QUESTION : What makes an AGD Dentist a great Dentist?

Answer: A dentist who belongs to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is one of 35,000 dentists dedicated to continuing their dental education to provide the best possible care to their patients.

An AGD dentist:
  • Must complete 75 hours of continuing dental education every three years.

  • Is educated and trained in all areas related to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a patient's oral health.

  • Is up-to-date on the latest procedures and technologies.

  • Is dedicated to educating and enabling you to make the most informed dental health choices.

  • Dr. Beauchemin has also received a Fellowship Award from the AGD, which is given to select dentists who have achieved hundreds of continuing education credits, as well as pass an extensive testing of dental knowledge. We invite you to visit the AGD website to answer any dental questions that you may have.

    QUESTION: Why is it important to visit the dentist regularly for exams, cleaning, and necessary treatment?

    Answer: For general dentists and periodontists, focusing on the scientifically proven link between disease and increased risk of heart attack; stroke; diabetes; problem pregnancies; etc., is critical. Moreover, a recent study conducted by Aetna and the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine demonstrated that proper care can result in lower overall medical costs and reduced health risks for patients with diabetes, coronary artery disease, or cerebrovascular disease.

    QUESTION: My son never eats any sugar. How can he have so many cavities?

    Answer: There are many hidden sugars in bread, potatoes or even milk that can cause the same sort of decay produced by white sugar. For example, fruit rollups and raisins contain sugars that can stick to tooth surfaces far longer than those in a soft drink. Drinks in a baby bottle, even milk, can cause tooth decay if a baby is allowed to keep the bottle in their mouth for extended periods.

    If your child is an infant and still nursing, their upper front teeth are being bathed in milk sugars for extended periods. These sugars are nutrients for the oral bacteria that cause early infant decay. You can avoid this decay by carefully cleaning their teeth with a soft infant toothbrush or by wiping their teeth clean at the end of each feeding. Use a washcloth, cotton swab, or cotton ball to do this.

    Help your Dentist help you avoid oral cancer

    Each time your dentist examines your teeth, she/he also checks your mouth for signs of oral cancer. As part of your routine homecare, you should do the same.
  • Pay particular attention to sores in the mouth that do not heal quickly (within two weeks) or that bleed easily.

  • Check the floor of your mouth, the front and sides of your tongue, and the roof of your mouth for white or red patches that do not go away.

  • Watch for soreness, thickening, or lumps anywhere in your mouth or throat, or on your tongue.

  • Watch for leukoplakia, a white or gray, hardened, slightly raised or thickened lesion inside the mouth. These lesions can become cancerous. If you find one, schedule an exam with your dentist.

  • Don't think you're off the hook if a mouth sore doesn't hurt; most pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions are painless.

  • Unlike other forms of cancer, the overall survival rate for cancers of the mouth and throat (called 'pharyngeal' cancers) has not improved over the past two decades. In fact, researchers have noticed a marked decrease in the oral cancer survival rates for minorities. Early detection of oral cancer can greatly increase your chances for beating the disease.

    About 75 percent of oral cancers can be linked to elective behaviors such as: tobacco use; including cigars; cigarettes; pipes and smokeless tobaccos, and excessive alcohol usage.

    What to do?
  • Don't use tobacco products; if you already use them, quit.

  • See your dentist at least once, but preferably twice, each year. Make sure she/he checks your mouth for signs of oral cancer.

  • Practice good dental homecare, including oral cancer self-exams.

  • Are you at Increased Risk for Tooth Loss?

    Tooth loss is an inherent risk for anyone who fails to take proper care of their teeth. Preventive care-which includes frequent dental cleanings and exams (a minimum of two a year), brushing teeth at least twice a day, and flossing daily-is vital to optimum oral health and can help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime. However, some people are naturally more at risk for losing teeth than others. Do you fall into any of these categories?

    Post-menopausal women: Recent research suggests that low estrogen levels, common in women after menopause, can put them at risk for developing severe gum disease, according to Dr. Barbara J. Steinberg, spokesperson on women's oral health issues for the American Dental Association.

    People with osteoporosis: Decreased bone density in the jaw means that teeth may no longer have as solid a foundation as they need. As a result, they may become loose. Women are most at risk for developing osteoporosis. Other risk factors include smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, a life-long intake of calcium, family history of osteoporosis, advanced age, a slender build, and a sedentary lifestyle.

    Those who are genetically pre-disposed to periodontal (gum) disease: Some people are more prone to developing periodontal disease, which slowly and painlessly causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can also cause the supporting bone tissue to dissolve, permanently loosening teeth.

    Smokeless tobacco users: a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that those who use smokeless tobacco are more than four times as likely to develop tooth decay than non-users. Untreated tooth decay can lead to tooth loss.

    If you fall into any of these high-risk groups, it's vital to your oral health that you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene. In addition, be sure to receive biannual dental exams and cleanings at our office. Together, these two methods are the best to ensure you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.

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