Eating Disorders Versus Oral Health

WHEN WE THINK of the damage that eating disorders can do, we probably first think of the psychological toll and life-threatening malnutrition. However, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia can also be very hard on the oral health of those who struggle with them. Healthy teeth and gums require a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in addition to regular brushing and flossing, so not eating well or enough is a serious problem. How Malnutrition Harms Oral Tissues Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extremely limited food intake, which may be paired with compulsive exercising, purging, or even both. The way anorexia harms oral health is through malnutrition. The bones of the jaw can develop osteoporosis without sufficient nutrients, which increases the risk of tooth loss. Without enough fluids, the salivary glands can’t produce enough saliva, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth makes both tooth decay and gum disease more likely because

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Pregnancy’s Impact on Oral Health

AN EXPECTANT MOTHER goes through many changes during pregnancy beyond the baby bump and some funny cravings. Unfortunately, some of the changes to oral health are not especially pleasant. Pregnancy Gingivitis and Hormones No matter how exciting and hectic pregnancy can be, never let it get in the way of daily brushing and flossing, because pregnancy is a time when the gums are especially vulnerable to gingivitis. As many as two in five pregnant women have gum disease, which leaves their gums tender and swollen. Studies have even linked pregnancy gingivitis with premature delivery and lower birth weights, so fight back with daily flossing and a soft-bristled toothbrush! Morning Sickness and Enamel Erosion One of the more common (and certainly more well known) pregnancy symptoms is morning sickness. It’s an unpleasant enough symptom to deal with on its own, but when we aren’t careful, it can have compounding effects on our teeth.

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Tooth Sensitivity: Causes and Treatments

NOTHING RUINS A COZY mug of hot cocoa faster than the jolt of pain from sensitive teeth. As many as one in eight people in the U.S. deal with tooth sensitivity, including kids! What causes it and what can we do to protect our teeth? Understanding Dental Anatomy In a healthy tooth, there is the protective outer layer of enamel, then the porous, bony middle layer of dentin, and finally the pulp chamber at the center, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The way the nerves in the pulp chamber get sensory input (for things like pressure and temperature) is through the thousands of microscopic tubules that run through the dentin. Too Much Sensory Input When the protective enamel layer wears away, the tubules in the dentin become exposed, and the nerves suddenly get much more stimulation than they like. This is what makes enamel erosion one of the main causes of tooth

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Oral Health in Cold and Flu Season

WHAT DOES A TOOTHBRUSH have to do with cold and flu season? More than you’d think! It’s never fun to battle a cold or a bout of flu, but that’s no reason to slack off on taking care of our teeth and gums. Feel Better Through Dental Hygiene It can feel like a lot of work to keep up with brushing and flossing when we’re not feeling well, but it’s worth it. Maintaining these simple daily habits is still important. They help us feel more normal, refreshed, and rejuvenated, and when we feel unwell, they can give us a small sense of accomplishment that does a lot for our overall sense of wellbeing. And getting rid of more oral bacteria can only help by giving your immune system less work to do! Stuffy Noses Can Lead to Cavities? Indirectly, not being able to breathe through our noses does make us more vulnerable

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Smoking Versus Kids’ Oral Health

THE FIRST NEGATIVE health effect we usually think of in connection to smoking is lung cancer, but it actually harms every system in the body, and oral health is no exception. Smoking (or any kind of tobacco consumption, including chewing tobacco and vaping) is a serious risk factor for a lot of oral health problems. As parents, we want to do everything we can to make sure our kids and teens steer clear of this harmful habit and the problems that come with it. How Smoking Affects Oral Health Some of the major ways smoking can impact oral health, according to the ADA, are causing chronic bad breath, staining the teeth and tongue, dulling the senses of taste and smell, harming the gum tissue (even to the point of gum recession), eroding the enamel, increasing the risk of gum disease and oral cancer, and causing bone and tooth loss. Is Vaping a

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Are Oral Piercings Worth the Risks?

WHY WOULD DENTAL health professionals want to weigh in on oral piercings? There aren’t many fashion choices that impact oral health, but this one does. The unfortunate reality is that lip and tongue piercings pose serious hazards to the teeth and oral tissues. Anyone considering getting one should be aware of the risks. The Biggest Risks With Lip and Tongue Piercings All piercings — even the extremely common earlobe piercing — come with certain risks. They can become infected or you might discover a previously unknown allergy to the metal. These risks apply to oral piercings too, but they aren’t the only ones. Fidgeting Can Do Permanent Damage It’s hard enough not to fidget with a stuck piece of food between your teeth when you can’t get a toothpick or some floss, but at least poking at those with our tongues won’t result in chipped or cracked teeth, damage our fillings, or risk

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Don’t Let a Toothache Ruin Your Day

WHAT CAUSES TOOTHACHES? There are a few different causes, and we want our patients to be familiar with them as well as what they can do about them if a toothache strikes at a time when it’s not so easy to make a quick visit to the dentist. Toothache Causes: The Usual Suspects Tooth decay is the most common cause of toothaches, but it’s not the only one. Others include gum disease, pulp inflammation, and dental abscess. An injury to the face can also result in a toothache even if the tooth and surrounding gum tissue were perfectly healthy beforehand! Teeth impacted in the jaw can be painful too. There’s also tooth sensitivity, and sometimes simple congestion or a sinus infection can feel a lot like a toothache. Can’t Get an Appointment Immediately? Here’s What to Do. We encourage anyone with a toothache to schedule an emergency dental appointment, but sometimes toothaches aren’t

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Diabetes and Dental Health

ORAL HEALTH AND DIABETES are closely intertwined. It becomes much harder to maintain good oral health without carefully controlling the diabetes, and diabetes becomes harder to control when oral health isn’t a priority. Gum disease is just one oral health problem that is harder to avoid with diabetes. Blood Sugar and Oral Health We hear all the time how bad sugar is for teeth. Harmful oral bacteria loves eating the leftover sugar in our mouths after we eat or drink something sweet, but it also loves the sugar in the bloodstream. In addition, high blood sugar is hard on the immune system, making it more difficult to fight back against that same bacteria and leaving diabetic patients particularly vulnerable to oral inflammation and tooth decay. The Relationship Between Gum Disease and Diabetes More than a fifth of diabetics, whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, have some form of gum disease,

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Fighting Back Against Dental Anxiety

DENTAL PHOBIA AND anxiety are pretty common, affecting more than one in every ten Americans. That means that close to 40 million people avoid getting crucial preventative dental care, which in turn means that small, easy-to-fix dental problems can become big, painful, expensive ones before they’ll see a dentist. We hope we can help all of our patients overcome any dental anxiety they may struggle with. Where Does Dental Anxiety Come From? Even though we’re dental professionals ourselves, we can understand why the idea of regular dental appointments (let alone more intense treatments) can be unpleasant for a lot of people. It’s not very fun to lie flat on your back while strangers poke around at your teeth and gums, and maybe it’s easier to hope there are no cavities instead of letting a dentist check and risk getting bad news. A lot of people feel this way, but for the sake

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What Causes Bleeding Gums?

THERE ARE SEVERAL reasons gum tissue might end up bleeding, and not just because of gum disease. We know it can be alarming to experience bleeding gums, so we want to help our patients understand the different causes and how we can treat it (when treatment is necessary). Plaque Buildup Leads to Bleeding Gums Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that develops on our teeth. As it builds up along the gumline, it can eventually harden into tartar if we aren’t thorough enough in our daily brushing and flossing. The more they build up, plaque and tartar irritate the gum tissue, making it more likely to bleed. This is also what causes gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. The more gum disease advances towards periodontitis, the more it harms the oral tissues and teeth, and the harder it is to reverse. It can jeopardize the jaw bone, meaning that the teeth

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