What Myths Has Modern Dentistry Debunked?

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

FOR AS LONG AS there have been people, there has been tooth decay, but people in past civilizations didn’t have as many answers about what caused their tooth problems as we do now. That led to some very strange beliefs about dental health. One of the most common was the “tooth worm.”

Ancient Well-Intentioned Errors

As far back as 5000 B.C. in ancient Sumeria, people were blaming their cavities on tooth worms. They are mentioned in ancient Chinese scripts from 1500 B.C. too, and the Roman Empire and medieval Europeans also believed there were worms gnawing at their teeth.

How Did They Get it So Wrong?

Where did this idea come from? There are a few theories. Dental roots could maybe be described as worm-like, so people who didn’t know better might’ve assumed that was the case. They were also familiar with a variety of parasitic worms, including guinea worms in drinking water. They could’ve assumed something similar was affecting their teeth. They also used henbane seed treatments, and the ash of burned henbane seeds resembles worms.

What’s Really Causing cavities?

Although oral bacteria is something we must fight daily by brushing and flossing, tooth worms are, thankfully, a myth. The real culprit behind most cavities is sugar!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Is There a Wrong Way to Breathe?

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

“MOUTH-BREATHER” HAS made the rounds as an insult in recent years, but breathing primarily through the mouth instead of the nose can actually have some pretty negative effects on health, including oral health. Mouth-breathing should only be done as an emergency backup, not the main way to breathe.

The Nose Is a Built-In Air Filter

The nose has a built-in filtration system and triggers nitric oxide production, helping our lungs absorb oxygen better. We don’t get any of that from mouth breathing. Short-term effects of mouth breathing include dry mouth, reduced oxygen levels, and impaired speech. Dry mouth is particularly dangerous for dental health, because saliva is the teeth and gums’ first line of defense against bacteria and acid. We also need saliva to taste our food!

Mouth-Breathing Can Change the Shape of the Face

Children who grow up breathing mainly through their mouths can actually develop differently, their faces becoming flatter, with weaker chins and droopy eyelids as they grow up. They are more likely to have complex orthodontic problems, with narrow arches and lots of crowding. Other long-term effects for habitual mouth-breathers include an increased likelihood of sleep apnea, which in turn comes with low energy, poor concentration, and a weaker immune system.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Rotten Teeth of Shakespeare’s Time

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

WE CAN SEE a hint of the state of dental health in Shakespeare’s England from a sonnet in which he describes his lady love’s reeking breath. The lines “black contagious breath” and “his breath stinks with eating toasted cheese” make it into two of the history plays. This was likely because dental health in England was in a sorry state during the Bard’s day.

The Sugar Trade Devastates English Dental Health

Cavities and missing teeth were common in Early Modern England, but it was much worse for the wealthy and even Queen Elizabeth herself, whose teeth were described as “very yellow and unequal” by a French ambassador and “her teeth black” by a German traveler, who correctly identified sugar as the culprit. That’s right: the sugar trade had reached England, and aristocratic teeth paid a heavy price for it. Surgeons, tooth-drawers, and blacksmiths had a lot of work to do pulling rotten teeth.

Cavities Only the Nobility Could Afford

Sugar was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it. Some were even using sugar paste to brush their teeth! Many in the lower classes would actually rub charcoal on their teeth to make themselves appear richer. As for actual dental hygiene, people would use quills or wood for toothpicks and cloths to wipe off plaque. We’re definitely happier with modern floss and toothbrushes!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health | Dentist in Laytonsville MD

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

To schedule your next visit, please contact our dental office in Laytonsville, MD.

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882

Understanding Periodontal Disease | 20882 Dentist

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

Maintaining your gum health is vital to your overall health. When you visit our office for an examination, our trained hygienists perform a periodontal exam. In fact, during your examination, our team is quietly assessing your oral health by performing a number of checks. Here’s what you need to know about periodontal disease.

Many Names, One Illness

You may have heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease or gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums. These names are frequently used interchangeably.

Signs & Symptoms

Periodontal disease may be marked by swollen and red gums. Bleeding, especially while brushing and flossing, may also occur. Another symptom of periodontal disease is persistent bad breath. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, please contact our office.

Periodontal Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health

Your gum health is linked to your overall health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. The effects of periodontal disease extend well beyond your mouth. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, the disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

While you may think of your teeth as the primary reason to visit our office for a regular examination, understand that our team is looking beyond your teeth to assess your oral health and potential impacts on your overall health. Talk to our experienced team if you experience any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease. Our team is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.

For more information regarding your gum health, please contact our dental office in Laytonsville, MD, or schedule a visit to see us.

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882

Oral Cancer Risk Factors | Sheila L Brush DDS

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.

Age

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.

Gender

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.

Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.

Alcohol

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.

Sunlight

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.

Diet

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination.

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our dentist in Laytonsville, MD to schedule a comprehensive oral examination. 

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882

8 Great Ways to Improve Your Smile | Family Dentist Laytonsville MD

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

We all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether you’re going into a job interview or about to go on your first date with someone new, you want to have the confidence that comes with a great smile. After years of wear and tear however, a lot of people end up with teeth that they’re not completely proud to show off. If you feel unhappy with the way your smile looks, don’t worry; there are plenty of options that can help.

Figuring out the best ways to improve your smile can be a daunting task, but our dental team is here to help, offering a range of services dedicated to helping you look and feel your best.

8 Ways to Improve Your Smile

  1. Teeth Whitening
  2. Dental Crowns
  3. Veneers
  4. Tooth Bonding
  5. Braces or Invisalign®
  6. Dental Implants
  7. Brushing and Flossing
  8. Regular Dental Visits

There are a myriad of ways you can improve your smile. Whether you decide to pursue a more in-depth treatment at our clinic or simply want advice on how to improve your oral health routine at home, our dentists are happy to help. Our highly trained team offers all the state of the art services necessary to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining bright.

It’s clear that there are a lot of treatments available for anyone looking to improve their smile. With options for any budget, there’s no reason to wait to begin your journey towards a better smile. To schedule a professional cleaning or to speak with someone about a personalized treatment plan, contact our office in Laytonsville, MD today!

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882

Cosmetic Dentistry: Building Beautiful Smiles

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

Cosmetic Dentistry

EVERYONE WANTS A perfect smile, but stains, discoloration, wear, chips, misalignment, gaps, and other issues can get in the way of our smile goals. That’s where Sheila L. Brush, DDS comes in. We offer a variety of cosmetic dentistry services to our patients in and around Laytonsville, MD so that they can feel confident when showing off their gorgeous smiles.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is dental treatment that focuses on improving the appearance of the teeth, but treatment options aren’t always limited to the smile; practices like ours also offer wrinkle reduction and filler treatments with Botox. When it comes to the teeth, there are several different approaches we can take, depending on the individual patient’s goals and needs.

Dazzle With Teeth Whitening

One of the simplest and easiest ways to improve your smile is with teeth whitening, which can be done in-office with a one-time visit where you get the benefit of our professional experience and facilities, or with custom take-home trays that we make for your teeth. What makes these options superior to over-the-counter whitening strips is that those aren’t designed to bring the whitening solution into contact with each surface of your teeth like custom trays, and they certainly won’t offer the precision of in-office treatment.

Beyond the Surface: Dental Veneers

For chipping or discoloration that can’t be fixed with simple whitening, veneers are a great cosmetic dentistry option. Dental veneers are custom-made, wafer-thin shells of porcelain or resin colored to match your teeth. We make room for them by removing about half a millimeter of enamel from each tooth’s surface, then bond them in place to change their color, shape, size, or length.

Repair Damaged Teeth With Dental Bonding

A simpler option than veneers is dental bonding, in which we apply a tooth-colored resin to a misshapen tooth or one that has been chipped, cracked, or damaged by decay and harden it using a special ultraviolet or laser light. We then trim, shape, and polish it to make sure it matches the rest of the smile. Bonding is a great alternative to silver fillings and it will blend in much better!

Straighten Your Smile With Invisalign or Clear Correct

Sometimes the problem isn’t discoloration or damaged teeth; sometimes they’re just crooked. At Sheila L. Brush, DDS, we can dramatically improve a poorly aligned smile with Clear Correct aligners. These aligners are a great orthodontic treatment option for patients who want a discreet solution to their poorly aligned teeth. You can get the benefits of braces without being called a “brace-face.”

How About a Smile Makeover?

Every smile is different, and so is every patient! A smile makeover is a comprehensive treatment plan to address the specific goals you have for your smile. We’re excited to help you achieve them, and the first step is to schedule an appointment! Make sure to check the map for directions to our practice!

Let’s get started on your smile goals!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Dangers of Grinding | Dentist in Laytonsville, MD

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding. 

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our Laytonsville, MD dental office. We look forward to assisting you!

Resources: The American Dental Association

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teeth-grinding

Journal of the American Dental Association

http://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(16)30541-4/fulltext

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882

We Love Making You Smile | 20882 Dentist

Laytonsville, MD Dentist

For most people, visiting the dentist isn’t exactly their idea of fun. Some people have a fear of going to the dentist and this keeps them from getting regular professional cleanings and essential oral health care. We understand how important it is that you enjoy your time with us. To help make your visit something to look forward to, we’ve considered the following. 

When you relax in the comfortable, cushioned chairs in our office, take a deep breath and take comfort in knowing that you’re in a judgement free zone. Our dental team is here to improve your health and brighten your smile, not lecture or judge your currenåt oral health status. Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years since your last visit, know that you’ll be treated with respect and kindness. 

Our team is well trained to care for you and your family. Knowing that you’re in good hands will put you at ease and allow you to relax. We encourage you to bring your own music or audio book to enjoy while your hygienist gently removes build up and stains, revealing your clean and beautiful smile. 

Our dental team is here to help you. We want to give you something to smile about. Enjoying your dental visit, makes you more likely to set and keep your appointments. Utilizing provided comfort measures at your next dental visit will help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you will be to take the steps needed to prevent and treat unwanted oral health problems.

We look forward to serving you with comfortable care. Call us to schedule your next appointment with our 20882 dentist. 

Sheila L. Brush, DDS of Laytonsville
Phone: (301) 926-9515
6856 Olney-Laytonsville Rd
Laytonsville, MD 20882