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Learn How A Nightguard Can Help To Protect Your Smile

Learn How A Nightguard Can Help To Protect Your Smile

At least 10% of the population grinds or clenches their teeth at night. This habit is called “bruxism” and is a form of sleep movement disorder. You may not be aware of it until your dentist professional sees signs of wear on your teeth. Symptoms of clenching and grinding consist of headaches, neck aches, and soreness in the muscles of the cheeks and jaw. As well as pain in the jaw joint and chipping, fractures, and sensitivity in the teeth. A nightguard works by preventing tooth on tooth contact of the teeth. Listed below are a few benefits of wearing a night guard. 

Preventing Tooth Wear With A Nightguard

One of the most common effects of clenching and grinding is wear to the biting surfaces of the teeth. Often, with grinding, the teeth will have a more flattened shortened appearance. With clenching, indentations of the opposing cusps can be seen. Sometimes these signs won’t be noticed until you see your dentist or dental hygienist. Wear to the biting surfaces of the teeth can lead to sensitivity from the loss of enamel. Sometimes if the wear is deep, a filling may need to be placed to protect the enamel that remains. Wearing a nightguard doesn’t stop clenching or grinding, but it places the wear on the nightguard itself.

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Preventing Chips and Fractures 

Chips and fractures of the teeth surfaces can occur from clenching and grinding. When a spot is worn down too much and becomes thin, sometimes it can chip off. Fillings must be placed to restore these areas and wearing a nightguard will prevent them from occurring.  

Preventing Bone Loss 

Constant excess pressure on the teeth can cause the bone and gum support from around the teeth to slowly recede away. This happens because the teeth and bone support are not meant to bear such an excess load, and the cells begin to resorb. This process happens over time slowly, but once gum and bone are lost, they cannot grow back on their own. Wearing a nightguard prevents the excessive force on the teeth that cause recession and bone loss.  

Preventing TMJ Issues 

Grinding and clenching can cause pain and soreness with the jaw joint, called the temporomandibular joint. The TMJ (for short) is not meant to bare the excessive force of clenching and grinding and can sustain injury overtime. Wearing a nightguard adds a cushion between the teeth that absorbs the forces and protects the jaw.  

If you believe you are clenching or grinding and would benefit from a nightguard, or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways To Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

5 Ways To Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

Fluoride/ Xylitol

Fluoride is an integral component in keeping teeth (baby teeth and adult teeth) healthy. Fluoride is included in a low concentration in most tap water so it can be absorbed systemically. It is also included in toothpaste and some mouthwashes in low concentrations, as well. Fluoride strengthens the enamel (the outer structure of the teeth) to prevent bacteria and acids from penetrating through, causing cavities. Xylitol can also be used in order to avoid cavities. Xylitol works by reducing the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. Xylitol can be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses, gum and even some candies. 

Low Sugar Diet

A diet high in sugar is a significant precursor for cavities. By giving your child less sugary snacks, you can significantly reduce their risk for cavities. The kinds of sugary foods that are the most cavity-causing are sticky, gummy, and chewy foods such as candies and dried fruit. In other words, foods that will get stuck in their teeth and increase the exposure time to sugar. If your child eats something sweet, brush their teeth after if you can, and if not, have them rinse their mouth with water. 

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Brushing & Flossing

Of course, brushing and flossing are essential parts of keeping baby teeth healthy. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. Help your child brush and floss their teeth until around the age of 6-8. Flossing should start around four years old, or whenever the spaces between their teeth begin to close. 

Wear a Sports Guard

If your child plays any contact sports such as soccer, hockey or basketball, they need to wear a custom-fitted sports guard to protect their teeth. 

Regular Check-ups and Cleanings

Lastly, make sure to bring your child in for their regular check-ups and cleanings. It is usually recommended every six months but may be recommended more frequently if there have been any concerns with their teeth or gums. 

 If you have any questions about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Learn Which Foods Are Good & Bad For Your Teeth

Learn Which Foods Are Good & Bad For Your Teeth

So, what makes a food good or bad for your teeth? Which foods should you be eating more of, and which foods should you be reducing? Most of the time, the foods that are healthy for your body are also healthy for your teeth. 

 Unhealthy Foods for Your Teeth 

We all know that sugar causes cavities. Any foods containing sugar, even natural sugars like the sugars in milk and dried fruit, have the potential to cause cavities. When you consume sugar, it gets converted to acids in your mouth that attack your teeth, causing cavities. The type of sugary foods that are the most cavity-causing are the foods that get stuck in your teeth, prolonging the exposure time. These types of foods are anything gummy, chewy or sticky such as candy, dried fruit and granola bars. It is essential to try and reduce the consumption of these foods. If you do have them, try to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth after.  

 Healthy Foods for Your Teeth

It is vital to consume a well-balanced diet, high in vitamins and minerals. Raw fruits and vegetables are particularly good for your teeth because they act as a cleanser. When you bite down into a raw fruit or vegetable, it helps to remove plaque that is already sitting on your teeth and on the biting surfaces of your molars. Try eating raw carrots, celery and apples as snacks. Another good food to help keep your teeth healthy is cheese. Cheese helps to balance the pH level of your mouth. So if you’ve just eaten something very sweet or acidic, try eating a cube of cheese after to neutralize your mouth, preventing cavities and acid erosion. 

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 Quantity vs. Exposure Time

When consuming foods and drinks that are higher in sugars and acids, the most important thing we have to think about is the exposure time of the foods and drinks on our teeth. The more you expose your teeth to sugars and acids, the more susceptible they will be to cavities and erosion. For instance, if you drink a very sugary soda all at once, the exposure time from the acids and sugars in the soda will be much shorter than if you sip it slowly throughout a few hours. Each time you take a sip of that soda, you are bathing your teeth in the sugars and acids and prolonging the potential for damage. 

If you have any questions about healthy vs. unhealthy foods for your teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What Is A Food Trap And How Do You Fix It?

What Is A Food Trap And How Do You Fix It?

What is a Food Trap?

A food trap is any area in your mouth that you may or may not realize contains trapped food after having a meal or snack. The leftover foods turn into plaque, which causes issues to the teeth and gums in the area. Issues such as cavities, gum disease, and even infections can occur. Often, a food trap will be between two teeth or behind the last molar, but it can also occur around the front or back side of teeth. You may or may not notice the food trap is there, so it is essential to visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly so this type of concern can be addressed before it causes problems with your teeth and gums.

Treatment Options

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings can be placed to fill the space being affected by trapped food. This treatment option will be recommended if the food trap is between two teeth. A dental filling would be placed on either one or both of the teeth that the food trap affects, closing the space that exists between the two teeth, so food no longer gets stuck in the area. Cleaning teeth is easier when the food trap is eliminated.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a more invasive and proactive way of fixing a food trap. Either one or both of the teeth the food trap affects will be thinned down, and a dental crown(s) will be placed on top, closing the food trap. This option may be recommended if there is already a large filling on the tooth or if the food trap cannot be fixed with dental fillings.

Leaving It & Monitoring It

If the food trap is small and is relatively easy to clean out daily, it may be okay to leave it and monitor it. If left untreated, it is vital to use the best tools available to you to make sure the food trap is clean. Make sure to talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about what tools you can use to clean the food trap at home. Regular dental visits will be recommended to monitor the food trap for changes and assess the health of the teeth and gums.

If you think you have a food trap or have any question about food traps, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

How To Keep Your Teeth Clean With Dental Braces

How To Keep Your Teeth Clean With Dental Braces

It can be tricky to keep your gums and teeth healthy while wearing dental braces. However, it is vital to do so properly to prevent cavities and gum disease. Listed below are essential components in an adequate at-home oral hygiene regimen.

Electric Toothbrush

While wearing dental braces, it is essential to use an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush will provide you with a superior clean. They can complete more brush strokes in two minutes than you can accomplish with a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are also able to access tricky areas around the brackets, especially due to their smaller heads.

Water Flosser

A water flosser uses a thin jet of water to flush out bacteria from between the teeth, the brackets and the gum line. A water flosser can be used with either water or mouthwash.

Super Floss / Floss Threaders

For daily flossing, floss aids must be used to access underneath the wire of the braces. You can use either super floss, which is a pre-cut piece of floss with a ridged end to put between the teeth, or floss threaders, which are small loops to put the floss through. Try both options and use the method you prefer.

Proxabrush

A proxabrush is a small pipe cleaner like brush that is great to clean between brackets under challenging areas to reach — the bristles on the brush help to pull plaque out from the sides of the brackets.

Fluoride

Fluoride is an integral component in keeping your teeth healthy and free of cavities. Use toothpaste at least twice a day that contains fluoride as well as a mouthwash once a day that contains fluoride. Fluoride works by strengthening the enamel.

Regular Check-ups and Cleanings

Make sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for your cleanings and check-ups. It is recommended to come every 3-4 months while the braces are on to help keep your gums and teeth healthy.

If you have any questions about braces or keeping braces clean, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis & How To Manage It

What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis & How To Manage It

Pregnancy gingivitis is a form of gingivitis that is caused by the change of hormones during pregnancy. The increase of estrogen will cause the gums to be more susceptible to inflammation and bleeding. Pregnancy gingivitis can affect pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy. However, it may be more severe in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Pregnancy gingivitis can also affect a new mother while nursing. Often, pregnancy gingivitis and its symptoms will subside on their own after birth and nursing of the baby. In some cases, if pregnancy gingivitis is left untreated, it can cause severe gum issues such as “ANUG” and “ANUP,” which are acute but severe bursts of inflammation in the gums and surrounding tissues.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Gingivitis

In most cases, pregnancy gingivitis results in slightly more inflamed gum tissues than usual. Gum inflammation, gum bleeding, red and puffy gums and sore/ tender gums are the main symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms can be paired with a pregnancy “tumour,” which is a bulbous, puffy piece of gum tissue usually localized between teeth. During pregnancy, the body’s response to plaque bacteria is increased, and therefore, there will be a more severe response than usual to plaque accumulation.

Preventing Pregnancy Gingivitis/ Reducing Symptoms

 

Sometimes pregnancy gingivitis is not entirely preventable, but it is possible to reduce the symptoms. Making sure you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day is a vital component of keeping pregnancy gingivitis at bay. Using an antibacterial mouth rinse is also essential to reduce the overall number of oral bacteria. Make sure you rinse your mouth with water regularly if you are experiencing morning sickness. It is vital not to miss your regular check-ups and cleanings. Your dental hygienist may even recommend more frequent cleanings (every 3-4 months) for the duration of the pregnancy to keep your gums as healthy as possible and reduce symptoms.

If you believe you may have pregnancy gingivitis, or have any questions about it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.