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Finding Your Oasis: Food & Drinks for Dry Mouth

December 13, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 11:22 am

Xerostomia is the technical term for dry mouth, the condition that results from absent or reduced saliva flow. It is not a disease on its own, but it may be a side effect of medication or radiation treatments.  Xerostomia affects about 20% of the elderly population—not because of their age, but due to the increased likelihood of using medication or having radiation therapy that causes dry mouth. Dr. Peter Thompson is here to discuss some foods and beverages to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Food & Beverages that Help Dry Mouth

8-12 glasses of water per day are ideal to keep saliva production on track, so making a habit of carrying a water bottle with you is a great idea. Sugar-free juices, reduced-sugar sports drinks, club soda, and herbal tea with lemon are good beverage choices when you just can’t stand the idea of drinking any more water.

A soft, high-protein diet is recommended for people with dry mouth. Substitute moist fish, eggs, and cheese for red meat. Serving food lukewarm or at room temperature reduces the chances of burning the mouth with hot food. To make bread or rolls easier to eat with dry mouth, soak them in milk or your favorite sauce to soften them. Eat moist casseroles and other foods that incorporate gravy, sauce, or broth in their recipes. Make smoothies, slushies, or shakes in the blender that incorporate milk alternatives like soy, almond, or rice milk (consumption of cow’s milk often produces thicker saliva and can worsen dry mouth).  

More examples of soft natural foods that are helpful for people with dry mouth include tender meats like chicken and fish, smooth peanut butter, soups, canned fruits, soft-cooked/blended vegetables like carrots or celery, mashed potatoes, soft-cooked pasta, oatmeal, ice cream, pudding, and popsicles. Herbal flavor enhancers, condiments, and fruit extracts can be used to make food more flavorful, as the diet for dry mouth may seem bland to many.

There are also artificial saliva substitutes and stimulants that can help curb dry mouth, as can sugarless candies and chewing gums. Sucking on fruit pits from cherries or olives, and lemon rinds can help stimulate saliva flow, as do lemon drops and other hard candies, although be wary of excessive sugar intake. 

Food & Beverages to Avoid for Dry Mouth

Increased water and fluid intake are recommended, but caffeinated fluids such as tea, coffee, and cola act as diuretics and are not ideal for xerostomia sufferers. If you’re craving soda, let it go flat prior to indulging. Alcohol consumption should also be limited or avoided. 

Foods should not be excessively hot or cold, sugary, salty, spicy, or acidic, including citric fruits like tomato, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple and astringent foods like apple, pomegranate, pear, quinoa, legumes, tofu, sprouts, beans, and lentils. You should also avoid dry, crumbly foods like crackers, cereal, pastries, toast, and dry meat.  

If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, contact your Portales dentist, Peter L Thompson DDS today and we’ll be happy to talk about solutions with you!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How NOT to Pull a Loose Tooth

November 27, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 10:55 am

We’ve all seen variations of DIY methods when it comes to pulling loose baby teeth: the string and door slam method is by far one of the most popular (although we’re not sure why). But our team at Peter L. Thompson, DDS is here to advise against this and similarly aggressive techniques so your kiddo will have the safest and most painless tooth loss experience possible. (Growing up is traumatic enough already, right?)

Read on to learn more about the dos and don’ts of helping wiggly baby teeth make their grand exit.

Why baby teeth?

All this wiggly tooth talk might have you wondering–why do we get two sets of teeth? Well, simply because baby mouths are not yet big enough to house a full set of adult chompers. So, we start out with a smaller set of baby teeth to get us through these early, small-mouthed years until our growth and development allows more space for adult teeth to make their entrance. When the permanent teeth start to come in, the roots of the baby teeth dissolve until they’re loose enough to fall out on their own.

Patience is a virtue

If you ask Dr. Peter Thompson their advice on pulling a loose baby tooth, they will likely respond with, “Don’t!” If you can avoid it, it’s best to just let baby teeth run their natural course and fall out on their own—it will happen eventually, we promise! 

If the tooth is not ready to come out naturally, any attempts to remove it will pull on sensitive tooth roots and cause unnecessary pain and bleeding. Pulling out a tooth prematurely can damage connective tissues and lead to infection—not to mention the traumatic experience that may create negative feelings about oral health and dental visits for the rest of their life.

However, an extremely wiggly or stubborn tooth that just keeps hanging on by a thread can be frustrating and hard to live with, and we understand why both you and your kiddo might want to expedite the process. If you both feel the tooth is ready to come out and you want to give it a little encouragement, there are some things you can do to help it along.

  1. Wiggle baby wiggle

Encourage your soon-to-be toothless wonder to wiggle their loose tooth back and forth regularly, either with their tongue or with clean fingers. Wiggling the tooth will help loosen it so hopefully, it will fall out on its own.

  1. An apple a day

If the tooth is loose enough and on the brink of coming out, eating a crunchy or sticky snack might be just the ticket. Apples and carrots are great healthy options, but if your little one is fearful and needs a little more encouragement, you can opt for a sweet treat like a popsicle (which will also help reduce pain and inflammation) or a sticky tooth trap like a chewy candy. Supervise closely to ensure they don’t bite down on or swallow the tooth.

  1. Brush & floss

Brushing regularly at least twice per day and flossing daily is always recommended and will give the loose tooth a nudge in the right direction. You can also use floss as a tool for pulling the tooth—if it’s ready to pull. Position the floss in between the gums and the loose tooth and yank quickly outward.

  1. Twist & pull gently

If you’ve wiggled and wiggled and the tooth is still hanging on by a thread, a gentle twist and pull might be all it takes to pop it out. We encourage you to allow your child to be the one to do so, as they are the only one who can tell if the tooth is ready to pull and feel if (or when) there’s any pain. Use clean fingers or gauze to gently twist and pull the tooth out.

To recap, our best advice is to have patience and allow your child’s baby teeth to fall out naturally on their own. But if they just can’t stand it any longer and the tooth is ready to come out, follow our advice above for the safest, most comfortable, and least traumatic methods. 

As always, if your child experiences any pain, swelling, or excessive bleeding, or the tooth still won’t come out, you should come to see us right away and we’ll remove the tooth safely and painlessly. Contact your Portales dentist at Peter L. Thompson, DDS today for more advice or to schedule an appointment.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Can I Recycle My Toothbrush?

November 13, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 10:45 am

Take a look around your bathroom and you’re likely to see a lot of products in plastic packaging. Paper boxes and toilet paper rolls are easily recycled in your bin at home, but what about the tricky stuff like toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes? Your Portales dentist Dr. Peter Thompson has the answers!

Toothbrush Recycling

That’s right, you CAN recycle your toothbrush! (As well as old tubes of toothpaste.) The plastic in toothbrushes can be reused in nearly anything from lawn furniture to plastic containers. The hard part is separating the different materials in the toothbrush – plastic handles, nylon bristles, and metal to hold the bristles in place.

Why Recycle?

We recommend you switch out your old toothbrush every three months or after an illness. This ensures your toothbrush is clean and bacteria free, and that the bristles are in the best shape to actually clean your teeth.

While good for your oral health, consuming four toothbrushes every year is not great for our limited resources on this beautiful planet we call Earth. You don’t have to be a total hippie to care about reducing waste, and thoughtfully getting rid of ANYTHING, including old toothbrushes or toothpaste tubes, can be really simple and make an impact on sustainability.

How to Recycle

There are a number of ways you can go green with your oral hygiene routine. First and foremost, consider buying toothbrushes already made of recycled materials. Buying products made from recycled materials is an important part of the recycling cycle. You can easily recycle the simple stuff like cardboard boxes and plastic mouthwash bottles right from home.

As for recycling your toothbrush or tricky toothpaste tubes, you either need to disassemble and clean them yourself before dropping them off at a center, or you can mail them to a company that will prepare them for you. Be sure to check the packaging to see what kind of plastic they are made of. You can find recycling centers by searching online, Earth911.com is a helpful resource. Call your local center to make sure they accept the kind of plastic you have.

Companies that take toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes in the mail include Colgate, Tom’s of Maine, and Preserve (though Preserve only accepts their own toothbrushes). Both Colgate and Tom’s of Maine partner with a larger company called TerraCycle which recycles nearly everything.

Your Portales dentist, Dr. Peter Thompson believes in caring for your oral health as well as the environment. Contact Peter L. Thompson, DDS today for an appointment if you’re looking for a professional local dentist to take care of your smile!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Pregnant Moms & Oral Health: Brushing & Flossing for Two

October 27, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 8:05 am

There are so many things to be concerned about when you find out you’re expecting. Eating right, taking enough vitamins, getting enough rest, telling your husband there is absolutely no way you are naming your firstborn son Bud Light… but what about your teeth? There’s an old saying—“you lose a tooth for every baby”—but those beliefs are outdated, thank goodness! Still, at Dr. Peter Thompson at Peter L. Thompson, DDS has some important information to share about pregnancy and oral health.


Taking Care of Yourself is Taking Care of Your Baby

Moms-to-be can become so focused on preparation for the new bundle of joy that they neglect their own health—but try to remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby. If you are pregnant, remain proactive about your oral hygiene routine and don’t skip your regular dental visits. Your teeth and gums need special attention during this time, so be on the alert for symptoms like bleeding gums and dry mouth. 

Gingivitis & Gum Disease

Hormonal changes and diabetes during pregnancy can cause pregnancy gingivitis (inflamed, tender and irritated gums)—about 75% of pregnant women end up with it. Left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, an even more severe form of gum disease that leads to actual bone loss. Older mothers have a higher risk of gum disease in general, and research has linked preterm delivery and low birth weight to gingivitis—sufferers were seven times more likely to have either or both conditions. Researchers also estimate that advanced gum disease could be linked to about 18% of premature births in the United States.

Gum disease may also contribute to preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that affects about 5% of pregnant women, leading to a sharp increase in blood pressure. The only cure for preeclampsia is giving birth, which can put the baby at risk if it happens prematurely. Additional potential complications of preeclampsia include hemorrhage, stroke, and kidney failure. A handful of studies have linked gum disease with preeclampsia, but more research is needed to show a true cause-and-effect relationship.

Acidity & Dry Mouth

Not every pregnant woman has morning sickness, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, keep in mind that along with nausea, stomach acid can make its way into the mouth and erode your teeth. Try rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to help control the acidity level. This is not only a protective measure for your teeth but may help with nausea a bit as well.

Dry mouth during pregnancy can put pregnant women at higher risk for tooth decay and dental infections. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugarless gum to enhance saliva production—try to find sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to be effective in preventing cavities.

If you’re hungry a lot—which is not unheard of while pregnant—frequent snacking keeps teeth in constant contact with sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars, speeding up acid production which creates more opportunities to weaken a pregnant mom’s tooth enamel. Be aware of your snacking habits and be sure to rinse your mouth frequently with water after eating or drinking.


How Does Mom’s Oral Health Affect Her Baby?

It’s quite simple: the bacteria in Mom’s mouth is the link to the baby’s health. When a pregnant woman has excessive oral bacteria, pathogens can enter the bloodstream via the gums, travel to the uterus, and trigger the production of chemicals suspected to induce preterm labor. After the baby is born, a mom in poor oral health can still pass harmful bacteria to her newborn in a process known as vertical transmission. This can lead to negative dental consequences down the road for the baby—no one wants to see an active toddler with cavities. 

Good oral hygiene—brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once each day—is your own insurance policy to reduce the risk of dental infection in your newborn baby. Good nutrition and balanced meals limiting acidity and sugar have the most benefits for both Mom and baby

Most important of all, don’t forget that when you’re brushing and flossing during pregnancy, you’re doing it for two! If you have any questions or concerns about pregnancy and your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

“Buy-Up” Dental Insurance: A Little Extra Protection

October 13, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 7:57 am

When it comes to dental insurance, it seems like there can be as many (or more) questions as there are answers. Even when you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, navigating its use can still be very confusing. Many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought – until the day comes when they need to use it.  Today, Dr. Peter Thompson at Peter L. Thompson, DDS would like to talk to you about an option not everyone knows about – “buy-up” dental insurance.

What is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance?

“Buy-up” dental insurance allows enrollees with group insurance to “buy-up” to more generous benefits by paying higher monthly premiums and receiving more comprehensive dental coverage in return. The differences between “regular” and “buy-up” dental coverages are easy to pinpoint when benefit summaries of the plans are viewed side by side: “buy-up” dental calendar year maximums are higher, annual deductibles are lower, and a percentage of more extensive restorations like bridges, crowns, dental implants, and sometimes even orthodontics are covered, while regular group dental insurance plans often provide little to coverage for these procedures. As with any other insurance plan, whether dental providers are in-network also factors into the level of coverage when considering “buy-up” dental.

Is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance Worth the Added Cost?

When the only factor under consideration is economics, one recent study would likely call it a draw. The sample showed the average insured household spent $978 in out-of-pocket dental costs – including premiums – while the average uninsured household spent $1,007 – a mere $29 difference. If “buy-up” dental insurance becomes an option for you, the specific pros and cons of your individual and family situation will need to be weighed when you choose your insurance plan.  

If you are a weekend hockey player, have kids that need orthodontia, or just tend to be unlucky when it comes to your teeth, it’s hard to put a price tag on your peace of mind. Dental insurance can be a saving grace for those with unusually high dental expenses from serious financial hardship, and better-than-average coverage would only ease the burden. 

It may seem like a gamble to dig into your pockets and invest more money in a higher-priced dental plan when the extra coverage may never be needed. However, to reiterate – many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought until the time comes when they NEED it – and when you need your dental insurance, you really need it. Some of the most expensive dental procedures are also the most unexpected and in many cases, they are true medical emergencies that require treatment. 

One way to think about “buy-up” dental insurance is to compare it to enhanced towing coverage for your vehicle, such as the type offered by AAA. You can pay one nominal annual fee that covers unlimited towing costs, so no matter where your vehicle breaks down within a certain geographical radius, there will be no additional cost to you for your car to be towed. If you carry this coverage, your vehicle may not break down during that coverage year and your benefits may never be used, but if your vehicle does break down and you do require towing, the annual premium price is about the same or less than one tow, and the coverage has paid for itself with just one use.

Dr. Peter Thompson and our team are always happy to discuss your insurance coverage, as well as your other financing options if you need additional help working dental care into your budget. Contact us anytime – we’d love to help!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

September 27, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Dental Services — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 11:48 am

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all. 

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease —#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Peter L Thompson DDS would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education.

An Ounce of Prevention

You’re probably familiar with the cliché, but in case you’re not, the ending goes: “is worth a pound of cure.” At Peter L Thompson DDS, we believe this to be true. We hope to see you smile regularly so we can catch problems in their earlier stages and help you avoid the need for more extensive procedures. If tooth decay and/or infection within your tooth’s pulp chamber is caught in time, we might be able to salvage your tooth with a root canal, inlay or onlay, or a crown. 

Ye Who Enter Here

If, however, the damage has been done and a tooth needs extraction–or has already left the building–you don’t have to abandon all hope. We can either bridge the divide, or implant some pearls of strength and wisdom. If you need to replace more than a few teeth, partial and full dentures are on your list of options as well, and the dentures of today are more comfortable and natural-looking than the dentures of decades past.

Let’s Get Back Together

If you’ve got a separation between two or more teeth, a little bit of relationship counseling might be helpful… kidding! What Dr. Thompson can do is design a dental bridge to restore your smile’s function and beauty. 

If the space where your tooth was has neighbors, a traditional bridge can be placed using those neighbors, which will be prepared and crowned as anchors. If the gap is in the back of your mouth and has only one tooth for anchoring, what’s called a Cantilever bridge can be crafted and bonded for security. The third type of bridge that can replace a missing tooth is called a Maryland. Maryland bridges have metal wings that are bonded directly to your neighboring teeth for support, without the need for preparing and fitting them with crowns.

Finding the Right Fit

If all or most of your teeth require replacement, dentures are another option—one that has expanded and improved over time. Dr. Thompson can help you choose which type is best for your case, between conventional, immediate, and overdentures. Going the conventional route means allowing for a healing period before they’re fitted, which can take several months. Immediate dentures can be placed after remaining teeth have been extracted, thanks to measurements being taken and models being created of your mouth and jaw during a preliminary visit. Overdentures are a great option if you have healthy teeth remaining, as they can fit over the top of your tooth roots along with implants, which gives them a more natural feel and appearance. You may experience discomfort during your adjustment period, but we will do all we can to ensure your oral health and function return.

The Long Haul

Whether you’re missing one tooth, a couple of teeth, or all of them, the #1 recommended solution by doctors and patients is dental implants. Their versatility and ability to preserve your jawbone by mimicking your tooth root are unmatched. Dental implants are small posts made of biocompatible titanium that are inserted into your jawbone, fitted with an abutment, and then capped with a beautiful, durable, porcelain crown, bridge, or a full set of dentures. Besides them bearing the closest resemblance physically and aesthetically to your natural teeth, they can also last a lifetime with proper care. 

The Final Verdict

The jury is not out when it comes to replacing missing teeth. It’s important not just because the hole they leave can hurt your self-confidence—it can also hurt your oral health. Surrounding teeth may shift and alter your bite, and without that root, your jawbone starts to deteriorate, causing a sunken-in facial appearance. If you’ve been missing one or more teeth for a while, you know it also impacts your diet and the way you speak. Dr. Thompson would be honored to restore your smile to the healthy, beautiful state it deserves. Call Peter L Thompson DDS today to make an appointment!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

To Be or Not to Be Sugar-Free: The Facts About Artificial Sweeteners

September 16, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 11:48 am

Originally created for people unable to consume regular sugars, alternative and artificial sweeteners have become extremely popular in all kinds of different products. From chewing gum to diet soda, Dr. Peter Thompson wants you to know which of these options are best for your dental and general health – so here are the facts about a few of the most common sweeteners. 

The Big Five Sugar Substitutes

The benefits of artificial sweeteners were first recognized as a safe option for diabetics, but have since exploded in popularity because food, beverage, candy, and snack companies have discovered that it is easier to sell fewer calories. In addition, people with a sweet tooth know that artificial sweeteners are notorious for their ability to ruin your portion control. 

The substances listed below are considered sugar-free and inhibit tooth decay because bacteria cannot ferment them into enamel-destroying acids. Despite ongoing controversy about health concerns of sugar substitutes, the FDA considers the following substances to be safe for regular consumption:

  • Aspartame is a calorie-free artificial sweetener roughly 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is common in sodas, candy, and gum. It is the main ingredient in NutraSweet®, Equal®, and Sugar Twin® brand sweetener packets. Although the FDA considers it to be safe, health advocates claim that it causes headaches and general malaise. University of Liverpool researchers also found that when combined with a common food coloring agent, aspartame can become toxic to brain cells. It is also linked to weight gain and appetite control problems.
  • Saccharin is the sugar-free stuff in the tiny pink Sweet’n Low® packets Portales residents have been seeing for years. This substance is the oldest artificial sweetener and is 200-700 times sweeter than sugar. It is non-caloric and can be found in a wide variety of different products. Although saccharin doesn’t have quite as bad a reputation as aspartame, the American Cancer Society found in one study that saccharin is linked to weight gain.
  • Sucralose (Splenda®) is an artificial, non-caloric sweetener derived from sucrose (table sugar) in a patented process that replaces several hydroxyl molecules with chlorine atoms. Health concerns with sucralose are mainly related to the body’s inability to detoxify certain substances, specifically organochlorine compounds like sucralose. Health advocates claim that not enough long-term studies have been performed to determine its safety, but the FDA has approved it. Environmentalists worry that sucralose may subtly affect the Earth’s ecosystem because it is commonly found downstream from waste-treatment plants.
  • Stevia (Truvia®) is classified as a novel sweetener (a sweetener made up of a combination of sweeteners) and is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. Although it is new to western society, it has been used for hundreds of years by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay. It is non-caloric and poses no known health risks, although it is still undergoing testing by various international food safety agencies, the FDA has awarded it GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status. The largest complaint against stevia is its distinctive aftertaste. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than standard sugar, and as with all calorie-free sugar substitutes, it may cause weight gain because it does not provide the ‘full’ feeling we are used to from sugar.
  • Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is derived from vegetable fibers such as corn husks or tree bark. Sugar alcohols are common components in candy, gum, and chocolate and do not actually contain any alcohol. Xylitol is the only sweetener that has been proven to provide active resistance to dental caries (cavities). Consuming between 3 and 10g of xylitol (in chewing gum, lozenges, etc.) per day is an effective method of fighting tooth decay. However, Portales dentist Dr. Peter Thompson wants you to know that most gums at your local supermarket checkout counter do not contain enough xylitol to have any effect on cavity prevention. Specialty gums that do fight tooth decay are available in pharmacies, specialty stores, and online. Look for gums that list xylitol as the first or second ingredient. Also, be aware that xylitol gums – while very healthy for your teeth – can be deadly to dogs.

If you would like to discuss the healthiest way to sweeten your coffee or want to visit Peter L Thompson DDS for a consultation, please contact us!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Have a Stroke – Your Dentist Can Help

August 27, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,Patient Care — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 8:13 am

You might be surprised to hear that the state of your oral health has a lot to do with preventing a stroke. There’s a certain kind of bad oral bacteria that cause gum disease, travel to other parts of your body, and cause harm.

A stroke is a common but dangerous medical condition that causes a lack of blood in the brain. The effects of a stroke can be long-term and life-changing. People of any age can experience a stroke, but it’s most common in adults 40 years and older.

Oral Wellness
The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center lists favorable oral health among its top five factors that prevent stroke, and a growing number of studies are finding the link between certain kinds of oral bacteria and the harm they cause to your brain. For example, these bacteria can travel into your head through your bloodstream, causing brain bleeding and dementia. This sounds scary—and it certainly can be. But with good, simple oral hygiene, you can take care of your mouth and prevent a lot of other overall health issues. There are also a number of companies that provide testing for these bacteria using saliva samples.

Gum disease is incredibly common and can range anywhere from slightly tender and red gums to a mouth full of discolored, receding gums. Adults over 30 years old have a 50/50 chance of developing gum disease. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it or live with the consequences.

You can prevent gum disease (and many other oral and systemic health problems) by:

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice every day
  • Flossing or cleaning between your teeth once every day
  • Establishing a good relationship with your dentist and having regular appointments
  • Limiting snacks between meals as well as foods high in sugar or acid

The Stroke Connection

Not all oral bacteria are bad-in fact, some are necessary for digestion and immunity-but research continues to prove some bacteria are especially harmful. Cardiovascular disease is just one condition that can be deeply affected by your oral health. Others include mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, and arthritis. There are three main links between “bad” oral bacteria and heart health:

  • Cholesterol: gum disease increases your risk of developing bad cholesterol (LDL) and its buildup in blood arteries.
  • Chemicals: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become thin and more vulnerable to cholesterol.
  • Stickiness: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become very sticky, which attracts more plaque and cholesterol buildup.

You can see how each of these three circumstances has the potential to put your health at risk, especially in combination; they can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  When this kind of buildup happens in your brain, blood flow slows or stops.  The brain becomes starved of blood, causing a stroke.  Brain cells without blood can die within minutes and prove fatal – or cause lifelong health problems to stroke survivors.

The good news is that science is getting better at finding the dangerous bacteria that cause these problems. If you have signs or a diagnosis of gum disease, ask your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Your Dentist is Your Partner

Dentists are medical professionals who can do a lot to save your health and even your life. If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. Peter Thompson in Portales can answer your questions and help you start taking better care of your overall wellness. Make an appointment at Peter L. Thompson, DDS today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Could White Teeth Help You Land a Job Interview?

August 13, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Patient Care — Tags: — thompsonsmiles @ 8:03 am

A recent, three-part study by Crest® puts numbers to what most of us already knew – white teeth are beautiful and powerful! The study used both qualitative and quantitative measures in multiple settings to determine what effect white teeth can have on a person’s life.

In a portion of the study on employment, researchers found that whiter teeth greatly increased a person’s chance of being offered jobs but also of receiving higher pay. In a portion of the study on romance, subjects went on simulated dates and found the dates were more successful after their teeth had been whitened.

Dr. Dacher Keltner, a smile psychologist and psychology professor, says, “This study provides some of the first findings that speak to the powerful benefits of having a whiter smile.”

Why We Like White Teeth

There’s no arguing it, people like white teeth – on themselves and on others. Perhaps this is because white teeth appear healthier and cleaner. Some scientists also guess that having white teeth is a sign of good genetics, which is attractive to potential mates. Dr. Keltner says a white smile is “the intense focus of what other people look at, and a sign of our warmth, confidence, and health.”

Why Some Teeth are Whiter

Healthy, white teeth come in a variety of hues and shades. We are all unique, and so are our smiles. The white of your teeth actually comes from the outer layer, the enamel. Healthy enamel is like a strong bone and protects the inner layers of your teeth. Protecting your enamel is a good way to maintain white teeth.

Some people still have naturally whiter teeth than others. Maybe it’s a result of good oral hygiene, maybe it’s just good genetics, or maybe they’re just young enough that their teeth haven’t started yellowing yet. Unfortunately, all of our teeth tend to yellow and discolor with age.

Some bad habits that stain your teeth include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Drinking red wine
  • Drinking coffee
  • Drinking cola
  • Eating dark-colored berries
  • Taking certain medications (i.e.,tetracycline)

How You Can Get White Teeth

People have used a variety of products and procedures since the beginning of time to brighten their smiles. In ancient Egypt, white teeth were a sign of beauty and wealth. The ancient Egyptians used a paste made of ground pumice and wine vinegar to whiten their teeth.

Modern bleaching with peroxide and trays was an accidental discovery. Dentists knew that peroxide was a good antiseptic and used it to treat gum disease. As they tried to find ways to keep the peroxide on the gums for prolonged periods of time, they saw the peroxide also made teeth whiter! Today, whitening products come in all forms: strips, trays, paste, rinses, and laser lights to speed up the process.

Not all teeth have to be blinding or unnatural looking to pass the test. Your dentist can help you determine the best shade of white for your own teeth based on the rest of your coloring. Excessive teeth bleaching may increase your tooth sensitivity, so consult with your Portales dentist before you start any whitening treatment.

If you’d like a consultation for teeth whitening or any other oral health goals, contact us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Tooth About Teeth Grinding

July 27, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,Dental Services — Tags: — Dr Peter Thompson @ 9:48 am

Headaches in Portales are a dime a dozen. We all know the frustration of having your day interrupted by throbbing, shooting pains in the head. If you suffer from frequent headaches that never seem to go away, Dr. Peter Thompson would like you to know about bruxism, or teeth grinding.

At Peter L. Thompson, DDS, we love spreading the news about all things dental health, so here is some headache information that just might change your life.

Bruxism & Headaches

You may not be aware of it, but everyone clenches and grinds their teeth at some point and to some degree. It’s a natural reaction to stress. During the day, you might catch yourself doing it and make a conscious effort to stop, but during the night, you are unaware of it and will naturally grind much harder. Unfortunately, some people in Portales have such problems with bruxism that they may experience:

  • Frequent, painful headaches
  • Damaged, worn-down teeth and surrounding tissues
  • TMJ/TMD

According to Dr. Noshir Mehta, chairman of general dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and director of its Craniofacial Pain Center, the upper and lower teeth come into contact for as much as 40 minutes of each hour. The force exerted on some teeth, such as the first molars, can be about 250 lbs, as opposed to the 20-40 lbs involved in regular daily chewing.

If you grind your teeth and have frequent headaches, don’t panic. Bruxism is easily treatable with custom-fit nightguards that Dr. Peter Thompson will personally fit for your teeth. To find out more about how we can make your headaches disappear, contact Peter L. Thompson, DDS today.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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