Category Archives: Dental Health

Oral Health Problems in New Moms

We get it. When you’re a new mother, your top concern is your baby. Sometimes, however, this means neglecting the most important person…you! Here are some surprising ways your oral health can suffer during those crucial first few months of your baby’s life, and what to do if you encounter them.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is one of the most important (yet overlooked) components of a healthy mouth. If you’re a new mother, you may be so busy that you’re forgetting to stay hydrated. This is majorly important especially if you’re breastfeeding, because that’s even more hydration you’re losing and giving to baby. Keep a water bottle by you at all times, and drink even when you aren’t thirsty to keep your smile healthy.

Bruxism

As wonderful as it is, the stress of having a new baby in the house can sometimes get to new moms. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common result of stress, and can wreak havoc on your smile. If you’re waking up in the morning feeling pain or tightness in your jaw, talk to your dentist about mouth guards to wear while you sleep.

Poor Habits

When you’re a busy mom, the easiest things to forget are often the most basic. Maintaining your normal brushing and flossing routines may seem inconsequential, but missing them can cause serious oral health issues including gum disease, cavities, and in serious cases, oral cancers.

Make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself as well as baby, and contact your dentist with any oral health problems you find yourself facing. We’re here to help!

4 Reasons Your Gums May Be Itching

Itchy gums may sound like a strange symptom to have, but if you’ve ever experienced them, you know how annoying and uncomfortable they can be. What causes gums to itch, however, is a little less clear. We’ve rounded up the top 4 reasons you may be feeling that tingle near your teeth, and some actions you can take to get rid of it!

Allergies

Do you ever feel an itchy or fuzzy feeling in your mouth after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables? You may have oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It’s generally mild, and can be cleared up with an antihistamine, but if it doesn’t clear up or is impeding your breathing or eating, best to consult a doctor immediately.

Dry Mouth

As simple as it sounds, just making sure there’s enough saliva in your mouth is a simple solution to a host of oral health concerns, from halitosis to gum disease to, you guessed it, itchy gums! If you’re feeling a little dry due to medications you’re taking or just general dehydration, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to keep saliva flowing.

Hormonal Changes

Women and girls going through puberty, menopause, pregnancy, or any other dramatic shift in hormones (like starting or stopping birth control), may experience itchy gums as a side effect. As your hormones begin to regulate, this symptom should go away on its own, but if not, consult your doctor.

Gum Disease

You hear us say it all the time, but brushing and flossing for two minutes twice a day is really the best thing you can do for your mouth. If you’ve been a little lax about your oral health routine lately, and are experiencing itchy gums, it could be a symptom of plaque and tartar buildup. If you’ve got lots of tartar, you’ll need a dentist to remove it for you. They can also help you determine if you’re at risk for periodontal disease, and give you advice on how best to combat it.

If you’re experiencing itchy gums or any other strange sensations in your mouth, as always, your best bet is to contact us and set up an appointment!

Meth Mouth

It is widely known that drug use, especially hard drug use, can cause tooth decay. The worst drug offender in ruining teeth, however, is methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, or ‘Meth’ is known as a powerfully addictive drug that can harm overall health, but it can also seriously affect oral health. According to the American Dental Association, Meth use can both destroy a person’s smile and their ability to chew foods.

A 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 1.2 million Americans had tried methamphetamines in the last year and 440,000 reported using meth in the last month. These numbers have been on the rise since the early 2000s, especially in people between the ages of 18 to 34 years old.

Meth use causes permanent brain damage and also causes the salivary glands to stop producing saliva. This dries out the mouth and allows the acid in the mouth to run rampant, destroying teeth. The lack of saliva in the mouth allows for cavities to form, and these cavities will likely be left untreated, as meth becomes the sole purpose of the users life. As meth use continues, total tooth decay occurs.

Dentists can often times see the beginning signs of meth use in the oral health of teenagers. Teens who suddenly have teeth riddled with cavities is often a red flag to dentists.

Meth use will decimate your natural smile and negatively affects your overall physical and mental health. A quality dentist will see the signs and possibly recommend or call a treatment center for help when noticing signs of meth use.

Let’s Talk Gingivitis

When we think about oral health, one of the major parts of our mouth that can cause problems is the gum. If gums become red and often bleed, it may be an indication of gum disease. There are two different types of gum disease. One is called gingivitis and the other, periodontitis. Periodontitis is the result of untreated gingivitis, and it is a serious condition. Without proper treatment, gingivitis (and subsequent periodontitis) could potentially lead to tooth loss and damage to the jawbone.

Trying to determine if this is what’s causing your mouth issues? Some of the symptoms associated with gingivitis include: bleeding gums, bad breath, swelling, frequent mouth sores, tender or painful gums, or loose teeth. It’s important to note that there are other causes of gingivitis not limited to poor oral hygiene. Ill-fitting braces or dentures, improperly aligned teeth, tobacco use, pregnancy, and even certain medications can cause gingivitis.

So if you have some of the symptoms, where do you go from there? After going to see your dentist and confirming that you indeed have this issue, the dentist will clean your teeth in order to attack the bacteria and reduce inflammation. And how to prevent yourself from ending up in the dentist’s chair like this? Thoroughly brush and floss every day. Eat a healthy diet, watch your sugars, and schedule regular dental cleanings!

Caring for Cleft Lip & Palate

cleft lip and cleft palate patient dental care blog image flawless dental newton massachusetts

Patients who have a cleft lip or palate will face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in in malformed or malpositioned. Adults with cleft palate typically do not have a normally formed teeth and roots which requires the additional work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.

An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look natural and function normally for the patient.

Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. Typically, many procedures and trips to both the dentist and doctor will go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.

Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.

If you or someone in your family has cleft lip or palate, don’t hesitate to give Flawless Dental a call or to schedule an appointment to see what we can do to help achieve the smile you deserve.

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Veganism and Oral Health

Going vegan has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice in the past decade. While people have a variety of different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet, many vegans tend to have one thing in common: weaker teeth than carnivores. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or newly considering making the switch, read on to learn what you can do to keep your teeth strong and cavity-free.

Although many healthy diets include eating lots of fruit, vegans may find themselves eating even more than their non-vegan peers. While your body will thank you for all the vitamins and minerals you’re giving it, your teeth may not. Sugary foods, even natural ones like fruit, can wear away at enamel and cause cavities. Your best bet? Swish a little water around your mouth after eating that juicy peach to flush away the excess sugar.

Another factor that can cause vegans to have weaker chompers than their meat-eating counterparts is an important amino acid called arginine. Typically found in meat, fish, and dairy, a 2015 study of salivary bacteria in petri dishes showed that in the dish where arginine was added, the growth of cavity-causing biofilms was inhibited. Great news for carnivores, but how can vegans get the same benefits? Happily, there are some vegan-friendly foods rich in arginine, such as black and soy beans, as well as toothpastes and mouthwashes enriched with powerful decay-fighter.

Whatever your reasoning, if you recently have, or are considering drastically changing your diet, contact your dentist for tips on how best to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
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Marijuana Use and Gum Disease

As legalization of marijuana is becoming the next big policy push in many states, more and more research is being done about potential health benefits and detriments of the drug. We all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, but what about marijuana? Marijuana has been shown to have few adverse health effects in most areas, however, there is one part of your body that marijuana has been proven to negatively affect: your gums.

Any kind of poor oral health is likely to lead to gum disease down the line, but the findings on marijuana were surprising. Originally, researchers thought that perhaps frequent marijuana users simply were less likely to brush and floss properly, but after creating a control group for proper dental hygiene, the marijuana users were still found to have gums in worse shape than non-users.

While the correlation is still somewhat uncertain, one thing is for sure: smoking weed is still not as bad for your teeth and gums as cigarettes. So, if you must smoke something, better to stick to the green stuff as long as it’s legal in your state. But in our professional opinion, avoid smoking altogether to keep a healthy mouth for life!

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Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes—while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with less frequency, but it doesn’t make them any less crucial. Read on for a few lesser-known insight into your mouth that only the pros know.

1. White Teeth Aren’t Always Healthy Teeth

We all want our teeth to look beautiful. Your smile is often one of the first things others notice about you, and everybody wants to make a good impression. It’s easy to prioritize looks over health—but don’t. If your mouth is riddled with cavities, it doesn’t do you much good to get a whitening treatment, nor do white teeth mean there are no underlying health issues.

2. Dental Health Isn’t Necessarily Hereditary

When you visit your doctor, you’ll often have to discuss your family’s medical history with them in order to determine your risk for certain diseases. Luckily, dental health doesn’t work exactly the same way. If your parents and grandparents wound up with dentures later in their lives, it doesn’t mean that you’ll inevitably need them. Most of your dental health is contingent on your own habits, so keep up the brushing!

3. Do More Than Clean

While hopefully most of your visits to the dentist will only include a simple cleaning, it’s important to periodically ask for additional exams such as oral cancer screenings or x-rays. A little extra time in the dentist’s chair ahead of time can help you avoid larger problems later on.

For more helpful tips and tricks, or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us!

How Stress Might Be Hurting Your Teeth

We all know that stress can take a toll on our overall health. Chronically stressed people are more likely to develop anxiety disorders and sleeping disorders, as well as more serious health concerns such as heightened blood pressure, risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. But what impact does stress have on your teeth?

When it comes to oral health, stress can manifest itself in a number of harmful ways, not the least of which is the grinding and gnashing of teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is common among those who hold stress and tension in their jaws.

A 2010 study by Head & Face Medicine found that sleep bruxism is common in people who experience daily strain and problems at work. That means that the pressure you feel at your desk to get things done, impress your boss, and move up in the company could be hurting your oral health overnight.

It seems small in the short term, but grinding or clenching your teeth can lead to cracks and chips. In fact, many people don’t even realize that they are grinding at night until they break a tooth. In order to prevent having multiple dental procedures to reverse the effects of bruxism, try using a night guard, or talking to your dentist about how you can stop or minimize grinding and its negative effects on your teeth.

Most importantly, find a method to reduce stress that works for you. Spending time with friends, yoga and meditation, or simply taking a few moments a day to breathe deeply and regroup can have innumerable positive effects on your overall health and well-being.

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What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Child’s Oral Health

It’s no secret that kids don’t always have what’s best for their teeth at the forefront of their minds – which can lead to a toothache for them and a headache for parents. Between eating too much sugar, not brushing and flossing enough, and skipping brushings, kids run a high risk of cavities and oral health issues. But have no fear! Here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.

1.Letting kids brush alone.
While it might feel easier to send them to the bathroom alone to brush their teeth before bed, a little parental supervision can save time and money in the long run. Kids are brushing their teeth, especially those new to the habit, need pointers, and kids younger than 8 actually lack the motor skills necessary to brush effectively.
Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before a group activity like story time. This is a great way to watch your kids brush while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time so that they can pick up tips from you.

2.Not taking regular trips to the dentist.
Kids need to visit the dentist regularly just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, they are more likely to have a myriad of unaddressed oral health issues, potentially making the visit more difficult for both you and your child.
Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health issues. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist, they may already have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, your child is more likely to have ongoing fear and anxiety around dental visits. By starting early, you’re encouraging a positive and happy association with the dentist’s office for your child.

3.Not using fluoride.
Not only does the American Dental Association recommend fluoride – studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so take advantage of it! However, families who drink a lot of bottled water or don’t use a fluoride toothpaste may be missing out on the benefits.
Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity-free and which toothpastes may be right for them.

The best thing parents can do for their children’s oral health to start healthy habits early. Just like healthy eating or exercise, good oral hygiene can become second nature with a little practice!

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