When You Brush Your Teeth, Do Your Gums Bleed?

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If your gums bleed regularly when you brush your teeth, you may be suffering from the early stages of periodontal disease. The earliest stages of this disease of the gums causes inflammation of your gum tissue, followed by bleeding from your gums when you brush. If you don’t take care of periodontal disease, it can progress to causing significant damage to the soft tissues and bones in your mouth, and can lead to loss of teeth.

Periodontal disease usually begins because of inadequate brushing and flossing. Both help remove bacteria from your mouth, and bacteria leads to plaque, which begins the steps that lead to periodontal disease. Some people are more prone to gum problems because of diabetes, certain medications, hormonal changes for women, other illnesses, and susceptibility because of genetics. But for the majority of the population who don’t have those issues, there is a direct link between inadequate oral health care and periodontal disease.

The initial physical sign of periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums, which is called gingivitis. Your gums will look red and swollen and when you brush, your gums may bleed easily. At this stage, you won’t be dealing with bone or tissue loss.

However, the next stage of periodontal disease is much more impactful on your oral health. If your gingivitis is not taken care of, the inflammation in your gums will move into the area around your teeth. Your gum tissue will begin to move away from your teeth and form pockets of infection. At this point, your bones, gums and tissue that support your teeth can be destroyed if left untreated.

So now that you know what happens if periodontal disease takes up residence in your mouth, what can you do to prevent this nasty oral health disease? Follow these four simple tips:

  • Be sure to brush your teeth twice daily and always use a toothpaste with fluoride
  • Make a habit of flossing daily to get rid of plaque from between the teeth
  • See your dental hygienist every six months for your routine cleaning and a check-up by your dentist
  • Avoid smoking

Follow this basic plan, and you are sure to keep your gums healthy, your teeth happy, and continue to have a winning smile.

Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

 

How Clean Is Your Toothbrush?

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When you brush you teeth in the morning, you’re probably not aware of what may be lurking on the bristles of your toothbrush.

It may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses if you’ve been sick. Even if you haven’t been sick, normal healthy microorganisms can cause infections in your mouth if there is an injury or break in your gum tissues. In addition, a brand new toothbrush still in its packaging might already have bacteria on it since the packaging doesn’t have to be “sterile” to be sold.

So what can you do to keep from getting sick from your toothbrush?

 

 Clean It!

Cleaning your toothbrush might not be at the top of your “to do” list since you rinse it off every day after you brush. But it’s actually an important item to add to your daily list. Here’s three “must dos” for your toothbrush to keep it clean:

Wash it. Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with hot tap water after you brush to remove debris and wash away bacteria. If you’re suffering from a systemic illness or immune system disorder, you should consider regularly soaking your toothbrush in a glass of antibacterial mouthwash or run it through a cycle in your dishwasher.

Deep clean it. Consider purchasing a toothbrush sanitizer – there are a range of them available. They often use ultraviolet light to kill microorganism in as little as three minutes.

Keep it properly stored. Always store your toothbrush upright – in a cup or rack – so that it can properly dry out. If you want to put a cover on it, be sure to use one that allows air to circulate to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

 

Toss It!

How often should you toss your toothbrush to prevent bacteria from building up on it? Here are a couple of useful tips:

When to let it go. It’s recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the bristles show excessive signs of wear. Bristles that are frayed will not effectively clean your teeth.

If you’re ill, get rid of it. Toss your toothbrush if it was used while you were sick. If you share a toothbrush holder with other family members, and one of them is sick, be sure to throw away all of the toothbrushes in the holder. Also, be sure to treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Get rid of the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear.

 

Don’t Share It!

If you’re tempted to lend your toothbrush to a family member or friend, just say “no”. The same advice is applicable if you’re thinking of borrowing a used toothbrush. By sharing, you’re transferring saliva and bacteria to the other person. Remember, bacteria is the first stage of the process that leads to cavities. Plus tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

Sugar Isn’t the Only Culprit When It Comes to Causing Cavities

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , ,

What foods or drinks cause cavities? The answer from most people is simple – sugar. But while sugar is a major cause of cavities, all carbohydrates can be a cause of cavities. That’s because carbohydrates contain sugars and starches, and when these stick to your teeth, they lead to tooth decay. And a cavity is what happens when a tooth decays. So when you are eating cereal, milk, bread, soda, fruits, cakes or candy, you are bathing your teeth in sugar.

What is the process that can turn that tasty piece of toast you had this morning into an eventual cavity? It’s a simple process that has five steps:

  • You eat or drink a food or beverage that contains carbohydrates (don’t forget, both sugar and starches are in this category).
  • Bacteria in your mouth digest these foods and turn them into acids.
  • The bacteria combines with acid, saliva and food debris to form plaque, which sticks to your teeth.
  • The plaque’s acids dissolve your teeth’s enamel surface.
  • As the enamel surface dissolves, small holes are created in the teeth – and this is what is called a cavity.

Does that mean that you should completely avoid carbohydrates to reduce the chance of cavities? Not really, because the real problem isn’t the amount of starches or sugars you are bathing your teeth in from a particular food or beverage, but rather how long it stays on your teeth. As an example, foods that stick to the tops of your molars (in the back of your mouth) and don’t quickly dissolve are tough on your teeth. Foods like starchy chips and crackers or gummy candy are examples of these types of foods. Other foods that are major culprits are soda, juice and hard candies, since they douse your mouth with sugar over an extended period of time as you consume them.

How can you head off the five-step process that eventually leads to cavities in your teeth? Try these simple steps:

  • Drink water – lots of water! Drink it every time you eat a meal or have a snack and make sure you vigorously swish it around in your mouth at the end of the meal. By doing this, you’re washing away the acids that formed and remove food debris.
  • Pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth at the end of a meal. This will jump start the production of saliva, which is a natural teeth cleaner, and the act of chewing will also remove food debris from your teeth.
  • Skip super sticky foods that will stick to your teeth for hours.
  • Floss daily and brush twice a day.
  • Be sure to drink fluoridated water to strengthen your teeth.
  • Feed calcium-rich cheese to your kids – and yourself. It’s a wonderful cavity-fighting snack because it stimulates the flow of saliva (a natural tooth cleaner) and neutralizes the mouth acids that wear away enamel.  

Follow these tips and you can still enjoy carbohydrates and reduce the impact on your oral health.

Top Tips to Make Travel Less Stressful on Your Oral Health

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you travel very often, you probably know how difficult it can be to maintain your oral health routine. But missing a week or two of your regular routine can be tough on your teeth and gums. Eventually, those missed days of brushing, flossing and making good oral health decisions can lead to cavities! So here are five easy tips to follow to boost your oral health when you travel and insure that your smile remains healthy.

Don’t travel if you have a toothache. Be sure to schedule an appointment before you travel if you are experiencing pain or irritation in your mouth. You really don’t want to end up needing emergency care while you are out of town and away from your usual dentist. And just in case you experience a dental emergency without any earlier warning signs, you might want to research emergency dental clinics in the town where you will be staying.

Keep travel-sized oral health products handy. Invest in a travel-size toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, and floss and keep them in your travel bag. That way, you won’t forget to pack them the next time you take a trip.

Be a fan of probiotics. Research has shown that probiotics help maintain oral health in addition to being great for your gut. Because traveling involves lots of time in communal places that are usually chock-full of germs, taking probiotics can help as a defense against oral health issues.

Replace your toothbrush. It is usually recommended that you replace your toothbrush every three or four months. That’s because the bristles start to wear down, and more importantly, germs build up on your toothbrush that you can’t remove. But on a trip away from home, all those new germs you are exposed to just compound the potential problems. So when you get home from a trip, toss your toothbrush and break out a new one!

Embrace the power of gum. Your oral health can get a wonderful boost from chewing gum. It has to be sugarless, and if it has xylitol that is a bonus. So why is chewing gum so powerful? It tastes good, freshens your breath, and removes food stuck between your teeth (kind of like brushing your teeth). Perhaps the biggest benefit of chewing gum is that it helps produce saliva in your mouth. Saliva washes away bacteria in your mouth that can eventually lead to cavities.

So there you have five easy tips to pump-up your oral health the next time you travel.

SOURCE: American Dental Association

 

Can Chewing Gum Actually Help Prevent Tooth Decay?

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , ,

Americans love chewing gum. In fact, the average American chews more than 1.8 pounds of gum a year. But is all that chewing gum wrecking the oral health of millions of Americans, leaving them to deal with a lifetime of cavities and problems with their teeth?

The answer is yes, if that gum is full of sugar. But if that 1.8 pounds of gum chewed annually is sugarless gum, then it is actually a boost for your oral health. In fact, clinical studies have linked the prevention of tooth decay to chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal.

Why is sugarless gum such a plus for oral health? There are two main reasons. The first is linked to saliva, which your body produces in large quantities when you chew gum. Saliva is the body’s natural way of washing away food debris from your mouth, neutralizing acids that are produced by bacteria in your mouth, and providing disease-fighting substances for your entire mouth. Plus, you’ll get additional calcium and phosphate from the saliva, which helps you naturally strengthen your tooth enamel.

The second reason is that sugarless gums use sweeteners such as sorbitol, aspartame, mannitol or xylitol. Because they aren’t sugar, they don’t cause cavities because bacteria don’t use them as food. And when bacteria don’t have a ready food source in your mouth, their population in your mouth declines. That means your mouth is a safer place for your teeth.

Xylitol is especially helpful to your teeth, because it inhibits the growth of one of the main oral bacteria that causes cavities (Streptococcus mutans). Bacteria in your mouth can’t adhere to teeth if there is xylitol present, which slows down the creation of cavities. Plus, if you use xylitol over a long period of time, it reduces the amount of bacteria that can survive in your mouth and cause cavities.

Recaldent is also added to some sugarless gums, which makes your teeth stronger and reduces tooth decay. The Recaldent hardens the enamel on your teeth, thus making them stronger.

Remember, chewing sugarless gum is not a substitute for flossing daily and brushing twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. But it can do a good job of helping to supplement your oral health care routine.

SOURCES: American Dental Association and Colgate

Healthy Resolutions for a Brighter Smile in 2019

Posted by LVSmileDesigns | Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , ,