5 Things Your Dental Specialist Wishes You Knew
Your dental specialist wants to help you – your dentist wants you to know these 5 things you need to take the best care of your teeth. Read about them here.
It’s almost time for your bi-annual check up!
But there are a few things your dental specialist wants you to know.
Aside from your daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash rinses, there are five more ways you can keep your mouth healthy.
Let’s review what your oral care is missing.
Your Dental Specialist Knows You’re Not Flossing
Do you vigorously floss your teeth right before your appointment?
Here’s a secret: your dental specialist can totally tell.
Right away, your dentist can tell that you’ve been making up for lost time. But when you aggressively floss your teeth, it actually does more harm than good.
In fact, your dentist can tell if you’re flossing enough by looking at your gum tissue alone.
Unhealthy gums mean you either have either gingivitis, periodontitis, or advanced periodontitis, which are beginning to advanced stages of gum disease.
- Gingivitis: This is the first stage of gum disease. It occurs when plaque builds up and inflames your gum line. If you don’t brush and floss daily, that buildup will continue to generate more toxins that cause inflammation.
- Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease. At this point, bone and fibers can experience permanent damage. Little pockets form under your gumline to trap food particles and toxins. However, if you start to see your dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene you can stop the proliferation of periodontitis.
- Advanced Periodontitis: At this stage, your teeth will shift and loosen because your tooth bone and fibers are damaged beyond repair. However, you can opt for dental implants and other restorative dental procedures to preserve your smile.
If you have the following symptoms, you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease and should make an appointment as soon as possible:
- Red, puffy, and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gum line
- Chronic bad breath
Cavities Don’t Come From Sugar Alone
Yes, too much sugar, coupled with poor oral hygiene, does contribute to cavities. It sticks to your teeth and lingers for days, but it’s not the only culprit.
Starches and carbohydrates can also wreak havoc on your teeth.
Foods made from simple carbohydrates, like white flour, linger around and break down into simple sugars that cause tooth decay. When bacteria comes in contact with simple sugars, it actually produces harmful acids.
So do your best to cut back on crackers, chips, and bread, and don’t forget to brush and floss afterward!
The following foods and beverages should also be avoided or limited:
- Carbonated cola and soft drinks: You already know what sugar can do to your teeth, but soda offers a double whammy. The carbonation itself is also harmful to your teeth and wears down your enamel over time.
- Energy Drinks: Like soda, energy drinks contain a high amount of sugar. Energy drinks are also packed with acids that hurt enamel. If you are going to consume soda and energy drinks, always use a straw.
- Acidic citrus fruits and drinks: Fruits is great for you, but when acidic fruits linger for too long in your mouth, the acid can damage your teeth. Be especially careful with lemons, limes, and oranges.
But this doesn’t mean that food isn’t good for your teeth. In fact, several foods can actually improve your teeth.
Make sure to include the following foods in your new dental-friendly diet:
- Dairy products: foods like cheese, milk, and yogurt are rich with calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D. Your teeth is already contains calcium, so regularly consuming these foods can help protect your enamel from harmful acids that cause tooth decay.
- Green tea: green tea is a known caffeine alternative, but did you know it’s actually good for your teeth? Green tea slows down the tooth decay process, and some teas even contain healthy fluoride.
- Sugarless xylitol gum: If you don’t have floss or a toothbrush handy, you can always pop in a stick of xylitol gum. Xylitol changes the PH balance in your mouth and decreases bacteria. Plus, it washes away harmful acids that damage enamel.
Bad Oral Hygiene Increases Your Risk For These Health Problems
Your teeth are more than just a smile. When you take care of your teeth, you actually improve your overall physical health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral hygiene is linked to the following health problems:
- Cardiovascular Disease: Studies now show that oral bacteria may increase your risk of arterial plaque (clogged arteries), stroke, and heart disease.
- Infection of the heart lining: Known as endocarditis, this condition occurs when oral infections enter your bloodstream and damage the lining of your heart.
- Pregnancy: research has linked periodontitis with decreased birth weight and premature births.
If you have a health condition that weakens your immune system, you’re more at risk for developing gum diseases and oral cancers.
See a dental specialist if you have the following conditions:
- Diabetes: Patients with diabetes have higher instances of gum disease, but it’s more difficult to control blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, see a periodontist to help you maintain your gums so you can manage your blood sugar.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis causes weak and brittle bones. Therefore, patients are more at risk for periodontal disease. Moreover, certain medications prescribed to treat the condition can even slightly damage jawbone density, so be aware.
Certain Medications Can Cause Tooth Decay
Like selected osteoporosis medications, other medications can lead to tooth decay as well.
Common side effects of taking medication may include dry mouth, gum discoloration, altered taste, and inflammation of the gums. However, more serious side effects may include bone loss, mouth sores, abnormal bleeding, and even oral thrush
If you’re taking any of the following medications, talk to your dental specialist about preventative measures for tooth decay and gum disease:
- Pain medication
- Decongestants and antihistamine
- Blood pressure medication
Don’t Worry. Your Dental Specialist Has Seen it All
30 to 40 million adults avoid the dentist because of fear or anxiety, so you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is normal, but putting off your dental issues can lead to advanced peritonitis, tooth abscesses, root canals, or even worse conditions.
Never be embarrassed about going to the dentist. Understand that your dental specialist has seen it all. Taking care of teeth is their job, so there’s no dental problem too big or small that they can’t tackle.
That’s why it’s important to talk to your local dentist about your fears and anxieties first. Dental hygienists are trained in extra-gentle tooth cleaning procedures, plus, dental specialists understand that most patients are anxious about going to the dentist.
The longer you wait, the more anxiety you’ll have to deal with down the road. So make an appointment today to land a great dentist who understands those phobias.