Gear up for Back-to-School Sports with Mouth Guards

It’s back-to-school time and that means kids everywhere will be participating in sports. It’s time for football, soccer, volleyball, and all sorts of sports teams to get back in shape. That not only means conditioning your body, but also getting all the right gear. One item that you don’t want to forget is a mouth guard to protect yourself from mouth and facial injuries.

Dentists recommend mouth guards for participants in both high-impact sports and individual sports. Team sports often resulting in mouth injuries include football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and hockey. Individual sports that carry high risks include cycling, gymnastics, skateboarding, martial arts, and rollerblading.

Mouth guards are worn to protect the mouth from a variety of possible injuries. They may be minor like a chipped or cracked tooth, or cuts from biting the inside of your mouth. Worse injuries can occur like jaw fractures, and athletes might experience tooth loss or nerve damage. Fractures can cause difficulty breathing, swallowing, eating, or speaking.

Dentists suggest that many sports injuries can be avoided by wearing a mouth guard, and they are available for athletes of all skill sets and ages. They are available in most sporting good stores, or you can opt to have customized mouth guards created by your dentist. Mouth guards are even available in a wide variety of colors, so athletes can choose them to coordinate with their school colors. They are also useful for people who wear traditional braces or Invisalign retainers.

Because many sports can be risky, there’s no reason to ignore the danger to your mouth. Wear a mouth guard to protect your smile throughout the season.

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Cavities: Not Just for Kids

Once you’re an adult, you don’t have to worry about cavities anymore. Right? Wrong! It’s true that you should have mastered oral hygiene techniques, but there are different factors that can contribute to cavities that weren’t a big issue during childhood. What are some of the things that put you at risk for cavities once you’ve reached adulthood, and what can you do about them?

Diet

Often your diet is worse as an adult without even realizing it, and what you eat and drink directly affects your teeth and gums. Sugar is the biggest offender and all types of sugar counts, not just the obvious candy or sodas. Limit your consumption of juices, milk, crackers, sweetened coffee, fruits, and vitamin or energy drinks.

Grazing

Many people tend to “graze” on foods and drinks all day long. If you snack frequently, you’re giving bacteria a constant supply of sugars to mix with and damage your mouth. Even though it’s tempting to sip on coffee or soda all morning, it’s better to drink it in one sitting. Also consider using a straw to avoid your teeth completely.

Receding gums

If your gums pull away from your teeth, your tooth roots can be exposed to plaque. Older patients with gingivitis, or gum disease, are more likely to form cavities. If the roots of your teeth are uncovered, you are more susceptible to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Previous fillings

Fillings you received earlier in life can contribute to adult cavities. The filling may weaken with time, allowing bacteria into any cracks. Your dentist will check existing fillings for wear and replace them if needed.

Medical conditions

People with lower saliva flow due to various illnesses are at higher risk of cavities. Cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation are at more risk, as are smokers. People with limited manual dexterity may be unable to clean their teeth sufficiently.

Ways to decrease your risk

Brush with a fluoride toothpaste after meals, floss daily, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. See your dentist twice a year, and also inquire about fluoride treatments.

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Avoiding Pregnancy Gingivitis

Pregnancy brings many kinds of excitement and joy to a mother’s life, but gum problems aren’t one of them. Pregnancy gingivitis not only causes gum trouble, it can also lead to higher risks for preterm labor and problems with the newborn baby. If you are pregnant and notice swelling or inflammation of your gums, you might have pregnancy gingivitis. It results from plaque buildup that irritates your gums, and can harbor bacteria that gets into your body. The bacteria can travel to your uterus and affect your pregnancy and unborn child. How can you avoid pregnancy gingivitis?

Oral hygiene

Brush and floss your teeth properly. Try to brush after all meals and snacks, especially those high in sugars or starches. See your dentist for frequent cleanings, aiming for two to three times during your pregnancy. This will remove more plaque from your teeth that you can at home, serving to lower your risk for plaque buildup.

Education

Consult your dentist before, during, and after your pregnancy. You will learn how to best care for your mouth, and what to watch for in case a problem does arise.

Nutrition

Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy will not only benefit your overall health and that of the baby, but will also limit your sugar intake which promotes plaque formation.

Dental care

Try to have dental procedures performed before you become pregnant. Some emergency procedures are safe during pregnancy, but it is best to have treatment done before pregnancy.

Bacteria control

Avoid sharing food and utensils so that you don’t transfer bacteria from person to person. Your goal is to limit the amount of bacteria in your mouth as much as possible.

Xylitol gum

Chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva, which help equalize the acids in your mouth and fight plaque buildup. The ingredient xylitol has been shown to help prevent bacteria from being able to stick on your teeth, therefore fighting tooth decay.

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton? Or does it remind you of the Sahara Desert? Having an overly dry mouth can result from a variety of dental and medical issues. For example, one common culprit of dry mouth symptoms is related to medications. The best long-term solution is to consult your dentist or physician to determine the root cause of your dry mouth, and to get treatment to solve the problem. Sometimes all that is needed is to change to a different medication, and your dry mouth will disappear. However, here are some things you can try to temporarily relieve your dry mouth until you are able to determine what is causing it.

  • Sip water often.
  • Limit caffeine consumption, which can dry out your mouth even more.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, such as Biotene.
  • Do not use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Do not use mouthwashes containing alcohol, because it can be drying.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen your dryness symptoms.
  • Add moisture to the air using a humidifier.
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

If you do experience the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s especially important to protect your oral health. Make sure you brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist if prescription fluoride toothpaste would benefit you. Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth. Limit the amount of sugary foods or items high in acids, as both of these types of foods increase your risk of tooth decay. Following these tips for relieving dry mouth symptoms can make it more comfortable for you to eat, swallow, and talk.

Schedule your appointment at our Shreveport dental office

Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

As we age, our birthdays tend to bring new oral health issues along with them. It’s a fact of life that our teeth and gums are impacted by our age. Here are some common problems to watch for, and suggestions for treatment.

Gum disease:
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to avoid gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis and it’s reversible. If untreated, it can lead to a very serious advanced stage called periodontitis. You may not experience signs of gum disease, so practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist are the best ways to keep it at bay.

Tooth sensitivity:
If cold or hot foods cause you discomfort, you have a common problem called tooth sensitivity. It can result from decay, worn fillings, gum disease, broken teeth, or exposed roots. Your dentist may recommend toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity, or other treatments based on the cause of your problem. Good oral hygiene can help with sensitivity also.

Missing teeth:
If you are missing any teeth, it not only looks unappealing but it can also affect your ability to eat and speak. Your other teeth may move, and bone loss can occur. Discuss treatment options with your dentist because you might be able to restore your smile. Bridges, implants, and dentures are a few of the dental advances that might help.

Dry mouth:
Medicines and some health conditions often cause your mouth to be overly dry. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it also can seriously impact your teeth and gums. Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, the risks of tooth decay and other problems increase. Ask your dentist to look for signs of decay, and to help you identify the cause for your dry mouth. Be sure to tell your dentist about your medical history and medications.

Oral cancer:
Oral cancer can include your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, throat, or soft palate. It sometimes begins with just a tiny spot or swollen area, so regular dental checkups can help catch this disease early. A variety of treatment options are available, but early detection makes a difference.


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