Vacation Tips To Keep Your Smile Healthy!

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips! Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. As dental professionals, however, we want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you don’t leave your oral hygiene behind. Follow these tips to keep your teeth healthy and bright, even when you’re traveling!

Have A Dental Checkup Before Leaving Town

Nothing can ruin a vacation quite like a toothache or other dental emergency. And depending on where you’re traveling to, it could be difficult to get the proper treatment required. It’s always best to get your teeth checked before going on a trip to make sure everything is in tip-top shape!

At your checkup, your dentist will have your teeth cleaned, check for cavities or other dental issues, and make sure that any tooth restorations you may have, such as crowns or fillings, are firmly in place. Untreated cavities or weakened dental work can cause pain on flights, so it’s best to take care of them beforehand!

Watch What You Eat When Traveling

One of the reasons that we go on vacation is for the amazing food! Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to get carried away. Just remember when you’re traveling this summer to eat sweets and snacks in moderation, and make sure to bring some sugarless chewing gum to pop in your mouth after eating. Research shows that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavities!

Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Vacating your normal life and responsibilities for a short time is what vacations are all about! It’s important that you don’t leave your oral hygiene at home, however. Keeping your teeth healthy is something that requires daily care, so make sure your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are at the top of your packing list!

Quick tip: When packing your toothbrush, make sure to store it in a case or bag that is ventilated. If you use a brush head cover or need to pack it in a bag without any ventilation, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush.

Having trouble packing for your trip? Check out this video for a few helpful packing tips:

Bon Voyage!

We hope these tips will help you protect your teeth, even when you’re on vacation. You’ll have a lot more fun knowing that your chompers are taken care of and your smile is summer-ready. Wishing safe travels and a wonderful summer to all of our amazing patients!

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Tommy Wong used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Daily Grind Of Bruxism

MOST PEOPLE GRIND OR CLENCH their teeth briefly when annoyed or in a tense situation. That level of teeth-grinding isn’t really something to worry about. It’s when you do it far more frequently, often without even realizing it (you might even do it in your sleep!), that it can potentially become a serious problem. The medical term for this kind of teeth-grinding is bruxism.

Bruxism: What and Why

Sleep bruxism (or nocturnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of snoring and sleep apnea, and awake bruxism (or diurnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of stress in your daily life. However, not everyone with a sleep disorder or a stressful life has bruxism, and not everyone with bruxism has a sleep disorder or a ton of stress. Another possible cause is improperly aligned teeth.

Because there isn’t one clear cause, treatment can sometimes be tricky, and the focus is often on the symptoms and minimizing the damage more than curing the underlying condition. Even if you aren’t aware that you’re grinding your teeth, any of the following symptoms could point to bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore when you wake up, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore before you go to bed)
  • Frequent headaches from all the strain
  • Hypertrophy in your jaw muscles (because you’re giving them quite the workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped/cracked/split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Your Next Steps

Depending on which type of bruxism you have, there are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes.

Behavioral Therapy

With behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques, you can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits and consciously work to stop. This one works better when you have awake bruxism than sleep bruxism, because it’s obviously much harder to control your jaw muscles in your sleep.

Relaxation

Particularly for stress-related bruxism, relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding.

Wearing A Mouthguard

A mouthguard or splint serves as a pillow between your upper and lower teeth. It won’t stop the grinding, but it protects your teeth from damage.

Medication As Prescribed By Your Doctor

Muscle relaxant medication, as prescribed by your general practitioner, might help you unclench while you sleep. However, medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping.

Check out this video for more information and a few other ideas on how to combat bruxism or minimize the damage:

We Can Help!

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be due to bruxism and you should schedule an appointment so we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Sean_Wright used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Filling In The Gaps: Dental Implant Basics

DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE permanent false teeth designed to look just like your other teeth. They’re a popular alternative to dentures or bridges, and the American Dental Association considers them to be “one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.”

How Do They Work?

Unlike dentures and bridges, which don’t feel or look entirely real and must be removed and cleaned outside of your mouth daily, dental implants are surgically affixed to your jaw. In place of the roots your native teeth have, the new tooth is held in place by a surgical screw. The crown is carefully selected to match the shape and color of the surrounding teeth, so it blends right in.

There are two basic types of implant: endosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are surgically attached directly to the jaw bone with a titanium post, and the entire implant structure (apart from the crown itself) is hidden under the gums and looks and feels just like any other tooth. Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal frame that fits onto the jaw bone rather than screwing into it, and these are a good option if you lack the bone structure necessary for endosteal implants.

Watch the video below to see how titanium implants are made:

Who Are They For?

If you’ve lost teeth due to injury or disease, dental implants could restore your smile more effectively than other options. However, not everyone with missing teeth is a candidate. Just as with real teeth, oral health is crucial to successful implants. Before you get an implant, you need good, strong bone and healthy gums to support it, and once it’s in, you have to keep it clean by brushing and flossing.

But What About Braces?

If you don’t already have your implants but need orthodontics to straighten your teeth, it’s usually best to do braces first. Because implants are screwed into your jaw bone, they will not move, which can make them excellent anchors to help move your other teeth where they need to go—but only if they’re in the right place to begin with. If not, your existing implants may need to be removed and then reattached after you’ve finished with your braces.

Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!

If you’re thinking about getting dental implants or know someone who is, we can answer any questions you may have about them. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Sharon Mollerus used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Way You Eat Fruit Matters For Your Teeth

FRUIT IS AN ESSENTIAL element of a well-balanced, healthy diet. It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and eating it on a regular basis helps boost your immune system and reduces your risk of illness and chronic disease. There are a lot of ways people get their fruit, however, and when it comes to your teeth, some ways are worse than others!

Beware Dried Fruit

Many people think dried fruit is a great healthy snack. Unfortunately, dried fruits have a lot of sugar in them, not to mention the added sugar that many packaged dried fruits come with. Because they’re dehydrated, most of the water is lost from the fruit, but none of the sugar is, making it highly concentrated.

As we’ve said in previous blog posts, more sugar, more cavities! Harmful bacteria in our mouths consume the sugar and produce acids as a by-product, which can cause tooth decay. Dried fruit is also extremely sticky, meaning it sticks to your teeth longer than most other foods.

To learn a bit more about why sugar is bad for our teeth, watch the video below:

Can The Canned Fruit

Most canned fruits you find are bathed in sugary syrup. It may taste good, but it can wreak havoc on your teeth if you’re not careful! Even those that are labeled “light syrup” often have a high sugar content. If you’re a fan of canned fruit as a healthy snack, make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar or is packaged in 100 percent fruit juice.

Watch Out For Fruit Juice

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. In fact, the majority of fruit juice sold in stores contains just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more!

Sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid doesn’t bode well for your teeth: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay.

Do What’s Best For Your Teeth

As a general rule, try to eat your fruit fresh! Not only is it better for your teeth, but the fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, making it much healthier for your body. Of course it’s okay to have juice and dried or canned fruit every once in awhile. But remember to rinse with water after and brush and floss to protect your pearly whites!

Have you scheduled your next appointment? Call us today and we’d be happy to help!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth.

We’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts With Bacteria

We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal! Brush, floss and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum for good measure. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. A clean mouth, is a fresh mouth!

Choose Breath-Friendly Foods And Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth.

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse.

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here For You

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, come in to see us so we can address the issue and find the proper solution. We are here to serve you!

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.