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Why Do We Need Saliva?

To some, it may be kind of gross. To others, maybe just a little weird. But we all produce saliva, whether we like it or not. As strange as it may seem, saliva production is a vitally important function of our exocrine gland system.

Saliva is a fluid produced in the salivary glands of the mouth, cheeks, gums, tongue and lips. It is made of water, mucous, minerals, proteins and the enzyme amylase. 

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TMJ and Halloween Candy

With overflowing buckets of Halloween candy hanging around the house for weeks, and the winter holidays on the way, there’s plenty of potential for aggravating your TMJ disorder by eating the wrong treats. It can be difficult to know what’s safe to eat and what has the potential to worsen your TMJ symptoms.  If you’re swimming in snacks but don’t know which ones are safe, check out this guide to TMJ-friendly (and not-so-friendly!) treats.

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Not-So-Scary Halloween Treats to Try This Year

Halloween season should be a time of frights and delights - but not at the expense of your teeth! If you are tired of handing out cavity-causing candy (and keeping it in your house, where it’s hard to resist), consider handing out these candy-free alternatives this Halloween.

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Periodontal Disease Linked to an Increased Risk of Cancer in Women

A recent study by BMC Oral Health found that older women with periodontal disease were at a higher risk of developing certain cancers than women with healthy gums, even if the women with periodontal disease had never smoked.

The study followed nearly 66,000 women between the ages of 54 and 86, some of whom reported having gum disease. The researchers followed up with the women via survey over an eight-year period following the initial response. Those who initially reported having gum disease had 14 percent more cases of certain cancers than those who did not have gum disease.

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Study Shows More Detailed Link Between Diabetes and Tooth Loss

If you’re one of the estimated 29 million Americans who suffer from the insulin-regulating disease diabetes, you are probably already aware of the many high risks the disease carries, including the elevated risk of tooth loss due to periodontitis. But while the connection has long been known and well documented, until recently, doctors have not been able to explain why such a connection exists.

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Ultrasonic Versus Spin Brushes: Which Is Better?

Whether you’re tired of getting mediocre results from a manual toothbrush or your trusty old electric toothbrush is starting to show its age, if you’re considering getting a new electric toothbrush it can be very overwhelming - especially if you don’t know the main differences between brush types. If you’re ready to buy a new brush but aren’t sure what kind is best, keep reading!

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Is It Time to Reconsider Dental Implants?

If you’re missing one or multiple teeth, chances are you've considered replacing them. Replacing lost teeth not only looks and feels better, but it is also better for your teeth and jaw. That’s because when you leave open spaces in your mouth, you can experience bone loss and the shifting of the rest of your teeth. Shifting teeth isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it can also cause uneven wear, excess tooth decay, and even headaches and jaw pain.

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Smile-Friendly Snacks for Back-to-School Season

With millions of children across America heading back to school this time of year, it’s time to start thinking about what to feed your kids when you send them out the door. Whether you pay for hot lunch or prefer to brown-bag it, there are a wide array of options to choose from that taste great and won’t harm your child’s teeth. If you’re looking for some snack inspiration that won’t end up in the trash can, check out this list of tooth-healthy snacks!

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Decade-Old Braces Wire Removed From Woman’s Stomach

People swallow some weird things. From teeth to magnets, coins, toothbrushes and, believe it or not, a fidget spinner (swallowed by a ten-year-old girl in Texas), doctors and dentists have seen it all. But a case of swallowed braces wire in Nedlands, Western Australia, is puzzling even the most seasoned medical professionals, thanks to a unique set of circumstances.

When a 30-year-old woman arrived at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia, complaining of abdominal pain recently, doctors at first suspected gallstones. The pain soon subsided, and the patient was released, only to return two days later with the same pain. Doctors then ordered a CT scan and were shocked to find that it wasn’t gallstones causing the pain, but a long, narrow object (initially believed to be a fish bone) puncturing the woman’s intestines. The object had pierced the intestine in several places, becoming twisted in the organ. This created a serious bowel blockage known as a volvulus, which required emergency surgery to correct.

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A Good Smile is Still a Major Player in Modern Dating

Dating site Match.com has released its seventh annual "Singles in America" dating survey, and it’s got a lot to say about what single Americans are looking for in a partner.

The survey, which quizzed singles on everything from their social media habits to who should pick up the check, also inquired about what qualities are important in selecting a partner.

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Which Type of Dental Floss Is Best?

When it comes to most things in life, it’s great to have options. Dental floss is no exception, except when you have no idea what the difference is between all those little plastic boxes in the toothpaste aisle. So, what’s the difference between waxed and unwaxed, toothpicks and flossers, and is one any better than the others?

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The World’s Most Famous Teeth

For nearly a century, movies have been capturing our hearts and imaginations in a way no other medium could. From fantastic wardrobes to stunning makeup effects, so much can be conveyed about a character without that person ever speaking a word of dialogue. In that spirit, we have compiled a list of the most memorable teeth in Hollywood history! 

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Back to School for Dentists? Why Continuing Education Matters

You’re probably already aware of the importance of continuing education for yourself and your kids, but did you know that it’s also extremely important for your dentist, too? After all, with new advances in dentistry occurring almost every month, if your dentist isn’t continuing her education, she's doing herself and her patients a disservice.  

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Think Before You Drink: The Best and Worst Sodas for Your Teeth

Despite slight declines in soda sales in recent years, Americans still spend an average of $5 billion a year on soda, coffee and energy drinks, and the average American drinks 44 gallons of soda per year. In fact, it is estimated that 27 percent of our daily fluid intake is pure soda. With all that soda, it’s no wonder 92 percent of adults have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth.  

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New Oral Cancer Test Could Be Coming to a Dental Practice Near You

With oral cancer rates increasing around the world, researchers are working diligently to find faster and more accurate ways to detect this potentially fatal disease before it’s too late. Here in America, oral cancer has become so common that according to the National Cancer Institute, one American dies from oral cancer every 60 minutes. But while in decades past, oral cancer was most frequently caused by lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol and cigarette smoking, oral cancers due to the human papilloma virus, or HPV, are on the rise.

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Is Virtual Reality the Future of Dentistry?

For some patients with dental anxiety, they’d rather be anywhere but sitting in a dentist’s chair. But while a lounge chair on a warm, sandy beach sounds like a lovely alternative to fillings and root canals, avoiding much-needed dental work isn’t doing your mouth any favors. So, what if you could visit the dentist and relax on the beach at the same time? No, we’re not talking about poolside dentistry. We’re talking about virtual reality, or more specifically, implementing the use of virtual reality equipment during dental procedures. While the idea may seem far-fetched, it's already yielding some big results around the globe.

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No Insurance? What to Do in a Dental Emergency

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, about 44 percent of Americans do not have any form of dental coverage. That’s about 114 million people! But just because you don’t have dental coverage doesn’t mean you should stop routine dental exams and cleanings. But while budgeting for a bi-annual checkup is one thing, it can be quite another financial setback if a dental emergency occurs without coverage. Here are some tips to try if you have a dental emergency, but you don’t have dental insurance.

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Encourage Oral Care in Kids with these Books about Brushing!

If you have kids, you probably already know that sometimes even the easiest and mundane of daily responsibilities can be a battle. Picking up one’s dirty socks off the floor can go over as well as being asked to deep clean the entire carpet, and asking them to wash their hands before dinner might as well be asking them to wash their hands in a big bucket of gooey slime. If getting your kids to brush your teeth is up there on the list of things to do that are often like, well, pulling teeth, check out some of these popular children’s books that show them how fun and important taking care of their teeth can be!

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Could Your Dentures Be Making You Sick?

  It is estimated that at least 20 million Americans wear some form of denture- ranging from a partial to a full set of teeth. But despite these high numbers, many denture or partial denture wearers have not been properly trained in the care and cleaning of these dental devices. This can cause huge problems for the wearer- ranging from ‘dirty’ looking teeth to bad breath to an increased risk for illnesses. So, what can you do to make sure you or your loved ones are properly cleaning these helpful oral appliances? Keep reading to find out.

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Dental Cavities on the Rise

Dental caries, or as they are more commonly known, cavities. They’re those pesky little spots of decay in your teeth that form when your below-the-surface tooth enamel breaks down, causing the surface enamel to collapse, and creating a sinkhole in your tooth. But what causes cavities in the first place, and why are they on the rise?

"According to recent data, cavities are increasing across every single age group in America," said Dr. Michele Simpson of Wilmington, North Carolina. "Which is ironic, because today there are more tooth care products on the market than ever before."

But according to Simpson, the increase in cavities may not be entirely about hygiene.

"A recent study at the University of Zurich found that genetic enamel defects may be caused by not just bacteria on the teeth, but by the strength of the enamel itself," explained Simpson. "Basically, some teeth have stronger enamel than others, and those with weaker enamel have less protection against cavities."

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959