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Dentist Blog

Posts for: September, 2017

By Sweet Tooth Dental
September 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Sweet Tooth Dental
September 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health

As if the preteen years didn’t give kids and their parents enough to think about, new oral health concerns loom on the horizon. Along with major changes to the body, brain and emotions, additional risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease appear during adolescence — the period of development starting around age 10 and extending through the teen years that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Even with declining rates of tooth decay across the nation, the cavity rate remains high during adolescence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in every 5 adolescents has untreated tooth decay. What’s more, the onset of puberty — usually beginning around age 10-11 in girls and 11-12 in boys — brings changes in hormone levels that can affect gum health.

We all have millions of microorganisms in our mouth, representing hundreds of different species of mostly helpful, but some harmful, bacteria. Research has shown that total oral bacteria increases between ages 11 and 14, and new types of bacteria are introduced, including some that are not friendly to teeth and gums. Some unfamiliar microbes trigger an exaggerated inflammatory response to dental plaque, so gum bleeding and sensitivity are experienced by many children in this age group. In fact, “puberty gingivitis,” which peaks around age 11-13, is the most common type of gum disease found during childhood.

A combination of hormones, lifestyle changes and poor oral hygiene habits raises the risk of oral health problems among adolescents. A more independent social life may be accompanied by a change in eating habits and easier access to snacks and beverages that are sugary, acidic (like sports drinks and soda) or full of refined carbohydrates — none of which are tooth-healthy choices. And as children move toward greater independence, parents are less likely to micromanage their children’s personal care, including their oral hygiene routines. Good oral hygiene can keep dental plaque at bay, lowering the chance of having gingivitis and cavities. But let’s face it: Adolescents have a lot to think about, and keeping up with their oral health may not be a priority.

To help your preteen stay on top of their oral health, keep healthy snacks at home for your children and their friends and make sure you are well stocked with supplies such as new toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. In addition, most preteens (and teens) can benefit from gentle reminders about oral hygiene routines.

For optimal oral health through all stages of life, make sure your preteen keeps up with professional teeth cleanings and exams, and talk with us about whether fluoride treatments or sealants may be appropriate for your child.

For more on your child’s oral health, read “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health” and “Dentistry & Oral Health For Children” in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Sweet Tooth Dental
September 06, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

How cosmetic dentistry from your Kailua Kona, Hawaii dentist can enhance your smilecosmetic dentistry

Your smile is often the first thing people notice when they see you. If you aren’t smiling because of a dull, unattractive smile, you are missing out on social interaction. Your self-esteem and self-confidence may be suffering from your less-than-wonderful smile. It’s time to achieve the smile you deserve. The answer is cosmetic dentistry! Dr. Garrett Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, wants to help you discover different cosmetic dentistry procedures that can remake your smile.

These are just a few of the different cosmetic dental procedures you might want to consider:

  • Professional teeth whitening, if you have a smile that is yellow, stained, or aging; professional teeth whitening procedures are far more effective and long lasting than over-the-counter whitening treatments. They can brighten your teeth several shades whiter, and your amazing white smile can last many years! Dr. Oka offers a speedy in-office whitening treatment that takes about an hour. He also offers a convenient take-home whitening kit if you prefer to whiten at home.
  • Tooth-colored fillings, if you have ugly, old metal fillings you want to be replaced, or if you need a new filling; tooth-colored fillings use composite. The material that can be color-matched to your existing teeth, providing a filling that is virtually invisible to people around you.
  • Porcelain veneers, if you want to dramatically enhance your smile; porcelain veneers are thin laminates of sparkling porcelain that are cemented onto the front surfaces of your teeth. Porcelain veneers can cover chipped, cracked or worn teeth. They can also cosmetically close spaces between teeth or hide tooth overlap.
  • Smile makeover, if you want to create a smile that is uniquely yours; the smile makeover process uses multiple cosmetic dental procedures to create your best smile. Dr. Oka will sit down with you and carefully plan out your treatment, all within your budget and time schedule.

To view amazing before-and-after photos of Dr. Oka’s patients, please visit the Smile Gallery page on the website at http://www.sweettoothdental.net/smile-gallery.html

Cosmetic dentistry can change your smile and bring you out of the shadows. You deserve to show your smile to the world. Get started by calling Dr. Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Call today!