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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Be Careful of Oral Health Fads
GENERALLY SPEAKING, INFLUENCERS are not a great source of health advice. One person’s experience with a technique or product is not going to be universal, and real understanding of the way the human body works comes from years of study and training, not a quick google search. With that in mind, there are a few specific oral health fads and cosmetic dental trends we want to warn our patients about. Cosmetic Dentistry Don’ts 1. Don’t widen a tooth gap for a “cuter” look. Enamel reshaping can be a very legitimate procedure. If a tooth has a minor chip or is oddly shaped, enamel reshaping can help it match its neighbors. Enamel reshaping can also smooth out the little bumps (mamelons) on the ends of adult teeth if they aren’t wearing away on their own. But to widen a gap just to look cute, as happened on America’s Next Top Model? The (alleged)
What’s Your Dental Emergency Plan?
A LITTLE BIT OF PREP work makes a huge difference when an emergency happens, including a dental emergency such as an oral injury. What exactly can we do to prepare for something like an unexpected injury? It depends on the specific situation. Broken Tooth If an injury results in a broken, chipped, or cracked tooth, the best thing to do is head straight to the dentist. If you can find the broken pieces, bring them along in a glass of cold milk to protect them. It’s also okay to rinse your mouth with water. Even if a crack or chip seems minor, don’t ignore it! If the damage reaches the pulp chamber, it puts the tooth in serious danger of infection. Even if it doesn’t, it can work like a cavity and give bacteria a space to grow until it does reach the pulp chamber. That’s how dental infections start, leading to pulp
Minimizing the Risks of Gum Recession
PEOPLE USED TO THINK that gum recession was an inevitability of getting older, but that’s not necessarily true. What is gum recession? It’s when the edge of the gum tissue recedes from around the crown of the tooth, exposing more and more of the root. We often think of it as age-related because it’s typically such a gradual problem that it takes years or even decades to become noticeable, but gum recession can start as early as childhood. In many cases, it can also be prevented. A Factor We Can’t Control: Genetics For an unlucky few, gum recession is caused by genetics. They may have more fragile gum tissue than average or weaker jaw bones that can’t support enough gingiva to keep the roots of the teeth fully covered. However, there isn’t a gene for automatic gum recession, so even people with genetic risk factors can do a lot to keep their