Sunday, 21 May 2017

Mouth Rinsing: Do’s and Don’ts

There are so many choices when it comes to freshening your breath. However, if you wish to keep your gums and mouth healthy, make mouth rinsing a part of your routine. Mouthwashes can help reduce gum disease, tartar, tooth decay, and plaque.

Why do you need to rinse?

Please remember, mouthwash does not substitute flossing and brushing. However, if you add in the habit of rinsing your mouth after meals (especially, if you can’t brush), it will help protect you from gum problems and cavities. Fluoride rinses are very helpful in preventing tooth decay.

When mouthwash is added to an oral care routine of flossing and brushing, it targets the conditions that you may be facing. For instance, using a teeth whitening wash may not brighten your teeth in just three washes but if you brush well and use the mouthwash, you will start seeing the results over a period of time.

A mouth rinse will not cure oral ailments that are serious. If your gums are bleeding or if you suffer from consistent bad breath, make sure you see your dental expert. He may be able to prescribe a mouthwash which is stronger than the type you have purchased over the counter.

Ingredients of a mouthwash:

Read the labels of the product carefully. The benefits and ingredients they offer may vary by the brand. They normally include the following:

1. Fluoride. It assists in preventing cavities and reducing tooth decay.
2. Antimicrobials. They help in killing bacteria that lead to plaque, bad breath, and gingivitis, swelling of the gums during early gum disease stages.
3. Astringent salt. This is a kind of deodorizer that can cover up halitosis temporarily.
4. Odor neutralizers. They help to attack the root of bad breath.
5. Whiteners. They will assist against tooth stains.

How to choose a mouthwash?

Since there are different types of mouth washes for different purposes, it is best to choose a product based on the biggest condition you wish to treat. If you prefer natural or organic products, ADA also recognizes some of such mouth washes.

What is the best way to rinse a mouth?

While there are instructions with every brand, here are some generic rules:

1. There is no best time to swish your mouth with a mouthwash. It does not matter if you do it after brushing or before.
2. It is best to swish for thirty to sixty seconds. If you do it for less than half a minute, it won’t be as effective. Swishing for more than a minute is the maximum you should go.
3. Be patient with the results. If your mouthwash is made to whiten teeth or cure bleeding gums, it will probably take a few weeks to give the desired results.

Dentists recommend including mouthwash in your daily oral care routine to add to the health of your mouth. However, if you have hyper sensitive teeth, it is best to first talk to your dentist about it.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth?

One of the best ways to ensure that your children enjoy healthy teeth is to begin their dental care early. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent tooth cavities and keep your little one’s smile healthy.

Get a Checkup

It is advised that your child sees a dental expert by his first birthday. You can save a lot of money with early preventive care. In fact, as per a study, dental care costs are almost 40% lower for children who go to a dentist by age five.

Teach good habits

Brushing is very important from the early stages. Before your little one develops teeth, you can start by brushing their gums gently. Use a little water on a toothbrush made especially for babies, or clean the teeth with a washcloth. Once the teeth start to appear, brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.

Begin flossing once two to three teeth touch each other. Ask the dentist about schedules and techniques. Floss or brush right before bedtime.

Avoid bottle decay

Do not put your older child or infant down for a nap with a bottle of formula, juice, or milk. Sugary liquids tend to cling to the teeth, feeding bacteria that may lead to tooth decay. If you have to give a bottle to your child to take to bed, it is best to give a bottle of water.

Stop using the pacifier by age two or three

There are many good reasons to let your little one use a pacifier, but in the long run it can affect how the teeth line up. Pacifier can also change the mouth’s shape. Speak to a doctor if your child is using a pacifier beyond age three.

Be careful with the sweet medicine

Children's medicines can be sugary and flavored. If they remain on the teeth, the likelihood of cavities tends to go up. Children on medicines for chronic health problems such as heart problems and asthma often have a higher rate of decay.

Be strict about flossing, brushing, and rinsing

If your little one gets fussy about brushing, flossing, and rinsing, don’t let them off the hook. Here are a few tips to make your reluctant child brush on their own or to help you while you brush their teeth:

1. Do not wait till late in the day. If the little one is tired, they may not cooperate with flossing, brushing, and rinsing. Start early.
2. Let your little one choose their toothpaste. Children five or older can pick their own from the options you have pre-approved.
3. Motivate. A younger kid may brush happily for a sticker or gold stars on the chart. Children might be more likely to join in if they see you brushing.

It may seem like a daunting task but with just a little patience and love, you can make your little one learn good oral habits that will help them stay healthy their entire life.

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.