Category Archives: Dental Health Tips

Tooth Decay: A Sickly, Sweet Dilemma

 

tooth-decay

An Oral Epidemic!

Regardless of whether you grew up in the 1950’s or 1990’s, surely, you’ve heard your share of warnings and or lectures on how sugar is bad for your teeth and how excess sweets can cause cavities and lead to tooth decay. Although this concept has been drilled into the minds of kids for countless years, once grown into adults, many of these same kids still find themselves developing tooth decay and other related issues!

According to NBC News, a 2015 poll showed that the percentage of American adults suffering from tooth decay was higher than in previous decades, in what the CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control) has called a “silent oral epidemic.”

With recent advancements made in dental technology, (as mentioned in previous blog posts) you’re probably wondering how this could happen? The answer is actually quite simple.

 

2 Main Reasons for the Increase in Tooth Decay

There are two primary reasons for the increase in tooth decay cases:

  1. The number of snacks and beverages containing excess sugar has steadily increased over the years

  2. A lack of understanding

While the first issue is self-explanatory, the second reason may have you pointing out the seemingly contradictory fact that young children have been taught that sugar hurts your teeth for many years, as mentioned earlier. Indeed, children are taught such a rudimentary concept from a young age. However, the education usually goes no further than this; therefore, a full understanding as to what tooth decay truly is, eludes them as children and continues when they become adults.

 

Tooth Decay: The Basics

As one of the most commonly encountered issues within the realm of professional dentistry, tooth decay is the progressive destruction of a tooth’s enamel, in which the outer lining of the tooth is slowly broken down. As the hardest substance to be found within the human body, tooth enamel is the strong outer tissue of the tooth, that acts as a safeguard for the intricate inner layers and chambers within the tooth.

Despite the apparent toughness of the outer enamel, if subjected to years of abuse or neglect, the enamel will eventually demineralize and break down, thereby leaving the tooth vulnerable to the outside elements.

In this state, your tooth is essentially at the mercy of whatever substances it may encounter.  If foods or beverages with high levels of acidity, those that contain excessive amounts of sugar continue to be regularly consumed, it’s inevitable that your teeth begin to deteriorate, resulting in cavities, significant damage, or other related complications.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay: A Checklist

The effects of tooth decay can have a significant impact on your overall health by interacting with pre-existing conditions and causing irreversible damage. However, if detected early the condition can be treated and any serious damage that the disease can cause can be minimized.

As mentioned earlier, knowledge is a key element when dealing with tooth decay; therefore, knowing what to look for is crucial in preventing tooth decay from progressing.

  • Tooth Sensitivity:

    Teeth that are overly sensitive can be indicative of tooth decay, as well as several other inner oral conditions and certainly should not be taken lightly! This tingling and slightly painful sensation is most often triggered by extreme hot or cold temperatures and may likely worsen overtime.

Related Article: Is tooth sensitivity making it difficult to enjoy the holidays? 

  • Toothache:

    Much like the previous symptom, an occasional sharp pain may become an occasional occurrence; however, these pains may seem to occur without an apparent cause. Such toothaches are undoubtedly a strong indication of decay or damage and should be examined by a professional dentist as soon as possible.

Related Article: Do You Need Emergency Dental Care?

  • Stains or discoloration:

    While having stained and discolored teeth might seem to be more of a cosmetic problem, it may also be a health issue! By showing visible signs of wear and tear, the enamel of your teeth has likely broken down, thus leaving your teeth vulnerable and ripe for decay.

  • Holes or pits:

    If you have begun to notice the appearance of sunken, pit-like areas on the surface of your teeth or even small cracks and holes, you are indeed suffering from tooth decay and should see your dentist right away! Although these pits, cracks, and holes might appear small at first, rest assured they WILL eventually get worse and if left untreated, will ultimately destroy your tooth.

 

How to Fight Tooth Decay: Simple Prevention Tips

Tooth decay is a disease and like any disease, it needs to be treated. However, unlike other diseases, you yourself can take an active role in fighting this disease. Listed below are some helpful tips that prevent and reduce the effects of tooth decay.

Remember, although these tips can certainly help, it is STILL imperative that you make an appointment to see your dentist!

  • Focus on oral hygiene:

    Daily oral hygiene is something that’s very easy to overlook. However, as mundane as it may seem, the importance of practicing proper oral hygiene on a routine basis cannot be stressed enough. As it is often the difference between those who have tooth decay and those who don’t. For best results, a thorough brushing twice daily and sometimes between meals is your best bet, and of course don’t forget to floss!

  • Alter your diet:

    If you have a sweet tooth, or regularly indulge in acidic sodas or sugary treats, you might want to consider cutting back or finding new alternatives as these products put your teeth under constant attack. Additionally, foods that are particularly sticky or chewy can also present an issue as they tend to get stuck between teeth and are often difficult for a tooth brush to reach.

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

  • Rinse/Avoid dry mouth:

    If you suffer from frequent bouts of dry mouth, your risk of building up an excess amount of plaque is considerably heightened. Therefore, rinsing and keeping your mouth properly hydrated should always be a main priority.

  • Follow the six-month rule:

    The six-month rule is the standard allotted time between dental checkups and should certainly be adhered to, especially if you are concerned about tooth decay.

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

  • Don’t smoke:

    While this may seem obvious, it would behoove us not to mention the risk smoking presents in developing tooth decay, as well as a litany of other illnesses. If you smoke, please … please … please consider quitting!

Related Article: New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking!

 

Tooth Decay? No Way!

While statistics show that those suffering from tooth decay has increased in recent years, the technology and capability of modern dentistry has grown by leaps and bounds and is more than capable in fighting this so called “Oral Epidemic.”

The real question is …

are you willing to fight it too?

If you believe you might be at risk of developing tooth decay, don’t be another statistic! At Overland Park Dentistry we have the tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to aid you in this battle for your smile!

Don’t be another statistic, schedule your appointment today!

 

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 dentistry options for 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.

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking

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The Dawn of a New Day

2019 is here and it’s the start of a new year! Like many people, you’ve probably given the upcoming year a certain matter of thought, and perhaps you’ve asked yourself if there are any specific goals you have or any changes that you’d like to make. Certainly, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set about accomplishing worthy goals for yourself and as a means of self-improvement.

Some of the more common resolutions involve weight loss, exercise, and financial improvement. However, for some people a very serious personal concern that is always brought up around this time of year is smoking, and their resolution to stop smoking. While the dangers of smoking have been well publicized and are certainly no secret among the general public, tobacco smoking remains a persistent issue that continues to plague people from all walks of life. If you’re a smoker, please consider putting “Stop Smoking” at the top of your New Year’s resolution list this year!

 

Smoking: Your Body’s Worst Nightmare

Simply put, tobacco products (particularly cigarettes) ruin your body. Although the damage takes a number of years to fully progress, smoking will slowly begin to attack your body in a variety of different ways, effectively decimating your overall health and ultimately resulting in death.

While this may sound a bit melodramatic, as of January 2018 The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States occur each year as a result of cigarette smoking. Therefore, this habit is causing more deaths annually than HIV, drug and alcohol use, and automotive accidents combined! As the culprit behind these staggering statistics, cigarettes are without question the most dangerous of tobacco products due to their highly addictive nature in addition to the numerous cancer-causing substances they contain. With users addicted to cigarettes, consistently exposing themselves to harmful substances, the occurrences of eventual health problems are inevitable.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

While many people are aware of the adverse effects smoking has on your respiratory and cardiovascular health, the effect it has on your oral health often remains overlooked. Unfortunately, this is often a costly mistake, as smoking can have a major impact on your teeth and gums and can even trigger some serious illnesses.

While certainly cigarette smoke can cause significant staining and discoloration of your teeth due to the vast quantities of nicotine and tar in each cigarette (usually giving your teeth a sickly yellowish hue) smoking also triggers and exacerbates a condition known as periodontal disease. Periodontal or gum disease is an infection that originates within the gum line and spreads throughout the mouth irreversibly damaging the gum tissue and teeth. In turn, the damage caused by periodontal disease may result in bone loss or even cause the infection to spread.

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

In addition to gum disease, tobacco smoke can also trigger mouth cancer, which like any form of cancer, wreaks havoc on the afflicted area while always presenting the threat of metastasizing into other regions of the body.

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

As a longtime practitioner in professional dentistry, Dr. Kimes echoed much of this when asked about the subject.

“A person’s mouth is not meant to be ingesting smoke, it damages the gums, the teeth, the tongue, the jawbone; everything! I’ve had a several patients over the years who wanted to quit but just weren’t able to, it was very sad to see” he said solemnly.

Indeed, the residual affects on the lives of those impacted by smoking is a very sad and very real consequence of smoking, and perhaps underlines the true importance to stop smoking more than anything.

Stop Smoking: Tips for Quitting

Finding the best way to stop smoking is always a tricky subject as there is no magic formula or fool-proof plan to ensure this happens. However, there are plenty of resources and different methods to assist you in the process of quitting!

  1. Make a Plan: If you are serious about wanting to stop smoking, it’s a wise idea to have a sort of game plan in mind to assist you and anticipate any difficulty that lay ahead. Quitting can be tricky so you might try asking someone else who has quit smoking for advice.
  2. Use Resources: Although there are those who attempt to quit cold turkey, (without any assistance) approximately only 7% are successful in doing so, often with much difficulty. Fortunately, there is no need for such difficulty today as numerous products exist that can be used as effective tools in curtailing your cravings. Known as nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, gums, and other nicotine substitutes can play a major part in slowly diminishing the powerful dependence instilled by cigarette smoking.
  3. Ask Others for Help: Please don’t be afraid to ask for help, as support from friends and family often plays a vital role in the success of quitting. Additionally, it may also help to consult your physician, dentist, or psychologist as they may be able to help advise you during the process, and better your chances of success.
  4. Know Your Triggers: On the road to quitting this unhealthy habit, you will probably encounter certain situations or circumstances that will give you the urge to smoke, these are your triggers and it’s important to recognize them, so you are able to refrain from smoking if or when they appear. Perhaps one of the most common triggers among smokers is the fact that they are surrounded by other smokers. If this is the case and you have friends and family who smoke, you might want to limit your time with them or make a point to avoid them if they are smoking. This can be tricky but it’s certainly worth it.
  5. Stay Busy: By keeping yourself distracted and your mind off smoking, you might find things go smoother. Put smoking on the back burner for a while and take the time to do something different. Perhaps there is a project you need to get started on or something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Starting a project or new hobby are great ways to change things up and get your mind on other things.
  6. Don’t Give Up: Quitting smoking is a long and winding road and there is always a chance of relapsing and slipping back into old habits. While this may be discouraging, it’s imperative that you not give up; even if you do have a slip-up or two (or more). By remaining consistent and continuing to fight the urge, it will get easier, you will break the habit and eventually stop smoking.

The Road to a Better Tomorrow!

The road to a better tomorrow starts today and with a brand-new year in full swing, the time for a healthier life is now! If “Stop Smoking” is on your New Year’s resolution list, then much like 2018 its time to make that issue a thing of the past. We hope the information above was useful for you and our staff at Overland Park Dentistry wish you a happy and healthy new year!

 

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 dentistry options for 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.

Is tooth sensitivity making it difficult to enjoy the holidays?

tooth-sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity: ‘Tis the Season!

As the holiday season approaches and a sweet sense of nostalgia hangs high in the air, fond memories and familiar sights, sounds, and of course, tastes are likely to come to mind! For many people, it’s the latter aspect of these that evokes the most memories. As great food is often a favorite part of the holiday season as few things can spread joy of the holidays like great food!

Unfortunately, there are some things that can undoubtedly hinder your holiday festivities, and tooth sensitivity is certainly one of them! Teeth that are easily irritated or overly sensitive to foods or beverages can be a very frustrating problem indeed, and while it may seem as little more than a minor nuisance at first, if this issue continues to persist for an extended period, it may began affect one’s life in a most unpleasant way!

Tooth Sensitivity: That’s gotta hurt!

While it often varies from person to person, it usually starts with a slight tingle when consuming certain foods or drinks, and gradually progresses to a sharp biting pain over time. While that might not sound so bad at first, those suffering from tooth sensitivity often find themselves going to great lengths to avoid the foods that trigger this sensation and are likely to give up things that they once enjoyed.

Things likely to trigger sensitive teeth may include foods that are extremely sweet or sour, as well foods or drinks that are particularly cold or hot as changes in temperature are often the most frequent source of pain according to sufferers. The reason for this pain generally stems from the tooth’s outer layer enamel becoming increasingly depleted and worn, thus leading the nerves and roots of the tooth to become (at least partly) exposed to the elements. The source of the pain might be easy to determine.

Unfortunately, the cause may not be as easy to determine; as there are multiple potential causes for the loss of your tooth’s enamel.

 

Tooth Sensitivity: The Causes

  • Highly Acidic Foods:

    Foods or beverages with a high pH level, (or highly acidic contents) will always be a danger to your tooth’s enamel if consumed too frequently. While this obviously includes sports drinks, soft drinks, and sour candy. Certain fruits such as lemons, kiwi, oranges, or grapefruit are all very acidic and should be consumed in moderation also.

  • Brushing Too Hard:

    While it’s important to really brush your teeth effectively, sometimes it can be easy to overdo it. Brushing with a little too much gusto or pressing too hard can sometimes actually put excess wear and tear on your tooth’s outer layers. While certainly a lighter touch may be key in alleviating this issue, a new toothbrush with softer bristles would be a good idea too. Such extra soft brushes can be found at most local convince stores or in our offices as well!

  • Mouthwash Overuse:

    Much like over brushing, the over application of mouthwash can in fact be more harmful for your teeth than expected, due to alcohol and other chemicals within the solution. To avoid this, try brushing and flossing more thoroughly, or perhaps consider using a natural fluoride rinse instead.

  • Gum Disease:

    Gum disease or periodontal disease is a slow progressing, but potentially serious condition that if left untreated could trigger many additional issues including sensitive teeth. Such telltale signs of gum disease may include; receding gums, bleeding gums, or noticeable discoloration of both gums and teeth. However, if you are unsure, scheduling a dental checkup is probably a good idea.

  • Recent Dental Treatment:

    If you have had any recent dental procedures such as extractions or crowns (or others), it’s common to experience a degree of sensitivity for a small period of time. However, if the tenderness does not subside, a follow up appointment might be in order as this may indicate an infection.

  • Damage/Decay:

    If your tooth has any sustained any cracks or chips or has simply developed a certain amount of decay over time, your teeth are likely to become susceptible to pain or discomfort. This discomfort will only increase if left untreated. If you believe this to be the case, then assessing the damage now is your best option, as it will only get worse if you don’t!

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

 

Overland Park Dentistry: We Can Help!

In what’s sometimes referred to as “The most wonderful time of the year” the holiday season can be a great time to enjoy some of your favorite foods with those you love. However, if increased tooth sensitivity gets in your way, you may find yourself feeling pain instead of the holiday spirit! At Overland Park Dentistry we have all the knowledge and resources necessary to assess this issue and get you back to celebrating the holidays with lots of cheer!

Don’t wait, make your appointment today!

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

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 dentistry options for 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.

Dental Insurance Benefits: Use ‘Em OR Lose ‘Em

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Dental Insurance Benefits: The clock is ticking!

As December grows closer and the year slowly begins to draw to a close, there is certainly much to do and many things to think about, but have you thought about a dental check-up? Sure, it may seem like a small minute detail, but unfortunately it could be a costly one as dental insurance benefits do NOT carry over from one year to the next!

That’s right, at the beginning of every year your insurance benefits automatically reset to their defaults, thus any and all unused benefits are ultimately lost! This is an unfortunate and often regretful situation that many patients have found themselves in, and at Overland Park Dentistry we always hate to see this sort of thing happen. So, remember if you still have any unused benefits please use them before it’s too late!

Related Article: Be Prepared with Delta Dental and Overland Park Dentistry

 

Basic checkups

As a general rule, the majority of dental practitioners require a minimum of two routine check-ups per year with an approximate six-month gap between each appointment. Fortunately, most insurance providers have plans to provide coverage for exactly this, two yearly appointments. Overland Park Dentistry accepts 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. Of course, if you have additional questions or concerns about this, our front desk would be more than happy to assist you in any way possible!

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

 

Advanced Procedures

If you have sustained any kind of damage or decay, and require more advanced treatment, the latter months of the year are perhaps the best time to receive this. (Especially if you have yet to use all your benefits.) While obviously repairing broken or damaged teeth varies greatly on the severity of the damage and necessary procedure required to treat it, (such as bonding, crowns, implants, or others)  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. 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 so much longer. Keep in mind, while it might be easy to put dental care on back burner due to its slow progressing nature, oral health issues can be a slippery slope that CAN become very serious if neglected!

Related Articles:

 

Don’t Wait!

As the leaves have fallen and Overland Park has already had a couple of snowy cold days , it’s clear that many different things are on the horizon, and as exciting as this might be its important not to lose sight of the important things. While it can be easy to forget about or overlook those hardworking pearly white teeth of yours, your teeth and oral heath are very important, and taking the time to visit your dentist and have them checked and maintained is absolutely mandatory in keeping them healthy.

So remember, while those lingering unused insurance benefits might not seem like a big deal to you, they are a big deal to your teeth! And although it still seems far away, once the ball drops on December 31st, those unused benefits are gone forever! So if you have remining benefits on your insurance plan, please use them, trust us… your teeth will thank you for it!

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

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 dental 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.

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

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Sugar Hurts Teeth: If You Sip and Snack All Day, You Risk Tooth Decay!

As hardworking and productive members of society, we all deserve a little reward from time to time right? Whether it be the daily grind of working nine to five, or the rigorous duties of parenthood, a well-deserved reward always makes seems to make thinks a little more enjoyable.

Snack Attack!

However, for many people this so-called guilty pleasure often takes the form of treating themselves to sweet tasting snacks or beverages. While it’s certainly okay to partake in enjoying a bit of sweet flavored candy every now and then, if this becomes a regular daily habit, you may find this habit causing a bit more pain instead of pleasure!

Did you know … sugar hurts teeth?

 

Sugar Hurts Teeth: A Truly Rotten Problem!

As its name implies, tooth decay refers to the condition in which the build-up of acidic material in a person’s mouth causes the outer layers of their teeth to slowly begin to dissolve. With the loss of its protective outer coating, the tooth is left vulnerable to the excess plaque and bacteria within the mouth, causing the tooth to break down and begin to rot.  While the idea of a rotten or missing tooth may sound unappealing, what truly makes this an urgent problem are the infectious complications that can occur as result of tooth decay. When a serious oral infection occurs, there is always the potential for the excess bacteria to spread to the bloodstream reaching regions of the body. This can cause severe damage and can even be life-threatening if left untreated.

 

Sugar Hurts Teeth: Worst Snacks for Teeth

As you probably already know, there are certain types of foods that are worse for your teeth than others; however, there are indeed certain snacks that can absolutely decimate your oral health if consumed in excess.

  • Hard Candy: As strong as your teeth might be, excessive hard candy (such as lollipops, peppermints, and jawbreakers) can be the kryptonite to your pearly whites!  In addition to being packed full of cavity-causing sugar, (and we know that sugar hurts teeth!) the candy’s hard material can also cause cracks and chips to form in your teeth, requiring an emergency visit to repair. This can also be said for ice, which although not candy, can very easily break or damage teeth. Heed our advice; please DON’T chew ice!
  • Soda/Soft Drinks: Although soft drinks such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi products are moderately priced and highly accessible, with their high acidity these various sodas can slowly eat away at the enamel of your teeth, making them increasingly frail and vulnerable to decay.
  • Citric Fruits and Juices: While fruits and their juices (oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit, ect) certainly provide some great health benefits, their highly citric nature can be hazardous for your teeth and cause painful sores to form within your mouth. Although this surely doesn’t mean that you should avoid fruits all together, but just to be mindful of some of the negative affects that they can cause if consumed too often.
  • Hard or Crunchy Food: Although crunchy snacks like chips, pretzels, crackers and other assorted items are beloved snacks that have been enjoyed by people for many years; these starch-rich snacks are not exactly kind to your teeth. Due to their highly breakable composition, these snacks often find their way into the various crevasses within your teeth.  Once the food particles have become lodged within your teeth, excess plaque begins to build and cause decay. If crunchy chips are your snack of choice, taking the time to floss regularly is a wise idea.
  • Coffee / Caffeinated Drinks: Okay, this is a tough one for many people to accept, but caffeinated coffee, tea, or energy drinks, are not good for your teeth. Although caffeine certainly helps you stay awake, it also dehydrates you, causing your teeth dry out and decay. While this might be unwelcome news to those who depend on their caffeine kick do get them through the day, our advice to caffeine users would be to reduce sugary add-ons and supplement your caffeine intake with plenty of water.
  • Sticky Candy: According to many industry insiders, chewy or sticky candy holds dubious distinction as the worst snack for a person’s teeth.  Much like its harder-candy counterpart, sticky candy such as jolly ranchers, gummy bears, and taffy are rough on your teeth due to their extremely high amount of sugar. (Remember?!?! Sugar Hurts Teeth!!) However, what truly makes sticky candy the worst of the worst is its uncanny ability to get stuck in the small gaps and crevasses among your teeth, and its difficulty to be removed once caught there. Because of the sticky materials’ ability to get stuck within your teeth and the sugar within it to continue to harm your teeth, if you do choose to avoid any snack on this list, sticky chewy candy might not be best one to avoid (because it’s the worst one for your teeth).

Related Article: It’s Halloween: Why is Candy Bad for Your Teeth?

 

Sugar Hurts Teeth: Keep Decay at Bay

While finding better alternatives to some of the previously mentioned snacks isn’t a bad idea, your best course of action is to schedule your routine dental exams with Dr. Kimes at Overland Park Dentistry, and of course to make a consistent effort in practicing proper oral hygiene techniques on a regular basis. And please remember while the above-mentioned snacks can certainly lead to their fair share of problems if consumed in mass quantities, its certainly okay to partake in the occasional snack if done so in moderation.

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

Life is stressful and hard sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself and taking joy in the little things. So if you choose to indulge in your guilty pleasure and enjoy the occasional snack or treat, just remember to do so in moderation, because if done too often, a little treat can turn into a big problem!

 

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 dental 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.

How to Stop Bad Breath: A Stinky Situation

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Whether it be a pesky zit or blemish that appears on your face before an important event, an unrelenting headache that just won’t go away, or the ever-annoying cold or flu that hits you at the worst possible time, some things just flat out stink! Certainly, if one were to compile a list of the most unpleasant and undesirable pitfalls of daily life, the topics listed would be almost endless. However, one thing that’s sure to make such wanting to stop bad breath! Foul breath or halitosis as it’s formally known, is an offensive odor that emits from inside your mouth on a regular basis. While gum or breath mints can be used to remedy this, as with any chronic condition, the issue always persists. Obviously foul breath presents something of a social problem; however, it may also be indicative of certain underlying health issues as well. Therefore finding the root of bad breath and treating it might be more urgent then you realize. Read on … let’s stop bad breath!

Stop Bad Breath: The Causes of Bad Breath

Wanting to stop bad breath can certainly be a more serious issue than one might expect, many people are often quick to dismiss bad breath due to its seeming benign nature. While indeed some causes of bad breath are relatively harmless, it’s important to keep in mind that if the problem becomes persistent, there is likely something larger at play.

Proper Oral Hygiene:

While there are numerous reasons for bad breath, perhaps the primary culprit is improper or a lack of oral hygiene. While typically progressing at a slow rate, improper dental hygiene may likely result in periodontal or gum disease. Although this might not sound like a big deal, untreated gum disease can lead to a litany of additional health problems that can manifest numerous different ways, some of which could be potentially fatal!

Life Style & Dietary Habits:

Although it might seem rather obvious, a person’s life style and dietary habits can be a major factor in causing bad breath for multiple reasons. As food partials are broken down within your mouth, the level of bacteria within your mouth naturally increases and creates a foul odor. While this is certainly a natural process, if excess levels of bacteria are able to build up within the mouth, obviously the foulness of odor will increase exponentially, as will the frequency of the unpleasant smell. This may be caused by consuming increasing amounts of sweet or acidic foods, or by practicing poor or improper dental hygiene. Although seldom acknowledged, taking various types of medications can also have an influence on the occurrence of bad breath, as the combining and interaction of certain medications almost always has the potential of causing various unexpected and sometimes unpleasant side effects.

Internal Interactions or Pre-Existing Conditions:

Whether you’re aware of it or not, if you are suffering from certain medical issues or conditions, bad breath can occur because of this, and require you to take a closer look at the potential cause. One such condition that can be a sure-fire cause of chronic bad breath, and numerous other health issues is that of periodontal or gum disease.

Periodontal Disease or sometimes known as Periodontitis, or gum disease is a progressive inflammatory disease that affects the teeth and surrounding tissue. Although there are multiple factors that may contribute to the onset of periodontal disease, the primary cause is the buildup of excess bacteria in your mouth due to dental plaque. While this may sound relatively benign at first, don’t be fooled! Gum disease can be a serious or even life-threatening condition that may result in a litany of additional health problems if left untreated.

Related Articles:  Link between Diabetes and Oral Health

 

Stop Bad Breath: What can be done?

With numerous causes and factors at play, solving the issue of persistent foul breath might seem a bit daunting at first. Fortunately, however there are multiple solutions that can help stop bad breath, put an end to this embarrassing problem and allow you to return to a happy and stink-free life!

Focus on Proper Technique:

As mentioned previously, proper oral hygiene is paramount. Unfortunately, due to its routine and somewhat mundane nature, it can be easy to forget about the importance of this activity and become a bit sloppy. Take the time to give your oral hygiene routine a nice tune up. Perhaps try a different brushing technique or consider investing in some new hygiene materials, like an electric toothbrush.

Try Flossing or Using Mouthwash:

If dental floss and mouthwash are not part of your routine right now, consider adding them quickly. It’s no secret that both flossing and using mouthwash can play a vital role in freshening breath or improving overall oral health. A refresher course on flossing can checked off your list by scheduling a dental appointment. And stock up on supplies when you go to the grocery store.

Schedule A Dental Exam:

While the previous options are indeed good ideas to consider, scheduling an appointment to see Dr. Kimes at Overland Park Dentistry is undoubtedly the smartest thing you can do. If bad breath is a continuous problem that won’t seem to go away, you may be suffering from addition issues such as gingivitis, tooth decay, or even some sort of internal infection. However, the best way to have the issue properly diagnosed and assessed, so you can stop bad breath is by a professionally trained dentist.

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

 

Stop Bad Breath: We Can Help!

Rotten breath is truly one nasty problem to have, and here at Overland Park Dentistry, our job is to prevent and alleviate such problems. If you find yourself plagued by bad breath, don’t let this problem stink up your life! Come see Dr. Kimes and his amazing staff at Overland Park Dentistry and keep on smiling!

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

 

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 dental 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.

Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

dental-health-awareness

Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease: A Dangerous Duo

A little-known fact…

When someone is stricken with an illness, they often feel as though they are “fighting” the illness, and while it has become something of a cliché way of describing it, indeed “fighting it” is actually a quite accurate way of putting it. Fighting a disease is essentially like fighting an enemy within your own body and while fighting one disease at a time can be very tough, fighting two different diseases at one is a harrowing experience to say the least!

Unfortunately, this has been the case for many people, as not having accurate dental health awareness, overlooking routine oral hygiene procedures or improperly preforming them can lead to the condition known as Periodontal Disease!

Periodontal Disease: A Deceptive Enemy

Whether known as Periodontal Disease, or more formally as Periodontitis, or even simply as gum disease, this progressive illness should not be taken lightly! While initially considered to be more of a cosmetic issue, periodontal disease has in many cases been thought of as little more than a nuisance that merely discolors your teeth and gives you bad breath. However, this is a gross misconception. In reality, gum disease is a progressive infection that while beginning in the gumline, eventually spreads throughout the mouth, often damaging everything it reaches. In some of the more severe cases, gum disease has been known to entirely destroy a sufferer’s jawbone, or even spread into other regions of body. Once periodontal disease has reached this stage, the likelihood of it triggering additional illnesses or interacting with pre-existing ones becomes a serious concern, that may even prove to be life-threatening.

 

Dental Health Awareness: The Interaction

While periodontal disease can affect a person’s health in a number of different ways, the link between periodontitis and a person’s cardiovascular health is perhaps the most prominent. As something of an umbrella term, cardiovascular or heart disease pertains to any such conditions that may block the heart’s valves or restrict its blood flow in anyway. As mentioned previously, in severe cases of gum disease once the excess bacteria enter the body’s blood vessels, it will begin to travel throughout the body. If the periodontal bacteria reach the heart, it will likely inflame vessels causing blood clots to develop and damage to occur. This damage will slowly began restricting the flow of blood, effectively choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less.

Given this data, skeptics in both the dental and medical fields are quick to point out that despite the previous information, periodontal disease still does not guarantee an eventual heart attack. While this is certainly true, according to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, individuals afflicted with gum disease have at least a two to three times higher probability of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other sort of cardiovascular-based issue; alas, proving the correlation to be self-evident.

 

Dental Health Awareness: What to look for

Along with the clear link to cardiovascular illness, periodontal disease can also play a major role in the onset of or worsening of diabetes mellitus, which if mismanaged may wreak havoc on a person’s health and overall quality of life.  With so many hazards and associated issues, you’re probably wondering what exactly can be done to stop gum disease? Odd as it may sound, the key to preventing periodontal disease from appearing in your life is prevention itself. Much like a large hornet’s nest that has been left to grow and prosper, (thereby becoming a problem) gum disease is a progressive illness that will only become an issue if it is neglected, improperly managed, and ultimately allowed to thrive. This is one of the main reasons we talk so much about dental health awareness.

Learning and familiarizing yourself the signs and symptoms of gum disease is a crucial first step in preventing periodontal disease from becoming an issue in the first place. Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Bleeding or noticeably swollen gums
  • Excess pus buildup around gums and teeth
  • Hard brownish deposits that accumulate along the gum line
  • Chronic foul breath
  • Newly formed gaps between teeth or teeth that appear loose
  • Alterations in bite / changes in chewing habits

Related Article: Diabetes and Oral Health: The Link to Gum Disease

 

Dental Health Awareness: Risk Factors

As you can imagine, there are multiple factors such as; lifestyle habits or underlining issues that can play a major role in the development or worsening of periodontal disease which is why your dental health awareness is important to our team.

Such risk factors may include:

  • Smoking or any tobacco use
  • Genetic disposition / history of dental problems
  • Poor or improper oral hygiene
  • Preexisting health issues such as diabetes or hormonal disorders
  • Prescription or recreational drug use
  • Bruxism / clenching and grinding your teeth
  • Excess stress or a weakened immune system
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Previously damaged or misaligned teeth

 

Don’t Fight Alone!

As mentioned previously, what truly makes a disease like Periodontitis so dangerous is its uncanny ability to trigger additional issues such as heart disease. While fighting this gruesome twosome of periodontal disease and heart disease is certainly an uphill battle, you don’t have to fight alone! At Overland Park Dentistry, Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff are here to help you in this battle by providing you with some of the highest quality dental care in the Kansas City area.

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

Make no mistake, gum disease is very dangerous and if left untreated the consequences could be dire. So, please don’t let this happen to you, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry and let’s fight periodontal disease together!

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 or whitening consultation 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.

Schedule Your Summer Dental Appointment

dental-appointment

Schools Out for the Summer!

Summer is here, and we know what that means! Long sunny days, warm summer nights, poolside lounging, bar-b-que dinners, and of course kids, kids, and more kids! Yes, the summertime is that time that all kids love, and while this season of warmth and nostalgia is a welcome time for most, it can also be a time to get caught up on things too!  With a well-deserved break in the hectic school schedule, much can be accomplished, and few are as important as scheduling a routine dental appointment for yourself or your kiddo.

Dental Appointment: The Six-Month Rule

Like any routine service, annual dental checkups are a mandatory requirement in maintaining proper dental hygiene and health. To achieve this, Dr. Kimes and other professional dentists generally believe in following what is known as the “six-month rule”.  This of course, calls for two appointments per year, with a six-month period between each dental appointment.  While this may seem a bit excessive to some, it is highly recommended that patients of all ages adhere to this rule as prevention is always the key to good oral health.

Dental Appointment: Benefits Of Summer Appointments

As certainly many parents can attest to, the school year can be very hectic at times, especially for parents who must balance this with a full-time work schedule. Therefore, the benefits of scheduling a summertime dental appointment are staggering to say the least.

  1. Prevention:

    As mentioned earlier, preventative dental treatment is paramount to maintain long term oral health. This is particularly true with busy students during the school semester. Nothing can disrupt someone’s daily activities like a nagging toothache! By receiving the recommended summertime dental appointment, you might be sparing your kids from any future tooth problems or potential distractions.

  2. Less Scheduling Conflict:

    Interruptions in your work schedule and your children’s school schedules are sometimes unavoidable; however, there’s certainly no reason for anymore inconvenience than necessary.

  3. Health Requirements:

    While this is not always the case, certain school districts may require students to receive a standard oral exam prior to enrollment, or by a selected date within the fall semester. Although this is likely to vary somewhat depending on the specific school, its always better to play it safe and get the standard check ups out of the way before the semester starts.

Dental Appointment: Don’t Procrastinate! 

With time to spare and schedules open, the time to make those mandatory appointments is now! Remember although summer appointments are always a great idea, with the busy fall semester on the horizon, remaining dental appointment spots won’t last for very long!

So save yourself and your kids the hassle, and make your family’s dental appointment today!

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 or consultation 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 Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

oral-cancer-screeningOral Cancer Screening: The Season of Life

Its that time once again! That time of year where the cold bitterness of winter begins to taper off and the warm rays of sunlight slowly begin to take its place. It is during this time of transition in which we witness what’s sometimes referred to as the “Spring Phoenix” as rising from the ashes of the harsh dismal winter, green sprouts of life began to appear. As flowers begin to emerge and bloom, clearly it’s a beautiful time to not only be alive, but to truly feel alive! Therefore, perhaps it is only fitting that in this season of celebrating life, that we take the time to reflect on one of the most fundamental issues of our lives; our health. In keeping up with the hustle and bustle of daily life (work, family, finances, etc) its easy to sometimes take one’s health for granted. However, with the innumerable health hazards that one may encounter in life, it’s always in one’s best interest to maintain a keen level of awareness of any serious illnesses.

As you probably know, cancer in all its forms is one of the most serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses affecting the world population today. However, what you might not know is that there are but few types of cancer deadlier than that of oral cancer!  Therefore, in response, April has been officially named “Oral Cancer Awareness Month” among the dental community. While this may be the first you’ve heard of it, it won’t be the last and you can rest assured it is certainly a cause worth knowing about!

Oral Cancer Screening: A Storm on the Horizon                                                            

Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive type of cancer that can manifest within the throat, cheeks, lips, or tongue, and may continue to spread throughout the body.  With an annual death toll of approximately 7,500 deaths occurring within the U.S. alone, oral cancer is clearly not an issue to be taken lightly.

However, despite the imminent danger presented by oral cancer, like an unexpected storm looming in the distance, oral cancer often sneaks up on a person with little warning. Until its too late that is! This is generally because the initial symptoms of oral cancer often seem relatively mild and seem little more than a minor nuisance. Such early symptoms may include: a slight hoarseness or gravelly tone to your voice, and perhaps the appearance of ulcers or swelling around the mouth and neck region. While such minor nuisances may not exactly seem as a serious cause for alarm, they can in fact be more than they appear. As mentioned previously, deception is a key factor in oral cancer’s modus operandi.

When a patient first begins developing oral cancer, the symptoms are typically minor and thereby left unchecked or dismissed. However, the patient may actually be in the early stages of developing oral cancer, without being aware of it! Unfortunately (like so many before them) the patient, unaware of their affliction does not seek treatment right away, thus allowing the cancer to continue to progress. It may only be when the persistent symptoms start to worsen, that the patient finally seeks out the necessary medical care. Tragically this required treatment may only come when the disease has already progressed into its latter stages, in which the cancer has proceeded to ravage the patient’s overall health, causing irreversible and often fatal damage.

This scenario, (grim as it may sound) is an important one to hear and learn from, as it illustrates the trap that many oral cancer patients have fallen victim to in the past. However, with the advent of oral cancer awareness month, and the continued advancements in dental technology, the time to rise and fight back against oral cancer has never been better!

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Schedule Your Dental Appointment Today

Oral Cancer Screenings: Risk Factors

The common oral cancer screening may in fact be the dental profession’s best kept secret, as the majority of patients are unaware that they are receiving the screening even as it happens!

An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Kimes preforms as part of your standard dental exam at Overland Park Dentistry. 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, which is something that can be a deciding factor. Identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease, as the cancer is not given the time to cause damage and spread, therefore it is paramount that you let Dr. Kimes take the time to give you that crucial oral cancer screening during your next dental appointment!

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

Oral Cancer Screening: Help Us Help You!

While Dr. Kimes will undoubtedly be a powerful ally in the battle against oral cancer, to truly receive the best results possible, you must be willing to make some changes in yourself.

It should presumably come at little surprise that a person’s lifestyle often plays a significant role in the development and recovery process of oral cancer. While typically occurring in individuals 40 years and older, the development of oral cancer is often directly linked to heavy alcohol and tobacco consumption, as regular users of such products have an almost ten times greater chance in developing the disease, and those that continue to use them will have limited chance of recovery.

While much of the information provided above may not exactly present the bright and cheerful message that you may be accustomed to this time of year, please remember that the purpose of this article is to remind you that there’s still time to change this! Therefore, if you do have any concerns or anxiety over your chances of developing oral cancer, taking the time to schedule a routine dental checkup and oral cancer screening, is unquestionably the right decision.

Although far too many people have been dealt the cruel hand of oral cancer in the past, and have tragically had to face the consequences, YOU have the power to change this for yourself!

Please don’t become another statistic, let’s take a stand against oral cancer together!

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.

Family Dentistry in Overland Park, KS

family-dentistry

There’s no place like home!

From the wide-open fields of sunflowers and corn stalks, to picturesque homes and subdivisions, this cozy KC metropolitan area known as Overland Park, is truly a great place to call home!

While living in this wonderful community certainly has its share of aesthetic benefits, there are also many sociological benefits as well. Due to local economic stability, life in Overland Park presents many different options for families in terms of occupational, schooling, and perhaps above anything else, medical care. For many families, especially those with young children, access to the best possible medical treatment is often top priority, and dental care is obviously a major part of that.

Thus, bringing us to the subject at hand; how should you select the right dentist for you and your family?

Family Dentistry in Overland Park:  What dentist is right for you?

When selecting a family dentistry practice for you and your family, obviously there are some things to consider. In following paragraphs, we have constructed a guideline or checklist that you might find useful. While certainly no two families’ needs are identical, by considering the following criteria, may have a much better idea on what specific qualities to look for in family dentistry.

Family Dentistry in Overland Park:  What to look for/guidelines

  • Family Dentistry Reputation:

In the Overland Park area, there are many family dentistry practices to choose from, so why not get some advice? Try talking to who you know, this can include; family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even doctors and pharmacists. By asking for recommendations, or doing some research online, you will start to get a clearer idea as to what dentists are out there, and how people feel about them.

  • Specific Needs in Family Dentistry:

Although this might seem obvious, it is extremely important to ask yourself, what exactly are you looking for in a family dentistry practice, and what specific things do you and your family require? If you’re searching for an expedited dental service that can simply provide the necessary amount of treatment, then perhaps a large dental clinic may be the right choice. However, if you have young children or have any fears or anxieties about going to the dentist, then you should probably consider a privately-owned practice. Although a bit slower, private practices generally provide a calmer much more family friendly environment that may be preferable for children and patients who have dental anxiety.

  • Insurance and Family Dentistry:

Dental insurance can be a tricky subject, and you certainly don’t want any unnecessary complications! Try finding a dentist within your network, or that may be compatible with your insurance provider. Taking the time to truly understand your health insurance benefits prior to selecting a dentist would be a good idea!

  • Family Dentistry: Proximity and Convenience

While you don’t necessarily have to find a dentist within the Overland Park area, it would certainly be a good idea to do so, as there are many great practitioners in the area! Also keep in mind the commute; do you really want to drive 45 minuets for a dental appointment?

  • Family Dentistry Qualifications:

    Remember, your dentist is there to help you, so here’s your chance to play boss! Think of it as something of an application process. Questions such as:

    • Where did this dentist go to school?
    • What types of dentistry are they qualified to do?
    • How long have they been practicing professional dentistry?

All of these questions are fair game in the selection process.

  • Family Dentistry: Face to face

Finding a dentist with whom you and your family feel comfortable with is key to building a relationship and rapport with them, so meeting with them personally is necessary. Much like the previous step, think of it as something of a job interview, is this family dentistry practice right for the job? Only you can decide!

  • Family Dentistry: Office and Atmosphere

Sure, it may sound a little silly, but as alluded to earlier, the actual office and overall atmosphere of a family dentistry practice can really make a difference. This is particularly true amongst families with young children, as a cheerful and kid-friendly environment can play a major role in how children come to view going to the dentist.

Family Dentistry: Let us help!

At Overland Park Dentistry, we want to help you in any way we can! While Dr. Charles R. Kimes and his friendly staff would love for you to select our practice to be your family’s dental service provider, if you are still unsure, we are certainly willing to assist you in your decision making process! At Overland Park Dentistry, we understand that deciding on the right family dentistry practice for you and your family can be a bit of a challenge, so if you have questions about our services we would be more than happy to help! So please give us a call!

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.

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.