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How Biting Your Nails Impacts Your Teeth & How to Stop

About 20-30% of the population are nail biters. To be blunt; it’s a habit. Each person has their own reasons for biting. It’s not a habit to take lightly. This compulsive behavior has negative effects on a person’s physical health. It’s best to get rid of this habit as soon as possible.

Why People Bite Their Nails

Often times children begin biting their nails because their parents are nail biters. Growing up, kids can mimic what their parents do; even their habits. Other times, people bite due to emotional or mental stress. They could be biting mindlessly to cope with their emotions and feelings. Often times, it’s as simple as a reflex people go to when they are bored. They do it without even realizing.

How Nail Biting Impacts Your Teeth

Chronic nail biting can lead to chips, cracks, and even erosion of the teeth. By grinding teeth against nails, enamel begins wearing away. Furthermore, straight teeth can be moved over time causing issues with a person’s bite.

Not only are your teeth affected, but so are your gums. There are more dirt and bacteria under your fingernails than you know. Learn more about what lives under your nails here. All of the germs that get trapped under our nails get instantly transferred to our mouths when we chew on our nails. This can result in gum diseases like gingivitis.

Tips to Stop Biting

  • Keep your nails as short as possible – with no nail to grab; theirs no reason to bite. You are less likely to feel any satisfaction from biting.
  • Use a nail bite deterrent – Their are special formulas you can coat your nails with, just like you would with nail polish, that keep you from biting. They work by putting a really bad taste in your mouth if you try to bite your nails.
  • Work on the root cause – Pay attention to when you start to bite your nails. For example, if you find yourself biting when you feel stressed, then you should find a more effective way to cope with that cause. This way, you will be much less likely to bite your nails, seeing that you are less stressed.
  • Use fidget toys – If you keep your hands busy, they’ll likely stay away from your mouth. Investing in a fidget toy might work for you.

If you’re a nail-biter, feel free to contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment. The health of your teeth matters to us, too.

10 Signs You Need to See a Dentist ASAP

From regular dental cleanings, to cracked or chipped teeth, there are many reasons you might need to make an appointment with a dentist. Some are more obvious than others which is why we took some time to outline the most common reasons you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

1. A Toothache

Don’t ignore toothaches and pain. Tooth sensitivity and pain can be caused by teeth grinding, abscesses, cavities, broken or chipped teeth, or damaged fillings. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the pain and help you avoid future issues.

2. Dry Mouth

Your saliva helps wash food and debris away while also neutralizing acid. If your mouth is not well lubricated, plaque-inducing bacteria could wreak havoc on your teeth. Contact your dentist for solutions to retain moisture and keep your teeth protected.

3. Loose Teeth

Over time, your teeth may wear down from chewing and eating, but your teeth should last forever. If you’re noticing movement in your teeth, it may be a sign of bone loss or infection.

4. Bleeding

Bleeding from brushing or flossing could mean you’re showing early signs of periodontal disease(gum disease). Other signs of periodontal disease include red or swollen gums, and discharge between the gums and teeth. This disease can lead to tooth and bone loss if left untreated.

5. Mouth Sores

Canker sores are normal and aren’t a huge cause of concern. However, if you have white sores on your tongue, gums or tonsils, it could be a fungal infection called oral thrush. Thrush can be treated with medication.

6. Gum Recession

Receding gums can be a typical part of aging, but it could also be a sign of periodontal disease. Gum recession can expose your roots, causing an increase in decay, infections and even tooth loss.

7. Self-Conscious About Smile

If you’re constantly hiding your smile because you’re missing a tooth or think you need whiter teeth, talk to your dentist. They can walk you through your options that can help improve your smile and your confidence.

8. Difficulty Chewing

Chewing, eating or swallowing food should never be painful. If it hurts to chew, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately and switch to soft foods until you’re able to get in.

9. Extreme Tooth Sensitivity 

If your teeth feel way more sensitive than normal, it is usually a sign something else is going on. The most common causes of tooth sensitivity can be cracked teeth, worn out fillings, issues with your gums, worn enamel and exposed teeth roots.

10. Tooth Numbness

If your tooth feels numb or you feel a lack of sensation in an area of your mouth, you may need a root canal. Other causes of tooth numbness include:

  • Tooth trauma
  • Biting too hard
  • Bruxism
  • Dying Tooth

If you’re experiencing any of the above, please contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment.

15 Dental Facts That May Surprise You

Your teeth are extremely important to your overall health, but there’s a lot about your teeth you probably didn’t know. From the history of dental care to the origin of the tooth fairy, here are some interesting dental facts.

1. Each tooth is unique.

Every tooth in your mouth is different. Between your baby teeth and your adult teeth, no two teeth are the same shape and size.

2. Teeth tell your story.

Teeth can tell scientists how old you are, what you eat and drink, and even your geographic location on earth. They carry clues of your overall health and can show periods of stress or illness.

3. Caring for teeth dates back centuries.

Around 5,000 B.C., Egyptians used ground animal hooves and eggshells to clean their teeth. The first toothbrushes were twigs that were chewed on, and then the frayed ends were used to cleanse the teeth.

4. Your teeth blueprint is present at birth.

Your baby teeth are in place underneath your gums at birth. These will be replaced by your adult teeth that will form throughout your childhood.

5. Approx. 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year.

A largely preventable disease, oral cancer can develop on the tongue, the tongue base, under the tongue, on mouth and gum tissue, and on the back of the throat. Oral cancer rates increase with age. 

6. TMJD is the most common cause of facial pain.

Temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders (TMJD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and neighboring facial muscles.

7. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Although severe periodontal disease cases have decreased since the 1970s, it still prevalent in some age groups.

8. Ninety-two percent of adults ages 24-60 have had dental caries in permanent teeth.

Dental caries, also known as cavities, occur when decay-causing bacteria creates acid that attacks your tooth’s enamel.

9. People who smoke are 3 times more likely to lose their teeth.

Currently 4 in 10 adults who currently smoke cigarettes lost all of their teeth.

10. A mom’s oral health status is a strong predictor of her baby’s oral health status.

If a mother has a high level of tooth loss or untreated cavities, her children are 3 times more likely to have cavities.

11. Pregnant women are more prone to gum disease and cavities.  

Dental care is both safe and important during pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to visit your dentist during any stage.

12. The earliest dental filling was made of beeswax.

These dental fillings were discovered in Slovenia and date back 6,500 years ago.

13. Ancient cultures believed “tooth worms” caused dental caries.

Evidence of the belief of tooth worms can be found in ancient Sumer, India, Egypt, China and Japan.

14. During the Middle Ages (19 century), dentistry was performed by physicians and barbers.

Dentistry was not yet a profession, so people went to barbers, usually for tooth extractions, and other general physicians.

15. Variations of the Tooth Fairy date back to c. 1200.

In northern Europe, there was a tradition called tand-fé, which paid a child for their lost tooth.

Dental Insurance Plans: What You Need to Know

There are a variety of dental insurance plans, and each offers slightly different coverages and benefits. We’ve broken down each type of dental plan and other coverage details you should know.

Types of Dental Plans

There are three common types of dental plans: Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO), and Discount or Referral Dental Plans. Let’s take a look at each.

PPO: A Preferred Provider Organization plan is one that has a network of dentists who agree to give dental services at a set price.

DHMO: This plan uses a network of dentists that are paid a fee every month to provide covered dental services to you whether you go to the dentist or not. Some services may be completely covered, while others may require a copay.

Discount/Referral Plans: Both discount and referral plans are contracts with dentists who agree to discount their fees. While neither of these plans cover any services, you will receive a reduced rate determined by the plan.

Insurance vs. Benefits

Yes, there is a difference between the two. Insurance is designed to reimburse you, and the insurer carries the risk. A benefits plan is set up to only cover specific costs. You’ll find that some procedures will be covered fully, and others you’ll have to pay a portion of.

What’s Covered

Regardless of which plan you choose, you will share some of the cost for your dental services. Here are a few different ways that this happens.

Deductibles: A deductible is the amount you have to pay before your insurance pays. Many insurance plans don’t require deductibles for preventative services.

Coinsurance: If you have coinsurance, you will pay for a percentage of the service fee and your insurance will pick up the rest. 

Annual Maximums: The maximum amount your insurance plan will cover during a year. You’re responsible for anything over the maximum amount.


It’s important to do your research and understand your plan and what it offers you. If you have any questions about what your dental insurance covers, please contact your plan administrator or give us a call – we’d be happy to help!

Tech Trends That Could Transform The Future of Dentistry

For years, technology has been transforming how industries conduct business. Today and for the last 20 – 30 years, we’ve seen technology advance to unbelievable heights, making today one of the most prolific and rapidly evolving tech-booms of all human history. 

The world of dentistry is no different. At our office we use a number of new technologies that make the appointment experience much more efficient and comprehensive. But there’s even more technology being developed in the dental space. Here’s an example of just a few.

1. Smart Toothbrushes

Your home is already connected in many ways, why not upgrade the bathroom, too? A smart toothbrush with smart sensors will be able to monitor your brushing habits, making sure you’re brushing your best every time. This will change the game for not only adults, but for kids as well.

2. Teledentistry

A way to go to the dentist without actually going to the dentist. Teledentistry gives you the ability to receive some dental services online, such as having images captured, video chatting, etc. This will be a great way for the elderly, people with special needs and those who live in rural areas to see a dentist routinely. 

3. Digital Dentures

Gone are the days it takes days or weeks to produce and fit a pair of dentures. Using computer-aided design and manufacturing, dentures can be made in a fraction of the time without ever leaving your dentist’s office.

4. Virtual Reality

Though Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been used for entertainment purposes for quite some time, the use of VR could change the way dental professionals are educated and trained. A virtual laboratory could be used to try different technologies and techniques without the presence of a real patient. The same VR technology could be used on the patient side as well; a great way for patients to ‘escape’ during a procedure.

5. Intra-Oral Camera

“Open wide” will soon be a thing of the past. With an intra-oral camera, your dentist will be able to see inside your mouth and take pictures using a camera on a dental mirror. The images will be shown on a screen outside of the patient’s mouth.

While most of the technology mentioned above has been around, the thinking around it and the ways in which it can be used continues to evolve. We’re looking forward to the day we have all this new technology at our disposal. 

Brushing Your Teeth: Answers to 5 Common Teeth Brushing Questions

A lot of people have questions when it comes to brushing their teeth. How often should I replace my toothbrush? How much toothpaste do I really need? It may seem straightforward, but some of the answers to the most common teeth brushing questions may shock you.

What’s Better: A Regular or Power Toothbrush?

Both types of toothbrushes can get the job done. If you tend to get more plaque buildup or have trouble brushing by yourself, a power toothbrush may be a better option for you. Regardless if you choose a regular or power brush, always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance as they have been tested and verified safe for your teeth.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

You should change your toothbrush every three to four months, or once a season. While your dentist gives you a new toothbrush at your biannual visit, make sure you are changing them between your appointments as well. The toothbrush bristles wear out over time and won’t be able to keep your teeth as clean.

How Much Toothpaste Do I Need To Use?

The full length of your toothbrush’s bristles. Adults and children age 3 and older should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and children younger than 3 should use fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Again, make sure to use a toothpaste with an ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Which is Best: Hard, Medium or Soft Bristles?

Firm or medium bristles can cause damage to your enamel or gums, so always choose soft. In fact, all brushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are soft! When brushing your teeth, only brush hard enough to scrub the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste will the rest.

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

Brush your teeth twice a day. Once when you wake up in the morning and once before you go to bed.

Conclusion

A few healthy habits can keep both your body and your teeth in good shape. Remember to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth daily. In addition, eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary beverages and snacks will minimize your chance of tooth decay, keeping your mouth happy and healthy. If you have any questions about brushing or need recommendations for toothbrushes, contact our office today.

The Impact of Halloween Candy on Your Teeth

Candy, just like anything else, is ok to have in moderation, but it may be hard to moderate on a holiday when there’s candy everywhere you go. And we’re not just talking about children either. Eighty-six percent of parents steal from their children’s Halloween candy haul. Non-parents have big cravings for Halloween candy too. Reportedly 73% of adults purchase more candy than they’ll need for trick-or-treaters so they have extra to eat themselves.

When it comes to understanding how your dental health is impacted by candy, let’s look at the most common types of candy and also discuss ways you can minimize the impact on your teeth with consistent dental hygiene practices.

Common Candies & The Impact On Teeth

Hard Candy: Hard candy has the ability to break your teeth. Also, because they tend to be in your mouth for a long amount of time, the sugar gets in your saliva and washes over your teeth.

Sour Candy: Sour candy is very acidic, and the acidity can damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making you more susceptible to cavities.

Chocolate: One of the best types of candy to eat in terms of your dental health, chocolate washes off of your teeth easily. 

Sticky/Gummy Candies: Sticky or gummy candies are the worst for your teeth. It’s hard to get off of your teeth and gives cavity-inducing bacteria more time to act.

Dental Tips for Halloween

Here are a few tips to help keep a healthy mouth while still indulging in Halloween candy:

Pick Your Favorites & Donate the Rest

Your teeth will thank you for limiting your candy stash. Donate the rest to organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Treats for Troops or see if your dentist office has a Halloween candy buy back program.

Time Your Candy Consumption

Your saliva production increases after a meal. By eating your candy right after mealtime, your mouth has a better chance of canceling out acid and flushing out food particles. 

Avoid Hard and Sticky Candy

Hard candy tends to be in the mouth longer and sticky candy is hard to wash off your teeth. By avoiding both you’re able to reduce the chance of tooth decay.


It’s ok to eat candy, but make sure you understand how each type impacts your teeth and find ways to moderate in order to prevent potential dental issues. Also, make sure to practice good oral hygiene by brushing two times a day and flossing regularly. Your six-month cleanings can help catch problems before they get serious as well. If you haven’t scheduled your routine cleaning, contact our office today to make an appointment.

Can Gum Actually Improve Your Dental Health?

Humans have been chewing versions of gum for centuries. While most were made from some form of tree sap, today’s gum is made up of several synthetic materials. A lot of people think of gum as candy, and therefore, not great for your dental health. But chewing gum can actually help your teeth – as long as it’s sugar-free.

Effects of Gum

While chewing gum that contains sugar can cause cavities, chewing sugar-free gum can be helpful in dislodging food debris, increasing your salivary flow, and curbing bad breath. Studies have shown it can also help patients with dry mouth because of the increase in saliva.

In addition, chewing gum exercises our jaw muscles and makes them stronger. On the other hand, excessive or aggressive gum chewing can result in muscle fatigue and soreness like any other muscle in your body. This kind of chewing can result in spasms in the jaw, neck and head so it is important to limit the amount you chew gum.

Can Chewing Gum to Prevent Cavities?

Yes. The act of chewing can increase your salivary flow by 10-12 times. Increasing your saliva by chewing sugar-free gum can help to neutralize acid produced by mouth bacteria and wash away food and other debris. Gum containing sugar can also increase saliva flow, but the sugar can promote growth of plaque bacteria, doing more harm than good.

Tips for Selecting Chewing Gum

When choosing a gum, look for the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. Gums with the ADA seal are sugar-free and sweetened by non-cavity producing sweeteners, such as, xylitol, aspartame, mannitol, stevia and more. Those sweetened with xylitol are an extra good choice as studies have found that xylitol can decrease the amount of cavity causing bacteria in your mouth. 

The ADA has given its Seal of Acceptance to the following sugar-free gum:

While chewing sugar-free gum doesn’t replace brushing, flossing or professional cleanings, it’s not a bad addition to your dental hygiene routine. As long as it’s sugar-free, feel free to chew away. 

What It Takes to Be a Dentist, Hygienist & Dental Assistant in Michigan

It’s not easy to become a dentist or work in the dental field. You may see “DDS” or “DDM” next to your dentist’s name. These acronyms both mean that they have graduated from an accredited dental school. “DDS” (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and “DDM” (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) are actually the same degrees, they just have different names depending on what the university decided to call it. Each degree is awarded after the following requirements are achieved:

  • 3 or more years of undergraduate education
  • 4 years of dental school
  • Must pass national exam
  • Must pass state exam

And that’s just to become a general dentist! If the doctor decides to specialize, become an orthodontist, periodontist or oral surgeon, additional training is required. 

Doctors aren’t the only ones who need years of schooling to work in the office. Most dental hygiene programs take at least 2 years to complete and completion allows the hygienist to take the licensure exams. Dental assistant programs are a bit shorter and take anywhere from 9-11 months to complete.

Michigan Requirements

Every dentisthygienist and dental assistant is required to meet certain criteria and requirements in order to be licensed in the state of Michigan. Here are some of those requirements for each:

Dentists

  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • National Board scores must be sent directly to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) simulated clinical written examination 
  • Pass all parts of a clinical examination offered by Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), a regional testing agency approved by the Board, or a state-offered clinical examination that is equivalent to the NERB

Hygienists

  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • National Board scores must be sent directly to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) simulated clinical written examination 
  • Pass all parts of a clinical examination offered by Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB), a regional testing agency approved by the Board, or a state-offered clinical examination that is equivalent to the NERB

Assistants

  • Official transcripts must be sent to Michigan’s Bureau of Professional Licensing
  • Pass the Michigan RDA clinical and written examination

Conclusion

With few exceptions, almost everyone you meet in your dental office has had years of schooling and has had to pass multiple exams, both state and national. These highly trained professionals are qualified to prevent or alleviate any dental problems you may have. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Balog and staff.

6 of the Most Common Mouth & Dental Issues

According to the CDC, more than 40% of adults have felt some kind of mouth pain in the last year and roughly 80% will have at least one cavity by the time they are 34 years old. While in some cases unavoidable, most of the common dental health issues are preventable.

When it comes to your oral health, your hygiene is of utmost importance. Being consistent with your at home care and scheduling regular dental checkups are critical in preventing major dental issues. Still, there are other factors that can impact your dental health such as genetics, medications, diet and other factors.

Here’s a list of six of the most common mouth and dental health issues we see. 

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that damages gums and can destroy your jaw bone. Those with gum disease likely don’t floss enough or at all, causing buildup of plaque-causing bacteria. Periodontal disease can be treated by deep teeth cleanings performed by your dentist.

Tooth Decay

Failure to brush after large amounts of sugar or acidic foods and beverages can cause tooth decay and cavities. Cavities are treated by drilling away bacteria from the tooth and filling it with a composite material that matches the tooth’s appearance.

Oral Cancer

Usually presenting itself as a swollen or tingly red or white sore, oral cancer can target multiple places in the mouth, including your tongue, throat, lips or cheeks. Oral cancer is treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 

Cleft Lip or Palate

Not a disease, but a developmental issue, cleft lip occurs when tissues in the upper lip don’t form completely at 6-9 weeks’ gestation. Surgery is performed within 18 months of birth to prevent future health issues. If it’s a severe case, a child may need to do speech therapy as well. 

Oral Thrush

A fungal infection that occurs in infants and those with reduced immunity, oral thrush presents itself as milky white lesions on the tongue and cheeks. A dentist treats oral thrush with antibiotics to kill the fungal spores, but oral thrush can be prevented with routine brushing and flossing. 

Bad Breath

A side effect of gingivitis or periodontitis, but can also be caused by smoking, bad dental hygiene and respiratory tract infections, bad breath can be treated by a strict dental hygiene routine and going to the dentist regularly.

The most important way to manage your dental health is to prevent issues before they happen. This is a combination of diet, oral hygiene and regular visits to a dentist. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we’re here to help.