Dental Tips Blog

Jan
8

How to Stop Biting Your Lips, Cheeks, or Tongue

Lip, cheek, or tongue-biting is usually due to one of three causes:

  • Something in the mouth is causing irritation
  • Accidentally biting down while talking or eating
  • Nervous habit

Depending on your reasons, here are three ways to stop yourself from biting your lips, cheeks and tongue.

Irritation in the Mouth

The insides of cheeks and lips can develop scar tissue from being chafed by something like braces. A misaligned bite can cause teeth to press into the sides of the tongue. Such irritation may cause injuries that never seem to go away.

Talk with your dentist or orthodontist to see if treatment to align your bite will help you stop injuring yourself. Orthodontic wax and other devices can also spare your cheeks the irritation of metal braces.

Accidental Injury

An accidental bite can leave you with a painful, bleeding, swollen lump on your tongue, lip, or cheek. This can also be due to misaligned teeth.

Ice an injury as soon as it happens to bring down the swelling. This will relieve pain and minimize the chance of accidentally chomping on it again. Eat only soft foods for a couple days while it heals, and focus on chewing slowly.

Anxious Habit

Some people bite their cheeks without even realizing it. This habit is tough to break, but not impossible. When you have a numb mouth from getting dental work completed, be careful not to chew on your cheeks! It’s a common habit, especially for children.

Chronic biting will leave chronic sores, so it’s good to try to stop.

Identify triggers that make you nibble such as boredom or anxiety. Substitute another distracting activity like humming, knitting, or chewing sugar-free gum. Use flavored lip balm to keep your lips smooth to serve as a reminder if you accidentally start to chew on your lips.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57
th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-4377

Jan
8

How to Reverse the Effects of Rough Tooth Brushing

Are you an aggressive tooth-brusher?

You may be if you notice signs like:

  • Receded gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Notches worn into the outer surfaces of your teeth near the gumlines

Most toothpastes are abrasive by nature. Combine that with a heavy hand and a hard-bristled toothbrush, your teeth and gums will likely experience wear every time you clean them.

Is there any way to stop and reverse the damage?

Irreplaceable Gums and Enamel

Gums, once lost to recession, don’t grow back on their own. Similarly, tooth enamel doesn’t come back if it’s worn away.

Fortunately, there are still steps you can take to reverse the damage.

How to Fix Abrasion and Gum Recession

The first thing to do is address whatever is wearing down your gums and enamel, to prevent it from getting worse.

Throw out your current toothbrush and look for one with extra-soft bristles. A brush with a small head can also help you avoid carelessly scrubbing your gums. Use a non-abrasive sensitivity toothpaste.

You may find that a powered toothbrush is a good solution. Electric brushes do the work for you so there’s no need for much force. Some brushes even come with a sensor that warns you if you’re pushing it against your teeth too hard.

Worn enamel can often be repaired with dental bonding or fillings. A severe case may need to be capped with a dental crown. Similarly, small restorations can cover up tooth roots exposed by gum recession. If your gums have receded too much, then your dentist may suggest gum grafting to replace lost tissue.

Contact your local dentist if you need help with finding a gentler toothbrushing method or offer tips on how to repair the damage from aggressive brushing.

Posted on behalf of:
Smiles by Seese
610 Jetton St #250
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 895-5095

 

Jan
7

Save the Environment and Enhance Your Smile with These Green Oral Hygiene Tips

Looking for some eco-friendly dental hygiene tips? The following will help you get started.

Use Biodegradable Toothbrushes

There are several varieties of “natural” toothbrushes out there with handles made from materials like bamboo. This means that you’re throwing away less plastic every time you toss your old toothbrush (most bristles are still made with some kind of nylon).

Natural fibers like silk floss may also be an option since it breaks down quicker than the regular nylon varieties.

Get a Reusable Straw

Straws are great for preventing decay and tooth stain. They allow you to enjoy sweet coffee, tea, and soda without washing your teeth in the beverage.

But plastic straws have been so widely used that they are starting to pose a threat to the environment.

Carry around your own supply of biodegradable straws (often made from straw, bamboo, or paper) or purchase a reusable steel or glass one.

Shut Off the Water When You Brush

Shutting off the water obviously saves on a valuable resource.

What are the benefits to your smile, though?

In reality, you don’t need much water when you’re done brushing, anyway. The toothpaste residue in your mouth should be left behind to keep fighting plaque long after you brush. Spit out any excess and leave the rest in place.

Shop Recyclable Packaging

Eco-friendly dental product suppliers will make sure that their products come in biodegradable packing. It may take a little research to find a toothpaste or mouthwash you love, but it’s worth your contribution to the environment.

Don’t forget those regular dental checkups! If you stay on top of your oral health, you can avoid the need for costly treatment. Talk with your dentist about more ways to prevent dental disease and stay green.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

Jan
6

My Child Won’t Let Me Brush Her Teeth!

You don’t always have the time or energy to fight back when your child pitches a fit over an everyday task like tooth brushing. But oral hygiene is vital to overall health for kids as well as adults.

Tooth brushing prevents bacterial buildup that causes gingivitis and cavities. You know your child needs to have her teeth brushed every day, but it’s a real challenge when she resists.

What can you do? The following tips may help.

Make brushing a fun family affair.

Your child may take up an interest in brushing when she sees that you and others in the family are having fun.

Stir up a little friendly competition and challenge each other to see who can make the most toothpaste bubbles. Let your child brush your teeth in return for letting you brush hers. Play some music, do a dance – just make it so lively that she won’t be able to resist!

Set up role models.

Praise older siblings for obediently brushing in the presence of the more resistant child. At sleepovers, make sure she sees that even Grandma and the cousins have to brush. Look up kids’ books and cartoons featuring a well-loved character who obediently brush their teeth.

Let her choose her own brush and toothpaste.

Give your child some autonomy when it comes to selecting oral hygiene products. A toothbrush with her favorite cartoon characters, the bubblegum- or fruity-flavored kids’ toothpaste she likes, or a bright-colored rinse your dentist recommends. The more involved your kid is, the more likely she’ll take her responsibility to brush seriously. 

Get more fun and creative tips for brushing kids’ teeth from your family or pediatric dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

 

Jan
6

Does Your Mouthwash Dry Out Your Mouth?

Your mouth rinse is probably more than just a breath-freshener. Mouthwashes typically contain multiple ingredients that contribute to healthy teeth and gums.

For example, things like essential oils and cetylpyridinium chloride prevent plaque formation that causes gingivitis. Fluoride prevents tooth decay, and hydrogen peroxide helps lift surface stains.

However beneficial and minty-fresh your mouthwash may be, there is a big reason it may be drying you out.

Why There’s Alcohol in Mouth Rinse

Many kinds of mouthwash contain a high concentration of alcohol (ethanol, specifically).

This kind of alcohol makes for a powerful immediate disinfectant. It’s also an emulsifier, which helps keep the oil-based ingredients in the solution well mixed with the water.

Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t always the best thing for delicate oral tissues.

Alcohol-Free Mouthwash Alternatives

Alcohol is very drying, which can leave you feeling even worse if you already suffer from dry mouth, sores, or a burning sensation in your mouth. Some studies even suggest that alcohol-containing rinses can gradually damage tooth-colored dental restorations.

The good news is that there are plenty mouthwash formulations that don’t contain drying alcohol.

Just look for one that’s clearly marked “alcohol-free,” “zero,” “zero-alcohol,” and the like. You can get some suggestions and even some free samples from your dentist or dental hygienist.

Whichever kind of mouthwash you choose, remember that none are a replacement for daily brushing and flossing. Your rinse should be an adjunct or complement to your usual plaque removal routine.

Still searching for that perfect rinse that doesn’t dry out your mouth but still meets your oral health needs? Schedule a dental health checkup and oral hygiene consultation at your dentist’s office.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018

Nov
27

Does Sugar Really Give You Cavities?

You might be surprised to learn the truth about this long-held dental belief.

Sugar is harmful to teeth and is connected to the cavity-making process. But it’s not as directly related as you previously thought.

How Sugar Harms Your Teeth

Sugar fuels a certain bacteria in your mouth that thrives on carbs. This species, S. mutans, produces an acidic waste product after consuming sugar. This acid is what creates cavities.

As the germs continue feeding on sugar, they wear away tooth enamel and move into the hole. Over time, these patches of bacteria and decaying structures can reach the nerve of the tooth where it causes an abscess.

Sugar is also to blame because sweet drinks, desserts, and candies also tend to contain acids. Acidic foods like vinegar and fruit juice are notorious for wearing down and weakening enamel. After regular exposure to acids, teeth become more susceptible to decay.

Avoiding Sugar

It’s now up to you to lower your risk for cavities by limiting simple carbohydrates in your diet.

You might choose to cut out some items altogether, such as soda. However, you can still enjoy sweet things from time to time. The trick is to limit the amount of time they’re on your teeth and fueling the bacteria.

Have a sweet drink with your meal rather than sip on it afterwards. Avoid snacking. Switch processed snacks for healthy foods like nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, sliced cheese, and whole grain crackers. These foods are less likely to lead to feed bacteria.

Above all, maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and fluoride use to prevent cavities. Also don’t forget your routine check ups twice a year. Ask your dentist about other ways to reduce your tooth decay risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Nov
27

Dentists Recommend Sealing Adult Teeth ASAP

The American Dental Association states that sealing adult teeth as soon as they emerge in kids’ smiles will help keep them “cavity free from the start.”

If you haven’t already, you’ll likely hear your local dentist or dental hygienist recommending dental sealants for your kids during their next checkup.

What Are Sealants?

A dental sealant is a tiny layer of white plastic-like material that bonds with the chewing surface of a back tooth (molar.) It takes less than a couple of minutes to seal a tooth and it requires no drilling or anesthesia.

Sealing a tooth fills in deep grooves on the chewing surface. These areas can be too deep for a toothbrush to reach. If toothbrush bristles can’t clean out those fissures, then they become prime hideouts for cavity-causing bacteria and acids.

Benefits of Sealing Teeth

  • Prevent decay early on
  • Make tooth brushing more effective
  • Avoid staining in deep pits and fissures
  • Reduce plaque buildup
  • Save money on dental treatment

Why Seal Early?

Baby teeth don’t necessarily need sealants. They can be kept clean enough with proper brushing, thanks to their anatomy. But new adult teeth are at a higher risk.

Kids tend to have a hard time brushing their teeth thoroughly twice a day. Sealants give them a bit of an advantage by lowering a tooth’s cavity risk even if the brushing routine is spotty.

Your child will have their adult teeth for the rest of their life. As much as possible, you want to spare them the expense and discomfort of having to treat tooth decay later on. Sealants are a great way to help your child enjoy a healthy smile for years.

Ask your dentist whether your child is ready to have his or her back teeth treated with protective sealants.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642

Nov
27

Medications That Affect Oral Health

Thanks to a limitless variety of medications, humans are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life.

But there are very few drugs that have zero side-effects. Nearly all common medications affect our mouths and teeth in some way.

How is your oral health being affected by the medications you currently take?

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. This spells trouble for the mouth as saliva keeps tissues comfortable, remineralizes enamel, and washes away bacteria that cause disease.

The list of meds that dry up saliva is extensive but includes some common drugs such as:

  • Allergy medications
  • Decongestants
  • Painkillers
  • Antacids
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antidepressants

If you take any of these long-term, you may need extra fluoride and saliva substitutes.

Abnormal Bleeding

Warfarin, heparin, and aspirin may be prescribed to prevent stroke and heart disease. But these blood-thinners can also complicate any oral surgery or treatment for gum disease, by causing excessive bleeding.

Altered Taste

NSAIDs, asthma inhalers, and nicotine patches are all known for causing an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth.

Excessive Gum Growth

We need healthy levels of gums to protect and anchor teeth. But if gums grow too high, they can trap more plaque bacteria than normal. Plaque causes inflammation that can attack the ligaments holding teeth in place. Plaque also discolors enamel and promotes cavity-formation.

You may not be able to entirely avoid the gum-enlarging effects if you’re taking anti-rejection drugs for a transplant, calcium channel blockers, or anti-seizure medication. Talk with your dentist for advice on oral hygiene techniques.

Contact a dentist with experience in treating patients with medical conditions for a routine oral exam and ask how your current medications may be affecting your oral health in a negative manner.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Nov
26

4 Dentist-Recommended Steps to Lower Your Risk for Tooth Decay

Are you one of those unfortunate individuals who feels doomed to getting cavities for life?

Some blame it on having “soft teeth” or poor dental genetics.

But you don’t have to accept your fate – you still have a say in whether or not you get cavities.

The following four steps are what most dentists recommend to patients who struggle with a high rate of tooth decay.

Get more fluoride.

This is first and foremost. Fluoride is a mineral essential to strengthening enamel. Once it’s incorporated into an area of enamel, that spot is less likely to decay. Get lots of fluoride in your toothpaste and mouth rinses, and ask your dentist about professional fluoride treatments.

Use a remineralizing toothpaste.

Select a toothpaste that will help strengthen weak spots in your enamel with ingredients like calcium phosphate.

Drink more water instead of soda, tea, coffee, etc.

Most other drinks that aren’t water tend to contain sugars, carbonation, or acids that have negative effects on enamel. Water will keep you hydrated and your saliva glands flowing freely. Saliva neutralizes acids that wear away enamel and start the decay process.

Limit snack times.

It’s not about how much sugar you eat – it’s about how long that sugar is in your mouth. The same goes for other carbohydrates. Carbs fuel cavity-causing bacteria. The longer they’re in your mouth, the longer the germs can burn through enamel. Shorten your snack sessions or limit eating to mealtime, only. Alternatively, swap snacks like crackers and cookies for tooth-friendlier options like fresh apples, carrot sticks, or nuts.

Want to lower your cavity risk even more? Call your dentist today to schedule a checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Nov
26

Your Child’s First Dental Visit – How to Prepare and What to Expect

If your child is schedule to have his or her first dental checkup, then you may be just as anxious as they are. Here’s what to look forward to:

How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

If you’re nervous, avoid letting your child pick up on it. Try to stay calm so that you can convince your child that the visit is something to look forward to.

Read children’s books that feature dental subjects and trips to the dentist to prepare your child. Watch fun cartoons on dental health. Have “practice” sessions at home in which you praise your child for letting you look into their mouth with a flashlight, much like a dentist will do.

Whenever you discuss dental appointments around your child, keep your tone positive so that they can look forward to their own visit.

What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Visit

The first appointment is meant to be entertaining, relaxed, and educational. Your child may be allowed to play with buttons on the chairside sink, spray water or air from a handpiece, and practice brushing on a set of model teeth.

Kids don’t usually need dental work right away. The first visit focuses on just getting them comfortable in the dental chair and familiar with the dentist, plus give you the tools necessary to avoid unwanted cavities!

When you bring your young child to his or her first trip to the dental office, you’ll have the chance to learn a lot about kids’ dental health. The dental team will explain the best way to brush your child’s teeth and what you can do to prevent decay.

Ready to schedule your son or daughter’s first dental checkup? Call a family dentist near you for more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

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