Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.
Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain
Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our Family 1st dentist in can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.
Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets
When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.
Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing
Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss.
Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth
Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.
Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay
Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age. Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact Family First Dental.
Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.
What is Dry Socket?
When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not formed correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is a dry socket.
The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our office right away.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions.
Treatment and Recovery
If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery.
Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our office.
If you have received a dental implant, you have invested both time and money into the future of your smile. It is important to protect this investment in order to maintain good oral health. There are certain steps you should take after undergoing a dental implant procedure in order to care for your mouth.
After the procedure, your mouth might be tender at first. This tenderness only lasts about ten to fourteen days. Your dentist recommends a diet of warm soup, soft foods, and cold foods during this time. Additionally, you should refrain from smoking. Although the healing time for a dental implant tends to vary depending on the patient and the situation, it generally takes between two and four months for your mouth to fully heal after receiving a dental implant. You will not experience discomfort throughout this period, though.
Once your mouth has healed, caring for an implant is very similar to caring for a natural tooth. Although an implant cannot develop a cavity, it can still undergo the same wear-and-tear as a normal tooth. When not maintained properly, there is a risk for peri-implantitis to occur, which is similar to periodontal disease. However, this is easily preventable through regular check-ups, as well as daily brushing and flossing.
In order to maintain good oral health, it is important to continue to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can clean the areas that you are unable to reach. Additionally, they will be able to check the surrounding gums and bone to ensure that they are healthy. As always, your dentist recommends thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Paying attention to your oral hygiene will ensure that your implant survives. If you continue to maintain good oral hygiene, your implants can last for the rest of your life without a need for replacement. For questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact our dental office.
We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things shared by our Family 1st dentist that you may not know about the tongue:
- The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.
- The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.
- A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!
- Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.
- The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.
- A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.
- No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.
- 1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.
- Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.
Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office.
Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:
- Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer.
- Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth.
- Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12.
- Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria.
- Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious.
- Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule an oral cancer screening.
For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our Family First dental office.
Your teeth age with you. It’s important to keep them strong and healthy even as you grow older. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease. In addition to getting a regular dental examination, here are some other tips shared by our Family 1st dentist to keep your teeth healthy.
Keep a Routine
Regardless of age, we cannot stress the importance of keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing twice-daily and flossing at least once per day. For seniors with dentures, it is important that you remove them for at least four hours each day. We recommend removing them at night. Dentures need to be cleaned daily so make it part of your routine as well. We also suggest staying hydrated by drinking water. Not only does water help keep you producing enamel building saliva, but if it contains fluoride, it can help keep your teeth strong. Make a regular visit to our office part of your routine as well.
Tips for Caregivers
If you are the primary caregiver of someone elderly, working with them to keep their teeth healthy can be a challenge. It is up to you to remind them to brush and floss regularly. Help them by establishing a routine and set times for brushing their teeth. We ask that you assist them in making an appointment to visit our dental office. If keeping up with daily dental health seems to be too difficult, please contact our office. We can work with you to offer some advice and solutions.
For seniors in a nursing home that are enrolled in state or national financial programs, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests considering the Incurred Medical Expense regulation. This works to assist in paying for care that is deemed a necessity. If our dentist finds that treatment must be done, consider this as an option to lessen the financial burden. Talk to your nursing home or care facility’s caseworker for more information.
Don’t Forget About Gums
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be brought on by certain medications. When you visit our office, be sure to update us on any changes to your medications. At times, early periodontal disease is painless which makes it even more important that you keep a regular routine of visiting our office for a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation. According to the ADA, more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have chronic periodontitis.
Keeping your teeth healthy as you age can be difficult. We suggest sticking to a daily routine in terms of brushing and flossing, and keeping up with regular visits to our office. If you are the caregiver of an elderly spouse, parent, or loved one, do not overlook their oral health. Make sure they are receiving the needed attention and are sticking to a daily oral healthy routine.
For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to set up your next appointment, please contact our Family 1st dental office.
Resources – The American Dental Association
In addition to brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing at least once, it is also important to take good care of your tongue. Bacteria can build up on your tongue throughout the day. For some patients, our Family 1st dentist says using a tongue scraper can be the best solution for a cleaner, healthier tongue.
Should You Be Using One?
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) found scraping your tongue results in a noticeable decrease in the sulfur compounds which can lead to bad breath. According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, tongue scrapers reduced these compounds by 75%, while using a standard toothbrush only reduced 45% of sulfur compounds. Choose a method that works best for your mouth, but make sure you are taking care of your tongue.
What Do They Do?
While they may help alleviate bad breath, scraper’s main function is to clean off debris and bacteria from your tongue. Your toothbrush is designed to effectively clean teeth, but the surface of your tongue is very different from that of your teeth. A tongue scraper may provide a more thorough cleaning for your tongue.
How Do I Use One?
Start by washing out your mouth. When you are ready, clean your tongue, place the scraper in the back of your mouth, and gently pull it forward. Make sure you are scraping all areas of your tongue, but do not push so far back that you gag. You will want to rinse your mouth after you are done. Be sure to clean the scraper when you are finished.
While you might not be used to cleaning your tongue, it can be an effective solution for bad breath and bacteria caused by food. At your next appointment, ask about other ways of keeping your tongue clean and your mouth healthy. Keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing is crucial to maintaining your oral health and preventing unhealthy bacteria.
For more tips on a healthy mouth or to schedule your next visit to our Family 1st dental office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you.