Wisdom Teeth: Tooth loss linked to Memory Loss!?

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A team of Japanese Neuroscientists conducted a study in 2010 exploring the link between tooth loss and brain function. According to their study, the less teeth one has, the more likely to have a worse memory. Time is also a factor, as they also found that the longer a person has been without teeth, the more likely they are to have cognitive decline.

Nozomi Okamoto and his team took a look at what factors may cause memory to decline as we age. The gums are not the go-to place to judge intelligence, but they are known as an indicator of general health. Research in the past has shown that periodontal disease is associated with the development of dementia. There is some evidence to suggest that inflammatory agents originating from gum disease may lead to inflammation in other parts of the body, including the brain.

Okamoto enlisted over 4,000 participants over the age of 65 from an area south of Kyoto Japan called Nara. Okamoto assessed the participants for Mild Memory Impairment (MMI), a preclinical stage of dementia. Additionally, he had two dentists count the number of teeth, and for the toothless, the length of time without teeth. In order to account for any other possible memory function factors, participants were also screened for levels of depression, alcohol intake, smoking habits, general lifestyle, education and medical history.

When such factors as education and lifestyle were controlled, having fewer teeth was still a significant factor in the performance on memory tasks. Participants who had been toothless for over 15 years were three times as likely to have MMI compared to the participants who had more teeth.

These recent findings although interesting and thought provoking are not met without caution. Okamoto only met with each subject across a few months. Most studies require researchers to follow their subjects across many years to conclude whether the relationship is directly related or not. Tooth loss may only be in indicator of mental function, but does it cause the decline, or is it a result of it? For example, Okamoto did not look at genetics, such as certain Alzheimer’s linked markers.

The association between tooth loss and memory may be due to poor dental health. Gum disease is usually characterized by high levels of inflammation in the gums and tissues that support the teeth. This is not just limited to the mouth, however, as unhealthy gums have already been linked to heart disease and stroke. This is possibly due to the same bacteria that inflame the gums entering the bloodstream, causing plaque buildup elsewhere in the body, including the brain.

Another possible explanation may be that the tooth loss itself causes the cerebral cortex to deteriorate due to the loss of sensory input. A study done with rats found that the more teeth were pulled, the more cells were lost in the area of the brain associated with memory formation (the hippocampus). Whatever the cause or effect, it is a good idea to take care of the teeth you do have as well as you can. Regular check ups combined with good home care can help you remain healthy, happy and as we recently found out, smart!

Why It Is Okay to Let Kids Indulge in Halloween Candy!

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There’s no reason to be spooked. Many dentists believe it is okay to let kids indulge themselves in candy this Halloween.

The reality is that if you’re going to eat candy, gorging is far better for your teeth than rationing. As far as oral hygiene goes, it is better to eat many candy bars at once than to eat one every few hours. In the first situation, acid will build up in your mouth, but your saliva will naturally neutralize this acid over the course of an hour or so. In the second scenario, you are constantly exposing your teeth to acid throughout the day, resulting in too much acid for the saliva to wash away.

Slowly snacking on candy, chocolate and sugary snacks every few hours, day after day, keeps your teeth bathed in enamel-corroding acid, the by-product of bacteria feeding on sugar and other carbohydrates in your mouth. This leads to dental caries, or cavities.

Gorging is also better because it is more likely to be followed by tooth brushing. People, especially children, are less likely to brush their teeth after every candy bar, particularly if they aren’t at home.

General Tips: Oral Health & Halloween
As a general rule, make sure you feed your children a meal before going trick-or-treating. This way, they will not crave treats as much. Make your kids count their treats and divide them into a few portions for everyday use as dessert after dinner. Do not let them have treats right after arriving home when they are hungry, or at school when they cannot keep their teeth clean.

Potato chips and pretzels are worse offenders than chocolate, because these cooked carbohydrates cling to your teeth and give mouth bacteria something to feast on longer. The worst thing for your teeth is stickiness and acidity that generates even more acid. These are normally the factors that really lead to cavities.

It is helpful to know that among candy, the sticky and sour kinds are the worst two types for your teeth. Sour candy tends to have more acid, so sour-tasting gummies are a double whammy. Also, those gummies that stay stuck in the molars till Thanksgiving are nothing but trouble!

Oral health is nothing to ignore, because tooth decay and gum disease are major public health problems. Stemming from inflammation and subsequent infections, tooth decay and gum disease are associated with poor digestion, heart attacks, strokes and cancers.

If you think candy is the only unhealthy element of Halloween, you need to consider this: Halloween is one of the top three major nights, along with New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, for dangerous binge drinking, according to an article published last year in the Journal of American College Health.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Coquitlam dental clinic at (604) 552–2241, or visit us at our clinic. Glen Dental Centre is located on Glen Drive across from Coquitlam Centre in the heart of downtown Coquitlam, BC. From cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, Invisalign, Invisalign teen, dental implants, family and children dentistry to laser and oral sedation dentistry, the Coquitlam dentist and his team are dedicated to providing you services in all aspects of dentistry.

For more information visit us at www.glendentalcentre.com

Happy Halloween to all.

Say Cheese! Cheddar May Help Prevent Cavities

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Study Suggests Cheddar May Help Prevent Cavities

It has long been believed that including dairy products in your diet is important for maintaining good health overall. Until now, there has been limited research on how dairy products affect oral health specifically. In the May & June of 2013 issue of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a clinical journal, a study was published that suggests consuming dairy and cheese may help protect teeth against cavities.

The study involved 68 subjects ranging from ages 12-15. The plaque pH levels were measured before and after the consumption of cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A mouth pH level that is lower than 5.5 is considered acidic and puts one at risk for enamel erosion. A higher pH signifies a basic environment in the mouth and has been shown to lower the chance of a cavity forming.

The 68 subjects in the test group were sorted into groups. Each group would eat one type of dairy product: Cheddar cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. Each group consumed the food, exposing the food to the teeth for 3 minutes. Researchers then measured the pH levels in the subjects’ mouths at 10, 20 and 30 minutes post-consumtion.

There was no change of pH in the mouths of the subjects who had consumed the milk or yogurt. Subjects who had consumed the cheese, however, showed a marked increase in pH at each time interval, suggesting that eating cheese helps to neutralize the acid in the mouth to create an alkaline environment. This suggests that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

The study also indicated that the reason the pH rose in subjects who consumed cheese versus milk or yogurt may be due to the act of chewing. The action of chewing stimulates salivary glands to produce more saliva in anticipation of digesting food. What’s more, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to the tooth’s enamel, further helping to protect teeth from acid erosion.

Before you run to the local deli or grocery store, make sure to take this research and advice in moderation. Eating a whole block of cheese will come with its own health risks, so stick to a piece or two after a particularly acidic meal, or have some cheese as a snack with fruit or crackers. If you are interested in adding more dairy items to your diet for better dental health, stick to options that do not include added sugar, as sugar is a known culprit for causing cavities.

E-Cigarette: Useful Tool to Quit Smoking?

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Many smokers resolve to cut down or quit smoking in the New Year. Instead of quitting cold-turkey, some people will opt for less harmful options than smoking a cigarette. Smoke-free options to quell a nicotine craving include nicotine gum, wearing a nicotine patch, nicotine spray, and also using a vaporizer or e-cigarette. Today we will be focusing on the e-cigarette. What is it, how does it work, and is it better than simply smoking a cigarette?

What is it anyway?

An electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette) is a portable, battery operated device that administers nicotine to the operator. Some e-cigarettes look exactly like a real cigarette, down to an LED light that glows when the user is inhaling the vapor. Other versions of the e-cigarette have a different, sophisticated look. Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while other versions are refillable and feature a rechargeable battery as well.

How does it Work?

An e-cigarette contains a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that contains a mixture of nicotine, flavor and other liquids. When in use, the element heats up the liquid turning it into vapor to be inhaled. When exhaled, instead of a smoke, vapor is exhaled. The smoke is virtually odorless, and if anything, smells of the flavor of the cartridge.

Is it better than Smoking?

As e-cigarettes are relatively new to the market, the long term effects of vaporizing nicotine have not yet been gauged. Using an e-cigarette can help by cutting down from the near 7000 different chemicals that are found in cigarettes. The vapor exhaled from an e-cigarette doesn’t contain smoke, and therefore does not harm those around the ‘smoker’, as the vapor exhaled is like that of fog from a fog machine. On the other hand, going from smoking to cigarette to and e-cigarette is like going from smoking one concoction of chemicals to another, and the long term effects are yet unknown. What’s more, switching to an e-cigarette will still give in to the craving of nicotine, trading one addiction for another. If you are interested in butting out for good and are considering switching to an e-cigarette, the best course of action is to speak to your doctor about the risks involved.

5 Ways to Save Money on Dental Care

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Dental work can add up quickly and seem very daunting. If you are savvy about your dental needs, you can save money over time. You can save money many ways including prevention, all the way to maximizing your work benefits. Keep reading to learn how.

Prevention Makes Perfect

As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure”. This is also true for dentistry. If you think of the higher-end procedures such as root canal therapy, crowns, bridges, dentures and even gum surgery, they have one thing in common: In most cases, the treatment could have been avoided by prevention. Taking proper care of your teeth at home using dentist recommended tooth paste, a good toothbrush, and a mouth rinse can keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. This, along with a regular check up and professional cleaning, will greatly reduce the instance of preventable oral diseases.

Don’t Put off Small Concerns

If you have a small ache or sensitivity, it is best to get this looked at with no delay. These small aches and pains are your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t completely normal. Acting quickly can be the difference between needing a filling, or a root canal and crown. Even if the discomfort you feel turns out to be nothing, the cost of an exam and x-ray is way less in the long run than waiting for a dire emergency to occur.

Prioritize Your Treatment Plan

At your next check up, if you don’t make it into the ‘Cavity Free Club’ and you require dental treatment all is not lost. When your dentist is going over treatment for you, make sure you have a clear idea of which treatment is most urgent. It will be more cost effective to get work done right away if the condition is expected to deteriorate. Although not ideal, if you are low on funds, you can ask your dentist if anything can be done short-term to tide you over until you can finish the treatment properly.

Maximize Your Insurance Plan

If you have a dental plan through your employer, you are paying for that plan. Every year that you pay for your dental plan but neglect to use your plan, you are throwing away hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars, as these annual maximums do not carry over. If you have an outstanding treatment plan, ask your receptionist how you can plan your treatment for the most coverage. Lower priority treatment can be saved until next year. Alternately, if you know that you need more than one crown for instance, you can plan which one(s) to get in each year. Make sure to save some benefit for your regular cleanings!

Quality is Key
It may be tempting to cut corners with dental work by going overseas or even merely price shopping. If you are given an estimate that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you pay rock bottom prices for dental work and the quality of work suffers, you may end up having to pay for the procedure again. Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

THANKSGIVING DENTAL CARE TIPS

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The holidays are all about kicking back, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying a great meal. Between football games and classic movies, family members bustle around the kitchen preparing all kinds of goodies. But what is that Thanksgiving meal doing to your smile? Follow the advice of your upper Arlington dentist to prevent holiday-related dental problems.

Thanksgiving: Great for Families, Bad for Teeth

Don’t let your Thanksgiving dinner hurt your smile. Here are some of the biggest Thanksgiving day offenders.

Hard Foods

Harder foods, such as bones, toasted breads, and nuts are notorious for causing dental damage. Avoid hard foods like baguettes, burned items, or hard candies—even if you are only trying to partake to be polite. Hard foods can damage fillings or dental work, or even cause dental fractures that could leave you sidelined with a serious dental injury.

Starchy Foods

Believe it or not, starchy foods like pies, rolls, and stuffing can be just as damaging as other dental villains. Because the oral bacteria that live in your mouth feed off of simple starches, eating starchy foods throughout the day will cause your teeth to accumulate more plaque and tartar than they would normally.

Heavily Pigmented Foods

Most people don’t realize it, but the things that you eat stick around in more ways than one. When you eat heavily pigmented foods, the dye in these foods can leach through and stain your teeth’s underlying dentin. If you are interested in keeping your teeth bright white, try to avoid pigmented foods like red wine, cranberry sauce, and brown gravy.

Seconds, Thirds, and Fourths…

Research has shown that acid continues to attack your teeth for up to twenty minutes after you eat, which is why enjoying seconds, thirds, and fourths could cause a day-long acid bath. To keep oral decay in check, try to limit your Thanksgiving eating to mealtime, and avoid the extra snacking.

Be Proactive With Dental Care

To keep your teeth clean and tidy during Thanksgiving, pack a toothbrush and dental floss so that you can brush and floss after dinner. If you decide to snack between meals, swish your mouth with water to dilute bacterial acids and to wash away food particles. As always, if you encounter any dental problems during the holidays, contact our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

What is Root Canal Therapy & Why is it Necessary?

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A lot of people hear the word ‘Root Canal’ and cringe without knowing exactly what it is and why it can be necessary. What exactly is root canal therapy, and why does one teeth need it when another tooth does not?

Root canal therapy is a treatment performed on a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. It is needed when the pulp (blood supply and nerve) of the tooth becomes infected or starts to die. The infection can be the result of advanced decay, or from trauma. When a tooth is affected by either of these scenarios, it can create an abscess when the tooth’s nerve starts to die. This is caused by any bacteria in your blood stream getting to this dying nerve tissue and feeding on it. Once this happens, the bacteria quickly multiply, and can ooze out of the tip of the root between the tooth and the jawbone causing the beginning of an abscess. The immune system will send defensive white blood cells in to fight the infection, but they are not able to get to the bottom of the problem, which is the tooth itself.

If your body has trouble fighting the bacteria, and the abscess continues to expand, this will create increasing pressure in the tooth. This is called an acute abscess and it is very painful. At this point, the dentist has two options. Either extract the tooth, removing the offending material from the body: no decaying, infected tooth means no infection in the body. The other option is root canal therapy: the tooth is opened up, the infected pulp is removed from the tooth and the tooth is sterilized. After sterilization a filling material is placed to seal off the tooth preventing further bacteria from invading the tooth and causing infection.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

5 Tips for a Cleaner, Healthier Mouth

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If you love that ‘Fresh-from-the-Dentist’ feeling after a professional cleaning you are in the right place. As you may have noticed, after you have had your teeth cleaned, or brushed your own teeth they feel really smooth. Unfortunately this feeling doesn’t last. If you run your tongue over your teeth and they feel ‘fuzzy’, what you’re feeling is the build-up of bacteria called plaque. If left unchecked, the plaque can harden and be almost impossible to remove without a visit to your dental office. Below are some tips on how to control and prevent plaque build-up for a cleaner, fresher feeling mouth.

Brush Daily – Once a day is better than not at all, but it is recommended to brush your teeth 2-3 times per day. Using a toothbrush recommended by your hygienist or Dentist along with a fluoride toothpaste is the best way to prevent plaque from forming in the first place. Make sure to take your time (up to 2 minutes) and thoroughly brush all surfaces of your teeth, gums, tongue as well as the inside of your cheeks.

Floss, Floss, Floss! – I’m sure your hygienist has stressed the importance of flossing everyday…and they are right! Flossing may not be number one on your list of fun activities, but it is absolutely crucial to your oral health. Your toothbrush can’t get to the food that gets trapped between your teeth. Imagine leaving that trapped food for days and how much bacteria that can create in your mouth! Be sure to floss between your teeth at least once a day. If you have difficulty flossing in a particular area of your mouth, ask your dentist or hygienist about other tools and techniques at your next cleaning appointment. See below for a link to a ‘How to Floss’ guide.

Rinse Your Mouth – Mouth rinse and mouthwash are two different things. A mouthwash is a substance used solely to freshen the breath with no regard for killing bacteria. A mouth rinse with antiseptic properties will help reduce the amount of bacteria that make your mouth home. This will help reduce place from building up.

No more sticky, sugary foods – These foods are the hardest to remove from the surface of your teeth. This includes, candy, dried fruit and starchy foods. If this substance is not removed from your teeth right away, the plaque will feast on it, causing tooth decay.

Regular Dental Visits – Going to a dental health professional who will get to know your teeth and habits over time is the best way to keep your mouth clean, healthy and happy. They will be able to detect small changes and will greatly reduce the instance of preventable diseases such as periodontal disease, and gum disease. Also, depending on your needs, it may be recommended for you to be on a three to four month cleaning schedule.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Check Ups Twice a Year: Do I really need to go that often?

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In short, yes. Most people don’t take into account the importance of preventive care. If you’re lucky, you haven’t had a lot of dental issues in your younger years. This may make you feel like visiting your dentist twice a year is a waste of time. Of course, you could go less often, but let’s look at why this isn’t a good idea.

Time Spent Now = More Time (& Money) in Your Pocket

If you go for your check up twice as year as recommended, especially if your dental insurance pays for part of it anyway, you will really be doing yourself a favor. Preventing problems before they arise will definitely pay off as opposed to waiting for pain or something serious to arise. Things that can be prevented with regular check ups and cleaning are: Periodontal Disease, Tooth Decay, and Gum disease.

Periodontal Disease – The warm wet environment of your mouth is a great place for bacteria to form and thrive. These bacteria create a sticky film that coats your teeth. If left unchecked, it can harden into tartar and calculus, and even embed itself under the gum tissue. It is very important to have this build up removed regularly. This build up doesn’t cause pain until catastrophic damage is already done and can even cause tooth and bone loss.

Tooth Decay – If you see your dentist regularly, they can often find cavities when they are small and can be dealt with easily and sometimes without freezing. A big cavity can become a compound problem. A large cavity can spread to the pulp in the tooth causing pain and swelling and in some cases tooth loss. The last thing your mouth needs is to lose a tooth. A missing tooth in an arch can put more pressure on the existing teeth, and can compromise digestion if food cannot be broken down in the mouth properly.

Gum Disease – Your mouth and your heart are not related, right? In actuality, there is a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease. Build up on the teeth produces copious amounts of bacteria (in the billions) that can end up in the blood stream. Even though bacteria normally exist in the mouth, gum disease increases the bacteria to an unsafe level. At this point, the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and end up adhering to the walls of the heart and other blood vessels.

So while you might not be able to see or feel any issues with your teeth or gums when you skip your check up, you do run the risk of allowing some very serious problems developing. At our clinic, we can always find time for your next dental check up. If it has been 6 months or more since your last dental visit, don’t hesitate to call and book your appointment today!

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Importance of Regular Check Ups & X-rays

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Why Have a Regular Check up?

The key to dental health is prevention, and the best way to prevent dental emergencies is with regular check ups including dental x-rays. The frequency with which you need to go for your check up depends on your individual needs. Typically, it is recommended to visit your dentist for your check up and professional cleaning twice a year. Your dentist may suggest a more or less frequent regime depending on how well you care for your own teeth and gums, any existing concerns that need to be monitored, or how fast tartar tends to build up on your teeth.

The following are factors that help the dentist determine how often you should have your teeth and mouth examined.– Frequency of flossing – It is recommended to floss between your teeth at least once per day.
– Frequency of brushing – It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Make sure to follow any tips and techniques shown to you by your dentist and hygienist.
– Healthy Eating – Eating a moderately well-balanced diet that is low on sweet sticky foods is very important in preventing cavities and tartar build up.
– Are you a smoker? – Smoking daily can cause discoloration, as well as increase plaque and tartar and even increase the risk of gum disease, tooth and bone loss.
– Previous cavity or gum disease history – If you are cavity prone, it is important to visit your dentist more often to catch any cavities at their earliest stages. Sometimes a cavity that is in its early stages (decalcification) can be monitored and even reversed with good home care and in office fluoride treatments and changes to your diet.
– How is your overall health? – Your entire body is all connected where your health is concerned. Heart disease can be affected by poor oral health. Alternately, loose teeth can be a sign of osteoporosis. If you are not going to your physician or dentist regularly, you may be missing the whole picture.

X-rays at Every Dental Visit? Is This Necessary?

The frequency of dental x-rays you require is dependent on your specific oral health. For instance, a healthy adult patient who has good home care and regular check ups but hasn’t had a cavity in years does not need x-rays at every appointment. On the other hand, a patient who has previously had cavities, or has conditions that are being monitored may need x-rays more regularly. These x-rays are an important to tool to diagnose, and track the progress or degeneration of cavities, gum disease or bone loss and so on.

If at any time you are unsure why an x-ray is being taken, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist or the Dental Assistant. With today’s technology, dental x-rays convey very small amounts of radiation. Dental x-rays are an important tool for the diagnosis and prevention of oral diseases, as your dentist can only see part of the picture by examining the outside surfaces of your teeth and gums.

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