Ways that Saliva is More Important than You Realize

What is saliva? Well, besides the drool that “salivates” from our mouths when we see something appetizing, its purpose goes deeper than that. Saliva is a combination of bodily water and mucous substances. At times, it is the source of our bad breath, and at other times, it’s hardly there at all—but the importance of saliva is guaranteed. Here are some facts about saliva and why it’s crucial to your oral health.

The Importance of Saliva

You Can’t Digest Food Without Saliva

It’s a common saying that digestion begins in the mouth. That statement is true because saliva actually helps break down food more than most people realize. Saliva not only softens food with its moisture, but it also contains enzymes that eat away at substances. That is the same reason your teeth tend to be more delicate after you eat.

Take for example when you eat saltine crackers without any water. It’s a really difficult process, right? The same would go for any food if you didn’t have saliva to help break it down for you.

The importance of saliva begins with digestion.

Without Saliva, Your Mouth Would be a Bacterial Cesspool

Your saliva is highly acidic. Not only is it enough to help break down food quickly, but it also helps eat the leftovers as well. Without the powerful cleansing abilities of your saliva, your mouth would become infectious, and you’d get very ill. Since your saliva contains special proteins and minerals, it effectively protects your tooth enamel and cleans your mouth.

Saliva Keeps Your Mouth ComfortableWays that Saliva is More Important than You Realize

If you’ve had dry mouth, or cotton mouth, you know how uncomfortable it is. It is a constant nuisance, and the feeling of dryness can even make you feel a little self-conscious. It can also make trivial tasks like eating and speaking much more difficult.

Dry mouth can also be a little painful if you don’t take care of it. Just like your lips can chap, so can the inside of your mouth, if it gets dry enough. The importance of saliva is obvious—it keeps your mouth moist and prevents it from drying up and cracking. This can lead to infection. An open wound in your mouth without the powerful cleansing power of your saliva can be dangerous.

Food Would Be Tasteless Without It

What kind of life would this be if we couldn’t taste all our favorite foods? As it turns out, we have our saliva to thank for that. Our taste buds have receptors that can’t detect the taste-creating chemicals within the food until they are broken down well enough to be detected.

Our saliva aids this process in two different ways. First of all, saliva contains the proteins that break down these chemicals, creating taste as soon as it gets to our taste buds. Second, saliva, as a liquid flowing throughout our mouths, covers all of our receptors with these chemicals. The result is an otherwise mundane, but enjoyable everyday activity we couldn’t live without.

Your Oral Health Is Our Number One Priority

Us here at Balle and Associates understand the importance of saliva and all the ways saliva helps maintain your oral health. It is our goal to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, so schedule an appointment with us soon.

7 Tooth Myths to Watch Out For

It’s important to understand your teeth. That means getting accurate information and not adding to the divide of misinformation. How exactly do you know what is true and what isn’t? We’ll go over some of the most popular tooth myths and shed light on the honest truth.

Debunking Common Tooth Myths

1. Tooth dissolving in Coke

7 Tooth Myths to Watch Out For

This might be the most popular of tooth myths—the tooth dissolved in coke myth. Many people believe this to be true due to a bold exaggeration that happened a long time ago. Clive McCay, a Cornell University professor, wanted to educate the world about the acidic, tooth-decaying elements of Coca-Cola.

McCay, in front of Congress, claimed that Coke could not only eat through a tooth within several days, but that it could also eat through the steps of the Capitol building.

Although Coca-Cola and other similar sodas contain three types of acid known for causing tooth decay (phosphoric, citric, and carbonic acid), it couldn’t eat all the way through a tooth in any reasonable amount of time—nor could it eat through anything very quickly at all. In fact, relatively speaking, soda isn’t all that acidic when compared to orange juice or coffee, more commonly consumed morning drinks.

However, that is still relative, considering soda is still a leading cause in tooth decay. It’s all about minimizing consumption.

2. The tooth fairy origins

The tooth fairy is as old as Santa Claus, leprechauns, and the Easter Bunny, right? It would make perfect sense, since fairies have been a staple of ancient myths. This idea, however, is exactly that—a myth.

While it’s not completely clear where the tooth fairy came from, it can be traced no further than 20th century America. In fact, the idea of a small fairy creature with wings is the newest incarnation of this mythical creature.

The earliest forms of this concept involved burying children’s teeth for good look—a Viking tradition. In France, La Bonne Petite Souris was a story about a mouse who stole the king’s teeth to save the queen. Strangely enough, this is the closest tradition we can find to our own belief of a tooth fairy.

3. Wisdom teeth have no point

It’s true that wisdom teeth no longer serve a purpose, but what people don’t always realize is that they once were an important part of our diet. A long time ago, we ate rather rough food that involved heavy grinding and breaking down of our teeth. This eventually lead to the eventual need for a new set of teeth. Hence, our third set of molars.

However, evolution can be a tricky thing, as one thing develops and we lose something else. In other words, as our brains got larger, our jaws got smaller.

At the same time, our diets have changed (in an evolutionary standpoint) rather recently. Eating coarse food is no longer a necessity, and we’ve found much more suitable foods. So, it isn’t that they never served a purpose, we just don’t use them anymore.

They can also cause severe problems if they don’t grow in correctly.

4. Bleaching makes your teeth weak

Although excessive bleaching isn’t recommended, the only thing an acceptable bleaching treatment can do is strip a tooth of pigment over time. In severe cases, using bleaching trays can lead to some enamel loss, reaching two nanometers.

However, this says nothing about the structure or strength of the teeth themselves. Your teeth and gums may experience increased sensitivity and slight discomfort, but that isn’t permanent. In any case, tooth enamel has been shown to re-strengthen itself over time.

5. Baby teeth aren’t important

One of the most common tooth myths comes from the simple fact that children eventually lose their baby teeth. While this is true, it’s important to remember that baby teeth are still very important.

Think of baby teeth as the training wheels for the mouth. They teach your baby to eat, bite, and speak normally. If anything impedes these functions, your child will have problems later on in life. In extreme cases, if you don’t take care of your baby’s teeth and they fall out, it can lead to premature bone loss.

Most importantly, like other tooth myths, this one can seriously harm someone as it’s important to maintain proper nutrition for your overall health.

6. Adult teeth are gone forever

It may be less of an issue when baby teeth are lost, considering there’s a whole row of adult teeth waiting to grow right below them, but can adult teeth be saved?

The answer is yes, most of the time. If your tooth gets knocked out, it isn’t the end of that tooth. In fact, without resorting to tooth implantation, you can get your tooth put back in.

It’s important, though, as soon as you lose your tooth to take the necessary steps to save that tooth. First, you must gently rinse the tooth off, preferably with saline solution. Don’t wash it too hard, as it could damage the tooth. The crown is the only place on the tooth you should handle it, since the roots are very vulnerable. Try placing the tooth in a glass of milk while you wait for the dentist to put it back in. This allows calcium and other positive nutrients to flow into the tooth, maintaining it.

As soon as you lose an adult tooth, it’s considered an emergency, so go to the nearest dentist office to have them put it back in. Of course, if the tooth is not salvageable, your dentist at Balle and Associates can always rejuvenate your smile with dental crowns or dental implants.

7. There’s no such thing as brushing too much

Out of all the tooth myths, this one may be the biggest surprise in how damaging it can be. When it comes to brushing your teeth, the more isn’t necessarily the merrier.

Dentists recommend you brush twice a day. That’s it. Simple enough to remember.

Yet, many people believe that you should brush after every time you eat. It may seem proactive and beneficial to get rid of food particles thoroughly as soon as you’re done eating. What many people don’t realize is that your teeth are stronger than you’d think. You can wait until nighttime to get rid of any left overs.

It’s also worth mentioning that even though your teeth enamel is the strongest tissue in your body, you shouldn’t underestimate the powerful cleaning capabilities of your acidic saliva. Yes, your saliva is not only acidic, but it’s vital in maintaining a healthy mouth.

During this time of self-cleaning, your enamel becomes soft, so brushing right after you eat can significantly weaken your teeth. So, if you have a late dinner, wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing.

Get the Truth about Teeth from Balle and Associates

With all these debunked myths about the mouth, the honest truth is that your dental health is important. Balle and Associates will give you the care that you deserve, which also means you’ll get the honest facts about what is going on with your oral health. Schedule your appointment with us today.

How Far Has Dentistry Advanced?

Dentistry has certainly come a long way. Historians aren’t quite sure when and where people started caring about their teeth, but the history of dentistry can be recorded as early as 5,000 BC.  There are some really old dentistry techniques that are, in some form or another, still around. But the changes in dentistry are truly interesting. France and China helped pave the way towards modern dentistry, but as you can see, the history of dentistry as we know it is rather new. This timeline demonstrates just how surprisingly new (or surprisingly old) dentistry is.

History of Dentistry

Take a look, and then schedule an appointment with Balle and Associates to see for yourself just how far technology in dentistry has come.

How Far Has Dentistry Advanced?


Why Should You Get CEREC Crowns

Getting crowns isn’t normally a fast process. It’s effective and painless, but usually takes more than one trip to the dentist. Between visits to the dentist, you wear temporary acrylic crowns until the permanent ones are completed. While that doesn’t sound so bad, the new process for same day crowns, CEREC, is a revolutionary procedure to consider.

What Are CEREC Same Day Crowns?

CEREC, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, is the latest in teeth restoration technology. Instead of waiting two to three weeks for your crowns to be made, CEREC crowns are made by digitally mapping out your teeth with a CAD/CAM machine and then 3D printing out strong, durable crowns that very same visit to the dentist.

The technology for quick dental crowns is a combination of new 3D printing capabilities as well as awesome digital computing effects. Despite being a brand new and effective means for producing same day crowns, only a handful of dental offices have the technology.

Why You Should Get Same Day Crowns

There are plenty of reasons to get same day crowns. You can’t deny its quickness or its effectiveness, but overall, you’ll be glad you chose CEREC.

Accurate Scan for a Better Fit

The CAD/CAM machines scan up to 40% more accurately than the impression molds can give. The problem with impressions is that they can move and usually take a few tries before an accurate and detailed impression appear. A digital scan shows, in detail, what it takes to fit a crown over the allotted area.

CEREC is Strength

The porcelain used to make traditional crowns are formed from a powder liquid mostly by hand. This allows for weak spaces within the porcelain. With CEREC crowns, a machine is regulated, creating a precise and strong crown. The materials used by the machine tend to be stronger by nature.

Your Crown is Saved as a Digital File

The best part about same day crowns being digital is that they are permanently saved in the system. That doesn’t sound so amazing until you breakWhy Should You Get CEREC Crowns  one of your crowns. With traditional crowns, going to the dentist with a broken crown is like going back to square one where you have to take more impressions and wait another two weeks for your new crown. Not with CEREC same day crowns—they’ll be saved and ready for you when you get there.

More Control

Every step of the way, you and your dentist have complete control over how your same day crowns come out. If you need to tweak them to accommodate a better, more accurate bite or have to make some sort of custom change to it, it’s very easy to do so.

No Temporary Crowns

Possibly the biggest selling point of same day crowns is the fact you don’t need to wear a temporary crown. A temporary is a very necessary step in getting crowns, and while they’re not necessarily uncomfortable or painful in any way, it’s just much nicer get your permanent ones right away. Temporaries have been known to break relatively easily, and permanent crowns (especially CEREC) tend to last a long time.

Where to Get CEREC Same Day Crowns

Stay up to date with the highest quality and most effective modern solutions for dentistry. That’s why Balle and Associates has adopted CEREC same day crowns. If you’re in need of crowns, consider the convenience and power of CEREC and see what we can do for you.

Why Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed

It’s been a long-standing question of whether or not we should get our wisdom teeth removed. Some people do; some people don’t. It just depends on how they come in and how they affect your mouth. Wisdom teeth problems are very common, however, so there are some things to know if you’re considering getting them taken out.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

What’s interesting about the human body now is that we own body parts we no longer need. Those are called “vestigial body parts.” Some time in our evolution, we developed the need for certain things but eventually, they lose their purpose.

Take for example wisdom teeth: in our ancestral past when the human diet consisted of much more rough foods that required powerful bites that would eventually wear down our teeth, we needed an extra set to come in later between the ages of 18 and 25. It was the creation of dentistry that made “wisdom teeth” ultimately vestigial.

Why should we remove them?Why Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed

Wisdom teeth are not always a problem. Sometimes, they grow in perfectly straight and don’t impact your other teeth at all. More commonly, however, they grow in abnormally—usually growing in from the side. This can compact your other teeth and cause a lot of pain and often infection. The damage done by wisdom teeth is a much bigger hassle than taking them out from the beginning, so ultimately, it’s better safe than sorry.

Pericoronitis is the ultimate outcome. It’s a very dangerous infection that can spread quickly through your face and neck, causing intense pain. It can make opening and closing your mouth very difficult as well as causing severe swelling in the lymph nodes inside your neck.

If the infection is relatively new, you can treat it adequately by gargling salt water and rinsing your mouth. Also, make sure there is no food trapped in the areas of the gums where the wisdom teeth are erupting or have erupted. That is one of the biggest causes of infection.

The biggest concern for not having your wisdom teeth removed is the damage it causes your jaw. It’s true that in rare cases, wisdom teeth can grow in with no problems whatsoever, but again—that’s rare. More times than not, wisdom teeth erupt sideways, pushing your teeth forward and misaligning your jaw. In extreme cases, cysts can form, permanently damaging and disfiguring your jaw.

When should I get wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth start growing in around age 18. It just depends on the person, however, as wisdom teeth have been known to grow in around 16 and as late as 26. Start thinking about getting them removed as soon as they start growing in.

You’ll usually see them poke through a little bit. If this causes any sort of pain, you should get them removed right away. You would want to get them removed before any sort of flaps in your gums appear. These can trap food, leading to infection.

It may differ for most people, but generally, you should remove them as they are growing in—not after they’ve grown in.

We Can Remove Those Troublesome Wisdom Teeth

Balle and Associates is the number one dental office in Las Vegas. Dr. Balle and Dr. Guild use the latest in x-ray technology to detect any problems with incoming wisdom teeth. Schedule an appointment today.

Top 5 Most Famous Smiles and How They Got Them

We all look up to celebrities as the go-to for fashion and beauty. When you go into your dentist office, you might see their pictures on the covers of magazines in the waiting rooms or on posters. You may worry that your teeth will never look like theirs no matter how many times you visit the dentist. But even the best smiles in the world went on a similar journey as you to get to smile perfection. The answer is almost always cosmetic dentistry and a lot of upkeep.

5 Famous Smiles and Their Cosmetic Dentistry Work

Tom Cruise

Before he became a leading man and action star material, Tom Cruise was yet another victim of unfortunate teeth problems. Not only were his teeth misaligned and jagged, but they were also horribly discolored. Sometime after shooting The Outsiders, where he was just a supporting actor, he had a serious mouth makeover. Using different cosmetic dentistry techniques, such as veneers, whitening, and bonding, he completely transformed his smile. After that, he became a leading man and thrust himself into having one of the most famous smiles.

Nicholas Cage

Speaking of leading man material, Nicholas Cage also suffered from crooked and discolored teeth well into his career. It wasn’t until after his role in Birdy when he had two teeth removed on camera when he decided to upgrade his smile to something nicer. Surprisingly, Nicholas Cage went from pulling his teeth out in movies to having one of Hollywood’s best smiles.

George Clooney

After shooting Facts of Life, this Hollywood A-list and every mom’s favorite actor got a new set of teeth. But unlike the first two on this list, the purpose wasn’t just cosmetic dentistry. Being in a high-stress industry, George Clooney developed a bad habit of grinding his teeth, which wore them down significantly. After getting a full set of veneers and, presumably, took care of his teeth grinding habit, he solidified his spot as one of the best looking celebrities out there.

Hilary Duff

After her Disney Channel days, this former child star geared her career to singing. One night on stage, she accidentally chipped her front tooth. She required an emergency dental procedure to have the tooth repaired with a veneer. It was then that she decided to get a whole new smile full of bright shiny veneers.

Miley Cyrus

The former Hannah Montana star was known for her crooked, uneven teeth. When she was just a child star, it was part of her image. Since then, she’s stretched out to make a name for herself in a much different way. She completely changed her image and, along with that, her teeth. The actress and singer got a whole new set of veneers that straightened and whitened her teeth, giving her a more adult look.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Las Vegas

Balle and Associates is the number one place in Las Vegas for cosmetic dentistry. You can get these beautiful famous smiles without the Hollywood smile tips: just schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll take care of the rest.

4 Reasons to Get a Water Flosser

By now, you know not to skip out on your daily flossing. Tooth floss gets between the teeth where toothbrushes and rinses cannot. But what if there’s another great way to floss alongside using the typical stringy floss everyone is used to? As it turns out, flossing with water is proven to remove far more plaque than just regular floss. That’s just one reason to invest in a water flosser.

4 Reasons to Get a Water Flosser

The Best Reasons to Get a Water Flosser

1. It’s safe for implants and braces

If you’re worried about the high-pressure water blasting away your dental implants, don’t worry. The key to making those dental implants last is taking good care of them. That means using proper brushing and flossing technique.

Using a water flosser is just like using floss, except that it is more thorough. You don’t have to worry about damaging your teeth, nor do you have to worry about the water flosser not cleaning them well enough. Flossing with braces can also be very tricky at times. Using a water flosser eliminates the stress and time you may experience with traditional flossing.

2. It’s like a high-pressure cleaner for your mouth

Floss generally only rids your mouth of 60% of plaque, whereas water flossers have been proven to remove 99.9% of plaque, which is significantly more than toothbrushes and floss combined.

3. It’s painless and easy to use

Despite being a high-pressure scrubber for your mouth, it’s surprisingly gentle and completely painless. Flossing, if not performed consistently, can cause bleeding. A water flosser rids the in-betweens of your teeth of plaque without irritating or impacting your gums. All you have to do is point the water flosser between your teeth and spray. In no time at all, the plaque is gone.

4. It helps with infection, inflammation and other issues

If your gums are swollen or bleeding, the water flosser can reduce irritation and gingivitis. Even if you’re at a heightened risk of infection, a water flosser works the same at reducing the risk by more than 40%.

Get the Best Cleaning with Balle and Associates

At Balle and Associates, we believe using a Waterpik or even a shower flosser are some of the best ways to floss, as well as using the traditional flossing method. This ensures you’re getting the most out of your oral hygiene routine, but even that isn’t enough to keep you away from the dentist. Schedule your dental cleaning about every six months.