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All About Chewing Gum from Southcenter Dental

March 16th, 2009

We know the rumors going around – that once you swallow a piece of chewing gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your stomach for at least seven years! We really hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter the stomach and move through the digestive system just like any other piece of food and leave the body long before seven years! So, if you ever have accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!

This being said, gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are a gum-chewer, make sure you chew sugarless gum, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but with less cavity causing ingredients. You see, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!

Happy (sugar-free) gum chewing from Southcenter Dental!

Age 7 is the Magic Number for an Orthodontic Check-Up -- Dr. Baruffi

March 9th, 2009

Many parents assume they must wait until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, only to find that treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct while the jaw is still growing. Consequently, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.

What’s so great about age seven? Enough permanent teeth have arrived for an orthodontist to make a determination about whether any problems are present. The first molars have come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or “bad bite.” Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

Orthodontic evaluation at an early age provides one of two positive outcomes: For some, early identification or problems will lead to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. For others, a healthy prognosis will provide immediate peace of mind.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and detrimental to good oral hygiene. Come to Southcenter Dental for you and your child's regular checkups and professional cleanings.

Beware the Toothworm! Managing a Modern Toothace -- Southcenter Dental

March 2nd, 2009

As long as there have been humans, there have been toothaches. Throughout various cultures in ancient times, people believed that the pain in their teeth was caused by a toothworm – a literal worm that found its way into their mouth and bored deep into their teeth. In the eighteenth century, the myth of the toothworm died out, and today we at Southcenter Dental understand the exact causes of toothaches and how to treat the pain involved.

Any pain originating inside the tooth indicates that the nerve of the tooth is irritated. The most common source of this kind of toothache is a cavity, or a hole in the outer layer of the tooth caused by decay. Other common sources of toothache include a broken or cracked tooth, an abscess, an exposed root, an impacted tooth, an erupting tooth, temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMJ), and gum disease. In rare cases, a toothache can be a symptom of a problem outside of the mouth, such as an ear infection, a sinus problem, or even heart disease.

Toothache pain can range from sharp and brief to dull and extended. It may be intensified with exposure to hot, cold, sweet or sour foods. For temporary relief until you can make it in to our office, try the following:

* Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out
* Carefully remove any particles from between your teeth with dental floss
* Take aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease the pain (Important: never put aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen directly in contact with your gums; this can damage your gum tissue)
* Avoid extremely hot, cold, sweet or sour foods
* Apply an over-the-counter numbing gel to the tooth
* Soak a cotton ball or swab in clove oil (available in most pharmacies) and bite down on it

A toothache is a symptom of a dental or other kind of medical problem, so make an appointment with us immediately. Dr. Baruffi will conduct a complete examination, including x-rays if necessary, to determine the cause of your toothache.

Because cavities are a very common cause of toothache, the best way to avoid one is to maintain your oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to our office for professional cleanings and examinations.

Appollonia: Patron Saint of Dentistry - Dr. Baruffi, Tukwila Seattle

February 23rd, 2009

Apollonia was a deaconess who lived during the third century in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time in history, Christians like Apollonia were often persecuted. According to stories, in her later years Apollonia spent time visiting and caring for Christian prisoners. Eventually she was imprisoned as well. Her captors were cruel, and at one point during her imprisonment, they broke all her teeth. Legend has it that even with the extreme pain caused by her broken teeth, Apollonia stayed strong.

Apollonia eventually died around the year 249 in the service of her religious beliefs, and was therefore considered a martyr. The Catholic Church canonized her (made her a saint) around the year 300, and because of her peculiar association with teeth – especially broken ones – she is now known by many as the patron saint of dentistry. Those with toothaches and other dental troubles call upon Apollonia to help them through their pain.

Various churches in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and beyond contain memorials to Saint Apollonia. A public square in Rome, the Piazza Sant'Apollonia, is dedicated to her. And there's even a train station in Lisbon, Portugal, named after her. Apollonia's celebration day is February 9.

Of course, should you have the misfortune of encountering any tooth-related pain, we'd prefer that you to call on us at Southcenter Dental, rather than the patron saint of dentistry! But maybe you can send a request out to Apollonia as you make your way over to our office.

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