How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

PREGNANCY AFFECTS NEARLY every aspect of your life–your lifestyle, your diet, your health, and much more! Your mouth is no exception to the changes your body may experience during pregnancy. During this special time, you’ll need to pay particular attention to your oral health for both your sake and your growing baby.

You May Be More Prone To Dental Problems

One of the main concerns we have for expectant mothers is what we call pregnancy gingivitis. Around 40 percent of pregnant women have some form of gum disease–gingivitis being the first stage. Because of raised hormone levels during pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to dental plaque than before, causing your gums to be sensitive, swell and bleed. Studies have linked mothers with gum disease to premature delivery and lower birth weights.

In about five percent of pregnancies, women may experience lumps along the gum line and in between teeth. Luckily, these swellings are harmless and usually go away after the baby is born. Even though these are known as “pregnancy tumors,” there is no need to be alarmed as they are not cancerous and can be easily removed by your dentist.

Morning sickness can also cause dental woes for expectant mothers. Pregnant women often complain of sensitive gag reflexes and even routine tasks such as brushing and flossing can induce vomiting. Exposure to acid, especially strong stomach acid, can lead to tooth enamel erosion, decay and sensitivity. After vomiting, we recommend rinsing your mouth out with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize stomach acid and prevent any damage to teeth.

Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy

To protect your teeth during pregnancy, one of your first stops should be the dentist’s office. If you are planning on getting pregnant, talk to your dentist beforehand so you can fix any dental issues before conceiving. And when you do find out that you are pregnant, don’t just go to your OB/GYN, make your way to the dentist’s as well!

Routine cleanings and checkups are safe during pregnancy, and as you may be more susceptible to certain dental problems at this time, getting frequent cleanings is a must. You will also need to be diligent about your oral hygiene at home. As always, brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

Another thing to remember is that your diet matters. Did you know that baby’s teeth start developing between the third and sixth months of pregnancy? You will need plenty of nutrients–specifically vitamins A, C and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous–to make sure their teeth, gums and bones develop properly.

Mothers, We Are Here For You

Pregnancy can bring with it a lot of change and responsibility, but we want our patients to know that we are here for you. We want to make sure that your dental health is taken care of so you can focus on preparing for your little one to come into the world. So whether you’re planning on becoming pregnant or already are, we’d love to see you in our office!

Our patients mean the world to us!

Top image by Flickr user Phalinn Ooi 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.

3 Tips To Keep Teeth Clean Between Meals

WE UNDERSTAND HOW BUSY life can get–between work, school, sports, and having a social and family life, it can be hard to find time for your dental health. Because we know how precious your time is, we’ve decided to compile a list of quick, easy tips to keep your teeth clean in between meals and on the go!

First Of All, Snack Healthy

Did you know that frequent snacking throughout the day can contribute to tooth decay? Try to keep snacking to a minimum. If you do need a pick-me-up during the day, choose tooth-friendly snacks, such as broccoli, carrots, seeds, nuts or apples. These are also great choices when finishing off a meal! Because of their abrasive texture, these foods act as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing your teeth as you chew and removing bacteria and plaque.

Brush And Floss Your Teeth, Even On The Go

This is an obvious one. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and dental disease is to brush and floss often! With that being said, we understand that not everyone has time to make a trip to the bathroom to brush their teeth after every meal. A quick on-the-go tip is to brush your teeth without toothpaste!

Carry a travel toothbrush with you and when you feel plaque or food on your teeth, simply pull it out and brush! Even without the added benefits of toothpaste, this will help remove plaque and bacteria adhering to your teeth. You can do this sitting at your office desk or waiting in the car for your kids to come out from school!

A lot of our patients have also benefited from floss picks. Because of their easy-to-use handle, you can use them one handed and without a mirror. This makes flossing in between meals much easier and more accessible!

Chew Sugar-Free Gum And Drink Plenty Of Water

We’ve mentioned the benefits of chewing sugarless gum after a meal plenty of times before. It’s such an easy and enjoyable way of protecting your teeth from cavities that we can’t say enough about it!

The act of chewing increases saliva flow in your mouth, which washes away food particles and neutralizes acids. Saliva also promotes remineralization, helping teeth to recover from any damage incurred while eating. Just pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth for 20 minutes after a snack or meal to reap the benefits!

Although this video is meant for dental professionals, it provides the perfect explanation as to why chewing sugar-free gum protects your teeth after a meal!

Water, similar to saliva, washes away food debris and cleans between teeth. Rinsing your mouth out frequently, especially after eating, is a simple way to bolster your teeth’s defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

Keep Your Oral Health In Check

We know life gets busy. We hope these tips will make it a lot easier to keep your oral health in check! By taking care of your teeth throughout the day, not just in the morning and at night, you can ensure that your smile will be happy and healthy for a lifetime. Do you have any more on-the-go tips? Let us know in the comments below!

We love to serve you!

Top image by Flickr user Monik Markus 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.

Do Dental Fillings Last Forever?

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.

We Check Your Fillings At Your Regular Visits

You may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.

At your six-month appointment, we will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. We will look for early signs of wear and tear so we can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. We also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.

We’re Here For You In An Emergency

Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly. This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly however, accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Chewing on hard items or foods
  • Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
  • Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept

Although the following video discusses tooth loss, the same principals apply for a lost filling!

If you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call us immediately–we’re here for you in an emergency! We will get you in as quickly as we can. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free.

If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to come in as soon as possible to have it treated. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.

Call Us Anytime, Day Or Night

Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile. With that being said, we know not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours. That’s why we strive to make ourselves available to our patients as often as possible. If you need us, call us! Your health and comfort are our number one priority.

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Vladimir Pustovit 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.

How Eating Disorders Can Affect Oral Health

DO YOU OR DOES SOMEONE you love have an eating disorder? This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. To help spread awareness about eating disorders and their effect on oral and overall health, share this post with your friends and family who may benefit from it.

Be Aware Of The Dental Complications

We all know that eating disorders can result in various health complications. You may be surprised to hear, however, that they are often first diagnosed during a dental exam. In fact, changes in the mouth are many times the first physical signs of an eating disorder.

A nutritious diet is crucial for healthy teeth and gums. And as those with anorexia and bulimia are often undernourished, they can experience a number of oral health issues. Poor nutrition can cause sores in the mouth, swollen salivary glands and periodontal disease. Gums and other soft tissues in the mouth may bleed more easily. People who have eating disorders are also more prone to chronic dry mouth and bad breath.

Frequent vomiting can also result in dental problems. Exposure to acid, especially strong stomach acid, on a regular basis is bad news for teeth. Tooth sensitivity, discoloration and decay can be the result. Because of the damage to tooth enamel, the shape and length of teeth can also be affected. In addition, teeth may become more brittle and chip or break more easily.

Reduce The Damage

As you or your loved one seek treatment for an eating disorder, follow these steps to reduce the damage to the oral cavity and teeth in the meantime:

  • Continue a rigorous oral hygiene routine–brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Instead of brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting, rinse your mouth out with water or water with baking soda to neutralize stomach acids. Don’t brush your teeth for at least an hour after purging.
  • Be open and honest with your dentist, and see them on a regular basis.

We Are Here For You

As your trusted oral healthcare providers, we are here to give advice without passing judgment, and as always, maintain full patient confidentiality. We care about your health and well-being! If you have any questions regarding this blog post, call us or come in today. You can also send us a private message on our Facebook page. For more information and resources to help those you love get the help they need, visit http://nedawareness.org/.

Thank you for trusting us with your oral health.

Top image by Flickr user Joe Szilagyi 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.

Are Your Teeth Sensitive? Here’s Why

DO YOU EVER cringe when you watch someone bite into ice cream? Are you sometimes fearful of that first sip of hot soup or drink of tea? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear about!

Teeth Feel Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed 

On the outside of each tooth is a protective layer of enamel. Over time, the enamel can wear away leaving an inner layer, called the dentin, exposed. This occurs due to normal wear and tear, poor dental hygiene or certain lifestyle choices.

Dentin contains fluid-filled tubules that reach into the innermost part of the tooth where all the nerves reside. Because the nerves inside the tooth are exposed when the enamel is eroded away, sensitivity is the result.

Another form of tooth sensitivity develops when gum recession leaves the root of the tooth exposed to food, drink, and air.

Desensitizing Toothpaste Can Help

Desensitizing toothpaste is a great way to ease tooth sensitivity. Many of our patients ask us how these toothpastes actually work! It’s simple: they are specially formulated to either block the tubules in the dentin, protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure, or numb your teeth, in a manner of speaking, so you don’t register the pain of sensitivity.

It’s important to remember, however, that if your teeth are at all sensitive, your first stop should be your dentist’s office. Some problems that cause teeth to be sensitive can be quite serious and may require more extensive treatment than desensitizing toothpaste can provide.

Follow These Helpful Tips To Avoid Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. To prevent further damage to your teeth or any sensitivity in the first place, follow the suggestions below:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are frequently the cause of tooth sensitivity. In addition, avoid smoking or any form of tobacco use.
  • Don’t brush so hard. Aggressive brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and enamel erosion. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much force. Plaque comes off easier than you think!
  • Protect your teeth. If you clench your teeth frequently or have been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding), make sure you protect your teeth with a nightguard provided to you by your dentist and try to be conscious of your clenching habits during the day.
  • Make sure your diet is healthy. Eat sugar and carbohydrates in moderation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and vegetables.

Nobody Should Live With Tooth Pain

No matter what your level of discomfort, it’s our belief that nobody should have to live with tooth pain. If you experience any kind of sensitivity in your teeth, come in and see us! We can diagnose the root cause of your sensitivity and ascertain the best way to treat it.

We are thankful for our wonderful patients!

Top image by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy 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.

Take Care Of Your Furry Friend’s Smile!

WE TALK A LOT ABOUT what you need to do to keep those teeth of yours healthy and beautiful. While you’re taking care of your smile, don’t forget about your pet’s! Your furry friend’s teeth need to be cared for as well.

Keep Up On Your Pet’s Dental Health

You probably don’t think about checking your dog or cat’s mouth very often, but it’s important that you do. Dental problems can often lead to other health problems in your pet, not to mention they can be painful and costly. As with our own teeth, prevention is key!

Here are some things you should do to keep your furry friend’s mouth healthy:

  • Have your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned at least once a year by a veterinarian
  • While daily toothbrushing is ideal for your pet, at least get in three to four good brushing sessions per week (using toothpaste specially formulated for them–not human toothpaste)
  • Make sure your dog or cat is on a nutritious diet that is good for their teeth; your veterinarian will help you know what kind of food is best
  • Chew toys are great for scraping plaque off of your dog’s teeth and can be a great supplement to tooth brushing!

There are many products out there that can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy and breath fresh. Talk to your veterinarian about what products they recommend for your dog or cat’s oral hygiene routine!

Watch the video below to see how to properly brush your pet’s teeth:

Healthy Smiles Make It All Worthwhile

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA), 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs have some kind of oral disease by the age of two or three. That’s why attending to your pet’s oral health on a daily basis should be as normal to them as their daily walks.

After enough practice, they may even look forward to toothbrushing time! And while brushing your pet’s teeth may be a lot of work, just remember, healthy smiles make all that work worthwhile.

We’d love to see your pets’ smiles! Snap a photo of you and your pet showing off your pearly whites and post it to our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice.

Top image by Flickr user Suzanne Schroeter 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.

How Much Calcium Do We Actually Need?

 

WE’VE ALL HEARD calcium builds strong bones and is key to preventing osteoporosis. But did you know taking in the right amount of calcium also has a huge effect on our oral health?

Calcium Benefits Our Oral Health

Does calcium really make a difference in our oral health? The answer is yes! Even before we’re born, we begin storing a supply of calcium and other nutrients to grow strong, healthy teeth and bones.  As we grow older, calcium continues to repair and strengthen our teeth, making them more resistant to decay and fortifying them against disease.

Although many foods contain calcium, the best and most easily absorbed source comes straight from milk and dairy products!  Milk is not only a rich source of calcium, but of phosphorous, magnesium, and Vitamin D, which combined together coat teeth in a protective film and ward off harmful acids and bacteria-causing cavities, and also strengthen and reinforce tooth enamel.

How Much Calcium Should I Get Each Day?

How much calcium you need depends on your age and gender. Although the amount you need will differ from others you know, including enough calcium in your diet is important to your oral and overall health.

To give you a better idea of just how much you need, one eight ounce glass of milk contains around 300 milligrams of calciumStudies show that those who consume more than 800 mg of calcium a day are much less likely to develop gum disease.

The Dietary Reference Intakes lists a recommended amount of calcium for every age:

  • Children ages one to eight need anywhere from 500-800 mg a day,
  • Teens need around 1,300 mg,
  • Adults and nursing mothers ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg,
  • Older adults and younger mothers need 1,200 mg or more.

What Are Good Sources Of Calcium?

Need some inspiration to increase your calcium intake? Try any of these:

Dairy products

Milk, cheeses, yogurts, buttermilk, cottage cheese, puddings, and ice cream are an easy (and delicious) way to get calcium.

Vegetables

If you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant, you still have plenty of options to choose from! Broccoli, collard greens, and kale are good, healthy sources of calcium. Collard greens alone provide 268 mg of calcium per cup!

Other Good Sources

Looking for other options? Oranges, sardines, white beans, tofu, almonds, and some breakfast cereals and juices are all non-dairy alternatives to get your daily source of calcium!

Make Calcium A Part Of Your Diet

Do your teeth and gums a favor by incorporating the right amount of calcium into your daily diet! Enough calcium coupled with good oral hygiene habits make all of the difference in your smile and will keep your teeth healthy and strong for years to come. If you have any more questions about your daily calcium intake, call us or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you to all of our wonderful patients!

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.