Tag Archives: tooth decay

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.

You Asked: What are the most common dental problems?

Your Teeth: A Thing Of Beauty!

Your teeth are truly an amazing part of your body, and as beautiful as those pearly whites of yours can be, they are extremely important as well. Being responsible for breaking down food for consumption, obviously your teeth play a vital role in daily life. However, with such an important purpose, the hazards your teeth face on a regular basis are countless.

Indeed, your teeth are very tough, the constant wear and tear they endure is bound to take its toll.  Additionally, if your teeth are improperly cared for or neglected, this could spell disaster for your teeth in a variety of different ways!

Common Dental Problems

Although some of the most common dental problems are not exactly terms that are unfamiliar, the resulting ramifications of such issues can have devastating effects on not just your oral health, but your general health as well.

Listed below are some of the most common dental problems and health issues affecting patients today.

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. Wanna know more about tooth decay, click here.

Periodontal Disease:

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a progressive infection of the gum tissue, and much like tooth decay, can present a major problem if allowed to progress. If periodontal disease progresses to its later stages, it is likely to interact with and exacerbate other illnesses such as diabetes, or heart disease.

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 is likely an additional oral issue to blame. Chronic foul breath can be indicative of numerous issues such as cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, buildup on tongue, or even oral cancer.  Read more about how to stop bad breath.

Toothaches:

Like foul breath, toothaches or tooth sensitivity can be a tell-tale sigh that there may be additional dental problems that perhaps have not been addressed. Tooth sensitivity may indicate undetected damage (such as cracks, chips or abscesses) or even the early symptoms of tooth decay. Regardless, if chronic toothaches are ignored, they are only likely to worsen over time.

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. Read more about oral cancer screenings and how they can save your life, here.

You may not know that these common dental problems can lead to additional health problems. Read more about additional consequences of poor oral health here.

Risk Factors And Prevention

The before mentioned issues obviously can pose some serious problems, however by recognizing the various triggers or risk factors of some of these common dental problems, you may allow yourself to take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent such issues before they occur.

  • Improper Daily Hygiene: While this may seem like a given, unfortunately it can be very easy to fall into poor oral hygiene habits, and while this many not seem like a big deal, obviously it dose put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other related complications.
  • Dietary Habits: It’s certainly okay to enjoy the occasional treat, however if sugary drinks and snacks are a part of your daily diet, then you might consider cutting back on the sweets. Excess sugar can cause a number of alarming concerns and oral problems are certainly no exception. If reeling in your sweet tooth is an issue, then it is essential that you practice proper oral hygiene.
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use: As you probably realize, excess tobacco use can be catastrophic on one’s oral health, and cigarette smoke is often the culprit of this. Tooth decay, gum disease, and of course oral cancer can all be caused by smoking, thus the likelihood of tobacco users developing any of these issues is exponentially higher than that of nonusers. If you are a regular tobacco user, we strongly encourage you to seek professional counseling and to consider quitting. There’s also a new trend on the rise, vaping. Read more about the dangers of vaping.
  • Infrequent Checkups: As a rule of thumb, most dentists agree that a dental appointment approximately every six months is the best course of action, effectively resulting in two appointments per year. Unfortunately, this rule is not always adhered to and while making at least one dental appointment per year might suffice in some cases, there are some people who won’t even do that. It’s important to remember that your dentist is trained to not only take care of your teeth, but also to recognize the signs of any additional health issues (both oral and otherwise). By not giving your dentist the time to give you a proper examination, you are preventing your dentist from detecting any health issues, thereby allowing the issues to progress and worsen. 

A Smile Is A Terrible Thing to Waste!

Your smile is something you should love and take care of. But if you take it for granted, your beautiful smile not only won’t stay beautiful, but could also end up making you very sick! While all these common dental problems can potentially become a severe health crisis, keep in mind that almost all of these conditions can be prevented or successfully treated by taking the time to see Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff at Overland Park Dentistry. 

Remember a Smile is a terrible thing to waste, Don’t waste yours!

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.

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.