The Dental Effects of Thumb Sucking

thumb suckingParents need not be concerned about how much their children suck their thumbs. This is a natural behavior. However, if a child continues to do it well after it’s appropriate for their age, that can be bad. Thumb sucking can have long-term dental ramifications.

Why Children Suck Their Thumbs

Babies suck their thumbs because it releases endorphins. The released neurotransmitters help children relax, much the same way holding a stuffed animal or blanket makes them feel safe. Aside from their thumbs, they may also suck other fingers, a pacifier, or a sippy cup.

The Problem with Prolonged Thumb Sucking

Unfortunately, too much thumb sucking can have long-term consequences. Children may develop thumb callouses or a speech impediment. From a dental standpoint, our endodontists warn that it may lead to abnormal teeth alignment and premature teeth eruption. It may also lead to palatal narrowing. This occurs when the roof of the mouth does not develop to full size. Other issues include an open bite and malocclusion. Continue Reading →

Improve Dental Health with Oil Pulling

oil pulling, oral hygieneMore people are exploring alternative forms of dental care. One such method is called “oil pulling,” which some people swear by. What exactly is this method and is it a legitimate form of oral hygiene?

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that originated in India. Basically, the idea is to rinse your mouth using some form of oil, such as coconut oil. Because of oil’s viscous quality, it supposedly helps loosen bacteria especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Does Oil Pulling Work?

Some people claim oil pulling has cured teeth that might otherwise need root canals. Their oral surgeons were astonished that previous signs of tooth rot had vanished. While we believe oil pulling may have positive effects, we are naturally wary of such claims.

Admittingly, preliminary studies do show that the method might indeed reduce plaque. However, no studies suggest oil pulling is a cure-all that reverses dental caries, root canal procedures, or dental pockets. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent Dry Mouth When You Sleep

dry mouth sleep“Dry mouth” is a common symptom most people can attest to experiencing at one point or another. This often occurs during slumber. Why is dry mouth during sleep bad? The answer is simple: lack of saliva creates a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Read on to learn about the causes and how to prevent it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth isn’t a disease; it’s often a symptom of other medical conditions. Factors such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or natural aging can increase instances. Smokers and heavy drinkers are also at risk.

Consequences of dry mouth include bad breath, sore throat, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. You might also notice frequent cracking and splitting on the surface of your lips.

Why Is Dry Mouth Bad?

As mentioned, having a dry mouth means that your saliva production is low. Low saliva leads to the prevalence of more bacteria. Without treatment, this eventually leads to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Our oral surgeons warn of the dangers of dry mouth; seek treatment if you experience the sensation frequently. Continue Reading →

Four Dental New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

dental resolutions, New Year’s resolutions2019 is upon us. What are some of your resolutions? If you’re like most people, you probably plan to lose some weight or get that long-due job promotion. Here’s another thought: how about some dental New Year’s resolutions? Better health, after all, includes your teeth and gums.

1. Clean Up Your Diet

Making better food choices is beneficial because it kills multiple birds with one stone. You’ll lose weight, have more energy, and improve your dental health. People often overlook the last point. Eating healthier means less refined carbs and sugar that lead to tooth decay and caries.

2. Kick the Habit

Now is a good time to quit if you’re a smoker. We know this is easier said than done. However, smoking not only drastically increases lung cancer risk but you also double the risk of gum disease. As an aside, smoking also stains your teeth. Our cosmetic dentists often treat patients with teeth that are brown because of years of lighting up. Continue Reading →

Five Dental-Related Gifts for Children

gifts for childrenWe know kids don’t always like to brush. The process for them is a chore, much like eating their vegetables. This is why we recommend some dental-related gifts for children this Christmas. These gifts make great stocking stuffers and motivate your young ones to follow daily oral hygiene.

1. A New Toothbrush

For a child, a new toothbrush is like getting a package of tube socks. However, children’s toothbrushes come in endless varieties. Consider Marvel-themed toothbrushes or Disney-themed toothbrushes; boys and girls like both kinds. Some of these are battery-operated and vibrate, making brushing a delight.

2. Flavored Toothpaste

Instead of the traditional mint-flavored toothpaste, consider toothpaste with atypical flavors. Some of these include fruity, cupcake, and even bacon-flavored paste. Whatever flavor or brand you choose, be sure it has the ADA seal of approval. Continue Reading →

Five Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid This Holiday

thanksgiving foods, foods to avoidThanksgiving is one of the few days of the year when you can throw your diet out the window. Even so, we believe you should avoid or limit certain types of foods. We outline some common Thanksgiving foods to avoid for the sake of your dental health.

1. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a fall staple and goes great as a topping for both sweet and savory dishes. Cranberries are naturally tart and sour, which is why most premade cranberry sauces are loaded with sugar. Any family dentist will tell you that foods with high sugar content and zero fiber are a no-no.

2. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are healthy. However, common casseroles with sweet potatoes often contain marshmallows as a surface topping. Marshmallows are not only sweet but also sticky, a deadly combination for your teeth. If you love casserole, consider a savory alternative with natural herbs and spices. Continue Reading →

Five Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

worst Halloween candyFor kids, Halloween means dress-ups and loads of free candy. As dentists, we can’t help but cringe a bit when we see a child’s candy stash. Of course, not all candies are the same. Some have graver health implications. We’ll identify the worst Halloween candy for your teeth and general health.

1. Snickers

Kids and adults alike love Snickers. However, the candy bar has everything that’s bad for your teeth. This includes mounds of sugar, sticky nougat filling, and even stickier caramel. This combination invites tooth decay. Our endodontists especially caution against sticky and sugary treats.

2. Candy Corn

Candy corn is made from gelatin, dextrose, artificial coloring, and sesame oil. The rest of the ingredients? Sugar, honey, and corn syrup. That’s sugar in three different forms! Continue Reading →

Do You Know Your Gum Tissue Type?

gum tissue typeThe dental industry recognizes two gum tissue types, or periodontal biotypes. While subtypes exist, they more or less all fall back into the two we are about to explain. Knowing which gum type you have and how it affects your dental care will help you take better care of your teeth.

The Two Gum Tissue Types

The two types are thick/flat and thin/scalloped. Each has its respective pros and cons.


People with thick/flat gums have flatter teeth. The part where the top of the teeth and gums meet create a flat surface, giving teeth a square-shaped appearance.

People with a thick gum type are more susceptible to gum pocket formation, which creates an opening for bacteria. Left untreated, gum pockets can lead to jawbone loss. 


With thin/scalloped gums, the top of the teeth appears more rounded or arched. This creates a pointy or triangular appearance at the point where the gums come in between each tooth. People with thin gums are more prone to gum recession since the gums are thin to begin with. Continue Reading →

Be Aware of Tongue Piercing Risks

tongue piercing, oral piercingWe understand why some people gravitate toward oral piercings. It’s the sign of a rebel, as well as a fashionable way to be different. However, such fashion statements also pose serious dental risks. We’ll explain the potential dangers and risks of tongue piercing. Find out why our family dentists don’t recommend them.

Why Tongue Piercing Is a Problem

In one study, 6% of people with a tongue piercing experienced some sort of dental problem. This may seem like a fairly low percentage, but the risk is still very real. Risks include bleeding, nerve damage, and permanent scarring. Oral surgeons also warn that it can elevate risk of periodontal disease. In rare cases, the tongue and the floor of the mouth may become infected, requiring intravenous antibiotics.

Risk of Tooth Damage

A tongue barbell is solid metal. As you move your tongue around, it can ram against your teeth, causing them to chip. One study found that half of people with a tongue piercing for at least four years exhibited teeth damage. The damage was especially prevalent in the back teeth. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent In-Flight Tooth Pain

in-flight tooth painDo you have summer travel plans abroad? During your flight, you may experience in-flight tooth pain. Then you ask: Why is this happening at 35,000-feet of altitude? Am I going to be miserable for the entire duration of the flight? Our oral surgeons understand this phenomenon quite well.

What Causes In-Flight Tooth Pain?

Just about everyone has experienced the popping sensation in their ears as their flight takes off. This occurs due to the change in cabin pressure. The same popping sensation can also manifest in your tooth.

An infected or decayed tooth is especially prone to in-flight pain since the tooth may contain tiny pockets of air. You may not notice anything wrong at ground level. However, once your elevation increases significantly, the pressure change causes you to experience distressing symptoms.

As unpleasant as it is, an in-flight toothache does have a silver lining. It may alert you to a hidden dental problem. Continue Reading →