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Eating for Good Oral Health: The Best and the Worst Foods for Your Teeth

We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth. Too much sugar leads to tooth decay and more time in the dentist’s chair than we’d like. But sugar isn’t the only culprit when it comes to damaging our teeth and gums. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains is not only good for our bodies, it is also great for our oral health! In fact, according to the ADA, one of the first areas in your body to suffer from a poor diet is your teeth.

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Yellow teeth? Here’s what you can do.

A lot of people these days are looking for ways to get a brighter, whiter smile. It’s important when considering different teeth-whitening methods, to meet with your dentist to find the root cause of your yellow teeth. This way you can make sure that your teeth-whitening regimen is effective, and you’re not covering up a bigger issue.

Causes of Yellow Teeth

  1. Enamel erosion – The dentin layer underneath the enamel is naturally yellowish in color. That’s why the thinner your enamel gets, the more yellow your teeth will appear.
  2. Acids in certain food and beverages – Soda is a common acidic beverage that wears away your teeth’s protective enamel coating. If you’re a regular soda drinker, it’s a good bet that your teeth are turning yellow because of it. Cola is especially harmful.
  3. Certain dental conditions
  4. Staining from food and beverages – Examples of food and beverages that can stain teeth are black tea, coffee, red wine, bright fruits and veggies, curry and sugary sweets.
  5. Tobacco use.

What can you do?

Some of the things listed above are good for you, and cutting them out of your life just isn’t an option. Start developing the habit of drinking water after consuming a type of food or beverage that is likely to stain your teeth. This helps rinse away some of the residue and slow the staining.

In some cases, it may be wise to cut back on some of the things discoloring your teeth. Cutting sweets out of your diet or reducing your soda intake can have enormous health benefits beyond the cosmetic benefits to your teeth.

Why see a dentist?

It’s important to see a dentist before trying to remedy yellow teeth on your own because there may be a more serious issue causing the discoloration than just your diet. Yellow teeth can be a symptom of a number of different dental problems, and it’s important not to merely remedy the symptom, covering up evidence of a bigger issue. A dentist can make sure you’re in good oral health, and prescribe an appropriate and effective treatment.

 

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Having Straight Teeth is About More Than Just Your Smile

Having straight teeth is often viewed as a luxury or something you desire but can’t have. This is especially the case if you are an adult who didn’t benefit from braces as a kid. While many people think having straight teeth only affects their smile, the alignment of your teeth is a big factor in your dental health as well.

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Emergency Dental Care – Steps to Take When You Lose a Tooth

We all take precautions when it comes to our teeth. We brush in the morning and evening, we wear mouth guards when we play risky sports, and we go to the dentist twice a year. But sometimes, accidents happen. If you find yourself sitting on the ground with your head ringing and a tooth completely knocked out of your mouth, don’t panic. It’s possible to save your tooth, and your smile.

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Emergency Dental Care – 4 Steps to Take When You Lose a Tooth

Step 1: Retrieve Your Tooth (Carefully)

The first thing you need to do is retrieve your tooth. While the circumstance can seem scary or surreal, make sure you pick your tooth up carefully and only touch the crown (the chewing part of the tooth). You want to avoid touching the root as much as possible because that part needs to stay healthy and whole to get your tooth back where it belongs.

Step 2: Clean The Tooth (Gently)

In a perfect world, your tooth would fall out onto a clean pillow. Most of the time, though, it falls into the dirt or onto the concrete. So once you have your tooth in hand, make sure you wash it gently. Don’t scrub it, and don’t use any chemicals. Just rinse it gently under cold water until the dirt and grit that were clinging to it are gone.

Lastly, don’t wrap your tooth in a tissue or cloth. That isn’t going to help because you need to make sure your tooth, and the tissue, stay moist.

Step 3: Put Your Tooth Back in The Socket (If You Can)

As soon as your tooth is clean, you should try to put it back in the socket. Simply press it back where it belongs with your fingers, or hold it in place, and bite down slowly. The less time the tooth spends out of your mouth, the better off you’ll be.

If you can’t get your tooth back in its socket, a glass of cold milk will do in a pinch. Do not put your tooth in regular tap water, because the water will be too harsh on your tooth and the roots attached to it.

Step 4: Get To A Dental Professional (Within 30 Minutes or Less)

Once you have your tooth, you need to get to a dental emergency room. If you can get there within 30 minutes or so of the accident, there’s a good chance the dentist will be able to save your tooth, and your smile. Of course, even if you can’t make that close deadline, that’s no reason not to try. If you take the proper steps, it’s possible to save a tooth that’s been out of your mouth for an hour or more.

 

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Getting a Perfect Smile for Your Wedding Day

Planning your wedding is a whirlwind of decisions, last minute preparations and agonizing over little details. You want your big day to be perfect. In all your planning and dreaming and scouring of Pinterest, you’ve probably come across some tips for getting the perfect smile for your wedding day.

To cultivate a perfect smile for your wedding day, you’re mostly looking for short-term solutions to enhance your smile. After all, you probably don’t have years to plan your wedding. Here are some things you can do to make sure you have the perfect smile on your wedding day.

For a Perfect Smile, Protect Those Lips!

You definitely don’t want chapped lips on your wedding day. In the weeks leading up to your big day, make sure you protect your lips:

  • Use a lip balm with a high sun protection factor (SPF)—Nothing is worse than sunburned lips
  • Stay hydrated—When your whole body is hydrated, your lips will have a much easier time staying moist
  • Avoid licking your lips—When your lips start to feel dry, apply lip balm

The folks over at The Knot also recommend exfoliating your lips after you get out of the shower and applying a moisturizer before bed time.

Teeth Whitening

Meet with your dentist to go over teeth whitening methods that will give you a brighter smile for your wedding day. Many methods are available, especially if you look into your options six months or more in advance. Your dentist will help identify the best method for your mouth and will also make sure you have no underlying problems with your teeth. Some of these whitening options include:

  • Whitening strips
  • Whitening trays
  • Paint-on teeth whitening

Take Care of Your Skin

A healthy complexion is a big part of a perfect smile, but healthy, clean skin doesn’t happen overnight. Get into a good skin-care regimen long before your wedding day. Starting early also gives you ample time to make sure your skin isn’t sensitive to any new products. Don’t try something new a week before your wedding day; you could have an unexpected allergic reaction.

If you start now, you’re sure to have a perfect smile ready for your big day. Get started by meeting with your dentist to go over your options for teeth-whitening and get started right away!

 

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Dentistry for Children – Keeping Little Mouths Healthy

You can your little ones on the path to good dental habits begins before they even have teeth. Why would you think about dental health before your baby has a single tooth? Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean their teeth aren’t there. Teeth begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy, and by the time your baby is born, he or she will have 20 primary or “baby” teeth, and some of will already be fully developed in his jaw!

It Starts with the Gums

Even before your baby starts teething, get into the habit of running a clean, damp washcloth over her gums to clear away harmful bacteria.

Caring for Tiny Choppers

Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit (about the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste. (Use a brand that has the ADA seal of approval.) Using a tiny amount is best in case she swallows any saliva while you’re brushing. Brush gently on the inside and outside of each tooth.

As soon as your baby’s teeth touch, you can add flossing in between them to the routine.

Starting around age two, let them brush their teeth themselves, under your supervision. Remind them to spit frequently to avoid swallowing toothpaste. Once they reach age three, let them use a bit more toothpaste — a dab about the size of a pea. Keep supervising the brushing process until they’re around six years old. You want to make sure they have the coordination to do a good job brushing and that they don’t swallow any toothpaste.

Establish Good Feeding Habits

Even a baby can develop tooth decay if he or she goes to sleep with a bottle every night. Sugars from milk or juice that stay on baby’s teeth overnight can eat away at the enamel and cause a condition known as “bottle mouth”. Pitted or discolored front teeth are signs of the condition, and, if severe enough, it can cause cavities and make it necessary to have their front baby teeth pulled out. (Their permanent teeth will replace them eventually.)

Letting your baby or toddler suck on a bottle all day can also do damage, so try to establish regular eating and bottle times rather than letting them have their bottle whenever they want it. Try to switch them to a “sippy” cup by the time they’re six months of age, even if you have to hold it until they develop the motor skills to hold it themselves.

Their First Visit with the Dentist

The ADA recommends that children see a dentist by the time they reach their first birthday. The dentist will likely let you hold your baby on your lap while she does an exam, and will go over proper brushing and flossing techniques with you.

This first visit is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. It gets your child acquainted with going to the dentist so they’ll feel more comfortable during future visits.
  2. Potential problems can be spotted early and fluoride treatments can start even before your baby has all his or her primary teeth.

Prevent Cavities

Limit sugary treats and juices, which can cause cavities. If you establish good habits early, your kids will have an easier time keeping them later on. Taking care of their teeth will become part of their daily routine, thanks to your early diligence!

 

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A New Method for Oral Surgery

If you need oral surgery and you don’t have the time or aren’t comfortable with the idea of being fully sedated, conscious sedation may be just what you need. Moderate (conscious) Sedation, also known as MCS, falls in between a local anesthetic like Novocaine, and general anesthesia, which puts you to “sleep” for a surgical procedure.

A Time-Saving Procedure

Technically speaking, MCS is a “drug induced depression of consciousness”, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re neither fully awake nor fully asleep. The method uses a combination of medicine to help you relax (a sedative) and a medicine to block pain (an anesthetic). You’ll probably stay awake, but may or may not be able to speak. MCS lets you recover more quickly and be back to your everyday activities sooner after your procedure.

Conscious sedation dentistry also saves time because you can respond to the oral surgeon’s directions during the procedure. It’s great for commuters in Fredericksburg and the DC area who are short on time because you can get more than one procedure done in a session.

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How It’s Administered and How You’ll Feel

Your dentist will usually give you a shot, although the medicine can also be administered through an IV. You’ll begin to feel relaxed and even drowsy in a very short time after receiving the injection. Your breathing will slow down and your blood pressure may go down a little, too. You may fall asleep, but it’s such a light sleep that if someone asks you a question, you’ll “wake up” and respond without difficulty.

After the Oral Surgery

As the sedation wears off, you might feel sleepy, have a headache, or be a little queasy. This should pass quickly. Afterwards, take it easy. Avoid driving and skip the evening cocktail or glass of wine with dinner for that day. By the next day, you should be feeling like yourself again, and be ready for new adventures!

 

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What can you do about missing teeth?

Missing teeth can cause a number of inconveniences and issues if not treated. Chewing can be difficult, other teeth may begin to shift because of the open gap, and the adjacent teeth can become more susceptible to cavities and other problems. So what can you do?

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When to seek emergency dental care

Sometimes it’s easy to know you when to seek emergency dental care, and other times it’s not so clear. A sore gum, a cracked tooth or broken tooth aren’t good signs, but are they emergencies? It’s important to know the difference between something that can wait a week, and something that needs immediate attention. Left untreated, seemingly minor problems can quickly turn into major issues.

When you need emergency dental care

Broken or Chipped Tooth – Broken or chipped teeth are usually the result of some sort of trauma — getting hit in the face by a stray ball, a fall that impacts your mouth, etc. Sometimes, a tooth can break or chip by biting down on something hard, such as nuts or a piece of hard candy. Sometimes, they’re a result of tooth decay. Whatever the reason, it’s important to get a broken or chipped tooth taken care of immediately. Left untreated, it may become infected and cause more serious or even irreparable damage to the tooth.

Cracked (Fractured) Tooth – A cracked tooth is also susceptible to infection and should be taken care of immediately. Like a chipped or broken tooth, waiting can lead to much more serious problems, even to the point of needing an extraction. The American Dental Society recommends immediately rinsing your mouth with warm water and placing a cold compress on your face to reduce swelling.

Extreme Pain – Most people suffering the extreme and relentless pain of a “toothache” don’t need to be told they need emergency care — they can’t wait to see the dentist to repair whatever is causing so much misery. Remember that pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong, and it’s not going to go away until you address the cause of the pain.

Knocked Out Tooth – A knocked out tooth is an emergency and it’s important to get to the dentist as soon as possible. If you can get yourself and the tooth to a dentist within a half-hour, the dentist can often re-implant it successfully. Longer than that, and the chances are greatly reduced. According to the American Dental Society, it’s essential to keep the tooth moist by placing it in your mouth between your cheek and gums or submerging it in a jar of milk for the trip to the dentist. If your regular dentist can’t see you, get to a dental clinic immediately!

Abscessed Tooth – An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth and is a dental emergency. Usually by the time the abscess appears, the infection has reached the tooth’s root. The abscess often needs draining before the tooth can be treated, and antibiotics prescribed to knock out the infection.

Jaw Injuries – If you injure your jaw and it swells or you have trouble opening and closing your mouth, you need to see a dentist immediately to make sure it’s not broken. Place a cold compress on your face in the interim to reduce swelling.

When a dental emergency occurs, don’t try to “tough it out” with self-treatments that will only treat and mask the symptoms. Contact your dentist immediately to seek emergency dental care.

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Why is flossing important?

My dentist is always telling me I should floss. It’s a part of their farewell to me as I walk out the door, “Thanks for coming in, don’t forget to floss!” We hear it all the time, but we always wonder–why is flossing important?

Why Does My Dentist Tell Me to Floss?

Earlier this year, there were a lot of questions surrounding the necessity of flossing. When the government neglected to include flossing as a part of their 2015 Dietary Guidelines, many people interpreted that to mean that the government was saying flossing really isn’t important. In reality, The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was just choosing to focus on food and nutrient intake, so they removed the flossing guidelines.
Since these developments, both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the ADA have reaffirmed the importance of flossing in maintaining a healthy mouth. The ADA recommends flossing once per day, in order to get rid of the plaque that avoids your toothbrush and gets left to harden.

When to floss

The ADA says that the most important part of flossing is just taking the time to do it. It doesn’t really matter whether you do it before you brush or after, as long as you do it, and you take the time to do it right.
You should start flossing your child’s teeth when they have two teeth that touch, because they start accumulating plaque as soon as they have teeth, so you need to make sure you get the space between their teeth clean. You may have to help your children floss until they are old enough to have the coordination to do it without hurting themselves.

Now you know why your dentist always reminds you to floss every time you see them. Without cleaning between your teeth everyday, you’re only preventing some of the problems that plaque buildup can cause. You’re neglecting a whole part of your mouth! Remember to floss–your mouth will thank you.

 

 

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