How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

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If you feel anxious or afraid at the mere thought of  going to the dentist, you should know that you’re not alone. More than 33% of Americans feel the same emotions about dentists. Often, people who suffer from dental anxiety or fear never go to the dentist, and then are faced with a lifetime of poor oral health, pain, and potential adverse effects to their overall health.

Interestingly, patients who are anxious or fearful of a dental visit often find that an actual dental procedure isn’t nearly as “scary” as they expected. Patient surveys done prior to and after some of the most fear-inducing dental procedures (i.e. root canals or wisdom tooth removal) found that patients’ expectation of discomfort was not matched by the actual discomfort they experienced.

Common Reasons for Dental Anxiety – And Tips to Overcome Them

Not knowing what will happen: The unknown is often at the root of many of our fears, so sitting down with your dentist to discuss your situation and what dental procedures would be used to help you can be critical in reducing your anxiety level. Also, to make you feel more comfortable, bring along a friend for your dental visit. Your familiarity with them will help overcome the unfamiliarity of a dental office.

Physically feeling uneasy: Simple techniques like controlled breathing can help reduce the physical manifestations of fear and anxiety. For controlled breathing, take a big breath, then hold it, and finally let it out slowly (pretend you are a leaky tire). A second technique you can try is progressive muscle relaxation – tense and relax muscle groups one after another.

Dental equipment: Not understanding what those often odd-looking tools are used for during your dental visit can create lots of anxiety. Ask your dentist if you can hold the tools and examine them so you don’t feel like alien objects are going to probe around in your mouth.

Gag reflex: Dental X-rays are often difficult to cope with if you are anxious about your dental visit because of the tabs that are put in your mouth. Luckily, most dentists now use digital X-rays, which don’t need tabs.

Loud noises: The sound of a dental drill or other dental instrument often generates anxiety or fear in patients. Ask your dentist for earplugs or headphones that will eliminate sounds during your visit.

Lying back in a dental chair: For some patients, lying back in a dental chair creates anxiety because of the loss of control. For other patients, they may have back issues. Ask for your dental chair to be only put halfway back. Or also ask for pillows to reduce aches and pains in your back when the chair is lowered.

Breathing through your mouth: If you tend to breathe through your mouth, then you probably feel like your breathing is impaired when you are in a dental chair. After all, the dental care team will need to be working in your mouth during the visit, which can make it tough to breathe. You might try a nasal strip to open up the air passages in your nose. Or ask for nitrous oxide, which will help you relax and will make breathing easier while you are in the dental chair.

Sources: WebMD, Huffington Post

Whatever You Call A Soft Drink, It’s Bad For Your Teeth

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The soft drink has many names in the United States. On the East and West coasts, they call it soda. In the Midwest, many people refer to it as pop. And in the South, it’s often called Coke (even if it’s Pepsi). But no matter what you call a soft drink’s sugary concoction, it’s a recipe for disaster for your oral health.

Why? Because a soft drink is full of acids and sugar byproducts that are acidic. The combination softens your tooth enamel, which is the first step on the road to a cavity. While sugar-free soft drinks are slightly less impactful on your oral health, they are still acidic and can negatively affect your teeth.

Soft drink consumption in the United States has been declining for many years, but Americans still consume an average of 400 12-ounce servings per person per year. That’s 3,200 teaspoons of sugar ingested annually! Long-term consumption of soft drinks over many years increases the odds that you’ll suffer tooth decay problems at some point.

That consumption of all that sugar and the acid in soft drinks is especially damaging to the oral health of children and teenagers, whose teeth are still in the formative stages.

So what should you do to reduce the impact on your oral health and protect your children’s developing teeth? Here are some ideas to implement in your household:

Try different drinks: Skip the soft drinks and fill your fridge with beverages low in sugar and acid. These include water, milk and pure fruit juice. Unsugared ice tea is another good option to avoid sugar.

Rinse, rinse, rinse: Be sure to reach for a glass of water if you do consume a soft drink. It’s a great way to flush all the sugar and acids deposited in your mouth by the soft drink you just drank.

Grab the fluoride: Fluoride strengthens the enamel on your teeth and lowers the risk of cavities. So be sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and for an extra dose of fluoride, rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride.

Get professional help: Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a dental hygiene visit to get all the gunk off your teeth that built up over the last six months. You can also request a fluoride treatment during your visit.

While soft drinks are tough on your teeth, you can reduce their impact on your oral health by following our four tips.

SOURCE: Colgate