All posts by Flawless Dental

4 Surprising Risk Factors of Bad Oral Health

We all know that not brushing your teeth and eating sugary foods are predictors of bad oral health, but there are a few risk factors that are correlated with bad oral health that might surprise you.

Being male – Men, typically past the age of 35, are likelier to lose their teeth more frequently and sooner than women. This is in part because men are not as proactive when it comes to taking care of oral and general health. Men are more likely than women to wait until there is something painfully wrong with their teeth before going to the dentist, while women are likelier to make regular visits.

How can you avoid bad oral health as a male? Simple: be proactive about your health! Don’t wait until something is wrong to go to the doctor or dentist.

Taking medication – One of the side effects of many medications is a dry mouth. Dry mouths make perfect homes for cavities and bacterias that cause gum disease.

If you are experiencing dry mouth as a result of medication or physical activity, you can stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugarless gum, especially gum-containing xylitol.

Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco not only puts you at risk of suffering from oral cancer, but it is also correlated with gum disease.

The solution is to stop using tobacco. We know—it’s easier said then done, but it’s one of the best things you can do for oral and overall health.

Playing sports – Playing sports without a mouthguard puts you at risk of getting serious mouth injuries. Additionally, exercise can cause the mouth to dry and become more susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria.

If you’re an athlete, remember to wear a mouthguard to avoid injuries to the mouth.

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Mouth Guards: The Best Way to Save Hundreds on Dental Procedures

It is estimated that 200,000 football mouth injuries are prevented each year through the use of protection. Proper protection gear not only protect you and your loved ones from injury, but also from the cost of the procedures involved in healing in the injury.

When it comes to protecting your mouth during physical activity, there are two key pieces of gear to keep in mind:

  • Helmet – A helmet doesn’t just help protect against brain injuries and concussions. It also helps protect impact on your mouth and jaw if you are involved in any accidents! Make sure to wear a helmet that fits properly in order to get the protection you need.
  • Mouth guard – Mouth guards are the best option for protecting your teeth, tongue, and lips from all sorts of sports mishaps. The best option when it comes to mouth guards is a custom one that fits your smile perfectly. If you want the security of a decent fitting mouth guard but don’t want a trip to the dentist, you can get acceptable levels of customization and fit from a boil-and-bite mouth guard.

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The War on Thumb-Sucking

Most pediatricians will demand that you kick your child’s thumb sucking and pacifier reliance to the curb by the time they are three. If you wait much longer, your child can end up with dental health issues that would take many years and lots of money to fix.

There are a lot of techniques out there when it comes to kicking oral fixations to the curb, but your best bet is to ask your dentist for proper guidance. Your dentist can give you insight into the types of issues that your child will face if they continue on with the pacifier or thumb sucking.

To be frank, your child will put up a fight and do their very best to hold onto the thing that gives them comfort, but many things can help deter your child from sucking their thumbs. Your dentist could have good ideas to help, and even tools to get your child to stop the habit.

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The Evolution of the Tooth

The mouth, like the rest of the human body, is subject to the evolutionary process. Tracing the changes in dental biology is fascinating and provides us some insight into the lives of our ancestors.

Wisdom Teeth

Humans have long had wisdom teeth, but the issue of impacted wisdom teeth is a modern phenomenon.

Due to the evolutionary process, human jaws are too short to fit all of our teeth. We no longer need to put extreme amounts of stress on our jaws—we eat mostly soft food as children—so evolution has compensated by giving us shorter jawlines, to the point where we can no longer fit all of our teeth!

Cavities

As our diets have improved, our carbohydrate and sugar consumptions have increased. Carbohydrates provide a place for bacteria to stick onto the tooth. They also provide food to the bacteria, leading to cavities becoming more prevalent.

Chewing

While humans are the dominant species, this comes at a price. Our metabolism burns fuel up to ten times faster than animals of comparable sizes. This means that converting food into energy is extremely important. Over time, humans have developed a nearly unique system of chewing as well as a complex arrangement of tooth placement and size—all towards the aim of making digestion more efficient.

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What You Need to Know About Grillz

Dental grills (also known as “grillz”) might draw attention to your teeth and your smile, but they are actually terrible for your teeth.

If you have ever seen a music video featuring someone wearing grills, then you are likely looking at dental grills that are made from gold, silver, or another precious metal. While expensive grills made from high-quality materials can cause less damage, many grills made from less expensive materials can cause an allergic reaction and irate your mouth and teeth.

Grills can also promote tooth decay and plaque buildup because food particles and bacteria get trapped between the teeth and the grills. The grills can also rub up against other teeth and cause abrasion and issues with the adjacent teeth, and the laundry list of negatives doesn’t end there. Grills wearers will also suffer from discoloration on their teeth!

While you may want to add “grillz” to your style, think first about your oral health.

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The Impressive Roots of Dentistry: Centuries-Old Evidence of Natural Fillings

Dentistry is not a modern invention… It’s actually an ancient form of medicine practiced by our ancestors!

About 100 years ago, a 6,500-year-old man’s jaw was found in Slovenia. However, it was only recently that close examination revealed a layer of beeswax lodged in one of his teeth. Although this is not the first known evidence of dental work, this is the oldest discovery of a therapeutic dental filling to date and possibly the most ancient example of prehistoric dentistry in Europe.

Researchers are now searching for similar cases in other Neolithic remains. If evidence can be found showing that this dental intervention was widespread, we will have another tool to understand prehistoric populations better.

Experiments testing beeswax as a therapy for cracked and sensitive teeth will also proceed as a result of this discovery. We cannot comment on its effectiveness so don’t try it at home yet; we whole-heartedly recommend seeing your dentist should you encounter any situations of discomfort.

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New Material May Fight Cavities, Gum Disease

The dreadful buildup of bacteria is always an issue we are concerned about with our oral health. New research, however, suggests that there may be a new material out there that can help to fight gum diseases and prevent cavities! The material, graphene oxide, is known to be extremely effective at eliminating certain types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

This new study, published in the ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces Journal, found that although dentists are giving patients old-fashioned antibiotics that are aimed to eliminate bacteria buildup, there has been an increase in antibiotic resistance. However, if graphene oxide is preset, it has the potential to “thwart the growth of bacteria strain in them mouth without casing harm to patients.”

After continued research conducted at the Shanghai Natural Science Foundation and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the team took a deeper look at how exactly the material would react with the various bacteria types and gum diseases present in the mouth. The final research stated that “graphene oxide limited the growth of pathogens” by eliminating the bacterial “walls and membranes.” If this research is continued, the potential of using graphene oxide in dental care will be extremely useful for the future of oral health everywhere.

In the meantime, please take the time to visit your dentist regularly and take care of your oral health by brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash regularly.

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The Impact Your Diet Has on Your Teeth

Everyone knows that eating too much sugar can cause tooth decay and cavities. But did you know there are other hidden ways your diet can negatively impact your oral health?

Unhealthy Diet & Your Immune System

Your immune system keeps you strong and healthy… but it needs the right fuel to work effectively. If you don’t eat nutritious meals, your immune system weakens and becomes less capable of fighting infections—including those of the gums and mouth. Lingering infections can result in inflamed gums, cavities, and other tooth issues, not to mention a lot of pain. Sound like something you want to avoid? Stick to a balanced diet and remember that anything you choose to eat ultimately affects your oral health.

Not Drinking Enough Water

The bacteria that cause cavities and gum infections thrive when the mouth is dry. A dry mouth also lowers the naturally occurring acid levels in your mouth, which makes it easier for sugars and bacteria to damage your teeth. By drinking water steadily throughout the day, you’ll create a healthier environment in your mouth by increasing moisture and helping to balance acidity.

Acidic Foods & Drinks

Acid in everyday food and drink attacks tooth enamel, causing decay, sensitivity, and discoloration. It’s right up there with sugar as something to avoid to protect your teeth. You’ll find high acid levels in citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, vinegar-y foods like pickles, coffee, and wine (the latter two also tend to dehydrate you…see #2!). Sodas are another main offender—including diet. If you consume things from this list, try to drink water alongside them and use a straw with beverages to avoid contact with your teeth. You can also lessen the effect of acidic foods by pairing them with low-acid foods like cheese, eggs, fish, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, oatmeal, and fruits like bananas, apples, and melons.

Starchy Foods

When you consume starchy, carbohydrate-rich food like bread, pasta, potatoes, and white rice, you face a double-whammy of oral health danger. First, whenever starch comes into contact with the plaque bacteria that coats your teeth, it produces acids which then attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you’ve finished eating. Sustained attacks eventually result in decay and damage to teeth, bones and gums. Second, starchy snacks like chips and crackers and the foods mentioned above break down into sticky particles that are more apt to get stuck in your teeth. This gives them more time to transform into acids. To defend against the starch attack, drink water during carb-heavy meals and always brush and floss after them.

If you have questions about whether your diet may be affecting your oral health, your dentist can answer them. Feel free to ask at your next appointment.

What You Need to Know About Dry Socket

Having a tooth removed can be painful enough without the fear of developing a post-extraction dry socket.

A dry socket is a hole in the mouth that is created after a tooth is removed. The hole is typically covered by a blood clot, which protects the nerve from exposure to food, air, and other elements.

When a clot is dislodged before the socket has healed, it becomes exposed to the elements, leading to dryness, infection, and pain. Over-the-counter medicines can treat the pain, but if the pain is too severe, you may need a prescription for pain medicine from your dentist or oral surgeon.

If you think that your clot may have been dislodged after your extraction, call your dentist immediately. If food or other irritants get into the socket and stay there without attention from your dentist, an infection can occur. Your dentist can clean the socket and pack it with gauze to protect it, as well as recommend an antibiotic to prevent infection.

The best way to avoid getting a dry socket is to avoid drinking from a straw and smoking. These activities can dislodge your clot and open your socket up to air and the elements. Also, certain birth control pills can prevent effective blood clotting, so make sure to discuss all medications with your dentist before extraction.

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3 Habits That Destroy Your Smile

According to a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, there are a few things you may be doing that are destroying your teeth…

Brushing too soon after eating

Consuming acidic foods and beverages is a part of everyone’s diet. Whether it is a citrus fruit or a glass of wine, these contain a lot of acid, which can erode enamel. If you brush too soon after consuming acidic foods, you can actually do more damage than good. Brushing too soon with those additional acids on your teeth means that you are brushing the acid into your teeth! Instead, opt to rinse your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes before you brush.

Not replacing your toothbrush often enough

You are supposed to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, but many of us forget to change our brushes. Forgetting to replace your brush is a big problem because if overused, your brush becomes ineffective. In addition, the excess bacteria that exists within your bristles could cause infections and other oral health issues. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush if you have had a cold.

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush

If you are an aggressive brusher, then you should opt for a soft-bristled brush. A hard-bristled brush, coupled with hard brushing, can lead to gum problems. Soft bristles, when brushed softly in a circular motion on your teeth, can prevent damage to your gums.

Ask your dentist about the best brushing practices for your mouth!

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