September 8, 2012
Dental caries, more commonly known as tooth decay, is one of the most widespread preventable diseases in the world. By the time they reach 40 years of age, over 85% of Americans will have signs of decay on at least one tooth. Two particular bacteria currently making their home in the human mouth, Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, digest the sugars left behind in your mouth. The digestion process turns these sugars into enamel-eating acids. Until recently, the best defense against tooth decay included a consistent and thorough at-home dental care regimen and regular checkups and cleanings with a general dentist. While you shouldn’t throw away your toothbrush and cancel your next cleaning quite yet, scientists have recently established a positive link between coconut oil and the reduction of tooth decay causing bacteria.
Coconut Oil Redeemed
Once vilified in the popular media for its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has come back into vogue in recent years. Produced by extracting the natural oil from the meat of mature coconuts, virgin coconut oil has gained popularity in the U.S. as a (more…)
August 6, 2012
For the most part, the habits we teach our children remain with them throughout their lives to varying degrees. One of the most important habits we can teach them as young ones is the proper way to care for their teeth. Erlanger dentist Dr. Sand Wall understands that children learn more effectively when they’re having fun. The doctor and our staff go out of our way to treat children with gentle compassion and make their dental appointments fun.
Give Them Tools for Good Oral Hygiene
The best way to protect your child’s oral health is to teach him or her how to properly care for their mouths. By learning at an early age to brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once, children become empowered for a lifetime of excellent oral health. Convincing them that it’s a good idea to visit the dentist every six months can be a little more challenging for some children. Luckily, Dr. Sand Wall’s nurturing manner and love of children makes most of our younger patients look forward to their dental visits. (more…)
July 26, 2012
Imagine a world without cavities. Since 2005, that’s exactly what Jose Cordova of Yale University and Erich Astudillo from the University of Chile have done. Their efforts have netted them the discovery of a molecule that could revolutionize dental care by actively fighting tooth decay. Erlanger dentist Dr. Darlene Sand Wall discusses the discovery and what it could mean for the future of human teeth.
The Basics of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is almost as common as the cold. In fact, cavities are the number one disease in children. The accolades for this achievement go to the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, which metabolize refined sugar and turn it into lactic acid. They do not need oxygen, so they favor sneaking into the tight spaces between adjacent teeth and quietly mounting acid attacks against your teeth every time you eat or drink. S. mutans inhabits the oral cavity and contributes to the formation of plaque (bacterial plaque). The only way to effectively protect your teeth from the decay it can cause is to neutralize its acid production. Traditionally, this is done by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, attending your six month dental checkup, and refraining from sugary foods and beverages like candy, sweets, fruit juices, and sodas. (more…)
July 12, 2012
If you suffer from chronic halitosis, you’ve probably tried every remedy in the book, including endless streams of mints and chewing gum. These breath fresheners can mask the odor for a while, but halitosis can usually be treated with an improved oral hygiene routine. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and visit your dentist at least every six months to ensure the continued good health of your teeth and mouth. However, if you’ve tried all of this, and your halitosis still persists, there may be another lesser-known cause behind your malodorous breath. Dr. Sand Wall discusses the possibility that your halitosis may be emanating from your lungs.
Bad Breath from Disease and Infection
After a little contemplation, it makes sense that a disease or infection in your lungs would cause your breath to smell a bit foul. After all, your breath originates in your lungs before it ever even reaches your mouth. Diseases including lung cancer, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, among others, can taint your breath with distinctive odors that can actually be utilized in early detection. Since we exhale the carbon dioxide that our blood carries to our lungs, diseases that affect the blood can have a similar effect on your breath as lung diseases (i.e., diabetes, kidney and liver disorders, etc). Unfortunately, there is no treatment for bad breath caused by disease. Treating the disease should suffice to rid you of its symptoms. (more…)
July 6, 2012
We’ve been told for most of our lives to brush our teeth twice a day, floss at least once, and visit the dentist every six months for a checkup. If you’ve heeded this advice, chances are your dentist tells you what a great job you’ve been doing taking care of your mouth and teeth. A few lucky people may never need any dental work done. That does not mean, however, that the dental checkup is unnecessary. Dr. Darlene Sand Wall explains the importance of your dental checkup and why you shouldn’t ignore it.
Maintaining your Oral Health
Brushing and flossing removes bacteria and plaque from your teeth and gums before they have a chance to cause damage. Unfortunately, plaque clings to every surface of the tooth, including below the gum line. While you may pay careful attention to brushing every surface and flossing in between every tooth, nobody is perfect, and you may miss some spots or simply be unable to reach them. When plaque remains for more than 48 hours, it calcifies (hardens) into tartar. Unlike plaque, tartar cannot be removed by simply brushing, flossing, or rinsing. Our hygienist will conduct a thorough, professional cleaning to remove all traces of tartar, especially along the gum line, to prevent the formation of gum disease. If tartar is not caught and removed during your checkup and cleaning, you may not know that you’re at risk until your gums exhibit signs, at which point gingivitis has already set in, and gum disease isn’t far behind. (more…)
June 29, 2012
Milk is polarizing; you either love it or hate it, but there’s rarely an in-between. Regardless of how you feel about milk now, though, it is the only substance that every human has consumed at some point in their lives (aside from water, of course). In fact, it is the first food that we taste as newborn babies. Even if you hate milk, you cannot deny the benefit it has on your health. After all, milk does your body good. In honor of National Dairy Month this June, Dr. Sand Wall tests your knowledge of milk.
1. Milk contains high levels of _______ , which strengthens your bones and helps you fight tooth decay.
2. How much of your body’s calcium (in percentage) is stored in your bones and teeth?
d. 100% (more…)
June 22, 2012
The hard outer layer on the crown of your teeth is called enamel. You may have heard about it before, probably from your dentist or from dental product commercials, but how much do you know about tooth enamel? Erlanger, Kentucky dentist Dr. Darlene Sand Wall offers these fun facts about your teeth’s most important protector.
- Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue that the body produces–even harder than bone! It is also one of the hardest substances found on earth, second only to diamonds.
- Enamel only covers the crown (top) of your tooth that is visible above the gum line. Your tooth’s root is not protected by enamel and can become quickly infected if exposed by receding gums.
- Contrary to popular belief, enamel is not white; it is translucent. The white coloring of your tooth is derived from the inner part, known as the dentin. Enamel can stain, however, from food, dark colored beverages, coffee, and tobacco use. At your six-month dental checkup, Dr. Sand Wall will perform a thorough cleaning to remove stains and reduce your risk of permanent staining. (more…)