How much do you really know about your mouth? Most people understand basic brushing and flossing, but they may not realize the myriad of factors that influence dental health. Knowing how your lifestyle impacts your teeth and gums can help you make the best choices to protect your smile.
True or False: You don’t need to floss every day.
Answer: False. Brushing alone won’t protect your mouth from decay or gum disease. Floss gets hard-to-reach areas, cleaning out the plaque and bacteria that wreak havoc on your oral health.
True or False: Taking care of your tongue is important, so you should brush it regularly.
Answer: True. The tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae trap food and bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Brushing twice a day will keep your breath smelling great.
True or False: Soft drinks and sports drinks don’t damage teeth.
Answer: False. These beverages, as well as red wine and fruit juices, can lead to enamel erosion. It’s best to stick with water, but if you consume these drinks, rinse your mouth when you finish.
True or False: It’s okay to put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or milk.
Answer: False. When you let your baby or toddler fall asleep with anything but water, you increase the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. This condition occurs because of prolonged bottle feeding, usually during sleep. Young children don’t have good plaque removal, so these beverages provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
True or False: Fluoride reduces decay 20 to 40 percent.
Answer: True. Drinking water with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria in your mouth produce. Since fluoride was added to the drinking water supplies across the country, childhood cavity rates have dramatically dropped.
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The fact is that the health care provider most people should see the most is their general dentist. Because this branch of healthcare is uniquely targeted at preventing disease and promoting good hygiene, general dentistry can help you avoid oral concerns and maintain a healthy and attractive smile.
General dentists are the most common providers for dental treatment for patients of all ages. Routine dental visits involve examinations, sometimes diagnostic tests, professional cleanings, and discussions about concerns. If your checkup reveals issues that require further treatment, most general dentists perform required procedures. However, your general dentist may refer you to a specialist for complex treatments.
What does a general dentist do? Differing from specialists who focus on a certain area of oral care, general dentists offer a wide variety of services.
- Preventive services – The goal of preventive dentistry is to stop disease before it has a chance to progress. Regular exams, diagnostic images, and professional cleanings are part of prevention. Proper oral hygiene techniques will also be discussed.
- Restorative services – Procedures for dental problems falls into this category, including fillings, crowns, gum disease remedies, dentures and more. Some general dentists also offer specialized treatments like root canal therapy and dental implants.
- Overall oral health services – Some dental problems are reflected in overall health concerns. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications and other problems may arise. General dentists can identify issues like these and offer treatment or direct you to the right specialist.
- Cosmetic services – Many general dentists offer cosmetic treatments such as dental veneers, teeth whitening, bonding, orthodontics and more.
When should you visit your general dentist? Experts recommend getting checkups every six months, or more often if you have an issue that should be addressed like a toothache or gum bleeding. Cosmetic appointments can be made at any time. The main thing is seeing your general dentist regularly so you can benefit from preventive care.
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Severely damaged, injured or diseased teeth can lead to not only cosmetic problems with your smile, but also functional ones. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns or dental bridges to treat your dental issues.
Dental crowns are a restorative dental therapy that covers the affected tooth completely, serving as the new outer surface of the tooth. A dental crown maintains the natural roots of a tooth and can prevent extraction. A dental bridge fills the gap left by one or more missing teeth and is affixed to bordering teeth with an anchoring crown.
Both dental crowns and dental bridges are made from a variety of materials that can be designed to match the color of your surrounding natural teeth. As opposed to removable prosthodontics such as full or partial dentures, dental crowns and bridges are permanently bonded to existing teeth or dental implants, allowing them to function and appear as natural teeth.
Dental crowns and bridges have a number of advantages and benefits, such as:
- Dental crowns protect the natural tooth after a root canal therapy, helping to prevent bacteria re-infecting the tooth that could lead to extraction.
- Dental bridges restore gapped or missing teeth, providing support to the surrounding teeth, preventing them from shifting in to fill the empty space and affecting your speech, bite and smile.
- Your dentist can typically place dental crowns and bridges in as few as two appointments.
- Dental crowns and bridges are both long-lasting, durable therapies, designed to protect your natural tooth for years to come.
- Dental crowns prevent bone loss by preserving the natural tooth roots, thereby stimulating the jawbone, preventing resorption, or shrinkage, of the bone following extraction.
If you have questions about what a dental crown or bridge can do to improve the form and function of your smile, talk to your dental professional today. You can restore your healthy smile and preserve it for years to come with a dental crown or dental bridge treatment.
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Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits. Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.
We look forward to seeing you in our Ottawa dental office
Your body is a little bit like a puzzle. It gives you clues to help you figure out what’s going on within your body. Did you know your mouth can give you hints about things that may be happening elsewhere in your body? Here’s a list of some of the signs your mouth can give you to pay attention to certain other aspects of your health.
Worn teeth and headache
If your teeth are showing extensive wear, you may be grinding your teeth. This would be even a stronger possibility if you’re also experiencing regular headaches, which can be caused by the muscle tension related to teeth grinding. This condition also indicates that you are likely under too much stress, and that you are unconsciously coping with it by grinding your teeth.
Gums covering teeth
If your gums begin to grow over your teeth and you are on medication, it may mean that your medication is at fault. Some medicines can cause your gums to overgrow, and the dosage needs to be adjusted.
An open sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks can be an indicator of oral cancer. Numbness and unexplained bleeding in your mouth are other signs. Smokers and people over age 60 are at the most risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others too. See your dentist to make sure all is okay.
If your teeth begin to crack or wear extensively, you may have gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD). It’s a digestive disease that allows stomach acid to flow back into your food pipe and mouth. This acid can cause your teeth to deteriorate. Additional signs of GERD are acid reflux, heartburn, and dry mouth.
If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them regularly. Inhaling food debris from your dentures that makes its way to your lungs can lead to pneum
Don’t put off choosing a general dentist until an emergency forces you to seek care from any dentist you can find. A better choice is to select the right dentist for you and your family who meets all your needs and to get established with regular checkups and consistent care. When searching for a general dentist, here are some guidelines to help you through the process.
Ask what procedures and treatments that the dentist offers. Make sure that the services you’re interested in are provided and that the dentist has experience in performing them. Typical services available through many general dentists include professional cleanings, X-rays, fillings, bonding, root canal treatment, teeth whitening, veneers, dental implants, and more.
Check to see that the dentist has the proper education and training to be practicing, as well as a valid license. Look for a dentist who pursues continuing education in order to maintain the latest and most efficient skills.
You are more likely to keep your appointments if the dental office is located near your home or work. This makes stopping in for checkups easier with less impacts on your busy schedule.
Personal comfort is one of the most important aspects of your dental visits. Not only should the office environment be comfortable and appealing, your interactions with the dentist and staff should also make you feel at ease. Look for professionals who listen to what you have to say and address all of your concerns. Nerves are a common part of dental visits for many people, so find a dentist who makes you feel relaxed and more likely to return for care.
Ask questions about various policies of the dental office such as hours, emergency care, financial responsibilities, insurance plans, and any other policies that might affect you.
We look forward to seeing you in our Ottawa dental office