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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

Closed on Friday
during the Summer.

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

Halitosis.

If you’ve ever seen a Listerine commercial you know that word. It’s the fancy term for bad breath. Everyone is afraid they have bad breath and don’t know it. You head to a meeting or other social situation and wonder how your breath is. That’s why the grocery and drugs stores have shelves overflowing with bad breath remedies. Of course, many of them only mask the problem temporarily. That may work fine when your bad breath is of the “Doritos Nacho Cheese” variety.

But when your bad breath is more regular, there can be other causes to blame, such as lax home hygiene. Although this oddest of years won’t involve the same number of usual holiday get togethers, you’re sure to see at least some added family members. Since Dr. Egger wants all of our patients to have happy, healthy mouths, and happy spouses, partners, and friends who have to be in close proximity to you, here’s some things to know about bad breath.

What’s behind bad breath?

There can be many reasons a person’s breath is, uh, less than the minty fresh.

  • Food — When food is being broken down, this can increase bacteria in your mouth, and this can create bad breath. Eating certain foods, such as onions or garlic, can also cause bad breath. Once you eat those types of foods, they are digested and can enter your bloodstream, where they are carried to your lungs, and, you guessed it, your breath.
  • Cigarettes — Smoking itself causes stale breath. But it also increases the risk of gum disease, which is another source of foul breath. 
  • Poor home hygiene — If you’re a lazy brusher and flosser, odds are you have bad breath. Food particles remain in your mouth, creating odors. Plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth throughout the day, needs to be removed by brushing and flossing daily. If you don’t, the bacteria start to irritate the gums and eventually cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that are like little hot tubs for bacteria to party…and create bad breath. 
  • Dry mouth — Saliva is important in your mouth, helping to cleanse it and remove food particles. If you have dry mouth, your decreased saliva production can lead to bad breath.
  • Infections in the mouth — If you’ve had wisdom teeth removed or other surgical wounds in the mouth, these can cause bad breath. But as long as they don’t become infected, this is only temporary.
  • Other mouth, nose, and throat conditions — Your tonsils can become inflamed and covered with bacteria. That will make for some bad breath. Chronic sinus infections and the like will do the same.
  • Other causes — Taking some medications can contribute to dry mouth, which contributes to bad breath. Certain metabolic disorders and cancers will cause breath odor, as does acid reflux disease.

Now you know why your breath may be a little more than stale. The first key to good breath is good home hygiene: brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing. Beyond that, keeping your twice-yearly appointments with Dr. Egger and our team for your cleanings and exams is important. Is it time for your next appointment? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.

At Dr. Egger’s office we’re all big fans of preventive dentistry. While we can treat pretty much anything that goes wrong with your oral health, we’d rather just see you every six months with healthy happy teeth. In past blogs we’ve addressed how to take care of your teeth, how to brush, how to floss, etc. There are other things you can do to head off tooth decay before it ever gets a foothold, so this blog let’s get into those.

Preventing tooth decay

Almost all food has sugar of some sort, whether it tastes sweet or not. Plus, every mouth is teeming with bacteria. Together, they can spell decay, that five-letter dental swear word you don’t want to hear. Acids are produced when bacteria eat sugar. Those acids are the culprits that break down the mineral content in the enamel of our teeth, allowing bacteria into the tooth. Once bacteria gain a foothold in a tooth, this starts the process of decay that results in a cavity, and if not treated, far more heinous dental issues. If left untreated, tooth loss, gum disease…it’s not pretty.

That’s why we want you to come see us at our Mount Pleasant offices twice each year for your professional cleanings and exams. Six months is about the time it takes for decay to take hold, if accompanied by sloppy hygiene. Minimal decay is removed and the affected area, the cavity, is filled. That makes the tooth healthy and decay free again. If not treated, the decay can progress, ending in gum and nerve damage. Even more severe decay will result in extraction of the tooth. But tooth decay is easily preventable with brushing, flossing, use of fluoride toothpaste, refraining from an overly sugar-filled diet, and regular checkups with us.

Tooth sealants

Our molars, the heavy lifters of chewing, have depressions and grooves in them where food and bacteria can hide out. Think of crevasses in your teeth, if you’re into glaciers. Genetics are usually behind these deep pits, but it can be virtually impossible to get all the food particles out of teeth like that. Because you can’t get everything out, decay forms. A recent study found that 88 percent of cavities suffered by U.S. children formed in this fashion. Sealants can give you a way to fight back. Sealants are made of acrylic resin and are used to fill the fissures and pits in your molars, keeping out bacteria and food particles. After curing, sealants are almost as hard as your teeth, so chewing is unaffected. And they can last for decades.

Fluoride

Although some crazed paranoids think fluoride is a Communist conspiracy to poison our water supply, most sane people understand the power of fluoride. Fluoride has been scientifically proven to significantly reduce tooth decay. In fact, communities with fluoride added to the water supply have a 50% decrease in tooth decay in children. In addition to fluoridated water and toothpaste, there are also fluoride supplements and fluoride gels or varnishes that we apply to our younger patients’ teeth.

As an interesting side note about fluoride, Grand Rapids was the first city in the world to add fluoride to its municipal drinking water in 1945. On the other end of the preventive dentistry spectrum, here in little old Mt. Pleasant a ballot initiative in 2004 ceased water fluoridation in our fine city. One year later, we wised up and voted this time to put fluoride back into the water supply. The second vote was 63% for and 37% against fluoridation.

OK, now you’re fully armed to fight off tooth decay. But you’re not overdue on your twice-yearly cleanings, right? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.

It’s amazing at how one story that questions something can gain traction without earning it. Take the story in 2016 that touted how there wasn’t any research out there that showed using dental floss improved your oral health. It based this wisdom on the fact that there had not been any studies in which volunteers were randomly assigned to two groups, a floss group and a no floss group, to see what happened.

That’s probably because for a study like that to be effective, it would have to last at least a decade and it would need a lot of people. It would probably be pretty hard to find enough people willing to not floss at all for a decade to just see what happens.

By the way, there have never been any randomized control studies of smoking either, likely for the same reasons, but there’s not much question if it’s good for you or not.

Regardless of what people say on the internet (who wouldn’t think a vaccine that prevents polio wouldn’t be a good idea?!!), Dr. Egger wants his patients to know that flossing your teeth once every day is a good idea. Well, at least if you don’t want to get gum disease and lose all of your teeth one day.

Here’s why.

Removes 40% of your plaque

Research has shown that flossing does about 40 percent of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. You know that plaque stuff — bacteria eat the food stuff left on your teeth, which generates acid, which is what causes tooth decay, and which irritates the gums eventually leading to gum disease.

Each of our teeth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean, with the plaque just sitting there. Flossing is the only way you can get into the space between the teeth to remove any leftover food particles and bacteria.

But don’t just take Dr. Egger’s word for it. What about the Department of Health and Human Services? It says, “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.”

What about the American Dental Association? It says, “Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.”

OK, so maybe you shouldn’t take the advice of the leader of the anti-vaccine movement, a former Playboy bunny, when deciding whether to vaccinate your child against rubella. And maybe you shouldn’t take the advice of some bogus internet story that says flossing doesn’t do anything for your oral health.

Dr. Egger’s just sayin’.

Is it time for your next cleaning and exam? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. You probably didn’t know that. But it’s also porous, which is why our teeth stain when we eat raspberries and drink red wine.

Enamel covers the crown, the part of the tooth that’s visible above the gumline. It is translucent, so you can see right through your enamel to the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, beneath it. The dentin is where your tooth color is dictated, whether it be white, off white, grey, or yellow.

Enamel is the protector of our teeth, so Dr. Egger’s a big fan of it. Here’s some things to understand about how you’re treating or mistreating your enamel, and how that could be a big mistake.

The job of the enamel

Enamel protects your teeth during daily use. It stands up to teeth grinding and eating hard foods, and it insulates the teeth nerves from potential temperature extremes in foods or drinks, and to the impact of some chemicals such as the alcohol in mouthwash.

Enamel is one tough customer, standing up to all off the above, but it can be damaged. It can crack or chip, but unlike bone cells, enamel has no living cells so once it is damaged the body cannot repair it.

Erosion, the long-term enemy of enamel

Although your tooth enamel is tough, like the granite on the shores of Lake Superior, it can be eroded over time. Acids are the usual culprits. Here’s a list of enamel eroders:

  • Fruit drinks (fruits have various acids, some very erosive)
  • Excessive soft drink consumption (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
  • Too much sugar and starch in the diet
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Medications like aspirin and antihistamines
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors (see below)

Environmental surface erosion

Friction, stress, general wear and tear, and corrosion can all combine to grind off the enamel from your teeth.

  • Attrition — Grind your teeth at night? This tooth-to-tooth friction is called attrition.
  • Abrasion — This is the wear that happens when you brush too hard, bite hard objects such as fingernails and pens, or chew tobacco.
  • Abfraction —This is basically a stress fracture of the tooth caused by flexing or bending of the tooth.
  • rrosion — This is the name for acidic contents hitting the enamel. Frequent corrosion takes off enamel.

How do you know the enamel has eroded?

There are various ways to tell your enamel has eroded. Sensitivity to sweets and temperatures can cause twinges of pain in the early stages. As it progresses, your teeth become discolored as more of the dentin is exposed. As enamel erodes the edges of your teeth can become rough and irregular. Severe sensitivity will come in the late stages. Also, cupping, otherwise known as indentations in the teeth show enamel loss.

Beyond your home hygiene, Dr. Egger is the keeper of your enamel. He can spot early signs that you’re doing things such as grinding your teeth at night, which degrades your enamel and endangers your teeth.

Is it time for your next regular exam and cleaning with us? Call (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

Everyone likes to check out statistics. And since people who are usually stats freaks — baseball fans — have been deprived much of their livelihood this bizarre spring, at least we can check out some statistics on dental health.

Don’t smirk. Dr. Egger loves these statistics more than Al Kaline’s career batting average or on-base percentage.

Toothy Statistics

OK, who’s been on the naught/nice list and not seen Dr. Egger or another dentist within a year?

  • Percentage of children aged 2-17 years with a dental visit in the past year: 84.9% (2017)
  • Percentage of adults aged 18-64 with a dental visit in the past year: 64% (2017)
  • Percentage of adults aged 65 and over with a dental visit in the past year: 65.6% (2017)

Seeing Dr. Egger every six months is key to a happy mouth full of healthy teeth. Skipping just one of these appointments is basically just asking for future big-time trouble with your teeth. Fun things like root canals, bridges, extractions, and gum disease

Who has a cavity that they’re not having removed and a filling placed?

  • Percent of children aged 5-19 with untreated dental caries (decay): 16.9% (2013-2016)
  • Percent of adults aged 20-44 with untreated dental caries (decay): 31.6% (2013-2016)

OK. This stat’s not funny. Untreated tooth decay leads to the bacteria eventually make its way into the inner tooth and causing an infection in the tooth. Now the tooth is going to need a root canal just to save it from extraction. Or, if left alone, the person is headed toward full-on gum disease and a lift of dentures. Leaving a cavity in a child’s tooth is putting them behind the curve on a lifetime of less-than-stellar dental health, and that’s not cool for a parent.

What percentage of adults have all their teeth or none of their teeth?

  • Percentage of adults aged 20-64 who have all of their permanent teeth: 48% (2011-2012)
  • Percentage of adults aged 65 and over who have none of their teeth: 19% (2011-2012)

Do you floss? Tell the truth.

  • Percentage of people who floss daily: 30% (2016)
  • Percentage of people who floss less than daily: 37 percent (2016)
  • Percentage of people who never floss: 32% (2016)

Come on, people. Flossing isn’t difficult. It isn’t painful. It takes about 20 seconds. Dental floss can be minty fresh, should you choose. Floss isn’t an exercise in “whatever.” Flossing is very important to break up and remove the bacteria that are hanging out between your teeth and aren’t adequately removed by tooth brushing. You up your odds of decay taking hold in a tooth when you don’t floss, so Dr. Egger’s hoping his prized patients aren’t in that 69% who only floss sometimes or not at all.

Is it time for your next cleaning and exam with Dr. Egger? Call (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Dental ServicesNow that the baseball season has begun and the Tigers are destined for another, uh, less than stellar campaign, it begs the question, “Where oh where are you Norm Cash, Al Kaline, Kirk Gibson, Willie Horton, Aurelio Rodriguez, Allen Trammel, and Gates Brown?” We’d even take Denny McLain, as long as he did his mail fraud work on his own time!

With baseball comes lots of gum chomping. Hubba Bubba. Big League Chew. Bazooka. Tasty bubble gums one and all, but also loaded with sugar.

So, maybe you should switch to sugarless gum, and not for the witless TV commercials where lovelorn singles finally find love after chomping on a piece of Trident. Sugarless gum turns out to have other characteristics that make it a strong ally in the fight for better oral health.

Here are some reasons Dr. Egger loves sugarless gum.

It prevents cavities

The American Dental Association reports that various studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. It does this by boosting the flow of saliva in your mouth, which washes away food and neutralizes acids. The saliva also contains additional calcium and phosphate to support strengthening of enamel. That Bazooka you’ve been munching on also increases saliva, you say. Ah, but the sugar is used by plaque bacteria to produce acidic by-products, and those are the basis of how decay starts.

Enamel booster

We all know we should use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride to strengthen the teeth. Sugarless gum has a similar effect. When you chew sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol, the acids left behind on your teeth from foods and drinks are reduced, say the ADA. The gum also prevents enamel erosion by supplying minerals to your teeth.

Reduces sensitivity

Sugar-free gum has another crazy benefit — it can reduce tooth sensitivity caused by in-office teeth whitening treatments. According to a study published in the British Dental Journal, patients who chewed sugarless gum after having their teeth whitened had significantly less tooth sensitivity compared to study participants who did not chew gum. The mechanism was thought to be the increase in saliva flow that creates this effect.

OK, so go to Comerica Park and chomp on some gum, just like all the players on the field. But don’t go spitting everywhere in sight, and don’t chew sugary bubble gum. Go sugarless, and your teeth with thank you. And that makes Dr. Egger happy. Maybe not as happy as bringing Mickey Stanley back in center field, but…

Is it time for your next exam and cleaning with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Now that we’re in a brand new decade, you probably made even more resolutions than in a usual year. Figure out how to use one one-thousandth of the features on your phone. Change your passwords from the name of your cat+1234. Quit being mad that the Red Wings no longer have Pavel Datsyuk to make them fun to watch.

And take better care of your teeth.

We don’t know about those others, but Dr. Egger’s all in on the last one. Truth is, home hygiene is simple, taking about four and a half minutes, and it’s the sure way to prevent all sorts of heinous dental issues. Just about everything bad, from root canals to gum disease, can be prevented with some diligent home prevention.

Let’s go over the basics.

What is the proper way of brushing my teeth?

Twice daily is the proper amount for brushing your teeth, although you can do it three times if you want to keep your breath fresh for a meeting or something. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. Better yet, use an Oral B Electric Toothbrush. The ADA (see last month’s blog) recently approved these based on research showing they are more effective for most people .You should brush for around two minutes, 30 seconds per quarter of your mouth. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:

  1. Position your tooth brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
  2. When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
  3. Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
  4. It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.

What is the correct way of flossing my teeth?

You should floss between your teeth once daily. Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:

  1. Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
  2. Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area following a sawing motion.
  3. Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.

If you want more conveniece, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? If you like cinnamon and cinnamon-flavored floss will make you floss regularly, then we say “Go for it!”

Now, you’re prepared for a new decade of healthy teeth. Of course, home hygiene needs to be supplemented with twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Egger and our team. Is it time for yours? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Dental ServicesMany people give themselves more credit than is due for their home dental hygiene. They think that just because they brush for two minutes twice daily and floss once, they don’t need to come see Dr. Egger and his team for their twice-yearly professional cleanings. After all, what can a professional do that you’re not already doing at home? Truth is, lots.

Beyond the removal of plaque and tartar (which you cannot remove at home once it has developed on your teeth), there are more serious reasons to see us twice yearly.

  1. Head off gum disease early.

When plaque starts to accumulate in certain corners of your mouth, the gums surrounding your teeth can become inflamed and this can eventually lead to gum disease. If left untreated, this disease can cause tooth and bone loss. During your routine exams and cleanings, we check for the early signs of gum disease because catching and addressing it early is the key.

  1. Oral cancer can be right under your nose, literally.

Like gum disease, part of our regular exam protocol is looking for the early signs of oral cancer. You know when we pull your tongue and check your glands and other tests? Those are checks for oral cancer, and, obviously, you want to catch that early and you won’t see the signs at home.

  1. Your oral health can go be drifting.

Early diagnosis is early treatment. For dental issues, this not only can save you thousands of dollars, but it can save your teeth. You may think you’re doing a bang-up job at home, but we may see evidence that says otherwise. We keep a running record of your dental health. Have your gums receded since the last visit? Has that crack in a tooth become worse? We check for everything and keep an eye on any issues.

Professional dental cleanings and dental exams at Dr. Egger’s can seem like an optional task on your to-do list, but in the long run, your teeth will thank you for making those visits mandatory.

Is it time for your next exam? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

Just about everyone, except maybe Jimmy Buffett, grinds his or her teeth some times. After all, our bosses, kids, job, and other things can drive us crazy. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, isn’t really any big deal — you have to clench your teeth occasionally when your boss is being a real idiot. The problem occurs when a person grinds his or her teeth regularly. That can create some real problems with your teeth.

Dr Egger sees the results of your grinding in cracked teeth, shortened teeth, and loosened teeth. He may need to use crowns, bridges, implants, or root canals to fix the damage done by your repeated grinding.

Why do we do it?

Although some people grind their teeth due to stress or anxiety during the daytime, more often than not it occurs during sleep. More than stress, bruxism usually has its basis in an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also happen during sleep apnea.

So, what’s the big deal with grinding your teeth? They’re tough, right?

Your teeth are strong, but they can be broken down by chronic grinding. Bruxism can lead to fracturing, loosening, and eventual loss of teeth. The grinding can wear the teeth down to the point where they have little value. In these cases, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, even full dentures may be in the grinder’s future.

Severe bruxism also affects your jaws, leading to temporomandibular joint disorder. It can change the appearance of your face.

How do I know if I’m a grinder?

Because most grinding occurs while we sleep, most people don’t know they do it. A dead giveaway is a sore jaw or a dull headache when you wake up. Also, the person next to you in bed can usually hear it.

What can be done about bruxism?

The way to stop chronic bruxism is to wear a night guard. These custom-fit mouth guards are worn at night and they protect the teeth from grinding against one another, while not restricting breathing.
Are you a night grinder? If you have symptoms of bruxism, call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 and let’s take a look.

 

Wings’ Dry Spell is One Thing, Dry Mouth Another

We all can be at a loss for moisture in our mouth at times. Maybe you have to get up and present in front of the board. Maybe your boss just asked if he could see you in his office for a minute, and the last five people to whom he asked that were all laid off!

But perpetual dry mouth, where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, all or most of the time, it can lead to more serious problems and be a sign of other medical issues. That’s because, while saliva may seem harmless or at times a nuisance, it does much more than simply keep your mouth wet: it helps digest food, protects the teeth from decay, controls bacteria in your mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.

Dr. Egger can help with your dry mouth.

What are reasons for dry mouth?

Obviously, if your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, it can be a sign that there is a problem with your salivary glands. But more often their decreased saliva production is due to other factors:

  • Side effects of some medications — Over 400 medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics, and blood pressure drugs.
  • Disease — Diabetes, Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome all may cause dry mouth.
  • Radiation therapy — If you’ve had cancer treatment, the radiation may have damaged your salivary glands.
  • Chemotherapy — Chemo drugs can make your saliva thicker, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • Menopause — Changing hormone levels affect the salivary glands, so menopausal women often have a persistent feeling of dry mouth.
  • Smoking — Many pipe, cigar, and heavy cigarette smokers can have dry mouth.

How to treat dry mouth

Dry mouth can only be resolved by dealing with the base cause. Obviously, if it is due to reaction to a medication, see if you can switch to a different option or dosage. Otherwise, here are a few things to do:

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva flow
  • Don’t use tobacco or alcohol
  • Use a humidifier at night

Dr. Egger may recommend products such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash. He may even want to prescribe medications that stimulate your saliva production.

Do you think your mouth is abnormally dry? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.