Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ancient Teeth Had Cavities

Ancient Teeth Had Cavities

Tooth decay in early humans
A recent study on an old tooth shed some new light on the history of human hygiene.
Scientists say that a 14,000-year-old infected molar revealed the practice of dentistry is thousands of years older than previously thought.
The tooth is part of a preserved skeleton of a 25-year-old man found in Northern Italy in 1988. Scientists determined he lived about 14,000 years ago — during the Upper Paleolithic Age or the late Stone Age.
According to recent analysis, the ancient tooth showed signs of having been cleaned with flint tools. The findings suggest that someone tried to dig out the rotten part of the tooth with stone.
So yes, even cavemen had cavities — and they also went through painful procedures to get rid of them.

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Cavities

Your comments are welcome

Erosion, Acid Reflux,GERD, Bulemia (Eating Disorders), and Your Teeth

Healthy Teeth
Cavity (Tooth Decay or Caries)

Acid Erosion

What does tooth decay and acid erosion look like?

Erosion, Acid Reflux (GERD), Bulemia (Eating Disorders), and Your Teeth

Enamel is generally a semi-opaque off-white color, and slightly rough when it first comes into the mouth. Acid from bacterial plaque can cause white and brown/black spots to show up on the teeth.Erosion makes the enamel quite shinny and smooth.As time goes on the teeth become more yellow due the loss of this semi opaque layer exposing the dentine underneath which is yellow/orange.Once the dentin layer is exposed, the loss of tooth surface accelerates because the dentin layer is much softer that enamel.

What does acid do to teeth?

Your enamel (the hard white outer layer) on your teeth is comprised primarily of Calcium and Phosphorous, These elements are actually considered metals. Metals are susceptible to dissolving by acid. 

Where does this Acid come from?

Foods and drinks can contain acid. Acetic acid in vinegar, phosphoric acid in soda drinks, and citric acid in many fruits are the most common sources. Another source are stomach acid. Bacteria in your mouth break down sugars and starches in our foods to create lactic acid.

How common is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is the most common common communicable disease on earth, the bacteria is passed from family members to infants shortly after birth. These bacteria continue to inhabit the mouth and stick to teeth in a film called plaque. Bacteria from family members can be different strains from one person to another. Depending on the strains of bacteria one is infected with  the person can be more or less prone to acid formation.The more sugary and starchy foods a person consumes, the more acid that these bacteria can produce. Essentially the longer sugars and starches remain in the mouth, the more acid is produced. 

How Common is Tooth Damage from Acidic Foods?

This varies by how one eats and drinks acidic foods. People who drink a lot of acidic foods like orange juice and grapefruit juice  and soda may experience erosion over time. Another factor is how a person drinks these substances. If someone uses a straw and swallows quickly, the acid effect will be minimal to none. However, if a person swishes the liquid in the mouth, there is more acid in contact with the teeth and there will me more erosion.

How common is Acid Reflux (GERD)?

Acid Reflux is becoming more and more common as people age. For some reason as we get older, our bodies can overproduce too much acid and the natural valve in our throat can become less efficient allowing this excess acid to back up into the throat and mouth when laying down. In addition, the population is becoming more obese. Obese people have more weight on thir airway when laying down and larger tongues and other tissues in the back of the throat. The combination leads to airway obstruction and poor breathing at night. When someone is laying down and having difficulty getting air in to breath, they begin to choke and literally suck acidic stomach fluid into their throat and mouth. this acidic condition will  erode(dissolve) the teeth.

How common is Bulemia (Eating Disorder)?

this condition is more common than we can determine. It has two  forms. One is a physiologic form that has to do with tough and biology. We all know that many women will have morning sickness which leads to bouts of vomiting, Other people are what we call gaggers, or prople with very sensitive digestive systems. These people often have difficulty keeping food down and will often vomit after eating, or an incident that triggers an episode of gagging. The other form is a psychological form of vomiting related to self image and some form or exaggerated need to lose weight or keep weight off. Bulemia really became common after the popularity of very slender models who gained tremendous  exposure in the media (ie. Twiggy in the late 60's).  This form is usually seen in women and teenagers dealing with some trauma, or depressive incidents in the past. Sadly, rarely will these individuals admit to the act of forced vomiting and they do everything possible to hide their actions. When confronted with the suspicion of it, they can withdraw and become rather argumentative in denial until they are "ready for help"'.

What other factors can influence Acid Erosion?

Other factors that can effect acid erosion include, lower saliva flow, para functional habits and, oral hygiene, As we age, our saliva flow is reduced and this saliva is an acid buffer for the foods and drink, In addition there are thousands of medications that reduce salive flow when taken which again reduces the buffering capacity. Parafunctional habits like tooth clenching and grinding have an added effect of crushing the teeth that are already softened by acid attack. Poor oral hygiene will leave the acids from bacterial plaque on the teeth longer. Not using a fluoride rinse or toothpaste or having regular fluoride treatments by a dentist will also keep the teeth more prone to all forms of acid attack as fluoride hardens the enamel.

In Conclusion

When teeth first come into the mouth, they have a certain amount of enamel that will only decrease over time from wear and acid attack. Your dentist can advise you if any of these forms or acid attack are occuring. Intervention through testing, diet modification, habit changes, medications, and certain preventive hygiene procedures are all methods to ensure that your teeth stay bright, and strong thorough your lifetime. See your dentist regularly and follow the advice given.

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Erosion, Acid Reflux (GERD), Bulemia (Eating Disorders), and Your Teeth

Your comments are welcome

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Primary Teeth, (Baby Teeth) are Important!

Why are Primary Teeth Important?

Primary teeth serve as the bridge between no teeth and a full set of perminant teeth. Immediately after birth, an infant begins getting nutrition through nursing using a suckling technique, the muscles are not mature yet and the throat has not develop te completely. This suckling/swallowing method works well while muscles and structures develop and mature. At about 6 months, teeth begin erupting into the tiny jaws and the stronger muscles can begin processing bits of food. As the child continues to grow till about age two, the remaining primary teeth erupt into space. The tongue and jaws are growing stronger and larger and the child can now chew food efficiently and swallow it. The pri,are teeth will continue to work until they begin to be replaced by their perminant teeth at about age six. A child's ability to comfortably and efficiently eat, and speak, as well as feel socially acceptable are enhanced by a healthy complete set of primary teeth.

They Are Just Baby Teeth, Why The big Deal?

The primary teeth play a role in many areas of proper growth and development and need to be taken care of  for several reasons listed below:

  • They help a child get maximum nutrition by chewing the food prior to swallowing
  • Cavities (tooth decay, or caries)  can lead to painful and dangerous abscesses
  • Premature loss of teeth can be disfiguring and lead to social issues for children
  • Primary teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth infections or early loss can lead to developmental problems and need for braces  and surgery later
  • Proper hygiene and regular dental visits early in life leads to better life habits
  • Painful

    emergency visits due to dental problems not addressed early lead many people to become dental phobics as adults with significant  fears and avoidance behaviors which can be devastating physically, socially, and emotionally.
  • Speech patterns can be unaddressed affected by dental problems in children.

What Should Parents Do?

Parents should take their child to visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth arrives or by the child's first birthday. The child and parent can then establish a positives and healthy relationship very early on. In addition the dentist can help the parent develop goot diet and hygiene practices right away. Early visits allow the dentist to be alert for any growth and development issues early.

Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about Sealants at Crystal Lake Dental Associates.

Your comments are welcome

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sealants... They are not just for Children

Sealants are not just for Children?


What are sealants and why are they used?

Permanent teeth are prone to form cavities, (tooth decay or  caries). In these permanent teeth the most common place that this cavity forms in in the pits and grooves on the top and sides of the teeth where you brush. It is estimated that up to 75 percent of the teeth with these pits and grooves will form a cavity in your lifetime. Sealants are a thin coating of special plastic placed in the grooves of teeth. These grooves are the main area where tooth decay starts. If a sealant is well placed, it can last for many years providing protection for your teeth. Traditionally sealants are placed on the permanent  back teeth on children soon after they come into the mouth.

Are Sealants covered by Insurance?

Insurance companies will usually pay for sealants placed on the molars (the larger back teeth) until a certain age is reached. Many insurance companies will not pay for sealants on bicuspids (the smaller back teeth in front of the molars).

 Insurance companies, like any other business, set policy based on their own sets of rules These rules are provided to be competitive in the healthcare marketplace, give basic benefits, and contain costs, Benefit packages are tailored to the purchaser's (usually an employer).budget. Then insurance companies  contract with providers (dentists) and essentially dictate which services they will cover and how much the dentist can charge for the service.

Should Sealants be Placed on Teeth that Insurance does not Cover?

Yes, though the decay rate for some teeth is a little lower statistically, they are likely to develop a cavity in your lifetime. Our goal is to help patients get healthy and stay healthy. One of the ways we can do that is to seal up ALL teeth with grooves and pits. We recommend sealants on molars and bicuspids for all children and adults.

About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.