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Health for Senior Citizens

Posted On: May 01, 2018

When we think of developing good oral hygiene habits, we usually think of children.  And is is true, that the best time of life to create good habits like these is when you are very young.  Dental health, however, is important throughout life, and may be even more significant for older adults.

Teeth are in greater jeopardy as they age.  Statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) fir 2014 show that 2.3% of adults 18-44 years old were missing all of their natural teeth.  For the age group 65-74 years old, this rate jumps to 16.4%.  For the population of American adults over 75, the rate of total tooth loss is 26.8%.  Older adults may experience dental decay at a higher rate than children because gum recession exposes a larger part of the tooth to contaminants.

Exposure to contaminants threatens tooth decay, but poor oral health is reflected in various other health conditions, and old age is the most vulnerable time for a breakdown of healthy body systems.  The decay and loss of natural teeth is not inevitable in old age, though.

Exposure to contaminants threatens tooth decay, but poor oral health is reflected in various other health conditions, and old age is the most vulnerable time for a breakdown of healthy body systems. The decay and loss of natural teeth is not inevitable in old age, though. Through proper oral hygiene, the elderly can continue to maintain good dental health and thereby have a positive effect on the rest of their bodies.

Importance of Dental Care for Elderly

There is a connection between oral hygiene and health in the rest of your body. In fact, oral health is a general indicator of other health issues. The mouth is naturally full of bacteria. As long as that bacteria is kept in check by good oral hygiene habits and functioning saliva glands, there are no problems.

Problems do arise, however, when oral hygiene is poor or saliva production is impeded, such as in elderly patients. When the bacteria collect in the mouth and travel throughout the body, it can cause or accelerate infections in other areas. Four important problems that can develop as a result of poor oral hygiene are:

Respiratory Infections  Pneumonia is a serious concern for the elderly, who often have diminished lung capacity due to aging. When you have infected teeth or gum disease, you are constantly breathing in that bacteria. It can travel to your lungs and cause infections as well. A buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth for any reason is dangerous to your lungs.

 Diabetic Complications  Diabetes is common among senior citizens, most of whom manage to control their symptoms with diet and exercise or medication. Diabetics are more prone to periodontal disease, due to a reduction in blood circulation. Blood sugar levels are also harder to control when gum disease is present. A combination of diabetes and periodontal disease can result in a prolonged period of uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which may cause more serious diabetes complications.

Cardiovascular Disease — Excessive bacteria build up in the mouth can easily get into the blood stream through gum tissue or abrasions in the mouth from poorly fit dentures. The more bacteria that get into the blood stream, the more likely it will travel to the heart and induce an infection. Bacteria can also cause hardening in the arteries around the heart, increasing the risk of a blood flow blockage, resulting in stroke or heart attack.

 Dementia — When excessive bacteria travels around the body, it can possibly get into the brain through the bloodstream or even nerve channels in the head. If bacteria get into your brain, it can kill brain cells and later your thought patterns. Those sorts of changes in brain chemistry, especially in the elderly, can lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The elderly are more susceptible to infection because their immune systems are not as strong as they once were. Bacteria build up in the mouth is a concern, especially given the location of the mouth in the head, with easy access to vital systems. As a result of age, senior citizens are more likely to have oral conditions that promote bacteria development.


As we age our health conditions change, inCluding oral health.  The increased use of medications, changes in body chemistry and other life changes affect their oral health.  Common dental conditions that present in elderly patients include:

  • Root Decay —Roots of the teeth are generally concealed by gum tissue. They do not have a protective coat of enamel like the crown of the teeth, so when the roots are exposed, they tend to decay rapidly. Root decay becomes a concern when gum tissue recedes.
  • Dry Mouth —A number of medications can cause reduced saliva production. Certain diseases can also result in a chronic dry mouth. Radiation treatment applied to the head, neck or throat, to fight cancer or other serious diseases, may also reduce the flow of saliva in the mouth.
  • Diminished Sense of Taste —As people age, their senses become impaired, including their sense of taste. Other factors, such as dentures, diseases and medications, also reduce the ability to distinguish between subtle flavors.
  • Tooth Loss —Tooth loss is a very common condition for senior citizens. It is primarily caused by gum disease. Losing teeth can affect your bite and actually alter you’re eating habits, keeping you from getting the nutrition you need to stay healthy.
  • Darkened Teeth —A lifetime of foods and beverages can leave teeth stained and yellowed, or even brown. This discoloration also appears when the enamel layer wears thin, revealing the dentin underneath. Dentin itself can undergo changes later in life that makes it appeal darker.
  • Thrush —An overgrowth of a fungus commonly found in the mouth, Thrush is the equivalent of a yeast infection. Candida albicans can be triggered by certain diseases or drugs, some of which reduce the count of good bacteria in the system which normally keeps it in check.
  • Stomatitis —The tissue beneath a denture can become inflamed and painful. When dentures don’t fit properly, are not refitted periodically, (following weight gain or loss, for instance) this condition can occur. An overabundance of fungus, like Thrush, or generally poor dental hygiene can also contribute to this condition.Uneven Jawbone — Following tooth loss, the jawbone can become unstable. When missing teeth are not replaced, the remaining teeth have room to move around and will drift into the empty spaces.
  • Uneven Jawbone —Following tooth loss, the jawbone can become unstable. When missing teeth are not replaced, the remaining teeth have room to move around and will drift into the empty spaces. Ultimately, the bite is affected, causing pain and other health issues including malnutrition.

    Dentistry for senior citizens is a different practice than pediatric dentistry, for example. Older adults have different concerns when it comes to oral hygiene, and they need a dentist who is experienced at looking for and treating these conditions. When caught early in elderly patients, these common dental conditions can be reversed or relieved with treatment. As the condition lingers and is allowed to develop further, it takes more invasive measures to address.

Good oral hygiene is important at any age. As we get older, it becomes especially important, since dental health is closely linked to some serious health concerns for the elderly.  The mouth becomes an avenue for bacteria to enter the blood stream and even the nervous system.  Seniors, who already have a less robust immune system, should take precautions to protect themselves against excessive and unwanted bacterial contamination.

A comprehensive oral hygiene routine will help ensure that bacteria don't to build up in the mouth.  For many people, continuing a regular routine is enough.  For some, making additions to the oral hygiene regime as you age is a good idea.  The most important part of maintaining dental health for the elderly is keep the teeth and gums clean and having a dentist monitor the situation on a regular basis.

A healthy oral hygiene regime for the elderly includes:

Daily Cleaning

The habit of brushing and flossing your teeth that you have established over your lifetime will serve you particularly well in your later years. Brushing is the first defense against bacteria buildup, tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have never had a cavity, this is not the time to relax your brushing and flossing routine.

Since senior citizens are more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay, it is a good idea to increase your daily efforts to fight cavities. Most dentists recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, and even between meals if necessary. Also, cleaning between teeth with dental floss or some other product designed for that purpose should be added to your daily routine.

Denture Cleaning

Dentures need cleaned every day, just like natural teeth. Unlike natural teeth, however, dentures cannot be cleaned with toothpaste. It is too abrasive, and may do more damage than good. Instead, be sure to use a product specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Soaking them overnight in water is not enough to remove the bacteria that accumulates up during the day.

Dentures also need to be taken out each day to help maintain healthy gums. The tissue on the inside of the mouth needs at least a four hour break from the dentures each day. It makes sense to do this at night and clean your dentures at the same time.

Dentist Visits

Dental care is much more accessible now than it used to be. Some people may not have grown up visiting the dentist regularly, but as a senior citizen it is important. An annual dental check up can support your at-home cleaning efforts and also recognize signs of gum disease and tooth decay while it can still be treated.

Treat your dentist as part of your regular medical team. Be sure to update him on the medications you’re taking, or any health issues you have experienced since your last check up. He can give you tips on improving your oral hygiene routine. Remember that what goes on in your mouth can affect your whole body, so talk with your dentist about changes in diet, lifestyle and health since your last visit.

 Dry Mouth

It is important to be aware of a dry mouth condition and take steps to improve it.  Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay and cause dentures to fit poorly and irritate the skin underneath them.  By adding a moisturizing mouthwash to your daily oral hygiene regime, you could improve or even eliminate dry mouth.  There are also sprays and gums available that encourage saliva production.  Artificial saliva products are available at the pharmacy, but is is a good idea to consult your dentist about what product is right for you.

Diet and Lifestyle

Everything you put in your mouth has a potential to affect your oral hygiene. Maintaining a healthy diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Chewing is good exercise for your mouth.

Chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes is not healthy for your mouth. You may have used tobacco products for years without any obvious consequences, but when you reach your twilight years your health risk from these increases. Ask your dentist about tobacco cessation products that could improve your oral health.

Fluoride continues to be an important part of a healthy diet, even for the elderly. Drinking plenty of water helps to remain hydrated and flushes out toxins. Scientists have proved that drinking fluoridated helps maintain healthy teeth, and is an important part of good oral hygiene.

Just like every other system of the body, it is important to maintain good oral health as we age. A robust hygiene routine will help insure good oral health by preventing decay and disease and by treating any adverse conditions before they become serious and affect other parts of the body. The mouth is the gateway to the body, so it makes sense to take care of it.

Making Dental Health a Priority

There was a time when dentistry was a luxury for those who could afford it. It was considered cosmetic, not essential and not covered by insurance. Many people who visited the dentist were concerned about how their teeth looked, and it was an accepted fact that senior citizens would lose their teeth.

Now, we recognize that dental health is an integral part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Teeth that look good are nice, but the health of your gums and the other tissue in your mouth is perhaps even more important. What goes on in your mouth affects the rest of your body and can change your health status is serious ways.

As we age, change is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be all bad.  Losing your teeth in your old age is no longer a foregone conclusion.  By adjusting your regular oral hygiene routine for the conditions common to senior citizens, you can maintain good dental health, and that will be reflected in your overall health.  Make dental health a priority to maintain a good quality of life through your twilight years.


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Posted On: April 02, 2018

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  We offer a discount on the ViziLite Plus Oral Cancer test during the month of April, 2018.  Call for details - 352-307-3006.


If there were a quick and painless way to identify precancerous cells in the mouth of someone you loved, would you want them to try it? What if that person were you? The truth is, as uncomfortable as it may be to even think of the word “cancer,” thinking about it, and thus detecting it early, is key. That’s why, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you should schedule a visit, because while the oral exam that accompanies your cleaning may not be noticeable to you, it’s often your earliest line of defense in the detection of oral cancer. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the risk factors and symptoms, and consider a few options you may have to help reduce risk. Keep in mind that no list is exhaustive, and to always share with each of your health care providers your concerns and strategies regarding your oral health.

Those at Risk for Oral Cancer

Passing certain age thresholds and engaging in certain lifestyle habits can place you at increased risk for oral cancer. For example, men tend to have higher rates of oral cancers than women.  Dr. Cayia does a visual cancer oral exam once every twelve months during your annual examination at no charge.

Here is the short list:

  • Patients age 40 and older (95% of all oral cancer cases)
  • Patients age 18-39 who use tobacco, are heavy drinkers, or may have a previously diagnosed oral HPV infection.  
  • Warning Signs

     If you experience any of the below symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days, please seek the advice of your doctor. Also, keep in mind that aside from an obviously sore throat, the below symptoms can present themselves in the absence of pain. Look out for changes that can be detected on the lips, inside the cheeks, palate, and gum tissue surrounding your teeth and tongue.  At Baylee Dental we occasionally run across such concerns a few times a year, and are able to help patients get treatment early.

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

Reducing risk

If you do not visit the dentist regularly, you could be missing out on the benefits of early cancer detection. Currently, just over half of all those diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years – a statistic driven by late diagnosis – so please visit your dentist and get an oral exam at least once a year. If you are considered “high risk,” (see list above) you should be receiving an oral exam at least every six months, if not more frequently.

Below is a short list of healthy habits you can start doing now, which may reduce your risk.

  • Avoid all tobacco products
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables (good for everything, of course)
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure that can result in cancer of the lip (using lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 can be helpful)
  • Avoid exposure to environmental hazards (wood dust, formaldehyde, printing chemicals)
  • Conduct a self-exam monthly so you can catch any of the symptoms listed above. Use a small hand-held mirror so you can see the back of your mouth and tongue Ask Dr. Cayia or your Hygienist for instructions on this sort of home exam. If you haven’t been in to see us in a while, give us a ring at 352-307-3006, and we’ll show you how to perform this exam in between visits. Dr. Cayia does a visual cancer oral exam once every twelve months during your annual examination at no charge.
  • Consider coffee. While the jury is still out, some research suggests coffee may help protect the mouth from oral cancer.

Oral cancer is serious business. Yet, it can be managed when caught early. So, do the right thing and visit your dentist regularly, and get that screening.


Homemade Mouthwash Recipes

Posted On: March 01, 2018

5 homemade mouthwash recipes to improve oral and dental health.

By Sara Vincent/EmaxHealth

According to the CDC half of American adults have periodontal disease. The Oral health Foundation says that, preventive care and oral hygiene are the key to improve oral and dental health. So, these homemade mouthwash recipes to improve oral and dental health will do just that.

The 5 homemade mouthwash recipes to improve oral and dental health must include natural products that are easy to find, and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory capacities.

1) Sage and salt mouthwash

Sage is on the top of the list of recipes to improve oral and dental health, because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Various sage preparations have been observed to effectively treat a variety oral and dental diseases.


Filtered Water
1 tsp of mineral Rich Salt
Organic sage leaves

Method - In a bottle put 6 sage leaves
Dissolve salt in 5 oz. of boiling water
after all is dissolved, pour boiling water inside  bottle
use daily after brushing your teeth, until mouthwash is finished or continue a little longer if your oral health still is not up to scratch.

2) Salt and baking soda

This mouthwash is also great for those who want to treat and cure viral respiratory issues (cold and flu) naturally.


1/2 spoon of Baking soda
1/2 spoon of salt
1 Cup of water

Method - Mix baking soda and salt with water and use it after brushing the teeth. Rinse your mouth well and you will see your teeth shining.

3) Herbal mouth wash ingredients 4 oz of peppermint and sage leaves plus Echinacea Angustifolia root
8-12 drops of mint extract
1 tsp of thyme
2 tsp of Myrrh gum extract
5-7 drops of eucalyptus oil

Method - Prepare a herbal infusion with the peppermint leaves, sage leaves and Echinacea Angustifolia, and then take a mason jar and pour all the ingredients together in it. Keep shaking strongly until blended well, and you are done.

3) Herbal mouth wash ingredients 4 oz. of peppermint and sage leaves plus Echinacea Angustifolia root
8-12 drops of mint extract
1 tsp of thyme
2 tsp of Myrrh gum extract
5-7 drops of eucalyptus oil

Method - Prepare a herbal infusion with the peppermint leaves, sage leaves and Echinacea Angustifolia, and then take a mason jar and pour all the ingredients together in it. Keep shaking strongly until blended well, and you are done.

4) Lemon juice and water-  Lemon is highly antibacterial, so it’s a great ingredient to control dental plaque.


1 glass of Warm water
1 lemon

Method -Take the lemon and squeeze it into 1 glass of warm water and rinse your mouth and then spit it out.

5) Apple cider vinegar mouthwash

Apple cider vinegar has been reported to be a natural teeth whitener and bad breath neutralizer. So, it will certainly improve your oral and dental health.


2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup of salt
1-2 drops of Vanilla essential oil

Method - Mix and store in a jar. Swish your mouth with this solution!

It is important to note that a lot of homemade mouthwash recipes to improve oral and dental health may include salt, baking soda and or essential oils. This is because salt is a natural antibacterial, baking soda has been reported to whiten teeth naturally, and essential oils have antibacterial and anti - inflammatory properties, making them a powerful ingredient that can not only help to improve oral and dental health, but also treat fungal infections and even boost immunity.

Want more Health information? Visit EmaxHealth.


What Smiling Says About You

Posted On: February 01, 2018


What Smiling Says About You and Why You Should Do More of It.

      You might’ve guessed that smiling can make you happier … but did you know it also helps you live longer?
It’s true!  Smiling also helps with attraction and happiness in more ways than you may have imagined. Looking for a romantic partner, or a new job this year? Then, get ready to flash those pearly whites!  More than a century ago, philosopher Charles Darwin and scientist William James suggested we might be able to adjust our mood simply by assuming the facial expressions representative of our goal.

The first step to happiness is to start smiling!       

Ever since Darwin and James proposed their theories, scientists have researched and discovered some interesting side effects to smiling along the way.

  • Smiling makes you more attractive:Research suggests we’re more attracted to people who smile than those who do not. While scientists aren’t exactly in agreement as to why this may be, there’s a perception that a smiling person makes others aroundthem relaxed and happy. Basically, your smile is contagious … and therefore welcoming.
  • Smiles boost the immune system: It’s all about the neuropeptides, they say. Smiling (and also laughing) release these neuropeptides which help reduce stress. The result is less taxation on your immune system so you can remain healthy to combat any illness or stress that may come your way.
  • Smiling enhances your mood:Smile-science has a bit of a “chicken or the egg dilemma.” Does a smile make you happy, or do you smile because you’re happy? We can assume the latter is true, but what about the former? Recall those neuropeptides we mentioned earlier? Well, according to Psychology Today, when we smile, “feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphin and serotonin are all released.” Your body relaxes, while your heart rate and blood pressure lower. This flood of feeling then places us in a better mood. Not bad for just crinkling up the corners of the mouth!
  • And, what about helping you live longer? Well, if the above three reasons aren’t enough for you, it seems, that, yes … smiling more can help you live a longer life. And the proof appears to be in the research. In 2010, a team of researchers aimed with an odd source material (The Sporting News Baseball Register), examined historical photographs of baseball players – tracking smile and life statistics throughout their lifetimes. From 1952 onward, these intrepid scientists crunched the numbers (and smiles), and discovered that, yes indeed, smiling did help these chaps live longer, healthier lives. They also remained married longer. Pretty neat, huh? You can check out a bit of the story on this fascinating study at Pacific Standard Magazine.
    So, to wrap things up … we’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom from cinema’s happiest of happy characters, Buddy, played by Will Ferrell in the feel-good Christmas film, Elf.

  • “I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite. Go forth and smile!”



8 Health Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene that Extend Beyond Your Mouth

Posted On: January 02, 2018

8 Health Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene that Extend Beyond Your Mouth

By Denise Reynolds RD/EmaxHealth

It is very important to take good care of your teeth and gums, but for more reasons than you might think. Because the mouth is the “gateway to the body,” bacteria from the teeth and gums can affect your overall health in more ways than one.  To keep the mouth and teeth healthy, it is recommended to brush and floss every day – at least two times a day. Dentists also recommend avoiding certain cavity-producing foods, such as sugary treats, and avoiding tobacco products.  You should also see your dentist or oral health professional regularly (recommended every six months).

But why?  Well, obviously, poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay or cavities.  Despite what you might think, cavities do not only occur in children, adults can get them too.  The teeth are covered in a hard outer coating called enamel.  Every day, a thin film of bacteria (dental plaque) builds up on the teeth which produces a bacteria that can eat a hole in this enamel if not removed.  Brushing and flossing can help protect your teeth from decay, but once a cavity has formed, a dentist has to fix it.

Gum disease is another consequence of poor dental hygiene.  When plaque builds up along and under the gum line, infections can occur that harm the gums and the bone that hold the teeth in place.  The most severe form of gum disease is known as periodontal disease.  In this case, infection has become so severe that bone deterioration can occur, leading to tooth loss.

Bad dental health can be also particularly bad for your social life as well.  Halitosis-bad breath-is caused by small food particles that are wedged between the teeth that collect bacteria and emit chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide.  This is the same compound which gives rotten eggs their characteristic smell.  Good dental health, though, is not just important for your teeth, gums an breath. The bacteria that originate in the mouth can travel throughout the body and cause a host of health problems that you may not be aware of.

1.  Heart Disease/Stroke Risk
People with periodontal disease are two times more likely to develop heart disease and arterial narrowing as a result of bacteria and plaque entering the bloodstream through the gums.  The bacteria contains a clot-promoting protein that can clog arteries, leading to an increased risk of heart attach.  In addition, if high levels of disease -causing bacteria from the mouth clog the carotid artery-the blood vessel that delivers blood to the brain and head-it could increase the risk of having a stroke.

2.  Increase Risk of Dementia
Tooth loss due to poor dental health is also a risk factor for memory loss and early stage Alzheimer's disease.  One study, published in Behavioral and Brain Functions, found that infections in the gums release inflammatory substances which in turn increase brain inflammation that can cause neuronal (brain cell) death.

3.  Respiratory Problems
Bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream to the lungs where it can aggravate respiratory system, especially in patients who already have respiratory problems.  A study published in the Journal of Periodontology uncovered a link between gum disease ad an increase risk of pneumonia and acute bronchitis.  "But working with your dentist or periodontist, you may actually be able to prevent or diminish the progression of harmful disease such as pneumonia or COPD," says Donald S Clem, DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology."

4.  Diabetes
95% of US adults with diabetes also have periodontal disease and 1/3 have such advanced disease that has led to tooth loss.  This is likely because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections.  The link between gum disease and diabetes appears to be a two-way street.  In addition to having a higher risk gum disease due to diabetes, periodontal disease may also make it more difficult to control blood sugar, putting the patient at risk for even more diabetic complications.

5.  Erectile Dusfunction
Men with periodontal disease are 7 times likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene.  Periodontal bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, inflaming blood vessels and blocking flow to the genitals.

6.  Risk of Premature Birth
In the US, nearly 13% of babies are born prematurely according to the March of Dimes. Premature babies face a host of medical problems including breathing issues and infections. A mom’s dental health can impact this association.  Doctors theorize that one of the main causes of preterm birth is infection in the mother’s body. One common site of infection is the mouth. In addition to brushing and flossing, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found an association between the use of a non-alcohol antimicrobial mouth rinse in pregnant women and a decreased rate of delivering babies prematurely. The theory is that gum-disease-induced inflammation could be reduced through the regular use of bacteria-killing mouthwash


Beer, Wine and Whisky? Good or Bad for Your Mouth?

Posted On: December 03, 2017

Beer, Wine and Whisky? Good or Bad for Your Mouth?

Those of us who enjoy an adult beverage from time to time are, no doubt, privy to the research that suggests such consumption is, surprisingly - good for us! Of course, with every endorsement of a habit that might not really be "too" good for us, there is "but" in there somewhere. And when it comes to alcohol, there is little debate that whether it's whisky, beer or wine, alcohol just isn't that great for your oral health. So if you're drinking more these days to help your heart, you may want to re-think that strategy a bit. Let's take a look at why.

1.  Drying effect:  Unlike water, which hydrates your mouth and protects it from cavity-causing bacteria and acid, alcohol dries it out. When paired with alcohol's acidic nature, this drying effect provides the perfect low pH environment for bacteria to feast. And if that weren't all, because we're prone to sip alcoholic beverages for hours on end, doing so keeps the pH in our mouths low for hours at a time - not a good scenario for our teeth and gums.

2.  Staining: Wine, like coffee, can stain your teeth. In most cases, the staining is temporary, and is caused by a number of things like its acidity, which etches the teeth allowing color to "stick," and tannin's, which love teeth so much they bind to the enamel and trap the wine's color along with it. Joy! How's that for a festive party? The good thing is, you can keep discoloration at bay by munching on food while drinking, and chewing gum once you’re done consuming for the night. This will bathe your mouth in saliva, and bring your pH back to normal. Also, as an aside, hold off on brushing your teeth until at least a half hour after you’re done consuming. If done too early, the soft nature of your enamel after drinking can cause unwanted enamel abrasion.

3.  Long term effects:  Of course, it goes without mentioning, that if your alcohol consumption habits are more frequent, and of larger amounts than "recommended," you should be aware that these effects are compounding, and can even result in oral cancer. In fact, if you are prone to combining alcohol with smoking, your oral cancer risk is six times greater than if you just smoked, or just drank. Scientists believe the effects of alcohol on the mouth enable cancer-causing agents in cigarette smoke greater access to our oral tissues resulting in a favorable environment for cancer to develop.

As is often the case, your health is within your control.  Therefore choosing habits wisely, and being informed of their consequences is always knowledge worth possessing...Everything in moderation.


Great American Smokeout

Posted On: November 01, 2017

Kicking the Tobacco Habit is good for your Mouth.

The Great American Smokeout is the third Thursday in November.

While the current percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes is the lowest it's been in decades, those who continue the habit remain at risk for heart and lung disease.  Additionally, while we know smoking is also bad for our oral health, most don't understand just how bad it is...


More Than Just Stained Teeth

From its seemingly mild side effects (bad breath, tooth discoloration, buildup of plaque and tartar), to the more sinister ( increased risk of oral cancer, loss of bone within the jaw, gum disease and any number of resulting complications) - tobacco is indeed an oral health risk.

Tobacco can cause serious health issues by breaking down the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth.  Because of this breakdown, the use of tobacco makes smokers much more susceptible to infection and disease.  In fact, 90% of people who have cancer of the mouth, throat, or gums admit to using tobacco in some form.

Cigarettes, cigars and pipes aren't the only culprits; smokeless tobacco can be just as detrimental to oral health, if not worse.  In fact, there are twenty-eight chemicals found in chewing tobacco alone that are proven to chewing tobacco alone that are proven to increase the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat and esophagus.  Chewing tobacco and snuff contain higher levels of nicotine than those found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, making it's exposure to the roots, and ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to decay.

According to the National Cancer Institute, smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and has a negative impact on overall health.  It is the leading case of cancer of several types, including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, throat, mouth, and bladder cancers.  It is also the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.

In addition to cancer, smoking contributes to and causes strokes, heart disease, macular degeneration, cataracts, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is chronic bronchitis and emphysema, osteoporosis, and diabetes.  Smoking makes other conditions worse or increase a person's risk of developing them: pneumonia and other respiratory infections and asthma.

Smokers weakens the immune system and makes getting pregnant more difficult.  Smoking  during pregnancy increases the risks of birth defects, miscarriages, and g\premature babies and low birth weights.  Smoking also puts non-smokes at risk of health problems by exposing them to secondhand smoke.  Secondhand smoke is now to cause lung cancer in non-smokers and also increase the risks of heart disease ad stroke.  It also puts children at an increased risk for infections and asthma.


Click on the picture below for more information about the Great American Smokeout.


Help is Just Next Door                                          

The only way to help eliminate these risks is to never start using tobacco products, or to quit if you do.  In fact, simply reducing tobacco use is proven to help lower your risks.  If you feel that it is time to reduce your risk of cancer, gum disease, infection and other oral complications, your dentist or doctor can help you create a plan to help you quit using tobacco, along with prescribing certain medicines or programs to help you kick the habit.  Here at Baylee Dental we've shared programs with patients have helped make a difference in their lives, while helping protect their health at the same time.  Remember, it is never too late to quit.  If you're interested in getting help, let us know the next time you're in for an appointment or call us now. 352-307-3006


The Biggest Two-Letter Reason for Why You Get Cavities

Posted On: October 02, 2017

The Biggest Two-Letter Reason for Why you get Cavities.  It's not only the Halloween Candy this month.

Isn’t it interesting how one person can do a wonderful job brushing and flossing their teeth each day and still end up with cavities, while someone with poor habits can sidestep cavities altogether? In the few minutes it’ll take you to read this article you’ll get a glimpse into one reason this happens. We’ll start by making a bold statement. That is: the primary reason people get cavities has a lot less to do with brushing and flossing, and a lot more to do with something most of us know little to nothing about: pH. We promise to make this easy on you – understanding pH is simpler than you think. No need to dust off your high school chemistry book! 

Understanding pH

In order to make sense of pH, you only need to know two things. First, that “pH” is just a word used to indicate the corrosive nature of any watery solution (it’s simply a unit of measurement, like the words “teaspoon” or “mile”). Second, pH measurements are plotted out on what is called the “pH scale” represented by numbers that run between 0 and 14. On that scale the number seven represents the midpoint, or “neutral” point of measurement. Also, in case you’re wondering, it is possible to have negative pH and numbers higher than 14, but generally speaking those are results produced in a lab and not something you’re likely to run into while navigating the grocery aisle.

Now that you know what pH is, consider the pH scale not as a rating system of chemicals, but a rating system of things you would want to put in your mouth. The further away you get away from the neutral seven, the less likely you are to enjoy the experience. For example, hydrochloric acid is measured at the very bottom of the scale (zero) – and we sure as heck don’t want that stuff in our mouth. Stomach acid is just above that at 1.5 - 3.5. A lemon which comes in around 2.0, we could probably handle. Wine? Between 2.9 and 3.9. Water and milk are measured at seven – completely neutral, and saliva typically falls between 6.5 and 7.5. How about on the other side of the scale … the alkaline side? Well, eggs come in around 7.6, and baking soda, an 8.0. Beyond that it gets kinda’ icky, literally. Borax is a 9.0, and Lye is a 14.0. Definitely not items we’d want to swirl around in our mouth.

Applying pH to Your Teeth: It's all about Acid

So how does pH affect your teeth? When we think about what causes cavities most of us naturally think about sugar, because that’s what we’re told to avoid. However, it’s important to understand it isn’t sugar that destroys your teeth, it’s the digestion of that sugar by certain bacteria in the mouth that does the damage. The final result of that digestion process is a byproduct you won’t be surprised causes damage to teeth: acid. So basically think of avoiding sugar as essentially avoiding acid and you’ll be thinking about sugar as it relates to your teeth in the proper fashion.
Given what you now know about pH, you’ll likewise want to avoid consuming too much of anything that’s already acidic – things like soda, energy drinks, sport drinks and acidic fruitthey’re clearly bad for your teeth. Coffee, wine and tea are also pretty acidic so be aware of their threat to your enamel as well.    
Lastly, since pH isn’t something you’re going to find labeled on foods here is a fantastic list of food items that will help bring the pH scale to life. Without a doubt, being mindful of what you put into your body will protect your teeth, and better fuel your body.