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Dental Tips

Learn some dental tips & tricks.

  • Another common oral health issue for teens is tongue piercing. Teens need to be made aware that tongue piercings can cause fracturing and damage to the teeth.
  • When the kidneys do not function properly, the by-products of incomplete protein breakdown are released. As a result, a patient with kidney disease may have bad breath and may also notice an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Other signs are dry mouth and a metallic taste.
  • Did you know that emotional anxiety can affect your oral health? Stress affects the immune system, which fights against the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, making a person suffering from anxiety more prone to gum infection.
  • There are more than 120 medical conditions — many of them life-threatening that may possibly be detected in the early stages by a dentist, including thyroid problems, high blood pressure, and asthma.
  • Taking a precautionary antibiotic before a trip to the dentist isn’t necessary for most people and, in fact, might do more harm than good, according to updated recommendations from the American Heart Association.
  • The American Heart Association recommends that only people who are at the greatest risk from infective endocarditis (IE) should receive short-term preventive antibiotics before routine dental procedures.
  • Fruit juice could be just as harmful to teeth as soda because it is a concentrated source of sugars and sometimes acids.
  • Choose nutrient-rich, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Treat your snacks like a mini-meal and choose items that you know will give you the nutrients you need.
  • Plan snacks ahead of time. Keep a variety of nutritious ready-to-eat supplies on hand, such as whole-grain crackers, low-fat cheese and nuts.
  • Instead of a sugary breakfast cereal or a starchy bagel, choose fruit, yogurt or a cup of oatmeal for your portable morning meal.
  • Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to have cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke.
  • According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Researchers think this is because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, and the gums are among the tissues likely to be affected.
  • As part of a routine dental exam, the dentist screens patients for oral cancers including cancer of the head and neck. The dentist may also recognize skin, jaw, and thyroid cancers.
  • Some medications can cause dry mouth, a decrease of saliva. Since saliva plays a major role in preventing tooth decay, you should talk to your dentist about ways to treat dry mouth.
  • You may experience changes in your oral health during pregnancy due to a surge in hormones, which can cause your gum tissues to exaggerate their reaction to plaque.
  • A typical 12-ounce can of regular soda contains approximately 10 tsp of sugar. The average 12- to 19-year-old male drinks the equivalent of 868 cans a year. Not only is sugar in soda harmful to teeth, acidic flavor additives (also found in sugar-free soda) can erode and damage tooth enamel.
  • Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers, according to two 30-year studies at Tufts University, and are nearly twice as likely as non-smokers to need root canal treatment.
  • Smoking increases risk of mouth pain, cavities, gum recession, gum (periodontal) disease and tooth loss. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of adults who smoke have gum disease.
  • Smokeless tobacco users have a decreased sense of smell and taste, a greater risk than non-users of developing cavities and a 50 percent greater risk of developing cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips.
  • Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered. Have your dentist screen for oral cancer every six months.
  • According to the Academy of General Dentistry, a one-pack-a-day smoking habit can cause you to lose at least two teeth every 10 years.
  • Crisp fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery not only help stimulate saliva flow, which helps clean plaque and food particles from teeth, but they are full of vitamins and minerals.
  • Cheese and yogurt are easy, portable snacks that supply calcium and other vitamins and minerals for strong teeth.
  • If you drink fruit juice, you should use a straw to keep it from having as much contact with your teeth.
  • Sedation allows dentists to create a state of relaxation and thus manage the fear and pain patients may experience during dental procedures.
  • Many people don't brush long enough. Most of us brush less than a minute, but it is recommended to brush for two to three minutes for effective cleaning.
  • Brushing with toothpaste is important. Toothpaste and a correct brushing action work to remove plaque, a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth.
  • Toothpaste contains fluoride, which makes teeth more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage can even be seen.
  • Special ingredients in toothpaste help to clean and polish the teeth and remove stains over time.
  • Studies show that plaque will regrow on teeth that are completely clean within three to four hours of brushing.
  • In a recent survey, 40% of the respondents ranked "smile" as the first thing they noticed about a person at work.
  • Consider tooth bleaching if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown or orange respond better to bleaching. Gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline use can be lightened, but results are not as dramatic.
  • If a tooth is chipped, find the chip, save it and visit your dentist immediately. Put the chip in a plastic bag, and keep the chip moist by adding a few drops of water to the bag or wrapping it in wet gauze.
  • Veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic or composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth.
  • Despite the fact that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, only 22-34 percent of women in the U.S. visit a dentist during pregnancy.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste immediately after finishing your snack.
  • Foods with fiber stimulate saliva flow, which is a natural defense against cavities. Not only does saliva wash away food particles and clean your mouth, about 20 minutes after you eat something, it begins to neutralize acids attacking your teeth.
  • The calcium, phosphates and vitamin D in cheese, milk and other dairy products are important minerals for the health of your teeth. Your teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough in your diet, you risk developing tooth decay and other problems.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse harmful acid off your teeth to help you preserve tooth enamel. Research indicates that xylitol most likely inhibits the growth of oral bacteria that cause cavities.
  • Fluoridated water helps your teeth. Bottled water may not contain as much fluoride as water from the tap, so if this is your main source of water, be sure that you use fluoridated toothpaste and ask your dentist about fluoride supplementation.
  • If you eat sweets, go for those that clear out of your mouth quickly. Those that stick around lollipops, caramels, jelly beans and hard candies — make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away.
  • Both regular and diet sodas contain phosphorous and carbonation, which wear away the enamel on your teeth (causing them to become stained and brown). Many energy drinks, iced teas and lemonades also contain high amounts of sugar and contain acids that wear away tooth enamel.
  • Although fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, fruit juice can cause problems for your teeth. Juices sometimes have sugar added to them, which can be even more damaging to your teeth.
  • If your child's permanent tooth is knocked completely out, call your dentist immediately. It is critical to get the child and the tooth to the dentist within 30 minutes of the accident, as it may be possible to successfully reimplant the tooth.
  • Swimming pool accidents are the number-one cause of dental emergencies during the summer.
  • From age 2, children should begin to brush their own teeth with a parent’s help. Use a small, soft brush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. After age 8, children can brush and floss alone, with an occasional check by an adult.
  • Dental amalgam is a safe, inexpensive and long-lasting filling material. Much of the concern over the safety of amalgam arises from the fact that it contains mercury, but the miniscule amount released in the mouth is less than what patients are exposed to in food, air and water.
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Eat a healthy diet, which provides the nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular) necessary to prevent gum disease.
  • Use a mouth rinse to reduce plaque up to 20 percent.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can not reach.
  • Brush for two to three minutes, twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline.
  • A good toothbrush should fit easily into your mouth.
  • Gum disease — not old age — is the leading cause of tooth loss for people in the U.S. In fact, nearly 80 percent of adults have gum disease during their lifetime.
  • By age 8 children should be able to brush and floss by themselves, with occasional checks. Turn brushing and flossing into a daily routine — make it fun by giving your child a colorful toothbrush and flavored floss.
  • Foods that take a long time to chew or that you hold in your mouth (such as cough drops) can damage teeth as they hold sugar against teeth longer than do other foods.
  • Tannins found in coffee and teas etch into the pits and grooves of tooth enamel, producing a rough, stained surface.
  • Acidic foods and drinks such as carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, wine, pickles and honey can cause tooth enamel to wear away and teeth to become sensitive, cracked and discolored.
  • According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline, where decay and gum disease often begins. Make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, to clean the places where a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • How do you choose the TOOTHPASTE that’s most effective? The truth is that as long as your toothpaste contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval, the brand or extra features you choose don’t really matter.
  • Calcium-fortified juices, milk and other dairy products, which are rich in calcium and vitamin D, help promote healthy teeth and bones, and reduce the risk for tooth loss.
  • Be aware that certain medications can aggravate gum disease, including oral contraceptives, antidepressants and heart medicines.
  • A good toothbrush should bear the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp of approval (found on the package).
  • Regular brushing and flossing are especially important when braces are placed to correct crooked or overcrowded teeth. Food and plaque can get trapped in the tiny spaces between braces and wires, causing decay and discoloration.
  • As your child’s permanent molars come in, you may want to consider dental sealants, a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities.
  • Prolonged pacifier use and thumb-sucking can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth, prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that children stop using pacifiers by age one.
  • Instead of snacking on sugary, carbohydrate-rich or acidic foods throughout the day, eat these foods just during meal times in order to minimize the amount of time the teeth are exposed to acid.
  • Some foods may actually help defend against tooth decay in special ways. For instance, recent studies have indicated that fresh cranberries interrupt the bonding of oral bacteria before they can form damaging plaque.
  • You should clean and massage your baby’s gums daily to help establish healthy gums and to aid in teething. Cleaning your childs teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible — at about age six months — because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.
  • You should brush your teeth for two to three minutes with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day. If you can brush your teeth after every meal, that’s even better. Keep a toothbrush at work so you can brush after lunch.
  • The best floss is the one you’re going to use. Waxed, unwaxed, plain, mint, cinnamon, wide or regular size floss of any type helps clean and remove plaque.
  • Resin composite fillings are made of ceramic and plastic compounds. Because resin-based composites mimic the appearance of natural teeth, these fillings have been used in front teeth for years, and cost more than amalgam.
  • Also referred to as silver fillings, dental amalgam is a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury into a putty-like substance that can be easily manipulated to fill a cavity.
  • A good toothbrush should be labeled soft and have round-ended bristles to prevent damage to teeth and gums.
  • Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque — a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day.
  • Fluoride promotes remineralization, or the rebuilding of minerals in the tooth enamel. The presence of fluoride on tooth surfaces attracts other minerals (such as calcium) and helps to speed up remineralization.
  • According to the American Dental Association (ADA), public water fluoridation is the most efficient and cost-effective way to prevent cavities.
  • Combining flossing and tooth-brushing to thoroughly remove plaque each day will help prevent cavities and gum disease. It doesnt matter whether you floss or brush first; what matters is that you remove the plaque.
  • When you brush, you should keep the bristles angled against the gumline and brush along the gumline and the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth. You should finish by brushing your tongue, which helps remove bacteria from your mouth.
  • Chewing sugarless gum that contains xylitol can help reduce plaque and fight cavities because chewing stimulates saliva, which helps keep teeth clean, while xylitol inhibits the growth of the oral bacteria that causes cavities.
  • What you eat can help you keep your teeth. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body's ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.
  • Tea contains compounds that interact with plaque and either kills or suppresses bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. This not only helps to prevent cavities, but also reduces inflammation and the chances of gum disease.
  • Two of the most important things your teen can do for his or her oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and eat nutritious foods.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when an infant is allowed to fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, and acids produced by bacteria feeding on the juice or milk attack the baby’s tooth enamel and causes damage to the teeth.
  • When you eat, the bacteria in plaque transforms the sugars and starches in food into acids. Each time acid is produced, it attacks the tooth enamel for about 20 minutes. Eventually, the enamel breaks down and the tooth decays. A cavity is a hole in the tooth that is caused by this decay.
  • You can prevent "pregnancy gingivitis" by keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline, by brushing and flossing each day.
  • Regular dentist visits can do more than keep your smile attractive, they can tell a dentist a lot about your overall health. Research suggests that when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good too.
  • Contrary to common belief, tooth loss is primarily the result of oral disease, not the aging process. As we get older, our dental needs become increasingly specialized, making regular dentist visits even more vital.
  • The bacteria in plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums and causes inflammation and gingivitis. If bacteria are not removed and the inflammation continues, the gum tissues can be destroyed, causing them to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with more plaque.
  • Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque - the sticky, colorless, bacteria-filled film that adheres to your teeth. As plaque builds up on teeth, it hardens and becomes tartar, which can be difficult to remove.
  • Teens should wait to use tooth-whitening products until at least age 14, at which time the tooth's pulp (nerve) is fully formed and the teen will experience less sensitivity. Teens should always consult their dentist before using an over-the-counter teeth-whitening product.
  • Cheese, which unleashes a burst of calcium that mixes with plaque and sticks to the teeth, protect them from the acid that causes decay and helps to rebuild tooth enamel on the spot.
  • Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery, helps clean plaque from teeth and freshens breath.
  • New research suggests a possible link between gum disease and preterm, low-birth weight babies. Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums and travel to the uterus.
  • Foods such as chips, bread, pasta or crackers can be as harmful to the teeth as candy. Starches can linger in your mouth and then break down into simple sugars. Bacteria feeds on these sugars and produce acid, which causes tooth decay.
  • Regularly scheduled dental checkups, a healthy diet, and brushing and flossing are the best ways to achieve good oral health and prevent problems such as cavities and gum disease.
  • Choose a time to visit the dentist when you will not be rushed or under pressure. Listen to your favorite music. Talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have.
  • An oral exam can also detect other health issues such as poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems, and improper jaw alignment.
  • By seeing your dentist twice a year, you can help prevent any oral health problems before they cause discomfort or require extensive or invasive treatment.

Tip of the day

Another common oral health issue for teens is tongue piercing. Teens need to be made aware that tongue piercings can cause fracturing and damage to the teeth.

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