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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Gregory S. Herzler, DDS
September 13, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
MouthBreathingCanLeadtoSeriousOralProblemsEspeciallyforChildren

It's normal for people to breathe through their nose. And for good reason: Nasal breathing filters contaminants, warms and humidifies incoming air, and helps generate beneficial nitric oxide. Chronic mouth breathing, on the other hand, can trigger a number of harmful effects, especially for the teeth and gums.

Because our survival depends on continuous respiration, our bodies automatically seek out the air flow path of least resistance, normally through the nose. But if our nasal passages become obstructed, as with enlarged adenoids or sinus congestion, we may involuntarily breathe through the mouth.

This can lead to oral problems like chronic dry mouth, which not only creates an unpleasant mouth feel, it also produces the ideal environment for dental disease. And, it could cause an even more serious problem for children during jaw and teeth development.

This is because the tongue rests along the roof of the mouth (palate) while breathing through the nose. In this position, the tongue serves as a mold for the upper jaw and teeth while they're growing during childhood. During mouth breathing, however, the tongue moves away from the palate, depriving the jaw and teeth of this molding effect, and possibly resulting in a poor bite.

You can prevent these and other oral problems by seeing a healthcare professional as soon as you notice your child regularly breathing through their mouth. The best professional for this is an ENT, a medical specialist for conditions involving the ears, nose and throat. ENTs provide treatment for diagnosed obstructions involving the tonsils, adenoids and sinuses.

Even so, persistent mouth breathing may already have affected your child's bite. It may be prudent, then, to also have their bite evaluated by an orthodontist. There are interventional measures that can help get jaw development back on track and minimize future orthodontic treatment.

Finally, a child who has undergone treatment to remove nasal breathing obstructions usually reverts to nasal breathing automatically. But sometimes not: To “relearn” normal breathing, a child may need to undergo orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) with a certified therapist to retrain their facial muscles and tendons to breathe through the nose.

Your child's tendency to mouth breathing may not seem like a major problem. But prompt attention and treatment could prevent it from interrupting their dental development.

If you would like more information on correcting mouth breathing, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Trouble With Mouth Breathing.”

By Gregory S. Herzler, DDS
September 08, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  
AddressingRiskFactorsTakingtheFightAgainstToothDecaytoaNewLevel

Tooth decay is more prevalent than diseases like cancer, heart disease or influenza. It doesn't have to be—brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, less dietary sugar and regular dental cleanings can lower the risk of this harmful disease.

Hygiene, diet and dental care work because they interrupt the disease process at various points. Daily hygiene and regular dental cleanings remove dental plaque where oral bacteria flourish. Reducing sugar eliminates one of bacteria's feeding sources. With less bacteria, there's less oral acid to erode enamel.

But as good as these methods work, we can now take the fight against tooth decay a step further. We can formulate a prevention strategy tailored to an individual patient that addresses risk factors for decay unique to them.

Poor saliva flow. One of the more important functions of this bodily fluid is to neutralize mouth acid produced by bacteria and released from food during eating. Saliva helps restore the mouth's ideal pH balance needed for optimum oral health. But if you have poor saliva flow, often because of medications, your mouth could be more acidic and thus more prone to decay.

Biofilm imbalance. The inside of your mouth is coated with an ultrathin biofilm made up of proteins, biochemicals and microorganisms. Normally, both beneficial and harmful bacteria reside together with the “good” bacteria having the edge. If the mouth becomes more acidic long-term, however, even the beneficial bacteria adapt and become more like their harmful counterparts.

Genetic factors. Researchers estimate that 40 to 50 hereditary genes can impact cavity development. Some of these genes could impact tooth formation or saliva gland anatomy, while others drive behaviors like a higher craving for sugar. A family history of tooth decay, especially when regular hygiene habits or diet don't seem to be a factor, could be an indicator that genes are influencing a person's dental health.

To determine if these or other factors could be driving a patient's higher risk for tooth decay, many dentists are now gathering more information about medications, family history or lifestyle habits. Using that information, they can introduce other measures for each patient that will lower their risk for tooth decay even more.

If you would like more information on reducing your risk of tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What Everyone Should Know About Tooth Decay.”

By Gregory S. Herzler, DDS
September 04, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Periodontal Health  

The most prevalent cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is why knowing how to properly maintain your periodontal health is imperative.

Besides regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist in Saginaw, MI, Dr. Greg Herzler, here are simple steps you can take to care for your gums.

Brush Your Teeth Two Times a Day

This is the most essential and obvious step to maintaining your oral health. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush along with fluoride toothpaste. By brushing your teeth, plaque that contains potentially harmful bacteria is eliminated, diminishing your chances of infection that could lead to tooth decay or gum disease.

Floss Daily

Flossing can effectively get rid of leftover food particles and plaque that can’t be reached by your toothbrush.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet can effectively lower your risk of getting periodontal disease. For instance, foods like leafy greens and green tea can reduce inflammation; dairy can aid in neutralizing oral acids that can be detrimental to the gum tissue and tooth enamel, and vegetables such as onions can combat harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Don’t Smoke

If you do, quit now. Smoking is directly associated with periodontal disease, as it weakens your immune system’s response, making it difficult to battle a gum infection. Furthermore, it also makes it hard for your gums to heal if they’ve been damaged.

Gargle with a Therapeutic Mouthwash

This type of mouthwash could aid in lessening plaque buildups and reduce or prevent gingivitis, according to the American Dental Association. You could likewise ask your dentist for a recommendation.

See Your Dentist for Professional Cleanings and Exams

This should be done at least twice every year. Professional cleanings can eliminate plaque that can’t be cleaned off with regular brushing and flossing alone. Your dentist in Saginaw, MI, can also determine if you show symptoms of gum disease and will be able to treat you before it progresses.

Are Your Gums in the Right Condition?

Gum disease develops when plaque forms below or around your gum line. Plaque contains potentially harmful bacteria that could infect the gum and bone. With that said, check in with your dentist if you’re experiencing these warning signs of gum disease:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that are tender, red, swollen, or bleed easily
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

Speak to Us For Any Concerns, Questions, or Advice on Your Periodontal Health
Book a visit with your dentist, Dr. Greg Herzler in Saginaw, MI, by calling (989) 793-7733.

By Gregory S. Herzler, DDS
September 04, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: invisalign  

Are you wondering if Invisalign is the right way for you to get a straighter smile?

You’ve probably heard about Invisalign. It’s an orthodontic alternative that allows teens and adults to get a straighter smile just by using a set of clear trays called aligners. So, is Invisalign all that it’s cracked up to be? It most certainly is for countless adults. Our Saginaw, MI, dentist Dr. Gregory Herzler wants patients to understand the benefits behind Invisalign so you can decide whether this is the right treatment for you.

No Dietary Changes Needed

Having to change around what you eat to accommodate your braces can be frustrating, and who wants to miss out on crisp pizza crust and corn on the cob? Luckily, with Invisalign, all you have to do is remove your aligners prior to eating. You don’t have to avoid any foods during your treatment (just don’t forget to brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in).

Smile Confidently (Even With Braces)

We know that making serious changes to anyone’s appearance can be stressful, especially for teens and adults. If you’ve been avoiding braces because you don’t want them in your senior photos or you hate the idea of wearing them into work meetings, Invisalign gives you an amazing alternative. These clear aligners are custom-made by our Saginaw, MI, general dentist for an orthodontic system that is truly discreet.

Easy to Care for

Another benefit of Invisalign is that you don’t have to spend minutes trying to brush and floss around your braces in order to keep your smile clean. You can easily remove your aligners beforehand. Your oral care routine doesn’t have to change, except that you will want to clean your teeth after meals or snacks before putting in your aligners. Your dentist can also show you how to keep your aligners clean and stain-free.

Fewer Dental Appointments

No one wants to feel like they are always running back and forth from the dentist’s office, especially during treatment. The good news is that patients who get Invisalign don’t have to come in nearly as often because we don’t need to adjust or tighten your braces as we do with traditional braces.

No matter whether you have questions about Invisalign, or you are ready to schedule a consultation with our Saginaw, MI, family dentist, don’t hesitate to call our office today at (989) 793-7733. We are happy to book your Invisalign consultation or answer any questions you have.

By Gregory S. Herzler, DDS
September 03, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: toothache  
YourToothacheMightSignalaProblemOtherThaninYourMouth

You expect a decayed tooth, a fracture or a gum infection to be the cause for that toothache causing you grief. Sometimes, though, the answer may be “none of the above”—there's nothing wrong going on in your mouth to cause the pain.

You pain is real—but its source is elsewhere in the body, a situation known as referred pain. It's important to find out the pain's true source to determine what kind of treatment you'll need to alleviate it.

Here are some of the likely candidates for a “toothache” that's not a toothache.

Facial nerves. Tooth pain may be associated with trigeminal neuralgia, a misfiring disorder of the trigeminal nerves that course through either side of the face. The nerve is divided into three branches, two of which are located in the upper face and one in the lower jaw. Because they're interconnected, a problem with one of the branches in other parts of the face could be felt in the branch around the jaw.

Jaw joints. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) can cause pain in the pair of joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The joints can become inflamed due to stress or trauma and the associated muscles begin spasming, causing severe pain. Because of their proximity to the teeth, the pain from the joints can radiate into the dental area and mimic a toothache.

Ear or sinus infections. Both the ears and the maxillary sinus are subject to infections that can cause severe pain and pressure. With the close proximity of both the ears and the sinus to the upper jaw, it's quite possible for pain originating in these structures to be felt within the mouth.

These are only a few of the possibilities that also include migraines, shingles, fibromyalgia and even vitamin deficiencies. As such, your dentist or physician may need to do a little detective work to locate the true cause. But the effort to locate where your mouth pain is actually coming from will help ensure you get the right treatment to give you lasting relief.

If you would like more information on referred tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Referred Pain: When a Toothache Is Not Really a Toothache.”