Pregnancy and Oral Health

 

ASIDE FROM THE OBVIOUS, there are all kinds of changes the body goes through during pregnancy. Some of them can even impact teeth and gums, from morning sickness to changing hormone levels that increase the risk of several oral health problems.
Hormones Can Lead to Pregnancy Gingivitis
Pregnancy is a very busy and exciting time, but make sure not to slack off on brushing and flossing, because those changing hormones can leave the gums vulnerable to the tenderness and swelling of gingivitis. 40% of pregnant women have gum disease, and studies link pregnancy gingivitis with lower birth weights and premature delivery. Fight back against pregnancy gingivitis by brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily!

 

Enamel Erosion from Morning Sickness
Not every mom-to-be gets morning sickness, but the ones who do might experience oral health problems as a result. Frequent exposure to stomach acid erodes the protective enamel on teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay. You can minimize the effects by swishing with baking soda and water to neutralize the acid after an episode of morning sickness. Once the acid is neutralized, it’s safe to brush!
Weird But Not Dangerous: Pyogenic Granuloma
Possibly the strangest way pregnancy can impact oral health is by causing raspberry-like growths between the teeth. These are pyogenic granulomas, or “pregnancy tumors.” Don’t worry, though, because they aren’t malignant. If they appear, it’s usually in the second trimester, and while they usually vanish after the baby is born, the dentist can remove them if they get too uncomfortable.
The Impact of Diet on Mom’s and Baby’s Dental Health
What we eat always plays a role in the health of our teeth and gums, and that is especially true during pregnancy. We recommend cutting back on sugary treats and focusing on getting plenty of essential nutrients. This will help keep your teeth in good shape, and it will also help the little one. Developing babies need vitamins A, C, and D, as well as protein, calcium, phosphorous to begin growing strong teeth.
The Dentist Is Your Friend
In addition to getting the right nutrition and maintaining good daily oral hygiene habits, it’s also important to keep the dentist in the loop. Fighting pregnancy gingivitis requires routine cleanings and checkups. Whether it’s been a while since your last appointment or you think you might be expecting an addition to your family soon, we encourage you to schedule a dental appointment soon!
Our patients are the best!

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.

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What to Do When a Toothache Strikes

TOOTHACHES CAN HAPPEN for a number of reasons. It’s important to know what to do about them, because they don’t always happen when the dentist’s office is open. Do you have a plan for how to deal with an after-hours toothache?
Major Causes of Toothaches
Tooth decay is the main culprit behind a painful tooth, but there are others too, from gum disease to pulp inflammation to dental abscess to an actual injury to the tooth. Teeth that are impacted in the jaw can also be painful. In addition to all these, tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable, and sometimes the problem traces back to simple congestion or a sinus infection.

Managing Dental Pain Until the Appointment
If at all possible, come to us right away with your dental pain, but as we mentioned before, toothaches don’t always respect office hours. Here are a few things you can do to keep the pain level manageable until you can see us:
Apply a cold compress near the sore area
Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills or topical medication
Reduce inflammation by rinsing and spitting with warm saltwater (do not swallow)
Ways to Prevent Future Toothaches
No one who has already had a toothache wants to have another one. They can’t always be prevented, as in cases where sinus infections or an injury were the cause, but aches and pains that result from poor dental health are ones patients can often prevent with the right habits.
The most important of those habits are brushing and flossing. Brush for twice a day for two full minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Also cut down on sugary foods and drinks that feed harmful oral bacteria, and make sure to schedule a professional dental cleaning and dental exam twice a year.
Why are these regular appointments so important? It’s very difficult to completely avoid tartar buildup without professional cleanings, and tooth decay doesn’t always have symptoms at first. If a dentist doesn’t catch it early on, it is unlikely to go away on its own and much more likely to get worse and become a painful (and expensive) problem.
We’re Here for You and Your Teeth!
As much as we don’t enjoy feeling pain, it’s the body’s natural alarm system to signal when something is wrong, and we need to pay attention. If you have a toothache, no matter what you think the cause is, schedule an appointment so that we can get to the bottom of it and recommend next steps.
It’s never too soon to see us about a dental problem!

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

Spotlight on Women’s Oral Health

WHEN YOU THINK of the differences between men and women, oral health concerns probably don’t appear high on the list. In reality, men and women face very different challenges with maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Women have a few advantages that men don’t while struggling with being more at risk for certain issues.
Oral Health Conditions More Common in Women
Two conditions impacting oral health that women are much more likely to have than men are temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) and Sjögren’s syndrome. TMJ is chronic pain or soreness in the jaw joints and is most commonly caused by bruxism (chronic teeth grinding), but can also be caused by joint structure, vitamin deficiency, stress, arthritis, or hormones. 90 percent of people diagnosed with TMJ are women.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks salivary glands and tear ducts (leading to dry mouth and dry eye), as well as other tissues and organs. Dry mouth can make chewing and swallowing more difficult, but it’s also dangerous to oral health. We need our saliva to wash away leftover food particles, neutralize the pH of our mouths, and fight oral bacteria

How Hormonal Changes Affect Teeth
The major hormonal changes a woman experiences during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can all affect oral health. During puberty and pregnancy, gingivitis and gum inflammation are common, which is why good oral hygiene habits are essential in these conditions. That means daily flossing and twice daily brushing with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
Women going through menopause are likely to experience dry mouth and bone loss. Bone loss in the jaw can compromise the gums and the roots of teeth. We recommend discussing these things with the dentist, ideally before any symptoms begin to appear.
Eating Disorders Versus Oral Health
Eating disorders are far more common among teenage girls than among teenage boys. In fact, twice as many girls develop these dangerous disorders than their male counterparts. Eating disorders are devastating to every system in the body, including oral health.
Malnutrition, including vitamin and mineral deficiency, can lead to a variety of oral health problems because teeth and gums lack the raw materials to maintain themselves. Another way eating disorders affect oral health is through acid erosion in the case of bulimia.
Those suffering from eating disorders should seek psychiatric help to begin the mental recovery process, but recovery for dental health will require help from dental professionals and a rigorous dental hygiene routine.
Team Up with the Dentist for Better Oral Health!
It might seem after learning all of this that women must be much worse off than men in the oral health department, but they do have a major advantage: women, on average, are better at taking care of their teeth. Women are more likely to keep good oral health habits, including scheduling regular dental appointments. They’re also more likely to go to the dentist when experiencing tooth pain, instead of trying to tough it out. All this means that the effects of these problems are greatly reduced.
We love working with our patients to keep those smiles healthy!

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.

What Makes Teeth Sensitive?

IF YOU CAN’T REALLY enjoy ice cream because every bite sends a nasty jolt through your teeth, then you know what it’s like to deal with tooth sensitivity. You aren’t alone in that; at least one in eight people in the U.S. has sensitive teeth, including kids. So why does this happen to so many of us?
Dental Anatomy 101
To understand how teeth become sensitive, it helps to know a little about the structure of a tooth. The part above the gums is the crown, which is made of three layers. The outermost layer is the tooth enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body. Beneath that is the softer dentin layer, which is a lot like bone. The innermost layer is the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels.
Exposed Nerves and Tooth Sensitivity
The way the nerves in our dental pulp detect what’s going on at the surface is through the thousands of microscopic tubules running through the dentin. However, if the enamel wears too thin, these tubules can become exposed. Then the nerves inside the teeth feel way too much, which can be painful, particularly when eating or drinking anything hot or cold or even sweet or sour.
Other Causes of Sensitivity
Root exposure is another major cause of sensitivity. Unlike the crowns of our teeth, the roots don’t have a layer of enamel to protect them; that job is performed by the gum tissue. Gum recession, sometimes the result of chronic teeth grinding or of overbrushing, leaves the roots exposed and vulnerable. Sensitivity can also be caused by cavities or an injury that chips or fractures a tooth.
Protecting Your Teeth
There are a few ways you can fight back if you have sensitive teeth, and it starts with switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush if you aren’t already using one. Hard bristles can cause additional damage to the enamel and gum tissue, and soft bristles are more than enough to effectively clean your teeth. Switching to a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth can also help, as can cutting down on sugary or acidic foods and drinks (especially soda).

The Dentist Is Here to Help
If you’ve been suffering tooth sensitivity in silence, schedule a dental appointment to discover the cause. In addition to the things you can do to reduce sensitivity on your own, there’s a lot the dentist can do, such as applying a fluoride varnish to strengthen your enamel, performing dental restoration, prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste, or recommend a gum graft if needed to cover exposed roots.
Keeping your smile healthy and strong is our top priority

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.