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BPA? What is it? BPA is short for Bisphenol A. BPA is an organic compound  that is used throughout the manufacture of many consumer plastic products, and has been found in some dental composites and sealants.

BPA has been shown to have hormone-like (estrogen) properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. Some laboratory testing has suggested that BPA may effect reproduction and development in animals by mimicking the effects of the female hormone estrogen. This testing is raising concerns about its safety. Recent scientific research has found links between BPA and serious health problems, from heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities in adults to developmental problems in the brains and hormonal systems of children.

BPA and Dentistry

There are three ways BPA can become a part of dental materials:

1. As a direct ingredient in dental composites or dental sealants.

2. As a by-product of degrading dental composites or dental sealants in saliva. Composite resins are formulated from a mixture of monomers that are commonly based on bisphenol A glycidyl methacrylate (bis-GMA). Some composite resins may contain other monomers, in addition to bis-GMA, that are added to modify the properties of the resin. An example is bisphenol A dimethacrylate (bis-DMA). Bis-GMA and Bis-DMA-containing materials can release  BPA because both  bis-DMA and Bis-GMA are subject to degradation by salivary enzymes. Bis-DMA releases more BPA than Bis-GMA.

3. As a trace material during manufacture of dental materials. BPA may be used in the production of other ingredients found in some dental composites and sealants. Bis-DMA and bis-GMA are both produced using BPA as a starting ingredient, so residual trace amounts of BPA may be present in the final product.

There are many products utilized for “white” fillings. You can ask if your dentist is BPA free. The products utilized should not contain BPA, and even better if there is also no Bis DMA.

What Can Be Done To Limit Dental Exposure To BPA?

The big concern first was the use of traditional dental materials like dental amalgam. Amalgam contains mercury and there has been vigorous debate regarding its health effects. While all dental amalgam fillings contain mercury, not all dental composites and dental sealants contain Bisphenol-A (BPA). It is important to choose a dentist who carefully selects dental composites and dental sealants that are BPA free.

What if you already have dental composites or dental sealants? Should you be concerned?

It is important to remember the amount of BPA released in dental composites and dental sealants is very small. Although, the effect of BPA accumulation may be small it is important to note that it is a cumulative effect. Over the course of a lifetime the BPA will build up like most environmental toxins. Still, if the dental work in question is not causing any immediate health problems that you experience, removing the dental composite can do more harm than good. The trauma each tooth would undergo through the removal process may do more substantial harm to the teeth.

Common Items Containing BPA

-Baby Bottle

-Water Bottles

-Sports Equipment

-Medical and Dental Devices

-Dental composite filling

-Dental Sealants

-Cd’s and DVD’s

-Lining of Water Pipes

-Lining of Soda cans

How To Reduce Overall Exposure To BPA?

Choosing products that are BPA free  is important. Make good choices in everyday products as well as dental materials. Below are some tips to reduce overall BPA exposure for you and your loved ones.

-Choose Cardboard Or Glass Containers Over Cans. Most cans used in food preparation today are lined with BPA. The food in these cans are in contact with this lining allowing the food to leach BPA from the lining. Highly acidic foods (like tomato sauce) tend to leach more BPA than lower acidic foods. Choosing cardboard or glass will be safer in the long run.

Avoid Microwaving Plastic Food Containers. The packaging in many microwaveable foods can break down under the high temperatures of the microwave. This will release BPA into your food from the lining of the container. It is not required to report whether a container contains BPA but plastic containers that do are usually marked with a #7 recycling code on the bottom of the package.

Choose BPA Free Baby Bottles. The general rule for plastics is hard and clear contains BPA while soft or cloudy does not. Luckily, most major manufacturers now tout BPA free bottles for our children.

Use Powdered Infant Formula. Recent research has shown that liquid formulas contain more BPA than the powdered version.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) Conclusion

Research continues to mount regarding the health hazards of Bisphenol-A (BPA) so it would be wise to protect your family and be educated. While we can probably never live a BPA free life we can limit exposure by making smart choices in dental care as well as our lifestyle. Manufacturers are making their own choices, and moving towards many BPA free products. Hopefully, future research will continue with the evolution of even better products to keep us all healthier.

Are you planning a romantic evening with your loved one for Valentine’s Day?  When you know that you are going to be up close to someone you care about, fresh breath is important. Below you will find the best tips to maintain fresh breath for your valentine, and every day of the year.

Top Breath Freshening Tips

Keep Hydrated. Water has a dual purpose in maintaining dental health. It can wash away bacteria and food particles that can lead to bad breath and also keep  tissues hydrated which reduces the buildup of malodorous sulfur compounds on the back of the tongue. Another good beverage for fresh breath is green tea. Green tea has an increased ability to lower the levels of oral bacteria’s sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are the cause of many oral malodors which can linger for hours.

Chew Sugarless Gum (even better with Xylitol). Chewing gum with xylitol can stimulate salivary production and clean our teeth. Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth.  The number of acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90% when chewing gum with xylitol. A decrease in plaque will result in a decrease in odor.

Maintain A Balanced Diet Filled With The Right Foods. Enjoying crunchy, high-fiber foods like apples and raw vegetables can increase your mouth’s production of saliva, which will diminish odor-causing bacteria. Cinnamon has been shown to kill odor causing bacteria. Vitamin C-rich foods stop odor-causing bacteria from spreading and neutralize odors from stinky foods like garlic and onions. Greek yogurt lowers a waste product from bacteria called hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Chewing fresh parsley can also help your breath.

Do Not Avoid Carbohydrates. The latest diets, like the Atkins Diet, require you to eat little to no carbohydrates. If you are eating a mostly protein diet, your body could go into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body burns fats for energy and produces molecules called ketones. A type of ketone called acetone is then excreted in the breath, and can be described as smelling “fruity” or “rotten.” To avoid ketosis, eat a moderate amount of healthy carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads, rice or pasta.

Use An Anti Bacterial Mouthrinse Or Spray. Mouth rinses have many great qualities like reducing plaque buildup on teeth and helping to prevent periodontal disease. They also are able to keep breath fresh. Use a mouth rinse at least once a day will help keep the number of odor causing bacteria down to a minimum. There are also breath sprays, Closys is a great oral spray which directly neutralizes sulfur compounds.

Fresh Breath Conclusion

Maintaining fresh breath should be a goal year round and not just for Valentine’s day. Taking a few extra steps can help give you the confidence you need in intimate moments. If your bad breath persists please seek the help of a dentist to ensure the cause is not a more serious health condition.

Periodontal disease is a progressive disorder that if left untreated will worsen over time. Many people simply ignore the warning signs or just do not know them. Educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease is a good first step to taking control of the disease and it’s progression.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a serious and chronic infection of the gum tissue that can result in the staged breakdown of the tissue and the deterioration of bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. This infection process begins when bacteria and plaque form a sticky bio film on your teeth. Biofilm causes a chronic inflammation of the gum tissue.  Periodontal disease will continue to progress if the biofilm is not reduced or removed.   Maintaining proper dental care and hygiene are the most important steps in prevention and halting of the disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Studies show that somewhere between 75% and 95% of all adults are suffering some stage of periodontal disease.

The stages of periodontal disease include:

Gingivitis ( inflammation of the gum tissues). This is the initial stage of periodontal disease. This is easily reversible and is the mildest form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include red, swollen (or puffy) and inflamed gums due to plaque-bacteria build-up. The gums may also bleed easily during brushing or eating of hard foods. During this early stage of periodontal disease, the process can be reversed with at home dental hygiene and professional cleanings to remove the biofilm, and tartar. Most of the people with this early form of periodontal disease, do not even know a dental problem exists. This is a crucial period for the patient, as the condition can be reversed (since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been affected) at this point if it is recognized and properly treated. Gingivitis is commonly seen during puberty, pregnancy, times of high stress, and menopause, as hormones can make you more prone to inflammation. As for the rest of the population, poor hygiene is generally the most common cause, followed by medication and certain medical conditions.

Periodontitis. As the disease state progresses, it is now becoming harder to treat and manage. The difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis only infects the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth while the periodontal disease process also invades the bone that provides support and stability for the teeth. The bacteria eventually invades past the initial the gum line area and destruction begins to the point that gums may begin to separate or pull away from the teeth (taking away support and connective fibers with it). What results are called periodontal pockets. These pockets allow for bacteria to invade below the gum line.  They eventually become loaded with toxic plaque and bacteria that moves and works its way deeper. It begins to erode the bone and connective fibers below the gum line. A patient’s bite will be affected (as the teeth shift or loosen) by the lost support which then affects chewing and other functions.

Advanced Periodontitis. As the periodontal disease process advances further, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth are destroyed. At least half of the bone support (if not more) will have broken down at this late stage of periodontal disease. It does not grow back naturally. Teeth may begin to loosen. Deep root cleanings and surgical intervention are typical at this stage. This may include cleaning with a periodontal microscope, (Perioscope), grafting of tissue, bone, placement of growth factors, (Emdogain), periodontal antibiotic regimen (Periostat), placement of antibiotics directly into pockets, (Arestin), open flap surgery, and, possibly tooth removal.

Periodontal Disease Warning Signs

Puffy, Swollen Gum Tissue. This is a hallmark sign of gingivitis and periodontal disease in general. Your body’s natural response is to fight off this infection caused by excessive untreated debris. It does this by bringing healing components to the area through the blood vessels. The gums will remain this way until the irritant is removed namely the plaque and bacteria building up on your teeth and below the gum line.

Bleeding Gums. Once the tissues are puffy and receiving extra blood flow to fight off the disease process. This leads to inflamed gum tissue that will bleed easily upon brushing or even eating.

Presence Of Periodontal Pockets. As the disease process progresses and the bacteria and plaque build up the gum tissue will begin to separate from the teeth creating ever larger pockets where bone will be lost. These pockets become very difficult to clean on your own and necessitate further professional help.

Infection And Pus. Once there has been significant advancement of pockets, bleeding ends, and infection begins. Pressing on the gums, flossing or probing by the hygienist tends to release pus into the mouth.

Long Looking Teeth. As we lose bone support, the gum tissue falls back and exposes the root of the tooth. This gives the appearance of longer teeth.

Persistent Bad Breath. While this can be a sign of other more serious medical conditions it is a hallmark of periodontal disease progression. Much of the odor has to do with the infection process, and tartar.

Loose Or Drifting Teeth. Once periodontal disease has advanced, the support tissues are diminished. The further the advancement, the looser the teeth become.

Periodontal Disease Conclusion

Periodontal disease is a progressive disease. There are many signs and stages to help you to be aware of  it’s progression. The disease process involved in periodontal disease can be quite aggressive making it harder and harder to control and treat. It is best to stay ahead of that process by being diligent with at home dental hygiene and maintaining a regular schedule of professional cleanings.

Primary tooth development is a process which begins before birth. There are rare cases where babies are even born with teeth. Many of us have questions as to when the teeth are developing and when they should be expected to appear in the mouth. Below, you will find a schedule approximating when your child’s teeth should erupt into the mouth. The schedule is based upon averages, so  every child will be different.  It is important for your child to receive regular dental exams and xrays to ensure that the proper number of teeth are developing.

Tooth Eruption Schedule

It is important to note that every child will develop at their own pace. It is not unusual to have certain teeth erupt earlier or later than the charts below say. As long as the child is under a dentist’s care, you will be able to know any issues that might be arising based on dental examinations and dental radiographs.

Upper Primary Teeth Development

Upper Teeth When tooth emerges When tooth falls out
Central incisor 8 to 12 months 6 to 7 years
Lateral incisor 9 to 13 months 7 to 8 years
Canine (cuspid) 16 to 22 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 13 to 19 months 9 to 11 years
Second molar 25 to 33 months 10 to 12 years

Lower Primary Teeth Development

Lower Teeth When tooth emerges When tooth falls out
Second molar 23 to 31 months 10 to 12 years
First molar 14 to 18 months 9 to 11 years
Canine (cuspid) 17 to 23 months 9 to 12 years
Lateral incisor 10 to 16 months 7 to 8 years
Central incisor 6 to 10 months 6 to 7 years

The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age. Dental issues which occur in development of primary teeth directly affect the development of the permanent teeth. If you do not develop a baby tooth, you consequently will not develop the replacement permanent tooth. There may also be extra teeth which may need to be removed so as not to impede eruption of the permanent counterpart. Overly small or large teeth can also cause issue. Genetics play a large role, so if you know that there are tooth issues running in your family such as missing teeth or extra teeth, have them checked out early.

Primary Teeth Eruption Facts

-A general guide is that for every 6 months of life, about 4 teeth will erupt into the mouth.

-Girls usually get their teeth before boys.

-Usually teeth in both jaws erupt in pairs, one on the right and one on the left.

-Lower teeth usually erupt before upper teeth

-Primary teeth are smaller in size and whiter in color than the permanent teeth that will follow them.

Around the age of 4 years old, the jaw and the bones of the face begin to grow. This will create space between the primary teeth. This added space is needed for the much larger permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth. From 6 years old  to about 12 years old, children will have a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth, referred to as the mixed dentition.

Purpose Of Primary Teeth

Primary teeth are a necessary part of a child’s development. While only in the mouth for a short period they are vital for the following reasons:

-They hold space for the permanent teeth.

-They give the face its normal appearance.

-Aid in speech development.

-Aid in obtaining good nutrition for growth and development.

-Teach Good Oral Hygiene. They help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth.

Upper Permanent Teeth Development

Upper Teeth When tooth emerges
Central incisor 7 to 8 years
Lateral incisor 8 to 9 years
Canine (cuspid) 11 to 12 years
First premolar (first bicuspid) 10 to 11 years
Second premolar (second bicuspid) 10 to 12 years
First molar 6 to 7 years
Second molar 12 to 13 years
Third molar (wisdom teeth) 17 to 21 years

Lower Permanent Teeth Development

Lower Teeth When tooth emerges
Third molar (wisdom tooth) 17 to 21 years
Second molar 11 to 13 years
First molar 6 to 7 years
Second premolar (second bicuspid) 11 to 12 years
First premolar (first bicuspid) 10 to 12 years
Canine (cuspid) 9 to 10 years
Lateral incisor 7 to 8 years
Central incisor 6 to 7 years

The first permanent molars  begin to erupt into the mouth at around the age of 6, they do not replace any baby teeth, they come in behind the last primary molars. By age 13 most of the 28 permanent teeth will be in their respective places in the mouth. The wisdom teeth will erupt (or not if they are impacted or missing) between the ages of 17 and 22. If we count the wisdom teeth we all should have 32 permanent teeth erupting into the mouth when the process is complete.

Tooth Eruption Conclusion

Tooth eruption schedules can be confusing due to the broad age ranges. Understanding the role of primary teeth in growth and development is what is most important. Irregular timing of tooth development, missing teeth, crowded teeth, extra teeth, misshapen teeth should always be assessed by your dentist. A full examination with xrays should help fully assess your child’s dental development. The earlier issues are found, they can be addressed and treated, allowing for the best future outcomes. If you have any questions regarding the timing, amount of teeth, etc. have your dentist do a full assessment so that all of your questions can be answered.