Tag Archives: South Seattle 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.

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.

Most Women Practice Better Oral Hygiene

Recently, the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences conducted a study on eight hundred participants. These participants were asked a series of questions on their oral habits, and then underwent an examination of their oral health. The results were as follows:

  • Women are about 26% more likely to floss.
  • Women are about twice as likely to schedule their regular dental appointments.
  • Women are about twice as likely to take notice if someone is missing one of their teeth.
  • 44% of women were aware that periodontal visits could help their overall bodily health, as opposed to only 33% of men.
  • About 74% of women said that they would be embarrassed to have a missing tooth, as opposed to 57% of men.

Something that is apparent here is that women have a tendency to take better care of their teeth. Should you be falling short in this regard, remember to make an appointment with our South Seattle dentist to get the care that you need and deserve.

Athletes and Tooth Decay

Ideally, an Olympic athlete should be the picture of good health. They practice and exercise day in and day out to achieve physical perfection. Unfortunately, in their efforts to tone their muscles and optimize their circulatory systems, their oral health suffers.

This is according to observations made during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It was here that nearly twenty percent of the participating athletes were found to be suffering from some sort of dental problem. Some had toothaches, some had bleeding gums, and some had even worse. Particularly bad cases actually threatened to keep certain athletes from competing.

The problem with most athletes as far as their oral care goes is twofold. First of all, many of them favor sugary sports drinks and carb-heavy diets, both of which encourage tooth decay. Secondly, a vigorous workout routine will often leave you dehydrated. Since bacteria thrives when your mouth is at its driest, this is a time when tooth rot is all the more likely. So, if you’re an avid athlete, be sure to get your regular appointments with Sixth Avenue Dentistry in South Seattle.

Why is My Tongue Red?

If your tongue is healthy, it should have that pinkish coloration that we generally see. When your tongue takes on a darker red coloration, there is something amiss. A number of conditions can cause bring about a red tongue, including the following:

  • Geographic Tongue: Known technically as benign migratory glossitis, this condition gets the name “geographic tongue” from the patterns that form across the tongue’s surface, resembling geographic formations. It is usually a harmless condition. However, if it persists for longer than two weeks, you should bring it to the attention of your dentist.
  • Kawasaki Syndrome: Usually, it is only children who develop this syndrome. It will generally be paired with a very high fever, and maybe swelling in the hands and feet. This is a condition that should be taken to your family doctor.
  • Scarlet Fever: A form of infection, scarlet fever is characteristic of something called strawberry tongue, where inflamed taste buds give your tongue a strawberry-like look.
  • Vitamin Deficiency: Failing to get enough folic acid or vitamin B12 in your diet can turn your tongue red.