Dental Tips Blog


Lupus and Oral Health

People living with lupus are more than likely to eventually develop some type of sores or lesions inside of their mouth caused by their condition. Some of the medications taken to manage their condition can also affect the health of their teeth.

Dry mouth is very common due to the medications that people take to manage Lupus. Unfortunately not only is dry mouth annoying, it can make you develop cavities much quicker than normal. During your routine dental exams, ask your dentist or hygienist what method would work best to help promote healthy saliva flow and combat dry mouth symptoms. Placing you on a routine fluoride therapy can also be useful to prevent decay from developing.

Almost half of lupus patients will also suffer from sores that flare up inside of their mouth from time to time. A homemade mouthwash made from milk of magnesia and liquid antihistamine can help manage painful ulcerations in some cases. Mix an equal amount of each ingredient together and then swab or rinse your mouth. Do not swallow it, but spit out any amount that is remaining. Avoid using products like rinses that contain alcohol as this can irritate ulcerations as well as dry your mouth out more. If you are experiencing active ulcerations, this is most likely a symptom that your condition is in an active phase.

If you’re battling lupus, it’s important to let your dentist know. Occasionally some patients may need to be premedicated with an antibiotic before treatment is performed. Your dentist and rheumatologist can arrange the details of your care procedures if your medical condition is severe.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry



5 Tips for Better Brushing in 2014

As the year ends and the new one begins, it is traditional to want to start fresh and renew good habits.  And that includes proper teeth brushing.   Combined with routine dental exams and cleanings, good brushing habits can greatly reduce the incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.

We’ve come up with a list of five easy tips for getting the most out of your tooth brush:

1. Use the right toothbrush. Most dentists recommend a soft bristled brush and one that fits comfortably in the mouth and is not too big or too small. Consider a mechanical brush if you have issues with not brushing long or thoroughly enough.

2.  Use the proper technique. Use a gentle circular motion, being sure to brush the surface of every tooth and every side of every tooth in your mouth. Brush gently along the gum line, using a 45 degree angle, and be sure not to brush too abrasively as it could injure gums or cause them to recede.

3. Brush for at least two minutes. If you aren’t sure how long this is, set a timer, a stop watch or an egg timer, to track the time.

4. Brush at least twice a day. If food is allowed to sit on teeth for too long, the bacteria can start to eat away at the enamel and cause tartar build-up or decay. Wait about a half hour after eating to brush to give saliva a chance to neutralize the bacteria, and then brush for two minutes, gently. Three times a day is even better.

5. Floss, brush, wash. Try to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day, followed by brushing and then mouthwash. Flossing loosens the particles that get caught between teeth and the fluoride in the toothpaste and mouth wash can have a chance to settle into tiny crevices and help build and restore enamel.

If you are in doubt about your brushing techniques or the products or tools that you use, consult your dentist or dental hygienist. He or she is usually more than happy to make recommendations as to what might be best for you.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry



Aging and Its Impact on Your Teeth

It’s no secret that aging can bring a uprising number of changes to the human body. What you may not realize, though, is the impact aging can have on your overall oral health.

Because we tend to focus on the aesthetic value of our teeth, it’s easy to lose sight of their true function, which is purely mechanical. Your teeth are, at their essence, designed to break apart and grind the food you eat in order to aid in digestion. Years of performing this function, especially without proper care, can compromise them.  It’s not the process of aging which leads to compromised teeth, but the things that happen over the years to change their structure.

Caring for Your Teeth as You Age

There are some common-sense guidelines which can help you to keep your teeth intact as you age, like avoiding the action of chewing ice or very hard foods and maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine. To truly guard the health and integrity of your smile as you enter your golden years, though, it’s imperative that you keep to regularly scheduled dental exams.

Your dentist is able to spot cracked or damaged fillings, which can weaken the rest of the affected tooth. Another common problem with teeth as patients age can be directly attributed to dry mouth, which can cause the risk of gum issues and tooth decay to skyrocket. While the flow of saliva isn’t caused by the natural process of aging, it can be a very common side effect of hundreds of medications, which become a part of life for many aging seniors.

To make sure your smile is as healthy and strong as possible, be sure you visit your dentist regularly and follow their prescribed instructions. Together, you can ensure the continued health and functionality of your teeth for many years to come.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry


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