You may be brushing a few times every day, but if you’re not taking the time to floss as well, your smile isn’t getting all the attention it deserves.
In general, we recommend flossing at least once a day to remove the food that has collected between your teeth during the day. If you choose not to floss, this food can stimulate the growth of decay-causing bacteria. It can also turn into plaque over time. Together, bacteria and plaque release toxins that cause bad breath, in addition to destroying tooth enamel and causing gum disease. And once gum disease sets in, there is no absolute cure.
That’s why flossing is so important.
How to Floss Effectively
If you’re not sure how to floss effectively, let your dentist or hygienist know at your next appointment. They would be happy to show you how. For best results, floss between every tooth, including your very back teeth.
Your dental team can also recommend a specific type of floss for you to use, in addition to talking with you about the rest of your oral health routine. For optimal oral health we recommend that patients:
- Brush at least twice a day, or after every meal if possible
- Floss at least once
- Rinse with an antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash
You can also learn about proper flossing by watching the video below.
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that emerge when a person is a teenager or even in their twenties, and for years, the removal of them has been seen almost as a rite of passage as children become adults. Is it really necessary, though? Some patients aren’t sure. While this is a matter that should definitely be discussed with your local dentist, here are some common reasons why wisdom tooth extraction is often important for your overall oral health:
- Due to their position in the mouth, wisdom teeth often don’t have enough room to grow properly. This can cause them to erupt at an angle, even horizontally.
- Wisdom teeth can also only partially emerge, or even remain completely hidden, leading to them becoming trapped within your jaw. Because this area is difficult to clean properly, gum disease and other infections are much more common to occur.
- If you experience chronic pain in your gums near your wisdom teeth, extraction can help prevent further infection.
- A cyst can sometimes form in the area, which can damage bone and tooth roots.
Of course, there are also some situations in which wisdom teeth extraction might not be necessary. These include:
- If the teeth are fully healthy
- If they’ve grown in correctly and emerged completely
- If their positioning matches the rest of your smile
- If you’re able to properly clean and care for the wisdom teeth, ensuring their future health.
Of course, every patient’s situation is unique. If you have concerns over the state of you or your child’s wisdom teeth, please contact your local dentist or oral surgeon. They can inspect the area with the help of X-rays in order to determine their position and current health, as well as what you can expect from the extraction process, should it be needed.
Most people know that gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) can cause major problems like bleeding gums, tenderness, and even eventual tooth loss. The more serious complications associated with this common disease, however, are not as readily recognizable. Keeping your gums free of infection can actually help you avoid a variety of other health problems now and in the future.
Oral Health and Your Future
When your gums are infected, the bacteria that flourish there can easily travel through your body to other tissues and organs. Because this process takes time, you may not even realize that you are at risk until more pressing symptoms arise. Medical problems that have been linked to untreated gum disease include the following:
- Complications in pregnant women, including pre-mature birth and low birth weight infants
- Dementia in older patients
- Pancreatic cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other bone/joint problems
- Complications in the treatment of diabetes
Treating periodontal disease now is one of the first lines of defense against these and other medical conditions. Your dentist can discuss with you the periodontal therapy process, providing you with all the information you need to make a decision regarding your oral health and your systemic well-being.
Healthy Gums, Healthy Body
If you have noticed the tell-tale signs of gum disease (including bleeding gums, sensitivity, redness, and a receding gum line), it is imperative that you make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment of gum disease helps ensure a faster recovery, thereby reducing your risk of developing diseases and health conditions like those listed above. Call your local dentist today and take the first step toward a healthier body and a happier smile with periodontal therapy.
Millions of people have odd habits- things that they do without even realizing it. For some, it is biting nails; for others, playing with their hair can be a habit. For many people, though, the habit of chewing ice is a function that is not thought of, but can surprisingly have serious negative effects on your smile. Though it may seem harmless, the act of chewing ice can leave literal and metaphorical impressions on your teeth as well as your gums.
One of the reasons why chewing ice is bad for your smile is because it wears down you tooth’s enamel. The pressure of having to crush the ice with your teeth makes your enamel less than sturdy. When your enamel is chipped, it increases your chance of experiencing sensitivity when you eat and drink. Another reason why chewing ice is bad for your smile is because of the repetitive hot and cold temperatures, increasing the possibility of your having a issue with your fillings. When the filling is exposed to hot or cold temperatures, it has the capability of expanding quicker than the tooth itself, shortening the life span of your filling.
Also, another reason why you should not chew ice is because it has the ability to hurt your gums in the process! Some parts of ice can be sharp, and because your gums are so sensitive, the sharp edges of the ice can puncture, scratch, and damage your gums. Because your gums are the foundation to any healthy smile, when they are compromised, the rest of your smile is, too. So the next time you feel the urge to chew on ice, make a healthy, smile-friendly choice instead, and you won’t be sorry!
When it comes to dental problems, you’re probably used to hearing all about the common ones that can negatively affect your teeth, such as cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer. But did you know that one of the most painful oral conditions is actually caused by a part of the body that you may have never heard of before? We’re talking about the temporomandibular joints, also known as TMJs. These joints may be tiny, but they serve a crucial function, as they’re responsible for connecting your lower jaw to your skull. However, this means that when they’re even slightly misaligned, it can cause truly debilitating symptoms, negatively affecting both your dental health and your overall wellbeing. That’s why consulting with a local dentist is important if you suspect you may be suffering from this ailment.
Common signs of TMJ disorder include:
- Persistent pain in the face, neck, head, shoulders, or back
- Constant headaches
- Jaw joints that pop or click
- A jaw that feels unusually stiff
- Constant earaches
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth when chewing
There are several therapy options for patients who are suffering from TMJ disorder, and no two cases are the same. Many patients whose symptoms are primarily caused by teeth grinding (bruxism) can often find relief by wearing a customized oral appliance during sleep. Other patients may require physical therapy or drug therapy to help alleviate the pain. When it comes to cases that are truly severe, surgery may be necessary. A dentist trained in TMJ treatment can offer the specialized help you need and recommend treatment options that fit your unique needs and concerns. With a professional touch, you can escape pain and get back to smiling bigger and brighter than ever before.
Though many people may not know this, fluoride is a key mineral in keeping your teeth nice and strong. Especially important in children’s dentistry, fluoride treatments can begin a healthy foundation for your smile to thrive and take life’s knocks. Attracting minerals like calcium, fluoride is a wonderful way to build and maintain strong smiles! If you are unaware of some of the benefits fluoride can deliver, let us inform you!
One of the benefits to fluoride is the fact that it naturally makes your teeth more cavity resistant. The mineral acts as a shield, not allowing harmful bacteria to taint your smile. Fluoride also strengthens teeth, making them resilient to the end! Fluoride treatments are common practice in children’s dentistry, as studies show that children who receive them are 40% less likely to get cavities.
Another great way to receive you fluoride intake is through tap water; certain toothpastes and mouthwashes also contain fluoride. Fluoride is also beneficial to those who suffer from constant dry mouth, people with crowns and bridges, people with braces, gum disease, and those who have a history of having continual cavities. Everyone young and old and benefit from fluoride use, and we encourage you to find a source!
St. Patrick’s Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family in true Irish fashion – with amazing food, freely flowing beverages, and festive clothing in every shade of green imaginable. As you gear up to join in on the merrymaking, keep these handy oral health and hygiene tips in mind for a truly happy holiday.
Everything in moderation. It’s entirely expected that millions will enjoy a couple of pints at their nearest pub or a few beers at home to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but now is as good a time as ever to remember what alcohol can do to your oral health. Too much to drink can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Enjoy yourself, but not to excess!
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the course of your holiday revelry to maintain your mouth’s healthy pH balance. This will also help your head and body feel better in the morning, so it’s worth remembering.
No matter how late you get home…Be sure to brush and floss as usual. The acid in beer, ale, and other alcoholic beverages can be severely damaging to tooth enamel. Just a few minutes of preventative maintenance to save your smile, and then you can climb into bed. Your teeth will thank you!
And of course, if you are lucky enough on St. Patty’s Day to receive a kiss (Irish or not), make sure to brush and/or use a good mouthwash after all of that delicious corned beef and cabbage! If you have any questions or concerns about your overall oral health, on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, contact your local dentist’s office today.
Now that 2014 is here, people are trying to stick to their resolutions and make a better version of themselves for the New Year. Though losing weight or being more organized are good resolutions, there is one resolution that is oftentimes overlooked, and that is the resolution to have a healthier smile. Believe it or not, making sure you are in tip-top oral health means many other parts of your body are healthier. For 2014, why not make the commitment to yourself to be a healthier you?
Dentists recommend you visit their office every six months. During a routine checkup, your dentist will do an oral cancer screening and check for periodontal (gum) disease, making sure there are no early signs and, if there are, treat it right away. They will look at every single tooth, checking for cavities, decay, cracks, and other possible harm. They will also do X-rays of your entire mouth, making sure there are no underlying problems that can’t be seen.
Your dentist will also perform scaling and root planing during your checkup. The scaling is the dentist’s opportunity to remove tartar from below the gum line, while root planing smoothes out the rough surfaces where plaque has built up.
By taking care of your dental needs, you reduce your risk of heart disease, oral cancer, severe tooth decay, and other possible health problems. You will be able to smile with confidence, knowing that your mouth is clean, healthy, and dazzling! Give yourself the gift of excellent oral health this year, and you will not be sorry!
No one wants to have bad breath. If you suffer with bad breath, you might try brushing your teeth more often, mouthwash, and mints to get rid of it. But there may be deeper issues causing your bad breath, which is why you should visit your dentist if you’re experiencing chronic halitosis (the technical name for bad breath).
What can cause bad breath? The list includes:
- Foods with strong odors, like onions or garlic.
- Excessive dieting.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Gum disease.
- Dry mouth.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Various health conditions.
The first thing you can do to try to get rid of your bad breath is to make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Brushing and flossing removes food particles that may have been left in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums. These food particles, if not cleaned away, will actually begin to deteriorate in the mouth, giving off a bad odor — not to mention contributing to decay and gum disease. Make sure you’re thorough about your oral hygiene.
If you have a lack of saliva because of a medical condition or some other cause, make sure to regularly swish with some water. Saliva helps clean the mouth, and this will help clean away odor-causing debris. Also, make sure you’re not eating any especially stinky foods!
If you’re experiencing bad breath and have tried using better oral hygiene habits and avoiding smelly foods but haven’t found relief, it could be a symptom of a serious problem. Health conditions related to bad breath include liver or kidney problems, lung infections, diabetes, and bronchitis. It is also a common sign of gum disease, which can break down the supporting structures in your mouth and eventually cause tooth loss or other problems if left untreated. Bad breath may seem like a superficial concern, but it can be much more than that. That’s why we recommend you visit the dentist if you’ve been noticing a chronic bad taste in your mouth or bad breath.
You might have heard that certain foods or beverages are high in antioxidants, and that antioxidants are good for your health, but do you know why? In today’s post, we offer a brief explanation.
First, you have to understand something about the human body. Our bodies are made up of cells, which are themselves made up of molecules. If you were to look inside these molecules, you would see atoms, which are composed of two positive protons and two neutral electrons.
For reasons as diverse as stress and poor eating to pollution or tobacco use, an atom may lose one of its electrons, destabilizing it. To make up for losing one of its electrons, this unstable “free radical” will steal an electron from a nearby atom, leading to a chain reaction of electron-stealing. This is what’s known as oxidation.
If oxidation isn’t treated somehow, it can contribute to a range of health problems that includes:
- Heart attack
But treating oxidation is simple. An antioxidant is a molecule with a spare electron. They combat oxidation by donating their spare electron to free radicals, neutralizing them and preserving surrounding atoms that were at risk.
Where will you find antioxidants? In coffee and green tea, fruits and vegetables, legumes and seeds, and more. In short—nutritious foods in general are an excellent source of antioxidants.
How many servings do you need each day? As little as five and as many as nine.
Want to learn more about fighting oxidation with antioxidants? Talk to your local dentist today for more information and for tips on what to eat to improve your overall health and wellbeing.