Why a healthy smile should also be a white smile

Why a healthy smile should also be a white smile
A straight and white smile is becoming more sought after than ever before. This mind-set began when we first started to develop an interest in mimicking the results of celebrity cosmetics, also called the ‘Hollywood smile’. Today, the price of cosmetic dentistry, like tooth whitening and adult orthodontics has become far more affordable and accessible. It means today’s Hollywood smile is now the ‘Love Island smile’. As a reality show, this creates an image that cosmetic dentistry is obtainable and as ‘normal’ as visiting the hairdresser or barber. More of us are taking an interest in searching for ways to improve our own smile. However, while changing the appearance of our teeth sits high on many people’s wish lists, it is important to remember the most important thing – the health of our smile. A white smile can also be a healthy one A perfectly white smile may not always be what it seems, and a white smile is not necessarily a healthy one.  White teeth as a result of tooth whitening are still susceptible to tooth decay and disease. Just as white teeth can improve our self-esteem, suffering from tooth loss can have the opposite effect. Strong evidence suggests that gum disease is linked to wider conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and dementia. The health of our mouth isn’t only important for the state of our smile, it is also incredibly influential for our quality of life. We need to realize that the health of our teeth is the most important factor, far more important than the color. The good news is that with regular care at your dentist, regular brushing at home, and good dental care habits, you can be assured to maintain a smile that is both healthy and beautiful. How to keep a healthy mouth A good oral health routine at home and regularly visiting our dentist is all we need to have healthy teeth and gums. It involves a few easy steps:
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. This is best done the last thing at night and one other time during the day.
  • Clean in between your teeth daily with interdental brushes or floss.
  • Use mouthwash daily.
  • Chew sugar-free gum in between meals.
  • Cut down on the amount of sugary foods and added sugar in your diet, and also reduce the number of times per day you consume sugary foods by limiting sugar consumption to mealtimes.
  • Visit your dentist as often as they recommend.
By sticking to this basic routine, we can achieve that healthy, beautiful smile. Loat, Stephen, “Why a white smile should also be a healthy smile”. Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/why-a-white-smile-should-also-be-a-healthy-smile

Food and drinks that spell trouble for oral health

Food and drinks that spell trouble for oral health
Acids play an important role in oral health, however when hearing the word ‘acid’ we might be likely to recall the various chemicals we saw in glass bottles in science class at school. We may also think of it as the thing that can cause heartburn and indigestion.  There are several foods and drinks that are high enough in acid to cause a problem for the health of your teeth. High acidity foods and drinks are the cause of dental erosion and can have serious consequences for the strength of the enamel that surrounds and protects teeth. How acid affects the mouth Acids leave teeth vulnerable to damage by weakening the enamel. Every time we eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel becomes softer for a short while and it loses some of its mineral content. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of our tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. The dentine underneath is exposed, when the enamel is worn away which may lead to pain and sensitivity. Naturally, saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity and restore the chemical balance in the mouth. However, if this acid attack happens over and over, it could result in permanent damage to the enamel. The most common types of acid in food and drink are carbonic acids, citric acids, and phosphoric acids. These are the acids that weaken enamel, leading to dental erosion. The main culprits when it comes to acidic foods and drinks are the two Fs: Fizz and Fruit. Fizz ‘Fizziness’ is often a tell-tale sign of an acidic drink. The most common of these are fizzy drinks, sodas, pops, and carbonated drinks. Even the ‘diet’ brands that contain “Fizz” are harmful. Some alcohols are also acidic. Beer, cider, prosecco, white wine, and alcopops are all examples of alcoholic drinks that are highly erosive for teeth. Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation says: “The best way for us to avoid the damage caused by fizzy drinks is to simply limit our exposure to them.” Try reducing exposure to acidic drinks by eliminating them outside of mealtimes. Another tip is to swallow the drink quickly, without holding it in your mouth or ‘swishing’ it around. Again, it’s all about reducing the amount of time the teeth are being exposed to acid. Using a straw helps drinks go to the back of the mouth and avoids additional contact with teeth. Dr. Soha Dattani, Director Scientific & Professional Affairs at GSK Consumer Healthcare says: “The drinks market is full of products which are high in acidity and that can play havoc on the enamel of our teeth. As consumers, this often makes it difficult for us to make healthy choices when choosing our drinks.” This is true whether we’re in a supermarket, a restaurant, attending events, or socializing. Plain, still water is the best drink for teeth. Milk is also good because it helps to neutralize acids in the mouth. Fruit Fruits form an integral part of a healthy balanced diet. However, fruits can encourage dental decay as they contain citric acid. Citrus fruits are the worst offenders as they have low pH levels, which means they are acidic. The most acidic fruits are lemons, limes, plums, grapes, grapefruits, blueberries, pineapples, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes. There are a few things we can do to limit the dental damage caused by fruits. Dr. Nigel Carter adds: “The first thing we can do, much as with fizzy drinks, is to keep them to mealtimes. Consuming fruit at breakfast, lunch, and dinner should provide the appropriate number of daily portions while not putting teeth under unnecessary strain. Secondly, always try to consume fruit in its whole form and not as fruit juice. While most fruit contains natural sugar, many fruit juices also have added sugar. This is not good for teeth. Whole fruit is also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which is often missing or reduced in concentration in fruit juice. More tips and advice Erosion of the enamel from acidic foods can cause sensitivity in your teeth- this may be one of the first signs of dental erosion. If you experience sensitivity to temperature or sweet foods, you should schedule an exam with your dentist.  Sensitivity can be treated with special ‘desensitizing’ products to help relieve the symptoms. This may include fluoride gels, rinses, or varnishes. The symptoms of dental erosion can also be managed at home, while waiting for a dental appointment, with products like toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity and strengthen enamel.  Your dentist will be able to advise which type of toothpaste is best for you. Borthwick, Josh, “ What foods and drinks contain acid and why it spells trouble for our oral health”. Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/what-foods-and-drinks-contain-acid-and-why-it-spells-trouble-for-our-oral-health

Osteoporosis and Oral Health

Osteoporosis and Oral Health
Certain medications can influence dental treatment decisions and it’s important to let your dentist know about all the medications that you take. In the case of antiresorptive agents—medicines that help strengthen bones—these medications have been associated with a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis (OSS-tee-oh-ne-KRO-sis) of the jaw (ONJ) that can cause severe damage to the jawbone. Some bone strengthening medicines, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, Didronel, and Boniva, are taken orally to help prevent or treat osteoporosis (thinning of bone) and Paget’s disease of the bone, a disorder that involves abnormal bone destruction and regrowth, which can result in deformity. Others, such as Boniva IV, Reclast or Prolia, are administered by injection. Higher and more frequent dosing of these medications are given as part of cancer therapy to reduce bone pain and hypercalcemia of malignancy (abnormally high calcium levels in the blood) associated with metastatic breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma.

How do these medications affect dental treatment plans?

While osteonecrosis of the jaw can occur spontaneously, it more commonly occurs after dental procedures that affect the bone or associated tissues (for example, pulling a tooth). Be sure to tell your dentist if you are taking any medications for bone health so he or she can take that into account when developing your treatment plan. It’s not possible to say who will develop osteonecrosis and who will not. Most people (more than 90 percent) diagnosed with ONJ associated with these medications are patients with cancer who are receiving or have received repeated high doses of antiresorptive agents through an infusion. The other 10 percent (of people with ONJ) were receiving much lower doses of these medications for the treatment of osteoporosis. It may be beneficial for anyone who will be starting osteoporosis treatment with antiresorptive agents to see their dentist before beginning treatment or shortly after. This way, you and your dentist can ensure that you have good oral health going into treatment and develop a plan that will keep your mouth healthy during treatment.

Continue regular dental visits

If you are taking antiresorptive agents for the treatment of osteoporosis, you typically do not need to avoid or postpone dental treatment. The risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw is very low. By contrast, untreated dental disease can progress to become more serious, perhaps even involving the bone and associated tissues, increasing the chances that you might need more invasive treatment. People who are taking antiresorptive agents for cancer treatment should avoid invasive dental treatments, if possible. Ideally, these patients should have a dental examination before beginning therapy with antiresorptive agents so that any oral disease can be treated. Let your dentist know that you will be starting therapy with these drugs. Likewise, let your physician know if you recently have had dental treatment.

Talk to your physician before ending medications

It is not generally recommended that patients stop taking their osteoporosis medications. The risk of developing bone weakness and a possible fracture is higher than those of developing osteonecrosis. Talk to your physician before you stop taking any medication.

Symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw include, but are not limited to:

  • pain, swelling, or infection of the gums or jaw
  • injured or recently treated gums that are not healing
  • loose teeth
  • numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw
  • exposed bone
Contact your dentist, general physician or oncologist right away if you develop any of these symptoms after dental treatment. “Osteoporosis and Oral Health”. Mouth Healthy https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/osteoporosis-and-oral-health

Is Water Flossing the Perfect Tool for Better Oral Health?

Is Water Flossing the Perfect Tool for Better Oral Health?
Good oral health involves more than having a beautiful smile; it is key if we are to enjoy food, feel confident about interacting with others and avoid oral pain. Statistics however show that many Americans could improve in this department. Over 90% of Americans have had at least one cavity, and one in four has untreated tooth decay. Meanwhile, around half of all adults above the age of 30 have gum disease – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Oral Health report. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice daily, but for those with gum disease and frequent plaque build-up, one gadget that should be present on your bathroom countertop is a water flosser.

How does a Water Flosser Work?

Water flossers usually consist of a small nozzle that sprays pressurized water, connected to a water reservoir by a tube. Water flossers  clean teeth and gums through a combination of water pressure and pulsations, which remove food residue and plaque from teeth. They work similarly to dental floss, but the pressure means that tiny pieces of food you don’t even notice can be efficiently removed. Water flossers can reach areas that floss cannot get into; for instance, beneath the gum line at the front of teeth. Users can alter the pressure according to their needs. Therefore, those with sensitive gums may use a lower setting, while those after a power clean can set their flosser on high pressure.

Are Water Flossers Effective?

The effectiveness of water flossers was put to the test in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry. Participants in the study were assigned to one of two groups. Group One used a manual toothbrush plus a water flosser, while Group Two used a manual toothbrush and waxed dental floss to clean between teeth. The results showed that the water floss group had a 74.4% reduction in whole mouth plaque and an 81.6% reduction in plaque between teeth. The dental floss group meanwhile, had a 57.7% and 63.45% reduction in plaque in these respective areas. The scientists noted that the water flosser was, therefore, a superior way to keep plaque at bay. It also indicates that dental floss is still a good way to improve oral health, even though it was less effective than the water flosser.

When Might Your Dentist Recommend a Water Flosser?

Your dentist may recommend this method of daily cleaning if you have frequent plaque build-up or if your gums tend to become inflamed. If you have a condition like gingivitis, you may be recommended to wait until bleeding has stopped to use a water floss. However, a water flosser is not enough to treat more serious periodontal disease, and you should always consult with your dentist. You may be recommended a root scaling and planing treatment and perhaps later, a water flosser can play a role in the maintenance of your gum health. Water flossers also work well for teeth that are difficult to clean. For instance, if you have wisdom teeth that have not been removed, then teeth may be very tight and it may be very difficult to get dental floss in between then, but a water flosser may be a good alternative. Because a water flosser cleans plaque and removes trapped food so effectively, it is ideal for teeth in odd positions, but it can also form part of a daily oral health routine for anyone wishing to obtain an optimal clean. Studies have shown that it is more effective than standard brushing and flossing, so if you are worried about decay and gum inflammation and disease, ask your dentist if a flosser is suitable for you. Flossers have removable tips, so one machine can be used by more than one family member. Fallon, Jacqueline. “Is Water Flossing the Perfect Tool for Better Oral Health?”. The Dental Greek, 11 Dec 2018

Causes and Treatments for Underbite

Causes and Treatments for Underbite
If left untreated, an underbite can cause major problems. This bite problem can affect everything from self-esteem to sleep quality. An underbite happens when the bottom teeth and lower jaw extend out beyond the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Sometimes an underbite is called by its scientific name; prognathism. In moderate to severe cases of underbite, the face can take on a bulldog-like look due to the bottom jaw bone protruding forward. This is one of “the most severe” conditions that can occur in the jaw, teeth, and face. The protruding jaw is not just a cosmetic concern, but a potential threat to the patient’s dental health. It can cause many serious issues if left untreated. If you have an underbite, it is crucial to seek treatment, because an underbite can cause many unpleasant complications.

What causes underbite?

Several factors, including genetic makeup, environmental factors, or other illnesses can cause an underbite. Some of the factors that cause an underbite include: · Genetic factors, like the famous Hapsburg jaw (many members of the German-Austrian royal family in the 17th and 18th centuries had a distinctive underbite). · The upper jaw is aligned too far backwards, or the lower jaw is aligned too far forwards · The upper teeth are tipped backward, the lower teeth are slanted forward, or the teeth are overcrowded · Thumb sucking, pacifier overuse, mouth breathing, or tongue thrusting, which can shift the      teeth · A broken jawbone that has healed improperly · Cleft lip or palate · Inherited conditions, like Treacher Collins syndrome or nevoid basal cell carcinoma

Complications and Symptoms of Underbite.

An underbite is typically not a difficult condition to spot. Both its conditions and symptoms are usually clear and easy for a dentist to spot, even in younger children. The symptoms of an underbite depend, in part, on how severe the misalignment is between the top and bottom teeth. Perhaps the most commonly noticed is a visible protrusion of the lower jaw beyond the upper front teeth. Noticing overcrowding in the teeth and an aching jaw is also very common. There are many difficulties that can come with an underbite, many ranging beyond the mouth. Here are some of the most common effects:
  • Speech difficulties
  • Pain in the jaw or mouth
  • Frequent headaches
  • TMJ/TMD
  • Ear discomfort or dysfunction
  • Stomach issues
  • Sleep apnea
  • Bruxism
  • Hypertension
Treating an Underbite You have several treatment options if you or your loved one suffers from an underbite. Your insurance will want to know if this is cosmetic dentistry or a necessary procedure for your oral health, which may determine how much of the treatment cost the insurance will cover. Pricing for dental work also depends on your location and the dentist you choose. The severity of your underbite can also affect what sort of treatment you need—more severe cases may require more invasive methods. If you or your child has a “pseudo” class III underbite, meaning lower teeth are ahead of the upper but jaw sizes are appropriate, braces/Invisalign and extractions may be an option. However, if an underbite is caused by skeletal issues, surgery may be the only choice.

1.     Braces/Invisalign

You will need a treatment plan to realign your jaw and align your teeth, once an underbite is detected. In milder cases, your underbite may be correctable with orthodontic treatment alone. Invisalign (or other clear retainers), when it’s an option, creates fewer calcifications and uses safe ingredients that are free of BPAs and carcinogens. This option however may not work for children. Invisalign has been successfully used  on class III underbites, but it may require tooth extractions. Metal braces are generally the go-to method for kids. Before or instead of braces, your orthodontist may recommend specialized headgear. A reverse-pull headgear uses metal bands attached to the upper back teeth and wraps around the head to pull the jaw into place. Another potential orthodontic treatment is an upper jaw expander, which involves fixing a plastic and wire device to the roof of the mouth, expanded by turning a key daily. Over the course of roughly a year, the palate expands to correct the bite.

2. Tooth Extraction

Overcrowding in the teeth can create an underbite, particularly in the upper or lower front teeth. In the case of overcrowding, tooth extraction may be necessary to relieve the pressure this causes and aid the jaw in relaxing into its natural position.

3. Tooth Reshaping

Tooth reshaping is a cosmetic dentistry option, in cases where the teeth do not fit in the mouth properly. In this treatment, the bottom teeth may be shaved down and reshaped slightly, and veneers fitted to the upper teeth. This can realign how the jaw fits together and is appropriate for some mild cases of an underbite. The benefit of tooth reshaping is that it’s relatively painless, since it only alters tooth enamel, and lowers the incidence of tooth decay.

4. Surgery

For severe underbite or older patients, jaw surgery (also referred to as orthognathic surgery) may be necessary. This typically is recommended in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. Jaw surgery can realign the position of your upper and lower jaw, and create proper bite patterns in extreme cases of prognathism. The typical recovery time for a surgery can range between ten and 12 weeks.

5. “Facelift” Dentistry

“Facelift” dentistry aims to correct bite problems using their specialized JawTrac and VENLAY technology—designed to prevent the need for braces and jaw surgery. This dentistry, available only to adult patients, claims the ability to correct underbites in as little as three weeks by harnessing electronic jaw tracking readings. These are based on the projected natural position of the jaw without having been shifted by a malocclusion.

Differences Between Underbite and Overbite

In proper alignment, when the mouth is closed, the top front teeth extend very slightly over the lower teeth and jaw. Extreme cases of this are called an overbite, where the top front teeth extend an extreme amount over the lower teeth. An underbite creates the opposite effect when the mouth closes, pushing the lower jaw and teeth to the front. Both an underbite and an overbite can make patients self-conscious, causing issues with breathing, chewing, and speaking. However, the difference is simple: an overbite looks like the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward, and an underbite presents as a protruding lower jaw and teeth.

Underbite Statistics

Estimates for underbite prevalence claim they occur in 5-10% of the population. One global study took a closer look at the incidence in different nations. The U.S. has a 5% incidence, while China has a whopping 15% of the population with an underbite—perhaps due to genetics. Burhenne, Mark. “What is an underbite? Causes, Treatments”. Ask the Dentist, 11 Dec 2019 https://askthedentist.com/underbite/

COVID-19: Looking after yourselves and others through better oral hygiene

COVID-19: Looking after yourselves and others through better oral hygiene

Maintaining great personal hygiene has never been more important, given the current pandemic situation that many of us across the world find ourselves in.

Advice around how to do this is something that we all should take note of. Especially, regular handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer gel when this is not possible.

It is important to remember that being as hygienic as possible doesn’t just help protect you, but it also protects those around you.

The Oral Health Foundation has provided the following advice to help avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Do not share a toothbrush

You should never share your toothbrush with anybody else, no matter how close you are to them.

This is one way that viruses and blood-borne diseases can be caught from other people.

You should make sure that toothbrush heads are also kept apart from each other wherever you and the rest of your household store your toothbrushes.

Keep the toilet lid closed before you flush

If you store your toothbrush anywhere near your toilet, every time someone flushes, some of the toilet sprays will fly out and land on your toothbrush.

There has already been research conducted that suggests that the virus can be spread via faecal matter (poo).

Make sure you close the lid before you flush and keep your brush at a safe distance away from the toilet.

Change your toothbrush regularly

It’s important to change your toothbrush, or brush head, at least every three months. Perhaps even earlier if the bristles become frayed.

This helps to ensure you are brushing your teeth effectively. A worn brush can’t do the job it needs to.

Changing your brush regularly also helps prevent the spread of bacteria. 

Clean your bathroom regularly

Many of us store our toothbrushes, towels, flannels and other intimate items in our bathrooms.

Due to this reason, it is important to keep the bathroom clean at all times to ensure that there is no spreading of germs and viruses. 

Visiting the dentist

It is important to maintain regular visits to your dental team. It’s best to always call ahead before any appointments, especially during this period of uncertainty. You can ask about any special check-in procedures your dental office may have, or if they have any paperwork you can complete online before your visit.

Be prepared for your appointment to either be delayed or canceled. This is for the safety of both staff and patients. Emergency treatment may still be available but other, more routine procedures, may be postponed for the foreseeable future. Communicate with your dentist about your needs to make sure you receive essential care, without putting yourself or others at unnecessary risk.

Don’t forget the basics

Our oral health should always be a priority. In addition to visiting your local dental team when possible, don’t forget the simple day-to-day habits that will help you keep a healthy mouth.

Brush daily with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least one other time during the day.

Cut down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks and drink plenty of water. 

Consider using a mouthwash and clean between your teeth every day with interdental brushes or floss. 

Bushel, George. “COVID-19: our guide to looking after yourselves and others through better oral hygiene”. Oral Health Foundation, 23 Mar 2020 https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/covid-19-our-guide-to-looking-after-yourselves-and-others-through-better-oral-hygiene

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.