How much do you really know about your mouth? Most people understand basic brushing and flossing, but they may not realize the myriad of factors that influence dental health. Knowing how your lifestyle impacts your teeth and gums can help you make the best choices to protect your smile.
True or False: You don’t need to floss every day.
Answer: False. Brushing alone won’t protect your mouth from decay or gum disease. Floss gets hard-to-reach areas, cleaning out the plaque and bacteria that wreak havoc on your oral health.
True or False: Taking care of your tongue is important, so you should brush it regularly.
Answer: True. The tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae trap food and bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Brushing twice a day will keep your breath smelling great.
True or False: Soft drinks and sports drinks don’t damage teeth.
Answer: False. These beverages, as well as red wine and fruit juices, can lead to enamel erosion. It’s best to stick with water, but if you consume these drinks, rinse your mouth when you finish.
True or False: It’s okay to put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or milk.
Answer: False. When you let your baby or toddler fall asleep with anything but water, you increase the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. This condition occurs because of prolonged bottle feeding, usually during sleep. Young children don’t have good plaque removal, so these beverages provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
True or False: Fluoride reduces decay 20 to 40 percent.
Answer: True. Drinking water with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria in your mouth produce. Since fluoride was added to the drinking water supplies across the country, childhood cavity rates have dramatically dropped.
Schedule a dental cleaning appointment today at our Shreveport dentists office.
Fun in the summer sun can cause unpleasant side effects such as cold sores and fever blisters. Brought on by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), cold sores and fever blisters are transmitted from person to person by saliva or by skin contact. With cold sores, you generally develop clusters of tiny blisters on the lip. Most people are exposed to HSV-1 before age 10. After the first infection, the virus remains inactive until stress, illness, or sun exposure causes a new outbreak.
During the first exposure, you may have headache, nausea, fever, and/or vomiting. Patients may also have painful swelling and open mouth sores. Most of the time, cold sores or fever blisters appear on the edges of your lips. Usually, these outbreaks start with tingling or burning followed by swelling or redness. One or more blisters will typically appear within 24 to 48 hours.
Initial symptoms can last for 7 to 14 days. When the cold sores or blisters reappear, they generally crust over in about four days and then heal within 10 days. You may want to visit your doctor or dentist the first time you develop cold sores or fever blisters, but after that, you shouldn’t need medical attention. Keep the area clean and apply topical medication to lessen symptoms as well as promote healing.
Preventing a first infection for loved ones involves making sure that no one with an active fever blister kisses your kids or other family members. Sunscreen can help protect your lips from cold sores brought on by too much time in the sun.
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Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits. Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.
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The fact is that the health care provider most people should see the most is their general dentist. Because this branch of healthcare is uniquely targeted at preventing disease and promoting good hygiene, general dentistry can help you avoid oral concerns and maintain a healthy and attractive smile.
General dentists are the most common providers for dental treatment for patients of all ages. Routine dental visits involve examinations, sometimes diagnostic tests, professional cleanings, and discussions about concerns. If your checkup reveals issues that require further treatment, most general dentists perform required procedures. However, your general dentist may refer you to a specialist for complex treatments.
What does a general dentist do? Differing from specialists who focus on a certain area of oral care, general dentists offer a wide variety of services.
- Preventive services – The goal of preventive dentistry is to stop disease before it has a chance to progress. Regular exams, diagnostic images, and professional cleanings are part of prevention. Proper oral hygiene techniques will also be discussed.
- Restorative services – Procedures for dental problems falls into this category, including fillings, crowns, gum disease remedies, dentures and more. Some general dentists also offer specialized treatments like root canal therapy and dental implants.
- Overall oral health services – Some dental problems are reflected in overall health concerns. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications and other problems may arise. General dentists can identify issues like these and offer treatment or direct you to the right specialist.
- Cosmetic services – Many general dentists offer cosmetic treatments such as dental veneers, teeth whitening, bonding, orthodontics and more.
When should you visit your general dentist? Experts recommend getting checkups every six months, or more often if you have an issue that should be addressed like a toothache or gum bleeding. Cosmetic appointments can be made at any time. The main thing is seeing your general dentist regularly so you can benefit from preventive care.
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When you have a tooth or multiple teeth with extensive damage, your dentist may recommend a crown or bridge to restore your smile. Most of the time these restorations provide complete and successful results, but occasionally problems arise.
Good hygiene is imperative after a crown or bridge because plaque can build up in the area where the tooth and crown meet. Your crown can’t decay, but your tooth still can. Follow your dentist’s instructions for proper brushing, flossing, and fluoride use.
Plaque buildup around a crown can cause gum disease called gingivitis, and if untreated advance to periodontitis.
Chipping or breaking:
Crowns and bridges are susceptible to damage like fracturing or chipping. Many crowns are made of porcelain, which can chip or completely fail. Heavy wear or stress such as teeth grinding can cause this type of damage, as well as an accident like hitting your restoration. Small chips may be repaired with composite filling, but larger damage can mean total replacement.
When having your crown or bridge made, you can choose from a selection of colors. However, the whitest shade is not advised because it likely won’t match the rest of your smile or it can look fake. Make sure you consider the color carefully or else you’ll be faced with redoing the restoration if you dislike it.
Several problems can cause your crown to fall out. The core may fail so that the interior portion of your crown is unable to provide a strong base for the restoration. Less likely, the cement can fail so that the crown simply needs stronger adhesion. Or, the post crown can dislodge so that you’ll see a large post sticking out of your crown. If your crown falls out, be sure to save it for your dentist in case it can be reinserted.
In most circumstances, these problems with your crown or bridge do not occur and you can enjoy a long lifespan with your restoration. If you do notice any of these issues, schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure optimum oral health.
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It’s easy to put off a trip to the dentist if you’re not experiencing any pain or noticeable issues. Maybe it’s inconvenient in your busy schedule, maybe you don’t want to spend the money, or maybe you experience anxiety about dental visits. None of these are good enough reasons to forego proper dental care so that you ensure a healthy mouth and attractive smile.
Having regular checkups with your general dentist is important for a variety of reasons. Probably the most beneficial reason is to catch problems early, before they have time to become serious and negatively impact your oral health. Cavities and gum disease are both examples of issues that can wreak havoc in your mouth if left untreated, but if handled quickly they may disappear with as little as a fluoride treatment or change in your hygiene routine. Avoiding treatments like fillings, crowns, or root canals – not to mention the associated costs to your wallet and your schedule – are great reasons to see your dentist every six months!
Another benefit of regular checkups is a brighter, more beautiful smile. Even the best dental hygiene at home can’t reach every bit of plaque or tartar that accumulates on your teeth. Professional cleanings eliminate buildup to give you a more appealing smile, as well as removing harmful and stinky bacteria from your mouth.
Your overall health also reaps the rewards of consistent dental care. Oral problems can impact your general health through things like introducing dangerous bacteria into your body that can spread and cause various health risks. Also, your dentist may notice signs of health issues you might not realize, such as cancers or diseases or nutritional deficiencies.
Make your smile a priority and visit your general dentist regularly. Don’t let excuses get in the way of receiving the rewards dentistry has to offer.
We look forward to seeing you in our Shreveport dental office