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All Posts Tagged: Oral Health and Gums

drinking straws and oral health

Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Straws

Many people might not know that something as simple as using a straw to drink liquids can benefit their oral health. It’s common practice to use a straw in drinks at restaurants, but it’s less common for people to use straws at the workplace or home. Knowing the oral health benefits of using a drinking straw on a regular basis may encourage more people to change their drinking habits.

Benefits for teeth

Using a straw on a routine basis at home and out in public has several oral benefits as it protects your teeth. These benefits include:

Prevents stains – Using a straw avoids constant and direct contact between dark-colored drinks such as iced tea, and this prevents stains that can happen after long term exposure to these darker liquids.

Less exposure to sugary substances – Just like using a straw keeps stain-causing liquids from direct contact, it keeps sugary liquids away from your teeth. Less exposure to sugar-filled drinks can reduce the risk of bacteria and sticky residue from sticking to your teeth and causing tooth erosion.

Improves hygiene – Dishes in restaurants can serve as hosts for bacteria due to how many people they’re exposed to during a typical day. Even disposable, on-the-go cups can hold germs, so by using a straw, people can reduce their exposure to germs and bacteria that can make them sick and cause oral health issues.

More convenient – Anyone who has tipped an ice-filled cup up and had the ice shift and drench them as they drink knows that drinking from a straw reduces this risk and is more convenient than finding a dry shirt. Drinking from a straw is easier than unscrewing a cap too.

Safer – Drinking through a straw takes a controlled amount of liquid into the mouth, which lowers the chances of choking.

Additional ways to protect teeth

Using a drinking straw is one way to protect teeth from direct exposure to sugary and/or dark drinks that can cause erosion and stains, but there are other ways to protect teeth including:

  • Drinking water after consuming staining or sugary beverages to neutralize acid
  • Brushing teeth immediately after drinking dark or sugary beverages
  • Regular professional dental cleanings to prevent decay and discoloration

Even small changed like drinking through a straw or chasing sugary drinks with water can make a huge difference in a person’s oral health. Cutting back on sugar-filled beverages is another way to improve oral and overall health.

Keep your teeth looking and feeling their healthiest with professional cleanings and cosmetic dentistry from Creative Dental.

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causes of plaque buildup and how to prevent it

What causes plaque? And how to prevent and treat it.

When your goal is to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile, you know that plaque is your enemy. Plaque is a film of bacteria that’s colorless, sticky and can build up on your teeth when you don’t brush regularly. This bacteria formation can make teeth feel almost fuzzy and if not removed properly, can lead to bigger problems when it develops into tartar and possible gum disease.

Causes and Complications of plaque

Plaque forms on the teeth when they’re exposed to carbohydrate-filled foods including soft drinks, candy, and milk. These foods full of starch and sugar create problems when their residue remains on the teeth as the bacteria living in the mouth thrive on them, producing damaging acids. Without proper brushing to remove these bacteria, the acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause decay. When plaque develops under the gum line on the tooth roots, this can breakdown the bone that supports teeth and lead to eventual tooth loss if left untreated.

Preventing plaque build up

Everyone develops plaque due to the bacteria that constantly grow in the mouth and problems develop when plaque builds up as this can irritate and inflame the gums. Preventing the buildup of plaque is easy when you practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste goes a long way toward removing bacteria that leads to plaque. It’s important to brush along the gum line to prevent the development of plaque in that area. Additional ways to prevent plaque include:

  • Flossing daily between teeth to remove bacteria and food particles
  • Visit the dentist at least every six months for a professional cleaning and exam
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with snacks such as fruit, vegetables or cheese instead of sugary treats. Chewing on vegetables like celery can help neutralize plaque-causing acids and remove food particles.
  • Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce oral bacteria

Removing plaque

You can remove plaque buildup with proper oral hygiene practices every day. If plaque isn’t properly removed and develops into tartar, you can experience bigger problems than a sticky film on your teeth. Tartar is easier to see than plaque and that’s not a good thing as the brown or yellow deposit can lead to decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. The only way to remove plaque that’s developed into tartar is with a professional dental cleaning. The longer tartar remains on the teeth, the more problems it creates.

If your teeth aren’t looking as clean, bright and healthy as they should, contact Creative Dental to set up an appointment for an exam, cleaning and teeth whitening.

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Risk factors associated with tooth loss

Risk Factors Associated with Tooth Loss

Sometimes accidents happen that result in tooth loss, but other times tooth loss is avoidable and within the patient’s control. A recent study in the Journal of Periodontology revealed that there are major risk factors associated with tooth loss as a result of periodontal disease. While patients can’t control certain risk factors such as genetics, there are other elements patients can address to prevent tooth loss.

Risk factors associated with tooth loss

According to the study performed by researchers for the Journal of Periodontology, the risk factors for tooth loss from periodontal disease are:

  • Lack of professional dental care
  • Lack of brushing teeth
  • Smoking or other tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Male gender
  • Older than 35

An additional finding was that a patient’s front teeth have a higher risk of loss to gum disease than teeth located in the back of the mouth. Although risk factors such as gender and age can’t be changed, factors such as not brushing and continued tobacco use are completely under a patient’s control.

Origin of the study

The list of risk factors originates from a dentist in Kuwait and his colleagues who work for the Ministry of Health. Although the study is from Kuwait, the cases of tooth loss due to gum disease have strong similarities to studies globally and therefore have worldwide application. The study involved 1,775 adults who had undergone tooth extraction at a random selection of 21 dental practice clinics in Kuwait. The total of teeth removed equaled 3,694 because 14 of the selected patients had all of their teeth removed.

Breaking down the statistics

The leading reason for tooth loss in the world is gum disease and when you factor in the other statistics of the study, it becomes even more important to practice good oral hygiene. In the study, 40% of the patients had never received professional dental care, 13% had only received it 6 months prior to tooth extraction, 60% said they never or rarely brushed their teeth and only 16% said they brushed their teeth twice a day. Along with poor oral hygiene, several of the study participants had other health issues including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. While there’s still no conclusive evidence that these health issues have a direct connection with tooth loss, it’s a common trait that requires further research.

Although there are various options for tooth replacement today, the best plan is to preserve your natural teeth for a lifetime if possible. Creative Dental can help you protect and improve your smile with regular dental exams, cleanings and innovative cosmetic dentistry services.

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