Teeth Talk: Signs that Something is Wrong

Know What Your Teeth are Telling You

Beginning cavities are notoriously difficult to spot by the untrained eye, hence, they are considered a wide-spread condition. Unattended cavities can cause the spread of tooth decay and tooth loss with attendant gum disease and bone destruction.

So it is important that the first signs be recognized right away and treatment sought. Dentists were asked what signs should alert common folks that they have a tooth cavity or cavities. They agree that these five common signs point to the presence of a cavity in your mouth.

You have a toothache, and you don’t know why. You suddenly experience a toothache and nothing else about your health has changed, it could be due to a cavity. A cavity starts at the outer surface of teeth, the enamel, considered the strongest material in the body. It can bore down to the next layer, which is the dentin. If it reaches the pulp chamber with its rich nerve supply, you may feel pain already.

You feel sensitivity or pain with certain food and drinks. When you eat or drink acidic, cold, hot, sticky, or sweet items, you may have sensitive teeth. When a cavity finds its way down to the dentin, hollow canals known as microscopic tubules within can allow these foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside. Dentin is yellowish tissue and makes up the bulk of teeth. It is harder than bone but softer than enamel. It is sensitive to pain, pressure, and temperature as the tubules connect to the pulp chamber.

You see a hole or pit on your tooth. If you see a small white spot on the surface of your tooth, a cavity is just forming. As the erosion gets worse and the cavity begins to burrow into your tooth, it forms a hole or pit that might be visible to the naked eye.

You notice a spot that has stained brown, black, or white. A discolored spot of a different hue from the rest of your teeth, can be a sign of tooth decay. Although cavities typically first look like little white marks, they can eventually pick up stains from the foods and beverages you consume, turning them a different color.

You feel a sharp jolt of pain when you bite down. This is another sign that your tooth’s pulp is inflamed or has actually died due to infection and is pressing down on the root underneath enclosed in bone. Any pressure downwards would hurt. There might be a crack in the tooth, allowing entry of outside elements.

Not Ignoring Warning Signs in Bellingham

Know the warning signs of cavities on your teeth. If you encounter any of these symptoms, do not delay seeing us at Dr. Tetrick’s. Early intervention is key.

Why Most Young Children Don’t See The Dentist

Where The Problem Lies

Without a doctor or dentist’s guidance, some parents don’t follow national recommendations for early dental care for their children, a new national poll discovers. According to a recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, most parents believed children should delay dentist visits until age 4 or older – years later than what experts recommend. This clearly doesn’t connect with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association recommendation of starting dental visits around age one when baby teeth emerge.

The national poll is based on responses from 790 parents with at least one child aged 0-5. More than half of parents did not receive guidance from their child’s doctor or a dentist about when to start dentist visits. The reasons cited by some parents whose child has not had a dental visit are that the child is not old enough, the child’s teeth are healthy, and the child would be scared of the dentist.

Another factor that may delay dental care is that healthcare recommendations for early childhood are often focused on well-child visits with medical providers, and parents seemed to strictly follow through. They are well guided as to first visits after birth, immunization schedules, vitamins and milk formula instructions, and other such preventive care measures. Parents get much less guidance on when to start taking their child to the dentist. Less than half say, though, they have received professional advice. This lack of guidance may mean many parents delay the start of dental visits past the recommended age.

It was also discovered in the poll that parents with higher income and education, and those with private dental insurance, were more likely to report that a doctor or dentist provided guidance on when to start dental visits. Families who are low-income, less educated, and on Medicaid are less likely to receive such.

Parents from all income levels should be able to ask and receive recommendations from both their doctors and dentists and other health providers about both medical and dental care for their young. Providers, on the other hand, especially those who care for at-risk populations should dedicate time to focus on the importance of dental visits. When parents get clear guidance, they may be able to understand the importance of their child’s timely first visit to the dental specialist.

Welcoming Infants and Toddlers at Tetrick Family Dentistry

By the time your baby is one year old, visit Dr. Tetrick for your child’s first visit. We in Bellingham understand the wisdom of timely visits and also impart that well to our community members.

Tooth Loss During Middle Age: A Cardiovascular Risk

New Study Proves the Connection

Studies have shown that dental health problems, like periodontal disease, are related to inflammation, diabetes, smoking and a not-so-healthy diet, according to a study, out of the department of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Previous research has pointed out that there’s an association between dental issues and cardiovascular disease risk. If you had dental issues which eventually led to loss of teeth, it equates with an increased risk of this type of health problem.

However, most of that research looked at cumulative tooth loss over a lifetime, starting as early as childhood tooth loss. It is the tooth loss in middle age that’s more likely related to inflammation, but it hasn’t been clear how this later-in-life tooth loss might influence cardiovascular disease risk.

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health collaborated in this new study analyzing the impact of tooth loss in large studies of adults, aged 45 to 69 years. Participant recorded their number of natural teeth at the onset with a follow-up of reported recent tooth loss. They didn’t have cardiovascular disease at the beginning. Researchers followed up in the next 8 years, afterwards followed an incidence of cardiovascular disease among those with no tooth loss, with one tooth lost, and two or more teeth lost over 12-18 years.

Cardiovascular disease risk among all those studied (regardless of the number of natural teeth) increased among those losing two or more teeth during the study period, compared to those who didn’t lose any teeth. Those with less than 17 natural teeth at the beginning were 25% more likely to have cardiovascular disease.

With the knowledge that tooth loss in middle age can signal elevated cardiovascular disease risk, adults can take steps to reduce the increased risk early on. Regular dental visits should be a crucial practise by younger adults in order to spot potential issues. Oral hygiene is also integral to preservation of one’s dentition.

Early Tooth Preservation in Bellingham

As early as possible, have your oral health overseen by your trusted dental experts here at Dr. Tetrick’s in Bellingham. Reduce your chances of tooth loss early and lessen your risk for cardiovascular disease.