Teeth

How Strong Are Your Teeth?

May 11th, 2021

strong tooth with arms

The right smile can leave you laughing, fill you with joy or make you melt with emotion. But, ultimately, the best smile is one that is healthy and strong. Here are some of the “tooth truths” about how tough your teeth really are – and how to keep them that way.

1. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body.

The shiny, white enamel that covers your teeth is even stronger than bone. This resilient surface is 96 percent mineral, the highest percentage of any tissue in your body – making it durable and damage-resistant.

2. Your bite is powerful!

Did you know your teeth can exert an average of 200 pounds of pressure when you bite down? That’s probably what tempts us to use our teeth as tools from time to time – but as your dentist will remind you, that’s one of the worst habits when it comes to preserving healthy teeth.

3. Teeth can last for hundreds of years.

Thanks to the durability of tooth enamel, our teeth actually outlast us. In fact, some of the most fascinating things we know about human history come from the study of our forebears’ dental remains. For example, we know that the first travelers to leave Africa for China set out as many as 80,000 years ago – and that early humans used a simple form of aspirin for pain relief – thanks to teeth!

4. Strong as they are, teeth can’t heal on their own.

All other tissues in our bodies have the power to repair themselves, but our teeth can’t. When damaged, they must be repaired by a skilled dentist using caps, crowns, fillings or veneers. When our teeth fall out, the only options are partial or full dentures or dental implants. (Just one more reason to take great care of your teeth every day!)

5. Healthy teeth have the power to resist decay, but they need our help.

Did you know there are more than 300 kinds of bacteria that can attack your teeth? The good news is that with healthy dental hygiene habits and regular checkups, you can protect your teeth from bacteria and other substances that can weaken teeth and cause decay.

In addition to cleaning and checking your teeth for signs of trouble, your general dentist and their team can help you learn what food and drink choices are good for your teeth and which ones to avoid. The professionals in your dental office are also ready to help you create a personalized plan to care for your teeth so you can enjoy good dental health for life.

source:mouthhealthy.org

National Facial Protection Month

April 28th, 2021

April might almost be over, but Spring sports are just beginning!

Remember to wear a mouth guard when you're at practice or any games. If you don't have one, Dr. Johnson can get you suited up! Call our office at 630-887-1188 to help protect your smile.

 

Teeth Grinding

April 15th, 2021

Teeth, Mouth, Dental, Dentist, Tooth, Lips, Oral, Gum

Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. A study in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that teeth grinding is also associated with alcohol and tobacco use. People who drink alcohol and smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth.

In a September 2020 report, the ADA Health Policy Institute found that more than half of dentists surveyed saw an increase of patients with dental conditions often associated with stress: Teeth grinding and clenching, chipped and cracked teeth, and symptoms of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder such as jaw pain and headaches.

The symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • dull headaches
  • jaw soreness
  • teeth that are painful or loose
  • fractured teeth

Dr. Johnson or your general dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.

Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:

  • irritation in the mouth
  • allergies
  • misaligned teeth

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your child’s dentist or Dr. Johnson about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Sparkling Water - Is It Good For My Teeth?

April 5th, 2021

glass of sparkling water

Is the satisfying fizz of your favorite sparkling water putting you at risk for tooth decay? Because any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level, some reports have questioned whether sipping sparkling water will weaken your tooth enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form).

So, Is Sparkling Water Affecting My Teeth?

According to available research, sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth—and here's why. In a study using teeth that were removed as a part of treatment and donated for research, researchers tested to see whether sparkling water would attack tooth enamel more aggressively than regular lab water. The result? The two forms of water were about the same in their effects on tooth enamel. This finding suggests that, even though sparkling water is slightly more acidic than ordinary water, it's all just water to your teeth.

Tips for Enjoying Sparkling Water—and Protecting Your Teeth

  • Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too—it’s the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities, washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on and keeps your mouth from becoming dry (which can put you at a higher risk of cavities).
  • Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that does increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.
  • Sparkling water brands with added sugar can no longer be considered just sparkling water. They are a sugar-sweetened beverage, which can contribute to your risk of developing cavities. So remember—sparkling or not—plain water is always the best choice.

source: mouthhealhy.org

Why are Mouth Guards Important?

March 11th, 2021

Mouthguard

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

Mouth guards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

When Should You Wear a Mouth guard?

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Brushing Habits to Break in 2021

January 5th, 2021

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, we tend to make resolutions and goals, including breaking bad habits. Here are some dental bad habits that are important to work on.

Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
The American Dental Association highly recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed and broken bristles won't keep your teeth clean. The best trick to remembering is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season!

Not Brushing Long Enough
On average, a person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds. You should actually brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Setting a timer or humming a song to yourself would be great for helping fight this bad habit.

Brushing Too Hard
You may think brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner, but it could actually damage your gums. So be gentle with you teeth.

Brushing Right After Eating
Try waiting at least 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after you eat, especially if you had anything acidic like lemons or soda. Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance while you wait to brush.

Storing Your Toothbrush Improperly
After brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and in the open. Putting your toothbrush in a closed container gives germs more of a chance to grow.

Using a Brush with Hard Bristles
Soft bristles are a safe bet. And remember to be gentle while you're brushing! If you have any questions about which toothbrush is best for you, talk to your general dentist.

Improper Brushing Technique
Here's one technique to try for a thorough brush: First, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Using a Brush That's Not Best for You
There are many different toothbrushes that you can use, including manual and power brushes. Try different types until you find the best one that works for you.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Your Child's Teeth, Ages 6-12

December 17th, 2020

When a child's adult teeth are coming in, we know parents may be wondering when all of their teeth will be in and if they're on track with other children. However, it's good to know that not all children get the same teeth at the same time.

Around age 5 or 6 is when children start losing their bottom and top front teeth. From ages 6 to 12, they will continue to lose their baby teeth and gain their adult ones until they have usually lost the last of their 20 baby teeth by age 12. In general, once they are 12 to 14, they should have all of their adult teeth except their wisdom teeth.

Again, everyone doesn't follow this exactly, but we've included a handy chart of when permanent (adult) teeth start to come in for you to see and use for guidance.

Remember, it's highly recommended to see a general dentist starting with your child's first birthday and to see an orthodontist when they are 7 years old.

 

Brushing Your Teeth

December 15th, 2020

Toothbrushing Quick Facts Infographic

Dental care is very important not only for your teeth, but your overall health. The American Dental Association has a few recommendations to help you have and keep a healthy mouth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. A good way to remember is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season.
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Proper Brushing Technique

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Of course, brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also make sure to:

  • Clean between teeth daily once a day. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Eat a balanced diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Foods That Benefit Dental Health

December 1st, 2020

Family eating a healthy meal

What you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also the health of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often appear in your mouth. So it's good to have a healthy diet. Here are some suggestions that are great for your teeth:

Water, particularly fluoridated water, is the most tooth-friendly beverage you can have.

Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are great sources of phosphorus which plays a critical role in dental health. You should also try eating cheese, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens, and almonds as they have high volumes of calcium and other nutrients that help protect and rebuild your enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber which balance the sugars they contain and help clean your teeth. These foods also stimulate saliva production which washes harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth to prevent decay. Vegetables and fruits also have vitamin A for building tooth enamel and vitamin C for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds. But, be careful with nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits as they can have acidic effects on the enamel, so eat them as part of a meal and not by themselves.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Oral Health

November 18th, 2020

Your mouth is a window into the health of your entire body. Oral health is often taken for granted, however your mouth can show early signs of nutritional deficiencies, infections, and systemic diseases that affect your body. The health of your mouth and teeth are important, no matter the age.

While most Americans enjoy excellent oral health, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease for children. Around 100 million Americans do not see a dentist once a year. Many believe that you should only see a dentist when you are in pain, but in reality, seeing a general dentist on a yearly basis can help prevent oral health issues in the future. Still, it is important to see a dentist if you are in pain. Do not put off seeing anyone when you are feeling any form of discomfort.

Remember, you can practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Change your toothbrush every three or fourth months and have a balanced diet. And make sure to see your general dentist for check-ups to keep your smile bright and healthy.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Myths about Orthodontic Treatment

October 15th, 2020

There are common myths about orthodontic treatment that are spread on a daily basis. We'd like to debunk these misconceptions.

1. Anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist.

False. Some general dentists or online companies can offer braces or aligners, but only after taking additional years of advanced schooling at an accredited residency can a dentist call themselves an orthodontic specialist. That's why it is important to see a specialist, like Johnson Orthodontics, to straighten your teeth as they will possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to give you the best smile.

2. Orthodontists are expensive.

False. Orthodontists customize their patients' treatment plans and as a result, the fees reflect the complexity of each case. For simple cases that take a short amount of time, to difficult ones that could take years, the benefits of having a professional provide orthodontic care will be well worth it. Johnson Orthodontics provides complimentary consultations and flexible payment plans, and we are willing to work with our patients in order to help them get their best smile.

3. Orthodontic treatment takes several years.

It depends. Orthodontic treatment requires time, pressure, and cooperation. Each case is different as simple cases may only take a few months to treat while difficult ones can take years. In order to straighten your teeth, Johnson Orthodontics will add an appliance to put constant pressure over time to move your teeth into position. Treatment also requires cooperation from the patient in continuing good dental hygiene and avoiding foods that could damage the appliance. Rest assured, Johnson Orthodontics has the training, experience, and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest time possible.

4. Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic.

False. While improved appearance is the most obvious result, there are many benefits to having orthodontic treatment done. When your teeth and jaws are aligned biting, chewing, and speaking could improve. There are also important health benefits. Crooked teeth allow plaque to build up which leads to cavities, gum disease, or bleeding gums. Teeth that stick out are also more likely to be injured or fractured and can lead to teeth grinding and chipping.

5. Orthodontists only offer metal braces.

False. Orthodontists have a full range of appliances besides metal braces to straighten your teeth. Here at Johnson Orthodontics we offer a variety including clear braces and Invisalign® for both teens and adults. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their disposal to help you get your new smile.

6. Orthodontic treatment is just for kids.

False. As mentioned earlier, we have Invisalign® for teens and adults, and we have other products that can be used to help adjust adult teeth. Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile. Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Source: aaoinfo.org

National Stop Bullying Day and #BullyingBites

October 14th, 2020

October is Orthodontic Health Month and today is National Stop Bullying Day, and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is calling all 19,000 member orthodontists to come together to fight against bullying.

Teeth have been reported as one of the common features targeted by bullies, and orthodontists like Dr. Johnson are standing up and encouraging their patients to do the same because #BullyingBites.

70% of Americans admit to feeling self-conscious about their teeth.

57% of Americans cover their mouths when they laugh due to insecurity over their teeth.

70% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.

We hope that you join us in spreading this anti-bullying message. Follow our Facebook and Instagram and view AAO's website to learn more about #BullyingBites.

Source: aaoinfo.org

Why Filing Teeth Yourself is a Bad Idea

October 8th, 2020

If you, your friends, or family use TikTok you may have seen a new trend where people use a nail file to grind their teeth down to make them more even.

Don't do this!

Unlike fingernails which grow back, teeth are permanent. When you attempt to file your teeth at home, you're chipping away at the protective layer of enamel and damaging your teeth. Losing the enamel could lead to tooth sensitivity or even loss.

If you have uneven teeth, come to Johnson Orthodontics. An orthodontist is trained to know the best teeth practices. As an expert, they can determine why your teeth are uneven and can inform you if you are a good candidate for a professional filing, called enameloplasty, or if another type of orthodontic treatment would be more beneficial.

source: aaoinfo.org

Tips To Avoid Tooth Discoloration.

October 16th, 2017

 QK lists several tips to whiten teeth and avoid tooth discoloration. For example, GQ suggests people brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly; consider using an electric toothbrush; avoid major staining culprits, such as coffee, red wine, and tea; consume calcium-rich foods to help strengthen enamel and slightly abrasive foods, such carrots and nuts, to rub off stains; avoid tobacco products; use a whitening toothpaste; apply whitening strips; and consider whitening at the dentist office. GQ also emphasizes the importance of consulting with a dentist prior to whitening teeth.

Dental professionals can direct their patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for evidence-based information about teeth whitening. The ADA provides a complete list of toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, including some with stain removal attributes. In addition, Crest 3D White Whitestrips Glamorous White and the Oral-B Oscillating-Rotating-Pulsating (O/R/P) Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

For more additional information please visit bulletin healthcare.com

Drinking Fluoridated Tap Water Encouraged.

September 7th, 2017

The Daily Mail reported that it tested the pH levels of “popular brands of bottled waters,” finding some had a pH level of four. The article stated that beverages with “pH levels closer to zero are more acidic” and may erode dental enamel. The article reported that bottled water may also contain “insufficient amounts of fluoride.” Given this, a dentist quoted in the article discussed the benefits of drinking fluoridated tap water. The article also noted that the American Dental Association encourages drinking fluoridated water to help prevent dental caries.

Business Insider (8/11, Schmalbruch) reported that adding flavor to water, especially citric flavors, can lower the pH level, making it “more acidic.”

Additional information about fluoride and community water fluoridation is available at ADA.org/fluoride. The ADA Catalog also features the Fluoride Nature’s Cavity Fighter brochure. The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provides additional information on dental erosion for dental professionals.

Mayo Clinic Discusses Teething, Caring For Baby Teeth.

July 5th, 2017

In an article on infant development from seven to nine months, Mayo Clinic discusses teething, stating symptoms may include “drooling more than usual and chewing on just about anything.” To help ease teething pain, the article states caregivers can rub the baby’s gums with a finger or offer a teething ring. The article recommends brushing teeth as soon as they erupt, and using “a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice” for children younger than three years old.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on teething and baby teeth.

SELF Magazine Shares ADA’s Teething Tips.

June 22nd, 2017

SELF Magazine states that “dealing with a teething baby can be a serious challenge,” noting some symptoms of teething include trouble sleeping, irritability, and loss of appetite, according to the American Dental Association. To help ease teething pain, the article states that caregivers can “rub a teething baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad, according to the ADA,” or offer the baby “a clean teething ring to chew on.”

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on teething.

ADA Spokesperson Identifies Strategies To Avoid Bad Breath.

June 19th, 2017

In a consumer-directed video on the Business Insiderwebsite, American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper provides tips to avoid bad breath, which can be caused by several factors, including poor oral hygiene and dry mouth. Dr. Cooper reminds people to brush their teeth at night to remove food from the mouth. In addition, brushing the tongue and drinking plenty of water can help remove odor-causing bacteria, says Dr. Cooper. If these methods do not help, Dr. Cooper encourages people to visit their dentist to determine if something else may be causing bad breath.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on the causes of bad breath and solutions for it.

New York Times: Many Prescription Medications Cause Xerostomia.

May 1st, 2017

The New York Times states that “a frequent side effect of many commonly prescribed drugs” is xerostomia, according to a 2015 review of research on treating xerostomia published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. The New York Times states many “common culprits in xerostomia,” include benzodiazepine, antidepressants, some oral drugs used to reduce blood sugar, respiratory agents, quinine, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure, drugs used to treat excess urination, some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, glucosamine supplements, and magnesium hydroxide. “Not all the drying mechanisms of the various drugs involved are fully understood,” the article states. “Some of them are known to suppress the action of receptors on nerve cells in various glands, including the salivary glands, that produce fluids.”

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provides additional information on xerostomia for dental professionals.

Proper Toothbrush Storage “Really Matters.”

April 24th, 2017

USA Today notes that toothbrushes can harbor bacteria, including fecal coliform bacteria. Although it is unlikely these bacteria will cause adverse health effects, USA Today states that “how you store your toothbrush is often what really matters.” The article notes that the American Dental Association recommends people rinse their toothbrushes with tap water after brushing and allow toothbrushes to air dry, since covering toothbrushes can create an environment more conducive to bacteria growth. In addition, the article recommends people replace their toothbrushes every three to four months and never share a toothbrush.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide additional information on toothbrush care for patients and dental professionals. In addition, the ADA provides a list of toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Poor Oral Hygiene, Infection Among Reasons Tongue May Turn White

April 19th, 2017

Refinery discusses reasons why a tongue may turn white, stating that one cause is a film building up on tongues from poor oral hygiene. Other conditions may affect the color and appearance of tongues, such as fungal infections, yeast infections, inflammatory conditions, and cancer. The article advises brushing tongues regularly and seeing a dentist for any concerns.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide information on oral cancer for patients and for dental professionals. MouthHealthy.org also provides information on thrush and tongue scrapers.

Natural Teeth Whitening: Fact vs. Fiction

April 12th, 2017

When it comes to teeth whitening, you may see many different methods featured online and in magazines—from oil pulling to charcoal, and even turmeric. It's no surprise that DIY whitening is top of mind, either. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

Healthy smiles come in many shades, though it's tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile. Still, just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening can do more harm than good to your teeth. Here’s how:

Fruits

Fiction:
The approach maintains you can make your teeth whiter and brighter household staples that are naturally acidic (like lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar), contain digestive enzymes (such as pineapple or mango) and something that is abrasive (like baking soda).

Fact:
When eaten as usual, fruit is a great choice. However, fruit and vinegar contain acid, and you put your pearly whites at risk when you prolong their contact with your teeth or use them to scrub your teeth because acid can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Scrubs

Activated charcoal

Fiction:
These methods claim that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients like activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste will bring a shine back to your smile.

Fact:
Using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can actually wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue called dentin.

Instead, choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal lets you know the toothpaste you choose is safe, effective and won’t damage your teeth.

Spices and Oils

Turmeric powder

Fiction:
Swishing oils like coconut oil in your mouth (oil pulling) or using spices like turmeric can help whiten your teeth.

Fact:
There is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth. Save the oil and spices for healthy meals instead.

Still Interested in Whitening?

Patient getting her teeth whitened at the dentist

The best natural ways to keep your teeth white are everyday healthy habits, including:

If you want to try a specific whitening product or service, just talk to your dentist before you begin. Whitening may not work on all teeth, and if you are a candidate, some methods—whether at-home or in the dental office—may be better for your teeth than others.

for more information please visit www.mouthhealthy.org

Pictures Show How Sugary Drinks Can Damage Teeth.

March 27th, 2017

The Daily Mail shares several images showing how sugary drinks may damage teeth. A dentist at the San Diego Dental Studio set up the experiment, which involved placing one tooth in “a bottle of a popular energy drink, another into cola, a third in diet cola and the fourth into water as the control.” The images show the teeth placed in the colas experienced staining after two weeks, while the enamel on the one placed in the energy drink was “literally crumbling.”

Meanwhile, the Sacramento carries an “Ask Mr. Dad” column, which responds to a reader’s question about whether caffeine is unhealthy for children. The response states that caffeine is “a problem for kids” for several reasons, including that caffeinated items, such as soda, are often acidic, which “can increase the risk of developing cavities.” In addition, “coffee drinks may also stain teeth.”

For additional information about the impact of sugary drinks on dental health, read the ADA Health Literacy in Dentistry Essay Contest winner’s article, “The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile.”

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on nutrition and dental health.

Gum Disease

February 1st, 2017

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
•gums that bleed easily
•red, swollen, tender gums
•gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•persistent bad breath or bad taste
•permanent teeth that are loose or separating
•any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
•poor oral hygiene
•smoking or chewing tobacco
•genetics
•crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
•pregnancy
•diabetes
•medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

for more information please visit: http://www.mouthhealthy.org

Study Shows that E-cigarettes Damage Gums, Teeth

January 25th, 2017

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaping—a term for the practice of smoking an e-cigarette—tripled among middle and high schoolers from 2013 to 2014. The CDC says 13.4% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2014. The figure stood at 4.5% the year prior. Among middle schoolers, 1.1% used the devices in 2013, increasing to 3.96% in 2014.

According to a news release from the university, scientists had previously thought that it was the smoke itself from cigarettes that caused health complications, however, this study, among others, suggests otherwise.

Lead researcher Irfan Rahman, PhD, said in the University’s news release, “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases. … How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity.”

Related: Long-Term Effects of E-Cigarettes Unclear

According to the news release, the study used human gum tissue and exposed it to e-cigarette vapor. Among the results was the finding that the flavoring chemical of the components “play a role” in causing harm to mouth tissues.

Fawad Javed, a post-doctoral student at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, said in the release that some flavorings “made the damage to the cells even worse.”

A useful reminder for your patients: “It’s important to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to gum disease,” Javed said. - See more at: http://www.dmdtoday.com/news/groundbreaking-study-shows-that-e-cigarettes-damage-gums-teeth?

NIH: Differences Between Those Who Floss And Those Who Don’t Can Be “Striking.”

November 30th, 2016

In its November newsletter, the National Institutes Of Health states that although news stories have questioned the benefits of dental flossing due to lacking research, dentists have “seen the teeth and gums of people who floss regularly and those who haven’t,” and “the differences can be striking.” The article notes that “red or swollen gums that bleed easily” can indicate “flossing and better dental habits are needed.” A dental health expert at NIH says, “Cleaning all sides of your teeth, including between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, is a good thing.” While strong evidence showing the benefits of flossing “may be somewhat lacking,” the article observes that “there’s little evidence for any harm or side effects from flossing, and it’s low cost.” The article encourages people to talk to their dentist to address any questions or concerns about their teeth or gums and to learn the proper flossing technique.

The ADA has released a statement on the benefits of using interdental cleaners, and a Science in the News article titled “The Medical Benefit of Daily Flossing Called Into Question” discussed evidence about the impact of flossing on oral health.

MouthHealthy.org also provides resources for patients on flossing, including the correct flossing technique.

Candy Canes, Alcohol, Citrus Fruits Among Worst Holiday Foods For Teeth.

November 15th, 2016

 With the holiday season underway, many people may “put inhibitions aside,” and eat and drink “whatever looks good.” However, “the reckless consumption of cakes, candies, pies, beverages (alcoholic and otherwise), meats, and sides” come with “a number of potential health risks,” the article states, including some that are dental. The article provides a list of holiday foods and drinks that can damage teeth, including items such as bourbon and coffee, which can dry out the mouth; citrus fruits, which are acidic and can erode enamel; candy canes, which have a high sugar content and can also trigger a dental emergency, such as a broken or chipped tooth; and sticky candy and dried fruit, which can stay on the teeth longer than other types of candy and food.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional tips for cavity-free holidays and information on foods that can damage teeth.

Despite FDA Ban From Soaps, Triclosan Considered Effective Ingredient In Toothpaste.

November 9th, 2016

The New York Times reports that the ingredient triclosan, which the FDA banned from antibacterial soaps recently, can still be legally used in some toothpastes. According to FDA spokesperson Andrea Fischer, the ingredient is “demonstrated to be effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis.” Fischer adds, “Based on scientific evidence, the balance of benefit and risk is favorable for these products.” The article noted that a 2013 Cochrane review “concluded that toothpastes with triclosan and fluoride outperformed those with only fluoride.”

The ADA reported previously that a study in the May 2016 issue of mSphere was “designed to examine whether use of consumer products” containing triclosan could “alter gut microbiome composition, endocrine function, and markers for obesity, diabetes, and inflammation.” The ADA says the study is “strongly suggestive” of triclosan’s “safety for use by humans.”
The ADA provides official commentary on the FDA’s final rule and the Times reporting here.
for more information please visit www.ada.org

Menopause

October 11th, 2016

Menopause is a huge change in a woman’s life and a woman’s mouth, including altered taste, burning sensations in your mouth and increased sensitivity. “They’re all related to hormones,” Dr. Boghosian says.

Still, there are two critical changes to be aware of: dry mouth and bone loss. “Saliva cleanses the teeth and rinses cavity-causing bacteria off your teeth,” Dr. Boghosian says. “When you have dry mouth, your saliva flow decreases and you’re more at risk for cavities.”

Talk to your dentist if your mouth is feeling dry. “If dry mouth is a problem, suck on ice chips or sugar-free candy, drink water or other caffeine-free drinks and use an over-the-counter dry mouth spray or rinse to help reduce the dryness,” Dr. Cram says. “Your dentist may also recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste that helps reduce the risk of tooth decay.”

What you eat can also make a difference when it comes to dry mouth. Avoid salty, spicy, sticky and sugary foods, as well as and dry foods that are hard to chew. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can also make dry mouth worse. At night, sleeping with a humidifier on in your room can also make a difference.

Losing bone in your jaw can lead to tooth loss. “The decreased estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts you at risk for a loss of bone density,” Dr. Boghosian says. “Signs of bone loss in your jaw can be something as simple as receding gums. When your gums recede, more of your tooth is exposed and that puts more of your tooth at risk for decay. And if your mouth is dry, that’s a double whammy.”

To help reduce your risk of bone loss, work with your dentist or physician to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, don’t smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

for more information please visit www.mouthhealthy.org

Reader’s Digest Provides Tips To Help Protect Teeth From Staining.

October 5th, 2016

Reader’s Digest provides several tips to help prevent teeth from staining without giving up coffee, stating that “brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings are the best ways to prevent ugly coffee stains.” In addition, Reader’s Digest recommends flossing regularly, drinking through a straw to minimize how much coffee comes in contact with teeth, drinking water to “wash away staining liquids,” and drinking coffee quickly to reduce how long teeth are being exposed to the staining culprit. In addition, the article suggests chewing sugar-free gum, noting that “according to the American Dental Association, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay.”

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on teeth whitening and chewing gum to prevent dental caries. In addition, several whitening toothpastes and a whitening product have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The ADA also provides a list of sugar-free gum brands with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

for more information visit bulletinhealthcare.com

Gingivitis vs. periodontitis: what’s the difference?

July 5th, 2016

Both conditions relate to your gums, but what is the difference? Actually, it turns out that gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease) are closely related. Gingivitis usually comes before, but does not necessarily always lead to, periodontitis.

Gingivitis is caused by bacteria that build up in plaque. This causes the gums to become inflamed and to bleed during brushing.

When gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. This is because the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. As plaque grows below the gum line, gum tissue and bone are destroyed, causing teeth to become loose.

Though plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, there are other factors that contribute:

Hormone changes
Illnesses (HIV, cancer, diabetes)
Medication
Smoking
Family history
Not brushing and flossing every day

for more information visit toothwisdom.org

Tooth Pain Included Among Seven “Seemingly Trivial Pains” That Should Not Be Ignored.

May 18th, 2016

Woman’s Day (5/12, Brody) included tooth pain that causes waking during the night among seven “seemingly trivial pains” a person “should never ignore.” The article stated that experiencing tooth pain may be a sign of bruxism, which is sometimes brought on by stress. “Call your dentist so he or she can figure out the problem,” the article stated, adding that a dentist may recommend a mouth guard.
for more information visit page www.womansday.com/health-fitness/womens-health
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on bruxism.

Popular Health Foods May Contribute To Teeth Discoloration, Dental Erosion.

May 16th, 2016

The Daily Mail (4/27, Johnston) reports that “some of the most popular health foods” may negatively affect dental health. The acid content in green smoothies, for example, may damage enamel, while nutrient-rich beetroot may contribute to teeth staining. The article provides several “tooth-friendly” alternatives, recommending whole fruits and vegetables, nuts in moderation, and cheese.

Meanwhile, a second article in the Daily Mail (4/27) states, “People make a number of simple mistakes” that can harm teeth, such as chewing ice cubes, eating dried fruits, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using teeth as tools, and having tongue and lip piercings.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on diet and dental health, foods that affect dental health, and habits that harm teeth.

Popular Health Foods May Contribute To Teeth Discoloration, Dental Erosion.

May 3rd, 2016

The Daily Mail reports that “some of the most popular health foods” may negatively affect dental health. The acid content in green smoothies, for example, may damage enamel, while nutrient-rich beetroot may contribute to teeth staining. The article provides several “tooth-friendly” alternatives, recommending whole fruits and vegetables, nuts in moderation, and cheese.

Meanwhile, a second article in the Daily Mail states, “People make a number of simple mistakes” that can harm teeth, such as chewing ice cubes, eating dried fruits, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using teeth as tools, and having tongue and lip piercings.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on diet and dental health, foods that affect dental health, and habits that harm teeth.

Cigarette smoking alters the mouth microbiota

April 27th, 2016

Smoking significantly changes the mouth's microbiome, with potential implications for tooth decay and the ability to break down toxins, according to results published in the ISME (International Society for Microbial Ecology) Journal.
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and mortality in the US, leading to 480,000 deaths annually, or 20% of all deaths.

Over 16 million people live with a smoking-related illness in the US, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2014, the CDC estimated that 16.8% of Americans aged 18 years and over were cigarette smokers, or around 40 million adults.

Much recent research has focused on imbalances in the gut microbiota and how they relate to immune disorders such as Crohn's disease and gastrointestinal cancers.

There are around 600 species of bacteria in the human mouth. Over 75% of oral cancers are thought to be linked to smoking, but it remains unclear whether microbial differences in the mouth affect the risk for cancer.
Written by Yvette Brazier

Consulting With A Dentist Advised To Treat Bruxism, Sleep Apnea

April 18th, 2016

The Huffington Post“The Blog” states that there are several “links between your teeth and sleep,” noting, for example, that bruxism “commonly occurs during sleep and can cause pain and damage to teeth.” According to the article, bruxism is “very common” and may be “exacerbated or precipitated by stress and/or anxiety” or sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Using oral appliances is one strategy for managing bruxism, and they also may be an option for treating sleep apnea, the article states, recommending people speak with their dentist if they think they may have sleep apnea or bruxism. MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on bruxism and sleep apnea.

New Toothpaste Fights Tooth Decay

February 17th, 2016

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a new toothpaste that aims to improve oral hygiene by binding to plaque and showing it as green, revealing areas a person missed while brushing. The article stated that researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a short-term study of Plaque HD, finding plaque was reduced by 51.3% after people brushed with the toothpaste for up to 10 days. American Dental Association spokeswoman Dr. Mary Hayes has not tried the toothpaste, but said it could serve as a consistent reminder to patients. Dr. Hayes added that areas between the teeth and at the gumline are common areas patients miss.
(2/8, Johannes, Subscription Publication)

How Garlic Fights Tooth Decay

January 28th, 2016

 garlic oral health benefits Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes since 3000 B.C.

Allicin, the same stuff that gives you garlic breath, is responsible for garlic’s antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.

This same property in garlic can also help fight gum disease.

There are more than 500 different species of bacteria that naturally reside in your mouth. Some of these bacteria are beneficial to health and others aren’t. Keeping your mouth healthy is all about keeping the good and bad bacteria in balance. This, among other things, helps prevent gum disease.

Allicin prevents the bad bacteria that cause tooth decay from proliferating in the mouth. Several studies concluded that the use of garlic extract could help combat periodontitis (gum disease) by controlling the population of the bad bacteria and letting the good bacteria thrive.

Far too many oral health products claim to fight gum disease by killing “99.9% of bacteria” but this misguided. When you kill all bacteria, the regrowth rate of the good and the bad are different, such that you can create an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, which can harm oral health and the health of the rest of the body.

This is why I’d love to see toothpaste with allicin added! No need to make the toothpaste garlic flavored, though…

How to reap the benefits?

You can either take garlic (allicin) as a supplement along with your vitamins.

Or, make garlic a regular part of your cooking. Garlic is highly nutritious, yet has very few calories. I like keeping crushed garlic in the freezer for a really easy, no-mess way to add garlic to my omelets in the morning. Dorot, which I get at Trader Joe’s, keeps crushed garlic in little frozen cubes in a tray.

Don’t eat garlic only for your oral health; garlic has also been shown to reduce the length of the common cold by 70%, from 5 days in a placebo group to just 1.5 days in the group given a garlic supplement. This is thought to be thanks to allicin’s ability to boost the body’s immune system.

For more information please visit their website HTTP://askthedentist.com/garlic-oral-health-benefits/

Propel Orthodontics

December 21st, 2015

Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions is proud to introduce a new treatment option in our office. Propel Orthodontics is a new advance in orthodontic technology with the ability to straighten teeth in significantly less time.

Propel is a micro-invasive treatment that uses micro-osteoperforations to stimulate the bone to remodel faster therefore "Excellerate" your tooth movement."

Micro-osteoperforation with propel is:

Clinically proven safe and effective
Doctor-performed in a few minutes during your regularly scheduled office visit
Can be used with braces or clear aligners.

Micro-osteoperforation with propel offers straightforward solution to
your orthodontic needs in just a few steps.
1. Your doctor evaluates your orthodontic needs using an x-ray.
2. Before Propel, rinse twice with chlorhexidine, a disinfectant.
3. Your doctor anesthetizes the area and applies Propel where needed.
4. Your doctor discusses options for your next visit, and you can get back to your busy schedule!

Benefits of Micro-Osteoperforation with Propel
- See faster results without added discomfort
- Use Propel with any type of orthodontic appliance, whether braces or aligners.
- Receive Propel treatment during your regular office visit.
- Save time with fewer office visits.
- Forget surgery. Micro- Osteoperforation requires no recovery time.

Low-Carb diets can cause bad breath?

December 10th, 2015

Low-carb diets may be good for your waistline, but you might not be able to say the same for your breath.

Low-carb lifestyle junkies are more likely to suffer from a seldom discussed side effect of such diets -- halitosis, aka bad breath. And since more than 25 million people say they have tried the Atkins diet (not to mention other low-carb eating plans), according to the National Marketing Institute, bad breath may be an epidemic!

Bad breath in the low/no-carb sect is often caused by certain chemicals that are released in the breath as the body burns fat. They are called ketones, and entering into a fat-burning state of ketosis is the hallmark of the Atkins diet. So the good news is that if your breath stinks, you're probably doing a good job of sticking to that low-carb diet.

"Carbohydrates aren't readily available, so you start to use other fats and proteins as your source of energy, and as a result you are going to get a breath problem," explains Kenneth Burrell, DDS, the senior director of the council on scientific affairs of the American Dental Association.

Pass the Bread?
This is not an oral hygiene problem, Burrell says, so "all the brushing, flossing, and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this."

The bottom line is that you must "reconsider the diet and modify it so this doesn't happen," he says. Sure, "there may be some ways to mask it by using mouthwashes, but you can't overcome the fundamental problem other than by changing the diet -- or at least introducing some carbohydrates."

"It's a difficult problem to solve because if one uses any sucking candy or lozenge, one has to be careful that it has no sugar in it" as sugar is a big no-no on many low-carb eating plans, says S. Lawrence Simon, DDS, a New York City periodontist. Even so-called "sugar-free" products are often loaded with carbs.

"If you have a metabolic cause of bad breath, there is very little the dentist can do; you have to change your diet," he says.

In fact, "the South Beach diet permits more carbs than the traditional Atkins diet, so there is bound to be less bad breath on South Beach because you are not going into a state of ketosis," he says.

What you Need to know if your child snores,grinds, or is a mouth breather

November 12th, 2015

Snoring, mouth breathing, and grinding and clenching the teeth are all signs of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea in children.

How Does Mouth Breathing Hurt My Child?

While it may seem harmless, mouth breathing affects how your child develops, your child’s behavior and personality, as well as the adult that your child grows up to be.

Most healthcare professionals, including your doctor, might tell you not to worry about mouth breathing and insist that your child will “grow out of it.”

But the truth is, mouth breathing can have devastating effects on the development of the face and airway.

How Mouth Breathing Changes Facial and Oral Development

When nasal breathing is blocked, facial and dental development become abnormal.

In both human and animal studies, when nasal breathing is blocked, untreated mouth breathing leads to development of long, narrow faces with crooked teeth, receded jaw, and future TMD and headache issues.mouth breathing development

But it’s not just about looks. When the jaw and airway don’t fully develop, the airway can become easily obstructed during sleep.

During the complete muscle relaxation of deep stage sleep, the muscles around the airway also relax and collapse. The airway is a tight space, often made tighter by large tonsils and adenoids in both children and infants.

If the airway becomes obstructed, the brain must bounce out of deep sleep and into a lighter stage of sleep in order to grind and clench to push the jaw forward to allow for breathing again.

Grinding and clenching are the body’s way of reopening a collapsed airway during sleep to start breathing again. This is why grinding and clenching are the new red flag for catching sleep apnea early on.

How Mouth Breathing Impacts Behavior and Personality

Interrupting deep sleep like this impacts development.

development of mouth breathersDeep sleep is when Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, which is essential to a child’s brain development and long bone growth. Once deep sleep is interrupted, HGH stops being secreted. Not having enough HGH stunts your growth and brain development.

Deep sleep is the body’s chance to restore, repair, and heal from the stress of the day. It’s a time of memory consolidation and cementing learning. Hormones that control appetite and other critical functions are regulated and stabilized during this stage.

In a child who is snoring, grinding and clenching, or breathing through the mouth, the brain is not able to rest and sleep is not restorative.

Children who are deprived of deep sleep are often hyperactive as a result of adrenaline used to compensate for sleepiness. They often aren’t able to achieve their academic potential because their brains and bodies aren’t at their best in this damaged, deep sleep-deprived state. They’re often diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral issues. They have lowered immune systems, poor health, and can be overweight.

Strategies for Parents

Make sure your child can breathe through her nose with ease.
Make sure your child has seen a dentist by age one. Make sure that this dentist is concerned with recognizing mouth breathing and its implications.
Make sure your child is treated for allergies. Allergies can force children into mouth breathing.
Make sure that your child’s diet and environment aren’t contributing to allergies.
Ask your dentist if your child needs a referral to an orthodontist if he’s mouth breathing.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Gum Disease

November 4th, 2015

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Anyone can get it, though it affects women more than men, and it’s most common among older people. The immune system attacks the body’s tissues, but its exact causes aren’t known. Yet research has found a connection between RA and periodontal disease.

One recent study included 44 patients diagnosed with RA according to American Rheumatism Association criteria attending the Morales Meseguer Hospital Rheumatology Service in Murcia, Spain, and 41 control subjects. Patients younger than 18 or suffering systemic diseases that could affect the immune system were excluded.

Each patient received a full periodontal examination. Bleeding on probing was significantly greater in the RA group (0.9 +/- 0.36) than the control (P < 0.001). The plaque index also was significantly higher in the RA group (0.76 +/- 0.34) than the control group (0.55 +/- 0.2, P < 0.001).

Overall, the researchers concluded that the RA patients showed a 0.13 increased risk of periodontal disease (95% confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.37). They also determined that these patients must be instructed to intensify their oral hygiene regimes.

Five ways to stop Bleeding Gums

October 26th, 2015

As you brush your teeth, you might notice a bit of redness around your gums. While you might be tempted to ignore the blood, bleeding gums is an early sign of gum disease, according to the National Library of Medicine. The bleeding is due to inflammation in the gums caused by build-up plaque or overly vigorous brushing. If you notice some blood when you brush or floss, it is essential that you see a dentist. There are also some things you can do on your own to stop bleeding gums.

Eat a Healthier Diet

Improving your diet can go a long way toward improving your oral health and stopping bleeding gums. A diet full of whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, gives your gums the nutrients they need. If your diet is packed with nutritionally deficient, sugary foods, such as candy, soda and refined breads, your gums aren't getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and intact.

Improve Your Dental Care Routine

Taking good care of your mouth at home can also help stop bleeding gums. Brushing and flossing regularly removes bacteria from the mouth that can inflame your gums, and using the right devices and brushing properly can also help improve the overall health of your mouth and reverse early gum disease. For example, a medium- or firm-bristled toothbrush can be damaging to the gums when pressure is applied during tooth brushing. Brush gently, using short strokes, to effective brush the teeth and gum line.

Relax

If you're always on the go or always up against a deadline, the amount of stress in your life could be causing your gums to bleed. High levels of stress can affect your oral health in a number of ways. First, stress increases inflammation in your body, which makes your gums more likely to bleed. Too much stress also reduces your immune system's functionality, making it more difficult for your body to fight infection and to heal. A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, found that women with stress-related depression had higher levels of inflammation in the gums and increases levels of plaque buildup.

When you're stressed out, you're also less likely to take good care of yourself. That might mean you skip brushing or flossing or choose to eat fast food instead of a balanced meal. Reduce stress in your life by learning to say no to projects when you have too much on your plate and by taking a few minutes to breathe in and out when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is terrible for your health. Along with increasing your risk for certain cancers and heart disease, it plays a big role in the development of gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The toxins in tobacco smoke keep your gums from getting the nutrition that they need, and can lead to inflammation. Quitting can be tough, but it's one of the most important things to do if you want to protect your oral and overall health.

Stop Sharing

Gum disease and bleeding gums are contagious. If your partner has a lot of bacteria in his or her mouth, then you're likely increasing your risk for gum problems. Avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with another person's mouth, from toothbrushes to water glasses.

Seeing your dentist for an examination and teeth cleaning on a regular basis is essential to putting an end to bleeding gums and to treating gum disease before it becomes a major issue. If it's been a while since you've seen your dentist and you've noticed a bit of blood when you brush, make an appointment today. Getting the issue diagnosed and making the necessary changes will help improve the health of your mouth considerably.

Holiday Foods can be tricky for Braces

October 7th, 2015

While last generation's mark of adolescence—braces—has mercifully evolved into an accessory for people of all ages, the long list of treatment-prolonging foods remains unchanged.

Today's braces are more visually appealing and less painful, and wearers don't have to make as many visits to the orthodontist. More than half of teen-agers recently surveyed about their braces report that they are not self-conscious about them. More than a quarter of them say their braces make them look cool.

But foods on the "don't" list, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, licorice and caramel, are just as appealing to adults as they are to kids. With one of every five orthodontic patients older than age 18, the holidays present a challenge for an entirely new group of revelers.

Although adults may not include bobbing for apples as an activity at holiday parties, orthodontic patients won't be able to enjoy that bowl of mixed nuts commonly served as an accompaniment during cocktail hour.

The same goes for those caramel-nut taffy apples so artfully displayed at the table's center, brownies with walnuts and pecan pie on the dessert menu.

However, a little awareness and creativity in the kitchen can result in substitutions everyone can enjoy such as pumpkin, parfait, ice cream, fruit cups, gelatin and thinly sliced apples dipped in yogurt or creamy chocolate sauce.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontic patients brush and floss after eating sweets. Some dentists recommend brushing within five minutes after eating anything, especially after a meal, and having a travel toothbrush on hand when dining away from home.

How Headgear braces perfect a misaligned smile

September 16th, 2015

During a person's orthodontic treatment, the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) can be more uneven in their positions than in traditional cases of misalignment. In these situations, based on a clinical diagnosis and digital imaging, the orthodontist may recommend wearing headgear braces for a certain portion of your child's overall orthodontic treatment. But what are they, and how are they different from your traditional wires and brackets?

What Is Headgear?

Headgear is the general name for a type of external appliance that applies specific forces to guide the growth of your face and jaw, according to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO). Orthodontists use them in special cases where your teeth need to move into a position that isn't possible with brackets, wires or clear retainers found in routine care. Because these braces consist of wires that engage both the inside and outside of the mouth, you or your child may feel that it looks a little strange. But it is used by orthodontists very often and for a common purpose – and it's a necessary part of the beautiful end result.

What Is It Used For?

Retraction headgear (also known as Class II correction) is designed to retract the upper jaw, and protraction headgear (also known as Class III correction) is used to move the upper jaw forward while guiding and stabilizing the lower jaw. The process chosen depends on the patient's individual needs. Headgear appliance therapy is usually used when a child or young adult is still growing in order to take advantage of the bones in the jaw when they're still erupting into place. This way, the appliance can guide the teeth and jaw bones into their new positions before they've settled.

How Is It Fitted?

There are two common types used: The "facebow" type consists of a single strap that fits around the back of your neck and has a wire that attaches to the front braces of your teeth. The "J hook" type uses wires that attach to your braces and straps that fit over your head and neck. The appliance should be worn 12 to 14 hours per day.

Are There Special Instructions for Headgear Wearers?

Because the additional appliance hooks onto the existing braces, headgear braces have to be removed when eating, sleeping, playing sports or any time the patient might accidently have it pulled or bumped during physical activity. Regardless of the little extra effort required when wearing orthodontic headgear, the healthy and beautiful smile achieved when the treatment is complete will have made the hard work involved well worth it.

Perfect Bite, Pretty Face?

September 10th, 2015

The appearance of a person's bite affects how their attractiveness, personality and intelligence is rated by other adults, according to a study.

A study published in the November 2011 edition of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics asked 889 people to evaluate photos that had been manipulated to show either a normal bite or one of six imperfect bites, called occlusion or malocclusion in the dental world.

“The ratings of attractiveness, intelligence, conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion differed significantly depending on the occlusion status depicted,” the report said.

Those with an underbite were rated least attractive, intelligent and extraverted. Females with an imperfect bite were rated more favorably than males. Younger and more educated respondents were more critical in their evaluations than older, less educated respondents.

Drs. Jase A. Olsen, a private practitioner in Southern Pines, N.C., and Marita Rohr Inglehart, associate professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry conducted the study.

"Judgments that are negatively influenced by the effects of malocclusion might leave those without a normal occlusion at a social disadvantage and professionally handicapped," the study notes.

The study also quotes earlier research showing that "attractive" people were perceived to be more intelligent and socially competent, to have a more positive personality, to have better social interactions and to receive more favorable professional ratings.

In addition, the study quotes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination III from 1988-91, which showed that 57 percent to 59 percent of adults had some degree of an imperfect bite.

Although that study is two decades old, it still provides the most current prevalence data for malocclusion among U.S. adults.

The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists.

© 2015 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

Braces can improve your smile and your Oral Health

August 20th, 2015

Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a "bad bite," a condition known as a malocclusion that involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. Correcting the problem can create a beautiful looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and possibly tooth loss.

Orthodontics is a specialty area of dentistry. The purpose of orthodontics is to treat malocclusion through braces, corrective procedures and other appliances to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment. An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional three year period of full time post graduate schooling to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Good oral hygiene is especially important when braces are present. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will keep your teeth healthy. Patients with braces should maintain a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Dr Johnson will recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

July 30th, 2015

Bad breath facts

Bad breath, or halitosis, is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth.

  • Causes of bad breath include food, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, health problems, dry mouth, mouth infections, dental problems, or medications.
  • Symptoms of bad breath include unpleasant odor or taste in the mouth, dry mouth, or white coating on the tongue.
  • Treatments for bad breath include proper dental hygiene, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, quitting smoking, and changing bad habits.
  • Bad breath can usually be prevented by proper tooth brushing, quitting smoking, and avoiding foods that cause bad breath odors.

What is the definition of bad breath?

The definition of bad breath, or halitosis, is an unpleasant odor of the mouth. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition. It may be caused by foods a person eats, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions, or other factors.

What are the causes and risk factors of bad breath?

There are many risk factors and causes for bad breath; some common causes are listed below.

  • Food: Food is a primary source of bad odors that come from the mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods, exotic spices (such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time this is short term. Other foods may get stuck in the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath odor. Low carbohydrate diets may also cause "ketone breath." These diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end-product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.
  • Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad-breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
  • Poor dental hygiene: When a person does not brush or floss regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Poor dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which causes an odor of its own. Plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal (gum) disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; if gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis.
  • Health problems: Sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections, tonsil stones (tonsilloliths), thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, other stomach problems, and some liver diseases or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
  • Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth, and when the body does not product enough saliva, bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorders (Sjögren's syndrome), medications, or breathing through the mouth.
  • Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
  • Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
  • Medications: Many medications, including antihistamines and diuretics, can cause dry mouth (see above), which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include triamterene (Dyrenium) and paraldehyde.
  • "Morning breath": Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stops during sleep, which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
  • Pregnancy: Being pregnant in itself does not cause bad breath, but the nausea and morning sickness common during pregnancy may cause bad breath. In addition, hormonal changes, dehydration, and eating different foods due to cravings may also contribute to bad breath during pregnancy.
  • Other causes of bad breath: Objects stuck in the nose (usually in children), alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath.

How is bad breath treated? What can be done to prevent bad breath?

Treatment of bad breath depends on the cause.

  • Brush and floss teeth regularly. Remember to brush the tongue, too. This can help with bad breath caused by foods a person has eaten.
  • See a dentist regularly to ensure dentures or braces are properly fitted and cleaned.
  • Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco.

Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.

Natural remedies to treat bad breath include chewing on mint or parsley.

If bad breath is due to a health problem such as a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux, etc., then the underlying medical issue needs to be treated.

If bad breath is a side effect of taking a medication, discuss with a doctor whether there are other options for medication that can be taken. Never stop taking a medication without first consulting a doctor.

The importance of daily flossing

May 21st, 2015

Daily flossing is an important component of plaque removal, but it’s one that many people avoid because they find flossing painful. But the right flossing products can make flossing easy and painless.

Many people think that standard dental floss is the only effective product for tooth flossing. But there are many products to meet the needs of people of all ages with any type of dental condition. If one of these conditions applies to you, consider some specialized flossing options:

You have sensitive gums - If you have sensitive teeth and gums that bleed easily, choose soft floss that slides easily and comfortably between the teeth

You have braces - If you wear braces or have dentures, that doesn’t mean that you can’t floss. Try specialized floss, such as Oral-B’s Super Floss, which has a stiff end that you can thread beneath the main wire of your braces and a spongy component that slides easily between the teeth

You have a child - It’s important to teach children the benefits of flossing at a young age. You can start teaching children to floss their teeth at about age 5-7 years, but many children are less than enthusiastic, and they may complain that flossing hurts or is difficult. Try a kid-friendly flossing tool.

You have difficulty manipulating floss - Try an electric flosser, an electric flosser is neat and easy, especially if you don’t like reaching into the back of your mouth. And an electric flosser provides the right amount of pressure to leave your gums feeling pleasantly stimulated.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2015

Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind young athletes to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring. Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention.

"A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equ...ipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced. Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard.”

Electric or Manual Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

March 4th, 2015

You live in the golden age of toothbrushes. Until a few decades ago, people used twigs or brushes made from animal hair to clean their teeth: not very soft and none too effective. Now you have a choice of manual brushes with soft, medium, or hard bristles. Or you might choose to go with an electric toothbrush instead.
Have you ever wondered whether manual or electric brushes provide better cleaning? Actually, they both do the job. The key is to brush and floss every day, regardless of the kind of brush you prefer. At our office, we like to say the best brush is the one you’ll use. So if you prefer manual, go for it. If you prefer electric, turn it on. Both types have their advantages but both types will get the job done as far as removing plaque, if used properly.

Electric Toothbrushes

  • Provide power rotation that helps loosen plaque
  • Are great for people with limited dexterity due to arthritis or other physical limitations
  • Are popular with kids who think the electric brushes are more fun to use
  • Can come with variable speeds to help reduce pressure on sensitive teeth and gums
  • Uses timers to ensure you brush evenly across the four quadrants of your mouth and for the optimal two minutes each session

Manual Toothbrushes

  • Can help brushers feel they have more control over the brushing process
  • Allow brushers to respond to twinges and reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums
  • Are more convenient for packing when traveling
  • Are cheaper and easier to replace than the electric versions

In many ways, the golden age is just beginning. There are already phone apps available to remind you to brush and floss. New apps can play two minutes worth of music while you brush, help you compare the brightness of your smile, or remind you to brush and floss throughout the day. Maybe someday, there will be an app that examines your teeth after brushing to identify spots you might have missed.

After braces always wear your retainers!

February 25th, 2015

Why retainers?
After your orthondontic treatment is finished, and your braces are removed, you will need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions.

For how long do I need to wear retainers?
It takes time for the bone and all the tissues around your teeth to reorganise and therefore it is necessary to use retainers until your bite stabilises. In the first month after the braces are removed, the risk of relapse is very high.

Relapse means that the teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after treatment. If you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, the retention period will be longer.
Usually, retainers are worn for as long a time as you have had your braces. If your teeth move back to their original positions, you may need fixed braces again to correct them.

Nearly 25% of orthodontic patients have to wear braces again because they didn’t wear their retainers!

What Will My Retainers Look Like?
At one time, all retainers were made of pink plastic and silvery wire, and were removable. That kind is still available, but now you may have a choice of different colors or patterns — you might even be able to customize yours! Another alternative that may be appropriate is a clear retainer that fits over your teeth, making it nearly invisible. In some cases, you can have a thin wire bonded to the inside of the teeth instead of a removable retainer. It doesn't show, and you don't have to worry about taking it out.

Do I have to Wear Them All the Time?
Your orthodontist will prescribe the retention plan that is best for you. Some retainers are used full-time for the first 6 months; after that, the retainers are worn only at night, for a few years. Other retainers are worn full-time for about a week, and solely at night thereafter. Fixed retainers are normally kept in place for 5 years.

Is it Important to Use Your Retainers as Instructed?
Removable retainers should be taken out during eating, contact sports and  when you brush your teeth. To clean the retainers, remove them first and brush them in tap water using a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Brush your teeth after this.

The safest place for your retainers is in your mouth. If you are not using the retainers they should always be kept in a box. There is a great risk of losing retainers if they are wrapped in tissue paper after you remove them from your mouth.

How Will Retainers Affect My Daily Life?
A removable retainer has a wire holding the front teeth. It will be visible but much less than the fixed braces. If you have a removable retainer in your upper jaw, it will take you one to two days to get accustomed to them and speak properly. It is normal to experience a lot of saliva in your mouth with a new retainer.

Always bring the box to store your retainer should you need to remove them. If you have a fixed retainer, you should spend more time to brush the back of your teeth. You have to brush all around the wire so that calculus will not form. You will be instructed on how to use dental floss with a floss-threader. Remember not to use your front teeth for biting hard foods or objects. Fixed retainers do not affect speech.

Will my teeth never change when the period of retention is over?
Bone has the capacity to change and remodel for as long as we live; that is why a broken bone can heal.

From 20 to 50 years of age, faces mature and teeth continue to push forward, causing crowding of the lower front teeth. This happens regardless of whether you have had wisdom teeth removed, extractions of teeth or previous orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth.

To avoid the risk of late crowding, removable retainers can be worn at night for a longer period and fixed retainers kept in for more than 5 years.
Adult patients usually sleep with their retainers on for the rest of their lives, if they want their teeth in perfect alignment.

Study: 58% Of People More Likely To Be Hired After Tooth Whitening.

February 9th, 2015

On its website, Valet Magazine (12/17) reports that according to a recent study commissioned by Match.com, good teeth are what women “judge men on most” when first considering a romantic relationship, while independent research firm Kelton Research “found that 58% of a study’s participants were more likely to be hired and 53% received larger salary offers after their teeth had been whitened.” Citing the advice of dentists, the article goes on to advise on methods to whiten teeth, including visiting the dentist for a professional whitening treatment.

5 Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

January 20th, 2015

Tooth sensitivity is common in many of our patients, and can usually be identified by pain or discomfort when consuming foods or beverages that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sensitivity can be felt when brushing or flossing, and can also be experienced after routine dental procedures such as the placement of a filling or crown, tooth restoration, or even teeth cleaning. Such sensitivity is usually temporary; if it does not cease after four to six weeks please consult us.
Tooth sensitivity is often due to the breakdown of tooth enamel or a receding gum line, which can occur from:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Vigorous brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth

In most instances, tooth sensitivity is treatable. Here are a few remedies you can take advantage of at home:

  1. Try a desensitizing toothpaste which contains chemicals that block sensations like hot and cold from reaching the nerves in your teeth.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be gentler on both your teeth and gums.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice every day and flossing once daily.
  4. Switch to a fluoride mouthwash.
  5. When possible, avoid acidic foods such as tea, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you may benefit from professional treatment. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, please be sure to contact us. We can set up an appointment to discuss your unique situation and determine the best way to address the problem.

It’s a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

December 31st, 2014

People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

Tips for a Happy New Year’s Eve Celebration from Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions:

•Be Safe. There’s no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year’s Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.

•Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year’s Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don’t have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.

•Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

New Year’s Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that’s coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that’s safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Pamela Johnson, have a great new year!

How much do you know about your toothbrush?

September 16th, 2014

Taking care of your smile is nothing new! People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years. In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):

• Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color

• The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India

• On average, children smile about 400 times per day

• Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months

• The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in 1955 and Colgate in 1873

Make your oral health a priority

September 3rd, 2014

At Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions, we know good dental health requires only a few minutes a day. We thought we’d provide some practical advice on how to improve your or your child’s smile between your adjustment visits with Dr. Johnson. Start by brushing your teeth twice a day. Proper brushing techniques are an essential part of maintaining good oral health during your orthodontic treatment, as well as preventing gum disease. More care and time are needed to adequately brush your teeth when you are wearing braces. Brushing daily helps remove decay-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. Please consult Dr. Johnson if you would like us to review brushing techniques with you or your child. The use of a mechanical toothbrush such as a Sonicare or Oral B can aid in removing plaque around braces. Flossing daily will also prevent plaque to build up between the teeth and prevent stains between your teeth. Research has shown the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and memory loss. Lastly, we encourage you to throw away old toothbrushes and replace them every 2 or 3 months, or after an illness.

We hope this helps! If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact our office or ask your general dentist during your next scheduled visit! Or, ask us on Facebook!

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