December 2014 Entries

Mysteries of the Mouth: The Hit New Oral Hygiene Musical


In order to understand how to better your oral hygiene you must know what other parts of your mouth exist beyond teeth and how to care for them.  Read on to learn more about the mysteries of the mouth and how we compare it to a Broadway musical.


The Teeth – Stars of the Show

When you smile, your teeth are on full display, front and center.  Consider your teeth the stars of a Broadway musical.  However, in any sort of production, the stars would be nothing without all the other moving parts working behind the scenes.  Lets look at each of the seven major components of the mouth that help keep your stars (teeth!) shining bright.


The Gums – The Ensemble


So if the teeth are the stars of the show, the gums act as the ensemble, the supporting cast who help the teeth shine bright and stay healthy.  Your gums are the pink, red tissue that help to keep your teeth in place.   They also enclose the tooth in its entirety, from root to crown.  Healthy gums are essential in keeping your teeth strong and firm.  Floss often and rinse your mouth to ensure strong gums.


The Tongue – The Director


The tongue is the director of the musical.  Your tongue is a special tissue that serves many functions for your oral and digestive health.  The tongue contains the taste buds which tell your body what tastes salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and others.  In addition it directs chewed food down the esophagus.  It also moves food around the mouth, out of the teeth and out of the way keeping those stars happy!  The tongue also plays a major role in speech, directing and shaping the sounds that your mouth makes.


The Frenulum Linguae – The Assistant Director


Helping the tongue do its job is the Frenulum Linguae, the tissue below the tongue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.  This allows the tongue to move around, help digestion and speech.


The Jaw – The Composer


Your jaw, made up of the upper and lower jaws, serve to enable your mouth to move up and down which is integral in chewing and speaking.  Without your jaw you would not be able to produce sounds, making communication (and singing) very difficult!



The Uvula – Orchestra


You know that piece of tissue that hangs down in the back of your throat, that you can kind of see if you look for it?  That’s the uvula, a collection of muscle and glandular tissues that helps compose your speech, digestion, and keeping your mouth wet.  There is much debate on the exact role of the uvula but we do know that it tickles if you touch it!


The Salivary Glands – The Stage Crew


Much like the stage crew, the salivary glands work behind the scenes to make sure that after your teeth chew your food, the food is properly able to be digested.  That’s where the salivary glands come in.  Made up of the parotid, the submandibular, and the sublingual glands, the salivary glands produce saliva aiding in the breakdown of food.  It also serves as a self-made mouth wash which helps rinse food particles out of your teeth.



Oral Mucosa – The Theatre Security


Oral Mucosa is similar to the theatre security in that it protects the mouth from anything harmful that enters.  The Oral Mucosa is a lining inside the mouth that coats and covers everything (besides the teeth).  It protects your mouth from harmful germs and pollutants much like security would protect from looters, loud audience hecklers and line cutters!


There you have it.  Hopefully this illustration gives a bit of clarity on knowing and remembering the different parts of the mouth and their functions.  By keeping good oral hygiene you will be able to have the best and brightest “Broadway Musical” and have your dentist give you rave reviews!

called keratin, also found in your fingernails and hair, helps make the oral mucosa resistant to injury.


7 Habits of Highly Effective Dental Care


Playing off the title of the famous Stephen Covey publication, this article will focus on maintaining optimal care for your Dental Hygeine by forming proven and successful habits.


Habit 1 – Brush At Least Twice Daily


If nothing else, remember that brushing your teeth with an ADA recommended toothbrush at least twice daily is the most effective habit for maintaining good dental hygiene.  It is recommended that you brush at least once in the morning and once in the evening before bed time for a minimum of 2 minutes each.  Brushing helps remove leftover food and plaque.


Habit 2 – Floss At Least Once Daily


Flossing helps remove leftover food and particles in between your teeth that brushing can not always remove.  It also helps to promote gum health.  Food that stays in between your teeth will rot, decay and bacteria will form.  This can lead to gum disease, bad breath and gingivitis.  Make sure to try and floss after every meal or at least once daily.


Habit 3 – Reduce The Amount Sticky Candy and Sweets


Eating sweets and sticky candy serves to strengthen the plaque that exists on your teeth already.  The acids that form when sugar and starch come into contact with plaque can attack your teeth for an additional fifteen minutes, even after you have digested that food type.  Sticky candy can also hurt your teeth by pulling them away from your gums.  Reduce the amount of Sticky Candy and Sweets or at least try and only eat candies that are not long lasting (sorry lollipops!).


Habit 4 – Use Toothpaste With Fluoride


When purchasing your next toothpaste at your local pharmacy, you can surely get lost amidst the dozens of choices in front of you.  Keep this in mind, find one with Fluoride!  The benefits of using fluoride toothpaste is two fold.  First it helps to remove plaque.  Second, it helps strengthen enamel, that hard outer coating on your teeth. 


Habit 5 – Use An Anti-Septic Mouthwash


Even brushing and flossing does not remove all of the bacteria inside your mouth.  To take it one step further, make sure to use anti-septic mouthwash.  Mouthwash can help you rid your mouth from harmful bacteria that can lead to disease.  Also, if brushing and flossing isn’t an option sue to location constraints you can keep a miniature sized bottle in your purse or pockets.


Habit 6 – Visit Your Dentist Regularly


Your dentist is not your enemy!  Put your faith and trust in a medical doctor.  Go to your dentist the recommended two times daily.  He or she will perform x-rays, teeth cleanings and make sure your oral hygiene is in top shape.  He will also provide you suggestions on how to improve your hygiene to promote the best care for your mouth.


Habit 7 – Wear Protective Gear


If you play sports, workout, or engage in physical activity, always be sure to wear the appropriate headgear, mouth guards and face guards.  This is not just to prevent a chipped tooth, but worse things such as broken jaws, misalignment of your teeth or complete dental reconstruction.  Everyone always thinks that it can’t happen to them, until it does!  Take the necessary safety precautions so that you are protected.


Follow these seven habits and you will be on your way to optimal dental health.  See your dentist for more information on how to improve upon these habits and make your regular checkup a happy one!


How Important is Oral Hygiene To Overall Health?


Not having good oral hygiene doesn’t just cause problems with your teeth and mouth, but can also lead to problems with your overall health including cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, and diabetes.  Read on to learn the link between oral hygiene and these diseases.


Mouth Health and Overall Health – The Missing Link


Scientists have attributed much research to the mouth/body connection and how oral hygiene affects disease of certain types.  Think about this: your mouth is the body’s link to the outside world.  All the food you eat and every breath you take come through the mouth.  So, why not look at that link to help us better understand diseases? 


Bad oral hygiene creates the buildup of plaque and bacteria.  When there is an excess of bacteria the teeth and gums become more prone to infection.  TO combat this, the body’s immune system sends in white blood cells to fight the infection causing inflammation and gum disease.  This inflammation plays a major role in helping certain diseases flourish.   Below are three examples of diseases in which we will examine the role bad oral hygiene directly affects.


Cardiovascular Disease/Heart Disease


There is a definite correlation between cardiovascular/heart disease and gum disease. A little over 90% of patients with gum disease also suffer from heart disease.  Scientists speculate that inflammation of the mouth also causes inflammation in the blood vessels.  Inflamed blood vessels constrict blood flow to your vital organs leading to heart attacks and raising blood pressure.  Heart disease is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world.


Pregnancy and Birth Defects


Gum disease and bad oral hygiene may have correlation with babies being born prematurely or at a low birth weight.  As we know with our example for heart disease, inflamed blood vessels constrict blood flow, and blood flow is essential to a fetus’ development.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk of gum disease and inflammation and you should consult with your dentist for a complete periodontal exam to ensure your baby is safe.




Inflammation in the mouth resulting from bad oral hygiene inhibits the body from controlling blood sugar.   Unregulated blood sugar oftentimes decreases the production of insulin, the hormone that changes sugar into energy.  Gum disease and diabetes go hand in hand in that a high blood sugar can foster the growth of infection, and infection fosters the prevalence of diabetes.


The best way to maintain your oral health and your overall health is to make sure that these diseases never have the chance to grow in the first place.  Having good oral hygiene will help to prevent these issues from arising.  Consult with your local dentist on preventative measures.  Practice good oral hygiene at home by brushing and flossing regularly, decreasing your consumption of sweets, and not smoking.