What to do for healthy teeth and gums?

By: Jennifer Berry, Medical News Today

Good oral hygiene is necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy. But, take note that oral health is more than avoiding cavities and gum disease. Research has shown that there is an association between the health of a person’s mouth and their overall health.

Follow these tips from Medical News Today to improve not only your dental care practices but your overall health as well. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Experts consider oral health problems to be a global health burden. Without treatment, tooth decay or gum problems can lead to pain, problems with self-confidence, and tooth loss. These issues may lead to malnutrition, speech problems, and other challenges in a person’s work, school, or personal life.

People can prevent these problems with proper dental care, both at home and in the dentist’s office. The following are some best practices that can keep teeth and gums healthy.

1. Brush regularly but not aggressively

Most people are aware that brushing their teeth twice a day is one of the most important practices for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping teeth clean. However, brushing may only be effective if people use the correct technique.

People should brush using small circular motions, taking care to brush the front, back, and top of every tooth. This process takes between 2 and 3 minutes. People should avoid sawing back-and-forth motions.

Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and the gums. The effects of this may include tooth sensitivity, permanent damage to the protective enamel on the teeth, and gum erosion.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend using a toothbrush that has soft bristles. They also state that people should change their toothbrush every 3 months or when the ends start to look frayed, whichever comes first.

2. Use fluoride

Fluoride comes from an element in the earth’s soil called fluorine. Many experts believe that fluoride helps prevent cavities, and it is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.

However, some dental products do not contain fluoride, and some people do not use it at all.

Evidence suggests that a lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay, even if a person takes care of their teeth otherwise. A recent review found that brushing and flossing do not prevent a person from getting cavities if they do not use fluoride.

Many communities in the United States have added fluoride to their water supply. Several organizations recommend this practice, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the ADA.

People can find out whether the water in their area contains fluoride by contacting their local government. Reverse osmosis water filters remove fluoride, and people who use well water will need to check the fluoride levels in this water to find out how much is present. Many bottled water brands do not contain fluoride.

3. Floss once a day

Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also help prevent bad breath by removing debris and food that has become trapped between the teeth.

Although there is a lack of long-term studies proving that flossing is beneficial, the ADA continue to recommend it. The CDC also state that people should floss their teeth.

Most dental health professionals recommend gently pushing the floss all the way down to the gumline before hugging the side of the tooth with up-and-down motions. It is important to avoid snapping the floss up and down between the teeth, which can cause pain and will not remove plaque as effectively.

4. See a dentist regularly

Experts recommend that people see a dentist every 6 months for a checkup. During a routine dental examination, a hygienist will clean the teeth and remove plaque and hardened tartar.

The dentist will check for visual signs of cavities, gum disease, mouth cancer, and other oral health issues. They may sometimes also use dental X-rays to check for cavities.

The results of a recent study confirmed that children and adolescents should see a dentist every 6 months to help prevent cavities. However, adults who practice good dental hygiene every day and have a low risk of oral health problems may be able to go less frequently.

The authors of a recent review state that there is a need for more high-quality studies to confirm the ideal frequency of dental checkups.

People can speak to their dentist about how often they need a checkup. The answer may vary depending on a person’s health history, age, and overall dental health. However, anyone who notices changes in their mouth should visit a dentist.

5. Do not smoke

Smoking harms the body’s immune system, which makes it difficult for the body to heal tissues, including those in the mouth. The CDC name smoking as a risk factor for gum disease, while the ADA warn that people who smoke may experience slow healing after a dental procedure.

Smoking also affects the appearance of the mouth, leading to yellowing of the teeth and tongue, and it can give breath a bad odor.

6. Consider a mouthwash

Some studies indicate that certain mouthwashes can benefit oral health. For example, one review found that mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial ingredient, helps control plaque and gingivitis. Mouthwashes with certain essential oils are also effective, according to a meta-analysis.

People may wish to ask their dentist which is the best mouthwash for their individual needs. A mouthwash cannot substitute brushing and flossing, but it can complement these practices.

Mouthwashes that may help with bad breath and dental problems are available online.

7. Limit sugary foods and starches

Consuming sugar can lead to cavities. Studies continue to highlight the significant role that sugar plays in adverse dental health outcomes. Common culprits include candy and desserts, but many processed foods also contain added sugar.

The WHO recommend that people limit their intake of sugar to below 10 percent of their daily calories. The authors of a systematic review concluded that lowering this to 5 percent would further reduce the risk of cavities and other dental problems.

Experts have also stated that starchy foods, such as crackers, bread, chips, and pasta, can cause tooth decay. The ADA explain that these foods linger in the mouth and break down into simple sugars, on which acid-producing bacteria feed. This acid can cause tooth decay.

Instead of starchy foods, the ADA recommend eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products without added sugar.

8. Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the typical diet of those in the U.S. Sipping on soda, juice, or other sugary drinks can lead to a higher risk of cavities.

The ADA recommend drinking water or unsweetened tea throughout the day and only drinking sugar-sweetened drinks at meal times and in small volumes.

Tips for kids

A child’s primary teeth, which people sometimes call baby teeth, are just as important as their permanent teeth. Baby teeth help a child chew and speak. They are placeholders for future permanent teeth.

If a child loses a baby tooth to decay, this can disrupt the space in the mouth and make it difficult for the adult tooth to develop correctly.

With this in mind, it is best to introduce good dental care for children during infancy. The following practices will help keep a child’s teeth and gums healthy:

  • Wipe a baby’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth every day, even before they have any teeth. Doing this removes sugars from the gums and can help a baby become familiar with the feeling of cleaning their teeth.
  • Babies and toddlers should not go to bed with bottles or sippy cups. Milk and juice contain sugars that can cause tooth decay if they remain on the teeth for extended periods.
  • As a baby approaches 1 year of age, start getting them used to a sippy cup. Aim to stop using bottles by their first birthday.
  • Allow toddlers to sip water from sippy cups between meals, but save juice or milk for meal times only.
  • Once a baby has teeth, brush them twice a day with a soft baby toothbrush. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. Children who are 3 to 6 years of age may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Parents or caregivers should brush the child’s teeth for them until they can clean all of their teeth thoroughly without help. Monitor them to make sure that they spit out the toothpaste.
  • Keep the toothpaste out of children’s reach when it is not in use.
  • The ADA recommend that children see a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth appearing or at 1 year of age, whichever comes first.
  • Parents and caregivers should not share eating utensils with a child or clean pacifiers by putting them in their mouth. Both of these actions can pass the adult’s cavity-causing bacteria to the child.

Summary

Practicing good dental care from infancy to adulthood can help a person keep their teeth and gums healthy. Brushing and flossing daily, not smoking, eating a healthful diet, and having regular dental checkups can help people avoid cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. It may also benefit their overall health.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324708.php?fbclid=IwAR2JFpPKmHx3XWZMBRanYShZhId1pzxlxrIxTV_Bb0EFrG4VZOSRPGNvvB0

Tooth whitening – don’t gamble with your teeth

By: Damien Walmsley, The Conversation

Are you one of those people who are dissatisfied with the color of our teeth? Have you tried to use some DIY methods and over-the-counter whitening products to whiten your teeth?

If so, here are some recommendations from The Conversation to know if it is safe to continue. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

People seem to be hypnotized by the lure of having teeth that are whiter than an Oscars ceremony. Studies show that over half of us are dissatisfied with the color of our teeth. The seemingly insatiable desire for whiter teeth is welcome news for makers of tooth whitening products, judging by the huge array of over-the-counter kits on offer. They will certainly be cheaper than going to the dentist – at least in the short term. But they could end up being expensive in the long term, especially if they result in damage to the surface of the teeth and expensive dental procedures are needed to fix the problem.

Genetics and diet play a large role in why some people’s teeth differ in colour. A lifetime of smoking and consuming strongly coloured foods and drinks, such as curries, tea and coffee, contributes to the effect. If you can resist these foods and drinks, and give up smoking, the effects are not just cosmetic but could also improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you wish to pursue the option of tooth whitening, you should visit your dentist.

Hydrogen peroxide is regarded by the EU Council Directive 2011/84/EUas the most effective and safest way (although alternatives do exist) to whiten teeth, which is why dentists use it. But in the wrong hands and in the wrong concentration, these harsh chemicals can irritate the tender tissues inside the mouth, as well as the gums.

Before 2012, when the European Directive came into force, the market was poorly regulated, as the amount of hydrogen peroxide used in products sold over the counter varied widely across Europe, as was the amount that could be used by dentists in their surgeries. After an extensive review of the safety and effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide by an expert scientific panel, the EU restricted the amount sold over the counter to 0.1% and up to 6% by dental professionals.

DIY – destroy it yourself?

Home bleaching products are marketed as quick and easy to apply and cheaper than having your teeth whitened by a dentist. But there are two major problems. One, there’s no guarantee that the legal ones work. And, two, the illegal ones put the consumer at risk of damaging their teeth.

The strict laws governing the amount of hydrogen peroxide that can be used in over-the-counter products means that manufacturers look to other chemicals to whiten teeth. Some of these chemicals are questionable as there is a lack of research into their use for this procedure and they may damage teeth, according to a recent studypublished in the British Dental Journal.

The study looked at the safety of five commonly available over-the-counter products. Three used sodium chlorite as the active ingredient, which breaks down to chlorine dioxide in the acidic environment of the mouth. The whitening effect of sodium chlorite is not fully understood.

Four of the products contained citric acid as the “accelerator”, which will soften and dissolve the enamel. This may lead to a large whitening effect, but over time the enamel will be lost. Once enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced. A serious side effect is yellowing teeth as the underlying dentine, which is naturally yellow, comes to the surface.

As this was a laboratory study, we don’t know what effects these products have on the gums. It is known that bleaching products can cause sensitivity and irritation to the gums and teeth. In a dental practice, these symptoms are closely monitored by the dentist who will advise the person if it is safe to continue. Or they will stop the process until the person’s mouth returns to health.

Safe, cheap and effective: pick two

Over-the-counter whitening products are self-administered and so are open to misuse. The product may not be applied correctly, and it seems almost inevitable that some people will apply more, hoping to increase the whitening effect.

While the EU strictly governs the use of hydrogen peroxide, regulation in other countries is more relaxed. In the US, these products are classified as cosmetic – not medical. It is possible to buy products with either high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (up to 25%) or other unregulated ingredients.

There are documented cases of damage occurring to teeth, gums and the mouth from their use, but as they are regulated as cosmetic products, manufacturers don’t have to submit reports of injury or other problems to the US Food and Drug Administration. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to buy products with higher concentrations from anywhere in the world.

Given that you only have one set of adult teeth in your lifetime, there are easy steps you can take to protect your oral health that will also help with whitening. Avoid tooth decay by cutting down on sugar and make sure you brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, including the last thing at night. And you can always ask your dentist for advice if you are worried about the appearance of your teeth.

Source: https://theconversation.com/tooth-whitening-dont-gamble-with-your-teeth-113162?

Teeth Grinding: Causes and Preventative Care Steps You Can Take

Whether you’re stressed or just anxious, teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, comes in many shapes and forms. And while the occasional grinding doesn’t hurt and is quite common, constant grinding can wear down your health in more ways than one.

The worst part of the condition is that it can be difficult to know whether or not you’re affected. Why? Because most grinding occurs during rest, meaning that while there are symptoms of a dental issue, it is not immediately apparent what the cause is.

By understanding the causes of and preventative care for bruxism, you can find relief from the condition and ensure that both your teeth and your general health are as vibrant as possible.

What is Bruxism?

Put simply, bruxism is a condition characterized by the clenching or grinding of teeth. Most often, the condition affects individuals at night in a condition specified as sleep bruxism, however it can also occur during the day.

For many, the condition goes unnoticed but when symptoms begin to surface, the issue becomes more obvious. Symptoms may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which is often loud enough to wake others
  • Flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  • Increased sensitivity of the teeth
  • Soreness or tightness in the jaw or face
  • A dull headache or earache
  • Ringing in the ears known as tinnitus

Why Does Bruxism Occur?

Bruxism is a quite mysterious. In fact, many health professionals find it incredibly difficult to identify a specific cause for the condition.

However, several psychological and physical causes have come to the forefront:

  • Emotions – Anxiety, stress, anger, or frustration, can trigger bruxism.
  • Coping or Focus Strategy – Some clench or grind teeth to alleviate pressure or help them focus. While this often occurs during the daytime, individuals may still be unaware that they’re doing it.
  • Oral Structure – Individuals with poor teeth alignment, also known as malocclusion, may develop bruxism.
  • Sleep Conditions – Individuals with sleep apnea may also experience bruxism as part of their condition.
  • Other Medical Complications – Grinding can also be caused by specific psychiatric medications, complications from other medical disorders, and even acid reflux.

There Are Three Major Treatment Options You Can Turn to for Relief

If you suffer from bruxism, there’s no need to fret. Some individuals actually grow out of the disorder, whereas others suffer such minimal disruption that no treatment is required.

But if you must seek treatment, rest assured that you have options:

  • Dental Approaches – A visit to your dentist can give you access to splints and mouth guards to prevent damage to your teeth. Of course, you can also consult your dentist to determine if misalignment is causing your problems and, if it is, you can determine an appropriate treatment solution.
  • Therapies – For bruxism due to psychological factors, stress management, behavior therapy, and/or biofeedback may help address the underlying cause and eliminate teeth grinding in the process.
  • Medications – Medications aren’t a common treatment for bruxism but in some extreme cases, doctors will prescribe muscle relaxants or Botox injections to relax the muscles and prevent grinding.

As a disorder that manifests most commonly during sleep, it can be incredibly difficult to recognize what is causing your discomfort or dental complications.

By better understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments of bruxism, you can ensure that you find the relief you need, protect your smile from damage, and rest easy knowing that grinding isn’t wearing down your health.

Source:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/basics/symptoms/con-20029395

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism

Receding Gums: Are Your Teeth in Peril?

No cavities, no problem, right? Wrong! Even the straightest and whitest of teeth can fall prey to a serious case of receding gums, a common condition that can sneak up and do some damage before many individuals realize it’s even a problem.

While a surefire way to detect and treat it is with regular visits to the dentist, meticulous at-home monitoring and preventative care is also a great line of defense. Here’s what you should know to keep the threat of gum recession at bay.

Signs and Symptoms of Receding Gums

Gums don’t recede overnight, but if you pay close attention, you can spot telltale signs of the problem: a tooth that appears much longer than its neighbors, yellow stains where the tooth touches the gum line, or even a ridge you can feel on the affected tooth, indicating your gums have shifted. Tooth sensitivity is another red flag, as a declining layer of protective gum tissue can leave nerves beneath the enamel exposed.

Causes of Receding Gums

Many things can cause vital gum tissue to detach and recede, but the most common culprit is untreated gingivitis. If you have gum disease, chances are that gum recession is just around the corner.

Other possible causes include:

  • Brushing too hard, thereby resulting in unnecessary pressure and irritation
  • Smoking/tobacco use, which can impact blood supply to the gums
  • Crooked teeth that can pull on the gums, and also lead to gingivitis
  • Oral piercings that force precious tissue aside over time
  • Genetics, an inherited predisposition to gum recession
  • Diabetes, which has been linked to receding gums

Depending on the root cause, the rate of recession may vary, but being aware of all the possible factors can help you steer clear of other hazards and behaviors that will only aggravate the problem.

In-Office Treatment Options

The good news is that, if you do have a confirmed case of receding gums, all is not lost. Whether it is mild or extreme, in-office treatments are available to help halt recession — and in some instances, even restore lost tissue.

Periodontal therapy is an effective procedure your dentist may recommend to put a stop to further gum erosion. This process involves laser treatments that target and sanitize the problem area(s). With proper care and time, it is possible for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth’s surface.

For patients with severe gum recession, the dentist may ultimately advise surgery. Grafting is one common option that may be offered, in which tissue from a donor or another area of your mouth is applied to the affected area. Crown lengthening, or “pocket depth reduction”, is another alternative that involves removal of diseased tissue altogether. This treatment may be recommended only if the gums have receded to such a point that tooth loss is imminent, and it can result in tooth sensitivity.

Other Steps You Can Take

In addition to seeking professional help, preventative care is critical to combatting gum recession. Due to its gradual nature, sometimes a few proactive measures can go a long way:

  • Brush and floss more regularly to help eliminate gum disease
  • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply less pressure on your teeth
  • Quit smoking/tobacco use to maintain a healthy blood supply to your teeth
  • Get teeth straightened to help prevent gingivitis, which is linked to receding gums
  • Use a mouth guard at night to keep teeth grinding from weakening the gums

No matter the source or severity of the problem, see your dentist for help. In addition to the positive impact that regular dental cleanings can have on your gum health, your dentist can craft the optimal treatment plan based on your individual situation.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.boots.com/oral-health/guide/receding-gums

http://ultrablubrush.com/receding-gums-causes-symptoms-treatment

The Mouthwash Mistake You Could Be Making

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It can freshen up your breath faster than brushing, but does mouthwash really make a big difference when it comes to your oral health? You may be surprised to find that looks–or in this case, smells–can be deceiving! Oral rinses are not created equal, and if you’re not careful, some can actually be more harmful than helpful. Find out whether your go-to for gargling is doing you any good, or if another mouthwash makes sense for you.

Therapeutic vs. Cosmetic Mouthwashes

Most mouthwashes claim to eliminate bad breath, but how they go about doing this can differ significantly. In general, over-the-counter oral rinses fall into two categories:

“Therapeutic” Mouthwashes
Comprised of various anti-microbial agents, these mouthwashes have plaque-fighting properties that can give your oral hygiene an added boost by inhibiting the growth of oral bacteria. Oftentimes, they may be further enhanced with fluoride to help combat tooth decay. Therapeutic mouthwashes proven to treat the root causes of bad breath are easy to tell apart from other mouthwashes because they come with an ADA seal of approval. In some cases, a special type of therapeutic rinse may be prescribed by your dentist.

“Cosmetic” Mouthwashes
Similar in appearance to therapeutic mouthwashes, cosmetic rinses also promise to control bad breath, but a closer look at the label will reveal both the lack of active ingredients and an ADA seal of approval. This means that while your breath may smell fresher, the mouthwash only serves to temporarily mask the odor, and doesn’t specifically attack oral bacteria or built-up plaque.

If you’ve reviewed the product details carefully, but are still unsure whether your mouthwash is therapeutic or cosmetic, call your dentist for confirmation. He or she can easily verify its safety and effectiveness.

Choosing the Right Mouthwash

With countless options available, choosing mouthwash can be overwhelming, but a simple self-assessment is an easy way to narrow down the field:

If your breath is normally fresh…
A cosmetic rinse might be right for you. Keep a travel-sized bottle on hand for occasional use if/when your breath feels stale or smells bad due to something you may have eaten.

If you have chronic bad breath (or “halitosis”)…
See your dentist first. He or she can determine the severity and likely causes, and advise whether the best solution can be found over-the-counter or if a prescription rinse is necessary. Either way, a therapeutic rinse will be most beneficial to keep bacteria at bay and help resolve your bad breath problem permanently.

If you have other dental problems in addition to bad breath…
Look for therapeutic rinses that come with added benefits. Those who have trouble with tooth decay, for instance, may fare better with a cavity-fighting mouthwash enriched with fluoride. Others who struggle with dry mouth (“xerostomia”), burning mouth syndrome, or have noticed an adverse reaction to traditional rinses, on the other hand, should reach for a non-aggravating, alcohol-free rinse. Nowadays, mouthwashes come with different benefits to meet varying preferences and dental goals: from those with whitening ingredients to organic mouthwashes and beyond.

Brushing and Flossing Always Come First

No matter which rinse you choose, it’s important to remember that mouthwash is only meant to supplement–not substitute for–brushing and flossing. Ultimately, the best way to get rid of the bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath in the first place is with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist’s office. To ensure your at-home routine is meeting your dental needs, be sure to share your hygiene practices and products with your dentist.

Source:

https://www.deltadental.com/us/en/protect-my-smile/oral-health-conditions/bad-breath.html

https://www.wikihow.com/Use-Mouthwash

http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/mouthrinses

Cranberries and blueberries – why certain fruit extracts could provide the key to fighting tooth decay

By: Dental Health Org

🍒 New research shows that dark berries such as cranberries and blueberries contain nutrients that can protect our teeth and mouths from tooth decay as well as cancer and other diseases. Now, don’t forget to add these fruits to your diet! Discover their oral benefits via Dental Health Org. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

A handful of dark-colored berries may lower the risk of tooth decay, a new study shows.

Scientists have found that nutrients in cranberries and blueberries can be highly effective in protecting the teeth against a strand of bacteria responsible for accelerating tooth decay.1

These natural compounds, known as polyphenols, help fend off harmful bacteria in the mouth.

The study supports previous research by suggesting these are good for oral health by preventing ‘bad bacteria’ from sticking to the teeth and gums.

This could help reduce tooth decay, plaque and gum disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes polyphenols could eventually lead to new oral care products.

Dr Carter says: “The nutrients and fibre in fruit are vital for our health and wellbeing.  They help protect us against heart disease and cancer, as well as a range of other diseases.

“Cranberries seem especially good for our oral health, as their polyphenols stick around in our saliva and will continue to help our mouth, even after we’ve swallowed them.

“What is especially exciting is that these natural extracts are completely sugar-free. This means they can be added to oral care products in several ways.

“They can dissolve in water so can be used to create healthy drinks, as well as to reformulate unhealthy drinks packed full of sugar. 

“They also have wider applications for tooth decay prevention and control.  Mouthwash could benefit from this ingredient, as could toothpastes. More testing must be done but it will be extremely interesting to see whether manufactures make more use of polyphenols in the future.”

Dark-coloured berries are among the best dietary source of antioxidants. They provide a good supply of water and fibre, as well as other nutrients.

However, along with other fruit, they may also contain high amounts of natural sugar.

The recommended daily allowance of sugar for an adult is 90 grams or 22.5 teaspoons per day. This includes 60 grams of natural sugar and 30 grams of added sugar.

One portion of cranberries contains up to four grams of natural sugar (equivalent to one teaspoon) while a serving of blueberries is nearly ten grams.

Dr. Carter adds: “It is important to remember that the whole fruit contains natural sugars. This means it can still cause a risk to teeth when consumed in high amounts and too often.

“It is best to eat fruit at mealtimes like breakfast, or straight after dinner. This will limit the number of times which our mouth is exposed to sugar and acid.”  

Source: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/cranberries-and-blueberries-why-certain-fruit-extracts-could-provide-the-key-to-fighting-tooth-decay?

Choosing the Right Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

When you want to whiten your smile, there are typically two options: drugstore kits or professional treatments. While some opt for the former as a quick and less expensive fix, the latter delivers more profound, lasting results.

Of course, not all professional whitening treatments are alike. There are two primary types to consider.

Option #1: Teeth Whitening Completed by Your Dentist

If you want powerful results, a professional teeth whitening treatment by your dentist is the best way to go. Your dentist has access to bleaching materials that are stronger than those available over-the-counter. This results in superior outcomes for your smile. When whitening your teeth, keep in mind that the results will vary from patient-to-patient and are dependent on the natural dentin color of your teeth.

While in-office whitening is known by several names—including power bleaching, power whitening, and chair side whitening—each approach offers similar advantages and disadvantages:

  • Advantages – In-office whitening is the safest and quickest treatment, producing results in just 60 to 90 minutes. Today, there are thicker peroxide gels available, which reduces the risks of gum and tooth sensitivity commonly associated with in-office whitening.
  • Disadvantages – While peroxide gels have improved, some individuals may still experience sensitivity or irritation of the teeth or gums. These symptoms usually dissipate within 24 hours of the treatment, but, in some cases, could last longer.
  • Pricing – Pricing varies depending on the length of treatment. Basic treatments may take just 1 hour and average around $650, whereas more advanced treatments that require more time at the dentist office can cost upwards of $1,200.

Option #2: Home Teeth Whitening Supervised by Your Dentist

To take advantage of professional level treatment at a lower cost and in the comfort of your own home, an at home teeth whitening treatment is a great option.

This involves a customized mouthpiece, which your dentist will create. You’ll put the teeth whitening gel in the mouthpiece and wear it for a few hours each day to maximize contact between your teeth and the gel.

There are several advantages and disadvantages worth noting:

  • Advantages – An at-home solution is not only more convenient (because you can whiten on your own time), but it’s also more cost-effective.
  • Disadvantages – While effective, at-home solutions produce results more slowly than in-office treatments because the whitening gel is less powerful. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to achieve results. Additionally, patients have to visit the dentist approximately every week to ensure the mouthpiece fits properly and to check on the treatment progression.
  • Pricing – At-home treatments cost substantially less than in-office treatments, averaging between $300 and $500, including all materials and dental appointments.

Which Treatment Option is Right for You?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of each professional teeth-whitening approach. While the speed and cost of treatment will vary, both deliver great results. Choose which works best for your needs, schedule and budget and prepare to be impressed by your new and improved smile!

Sources:

https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/professional-whitening/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry/dentist-supervised-bleaching.aspx

8 Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Your teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. But some common habits could be reducing the durability of your teeth without you even realizing it.

By recognizing the habits that can compromise the structure and health of your smile, you can take steps to protect it.

1. Avoiding Regular Dental Care

Many individuals skip regular dental cleanings or avoid getting necessary procedures due to anxiety, a lack of time, or other personal reasons. However, doing so can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other common oral health issues.

As such, you should be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and also, as necessary, if you notice a change or issue with your teeth.

2. Brushing Too Hard

Brushing is an essential component of good oral health, but not when done incorrectly. Brushing too hard can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, increase your teeth’s sensitivity, and cause cavities.

By purchasing a soft bristled or an electronic toothbrush, you can avoid the damage while still cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.

3. Using the Wrong Materials to Clean Teeth

Have you ever had something stuck in your teeth and not had floss? If so, you might have reached for things like paper clips, toothpicks, or even pieces of paper that easily slide between your teeth. However, each of these items can cause gum and tooth damage.

You can easily resolve this problem by keeping a small container of floss or an interdental cleaner in your purse, backpack or car.

4. Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw

Many Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw, which can cause fractures or other damage and may lead to headaches and jaw pain. If grinding or clenching happens while sleeping, a night guard that cushions your teeth and reduces impact on your jaw can help. If it happens during the day, chewing gum may help to prevent it.

5. Biting Your Nails, Pens, Ice, or Other Hard Objects

When you bite your nails, chew on pens, or crunch ice or even hard candy, you could be causing splinters and cracks in your teeth. But that’s not all!

In fact, biting any foreign object can also introduce bacteria into your mouth and cause infections. By eliminating these bad habits, you can keep your teeth protected and eliminate additional germs in your mouth.

6. Using Your Teeth Improperly

How often do you bite open a package or try to cut something with your teeth? You may do it without thinking twice and probably more frequently than you realize.

Biting even just a thread off of your shirt could cause micro cracks that, over time, can lead to more serious structural damage. It’s easy to avoid this by grabbing for a can opener, knife, or pair of scissors instead.

7. Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol

While everything is acceptable in moderation, soda, sports drinks, and wine can cause significant damage when consumed in large amounts. Sports drinks and soda, which contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria and erode enamel, leave teeth susceptible to cavities.

Alcohol contains acid that produces similar effects. Additionally, because alcohol dries out the mouth, it reduces saliva production and allows bacteria and plaque to thrive.

By limiting your consumption of all of these drinks, you can do your part to keep your teeth protected.

8. Tobacco Use

If you smoke cigarettes or cigars or use chewing tobacco, you’re also at risk. Nicotine not only yellows teeth, it also can cause oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is even worse because carcinogens directly contact gum tissues and can remain there for a long time.

While quitting any tobacco use is difficult, it’s worth it when you consider the oral (and general) health risks of daily, or even infrequent, use.

Transform Your Everyday Habits From Harmful to Beneficial

While the habits described above are harmful, there are simple ways to correct them. Transforming destructive habits into protective measures can keep your teeth looking great for years to come.

Sources:

http://www.nusmiledentalfl.com/blog/2014/november/everyday-habits-that-can-harm-your-teeth.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/your-teeth-bad-habits?

The Wise Patient’s Cheat Sheet on Wisdom Teeth Removal

There’s no way around it: the time has come for your wisdom teeth to be extracted. According to the horror stories out there, you are in for nothing but non-stop agony, but you don’t have to share the same fate!

Being proactive and fully prepared for what happens during and after surgery can minimize the pain and help ensure a smooth recovery. Make the experience easier on yourself by following these expert tips and tricks.

1. Read the procedure and recovery guidelines well in advance.

Understanding what to expect at every stage of the process can help you plan and gather items for your recovery more efficiently. Knowing potential complications that can arise—such as Dry Sockets, a painful condition due to blood clot failure, or Paresthesia, a numbness of the lip, chin and/or tongue—can also help you detect and address serious problems immediately. Be sure to raise any questions or concerns with your dentist at this time to save you from having to make calls while you heal.

2. Clear your calendar for recovery.

Many patients undermine their recovery because they did not realize the physical toll of a surgery such as this. Multi-tasking and strenuous activities can disrupt your healing time, or worse—distract you from costly complications. Put plans on hold and relax as much as possible. If you go to school or work during the weekdays, consider scheduling the surgery for a Friday for minimal disruption of your schedule, and give yourself the whole weekend to rest.

3. Enlist the help of family and friends beforehand.

Not only will you need someone to drive you to and from the dentist’s office on the day of the surgery, you may need extra support getting and preparing food, placing necessary calls, or completing important tasks and chores. Ask loved ones for help in advance, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly.

4. Stock up on supplies.

Gather items that can make your post-operative experience more comfortable. In addition to medications your dentist may prescribe for you, these essentials can help ease your pain:

  • Ice packs (or even a pack of frozen vegetables) to reduce swelling
  • Soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding or ice cream
  • Tea bags, an effective alternative (when moistened) to biting gauze when bleeding
  • Salt to combine with water for a safe mouth rinse that can reduce irritation

For a pleasant distraction from the pain, it’s also a good idea to pick up books, DVDs, music or other forms of entertainment.

5. Make a “Do Not Do” list.

After crafting your to-do list, write down a list of cautionary reminders as well. Avoid unnecessary discomfort and complications by remembering to steer clear of these major no-no’s:

  • Sipping from a straw; doing so can disrupt blood clotting and cause dry sockets
  • Eating spicy or hot foods, as they can exacerbate the pain
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol, as they can interfere with the healing process
  • Driving or operating heavy machinery; medications may impair everyday abilities

Get Your Dentist’s Advice

Last, but not least, take advantage of your dentist’s history of wisdom teeth removal to improve your own experience. He or she has probably seen and heard it all, and can provide additional recommendations based on your individual situation.

Source:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/05/23/the-survival-guide-to-getting-your-wisdom-teeth-removed

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/7-tips-prepare-and-recover-wisdom-teeth-removal.html

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/wisdom-tooth-extraction

Mind Your Meds: 6 Ways Medicine Can Sabotage Your Smile

Be honest: do you take the time to read through the lengthy medical pamphlets attached to your medications? If you thought the warning label on the back of the bottle had everything covered, think again! Often, there simply isn’t enough space to spell out every side effect on the container, and you could be overlooking important warnings to the detriment of your dental health. Should any of these oral symptoms suddenly arise, head to your dentist to find out if your medicine is to blame.

1. Discolored Teeth
Pearly whites turned gray, yellow, green, blue or brownish in color is one of the more noticeable reactions your mouth can have to certain medications. Antibiotics like acne-fighting tetracycline, as well as antihistamines and anti-hypertension medicine, have the potential to cause irreversible discoloration if left untreated by a dentist. Getting immediate help is even more crucial for pregnant and nursing mothers, as they can pass this tooth problem on to their babies.

2. Painful Sores
Otherwise known as “ulcers” or “canker sores”, these inflamed spots can pop up along the gumline and the inner lining of your mouth and cheeks. While they can be a one-time occurrence due to something such as a facial injury or food allergy, persistent cases can also be brought about by chemotherapy, radiation treatment, antibiotics, and medications to treat arthritis and epilepsy. Once a sore emerges, nothing can be done to speed up the healing time (between 5-10 days), but your dentist can prescribe medication to ease the pain.

3. Altered Taste
If you notice that food you normally eat starts to taste particularly metallic, bitter, or salty, read through the fine print of any medications you’re taking. Taste changes can be caused by a range of drugs, including antibiotics, blood thinners, antipsychotics, chemotherapy treatment, corticosteroids, muscle relaxers, and blood pressure medication, just to name a few. Rather than suffering through your meals, or letting your health take a hit, work with your dentist and doctor to identify and treat the cause.

4. Thrush (Fungal Infection)
White, painful and bleeding lesions in your mouth and throat are an unmistakable sign of a fungal infection commonly known as “thrush”. It is commonly caused by a weakened immune system, but corticosteroids, antibiotics and birth control pills can also trigger an outbreak. Because thrush can cause fever and spread easily to other parts of the body, it’s best to see your dentist immediately for diagnostic tests and anti-fungal medication.

5. Dry Mouth
Name the type of medication you use, and chances are it could cause dry mouth; hundreds of medications have the ability to inhibit saliva production. While dry mouth can leave you parched and more prone to cavities, chewing xylitol-based gum and drinking plenty of water can help combat the problem. Depending on the health benefits of the medicine you’re taking, it may be worth sticking to your current treatment and stepping up your hygiene to help manage your dry mouth condition.

6. Excess Gum Tissue (“Gingival Overgrowth”)
In some cases, blood pressure medication, seizure medicine, and certain immunosuppresants may cause gums to swell and start growing over the surface of teeth. This excess gum tissue can be a haven for oral bacteria, often resulting in tooth loss if left untreated. Being male and having an existing case of gingivitis are two known risk factors for this problem, but the chance of developing excess gum tissue can be minimized for anyone simply by seeing a dentist regularly for routine cleanings and exams.

Stop Problems Before They Start

The fact that medicine can have costly implications for your smile may be a bitter pill to swallow, but being proactive and diligent about dental care can help you steer clear of problems altogether. To help protect your oral health, read through all the medical warnings of any purchased/prescribed drugs before taking them, and double check its safety by calling your dentist.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-side-effects-of-medications?page=2