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.  

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Understanding Full Mouth Reconstruction

Full mouth reconstruction (also known as full mouth restoration and full mouth rehabilitation) is the term used to describe the restoration or rebuilding of all the teeth in both the lower and upper jaws. It is among the most complex of dental procedures and very few doctors are qualified to provide this treatment.

Who May Need It

A full mouth reconstruction may be required for a number of reasons. Among the most common are:

  • Correcting flaws in the bite position that could cause pains in the jaws muscles and nerves and associated problems like headaches etc.
  • Replacement or rebuilding of teeth that have become worn and damaged due to a tooth grinding habit or because of erosion resulting from an improper diet and / or poor oral hygiene.
  • Replacement of teeth that have been lost due to decay or because of injury.
  • Replacing or repairing teeth that have been damaged or broken.

The Procedure

Multiple factors are taken into consideration when full mouth reconstruction is required. These include:

  • The condition of the teeth which will determine what specific procedures are required. Tooth decay, cavities, wear, damage, uneven lengths, looseness and root canal problems will all go into the creation of a treatment plan. Porcelain veneers or full coverage crowns are commonly used to treat these types of problems.
  •  Problems with the gums which could require a variety or treatment options. The dentist will look for signs of periodontal disease, bone density irregularities, problems with the gum tissue and so on. The treatments range from root planing and scaling to more intensive treatments such as bone or soft tissue grafts that will build up the gums and the jaw bone.
  • Occlusal changes, or changes to the bite. There should be no pain with normal biting and chewing motions. If there is, the bite position may be faulty which may require the use of a night guard, bite reprogramming or orthodontic treatment to correct the problem. This, if required, must be done before any other treatments are commenced.
  • Esthetic and appearance factors which may need correction. These include the color, shape and size of the teeth, how they appear in relation to the gums, lips etc.

Only a Dentist Can Decide If It Is Needed

While cosmetic factors do play a part in a decision to perform a full mouth reconstruction, there is much more than appearance that is involved. Only a dentist specializing in this procedure can perform the detailed examination required to know if the procedure is the best option and if so, to perform it. He or she may decide that there are other treatments that may be more suitable or which will provide better results for a specific case. The procedure, if advised, is a long one that will involve multiple visits to the dentist over a period of months. The doctor will inform the patient about what will be done, how the procedures are conducted and what the expected result will be.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Facts about Tooth Fillings

If tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems faced by most people, fillings are the most common solution. A filling, as the name implies, fills the cavity caused by the decay to return the affected tooth to its natural shape so it can function normally.

The Different Types of Fillings

Although all fillings perform the same function, there are a number of different materials used for them. The decision on what type of filling to use is based on the extent of the repair to be done, allergies to certain materials, where in the mouth the filling is required and the cost. Keeping these factors in mind, the options are:


  • Gold Fillings: This is the most common type of filling. Gold is generally well tolerated by the tissue in the gum and mouth. It is long lasting and with care, a filling can last up to 20 years. The downside is that the high cost of gold and the fact that multiple visits to the dentist are required for making this filling.
  • Amalgam Fillings: These are made of silver and are less expensive that the ones made of gold. They are also wear resistant and are normally long lasting. However, they are dark in color which makes them stand out against the natural teeth and so are normally not used in the front of the mouth where they will be visible. These are commonly used for the back teeth such as the molars where the darkness of the filling will not be seen.
  • Composite Fillings: These are made of a plastic based composite material and can be made to match the color of the other teeth to give the filled tooth a natural appearance. The materials are mixed in the proportion required to get the right hue and placed in the cavity is a liquid form where it hardens. The negative of these fillings is that while they give a natural look, they can become stained by coffee, tea, and smoking and by coming into contact with various other substances. They are also not as long lasting as gold and amalgam fillings and have an average life of between 3 to 10 years. This material is also not suitable for large fillings as it is prone to chipping.
  • Porcelain Fillings: As the name says, these are made of porcelain and are also referred to as inlays or overlays. They are made to order in a laboratory and they are bonded to the tooth in the dentist’s office. The porcelain can be shaded to match the color of the teeth. Unlike composites, porcelain is stain resistant. While these are tough and give a natural took to the tooth, they are expensive and cost about the same as gold fillings.

How It Is Done

The procedure is a common and simple one. The dentist will remove all the decay and then clean the affect area completely after which one of the materials mention here will be used to make the filling.

Do You Need A Filling?

A toothache or other discomfort could be a sign of tooth decay. Your dentist will examine your teeth during a checkup and if any signs of decay are seen, remove it and if required, give you a filling of the correct type. The earlier the problem is detected, the simpler the solution.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Your Teeth Change with Age

Your teeth are incredibly strong, but that is because they are among the parts of the body that are most used and which are subject to the greatest stress. A few generations ago it was a given that the elderly would have to use dentures. With modern advances in dental care, that is no longer true, especially if you are ready to follow these rules for teeth care:

  • Do not try to prove, to yourself or others, how strong your teeth are. That means avoiding chewing ice and other hard foods that could cause the enamel of the teeth to chip or even teeth to break.
  • Look after your gums. If plaque is allowed to form on the teeth, gum soreness, swelling and bleeding will result. If the problem is allowed to persist, the underlying bone could also be damaged. Among the common signs of gum problems are bleeding when the teeth are being brushed, gums that recede from the teeth, bad breath and loose or shaking teeth. If you have any of these or suspect that you are suffering from a gum problem, visit your dentist without delay. The longer you delay, the greater the chances of tooth loss.
  • As a person ages, saliva production is reduced and there is a tendency for the mouth to become dry. Because saliva helps to clean teeth and protect against tooth decay, the chances of dental problem increase with a dry mouth, even if it is an intermittent problem. If you are on medication that could contribute to the problem – many medicines cause the mouth to go dry. To combat this, drink more water and when you do, hold it in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Sucking sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum is another way to keep the mouth moist.
  • Sodas and citrus fruits contain acids that can eat away at your teeth. If you do consume them follow up with cheese or milk to counter the acid effect.
  • Avoid sugary snacks. Sugary foods should be eaten along with your meals. The extra saliva produced at this time will counter the acid that the sugar produces.
  • If you do smoke, stop.
  • The chances of cancer increase with age. Regular dental visits will allow for early detection of any symptoms so that treatment can begin quickly. The earlier treatment starts, the better the chances for good results.
  • If you experience any unusual pain or sensitivity in the teeth or gums, consult your dentist immediately so that the cause can be located and treatment begum.
  • If your teeth become painful when consuming anything hot or cold, it is usually a sign of worn enamel. Consult your dentist who may prescribe a special toothpaste or an in clinic treatment to cure the condition.

Your teeth age with the rest of your body. Just as your body needs increased care and attention to continue to function optimally, so do your teeth. The best way to look after them is to visit your dentist regularly and follow his advice on caring for your teeth.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Choosing the Right Toothbrush Part 2

The debate over whether manual (disposable) or electric toothbrushes are better has been going on ever since the electric one was invented. There is no clear or definitive evidence that proves one is better than the other. In the end it boils down to a matter of personal choice and whether one option will clean your teeth better. Here are a few parameters that may help you decide which one is right for you.

Cost

Although the prices of electric toothbrushes vary considerably, even the cheapest ones are many times more costly than the most expensive manual brushes. There is a misconception that because an electric toothbrush lasts longer than a manual one, the price differential is not that great. The fact is the toothbrush head on an electric toothbrush has to be replaced almost as often as a manual brush. When looked at purely in terms of purchase price, the manual brush is the clear winner.

Suitability

The best toothbrush is the one you are most comfortable using. For some the vibrating feeling of an electric brush feels good and they enjoy letting the brush to do all the work. For others, the vibration can be an irritant. They may also get a feeling of satisfaction from using their muscles for a few minutes to clean their teeth. Electric brushes may be the better option for those with mobility issues like arthritis. Other than that, it is really a matter of which type will motivate you to brush for the recommended time of two minutes.

Safety

Some people are hesitant about putting even a part of an electrical device in their mouths. All toothbrushes, both electric and manual, that are approved by the American Dental Association, are safe to use. That being said, those who tend to use excessive force when brushing the teeth may benefit from an electric brush which will limit any possible tooth damage. Some studies suggest that an electric toothbrush may increase the amount of bacteria in the mouth that enters the bloodstream. This will not affect most people, but may not be good for those with cardiac conditions or weak immune systems. There is no conclusive proof of this as of now.

Effectiveness

Comparisons of the cleaning of manual and electric toothbrushes have been made for many years. A review of over 25 studies shows that there is no discernible difference between the cleaning achieved by an electric toothbrush and a manual one, if both are used correctly for the prescribed time. Some recent studies indicate that the new rotation oscillation type electric toothbrushes may be slightly more effective, but no proof is as yet available.

Daily brushing and flossing of your teeth is the foundation of good dental hygiene and health. The better you clean your teeth and gums, the less the chances of contracting tooth or gum problems. But brushing and flossing is not enough. It is important to visit your dentist every 6 months to have your teeth checked so that any incipient problems that you may not have noticed can be treated at an early stage.