How Long Is Your Jaw?

90% of people have crooked or crowded teeth.

75% cannot accommodate wisdom teeth because their mouths are too small.  human jaw - paid - Depositphotos 11130577 s-2019

For decades, we have been told (and scientists believed) that the reason for crooked teeth is that our teeth are too big to fit into the jaw. Dr. Peter Ungar PhD., Of the University of Arkansas, disagrees. After 30 years of study, he believes that people’s jaws are not growing long enough to accommodate normal-sized teeth. Dr. Ungar also determined that most animals and human ancestors did not have overbites.

His explanation is this: “Jaw length is tied to strain resulting from heavy chewing. Our short jaws are a product of diet change.” Our ancestor’s teeth developed as they did to manage tough (difficult to chew) foods and an abrasive environment. As our diets have shifted to a softer cleaner diet, we do not chew enough. Chewing less and chewing softer foods has caused an imbalance between jaw length and tooth size. Because of the imbalance, jaws are not developing the way they should.

Several things remain under study, including the times of greatest jaw growth before they stop growing at age 18. In addition, scientists do not know yet whether eating tough foods best supports jaw growth in ongoing longer-term chewing or with short periods of intense chewing at particular ages.

Tooth Pain from Cavities

We all know that some dental cavities (caries) are really painful until they are addressed. We also know that many cavities cause no pain. The difference is how deeply the decay/cavity has progressed into the center of your tooth where the pulp and nerves are located. The deeper into the tooth the cavity reaches the greater the pain tooth cavity - paid - Depositphotos 12012021 s-2019experienced in most cases.

A study conducted in 2011-2012 found that 91 percent of adults in the U.S. had cavities, yet many were not aware of it. Often, new or small cavities are not visible to you. Cavities located between teeth or below the gum level also may not be visible to you.

A very small or a new cavity will typically be small and will affect only the enamel of the tooth. These mild cavities cause tooth sensitivity (stinging or burning), sensitivity on one side of your mouth (particularly when eating hard foods), occasional toothache (that responds to pain medicine), or discoloring of your teeth (perhaps with white, yellow or brown spots).

If damage caused to the tooth by a small cavity is not treated, the cavity will grow larger and extend deeper into the core of the tooth. Sometimes the growth of the cavity causes a tooth abscess (a pocket of pus that's caused by a bacterial infection). Symptoms of large cavities often include intense pain (which may affect only one tooth), a non-specific but constant ache, swelling of your gums or your face, pain that is stinging or throbbing to burning or pounding, fever, nausea, jaw pain, ear pain, pain in your gums, or severe tooth pain that interferes with your daily activities or with sleep.

Occasionally, an abscessed tooth will stop hurting when infection kills the nerve or the pulp of your tooth. To minimize the damage from a cavity it is important to take note of these symptoms and see your dentist. Your dentist may take a digital X-Ray in order to see the size and position of the cavity before filling it.

If you are experiencing pain due to tooth decay, it’s time to schedule a dental appointment. You will want to ensure that the problem is a cavity, and not a sinus infection or TMJD. Your dentist will be able to identify the cause of your pain and help you to prevent the problem from becoming worse. The sooner a cavity is identified and treated, the less damage it can do. Severe cavities require more extensive and expensive repairs.

If you have intense pain, you may need to see an emergency dentist. If you cannot be seen by a dentist within the next 24 hours, you should visit the emergency room if your symptoms include: fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, swelling around your mouth or in your face, swelling behind your ears, pain severe enough to interfere with sleep. Left untreated, tooth decay can damage your gums or enter your bloodstream and carry the infection to other parts of your body.

To prevent cavities, avoid sugary or acidic foods and beverages, brush and floss twice daily, and see your dentist twice each year.

Pain is a warning. If you have tooth pain, don’t ignore it. Call your dentist and schedule an appointment or seek emergency help.

What is a diastema?

A diastema is a gap (wider than 0.5 millimeters) between the teeth. It can appear in both children and adults. It is not harmful. In children, the gap usually closes when their permanent teeth erupt. In most cases treatment is not necessary except for cosmetic reasons. In fact, some people are recognized for their diastema.


gap between teeth - paid - shutterstock 555080956


(1.) the size of the teeth is too small relative to the size of their jawbone;

(2) if some teeth are smaller or are missing;

(3) tooth migration is a typical symptom of advanced gum disease;

(4) the labial frenum - the tissue between the inside of the upper lip and the gum above the upper front teeth - is especially large;

(5) swallowing reflex pushes the tongue against the front teeth rather than the roof of the mouth when swallowing;

(6) habits like thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting; loss of baby teeth.



If you want to close the gap for aesthetic reasons, your dentist can help you choose the best solution for your needs. The most common treatments are:

  1. Braces are used to move the teeth with pressure for a time.
  2. Veneers or bonding. Dental to the bonding applies resin to the surface of the teeth. Veneers are fitted over the surface of the teeth.
  3. If the gap is due to missing teeth, you may choose a bridge or a dental implant.
  4. If the gap is caused by a large labial frenum, you might choose a frenectomy to remove the extra tissue. Older children and adults may need braces or other treatment after surgery. In younger children, the gap may close on its own.
  5. Gum disease treatment to stop the infection.

If you or your child have a diastema that concerns you, make an appointment and discuss it with your dentist.

UK Reduced Sugar Consumption in Soft Drinks by 34 Percent

A study published on January 13 offers insights into how the UK reduced sugar consumption in soft drinks by 34 percent since 2018. Their success is attributed to three factors:

1.      Public information dissemination about the harm to oral and general health from excessive sugar consumption.

2.      An effort by manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in their soft drinks.

3.      Imposition of a three-tiered tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

sugary soft drinks - paid - shutterstock 648584629

Between 2015 and 2018 the volume of sugars in soft drinks was reduced by more than 4.5 grams per person per day. This reduction in sugars was due to reformulations by soft drink manufacturers and the introduction of lower-sugar drinks. Some of this may have been done in anticipation of the tiered tax implemented in 2018.

To reduce sugar consumption, the UK introduced a tiered tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The tax is calculated in this way:

1.      Tax of 24 pence (34 cents U.S.) per liter on high-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages containing more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 mL.

2.      Tax of 18 pence (23 cents U.S.) per liter on medium-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages containing between 5 and 8 grams of sugar per 100mL.

3.      No tax on unsweetened drinks and low-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 mL.

The study was not intended to evaluate the effects of the soft drink tax. Yet the study discovered “a striking reduction in the sugar content of soft drinks in the U.K.” These researchers estimated the amount of sugar in the food supply before and after the tax was implemented. Hi- and-Medium-sugar drink sales fell from 31 percent of all beverage sales in 2015 to merely 15 percent of sales in 2018. After adjusted for sales, the mean sugar content of all soft drinks decreased by 34%. The volume of sales has increased while the sugar content has declined.

An achievement of this kind will have far-reaching beneficial effects throughout the population of the UK. Would this approach have the same outcome in other places?

Please tell us what you think:

Could this be accomplished in the USA?

Is it an approach that you would support?

Do you think the same results could be achieved here?

Why Children Get Cavities Despite Regular Brushing

One parental frustration that we hear about often is why your child has #cavities despite regular #brushing.

Oral hygiene is critical for children, not only at the present moment but throughout their lives. The habits people establish in their early years have lasting and guiding effects on the child's oral and general #health.

dentist shows child ht brush - paid - Depositphotos 115991764 s-2019

The most common reason children get cavities despite regular brushing is that the child is not brushing correctly. Often, children miss the back of teeth and do not brush back teeth adequately. Your supervision of their oral hygiene may be necessary for several years.

A second reason for cavities developing despite brushing is that many children do not #floss or do not floss properly. It may be helpful to try several flossing devices -- string floss, floss in a plastic frame, or interdental brushes -- until you find the best way for your child to floss effectively.

If oral hygiene is a problem, talk to your #dentist. Any dentist will be happy to show you and your child how to brush and floss to prevent cavities.

A third reason for cavities developing may be in your child's #diet. There are a number of foods and beverages that children should not eat if they have oral hygiene challenges. These are food and drinks that are high in #sugar or in harmful #acids. Limiting these sources of #decay and having your child brush at the right time after eating can make a big difference quickly.

Finally, remember that your dentist is your partner and your child's partner in practicing good #oralhygiene and good #oralhealth. Call us if we can help.


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