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February is Heart Month from Smile Brightly

February 5th, 2013

The American Academy of Periodontology stresses the importance of good oral health since gum disease may be linked to heart disease and stroke. Thus far, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established, but there are multiple theories to explain the link between heart disease and periodontal disease. One theory suggests that oral bacteria may affect heart health when it enters the blood and attaches to the fatty plaque in the heart's blood vessels. This can cause the formation of blood clots. Another theory suggests the possibility that inflammation could be a contributing link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Gum disease increases plaque buildup, and inflamed gums may also contribute to the development of swollen or inflamed coronary arteries.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease is caused in part by the buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries. Blood clots cut off blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Both blood clots and the buildup of fatty proteins (also called plaque) on the walls of the coronary arteries may lead to a heart attack. Moreover, periodontal disease nearly doubles the likelihood that someone will suffer from coronary artery disease. Periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions, so many patients who suffer from heart disease need to take antibiotics before any dental procedures. This is especially true of patients who are at greatest risk for contracting infective endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart). The fact that more than 2,400 people die from heart disease each day makes it a major public health issue. It is also the leading killer of both men and women in the United States today.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys the bone and gum tissues around the teeth, reducing or potentially eradicating the system that supports your teeth. It affects roughly 75 percent of Americans, and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. People who suffer from periodontal disease may notice that their gums swell and/or bleed when they brush their teeth.

Although there is no definitive proof to support the theory that oral bacteria affects the heart, it is widely acknowledged better oral health contributes to overall better health. When people take good care of their teeth, get thorough exams, and a professional cleaning twice a year, the buildup of plaque on the teeth is lessened. A healthy, well-balanced diet will also contribute to better oral and heart health. There is a lot of truth to the saying "you are what you eat." If you have any questions about you periodontal disease and your overall health, give our Portage, IN Dental office a call!

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

February 1st, 2013


With February being National Children's Dental Health Month, our team at Smile Brightly thought we'd share a few good oral hygiene tips with our patients, courtesy of the American Dental Association, or ADA.

Teeth brushing techniques: It takes only two minutes to properly brush, using short, gentle strokes and devoting extra attention to the gumline, areas around fillings and hard-to-reach areas such as the back teeth.

Flossing: hold the floss snugly between thumbs and index finger and place between each of the teeth, making sure to go beneath the gumline and curving the floss around the base of each tooth.

Snack wisely: choose healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits and cheese and avoid sticky, chewy candies that can stick to the teeth. If you eat these snacks, make sure to brush after doing so.

Carbonated or sugary drinks: these beverages create acids that can damage the teeth when mixed with saliva, so they should be avoided altogether. When drinking one of these beverages, avoid sipping on it throughout the day. Rather, have a drink and then brush your teeth.

Regular dental visits: You should visit us regularly (approximately every six months).

National Children's Dental Health Month, now in its 62nd year, aims to increase awareness about the importance of kids' oral health. If you have any questions about keeping your mouth healthy, or about your treatment with Smile Brightly, please feel free to give us a call!

We are also inviting children of all ages to stop by the office in February to visit our photo booth that we have set up for Valentine's Day! Stop by and take a picture, and you can send it as a Valentine to someone special.

Tooth Discoloration: Common Causes and What You Can Do To Stop It

January 29th, 2013

Looking back at childhood photos, you may notice picture after picture of yourself with a mouthful of shiny white teeth. When you look in the mirror today, you wonder what happened to that beautiful smile. Many adults struggle with tooth discoloration and find it embarrassing to show off their teeth in a smile. Once you identify the cause of your tooth discoloration, there are treatment options at Smile Brightly that can restore your teeth and your confidence.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

There are a host of factors that may cause your teeth to discolor. Some are directly under your control, and others may not be preventable. Here is a list of common reasons that teeth become discolored.

  • Genetics: Much of your dental health is determined by genetic factors beyond your control. Some people naturally have thinner enamel or discolored teeth.
  • Medications: Several medications lead to tooth discoloration as a side effect. If you received the common antibiotics doxycycline or tetracycline as a child, your teeth may have discolored as a consequence. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also discolor teeth. If you think a medication may be leading to tooth discoloration, talk to Dr. Laura Hannon. Never discontinue the use of a medication without consulting your doctor, however.
  • Medical Conditions: Genetic conditions such as amelogenesis or dentinogenesis cause improper development of the enamel, and can lead to yellowed, discolored teeth.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day or regularly floss may lead to tooth decay and discoloration.
  • Foods and Tobacco: Consumption of certain foods, including coffee, tea, wine, soda, apples, or potatoes, can cause tooth discoloration. Tobacco use also causes teeth to turn yellow or brown.

Treatments for Tooth Discoloration

There are a variety of treatments available to individuals with discolored teeth. One of the easiest ways to reduce tooth discoloration is through prevention. Avoid drinking red wine, soda, or coffee and stop using tobacco products. If you drink beverages that tend to leave stains, brush your teeth immediately or swish with water to reduce staining.

After determining the cause of tooth discoloration, Dr. Laura Hannon can suggest other treatment options. Over-the-counter whitening agents might help, but in-office whitening treatments provided at our Portage, IN office would be more effective. When whitening agents do not help, bondings or veneers are among the alternative solutions for tooth discoloration.

If you are worried about your teeth becoming yellow or brown, think carefully about your diet and medication use. Talk to Dr. Laura Hannon to identify substances that may be causing the problem. After treatment for tooth discoloration, you will have a beautiful white smile you can be proud to show off.

What do you love about our office?

January 23rd, 2013


From your very first visit to our office, we strive to provide superior treatment in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. We are always updating our office with the most advanced and up-to-date dental technologies and methods and are here to get to know you personally and find out how we might make your dental visit a wonderful one!

We thought we’d ask you, our wonderful patients: Have you been especially impressed by our work? Did our team go out of their way to make your day? Are you in love with your smile?

Whether you’ve just come in for a one appointment or your family has been visiting our office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback below. Or, you can tell us by posting on our Facebook page!

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