Fight Kid’s Cavity Fright This Halloween

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Tricky Treats to Avoid and Good Oral Health Habits to Prevent Plaque

As the Halloween candy is being devoured, sugar and dental plaque can linger in the crevices in and between your child's teeth and cause cavities. Monitoring your child's sugar intake and ensuring regular brushing habits to remove plaque will help prevent tooth decay this Halloween and make your child's next visit to the dentist cavity-free.

Sugar has long been identified by oral health experts as a major cause of tooth decay and cavities. If not removed by brushing or some other means, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth form a colorless, sticky film called plaque. Cavity-causing microorganisms within plaque feed on sugar and turn it into acid. This acid attacks tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.

Guidelines for Your Trick or Treaters

Here are a few guidelines to safeguard your little pirate's teeth against decay this Halloween:

Don't buy Halloween candy too far in advance to avoid the temptation for children (and adults) to get a head start on the splurge.

When buying candy for Halloween, look for treats that can be eaten quickly, like miniature candy bars.

Try to ensure children eat a good, hearty meal prior to trick-or-treating, so there will be less temptation to gorge on candy.

Encourage your child to eat a small amount in one sitting followed by a glass of water and thorough tooth brushing. It is not a good idea to allow your child to graze on candy from after school until dinner time as this will increase the amount of time sugar comes in contact with teeth.

Promote good oral health care habits year-round to your children by encouraging twice daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing and getting regular dental checkups.

Beware of Hard or Sticky Candy

One of the worst types of candy in terms of your child’s oral health is hard or sticky candies like sugared fruit snacks, caramels, popcorn balls or lollipops. They are particularly damaging because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for teeth to break down. Plus, they can crack or chip a child’s tooth.

On the other hand, sweets like chocolate that quickly dissolve in the mouth and can be eaten easily lessen the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth

To help parents at Halloween, we offer a list of the most harmful to the safest treats your kids should be choosing from their trick-or-treat bag:

Sour Power – Sour candies are the absolute worst in that studies have revealed that the acids in sour candies are so destructive because they dissolve enamel on contact!

Hardly Harmless – Hard candy needs to be sucked on for an extended period of time and very chewy candies are harmful in that they get stuck between the teeth. Both hard and chewy candy allow bacteria to wreak havoc on your child’s teeth for a much longer period of time.

Resist Raisins – Don’t be fooled by their natural derivative. Raisins easily damage dental work because they are very sticky and do not mix well with fillings, braces or retainers.

Candy Bars Get Four Stars – While we can’t say candy bars are good for your oral health, they are less harmful because they are eaten quickly allowing less time for the sugar to damage with acid.

Dissolve Your Worry – Powder candy is fairly safe as the sugar dissolves quickly and makes little contact with the teeth.

Eat Two or Three if They’re Sugar Free – As obvious as it seems, sugar-free candy is the most highly recommended Halloween treat for your children’s teeth. You can even prevent cavities by chewing sugar free gum! Sugar free gum promotes increased saliva which neutralizes harmful bacteria.

 

Sources: DeltaDental.com

 

 

Vitamin Supplements – Can They Help or Hurt Your Teeth?

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Some Forms of Supplements Can Actually Harm Your Oral Health

Nutrition experts encourage daily supplementation of vitamin C for everyone. It protects against everything from sudden infant death syndrome (S.I.D.S) to scurvy, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer. Two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, recommended a whopping 3 grams of vitamin C every day for the average healthy male, and 6 grams for those at risk of heart disease. There are many methods of vitamin C supplementation, in the form of capsules, powders and syrups. For decades, parents have been providing their children with chewable vitamin C pills.

Chewable Pills and Citrus Toothpaste

Vitamin C is destructive to tooth enamel, so chewable pills may lead to increased cavities, particularly in those who are lacking minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin C should never be taken in a manner which leaves residues of it on the teeth for an extended time. Some well-intentioned toothpaste manufacturers have misguidedly added vitamin C or "citrus" to their formulas, without realizing the dental problems that this presents. Similarly, some alternative medicine sites on the Internet recommend cleaning the teeth with lemon-based solutions. Citrus acids have the tendency to make the teeth feel clean. This occurs partly because the acid strips the teeth of everything, including the minerals bonding with them. It can cause long-term enamel damage; especially when it is combined with abrasives or stiff bristle brushes.

Vitamin C when taken internally actually strengthens teeth, and the rest of the body. However, it should never be kept in direct contact with the teeth. It is strongly recommended for those who are brushing their teeth with citrus formulas to discontinue immediately. Toothpastes which contain calcium carbonate are ideal for long-term dental health and for tooth whiteness. Toothpastes containing phosphorus (phosphates) are even better.

Fizzy Vitamin Supplements

We know that sugar-filled juices and canned drinks such as cola and lemonade can cause tooth decay - yet few of us would think fizzy vitamin preparations can have similar effects. However, a study at the University of Helsinki on eight types of effervescent vitamins found they could all have corrosive effects on teeth. 

Leaching out the minerals contained in teeth, they left them weaker, more porous and prone to decay.

In the research, teeth were soaked in the vitamin drinks for 100 hours. All of them - including those drinks that contained calcium - caused demineralization. The effects were worst in the Vitamin C products, where teeth were corroded so severely that dentine, the sensitive layer beneath the enamel was exposed.

“When you drink fizzy vitamins, you wouldn't expose your teeth for anything near this length of time,” says Dr. Mervyn Druian, spokesperson for the British Dental Association. “However, if you drink one of these dissolved tablets each day, it is likely that they would weaken your teeth.”

Citric acid, the primary ingredient of many fizzy vitamin drinks, has been found by researchers at the University of Baltimore Dental School to cause dental erosion. While this erosion is less than in drinks that also contain sugar, it is still significant.

“Dental erosion is caused by acidic solutions which come into contact with the teeth,” says Dr. Adam Thorne, dental surgeon at the Harley Street Dental Studio. “Because the critical pH of dental enamel is 5.5, any solution with a lower pH value may cause erosion, particularly over a long period or if it is taken regularly.”

The danger of these soluble vitamins is that they are marketed for daily use and consumers tend to take them with breakfast and brush their teeth shortly after. “For an hour after you have an acidic drink such as a fizzy vitamin, cola or apple juice, your tooth enamel will remain softened,” says Dr. Thorne. “During this period, teeth become more vulnerable to corrosion, sensitivity and decay. Vitally, if you brush your teeth during this time, you are likely to brush away a layer of tooth enamel.”

How Can You Protect Your Teeth from the Effect of Chewable or Fizzy Supplements?

The strength of teeth changes continually over the course of a day, with minerals being taken out and replaced according to the foods you eat and drink. “Whenever we have an acidic drink, minerals are leached out of the teeth to help neutralize the acid. Saliva is slightly alkaline, so it also has a neutralizing effect,” says Dr. Druian.

“After a few hours, the neutralizing action of saliva takes over, and calcium and other minerals are gradually put back in the teeth.”

Dairy products such as cheese and milk have an alkaline pH that help neutralize acids. They also contain minerals. Eating these after an acid drink will help reduce acid levels and re-mineralize teeth at a faster rate. 

“Don't brush your teeth for at least an hour and don't swish the fizzy vitamin drink around your mouth,” states Dr. Durian. “You can also chew some sugar-free gum to increase the flow of saliva. Ultimately, if you are worried about the effects of these vitamins on your mouth, drink them through a straw or switch to a vitamin pill.”

Sources: KnowYourTeeth.com, HealthWyze.org, DailyMail.co.uk

 

 

 

Beating Bad Breath

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Are You Among the More Than 80 Million People Who Suffer?

Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodor) can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Some people don't realize their breath could peel paint because others are afraid to tell them. You don’t have to distance the people around you with smelly mouth odor.

Do You Have Bad Breath?

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur -- or worse.

Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.

Not sure if your breath is bad? The best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other, "'Does my breath smell?” Because it's really hard to tell on your own. There's also another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it.

If your toothbrush or floss smells bad, then there are foul odors in your mouth.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You'll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth (xerostomia).

If you’ve eliminated medical causes for your bad breath, hit the kitchen for some bad breath battlers.

 

Try these Bites for Better Breath

Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.

Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth- freshening burst of flavor. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath.

Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. The chlorophyll in these green plants neutralizes odors.

Rinse with a 30-second mouthwash that is alcohol-free (unike many off-the-shelf products). Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda (which changes the pH level and fights odor in the mouth) and a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. Don’t swallow it! (Yields several rinses.)

Moisten your mouth. You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don't make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.

 

Crunch Your Way to Better Breath

Try this recipe from The Remedy Chicks (Linda B. White MD, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell-Grogan) from EveryDayHealth.com.

Raw crunchy foods clean the teeth. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors and promotes saliva production. Cinnamon is antimicrobial. Active cultures in yogurt help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

1 cup apple chunks
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup diced celery
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crushed walnuts
3 to 5 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
Ground cinnamon

PREPARATION AND USE: Mix the apple, carrot, celery, cranberries, and walnuts together in a large bowl. Add yogurt by the tablespoon to moisten the mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Serves two.)

 

Avoid Foods That Sour Your Breath.

Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn't help.

“The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out,” says Richard Price, DMD, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

The best way to stop the problem? Don't eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.

 

Take Care of Your Mouth

Keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular oral care. Gum disease and tooth decay causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

Brush your teeth twice a day.

Floss daily.

Brush or scrape your tongue.

Visit your dentist.

The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.

 

 

Sources: ADA, Web MD, Delta Dental, EveryDayHealth.com

 

 

7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know About

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Wonderful Ways Smiling Makes Life Better

Smiling and laughing can have a positive impact on your well-being, but as you make the transition from child to adult, you often tend to lose the habit of indulging in these behaviors. A good example of this is a children’s playground: You often see the kids running around, constantly laughing and smiling as they enjoy living in the moment, while the parents sit around the edge, full of the stresses that modern life can bring, with the occasional grin breaking their otherwise serious facial expressions. Adults can benefit from taking a lead from children and making more room in life for smiling and laughter.

In addition to improved health, these simple facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a distinctive positive impact on all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, mostly without you being consciously aware of it happening.

1. Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile.

These are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face, which is interpreted by your brain, which in turn releases these chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lower stress levels. Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thing—the brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way. This is known as the facial feedback hypothesis. The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical the more often we feel happier and relaxed.

2. Endorphins make us feel happier and less stressed.

They also act as the body’s natural pain killers. For sufferers of chronic pain, laughing and smiling can be very effective in pain management, as can laughing off the pain when you bump an elbow or fall over.

3. While the release of endorphins is increased, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced.

Cortisol is more active when we feel stressed or anxious and contributes to the unpleasant feelings we experience, and by lowering it we can reduce these negative feelings.

4. Laughing expands the lungs, stretches the muscles in the body and stimulates homeostasis.

This exercises the body, replenishing the cells from a lungful of oxygen and gaining all the benefits of exercising the body.

5. A good laugh can be an effective way to release emotions.

A good laugh can help you release emotions, especially those emotions that you might bottle up inside. Everything looks that little bit better after a good laugh and life can be seen from a more positive perspective. Smiling and laughing have positive social implications as well.

6. Smiling is an attractive expression, which is more likely to draw people to you rather than push them away.

Smiling makes you appear more approachable. Interaction with others is easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughs are shared, and these behaviors are contagious, making others feel better too, and make you a more appealing and attractive person to be around. This in turn will have a positive effect on your well-being.

7. A happy, positive expression will serve you well in life.

This is particularly true for challenging situations such as job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations. This will also be of benefit in your career, building healthy relationships with colleagues and being seen in a favorable light by your employers.

Source: LifeHack.org

 

 

 

Five Signs of a Healthy Mouth

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A Quick Home Oral Health Check and What to Be On the Lookout For

With just a few minutes of exploring your teeth, gums, tongue, and lips -- as well as the lining of your cheeks - you could learn something important about your health. Here's five signs of good oral health and what you should look for:

Healthy Gums

Scan your gums. They should be pink and firm to the touch, not red or white, and not swollen or tender.  Teeth should be seated firmly and should not feel wiggly or loose.  Gums should sit flush with the teeth, with no flaps, pockets, or places where they appear to be receding from the tooth.  Flossing daily helps to keep gums healthy, and prevent pockets and places for bacteria to collect and cause damage, decay, and bad breath.

Puffy, red, inflamed gums can signal any number of things. You may simply be brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with too-stiff bristles. Or you may be flossing improperly and irritating your gums. But, typically, red and inflamed gums are a classic sign of gingivitis, the first step toward periodontal disease. Healthy gums are a leading indicator of a healthy body. 

Strong Teeth & Dental Restorations

Check out your chops. Check your teeth for strength and condition, including teeth that have restorations such as fillings or teeth with crowns including dental implants. Grinding or clenching (bruxism) is a common issue that can increase the wear on teeth and restorations, including teeth with fillings.

Have you noticed any tooth discoloration or pitting? These can be early signs of decay. Gaps and growing spaces between teeth can cause trouble with your bite, too.

Pleasant or Neutral Breath

Take a breath test. A healthy mouth means naturally pleasant or neutral breath.  You can test this easily at home.  Floss between a couple of your teeth, or scrape your tongue with a fingernail and take a sniff.  This is a more realistic sense of what your breath may smell like once toothpaste and mouthwash have faded for the day.  The presence of bacteria and food particles is directly related to persistent bad breath.  Bad breath can also be an indicator of other health issues such as diabetes, and even sinus issues.  The best possible way to keep your breath pleasant is with good brushing and flossing habits.

Proper Jaw Alignment & Tooth Spacing

Bare your bite. Do your teeth meet like they used to, or are they getting more crowded? Crooked, crowded teeth may be harder to clean properly. Teeth that are straight and aligned properly are much easier to brush and floss, meaning better breath and fewer places for cavities or gum disease to develop with proper home care.  Crowding, also known as a “malocclusion,” can impact chewing and normal digestion, and may be related to bruxism (clenching or grinding), gum disease, jaw disorders such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), migraines or other neurological symptoms, and even the overall shape of your face. 

Healthy Oral Tissues

Stick out your tongue. Healthy oral tissues are often pink, firm and moist. If you have low iron, your tongue might look a little inflamed. A sluggish thyroid may cause your tongue to thicken. And a fungal infection can show up as white patches on your tongue. Look for lumps, ulcers, bleeding, and sores, too. They could indicate something mild -- like a viral infection -- or something much rarer but serious, like tongue cancer.

Check your cheeks. Look at the mucous membrane lining your mouth and the inside of your lips for signs of irritation, which can appear as white or gray patches (called leukoplakia) or red patches (called erythroplakia). Irritation in and of itself may not be harmful. But it could indicate anything from a rough tooth or filling that's rubbing against your cheek to something more serious, such as a precancerous lesion. Also, don't ignore canker sores. These small, shallow ulcers are usually harmless but can be painful. And if one persists for more than 10 days or returns frequently, it may signal a vitamin deficiency, a bacterial infection, or even an inflammatory bowel disease.

Let a Pro Take a Peek

Of course, you shouldn't count on your own eyes to determine whether your mouth is showing signs of disease. And you don't want to wait for an obvious problem before you see a medical professional. So see your dentist twice a year. Decay, as well as tiny cracks or other issues with teeth and restorations may not always be visible to the naked eye.  Dental x-rays and a thorough exam may help detect issues before they become painful and often more difficult to treat. If you've noticed anything odd in there, bring it up. But trouble may be brewing long before you notice it - and can occur in places where you can't see - so you need to call in the experts for a look, too.

 

Sources: WebMD, ShareCare.com

 

Smoothies for Your Smile

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What You Eat and Drink Can Deteriorate or Fortify Teeth

Not all smoothies are created equally. It is very easy to make a smoothie that is loaded with sugar, and while it may taste good, can contribute to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and an array of other health problems.

Here’s three great smoothies for a healthy and happy smile:

The Super Bright Smile Smoothie

This smoothie will not only make you smile because it tastes great, but it will also give your entire mouth a healthy boost. The apples in this recipe contain as much fiber as a whole serving of bran cereal. Apples are also mildly acidic, so they act as an astringent by gently killing bacteria and whitening teeth.

Avocados are also great for your smile, containing an average of 18mg of calcium ensuring that your teeth stay strong. They’re also packed with vitamin B6, another essential nutrient for good oral health.
The mint leaves aren’t there just for good looks! They’re natural breath fresheners and have been shown to whiten teeth as well.

3 Apples

2 Kiwis

1 Avocado

1 Orange

3 Mint Leaves

The Healthy Gums Smoothie

This smoothie is great for maintaining healthy gum tissues because of the high levels of Vitamin C found in the kiwi and mixed berries. Kiwis contain more vitamin C than any other fruit for their size, including the Vitamin C packed orange. But just in case, we’ve added an orange to this recipe as well! Research has shown that high levels of vitamin C is essential for healthy gums and helps to fight off periodontal disease.

The creamy consistency of this smoothie comes from the addition of Greek yogurt, which is itself a dental super food. A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those that consumed the most yogurt. Yogurt has also been shown to strengthen teeth and fight bad breath.

1 Kiwi

1 Banana

½ Cup Frozen Berries

1 Cup Strawberries

½ Cup Orange

8 oz. Greek Yogurt

The Tooth Strengthening Smoothie

Like the previous smoothie, this great tasting snack contains a huge amount of Vitamin C. But the real tooth strengthening benefits come from manganese, which is found in high quantities in pineapple. Manganese is a trace element that helps to build strong bones. One serving of this smoothie gives you a full daily supply of recommended manganese.

There is one important item to note, however. The high acid level of pineapple along with the sweetness of added honey means that you shouldn’t neglect your regular brushing routine just because the nutrients in this smoothie are good for your teeth. Of course, you’re careful to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, right?

2/3 of 1 Whole Pineapple
1 ½ Tbs. Honey
1 Peach
½ Cup Frozen Pineapple/ Mango
1 Banana
1 Orange

 

 

Sources: HealthySmoothieHQ.com, IncredibleSmoothies.com

 

 

5 Dental Apps That Will Keep Your Oral Health on Track

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Mobile Apps That Keep Your Smile Bright and Mouth Clean

Many mobile dental applications are available free, others are free to download but require a paid upgrade or annual subscription for full functionality, and some apps must be purchased. Fees can be as nominal as 99 cents or range into the hundreds of dollars. According to WebMD, as well as countless other reliable medical resources, medical professionals constantly find direct links with dental health and heart health. If you need a little help keeping up on your dental health, need some help managing your plan or meds, or just would like to know more in general about keeping your mouth clean, check out these helpful apps.

eProcrates Rx

Dental patients with prescriptions find the most benefit from this app. With eProcrates Rx, you get a free mobile clinical reference library. You’ll find a drug guide, drug interaction checker, and information on drug formulas. It constantly updates and gives relevant medical news. You can download versions that include other types of information, such as alternative medicines, insurance codes, diagnostic tests, disease diagnosis and a medical dictionary, but that extra information costs anywhere from $99 to $199 per year. One of the best parts about this app is that it tells you dosage information, interactions, and contraindications.

iRomexis

iRomexis offers a comprehensive image viewer for the iPad that works with both 2D and 3D images. It can display any image it gets from Planmeca X-ray units. With great resolution, you can take your X-rays to your home to look at as well as any other professional for a consultation. You can share the images on this map to any mobile device, meaning you can zoom and measure the images, as well as adjust the brightness and contrast, and take a snapshot of any angle.

DDS GP

Like iRomexis, DDS GP designers made the app with dentists in mind. It’s designed to help dentists and patients make a dental treatment plan for their diagnosis. It’s great if you want to fully understand your diagnosis and do the best you can to treat it and prevent any further issues. You’ll find a plethora of topics spanning the dental industry, as well as a drawing board. Bring this app or suggest it to your dentist and see what they come up with. It’s a great source of information.

Lexi-Dental Complete

Lexi-Dental Complete gives you a full library filled with dental resources. These resources include drug information and effects, patient resources, photos of dental procedures and conditions, information on diagnostic procedures, natural product information, Stedman’s Medical Dictionary and a dental office emergency handbook. Though it lands on the pricey side, you can download it for a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, you’ll have to shell out $285 annually; a reasonable price considering the resources available.

If you’re not satisfied with that, you can also try checking out Kool Smiles’ information on their website, dedicated to helping spread dental care and education globally. They focus on the dental divide, with a goal to even the playing field and allow everybody the same access to dental health. They spend millions of dollars every year towards providing free dental services for those who can’t afford to pay for it.

My Smile

This simple little app allows you to compare your smile to a 15-shade tooth palate, letting you know where your teeth fall in the range of colors. Just keep in mind when using the app that the quality, angle, and lighting of the photo you use have an effect on where you’ll land on the chart. It works best as a relative scale.

Remember, no matter how you do it, it’s important to keep up on your dental health. Find what method works for you; just make sure you don’t slack on cleaning your mouth. After all, you do use it to kiss people.

 

Sources: WorlDental.org, WebMD

 

5 Tips for a Healthy Mouth and a Beautiful Smile

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Do You Think a Beautiful Smile Happens Naturally? It Doesn’t.

Brushing, flossing and rinsing are the ABCs of oral health, but they're only the beginning. A marvelous mouth takes more than squeezing paste out of a tube - think about improving your tooth brushing technique, ditching the daily soda habit, and saying good-bye to cigarettes. Here are five ways to a fantastic smile from the team at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs.

Brush Twice a Day for two to three minutes with fluoridated toothpaste. Practice proper technique. Although you probably know you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, if you're like most people, you don't give much thought to how to do it. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointed toward the gum line, and use gentle, short, circular motions. Brush each tooth 10 to 15 times, but don't overdo it. Overly aggressive brushing can damage teeth and erode your gum line.

Floss Daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can't reach. It's simple: Flossing fosters healthier teeth and gums. But like brushing, there's a right and wrong way because flaws in your flossing can cause friction and damage the gum line. Wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, keeping about two inches between your fingers to work with. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth, and keep the floss tight against the tooth to break up plaque while leaving your gums in good shape.

Eat a Healthy Diet to provide the nutrients necessary to prevent gum disease. The best way to maintain a healthy mouth is by eating a healthy diet. Be sure to include nutritious foods that offer vitamins A through E for healthy gums. In addition, eat crunchy fruits and vegetables to help clean your teeth. Even eating pineapple can lessen stains on teeth. Cut back on sugar which is a major culprit in tooth decay. It fuels bacteria and acidity in your mouth, causing plaque to form and eat away at your enamel and gums. Your pearly whites are hit with up to 20 minutes of acid production for every sugar fest you indulge in, from sweetened coffee in the morning to ice cream at night. To avoid being among the 20% of people in the United States who face tooth decay every time they look in the mirror, try to cut down on sugary treats.

Avoid Tobacco Use, which may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer. You've heard it before: Quit smoking. But this time, it's your dentist talking. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes not only turn your teeth an unsightly shade of yellow, they eat away at your gums. Smoking creates a ripe environment for bacteria and plaque on your teeth and along the gum line. That harms tissue, degrades the bone that supports teeth, and, eventually, increases your risk of tooth loss. Even worse, tobacco chemicals can lead to oral cancer.

Regular Dental Checkups are the surest way to detect early signs of periodontal disease. If you're prone to ditching the dentist, you're among the roughly 50% of adults in the United States who don't see a dentist yearly because of dental phobia, finances, or just plain neglect. But spend some quality time with your dentist (twice a year, the American Dental Association advises), and you'll catch problems at an early stage when they're treatable, not to mention more affordable to take care of. Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment. Provide your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs with a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health.

Sources: Delta Dental, WebMD

 

 

Are Your Wisdom Teeth Impacted?

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See Your Dentist If You Experience Any of These Problems

When your wisdom teeth start to emerge it can definitely be painful, but it can be even worse if your wisdom teeth become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are trying to erupt but are unable to do so because there is not sufficient room for them to emerge. This usually means that your wisdom teeth are painfully lodged in your jawbone.

Not everyone decides to take the immediate removal route, so knowing the potential of dangerously impacted wisdom teeth is important; they could damage adjacent teeth, lead to gum disease or tooth decay and even cause cysts to develop. While there are not always noticeable signs of impacted wisdom teeth, these are a few of the warning symptoms that could indicate the need for dental intervention:

Jaw Pain

While there are many different dental issues that can cause jaw pain, the discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain through the jaw and into the skull, often resulting in terrible headaches. The pain could be more intense while chewing, especially if the pain shoots to the back of the mouth or into nearby teeth. The jaw pain could also lead to swelling of the entire jaw area. This can indicate an especially dangerous impaction, as the tooth may be causing infection or damage to the nerves around it. A visibly swollen jaw line is a definitive way to tell that something is wrong with the tooth.

Sore or Bleeding Gums

Impacted wisdom teeth can be a very serious affliction, and a person’s overall dental health may begin to deteriorate. Because jaw and tooth pain often extends throughout the entire area, the gums can also be affected. Sore or bleeding gums, especially when the bleeding occurs with very little provocation, is a definite sign that something is going wrong with the teeth. Tenderness and swollen gums in the back of the mouth generally indicate that the problem is in the wisdom teeth area.

Bad Tastes and Smells

When wisdom teeth are impacted, bacteria often becomes trapped in the soft folds of the teeth and gums. This bacteria grows rapidly in dark, damp areas, such as the back of the mouth, and infections may begin. These infections can fester, potentially leading to cysts and decay. A person experiencing tooth decay or excessive bacteria will notice a bad taste in his or her mouth, even while chewing other food. In addition, it can lead to exceptionally bad breath that may be noticed by other people.

Other possible but less common signs of impacted wisdom teeth may include:


Shooting pain in the back of the mouth
Swollen glands
Difficulty opening the mouth
Ongoing earaches

Because impacted wisdom teeth can cause many complications, including irreversibly damaged nerves and necessary orthodontia, it is important that these warning signs be taken very seriously. Allowing the damage to continue without dental intervention can be very dangerous to overall health, so an appointment should be scheduled as soon as any of these potential symptoms are observed.

 

Source: DentalInsurance.com, WebMD

 

 

Decisions, Decisions: Dentures, Bridges or Dental Implants?

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Each Option has Pros and Cons Depending on the Health of Your Teeth and Your Budget

Nearly 70% of adults aged 35 to 44 years in the United States have at least one missing tooth due to an accident, tooth decay, gum disease, or dental fractures, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. But there’s no need to go through life with missing teeth. These days, many good alternatives are available. Your missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants, bridges or dentures.

Dentures

Dentures, partial or complete, replace either the bottom arch or the top arch of your mouth. Dentures are false teeth, and although their quality has improved, they’re not ideal for everyone. If not secured with denture adhesive, dentures might slip out of place while eating or speaking, which is embarrassing, and partial dentures might promote infection and decay in other teeth if they aren’t fitted properly, which may increase the risk that you would need a tooth filling on the abutment (adjoining) tooth. That said, dentures may be the best choice for people whose gums and jaw are weak or unhealthy.

Bridges

A bridge is a dental restoration that spans an area that has no teeth and is connected to natural teeth at each end. A typical bridge consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two surrounding abutments or crowns. After completion, this bridge structure is then bonded into the mouth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants feel and function just like your natural teeth. They are permanent fixtures of titanium posts, which are anchored to the jawbone and topped with individual replacement teeth or a bridge that screws or cements into the posts.

With good oral hygiene, dental implants can last for 20 years or more without the need for replacement. Dental implants are often a popular choice for people who have only one or two teeth missing, but they can be an alternative to dentures if you have several missing teeth. As long as your gums and jaw are healthy, two or more implants can serve as a base of support for several replacement teeth.

Some Questions to Ask:

1.      How healthy is my mouth?

Your oral health is the primary factor that determines which treatments are even possible. While dentures are a viable solution for virtually everyone, dental implants are only recommended for individuals with a strong jaw and healthy gums due to the invasive surgery required for the procedure.

2.      What does my budget allow?

Because surgery is involved, dental implants are more expensive than dentures, but are a more permanent solution. A complete set of dentures will be much more affordable, but usually requires reshaping or replacement over time. If only one or two teeth are missing, partial dentures could be an alternative, and this is even less expensive.

3.      Am I willing to undergo surgery?

Neither procedure happens overnight, but dental implants do require surgery and a longer treatment period. While dentures can take up to several weeks from point of examination to impressions, molding and fitting, dental implants require drilling into the jaw and healing time for the implant to fuse with the bone. It can also take up to several months before the prosthetic is fixed onto the implant.

Initial discomfort is not uncommon for both procedures, as your mouth gets acclimated to its new teeth.

4.      How much does maintenance matter?

Dental implants require minimal care aside from regular brushing and flossing, which is a big advantage of this treatment. Dentures, however, can cause infection and decay in other teeth if improperly fitted and/or if proper hygiene is not followed. Regular rinsing, brushing and soaking dentures overnight are additional steps you will need to add to your daily routine. Other issues that often challenge patients with dentures are damaged clasps, cracks, as well as looseness due to gradual bone loss.

5.      Are the cosmetic differences that come with implants worth it for me?

While everyone has a different experience with dentures, common complaints include clicking noises, constant shifting or slipping (which can impair chewing and speech), a difference in taste, and bad breath.

Dental implants, on the other hand, restore the ability to chew and speak as efficiently as one would with natural teeth, without the bulky feeling commonly reported by patients with dentures. For those who want to get closer to real teeth in terms of form, function and comfort, this more than justifies the investment required for dental implants.

Regardless of which treatment you choose, replacing missing teeth boosts your oral health, improves your smile, and can help increase your confidence. Get further guidance and details on each procedure during your next check-up, or consider scheduling a separate appointment altogether for an in-depth consultation.

 

Sources: Perio.org, WebMD.com, OralB.com