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.

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