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March 15, 2012

Alternative Dental Terms

Dentistry has many different terms that can all mean the same thing. Just for fun, let’s take a look at some of the terms that Dr. Pate or others may use to discuss your teeth, mouth, and smile.

Alternative Names for Teeth

Your teeth have different shapes and different purposes. When Dr. Pate is examining your mouth, he may use specific names for your teeth. If he uses any of the following terms, they all generally mean “teeth.”

  • Pearly Whites
  • Bicuspids
  • Molars
  • Third molars
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Canines
  • Incisors
  • Chompers/Choppers
  • Fangs
  • Tusks


March 2, 2012

Rock Star Dental Habits

February was a month full of awards shows, including the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. As your favorite musicians accepted their awards, what did their smiles look like? Dr. Pate can help protect your teeth from some common destructive rock-star habits.

Oral Habits

Some rockers have wild lifestyles. Drug, tobacco, and alcohol use can damage their smiles. First, these products contribute to stained teeth. Your teeth should not look the same gold color as your Grammy! Furthermore, these habits can lead to dry mouth and increase your risk of oral cancer. Most musicians should set an example to their young fans and avoid harmful habits to keep their smiles white and healthy.

Stage Accidents

Instrument wires and stage oils can make performances very hazardous. Slipping on stage or diving into the audience may cause oral injuries, like broken teeth or knocked out teeth. Actress-singer Hilary Duff admitted that she chipped four of her teeth on microphones, influencing her decision to get veneers. If rock stars plan rowdy dance moves, they should consider wearing mouth guards to protect their smiles against accidental injuries.


March 1, 2012

What are Taste Buds?

Taste is the weakest of your five senses, but it’s responsible for the different flavors you experience when you eat. In general, girls have more taste buds than boys. Taste buds are tiny nerve endings that send messages to your brain to help you sense a taste. How much do you know about your taste buds? Test your knowledge and visit Dr. Pate to make sure the taste in your mouth is healthy.

1. What are the bumps on your tongue called?

a. Papillae
b. Ridges
c. Palate

2. What are the five main tastes?

a. Sugar, fruity, sour, spicy, creamy
b. Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami
c. Dairy, bread, meat, dessert, beverage


February 8, 2012

Pet Dental Health

Eating table scraps, licking people, and digging through trash cans and outdoor surroundings can make your pet’s mouth very dirty. Dental disease affects 78% of dogs and 68% of cats, and poor dental health can lead to bacterial infection and tooth loss in any species.  Since your canine or feline doesn’t have access to professional dental care by Dr. Pate like you do, it’s important that you understand how to keep your pet’s mouth clean.

Pet Dental Problems

This month is National Pet Dental Health month. P. gulae is the bacteria responsible for causing gum disease in animals. Dental problems in pets can cause pain, discomfort, shyness, and irritability. Contact your vet if you notice any of these oral symptoms in your pet:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Wincing when touched near mouth
  • Red gums


February 1, 2012

Children’s Dental Health in February

Children miss about 51 million hours of school each year due to dental problems and treatments. It’s important to emphasize proper oral care for kids.  This can reduce irritability, behavior problems, and decreased performance during the day resulting from dental pain. The American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month in February to promote awareness of dental care for kids. This year’s NCDHM features the slogan, “Rock Your Smile,” to help children get an awesome smile, one that rocks!

Children’s Dental Health

To help improve the status of children’s oral care, take a look at some of the unfortunate statistics about current dental dangers.

  • Tooth decay is the second most common childhood illness, following the common cold.
  • Researchers found that about 80 percent of children are already infected with the cavity-causing bacteria, S. mutans, by the time they are two years old.
  • Advertisers spend about $900 million each year on television ads aimed at children under age 12. More than two-thirds of this advertising promotes junk food, which can promote tooth decay. (more…)

January 25, 2012

What’s in Your Mouth?

When you look at the inside of your mouth using a mirror, what do you see? There are many components that help your mouth stay healthy and function properly. Dr. Peter Pate can explain how to keep all the parts of your mouth healthy.

The Visual Parts

When you open your mouth, you can see a number of important features::

  • Teeth: The white part of a tooth is called the crown. The roots of your teeth are located under your gums, and help attach your teeth into your jaw bone. You may notice that your teeth are different shapes and sizes to help with different parts of chewing.
  • Gums: The pinkish tissue that supports your teeth is called your gums. When you look at your mouth, your teeth are attached to your gums. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums are signs of periodontal disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.
  • (more…)

November 30, 2011

Fruit cake: The dreaded holiday dessert

You cannot escape a grocery store during the holiday season without seeing fruit cake. This traditional treat is chock full of nuts and sticky dried fruits and seems unappealing to most. Although the taste alone is enough to turn many away, there are actually some other health reasons to re-gift this bready brick this year.

The truth is, fruit cake can secretly destroy your smile. Many people use candied or dried fruit to bake into their loaves. These fruit pieces can be sticky and sugary, causing tooth decay or even pulling out fillings! In addition, some varieties have hard nuts blended in with the cake. When you accidentally bite down on a nut, it could cause a tooth to chip or crack. If you choose to indulge in this devious delectable, make sure the cake is cooked well enough to soften the ingredients, and chew carefully!


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