Are these behaviors harming your teeth?


Most of us have habits or behaviors that we use when we think or when we are under stress. Unfortunately, some of these behaviors can harm your teeth. Many are associated with our work or workplaces. man chewing pencil - paid - shutterstock 36372031


1. Morning coffee. Some of us sip on a cup of coffee all day or all morning. Sipping on coffee throughout the day can cause dry mouth, bad breath, cavities, and stained teeth. Also, drink water when you finish your coffee.


2. Smoking. We all know how harmful smoking is. Don't forget that smoking can harm your teeth.


3. Failure to hydrate. We need to drink our required amount of water to stay healthy. Replacing coffee with water is a good idea. Hydration is especially important for people who work out of doors or in jobs that involve strenuous activities.


4. Teeth are not tools. Your teeth are not intended to pull out staples, to tear packaging, or to rip tape from packaging. Teeth are absolutely not intended to remove bottle caps or to keep nails, pins, and other items handy. These activities can chip or break teeth.


5. Don't chew pens or pencils. This is a very common practice when people are thinking. But chewing on pens and pencils can wear down the edges of your teeth or slowly eat away enamel.


6. Don't grind your teeth. If you are inclined to grind, try keeping celery or carrots at hand. You will protect your teeth and your jaw.


7. Use a mouthguard, if appropriate. If your job puts you in danger of sustaining a blow to your mouth, a mouthguard will protect your teeth.


These are a few of the most common ways that people harm their teeth while working (at home or elsewhere). Be sure to see your dentist regularly and tell your dentist or hygienist if you have any of these habits.

How Alcohol Affects Your Teeth

Most of us know what alcohol can do to the body and the brain – especially the liver. But how does alcohol affect your teeth, gums, and other oral tissues?

Our first question likely will be, “How much alcohol are we talking about?”alcoholic drinks-pixabay cco - 2578446 640

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines moderate alcohol use as one drink per day for a woman and no more than two drinks per day for a man. They define heavy drinking as more than 8 drinks per week for women and more than 15 drinks per week for men.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. Gum disease, mouth sores, and tooth decay are all far more likely for heavy drinkers.
  2. Alcohol abuse is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer.

What are the effects?

One study concluded that red wine kills the oral bacteria streptococci, which is a factor in tooth decay. People with alcohol use disorder seem to have higher levels of plaque on their teeth. They are also at triple the risk of permanent tooth loss. But what about moderate drinkers?

  • Tooth staining. The color in beverages is from chromogens, which attach to tooth enamel that has been thinned by the acid in alcohol and stain the teeth. One possible preventive step is to use a straw when drinking alcoholic beverages. Mixing alcohol with dark-colored soda or consuming red wine can stain or discolor your teeth. Beer, like wine, is acidic and affects the tooth enamel. Darker beers are more likely to stain your teeth due to the dark barley and malts in dark beer.
  • Dry Mouth. Beverages that are high in alcohol tend to dry your mouth. This removes the saliva that keeps your teeth moist and helps to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Many people try to overcome the dryness by quickly consuming another drink. But this simple makes your mouth dryer. Instead, you need to drink a lot of water while you are consuming alcohol.
  • Other effects. By chewing the ice in your drinks, you increase the risk of damage from consuming alcohol. Chewing ice can break or chip a tooth. If you add lemon or lime to your drink, you add an acidic agent that can erode tooth enamel.

Before you consume the next alcoholic beverage, your teeth will be thankful if you take steps to protect your teeth and gums.

Oral Health and Pneumonia in Older Adults

A recent study has drawn connections between the bacteria in one's mouth and an older adult with swallowing problems contracting pneumonia. Another study examines the steps needed to prevent this from occurring.

A 2018 study found that when aging patients frequently aspirate saliva, they may be inhaling bacteria from their mouth (particularly bacteria residing on their tongues). These bacteria can contribute to the development of pneumonia in these nursing home patients.pneumonia - paid - shutterstock 1160250262

The researchers determined that several oral health issues contributed to the development of pneumonia. They found that patients with poor oral health were at greater risk than others. The problems they identified were:
• Fewer teeth
• Poorer dental hygiene
• More dental caries
They concluded that attention should be given to the bacteria being transferred to the lungs due to aspiration related to a swallowing problem in these senior adults.

A second study, reported last week, found that the number of cases of pneumonia at nursing homes is reduced when oral care programs are initiated and sustained. This study involved 2,153 patients from 14 nursing homes. From this group, 1,219 patients received oral care from staff specifically trained to provide this care; the remaining 933 patients functioned as controls.

The nursing homes of the patients given the oral care program observed a 31% reduction in the number of pneumonia cases during the first year of the program. Unfortunately, this level of improvement was not sustained in the second year of the study.

In addition to some data acquisition limitations of the study, the researchers concluded that sustainability of care was a significant factor in the second-year results. They pointed out that the oral care program requires both trained personnel and time to implement the program. Both are in short supply in most nursing homes. They concluded that long-term sustainability of the positive results of the program may require dedicated staff trained as oral care aides.


Protecting You From Coronavirus

For your safety, and that of our staff, everyone who enters the Complete Dental Care office is screened for COVID19. As the number of new cases is rising across the country, we want you to understand that you are as safe as we can possibly make you while in our office.Coronavirus Prevention - paid - shutterstock 1743578639


Coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets that are pushed into the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. For this reason, you will be required to wear a mask while in our office -- except while you are actively being treated.


Some procedures that require the use of ultrasonic instruments (ultrasonic drills, polishing tools, and the air/water syringe, for example), will not be used or will be used only under carefully controlled circumstances.


Some dental procedures and instruments can create a spray containing your saliva, water, and debris. Formation of the spray is called aerosolizing. These droplets quickly fall to the floor and settle on other surfaces. They may also remain in the air longer than we expect.


To protect you from these aerosolized particles, we have installed upgraded air filters. We also wait 15 minutes after you leave before we #disinfect the surfaces in the exam room. This allows time for these droplets to settle on surfaces, to be cleaned away.


Virus and bacteria control always have been an important part of the practice of dentistry. We want you to understand that we are taking every possible step to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the office. Your health is of paramount importance.

What is Cheek-Biting?

I keep biting my cheek. What can I do to stop this?  What causes it?

  1. It could be a simple accident.
  2. It could be a symptom of a temporomandibular disorder (TMJD). When your teeth or implants become cheek biting - paid - shutterstock 538724242misaligned in your mouth, it may cause you to bit your cheek regularly.
  3. It could be an expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).In this case, it is viewed as a "body-focused repetitive behavior."

Don't ignore the symptoms. 


The area where you bite your cheek can become thick, scarred, and pale. It might become inflamed and develop purple spots. Repeated cheek biting can cause tissues to erode. Finally, many chronic cheek biters develop emotional effects ranging from wanting to be isolated from others who might see the biting. It can also cause low self-esteem in some people. 


Who can help me?


Your dentist is likely the person who can best help you to identify the cause of the biting and offer some treatments. Your dentist will be able to determine if the biting occurs as a simple accident or if you have temporomandibular disorder. In these cases, your dentist may prescribe a custom mouthguard to protect fragile cheek tissues.


If it becomes clear to your dentist that your cheek-biting is a body-focused repetitive behavior, you will probably be referred to your primary care physician or a counselor.


If you or someone you love is cheek-biting, give us a call. 


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