Floss, Floss, Floss – Need We Say More?

dental floss albuquerque NM | flossing NM | Comprehensive Dental CareBrushing and flossing twice a day is the proven way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. You may be brushing, but are you flossing? If not, read on to learn why flossing is critically important to your dental health – not just for today, but as you age.

After years of education about the benefits of flossing, many people do not floss.

  • Whitening and bleaching are popular, along with straightening procedures and veneers.
  • There are lots of mouthwash choices on the market.
  • So, clearly, we seem to want whiter, straighter teeth and fresher breath, but it seems we continue to resist one of the best ways to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Here’s some “floss history”:

It’s believed that dental floss was invented almost 200 years ago by an American dentist who asked his patients clean between their teeth with thin, silk thread. Silk dental floss was first manufactured in the late 1880’s but by the 1940’s, nylon thread had replaced silk and waxed floss was introduced.

If you are currently not flossing much, if at all, here are FOUR reasons why you should make flossing a daily habit:

  1. Flossing reaches areas your toothbrush can’t, protecting your back teeth where most decay and gum disease occur.
  2. Daily flossing removes sticky plaque, which also helps prevent gum disease.
  3. Daily flossing encourages sweeter, fresher breath.
  4. Flossing strengthens your gums which helps prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

And…when plaque is attacked by flossing, harmful bacteria is eliminated and cannot find its way to other parts of your body. Making flossing a daily habit not only keeps your teeth healthy but studies have shown that it is an essential part of your overall health.

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Is Your Mouth As Dry As Dust? Read On…

dry mouth Albuquerque New Mexico | Comprehensive Dental Care NM If it seems that you are more than just thirsty, you can’t wet your whistle, your mouth is sticky and dry, your saliva is thick and stringy – and to top it off, you have chronic bad breath – you may have Xerostomia, also called dry mouth syndrome, a very common health issue that arises from the reduction of saliva levels. Saliva is important because it produces enzymes that help you taste and digest food and it also keeps the bacteria in your mouth in check.

When you suffer from dry mouth, you may experience chronic bad breath, difficulty wearing dentures, a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth and difficulties eating or speaking.
The skin around your mouth may be tight and dry; the corners of your mouth may get sore, your lips may crack and your tongue may feel rough and dry.
Your symptoms may worsen at night because saliva flow normally decreases when you sleep. Dry mouth can also make your voice rough and harsh and you may have a constant tickle in your throat.
Chronic dry mouth may also contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.

What causes dry mouth?

•A temporary illness that requires the use of medications
•Advancing age
•Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
•Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
•Autoimmune conditions like HIV or Sjogren’s syndrome
•Health issues such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease

If you are experiencing the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s important to get regular dental check-ups, brush and floss daily and rinse with a non-alcohol mouthwash. It also helps to sip water throughout the day. Sugar-free gum and candies may help by triggering your mouth to produce saliva. There are also medications that can help with the symptoms of dry mouth and Dr. Holbrook can assess your symptoms and may prescribe accordingly.

If you are suffering from chronic dry mouth and would like to learn more, call for a consultation appointment with Dr. Holbrook. Dry Mouth is a treatable condition and we can answer your questions and offer solutions: (505) 881-1159.

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CONCERNED ABOUT PERIODONTAL DISEASE?

periodental disease albuquerque NM | dentist NM | Comprehensive Dental CareYour mouth is full of bacteria, germs, mucus and debris from the food you eat.
These combine to form a sticky, colorless film on your teeth…called plaque.

Brushing and flossing regularly can help get rid of plaque but plaque that is not removed can form tartar which can only be removed by a dentist or a hygienist.

The longer plaque remains your teeth, the more harmful it becomes.

  • Periodontal disease ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth.
  • Periodontal disease is common and it is serious.

Bacteria and plaque can cause gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums.
Signs to look for are gums that bleed easily and are tender, swollen and red.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that does not include any loss of bone or tissue that hold the teeth in place. It is easily treated and can usually be reversed with good dental habits.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis, inflammation around the tooth.

In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected.
The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque grows below the gum line.
This natural response to infection starts to break down the connective tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place.
If left untreated, tissue, gums and bone are destroyed. Teeth become loose and eventually have to be removed.

The cause of periodontal disease is most commonly poor oral hygiene. Smokers, pregnant women, people with diabetes, people being treated for cancer and people whose immune system is compromised are also vulnerable.

The earlier it is caught, the easier periodontal infection is to treat.
Here are some things to look for:

  • Recessed gums
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bleeding, swollen, red gums

Good dental hygiene is essential to preventing periodontal disease.

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The type of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease.

Dr. Holbrook specializes in treating periodontal disease.
Call our offices today for a consultation.

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YOUR TEETH 101

dental care in Albuquerque, NM | Dr. Steven HolbrookYour teeth are are designed to last a lifetime…if you take care of them.
They chew your food and play an important role in speech and in your overall health.
A healthy mouth makes for a healthy body and a great smile!
It’s easy to take your teeth for granted…until something goes wrong.

Your mouth contains four types of teeth:

INCISORS
These are the teeth in the front of your mouth. There are a total of eight and all have the same function – they are for biting into food. Incisors are usually the first teeth to erupt, at around 6 months of age.

CANINES
Your dog has these too, hence their name. They are the pointed, sharp teeth next to your incisors. There are two on the top row and two on the bottom. They are used to tear pieces of food.

PRE-MOLARS (BICUSPIDS)
By the time you are an adult, you have eight pre-molars, the large, flat teeth behind your canine teeth that tear, crush, and mash your food.

MOLARS
These are the largest teeth at are found at the very back of your mouth. Including the wisdom teeth, most adults have 12 molars. They are also used for chewing and grinding your food.

  • A tooth is divided into two parts: the crown which is visible and the root which is not.
  • Your teeth contain four kinds of tissue, each with a unique purpose:

Enamel is the visible substance that covers the crown. Harder than bone, enamel is made up of phosphorous and calcium and protects the tooth from decay.

Dentin lies underneath the enamel. It looks similar to bone but is not as hard as enamel.

Cementum is the tissue covering the tooth root, helping anchor it to the bone. It is softer than enamel and dentin.

Pulp is found at the center of your tooth and contains the blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissues that deliver signals and nutrients to your teeth.

To learn more about your teeth and how to keep them healthy, call to schedule a checkup with Dr. Holbrook.

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The Toothy Dilemma Of A Missing Tooth

Dental implants in Albuquerque, NM | Dr. Steven Holbrook Remember losing your baby teeth and anticipating a monetary visit from the Tooth Fairy?
As an adult, there may be no eagerness in your smile if you are missing one or more of your teeth. Commonly, teeth are lost due to poor dental habits which result in gum disease, infection and decay. Take heart! Dr. Holbrook specializes in putting a smile back on your face.

Dental pain and missing teeth are often emotional issues.

  • If you are dealing with slipping dentures, it can be embarrassing to eat and painful to smile.
  • Perhaps you have old crowns or bridges that are painful and need to be replaced.
  • And then there is the pain of a missing tooth which can affect your self-esteem and the quality of your life.

Dr. Holbrook specializes in a more permanent, long-term solution, designed to give you back a huge part of your life, restore your self-confidence and put your worries about your missing teeth to rest.

Consider dental implants as a way to restore your smile.
Dental implants are the closest thing to your natural teeth.

  • A dental implant begins with a titanium post (that functions like your tooth root) that is surgically positioned into your jawbone beneath the gum line.
  • The post fuses with your bone and allows the replacement tooth to be mounted.
  • By the time your custom-made crown is placed over the post, it has become a sturdy foundation.
  • Implants can’t come loose like dentures can and they don’t have to be anchored to other teeth like bridges.

Dental implants look, function and feel just like real teeth, but they cannot decay. You must take extra good care of them, however, by flossing and brushing and visiting Dr. Holbrook regularly.

You must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. If your bone is thin or soft, you may require a bone graft. Dr. Holbrook can explain everything you need to know and determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for this procedure.

Get ready to smile! Schedule a consultation, today: (505) 881-1159.

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Just Don’t Leave It On Your Bed Post Overnight!

dental health albuquerque new mexico | child dentist NM | Steven E. Holbrook D.M.D.Chewing gum may have been your school teacher’s favorite nemesis but there’s a lot more to chewing gum and it’s benefits than meets the eye – or the teeth.

Did you know that sugar-free chewing gum that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) is proven to be good for you teeth? So good in fact, that if you chew sugar-free gum after eating, it increases the flow of saliva…which in turn bathes your teeth and gums, helping to neutralize and wash away the acids from food that break down tooth enamel and cause decay.

Pretty amazing, right?
But wait…there’s more.

  • Increased saliva carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Studies have shown that 20 minutes of chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help prevent tooth decay.
  • In the future, gum might contain active agents that could enhance the gum’s ability to remineralize teeth and reduce decay, plaque and gingivitis.

Before the toothbrush as we know it was invented, humans chewed to help clean their teeth.

  • The Native Americans of New England chewed Spruce Tree sap.
  • Grecian women favored chewing mastiche, the sap of the mastic tree, to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.
  • Modern chewing gum evolved from a chicle-based gum brought to the United States in the early 1860s. Chicle is derived from the milky juice (latex) of the Sapodilla tree that grows in tropical rain forests of Central America.
  • The sugar-free gum we enjoy today is blended with a synthetic gum base, softeners, artificial, non-cavity causing sweeteners, flavorings and colors.
  • When brushing immediately after eating isn’t possible, chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to help keep teeth clean and your breath sweet after eating or drinking.

The positive effects of chewing sugar-free gum are great but it can’t and shouldn’t replace your daily oral health routine. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and a dental check-up twice a year are essential.

Dr. Holbrook is committed to your dental health.
Call our offices today to schedule an appointment…for your smile’s sake!

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Consider A Bridge Over Your Troubled Teeth

dental bridge albuquerque new mexico | missing tooth NM | Comprehensive Dental CareHere come the holidays… complete with family gatherings and parties with friends and co-workers. It’s the time for joy, celebrating and happy smiles. Chances are, however, that if you are missing teeth, especially a front tooth, you aren’t much into smiling…regardless of the time of year.

And did you know that missing teeth tempt fate? It’s true. Gaps in your teeth set the stage for future dental problems. When you bite and chew you create energy. Your teeth transfer that energy down through your tooth into your jaw, stimulating the bone to regenerate itself and maintain a healthy mass. Without the stimulation from one or more teeth, the bone beneath the empty space begins to deteriorate and lose mass. A missing tooth also creates a space where the adjacent teeth try to move in and and fill it. When your teeth move, your bite and tooth alignment become a problem.

If you have a missing tooth or teeth, you have two options: implants or a bridge.

  • A bridge spans the gap of your missing tooth. It requires healthy teeth on each side of the space (abutment teeth) to hold the replacement tooth (pontic) in place. The replacement tooth is made of porcelain or ceramic, to your unique dimensions, from impressions taken of your teeth.
  • Caps (crowns) are placed onto the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and the replacement tooth sits between them, forming a bridge.

To prepare for a bridge, the abutment teeth have some of their enamel removed to make room for the caps. Impressions are taken of your mouth so that the bridge can be made. A second appointment is necessary to check the fit of the bridge and to ensure that your bite is correct.
When the fit is perfect, the caps are cemented onto the abutment teeth…and…the gap is bridged!

Of course, cavities can still form under the bridge, so it is important to practice good dental habits and follow Dr. Holbrook’s instructions for care and maintenance.

It’s the perfect time to smile! Call for an appointment, today: (505) 881-1159.

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What You Should Know About Oral Cancer

oral screening albuqueque New Mexico | oral cancer NM | Steven E. Holbrook D.M.D.Just hearing the word “cancer” is scary. It’s something we fear and usually don’t want to talk about. For some, a visit to the dentist is additionally scary…but that fear can complicate matters when it comes to the discovery and treatment of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal cells on any part of the mouth, lips, tongue, or gums.
It can also occur on the lining of the cheeks and the roof of the mouth.
Most oral cancers begin in the lining of the mouth or lips, which is made up of thin squamous cells.

Consider these facts:

•Approximately 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
•Just over half will be alive five years later. Those are frightening statistics!
•Oral cancer’s high death rate is primarily due to its late discovery.
•If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable.
•Twice yearly dental exams and cleanings are vitally important in the early detection, prevention and treatment of oral cancer.

Oral cancer may be caused by:

•Exposure to UV light from the sun or the use of tanning beds
•Having some types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
•Tobacco use, in all forms – tobacco use accounts for 90% of all oral cancers
•Alcohol use
•Marijuana use

Symptoms of oral cancer include:

•Difficulty swallowing, chewing or talking
•Persistent pain, tenderness, or numbness on your lips or in your mouth
•A change in your voice that isn’t due to a cold or allergies
•Feeling like something is caught in your throat
•Red or white spotty patches on your tongue or in your mouth
•A lump or thickening in your cheek or neck
•A thick, rough spot or a small area in your mouth that looks like it’s wearing away
•An irritation on your mouth or lip that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal

To prevent oral cancer or catch it when it is treatable, it is important to visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning twice a year.
Call to book an appointment with Dr. Holbrook, today: (505) 881-1159.

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WHAT’S IN YOUR TOOTHPASTE?

tooth care in Albuquerque, NM | Dr. Steven Holbrook

 

For hundreds of years, brushing one’s teeth has been a social and hygienic necessity…and important in the prevention of gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.

In the 18th century, the British included crushed china plates in their toothpowder recipes!
But today, you have a wide selection of toothpastes to aid in removing the nasty bacterial film or plaque that builds up on your teeth every 12 to 24 hours.

Have you ever wondered what is in this substance you use to scrub your pearly whites?

ABRASIVES
One of the main reasons to use toothpaste is to make the action of brushing more effective. in order to remove stains, you need a substance with a little graininess.

Abrasives or mild polishing agents, clean while preserving tooth enamel. The abrasives in your toothpaste may include hydrated silica or calcium carbonate. Abrasives won’t clean teeth without the scrubbing action of a toothbrush and brushing without an abrasive-containing toothpaste will not adequately clean and polish tooth surfaces and will not remove stains.

DETERGENTS
Toothpaste foams because it contains a detergent which breaks down substances on your teeth allowing them to be dissolved and rinsed away with water. Detergents in toothpastes are mild and won’t irritate sensitive oral tissues. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most common detergent in toothpaste and is also found in other beauty products that foam, such as shampoo.

FLUORIDE
Introduced into toothpaste formulas in 1914, fluoride is the most valuable component in toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and makes teeth more resistant to decay because it is actually incorporated into the enamel structure.

HUMECTANTS AND BINDERS
Humectants are a combination of ingredients that retain moisture in the toothpaste and keep all the ingredients from separating. If toothpaste didn’t have these components, it would dry out or require stirring before use just like paint.

FLAVORINGS
Toothpaste would taste awful without the addition of flavoring agents. That’s why you will find various natural and artificial flavorings and sweeteners in your toothpaste.

You know The Golden Rule of tooth care: Brush and floss at least twice a day! JUST DO IT!

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Show Me Those Pearly Whites!

oral health in Albuquerque NM | Dr. Steven HolbrookDid you know that scientists studying decay inside an ancient wisdom tooth recently discovered the earliest known evidence of dentistry, dating back to the Paleolithic era?

Looking through an electron microscope, the scientists noticed a pattern of chipping and scratches that researchers say were made using a tiny stone pick.

Our teeth are pretty amazing!

And…did you know:

  • The average adult has 28 to 32 teeth, depending on whether or not they have kept their “wisdom” teeth.
  • The hardest substance in the human body is tooth enamel.
  • Tooth decay is the most widespread disease of mankind…and the oldest.
  • •The second most common disease in the United States is tooth decay. The first is the common cold.
  • Most tooth loss in people over the age of 35 is from periodontal disease.
  • Most tooth loss in people under the age of 35 is from athletic trauma, fights or accidents.
  • A tooth that has been knocked out starts to die within 15 minutes. But if it’s held in the mouth or put in milk it will survive longer.
  • People with hyperdontia have extra or ‘super-numerary’ teeth. Most remain hidden below the gum line, but occasionally they erupt and crowd other teeth.
  • The ancient Summarians called tooth decay “tooth worms.”
  • If you don’t floss regularly, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces.
  • Sadly, 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss.
  • Happily, over three million miles of dental floss is purchased in North America each year.
  • More than 300 types of bacteria combine to make dental plaque.
  • The average person brushes for a mere 45-70 seconds a day…the recommended amount is 2-3 minutes.
  • The first nylon bristled toothbrush with a plastic handle was invented in 1938.
  • The electric toothbrush first appeared in 1939.
  • Babies begin to develop their primary teeth just six weeks after conception.
  • About one in every 2000 babies is born with ‘natal teeth.’

And last, but not least…

  • The Statue of Liberty’s mouth is three feet wide…now that’s a lot of teeth!
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