Floss or Else!

How many times do we hear from the dentist that we need to floss and brush twice a day? Every six months, right? And sure, we’re good at following that advice for a nanosecond and then we’re back to infrequent flossing or even skipping entirely. But why does the dentist tell us to floss – and not once, but twice a day?
So the last time you saw Dr. Marquis, did he or Melissa give you a lecture about your poor/nonexistent flossing? Like Every. Single. Visit. Right? Well, Doc is right to do so. Flossing does a super job – about 40% of the work – removing plaque, bacteria, and other gunk from between your teeth…a place that a toothbrush cannot get to.[1]To understand how floss works, you have to look at your tooth as having five different surfaces to clean. The top and the four sides, but two of those sides neighbor other teeth. Since your toothbrush cannot get into those spots, you end up leaving a ton of nasty bacteria that have a 24/7 party wrecking your teeth and giving you a horrible case of gingivitis.
So, you are now onboard for flossing! Hooray! You head to the store to buy some because you cannot remember where you threw the little bag Doc gave you with a new toothbrush and some sample floss. Of course, you are at the store and you did not realize that there were so many different types of floss! Which one do you get? That all depends on your teeth. If you have larger spaces between your teeth, you might want to get dental tape – it is flat and wide and helps with people who receding gums too. If you have teeth close together, thin floss that is shred resistant is a godsend. Follow the directions on the back of the floss package or pay attention when Melissa tells you how to do it!
Now, you are completely equipped to begin your twice daily flossing habit. Keep it up and Doc will be awestruck by your awesomeness and lack of plaque!

We Are a Nation of Immigrants

As an immigrant, it amazes me how people can spew such bitterness and contempt upon a subject they do not really know too much about. It is unfortunate that today’s political climate is such that I feel both frightened for future and my children’s’ futures, but also for the country as a whole.
We have seemed to have forgotten that this country was built by immigrants. Unless you are Native American, you are a child of an immigrant. And you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. However, when this fact has escaped you and you feel like you own this land that your own ancestors decided to move onto, then you are part of the problem.
Right now, immigrants are painted as rapists, murderers, terrorists, but I am none of those. Like me, 99 percent of us are upstanding citizens that came to this country for the promise of freedom and living the American Dream. Are there some bad apples, of course, but doesn’t America have some bad eggs too?
What I am trying to say is this – I love this country, I love the ideals and freedoms I enjoy, I love helping the people of this country, and I loved defending those freedoms. I am proud to be an American Immigrant. And you should be proud to have us as this beautiful melting pot of a country is unique. There is nowhere else in the world like America and that is because of her people. 

Summer Dental Tips

With summer comes a time for letting go of the school year rushing about and settling into relaxation – well, until the kids are bored after three weeks and you’ve given up trying to make sure the summer slide doesn’t happen. One of the biggest summer slides is usually dental hygiene. With later bedtimes and lax food guidelines, many kids find themselves skipping their typical nightly dental routine and turning to junk food for quick refueling. With the uptick in outside play, we also see more injuries to the mouth. Here are a few tip to avoid the summer dental slide and make sure that our mouths remain healthy and safe!

Drink Water
We know how simple it sounds, but how difficult it is to get your kids to drink plain old water. Now, when playing sports in the scorching Texas heat, electrolyte replacing liquids are necessary to avoid heat stroke, hyponatremia (not enough sodium in the blood), and to keep our kids still active. But at other times, sports drinks are not needed. Plain water is great for hydrating the mouth and washing plaque- and cavity-causing bacteria away from the teeth and gums.

Straws Aren’t Just for Kids
Sometimes, water just doesn’t cut it – you just have to have a soda or juice. Try using a straw to help bypass your teeth. The acid in juices and carbonated drinks can actually erode the enamel on your teeth. You’ve seen the video hack of a certain carbonated beverage being used to clean a toilet, right? The phosphoric and citric acids in the beverage may contribute to enamel erosion and other corrosive effects in the body. All-in-all, stay away from the sodas, but if you just haveto have one, use a straw, wait about 30 minutes or so, and then brush your teeth.

Go British
Tea is pretty awesome! Coffee is our national drink, for sure, but there is something special about tea. There are constant studies being released on how great tea is for our bodies. Tea has different substances that help deter bacteria, slow tooth decay, and fight against gum disease. Though coffee is our dark mistress, tea is definitely something we should think about drinking more of – just remember to skip the sugar!

Always, Always, Always Wear a Mouthguard
Oral injuries are no joke. Though professionally made mouthguards by dentists are the absolute best, over-the-counter ones will provide the stability your teeth need in a blow to the jaw happens. We cannot stress enough how important it is to protect those pearly whites!

Moderation is Key
Summer is awesome! There is swimming, playing, sports, fireworks, picnics, and tons of family time. It is also when food choices lean a little toward convenience and junk. We get it! Nothing is better than popsicles or ice cream on a blistering Texas summer day. Just remember to think about enjoying those things less often and turn towards healthy fruits and cut up veggies. Fast, healthy, and yummy!

Summer is about fun, but remember to make sure your kids still floss and brush morning and night – even when those schedules are later than usual. And don’t forget to make sure you schedule your biannual cleaning and check-up! 

The Case for Dental Sealants

Summer seems to be the time when kids come in packs to the dentist. We know it’s easier getting everyone together when you’re on the same schedule – which in summer, means no schedule! If you have younger children whose back molars have completely emerged, you’ve probably had the dentist recommend sealants for them. We’re pretty sure you’re probably wondering what they are, why they’re recommended, and how are they applied.

What are sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings made specifically for the teeth. They stick to the chewing surface of the molar and blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from settling and building up in the nooks and crannies of the molar. They are not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but they do help deter cavities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study in October of last year showing that kids (6-11) who do not have dental sealants have 3 times the cavities than kids who do have them.[1]The CDC has found that almost 50 percent of kids 2 through 11 have had or do have cavities in their baby teeth. It is actually considered an epidemic and can even lead to death.[2]Sealants ae just part of the dental arsenal to help keep your child’s teeth healthy.

How are they applied?
Luckily, this is one of the easiest dental procedures your child will ever have to go through. After your child’s teeth have been cleaned properly, the dentist will dry them. He then places an acidic gel on the surface of the teeth to help “roughen up” the surface to help the sealant crate a strong bond with the tooth. After a few seconds, the dentist rinses the gel off, dries the tooth again, and then applies the sealant into the grooves of the tooth. He then uses a special light to harden the sealant.
If you choose to have this procedure done, your child will receive another application onto the second molars when they break through around age 12.

How long do they last?
Sealants last for several years before they need a touch up or reapplication. At each check-up, the dentist will check their condition and let you know if they need to be reapplied or not.

Are they covered by dental plans?
Some plans do, some plans don’t. Contact your dental insurance company to find out more about your plan and the coverage you have.
Sealants are important and warrant serious consideration to help keep your child’s teeth and overall health in great condition. Ask your dentist more about them and if they recommend them for your child(ren).

[2]Bacteria from an abscessed tooth killed a 12 year-old from Maryland in 2007. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/02/cavities-children-teeth/5561911/

Your Mouth

Your mouth is absolutely astounding when you think about – and we aren’t being biased just because we love teeth! Think about it! It is the gateway to getting nutrients into the body. Your teeth have to break down food with chewing while your salivary glands release enzymes to help start breaking those carb molecules down. Plus, our taste buds on the tongue let us enjoy so many different things! Seriously, your mouth is an amazing place. But did you know it’s more like a rainforest? We know, utterly unbelievable, but hear us out.
Why a rainforest? Well, your body is home to trillions of microorganisms and where they are located in your body dictates the type of microbe they are. Your mouth has its own particular microbiome. Like a rainforest, it is a highly diverse and very sensitive to change. The microorganisms found there are less likely to be found elsewhere on or on the body. But what does this mean?
When we talk about your mouth being a window to your overall health, it’s absolutely true. We know based on the types of oral health issues you’re having, that you may have systemic (affecting the entire body) health issues as well. A well-known example of this is periodontal disease. You can have a predominance of a certain type of bacteria in your mouth.
We see a mother and daughter at our practice. The mother has to come every 3 months because of the plaque that builds up on her teeth. Her daughter on the other hand comes every 6 months and is prone to cavities. What’s the difference between them? Their oral microbiome is dominated by different types of bacteria. The mother has an overabundance of the types of microbes (specifically P. gingivalis) that cause periodontal disease. The daughter has an overabundance of Streptococcus mutans which ferment the sugar that we eat. Their acidic waste products break down the tooth’s surface and cause cavities.
As you can see, based on the type of bacteria in your mouth, you can have different issues. But this goes a step further. Research has shown that when you have periodontal disease, your risk of heart disease is higher – 2 times more likely! There is also new research linking periodontal disease with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is why we say that your mouth is the window to your health. If we see heavy plaque buildup, bleeding gums, loose teeth, inflamed gums, or in worse cases – tooth loss and abscesses, we know these are signs of periodontal disease. We will work with you to clear your infection (because that’s what it actually is!) so that you don’t suffer from even worse complications down the road. It takes a lot of work to clear up the infection and to stave periodontal disease off.
Your mouth is an amazing place that is home to millions and millions of microorganisms. Your overall health is linked to those tiny little microbes. An overabundance of particular microbe can lead to more serious disease. Of those, a predominance of P. gingivalis can indicate deeper issues. Periodontal disease is a serious infection and if left untreated can lead to a whole host of problems. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, please call us right away to book an appointment.