When You Brush Your Teeth, Do Your Gums Bleed?

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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?

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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

 

Top Tips to Make Travel Less Stressful on Your Oral Health

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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

 

Healthy Resolutions for a Brighter Smile in 2019

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Are New Year’s resolutions a waste of time or a great idea? Well, if you’re one of the eight percent of people who actually follow through annually on their New Year’s resolutions, then it’s a great idea. For the rest of you…well, maybe not so much. But part of the problem with New Year’s resolutions failing is that many of them are too difficult to stick with.

But we’ve got nine New Year’s resolutions for you that could have a significant impact on your oral health in 2019 AND are actually accomplishable.

Practice the 2x2+1 Program

If you commit to following the 2x2+1 program – which means brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once daily - your oral health will improve in 2019. To help you to remember to floss, stick your floss container if front of your toothbrush or toothpaste so that you have to pick it up to get at your toothpaste or toothbrush. Also, be sure to keep a container of floss at work, in your car, and in your purse (if you carry one) so that you always have the option to floss on the go. 

Your Teeth Are Meant for Food

Your teeth are meant for chewing food, not opening plastic packaging or tearing off bottle caps. They are also not designed for chewing on hard pencils, ice, popcorn kernels, or hard candy. If you do those thing regularly, you will eventually chip or crack a tooth – which could eventually require a root canal! 

Go Sugar Free If You Chew Gum

If you like to chew gum, then switch your sugar-soaked gum for a sugar-free brand. There are innumerable flavors of sugar-free gum, and you’ll get a bonus if you pick one that has xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that reduces plaque. Another bonus is that chewing sugar-free gum produces saliva in your mouth, which helps wash away particles of food and acid from your teeth. 

Grab A New Toothbrush Every 90 Days

Take a cue from the old adage “out with the old, in with the new” as you get ready for 2019 – toss your used toothbrush for a new one. As you move forward into 2019, be sure to toss your toothbrush for a new one every 90 days. In fact, put it on your calendar so you’ll be sure to be successful with your “new toothbrush” resolution.

Lower Your Sugar Consumption

One of the most significant ways you can reduce your chances of tooth decay is by reducing your sugar consumption. Start 2019 by cutting back on the number of sugary treats you purchase. But be sure to give yourself alternatives for your favorite sugar-packed foods and beverages. Why not drink sparkling water with a twist of lime instead of soda, or chew a piece 0f sugar-free gum with xylitol when you have a sugar-craving. 

Lose the Habit

Are you a smoker? If you are, then you are doubling your risk of gum disease – and increasing your risk of an assortment of other health problems. So pick a date to stop your unhealthy habit, purge your home of all tobacco, and seek support from your friends and family for this difficult – but necessary – choice. Also, think about starting – or restarting – a healthy activity or hobby that will take you mind off the habit you are trying to kick.

Embrace Fluoride

One of the most important ways to prevent cavities and tooth decay is by drinking fluoridated water. Fluoride makes your teeth more resistant to attacks from acid in your mouth. Remember, acid is what leads to tooth decay. Most bottled waters don’t contain fluoride, whereas tap water does contain fluoride. You can boost your fluoride by being sure to use toothpaste with fluoride, and getting a fluoride treatment each time you visit your dentist for a hygiene visit and checkup.

You Are What You Eat

Many oral health problems are linked to eating an unhealthy diet. Your entire immune system can be affected by poor nutrition, which can lead to increased susceptibility to periodontal disease (gum disease) and other oral issues. The body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation in your teeth and gums is boosted by the nutrients (especially antioxidants) found in vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes. Raw fruits and vegetables that are crisp - such as carrots, apples and celery - add a bonus to your oral health because they help clean plaque from teeth and freshen your breath.

Visit Your Dentist - Regularly

Seeing your dentist every six months for a hygiene visit and checkup is a critical part of a good oral health program. If you don’t have a visit scheduled, be sure to get one on your calendar in January and then make your next appointment at the end of that visit to the dentist. If you are having issues like sensitive teeth or bleeding gums, don’t wait for your twice-a-year visit – make an appointment right away.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate

Hints to Fresh Breath for Holiday Parties

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The holiday season is stressful enough without having to worry about bad breath at the inevitable holiday parties and family get-togethers that feature rich foods and seasonal beverages. But you can reduce the odds of being burdened with holiday halitosis by following these tips.

Brush Your Teeth – And Your Tongue

For most people, it’s second nature to brush their teeth prior to attending a party or get-together. After all, all those pesky bacteria that hang around on your teeth and gums are removed by a thorough brushing. But don’t forget your tongue – it’s also a favorite place for icky-smelling bacteria to hang out. For work parties, be sure to keep a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste in your desk or locker at work so you can be minty fresh before the party. Colgate Wisps and FLIX Interdental sticks are also good solutions for on-the-go cleaning of your teeth and tongue.

Be A Smart Eater

The holiday season features lots of grazing on delectable foods at parties. All that grazing can leave you with a perpetual case of bad breath during the holidays. Here’s some simple tips to avoid that problem.

Beware the Buffet: Certain foods provide a source of sulphur-producing bacteria, which can cause stinky breath. The main culprits are brazil nuts, walnuts, smoked salmon, eggs, beans, and cream cheese. Eat them in small quantities and be sure to graze on other foods that don’t fall into the sulphur-producing category.

Pursue Parsley: Don’t think of parsley and mint as decorations on a holiday platter. Grab a sprig or two and munch on them – the chlorophyll in them is a proven breath deodorizer and odor neutralizer.

Have A Veggie: Vegetables are chock-full of water and Vitamin C, and both are effective bacteria fighters. The water helps flush out your mouth and Vitamin C kills odor-causing bacteria. So be sure to grab a handful of veggies periodically when grazing.

Look for a Lemon: Lemons – and other citrus fruits – kick start your mouth into producing more saliva. And that’s good, since saliva rinses away bacteria and plaque. Add a slice of lemon to your water, or even better, take a bite of lemon and swish the juice around in your mouth.

Drink Lots of Water

A dry mouth worsens bad breath, and alcoholic drinks just exacerbate the bad breath since they dry out your mouth. So keep a glass of water handy if you decide to have an alcoholic drink and sip from it periodically. It will keep your mouth – and your body – hydrated (and help you prevent a hangover).

Keep Sugarless Gum Handy

If you feel like you overdid it on onions or garlic, or your breath still smells foul, grab a stick of sugarless gum to chew. It will provide a double bonus by increasing saliva production in your mouth to rinse away bad-smelling bacteria and cover up odors.

Source: Colgate.com, Express.CO.UK

Tips to Keeping Your Smile Bright For a Lifetime

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