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Posts for category: Oral Health

By THOMAS KEMLAGE DDS / ANDREW T. KEMLAGE DDS
June 08, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

If you knew something could harm your health, would you try to prevent it? Of course, you would, and your dentists at Kemlage Family Dentistry can help. At our Fenton, MO, practice, Dr. Thomas Kemlage and Dr. Andrew Kemlage inform their patients on the dangers of gum disease and show them simple ways to lower their risk for this difficult oral health problem.

It's also called periodontal disease

And, it is the leading reason why people lose their teeth in the United States. Caused by Strep bacteria in the mouth, gum disease often starts with few to no symptoms, but as it progresses, the problem becomes more obvious, with symptoms and inflammation which spread beyond the mouth.

Yes, periodontitis is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia. In fact, the American Heart Association reports that people who do not brush their teeth, floss frequently, or visit their dentist triple their chances of heart failure, stroke, and MI (heart attack).

Preventing gum disease

It starts at home. A healthy diet high in fiber and low in processed sugars encourages a low-risk oral environment. Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily reduces the build-up of toxic plaque and tartar, the yellow, rough biofilms which oral bacteria absolutely love.

Additionally, your gums remain vibrant with sufficient hydration (keep drinking water throughout the day) and no smoking. Tobacco encourages plaque build-up, and also, the heat from cigarette smoke actually burns soft tissue. This keratosis leads to gum disease and both pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions, says the American Academy of Oral Medicine.

Take care of your total smile by visiting our Fenton office

Oral hygiene at home and preventive dentistry services do more than just take care of your teeth—they service your gums, bone structure, dental alignment, and personal appearance, too. For more tips and techniques on preventing gum disease, please contact Dr. Thomas Kemlage or Dr. Andrew Kemlage at Kemlage Family Dentistry in Fenton, MO. These dentists, along with their friendly team, really want their patients to have wonderful smiles for life. Call us at (636) 225-1777.

By THOMAS KEMLAGE DDS / ANDREW T. KEMLAGE DDS
May 07, 2020
Category: Oral Health

How good are your oral care habits? Aside from routine visits to your dentists here at Kemlage Family Dentistry in Fenton, MO, Dr. Thomas Kemlage and Dr. Andrew Kemlage, make sure to follow these guidelines:

How Do You Brush Your Teeth?

By this we mean, not just how often, but the actual brushing itself. Ideally, it would be better to brush at least twice daily for around two minutes. This means spending about 30 seconds at every quarter of your mouth. The toothbrush must likewise be angled at about 45 degrees to clean the area between the teeth and gums and avoid damaging your enamel.

As you clean your teeth, do not neglect your tongue. Clean it in a circular motion to remove the bacteria present. Avoid putting too much pressure because it could damage your teeth and irritate the gums, causing more oral problems. A good brushing habit and technique includes knowing when it is time to replace your toothbrush. You cannot expect much cleaning from worn-out bristles anyway.

Do You Floss?

Some people take flossing for granted because they feel that brushing is more than enough. Flossing cleans out the spaces between teeth that are too hard for brushing to reach. It also allows you to clean under the gum line. Proper flossing requires at least 18 inches of floss so you can wrap it around your fingers and get a good grip. Using the thumb and forefingers, move the floss gently with a rubbing motion. Curve the floss against your tooth once you reach the gum line.

When Do You Visit Your Dentist?

ADA recommends that you visit your dentist in Fenton, MO, at least twice a year. This is of course if you are not experiencing some form of oral health problem like:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth loss
  • Consistent bad breath
  • Painful chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures

At the sign of any of these, you must visit your dentist as soon as possible.

For More Oral Care Tips or If You Have a Dental Emergency, Call Us

Dial (636) 225-1777 to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, Dr. Thomas Kemlage or Dr. Andrew Kemlage, here at Kemlage Family Dentistry in Fenton, MO.

By Thomas Kemlage DDS / Andrew T. Kemlage DDS
July 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health
HowBigBangTheoryActressMayimBialikGetsHerKidstoFloss

How many actresses have portrayed a neuroscientist on a wildly successful TV comedy while actually holding an advanced degree in neuroscience? As far as we know, exactly one: Mayim Bialik, who plays the lovably geeky Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory… and earned her PhD from UCLA.

Acknowledging her nerdy side, Bialik recently told Dear Doctor magazine, “I'm different, and I can't not be different.” Yet when it comes to her family's oral health, she wants the same things we all want: good checkups and great-looking smiles. “We're big on teeth and oral care,” she said. “Flossing is really a pleasure in our house.”

How does she get her two young sons to do it?

Bialik uses convenient pre-loaded floss holders that come complete with floss and a handle. “I just keep them in a little glass right next to the toothbrushes so they're open, no one has to reach, they're just right there,” she said. “It's really become such a routine, I don't even have to ask them anymore.”

As many parents have discovered, establishing healthy routines is one of the best things you can do to maintain your family's oral health. Here are some other oral hygiene tips you can try at home:

Brush to the music — Plenty of pop songs are about two minutes long… and that's the length of time you should brush your teeth. If brushing in silence gets boring, add a soundtrack. When the music's over — you're done!

Flossing can be fun — If standard dental floss doesn't appeal, there are many different styles of floss holders, from functional ones to cartoon characters… even some with a martial-arts theme! Find the one that your kids like best, and encourage them to use it.

The eyes don't lie — To show your kids how well (or not) they are cleaning their teeth, try using an over-the-counter disclosing solution. This harmless product will temporarily stain any plaque or debris that got left behind after brushing, so they can immediately see where they missed, and how to improve their hygiene technique — which will lead to better health.

Have regular dental exams & cleanings — When kids see you're enthusiastic about going to the dental office, it helps them feel the same way… and afterward, you can point out how great it feels to have a clean, sparkling smile.

For more information about oral hygiene, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read the interview with Mayim Bialik in the latest issue of Dear Doctor magazine.

By Thomas Kemlage DDS / Andrew T. Kemlage DDS
June 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding   bruxism  
TeethGrindinginOlderChildrenandAdolescentsaCauseforConcern

Teeth grinding is one childhood habit that sounds worse than it usually is: often the most harm done is to your night’s sleep. That said, though, it’s still a habit to keep your eye on.

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is so common among children that it’s considered normal behavior by many healthcare professionals. As for causes, some suggest a child’s immature neuromuscular chewing control may trigger it, while others point to the change from deeper sleep to a lighter stage as a possible cause. Problems like airway obstruction, medications or stress also seem to contribute to the habit.

For most children, teeth grinding usually fades by age 11 with no adverse effect on their teeth. If the habit extends into adolescence, however, there’s an increased risk for damage, mainly tooth wear.

This can happen because grinding often produces chewing forces 20-30 times greater than normal. Over time this can cause the biting surfaces of the teeth to wear and reduces the size of the teeth. While teeth normally wear over a lifetime, accelerated wear can pose a significant health risk to your teeth. Any sign of tooth wear in a child or adolescent is definitely cause for concern.

If your child’s tooth grinding habit appears to be developing into a problem, your dentist may recommend a few treatment options. The most common is a thin, plastic night guard worn in the mouth during sleep that prevents the upper and lower teeth from making contact. If the suspected cause is airway obstruction, they may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to seek treatment for that, as well as other professionals to help with managing stress or medications.

Like thumb sucking, the habit of teeth grinding usually ends with no permanent ill effects. But if you notice it continuing late into childhood or your dentist finds tooth wear or other problems, take action to avoid problems long-term.

If you would like more information on childhood bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When Children Grind their Teeth.”

By Thomas Kemlage DDS / Andrew T. Kemlage DDS
June 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health
LifeIsSometimesaGrindforBrookeShields

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”