Teeth 101: Understanding How to Avoid Ruining Your Teeth

how to avoid ruining teeth

Brushing is a great first step in understanding how to avoid ruining your teeth!

If you maintain your teeth and keep them in tip-top shape, then you will reap the benefits of healthy teeth which includes less pain, less hassle, less hearing your dentist nag you about your dental habits every visit, and – here’s the big one – a fatter wallet because you won’t have to spend money on correcting mistakes. It’s truly a win-win situation. By understanding what we have to say in regards to teeth, you will become a “judo master” in avoiding situations that damage teeth.

Your Teeth are Not Tools

Many people have what appears to be an instinctual desire to use their teeth as tools to accomplish certain tasks. We’re referring to those people who pop open bottle caps with their teeth or rip open potato chip bags using their teeth. It’s times like these where you just may have enough bad luck to chip – or even break – a tooth. Bottomline: it’s not worth the risk of ruining or damaging your teeth.

Your Teeth are Not Made of Steel

Chewing ice can be one of those sensations that just feels good – similar to the oral act of smoking a cigarette*. We get it, but there are some precautions you should take. The next time you’re chewing ice that has been in the drink you just finished off, consider the fact that many people have ruined their teeth because of these overlooked habits.

The same goes for chewing on any substances or foods which are hard to bite down on. Common examples include many varieties of hard candies, apples, popcorn kernels, and even various nuts for certain people. Hard candies are made to suck on, as well as ice. Resist the urge to bite down forcefully and chew slowly if you have to.

Your Teeth Need Love

Everyone needs love, right? This also happens to include your teeth. It may sound like a “bum analogy”, but as dentists we have to beat this fact into your brain somehow. When we say “your teeth need love” we’re simply referring to the fact that they need to be brushed and flossed (you definitely didn’t see that one coming did you?). When this doesn’t occur, then problems arise and they may arise quickly.

It’s OK if you’re teeth have more than one lover, too. Even the American Dental Association agrees! They recommend you visit a dentist twice a year, so you only have to share your teeth with a dentist two times per year, that isn’t too bad right? Seriously though, don’t skip out on your routine dental visits. It’s important for dentists to remove any damage that has accumulated since your last visit – which we’re hoping hasn’t been more than a year.

Your Teeth are Not Made for Storage

What we’re referring to here is mainly how certain foods we chew will become trapped in our teeth. The biggest factor here are meats of any sort – raw, medium rare, well done, chicken, turkey, pork, and definitely any type of jerky will all find their way stuck in between your teeth. If you don’t remove it the same day with floss, then it will sit in your mouth while bacteria have themselves a loud party until the police arrive in the form of a nagging toothache – pointing to a sign of tooth decay.

*We would never recommend smoking to anyone as it’s a habit that can lead to many undesirable consequences of your mouth, and body too. Smoking and oral health are just not meant to be.

Common Dental Problems Adults Are Likely To Experience

common dental problems adultsIn comparison to our whole body, it’s amazing how much importance we place on our mouth – specifically our teeth and gums. We do this for good reason though because oral hygiene is something that needs to be performed on a daily basis. When we do not follow up with routine oral hygiene, then problems quickly arise.

Common Dental Problems Adults Face

Gum Disease

Believe it or not, when we brush our teeth we do it more so for our gums than our teeth. If our gums are bad, then are teeth will inevitably become bad (in absolute worst case scenarios our teeth would just fall out).

How many times have you been to the dentist and heard a bunch of numbers being thrown out at rapid speed? These numbers refer to your gums and the amount of pocket space between them. The higher the number, the worse off your gums are – typically resulting in special treatments such as gum irrigation, deep cleaning, antibiotic shots (i.e. Arestin), and more frequent trips to your dentist in an effort to correct the mistakes.

Remember: early stages of gum disease CAN be reversed, but later stages cannot.

Bad Breath

We’re not referring to bad breath from consuming too many onions or garlic – we’re talking about bad breath that is a result of your teeth. Bad breath can be tricky to pinpoint, but is often the result of a lack of brushing and flossing that leads to decay in your mouth.

You can mask the smell using mouthwash, chewing gum, or other solutions – but if the problem is consistent then warn your dentist about it the next time you’re in.

TMJ

At some point or another, you may begin experiencing jaw pain or a clicking sensation in your jaws. This is known as TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, and can also be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Teeth grinding is often the reason why many experience TMJ. The worst part is that sometimes we grind our teeth at night without even realizing it.

Your first instinct may be to let your general doctor or primary care physician handle the situation, but it’s actually better to let an orthodontist take care of this one.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay – the main problem that many of us struggle with even as children. Unfortunately, it can only become worse with age. Just keep these three things in mind in order to gain control over a war that you will face forever: stay hydrated, brush and floss your teeth, and visit your dentist.

What does hydration have to do with tooth decay? Good question. Our main defense against tooth decay is actually the naturally occurring saliva in our mouths. This fights off the swarm of bacteria living in our mouths. When we’re hydrated, our body is producing saliva at an appropriate rate.

If you enjoyed reading this article, then you may be interested in reading about the common dental symptoms that people face.

What A Dental Examination Reveals Just By Looking Into Your Mouth

dental examination looking into mouthYou might often hear the words “your oral health is important for your overall health”. If this were true, then we would be able to point to signs in which these two were connected. Well, truth is: we are able to point to signs. Your dentist can determine a decent amount of information on your overall health just by looking into your mouth during a dental examination.

A great analogy is given by the President of the American Academy of Periodontists, Dr. Stuart Froum: “if the eye is the window to the soul, then the mouth is the window to the body.”

5 Signs Revealed By Looking Into Your Mouth During Dental Examinations

You may be depressed – antidepressants (i.e. Zoloft, etc.) are commonly known to cause dry mouth in many. Dry mouth may stem from other issues, but a mouth that is noticeably dry may point to the fact that you are on antidepressants. Your Las Vegas family dentist could suggest ways for you to re-hydrate your mouth.

You may be pregnant – small red growths on the gums point to pregnancy. In fact, they are often referred to as pregnancy tumors. They are benign tumors – they are not dangerous. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to stay up to date with oral hygiene for the duration of their pregnancy.

You may be iron deficient – when people are iron deficient, it has a possibility to show in the mouth. Your gums will begin to lose their normal, healthy red color and appear pale or pink.

You may be stressed – when people are stressed, they develop more sensitivity in their gums and teeth, as well more stress hormones which have been connected to inflammation and gum disease.

You may have an autoimmune disease – white spots in the mouth that are painful and/or tender could lead to ulcers of your mouth. The white spots could point to an autoimmune condition known as Lichen planus, which is linked to immune function.

Dentists are able to look for questionable signs as they are performing a routine dental examination and check-up. During this time, dentists are also able to screen for oral cancer.

Don’t be a victim of preventable conditions. Practice proper preventative dentistry measures as a way to keep your mouth and body clean and free from gum disease, a condition that affects half of American adults.

Is There a Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

is there a difference between plaque and tartar

To win the war you must brush and floss daily.

Perhaps you’ve read on your very own toothpaste: “Tartar control” or “Reduces plaque”. We’re betting you looked at this and subconsciously concluded that it sounded like a positive benefit. We’re also betting that you had no idea as to what these terms even meant (if you did then brownie points for you!).

Surprisingly, plaque and tartar are very similar in a couple of ways:

1. They both form on your teeth through a chemical reaction that takes place inside of your mouth when you begin to break down food and

2. Unfortunately for us, they both are comprised of bacteria that happen to be harmful to our teeth and gums.

So Exactly What is Dental Plaque and Tartar?

Well, dental plaque is actually a colorless film that sticks, or adheres, to our teeth. It develops on our teeth throughout the day as we break down food. Because it’s colorless, the naked eye cannot detect it.

The good news is that plaque does not terribly threaten our oral health as long as we maintain a steady routine of brushing and flossing.

When we do not keep up with our oral hygiene routine, then plaque that has been resting on your teeth will eventually become a hardened solid that is known as tartar (some may also refer to it as calculus – they refer to the same thing). Tartar becomes troublesome because once formed, a toothbrush cannot remove it. Toothpastes that claim “tartar control” do not help remove tartar, they help prevent tartar formation.

A Never Ending War

Picture the whole idea behind plaque and tartar as a war. On one side we have you and your army of toothbrushes and dental floss with plaque/tartar and their army of bacteria on the other side. It’s a battle that never ends – it takes place every single day. The best thing you can do is keep your enemy at bay (in this case keeping plaque at bay).

Now, when you visit your dentist every 6 months you begin to really shove the enemy back. This is because your Las Vegas dentist is able to provide you with a professional cleaning that not only wipes out any plaque on your teeth, but also removes any tartar as well.

Fight the battle, win the war – make sure you brush and floss your teeth every day so that you do not fall victim to more serious problems such as gum disease, gingivitis, or bone loss.

Activated Charcoal – A Simple Home Remedy for Whitening Teeth

home remedy teeth whitening

Don’t give up after just one try!

It seems counter intuitive, but charcoal can help you to get cleaner and healthier teeth. This is not regular charcoal that you would find in your fireplace, that charcoal is loaded with impurities.

That type of charcoal is porous and contains a lot of elements that should not be placed into your mouth.

How does activated charcoal work as a home remedy to whitening teeth?

Activated charcoal is a type of charcoal that has been treated with specific gasses to make it more pure. It is also converted into a super porous material that draws impurities from the environment that it is placed in.

This is how activated charcoal works – it draws the impurities out of something and adsorbs them.

Adsorbtion differs from absorption in that it draws materials to it similar to a magnet, and holding those materials inside pores. The area where the charcoal has been used is left clean.

Using activated charcoal can be an effective way to whiten teeth because it draws tannins and removes them from teeth.

Tannins are the ingredient in food that stain your tooth enamel and cause your teeth to look dingy.

The effect of charcoal in the mouth is that it makes your whole mouth black and nasty looking, but it really does do a great job of cleaning up your teeth and removing impurities.

How can you use activated charcoal?

You can sprinkle activated charcoal into toothpaste or create a tooth powder or you can mix up a charcoal slurry which is created by mixing a small amount of powder with a small amount of water.

You can also hold it in your mouth against the front teeth for a few minutes after you have brushed your teeth.

You can purchase activated charcoal in bulk and use it in powder form or the slurry method described above. This is not always possible and sometimes it is difficult to find charcoal powder, so you can also purchase it in capsules or in tablets.

The capsules can be opened up and poured into water and the tablets can be crushed into a powder. Activated charcoal tablets are widely available at drug stores and health food stores near you.

If you cannot find success with activated charcoal in whitening your teeth, then you can always turn to your dentist for a professional teeth whitening procedure that used advanced technology.

If you want other home remedies for teeth whitening, then check out our post on foods for a white smile!

Easy, Healthy Snack Ideas to Enjoy this Summer!

Summertime is a time where many people want beach bodies and the like, but it’s also easy to fall into a never-ending trap of barbeques and ice cream. Las Vegas has recorded temperatures in the triple-digit range, making it an appealing choice to host a barbeque or indulge in creamy ice cream or other snacks. Our mouths are already watering just mentioning it.

easy healthy summer snacks

Fruit is Nature’s Candy

Barbeques are not absolutely terrible, depending on what you decide to grill. A BBQ is bad when you overdo it with the BBQ sauce, a sauce that is generally loaded with sugars that give it the flavor you enjoy. Ketchup is the same way. You can’t let these options fool you into believing otherwise. However, it’s not the end of the world as there are BBQ sauces out there that contain reduced sugar or no added sugars. Granted, they may not taste as great but the compromise may be worth it – assuming you’re even concerned with not only your overall health, but your oral health as well. Avoiding sugary foods are always beneficial to your oral health!

And ice creams… don’t even get us started on that. It’s great, but these snack ideas we have are much better and most importantly, healthier!

Easy To Make Healthy Summer Snack Ideas That You Won’t Regret

Juice Cubes – this is a brilliant idea and terribly simple to craft. All you do is find a flavor of 100-percent fruit juice, pour it into an ice tray, and let it freeze over. They’re great for adding to any type of sparkling water. A great low-calorie option that doesn’t contain unnecessary sugars.

Frozen Grapes/Cherries – are you seeing a trend? Your freezer is your best ticket for healthy eats during the summer. All you have to do here is buy your favorite type of grapes/cherries, throw them into the freezer until frozen, and enjoy. A very low-calorie option that tastes phenomenal.

Fruit Skewers – missing skewers that much? No problem. Try a fruit skewer, no freezing necessary. Just get a medley of fresh summertime fruits, some skewers, and skewer away! We like to believe fruit is nature’s candy, not that man-made stuff that’s filled with tooth decaying amounts of sugar.

Grilled Peaches – you don’t always have to grill meats. Try grilling a halved peach and top it off with some cinnamon. You may be surprised at how tasty this simple treat is.

Kiwis – We only mention this because we believe it’s vastly underrated. That or it’s just too hard for people to find. Let us remind you the fact that kiwi contains antioxidants and may be correlated with lowering blood pressure. A great summertime snack!

Grilled Corn on the Cob – most people are already aware of this, because it’s great. Remove a few layers from the husk, soak the corn in cold water for about 15 minutes, throw it onto the grill for about 15 on medium heat (300 degrees), and you’re set.

Orange Water – grab a pitcher, fill it up with water, slice a few oranges, drop them into the pitcher, add some cucumbers, and then let place it into your refrigerator for a couple of days. Take it out, pour it, and taste how natural it is compared to popular brands that feature insane amount of sugar.

There are plenty of other ideas out there, but we gave you the ones we found truly exciting and have course, beneficial to both your teeth and body. After all, that’s really what counts. Plus, you can even impress your friends and family with some of these simple recipes. Relax, soak up the sun (be sure to wear sunscreen), and eat like a real champion this summer!

Do Oral Piercings Affect Oral Health?

common problems of oral piercingsOral piercings may be fashion statements, but it’s a statement that comes with risks. Before you settle on an oral piercing, consider the long term consequences that are associated with this phenomenon either on the tongue, lip, or cheek. The simple answer to the question, “do oral piercings affect oral health?” is yes, they do.

Common Problems of Oral Piercings

Infection – there’s always a good chance that swelling may occur when you receive the actual piercing. If your tongue swells up enough, you can block airflow. Infections from oral piercings should be treated promptly.

Numbness – if the oral piercing results in any sort of numbness around the area that was pierced, then you may have induced damage to your nerves. This will alter the way you move your tongue, lips, or cheeks, as well as affect your taste.

Excessive saliva production – your body will automatically respond to an oral piercing by increasing the amount of saliva production in the mouth. This happens because your body believes the piercing is a “foreign object”. This increased saliva production results in frequent drooling as well as interference with chewing, swallowing, and speaking on a daily basis.

Chipped teeth – a common habit people wit oral pierce have is to play with their piercings. Playing with a tongue piercing often results in unintended chipped teeth. There’s also the possibility of damaging dental fillings as well.

The four problems above are just the common problems that exist with an oral piercing. There are other risks of oral piercing as well. It’s always best to approach situations that involve choice with a balancing of positives and negatives. If you have any questions regarding oral piercings, then you an always ask your local Las Vegas family dentist for more specific information.

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