Category Archives: Dental Health Tips

Gum Disease: Know Thy Enemy and Protect Your Health


As we have discussed in previous entries, your teeth have many natural enemies and while teeth might be tough, that beautiful pearly-white smile of yours certainly needs all the help they can get! That’s why in this entry, we hope to shed some light on one of the most dangerous obstacles that your smile can possibly encounter: a condition known as Gum Disease.

While indeed we have discussed gum disease at great length in some of our previous articles, with a recent spike in oral health problems across the country, (Due to COVID-19 masks causing dry-mouth) we believe it is necessary to reexamine and reevaluate the cause of illnesses such as gum disease in order to prevent this trend from continuing any further!

Related Article: Vaping Causes Gum Disease and Damages Your Oral Health

Gum Disease: Gingivitis Vs. Periodontitis 

Although Gum Disease might not sound all that bad at first, it’s important to understand that it is a progressive infection that will significantly worsen over time and may eventually spread throughout the body. Gum disease is split into two different phases: Gingivitis and Periodontitis. While neither of these phases are something to take lightly, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the disease as a whole, it’s important to understand how exactly gingivitis and periodontitis differ, and how each can affect you.


As the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis is gum inflammation that occurs when excess bacteria accumulate between teeth and gum line. Typically characterized by swollen or pinkish gums, the afflicted gum line will be tender to the touch and may bleed when brushing or eating.

However, by making a concentrated effort to practicing proper oral hygiene habits, you may reverse the condition thereby slowly forcing the infection to dissipate. While, this can be accomplished without a dentist’s supervision, we highly recommend that you DO consult with your dentist to ensure that the correct measures are being taken.


Rest assured, Periodontitis is a word that you never want to hear your dentist say! Periodontitis is the second (and more advanced) stage of gum disease, which occurs when the infection has begun to spread throughout the patient’s mouth and has stated causing irreparable damage.

As our body’s immune system struggles to fight off the infection within the gum line, the toxins and poisons produced by the overflow of bacteria begin to break down the bone and connective tissue. If left untreated and allowed to continue, this could eventually lead to the teeth, gums, or entire jawbone being destroyed!

Additionally, once this advanced disease has reached its latter stage, the likelihood of it triggering additional illnesses or interacting with pre-existing conditions becomes a serious concern, that may even prove to be life-threatening. Learn More about the Health Risks of Gum Disease HERE.

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong


Gum Disease: Don’t Be Another Statistic! 

Make no mistake, gum disease IS a nation-wide health crisis with nearly half of all Americans 30 years or older affected by some form of this disease and with the recent increase in oral health-related complications, more people TODAY are at risk of developing Gingivitis and Periodontitis than we’ve seen in recent years.

Fortunately, in the face of such mounting statistics, Dr. Kimes and his staff at Overland Park Dentistry stand ready and willing to oblige when it comes to cutting down such numbers and allowing patients to get back to their lives happy, healthy, and of course, gum disease free! However, we cannot take on such a huge task without your help. By taking time to thoroughly brush and floss at least twice a day, in addition to scheduling your two annual appointments with us at Overland Park Dentistry, a menace like gum disease doesn’t stand a chance!

If you have any concerns about gum disease, or are simply due for your annual checkup, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry and until next time, keep on Smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Receive Your Oral Cancer Screening During Exam


The Season of Life

Despite March being the month that officially bridges the gap between winter and spring, April and May are the months in which the spring truly arrives! Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the harsh dismal winter, green sprouts of life begin to appear, and as flowers begin to bloom, it’s certainly a beautiful time to be alive! Therefore, perhaps it’s only fitting that we at Overland Park Dentistry take the time to discuss a significant public health concern known as Oral Cancer. After all, in a time where we can observe life around us in all its alluring infancy, what better time is there to reflect upon our OWN life and health?

Learn More about Oral Health

Oral Cancer: Your Mouth’s Worst Nightmare! 

The pandemic has forced many of us to reconsider our personal health, as well as the health of our loved ones. Indeed, while COVID-19 may eventually be a thing of the past, with approximately 7,500 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, Oral Cancer continues to remain one of the most dangerous types of cancer in the world today!

Related Article: Mask Mouth and Oral Health: In the Shadow of Covid-19

Much like other inner oral health issues, the initial symptoms of oral cancer are relatively mild and sometimes easy to overlook. The earliest symptoms of oral cancer may include but are not limited to: mouth or lip sores that are slow to heal, mouth or ear pain, an unusual harshness to one’s voice, and increased pain or difficulty when swallowing. While these symptoms are not necessarily indicative of oral cancer, if you have been experiencing any such symptoms on a persistent basis of two weeks or longer, then we highly recommend you schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist to receive a proper oral cancer screening, which we will discuss in detail below.

While it should probably come as little surprise that oral cancer is primarily caused by use of tobacco products, additional factors such as heavy alcohol intake, prolonged sun exposure to your lips, and certain types of sexually transmitted diseases can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer or hasten the advancement of a preexisting oral cancer diagnosis. However, due to its seemingly benign early symptoms, those suffering from oral cancer are often unaware of their illness and could remain so pending a formal diagnosis.

Unfortunately, if the disease continues to remain undetected and is allowed to progress to advanced stages, the resulting damage will likely be irreversible and might become potentially life threatening. Certainly, such a bleak prognosis is not the news that anyone wishes to get, but please remember… It doesn’t have to be that way!

Learn more about April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Dentistry’s Secret Weapon: Oral Cancer Screening During Exam

If you have ever heard the old adage, “The best defense is a good offence” then you can probably surmise how it applies here; the best way you can fight oral cancer is to prevent yourself from ever getting it in the first place! Indeed, there are several of ways you can go about preventing oral cancer, and while there are obvious lifestyle changes, (such as giving up tobacco use and practicing moderation when consuming alcohol) there is a less obvious but equally important prevention measure to take.

Routine Oral Cancer Screenings are without doubt a key component in stopping oral cancer dead in its tracks and preventing it from causing any further harm to both your oral and overall health. Now, if you are questioning as to what an oral cancer screening is and how to receive one, chances are you’ve had one before and just didn’t know it! As one most important and underappreciated procedures within the dental industry today, Oral Cancer Screenings are a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Kimes preforms as part your standard dental exam.

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

When you come in for your routine dental checkup, you are simultaneously receiving an accurate screening for any early signs or symptoms of oral cancer. While you might not be aware that you are receiving an oral cancer screening during exam, rest assured this is an imperative measure to take in identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages and is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease due to the cancer not having enough time to progress or spread.

Is COVID an Issue? NO Way!

While we cannot stress enough how important it is to receive your oral cancer screening during exam at Overland Park Dentistry, we also understand that there are some patients out there who might still be reluctant to make an appointment due to continued concerns over COVID-19.

Related Article: Dental Safety: Is it SAFE to Visit the Dentist?

Obviously if you have contacted COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has recently been diagnosed with the virus, then certainly you need to reschedule your appointment and quarantine. However, we can assure you that at Overland Park Dentistry we take the health, safety, and well-being of our patients and employees extremely seriously, you WILL be safe!

If you find yourself worrying over the possibility of developing oral cancer or are just in need of a routine dental exam, remember you don’t have live in fear of COVID or oral cancer!

So please contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry and let us put your fears to rest and of course… keep you smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Help Us Celebrate World Oral Health Day on March 20th


On March 20th, 2013, the World Dental Federation officially established the first annual “World Oral Health Day” with the hopes of raising worldwide awareness to the significance of oral health. The mission of this campaign is not only to generate global awareness effort to highlight the importance of oral health, but also to help provide people across the world with the tools, information, and resources necessary to maintain proper oral hygiene habits. Since its inception, World Oral Health Day (or WOHD) has come to be recognized by dentists and patients in over 70 different countries and continues to remain one of the most essential health causes of its time.

Although an international campaign, World Oral Health Day is generally broken down into a community-based effort in which dentists and medical practitioners alike, work alongside schools, churches, and other local groups, in asking community members to compose a personal action plan to practice proper oral hygiene techniques and encourage others to follow suit. While indeed everyone can appreciate a beautiful smile, the aesthetic aspect is only a portion of the affect oral health can have on one’s life. As you will read in the following sections, oral health has a great influence on both an individual’s health and overall quality of their life, ultimately highlighting message of World Oral Health Day so it may ring loud and clear: “Your Teeth ARE Important!”

The Core of The Issue

As perhaps one of the most often overlooked aspects of a person’s health, it’s currently estimated that almost 90% of the world’s population will develop some type of oral disease in their lifetime! With such astronomical numbers, we need to ask ourselves: why do people allow their oral health to deteriorate? As you probably know, oral diseases are predominantly progressive illnesses which develop slowly over an extended period of time. Because of this, many experts within the World Oral Health Day campaign surmise that this is due to a lack of basic hygiene techniques established during one’s childhood. While a lapse in a few of the oral hygiene fundamentals might seem like just a minor oversight, if left uncorrected or unnoticed a small problem can eventually become a big problem as the person ages.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

So, you’re probably wondering what exactly can happen if inadequate hygiene habits are left undetected? Unfortunately, the answer is that a lot of things can happen and none of which are good. As mentioned previously, oral health issues gradually progress over time and become significantly worse in their later stages.

  • Foul Breath: The condition known as halitosis or bad breath can certainly be the cause of social anxiety or embarrassment, however if this remains a persistent problem, there might be an additional oral issue to blame. Chronic foul breath is often indicative of numerous additional issues such as cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, or excess bacteria buildup.
  • Gingivitis: The condition known as gingivitis, is the preliminary or minor form of gum disease. Although gingivitis is relatively common, if you have developed gingivitis, its important to take this seriously as the condition will continue to progress if not promptly treated.
  • Tooth decay: As one of the most widespread diseases in the United States (second only to the common cold) tooth decay is the condition in which excessive buildup of bacteria in the mouth breaks down the tooth’s enamel, thus causing the tooth to decay. Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, and although slow to progress, if left untreated tooth decay can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.
  • Periodontal disease: Also known as advanced gum disease, periodontal disease is a significant infection of the gum tissue and can cause a major health crisis if allowed to progress. If periodontal disease is allowed to worsen, it is likely to interact with and exacerbate other illnesses such as diabetes, or heart disease.
  • Oral cancer: Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive type of cancer that is responsible for approximately 9,750 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, and remains a major health issue nationwide. While treatable in its early stages, if allowed to spread oral cancer may not be able to be stopped, thereby having potentially fatal consequences.

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 Tips, Tools, and Techniques

  • Frequent Brushing: As a general rule, you should always brush your teeth AT LEAST twice a day! However, if you have consumed any chewy or sticky foods, it is also a good idea to brush between meals as such materials tend to become stuck or lodged between any gaps or crevasses in your teeth.
  • Proper Brushing Technique: Practicing correct brushing technique is one of the most important aspect of oral hygiene as failure to do so almost as bad as not bothering to brush at all! Proper brushing technique involves taking approximately two minutes to brush each upper and lower sections of your teeth gently, but thoroughly in approximately thirty second intervals. While It can be tricky to make this a habit, we assure you the results are worth it!
  • Consider using mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste: Although perhaps more of a suggestion than an actual rule, utilizing products such a mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste allow you to better cleanse your mouth of harmful acidic agents that cause tooth decay, thus providing additional protection for your teeth.
  • Always Floss: If you don’t already, please make flossing as mandatory as brushing! Remember, your teeth have numerous small and difficult to reach areas that your toothbrush simply can’t be expected to clean. Therefore, flossing is your primary means of reducing plaque buildup in theses areas and preventing your gums from becoming infected.
  • Practice Moderation: Obviously sugary and acidic products can be hazardous to your oral health, and while we are not asking you to avoid these products completely, we do encourage you to enjoy such products in moderation.
  • Follow the six-month rule: By adhering to the six-month rule, you should have at least two dental appointments each year. While it is very important to practice daily oral hygiene habits, it is also essential to visit your dentist’s office regularly, in order to catch and prevent any oral health concerns from becoming a serious health issue.

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

 Be Proud of Your Mouth!

As we celebrate oral health day today (and every day), now is the ideal time to examine the daily oral hygiene habits of you and your family. Although oral health issues continue to affect a large number of people across the globe, the key to overcoming this crisis is for each individual person to take the necessary steps in protecting their smile! If you have any concerns regarding you or your family’s oral health, please contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry.

Until next time keep on smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Mask Mouth and Oral Health: In the Shadow of COVID -19

“Mask Mouth” Sparks Dental Concerns

It’s been almost a full year since COVID-19 first appeared in the United States, and in that time life behind a mask has become the “new normal” for the vast majority of people both in the United States and abroad. While many of us wait to receive our vaccination, it is still important to maintain proper social distancing and continue to wear in any and all public spaces. However, there are other things that need to be assessed in the meantime, and unfortunately one issue has become very apparent to both the American Dental Association and us, here at Overland Park Dentistry.

As reported in various media outlets, in addition to the heath complications related to the COVID-19 outbreak, many dentists both in the U.S. and U.K. have begun reporting a startling rise in the number of oral health issues among their patients. Obviously, it’s no coincidence that this steady increase was first noticed when a nationwide mask mandate was first requested during the past year, and its certainly no coincidence that this number is continuing to increase to this day! The practice of wearing a mask in public may help contain the spread of the virus, but alas these same masks are indeed the cause of this dilemma now known as “Mask Mouth.” In the following sections, we will elaborate on what causes face masks to affect your oral health, what signs and symptoms to watch out for, and finally what you can do to prevent mask mouth from become a problem for you!

Mask Mouth: Causes

Sure, a term like “Mask Mouth” might sound a bit little silly at first, but the affects of mask mouth are certainly nothing to snicker at! Obviously tooth decay and periodontal disease are two of the most potentially serious oral health issues that can affect a person, and if left untreated, mask mouth can lead to such conditions. Surprisingly, the key triggers for causing mask mouth are relatively mundane and seeming easy to avoid. Keep in mind however, sometimes it’s the most basic things that are easiest to overlook!

Learn more about How Oral Bacteria Can Impact Your Pretty Smile

Dry Mouth:  

Dry mouth or Xerostomia, is perhaps the most basic trigger for mask mouth. Xerostomia occurs when your salivary glands fail to produce necessary amount of saliva to keep your mouth moist and might be indicative of or result in dehydration. Because saliva helps protect teeth from harmful bacteria, the lack of saliva will create a much more fertile breading ground for bacteria, thus causing the gums to become infected and the teeth to decay.

Rapid Breathing:

When a person breathes naturally, they are generally taking slow controlled breaths using their diaphragm. However, recent studies have shown that when wearing a facemask, many people tend to take accelerated shallow breaths, thereby reducing the saliva in their mouth.

Poor Air Quality:

When you have a mask constricting your breathing zone, the concentrated carbon dioxide forces you to reuse and recycle the air that you breathe. While the recycled carbon dioxide is not particularly harmful, it will heighten the level of acidic buildup within your body, ultimately putting you at a much greater risk of developing tooth decay and other health issues.

Mask Mouth: Signs and Symptoms

Foul Breath:

Perhaps one of the most common complaints with regards to wearing a mask, is the fact that many people find themselves bothered by smell of their own breath. Indeed halitosis (or bad breath) is a frustrating problem; however, this also might be a sign that your mask is affecting your oral health. In this situation we would highly encourage you to reevaluate your both your oral hygiene and dietary habits. Remember, wearing a facemask can exasperate all kinds of inner-oral issues, no matter how small!

Related Article: How to Stop Bad Breath: It’s a Stinky Situation

Chronic Dry Mouth:

As mentioned in the previous section, dry mouth is a telltale sign that your facemask could be having an adverse effect on your oral health. If you find your mouth is feeling dry on a consistent basis, you ARE in greater jeopardy of developing additional problems and therefore should address this issue right away!

Gum Inflammation:

As a progressive infection within the gumline, gum disease typically begins with inflammation. If your gums are dark pink, tender, or have a tendency to bleed, then you have likely developed gingivitis. Stemming the excess bacteria, plaque will slowly begin to build up in your mouth until it reaches the gum tissue. Once the gum tissue has become infected you will experience swollen and bleeding gums, which are hallmark signs of gingivitis. If the condition is left untreated however, the infection will eventually progress into full blown gum disease.  

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Mask Mouth: Solutions                      

Washing or Replacing Masks:

To put it simply, a dirty mask makes a dirty mouth. By repeatedly using the same mask over and over, you are giving bacteria a place to survive and thrive! We recommend washing and rotating several cloth masks at a time, or simply throwing away disposable masks after each use.

Keeping Hydrated:

Sure, it can be easy to forget sometimes, but we cannot stress enough how necessary it is to drink plenty of water while using a mask for a prolonged period. Obviously, water does the body good in more ways than one, so don’t deprive yourself!

Proper Oral Hygiene:

With facemasks continuing to be required for daily use, proper oral hygiene is now more important than ever. So please take the time to reassess your daily hygiene habits. While taking a few extra minutes twice a day to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth might not seem like it makes much of a difference, believe us … IT REALLY DOES! Also keep in mind that by brushing between meals, you are really doing your teeth a huge favor. Much like taking a refreshing shower after work, a mid-day brushing really helps rejuvenate your smile AND freshen your breath.

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong


This might be more of a suggestion, rather than an actual solution, if dry mouth and bad breath are really proving to be a problem for you then perhaps you should consider altering your diet. While it doesn’t have to be permanent, temporary dietary changes could be a key factor in reducing these issues. Commonly used substances such as caffeine or alcohol for instance, both expedite the rate of dehydration, thus worsening the affects of mask mouth. By limiting your consumption of sugary, alcoholic, acetic, caffeinated, or tobacco-based products, you can diminish such concerns in a major way.

Routine Dental Exams:

In a world where masks are mandatory, it’s imperative for the health and future of your smile that you continue to receive dental exams every 6 months. By giving Dr. Kimes and the staff at Overland Park Dentistry the chance to assess your current oral health and make note of any changes or concerns.

Related Article: Dental Safety: Is it Safe to Visit the Dentist?

Let’s Flatten the Curve!

Obviously, wearing a mask can be a hassle, and we realize that the issues caused by mask mouth are an inconvenience; however, right now we’renot advocating that you stop wearing a mask (when mandated)!

As we have been told, wearing a face mask isimportant for the health and safety of both you and the public.

While mask mouth is legitimate health concern, and we considered it our obligation to make you aware of this issue, please remember that by attending routine dental checkups and adhering to solutions and guidelines mentioned above, mask mouth can be successfully prevented. If you have any concerns about mask mouth or are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, please contact our offices.

From all of us here at Overland Dentistry stay safe and Keep smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Dental Insurance Benefits Expire: Use It OR Lose It

As most of us would probably agree, 2020 has been a year rife with unexpected twists and turns and while the year might be winding down, it’s important to remember we still have a couple months left to go! With so many things going on these days, indeed it is easy to forget or simply overlook something as seemingly insignificant as a dental appointment. However, this is an ill-advised misstep as any dental insurance benefits expire that have been left unused will ultimately be lost! As unfair as it may seem, the simple fact is that the vast majority of insurance providers will almost always automatically reset their insurance benefits to their defaults at the beginning of each new year, regardless of whether these benefits have been fully utilized or not. By allowing these unused insurance benefits to expire, you are not only missing out on a great opportunity to save money, but you may be inadvertently putting yourself at risk as well!

Routine Exams: More That They Appear!

As mentioned previously, while it may be easy to dismiss the insurance benefits of such a seeming minor procedure such as a basic dental exam, but the truth is that routine checkups are perhaps one of the most beneficial procedures not only your oral health, but your overall health too.

What many media outlets fail to adequately publicize is that while receiving a standard dental checkup, a patient is also simultaneously undergoing a simple but highly important dental procedure, in which we discussed at length in previous blogs. Check out this article about Oral Cancer Screenings: Oral Cancer Screenings are the Dental Industry’s Best Kept Secret. As you may surmise oral cancer is perhaps one of the most devastating progressive illnesses known to modern medicine, and while much progress has been made in light of the illness becoming a national epidemic, oral cancer is still responsible for approximately 7,500 deaths in the U.S. annually.

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How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Dental Health: Poor Oral Health is Risky Business

Fortunately, in an effort to combat this crisis, dentists everywhere have received specific training to recognize and identify any sighs of early onset oral cancer, in order to address the condition before it is able to progress. To properly assess oral cancer or any of the other oral health associated illnesses, dental practitioners generally recommend minimum of two routine check-ups per year with an approximant six-month gap between each appointment.

As such, the majority of insurance providers have plans to provide coverage for exactly this, (two yearly appointments) and at Overland Park Dentistry we accept the coverage plans of many of the most well-known and commonly used providers. Aetna, Cigna, Delta, Guardian, Humana, MetLife, and United Healthcare are all among our accepted providers, and we can provide all necessary forms and paperwork for you upon your next scheduled visit!

Restorative Treatment

Unlike basic exams and preventative oral cancer screenings, restoration-based treatment are the more advanced procedures that result from sustaining kind of damage or decay to your teeth. Treatments such as crowns, bondings, and implants all fall under the umbrella of restorative dentistry, and while they will typically be covered by insurance providers to a varying degree, keep in mind that the more advanced dental procedures can require an extensive bit of work on the part of your dentist and sometimes require multiple appointments to properly assess.

Learn more about Restorative Dentistry Treatments HERE.

While certainly Dr. Kimes and his staff would be willing to help you come up with an arrangement that best allows you to maximize your insurance benefits while receiving the treatment needed, this window of opportunity will only stay open for a bit longer. Keep in mind, while it might be easy to put dental care on the back burner due to its slow progressing nature, oral health issues can be a slippery slope that CAN become very serious if neglected.

Don’t Delay!

As 2020 finally winds to a close, it’s clear that a new day is on the horizon, and while we may be anxious to ring in the new year, it’s important not to forget about the unused dental insurance benefits expire on December 31st. At Overland Park Dentistry, we want you to get the most bang for your buck! Therefore, if you (like most people) rely on your dental insurance to help cover the cost your dental care, we highly encourage you take this opportunity to maximize your insurance now benefits now before they are gone forever!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Sugar Affects Teeth: The Magic of Halloween!

In a world where COVID-19 remains a lingering public concern and endless political advertising dominates all media outlets, a little Halloween fun is perhaps just what the doctor ordered! Thankfully, with Halloween right around the corner, kids and parents alike will have a chance to let off a little steam and partake in the timeless fall tradition that we all know and love. However, while trick or treating is sure to put plenty of smiles on young faces, keeping those little smiles healthy can put a bit of a scare into parents this season!

Sure, a little candy is fine every now and then, but as parents; which ones could be harmful for kid’s teeth? As a frequently asked question for us here at Overland Park Dentistry, we believe it is a good idea for all parents to have a firm grasp on which types of candy to be on the lookout for during the Halloween season. Therefore, in this article we will discuss here how sugar affects teeth, as well as highlighting the worst types of candy for teeth and a few types of candy that might provide a healthier alternative instead!

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

Halloween Havoc: How Excess Sugar Can Harm Teeth

While It’s no secret that sugar is bad for teeth, how exactly sugar affects teeth is not something that everyone fully understands. Once sugar enters the mouth, it quickly interacts with the sticky film that surrounds your teeth, commonly known as plaque, thereby creating a chain-reaction. When sugar comes into contact with the plaque, it is absorbed by the bacteria within the plaque, thus releasing acid as a waste product. The acid produced will in turn, begin to dissolve the tooth’s enamel, ultimately causing the tooth to slowly decay.

Obviously, tooth decay is a progressive issue that often affects people more as they get older. However, it’s important to realize that children who develop oral health issues at a young age are likely to carry these issues along with them into adulthood, in which they are likely to worsen. This underscores the significance of instilling proper healthy oral hygiene and lifestyle habits amongst children as preventing any such issues before they occur is always the best route.

Related Article:

How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Tooth Pain: What is Causing My Toothache?

Not all Halloween Candy is the same!

Although no candy is genuinely good for your teeth, its only natural to indulge in a few treats during Halloween! Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that some candy is considerably worse for teeth than others. In the list below we have compiled some types of candy that you should try to avoid and some that are healthier to enjoy based on how sugar affects teeth.

Sugar Affects Teeth: Candy to Avoid

  • Chewy Sweets: From gummy worms, to caramel chocolate and taffy, unquestionably some of the worst candy for your teeth has to be the chewy or gummy type of candy. As they are chewed, this sticky material covers your teeth, while proceeding to get stuck in any gap or crevice it can find.  This can lead to a (no pun intended) very sticky situation as removing the material can be quite difficult, however if the sugary substance is not removed, the cavity-causing bacteria will most certainly have ample opportunity to flourish.
  • Hard Candy: Certain types of hard candy, such as jawbreakers, jolly ranchers, or even lollipops, can prove to be problematic for a couple of reasons, the first and perhaps most obvious reason is the fact that biting down on hard surface of the candy may break or cause damage to the tooth. However, another less than obvious reason would be the simple fact that one would likely keep this candy in their mouth for a prolonged period of time, thus causing the excess sugar to get into your saliva, and continue to wash over and continuously coat your teeth. 
  • Sour Candy: Although increasingly popular among kids today, the highly acidic sour candy treats can easily weaken and damage the enamel of your teeth, thus making them more vulnerable to cavities

Sugar Affects Teeth: Candy to Enjoy

  • Milk or Dark Chocolate: As easily one of the most popular and beloved candy choices out there, regular chocolate is also a relatively smart choice regarding one’s teeth due to its ability to be easily removed. While particularly hard or frozen chocolate would certainly be an exception, regular milk chocolate treats are a perfectly safe candy choice, so long as your teeth are properly brushed afterwards.
  • Candy with Nuts: Believe it or not, candy bars with nuts can actually help break up the sticky resin that chewy or gummy candies leave behind. However, just remember not to put these bars in the refrigerator!
  • Sugarless Candy: Okay hear us out on this one! While sugar-free treats have gained something of an unpopular reputation among candy lovers as being a bit bland tasting and therefore less than satisfactory. In recent years however, this has changed as sugar-free candy has improved considerably by using sugar substitutes to become much more flavorful, and thereby much more enjoyable.

Overland Park Dentistry Can Help You Stay Cavity-Free This Halloween

There are few events more fun then Halloween, and at Overland Park Dentistry, we hope you and your kiddos get to enjoy yourselves during this season of thrills and chills! While we certainly advise a bit of caution when indulging in some of the treats listed above, perhaps the most important tidbits to remember are keeping up with proper oral hygiene habits and to practice a little good old-fashioned moderation!

From all of us here Overland Park Dentistry we wish you a happy and cavity-free Halloween, until next time keep smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

Oral Health and Hygiene is More Important Than Ever!

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, personal health has been brought to the forefront of nearly everybody’s minds, and while this might not be a new concern among some of the more health conscious folks out there, for some people this may be the first time that their health and personal well-being has been a source of distress.

Therefore, If you have read any of our previous entries, you will have certainly gained an understanding as to the significant impact oral health and hygiene can have on the body’s ability to ward off the amount of hazardous bacteria that surrounds us on a daily basis. Whether the pathogens are airborne or blood borne if our immune system is compromised, the body might not have the strength to fight off the virus, thus putting yourself at risk of experiencing serious or even fatal repercussions. In the sections below we will shed some light on some of these issues, to provide a more comprehensive understanding as to the prominent role that oral hygiene plays in your overall health. 

Oral Health and Hygiene: Why It Matters?

Although it might not seem like that big of a deal, make no mistake; oral hygiene is extremely important and while you might be able to get away with a couple slipups here and there, unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope as it can be extremely easy to get into the bad habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care.   If you allow yourself to fall into such habits, (improper brushing techniques, lack of flossing, failing to receive routine checkups) you are perhaps unknowingly setting yourself up for inevitable health issues, both orally and otherwise. Unfortunately, this has been a costly lesson for many people over the years, as progressive oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease typically manifest slowly over an extended period, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until they reach their advanced stages. If these illnesses have progressed to a later stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, trigger additional health problems or interact with pre-existing ones.

Related Article: How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Oral Health Complications: Much Worse Than You Think

Although major oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease are obviously a serious problem, many are quick to write these issues off as strictly oral problems, without fully understanding the health ramifications behind them. However, as mentioned previously these issues go deeper than that, as they not only wreak havoc on your oral health but cause an excess of oral bacteria to build up as well. If the excess bacteria is able to reach the sufferer’s bloodstream, it will be allowed to travel throughout the body, thus significantly worsening issue. If the hazardous bacteria can reach the sufferer’s heart, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, ultimately strangling the heart and forcing it to pump faster while becoming increasingly less productive. As a result of this, individuals suffering from oral health issues have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, or other cardiovascular-based complications, as well as becoming increasingly susceptible to harmful pathogens or the progression of chronic illnesses.

Related Article: Dental Health: Poor Oral Health is Risky Business

Don’t Let It Happen To You!

At Overland Park Dentistry, we passionately believe that prevention is the key to keeping your beautiful smile strong and healthy. Therefore, we employ what we like to call “The Six-Month Rule” which as its name implies, recommends six months between each routine checkup, thus rounding out to two checkups per year. Yes this may seem a bit excessive to some; however, with COVID-19 still posing a threat to the general public, maintaining your oral and overall health is NOW more important than ever.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can it Kill You?

You owe it to yourself, schedule an appointment to see us at Overland Park Dentistry, so you can stay healthy and smiling for years to come!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Vaping Causes Gum Disease and Damages Your Oral Health

A Cause for Concern

As businesses began to reopen and people everywhere began to regain a sense of normality, continued concerns surrounding Covid-19 have forced our Nation to reassess our stance on our health and the various health concerns that we as a society face.

For decades, one of the biggest health issues amongst people in both the U.S. and abroad has been smoking. Over the years, the dangers of tobacco smoking have been widely publicized and scrutinized amongst various media outlets, and although tobacco smoking (particularly cigarette smoking) has declined in recent years, it still remains a persistent issue. However, coinciding with the decline of tobacco users in the world today, a new trend as emerged under the guise as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.

While this new trend known as vaping may in fact be a healthier alternative to smoking, that certainly does not mean there is not a plethora of negative health consequences that vaping itself can cause. At Overland Park Dentistry, we have unfortunately seen firsthand how vaping can affect a smile and trust us, it isn’t pretty! Therefore, in addition to giving you the scoop on some of the effects vaping has on oral health, we will also provide some helpful tips and insight into how you may possibly go about quitting this habit, in order to keep yourself healthy and smiling!

Related Article: A New Trend: The Dangers of Vaping

Vaping: The Ugly Truth!

Whether it be a quick search via Google or a simple chit-chat with Dr. Kimes or any of his staff at Overland Park Dentistry, the unfortunate truth is that vaping can cause a great deal of harm to one’s oral health over time.

Much like smoking, vaping allows its user to receive a nicotine kick by ingesting smokeless vapor, using a vapor-generating electronic cigarette (typically known as e-cigs or vape pens). While the significant amount of nicotine present in vapor products allow them to act as a substitute for cigarette smoke, the excess nicotine also exponentially increases the risk of developing gum disease. So, we truly believe that vaping causes gum disease among other dental and oral concerns.

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, are an infection of the gum tissue which if left untreated, can spread rapidly throughout the mouth causing irreversible damage to the teeth, gums, and jawbone. Additionally, periodontitis (which is the more severe type of gum disease) also has an alarming tendency to interact with other preexisting health issues or even spread to other regions of the body, thus becoming a potentially fatal issue!

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While some advocates for vaping are quick to point out that periodontitis AKA severe gum disease is a progressive illness in which time is required for the disease to spread. It is important to realize that the nicotine from vaping also causes portions of the gums to slowly die off, making it increasingly difficult for your dentist to detect the infection, thereby allowing the infection continued time to progress and worsen. Once again, this gives us cause to believe that vaping causes gum disease — sooner or later, it’s going to be a dangerous problem.

How Can I Quit Vaping?

If you have ever been (or previously been) a smoker, you will certainly understand how tough it can be to quit. Much like smoking, vaping can be a tough habit to break and may require a certain degree of soul searching and support. Although quitting isn’t an exact science, there are a number of methods and strategies that you may employ to aid you in this endeavor!

The information below includes some are some useful tips and things to consider when undertaking the quitting process.

  • Find your motivation: First thing first, it’s important to ask yourself: Why do you genuinely want to quit? Sure, this may seem silly or unnecessary at first, but by finding and firmly establishing a concise motive for quitting, you will be able to take a more structured and direct approach to accomplishing this, with a clear goal in mind.
  • Consider the timing: As with anything, another key factor to consider is timing. Whether you are attempting to quit cold turkey (often the most effective way) or gradually reduce the habit until it is no more, eliminating vaping from your daily routine is likely to cause a certain degree of stress. However, if this were to coincide with another potentially stressful life event, (changing careers, buying a new house, family/marital issues, etc) the excess stress may hinder your success or cause you to fall back into your vaping habit. While certainly life can be unpredictable at times, try to shoot for a time in which outside stress and interference will be relatively minimal, thus allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
  • Have a positive support group:  We all need help sometimes and having other people to both encourage and hold you accountable can have a huge impact on your ability to give up vaping once and for all. By surrounding yourself with group of friends or loved ones who will support your decision to quit and provide you with a safe and positive environment, you will have taken a crucial step in the right direction.
  • Identify triggers: What sort of things make you want to vape? Could it be stress or boredom? Or perhaps it’s simply the crowd you hang out with? Whether they be physical, social, or emotional, learning to recognize what triggers the urge to vape is essential in providing you with the necessary means to alter this behavior.
  • Make a game plan: In going along with the previous step, once you have identified what triggers you to vape, you can then begin to develop a strategy to manage or avoid these triggers. One of the most effective strategies that has helped many people in the past is to find a replacement activity for vaping. Do you have a particular hobby that you rarely find time to do? Perhaps this could be the opportune time to rekindle your interest in said hobby or to even pursue a new one.
  • Use resources: In a time where there are a number of tools available to you, it would be wise to take advantage of them. Known as nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, gums, and other nicotine substitutes can play a major part in slowly diminishing the powerful dependence on nicotine caused by vaping.

Safer Does NOT Mean Safe

While indeed vaping has helped dissipate the amount of tobacco users across the globe, while providing a safer alternative to smoking, safer still does not mean safe! Remember, how we’ve mentioned that vaping causes gum disease? If you continue to vape, you will run the risk of damaging your smile, as well as developing additional (or even unknown) health complications later on.

If you are a former smoker, it is certainly understandable if you have taken up vaping as a substitute for smoking. Although we highly encourage you to please consider taking the necessary steps to put the habit behind you, as vaping is not the harmless alternative that many believe it to be. However, if you have never been a smoker but are interested in vaping, please do not start! Remember, in addition to harming your oral health, vaping is also very addictive, and once you get hooked it can be extremely hard to quit.

Overland Park Dentistry Can Help

If you have any additional questions about vaping, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry and until next time, Keep on smiling! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

How can Oral Bacteria impact your Pretty Smile?

Healthy teeth are about more than just a pretty smile. Your oral health has a major effect on the overall health of your body, not just in your mouth. By maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you can make your body healthier from head to toe.

Oral Bacteria and Health

Bacteria in the mouth cause tooth decay – by feeding on the sugars in the foods and drinks we consume – they leave behind the waste, in the form of a biofilm known as dental plaque.

Our mouths have lots of bacteria that is usually harmless. (Did you know that the bacteria in our body aids with digestion and other biological tasks?) However, if you do not brush or floss regularly, bacteria can reach dangerously high levels. When this happens, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections can be the nasty result.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can It Kill You?

Health Risks Throughout the Body

There is evidence that the oral bacteria and high level of inflammation associated with the serious gum disease known as periodontitis can play a role in diseases in other parts of the body.

The following health issues and diseases are linked with poor gum health:

  • Infections from Abscesses: In some rare instances, severe tooth decay can lead to an abscess. The infection can travel to the heart, brain, or lungs, causing severe illness or even death.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: There are researchers who suggest that heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries are linked to the inflammation and infections caused by too much oral bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Severe gum infection has been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
  • Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This can occur when bacteria from other parts of your body, such as your mouth, move through your bloodstream and become attached to damaged areas in the heart.

The Impact of Gum Disease

Did you know that 85% of Americans suffer from gum disease, yet only 60% of those infected know they have gum disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support your teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss. However, the impact can extend beyond your mouth.

Also known as periodontitis, gum disease can significantly affect your general health.

Research shows that there is a connection between gum disease and other serious conditions such as:

  • osteoporosis
  • oral and pancreatic cancer
  • brain stroke
  • heart disease
  • gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from oral bacteria that spread through the blood stream
  • gum disease also impacts those with diabetes by making it difficult to regulate blood glucose levels

If you have one of these systemic conditions, it is important to talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease and the best treatment options.

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Gum Disease Causes:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Sugar and acid
  • Tooth abnormalities
  • Poor dental work
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Tooth grinding

Gum Disease Symptoms Can Range from:

  • chronic bad breath
  • red, swollen gums
  • bleeding when you brush
  • painful chewing
  • loose or sensitive teeth
  • sensitive or receding gums

Sometimes there are no signs of gum disease, which is why it’s essential to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup.

Related Article: How to Stop Bad Breath: A Stinky Situation

Gum Disease is Treatable

The three goals of treatment involve:

  1. reducing inflammation
  2. decreasing pocket depth (the space between your tooth and gum)
  3. stopping bone loss

Initial treatment options can include Laser Pocket Disinfection or scaling and root planning (also known as deep cleaning). There are surgery options for advanced gum disease.

Protecting Your Oral Health

By protecting the health of your teeth and gums, you can keep yourself healthier too. Practice good oral hygiene daily to prevent overgrowth of bacteria.

This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice per day
  • Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth
  • Avoid tobacco use, as this can cause irritation in your gums
  • Limit sugary snacks, which can feed bacteria and increase their growth
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months

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Poor Oral Health is Risky Business

Sugar Hurts Teeth: Do You Sip and Snack All Day?

You should also have regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you notice a problem with your teeth or gums, call for an appointment right away. The sooner these are handled, the sooner you will be back to full health. Charles R. Kimes, DDS provides general and family dentistry in the Overland Park, Kansas area to keep his patients healthy – including healthy teeth, healthy gums, and a healthy body. Time for your checkup? Call to schedule today.

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Tooth Pain: What is Causing My Toothache?

Toothaches can be a minor tinge letting you know that something is wrong or they can cause crippling pain… that’s why we wanted to share some common toothache causes and their symptoms.

What is a toothache? Pain or inflammation in or around the tooth, often caused by tooth decay or infection.

What are common causes of a toothache?

A toothache can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples may include flossing, biting into something hard, getting something stuck in between the teeth, or braces. In children, it’s a regular part of the developmental process.

Common Causes of a Toothache:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth fracture
  • Broken tooth
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Infected gums
  • Damaged filling
  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth

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Common Symptoms of a Toothache:

  • Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant.
  • In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
  • Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Fever or headache

When Should I See a Dentist About a Toothache?

We recommend seeing your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:

  • Your toothache is severe
  • You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
  • You have a fever, earache
  • You experience pain upon opening your mouth wide

What Happens When I Go to the Dentist for a Toothache?

First, your dentist will conduct a dental exam. He or she will ask you questions about the pain, such as:

  • when the pain started
  • how severe it is
  • where the pain is located
  • what makes the pain worse and what makes it better
  • does the pain wake you up in the middle of the night

Your dentist will examine:

  • your mouth
  • teeth and gums
  • jaws
  • tongue
  • throat
  • sinuses, ears, nose, and neck

X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.

What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, but only if there is no other way to save the tooth.

A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner areas of the tooth cause that type of infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling in the jaw.

Related Article: Revealing the Facts and Busting the Myths about Root Canals

How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, following good oral hygiene practices can prevent most toothaches.

Good oral hygiene practices consist of:

  • brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste
  • flossing daily
  • rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash
  • seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning and exam

In addition to these practices, ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications and make low-sugar or healthy choices on snacks, meals and beverages.

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We Can Get You Out of Pain

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Overland Park Dentistry
Even though going to the dentist is one of my least favorite things to do, my experience with Dr. Kimes have always been good. They are both very kind and considerate and try to treat you as painlessly as possible.