5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority and that includes your mouth.
Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene

When you’re sick, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.

According to the Center for Chronic Disease, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. The number one rule is not to share your toothbrush anytime, especially when you are sick.
You also probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Unless your immune system is severely compromised, the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. But if you’re still in doubt, throw it out. Especially if you’ve had your toothbrush for 3-4 months then it’s time to replace it anyway.

Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Read the label before you pick up a bag at the drugstore intending to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup. Many cough drops contain sugar, and it is like sucking on candy. Sugar is a culprit when it comes to cavities. The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities and decay.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting

One unfortunate side effect of the stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but it’s better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them. If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.

Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth

When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable, but dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu, such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.

Choose the Right Fluids

The safest thing to drink is water. Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar-free version, they contain a lot of sugar.

You might also want something to warm you up. When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea. Try not to add sugar or lemon. Sugar can help to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic. It’s something to keep in mind once you’re feeling a 100% again, as well.

Dental Tips During Pregnancy

Dental Tips During Pregnancy

Did you know that a baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy? That’s why making smart food choices early in pregnancy can help set your child up for healthy teeth throughout their lives. During your pregnancy, a sufficient quantity of nutrients especially vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorus are needed.

To assist you in making healthy eating choices, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center have compiled this list of tips to follow during pregnancy:

• Eat a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products such as cereals, bread and dairy products like milk, cheese, cottage cheese or unsweetened yogurt.

• Eat fewer foods high in sugar, including candy, cookies, cake, and dried fruit and drink fewer beverages high in sugar including juice, fruit-flavored drinks, soft drinks.

• For snacks, choose foods low in sugar such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt.

• Read food labels so you can choose foods lower in sugar.

• If you have trouble with nausea, try eating small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day.

• Drink water or milk instead of juice, fruit-flavored drinks or soft drinks.

• Drink water throughout the day, especially between meals and snacks. Drink fluoridated water (via a community fluoridated water source) or if you prefer bottled water, drink water that contains fluoride.

• To reduce the risk of birth defects, get 600 micrograms of folic acid each day throughout your pregnancy. Take a dietary supplement of folic acid and eat foods high in folate and foods fortified with folic acid, including:

o Asparagus, broccoli and leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach
o Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
o Papaya, tomato juice, oranges or orange juice, strawberries, cantaloupe and bananas
o Grain products fortified with folic acid (bread, cereals, cornmeal, flour, pasta, white rice.)

6 Tips for Cavity-Free Holidays

6 Tips for Cavity-Free Holidays

Timing matters-

Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and also helps rinse away food particles. If you like sweets and other sugary foods, eat them with meals or shortly after mealtime.

Be picky if it’s sticky-

When it comes to picking healthy snacks, many people put dried fruit at the top of the list. But many dried fruits are sticky and sticky foods tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating a lot of dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins, make sure to rinse your mouth with water and brush carefully.

Limit your alcohol intake-

Try to drink a lot of water alongside your alcoholic drinks. And remember: Too much alcohol can dry out your mouth.

Take it easy on the hard candies-

Some candies are more problematic than others. Hard candies can put your teeth at risk because, in addition to being full of sugar, they are also known to cause broken or chipped teeth. (Be careful not to break or chip your teeth when eating nuts as well!)

Watch out for starchy foods-

These are sneaky because they often get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in chips and cakes, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

You can still have fun-

So, what can you eat? Lots of stuff! Prioritize lean protein, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Make sure to vary your diet. Eat whole grains and choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. The holidays are a great time of year to start thinking about healthy habits. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables for your overall health and the health of your teeth.

Dental Symptoms

Dental Symptoms

Toothache

If your mouth or jaw hurt, it could from a toothache. Toothaches sometimes indicate a cavity but they can also signal gum disease. In some cases, an ache may be a sign of an abscess or impacted tooth. Do not wait for a toothache to get better on its own, it should be evaluated by a dentist quickly to find out the cause of the problem and prevent the problem from getting worse.

Sensitive Teeth

If your teeth hurt after you drink hot or cold beverages, you may have sensitive teeth. This can be the result of tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root due to gum recession. Treatment will depend on the cause of sensitivity. If you’re concerned regarding the sensitivity of your teeth, see your dentist for diagnosis and treatment options.

Bleeding or Sore Gums

Bleeding or sore gums may be a symptom of gingivitis, an early and reversible stage of gum disease or just the results of brushing too hard or beginning a new flossing routine. If your gums bleed regularly or enough to worry you, make an appointment with your dentist or physician, it could be a sign that something else is wrong.

Mouth Sores

Types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and moniliasis. Each of these types of sores vary in their severity, and can indicate different types of dental issues. Mouth sores can be a symptom of a disease or disorder, infections from bacteria, viruses or fungus, irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edges of a broken tooth or filling. Your dentist should examine any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused by what you eat, not cleaning your mouth, dry mouth, smoking or other medical conditions. Persistent bad breath may be a warning sign of gum disease. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are essential to reducing bad breath and preventing gum disease. Brushing your tongue will help too. If you’re concerned regarding the cause of your bad breath, see your dentist. They can determine the cause and treatment plan.

Dry Mouth

If you have dry mouth it may be a symptom of a medical disorder or a side effect of certain medications. Saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay. It washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Your dentist can recommend ways to restore moisture.

Oral Piercing Infection

Oral piercings can produce a wide range of issues for your health, oral and otherwise. Your mouth is home to very large amounts of bacteria, creating an ideal place for an infection to start. If you’ve got any signs of infection, swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking or a red-streaked appearance around the site of the piercing, contact your dentist or physician immediately.

Cracked or Broken Teeth

A cracked or broken tooth can happen for a variety of reasons—brittle teeth, teeth grinding, or acute tooth injury like a sports accident. The crack could be invisible to the naked eye and even X-ray, but they will be incredibly painful and can cause bigger problems if left untreated. If you experience pain when chewing, see your dentist. They can diagnose the cause and develop a plan for treatment.

Everything you Need to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

Everything you Need to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing is a process of deep cleaning below the gumline that helps to treat gum disease.

Why Do You Need It?

Gum disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria known as plaque. Plaque is always forming on your teeth. However, if they aren’t cleaned well the bacteria in plaque will cause your gums to become inflamed. When this happens, your gums will pull away from your teeth and form gaps known as pockets. Plaque then gets trapped in these pockets and can’t be removed with regular brushing. If untreated, gum disease may lead to bone and tooth loss.

If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t caused any damage to the structures below the gum line, professional cleaning is needed. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, scaling and root planing might be required.

What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?

This deep cleaning process has 2 components. Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) on top of and below the gumline. Your dentist can then begin root planing, smoothing out your teeth roots to assist your gums to reattach to your teeth. Scaling and Root Planing could take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.

After Care Tips

After a deep cleaning, you may have sensitivity in your teeth and gums for a couple of days up to a week. Additionally, your gums could also be swollen, feel tender and bleed. To prevent infection and control pain or assist you to heal, your dentist can prescribe a pill or mouth rinse. Your dentist may also insert medication directly into the pocket that was cleaned. Your dentist can schedule a follow-up visit to see how your gums have healed and measure the depth of your pockets. Good dental care is essential to help keep gum disease from becoming serious or reoccur. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft brush, clean between your teeth daily, follow your diet, avoid using tobacco and visit your dentist often.

Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

It's estimated that over 51,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils, and back of the tongue each year.

It’s estimated that over 51,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils, and back of the tongue each year. A dentist can check for symptoms of oral cancer during a scheduled check-up. Early detection of such cancers is beneficial for treatment, but you should also know the risk factors and habits that might put you at risk. Changing a few potentially harmful habits may help reduce your chances of developing oral cancer. Read on to find out the top risk factors.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The sexually transmitted disease is now associated with around 9,000 cases of head and neck cancer (explicitly those happening at the back of the tongue, in or around the tonsils) diagnosed every year in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who are diagnosed with HPV related cancer tend to be young and non-smokers. People with HPV positive cancer have a lower risk of death or recurrence even though these cancers are often diagnosed at a later stage because it develops in difficult-to-detect areas.
Gender
Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer. The American Cancer Society attributes this to higher rates of liquor and tobacco use by men and more men of younger age are being diagnosed with HPV related form of oral cancer.

Age

Most people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are 55 or older. However, according to the American Cancer Society HPV related oral cancers are now being diagnosed in younger people as well.

Tobacco

Whether you smoke it or chew tobacco, it drastically increases your risk for oral cancer. Smoking can cause oral cancer, as well as cancer in other parts of the body. Pipe smokers are also at a higher risk of developing cancer in their lips. Smokeless tobacco, like chew, can lead to numerous issues in your mouth, the most serious being cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips.

Alcohol

According to the American Cancer Society, 7 of 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking, as characterized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an average of two drinks per day or more for men and an average of more than one drink daily for women. If you are a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker, your chances of developing oral cancer significantly.

5 Questions to ask at your child’s Back-to-School dental visit

5 Questions to ask at your child’s Back-to-School dental visit

Some schools require a back-to-school dental exam and this is a good time to plan one of your child’s dental visits. A back-to-school dental visit will help to spot and deal with dental issues so your child doesn’t need to miss classes once school begins. This is also a good time to refocus on your child’s dental habits which may have fallen away during the summer.

Here are a few questions to ask at your child’s dental appointment:

How Is My Child’s Overall Dental Health?

The dentist will be looking at the big picture of your child’s mouth, including teeth and gums. The dentist will check to ensure that the teeth are lining up correctly, the child’s bite is in good shape and watch out for any orthodontic issues that may appear later.

Will My Child Get a Cleaning Today?

Back-to-school is a great time to get a cleaning to make up for those times that your kids might have forgotten to use their toothbrush while busy with summer camps and activities. However, a professional cleaning is an absolute necessity, no matter how well your kid brushes. Even if you brush twice a day it’s not possible to get rid of all the bacteria that can lead to cavities. That’s why professional cleaning goes a long way. It expels a greater amount of cavity-causing bacteria, helps to keep gum tissues healthy, and keeps your smile bright.

Does My Child Need an X-Ray?

X-rays help your dentist understand how your child’s teeth are growing and ensure the tooth roots are healthy. They are also used to check whether there is any tooth decay between the child’s teeth. The decay process can advance quickly, so the earlier it is caught the better.

Can You Check My Child’s Mouthguard?

If your child plays sports, make sure to bring their mouthguard along so the dentist can check for wear, tear, and fit. If the child is having a growth spurt, losing teeth and getting new ones, the mouthguard might need to be replaced.

What Are Sealants and Does My Child Need Them?

Sealants can be another way to keep your child from getting cavities (but they are no replacement for regular brushing and flossing!). A sealant is a thin defensive coating (made from safe dental materials) that your dentist can place on the chewing surfaces of your child’s permanent back teeth (called molars). Once they’re on, sealants work to keep cavity-causing bacteria and bits of food from settling into the nooks and crannies your child’s toothbrush can’t reach. This helps stop cavities from forming and prevents tiny existing spots of decay from getting worse.

Having sealants on your permanent molars reduces the risk of cavities by 80%. It’s best to get sealants as soon as your child’s permanent molars come through their gums (usually around age 6, then again around age 12). When permanent molars start coming in, parents should ask if sealants are recommended. Most sealants last for years, and the child’s dentist will make sure they’re holding strong at every regular visit.

4 Steps to Decide If Cosmetic Dentistry Is Right for You

beautiful smiling woman

Are you looking for a West Chester dentist who can help you with your cosmetic dentistry needs? We hope you’ll take a minute to read this blog packed full of tips you can use to boost your knowledge about cosmetic dentistry and what kind of treatments are available today. We’ve put together some simple steps you can take to get started today.

Step 1: Ask yourself: “Will cosmetic dentistry give me my perfect smile?”

Just like the title of this blog suggests, it’s a good idea to really take an internal audit of your goals and feelings about cosmetic dentistry and what it can do for you. Do you often look at yourself and your teeth in the mirror and not like what you see? Are your teeth noticeably discolored or chipped and it embarrasses you? Do you have a broken or missing tooth that you’ve been putting off having fixed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a good idea to consider talking to a dentist in West Chester who can review your candidacy for a cosmetic transformation.

Step 2: Do your homework and know your cosmetic dentist.

The search for a cosmetic dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just be sure to check out a dentist’s website to get an idea of their office culture and credentials. You can always browse through before and after photos, read reviews, and check doctor bios for training and expertise.

Step 3: Decide what you’d like to change about your teeth.

What’s the one thing that bothers you the most about your smile? Is it the gaps between your teeth? Is it the staining from drinking too much coffee or tea? Are you just looking for a little boost to your confidence now that you’re finally able to enjoy life without a house full of kids? Whatever one of these questions resonate with you, just know there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution that will work for you. It’s just about finding out what treatment or procedures are going to give you the results you’ve been dreaming about.

Step 4: Research your possible treatment options.

There’s no surefire way to tell if you’re an ideal candidate for a cosmetic dentistry transformation until you see your dentist for a consultation. With all of the advancements in dental care today, there are so many options you can choose from to stay within your budget and exceed your goals. Some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures performed across the country include veneers, whitening, crowns, bonding, recontouring, and more.

We hope you were able to learn a little something about cosmetic dentistry and how to get started in pursuing a change for your smile. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, we hope you set aside some time to check out our West Chester dental office. No matter how small or how big your dental needs may be, we’re ready to answer your questions and take the next step towards a beautiful, functional smile, and results you’ve always wanted.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

I’m Pregnant and Nervous About Seeing the Dentist. Help!

pregnant woman brushes her teeth

There are so many new questions and complications that can arise when you find out you’re expecting a little one. It’s such a beautiful time and moment in an expectant mother’s life, and we want you to be able to relax and enjoy all of the positive sides of pregnancy. Your Kettering dentist doesn’t want you to worry about taking care of your smile, no matter if you’re an existing patient or someone new who is looking for a dental family they can trust.

Let’s explore some of the dental-related questions or concerns some pregnant women seem to struggle with. We’ll show you how everything is going to be alright, no matter what your smile needs to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Helpful Tip #1 – Blame Your Hormones

One of the first things that happens when a pregnancy begins to develop is your hormones get all out of whack thanks to rising and falling levels of both estrogen and progesterone. In about half of all pregnant women, there’s a risk of developing something referred to as “pregnancy-related gingivitis”, according to the American Dental Association. It causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and excessive bleeding in your gums. Your dentist in Kettering can always take a look at your gums and bleeding to determine a plan of action. Sometimes we recommend more frequent cleanings, and sometimes the issue clears up on its own.

Helpful Tip #2 – Take Additional Steps to Protect Your Teeth from Acid Erosion

Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

  1. Rinse with water – Swish some water around in your mouth following a bout of morning sickness to remove some of the acid from your teeth.
  2. Wait an hour – Wait at least an hour before brushing after you’re sick. Rinse with water in the meantime. The acid may weaken enamel, and brushing can scratch the enamel and lead to decay.  
  3. Keep drinking water – The more water you drink, the lower the acidity level in your mouth will be.
  4. Smear on toothpaste – Putting a dollop of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on your teeth can further protect them against acid.
  5. Use a tongue scraper – After you get sick, if you take a tongue scraper across your tongue, you can successfully remove some of the acid that may stick around on the tongue and then transfer to the teeth.

Helpful Tip #3 – Don’t Ignore Your Oral and Overall Health Connection

You might have heard at our Kettering dental office about how closely your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. It can act as a mirror for underlying medical conditions present elsewhere in your body. This is why not one but three of some of the country’s most respected dental/medical organizations (the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourage every mother to see the dentist, especially during the earlier phases and stages of your pregnancy. It’s important to address any issues early for improved health for you and your baby.

By now, you probably know how crucial it is to see your Kettering dentist throughout your pregnancy along with maintaining your brushing and flossing routine at home. No matter where you are in the course of your pregnancy, we hope you’ll give us a call to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your smile health. We’ll be here to help you every step of the way on your beautiful pregnancy journey!

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, West Chester.

Is Calcium Important for Teeth?

foods with calcium

We make a commitment to every patient who walks through the doors of our dental office in Middletown to restore and protect both their oral and overall health. One way we can do this is to help your teeth and bones stay strong so that they can last a lifetime. One of the most significant nutrients our bodies need to keep them healthy is calcium. Let’s take a look at why it’s important in so many different ways.

Calcium Does Your Smile & Body Good

You might already know that calcium can be found in a variety of different foods and beverages. But did you know that you can also try calcium supplements (ask your doctor first) to help boost your intake? This can be a good option for people who struggle digesting dairy products that are high in calcium such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Remember that magnesium and vitamin D support calcium’s effort to protect your teeth, keep your smile free from decay, prevent, loose teeth, and ward off gum disease.

Consider adding these calcium-rich foods to your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes

How to Know You’re Getting The Right Amount of Calcium

It can be tricky knowing if you or your family members are getting the right amount of calcium in your diet to help protect your teeth and keep your bones healthy. Your dentist in Middletown is here to help with some daily calcium recommendations courtesy of the Institute of Medicine.

AGE                    MG/DAY

1 -3                      700

4 – 8                    1,000

9 – 18                  1,300

19 – 70                1,000

71+                      1,200

This is just a general guideline for you to get an idea about daily calcium intake. There are also other recommendations that are gender specific, i.e., a woman’s calcium intake should increase when she’s pregnant.

No Bones About it – Calcium is Key to Being Healthy

We talked about it briefly earlier in this blog, but calcium is also super important for your bone health too. Why does this concern your Middletown dentist so much? Because we’re concerned about what a calcium deficiency can do to your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so if it’s in poor health, you could run the risk of having loose teeth or losing them altogether. The other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

We hope you learned a little something here today about how important it is to get the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age. It’s a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with us, please don’t hesitate to call.

Garland & Johnson Dental has three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.