Whether or not it’s good for your teeth, chewing gum is a popular habit. The encouraging news is that the American Dental Association (ADA) has begun recognizing certain gums with the ADA Seal that some are scientifically proven to protect your teeth. Let’s learn exactly what gum might mean for your teeth.
Chewing increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps to neutralize and rinse away damaging acids in your mouth. More saliva also means more calcium and phosphate are distributed in your mouth, which strengthen your tooth enamel. Studies show that 20 minutes of chewing sugarless gum after meals can help prevent tooth decay.
The only gums that have earned the ADA Seal are sugarless, and have proven with scientific evidence that they effectively reduce acids, promote remineralization of enamel, or reduce cavities or gingivitis. The gum also must be safe for oral tissues. A chewing gum package that displays the ADA Seal has undergone stringent requirements for proving that the information is true, so you can trust packaging claims for safety and effectiveness.
One other thing to consider is choosing sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol. It has been shown to help prevent tooth decay and cavities, because it stops bacteria from being able to stick to your teeth. Fewer bacteria that cause decay are able to survive on the surfaces of your teeth.
Don’t be confused about the role chewing gum can play in your dental health, because it doesn’t take the place of brushing and flossing. You still should brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and use dental floss every day too.
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Even when you take the right steps with your oral health, your teeth may need repair at some point. Restorative dentistry focuses on strengthening damaged teeth and replacing missing teeth. Modern technology allows dentists to create solid, attractive restorations that won’t compromise your smile’s beauty. Fillings, crowns, dental implants, and dentures are often used to revive a worn-out smile.
What is the difference between a filling and a crown?
For small cavities, your dentist can generally remove the decay and place a filling. When your tooth sustains more extensive damage, you may need a dental crown. With a crown, or cap, the restoration covers the entire tooth area above the gum line, restoring stability and function.
I have several missing teeth. What are my options?
Lost teeth can negatively impact your appearance and oral health. Partial dentures, dental bridges, and implants can close gaps in your smile and improve your dental health. Your dentist will examine your mouth and then explain your options in detail.
How do I know if I am a candidate for implants?
Generally, individuals need to be in good overall health and have sufficient bone mass to support the implants, tiny metal posts surgically positioned into your gums. If your dentist is concerned, he or she may recommend a bone graft before implant therapy.
What is a root canal?
If a tooth experiences deep decay or a traumatic injury, the soft inner core called pulp may die, halting the supply of blood and nutrients to the tooth. Pressure and infection build inside the tooth. Without treatment, you could lose the tooth. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the diseased tissue, sanitize the area, and seal the tooth to prevent future issues.
Toothaches can cause a great deal of discomfort, and they usually don’t completely go away on their own. Most often, a visit to your dentist is warranted to discover the source of the pain and get appropriate treatment. Until you are able to see the dentist, your goal will be to alleviate the pain. Many people try home toothache remedies such as these.
One of the most common remedies that people try is holding an ice pack to the painful or swollen area. The ice numbs the gums and helps minimize the pain, but can be uncomfortable for those with sensitive teeth.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate toothache pain. You can choose to take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. An associated home remedy involves cracking open an aspirin and holding it inside the mouth in the painful area. The risk in doing this is accidentally ingesting too much of the medication, or causing serious problems like bleeding or gum burns. This practice is not recommended.
One unusual toothache home remedy is to chew raw onion. The onion helps kill the bacteria that causes tooth decay and may be contributing to your toothache. However, the accompanying side effect of bad breath may not be worth the minimal relief you achieve.
Rubbing vanilla extract on the teeth is another cure that people attempt, which likely works temporarily because of the slight alcohol content in vanilla that may numb the gums. This treatment is not recommended for people such as diabetics, who have problems regulating their blood sugar.
Soaking a tea bag in warm water, wringing it out so it’s not soaked, and then holding it inside your mouth on the affected tooth may relieve toothache pain.
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Tooth pain that occurs when you eat or drink something cold or hot is an indicator that your teeth are overly sensitive. It can also result from eating sour or sweet foods, and sometimes just from breathing in cold air. Usually tooth sensitivity happens when your enamel has worn down, exposing the inner part of your tooth where sensitive nerves are located. It’s important to know what kinds of things may trigger tooth sensitivity, in hopes of avoiding it in the future.
Decay leads to cavities, which are holes in your teeth or damage to their structure. Tooth decay and the resulting cavities are often preventable with good dental care. If you develop a cavity, however, it’s vital to get it repaired so that area of your teeth doesn’t become overly sensitive and painful.
Early gum disease, called gingivitis, is usually caused by poor dental hygiene that leads to gum inflammation and redness. Your gums may bleed easily and become sore. As gingivitis worsens, your gums can recede and expose the roots of your teeth. Your roots contain nerve endings, and sensitivity will likely increase.
Accidents to your teeth or gums may lead to sensitivity. Fractured or knocked out teeth are certainly susceptible to painful sensations in your mouth.
Many people who use teeth whitening methods complain that their teeth become more sensitive with use of these products. Some whitening techniques cause this sensation more than others, so you may have to try several if you want to pursue teeth whitening without the sensitivity.
One way to treat this problem is to use toothpaste intended for sensitive teeth. Also, avoid foods and drinks that tend to increase your symptoms. If you do consume items that cause discomfort, gently brush your teeth afterwards to help reduce the effects.
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