How to avoid 4 common oral health problems and keep on smiling!

Your smile is your best chance at making a great first impression. It’s the first thing people see, and it can be the key to opening a conversation, making a new friend, or even brightening someone’s day. So, if oral health issues are keeping your smile hidden, it’s time to do something about it! Here are some ways to address 4 of the more common oral health problems to get you smiling again:

1. Let’s begin with one of the most-dreaded: bad breath! Bad breath, also called halitosis, can keep people from feeling confident in social situations and engaging in friendly conversation. In the vast majority of cases (over 60%), bad breath is caused by improper dental hygiene. If you’re having this problem, you can start by doing whatever you can to keep your teeth clear of bacteria and food particles—that means brushing and flossing thoroughly, especially after meals. Changing your diet to limit junk food can also help. After eating, try non-alcoholic mouthwashes or ADA-approved, sugar-free gum to combat bad breath and help clear lingering food particles stuck in your teeth. If you do these things and find you still suffer from chronic bad breath, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist to see if there’s something else contributing to the problem.

2. Tooth decay is the enemy of a bright smile, as it can leave you with discolored or even missing teeth. Tooth decay is most often caused by a bacterial buildup and can be prevented by proper brushing and flossing regimens (2-3 times a day) and regular trips to the dentist for cleanings. Also, avoiding acidic foods such as juices, pickles, soda, and sports drinks will help to decrease erosion and decay. If you or your dentist notice the onset of tooth decay, getting it treated as early as possible will help preserve your smile.

3. Receding gum lines can cause serious discomfort, causing the gums to become red, swollen and bloody. Plus, if allowed to progress to gingivitis, receding gums can eventually lead to tooth loss. Inflamed gums and missing teeth are not exactly going make you feel like smiling! Try an ultra-soft toothbrush and go gentle on your gums. Wearing a nighttime mouth guard to keep yourself from grinding your teeth and causing pain can also help with gum recession. As always, your dentist can assist you in addressing your receding gums and provide you with advice and treatment options.

4. Mouth sores, or canker sores, can cause extreme pain on the inside of your mouth on your cheek, tongue, or inside of your lip. That’s more than enough to keep you from smiling. These type of sores—not to be confused with cold sores, which are bacterial—are caused by a variety of factors, some simple (stress, food allergies, hormones), some less so (vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune issues), They generally recede on their own after several days, but in the meantime, you can manage the discomfort by avoiding spicy and acidic foods, rinsing your mouth with salt water, or using over-the-counter pain medicines. If they are frequently recurring, however, they may be a symptom of a larger issue and you should seek advice from a health care professional.

It’s our job to keep you smiling…so, if you have concerns about any of these issues, please let us know so you can work together to keep your smile radiant for years to come.

Don’t Fall Asleep With Your Dentures In

Having dentures can be challenging, especially at first. Many patients have issues adjusting to the size, shape, and orientation of dentures. It may take awhile for patients to become accustomed to having dentures as well as the cleaning and care routine for dentures. Whether you are new to dentures or a seasoned pro, you must know this important fact about them.

Falling asleep with your dentures in puts the elderly at a greatly increased risk for pneumonia. Whether you are a denture-wearer yourself or a caretaker for your elderly mother or grandmother, then you must be aware of the risks. Dental professionals usually recommend that people take out their dentures when they go to bed and use that time to clean them. But, in one study, they found that denture wearers who left their dentures in overnight doubled their risk of getting pneumonia.

The science behind this is that the bacteria and microorganisms that grow on your dentures while you sleep can cause inflammation in your mouth and other parts of your body. While dentures can help restore a lost smile and give back the function to eat and maintain a normal lifestyle, they come with risks too. Speak to your dentist about the best practices of cleaning and taking of your dentures for optimal oral and overall health.

Could Fillings Become a Thing of the Past?

Could fillings be a thing of the past? Scientists in London have developed a pain-free filling that doesn’t require drilling or injections.

Normally, a dentist would remove the decay by drilling and then the cavity is filled with a material such as amalgam or composite resin. The new treatment technique, developed by King’s College London requires no drilling. Instead, the new treatment called, Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), aims instead to accelerate the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals.

EAER is a two-step process that first prepares the damaged enamel and then uses a very small electric current to push minerals into the repair site. It is still in the early stages and may be available within three years.

This new treatment is gentler on patients and teeth. It may be more cost-effective as well, because patients will not need to repair their teeth over and over again as fillings fail. While this treatment is a thing of the future, it is an important thing to look forward to as modern dental health grows.

Dental Care for Cleft Lip and Palate Patients

Patients who have cleft lip or palate face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in malformed or malpositioned. Teeth do not come in normally and require the work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.

An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look and function normally for the patient.

Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. Many procedures and trips to the dentist and doctor go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.

Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.

What You’re Doing Wrong with Your Child’s Oral Health

It’s no secret that kids don’t always have the best oral health routines, which results in multiple cavities by the time they get into the dentist’s office. Some causes include: eating too much sugar, not brushing thoroughly enough, not flossing, and skipping brushings.

But have no fear, here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.

1. Letting kids brush alone It might be easier to send them to the bathroom and tell them to brush their teeth before bed, but could be a huge mistake. When kids are brushing their teeth, especially if they are new to the habit, they need supervision. If kids are younger than 8, they lack the motor skills needed to brush effectively.

Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before story time for example. This is a great way to watch your kids brush, while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time, so that they can pick up tips from you.

2. Not taking regular trips to the dentist Kids need to attend regular dentist visits just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, then you are making a big mistake. Waiting a long time for the first visit lets issues in the mouth run rampant.

Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health problems. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist then they are likely to have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, then a cycle will begin, one of fear and loathing for the dentist. Avoid this by making your first appointment early.

3. Not using fluoride The American Dental Association recommends fluoride and studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so make sure you use it! Toothpastes with fluoride in them are the norm for most households. If you drink a lot of bottled water, you might be missing out on fluoride.

Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity free and which toothpastes are right for them.

The best thing you can do as a parent is to instill good oral health values in your children and ask your dentist about any dental questions or issues that you might have.

What Sickle Cell Anemia Patients Need to Know About the Dentist

A good healthcare provider always makes sure they have a full background on their patients, and it’s no different for dentists. As a patient, make sure that you are forthcoming with your dentist about any health issues you may have as well as giving them an extensive background on your health.

Your dentist can only provide you with the best care if they know what your medical history is. This is true for all patients, but especially for patients with sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body

Your doctor, dentist, and yourself should work together as a team to create a perfect treatment plan for you. But if you have recently changed dentists, or forgot to mention it, take the time to relay information about your disease to your dentist. This will allow your dentist to give you the best treatment possible by catering to your personal needs.

As a sickle cell anemia patient, your dentist should strive for conservative and stress free procedures. It is also important to get your teeth cleaned during non-crisis periods and to keep your appointments short. Since there is not enough oxygen in your blood, it is vital that you and your dentist work together to ward off dental disease and infection, because, if you do get an infection, the healing process is very difficult.

As a patient, try to maintain excellent oral health to prevent infections and disease, and your dentist will do the rest in keeping your mouth in tip-top shape.

Low Vitamin D Could Cause Cavities in Babies

Research done by a team at the University of Manitoba found that “low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy are associated with the development of cavities in babies.” These findings were based upon a survey of 134 expectant mothers.

The study took blood samples from each expectant mother to measure vitamin D levels. Then they gave each child a dental examination at one year old and found that mothers who were deficient in vitamin D had infants that had deficient or thinning enamel.

These levels suggest that if expectant mothers want their children to have strong teeth, that they should ingest plenty of vitamin D during their pregnancy.

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Meth Mouth

It is widely known that drug use, including tobacco use, can cause tooth decay. The worst drug offender in ruining teeth, however, is methamphetamine.

Meth is known as a powerfully addictive drug that can harm overall health, but it can also seriously affect oral health. Meth use can destroy a person’s smile and their ability to chew, according to the American Dental Association.

A 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 12 million Americans had tried methamphetamines in a variety of forms. Meth use, however, is on the rise, especially in people between the ages of 18 to 34 years old.

Meth use causes permanent brain damage and also causes the salivary glands to stop producing saliva. This dries out the mouth and allows the acid in the mouth to run rampant, destroying teeth. The lack of saliva in the mouth allows for cavities to form, and these cavities will likely be left untreated, as meth becomes the sole purpose of the users life. As meth use continues, total tooth decay occurs.

Dentists can often times see the beginning signs of meth use in the oral health of teenagers. Teens who suddenly have teeth riddled with cavities, often is a red flag to dentists.

Drug use, especially meth use can destroy teeth as well as harming overall health. A dentist can see the signs and possibly recommend or call a treatment center to offer help.

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How to Naturally Relieve Sensitive Teeth

Everything from your eating habits to going outside can be painful when you struggle with sensitive teeth. For many, sensitive teeth means altering your lifestyle and habits. Luckily, there are a few easy and natural things that you can do to help relieve the pain of tooth sensitivity.

First, find out what is causing the pain. There are many different dental issues that could be causing tooth pain. Whether it is periodontal disease, tooth decay, aggressive brushing, or worn enamel, all of these things can cause you to wince when you have a bowl of ice cream. Your dentist will help you with a diagnosis and with treatment. But in the meantime, here are a few things you can do on your own.

1. Ditch your hard-bristled brush: If you are brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, then you are just causing more damage to your teeth. Hard-bristled brushes are too tough on enamel and cause further sensitivity.

2. Avoid Acidic Foods: If you love orange juice and citrus fruits, then this could be bad news for you. Acidic foods wear away at enamel and heighten sensitivity. Try to avoid them to help ease the pain, but if you must indulge, then don’t brush directly after ingesting acidic food; it’s harmful to teeth.

3. Wear a Mouth Guard: This may not apply to all sensitive teeth sufferers, but for some, grinding their teeth at night could be the culprit behind their sensitivity. Getting a mouth guard can help protect your enamel so that you are not grinding it away at night.

Trying these tips may help limit your exposure to sensitivity and stop the erosion of your enamel from continuing. Source

Can Wisdom Teeth Stem Cells Be Used to Treat Corneal Scarring?

A scarred or scratched cornea is a condition that necessitates immediate treatment, and it could potentially lead to permanent vision loss. As of now, the options to treat this scarring include donor corneas replacing the damaged one, or donor tissues to try and regenerate the impaired tissue. However, teeth may provide another option! Recent findings at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, indicate that the “stem cells from the dental pulp of wisdom teeth can be coaxed” to become cornea cells and thus repair scarring.

Becoming blind from cornea damage is said to affect millions of people around the world—if the wisdom teeth pulp option helps to heal this, it could be a major advancement in treatment. The biggest issue with current treatment options is the lack of donor corneas; when donor tissue can be implanted, there is also the risk of the tissue being rejected by the recipient’s body. So how do wisdom teeth stem cells avoid these risks? According to the Pittsburg School of Dental Medicine, wisdom teeth pulp could be turned into “keratocytes, which have the same embryonic origin,” making the cells a better fit to repair the cornea.

As of now, the research has been tested on laboratory mice to see the effects firsthand. The results of injecting keratocytes into mice corneas showed perfect integration with no signs of rejection. Because this was only the first test, researchers will continue to test on other animal models better judge the pulp’s effectiveness. Also, according to Dr. Syed-Picard of Pittsburgh’s Department of Ophthalmology, there is proven research showing dental pulp has serious potential for use in “regenerative purposes and making neural, bone, and other cells.” If these theories of dental pulp are proven 100% right, then the future of corneal scarring could be changed for the good, helping millions worldwide avoid the damages. Who would have thought teeth would be an answer to vision loss?

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