When Should I See the Dentist?
BECAUSE PREVENTION IS such a major part of good dental care, it’s critical to visit the dentist for regular checkups. In most cases, two regular dental cleanings a year will be all you need, but not always. So what are the signs that you shouldn’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to come back? For this blog post, we’ve listed the top five.
1. Pains Of Any Kind
If you’re experiencing tooth aches, that could mean a cavity has gotten to the point where the dental pulp is getting inflamed. Please do not “tough it out” thinking that it will just go away on its own. Other types of pain you should bring to the dentist are an aching or soreness in the jaw and/or frequent headaches. These are often connected to oral health issues such as bruxism – teeth grinding, and the Dr. Davidowitz can help!
2. Bleeding Gums or Sores in the mouth
Mouth sores most usually go away on their own, but they can also be a sign of infection or disease, so it’s important to get those looked at when they appear. If you notice that you’re bleeding after brushing or flossing, it is a sign that it is time to come see the dentist, particularly if you’re already using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms of gum disease called gingivitis, so don’t ignore the signs!
3. Previous Dental Work
If you’ve had dental work done in the past and there’s a problem with it now, don’t wait until a regular appointment to get that fixed, because it will likely get worse. A cracked or broken restoration needs to be repaired quickly so that infection or further degradation doesn’t set in. Old looking stained or opened fillings need to be replaced to prevent bacteria from thriving in the gaps between the tooth and the filling.
4. Serious Medical Concerns
Serious medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, eating disorders, and gum disease affect our oral health more than we realize, and sometimes the treatments have negative impacts too. Many common prescribed medications cause dry mouth, which can seriously jeopardize oral health. That’s why if you are diagnosed with a chronic disease and/or have new medications prescribed to you, your dentist needs to know about it.
5. Bad Breath
Few things are as mortifying as being in a social situation and realizing you have bad breath or being told by a loved one about it, but did you know that bad breath is sometimes a symptom of gum disease or other health problems? If you find yourself having an unusually hard time keeping your breath minty fresh, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist so we can discover the underlying cause.
Remember: Keep Up with Your Regular Dental Visits!
While we hope you come to see us right away if you notice any of these signs, we want to reemphasize the importance of scheduling regular appointments. Most dental health problems appear gradually, and an appointment every six months is enough to catch these problems before they become serious.
Thank you for trusting in us to take care of all your dental concerns!
Soda Versus Our Teeth
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? This phenomenon is what happens to our teeth when we drink too much soda. The term actually comes from rural Appalachia, where that particular brand of drink has long been the carbonated beverage of choice and tooth decay is alarmingly rampant. But this doesn’t just happen in Appalachia, and Mountain Dew isn’t the only drink that contributes to tooth decay.
The Dangers of Sugary Drinks
When we eat or drink things with sugar in it, the sugar will stick to our teeth afterward. Sugar itself doesn’t do any damage to our oral health on its own, but it is unfortunately the favorite food of the bacteria that lives in our mouths. These bacteria, known as strep mutans, eat the sugar and then excrete acids that erode our tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay (cavities). They can also cause inflammation that increase the risk of gingivitis and gum disease.
Any source of sugar can negatively impact oral health. Sugary drinks (including fruit juice, but especially soda) are particularly dangerous because they aren’t filling like solid food and are therefore easy to keep drinking.
Effects Of Carbonation
So if sugar is the problem, then can’t we keep our teeth healthy by switching to diet soda instead of giving up carbonated beverages altogether? Diet soda is certainly an improvement, but sugar isn’t soda’s only threat to dental health. The other is acid. Sugar leads to tooth decay because oral bacteria eat sugar and excrete acid that erode tooth enamel. Soda cuts out the middle man and applies acid directly to the teeth.
Even diet sodas and carbonated water contain acid. The three types of acid commonly found in soda are citric, phosphoric, and carbonic. Any drink with citrus flavoring will have citric acid, many colas get their flavor from phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid is what makes these drinks fizzy in the first place.
Protecting Your Smile
It would be best for your teeth to avoid soda and other sugary drinks entirely. If you can’t bring yourself to give up your favorite drink completely though, there are a few ways to enjoy it while protecting your teeth. A big one would be to only drink soda with a meal instead of sipping from a can or bottle throughout the day so that the sugar and acid aren’t sitting in your mouth for long periods.
You can also help balance your mouth’s pH and rinse away remaining sugar by drinking water after the soda. Finally, you can clean away the last traces of sugar and acid by brushing your teeth, but it’s a good idea to wait until the pH balance is back to normal before brushing, which takes about thirty minutes.
It is particularly important for children and people with braces to avoid overindulging in sugary drinks. Children have the highest risk of enamel erosion because their enamel isn’t yet fully developed, and braces plus a soda habit is a great way to end up with stained teeth when the braces come off.
Don’t Forget That We Can Help Too!
Following these good habits will go a long way towards protecting your teeth against decay and erosion from the sugar and acid in soda. Still, don’t forget that your dentist is also an important part of the equation. Keep scheduling those visits every six months!
Thank you for always being our valued patients!
MAINTAINING GOOD ORAL HEALTH is crucial for everyone, but that can mean different things for men than for women. That led us to put together a list of things men should particularly watch out for, as well as some tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy!
Brush That Charming Smile to be a true Prince Charming!
Many women say a man’s most attractive feature is his smile. However, recent research surveys have shown, men tend to not take care of their teeth as well as women do, and that puts those charming smiles at risk! According to a national survey, men were 20% less likely than women to brush their teeth twice a day. It also found that men change their toothbrushes less often. Make sure you’re brushing two minutes twice a day and regularly replacing that toothbrush every 3-4 months!
Rocking the Beard? There is some good news for those bearded men. Your luxurious beard might actually be helping you keep harmful germs away from your face and out of your mouth!
Minimizing Risk Factors For Disease
Because men tend to chew tobacco, smoke, and drink more than women, they become more susceptible to the oral health consequences that come with those substances, such as dental cavities, gum recession, periodontitis, tooth loss, and even oral cancer. Make sure to avoid habits like these that put your oral health at risk!
Greater Risks Of Dry Mouth
Men are statistically more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease than women, and with these kinds of diseases comes the need for medication. One very common side-effect of many such medications is Xerostomia or dry mouth.
Saliva is crucial to good oral health because it washes away bacteria and regulates the mouth’s pH. When the saliva runs dry, there’s an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. If you’re experiencing problems from dry mouth, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.
Be A Man: Go To The Dentist
This leads us to another problem that impacts men more than women, and that is the tendency to neglect regular dental visits. Prevention is crucial to good oral health, which is why we recommend that all patients schedule an appointment every six months, whether or not anything seems to be wrong with their teeth.
Let’s Keep Those Pearly Whites Shining!
Don’t take the “tough guy” approach with your dental health by holding out until you’re experiencing significant tooth pain or some other obvious problem before you come see us. Always make sure to schedule those regular appointments so that we can help you get ahead of any problems, and keep up with your good oral health habits in the meantime! Small problems found during regular checkups are typically an easy fix. Waiting for tooth pain to get worse or for a dental emergency could be many times more difficult.
As always, we love helping our patients!