Wisdom Teeth: What They Were For in The First Place

The Purpose and The Problem of Wisdom Teeth

Most people develop a third set of molars in their late teens or early 20s, a period ushering in adulthood, becoming more wise and mature, supposedly. Hence, the teeth are called wisdom teeth. That is just about there is to it. But knowing all the problems that come with them, you’d ask if it’s wise to keep them at all.

Why are they there in the first place when you don’t see the rationale?

Apparently, there was a point, but one that brings you back thousands of years ago – when humans evolved. Prehistoric man would catch and tear into their food using their mouth, causing a great amount of wear and damage to the teeth. When teeth are lost then it becomes difficult to eat and hence, difficult to survive. At some point in the evolution, a replacement set of molars came in later in life, and this provided a backup system for eating.

While wisdom teeth were advantageous to our ancestors, why is it more of a disadvantage for us in this modern age? While we now cook our food, those extra molars are no longer necessary, yet we can’t leave them alone. They are now a burden.

The problem now is that the size of our jaws decreased but our body kept making wisdom teeth. There is not as much room to come in so they often come in at odd angles and will mess up our other teeth. In these cases, the wisdom teeth have to be removed surgically.

Now we know how it all came down to us, and so these times, many dentists advice wisdom teeth removal to decrease the chances of dental problems in the future.

Wisdom Teeth Removal in Bellevue

Now you know why we have our wisdom teeth. If you are having issues with them, don’t hesitate to come for a consultation at Overlake Dental in Bellevue.

How Often Should Visits To The Dentist Be?

Determining Dental Visit Frequencies

Seeing your dentist regularly is an important part of dental care routine. But just how often should you pay a visit to your dentist? The general rule of thumb is twice a year, as that involves dental exams and professional cleanings every six months to help maintain oral hygiene and prevent many dental diseases.

The ADA says, though, that since people differ, others may require more dental care than others. It is important to discuss your treatment with your dentist and determine just how often you need to visit for proper oral care. The frequency of visits can also change from time to time, depending on your overall health and other factors, such as pregnancy, or upon diagnosis of particular medical conditions.

What are the advantages?

Signs of oral problems, such as gum disease and cavities, are detected early to avoid future complications. Another is that it’s a good example for children to follow. As far as children are concerned, it is better to keep tab of their oral health during their developing years. Signs of trauma, sores, decay, malocclusion and other conditions are not easily vocalized, so parents must keep watch.

When do you start seeing the dentist?

Young children must be acclimated to the routine exam process. The ADA recommends that your child’s first dental visit occur within six months of their first tooth appearing. Starting regular checkups at an early age will help your child become more comfortable with the dental tools and with sitting in the dental chair.

So what is the best frequency of visits?

Again, the general rule of thumb is every six months. Some can get away with fewer visits. Others may need more frequent visits. People with very little risk of cavities or gum disease can do fine seeing their dentist just once a year. People with a high risk of dental disease might need to visit every three or four months, or more.

Regular visits to your dentist are essential for healthy teeth. Even if you have never had a single cavity, it is important to see your dentist to prevent any future oral care issues. Routine dental cleanings will not only help keep your family’s teeth healthy, but they will also establish a lifetime of healthy choices for your children.

Visiting Your Dentist In Bellevue

Start your regular checkups at Overlake Dental and find out your state of oral health. From here, your dental team in Bellevue can determine just how regularly should you visit for optimal care.

Why Gums Hurt: A Case of Hygiene

Gum Pain: Reasons and Tips

Many patients ask why their gums hurt when they’re brushing their teeth. They feel some degree of discomfort and/or pain in their gums while doing their oral hygiene routine. In some instances, they have never yet experienced this reaction before. If it happens to you, should you be alarmed?

Sometimes our gums hurt and the most common cause for this is a chronic inflammation of the gums. This is a result of a chronic infection of the gums. Know that after eating, it only takes about 12 to 24 hours for plaques to form. Plaques are sites for bacteria to grow and multiply, and we know that there are hundreds of different bacteria residing in our oral cavities. If we do not brush our teeth regularly and properly, bacteria can multiply and result in infection. The risk is higher if food intake is mostly sugary. In other words, now, gums hurt usually due to poor oral hygiene.

Gums also hurt if you use hard bristle toothbrushes; likewise, if you use harsh brush strokes. These habits can scrape the soft gum tissue as well as erode enamel. Similarly, old brushes with worn out bristles do not clean the teeth properly and are a risk factor for causing infection.

Gums hurt, too, due to the loss of dental enamel, that first outer layer of teeth. Strong as it is, constant exposure to acid, for example, can weaken it and cause it to become sensitive. Enamel loss can be brought about by high starch and sugary food and drinks, energy drinks, drugs like tetracycline, reflux disease, and conditions like teeth grinding. They can all result to chronic inflammation and infection of the gums.

Teeth and gum problems cause pain and increased sensitivity of the gums, and in many cases, tooth loss. They can also cause systemic infections, like heart problems, hence, should not be ignored.

So, what must one do when gums hurt? Improve hygiene of the teeth and gums. Brush teeth every morning and before going to bed at night or after every meal. If not, at least have a mouth rinse after meals or drink lots of water after drinking soda. Use also an antiseptic mouthwash. Change your hard bristle toothbrush to a soft one and replace as soon as the bristles start to wear out. Floss daily. Avoid taking sugary foods and drinks. Lastly, have a professional cleaning regularly, which also means you will be visiting your dentist and have an oral examination.

Treating Gums in Bellevue

Do you experience pain or discomfort in your gums? Learn what’s wrong by visiting your Bellevue dentist, Dr. Lee, here at Overlake Dental.

Bacteria In Your Mouth: A Small Ecosystem

The Good and The Bad Bacteria

There’s a natural balance of good and bad bacteria in our oral cavity. The balance is offset if poor dental hygiene is neglected and bad bacteria take over, growing and accumulating. Did you know that there are about 700 different types of bacteria in the mouth, most are naturally occurring and doing no harm? Probiotics are examples of good bacteria that support overall health as well as oral wellness. Each of us ingest bacteria daily in the form of probiotics, either unintentionally as contaminants of food, or intentionally, in processed foods such as yogurt, fermented milk or cheese.

On the other hand, there are bacteria that can contribute to dental decay and gum disease. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria identified the most with tooth decay. It lives in your mouth and feeds on the sugars and starches that you eat. It can cause bad breath, as a result of tooth decay that is allowed to progress.

So when the wrong types of bacteria are ones proliferating in the mouth, bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease are the natural consequences. These conditions are the result of poor oral hygiene; incorrect and insufficient tooth brushing and flossing and not using mouthwashes – allow food debris and bacterial plaque to advance on the teeth and the tongue. Thick bacteria can also cling to gums, when unattended can lead to gingivitis and over time, to its more serious form, periodontitis.

So how do you combat bacteria, the hidden culprit?

Brush and floss daily. It takes 12-24 hours for plaque to gather in your mouth to support bacteria. Brushing and flossing at least once a day can remove most of this build up.
Rinse your mouth daily. Brushing alone only reaches 25% of your mouth, while a mouthwash fights the remaining bacteria in your whole mouth, teeth and gums. Research shows that some antimicrobial mouthwashes can kill oral bacteria in 30 seconds.

Cut back on sweets. Harmful bacteria like Streptococcus mutans love sugar. The more sugar and other carbohydrates they feast on, the more they produce acid that will build up on your teeth. Acid can cause enamel weakening and make teeth prone to cavities and decay. With proper and consistent oral hygiene, no bacteria is beyond your control.

Guarding Against Bad Bacteria in Bellevue

When you visit us at Overlake Dental regularly, you’ll know more about how to combat harmful bacteria that can lead to dental woes. See us today for a consultation.

Bad Breath: The Reasons You’re Struggling

Why Do I Have Foul-Smelling Breath?

Bad breath. This is probably the one thing you don’t want people to remember you by. You don’t want to be told you’ve got bad breath; definitely to be the last to know you’re breath is foul is most embarrassing. So why not do a breath check and see for yourself before anyone else tells you so. Here are some of the top reasons why you might be struggling with bad breath.

You might not be cleaning your mouth the right way. Bad dental hygiene is the most likely cause of bad breath. It is a sign of poor oral hygiene that may eventually lead to periodontal problems. It is not enough that you are only tooth brushing; that’s just 25% cleaning. Be sure you are brushing twice a day, using floss daily, and rinsing with mouthwash. This routine cleans and freshens your mouth by killing bacteria.

You’re not drinking enough water. Lack of fluids in the mouth can cause halitosis because a dry mouth is haven for bacteria to live and multiply. And did you know that saliva fights bacteria? A decrease in the production of saliva also leads to mouth dehydration leading to bacterial growth. Just drink more water.

You’re drinking the wrong fluids. You might think that because you’re drinking lots of alcohol or caffeine, you’re hydrating your mouth. Wrong! These beverages lead to a condition called xerostomia, which is defined as dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow. Xerostomia is not a disease, but it may be a symptom of several conditions, like chemotherapy, periods of anxiety, radiation, mouth breathing, drinking acidic beverages, among others.

You’re not eating the right foods. Eat plenty of vegetables and herbs, while avoiding foods that contribute to bad breath like those high in sugar or with particularly potent flavours. Avoid spicy, odorous foods like garlic and onions. If you find that you can’t avoid them, try eating an apple or yogurt afterwards to help fight the compounds released. Also rinse with a strong mouthwash after eating strong flavored foods.

You have a sore throat or post-nasal drip. A small percentage of bad breath issues originate in the nose or sinuses, some from the tonsils. The same bacteria giving you bad breath are the ones that also infect your throat and tonsils. Post-nasal drip can accumulate at the back of the mouth and on the tongue, so this area should be gently cleaned with a tongue scraper.
You might have an underlying health problem. Bad breath can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. If your breath has a distinctive smell, it can indicate a disease, like cancers, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases due to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce.

Bad Breath Treatment in Bellevue

Don’t delay seeing your dentist in Bellevue if you are bothered by bad breath. In many cases the situation is treatable. So come by for a consult and let’s see how we can make your breath smelling fresh again.