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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Allergies and Oral Health

Did You Know Allergies Can Affect Oral Health?

As spring and warmer weather approach, many people are already suffering from seasonal allergies and dealing with sneezing, running noses and itchy eyes. Along with these unpleasant discomforts, allergies can also affect dental health. It’s important to know how certain allergy symptoms can lead to oral trouble so patients can seek treatment when necessary.

Sore throat

When sinuses become congested from allergies, a sore throat is common sinuses drain and mucus travels down the throat causing irritation. The throat can become swollen, painful and itchy and even lead to tooth discomfort without treatment.

Toothaches

Allergies may lead to pain in the teeth, usually the molars and can increase sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages. When a body reacts to allergies, it can create more tooth pain as the immune system tries to deal with congestion and other allergy issues. Located on either side of the nose, sinuses are designed to drain upward but as this is difficult to accomplish in daily life, the sinuses become congested, mucus builds up, and upper molars can become inflamed leading to toothaches.

Dry mouth

Seasonal allergy medicines both over the counter and prescribed tend to dry a person out as they seek to clear sinuses and remove mucus. Unfortunately, this can lead to dry mouth. When a mouth becomes extremely dry, it reduces saliva production and without enough saliva, the mouth can’t remove harmful bacteria and food particles that lead to decay. Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath. A patient suffering from dry mouth due to allergy medications should consult their dentist to find ways to improve saliva production.

Disguises bigger issues

Many symptoms and reactions from allergies that cause oral discomfort can have a connection to bigger dental issues such as tooth decay, infection and gum disease. Patients shouldn’t dismiss oral pain because they feel it’s due to allergies, they need to consult a dentist to make sure the allergies aren’t hiding something more serious. A thorough dental exam can help rule out or diagnose oral issues that require treatment and the dentist can also suggest ways to deal with allergy symptoms while keeping your mouth healthy.

If you’re suffering from allergies and it’s causing oral pain, it’s important to contact a dentist right away to avoid tooth or gum issues. Creative Dental can help keep your smile beautiful no matter what’s in bloom and wreaking allergy havoc this spring and summer.

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diabetes and tooth loss

Diabetes May Increase Risk of Tooth Loss

A diagnosis of diabetes increases a person’s risk of other health complications. Diabetes may result in damage to small and large blood vessels that increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Diabetes can damage nerves, eyes, kidneys and feet. Current research also indicates that diabetes may have a link to tooth loss.

Duke University study

A study conducted from 1971-2012 by Duke University researchers found that tooth loss can be another health issue related to diabetes. The study of over 37,000 Americans showed that people with diabetes lose twice the number of teeth as non-diabetics. The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey revealed that people with diabetes were 34% less likely than non-diabetics to have at least 21 of their natural teeth.

Additional factors affecting diabetic tooth loss

Tooth loss in the United States has been declining for 40 years, but diabetics are still more prone to losing teeth. Ethnicity also plays a role in tooth loss as African Americans with diabetes show a greater risk of tooth loss than Mexican or Caucasian Americans. The leading cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease and for those with diabetes, gum disease is a common complication. Approximately 10% of the population, or 29 million people, have a diagnosis of diabetes, and this represents a bewildering number of people at a higher risk of developing gum disease.

Importance of diagnosis and care

Adding to the increased risk of tooth loss is the fact that approximately 8 million people with diabetes haven’t been diagnosed with the disease. Without knowing they have diabetes, patients don’t know that they need to be more involved with their oral health than those who don’t have diabetes. When people receive the proper diagnosis of diabetes, they can then take steps to protect their overall and oral health and avoid tooth loss. Everyone benefits from good oral hygiene, but it’s especially important that diabetics take a proactive commitment to their oral health. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are some of the best ways to prevent tooth loss.

At Creative Dental, we’re committed to helping all of our patients maintain and protect their healthy smile. If you have diabetes, we can help you avoid tooth loss with regular, thorough periodontal exams and advice on improving oral health habits at home as needed.

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Care after dental restoration procedures

Updated Guidelines for Dental Restoration Care

At the end of 2015, The American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) published new guidelines regarding the care and maintenance of dental restorations. These guidelines covered restorations supported by dental implants and those supported by natural teeth. The new guidelines don’t contain anything surprising, but it’s important to understand the reasoning behind any oral health recommendations.

Long-standing recommendations

The updated recommendations from the ACP uphold what’s been the standard of dental restoration care for a while. The ACP still recommends visits to the dentists every six months for inspection, care and maintenance of dental restorations including dental implants, porcelain veneers and dental crowns. The guidelines encourage dentists to clean natural teeth and restorations thoroughly and with the correct tools to avoid potential damage to restorations.

At home recommendations from the ACP encourage people to follow good oral hygiene practices including twice daily brushing, flossing at least once a day and using any supplement methods necessary to remove food debris and plaque from the gum line and between teeth. Patients with complex and multiple restorations on natural teeth that surround or support a removable restoration, the ACP suggests using chlorhexidine rinses, high fluoride toothpaste and the addition of triclosan antibiotic when necessary.

The need for additional study

One of the biggest revelations from the ACP’s 2015 guidelines was that only a few of the current clinical care recommendations have good, science-based support. In clinical care guidelines, the quality of evidence receives ratings that range from A to D; with A being the best score. The ACP issued a “D” rating for a majority of the guidelines because they’re extrapolated from or based on lower-quality evidence. The recommendations that received an “A” rating from ACP include thorough dental exams, brushing and flossing twice a day and the guidelines for complex and multiple dental restorations. Despite the “lower quality” evidence, it’s still advisable to follow the existing care recommendations as they’re based accurately on existing evidence. Additional study and research will yield better information and help create recommendations that receive a higher rating from the ACP.

The best place to receive recommendations that pertain to your specific dental restorations is from a qualified dental professional. At Creative Dental, we have extensive experience with many forms of dental restorations and understand the proper care and maintenance required to help those restorations last without the need for replacement or removal. Contact us today to discuss ways to improve and protect your smile.

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Dentist pulling a tooth

Dental Treatment to Prevent Tooth Extraction

Suffering damage or trauma to a tooth can cause great anxiety and the fear that the only treatment option is extraction. Fortunately, depending on the extent of the damage or trauma, there are dental treatments can help save the tooth and avoid losing the tooth. Having a missing tooth or teeth can have a negative impact on a person’s confidence, chewing ability, teeth alignment and overall health, so it’s important to understand how to avoid tooth extraction whenever safely possible.

Root canals can save teeth

Having a root canal treatment is the top alternative to extracting a tooth. Also called endodontic treatment, a root canal treats the living pulp inside the tooth. Tooth pulp is the inner tissue consisting of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues that provide nourishment to the tooth as it develops. In a fully-developed tooth, removing the pulp via a root canal has little or no effect because the tooth receives nourishment from supporting tissues.

A root canal may become necessary when cracks, chips, decay, dental procedures, faulty crowns or trauma trigger inflammations and infections in the tooth pulp. Treating the damaged tooth prevents further pain and potential abscess. During a root canal, the dentist removes inflamed or infected tooth pulp and then cleans, disinfects, shapes, fills and seals the hollow to prevent future infections. Following the root canal with a dental crown or filling placement helps restore tooth structure and function, and there’s a high probability the tooth can remain healthy for a lifetime with proper care.

Benefits of root canal treatment

Having a root canal prevents tooth extraction while restoring and protecting the health of your damaged or injured tooth. The treatment is non-surgical, common and safe. Additional ways to save a damaged tooth and avoid extraction include treating an infection with antibiotics, but this may not be effective as a root canal and delaying the proper treatment may increase the likelihood of tooth extraction. Patients who take painkillers to dull the pain of tooth damage risk the infection or inflammation growing worse and can eventually lead to tooth loss. Treating issues within the tooth pulp early is the best way to save a tooth. If tooth extraction becomes necessary, there are several replacement options available, but dentists prefer to save the natural tooth whenever possible.

If you’re experiencing any tooth discomfort or pain, contact Creative Dental promptly so we can diagnose the problem and protect the health of your smile.

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Cigars are bad for oral health

Cigars Pose Oral Health Risk

Tobacco use of any kind can be detrimental to overall and oral health, but for some reason in today’s popular culture, cigars have risen as a glamorous luxury promoted by celebrities, sports stars, clubs and even clothing stores. Cigar sales have continued their upward climb for over a decade now and what cigar connoisseurs may not realize is that cigars can be even more addictive and dangerous than smoking cigarettes. There’s nothing glamorous about a mouth and body damaged by tobacco use, so it’s important to know the facts before lighting up.

A growing habit for all ages

In the past, cigar smoking might have been a habit of older men, but today it’s becoming the habit of women and even teenagers. A study by the CDC found that 14% of high school students smoke cigars, and this may be an alarming discovery for parents. People who smoke cigars may believe they’re safer than cigarettes but in truth, cigars can have up 40 times as much tar and nicotine in them as there is in cigarettes.

Tobacco use and oral health

Dental professionals are at the forefront of protecting their patients from the damaging effects of tobacco use and addiction to nicotine that occurs from using cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigars. A dentist can screen for oral cancer in patients who use tobacco and suggest ways patients can find help quitting. Although cigars may be associated with upscale, wealthy people and seen as a sign of sophistication, they’re still harmful. When kids see adults smoking cigars and see that sense of superiority, they can feel the desire to try it themselves. People may think that smoking a cigar only occasionally is safe, but it still increases nicotine levels in the body that can lead to dependence. The tobacco carcinogens in cigars cause an increase in the risk of throat and mouth cancer just as cigarettes do.

Additional reasons to avoid cigars

Smoking cigars regularly or even only occasionally in a social setting may not seem like a big deal, but it is for overall and oral health. Regular cigar smokers may have chronic bad breath and suffer from badly stained teeth due to the tobacco and nicotine. Among men who smoke cigars, the cancer death rate is up to 40% higher than among non-smoking males. Undoubtedly, as cigar use continues to increase, additional alarming statistics will arise regarding women and teens smoking cigars.

If you use any tobacco products, it’s vital that you take good care of your oral health with proper oral hygiene and frequent visits to the dentist. Finding ways to quit tobacco use are even more beneficial to your overall and oral health. At Creative Dental, we want you to have a healthy smile and will work with you to address any oral health issues.

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Sports Drinks Damage Teeth

Sports Drinks Can Cause Permanent Damage to Teeth

Hitting the gym, taking a yoga class, hitting the road walking or running or conquering a new sport as part of your resolution for a healthier New Year are all great ways to improve your well-being. However, drinking energy drinks and sports drinks after such activities can cause irreversible damage to teeth, according to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry. The high acidity levels in sports and energy drinks can erode the outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, and this leaves the teeth vulnerable to damage and decay.

Disturbing study findings

Although young adults consume energy and sports drinks more than adults, they’re not good for anyone’s teeth. These drinks don’t improve sports performance or energy levels and are just as sugary as soda. Drinking sports drinks or energy drinks after a workout bathes the teeth in acid that eats away at enamel. Once enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back and weakening it as an adolescent with energy drinks can lead to a lifetime of oral health issues. The Academy of General Dentistry study examined the acidity levels of 9 energy drinks and 13 sports drinks, and while acidity levels vary by brand and flavor, the results were disturbing across the board. The study found that enamel suffered damage from regular consumption of these drinks after only 5 days of exposure. Energy drinks can cause double the damage as sports drinks.

Finding better ways to hydrate

30-50 percent of teens in the United States consume energy drinks, many of them at least once a day. Some adults consume similar amounts of the drinks, and even moderate intake of sports and energy drinks can have a negative effect on oral health. When these sugar-filled drinks damage tooth enamel, it’s irreversible, and the teeth are then vulnerable to cavities, sensitivity and decay. A better way to hydrate after exercise is by drinking water. If someone consumes an energy or sports drink, it’s a good idea to rinse with water to increase saliva flow and lower the acidity levels in the mouth back to normal. Following energy or sports drink consumption, adults and teens should wait at least an hour to brush because the acid from them can weaken teeth and brushing increases tooth erosion.

Getting healthy is great for your body and your mouth, but sports and energy drinks are not a necessary part of well-being. Contact Creative Dental to find out more ways to protect your teeth during exercise and sports.

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Maintain your oral health this holiday season

Maintain Great Oral Health this Season

During the busy pace of this time of year, it’s easy to lose track of important things like maintaining great oral hygiene. However, giving yourself the gift of a healthy smile is one of the most important gifts of all as it’s a gift you want to keep for your entire life. By making and keeping your oral health a priority this season, you’ll have even more reasons to smile happily.

The temptation of holiday gatherings

Getting together with family and friends this time of year is wonderful for your spirit, but not necessarily great for your oral health. The assortment of sugary foods and alcoholic beverages can tempt you to indulge more than usual, and that’s unwise for your oral and overall health. With increased social activities and expectations also come more stress, and that can cause you to neglect your oral health. Not eating right and forgetting to brush combine to increase the risk of cavities, decay and gum disease. To avoid such problems, employ some sensible holiday practices that can have you ringing in the New Year worry-free.

Consume wine sensibly

Wine has high acidity levels, whether it’s red or white. That acid can eat away at the tooth enamel that protects teeth against cavities and decay. To prevent such damage, consume wine in moderation, don’t swish it around in your mouth, and drink water periodically to rinse the acid from your teeth.

Limit sugary treats

Cookies, chocolate, candy canes and other sugary treats this time of year provide ample food for the bacteria in your mouth to thrive. Increased bacteria make it more likely you’ll develop cavities, but you can prevent this by brushing and flossing after eating sweets, chewing sugarless gum and drinking plenty of water. All of those activities boost saliva production and helps wash bacteria from your mouth.

Reduce stress

We discussed reducing holiday stress in a previous post, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the point. When you’re feeling stress, it can lead to teeth clenching or grinding and result in headaches, jaw pain, and chipped teeth. Relieving and reducing stress when possible helps as does asking your dentist about a night guard to prevent tooth damage from nightly teeth grinding. If you feel yourself becoming stressed, try not to clench your jaw and find effective ways to relax.

The gift of great oral health is something that continues giving throughout the year, and you can get a jump start on an amazing new year with Creative Dental and our wide range of dentistry services.

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Woman with bad posture experiencing pain

Connection Between Bad Posture and TMJ Disorder

For patients with properly aligned teeth who don’t abuse them by chewing on hard objects or clenching or grinding them, it can be a mystery why they experience the headaches, neck pain, and achy jaw associated with TMJ disorder. Waking up in such discomfort every morning is disconcerting and patients suffering from it may be surprised to realize the link between poor posture and TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder explained

When jaw joints don’t function as they should and cause pain and stress in surrounding tissues, nerves and muscles of the head, neck and face, it’s called TMJ disorder. The TMJs (temporomandibular joints) attach the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ears. Without TMJs, people couldn’t move their mouths to speak, eat, yawn, chew, etc. Those who suffer TMJ disorder can experience various symptoms including:

  • Popping, locking or clicking jaws
  • Pain in the ears, neck, shoulders, back and jaw
  • Biting difficulty
  • Swelling in the face
  • Ear issues such as ringing and dizziness

Bad posture and TMJ disorder

For the body to function at optimal performance, all of its bones, muscles and joints need to be in proper alignment. If someone slouches in their chair or hunches over a computer regularly, their body can become retrained to maintain an improper position. Poor posture can lead to a misaligned spine, which causes the lower jaw to protrude forward and have an improper bite. An improper bite is one of the main causes of TMJ disorder so it’s important to avoid the domino effect bad posture can cause.

Treating TMJ disorder from bad posture

Sitting and standing straight to correct poor posture is the first step toward treating TMJ disorder caused by bad posture. By practicing correct posture, the entire body realigns properly and the jaw will stop protruding. Proper posture while standing means keeping chest forward, shoulders back and lengthening the spine to avoid jutting the chin forward. Sitting with good posture involves keeping the body in a similar posture as standing and pressing into the back of the chair to distribute weight evenly on hips. Knees need to be at or above hip level while sitting and if they’re not, people need to elevate them with a footstool or something similar. Another way to improve posture is by wearing supportive, comfortable footwear and adding arch supports or insoles to shoes. Physical therapy, yoga, massage and Pilates can help release muscle tension and retrain the spine into proper alignment and an experienced dentist can help patients get their bite back into proper alignment.

Creative Dental offers TMJ therapy for those suffering from the disorder and we’ll work with you to find the best treatment for your condition. We know how beneficial it is to have your oral and overall health aligned properly.

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Nail Biting

Why You Should Stop Biting Your Nails

Nail biting is a common and universal bad habit that dentists discourage in their patients. It’s an easy habit to pick up and a hard one to break, but stopping nail biting is very beneficial to oral health. Quitting the bad habit of nail biting may not be easy, but there are solutions that can help people stop so they can improve and maintain healthy teeth.

Risks associated with nail biting

When you bite your nails, it places pressure on your front teeth that they’re not designed to withstand. Shearing is the name for this kind of pressure on the front teeth. Teeth are highly durable and can handle different stresses, but shearing from nail biting may lead to a chipped tooth or teeth. A majority of nail biters use their front incisors to bite, and this can damage these highly visible teeth.

Dental treatments for nail biting damage

Although a dentist can repair a chipped tooth with a filling or dental bonding, continued nail biting could break the dental repair and require further treatments. Repeated dental treatments of damaged teeth can lead to the need for a more permanent solution like a dental crown.

Prevention is the best treatment

The best treatment for nail biting damage is to avoid it all together by remedying the bad habit. Even if your dentist has told you that you’re risking damage to your teeth, or you’ve already damaged your teeth, lifelong habits are hard to break, especially if you bite your nails to deal with stress. You need to be persistent in your efforts to stop biting your nails and utilize other available tools as necessary. Stores sell polishes that have an unpleasant, non-toxic flavor to discourage nail biting, but they may not work for you. A good way to start is to replace the bad habit with a better habit that keeps your mouth occupied such as chewing sugar-free gum. If you chew sugar-free gum after meals that can further help your oral health as it increases saliva production, which helps wash away food residue and bacteria.

Biting your nails may seem harmless to you, but it’s not as it can damage your teeth to the point of requiring dental repair. You should also never use your teeth for opening packages, chewing on pens or pencils or chewing ice as that can also damage teeth. If you’ve chipped a tooth biting your nails or want to find ways to break the habit, contact Creative Dental today so they can ensure the health and beauty of your smile for a lifetime.

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biting nails bad for teeth

Daily Habits that can Damage Teeth

Many people go about their daily routine with little thought to their teeth and gums aside from twice daily brushing and once daily flossing. However, they may not realize that daily habits such as what they eat and drink and certain activities can cause problems for their teeth.

The enemy called sugar

Sugar is the biggest enemy to teeth and the longer it remains in the mouth, the more issues it contributes to. The acid-producing bacteria in the mouth feed off sugar and that acid then eats away at tooth enamel. Sugary treats such a hard or jelly candies that stick to the surface of teeth and between teeth are especially bad, as are dried fruit like raisins. A better alternative for those craving sweets is fresh fruit followed by a rinse of water.

Drinks and oral health

Regular soda, sugar-free soda, club soda and fruit juices with added sugar are all bad for teeth because they bathe teeth in an acidic environment. Alcohol such as wine is acidic too and can dry out the mouth, which reduces the saliva that helps wash away plaque and bacteria on teeth. For those who consume sugary and acidic drinking, rinsing with water can help.

Using teeth as tools

It’s never a good idea to use teeth as tools because although they’re hard, using them to bite off clothing tags, open bags or snap off bottle caps can lead to damage. Chewing on pens, pencils or ice is also a bad idea. And if you bite your nails, stop it!

Tobacco use

Tobacco use such as smoking yellows teeth and dries out the mouth. Chewing tobacco’s carcinogens can remain in the soft tissues and gums for a long time causing extensive damage.

Taking medications

The American Dental Association reports that over 500 medications can lead to dry mouth. Having a dry mouth inhibits the production of saliva that washes away bacteria, and this can increase the risk of decay and cavities. Patients experiencing dry mouth should consult their dentist for possible treatment options.

Playing sports

Contact sports such as football and hockey can increase the risk of suffering an injury to the face, teeth and gums. Dentists can create custom mouthguards for athletes that are comfortable as they provide maximum protection to teeth and gums. Along with sports, mouth guards/night guards can also help prevent oral damage in people who grind or clench their teeth at night.

Avoiding certain bad habits can help protect your smile, as can regular dental visits with Creative Dental.

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