What We Can Learn From Our Ancestors’ Teeth

Anthropologists learn a lot about early humans and our ancestors by studying fossilized teeth. Teeth are a great source of information. Not only are they the most preserved skeletal remains found in fossils, but they are small and very mineralized, making them resistant to decomposition and able to maintain their original qualities. Also, they contain a record of a lot of aspects of their own development, including their chemistry and pathology.

Things like microscopic wear on the chewing surfaces of teeth and the presence of stable isotopes and trace elements in fossilized teeth can tell scientists what kind of food an individual ate.

Following are some of the things researchers can tell us from their findings:

Ninety-nine percent of humans’ evolutionary history was spent eating foods that were hunted or gathered. Our current diets of soft, processed and sugary foods are nothing like the diets for which our teeth are adapted.

Natural selection has not prepared us well for the kinds of food we eat today, which is why cavities and plaque buildup are so common.

In addition, soft diets do not stimulate jaw growth, and teeth, especially our third molars (wisdom teeth), become impacted. As a result, modern humans are much more likely to have misaligned teeth that require orthodontic treatment or surgery. In fact, third molar impaction became 10 times more common after the Industrial Revolution than it was previously.

Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg, a professor of anthropology at Ohio State University, speculates that future anthropologists will “likely have a field day” studying modern human teeth. “In various cultures today,” she says, “we have people who notch teeth, inlay them with jewels or gold, lengthen them, file them down and remove them altogether.” Should make for some interesting research down the road.

Looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area? Dr. Douglas Angell utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology to help each patient achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. Call us to set up an appointment and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in Angell's Dentistry, dental research, dentist search Troy MI, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, local dentists Troy MI, Michigan dentists | Tagged ,

Choosing a Toothpaste

Today we have so many choices when it comes to toothpaste. Paste, gel or powder; tartar control; whitening; sensitivity control … or all of the above. The following information may make your selection easier.

First of all, all toothpastes contain the same general components:

  • A mild abrasive to remove debris and surface stains
  • Humectants that prevent water loss and keep toothpaste from drying out or getting gummy
  • Flavoring agents
  • Thickening agents, or binders to stabilize the toothpaste formula
  • Detergent which provides foaming action and helps spread toothpaste through the whole mouth clean the teeth

Two of the best things you can do are to select a toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and which contains fluoride—at least 1,000 parts per million. Once you do that, everything else is a matter of personal preference.

Consider the following types of toothpastes, depending on your requirements:

  • Anti-cavity: Fluoride, nature’s cavity fighter, coats teeth and protects them from cavity-causing acids. Fluoridated toothpaste helps restore enamel that has not yet decayed.
  • Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps reduce oral bacteria and can be very effective at stopping this mild form of gum disease.
  • Desensitizing: These toothpastes contain compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  • Tartar-control pastes prevent the buildup of new tartar.  Only a professional dental cleaning, however, will remove existing tartar and the bacteria it harbors. Look for ingredients like pyrophosphates or zinc citrate.
  • Whitening toothpastes contain polishing or chemical agents that remove surface stains. They can also help maintain the natural color of teeth.

A final tip: Try brushing and spitting—but not rinsing. This leaves fluoride behind and gives the toothpaste’s ingredients more time to work.

Brushing twice a day is great, but don’t forget your six-month dental checkups. Dr. Douglas Angell and the staff at Angell’s Dentistry are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in Angell's Dentistry, brushing teeth, dental hygiene, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, local dentists Troy MI, toothbrushing, toothpaste selection

Give Your Kids a Healthier Easter Basket

Easter is a holiday on a par with Halloween in terms of candy overload for children. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of heavily sugared treats, there are any number of goodies you can pack into that Easter basket this year, including:

Hard-boiled eggs—A few pretty colored eggs will add color to the mix and provide some protein for your child as well.

Homemade popcorn balls—While they probably have some sugar, they are also high in fiber.

Fruits and nuts—Tuck a handful of fresh blueberries or blackberries inside a few plastic eggs. Or try dried apricots, dates, yogurt-covered raisins, or nuts. Kids also like Clementines, less tart than oranges and just the right size for small hands.

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies—They’re made with real cheese.

Squeezable yogurt—Look for brands with the least amount of sugar.

Home-baked treats—Homemade cookies or muffins tend to be less sugar-laden and more filling than candy.

Toys—What child doesn’t like Legos, Play Dough, bubbles, sidewalk chalk in the shape of eggs or stickers?

Also, if you’ve got a “Spring Break” coming up, this is a great time to schedule your kids’ dental checkups! Call Angell’s Dentistry for an appointment and be sure to visit our website at www.angellsdentistry.com.

Happy Easter!

Posted in adolescent dental care, Angell's Dentistry, dentist search Troy MI, diet and tooth decay, diet for healthy teeth, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, healthy teeth diet, local dentists Troy MI, Michigan dentists, sugar and tooth decay

GLO Science Teeth Whitening Now at Angell’s Dentistry

Angell’s Dentistry now offers the innovative GLO Science Teeth Whitening System for patients looking for an efficient, comfortable way to whiten their teeth.

GLO stands for guided light optics. The GLO system uses a gel whitening mixture and a gentle LED light to lighten tooth enamel. The whitening gel is designed to adhere to the teeth without getting on gums and other soft tissue. After it is applied to the teeth, a unique, closed-system mouthpiece is placed in the mouth, activating the gel and lightening the tooth enamel. The mouthpiece prevents whitening oxygens from escaping the tooth surface and bombards stains, making the whitening process more effective and more efficient.

Patients start using the GLO system with an in-office professional whitening session. We will then give you a take-home kit that includes a mouthpiece housing the LED lights and heat resistors and whitening gel. The take-home kit can be used throughout the day and can be used for up to two months.

For quality results without the consultation of a Dentist, GLO Science provides at-home whitening solutions.

With the GLO whitening system, patients can achieve whiten teeth by an average of five tooth shades lighter, and without the painful “zingers” commonly associated with other professional teeth whitening procedures.

Call Angell’s Dentistry for a consultation about using the GLO Science Whitening System. Dr. Douglas Angell and our staff are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. And be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in Angell's Dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, local dentists Troy MI, tooth whitening

Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. Some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected and that women are more affected with TMJ than men.

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, called the mandible, to the bone at the side of the head—the temporal bone. The unique design of the TMJ allows the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control its position and movement.

For most people, pain in the area of the jaw joint or muscles is occasional, temporary, does not signal a serious problem and eventually goes away with little or no treatment. Sounds, such as clicking, in the jaw are common and if not accompanied by pain or limited jaw movement, do not indicate a TMJ disorder.

Research disputes the popular belief that a bad bite or orthodontic braces can trigger TMJ disorders. But some people develop significant, long-term symptoms which can often begin without any obvious reason:

  • Radiating pain in the face, jaw or neck
  • Frequent or debilitating headaches, neck aches, stiff shoulders, pain in the jaw area, chewing muscles and nearby locations like ears, temple and cheek
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Teeth grinding which may indicate a gearing problem that leads to muscle spasms
  • Limited movement, tightness or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
  • Muscle spasms in the head, neck or jaw, often caused by other medical conditions, accidents and injuries
  • Buzzing in the ear, vertigo (dizziness), greater sensitivity to sounds, etc.

If you are concerned about TMJ disorder, give us a call at Angell Dentistry. Dr. Angell will be happy to answer your questions, examine your mouth and jaw and provide practical suggestions or treatment recommendations.

Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in bruxism, clenching teeth, dentist search Troy MI, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, grinding teeth, local dentists Troy MI, Temporomandibular joint, TMJ disease

Rising Tooth Fairy Payouts Reflect Good Economy

As far back as ancient times, a variety of cultures ritualized ways of disposing of baby teeth. Eventually folklore evolved into the story that when a child loses one of his or her baby teeth, the tooth should be placed underneath the pillow; the Tooth Fairy would then replace the lost tooth with a small payment while the child slept.

Well, it seems the Tooth Fairy is alive and well in America.

According to Delta Dental’s 13th annual Tooth Fairy survey, cash payouts reached an all-time high in 2016. The average payout was $4.66—a 75-cent increase from 2015. Cash payouts for a first lost tooth, which are typically higher than average, are up about 10 percent to $5.72

According to the poll, the Tooth Fairy visits 85 percent of the nation’s households with children. In 2016, those children received about $290.6 million, a 13.5 percent increase from the previous year.

The Tooth Fairy’s generosity mirrors the performance of the S&P 500, following the index’s upward direction for 12 of the last 13 years. The average payout for 2016 varied by region throughout the country as follows: Highest in the West at $5.96; followed by the Northeast at $5.08; the South at $4.57; and the Midwest at $4.04.

About 89 percent of homes the Tooth Fairy visits receive money; but some receive gifts that promote oral health, including toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Finally, given our busy lifestyles, it’s no surprise that 56 percent of parents say the Tooth Fairy forgot to pick up the tooth on the first night.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing patients of all ages with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in adolescent dental care, Americans' dental habits, Angell's Dentistry, baby teeth, children's dental care, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, local dentists Troy MI, tooth fairy

Sweets Don’t Love Your Kids’ Teeth

candy3Your child might love sweet treats, but the bacteria in his or her mouth loves them even more. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and that bacteria produces acid that etches away at tooth enamel.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, people age 3 and older should consume no more than 12.5 tsp. each day of added sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for adults, and no more than 3 teaspoons for children.

As a parent, there are things you can do to limit sugar consumption while steering your child toward a “mouth healthy” diet:

  • Choose snacks with little or no added sugar. Check food labels where you will find sugar listed in grams. One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams. Aim for 12 to no more than 50 grams a day.
  • Offer your child water and milk instead of juice, which is high in both sugar and calories. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 1-6 have no more than 4-6 ounces of juice each day. Children ages 7 to 18 should drink no more than 8-12 ounces.
  • Don’t let your child sip on juice throughout the day. This habit puts him or her at higher risk for tooth decay because it gives cavity-causing bacteria more opportunities to eat and produce the acid that eats away at teeth.
  • Skip the soda. One can of soda is the amount of sugar recommended for three days for a child.
  • Avoid sticky snacks. Gummy fruit snacks are more like candy than fruit. Fruit rollups and dried fruit like raisins stick to the teeth longer than some candies.
  • Limit crackers and chips. Many crackers are like cookies with salt. Not only do the carbohydrates in things like crackers and chips break down into sugar, they also tend to get stuck in the tops of your teeth for long periods of time.
  • Be an example. Eat well, brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.

If you have concerns about your family’s teeth, Dr. Douglas Angell and the dental hygienists at Angell’s Dentistry will be happy to answer your questions. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in adolescent dental care, Angell's Dentistry, cavity prevention, children's dental care, diet and tooth decay, diet for healthy teeth, Dr. Douglas Angell, find a dentist Michigan, local dentists Troy MI, Michigan dentists, sugar and tooth decay, www.angellsdentistry.com

Lack of Dental Insurance Among Older Adults

senior3Medicare is focused specifically on physical health needs and does not cover basic oral health care. This leaves a staggering 49 million Medicare beneficiaries in this country without dental insurance.

According to research on Medicare beneficiaries conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, only 12 percent of older Americans have some form of dental insurance and fewer than half visited a dentist in the previous year. Analysis of 2012 Medicare data showed that insurance status appeared to be the biggest predictor of whether a person received oral health care. For those with incomes just over the federal poverty level, 27 percent of those without dental insurance had a dental visit in the previous year, compared to 65 percent with dental insurance.

Furthermore, high-income beneficiaries were almost three times as likely to have received dental care in the previous 12 months as compared to low-income beneficiaries, 74 percent of whom reported receiving no dental care.

On average, Medicare beneficiaries reported spending $427 on dental care over the previous year, 77 percent of which was out-of-pocket spending. An estimated seven percent reported spending more than $1,500. Dental expenses, on average, accounted for 14 percent of Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health spending.

Bottom line: There is an enormous unmet need for dental insurance among those 65 and older in the United States. It puts older adults at risk for oral health problems that could be prevented or treated with timely dental care, including tooth decay, gum disease and loss of teeth. It also highlights the financial burden associated with dental visits, among both the insured and uninsured.

Dr. Douglas Angell and the dental hygienists at Angell’s Dentistry are committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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Are Bottled Water Drinkers Getting Enough Fluoride?

water2According to the International Bottled Water Association, Americans consumed more than 8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2009. A recent report from Beverage Marketing found that bottled water consumption grew 120 percent between 2000 and 2015. This increase can be attributed to growing concerns about the negative impact of high-sugar beverages and the general trend toward diets filled with more natural food and drinks.

If you or your family consumes bottled water in significant quantities, you may not be getting enough of the fluoride that is so important to preventing tooth decay. Optimal levels of fluoride for drinking water are 0.7-1.2 part per million; and the fluoride levels in bottled water can vary greatly by brand.

Since most bottled water is derived from fresh surface water sources, it is not surprising to find that the levels in bottled water are generally very low. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average level of fluoride in bottled water is 0.11 ppm. Less than 10 percent of bottled waters contain more than 0.3 ppm.

Bottled water products labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled have been treated in such a way that they contain no fluoride or only trace amounts—unless they specifically list fluoride as an added ingredient.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water products, working to ensure that they’re safe to drink. The FDA sets limits for fluoride in bottled water, based on several factors, including the source of the water. You can contact bottled water  manufacturers to ask about the fluoride content of a particular brand if it does not appear on the product label.

If you drink mostly bottled water, Dr. Angell at Angell’s Dentistry can help you determine if you need supplemental fluoride treatments. Fluoride drops or tablets are available for your children if it they are not receiving adequate levels of fluoride.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

Posted in Americans' dental habits, find a dentist Birmingham MI, find a dentist Michigan, find a dentist Troy MI, fluoridation, fluoride and bottled water, local dentists Troy MI

Do You Need a Mouthwash?

mouthwash3Mouthwash was first mass-produced commercially in the late 1800s. While the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of mouthwashes remains limited to improving breath and preventing plaque buildup, today you can find a mouthwash to achieve any number of desired results, including:

  • to freshen breath
  • to help prevent or control tooth decay
  • to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth)
  • to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease)
  • to  reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth or to produce a combination of these effects
  • to relieve dry mouth

Basic ingredients include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients and coloring agents. Active ingredients vary depending on the type of mouthrinse, but they can be placed into four general groups:

  • Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath.
  • Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.
  • Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath.
  • Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds.

Your dentist can advise you whether you need a mouthwash and what kind of mouthwash to use depending on your oral health needs. If you have difficulty brushing and flossing, a mouthwash may provide additional protection against cavities and gum disease. When selecting a mouthwash look for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which have been tested for their safety and effectiveness.

Angell’s Dentistry serves Troy, Birmingham and surrounding metro Detroit communities. We are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup and be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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