Smith & Jackson hopes you’re surviving cold and flu season, but if you’re not, here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene
According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. You shouldn’t be sharing your toothbrush in normal circumstances but especially when you are sick. We highly recommend replacing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick even though the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months even when you are not sick.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but it is better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them, if you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.
Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on cough drops, or throat lozenges to keep saliva flowing.
Globally there are more than 300,000 new cases of mouth cancer every year. The number of people being diagnosed with mouth cancer has grown nearly a third in the last decade.
Although risk factors (such as smoking and alcohol) are responsible for many mouth cancers, it is a disease that can affect anyone.
That is why it is so important we all know what to look out for.
Don’t leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks.
Don’t ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
Regularly check your own mouth, lips, cheeks, head and neck for anything out of the ordinary.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate. Book an appointment with Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Jessica today. Quick action is very often life-saving.
Chewy and Gummy Candies
These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. The reason they are so harmful to teeth is that bacteria in the mouth burn the sugar, creating acid as a byproduct. The acid then dissolves tooth enamel, which is what causes cavities. Chewy candies, including gummy candies and taffy, are among the worst offenders because they linger and stick around in your mouth, giving them additional time to cause tooth decay.
Hard candies can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful. You also tend to keep these kinds of candies in your mouth for longer periods of time so the sugar is getting in your saliva and washing over your teeth.
Sour candy that is sticky and coated in sugar can be very acidic, and that acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
Popcorn kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth. They are also sticky, sugary and can be hard. If you have braces or any other retainers in your mouth staying away from these would be best.
Chocolate is one of the friendliest candies on your teeth. Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy, and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.
We hope you eat some delicious sweets this Halloween season. Remember to eat in moderation and maintain a proper oral hygiene routine to maintain good oral health all year-round.
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Today, as many as 4 million Americans are living with dry mouth. Dry mouth—also called Xerostomia results from an inadequate flow of saliva. It is not a disease, but can be a symptom of a medical disorder or a side effect of certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics and many others.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include a constant sore throat, burning sensation, trouble speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. In some cases, dry mouth can be an indicator of Sjögren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture-producing glands, the tear-secreting and salivary glands as well as other organs.
Saliva is the body’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria, and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection. Without saliva, extensive tooth decay can also occur. Dr. Jessica and Dr. Stevenson are happy to recommend various methods to help you if you are experiencing dry mouth.
To learn more you can visit the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.
Nitrous oxide is one option we now offer at Smith & Jackson Family Dental to help you be more comfortable during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is for adults and children, and can be a particularly helpful sedation method for those who are nervous about a pending treatment.
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nose. As a patient breathes normally through their nose, they may feel a sense of relaxation, decrease in anxiety, and a tingling in arms and legs.
While breathing nitrous oxide, patients are able to hear and respond to questions and directions. Dental treatment is then initiated while the patient is calm and comfortable. After treatment is completed and within seconds after nitrous oxide is removed, the effects of the gas are no longer felt.
If you or your loved ones have anxiety about dental treatment, ask us about nitrous oxide. We are excited to be able to offer this trusted service to our patients!
Many people have sensitive teeth that are symptomatic when eating hot and cold foods
Possible causes include:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Fractured teeth
- Worn fillings
- Gum disease
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth root
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Come in and see Dr. Jessica and Dr. Stevenson to know which treatment is best for you. Treatments include:
- Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
- Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask us if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.
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