Tag Archives: oral health

Avoid Tooth Decay: Halloween Candy is a Spooky Subject for Your Teeth

Trick or Treat

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the time of year in which little ghosts, vampires, and gholuls from all over, take part in the door-to-door quest for sweets. While this is always an exciting and of course spooky time of year for kids, for parents it can be a bit spooky for a totally different reason!

As surely, we’ve all heard by now, sugar is bad for your teeth. Although this is a commonly known fact that has been drilled into the collective conscious of our society for many years now, many people still struggle to grasp the seriousness of tooth decay as well as the overall importance of oral hygiene. Therefore, in a season in which the treats are a plenty, we will shed some light on the effects of tooth decay, as well as identifying which treats are the worst for causing tooth decay, and providing some insight on how to avoid tooth decay from frightening you this Halloween!

Avoid Tooth Decay: A Truly Scary Thing!

Tooth decay is a problem that can affect children and adults alike and is perhaps one of the most commonly encountered issues within the realm of professional dentistry. Tooth decay is progressive destruction of a tooth’s enamel, in which the protective out lining of the tooth is slowly broken down, thus rendering the tooth vulnerable. In this state, the tooth is essentially at the mercy of whatever substances it may encounter, particularly substances with high acidity levels or containing excessive amounts of sugar. Therefore, if binge snacking on such treats continues, it’s inevitable that the teeth will begin to decay, ultimately resulting in a cavity or additional damage to occur.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can it kill you?

Avoid Tooth Decay: Candy Types and Affects

Obviously sugary candy isn’t the best the for your teeth, it’s important to realize that some types of candy are much worse than others. For instance, classic chocolate treats (such as Hershey’s bars, Hershey’s kisses, Chocolate or Peanut M&M’s) remain arguably the most popular type of candy in the world today, however because the chocolate residue from these products can be easily removed from teeth by a proper brushing, these basic chocolate treats are actually a much better choice regarding your child’s oral heath than the majority of candy types out there. Conversely, chocolate bars containing a chewy filling can be much more harmful due to their contents sticking to teeth.

Related Article: The Consequences of Poor Oral Health

In the section below are a list of different types of candy and how they can be bad for teeth if consumed in excessive amounts.

  • Hard Candy: While hard candy such as Lollipops, Lifesavers, Jawbreakers, and Jolly Ranchers are certainly in high demand around Halloween, unfortunately treats such as these can be tough on teeth due to both their highly sugary contents, and hard structure. If a tooth has already been weakened by any previous damage or decay, chomping on some hard candies are certain to not make things any better!
  • High Citrus Sweets: Regardless of whether it’s a high citrus beverage or a citrusy snack, excess citrus can absolutely wreak havoc on a tooth’s enamel, causing the enamel to erode at a very quick rate. Some popular candy products containing particularly high amounts citric acid include: Sour Patch Kids, Lemonheads, Sour Skittles, and various other sour-based candies.
  • Chewy Candy: Gummy or chewy candies are perhaps among the worst types of candy when it comes to causing or progressing tooth decay. When chewy treats are consumed, the sticky remnants may to cling to teeth or even get caught in gaps or small crevasses in one’s smile and continue to expose the teeth to their sugary contents. Many different types of candy fall into this category including: Skittles, Starbursts, Gummy Bears, Laffy Taffy, and the classic Halloween staple known as Candy Corn.
  • Caramel Chocolate: As mentioned previously, unlike their more basic counterparts, caramel-filled chocolate products such as Snickers, Milk Duds, Twix, or Milky Way bars are not as easy to wash away with a simple brushing. Rather, these products tend to act much in the same vein as the aforementioned chewy candies, often getting stuck to teeth and finding their way into those hard to reach regions of the mouth. If the substance is not removed, it will likely remain lodged in place and will eventually decay, thus highlighting the importance of flossing after eating.
  • Cold Chocolate: Just a word to the wise; please do not put chocolate in the refrigerator! Biting down on an ice-cold chocolate bar can break a tooth quicker than you can say dental crown!

Related Article: Your Halloween Candy Survival Guide

A Decay-Free Halloween!

Okay, let’s make ourselves perfectly clear, it IS okay to enjoy a few treats here and there, and we certainly DON’T want to spoil you or your kiddo’s festivities this Halloween. Our goal here is simply to make both kids and parents a little more aware of how some of those beloved treats can potentially affect their smile and encourage everyone to practice a little moderation when enjoying those tasty treats to avoid tooth decay.

Remember, Halloween just isn’t Halloween without being a little scary, but tooth decay certainly isn’t the kind of scare that anyone wants!

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.

Eating Disorders: How do they Effect Your Oral Health?

While considered something of a byproduct of our society, eating disorders are often mistakenly believed to be a lifestyle choice, thus garnering a negative stigma.

In reality; however, an eating disorder is a serious and sometimes fatal disorder that can trigger a litany if additional issues if left untreated. An eating disorder is a psychological condition, characterized by abnormal or irregular eating habits that significantly affect an individual’s health both physically and mentally.

While eating disorders can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, they typically manifest during adolescence, and have a higher probability of affecting females as opposed to males. Although the root cause of eating disorders varies from one case to the next, they typically stem from an interaction of social, biological, psychological, and even genetic factors, often causing the individual to have a distorted sense of body image.

According to the Nation Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, (ANAD) approximately 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from a type of eating disorder, and as of 2018, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any known mental illness, thus solidifying its status as a national health concern.

Common Eating Disorder Types

As mentioned previously, unusual and often extreme eating habits are generally the hallmark of an eating disorder. However, this can mean a couple of different things, as there are several different types of eating disorders, each of which possessing their own unique characteristics.

Anorexia Nervosa:

Anorexia Nervosa or simply “Anorexia” as its commonly referred to, is the eating disorder characterized by extremely restricted or infrequent eating.

Individuals suffering from this disorder are frequently (or sometimes dangerously) underweight, while diametrically believing themselves to be overweight. This distortion may prompt the sufferer to take unhealthy measures to lose weight such as forcing themselves to vomit after eating or use of laxatives. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of the listed eating disorders, and arguably presents the most health hazards as well.

Binge-Eating Disorder:

In contrast to Anorexia, Binge-Eating Disorder (or BED) is the perceived inability to control one’s eating habits, resulting in recurring episodes of overeating on a daily or weekly basis.

Sufferers of BED may struggle with obesity and are also at an increased risk of developing related complications such as heart disease or diabetes.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Combining behaviors of the previously mentioned disorders, Bulimia Nervosa is the disorder marked with frequent episodes of overeating followed by bouts of purging, (through vomiting or laxative use) fasting, or excess exercise.

While those suffering from Bulimia may not be noticeably underweight or overweight, they are likely to struggle with ongoing weight-related issues and may have difficulty maintaining a healthy bodyweight.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders:

While most eating disorder cases follow a certain criterion or set of characteristics, it should be noted that there are unique cases that do not meet the criteria above or have atypical specifics. Consulting a specialist for a proper diagnosis is particular important in this scenario.

Eating Disorders and Oral Health: Oral Health Complications

As covered in previous blog entries, oral health is one of the most significant and perhaps most often overlooked aspects of one’s general health with recent studies citing oral-related complications as a strong indicator in assessing deeper underlining health issues, and proper oral hygiene as a key factor in the prevention of such issues.

Obviously dietary habits play a major role in dental health, so it should come as little surprise that eating disorders can lead to the systematic destruction of the various inner oral components, typically starting with the gums and throat.

Destruction of Oral Health

Through frequent bouts of vomiting/purging, (as seen in Anorexia and Bulimia) the highly corrosive stomach acid will cause the soft tissue both areas to become irritated and inflamed, causing the throat to become chronically sore, the gums to be agonizingly tender and prone to bleeding, and the salivary glands within the neck and jaw to swell and struggle to produce adequate saliva.

If the frequent binge-purge (or just purge) cycle continues, the tooth’s enamel will slowly break down and be lost, thereby causing the teeth to become increasingly susceptible to incurring damage or eventually succumbing to the effects of tooth decay.

Related Article: Tooth Decay: A Sickly, Sweet Dilemma

Lack of Nutrients

In addition to the adverse effects of purging, by significantly restricting one’s diet or food intake, an individual may then rob themselves of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins. This nutritional deficiency puts a further strain on the sufferer’s oral health, as without the nutrients need to strengthen teeth and fight off infections, the probability of developing progressive conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease increases exponentially.

Heath Issues

While Binge-Eating Disorder may not have as an immediate impact as Anorexia or Bulimia, BED does pose a serious threat to oral health in different way. As surely, we’ve all heard by now that too much sugar is bad for teeth, being unable to control one’s dietary urges obviously presents a major problem. However, what compounds this problem are the previously mentioned complications (Heart Disease and Diabetes) that follow. Diabetes and heart disease are both serious health issues in themselves, and both can utterly devastate the individual’s oral and (by virtue of) overall health, if left untreated.

Related Articles:

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

Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Diabetes and Oral Health: The Link to Gum Disease

Treatment: Oral and Otherwise

First and foremost, if you or some you love is suffering from an eating disorder you should absolutely seek the consultation and guidance of a licensed psychologist or someone within the psychiatric field. Assessing an eating disorder is a delicate process and should also be handled with care and a sense of concern for the well-being of the individual.

While certainly each scenario is different, issues such as eating disorders are usually require something of a group effort. This means not only seeking out the guidance and expertise of professionals, (doctors, dentists, psychologists) but also the care and support of loved ones, thus assuring the individual that they are not alone in this endeavor, and surrounding them with something of a “safety net” to help them through those difficult moments.

As par for the course, there will likely be some speed bumps and setbacks, as the risk of relapsing and falling back into old habits is a common issue for many sufferers; however, it’s crucial to remain optimistic and not give up!

As mentioned previously, because a sufferer’s oral health is constantly compromised by numerous hazards, it is extremely important to maintain a strict and proper dental hygiene routine, if you are suffering from an eating disorder to prevent any oral issues from harming your overall health. Additionally, frequent dental appointments are also extremely important so your dentist can monitor your oral health and take note of any changes or concerns.

Resource: National Eating Disorders Association

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

You’re Not Alone!

There’s no question that an eating disorder can take a major toll on a person’s physical and emotional health, and while sufferers of eating disorders may feel ashamed, if you have an eating disorder please remember that what you are dealing with is NOT your fault! Eating disorders are a national health concern and there are many people who are going through the same thing you are, and there are numerous great resources available to you should you choose to use them. The key is to not isolate yourself, and to allow your doctors and loved ones to offer you help and support that you deserve.

Resource: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Contact the Helpline

At Overland Park Dentistry, Dr. Kimes and his expert team want to be a resource for you, and we hope our offices can be a safe place where you may feel comfortable in honestly discussing any concerns you may have regarding your oral health and how an eating disorder may have an affect. By assessing your struggles and keeping track of your progress, we hope to help you work towards a full recovery.

There’s always strength in numbers and battling an eating disorder is not something you should have to do by yourself. Let’s do it together!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. 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.

The Daily Dentist: Oral Hygiene is a Big Deal

The Little Things

As busy people and productive members of society, most of us have a daily routine that we follow to keep our lives on track. While we often do these things without thinking, its important to do them correctly and not completely overlook them as so called “little things”. Sometimes they’re much more important then they seem.

Like many people, it’s probably somewhere between a morning shower and hustling off to work that you took the time to brush your teeth, or did you? Much like other seemingly small aspects of our daily routine, we may find ourselves brushing our teeth without giving it much consideration; however, its it important to remember oral hygiene is much more important than it may appear.

Oral Hygiene: More Important than it Appears

So maybe you were running late and forgot to brush your teeth, or maybe you did remember to brush but you didn’t take the time to make sure you were getting all your teeth.

Oral Hygiene is No Big Deal… Right?!?!

Wrong!!!

Oral hygiene is very important, and while your smile may be able to withstand a minor oversight or two, it’s a slippery slope. As it can be extremely easy to get into the habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care and setting yourself up for inevitable oral health issues.

Sadly, this has been the case for many people in the past, as progressive diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease typically manifest slowly over several years, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until their latter stages.

Unfortunately, if such conditions have progressed to an advanced stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, stir up a hornet’s nest of additional health problems as well! Whether it be gum disease, tooth decay, or other related complications, the consequences of improper or inadequate oral hygiene are never pretty!

Poor Dental Hygiene: The Consequences

Tooth Decay

As you may already know, tooth decay is a condition in which harmful acidic particles build up in a person’s mouth over a prolonged period, slowly eroding the tooth’s protective outer layer and rendering it vulnerable to outside agents. Unprotected, bacteria descend upon the tooth causing it to rapidly decay. Once a tooth has fallen into a state of decay, you are likely to experience increased tooth sensitivity, as well as the appearance of cavities and eventual breakage.

Related Article: Tooth Decay: A Sticky, Sweet Dilemma

Gum Disease

Although gum disease is a relatively familiar term to many people, the condition is often misunderstood and simply written off as little more than a minor nuisance. However, the truth is that gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by excess plaque/bacteria build up around the teeth and gumline. When the gum tissue has become infected, inflammation of tissue surrounding the teeth will occur. Your gums may bleed while eating or brushing, this is often a tell-tale sign of gingivitis, or an early stage of gum disease.

Once gingivitis has been detected, we highly recommend that you visit your dentist (if you haven’t already) and begin taking a proactive role in treating the condition before it can spread any further. If the infection is allowed to progress further, it will continue to spread throughout the mouth, eventually affecting the teeth and jawbone. This is what’s known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, which is a later stage of gum disease, and unquestionably when the disease is at its worst.

Periodontal disease causes irreversible damage to the mouth and may destroy the entire jaw of its host if severe enough. Perhaps most troubling of all is periodontal disease’s uncanny tendency to spread to other regions of the body or interact with other preexisting conditions, which could pose serious problems!

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

Complications

While tooth decay and gum disease may not sound all that scary at first, the complications of either condition can truly be a nightmare! As alluded to earlier, if the bacteria produced by either condition enters the bloodstream it may likely travel to other areas of the body, spreading and worsening the infection.

If the infectious bacteria reach the heart of its host, 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, thereby choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less efficiently.

As a result of this, individuals suffering from severe tooth decay or periodontal disease, (or both) have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular-based complications. Additionally, tooth decay and more particularly gum disease, can also lead to the worsening of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or various types of cancer, which is likely to have serious if not fatal results.

Prevention: The Daily Dentist

When it comes to issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, prevention is always the best route, therefore Dr. Kimes and his staff at Overland Park Dentistry are more than happy to provide you with the best guidance and treatment to address all your oral hygienic concerns or needs.

However, despite the various quality services that are available, it’s important to remember that the determining factor between good oral health and poor oral health always comes back basic oral hygiene. By taking the time to make sure you are correctly brushing, flossing, and caring for your teeth on a daily basis you are taking a crucial step in preventing such oral health issues before they occur.

Remember consistency is key! By taking a few extra minutes each day to ensure you’re practicing proper oral hygiene and incorporating this into your daily routine until it becomes a habit, in sense you are acting as your own daily dentist! However, while daily hygienic consistency is in your hands, you should still make a point to schedule a routine dental checkup twice a year to make sure that your hygiene efforts are paying off and your teeth are strong and healthy.

Related Article: Schedule Your Summer Dental Appointment

Remember, although taking a few minutes each day to correctly care for your teeth may just seem like a little thing, sometimes the little things can make a very big difference!


Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. 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.