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Fall Sports? Don’t Forget a Mouthguard!

Back to school means back to fall sports for many children, teens and young adults. Starting with football season, school sports are challenging, fun and potentially dangerous, with the chance of injury lurking around every play.

When people think about sports injuries, typically arm, leg and head injuries come to mind. However, dental injuries are just as common when it comes to contact sports. A great way to prevent such injuries is with a mouthguard.

According to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, approximately one-third of all dental injuries are sports-related, and many are preventable by use of a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect the teeth, lips, tongue, cheeks, face and jaw from potential impact and injuries, by providing a tough, protective surface to dispel forces of impact. This minimizes the severity of traumatic injury to the head.

Chipped and cracked teeth are the most common dental injuries from sports. Chipped, cracked, knocked-out or otherwise damaged teeth can affect eating and speaking habits, and absent teeth can cause the jawbone to lose mass over time. A hard blow to the face during a sports game can easily cause damage to unprotected teeth. Mouthguards also offer additional protection from concussions by cushioning impacts sustained from the jaw and helping to limit movement in case of a hard hit.

Mouthguards are cheaper than any visit to the dentist to fix damaged teeth will be, so taking preventative action now will cut costs in the future. Several mouthguard styles exist, so talk to your dentist about the best kind for you and your family members.

The least expensive mouthguards are stock mouthguards, but these offer limited fit adjustment. A boil and bite mouthguard is heated and placed in the mouth to mold itself to the teeth. Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by your dentist from a cast of your mouth, and offer the best protection, comfort and fit. Those who have braces or other fixed appliances on the lower jaw should use a custom-fitted mouthguard to ensure that these dental fixtures aren’t damaged during contact.

With fall sports soon kicking off, don’t forget the importance of mouthguards. Tooth-related injuries prove to be some of the most problematic injuries, and are yet often overlooked in the world of sports. Protect your teeth and prevent injury with a custom-fit mouthguard. Call Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 or schedule an appointment online now to learn more.

Why Baby Tooth Cavities Are a Big Deal

Children usually get their first tooth at around seven months of age. In between seven months and 3 years old, your child will have his or her teeth start poking through the gums as they go through the teething process. Your child’s teeth will begin to start falling out around 6 years old and they could keep these “baby teeth” until they are as old as 12 of 13. Since these teeth are considered “temporary,” why should you care about what happens to them? They will just fall out and get replaced, right? It’s not that big of a deal.

Not exactly. First of all, your child needs their teeth to chew. If your son or daughter gets a cavity in one of their first teeth, there’s no question that it will slowly increase in size if it doesn’t get filled. This can quickly cause your child pain and discomfort, and even lead to infection if not properly treated. Your child may even need a crown or nerve treatment. Acting while a cavity is small sets your child up for success. Getting your child’s tooth filled is actually better than removing it in many cases during youth, even though it will later be replaced by adult teeth. In fact, removing a tooth could be more harmful than helpful.

If a child’s tooth is pulled too early, it could lead to crowding in your child’s mouth. This may lead to unnatural tooth growth problems that can be very difficult to correct later on. Your child’s baby teeth act as placeholders for their adult teeth. Do you want to set your child up for failure long term? The health of your child’s teeth in their youngest years sets the tone for the long term. Studies have shown that around 24 percent of 2 year olds have visited the dentist. But what about the other 76 percent?

Of course, diet also plays a factor. Children who eat large amounts of sugar or starch are more prone to getting cavities. The number of times a day a child eats sugar is actually worse than quantity. The reason sugar causes cavities is because it prevents saliva from actually cleaning the teeth. Juices can also cause problems, even if they’re diluted. If you are leaving your child with a sippy cup, make sure it’s filled with water, not juice.

Beyond brushing and building a healthy regimen of daily dental care, what else can you do to prevent cavities? Your child is born without the germs that can lead to tooth decay in their mouths. So where do they come from? The answer is you. Of course, you wouldn’t want to intentionally infect your child with bacteria. It starts off harmless; feeding your child with a spoon that you used or letting your child use your toothbrush to brush his teeth. If you are prone to cavities, though, the bacteria inside your mouth can spread to your child, leading to an increased risk.

To help foster healthy habits early, try encouraging your child to brush their teeth with you. Children often follow the examples they see, and if you brush your teeth together, your child will probably have better oral hygiene than if you do not. The earlier oral hygiene is emphasized, the less likely it is that your child will get a cavity.

Of course, regular dental appointments are vital, too. If your child is ready for their first visit or due for their next appointment, give us a call today at 585-343-1113 or schedule an appointment conveniently online now.

Stay Safe and Avoid These Summer Dental Health Risks

There is a ton of family fun to be had during the summer months. Kids are busy playing sports and swimming at the pool, while parents supervise activities and take the family on road trips. Although all of us at Genesee Dental hope you are enjoying all the fun in the sun, it is still important to remember to take care of your oral hygiene and dental health.

Here are a few summer dental health risks to watch out for this season:

Energy DrinksSugary Drinks

With the heat in full blast, a cool glass of lemonade or an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink sounds delightful. But, it is key for parents to be aware of how much sugar the family is taking in. Not only are these drinks high in sugar, but they are also high in acid - both of which are bad for your teeth. Instead, encourage the family to cut back and drink a cool glass of water instead to stay hydrated.

Activity Accidents

It is a great idea for you and the kids to get out and get active this summer, but be sure everyone is taking proper safety measures to avoid any - to both your body overall and to your teeth. Fun while biking, blading and skating can quickly turn into a painful fall. To avoid breaking or losing teeth, consider wearing a mouthguard.

Pool Water

Not many parents realize that pool water can stain your teeth. If the family plans to spend a lot of time in a chemically treated pool this summer, keep an eye out for yellow or brown deposits on the front teeth. Unfortunately, simple brushing won’t get rid of this discoloration and a visit to the dentist will be necessary. As an alternative, set up a sprinkler in the backyard, visit a public splash fountain or plan a few fun and active indoor activities for the kids to break up the pool time this summer.

Chewing Ice

A bad habit picked up by both children and adults, crunching up ice cubes to cool you down may cause you an emergency trip to the dentist instead. Hard ice can chip a tooth or damage a filling - both unpleasant any any age. Stick to ice-cold water or a chilled drink instead and save your teeth from damage.

In addition to watching out for these summer health risks, be sure to schedule regular trips to the dentist for checkups on any problems you might have missed. Schedule your next appointment with Genesee Dental today by calling 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

Growing Older Doesn’t Mean You Outgrow the Dentist

Growing Older Doesn’t Mean You Outgrow the DentistWhile it is always important to take care of your teeth, as we get older, staying on top of our oral health becomes even more crucial. While we are always brushing and flossing to avoid cavities and gum disease, as we enter our senior years, careful oral hygiene can also other lead to more severe non-dental illnesses and diseases. Practicing proper oral health can help you to avoid health complications like the diseases below as you age.

Heart Disease

Improper oral health is one of the major triggers of heart disease. There has been a lot of research completed over the years that has concluded that gum disease and heart disease are closely related, and some studies have even shown that cavities and missing teeth can be a predictive sign of heart disease in the future.

Diabetes

There are many connections between gum disease and diabetes. If you don’t take care of your teeth, it could result in extreme gum disease, which can prevent the body from producing insulin, which in turn fights off the effects of diabetes. On the flip side, those with gum disease can also have high blood pressure and that can result in gum infections. This is why it is important to keep on top of the status of your gums.

Effects of Dry Mouth

As we get older, many of us start to take medications on a daily basis. You may have also noticed that taking some medications can lead to dry mouth. It is important to keep good oral hygiene because dry mouth means a lack of saliva, which is there to protect you from decay and infection.

Preventing Darkened Teeth

It is just a fact of life that the longer we live, the more we have eaten. When we get older, the effects of eating and drinking for years affect our teeth. The enamel covering your teeth thins out, which allows yellow dentin to show through, creating a darkened look in the teeth. Proper oral health throughout your life can help to quell these effects.

At Genesee Dental, we accept patients of all ages and we are thrilled to offer services that can tackle any dental need. Best of all, we will send you on your way with advice that you can use to ensure that you are practicing proper oral hygiene every day. Call us at 585-343-1113 or schedule your next appointment online today!

X-rays from A-Z: A Brief History

Dentists have long used X-rays as one of their tools in helping patients. X-rays have become incredibly important over time as they can help dentists find diseases and abnormalities that standard exams cannot find.

Those include small areas of decay between teeth or below fillings, bone infections, early symptoms of periodontal disease or developmental abnormalities. They can even help to identify abscesses or cysts and some types of tumors

Dental X-rays actually date back to the early days of X-rays themselves.

German scientists Dr. Otto Walkhoff is credited with doing the first dental radiograph shortly after Wilhelm Rontgen’s first discovery of the rays in 1895. Wolkhoff did the first dental X-ray on himself, exposing himself for more than 25 minutes, notes RDH Magazine. While several other dentists helped further the practice along, New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells is recognized as discovering some of the first practical dental applications for X-rays.

Dental X-RaysWilliam Herbert Rollins, a dentist and physician, suffered burns on his hand while developing the first dental X-ray unit. As a result, he became interested in radiation production and published the first paper discussing the risks. Those precautions were eventually used more widely in the dental profession, allowing for X-rays to be used in more offices more safely.

Standard X-rays were used in the dental professional until 1987 when French dentist Francis Mouyen introduced digital imaging. This allowed dentists to do X-rays without processing film, making it a much easier, quicker and safer process for all of those involved. Digital X-rays are now used in almost every dental office in the United States today, including here at Genesee Dental.

It’s amazing the history some of the tools we still use today have. It’s hard to imagine having dental X-rays a century ago, but that happened. Today’s process is much easier and much safer. Now, the next time you go in for a dental X-ray, you’ll not only know the reasons why, but some of the steps it took to get there.

To schedule your next appointment at Genesee Dental, call the office today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

Flossing: Where Did It Start?

Dental floss and the act of flossing is one of the most essential elements and routines in proper oral hygiene. Surprisingly, studies show that only 12 percent of Americans floss on a daily basis. There are a number of reasons why people don’t floss, but not knowing about the process certainly can’t be one of them.

Why? Well, that is because flossing has been around for more than 200 years.

Dental FlossAlthough there are some records and evidence of flossing tracing back to prehistoric times, many point modern flossing practice to a famous New Orleans dentist named Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, who introduced his patients to the act of using a silk thread to clean between their teeth way back in 1815, according to Spear.

More than half a century later, in 1882, dental floss reached the mainstream when the Codman and Shurleft Co. began mass-producing a brand of unwaxed floss before Johnson and Johnson patented the product a few years later in 1898.

Dental floss hit a rough patch during the World War II when the price of silk rose, so manufacturers decided to swap that hard-to-get material for a much less expensive option – nylon. Not only was nylon less expensive, but it was also more consistent and more resistant to shredding than silk. From there, nylon floss led to the waxed variety that we see so often today.

Though dental floss has remained relatively untouched since the last Great War, there are many manufacturers that have expanded on the idea, creating new Gore-Tex and spongy varieties for individuals with more sensitive gums. Those with braces can also use a type of floss that is equipped with hardened ends that make it easier to navigate around such dental appliances.

Although people are yet to use floss as often as they should, it is widely understood by the medical community that flossing is essential in reaching the areas of your teeth where a toothbrush simply cannot in an effort to remove plaque which can eventually turn into harmful tartar.

At Genesee Dental, we encourage our patients to remain active with their flossing regimen, in addition to daily brushing and having routine appointments with their dentist for cleanings and preventative care. To schedule your next visit, call us today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

Five Stages of Periodontal Disease

The leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world is periodontal disease, or gum disease, a progressive disease that affects the supporting and surrounding tissue of the gums as well as the underlying jawbone.

When toxins from plaque start to attack the soft tissues that surrounding the teeth, periodontal disease begins. The bacteria permeate into the gums and breed, causing a bacterial infection that burrows deeper as the infection progresses, causing inflammation between the teeth and gums. This results in what looks like the gums receding away as the body fights off the infected tissues. Without treatment, the structures making up the jawbone also recede and cause loose teeth and tooth loss.

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, comes in many varieties, but all require immediate treatment to halt progression of the disease. Here are the five main forms of periodontal disease.

Gingivitis

The mildest and most common form of periodontitis, gingivitis is caused by the toxins in plaque. Gingivitis is easily reversible using a combination of home care and professional cleaning, which could include antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes. People at increased risk of gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people with uncontrolled diabetes, people who use steroids and people who control seizures and blood pressure with medication.

Chronic Periodontal Disease

Another common form of the disease, chronic periodontal disease includes inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. This disease occurs most frequently in those older than 45. Chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured because the supportive tissue cannot be rebuilt once it has been destroyed, but dentists can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures, antimicrobial treatments and, in extreme cases, tissue grafts to stabilize the bone.

Aggressive Periodontal Disease

This form of gum disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment and bone tissue, and is quite similar to chronic periodontitis but with a much faster progression. Those at increased risk include smokers and those with a family history of the disease.

Treatment here is similar to treatment for chronic periodontal disease, but surgical intervention is more likely. Scaling, root planing, antimicrobial and laser procedures are some procedures dentists will use to halt and treat this disease.

Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions

Periodontal disease can sometimes not be the true problem, but instead a symptom of a different disease or condition that’s affecting the entire body. This disease can act like aggressive periodontal disease as it works quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease are the most common contributing problems, and to effectively treat this variation of periodontitis, the underlying medical condition must be controlled. Progression within the mouth is halted using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease.

Necrotizing Periodontal Disease

Most prevalent among people with HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or who choose to smoke, necrotizing periodontal disease rapidly worsens. Necrosis, or tissue death, affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues and alveolar bone. Though rare, dentists treat this disease with scaling, root planing, antibiotic pills, medicated mouthwash and fungicidal medicines, often in collaboration with a physician.

Do you think you have one of these five stages of periodontal disease? Schedule an appointment with Genesee Dental today to discuss your concerns with your dentist and get a thorough assessment of your dental health. Call us today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

First New NY Dental School in 50 Years to Open

Passionate about dentistry and want to learn even more than we can teach you in our blogs? State residents now have a chance to attend the first new dental school to open in the state in 50 years, Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College.

Dental CollegeThe Touro College of Dental Medicine will be a part of New York Medical College, located in Mount Pleasant, and expects to have an inaugural class of 110 students who will start classes this fall, according to The Journal News. Enrollment is expected to grow in the coming semesters, ultimately reaching about 440 students, according to the school’s president, Dr. Alan Kadish. The college will offer a four-year pre-doctoral program, as well as post-graduate courses.

Kadish has also said that one of the main goals of the school will be to open a 132-chair dental clinic in 2017 to serve the area of the Hudson Valley and the Bronx. While there are more dentists in New York than in some other states, the availability of dentists is very limited in some areas of our state. For example, some rural communities in New York have a ratio of 44 dentists per 100,000 people, which is simply not enough to sufficiently meet the dental needs of everyone in our state.

This school not offers the first new option for would-be dentists in five decades, but the planned clinic will provide dental care to many people in region who need it. Plus, the college is expected to create nearly 100 new jobs at the New York Medical College.

Touro College joins the state’s four existing dental schools – Columbia University, New York University, Stony Brook University and the University at Buffalo.

If you’ve ever been interested in becoming a dentist, now is your chance to apply to the school. Enrollment rates are set to grow rapidly, but applying now gives you a very good chance of receiving an acceptance letter for the next semester. In just a few years, you can be working with your community to help your friends, neighbors and loved ones get the dental care they need.

We’re also here to provide you with high quality dental care whether you’re thinking of becoming a dentist or just need your routine cleaning appointment. We’re accepting new patients, so even if you haven’t been in years, there’s no time like the present to get in and see a dentist. To schedule your visit, call us today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

Do You Really Have to Toss Your Toothbrush After Your Cold Is Over?

Cough, watery eyes, chills, fatigue, sinus pressure, sore throat – everyone is all too familiar with the symptoms of a cold. Sometimes colds and viruses feel like they never end, and no matter how much we rest or how much cough syrup we consume, the sickness won’t give up. After weeks of battling a stubborn illness, the last thing you want is to be reinfected by the sickness you just got over.

While Today notes that you cannot contract the same cold or virus again, there are around 200 different strains circulating at any given time. After being exposed to a virus, your body creates antibodies to fight off the virus; when you recover from that particular virus, your body is no longer susceptible to that virus strain.

Because of this, if you do not replace your toothbrush after your cold is over, you will not be reinfected to the same virus, but lingering bacteria and other viruses could give you a whole new illness. Numerous kinds of bacteria, including staph, strep, e-coli and yeast – commonly live on toothbrushes, and so replacing your toothbrush after being sick can reduce the risk that you catch something else, or that the germs spread to nearby toothbrushes.

Thus, to always stay on the safe (and healthy) side, yes, you really have to toss your toothbrush after your cold is over.

General Recommendations

In general, replace your toothbrush every three months to maintain a healthy and effective brushing routine. You should also keep your toothbrush at least three feet from the toilet to avoid airborne droplets from settling on your toothbrush in between flushes. Storing your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet or on the side of the sink furthest away from the toilet can reduce airborne germ exposure.

Try to keep your toothbrush away from other toothbrushes, as well, as if there is any potential for contact between the brushes, germs could spread. You should never share toothbrushes, either, as this only increases the risk of catching infections.

Even with the best brushing habits, though, regular appointments to your dentist are key to maintaining proper dental health. You can schedule your next appointment with Genesee Dental online now, or call us today at 585-343-1113 to plan your next visit.

Top Five Reasons for Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing issue, but the truth is that it affects most Americans to some degree. Halitosis is most commonly the result of the food you’ve eaten breaking down in your mouth and body. As you digest these food particles, the remnants of what you’ve eaten are carried throughout your body, delivering nutrients, but also ending up in your lungs. That’s where bad breath actually comes from, but poor dental habits can have a big impact on your breath.

Brushing and Bad BreathIf you don’t brush your teeth and floss daily, food particles that are left over from your meals and stuck between your teeth or on your tongue grow bacteria that have an unpleasant odor. Some studies have shown that simply brushing your tongue can reduce bad breath by as much as 70 percent.

Have you ever noticed that you have particularly bad breath first thing in the morning? Well, that’s actually very normal. When we sleep, saliva flow almost completely stops, so it has a reduced cleansing ability. Similarly, if you suffer from dry mouth as a side effect of medication or have salivary gland problems, you may be more likely to develop bad breath.

Gum disease or periodontal disease can contribute to bad breath, too. This is because food usually becomes wedged underneath inflamed gums, where it develops odors.

If you suffer from particularly bad breath, talk to your dentist about it. There may be a simple solution, like flossing more often or making sure to regularly have your teeth cleaned. Brushing your teeth and flossing daily is, of course, the best choice for both breath and overall dental health, and you should also replace your toothbrush every two to three months to reduce any lingering bacteria. Certain antiseptic mouth rinses may also help, while drinking water frequently can alleviate some odor, as well.

The important thing to remember is that bad breath affects us all, but there are solutions. Ask your dentist for more suggestions about how to stave off bad breath. To schedule your next dentist’s visit, make an appointment online now or call Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 today!

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