Quirky Dental Facts That May Surprise You

Dental health General Dentistry

Queen Creek cosmetic dental and tooth implants

In this post from Harris Dental in Phoenix, we share some fun facts about dentistry. Enjoy!

  • Many dental patients are aware that before there was formal dental training and licensing, barbers often performed dental procedures. But did you know that blacksmiths also moonlighted as dentists?1 How would you like your dental visit to involve tools used to hammer hot metal?
  • The Mayans were accomplished cosmetic dentists. One smile style in Mayan culture was bejeweled teeth – a procedure that involved the drilling of holes to embed precious gems. That’s a grill with major bling!
  • The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime. That is enough to fill up two swimming pools. (Not a very pleasant image, right?)
  • Nylon toothbrush bristles weren’t introduced until 1938. Prior to that, pig hair was a common bristle material. (“Mom, my toothbrush smells like bacon!”)
  • A popular toothache treatment in medieval Germany was to kiss a donkey.3 There is no evidence that it actually worked and it is unknown if the same remedy was used by donkeys.
  • Every person’s tongue is unique – just like a fingerprint.
  • In medieval Japan, black teeth were considered appealing. Style-conscious women used roots to stain their teeth.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, you won’t find pig hair, donkeys, or anvils. You will find unmatched dental care and our patient-oriented team of dental professionals. Services include general and restorative dentistry. Call for an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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Gum Health Affects Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Dental health General Dentistry Gum disease Oral Health

gum disease increases diabetes risk Phoenix

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, we are concerned not only with the condition of your mouth, but also with how it affects your complete physical health and general well-being. This post looks at the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Scientists have known for quite some time that people with diabetes have higher rates of gum disease than those who don’t. Maintaining proper blood glucose levels is the key to minimizing the risk of gum disease and related problems for those affected.

Additional research is exploring the reverse relationship. In other words, whether poor oral health increases the risk of developing diabetes. Findings from a long-term study suggests that it does.

“We found that over two decades of follow-up, individuals who had periodontal disease were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life when compared to individuals without periodontal disease.” -Ryan T. Demmer, PhD, MPH1

Additional trials are exploring how tooth and gum health jolts the ability of diabetics to manage the disease.

“Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.”2

If you have diabetes, it is essential that you see a dentist regularly and are devoted to daily oral hygiene, proper nutrition, and other critical practices. In addition, your success in controlling your blood glucose levels will improve your oral health and vice-versa.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, our services include gum disease treatment and general dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

Connect with us.

1Angelo Milone, “Does periodontal disease cause type 2 diabetes?,” Endocrine Today, November 2008, http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/diabetes/news/print/endocrine-today/%7Bacdccbd7-a2b2-4a9e-ac08-b29b53116908%7D/does-periodontal-disease-cause-type-2-diabetes, accessed August 12, 2015
2“Diabetes and Oral Health Problems,” American Diabetes Association, September 18, 2012, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html#sthash.9IlHJB8l.dpuf, accessed August 12, 2015

 

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Oral Cancer: Early Diagnosis Makes A Big Difference

Dental health General Dentistry Oral cancer screening Oral Health

oral cancer screening Phoenix

This post from Harris Dental in Phoenix serves as a reminder of how important oral cancer screenings can be.

When it comes to oral cancer survival outcomes, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%.

  • 40% of those who receive a late-stage diagnosis die within five years.
  • The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.

Oral Cavity and Oropharynx—Mouth and Throat

Cancers that start in the mouth (or oral cavity) are labeled oral cancers. The oral cavity is composed of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue beneath the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue.

“Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Good question! The answer is that the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat.

Throat cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers, start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the parts considered part of the oral cavity. The oropharynx is comprised of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.

How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?

Some oral cancers create symptoms which prompt the patient to see a doctor and others are found by dentists and doctors during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more people received regular screenings.

A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient, especially as compared to other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms. If an abnormality is discovered during an exam, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff)
  • Heavy drinking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • HPV infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Frequent exposure to UV light (a risk factor for cancers of the lips)

Oral cancer screenings save lives, and are an important part of what we do at Harris Dental in Phoenix. We also offer a wide range of general dentistry services. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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Cavity Fighting Chewing Gum?

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

Phoenix Oral DentistryAt Harris Dental in Phoenix we’ve been hearing more and more about Xylitol chewing gum. Does a type of gum really help prevent cavities?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark but is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually beneficial for your teeth.

Numerous clinical studies have established that xylitol impedes the growth of the bacteria that initiates decay. It also diminishes plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.

Xylitol has other benefits, as well. Because it is low on the glycemic index, many of my patients with diabetes enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. For those who live with frequent dry mouth, xylitol gum or mints can stimulate saliva production while preserving against cavities.

Is xylitol gum just as effective as brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly? Absolutely not! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. However, you should still brush your teeth thoroughly (with a soft brush) after meals and get twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life by preventing dental problems before they start. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment today.

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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What Is General Dentistry?

Dental health General Dentistry

If you explored our website before landing on this blog, you have may noticed the term “general dentistry” on the menu, along with other services. “General dentistry” may sound bland, but it isn’t. At Harris Dental in Phoenix, it’s your assurance that we can diagnose and treat your most essential issues, and ensure your overall dental health.

One of our watchwords is prevention. That’s why we start each of your appointments with an exam by one of our dental hygienists, who cleans and inspects your teeth and gums. Then it’s the dentist’s turn. In this way we make sure that your teeth, and the soft tissues of your mouth, are free of decay or disease.

A Wide Range of Services

If we find any issues, we are equipped to deal with most of them. If there is something beyond the scope of general dentistry we’ll give you an excellent referral. Examples of what we can do include:

  • Repair damaged teeth
  • Dental crowns
  • Root canals
  • Dental implants
  • Oral cancer screenings

Your dental health is closely linked to your overall health. In fact, research has established links between common oral infections and conditions such as cardiovascular disease. That’s one of the best reasons to see us for regular checkups.

Too often, people put off going to the dentist. Some even wait until they suspect there is a problem. Needless to say, we do not recommend this approach. Prevention really is the best medicine.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, we want to see each of our patients for a cleaning and checkup every six months. Remember, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and with our general dentistry, they can. Our services also include restorative dentistry. Schedule your next appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

Connect with us.

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