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Surprisingly Simple Way to Lengthen Your Life

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A new study suggests that happiness in older people may lead to a longer life.



We all know that eating our fruits and veggies, keeping fit, getting enough sleep and not smoking will help us live longer – upwards of over 10 years longer. But there are some other simple ways you can add years to your life. Among them:

 Smile big and wide.

Smiling big and wide is related to living longer, according to research published in the journal Psychological Science. These researchers looked at professional baseball players’ photos and compared the lifespan of players with big smiles, no smiles and partial smiles.

Even after controlling for factors that are related to longevity such as education level and marital status, bigger smiles were still related to a longer life. The researchers found that the biggest smilers lived to an average of almost 80 years, while their straight-faced teammates reached only an average of 73 years. Why? In part because smiling builds your immune system and improves your mood and stress levels. And as an added bonus, smiling makes you more attractive.

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

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It’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. Here’s what to do:

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
  • For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily.

Stressed Out about a Gummy Smile? Did You Know it Can Be Corrected?

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Stressed Out About a Gummy Smile? Did You Know it Can Be Corrected?

The amount of gum tissue we possess, just like how much hair we have on our heads, is merely a matter of personal anatomy – some of us just have more of it than others. If you are unhappy with your smile though, and consider yourself to have “too much” gum tissue, there are a few ways to relieve you of a gummy smile. Let’s take a look at the three most common options:

Gingivectomy (Gum Lift, Gum Contouring)

The most common and speediest solution for revitalizing a gummy smile is a gingivectomy. A gingivectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of gum tissue from the crown of the tooth. It can be done with a scalpel, an electrosurgery unit, lasers or diamond dental burs. There’s some art to this procedure, since your dentist effectively “carves” away the excessive tissue, reshaping the landscape of your smile so it conforms to your desired result. The procedure is done under local anesthetic and takes only a few minutes to an hour to complete depending on the number of teeth to be done.

Lip Repositioning

This one might sound a bit scary, but other than post surgical swelling and some initial tightness, it can be a good solution if your gumminess comes from how high your lip raises when smiling, instead of excessive gingiva.

In this procedure, a small horizontal section of tissue inside your upper lip is removed, then stitched back together in what is effectively a “lower” position. If you can imagine having a cut in your skin where some of the skin tissue in the middle of the cut is lost, and the remaining “ends” of the skin are stitched back together, that is essentially what happens in a lip positioning. Your lip isn’t actually lowered, it’s just that some of the movement of your top lip is restricted so it doesn’t raise too high and show too much gum. Surgery only lasts about 45 minutes, and the results are immediate.

Crown Lengthening

With the word “lengthening” in the name of this procedure, you may think it requires some sort of painful stretching of the tooth’s crown to make it longer. Thankfully, that’s not what happens. Instead, in this surgery a dentist would make an incision in the gum tissue, creating a “flap” that can be folded downward, exposing the bone that encases your teeth. A portion of that bone would then be shaved down few millimeters and the gum flap sutured back into place. At this point, however, because the bone height is lower than it was previously, the gum tissue would rest at a lower height, leaving more of the crown visible when smiling. This would make it appear as though the crown were “longer” and thus the name – “crown lengthening” is given to this procedure. While crown lengthening is a means to correct a gummy smile, many dentists recommend orthodontic treatment, instead (which, over time actually does pull the crown down a few millimeters), because it doesn’t require surgery, or the permanent removal of bone tissue.

Modern dental surgery can really do wonders for our smiles in a multitude of ways. If you’re concerned about how much gum you are flashing each time you smile, or have stopped smiling all together, have a chat with your dentist. You might be surprised at just how quickly we can get you back to smiling widely again!

Is Pool Water Harming Your Child’s Teeth?

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Is Pool Water Harming Your Child’s Teeth?

Now here’s a question you’ve perhaps never asked yourself before. Can swimming regularly in a chlorinated pool damage your teeth? Surprisingly, it can. The trick is understanding how and why it can happen, and what you can do to minimize or eliminate the damage. And, that’s where we come in! Let’s learn how this healthy form of exercise can contribute to staining, and even eroding, your tooth enamel – yikes!

What’s in the water that’s bad for teeth?

Well, there are two concerns, actually. No one wants to be swimming in algae and bacteria, so chlorine is added to the pool to manage that situation. This is a good thing. But in order to keep things in check pH has to be monitored.

We’ve written about pH before, and it can be a confusing subject, but if you’re familiar with the concept of how acidic beverages can erode tooth enamel, the same principal applies to pool water – a pool with too low a pH means the water is technically acidic, which can erode tooth enamel. And, if you have kids on the swim team putting in more than six hours a week in a pool with a pH that isn’t being monitored properly, that sort of damage can happen fast. This is of particular concern in pools that are “gas chlorinated.” One study showed severe sensitivity and enamel loss in a man swimming in a high pH pool in just 27 days!

Aside from enamel loss, which is only a concern in improperly monitored pools (like the one in your backyard, perhaps?), tooth discoloration is a much more common ailment. Here, the offender is how chlorine interacts with proteins in our saliva. It’s pretty fascinating reading, if you’d like to learn more, but in a nutshell this chemical reaction results in what’s known as “swimmers calculus.”

Should I pull my kids from swim team?

No. If you’re kids are swimming in a properly monitored public pool, the risk of an imbalance in pH causing severe enamel erosion is low. However, since you’re not testing the pool yourself, it might not be a bad idea to ask the pool’s management team how often it is tested. In fact, some pools post readings publicly so residents can see they’re handling the pool professionally. You may even suggest this if your pool isn’t already doing so.

And with regard to staining, the solution there may be as simple as visiting the dentist prior to swim season and having a fluoride treatment applied to your child’s teeth.

What to do if you OWN a pool?

So far we’ve talked mostly about kids who might be on the swim team. But what if your kids are logging hours in their own backyard pool for more than six hours a week? The only way to keep these threats at bay is to keep a backyard pool as maintained as a professional pool. Test kits are available in a range of styles and costs, and with their own recommendations as to how often pool water needs to be tested. The key is to follow those instructions and do the test. Or better yet, hire a professional to maintain your pool. Again, staining is a preventative pursuit you can plan out with your dentist.

Swimming should always be a fun and engaging activity, good for body and soul. So, do it right, and have fun!

Two Great, Healthy Father’s Day Gifts

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Father’s Day is one of those holidays that children really seem to relish … probably because aside from Mother’s Day, it’s the only day when *they* get a chance to pick out a gift and give it to someone – especially someone as special as their Father. All the Dads in our life enjoy the attention (even if they’re actually Grandfathers!) – it’s their day to finally shine. So why not mix it up a bit this Father’s Day? After all, Dad probably has a pretty fine collection of ties and after-shave from years gone by … so, here are two unique gifts Dad might really enjoy this Father’s Day.
First on deck, we’d like to suggest what’s known as a water flosser or oral irrigator. This product is a great gift for those of us who don’t possess an affinity for flossing (which is pretty much everyone, right?), because it really simplifies the process, and even makes it a bit fun. A flosser/irrigator works by using water pressure to dislodge food debris and bacteria between teeth and helps to keep your gums clean and healthy. It also works exceedingly well if regularly used after a cleaning from a hygienist, and they’re the perfect gift for any dad.
And for the dad who plays sports? How about a custom mouthguard? You can find out more about these in our sports dentistry article, and your dad will love it if he plays in any summer leagues, or if he skis and snowboards in the wintertime. As a matter of fact, a dad who’s really active in just about anything sports-related might benefit from a custom guard. Regardless of the season, this is one of the most affordable gifts you can give to an active dad so he can keep that smile of his in great shape for years to come.
Happy Father’s Day, and happy June to everyone!

Five Reasons Why You May Have a Dry Mouth

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We all know drinking copious amounts of water is good for one’s health. And, boy howdy, when you’re feeling parched, there’s nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours. But what do you do when you find yourself drinking far more than the recommended amount, and are still feeling as though your mouth is as dry as a desert? There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth, ranging from the benign to the serious – let’s take a look at the top five.

  1. Physiologic: Sometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreases in salivary production due to sleep are all considered physiologic (or, “normal”) causes of dry mouth.
  2. Prescription medication: Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. That’s a lot of interference. What’s worse, the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth. That’s why as we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. It’s not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.
  3. Habitual use of alcohol, cigarettes, and/or drugs: Use of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity. No real surprise here.
  4. Chronic Disease: Sjögren’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands; along with the inflammatory disease, Sarcoidosis; Hepatitis C; and Diabetes, can all cause dry mouth.
  5. Psychogenic or Idiopathic: When symptoms are present without an identifiable cause (idiopathic), or because of psychological causes (psychogenic), they can be difficult to diagnose. If you find yourself with a persistent case of dry mouth that you’re unable attribute a cause to, see your doctor for further diagnosis.

Dry mouth can be uncomfortable to live with on a daily basis, and is an indication there is something causing the symptom that requires further examination. As always, with any persistent medical condition, it’s important to never rely on self-diagnosis, and to see your doctor for proper evaluation.

Gum Disease Stages

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Stages of Gum Disease

If left untreated, gum disease progresses through different stages, causing more harm and destruction to your overall dental health, making each step more difficult to treat. Timely treatment and prophylaxis is essential in prevention of teeth loss.


  • Gums are firm
  • Gums are light pink
  • Hug the teeth tightly
  • Don’t bleed when brushed
  • Gum Pocket depth when measured is no more than 2mm


GINGIVITIS – First stage of periodontal or gum disease which involves soft tissue only: bones has not yet been affected at this point

  • Gums bleed when brushed or probed
  • Inflammation and redness present
  • Possible bad breath
  • Pockets could be more than 2 mm

This stage of gum disease is reversable as no permanent tissue damage is done.


MILD PERIODONTITIS – This is the second stage of gum disease where the bone starts to get affected

  • Gums bleed very easily
  • Gum swelling is more pronounced
  • Gum pocket depth reaches 3-4mm
  • Bad breath/taste
  • Loss of firmness and texture
  • Loss of the attachment fibers
  • Bone loss may be evident on x-rays


MODERATE PERIODONTITIS – This stage of gum disease may be accompanied by pain and acute inflammation

  • Gum line starts to recede and teeth appear to be longer
  • Sensitivity may appear
  • Abscesses or gum boils may appear
  • Pain may appear
  • Teeth may shift and spaces can form between teeth
  • Redness and bleeding is very apparent
  • Further inflammation and loss of texture
  • Mobility of teeth
  • Neck of the tooth get exposed
  • Visible part of the tooth (clinical crown) looks elongated
  • Pocket depths 4-6mm
  • Significant bone loss is detected with x-ray
  • Faulty smells appear



  • All of the above symptoms are very pronounced
  • Pocket depths exceed 6mm
  • Severe mobility and bone loss
  • Inability to chew or bite into hard food as it accompanied by pain
  • Possible need for extractions