The choices that you are making today about your children’s snacks may be affecting their smile for a lifetime. Sugar is readily available, and can be hidden in snacks that you may not even realize it. It is common for many kids to snack on cookies and candy every single day, but you should realize that this isn’t just impacting their overall health but their oral health too.
A big part of the problem is that snack foods in the United States can be described in general as unhealthy. The main groups of snacks are chips, cookies, candy, crackers, and juice. Eating these foods once in a while is fine, but when it becomes a habit or addiction it can plague a person throughout life. You are likely aware that these items high in sugar, calories, and additives have been linked to obesity, but with time they also affect the teeth. Particles of food remain in the mouth after eating, and that residue creates an ideal place for bacteria to grow. This is the beginning of tooth decay.
Because it’s unrealistic to expect your kids to brush after every snack, choosing healthier snacks is a smart way to combat tooth decay. So what are some better snack choices? Carrot sticks, celery sticks, pickles, cucumbers, and other vegetables are good options. In fact, eating vegetables can clean your teeth while you eat because of the scrubbing action that occurs during chewing. Even if vegetable residue is left behind, it is not nearly as damaging to the teeth and gums as sugar or starches. Another good choice that appeals to most kids is fruit, such as apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges. Fruits do contain natural sugar that can remain on your teeth, but it is not as harmful as white sugar.
Helping your children change their snacking choices will go a long way in improving the health of their mouth as well as their whole body. While you’re at it, make sure that you are setting a good example and making healthy choices as well.
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Gaps or holes in your smile caused by missing teeth can cause embarrassment and difficulty eating or speaking. Dental implants have been developed as a reliable and natural method of tooth replacement. It involves implanting an artificial root into the jaw so that it ultimately becomes part of your jawbone, and placing a crown on top to create a new tooth. The procedure has become very popular, but as with most things there are both good and bad qualities about the treatment. Consider these pros and cons as you make your decision whether implants are right for you.
- Look, feel, and function like real teeth
- Do not slip, even during eating and speaking
- No embarrassing sounds or messy pastes
- Don’t affect neighboring teeth
- Titanium material allows normal biting force
- Permanent restoration
- Restore confidence and youthful look
- Risks exist as with any surgery
- Pain, bruising, or swelling can occur at implant site
- Temporary bruising or swelling can occur to face and gums
- Damage to adjacent nerves may result in pain or numbness in the area
- Infections sometimes occur
- Requires several dental visits to complete the process
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Dental veneers provide a great way to hide problems with your teeth, ranging from tooth discoloration to chips to gaps and other issues. They fit right on the fronts of your teeth and can give you a brand new smile. Veneers are most often made from either porcelain or composite materials. If you are deciding between the two types, here is an outline of their similarities and differences.
Porcelain and composite veneers are alike in that they both are attached to your teeth using a cement bonding material. Also, for both procedures, you may opt to have an anesthetic used to ease discomfort during the process of scraping or shaping your teeth. No matter the type of veneer, the outcome should be that your smile has improved and your self-confidence level has increased.
There are some things that set composite and porcelain veneers apart from one another. These include:
- Material – Obviously, porcelain veneers are made from porcelain. Composite veneers are created from a resin material, which is similar to plastic. Composite can absorb liquids, making them susceptible to staining.
- Appearance – Porcelain veneers look as real as natural teeth. It is difficult to tell them apart from real teeth, because they are uniform in color and reflect light naturally. Composite veneers easily stain and may not look as natural.
- Durability – Porcelain tends to last much longer than composite. They are more durable, as porcelain is not prone to breaking or chipping like composite is. Composite veneers may be repaired if they are damaged, but porcelain veneers cannot. The whole set of porcelain veneers would need to be replaced if damaged.
- Process – It takes longer to get porcelain veneers than it does composite, which can be placed in only one dental visit. Porcelain requires at least two appointments because they are created in a lab before they can be attached. It can take up to two weeks for porcelain veneers to be made.
- Maintenance – Porcelain veneers do not require extra maintenance besides regular brushing and flossing, while composite veneers require frequent maintenance to have the best, long-lasting results.
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Preventing tooth decay should have a role in your quest for healthy teeth. Brushing, flossing, and checkups each play a part in this goal, but new technologies are providing more ways to achieve good oral health. One of these ways is having your teeth protected with a dental sealant. Let’s learn more about this effective method in fighting tooth decay and cavities.
To prevent decay in the small grooves that exist in your teeth, dentists apply a clear or white plastic coating that acts as a barrier. This dental sealant helps prevent cavities from forming by keeping bacteria and food particles from sticking to the chewing surfaces.
Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth, especially your molars. The first set of molars typically erupts around age six, with the permanent set arriving about age twelve. Sealants are most effective in preventing tooth decay when applied to permanent molars.
Sealants are simple for your dentist to apply, requiring no drilling and involving no pain. The teeth are cleaned and then a special gel is placed on the chewing surfaces for a few seconds. The teeth are rinsed and dried, and then sealant is painted onto each tooth. Sometimes a light is used to harden the sealant. It only takes a minute for the sealant to set and begin working.
Sealants are invisible and don’t impact speaking or eating, but they are at work constantly guarding your teeth from decay. They provide long-term protection for 5-10 years, and your dentist will inspect them during checkups to ensure they remain in good condition. Continuing your regular routine of hygiene and dental visits are vital ways of maintaining your oral health, and adding sealants to your teeth is one more way to keep your teeth in good shape.
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Maintaining good oral health includes more than just brushing and flossing. You also need to see a dentist regularly to treat any problems that arise with your teeth and gums, and to have more extensive cleanings than you are able to do yourself. Many oral health problems go unnoticed by the patient, but your dentist can detect and treat them before the problem becomes severe. Here is what you can expect when visiting your dentist.
What happens on the first visit?
Your first appointment with a dentist requires some extra time and examination. First, you’ll be asked to complete medical history forms about past dental work, conditions, diseases, and similar issues. You will need to list any medications you are taking and dosages. There will also be questions about your general health, because sometimes other medical conditions and drugs affect your oral health. Next, you will be examined to determine your current dental condition, and asked questions about pain or problems. If you have any dental anxiety or fears, share that with your dentist so that you can work together to make you more comfortable. Also, it is likely that your dentist will recommend a set of initial X-rays to look for problems and establish a baseline for your care.
What about follow-up visits?
As you maintain regular dental visits twice a year, your dentist will get to know you and your oral health. Your medical history won’t be required, unless you have updates about changes in your health or medications. The main focus of follow-up visits will be addressing concerns you may have, and performing a thorough examination and cleaning. Your dentist will check your neck and head to look for any unusual lumps or swellings in lymph nodes or salivary glands. Your gums will be examined for redness, swelling, or easy bleeding that may indicate gum disease. The soft tissues of your mouth like lips, tongue, and insides of your cheeks will be checked for spots, cuts, or swelling. Your dentist will examine every tooth looking for possible cavities or other problems. X-rays may be needed if anything requires further evaluation. Keeping a regular schedule of dental checkups will increase your chances for good oral health and a nice smile.
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Take a drink of your refreshing cold beverage, delve into your favorite flavor of ice cream, or have a sip of the perfect coffee concoction. But then, a hundred miniature daggers stab your teeth!! If this is your experience when eating foods that you used to enjoy, you are suffering with overly sensitive teeth.
Your dentist will be able to determine the reasons behind your tooth sensitivity. Often your enamel is worn, exposing the nerves on your teeth and increasing the sensation of anything that comes into contact with them. There are treatments that should help reduce your discomfort and allow you to eat the foods you like. While waiting to see your dentist, here are some things you can try at home to relieve your sensitivity.
Visit the oral products section of your drugstore, and you will find numerous choices of toothpaste to help reduce sensitivity. Try switching to one of the toothpaste options designed for that purpose, or ask your dentist for further toothpaste recommendations.
Watch what you eat
Certain foods trigger discomfort more than others. For example, acidic foods and spicy items tend to hit the tooth nerves. Extreme temperatures of icy cold or piping hot foods and drinks can also cause pain. Dentists advise that you keep a food diary to notice patterns of foods that cause sensitivity so that you’ll be able to cut down on those items until your teeth have improved.
Brushing your teeth can be painful if your teeth are overly sensitive, but it’s not advisable to discontinue brushing. Instead, look for a toothbrush designed for sensitive teeth and brush as gently as possible. Also, remember to floss even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable.
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The school year has started and kids are busy with school, sports, and social activities. It’s a challenge sometimes to get your kids to eat healthy when they are on-the-go, not only for their overall health but also for their oral health. Here are some tasty and healthy snacks that you can offer your kids, and chances are they’ll like them!
Dairy foods help build strong bones, and they’re also great for a strong mouth. Eating low-fat yogurt provides calcium. Try mixing it with berries and granola for a healthy parfait, or making homemade fruity yogurt popsicles to attract your children’s attention.
Besides providing calcium, cheese helps fight cavities. It triggers saliva production, which washes away food particles in your mouth and the acids that can weaken your teeth. In these ways, cheese halts the process of cavity formation. Cheese not only contains calcium but also phosphorous, which both help rebuild the enamel on your teeth.
These berries may be small, but they’re packed with Vitamin C, minerals, and folic acid. They also contain ingredients which studies show help prevent diabetes and cancer. Try adding blueberries to pancakes and muffins, or sprinkling them with a small amount of sugar and topping them with whipped cream.
Nuts like almonds contain ingredients to fight diseases, as well as Vitamin E, fiber, calcium, and iron. Most kids enjoy eating almonds raw, but remember they are a choking hazard for young children.
Whole wheat bread
Bread made with whole wheat provides kids with iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins. Whole grain cereal offers calcium, fiber, and vitamins. Enjoying these whole wheat snacks with milk provides an even healthier snack for your kids.
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Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life that brings about many changes to your body. Your oral health is affected as well. There are specific things to keep in mind during pregnancy related to your teeth, gums, and caring for them. Let’s talk about the things you should be thinking about for your mouth while expecting a baby.
Tell your dentist about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you’re taking, so that it’ll be easier to prescribe any drugs needed for you during dental treatment. Your dentist may also want to consult your doctor to discuss safe painkiller or antibiotic options for you during pregnancy.
If you have a dental emergency or a problem that needs diagnosis, an X-ray may be required. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low, but your dentist will cover you with a leaded apron to protect your abdomen. A leaded thyroid collar will also be used to protect your thyroid from radiation.
It’s not uncommon for some women to develop pregnancy gingivitis, which is a gum problem that occurs during the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy. This condition is an inflammation of the gums that causes tenderness, swelling, and usually some bleeding during dental hygiene tasks. Your dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings during pregnancy to prevent gingivitis, because left untreated it can advance to more serious gum disease.
Some pregnant women experience overgrowths of tissue called pregnancy tumors, which appear on the gums mostly during the second trimester. They are not cancerous and are usually located between your teeth. Dentists believe they are related to having too much plaque. Pregnancy tumors bleed easily and appear red and raw. Usually they go away after the baby’s birth, but some women prefer to have them removed before then. Discuss options with your dentist to see what’s best for you.
Porcelain veneers can transform your smile from one that embarrasses you to one that you’re proud to show off. A thin shell of porcelain is bonded onto the fronts of your teeth to improve the shape and color. If you’re looking to close gaps between your teeth, reshape your teeth, or brighten stained teeth, porcelain veneers may be your answer. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about veneers.
How do veneers work?
Made from durable and natural-looking porcelain, veneers are customized to fit your teeth. Your face shape, skin tone, eyes, height, and even your personality are considered when designing your dental veneers. They are bonded securely to your teeth to give you the smile you always wanted.
Is it a long process to get them?
The process for getting veneers usually takes about four to six weeks. At your first appointment, your teeth will be shaped and their surface will be slightly roughened. Impressions will be taken to create models of your mouth so that the veneers can be personalized for you. At the next appointment, your teeth will be cleaned and polished before a special adhesive is used to bond the veneers to your teeth. A high-intensity light is used to set the adhesive.
What will my teeth look like while I’m waiting for veneers?
After your teeth have been prepared for veneers, usually you will be fitted with specialized temporary veneers. These interim veneers look better than your original teeth, so you won’t feel self-conscious during the waiting period.
How long do veneers last?
Porcelain veneers typically last from ten to twenty years. Porcelain is very strong and durable, and resistant to stains and wear.
What are the advantages to veneers?
Since the bond to your original teeth is strong, porcelain veneers can be treated just like your own teeth. They appear very natural because the porcelain looks similar to your tooth enamel. Veneers can also protect your teeth from further damage if they are chipped or worn down, so they not only cover your teeth with a layer of protection but also create a beautiful bright smile.
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You’d probably be considered a little bit strange if you were excited about having a serious dental procedure like a root canal. It’s no secret that it will likely be uncomfortable and require some time for recovery. However, the pain that accompanies an infected tooth should make you realize that getting it corrected will be worth it. If you’re still unconvinced and are considering skipping a root canal, you should know that serious problems can occur. Let’s find out what can happen.
What is a root canal?
First, the reason you need a root canal is likely that you have an infection in your tooth. This procedure involves removing the infected tooth pulp and cleaning the root canal to get rid of all bacteria. Sometimes a temporary filling will be placed if the procedure will be done in more than one session. Once cleaning is complete, the pulp chamber and root canal will be filled and sealed.
What will happen if I don’t get a root canal?
• The biggest concern about ignoring a needed root canal is that the infection may spread to other parts of your mouth. It can go to your other teeth, gums, mouth tissues, or jawbone. Any of these can cause major pain and swelling.
• Sometimes a severely infected tooth (or teeth) can’t be saved and must be extracted. If your dentist doesn’t pull the tooth, it will fall out and spread the infection even more.
• An infected jawbone might be so damaged by infection that some of your jaw may require removal.
• The infection may spread to your bloodstream or other parts of your body, causing a life-threatening situation. Infections are nothing to fool around with; they can be very serious and should be treated at the earliest stage possible to avoid potentially life-threatening results.
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