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Why Is Scaling and Root Planing Beneficial For My Dental Health?

Scaling is a non-surgical procedure performed for patients with gum disease. The dentist removes plaque above and below the gum line. Unlike normal tooth cleaning, scaling goes deeper. It’s then followed by root planing which involves smoothing out the roots to ensure the gums reattach to the teeth. The two procedures can take more than one visit to the dentist, especially if you have receding gums. Here are some of the reasons why the procedure may be necessary.

To Treat Periodontitis

Truth be told, your mouth is a haven for bacteria. When it remains in your mouth for some time, it results in the formation of colorless plaque. If left untreated, it can cause Periodontitis. This is basically an infection of the gums that surround the teeth. Because it’s pain-free, most people don’t know they have the disease.

In severe cases, the gums can recede until the teeth begin to fall out. At this stage, there are only a few options left to fix your smile. Scaling can help to remove plaque on the tooth, gum line, and around the root where regular cleaning devices cannot reach. After that, an oral rinse is done to promote further healing.

To Protect Gums and Teeth

When your gum sockets exceed 3mm in depth, the bacteria can colonize causing an inflammatory response. If this problem is not addressed immediately, you may end up losing your teeth. Plaque can affect the tissues that support the teeth. It’s associated with problems such as:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Oral pain

Scaling and root planing will work on the root cause of the problem by inhibiting bacterial growth. Once these irritants are removed the healing process can begin.

To Treat Gingivitis

This is the first stage of gum disease. While brushing and flossing more often can help to fight irritation, the problem may come back after a few months. Scaling can help to remove tartar, dental plaque, and calculus which are linked to gingival inflammation. In the initial stages, it can be used as a stand-alone treatment. The procedure is carried out with an ultrasonic scaling tool which delivers antimicrobial agent below the gums. This is the best way to battle the unseen plaque. It’s worth mentioning that this procedure prevents the bacteria from traveling to other parts of the body.

Gingivitis is the main cause of teeth loss at an early age. If you don’t seek early treatment, you may experience further complications like gum recession. But if you address this problem before it becomes severe, you’ll prevent future occurrences.

To Make Your Teeth Aesthetically Pleasing

Healthy gums and teeth are needed for a beautiful smile. While scaling is done to remove the etiologic agents surrounding the gums and teeth, it also has aesthetic effects. It can help to remove the superficial stains on your teeth, adding an extra bonus to the procedure.

To Treat Halitosis

When you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, the food particles in your mouth collect bacteria causing bad breath. This unpleasant condition may be embarrassing when you’re with your peers. If Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bacteria, scaling and root planing can be of help. After a deep cleaning, you may have swollen gums for a week.

The scaling and root planing procedure helps to prevent gum disease. Even after a successful procedure, you must maintain good dental care and your gums will become firm in no time. Be sure to schedule a follow-up visit with your dentist at Tempe Family Dentistry.

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Why Do Dentists Recommend Soft Bristled Toothbrushes?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for the purpose of achieving perfect dental health and overall well being. If you do not observe healthy oral hygiene, then you may suffer from unsightly stains, toothaches, and even other medical problems. For example, gum disease, a result of poor dental hygiene, can increase the development of health conditions that are serious including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory infections.

Brushing Teeth

This is one of the best ways for you to maintain healthy teeth and gums and most of us have done this ever since we were kids. The toothbrush that we use now, according to the ADA (American Dental Association), has a long history.

The earliest type of toothbrush was simply a small twig or chew stick which was used for rubbing against the teeth to remove food bits and debris pieces. About 100 years later, there was the incorporation of bristles (boar’s hair) into the toothbrush head. The late 1930’s also marked another milestone in the development of toothbrushes since there was the invention of nylon bristles, still in use today. Teeth-cleaning chew sticks and boar’s bristle toothbrushes are also still available for use today.

At present, you can choose from different toothbrush types. For example, there are different bristle varieties, as well as manual and electric toothbrushes.

Toothbrush Bristle Types

If you want to choose a toothbrush according to bristle types, the options available are soft, medium hard and hard bristles. Among the different types of bristled toothbrushes available, the soft bristled toothbrush is the one recommended by dentists.

Why You Should Use a Soft Bristled Toothbrush

A soft bristled toothbrush is gentler on your teeth and gums and that is why it is recommended by dentists. The thin outer layer covering the tooth, known as enamel, is incredibly sensitive and therefore, with time it is susceptible to erosion and wear. When you use either a medium hard or hard bristle toothbrush, the stiffer bristles will wear down the enamel each time you brush. Using a soft bristled toothbrush safeguards you from gum damage and gum recession.

It is also important to note that when you use a hard bristle toothbrush, most of the time you may end up leaving the margins near the gums. This is because this type of brush you are using usually hurts your gums. Leaving this area not brushed will eventually result in excessive bacterial growth which may cause gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Benefits of Using Soft Bristled Toothbrushes

  • Suitable for dental care for children since there is no discomfort or irritation caused.
  • Gentler to your teeth, gums, and other sensitive soft tissues in your mouth. And so, you will not suffer from gum damage and gum recession.
  • Since the bristles of the toothbrush are more flexible, your teeth will be cleaner after each brushing.

In conclusion, one of the main reasons usually given for using a medium hard or hard bristled toothbrush is because it results in the removal of slightly more plaque. Many dentists consider this to be not enough reason to justify the use of a hard bristled toothbrushes. It is important that before you choose your toothbrush type, you first consult with your dentist. Alternatively, you can simply choose any toothbrush (manual or electric powered) with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. If you are using a soft bristled toothbrush, it is advised that you replace it after every 3 months. This ensures that the toothbrush which you are using is in perfect shape.

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How Can Excess Stress Affect Your Oral Health?

Everyone gets stressed from time to time and that is normal. Although a little stress is good for pushing one to achieve goals, when stress is cumulative it becomes harmful. It can harm one’s mental health as well as physical health. Stress may cause headaches, insomnia, and fatigue to name but a few. Did you know that stress can affect your oral health? It can and does so in various ways. Here we look at the ways in which stress affects oral health.

Unhealthy habits

As a person attempts to deal with stress, they tend to develop very unhealthy habits. Top among this is the chewing of lips or inside of cheeks. This habit can cause injuries when done with the mind lost in thought. This causes bleeding and scarring which exposes the mouth to infections which affect its health.

Another unhealthy habit that tends to come with stress is unhealthy eating. While some people do not eat at all, others eat excessively. Not eating may lead to malnutrition and this has been linked to gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay. On the other hand, eating too much junk food leads to accumulation of harmful sugars that cause tooth decay. Some people turn to alcohol to relieve stress. Excessive use will cause the destruction of the enamel on your teeth and has been linked to cancer.

Grinding teeth

When stressed and you cannot sleep, you may tend to grind your teeth. Some people even clench their teeth in the middle of their thoughts. The act of grinding teeth may lead to chipping and cracking of teeth. Teeth may also become extremely sensitive.  You could actually lose your teeth, in the long run. Grinding teeth also affect other aspects of health such as causing headaches.

Canker Sores

Stress causes tension that inhibits the immune system which in turn can lead to small sores on lips and cheeks, known as Canker sores. These sores last a few days or weeks and can cause difficulties in eating and talking.

Dry mouth

Stress causes dry mouth and, since it tends to make you forget to stay hydrated, the dryness worsens. When the mouth is dry, the saliva content is decreased. Since saliva is very important for oral hygiene, the health of the mouth is affected by this. The saliva is unable to clean off food particles efficiently and this leads to accumulation of these food particles. This leads to bad breath and the development of cavities in your teeth.

Some Ways to Deal with Stress

Stress is not good for your mouth, your mind or any other part of your body. To be at your optimal health, you need to try to keep stress at bay. You should avoid stressful situations and whenever stress kicks in, take the following actions:

  • Deep breathing exercises – These will help you relax and keep calm so you do not get lost in your stress.
  • Meditation – This helps you think about the stressful situation without getting stressed. You can break it down and understand it wholly without getting into bad habits. Meditation will also help you appreciate the good things in your life.
  • Laughing – It is said that laughter is the best medicine and you need it! Find something funny to watch and laugh your heart out. You will be feeling much better before you know it.
  • Listening to music – Find music that you love and listen to it. Forget about all your stresses for a moment and just enjoy the beat. Music is food to the soul, and it works wonders on people who are stressed.
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How to Soothe a Teething Baby

There is no doubt that little ones are very cute. Their cuteness is amplified when a tiny tooth appears! When the very first of your baby’s teeth begins making its way out of the gums, that process is termed as teething. Crankiness, tears, and drooling can make teething an affliction for parents and babies alike. While the process is not painless, knowing the right signs and symptoms can prepare parents to handle what is coming next comfortably. The good news is that, in this article, we shall explain some of the ways to soothe a baby during teething, but first, let us begin by discussing a few signs & symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms of a teething baby

There are many signs & symptoms of teething in little ones. It includes the following:

  • A low-grade temperature (less than 101 degrees)
  • Drooling
  • Desire to chew/bite
  • Crying, grouchiness, fussing
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits

Let us discuss each of them in detail:

  • A low-grade temperature – When it comes to infant teething signs, fever is arguably one of those immediately noticed symptoms. This is more than a normal fever, but the body is slightly warm. Considered as a low-grade temperature, it is usually less than 101 degrees.
  • Drooling – It is normal for newborns to learn to swallow their saliva. However, if you notice excessive drooling that never stops, then it is an indicator to teething. It has been known that during teething, the baby creates plenty of saliva to lubricate the bulging and tender gums.
  • The desire to chew or bite – The urge to chew or bite will turn your infant into a piranha. At the tooth begins to emerge from the gums, the pressure is exerted on the gums and feels irritated. To tackle this, they start chewing or biting on their toys, spoons, or even their loved ones.
  • Crying, grouchiness, and fussing – If you notice that your kid is fussier than usual, then it can be a teething symptom. Grouchiness makes them wake several times and cry at night to relieve the discomfort in their mouth. It has been established that during quiet hours of the night, an infant seems to feel the teething pain even more than usual because there are fewer distractions.
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits – Because of discomfort caused by teething, little ones often nap less or even have difficulties falling asleep, and this explains why they wake up in the wee hours. Just like anyone else suffering from mouth-related problems, kids during the teething stage do not want to eat, especially now that food aggravates the sore spots in their mouths.

It is important to note that vomiting, coughing, diarrhea, fever reaching more than 101 degrees, and rashes are NOT signs and symptoms of teething.

Ways to soothe a teething baby

As mentioned in the introductory section, it is essential to know some of the common signs and symptoms of teething so that parents get prepared to ease their kids through the process. Fortunately, there are well-known and proven ways to soothe kids during this stage. It includes the following:

  • Cold compresses
  • Pain relievers
  • Teething Toys to Gnaw On
  • Keep Area Around Mouth Clean to avoid discomfort from chapping
  • Keep plenty of clean items for baby to chew on

Cold compresses

Ice is arguably a teething infant’s best friend. Similarly, as ice reduces swelling or numbs pain, cold compresses will soothe sore gums. It is an inexpensive option to keep your baby comfortable – just get a wet, clean washcloth and put in a plastic bag and keep it in your fridge to chill. When it is ready, take the washcloth from the bag, and let your little one gnaw on it. As the kid gnaws the fabric, it massages the gums while the pain is numbed by the cold.

Pain relievers

If other remedies yield few results or perhaps your baby needs faster relief, then pain relievers can be the next course of action. Your doctor will recommend the best OTC painkillers.

Teething toys to gnaw on

Keep your infant’s favorite teething toys handy. It is highly advisable that you freeze these toys before giving them to your little one since cold will help with the pain. More importantly, these toys should be clean.

Keep the kid’s mouth area clean to avoid discomfort from chapping

Drooling is one of the significant signs of teething. During this stage, kids will be producing excessive saliva, which makes the child incredibly uncomfortable. Always keep the mouth area clean and to do this, use soft, clean clothes to wipe the baby’s chin.

Keep plenty of clean items for baby to chew on

During teething, gums will be very sore, and the infant will more often than not, try to bite or chew things. This is arguably the best soothing option to keep their gums comfortable. As a parent, you will need to boost this habit by providing them with plenty of items to chew on. More importantly, these items should be clean and free from germs.

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What to Expect When Getting a Gum Graft

If your periodontist recently told you that you are supposed to undergo a gum graft procedure, then do not panic! While it may sound a little scary, the procedure is sometimes necessary to protect your mouth from the detrimental effects of gum recession, gum diseases like gingivitis, or even tooth sensitivity to cold and cold drinks. It should be understood that if receding gums are not properly treated, then it can cause other symptoms like teeth grinding and clenching, which can give patients sleepless nights.

So, what is gum grafting?

Gum graft, also called a gingival graft, is a procedure for correcting receding gums. A dentist will first remove a small piece of tissue from the roof of your mouth (or anywhere else near a healthy gum tissue). Then the dentist will attach the piece of tissue to the particular area where the gums have receded. It is arguably one of the quickest and simplest gum surgical procedures.

 What happens during gingival graft procedure?

Gum grafts are specifically performed by a periodontist – a dentist that specifically treats conditions affecting gums. Before the surgery, the dental surgeon may start with deep scaling; a procedure that deep cleans the gums and teeth to remove bacteria and tartar. The next step is called root planning, which is typically the process of smoothing the surfaces of the teeth’s roots. More often than not, root planning and scaling take place simultaneously.

Once done with the preparatory stages, the dentist then proceeds to explain to the patients the more suitable type of gum grafts to be performed. There are at least three kinds of options to choose from, and it includes the following:

  • Free gingival graft;
  • Connective tissue graft;
  • Pedicle graft;

Let’s now discuss each type in detail:

Free gingival graft

If the doctor recommends this type of gum surgery, then you should expect the doctor to remove a tiny piece from the roof of your mouth and stitch it into the area that needs attention. This kind of graft is suitable if gums are thin or need more tissues to stop the further recession.

Connective tissue graft

Connective tissue graft is one of the most common types of gum surgeries, and it involves opening a tiny flap at the roof of your mouth and removing a connective tissue piece from under the upper layer of tissue. The dentist then proceeds to stitch the removed tissue to the particular section that requires gum tissue.

Pedicle graft

With a pedicle graft, the dental surgeon creates a tissue flap from a section right next to the gum recession. She then covers the section of receding gum tissue using the flap. In other words, local tissue is used to move over the receding area, and so extracting tissue from another part of the mouth is avoided altogether. This kind of graft surgery is considered the most common and most successful. However, to achieve the best results from a pedicle graft, a patient will need to have plenty of gum tissues in the affected areas.

While you may experience moderate to mild pain after any of the above gum surgery options, it takes several days to heal completely. It is highly advisable that you apply an ice pack to the affected area if moderate swelling develops. After one or two weeks, patients can floss and brush their teeth without damaging the surgical site. Remember to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure everything is going on well.

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What Can I Do About Dry Mouth While Sleeping?

A good night’s sleep is essential for good health. However, this objective can be challenging to achieve if you regularly wake up at night with a dry mouth. Sometimes referred to as Xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Saliva neutralizes the bacterial waste (acids) thus preventing tooth decay. Saliva enhances your ability to taste food and drinks and makes it easier for people to chew or swallow food. Notably, most of the enzymes found in saliva help in digestion.

Dry mouth because of decreased saliva is a nuisance and can contribute to dental problems such as damage of one’s gums, teeth, and general health. This issue should be addressed immediately by a professional healthcare provider, preferably a dentist. However, even before seeing a doctor, there are a few things you may try in an effort to resolve the problem. Well, before discussing what you should do about dry mouth while sleeping, let us quickly look at some of the causes of this condition.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is caused by a network of issues, which include:

Medications: Some over the counter (OTC) and prescriptions like decongestants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications have been known to cause this condition.

Radiation treatment: Also known as radiotherapy, it is one of the conventional therapies for cancer-related ailments. While it can save a life, radiation to the neck and head can sometimes damage vital glands, including the salivary glands. If this happens, it results in less production of saliva, leading to the condition in question.

Tobacco smoking: Although it is not specifically indicated on the product’s packing, it has been known that tobacco smoking increases the risk of having a dry mouth, especially at night.

Diseases: Reports from some of the most reliable sources show that Xerostomia can be a result of certain health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and mumps.

Aging: Statistics shows that three out of ten senior citizens experience dry mouth. This perhaps has been contributed to by some other factors like changes in the ability of the body to process medications, certain ailments, or poor nutrition.

Ways to Prevent Dry Mouth

As earlier, if you suspect you are suffering from this condition, then it is highly recommended that you see your dentist as soon as possible. Nonetheless, you can do some of the following simple things to prevent or relieve the discomfort:

Stay hydrated: Keep your mouth moist throughout the day by sipping water or any sugar-free drink. It is also advisable to drink plenty of water during meals to aid in chewing and swallowing.

Chew sugar-free candies or gum: These are some of the products that have Xylitol – known to prevent cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free candies also helps keep your mouth hydrated.

Brush and floss your teeth regularly using toothpaste or mouthwash specifically formulated for dry mouth: Dentists advise that dry mouth can be prevented by brushing or flossing teeth regularly using prescription fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste. These products contain Betaine, which keeps the mouth moist and neutralizes bacterial waste.

Stay away from spicy foods: This includes candies, or any other spicy or acidic foods that can cause your mouth to get dry. The worst part of these foods is that they can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Limit caffeine and alcohol: More often than not, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks cause mouth irritation and dryness. Therefore, using these products increases the risk of Xerostomia.

Quit smoking: Chewing or smoking tobacco irritates the mouth and causes a degree of dryness. Quitting this habit is a sure way to help prevent dry mouth.

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Missing Teeth May Cause Health Problems

People can lose their teeth to gum disease, tooth decay, and injury. Research shows that 3 out of 4 Americans may have gum disease. Gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented and treated, if you visit your dentist for regular examination and cleaning. While losing teeth at childhood is normal, losing your permanent teeth can affect not only your oral health but also your general health. Here is a list of things that could happen if you lose some of your teeth.

Difficulty in Chewing

Your teeth work as a team and every tooth has a specific role. Just like in football and volleyball, losing one or more team members can cause the team to become weak and unable to perform properly. Missing front teeth makes it harder for you to bite while missing the back teeth affect the way you chew your food. A missing tooth can make it more difficult to enjoy favorite foods such as apples, carrots, and other crunchy food. Failure to eat these healthy foods can affect your general health because you aren’t getting necessary nutrients.

Shifting Teeth

After losing a tooth, the remaining teeth try to make up the space left behind by drifting toward the vacated space. This shifting is known as malocclusion. As the teeth shift, they may begin to rotate and can put a lot of strain on the jaw joints resulting in pain.

Speech Issues

After losing one or more of your teeth, you may not be able to speak as clearly as you used to. The space left behind by the tooth affects how you pronounce certain words. A missing tooth can completely change your speech patterns.

Bone Loss

This is a hidden consequence of losing your teeth. Just like other body cells, bone has a life cycle. New cells form, live and dissolve. The older cells are then replaced by new cells. The formation of new cells is stimulated by the force that is generated when chewing, the force travels to the jaw through the root of the tooth. A missing tooth means there is no new cell formation since stimulation is no longer occurring. In the first year with a missing tooth, the jaw bone can reduce up to 25% in width. The bone loss makes the remaining teeth weak.

Early Aging

Teeth are responsible for supporting the skin around the mouth. Losing your teeth not only affects your smile but also can make the skin around your mouth sag. The sagging skin makes you appear older than you are.

Loss of Confidence

This is an emotional consequence of losing a tooth. You may not feel confident enough to smile in front of people when you have a missing tooth. You might be extremely self-conscious about your smile, especially if you have missing front teeth.

Losing your teeth is not the end of the world. Luckily, modern dentistry has excellent techniques for replacing the missing teeth. They are all aimed at preventing the above disappointing consequences of losing teeth. The best technique for you depends on your dental needs. Here are the common solutions to missing teeth.

Dental Implants

Also known as a fixture or an endosseous implant. It is a great solution if you only have one or two missing teeth. A titanium socket is implanted then a titanium post is placed into the socket. After the socket and post are implanted, your dentist will place the tooth onto the post. Dental implants are natural looking and long lasting. Dental implants not only restore your natural look but also stops bone loss.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are meant to bridge the gap created by missing teeth. A bridge is attached to the healthy teeth that are adjacent to the missing teeth. The bridge is made up one or more crowns depending on the number of missing teeth. A dental bridge isn’t attached to the jaw. This can help restore your natural smile.

Dentures

Dentures can be removed for cleaning and put back in the mouth. There are three types of dentures: partial, conventional full and immediate full. A partial denture is ideal for someone who is missing a few teeth. The conventional full denture is one option if you have all your lower or upper teeth removed. The conventional denture is placed in your mouth approximately 8 to 12 weeks after your teeth have all been pulled. The immediate full denture is installed on the same day that the rest of your teeth have been pulled. After using dentures for a while, they begin to feel like your natural teeth. Dentures not only restore your smile but also help you chew food and speak more clearly.

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Which Is Better for Your Teeth – Manual or Electric Toothbrushes?

Oral hygiene is the foundation for healthy teeth and fresh breath. Both electric and manual toothbrushes are indispensable tools when it comes to brushing your teeth. The American Dental Association has placed a Seal of Acceptance on both of these products, but when it is time to make up your mind at the supermarket which one will you go for? Read on for some insight into the pros and cons of electric and manual toothbrushes.

The benefits of Electric toothbrushes

  • Perfect for people with mobility challenges
  • Effective against plaque and gingivitis
  • Improves focus when brushing teeth

Electric toothbrushes have automated bristles that vibrate to give your teeth a thorough cleaning action. The bristles rotate around the teeth and gums every time you move the toothbrush around your mouth.

Ideal for people with mobility issues

Arthritis, carpal tunnel and many other conditions can cause limited mobility in the hands and arms. An electric toothbrush does all the work for you once you place it in your mouth.

Works effectively against plaque

Many studies conducted on the matter reveal that electric toothbrushes do a better job at removing plaque and tartar than any other toothbrushes. In one study, individuals had an 11 per cent reduction in plaque and gingivitis after 21 days of using electric toothbrushes.

Helps to improve focus when brushing

Some studies show that people are more focused when brushing teeth with electric toothbrushes. The degree of concentration enabled by this toothbrush helps to improve the results – whiter and cleaner teeth.

Electric toothbrush cons

The major disadvantage of electric toothbrushes is the fact that they are much more costly than the manual toothbrushes. Replacement brush heads are a little cheaper but that may not always be convenient as they are sometimes difficult to find in stores. On top of that, some people don’t like the vibrating feeling in their mouth.

Manual toothbrush benefits

  • Readily available in stores
  • Affordable
  • Good for beginners

A majority of people around the globe use manual toothbrushes. They have been around a long time and are still reliable when it comes to cleaning the teeth and keeping gingivitis at bay. You will have to brush at least twice a day to achieve the recommended level of dental hygiene.

Readily available

Manual toothbrushes are readily available stores. They don’t need batteries or plugging into electrical outlets to function. That simplicity makes them the top choice for many people.

Affordable

You will not have to pay high dollar amounts for manual toothbrushes. Even for a dollar, you can get a superior quality manual toothbrush.

For babies and young children

Children need to learn proper oral hygiene by first using a manual toothbrush. The ideal brush for them is the soft bristled one, for their milk teeth is not as strong as adult teeth.

Disadvantages of manual toothbrushes

Bleeding gums

The common problem with manual toothbrushes is that aggressive brushing leads to bleeding gums. You can never really tell if you are brushing thoroughly enough, and usually, most people end up cleaning for shorter periods than is required. Some electric toothbrushes have a timer so that you meet the cleaning time requirements for sparkling teeth.

You can safely use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush depending on your needs. Electric toothbrushes excel in plaque removal, and the timer ensures that you brush your teeth long enough. Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, are affordable and readily available in stores.

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Dental Issues That Are Common During Pregnancy

Women go through a lot of changes when they are pregnant which not only affect them but also the child. This is why taking care of your general health, including your oral health, is crucial. Between designing the baby’s nursery and going for regular prenatal check-ups, don’t forget to visit your dentist! We have listed some of the most common dental problems that you may experience during pregnancy:

Gum Disease

This is a common dental issue for adults, although it is more common in expectant women because of hormonal changes. In the early stages, it is called gingivitis, and it might grow into a serious condition which is linked to cardiac arrest, premature births or even strokes. If you are showing signs of gingivitis, your dentist will recommend that you clean your teeth more frequently. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to your overall health.  It’s also a good idea to have a cleaning done by your dentist right before you start trying to get pregnant and then go back to regular cleanings after the baby is born.

Tooth Decay

As a pregnant woman, your elevated hormones can affect the response of your body to plaque which contains bacteria which can lead to cavities as well as gum disease. When one is expectant, you might experience morning sickness. The acid from the stomach can coat one`s teeth when you vomit, which can result in dental erosion and can also increase the chances of tooth decay. Here is what is recommended:

  • Do not brush teeth for at least an hour after vomiting. Stomach acid softens the teeth and waiting offers the enamel time to recover from the acid.
  • Rinse your mouth with plain water then follow with a fluoridated alcohol-free mouth wash right after vomiting to aid you in washing away the acid.
  • After rinsing your mouth, you can put a small dab of toothpaste on your finger and rub it onto your teeth then rinse with water again.

If you are in the category of women who experience food cravings during pregnancy, satisfy your cravings by dishing up healthy options like fresh fruits. Ensure you rinse your mouth using water after eating to decrease the risk of tooth decay.

Pregnancy Tumors

Some women experience tissue overgrowth known as “pregnancy tumors” which appears on the gums, mostly when they are on the 2nd trimester. The growth is not cancerous, but it is merely swelling which happens mostly between teeth. This can be linked to excess plaque. They easily bleed and appear very red. Typically, they disappear after the child is born, though if you have any concerns, you can visit your dentist.

Oral Hygiene

With the appropriate oral health at home and help from your dentist, your teeth will stay healthy all through your pregnancy. You should do the following:

  • Brush your teeth for approximately 2 minutes two times a day
  • Rinse out your mouth after eating snacks and food
  • Go to the dentist two times a year, and maybe more often when you are expectant
  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet

Ensure that your dentist knows any prescription medications you are taking. These details will assist your dentist to determine the kind of medication, if any, to give you. Also, your dentist can talk to your doctor to choose medications, such as pain meds or antibiotics, that are safe to use during pregnancy. Your dentist and doctor will aid you if you have any concerns about your baby or your health in general.

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Why is Saliva Important to Your Dental Health?

When it comes to oral health, saliva is an important factor to be considered. Saliva has a big contribution to preventing dental disease, protecting tissues, and helping digestion. Saliva is a liquid produced in the salivary glands located all over your mouth. The main six are found inside the cheeks, under the tongue, and near the jaw bone. The other minor glands are distributed evenly in the oral cavity to ensure a full perception of food’s taste, and to moisturize the tissues in the mouth. The salivary solution consists mainly of water, and 1% of proteins, which have a role in feeding the teeth, and protecting the enamel.

Functions

Saliva is of great importance in the correct functioning of the digestive system. As you take in the food, saliva helps your teeth to chew it, by moisturizing, and making it softer, so the teeth put less effort into breaking it down. In addition, a sufficient flow of saliva allows you to enjoy the taste of your food in its entirety. Also, the saliva “paves the way” of food to your stomach. It lubricates the tissues to help you swallow and ensure that the food passes easily through the esophagus.

Another function of saliva is protective. The fluid delivered by the salivary glands combats germs in your mouth. Bacteria and germs cause bad breath. Thus, the more saliva is produced, the more foul-smelling agents are killed, and the better breath you have. Also, saliva contributes to your dental health by providing protection, and preventing disease. The proteins that are found in saliva are very important. They make your teeth stronger and protect them against harmful agents. The nutrients strengthen the enamel, providing it with calcium and phosphates. It turns the enamel into a reliable shield for teeth against bacteria and damage from eating hard foods.

Saliva gives protection against decay, and helps minimize gum disease and infections. Also, it regulates the acid production, preventing plague, and defending against tissue damage.

Lack of Saliva

Saliva helps your oral system function at its best. If its production is reduced, you can face significant problems. Limited saliva production is generally known as dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by a variety of factors.  One thing that causes dry mouth is the use of some medications, such as: appetite suppressants, antidepressants, blood pressure regulators. Other factors that bring about dryness of the mouth are:

– Depression

– Dehydration

– Smoking

– Chemotherapy

– Blocked salivary ducts

Dry mouth can result in bad breath, as well as swollen and sore tissues of the gums. The enamel falls prey to bacteria and harmful germs, making the teeth weaker, and less capable of crushing tough pieces of food. Also, since the tissues lack proper lubrication, you may have difficulty swallowing. Because of reduced moisture in the mouth, the chewing process takes longer, and you cannot enjoy the full taste of foods.

You can treat this disorder in several ways. The simplest way implies items that are always at hand, such as: water, candies, and chewing gums. Drinking water is very important to your overall health, not just your dental health.  Sucking on candies and chewing gum helps trigger saliva production.  For cases of chronic dry mouth, a visit to your dentist may be necessary.

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