Teen Health: This Risk Needs to be Tackled!

Oral Preventive Houston, TXOral hygiene is an important practice. Because we know this, we spend a lot of time teaching good principles to young children. During early childhood, children are learning the value of brushing, then the actual practice of brushing independently but with close oversight. By about age 10 or so, parents may assume that their child has everything under control in the oral care department. Teens not only need continual encouragement to take good care of their teeth and gums, but they also need to be aware of specific risks to their mouth and their general wellness.

In a recent report, the Academy of General Dentistry pointed out that the pace of life that is common today is a risk to teens’ oral and general health. Due to a nearly-constant rush, teens are more likely to reach for convenience foods. Soda is a prime example and the very example that was identified by the Academy as a direct risk to tooth and bone health.

The risk presented by soda may seem obvious to a lot of parents. We go back to the habits of early childhood when sugar consumption was often carefully controlled. Parents of teens may try to discourage their kids from drinking soda because they presume the sugar in such beverages can cause cavities. That’s true. Sugar can lead to tooth decay. The way it does, though, is by supporting acid in the mouth. It is the acid produced by oral bacteria (the tiny microorganisms that consume the sugar from soda and other foods) that causes damage. So, let’s look again at the average soda.

If you look at the ingredients in soda, you are likely to see the word “acid.” In particular, phosphoric acid is a common preservative in soft drinks. According to studies, phosphoric acid is a direct inhibitor of calcium. During adolescence, the body needs 1300mg a day of this mineral. The reason why is that bones are doing their most active growing between the ages of 9 and 18. Without sufficient calcium, there is a risk that bones will remain somewhat fragile and susceptible to fracture. This idea is not theory; it is a fact confirmed by research.

It is unlikely that parents can prevent a teenager from drinking soda if that has been the habit. However, parents can encourage their teens to take a daily multivitamin to support optimal bone and tooth health.

We enjoy assisting families from the Houston area by providing friendly dental care. Contact an office near you to schedule checkups and cleanings for your family.

Careful! Your Toothbrush Could Make You Sick!

Oral Health Royal Dental TXDuring cold and flu season, there are several precautions that people take to stay as healthy as possible. We wash our hands more, and keep hand sanitizer nearby. These are good habits that come highly recommended due to the fact that it is natural for us to touch our face multiple times in a day. Whatever bacteria and other yuck that we may have picked up can be transferred and then, next thing we know, we’re down with the flu.

Here’s the kicker . . . the bacteria that creates that flu is on your toothbrush. It isn’t that your toothbrush caused your sickness. It’s that this daily-use instrument picks up microorganisms from your mouth. When you are sick, you’re spreading germs you really don’t want to pick back up again.

  • Numerous studies have indicated that most toothbrushes are capable of harboring bacteria and viruses.
  • It isn’t just the surface of the toothbrush that you hold that can be contaminated, it’s the bristles themselves.
  • The number of microorganisms picked up by a toothbrush correlates directly with the number of bristles on the brush.
  • Fewer microorganisms are found on toothbrushes with clear, translucent heads. This is because many viruses and bacteria are sensitive to light.

Tips for Avoiding Reinfection from Your Toothbrush

The last thing you want is to kick a cold and get sick again because of your toothbrush. Some ways to keep your brush from picking up harmful microorganisms include:

  • Purchase a transparent toothbrush with a small head (fewer bristles)
  • Consider storing your toothbrush in your bedroom or closet rather than your bathroom, where microorganisms contaminate just about every surface.
  • Clean it or replace it. When we clean our toothbrushes (soak in diluted castile soap), we may only need to replace them a few times a year. When we don’t clean them, and most of us don’t, we may benefit from monthly replacement. Replacement may also be necessary after an illness, even the mild cold.

Your toothbrush is meant to be a beneficial tool for maintaining oral health, not a biohazard. With proper care and replacement, this is possible.

Supplement your daily oral care with semi-annual checkups and cleanings at Royal Dental. Contact an office near you for friendly service.

What Does It Mean If My Gums Bleed?

Seeing some blood on your toothbrush can be unnerving, but fortunately not all bleeding gums indicate Gingivitis. Though this is most commonly a symptom of some degree of gum disease there are also a couple of reasons that you may have some bleeding not related to gum disease. It is important to know the reasons associated with the bleeding and take appropriate actions to correct the problem and make sure that there is not a larger problem at hand.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too hard is not only an ineffective way of cleaning your teeth and gums, but it can also cause your gums to bleed in more extreme cases. This is especially true if you are using a hard bristle brush. Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth, a medium or hard-bristled brush could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel. For the vast majority of people, a soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended. If you still have issues with pressing too hard on your gums you may need something to help train you on the proper pressure. There are several products on the market to help you do this including Oral-B’s mart series of toothbrushes.

Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy hormones can cause your gums to swell and become inflamed, making them bleed more easily when you brush or clean between your teeth. About 50% of expectant mothers experience a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. go to the dentist at least once during your pregnancy for a checkup and cleaning and be sure to tell your dentist you’re pregnant.

Gingivitis

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, up to 80% of the adult population has some level of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild, non-destructive form of gum disease, but gingivitis can develop into the more serious condition called periodontitis, which is why good dental care is so important. Gingivitis, is reversible with good oral hygiene. You should see your dentist immediately if you suspect you have Gingivitis.

Top 7 Teeth-Staining Foods & Drinks

Everyone wants a white smile, but many of your favorite foods and drinks may be preventing you from having that pearly white smile more than others! The purpose of providing this list is not to advise you to eliminate all of these, as some of them are actually beneficial to you health, but to make you aware of which ones stain your teeth the most so that you can take proper action. Below you can find some tips on how to minimize the staining of your teeth.

The Top Teeth-Staining Foods & Drinks:

  1. Tea
  2. Wine
  3. Coffee
  4. Sodas
  5. Berries
  6. Sports & Energy Drinks
  7. Deep Colored Sauces

Tips for Minimizing Staining:

  • Cut back on the foods and drinks that stain the most.
  • Use a straw when drinking drinks that stain. This will reduce the amount of contact the fluid has with your teeth.
  • Swallow faster. By swallowing faster you reduce the amount of time the staining food or drink has with your teeth.
  • Rise and brush after every meal or drink, especially after coming in contact with any of these top teeth-staining foods or drinks.

How Can I Remove the Stains I Already Have?

The most effective way of removing stains is through a professional in-office teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the world today. Unlike over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, professional whitening uses higher concentrations under carefully monitored conditions which allow for the best results.

Your second best option is with a take-home whitening kit that you get from your dentist. Though not as strong or ass effective as an in-office treatment, they are still superior to over-the-counter kits.

Not All Toothaches Are Tooth Related

When we have a pain in our teeth we automatically assume that the tooth is the source of the pain. Though this may be true in most cases, there are some instances where your tooth pain may actually be caused by something other than you teeth. This type of pain is called Referred pain. Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the actual source of the pain. Below are two of the more common sources of referred pain than can result in achy or painful teeth.

Maxillary Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, and is a common problem for many people, and is a chronic problem for about 15% for the population. There are 7 sinuses in the head, one of which is called the Maxillary sinus. The Maxillary is the most commonly infected sinus. One of the symptoms of maxillary sinusitis is pain that can mimic the pain of toothaches.

Additional signs and symptoms of Maxillary Sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Tenderness of the sinuses
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders)

TMJ is a disorder of the jaw joint and chewing muscles that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, or neck. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ issues. The condition also appears to be more common in women than men. TMJ can be caused by a number of things including a bad bite, trauma to the jaw, or grinding of the teeth, called Bruxism. Pain can sometimes be felt in the teeth as a form of referred pain due to TMJ disorders.

Additional Signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face

Ruling Out Non-Dental Causes

When experiencing tooth pain it is important to first rule out any dental causes. You dentist can conduct an examination to detect any dental issues that may be causing the pain. If no dental cause is detected you dentist may be instrumental in helping you to potentially identifying what may be causing the referred pain.

How Can You Tell If You Have Been Grinding Your Teeth At Night?

The grinding of teeth, medically called Bruxism, can cause permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth. While sleeping the pressure of bruxing can be up to six times greater than when awake, approximately 250 pounds of force per square inch! People who grind and clench their teeth are referred to as bruxers and in many cases do you even realize the damage they are unintentionally causing to their teeth.

If not treated, the long term effects of Bruxism can lead to:

  • Damage to teeth.
  • Broken fillings.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty in opening and closing the jaw.
  • Headaches.

Bruxism

How can you tell if you are grinding your teeth?

If you have been grinding your teeth there are some signs an symptoms that commonly appear. One of the primary signs that may indicate Bruxism is waking up with a sore jaw. If you wake frequently and wake up in the morning feeling tired this could also be an indication that you are unconsciously grind your teeth at night. However, there are many causes of disturbed sleep habits, so you will want to look for any of the additional signs and symptoms below.

Signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Sore Jaw muscles, especially in the morning.
  • Discomfort around the ears when chewing or yawning.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.
  • Hot, cold sensitivity in the teeth.

Consulting with Your Dentist

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth you need to visit your dentist. A dentist will be able to see if there are any tooth wear, a telltale sign of Bruxism. Your dentist can provide you with a mouth guard to wear when you sleep. This will prevent damage to your teeth and can also help to alleviate jaw pain. Don’t wait until the damage has been done, if you suspect you are grinding your teeth contact your dentist today!

4 Easy Yet Effective Tips to Tame Sensitive Teeth

If a sip of tea or a taste of your favorite ice cream is making you wince in pain, you are not alone. A large number of of our patients visit our dental practice< for the first time, come in complaining of sensitive teeth.

While sensitive teeth is actually a symptom in itself, not each case of sensitivity has to do with an underlying disease. This means you can actually do something about it such as revise your lifestyle or change certain habits.

 Why It Happens

Before figuring out the tips and tricks to preventing the occurrence of sensitive teeth, it is equally important to understand why it happens in the first place.

By and large, a healthy tooth is characterized by the appearance of enamel as its outermost covering. Underneath the enamel is the cementum which protects the tooth root. If you delve deeper, you’ll come across the dentin which is covered by both the cementum and the enamel. Microscopic tubules containing nerve endings are found within the dentin.

When your enamel and cementum are worn-out, tooth sensitivity happens because the tubules containing nerve endings are now exposed to extreme temperatures from the food you eat. Thus, the sudden sharp, shooting pain you experience!

You have now probably figure out that it all boils down to avoiding the enamel or cementum from being worn out. Below are easy yet effective ways to avoiding enamel erosion!

1. Avoid or limit highly acidic foods such as sodas, highly sweetened drinks, oranges and lemons. Also, limit your tea or coffee intake which are also acidic. If you need to drink them, try to swish your mouth with water after consumption of the aforementioned rinks. You can also try to drink them from a straw.

2. Try using warmer water the next time you brush your teeth.

3. If you grind your teeth at night, seek treatment as excessive grinding can wear away your tooth enamel.

4. Change your brushing habits. If you brush vigorously, you are actually doing more harm than good. In addition, try using soft-bristled toothbrush instead.

If you’ve done all four of these tips and tooth sensitivity still persists, we encourage you to get in touch with us so we can figure out the root cause. Call us at (713) 330-7700 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to your visit!

 

Why Regular Dental Visits Are Crucial If You Are Diabetic

If you’re diabetic or is currently caring for a family member or a friend who is one, you are probably aware that the condition can also lead to a host of problems involving the eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves. However, are you aware that diabetes can also cause oral health problems?

Here at our Houston dental practice, it’s not uncommon to receive visits from patients with diabetes. By and large, we consider these individuals as clients needing more than just basic dental care. In fact, the results of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that nonsurgical periodontal therapy is actually not enough to manage gum problems associated with diabetes. Thus, special care should be given to these patients. 

Oral Health Problems Common in Individuals with Diabetes

If you are diabetic, your erratic blood sugar levels will increase your risk for the following oral health problems: 

  • Gum Disease – Elevated blood sugar levels can result to gum inflammation which can either be a case of gingivitis (sore, swollen, and red gums) or periodontitis (when the gums pull away or shrink from your teeth).

  • Fungal Infections – Abnormalities in blood sugar levels can suppress your immune system, increasing your risk of fungal infections in the mouth. Symptoms include difficulties in swallowing and the appearance of painful sores.

  • Delayed healing and risk of infection after oral surgery – Your blood sugar levels may need to be stabilized and monitored before undergoing oral surgery.

Let us help you manage your oral health if you’re diabetic or currently having problems with your blood sugar levels. Call us at (713) 330-7700 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to your visit!

 

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