Dental Tips Blog

Apr
25

Optimal Oral Health

Posted in Periodontics

C. Everett Koop, MD, the former Surgeon General of the United States was quoted years ago saying, “You’re not healthy unless you have good oral health.” Infections and diseases within the mouth can travel through the tissue and blood and compromise the health of the rest of the body. While your smile depends on simple dental care habits, so does the general health of the rest of your body.

Optimal oral health begins with clean teeth and healthy gums. Keeping the surface of the teeth clean can help to prevent cavities, while keeping the area where your teeth meet your gums can prevent periodontal disease (gum disease). Brushing and flossing are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. Brushing should be done at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. Using a fluoride tooth paste and a soft-bristled brush help to remove plaque from the teeth.

Keeping your toothbrush clean between uses will prevent bacteria from building up on the toothbrush and entering the mouth. Brushing alone, though, will not remove all of the plaque within the mouth. Toothbrushes can not reach the tight spaces between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing is the only way to clean these areas. By flossing daily, you help to eliminate plaque build up between the teeth. Not only does this promote optimal oral health, but it also makes visits to the dentist’s office much more enjoyable.

These two simply steps should be a part of your daily routine. Practicing good oral hygiene at home plus visiting the dentist at least once a year is the best way to achieve optimal oral health. Many diseases begin with the mouth – obesity and periodontal disease may be obvious, but diabetes and heart disease can also be caused by poor oral health. By taking care of your mouth, you are taking care of your entire body.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center

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Mar
10

5 Superfoods for Your Teeth

Posted in Gum Disease

Loosely defined, a superfood is one that offers a high amount of nutrition and antioxidants and fewer calories, ounce for ounce. Kale is thought to be a superfood, as are salmon, blueberries and many nuts.

But there are also foods that could be considered superfoods for your oral health. These foods help to reduce the amount of plaque build up on your teeth. Plaque is what forms when sugars in food reacts with bacteria. It is the yellowy, sticky substance that binds to teeth and can lead to tooth decay or periodontal disease (gum disease).

Following are five “super” foods that can help maintain healthy gums and teeth:

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Crisp healthy foods like carrots and apples not only provide good nutrition, they effectively clean your teeth as you eat them.

Cheese 

Studies of teenagers show that those who ate cheese after consuming sugary foods had less bacteria on their teeth than those who drank milk or rinsed with water. Lesson learned, cheese is good for the teeth at anytime.

Black or Green Tea 

While it may not sound like it, tea benefits teeth because it contains something called polyphenols, which help to curtail bacteria that causes plaque. In a study, participants who rinsed with black tea 10 times a day for one minute had less plaque than those who rinsed with plain water.

Strawberries 

It is well known that strawberries are particularly good for your teeth because they help restore bacterial balance in the mouth and reduce the buildup of plaque. As a bonus, strawberries also help whiten teeth.

Sugarless Gum 

Getting into the habit of chewing sugarless gum after meals is a great idea if you want to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Gum helps to create saliva in the mouth, which acts to neutralize acids and sugars.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center

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Feb
28

Oraqix: A New Way to Ensure Comfort

Posted in Gum Disease

Anesthetic agents in the dental office have broadened to include not-so traditional products that can easily be used during simple visits such as cleaning appointments or periodontal therapy treatments to keep patients comfortable. Of of these newer products is Oraqix. Oraqix is a gel solution made up of similar ingredients as those in a local anesthetic agent (one that requires an injection for anesthesia purposes). However, Oraqix is different because it requires uses a device with an irrigation tip to deliver the thick gel along the gumlines and just below the gums. This allows the gum tissue to feel numb without the use of an injection, something that pleases most patients. It is easy to place and takes effect very rapidly, offering patient comfort in areas that are hypersensitive or tender during necessary care.

Patients love Oraqix because it doesn’t require an injection, and they are not left with a numb mouth for several hours after their appointment. Actually, the numbness from Oraqix typically wears off completely within 30-60 minutes! Both hygienists and dental assistants can administer Oraqix, so it is benefitial to patients that need relief during routine therapies without waiting on the dentist to anesthetize the patient with traditional injections. Results from Oraqix use range from the entire mouth feeling completely numb, to very mild numbness.

During your next cleaning or periodontal therapy appointment, feel free to ask your hygienist about Oraqix. The rapid-action gel can provide instant relief in areas that you battle sensitivity or sore gums without needing to endure the inconvenience of traditional local anesthetics. Using Oraqix can make your routine appointment much more comfortable and quicker than what you are used to.

Posted on the behalf of Springhill Dental Health Center

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Feb
27

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to control your blood sugar, to maintain a healthy weight, and to exercise regularly.  You probably have spoken to your physician or nurse about healthy eating, carbohydrate counting, and what can happen to your eyes, heart, kidneys and feet if you do not keep your blood glucose at a safe level. Did you also know, though, that having diabetes mellitus (either type one or type two) can also impact your mouth, teeth and gums?

There are three things, in particular, that someone with diabetes is at risk for as far as oral health goes.

The first is gum disease (periodontal disease).  There is an increased rate of periodontal disease among those with diabetes.  Gum disease occurs more often because it takes longer to heal when you have gum disease.  It is important to treat all gum disease because blood sugar levels tend to be lower, and can be better controlled when your mouth is health.

Fungal infections also occur in the mouths of those with diabetes.  If you have a sore, or difficulty swallowing, you may have a fungal infection. Make an appointment with your dentist to have this evaluated before it becomes worse.

As blood glucose levels increase, a person with diabetes is more likely to develop infections and have a hard time healing.  It is important to keep your blood sugar under control to help control any mouth infections.  If you need to have dental or oral surgery, be sure to take all of the antibiotics or anti-bacterial rinse as prescribed by your dentist.

If you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or just found out you are at risk for diabetes, talk to your dentist about including a diabetic mouth exam as part of your regular dental check-ups.

Posted on the behalf of Springhill Dental Health Center

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Feb
26

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Posted in Gum Disease

If you are pregnant, you may have noticed that your gums are more sensitive, or seem a bit ‘puffy’ to you.  If this is happening, you may have the common condition called ‘pregnancy induced gingivitis’.  Pregnancy gingivitis is thought to be caused from the additional hormones your body is making to help keep baby healthy and to grow during this time.  Unfortunately, this extra growth that is occurring is also making your gums ‘grow’ faster.

Pregnancy gingivitis is actually inflammation of the gums. This inflammation causes the gums and gum lines to swell and become tender.  Pregnant women may also notice that their gums bleed a little bit easier or more frequently, or that they seem to have a bit of blood on their dental floss after flossing each day, or even that they have a little blood when brushing their teeth.

The first step in treating pregnancy induced gingivitis is to continue your home dental care. Brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day will make a big difference. It is important to continue this, even if your gums are sensitive.

See your dentist if your gums are sensitive.  If pregnancy gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious periodontal disease. There are anti-microbial rinses that can be used to help treat this gingivitis that your dentist can recommend, and in some cases, more frequent dental cleanings are the best approach.

When you are pregnant, don’t forget to make your dentist part of your health care team.  Working together with your obstetrician and dentist will help you and baby have the best possible outcomes.

Posted on the behalf of Springhill Dental Health Center

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