Tag: dental health

Tips for choosing a mouthguard

Is your child participating in a spring sport? Make sure their smile is protected by wearing a mouthguard during both games and practices.

Types of mouthguards:

  • Stock or ready-made mouthguards are the least expensive and can be purchased at most sports stores. These mouthguards are pre-formed, so often they don’t fit perfectly.
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards can be molded to fit your child’s mouth by boiling them in water and then biting into the warm plastic. They are available at most sporting goods stores.
  • Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed and constructed by your dentist. This type of mouthguard can be more expensive than others, but ensures a perfect fit.

Caring for your mouthguard is simple. Just rinse it under cold water after each use and occasionally clean it with soap and cool water. Since mouthguards can tear or wear out, be sure to replace it after each sporting season.

To learn more about mouthguards and take a fun quiz, visit the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website.

Source: American Dental Association

Prevent bad breath with good oral hygiene

Worried about bad breath? You’re not alone. 50% of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives. Bad breath can get in the way of your social life. It can make you self-conscious and embarrassed. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to freshen your breath.

  1. Floss daily. Need another reason to floss your teeth at least once a day? Flossing daily helps improve bad breath by effectively removing the food particles and bacteria that contribute to it. That makes flossing one of the easiest ways to prevent and banish bad breath.
  1. Scrape your tongue. The coating that normally forms on the tongue can harbor foul-smelling bacteria. To eliminate them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush, or, better yet, use a tongue scraper. They’re designed to apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area, removing bacteria, food debris, and dead cells.
  1. Drink more water. Drink plenty of water to help maintain the level of saliva in your mouth to help prevent bad breath in addition to following a good oral care routine. After eating, swishing your mouth with plain water also helps freshen your breath by eliminating food particles.
  1. Kick the habit. Bad breath is just one of many reasons not to smoke. Smoking damages gum tissue and stains teeth. It also increases your risk of oral cancer. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs that can help you give up tobacco for good.
  1. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead. Sugary candies promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and add to bad breath problems. Instead, chew sugarless gum, which stimulates saliva … the mouth’s natural defense against plaque acids.

Sources: American Dental Association WebMD, Oral-B

What are some early warning signs of oral cancer?

Like all forms of cancer, early detection is extremely important. Be sure to check your mouth when brushing and flossing. If you notice any changes, or any of these signs and symptoms, contact Dr. Baker immediately, especially if you’ve experienced them for two weeks or more:

  • A mouth sore that does not heal or that bleeds easily.
  • A white or red patch in the mouth that will not go away.
  • A lump, thickening or soreness in the mouth, throat, or on the tongue.
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing food, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed.

Source: American Dental Association (ADA)

How do I know if a product is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)?

Not all oral health products are approved by the ADA. Be sure to look products with “ADA Accepted” on the packaging. ADA has approved products in several categories from toothbrushes and toothpastes, to tooth whitening bleaches and sugar-free chewing gum. For a complete list of ADA accepted oral hygiene products visit their website. The ADA also provides names of water filters that do not filter out fluoride from the water supply.

Guide to dental floss

If there’s one thing my patients need to do more of, it’s floss. Regular flossing removes plaque buildup between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, preventing gum disease.

Types of dental floss:

  • Unwaxed floss—a thin nylon floss made of about 35 strands twisted together. It fits into tight spaces if your teeth are close together, but it can be prone to shredding or breaking.
  • Waxed floss—a standard nylon floss with a light wax coating. It is less likely to break, but the wax coating may make it harder to use in tight spots.
  • Dental tape—broader and flatter than standard floss and comes in waxed or unwaxed versions. People with more space between their teeth often find dental tape more comfortable to use than traditional floss.

Using a “flosser”

If you have trouble reaching the back of your mouth or gripping traditional floss, try a flosser. A flosser is basically a piece of floss on a handle. Like toothbrushes, flossers come in a variety of shapes and colors (even battery-powered!). Look for one with a long handle for easier holding and a compact head that makes it easier to reach behind the back teeth—a particularly tricky spot to clean. Dental flossers also come in a variety of kid-friendly colors and cartoon characters.

The best type of dental floss is the one that is most comfortable for you. The easier to use, the more likely the patient will floss on a regular basis.

Source: Oral B

man chewing on a pencil

Habits that damage your teeth

Many of the things we do every day, often without a second thought are actually harming your teeth.

Chewing on ice—It may seem harmless, ice is just frozen water and water is good for you, right? Wrong. Chewing on hard, frozen cubes can chip or crack your teeth. Try chewing sugarless gum instead.

Tongue/lip piercings—Accidently biting down on a metal stud can crack a tooth. It can cause gum damage if the metal rubs against the gums. And since the mouth is a haven for bacteria, a piercing raises the risk of infections and sores.

Opening things with your teeth—Using your teeth as a tool to open bottle caps or plastic packaging can cause them to crack or chip. Keep scissors and bottle openers handy.

Drinking pop—It can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving, plus phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet pop may have less sugar, but it contains more acid in the form of artificial sweeteners.

Chewing on pencils—Just like chewing on ice, this can chip or crack your teeth. When you feel the need to chew, grab a stick of sugarless gum.

Bedtime bottles—Giving your child a bottle in bed may seem comforting, but it could lead to decay. By sleeping with a bottle in their mouth, their teeth are immersed in sugars all night.

To keep your smile shining bright and healthy, be sure to have your teeth cleaned and examined twice a year.

Taking care of teeth at work

On average, we spend a third of our day at work. While at work, we eat lunch and often grab a snack from the vending machine or birthday cake from the lunchroom. Do you clean your teeth during the long workday? Here are a few tips for keeping your smile healthy at the workplace:

  • Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk, locker or lunchbox and brush after eating.Or try the single-use toothbrushes, preloaded with toothpaste (Ex: Colgate Wisps).
  • If you are embarrassed to brush your teeth at work, try rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.
  • Chewing sugarless gum will increase saliva production and neutralize acids in the mouth that cause tooth decay.

Five dental resolutions for 2018

Many of us are making resolutions to exercise, lose weight and get organized.  What about your teeth? Here are a few suggested resolutions to help your smile stay bright and healthy.

  1. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Brushing your teeth twice a day fights plaque and decay.  Flossing gets rid of food particles trapped between your teeth and gums that a toothbrush just can’t reach.
  2. Use mouthwash. A daily rinse with antiseptic mouthwash will help kill germs and bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Mouthwash will also freshen your breath and fight plaque.
  3. Drink more water. At least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the recommendation. If you are drinking water, you are less likely to drink cola, tea and coffee, which can stain your teeth.
  4. Use protective devices. Wear a custom-fitted mouth guard when playing sports (even during practice!) to protect those pearly whites.
  5. Visit your dentist twice a year. Taking care of your teeth at home is just the first step in keeping a bright and healthy smile. Your dentist can diagnose and treat any potential problems before they become big issues.