What Do You Know About Oral Bacteria?

Dr. Mark Reichman hopes you can learn about the fascinating world of oral bacteria. As an OFMS, Dr. Mark Reichman understands the influence of bacteria in the mouth. It’s not actually all bad bacteria. In fact, most bacteria is necessary to keep everything functioning.

A build-up of bacteria can lead to plaque. Plaque leads to oral decay and cavities. So learn about bacteria to advance your oral hygiene efforts! Make an appointment with Dr. Mark Reichman today.

The Solution to Missing Teeth

Many people are terrified of losing their adult teeth. This is for good reason, but god forbid this happens to you, don’t live in fear. There’s help.

Often, when people lose a tooth, especially in the back of their mouth, they try to ignore it. But just because people don’t see it everyday, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect your overall oral health.

A surprising number of the U.S. population (some 70% of people) are considered to be missing a tooth. This missing tooth is usually one of the back molars.


alveolar bone Dr. Mark Reichman
Alveolar Bone


The alveolar bone surrounds the teeth in the mouth. This bone requires regular stimulation to stay healthy, caused by tiny stresses transmitted by the teeth. Without this stimulation, the bone gradually erodes away.

The real problem with tooth loss isn’t cosmetic appearance. Although aesthetics are certainly a factor, the problem to consider is the bone loss that comes with a missing tooth. There’s a lot of factors to think about when dealing with a lost tooth and how to go about thinking about surgery and self-care.

What happens when bone is lost from the body? The ability to chew and speak regularly can be impaired. Plus, the contours of the face and lips change. This often causes an individual to look somewhat more aged. Eventually, the bite may fundamentally fail. All of these failures edge on a person’s self-confidence.

In the first year, tooth loss can cause a 25% decrease in bone width, increasing as you age.

So what can you do? Invest in a dental implant. Implants become fused to the living bone. They look and act like your regular old teeth and will have you feeling like your regular self in no time. Call Dr. Mark Reichman for you dental implant surgery today!


Smile On!

According to a Journal of Psychological Science study people smile big and smile often live longer! Go to your dentist today to get your best smile on.

How did they prove it? Researchers from Wayne State University looked though images of 230 baseball athletes. By comparing images of smiles of the players at the peak of their career to frequency of smiles throughout their lifespan.

So what did they find?

Researchers found a correlation between the amount players smiled in photos and their average lifespan.  Players prone to bigger mugs, in more photos, lived up to seven years than those who didn’t turn their frown upside own.

The study isn’t all just for laughs; it was controlled for other factors that affect health and longevity, including obesity and socioeconomic status.

What you can do is embrace a positive attitude everyday. Walk out the door and smile. Before you walk out the door, brush you teeth and floss! You’ll be even more confident about those pearly whites. You’ll be excited to smile to show off that grin. Call your dentists for an additional teeth cleaning too.

The results are consistent with recent studies that point to a positive association between smiling and things such as personality stability, and social skills.

A big toothy smile matters! It can extend your life YEARS.

Are you anxious about your smile? Reach out to Dr. Mark Reichman today.


Does Salt affect your Oral Health?

Does salty food cause oral health problems?

Sodium consumption is generally understood to be damaging for overall health. Intake of too much dietary sodium is associated with high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Today, Dr. Mark Reichman analyzes salt’s affect on your oral health. Or rather, sodium’s affect on your oral health.

Sodium is not exactly the salt you shake onto bland foods. Salt alone does not damage tooth enamel. It’s the sodium component of unhealthy foods, and usually high-carb foods and high in sodium. Even more so, these foods are usually highly processed.  The American Heart Association warns against using salt liberally in your diet. If products are already sugary and rich in carbs,  like pizza, pasta, breads, and snacks like pretzels and chips, they should be enjoyed infrequently in moderation. These treats are among the top carriers of sodium in the American diet. They may be relatively low in sugar but their starches metabolize into simple sugars. Processed foods like the ones mentioned above often contribute to higher potential for decay and disease.

The bacteria in your mouth that grows into plaque and tartar multiplies through exposure to simple sugars.  The longer the unhealthy elements remain in your mouth, the higher the risk on your tooth enamel.

So, damage can be prevented by avoiding sodium-rich foods.

However, applying sodium it to your teeth through certain tools is actually beneficial. The American Dental Association approves sodium lauryl sulfate and other sodium-based compounds because they act as foaming detergents. Mild salt rinses are often recommended to soothe tooth sores and cleanse bacterial infections.

Senior citizens are told to hold a <2300 mg/d level of daily sodium consumption. Even though the statistics don’t require you to limit their salt intake, it is usually advised that the elderly watch their sodium intake especially to protect their teeth. But a study by the Institute of Medicine shows was no significant evidence showing correlation between sodium consumption and mortality rate.


Preventing Cavities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease of children in the United States.

What exactly is tooth decay? Most of us know it in the form of a cavity, once the germs and bacteria in your mouth have eaten away at the tooth, leaving that small hole.  The deeper the tooth decay, the more layers of the tooth are affected. This also indicates the severity of the problem.

While we know that the teeth are a type of bone, this leads us to believe that they are formidable against biological deterioration, exposure to the elements in our mouth actually threatens their long-term health.

The tooth is composed of three layers: The protective outer layer is enamel, the middle layer is the calcified tissue dentin, and the center is the pulp with a variety of important nerves and blood vessels.

There are a few factors that contribute to tooth decay, especially for adolescents. Eating sugary foods and sodas feed bad bacteria. The bacteria that forms to become plaque use sugar as a form of energy, so with sugar, they are able multiply faster. The plaque thus grows in size and thickness and accelerates the decay process. Not practicing proper brushing and flossing technique lets this bacteria grow.

Another factor that often gets neglected is flouride intake. Flouride is added to many public water reservoirs because it makes teeth more resistant to plaque-produced acids.

Sometimes, children can’t control all aspects of their dental health. This is where the community efforts can change the lives of children for the better in terms of dental hygiene.

Community water flouridation is one of the key assets to preventing tooth decay. Even though people now also get fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste, rinses, and other topical applications, the CDC recognizes flouridation as 1 of the 10 great public health achievements of the twentieth century! Many schools in the U.S. also sponsor dental sealant programs which prove to 60% less decay in pit and fissures of the back teeth.

A new generations of Americans will hopefully enjoy better oral health than their parents. However, those who are poor, racial and ethnic minority groups, the elderly still have severe dental decay. Through proper community efforts to educate and practice proper hygiene, we can all hope for a future without tooth decay.

5 Steps to Eliminate Bad Breath

At the office of Dr. Mark Reichman, we care about all components of your oral health.

For many patients, this breaks down to an anxiety about the cosmetics of their teeth.

Facing friends and strangers can feel threatening if we’re paranoid about bad breath. When we talk, we are nervous both about what we say and the impression people get of us overall. Therefore hygiene plays a huge role in these impressions.  So when people reveal complaints about bad breath, we understand there is a fear that you’re doing something wrong in terms of brushing. But dentists understand that there is more the bad breath than just daily brushing.

Many people point to stinky foods, such as garlic and onions, as the culprit of bad breath. But there is more to monitoring your breath than just daily brushing. Certain diseases, including diabetes, infected tonsils, and stomach conditions can contribute to persistently foul breath that is difficult to manage.

So what’s going on at a biological level?

When harmful bacteria multiply, they break down proteins at a much higher rate than usual. This causes the accumulation of sulfur compounds. These compounds emit volatile sulfur gases, and thus, bad breath.

Here are five tips from the Dr. Mark Reichman OFMS to help you manage this condition.

  1. Quit smoking!

Getting rid of bad breath starts with learning what may be triggering it for you.  If you’re a smoker, any tobacco products contribute to dry mouth. The smoke particles remain in the mouth long after you are done with your cigarette. This can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even with persistent teeth brushing.

  1. An apple a day keeps the dentist away

When you are hungry, your empty stomach will start to build up acid. This release foul breath as your body desperately awaits its next meal. To prevent this, snack on fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  Snacking on fresh, crispy carrots, celery, and apples keep your saliva flowing between meals aids in cleansing the bacteria away from your teeth, tongue and gums.

  1. Master brushing and flossing

If you’re not brushing and flossing the best way, then your breath will suffer. Brush every side of your tooth, including the gums. It’s important not to brush too aggressively and quickly – remember, your teeth and gums are delicate! When flossing, hold a small piece of string tightly, sneaking it under each side of the tooth using careful up and down movements. Remember to replace the piece of  floss for each tooth as to not transfer the plaque.

  1. Scrape your tongue

To remove the germs your brush and floss may not be able to target, there’s an inexpensive tool called a tongue scraper.  This will aid in removing any residue trapped between the taste buds and folds of your tongue. The scraper works by softly peeling the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. When using the tool, concentrate on the back of the tongue where odor-causing bacteria lives. Remember to rinse the scraper under warm water every time you swipe the tongue.  However, if you don’t have a tongue scraper, you can still use your toothbrush to brush this area of your tongue.

  1. Check in with your dentist

The best way to manage your oral health and the most honest resource you have to ask about your breath is your dentist.

Sometimes, bad breath can be a sign of another health problem. If you have do have chronic bad breath that is difficult to manage with regular brushing, visit your dentist. They will be able to rule out any oral health problems and identify if you are indeed dealing with a systematic problem.

This post was originally featured on Dr. Mark Reichman’s blog. Thanks for reading!


What to Expect When Getting your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Dr. Mark Reichman  is the division head of oral and maxillofacial surgery at British Columbia Children’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital in addition to managing the Oral and Facial Surgery Centre.

Having treated both adults and children in a variety of procedures, one of his areas of expertise of is wisdom teeth removal.

Many people don’t know what to expect from this of procedure. Dr. Mark Reichman wants you to know that it’s definitely not as scary as some people say!

Let’s consider some of the basics.

Wisdom teeth tend to grow somewhere between the ages of 17 and 25. You may feel pain when they grow in, and this is time to go to the doctor. Your dentist can X-ray your teeth and see where they may cause damage.

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

  • Your mouth doesn’t have space for more teeth: Sometimes your mouth is already the right size. It can’t fit any more more molars.
  • They’re growing at a risky angle: If the wisdom teeth are protruding into your teeth, this can cause pain and damage.
  • Pre-existing cavities or gum disease: If you can’t reach these molars with a brush or floss, you might be at risk for more oral health problems in the future.
  • They’re impacted: Impacted means they grow in abnormally and have gotten caught in your jawbone or gums.

So what will surgery be like?

The removal of the teeth takes under an hour, and most people take anesthesia in order not to feel pain.

There are generally three anesthesia options:

  • Local: Your doctor numbs your mouth with a shot of Novocaine.You may be given nitrous oxide to relax or “laugh” during surgery.
  • General: Your doctor will either administer a shot or give you a breathing mask until you’re completely asleep. You don’t feel a thing and you’ll be fully alert in a couple of hours.
  • IV Sedation: Your mouth will be numb and you’ll be kept on drugs through IV sedation, sleeping through most the procedure.

So your wisdom teeth are out. Now what?

Typically, it takes your body three to four days to recover from the surgery. However, recovery can be as long as ten days. The length of recovery depends on how severely the wisdom teeth were impacted and the manner in which they were erupting. You’ll need a plan to stay home from work or school for a couple of days. If you feel pain, use an ice pack on your cheeks.  Eat soft foods like yogurt that don’t require aggressive crunching. It’s recommended to rinse your mouth with salt water to rinse away any bacteria that could infect the removal sites.

This article was originally featured on Dr. Mark Reichman’s website.