Move Over, Mono: Another Kissing Disease?

If you’ve heard about (or experienced) mononucleosis, often shortened to “mono” or “the kissing disease”, you might think it can’t be compared to gum disease in any way. However, there is one trait these infections have in common.

According to pathologists, mono is caused primarily by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and it’s definitely something you’ll want to guard yourself against, both because its symptoms “can feel like the worst cold or flu you’ve ever had”, and because in some people, EBV can lead to the development of other disorders later in life.

But did you know gum disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and linked to 52 other systemic illnesses, is communicable the same way mono is?

Kissing & Telling

You read that right: gum disease is not only contagious, but can be spread through kissing. Along with smooching, common activities like sharing food or eating and drinking utensils can expose you (or your loved ones) to the bacteria that cause the traveling inflammation.

Your Brandon dental team at Walker and Barr DMD doesn’t want you to panic over this information, but we do encourage you to remain conscious and diligent about your prevention methods (*cough* oral hygiene *cough*). 

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, or you’d like to ensure you’ve been keeping the bad bugs at bay, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Walker and Barr DMD!

 

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

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Do You Smooch Your Pooch?

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD discusses bad bacteria that can be passed on by dog kisses. Don’t smooch your pooch!We’ve all heard the expression that a dog is a (hu)man’s best friend, and dog lovers wouldn’t disagree. There’s also a common misconception that “a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth”. As it turns out, that’s not true at all, and there are many reasons you should never let your dog kiss you on the lips or even the face.

Where Could a Dog’s Nose Have Been?

  • Garbage can
  • Toilet
  • “Greeting” another dog’s nether regions
  • Litter box

What a dog sniffs, he eats, and what he eats, he licks—so that rules out letting your dog give you kisses. Unfortunately, kissing a dog’s nose or top of his head isn’t really sanitary, either. If a dog has an ear or mouth infection, germs can end up all over his body or end up on his coat when he slobbers. 

Can You & Your Dog Actually Make Each Other Sick?

Human and dog mouths both have copious amounts and varieties of bacteria. Fortunately, most of those bacteria don’t make us sick, but some can, and no amount of oral hygiene can fight them off. The diseases, pathogens and parasites dogs can pass to humans include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Hookworm
  • Roundworm
  • Giardia
  • Salmonella

Viruses (such as the flu) tend to stick to one species, but if your immune system is compromised at all, you should definitely fend off Fido. People recovering from organ transplants, fighting cancer, or living with HIV should avoid kissing pets.

Your Brandon dental team loves dogs as much as anyone, but we want our patients to have healthy mouths, too. If you have any questions or concerns about dog kisses or oral hygiene, get in touch with Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD today.

 

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

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Crowning Glory: Esthetic Dental Crowns

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD talk about the different options you might choose between if you need a dental crown.The first known dental crowns were made as far back as 200 A.D. when Etruscans used gold to create crowns and bridges. Can you imagine what the process must have been like without the technology we have now? If you’d rather not, we can’t blame you!

Thanks to digital x-rays and impressions, dentists today can create crowns that blend in so well with the rest of the mouth, you’ll forget you weren’t born with them. The updated materials appear very natural, especially ceramic and porcelain.

But I Love Gold!

Gold is still an option for crowns today, and it’s not a bad option in terms of durability—they’re extremely fracture-resistant and seal well to prevent recurrent tooth decay. However, gold is usually the most expensive material for the creation of crowns, and most people want their dental restorations to be a secret only they know—especially if the tooth in need of crowning is an incisor or canine.

For those anterior (front) teeth, porcelain and ceramic are excellent crown options; they’re the most economical solution and can be color-matched to blend in with your smile perfectly. 

Dental crowns are prosthetics primarily placed to restore damaged teeth, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful, too! If you’re wondering how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile, contact your Brandon dentist, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD today! We’d love to make your smile the crowning glory of your face!

 

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

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Does Your Chewing Gum Fight Tooth Decay?

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD tell patients about xylitol and how it can boost your oral hygiene routines.Avid gum chewers rejoice! Your love for the sticky, stretchy stuff can be beneficial for your oral health—depending on its ingredients. If you’re chewing gum with artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, sucralose, aspartame, or mannitol, it’s true you’re avoiding traditional sugar, but your teeth aren’t as likely to thank you as they might be if your stick of choice were 100% xylitol-sweetened.

What is Xylitol?

First, if you’re wondering how to pronounce xylitol, its prefix is just like xylophone’s, and the fact that it tastes as sweet as sugar but carries almost half the calories per gram (2.4 compared to 4) might make you want to grab a mallet and beat out a tune. But the best part is: xylitol is a powerful plaque fighter, and fighting plaque is essential for cavity and gum disease prevention.

Is Xylitol a Marvel Superhero?

It might not be featured in cool comic books, but xylitol is a game-changer for dental hygiene. Before we leave you to your research, we want to remind you that it works best in conjunction with a strong oral hygiene routine, not as a replacement for one!

If you have any questions about xylitol or anything else related to your smile’s health, feel free to contact your Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD today! 

 

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

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If You Can’t Stand Dental Floss, You Might Need This

Brandon dentists at Walker and Barr DMD talk about the effectiveness of water flossers, specifically the WaterPik®.We know a lot of our friends and neighbors aren’t fans of being asked how often they brush and floss, but at Walker and Barr DMD, we hope you know it’s because we care and want to help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life! Getting to know your habits also helps us personalize your care and offer suggestions such as using a water flosser if the string type floss isn’t your favorite.

Our team happens to appreciate the WaterPik® and its comparable effectiveness at removing food debris and getting in those hard-to-reach areas—especially if you’re wearing braces.

Floss is Boss

Regardless of which flossing tool you prefer, it’s important to remain diligent in the habit. Flossing helps remove plaque, which causes cavities and dangerous gum disease if left to harden and become tartar. 

If you have any questions about flossing, WaterPiks, or any other dental topic, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr would love to hear from you. Contact us today to schedule a visit!

 

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

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Should I Be Screening Myself for Oral Cancer?

Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD talks about the prevalence of oral cancer and shares how to check your mouth at home.In a word: Ab-so-lute-ly! Pretend those hyphens are the “clapping hands” emoji, because we want to emphasize how important it is to get up close and personal with your mouth in the interests of oral cancer detection. 

Currently, oral cancer kills one person in the United States per hour. The reason it’s so deadly is largely due to later stage diagnoses. While tobacco use of any kind and high alcohol consumption remain strong links to the disease, the biggest risk factor today is human papillomavirus (HPV).

I Screen, You Screen, We All Should Screen!

You can count on your Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr to screen you for oral cancer whenever you visit us, but if we only see you twice a year (or less), self-examinations can give you peace of mind or help you spot abnormalities sooner. To learn how to examine your mouth and what to look for, please ask us about oral cancer self-exams at your next visit!

We don’t want to be alarmist and have you checking your mouth fearfully each day, but a once-monthly check that takes about 10 minutes total could make the difference between a grim survival rate and a more positive prognosis.

We’re here to answer any questions you might have about oral cancer or other dental health-related topics, so be sure to contact Walker and Barr DMD if you’ve got something on your mind or would like to schedule a visit!

 

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

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Do You Have an Abscessed Tooth?

Brandon dentists at Walker and Barr DMD discusses causes and symptoms of an abscessed tooth as well as treatment options.No one wants to think about the words “abscessed tooth” applying to their own mouth, but to paraphrase Sun Tzu, it’s a good idea to know your enemy. Causes of an abscessed tooth include:

When a tooth is compromised by one or more of these conditions, bacteria may enter the pulp of the tooth and form a buildup of pus called an abscess. Left untreated, a serious infection may result. Some symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Redness in the gums
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Fever

There are different methods for the treatment of an abscessed tooth. Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr will assess the severity of the infection and may recommend one of the following:

  • Antibiotics to kill the infection
  • Draining the infection
  • Cleaning between tooth and gum
  • Root canal treatment

Practicing good oral hygiene and keeping up with routine dental checkups will reduce the likelihood of developing an abscessed tooth. If you want to discuss a troublesome toothache or any other oral health issue with Walker and Barr DMD, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

 

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

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Is it Time to Toss that Toothbrush?

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD talk about when and why you should toss your old toothbrush and replace it with a new one.When you find a toothbrush that’s just right for you, it can be easy to get attached. After all, you use your toothbrush morning and night (ideally) to prevent plaque and bacteria from hardening and becoming tartar—that’s what we like to call quality time! 

When your toothbrush does so much good, you want to return the favor, so throwing it out every three months can seem like a betrayal. What if it were your toothbrush that betrayed you, though? 

Learning to Let Go

Bad jokes aside, it’s important to replace your toothbrush seasonally (at least). Want to know why? First of all, your toothbrush bristles will inevitably become worn down over, and frayed, worn bristles just won’t get the job done. Second, old toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for bacteria and pathogens, and you should always replace toothbrushes after an illness to prevent reinfection.

If you’d like advice on toothbrushes or anything else dental health-related, your Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr, would be happy to hear from you! Contact Walker and Barr DMD today, and schedule a visit to find out if your toothbrush is serving you well.

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

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What Did My Dentist Just Say?

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD share a glossary of terms you might hear frequently in the dental office.At Walker and Barr DMD, education is paramount in our mission to help our Brandon friends and neighbors improve and maintain their oral health. For this reason, we try to avoid using dental jargon when we’re speaking with our valued patient family. 

However, there are terms that can’t be broken down as easily; in those cases, we’ll explain things in as much detail as you need to feel comfortable and confident in your care. Usually what we’re describing isn’t as complex as it sounds! 

That’s a Mouthful

As an example: alveoloplasty. That’s just the technical term for the surgical reshaping of your jawbone, often performed after extraction to prepare your mouth for a tooth or teeth replacement. Words (or abbreviations) you’ll hear more commonly include prophylaxis, scaling and root planing, TMJ, and bruxism. For a crash course on these words and more, check out this glossary.

If you have questions about the terms you see (or terms that didn’t make the list) and you’d like to talk about it over an appointment, please contact us today. Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr love talking all things oral health and sharing smiles with you!

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

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Dental Crowns 101

Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD share all you need to know about dental crowns and how they can restore your smile in form and function.Sometimes in life, you just need a do-over. That’s precisely what dental crowns are—a new start for your tooth.

Teeth are important players in your life! They’re not only the first responders for your digestive tract, but they can make a great first impression – so you deserve a beautiful, fully-functioning set. If your teeth need a real makeover, a crown might be just the thing you need.

A crown is a custom-made shell that fits perfectly over your natural tooth. Crowns look and act exactly like your original tooth – but better. Crowns restore broken and badly decayed or discolored teeth. Crowns also top off dental implants and build dental bridges

Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr, Brandon dentists at Walker and Barr DMD share more information about getting a dental crown below.

If You Need A Crown

Getting a crown usually requires two trips to the dentist. On the first trip, the dentist makes a plan to suit your specific needs and prepares the tooth. You will also get impressions of the tooth so that a crown can be made to fit perfectly over the natural tooth. On the second trip, your crown is installed and cemented on. A crown is a permanent or “fixed” dental piece. This makes it very stable and durable.

In some cases, a crown can be designed, fabricated and placed in a single appointment with the help of advanced same-day technology.

Crowns can be made of a variety of materials and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Talk with your dentist when choosing between crowns made of porcelain, resin, or metal.

Benefits of Dental Crowns

Crowns are superior restorative dentistry treatment in both form and function. Because they are individually made, your Brandon dentist can give unique attention to each tooth to make sure it looks and acts just like a natural tooth.

  • Form: Crowns look completely natural and are made of materials that match your teeth, they do not stain, and they fill in your smile for a beautiful set of pearly whites! 
  • Function: Crowns stay perfectly locked in place, they protect your tooth underneath from damage and decay, and they are comfortable, fitting totally naturally in your mouth. They can last a decade or longer if cared for properly.

Getting & Maintaining a Crown

You can (and should) care for a crown the same way you do all of your other teeth. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist regularly. You should also try to be gentle with your teeth to preserve your crown and prevent you from needing another one down the road. This means not grinding your teeth or using them to open packaging and bottles.

It might take a while to get used to the feel of your newly crowned tooth, but after a little time, it will feel completely comfortable and natural, even much better than it did before! 

If you’re interested in a crown, Walker and Barr DMD would love to take care of you. Contact us today for an appointment, and you’ll be on your way to a new smile in no time!

 

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

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