Posted by: juliemcintyre | December 16, 2009

Wisdom Teeth

This is not my x-ray, but this is exactly what my x-ray looked like prior to removal of my wisdom teeth.  If I wouldn’t have gotten mine removed, the horizontal tooth (wisdom tooth) would have pushed the rest of my teeth out of the way to get in.  All the hard work my braces did for a year and a half would have been wasted!!

Wisdom teeth…Why do we have them?  It seems like most people just get them taken out anyway.
Why are they removed??

– The jaw is not wide enough to fit another molar in, and allowing them to come in will push all the other teeth out of line.

– To avoid bacterial infection that comes from partially grown-in teeth.

– To prevent cavities, decay, and gum disease due to crowding of teeth in the molar area.

It is not absolutely necessary that they are removed, unless you are at risk of one or more of the above symptoms.  But if you do need to get yours removed, it is important that you know a little bit about the process:

– The process usually costs between $100-$400, depending on where you go and how many teeth you need to get extracted.  Not everyone has all four wisdom teeth.  For example, I only had two on the bottom.

– After the surgery you will be sore.  Depending on what kind of medication they give you during the procedure, you may still be drowsy when you wake up.  I received an IV in my arm and was put to sleep when I had mine removed, and when I woke up it was all done! Quick and painless…Until the medicine wore out. Plus I was very drowsy.  You will need someone to drive you home afterwards.

– Bleeding.  Keep gauze on the area for at least the first 24 hours, and if it has not stopped bleeding after that, keep applying new gauze. It should stop and create a blood clot by 48 hours.

– Swelling.  It may be a good idea to keep ice on it at least for the first day that you get them removed to reduce swelling. It will also help with the pain.

– The surgeon will probably put stitches in place to keep the hole from opening back up where the tooth used to be.  Be careful when brushing teeth and avoid the area where teeth have been removed.  The stitches should fall out by themselves unless you have made an appointment to have them removed later on.

– Eat soft foods after, but no straws or smoking for a few days.

Posted by: juliemcintyre | December 7, 2009

Canker sores

(Not to be confused with Cold sores, caused by the Herpes virus, which are contagious.)

I hate them! I don’t get them often, but if I accidentally bite my cheek or tongue the next day I find that I have a burning sore in that area.  What can be done to help these heal quickly?  I have searched so many times because every time I get one I am dying to know the answer.  They can be very painful and inconvenient!

So what really works and what does not?  I bought some Blistex Kank-A medication and it worked to numb the sore for a while, I usually used it before I went to sleep.  This medication coats the sore and works to protect it from further irritation, which could cause it to stay longer, become infected, or larger (and more painful.)

One of the most important things you can do to keep it from becoming infected is to keep the area clean.  After you eat, rinse your mouth out with salt water, or just swish around plain water a few times until your mouth feels clear from any remaining food.  I also rubbed a bit of baking soda on the sore and rinsed my mouth out with water.  This cleans the sore and helps to prevent further infection due to bacteria in the mouth.

Here is a list of further Treatments and Drugs recommended by the Mayo Clinic Staff.

Posted by: juliemcintyre | December 7, 2009

Braces… worth the pain!

Lets face it: your smile can really impact the way you feel about yourself.  One of the first things people notice about others is their smile, and teeth.  I know I do.  If you are unhappy with the way your teeth or smile looks, braces may be the answer you are looking for.  Even though it may not be the most appealing thing to have metal glued into your mouth for a long period of time, the end result is well worth it (in my opinion.)  There are also other alternatives to braces– such as INVISALIGNor getting Veneers or Dental Bonging are other options.  However, traditional braces may be the quickest and most effective way to get that smile you’ve always been looking for.  It is important to compare prices and options and talk to your orthodontist first about what you should do.

Many orthodontists say that getting braces at a younger age is more beneficial.  Here is a link to a video with some useful information about the “right age for braces”

Even though many say it is best to get them at a young age, braces are for anyone.  I got mine on when I was 18 years old and I was dying to get them off at 19.  Luckily I only had to have mine for about 14 months, but sometimes it can take much longer, or sometimes even shorter.

Some older teenagers or adults may feel uncomfortable with wire braces, and may feel a lower self-esteem or just do not like the look.  This is a video about adults who want to fix their teeth and what can be done for them.

Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 30, 2009

Pearly Whites!

It seems to be a growing trend for people to whiten their teeth.  I know I have tried whitening my teeth before, and I used Crest nighttime whitening Gel the first time, which was about two or three years ago.  I recently bought Crest Whitestrips, which you use for 30 minutes each day for two weeks to see results for whiter teeth.

My question is: Do these methods really work? (Home whitening kits such as Crest Whitestrips?)

After doing some research and trying some products for myself, I found that these systems are generally effective.
Through applying chemicals such as peroxide (found in these home-whitening kits) to the teeth for a few hours, stains set below the tooth enamel can be lightened and in some cases removed altogether.  These chemicals are not damaging to the enamel   (or outermost layer of the tooth), but will basically bleach your teeth to create a brighter smile.

Improving and brightening your smile could have many positive effects besides having whiter teeth.  A study was done in 2007 showing that having whiter teeth could lead to ultimately more success in work and love. This study is very interesting and it talks about how having whiter teeth makes a person want to smile more, showing “a sign of our warmth, confidence, and health.”

There are other home methods to whitening your teeth, but there are also professional methods that your dentist can perform.  Speak with your dentist if you are interested in having one of these whitening procedures done.  Here is another helpful website about different methods:

Here is a link to a few other whitening products from CREST, which includes reviews! :

Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 26, 2009


Today I decided to do a different type of entry.  I have been looking back at some of my old high school pictures, and I came across a bunch from a trip to Thailand.

During my junior and senior year of high school, I was part of a club called Abot Kamay.  We took a couple trips to Thailand and volunteered in a small rural village and aided in building a cafeteria in the small school there.  We also went to three orphanages and gave donations, built a playground, and spent time with the orphans.  My friends and I had so much fun playing with the kids and it felt good to know that we were helping them in some way.

One thing we noticed, though, about each of the children there, was their teeth! Their teeth were literally rotting!  The children probably did not have toothbrushes, but considering that they did not even have flushing toilets, toothbrushes probably weren’t on the top of their list of things to aquire.

(If you look at the larger version of the picture to the right, you can see how bad Untam’s teeth are rotting.)

However, going back to the post about how dental health effects overall health, I think that these children are facing the consequences of poor oral health today.  They are probably in a lot of pain–and most of them only have baby teeth since they are so young.  If their bones and teeth are not developing properly and in a healthy way, when their adult teeth start to grow in they will not be healthy and they will be prone to tooth decay.

What can be done to help these children?  They are not the only ones who are suffering.  I don’t have the answer to this question, but I do know that there are some things that can be done to help them in one way or another.  Perhaps giving them fluoride to rinse their mouth with would help strengthen their teeth while they are young.  The Prem Center is another place to start.  The Prem Center is an international school in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  They have a great visiting schools program where students can stay at the Prem Center housing, and they will help you create a program or schedule for your time there.  They have humanitarian projets, community service, sports camps, etc.

Here are a few more photographs of the children.

High Fives for healthy teeth!!!!

Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 23, 2009

Preventing Halitosis…(Bad Breath)

Bad breath can usually be prevented or fixed by good oral hygiene… but it seems like some people (more than others) have a harder time dealing with this.

And this may not be because they never brush their teeth.  There are other problems within the body and halitosis could also be a sign of another medical disorder.

How can simply brushing and flossing your teeth prevent halitosis?
– This dislodges bits of food that may have otherwise stayed in the mouth, collecting bacteria, and causing bad breath.
– Bacteria on teeth and tongue’s surface is brushed off and a nice minty scent and taste is left (at least temporarily…that is why it is also important to brush the tongue as well.)

Mouthwash can also temporarily keep your mouth and breath smelling fresh.  Some mouthwashes that include fluoride or an antimicrobial mouth rinse can help prevent tooth decay.  Antimicrobial mouth rinses and toothpastes work to prevent tooth decay and growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms in the mouth, thus working to keep the mouth clean.

**If you have tried all of the above methods but you find that your breath is still bad or unpleasant, there may be an underlying cause.  In this case, you may want to ask your dentist or doctor to look further into the cause of halitosis in your case.**

Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 14, 2009

Products just for Kids

product_shot_2A few memories I have of my early childhood are of my mom telling me and my siblings to go brush our teeth, either before bed or before we went out, etc.  Sometimes she would come up and check that our toothbrushes were actually wet afterward to make sure we’d actually done it.  I am pretty sure that more than once we’d put our toothbrushes under the water quickly and say that we’d done a good job.

LISTERINE AGENT COOL BLUELooking back on this experience makes me wonder why it was so hard for us as kids to brush our teeth.  (I personally love brushing my teeth now…I can’t go without doing it!)  I think kids get bored sitting there for two whole minutes brushing their teeth (shows how long our attention spans really were!) but there are a few products out there that can make it fun.  My mom gave us little sand timers that would run out of sand when our time was done.  My brothers used this “Agent cool blue” rinse that made plaque appear blue on the teeth so you’d know where you needed to do a better job brushing.

Flossers also make flossing easier for children, and can have fun designs and colors on the handles.  Toothbrushes can have characters and colors that are appealing to children, making it more fun and imaginative to brush.  There are also kid’s flavors of toothpaste with fluoride in them that will help strengthen kid’s teeth, just make sure they use the right amount and don’t swallow too much! (Some actually taste pretty good!)


Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 13, 2009

Water Fluoridation in Utah County?


To fluoridate or not to fluoridate?  Many people have voiced their opinions through letters, websites, and newspapers.  Most dentists will say that fluoridating water is a good thing, and that it is beneficial especially for young children to get fluoride through drinking water.  As children are maturing and growing, they need fluoride to strengthen their teeth and help them avoid cavities and decay.

Some argue that it is not needed or that it is not right to use the public water supply as a means of mass medication, meaning treating the public all at once with fluoride.  Studies have been done showing that fluoridation does prevent tooth decay, but others argue vigorously against it. They say that fluoridation is dangerous and not for everyone, and those who want it can get it through mouthwash and toothpaste.

I have posted two videos showing some different views to the fluoridation debate. (These can be found under the videos tab.) What do you think?

Posted by: juliemcintyre | November 3, 2009



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Sometimes kids have a hard time remembering to brush their teeth and honestly, a lot of times they just don’t care to do it.  There are other things that can be done (along with regular brushing) to help kids keep their teeth clean and healthy, and prevent cavities.

1. Cut down on sugary drinks, and drink more milk and 100% Juice!  Sugary drinks such as juice and especially sodas can be bad for the teeth.  There have been studies done showing that soda rots kid’s teeth. This decay causes cavities and leads to bad oral health overall.  Milk and 100% juices, on the other hand, have not been shown to cause tooth decay.

2. Flouride.  Flouride is absorbed by your body and in turn creates stronger enamel on your teeth.  Kids especially need flouride to strengthen their teeth while they are young to ensure oral longevity.  Flouride can be found in rinses, toothpastes, and depending on the area you live in, the water.

3. Floss is the Boss! Floss cleans the germs, bacteria, and food out of those areas where your toothbrush can’t reach.  It also keeps your gums looking clean and healthy.  Floss at least once a day.

4.Brush your teeth for at 2-3 minutes, twice a day.  Sing a song with your child or give him/her a toy timer to make sure they are brushing for long enough and doing a thorough job.

5. Visit your dentist regularly.  Schedule an appointment for your child to go to the dentist as soon as their teeth have started growing in.

Posted by: juliemcintyre | October 13, 2009

Oral Health and General Health


I have heard that by looking at a person’s teeth and evaluating their oral health, it is possible to tell what that persons overall health and well-being are like.  Is this true?  What can a dentist find out about your general health by looking at your teeth? Have studies been done or have doctors come out and said this is true?

Before I did any research about this, I thought it made sense that this would be true.  Many things a person does that affects health, also affects their oral health and teeth.  One example of this is use of tobacco, or smoking.  A person’s oral health goes down rapidly if tobacco is used regularly.  This also corresponds with a person’s overall health and quality of life, because smoking and tobacco cause damage to more than just the mouth.

Another perspective has to do with comparing the psychological well-being and self-esteem of someone with good or bad oral health.  Self-esteem of those with missing or decaying teeth may be affected negatively because they are self-conscious about their teeth or their smile.

In following posts I will start posting ways we can keep our teeth healthy and clean, leading to great oral health and even overall health.  The two are in fact closely related.  Just like we have to take the time to clean and care for our bodies, we need to do the same for our teeth, gums, and mouth.  Oral longevity is something we should all aim for.  Educating others, especially children, to take care of their teeth is one way to ensure oral longevity.   That way, when children grow up their mouth will be healthy, with strong teeth that will last their whole lives.