all American adults suffer from periodontal disease. If you are one of these people, you should know Gum Disease | My Scottsdale Dentisttwo very important facts: the first is that you’re not alone. Periodontal disease is very common, but that doesn’t make it something you should tolerate because it can have a drastic effect on your overall health. The second thing you should know is how to treat it. If you have gum disease, you should look into deep cleaning in Scottsdale at My Scottsdale Dentist to help correct the symptoms. Because there is no cure for periodontal disease, regular visits to the dentist are very important.

Recognizing the signs

One of the best things you can do to take care of your teeth, whether or not you have gum disease, is make regular appointments with your dentist and practice a good dental care regimen at home. If you notice early warning signs for gum disease, you’ll want to make an appointment for deep cleaning at My Scottsdale Dentist in Scottsdale as soon as possible. Early warning signs for periodontal disease include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

Home care for healthy dental health

Brush your teeth. When we talk about brushing teeth, we don’t mean smear some toothpaste on your teeth with a toothbrush and rinse it off. We mean scrubbing for at least three minutes first thing in the morning, after meals, and before you go to bed at night.

Floss. Floss will help remove bacteria that a toothbrush can’t reach because it’s located in between the teeth or just under the gum line.

Use mouth rinse. Some mouth rinses are more effective than others. Please discuss with your dentist the most effective toothpaste and mouth rinse for your dental care. When you use mouth rinse, allow it to contact all your teeth and gums for at least thirty seconds. Mouth rinse will help kill harmful mouth bacteria.

Watch what you eat and drink. Food that lingers on teeth can lead to cavities by attracting harmful bacteria. Sugary beverages, especially dark sodas, can damage or discolor teeth. If you do drink sugary beverages drink water afterward to wash the sugar off your teeth.

Advanced treatment for periodontal disease

If you have advanced gum disease, you’ll want to begin taking care of the symptoms by making regular appointments for deep cleaning in Scottsdale. Depending on your particular circumstances, this could mean deep cleaning every three to six months and root planing and scaling in Scottsdale every six months. Deep cleaning will help get rid of bacteria below the gum line, which assists gum health, allowing them to support your teeth better. Root planing smooths away rough surfaces on the root surface. A rough surface allows bacteria to adhere better deep under the gums and can affect long-term tooth health.

In addition to regular dental visits, follow your dentist’s recommendations for home care. For more information about deep cleaning or root planing and scaling in Scottsdale, including the exact procedure, how long it will take and the duration of the recovery period (usually after the anesthetic wears off you’re back to normal with possible pain medication but should avoid certain foods until your gums fully recover), please contact us.

 

Study shows a link may exist between poor oral hygiene and dementia

Study shows a link may exist between poor oral hygiene and dementia

If you’re like most adults, you’ve heard since you were a kid that oral hygiene is important. The message probably started with your parent and was reinforced Oral Hygiene | My Scottsdale Dentistby school teachers and dentists like Dr. Poulos at My Scottsdale Dentist.

Now as an adult you likely realize that oral hygiene is a critical component of healthy teeth and gums, fewer cavities, and overall mouth health. A study has shown, however, that there may be reasons you didn’t know about as a kid to make regular visits to your dentist. This study shows that there is a strong correlation between people with poor oral hygiene and dementia. It might be time to schedule an appointment with My Scottsdale Dentist to review your dental hygiene.

Correlation doesn’t show causation, but in this case there’s more than just a simple coincidence of effect. You might guess that someone with dementia is likely to not take very good care of their teeth. That’s true and previous studies have shown that very fact. This study, however, has located a specific gum-disease-causing bacteria in the brain of some patients. The name of the bacteria is called Porphyromonas gingivalis and of the ten people with dementia assessed in this study, four of them had this bacteria in their brain as well. Other studies have already found correlations between inflammation in periodontal disease caused by Porphyromonas gingivalis and conditions like Alzheimer’s.

According to The University of Central Lancashire, Sim Singhrao, a senior research fellow for this project, made the following statement:

“We are working on the theory that when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria and/or debris from our gums, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss.”

From WebMD, St John Crean, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry made the following comment:

“[…] it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people. It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse.”

Ten people is not a large number, but forty percent is, so before any further conclusions can be drawn, this study will need to be repeated with a larger sample size. Given that infections in the mouth can pass to the brain, as has been seen with abscessed root canals, it’s not difficult to imagine that an insult to the gums or teeth can provide a passageway for a blood-borne pathogen to mobilize from the mouth, a few inches away to the brain.

Whether or not Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related neurological disorders are caused or worsened by bacteria, the correlation and consistent finding of periodontal bacteria in the brain makes the point, at least for us, that regular visits to the dentist do more than improve dental health they also seem to statistically improve mental health. For more information about the ways regular dental care can improve your overall health, please contact My Scottsdale Dentist and make an appointment today.

Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important in Preventing Disease

Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important in Preventing Disease

We all know how important good oral hygiene is for healthy teeth and a winning smile. What many people may not be aware of, though, is how important Oral Hygiene | My Scottsdale Dentistoral hygiene is to our overall health. My Scottsdale Dentist understands just how important good oral hygiene is to our patients over all health.

Daily brushing and flossing not only helps keep your teeth clean and breath fresh, it also helps to control bacteria on teeth. When bacteria build up, the gums are more likely to become infected. When gums are infected, they become inflamed as a result of the immune system’s efforts to combat the infection.

 

Periodontitis

Chemicals produced by inflamed gums damage the gums and the bone structure that holds the teeth. Periodontitis is the disease that results from inflamed gums and can cause health problems throughout the body. A 2011 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report stated that people with periodontal disease are 40% more likely to have chronic health conditions than those with healthy gums.

 

Oral Hygiene and Other Health Conditions

In recent years, researchers have been studying the relationship between oral hygiene and other conditions to better understand the connection. An article in WebMD listed several health conditions that are more likely to affect people who have periodontitis:

 

Diabetes Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to use insulin properly for controlling blood sugar. This results in a kind off negative feedback loop, where high blood sugar helps to feed the infections and make the inflammation even worse.

 

Heart Disease Heart disease patients are more likely to have periodontitis than people without heart disease by a ratio of 91% to 66%. The mechanisms for this connection are not yet fully understood. One theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes blood vessels elsewhere to become inflamed. This inflammation restricts blood flow in the body, causing the heart to work harder, which increases blood pressure.

 

Cancer Studies have reported a “surprising” connection between gum disease and the risk for various cancers.

Gerald P. Curatola, D.D.S. wrote in Dr. OZ Magazine: “…gum disease has been identified as the body’s most abundant source of chronic low-grade inflammation which is described as smoldering fire in your body where the alarm bell is not answered. This causes a decrease in the body’s immune response, and eventually, irreversible damage to the immune system, which is being identified as a likely factor for the increased cancer risk.”

 

Pregnancy Hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy can increase their risk for periodontitis. Development of a fetus in the womb may be interfered with by infection and inflammation in other parts of the body. Many factors can contribute to low birth weight and premature birth. Researchers are still studying this connection.

As research continues into the importance of oral hygiene to overall health, My Scottsdale Dentist will continue to keep you informed of the best ways to protect your dental health. Contact us to schedule your next appointment.

Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important in Preventing Disease

Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important in Preventing Disease

We all know how important good oral hygiene is for healthy teeth and a winning smile. What many people may not be aware of, though, is how importantOral Hygiene | My Scottsdale Dentist oral hygiene is to our overall health. My Scottsdale Dentist understands just how important good oral hygiene is to our patients over all health.

Daily brushing and flossing not only helps keep your teeth clean and breath fresh, it also helps to control bacteria on teeth. When bacteria build up, the gums are more likely to become infected. When gums are infected, they become inflamed as a result of the immune system’s efforts to combat the infection.

Periodontitis

Chemicals produced by inflamed gums damage the gums and the bone structure that holds the teeth. Periodontitis is the disease that results from inflamed gums and can cause health problems throughout the body. A 2011 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report stated that people with periodontal disease are 40% more likely to have chronic health conditions than those with healthy gums.

Oral Hygiene and Other Health Conditions

In recent years, researchers have been studying the relationship between oral hygiene and other conditions to better understand the connection. An article in WebMD listed several health conditions that are more likely to affect people who have periodontitis:

Diabetes Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to use insulin properly for controlling blood sugar. This results in a kind off negative feedback loop, where high blood sugar helps to feed the infections and make the inflammation even worse.

Heart Disease Heart disease patients are more likely to have periodontitis than people without heart disease by a ratio of 91% to 66%. The mechanisms for this connection are not yet fully understood. One theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes blood vessels elsewhere to become inflamed. This inflammation restricts blood flow in the body, causing the heart to work harder, which increases blood pressure.

 Cancer Studies have reported a “surprising” connection between gum disease and the risk for various cancers.

Gerald P. Curatola, D.D.S. wrote in Dr. OZ Magazine: “…gum disease has been identified as the body’s most abundant source of chronic low-grade inflammation which is described as a smoldering fire in your body where the alarm bell is not answered. This causes a decrease in the body’s immune response, and eventually, irreversible damage to the immune system, which is being identified as a likely factor for the increased cancer risk.”

Pregnancy Hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy can increase their risk for periodontitis. Development of a fetus in the womb may be interfered with by infection and inflammation in other parts of the body. Many factors can contribute to low birth weight and premature birth. Researchers are still studying this connection.

As research continues into the importance of oral hygiene to overall health, My Scottsdale Dentist will continue to keep you informed of the best ways to protect your dental health. Contact us to schedule your next appointment.

How is Deep Cleaning in Scottsdale Different from Regular Teeth Cleaning?

How is Deep Cleaning in Scottsdale Different From Regular Teeth Cleaning?Deep Cleaning in Scottsdale | My Scottsdale Dentist

If you have regularly scheduled teeth cleaning performed to maintain your best dental health, you may still be told you need a special, deep cleaning in Scottsdale. The need for deep teeth cleaning, also called scaling and root planing, may be especially important for those who do not have regular teeth cleanings, or who have a pre-disposition for periodontal disease.

Deep cleaning goes between the teeth and gums to clean down to the roots, and is an effective treatment for gum disease. What is the difference between regular teeth cleaning and deep cleaning, and when is it needed?

 Regular Teeth Cleaning

Plaque is a clear, sticky film that builds up on teeth and contains bacteria. Most of this film is removed by brushing, but the toothbrush cannot get to all the plaque along the gum line. Plaque that is not removed eventually hardens and becomes tartar, also called calculus.

During a regular cleaning visit, the hygienist removes plaque, tartar and other debris from above and below the gum line. The outer surfaces of the teeth are polished help reduce future plaque buildup. The depths of gum pockets are also checked because these measurements help to show the health of the gums, and indicates whether deep cleaning may be needed.

 Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)

Generally, deep gum pockets of around 5mm or greater in depth are a sign bacteria under the gums have developed to unhealthy levels. This leads to periodontitis, bone loss, and ultimately the loss of teeth. Scaling and root planing are used to correct this problem, and is often the first step in treating periodontal disease.

  •  Scaling is a special procedure to remove plaque, tartar (or calculus), and toxins from deep below the gum line.
  •  Root Planing is the smoothing of rough surfaces on the roots of the teeth, and the removal of any root structure that is infected.

After deep cleaning has been performed and gum tissue starts to heal, gum pockets should begin to shrink. You may feel some discomfort during the healing process. Your teeth may be sensitive to temperatures, and you may experience some bleeding for a while. Special medicated mouth rinses, medications and an electric toothbrush may be recommended to help healing.

If the gum pockets do not shrink and heal after deep cleaning, periodontal surgery by Dr. Steven Poulos or Dr. Sid Stevens may be necessary to reduce pocket depth and make teeth cleaning easier.

Contact us at My Scottsdale Dentist to schedule an appointment to protect the health of your teeth.

Facts on Periodontal Disease | My Scottsdale Dentist

What is Periodontal Disease? 

Periodontal Disease is the more advanced stages of gingivitis or gum disease.Periodontal Disease My Scottsdale Dentist

Gingivitis is caused by bacteria in plaque build-up. The bacterium causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed during tooth brushing. During this phase, the gums may bleed but the teeth themselves are not affected and no serious irreversible bone damage has been done.

If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontal disease. When the disease get’s to this point, the inner layers of the gum and bones begin to separate from the connective tissue that secures the teeth in place leaving small pockets. These small spaces collect debris and become infected. The body will fight the infection as the plaque spreads below the gum line.

Toxins or poisons — produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as the body’s “good” enzymes involved in fighting infections — start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose, and tooth loss occurs. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease. These include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation, make gums more sensitive, which makes it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar, patients with this disease are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
  • Medications can affect oral health, because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medication Dilantin and the anti-angina drug Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
  • Bad habits such as smoking make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis, make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Gum disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.

Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of gum disease. In some people, gum disease may affect only certain teeth, such as the molars. Dr. Steve Poulos of My Scottsdale Family Dentist can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease.

How Does My Scottsdale Dentist Diagnose Gum Disease?

During a dental exam, Dr. Steve Poulos typically checks for these things:

  • Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
  • Your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated? 

The goals of gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy gums to teeth; reduce swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression. Treatment options depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Options range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues. A full description of the various treatment options is provided in Gum Disease Treatments.

How Can Periodontal Disease Be Prevented?

Gum disease can be reversed in nearly all cases when proper plaque control is practiced. Proper plaque control consists of professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing eliminates plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached; flossing removes food particles and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. Antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.

Other health and lifestyle changes that will decrease the risk, severity, and speed of gum disease development include:

  • Stop smoking. Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for development of periodontitis. Smokers are seven times more likely to get gum disease than nonsmokers, and smoking can lower the chances of success of some treatments.
  • Reduce stress . Stress may make it difficult for your body’s immune system to fight off infection.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps your immune system fight infection. Eating foods with antioxidant properties — for example, those containing vitamin E (vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, potatoes) — can help your body repair damaged tissue.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. These actions may put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could increase the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.

Despite following good oral hygiene practices and making other healthy lifestyle choices, the American Academy of Periodontology says that up to 30% of Americans may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. And those who are genetically predisposed may be up to six times more likely to develop some form of gum disease. If anyone in your family has gum disease, it may mean that you are at greater risk, as well. If you are more susceptible to gum disease, Dr. Steve Poulos of My Scottsdale Dentist may recommend more frequent check-ups, cleanings, and treatments to better manage the condition.

Flossing

Many people don’t realize the importance of flossing. Flossing in between your teeth is essential for avoiding periodontal disease as well as preventing tooth decay. Periodontal disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and can be easily prevented by flossing. Studies have even shown that flossing can also help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Tooth decay is caused by plaque, which is the sticky substance that forms on and in between the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat to produce an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, but only flossing can remove plaque that accumulates in between the teeth.

Plaque can also irritate the gums. When the gums are irritated, they bleed easily and become red and tender. If the plaque is not removed from in between the teeth with dental floss, the gums can eventually start to pull away from the teeth. When this happens, bacteria and pus-filled pockets can form and the bone that supports the teeth can be destroyed. Once the bone is destroyed, the teeth will loosen or have to be removed. Flossing your teeth is essential in preventing gum disease.

Basic Dental Hygiene

Tooth brush ectOne of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to take care of your teeth. You may not realize it but basic dental hygiene has a direct effect on your bodies overall health.

Dr. Steve Poulos and My Scottsdale Dentist in North Scottsdale make an effort to educate all their patients on the importance of good daily dental hygiene that includes brushing and flossing twice daily and getting regular checkups that include basic cleanings.

The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Basic dental hygiene is the basis for good dental care.

Researchers have been studying the relationship between oral health, inflammation, and disease. Inflammation, which is the body’s response to infection, seems to play a key role in many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and gum disease, also called periodontal disease.

This is important research because about 30% to 50% of American adults have mild to moderate gum disease. Another 5% to 15% have more severe disease, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And although genetics may increase your risk for gum disease, most cases can be controlled by brushing and flossing regularly.

Connections between basic dental hygiene  and overall health

The Oral Health-Heart Connection: Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease is well established in the medical literature. People with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology. And a 2008 analysis published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that periodontal disease was a risk factor for heart disease separate from other risk factors, such as smoking. Other studies have shown that having gum disease increases the risk for stroke. Basic dental hygiene can help reduce these risks.

My Scottsdale Dentist understands this. Their practice is focused on preventative dentistry first and foremost. Their goal is to only see their patients twice per year for checkups and cleanings unless they are looking for a cosmetic dental treatment.

If you are looking for a great dentist who understands the need for dental hygiene, My Scottsdale Dentist is it! Call today to schedule an appointment at 480-614-1122.

Dental Tips for Halloween from My Scottsdale Dentist

It’s almost Halloween! Costume stores are springing up, yards are decorated with ghoulish décor, and our day of sweet indulgence without guilt is almost here. Everywhere you look, there’s your favorite candy or chocolate wrapped in scary yet appealing packaging. What! It’s Halloween.

Well, to all the sweet tooth Halloween lovers -both adults and kids- here are some practical tips from My Scottsdale Dentist who shares your love for all things sweet.

  1. Sort the candy. When you are raiding your five-year-old’s candy bag at 2 in the morning, separate the stack into two parts. Place the taffy, the caramels, the gummy bears, anything that is sticky, chewy or sour into the first pile. All of the other candy goes into the second pile.
  2. Avoid the first pile. Dental cavities have a proven cause-and-effect relationship with extended exposure to sugary or sour substances. Oral bacteria thrives in this environment and converts these substances to acid that can, in turn, lead to cavities.
  3. Watch your family’s consumption of these sweet treats during this season. A great tip is to leave the candy wrappers in a visible area so that you remember how many of these ghoulish confections you’ve eaten.
  4. Chew sugar-free gum to help you ration your sweet intake. Ingredients like Xylitol and Sorbitol, low calorie sweeteners found in some gum, can actually be beneficial to your oral health. Research has shown that these sweeteners starve destructive bacteria, allowing your mouth to replenish minerals to your teeth. Get advice from your Dentist on the frequency and amount recommended.
  5. Dr. Steve Poulos recommends talking to your kids about oral health. This is a great time to reinforce the twice-a-day brushing routine and the daily ‘oh-so-dreaded flossing’ regime. Always remember, children will mostly do as they see. The most ideal scenario would be to brush after the consumption of candy. If that’s not possible, then encourage your child to eat the candy within a few minutes instead of snacking throughout the day, and then wash away some of the sugar by drinking a glass of water. And remember, Halloween is a great time to call My Scottsdale Dentist at 480-614-1122 and get the family scheduled for a check-up!

In the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, “There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner; that in the dinner, the sweets come last.”

Enjoy the sweets in moderation and have fun this Halloween!