Do You Know How to Floss Properly?

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Flossing is an important part of the Healthy Teeth Trio – which also includes brushing and regular visits to your dentist for a dental cleaning and check-up. Floss plays a unique role in oral health because it can remove a whole variety of things you don’t want between your teeth - food particles, plaque and bacteria – that a toothbrush usually can’t remove. Leaving all of those items stuck between your teeth can lead to gingivitis, which is a disease of the gums that can produce major oral health problems.

Floss was originally made from silk. However, floss has evolved since the 1800s and is now made from plastic beads. Yes, you read that right – plastic beads. The beads are melted and the squeezed into long, thin strands to make them stronger and very hard to break. The plastic is layered with wax and flavoring to make the process more palatable.

So what happens to your oral health if you don’t have time to floss or don’t think it’s worth the effort? To begin with, plaque will begin to build up between your teeth. The plaque will eventually begin to irritate your teeth and make your gums more sensitive. If you have neglected flossing and then decide to begin, your gums will probably bleed. So be sure you begin flossing slowly. But after a couple of weeks, your gums will get used to the floss and your oral health will begin to improve!

You have several options to choose from in terms of types of floss. Most people stick with regular floss, although there are many types of regular floss – unwaxed, waxed, mint flavored, etc.  The differences aren’t important and don’t improve your flossing effectiveness. What does impact the effectiveness is your technique.

Floss picks are also popular for flossing because they hold the floss for you. That makes it very convenient to floss because you only have to use one hand to floss. However, floss picks are not as effective as regular floss because they don’t give you the opportunity to reach the angles necessary for effective flossing.

So how do you floss properly?

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with;
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth;
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue;
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth; and
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

Sources: Colgate.com

 

Gingivitis Is Never A Good Thing to Have

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For many people, the word “gingivitis” sounds like something they have heard but the odds are they don’t know what it describes or how bad it can be if it takes up residence in your mouth.

The reason you don’t want gingivitis camping out in your mouth is that it’s a type of periodontal disease that creates inflammation and infection in your mouth – which eventually leads to the destruction of tissue that provide support to your teeth, your gums, periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets.

So how does gingivitis get started? The initial culprit is plaque, that sticky material created from mucus, bacteria and debris from food you eat. It sticks to the areas of your teeth that are exposed and eventually leads to tooth decay.

Once plaque hardens because you didn’t remove it through brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist for a cleaning, it becomes tartar (also called calculus). Tartar is a hard deposit that clings to the base of your teeth. Your gums are irritated and inflamed by both plaque and tartar. Then bacteria moves in to your weakened gums, creating toxins that cause your gums to become swollen, tender and eventually infected.

Some amount of gingivitis develops in many people during puberty or their early adult years because of hormonal changes. The gingivitis will often persist or recur periodically if your oral health is poor.

What increases your risk of developing gingivitis?

  • Improper dental hygiene
  • Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases
  • Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns). Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

  • Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
  • Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Shiny appearance to gums

If you do have gingivitis, how is it treated? The first goal is to reduce the level of inflammation. This is best achieved by making twice-yearly appointments with your dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning of your teeth. Make more frequent appointments if you have severe gingivitis. They’ll loosen and remove deposits of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Of course, in between visits, you need to be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily.

If you are more prone than usual to plaque building up on your teeth, your dentist may recommend special toothpicks, water irrigation, electric toothbrushes, or other devices. Antiplaque and/or anti-tartar toothpastes and mouth washes may also be a good solution for your situation.

Source: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

7 Ideas to Enhance Your Family’s Oral Health

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If tooth decay and gum disease are two oral health problems you want your family to avoid this year, then we have 7 great tips to help your family have a healthy year for their teeth and gums. Remember, most gum disease and tooth decay is preventable if you practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you and each member of your family spend a couple of minutes a day flossing and brushing and that you make good choices to enhance your oral health. For a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, that’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Begin at six months. Start your child’s dental care around six months, which is when their first tooth generally appears. Initially, use a damp cloth or soft brush to wipe your baby’s teeth. Once a child turns two, they can brush for themselves with adult supervision.

Consider sealants. Just 33% of kids in the United States receive dental sealants, but it is a great way to protect your child’s permanent molars when they come in at age 6. The sealant is applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces on the molars and provides protection against decay.

The daily duo. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, so it’s not something you want in your mouth.

Finish your meals the right way. Rinse your mouth right after a meal with water and/or an antibacterial rinse. Another tip is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum right after you eat to enhance the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria and reduces acid.

Practice smart eating. Be sure to include whole foods in your diet because they will provide your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That means to be sure to eat nuts, grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Say no to soda. Sugary sodas are “double trouble” because of their high sugar content and because people tend to sip them over extended periods of time. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, because they produce acid when they break down the sugar. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, which can then lead to decay.

See your dentist regularly. Make an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months if you want to stay on top of your oral health. Your dental hygienist will get rid of built-up plaque on your teeth and check for tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

11 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Mouth in 2018

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If you’re a fan of making New Year’s resolutions – and sticking to them – then we have 11 helpful tips for keeping your smile bright and your mouth happy in 2018. Even if you aren’t a fan of New Year’s resolutions, our list is still a great place to start on the road to good oral health this year.

Modifying your diet can whiten your teeth

If you’re a fan of black tea or red wine - or a smoker - your teeth are going to suffer. Dark foods and beverages stain your teeth which equals a dingy smile. Gravies, dark juice and colas are also hard on your smile. To counter these dark foods, brush right after you eat or drink them. Eating an apple is also a great on-the-go solution to clean your teeth.

Toss your toothbrush regularly

Get yourself in the habit of getting rid of your toothbrush every three months. That includes the head of your electric toothbrush. Bacteria settle into the bristles of your brush over time, and after a couple of months, you are just transferring a bunch of bacteria to your mouth every time you brush. Plus, worn bristles don’t clean your teeth as well. In fact, plan for the year by getting out your 2018 calendar now and note every 90 days to change your toothbrush.

Eat foods that “scrub”

Raw carrots, celery and popcorn – along with apples – are great foods that naturally scrub your teeth. Eat them at the end of a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating. They are great for when you can’t get to your toothbrush and they have the added value of being high in vitamins and fiber.

Use a natural mouthwash like apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural multi-purpose mouthwash. Gargle with it in the morning before your brush. It will help remove stains on your teeth, whiten them, and zap bacteria in your mouth.

Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

Baking soda will naturally remove stains and make your teeth whiter. Use it the same way you would your toothpaste.

Be a boss of your floss

Less than half of Americans say they floss daily – which is a definite oral health mistake for those who don’t floss regularly. It just takes two minutes once a day. To make it easier to get in a daily floss, stash packages in your purse or backpack, in your desk, and next to your bed. That will make it much more difficult to find excuses not to floss.

Switch your gum

If you like gum, then be sure to use sugar-free gum. For an even better result, purchase gum with xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that has been proven to reduce plaque. Plus, gum produces saliva, which washes away food particles in your mouth and acid from your teeth.

Brush at optimal times to enhance the results

Brush when you first get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. Why? Because saliva – which is a natural plaque fighter – dries up when you sleep, so you should be sure to avoid getting into bed with a mouth full of plaque. When you get up in the morning and brush, your toothbrush will remove any plaque that built up during the night. Plus it will get rid of bacteria, which causes bad breath!

Twice a day keeps the dentist away

Spend two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth and you are almost guaranteed to reduce the bad news (cavities) when you visit your dentist the next time.

Moderate your sugar intake

Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. When sugars aren't cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Once plaque forms, the acids wear away the enamel, which is the tooth's hard outer surface. These tiny openings in the enamel represent the first stage of cavities. So cut down on your sugar intake. Swap water for soda, or sugar-free gum for your regular gum.

See your dentist regularly

Twice a year is how often you should be seeing your dentist. Book a dental hygiene appointment every six months for a professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will take a thorough look in your mouth and spot any potential issues before they become full-blown emergencies.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, WebMD, Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

Top Tips to Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Your Smile

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How do you decide what is the best toothbrush for your oral health needs? Do you go with a favorite color? Maybe the type of bristles – soft or hard? How the toothbrush feels in your hand when you are brushing?  Or the cost? All of those are important (even the color of your toothbrush) because you want to be sure that you are doing everything possible to encourage you to brush twice a day. Remember, if you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, you will end up spending about 1,000 hours during your lifetime brushing your teeth. You definitely want to give yourself every opportunity to make those hours as enjoyable as possible. 

Here are some simple tips to give you the best “toothbrush experience” possible:

When Should You Buy a New Toothbrush?

As soon as the bristles on your toothbrush begin to look worn or frayed, buy a new one. That usually happens every three months if you are brushing regularly. Remember, a worn-out toothbrush isn’t helping to keep your teeth clean. After an illness replace your toothbrush because germs can linger and make you sick again. Also, if you can’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time for a new one.

The Parts of a Toothbrush – Bristles, Head Shape and Handle

Bristles: Soft is Safe

Most dentists agree on using a toothbrush with soft bristles and to brush gently. You may think that scrubbing your teeth with a stiff-bristle toothbrush will improve your oral health, but you’re probably wrong. Instead, you’ll end up damaging your teeth and gums. How? The hard bristles will cause gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat, cold or certain foods and drinks. Plus the hard bristles will create damage to enamel on teeth, which can leave them exposed to cavity-causing plaque.

Head: Size Matters

Consider the toothbrush’s head shape when selecting your tool of choice. Some toothbrush shapes will suit some mouths better than others. Make sure the head allows your toothbrush bristles to comfortably reach your back molars, as some brush heads may be too large or wide. Brush in front of the mirror to make sure you cover every tooth. If it doesn’t, swap your toothbrush for one that does.

Handle: Get a Grip

The handle of the brush should be long enough to hold comfortably. It should neither be too thick nor too thin to hold. Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to use. 

Do You Go Cheap on What You Pay for Your Toothbrush?

Five no-name toothbrushes in a package may seem like a steal at a handful of pennies each, but consider the risks. Seeing as you put a toothbrush in your mouth two or more times per day, it’s worth going with a reputable manufacturer. If you buy a cheap toothbrush, you may be getting a product could be from a manufacturer who doesn't care about safety or efficacy. Plus, the toothbrushes could be made of inferior or unsafe materials. Bottom line, cheap toothbrushes are better suited for cleaning grout than oral hygiene. 

Why Is the ADA Way Important?

Buy toothbrushes that have the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. A company earns the ADA Seal for its product by producing scientific evidence that the product is safe and effective. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates the evidence according to objective guidelines for toothbrushes.

Does Color Matter?

Sure it does if color is important to you. Using an icky-colored toothbrush won’t motivate you to brush twice a day. Buy one that has a color attractive to you!

The Bottom Line on Selecting Your Toothbrush

At the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the one you’ll actually use. That means the toothbrush handle should fit comfortably in your hand and the toothbrush head should feel comfortable in your mouth and be able to reach every tooth surface. Look for the ADA Seal, your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness. 

Sources: The American Dental Association (ADA)

 

 

Seven Foods for a Happy Smile

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Can what you eat help your smile and overall oral health? The answer is a definite “yes”! We have seven foods in this week’s blog that will give your “pearly whites” a boost and help your gums and enamel stay happy and healthy.

Fruits and Vegies that Crunch

The high fiber in certain fruits and vegetables are like mini “scrubbers” in your mouth, replicating some of the work your toothbrush does by cleaning your teeth. Plus, they trigger saliva production in your mouth, which is a great way to wash away bacteria that have gathered on your teeth. In addition, any sugar in your mouth from other foods you’ve eaten will have a harder time sticking around, because the increased saliva will wash away that sugar. Raw celery, carrots, apples, broccoli, cauliflower and jicama are some of these oral health helpers.

Chocolate…Yes, Chocolate!

Believe it or not, dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) can be good for your smile if you eat it in moderation. Research has shown that a compound in dark chocolate actually hardens tooth enamel and can help prevent cavities. One square a day is enough – and we’re talking dark chocolate, not milk chocolate!

Cheese Please

Cheese is high in protein and calcium and low in sugar – a good combination for oral health. It also has been shown to lower the acidity in your mouth – and the lower acidity level, the lower the chance of developing cavities. Another benefit is that cheese helps remineralize the teeth and minimize decay. Milk is also a good choice for oral health, since it contains protein and calcium and helps wash away sugar from other foods (that glass of milk with dessert is a good combination for oral health).

Be a Fan of Tea

Both black and green teas are high in polyphenols, which kill or suppress bacteria in your mouth. Remember, bacteria produce acids which destroy your tooth enamel. They feed on sugar in your mouth, so having tea during or after your meal will fight the bacteria, wash away sugar, and replenish your saliva. That’s a trio of good benefits from tea.

Foods from the Sea

What do sea foods have in common? They are lean in protein and they contain natural fluoride. The combination strengthens your teeth and helps prevent cavities. A bonus is that they are a great source of Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium in your diet. Calcium helps your teeth and gums fight disease which can lead to oral health problems.

All Kinds of Nuts

Nuts provide a healthy dose of protein, which your teeth and gums benefit from. They also are loaded with calcium and phosphorus – both good for tooth enamel. And the “crunch” of nuts produces saliva in your mouth, which washes away bad stuff in your mouth.

The Wonders of Water

We’ve mentioned multiple times in our blog how important the production of saliva is for your oral health. Water is just as good for a variety of reasons. First, it replenishes your saliva (which is nearly 100% water) and hydrates your mouth. Second, the right amount of saliva in your mouth helps break down food you eat, reduces acid produced by bacteria, and slows down tooth decay. All of those are good for your smile.

 

SOURCES: Colgate.com

 

 

7 Resolutions to Help You Improve Your Smile in 2017

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Happy New Year! The holidays have come-to-a-close, yet winter remains for another 2-3 months. It’s the perfect time for reflection at another year gone by and making resolutions for the one to come. Self-improvement is a great way to make these cold winter nights a little bit brighter after all. Maybe you’re finally ready to quit that bad habit or you’re planning that trip you’ve always wanted to take. There are a ton of ways you can improve your smile if you stop to think about it.

The trick to making your teeth healthy is not necessarily expensive dental work, unless of course you already have a dental problem that needs addressing. The very first step is a consultation with your dentist. A hygiene appointment and x-rays are affordable and serve as an excellent starting point. You can talk to your hygienist about a customized treatment plan at home to make 2017 the year of improving your dental health.

1.      Brush More Often

Brushing your teeth is crucial to good dental care. Professionals recommend that you brush your teeth . at least twice a day. When making your resolution, brushing more might seem daunting, but there are a couple things you can do to keep your schedule. And don’t forget to keep your family brushing regularly too, especially from an early age.

You may also consider a travel toothbrush for your office or work to keep your brushing routine regular. The trick to making a regular brushing schedule stick is set reminders for yourself the first few weeks on your phone or watch. Hopefully after a few weeks of practice, brushing two to three times a day will feel like second nature.

2.      Floss Every Day

No matter your age, flossing once each-and-every day is the BEST way to insure a healthy smile. Dental floss is stronger and easier to use than ever, and there are flossing aides like flossing picks and Waterpik available as alternatives if you find it difficult to start. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you might find it cumbersome or even painful to the point of it causing your gums to bleed. This is normal, for a time, however if bleeding continues more than a week or two you probably have gingivitis and should consult with your dentist.

3.      Eat (& Drink) Better

The most popular resolution each year is diet. We all want to look better, improve our physical appearance and become healthier. Your oral health effects the rest of your body and your appearance, and yet it is often forgotten when it comes to eating habits. Sure, we know sugar is bad and vegetables are good, but are you making sure you brush every time you drink a sugary drink or stain your teeth with coffee or red wine?

Avoiding certain food and drink in your diet isn’t the only thing you can do. Eating those vegetables, nuts, fruits and other foods with antioxidants helps to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria that can lead to gum disease. They also help with nutrition in most diets, as to not get in the way of shedding those extra pounds. Think of it as one more reason to get healthy this year!

4.      Curb Bad Habits

Nervous habits and addictions are bad for your teeth. Smoking for instance will stain your teeth, damage your gums and can cause oral cancer, and that’s just for starters. Coffee addicts will notice considerable staining to their teeth over time and if you chew your nails or lips you might find yourself with sores, increased risk of infection and damage to enamel.

Breaking a habit is always an uphill battle, but there’s no better time than the start of the new year. If you needed one more reason to drop the cigarettes, cut back on caffeine or find other ways to keep your hands busy and out of your mouth, your dental health is it. Cigarettes in particular, will be the biggest challenge and you can speak to your dentist for suggestions on breaking the chemical dependency over time. Dental friendly chewing gum is a great place to start in most cases.

5.      Get Your Oral Cancer Screening

Our dentists recommend an annual check-up for oral cancer. Every year thousands of people die from oral cancer and most of those cases are treatable if found early. When you visit, our dental care team will check for bumps and inflammation that may be an early sign of cancer. Oral cancer is on the rise due to HPV or the human papillomavirus. Screening only needs to be conducted annually but at the very least be sure to ask for a screening every few visits to the dentist.

6.      Set a Schedule

What is the single most important step in making dental health as a resolution stick? Sticking to the schedule of course. Not only do you need to set a personal, daily schedule for yourself and your family, but you’ll also need to set a schedule with your dentist. Every patient has different dental needs, but the average, healthy person should see the dentist for cleaning and an exam every six months, regardless of age.

Seeing a dentist regularly for smaller, routine care has proven to be more cost effective than waiting for restorative care. It’s especially worth considering a set schedule with your dentist if you have insurance benefits of some kind or if you are nervous about fillings or root canals. With a regular cleaning schedule at home that involves flossing, brushing and a healthy diet, visiting your dentist AT LEAST twice a year is the final and crucial piece to a perfect smile.

7.      Smile More

It might seem simple, but we don’t smile enough. Maybe you don’t smile because you’re shy or because you are self-conscious about your teeth. Maybe, like most of us, you don’t really remember to do it until it’s too late. Studies have shown how positive a smile can be on you and those around you. Smiling can improve productivity, energy and atmosphere at work. It can make shopping easier, and it can lead to social interaction you had closed yourself off to. If everyone made it their resolution to smile more, we could change that together.

 

Source: 123Dentist.com, Colgate.com

 

Bad Breath Remedy Plan for Holiday Parties

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Bad Breath Can Be Uncomfortable for You and Those Around You

There's so much to worry about at Christmas, from the presents to what you should wear to event - but we often forget about our breath.

Bad breath can not only be embarrassing but it can also be a sign of something more serious like gum disease.

Whether it’s rich food, office drinks or pre-party exercise, you'll be shocked to learn how lifestyle changes during the festive season can impact bad breath.

Horrified at mouth odor, many people immediately reach for the mints. But this can create a vicious cycle in which they eat more sugar, which creates more bacteria and more bad breath. And then they eat even more mints, exacerbating the problem. Here’s some tips to keep your breath smelling great for the festivities.

Eat Smart

We’re all tempted to eat more of the things that we shouldn’t over Christmas and often don’t realize the effect that constant grazing can have on our breath.

·        Beat the buffet: Be aware that Christmas party favorites like walnuts, brazil nuts, smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés can contribute to bad breath, as they provide a source of sulphur-producing bacteria which can cause oral odor. Other foods with sulphur-producing bacteria include dairy, meat, fish, egg, nuts and beans, so mix it up when you’re piling up your plate.

·        Pass the parsley: Christmas platters are filled with parsley and mint, so don’t leave them on the buffet table! Chew on a fresh sprig of parsley, as the chlorophyll in these green plants are a known breath deodorizer and neutralize odors.

·        Munch on Veggies: Vegetables can also help to keep your breath fresh. Carrots and celery are full of water and vitamin C that flush out your mouth and kill odor-causing bacteria. Head to the crudité table at the party to snack on the veggies between each breath-spoiling course.

·        Bite on a Lemon: Citrus fruit causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which acts as a cleaning agent to rinse away plaque and bacteria. If you find yourself in a smelly situation, ask for a lemon with your water. Bite into the lemon, and swish the juice around your mouth for a few seconds.

Brush Your Teeth

Before you head out to the party, make sure to brush your teeth to get rid of all the bacteria that you have accumulated throughout the day. Pay special attention to your tongue; a lot of foul-smelling bacteria like to hang out there. For office parties, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk at work so you can slip off to the bathroom before your office turns into a party zone.

Drink Water

When you have a dry mouth, it can make bad breath worse. Since alcoholic drinks are drying agents, they can exacerbate a bad breath problem. Sip on a glass of water in between each drink to stay hydrated. Bonus: This can also help to prevent hangovers caused by dehydration.

Chew Sugarless Gum

If you still can't shake that feeling that your breath smells terrible, or if you simply overdid it on the garlic, chew on a stick of sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum will not replace brushing your teeth, but it can cover up odors and increase saliva production to rinse away foul-smelling bacteria.

Source: Colgate.com, Express.CO.UK

 

 

 

Preventing Tooth Infection

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Getting to the Root of a Major Health Issue

A tooth infection starts simply enough from a cavity or by gingivitis (mild gum disease). Both conditions are easily treatable by your dentist, but if left unchecked can become serious health problems that can spread beyond complications in your mouth. Untreated cavities in a tooth will deepen and gum disease will spread. An abscess (an infection in the tooth’s root or between the gums) can develop and spread infection to the bone that supports the tooth.

If further left untreated the tooth infection can cause the bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and infect heart valves. This condition affects and weakens the valves, making them susceptible to infection and causing life-threatening conditions.

Types of Tooth Infections

A tooth infection can be very painful or grow in your mouth without any signs of discomfort. There are several types of dental infections depending upon the area of invasion.

Inside Your Tooth

It starts in the living pulp tissue inside your tooth and comes from decay (a cavity) or severe irritation resulting from chronic infection. The natural defense mechanism breaks down because the blood vessel which transports antibodies and white blood cells gets destroyed.

Therefore, when your tooth becomes infected, it will not recover, and the pulp tissue will die. The treatment for this condition is a root canal treatment. With a root canal treatment, the soft tissue inside your tooth is removed and replaced with a sealant material that keeps infection from seeping back into the tooth.

In Bone Surrounding the Tooth

A tooth abscess may or may not be painful; it is formed near the root of the tooth. When bacteria are in the bone, your body can fight them with antibodies and white blood cells.

The problem is that there is a constant supply of new bacteria to the region from the dead tissue inside your tooth. Your body may or may not be successful in walling off the infected area, so an abscess can go on for years without hurting. But the risk of damage is great. The abscess can grow and spread to surrounding roots of other teeth, and it can even cause the root of your tooth to be gradually dissolved.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Infection

See your dentist immediately if you notice:

Out of control presence of pus- a thick yellowish white material made up of living and dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue. The appearance of a pimple in your mouth is a huge red flag.

Pain when chewing.

Tooth movement.

Swelling of gums or cheeks.

Discoloration of tooth or gums.

Fever.

Bitter taste in the mouth.

 

What to Do Before You See Your Dentist

If you can’t get to your dentist immediately, you can manage the pain by:

Rinsing the mouth three or four times daily with a mixture of 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 liter warm water.

Applying cold packs to the cheek to minimize the pain.

 

Prognosis

Time is a big factor in whether a tooth is allowed to reach the point of infection. The longer the tooth sits with a problem, the higher chance that infection can occur and spread to become an abscess. Once a decayed, fractured, or sensitive tooth is noticed, taking the preventive steps to fix it early will help prevent bigger problems such as an abscessed tooth.

 

Treatments for Serious Infection and Abscessed Tooth

Draining the abscess - an incision is made into the swollen gum tissue.

Root Canal Therapy - removes infected area and seals the tooth from further damage.

Surgery - may be needed to remove the infected material from the bony tissue around the root.

Extraction - the tooth can’t be saved and will need to be removed.

If these systems and treatments don’t sound very nice (they’re not), consider ways to prevent these conditions. Most are obvious and easy ones.

 

Preventing Tooth Infection

Every day oral hygiene - Go figure, brushing and flossing twice daily are the first steps to preventing tooth infection.

Regularly scheduled dental check-ups and cleanings are important. A dentist can see things in your mouth during an exam that you can’t see every day. Hygienist deep cleanings every six months are strong deterrents to nasty infections.

Easy on the sweets - Sugar feeds bacteria that fuel the fire for infection.

Use fluoridated drinking water - Strengthens teeth against infection agents like plaque and tarter.

Replace your toothbrush every three months or before if the bristles are frayed - Infection causing bacteria can build-up on your toothbrush if not changed regularly.

 

Most infections cause dental pain, but many remain silent and painless for years. You can have this tooth problem without feeling the dental abscess and without a toothache. Make sure to see your dentist every six months to prevent infection, potentially costly treatments involved and the more serious conditions related to abscess.

 

Sources: worldental.org, mayoclinic.org

 

 

 

 

Gingivitis? Keep It Out of Your Mouth!

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

This Form of Periodontal Disease Can Lead to Inflammation and Infection…And Worse

Gingivitis is a word that many people have heard, but not a lot of people know what it is our why you don’t want it in your mouth. Why? Because gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease that produces inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).

Gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay.

If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.

The following raise your risk for gingivitis:

Poor dental hygiene

Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases

Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)

Uncontrolled diabetes

Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns). Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills.

Many people have some amount of gingivitis. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes. It may persist or recur frequently, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.

What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)

Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums

Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless

Mouth sores

 

Swollen gums

Shiny appearance to gums

How Do You Treat Gingivitis?

The goal is to reduce inflammation. The best way to do this is for your dentist or dental hygienist to clean your teeth twice per year or more frequently for severe cases of gum disease. They may use different tools to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Careful oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning. Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.

How Do You Prevent Gingivitis?

Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs to show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

Special devices may be recommended if you are prone to plaque deposits. They include special toothpicks, toothbrushes, water irrigation, or other devices. You still must brush and floss your teeth regularly. Antiplaque or anti-tartar toothpastes or mouth rinses may also be recommended.

Regular professional tooth cleaning is important to remove plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing. Lehigh Valley Smile Designs recommends having your teeth professionally cleaned at least every 6 months.

 

SOURCE: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia