Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tooth Discoloration : Foods that Stain Teeth

There are many foods that can end up staining your teeth and making them look several tones darker. Here are some of such foods and drinks:

Tea

While tea can be healthy, it may end up staining your pearly whites. According to experts, the brew, particularly the black variety, can cause a lot more stains in comparison to coffee. White and herbal teas can wear off the outer tooth covering, known as enamel, creating stains.

Sauces

While sauces are tasty, but the ones that are deeply colored such as, tomato, soy, and curry may cause stains. It is best to consume creamy or light-colored sauces, and rinse or brush soon after consuming.

Sports drinks

Drinks and foods that are acidic can also end up affecting your teeth. Energy or sports drinks can corrode enamel, making the teeth to stain. Drinking a lot of water during workouts is a far better choice.

White teeth and wine

Imagine if a drink can stain your tablecloth, how likely it is to stain your teeth. According to dentists, red wine, which is an acidic drink with a rich, dark color, can discolor teeth. However, white wine, with even more acid, can also do the same.

Berries and fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and other fruits can also end up staining the teeth. So can pies and juices made out of berries. Fruits such as, white cranberries, white grapes are less probable to cause staining. However, they do have acid that may weaken or soften your enamel.

Cola, soda, and carbonated drinks

These drinks comprise of dyes and acids -- even the ones that are light colored can cause serious stains. Moreover, the chemicals that create the flavor can eat away the enamel.

Sweets and candy

If a sweet such as, chewing gum, hard candy, or even a Popsicle can make your tongue change its color, it can most certainly cause a stain on your teeth. Fortunately, if you only indulge in such goodies once in a while, they will do you no harm.

Lessening the stains:

1. Cut back:

While it’s not a very good idea to cut back on all teeth-staining drinks and foods, such as, blueberries, blackberries, and tomato (full of antioxidants), keep consuming them, but lighten up or choose other sources, such as apples, cauliflower, melon and grapefruit.

2. Make use of a straw

Make sure you sip drinks such as juices, sodas, and iced tea from a straw. This will help in keeping the liquid from not reaching your teeth.

3. Drink swiftly

Do not let drinks that have the potential to cause stains to linger inside your mouth. Make sure you drink them quickly.

4. Rinse or brush after eating

Make sure to swish the mouth with water after you drink or eat something that may cause a stain. Wait for an hour before brushing after consuming something acidic, any time sooner and you will end up hurting the tooth’s enamel.

Good oral and dental care is important if you want to maintain a bright, beautiful smile. Make sure you visit your dentist regularly to keep the mouth cavity free.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Smoking and Oral Health

You've probably noticed the warnings and images on cigarette packs: "Smoking can be injurious to health” or “Quitting smoking can reduce some serious health risks." When you read these signs, what diseases come to mind? Probably, lung cancer, or emphysema. But did you know most periodontal diseases in smokers are caused by smoking?

How can smoking cause gum disease?

Smoking or tobacco products can cause gum disease by affecting the soft tissue and bone attachment of your teeth. It is believed that smoking interferes with the normal functioning of the cells within the gum tissue. This interruption can make smokers a lot more vulnerable to infections and damage the flow of blood to the gums.

Do cigar and pipe smoking cause dental issues?

Just like cigarettes, cigars and pipes do lead to oral health issues. Cigar smokers experience alveolar bone loss and tooth loss at the rates equal to those who smoke cigarettes. Pipe smokers also are susceptible to tooth loss as cigarette smokers. Beyond such risks, cigar and pipe smokers are still at risk for pharyngeal and oral cancers as well as stained teeth, bad breath, and increased risk of gum disease.

Is smokeless tobacco safer?

No. Like cigarettes and cigars, smokeless tobacco contains more than 25 chemicals that have been known for increasing the danger of oral cancer and throat cancer and esophagus. In fact, chewing tobacco comprises of higher nicotine levels than cigarettes, making it difficult to quit than cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco irritates the gum tissue, making it pull away or recede from your teeth. After gum tissues recede, teeth roots get exposed, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay. Exposed roots may also be more sensitive towards cold and hot or other irritants, making drinking ad eating uncomfortable.

Kick the habit of tobacco:

Irrespective of how long you have abused tobacco, quitting at any stage can greatly decrease risks to your oral health. After eleven years of quitting, a smoker’s chances of suffering from a periodontal disease is not very different from those who never smoke.

Apart from this, even decreasing the amount you smoke can help. A study has found that smokers who reduce the number of cigarettes to half a pack per day have only two times the risk of getting gum disease in comparison to nonsmokers, which is considerably lower than the risk seen in people who smoke more than one pack a day.

To stop consuming tobacco, your doctor or dentist may be able to assist you in calming nicotine cravings with nicotine patches and gum. Some of the products can be bought over the counter; others need a prescription from a doctor.

Smoking support groups and cessation classes are normally used in tandem with drug therapy. Such programs are offered by local community hospitals and health insurance companies. Ask your dentist or doctor for information on similar programs being run around you. Herbal remedies and acupuncture and hypnosis, are other treatments that are helpful in kicking the habit.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Having Your Tooth Pulled? What to Expect During and After the Procedure?

Even though permanent teeth are meant to last for a lifetime, there are so many reasons why extraction may be required. One of the most common reasons is when a tooth is badly damaged due to decay or trauma. Apart from this, other reasons may include:

Crowded mouth:

Sometimes dental experts have to extract teeth for orthodontia. The aim of orthodontia is to align the teeth properly, which may be impossible if the projections are too big for the mouth. Similarly, if the tooth cannot erupt from the gum due to lack of room in the mouth, the dentist will suggest pulling it.

Infection:

If tooth damage or decay extends to the tooth pulp bacteria inside the mouth may enter the pulp, causing infection. Often times, this can be easily corrected with the help of root canal therapy, but times when infection is so acute that antibiotics are unable to cure it, extraction is needed to prevent the infection from spreading.

Risk of infection

In case the immune system is compromised, the risk of infection in a certain tooth can be the reason to pull that tooth.

What to tell your dentist before the extraction:

Although extractions are very safe, the process may allow bacteria to enter the blood. There is also a risk of infection. In case you suffer from a health condition that may put you at risk for developing infection, you should take antibiotics before the extraction. Let the dentist know about your medical history, the supplements and medicines you take, and if you suffer from any of the following:

  1. Congenital heart defect
  2. Man-made or damaged heart valves
  3. Weakened immune system
  4. Liver disease
  5. Artificial joint
What to do after the extraction?

Recovery from a tooth extraction normally takes a couple of days. The following tips will help reduce discomfort, and risk of infection.

  1. Take the prescribed painkillers.
  2. Bite gently but firmly on the gauze pad to reduce any bleeding. Make sure to change the gauze pads regularly.
  3. Apply ice pack to the area right after the extraction procedure to keep the swelling down.
  4. Relax for a minimum of 24 hours after the tooth extraction.
  5. Avoid spitting or rinsing forcefully for a day.
  6. Avoid drinking from a straw for a day.
  7. Do not smoke.
  8. Eat foods that are soft, such as pudding, soup, yogurt, and the like.
When should you call a dentist?

It is very normal to feel a little pain after the anesthesia starts to wear off. For a day after the extraction, expect some residual bleeding and swelling. However, if either pain or bleeding is still severe for more than a few hours after the extraction, you must call your dentist. It is also a good idea to call up the dentist if you feel any of the following:

  1. Symptoms of infection, such as chills and fever
  2. Vomiting or nausea
  3. Swelling, redness, or excessive discharge from the area
  4. Shortness in breath, cough, or chest pain
It is important to see your dentist regularly to make sure your oral health does not deteriorate. You may have to undergo a dental implant treatment if the missing teeth cause the remaining teeth to move.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Chewing Tips after a Filling

You are likely to experience soreness and tooth sensitivity for a few hours after getting your fillings done in the dentist's office. This can make drinking and eating an uncomfortable affair.

Fortunately by avoiding foods and following a few common sense chewing tips you can decrease discomfort considerably:

Bite lightly and chew slowly: Biting puts a lot of pressure on our teeth, making them very sore after we get a filling. When you chew your food, make sure you take time and try not to chew it entirely at once; this habit will prevent your teeth from impacting. Also, if possible, try to chew from the opposite side of the filling.

Close your mouth while chewing: For many people cold air may cause pain in sensitive teeth. Therefore, apart from being good manners, keeping the mouth closed while eating will reduce your chances of cold air coming your mouth and leading to pain.

Reduce sticky foods: Some fillings, especially silver amalgam, take some time to set once you have left the dentist's office. Consuming gummy or sticky foods can, in some cases, dislodge a filling. Therefore, it is best to avoid them.

Avoid cold or hot drinks: Temperatures that are moderate are less likely to cause pain in sensitive teeth.

Pass on the sweets: Soft drinks and sugary foods tend to trigger sensitivity in some and may promote the growth of bacteria around the edges of the new filling.

Don't bite on hard candy, nuts, or ice: Apart from causing undue pressure on the projection, chewing on hard foods can displace a fresh filling that has not been set properly. This is particularly important for amalgam fillings, as they take some time to set when compared to composite fillings.

Food suggestions:

Stick to healthy, soft foods after getting a filling. Avoid hot but try warm vegetable soup, or smoothies made out of bananas, berries, nut butter and milk. Slowly, introduce harder and hot and cold foods. If your teeth feel sensitive after a week, make sure to schedule another appointment with the dental expert, as they may have to remove the decay properly.

Practicing good hygiene and keeping teeth healthy can also help in ensuring long-lasting fillings. Make sure to brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing floss and fluoride. In case you feel any tooth pain, talk to your dentist. It is easier to perform a filling on a tooth that has less decay as it can help to shorten the process of recovery so you can start eating the foods you love.

It is important to always follow the recommendations of your dentist regarding chewing tips, the type of foods to eat after the treatment, and the amount of time to wait to eat solid foods after getting softer filling materials like, amalgam. In case the teeth remain sensitive for weeks after filling, or if pain increases instead of decreasing over time, get in touch with a dentist to explore the reasons and potential solutions. At times a painless or minor adjustment, such as shredding down a mounted area, is what is required to relieve the tooth pain. In other times, sensitivity may be a sign of a serious problem.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Halloween to New Year’s - Worst and Best foods for your Teeth and Gums

Enjoying delectable delights on Halloween or a glass of wine on New Year’s eve is part of the celebration, but some of the seasonal fares can be troublesome for your gums and teeth. Did you know, almost 27 percent of adults in the United States suffer from untreated tooth decay? A lot of this damage is due to foods that erode the enamel - and you can easily find these foods during holiday parties.

However, there are plenty of amazing options that can allow you to enjoy the spirit of the holidays while keeping your mouth and gums healthy. Here are some foods to either eat or avoid through the holidays.

Good Foods:

Green leafy veggies

Raw kale and spinach may not be at the top of your list, but these veggies actually grow best during cool weather months such as, fall and winter. Moreover, they are extremely healthy. Kale, spinach, collard greens and other vegetables high in fiber help clean your teeth because they require you to chew more, which help increase saliva.

Cheese

There is absolutely no reason to avoid cheese for good oral health. Cheese has casein, a protein with protective properties that help in fighting cavities. It also comprises of phosphorus and calcium, which help promote teeth re-mineralization. Apart from this, calcium helps in promoting overall bone health, and is found in several dairy products, such as, ice cream and yogurt.

Berries

Cranberries during winter season are full of minerals and vitamins that help with your overall health. They are naturally sweet and high in antioxidants that help in satisfying a sweet craving. However, berries are acidic, so it's best to consume them with yogurt to limit possible damage on your teeth.

Nuts

Nuts are full of nutrients such as, calcium and phosphorus. A lot of people tend to avoid nuts out of fear that eating them can cause their teeth to crack or chip. The truth is, our teeth are meant to be strong enough to chew nuts. However, make sure you shell the nuts before eating them, as shelling them can cause damage, such as cracking or chipping.

Not so good foods:

Lime, lemons, grapefruit and oranges

Citrus foods are very acidic and can cause enamel to erode, making you more vulnerable to decay. Adding an occasional squeeze of lemon or lime to your water is not harmful, but it is best to enjoy these acidic fruits during large meals. This way, the saliva produced during the meal helps in washing away acid and protecting your teeth from harm.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are a common part of holiday gift baskets. However, dried fruits like prunes, raisins, and apricots tend to stick to your teeth, causing bacteria to breed. If you do plan on snacking on dried fruits, make sure you mix them with nuts which can help scrub off residue of dried fruit off your teeth.

Candy

It may be a staple for Halloween and Christmas, but dental experts stress that you should avoid or limit candy because of its high sugar content. Toffee or candy canes tend to stick to the teeth, causing decay. If you or your children indulge in sweets, make sure you drink a lot of water and brush after savoring the snack.

In general, there is no need for you to deprive yourself of your favorite winter and fall treats to keep your gums and teeth healthy - just be sensible and eat everything in moderation.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Boast of a healthy smile at every age

You can boast of a million dollar smile and a healthy set of pearly whites your entire life. Here is how to keep your teeth in good shape at every age.

Healthy teeth for toddlers and babies

Start paying attention to your baby’s smile as early as possible. Experts recommend cleaning the baby’s gums with soft infant toothbrush, water or wash cloth. Once the teeth start to appear, brush them with soft fluoridated toothpaste. Remember, your child’s first dental trip should take place as soon as the first tooth comes out. Continue to take your child for regular checkups from there on.

Teen dental health

Our jaw and face undergo several changes during our teenage. As we age, our biting edge starts losing its softness and starts to flatten. It is at this age that all permanent teeth come out. Dental decay is a big risk to the dental health of a teen, and gum disease such as gingivitis can take a toll on the smile by causing swollen, red, and sometimes bleeding gums. It is important to go for regular dental checkups and maintain a good oral regimen.

Healthy smile during 20’s and 30’s

By the time we reach our late twenties, our biting edge becomes flat. The position of our teeth may also change. It becomes all the more important to be aware of how beverages and foods may be affecting our healthy smile negatively. Fruit drinks, sodas, citrus fruits, sugar and tomatoes may soften the enamel and increase the chances of tooth decay. Also, beware of the amount of stain-causing drinks you consume.

Tooth Health during 40’s

Even if you had perfect teeth in your younger days, they may start to give way in your forties if the previously done orthodontic work is not properly maintained with a tray or retainer. The movements are normally very subtle, but crossover irregularities and gaps may occur. This is a good time to get all your old fillings checked if you have had them for many years. Forties are also the perfect time to rejuvenate the color of your teeth through whitening and bleaching.

Healthy gums in the 50’s

Our tooth color continues to change in our fifties, but now, apart from yellowing and darkening, the teeth are also likely to get worn down and chipped. This may be the result of natural deterioration from chewing and from teeth grinding. While bleaching can help lighten the tooth’s color, only veneers can correct the tooth’s length. Though, in certain cases, dental bonding — a process where tooth-colored resin is attached to the tooth, may be able to help cover stains and chips.

Healthy smile during the 60’s and above

Color of the teeth gets even darker in the sixties, and because the stains are now deep in the structure of the tooth, it gets even more difficult to get the teeth as white as they once were. Therefore, those seeking whitening treatment in their 60’s may need more sessions than a person who is younger.

The teeth may also start to rotate and move at this age, causing spacing and overlapping. One of the best ways of correcting it is with either veneers or Invisalign. If you wish to live a healthy life at every stage make sure you keep your teeth in good shape. Regular visits to the dental expert can save you a lot of health problems later on.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Relieve Tooth Sensitivity: Five Important Tips!

One out of eight adults suffers from teeth sensitivity. If you think your sensitive teeth are a consequence of bad genetics or bad luck, you may want to reconsider. There is a very good chance that your dental issues are being triggered by incorrect brushing or bad lifestyle choices.

The good news is there are several steps you can take to ease or prevent tooth sensitivity. Here are a few that work.

Brush gently:

Brushing vigorously will not make your teeth cleaner, but may only increase your risk of tooth sensitivity. This is because tough brushing may pull the gums away from your teeth, leading to tooth pain due to exposed nerves.

Make sure you use a brush that is soft-bristled. Brush two times a day using a short and gentle up-and-down movement.

Desensitizing toothpaste:

Desensitizing toothpastes contain compounds that block the transmission of sensation between the tooth and nerve. Use this paste twice a day; you will feel the sensitivity decreasing in a few weeks. For areas that are tender, try rubbing the desensitizing paste right on the tooth.

Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash

Fluoride mouthwashes help strengthen the enamel layer of the teeth, helping to secure teeth from any sensitivity. Apart from this, fluoride also helps protect against tooth cavities and decay, which can cause sensitive teeth. Make sure you rinse your mouth daily with a mouthwash after brushing.

Avoid consuming acidic drinks

Drinks that are highly acidic wear away the tooth’s enamel, leaving you prone to decay and sensitivity. In addition, they may also cause your gum line to recede, exposing your nerves. Citrus juices and carbonated sodas are all acidic. Rather than consuming citrus fruits by themselves, add them to your meal:  this helps in lowering the pH level within your mouth as the other foods serve as a buffer. Also, make sure you brush after waiting for at least thirty minutes. 

Skip tooth bleaching:

Both in-office and at-home whitening procedures can lead to temporary sensitivity, so if you are suffering from sensitive teeth and wish to bleach your pearly whites, make sure you talk to your dental expert first. In most cases, your dentist will not recommend any form of whitening if your teeth are sensitive.

In-Office Treatments

If your teeth are severely sensitive, you may want to consider using an in-office treatment. Procedures such as, gel fluoride treatments, inlays, crowns or bonding can help cover delicate areas on your teeth. In case of severe cases, your dentist may also suggest a gum graft or, if the pain is too much to handle, a root canal treatment to get rid of the nerve.

If your teeth feel sensitive and nothing works it is best to talk to your dentist and get the problem checked.