Author Archives: Sixth Avenue Dentistry

Bruxism’s Link to Social Anxiety

The dental community has understood for a long time that stress is a big contributing factor to bruxism, or tooth grinding. If you struggle with social anxiety, you may be at particular risk. This is according to a study conducted by Tel Aviv University, which has demonstrated that interacting with other people can serve as a trigger for tooth grinding if you have social anxiety.

The study examined a group of seventy-five people, representing a mix of men and women in their early thirties. Forty of these people struggled with social phobia, roughly half of these taking medication to treat the condition. The other thirty-five participants did not exhibit any social phobia. After an examination of both their oral health and psychiatry, the researchers found that 42.1% of those with social phobia exhibited moderate-to-severe wear on their teeth as a result from bruxism. This is opposed to the 28.6% exhibited by those without social phobia. Meanwhile, symptoms of waking bruxism were observed in 42.5% of the first group, compared to the mere 3% of the control group.

If you experience social anxiety, it pays to take measures to foster relaxation and avoid bruxism. This, combined with regular visits to our International District dentist, will help to assure the continued health of your teeth.

Tooth Decay: Are Pickles to Blame?

It’s not just sugary foods like candy and soda that threaten to rot your teeth and cause cavities. There are many foods with this potential, some of which may not be what you’d expect. According to a British study, one of these may be pickled foods.

This study, which was conducted back in 2004, took a look at the eating habits of a cross section of English teenagers. Many of these youths were in the habit of eating many pickles as a regular part of their diets, and exhibited a certain amount of tooth decay as a result. It would seem that this excessive decay can be attributed to the highly acidic vinegar found in the pickles, which can have the same effect on your enamel that the acid produced by your oral bacteria can have.

If you like pickles, the good news is that this is only a problem if you eat a notable amount of pickles more than once a day. Anyone who can remain reasonably mindful of their eating habits should be able to avoid excess decay from eating pickles. Further, be sure to get your regular cleanings at our SODO district dentist.

The Five Types of Tooth in Your Mouth

Your mouth is a complex system, evolved over millions of years to best suit the human diet. Over this time, it has developed five distinct types of tooth, each one with a specialized role. These teeth, and their purposes, are as follows:

  • Incisors: These are the eight flat feet found at the front of your mouth, four on the top and four on the bottom. Like a set of scissors, it is their job to bite off food into manageable chunks.
  • Canines: Easily recognized for their resemblance to dog-like fangs, these are the four sharp teeth next to your incisors. They are designed for ripping and tearing, an important part of eating meat.
  • Premolars: Bicuspids, or premolars, are the four teeth found on the outsides of your canines. It is their job to chew and grind.
  • Molars: These are bigger versions of your premolars. They do largely the same job, but are responsible for more of the work.
  • Third Molars: You may or may not have any third molars in your mouth. These are the teeth that are commonly known as wisdom teeth, and often need to be removed.

To learn more about your teeth and how to properly assure their long-term health, talk to our South Seattle dentist.

Do Whitening Toothpastes Work?

There are many toothpastes available that advertise themselves as “whitening” toothpastes. Such products can look appealing, promising to serve as a cost-effective alternative to in-office whitening treatments by gradually restoring your sparkle as you brush. Unfortunately, these toothpastes are not all they may seem to be, and may actually be doing more harm than good.

The next time you’re shopping for your toothpaste, take a closer look at the fine print on the whitening pastes. You will probably notice that it qualifies its whitening power by saying that it “removes surface stains”. What this means is that it is preventing new stains from forming by removing staining pigments before they settle, while stains that have already settled remain untouched.

The truth is that, even if a toothpaste was strong enough to remove stains from your teeth, the two minutes you spend brushing is not enough time for it to do any good. In fact, any bleaching elements in your toothpaste are probably only serving to make the product more abrasive on your gums. If you want a safe and effective way to restore the pearly-white of your teeth, talk to our International District dentist.

How Healthy is Xylitol?

The refined sugars that are so abundant in our modern diets are one of the bigger sources of tooth decay. Knowing this, many groups are eager to develop alternative sweeteners that can give us the great taste we want without putting our teeth and gums to as much of a risk. Xylitol is one of these alternative sweeteners, and one which many people are getting excited about. Indeed, researchers have found that this substance has the potential to cause less damage to your teeth, compared to conventional refined sugars. Some people are even claiming that it actually serves to kill off some of the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay.

To explore these alleged properties, a research team conducted a series of ten studies with the help of about six thousand participants. Some participants were given a xylitol-based toothpaste, while a control group used a fluoride toothpaste. Following the studies, the team reported “low-quality evidence” that the xylitol-based paste resulted in 13% less decay. Unfortunately, these results are not considered sufficient to draw conclusions, and the studies did not go so far as to explore any side effects of the paste.