On Thursday, we celebrate one of the favorite holidays for children: Halloween. Between trick-or-treating, classroom parties, and city-wide fall festivals, children are given access to an exorbitant amount of sugary sweets to eat over the course of the next few months. Parents know that eating assorted candies can be detrimental to oral health, as sugar damages teeth by causing cavities. Halloween is the perfect opportunity for parents to help their children learn healthy dental habits. Dr. Pate offers these practical tips for keeping your children’s mouths healthy on Halloween and year-round.
1. Teach Moderation
Deprivation makes candy seem more irresistible to children, which can encourage them to sneak candy later. On Halloween, allow your child to choose 5-10 small pieces of his favorite candy, and store the rest. Then, you can easily monitor the amount of candy your child eats in the weeks following. (more…)
For many people, the first thought that October brings to mind is Halloween and the hordes of candy that will inevitably assault their oral health. However, there is another reason to celebrate October as the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) marks National Dental Hygiene Month. Since most of us have been instructed to care for our teeth since childhood, oral hygiene may not seem like a problem. Yet, gum disease still affects over 75% of adults in America, and over 90% of adults under the age of 60 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. To help lower these statistics, at least among our patients and readers, Atlanta dentist Peter A. Pate, outlines the basics of proper oral health care.
Good Dental Hygiene Practices
While most of us can say that we brush our teeth every day (we hope!), not everyone knows that there is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth. One of the most common tooth brushing mistakes is brushing too quickly, or not thoroughly enough. (more…)
Approximately 30-50% of teens in the US consume energy drinks in an effort to improve their athletic prowess, sharpen their concentration, or just obtain a boost of energy to make it through the rest of the day. 62% of American teens consume sports drinks at least once a day. The general belief is that a sports drink, or even an energy drink, is better for you than a sugary alternative, such as juice or soda. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explores whether this belief is true, and how sports and energy drinks affect your oral health.
Testing Sports and Energy Drinks on Teeth
In a study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, researchers uncovered that the alarming increase in adolescent consumption of sports and energy drinks is causing irreversible damage to their teeth. Researchers emulated the consumption of these beverages by immersing samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for about 15 minutes, then immersing them in artificial saliva for two hours. This process was repeated four times a day for five days to stimulate the same exposure young adults subject their teeth to by drinking these beverages several times a day. The acidity levels of energy drinks were far more impressive than those of sports drinks, but both proved noticeably detrimental to tooth enamel after only five days of exposure. Damage to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without enamel, your tooth is essentially defenseless against food debris and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. (more…)
So you’ve discovered that your own little bundle of joy is on the way. Now that you are caring for yourself as well as your unborn child, you have additional responsibilities. One topic you may not consider in relation to your pregnancy is your oral health. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains why you shouldn’t place your dental hygiene at the bottom of the list during your pregnancy.
Gum Disease and Your Pregnancy
Periodontal (gum) disease has a direct relation to many chronic inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also has been linked to preterm and low-birth weight babies. The main culprit suspected in the link is the bacterium P. gingivalis, which induces your body’s inflammatory response. When gum disease causes your gums to swell and bleed, bacteria enters your bloodstream through the soft infected tissue. As P. gingivalis travels throughout your body, it can provoke the same inflammatory response as it did in your gums. When you are pregnant, this can mean abnormal conditions surrounding the birth of your child. (more…)
In order for your teeth and jaw to work properly, your bite must fit properly when at rest. When opposing teeth do not line up as they should, the condition is called malocclusion. The misalignment puts undue stress on jaw muscles and the joints that connect your upper and lower jaw (the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ). Malocclusion can occur for a number of reasons. Dr. Peter Pate explains the most common form, called overbite.
When Your Teeth Go Overboard
In a healthy mouth, upper teeth will ideally sit about 3-5 mm in front of lower teeth when your jaw is at rest. An overbite is a condition in which this extension is greater than 5mm. Although an overbite can be inherited from parents, a child can develop or worsen an overbite with excessive pacifier use or thumb sucking. Some overbites are so minor as to be unnoticeable, while some are so severe that they visibly alter the structure and appearance of your face. Effects of an extreme overbite, however, go beyond appearance. The strain that an overbite places on the jaw can lead to TMJ disorder, headaches, and speech impediments. Overbites constitute about 70% of dental disorders in children, making it the most common form of malocclusion.
What is an Underbite?
Another form of malocclusion is the underbite. As you’ve probably guessed, an underbite is the condition where the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth when the jaw is at rest. Because upper teeth are supposed to be in front of lower teeth, an underbite is usually more visible than an overbite. Like an overbite, an underbite can be genetically inherited, but can also be worsened by tongue thrusting or excessive open-mouthed breathing. (more…)
Have you ever wondered why your tongue changes its appearance? Or why your tastebuds seem not to work sometimes? When your tongue acts strangely, it may be trying to tell you something. Check out these interesting facts from Dr. Peter Pate and boost your knowledge about the tongue!
- The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body and allows you to eat, drink, talk, and make funny faces (about 85% of the population can curl their tongues into a tube).
- Your tongue is the only muscle that is connected at only one end.
- Even after brushing and flossing your teeth, bacteria at the back of your tongue can still make your breath foul. In fact, approximately 50% of the bacteria in your mouth reside on the surface of your tongue. Be sure to brush your tongue as a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. You can use the soft bristles of your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
- Your tongue is like a fingerprint; no two are alike. (more…)