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Regular Checkups are Important

October 19th, 2009

Are you brushing your teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit Southcenter Dental every six months in addition to brushing your teeth a couple times a day. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health.

Dr. Baruffi can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of decay, treat oral health problems early and show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

During an oral exam Dr. Baruffi can check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, give us a call at 206.973.8211 to schedule an appointment!

Dental Sealants for Adults

October 16th, 2009

Your molars have many tiny grooves all along their surface; and, while brushing and flossing will help to clean your teeth and remove plaque from off the top of your teeth, you won’t always be able to get deep down inside these grooves to clean your teeth. Sealants are able to protect these vulnerable areas of your teeth from tooth decay by “sealing” off grooves and preventing plaque and bacteria from being stuck.

While many people consider sealants to be something you get only once as a child, adults can also benefit from resealing their teeth later in life. Whether you have never had a cavity, or are prone to small areas of decay, you should ask Dr. Baruffi about resealing your teeth at your next dental checkup. Resealing your teeth is just one way that you can help protect your smile and prevent tooth decay and extra visits to the dentist!

Sealants only take a few minutes to apply, and here’s how it’s done:

• We will thoroughly clean and dry your teeth.
• An acid solution is then used to make the top part of your teeth seem rough (this helps the sealant bond stronger onto the teeth).
• We will then once again clean and dry your teeth.
• Sealant is painted onto the tooth’s surface where it bonds and hardens, filling in the tiny grooves, and helping to protect your teeth from cavities and decay.

Do you already have sealants? If so, we’d love to know how they have benefitted you, and what made you choose to reseal your teeth. If you have any questions about sealants, or would like to find out if this procedure is covered by your insurance, please contact our practice at 206.973.8211. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and schedule your next dental appointment!

--Southcenter Dental

National Dental Hygiene Month

October 8th, 2009

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene.

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats can damage your teeth and braces too! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them? This can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth (wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth with toothpaste, as this can actually increase the effects of acid on your teeth)

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too! Research is discovering the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see Dr. Baruffi every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

Make a resolution to improve your oral health for October, the National Dental Hygiene Month!
--Southcenter Dental

Preventing Gum Disease and Protecting your Teeth!

September 28th, 2009

It is estimated that around 80 percent of American adults are currently diagnosed with some form of gum disease. Also known as, periodontal disease or periodontitis, gum disease starts with gum inflammation and can end with major damage to the bone and tissue holding the teeth in place, resulting in tooth loss and irreversible damage to the gums. Many doctors and researchers have also found gum disease to be the cause of several other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and complications for women during pregnancy. Gum disease is a serious dental health condition, and by understanding how gum disease is caused, what symptoms to look for, and how you can prevent it, you will be able to keep your smile healthy for many years to come.

What causes gum disease?

Your mouth is full of bacteria, and when the bacteria are left in your mouth, it can cause a sticky, colorless film over your tooth surface called plaque. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing can help to remove much of the plaque build-up on your teeth; however, if you do not brush and floss regularly, the plaque on your teeth can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by a toothbrush, only your dentist has the special tools needed to remove tartar from your tooth’s surface.

Eventually, if left untreated, the tartar and plaque on your teeth will cause gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is usually curable if caught early enough. Signs of gingivitis include:

• Red, swollen gums
• Gums that bleed when you brush and floss
• Gums that pull away from your teeth
• Pockets between your teeth and gums where food gets caught
• Persistent bad breath

If you have gingivitis, and it is left untreated, you may end up with gum disease. Gum disease causes the gums to pull completely away from the teeth and form infected pockets. The bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth will start to break down the tissue and bone that supports your teeth and holds them in place. Gum disease that is left untreated will lead to the extraction or loss of teeth. Most people do not show signs of gingivitis and gum disease until they are in their 30s, 40s, or older. Certain risk factors can increase your chance of getting gum disease, including:

• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Stress
• Certain prescription medications
• Illness
• Genetics

How can I prevent gum disease?

You can help your chances of never getting gingivitis or gum disease simply by taking care of your teeth and gums on a regular basis. Here are some of the ways you can help keep your smile healthy:

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA.
• Floss at least once every day to remove food stuck between your teeth and along the gum line.
• Visit your dentist for routine, general checkups and teeth cleaning every six months.
• Eat a well balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables.
• Stay away from using tobacco products of any kind.

Gingivitis and gum disease are both preventable and treatable. If you would like a list of recommended dental health care products, or have any questions about gingivitis, gum disease, and how to keep your teeth and gums healthy, please ask Dr. Baruffi at your next dental checkup. Our practice is happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide you with accurate information to help you maintain the health of your smile in between office visits. If you think you may have any form of gingivitis or gum disease, please contact our practice at 206.973.8211 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

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