Be Mindful About What is Going on Inside Your Mouth

It’s allergy season here in Tucson and people all over are sneezing and wheezing. Pollen count is high with springtime blooms in the air. While you may have noticed your allergies with a runny nose and eyes, have you thought about how they affect the inside of your mouth?

Here are four occurrences that could happen that you might not know, but should:
1. Swollen cheeks that you keep biting. “Ouch!”
The inside of your cheeks are very sensitive. An allergic reaction can cause them to swell, and when you crunch down on a radish or mixed nuts you consistently keep biting the skin. Try cleaning your mouth out with warm salt water every hour. Pay attention to what you are eating, drinking and breathing to try and discover the culprit of the pain.
2. That good old cottonmouth is your traveling companion everywhere you go. Allergies can cause dry mouth in two ways. First, you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth when your nose is stuffy. Second, many antihistamines include dry mouth as a side effect. This condition isn’t just uncomfortable — it also increases your chances of developing cavities, gum disease and bad breath. Make sure you are staying hydrated. Try drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per day.
3. A bad tooth has made a visit. The maxillary sinuses, the largest sinuses in your face, are located above your mouth. When pressure builds in these sinuses, it can push down on the roots of your upper molars. Try antihistamines to see if you can get any relief. If your toothache goes away after taking antihistamines, the tooth is likely allergy-related.
4. Lip and tongue swelling are quite apparent. When you constantly breath in and out during allergy season, you are inviting foreign spores into your system. Of course, this will cause swelling…you’re having an allergic reaction. Again, try gargling warm salt water multiple times a day to reduce this interaction.

We cannot stress enough to make sure you notice these conditions. After all your mouth is one of the most important parts of your body. It’s what allows you to eat and communicate. Take a moment each day and be respectful to the inside of it. Oral care is extremely important, no matter what season. So throughout the rest of the year, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye or a mouthful on these symptoms.

Contact us today, if your mouth allergies seem to be getting worse and worse. Infections can occur easily, and it’s best to catch anything before they happen.

One in Six Parents Put Off Their Child’s First Dental Checkup, Consumer Affairs Reports

One in Six Parents Put Off Their Child’s First Dental Checkup, Consumer Affairs Reports

A recent poll, taken by 760 parents, showed that only 16% believe children should visit a dentist before the age of four. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends regular dental appointments starting at around age one after baby teeth have erupted.

Parents apparently claim they don’t receive proper professional guidance from their main healthcare provider or doctors, and are therefore less likely to take their children to the dentist at an early age. We want to share a few reasons why it is detrimentally important to have your little one’s teeth checked…even their baby teeth.

Taking kids to the dentist early on in life helps set them up for healthy oral hygiene as they grow.

Early visits provide important information to both parents and children about correct brushing techniques, the importance of limiting sugary drinks, and why putting children to bed with a bottle isn’t recommended.

Early dentist visits can help spot common oral problems that can follow toddlers and children as they get older, possibly leading to major dental procedures down the line.

Early dentist visits can also be beneficial to children with healthy teeth. In addition to educating kids on healthy oral hygiene habits, dentists can apply fluoride varnish to help prevent future decay.

Visiting the dentist at an early age is an essential part of children’s health care. These visits are important for the detection and treatment of early childhood tooth decay and also a valuable opportunity to educate parents on key aspects of oral health.

Tips to Keeping Teeth Healthy Over the Holidays

Tips to Keeping Teeth Healthy Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. Dinner tables all over the nation will be covered in rich, robust meals and decadent desserts. Don’t forget the sugary drinks that add the splash to gourmet delights. We hate to break the happiness of it all by saying celebration meals could wreck havoc on your teeth and oral health, but it’s the truth.

We do wish all of our patients the most joyful of times with their friends and families. Here’s a few ideas for you to stew upon, as you pull together your holiday medley of recipes.

1. Nuts are a favorite this time of year, just don’t crack them with your teeth! Protein found in almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans are quite good for bones and strength. So if you do feast upon a bowl of mixed nuts, make sure a nutcracker is near.

2. Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice cubes. This can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, and nobody wants to experience that during such jubilant times. Whether you are enjoying a sweet, or finishing off the cubes in your beverage, let everything dissolve.

3. Brush and floss, repeat as many times as needed. Chances are you do not have a cleaning scheduled over your festivities. That doesn’t mean you should skip your periodontal health routine. Brushing and/or flossing after each meal, and drinking a lot of water to help savory foods go down helps you avoid gifting yourself a cavity.

4. Try adding sugar-free options to your menus, or make them as hostess gifts if you are going to a party. There is an abundance of recipes that are easily doable and you can count out grams of sugar this way. This means the bacteria that lives in your mouth doesn’t stand a chance of creating tooth decay.

5. Fancy dark chocolate over other sweets. Diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure – these aren’t just the enemies of your heart. Studies have shown an association between these diseases, their treatments and dental health, too. That’s why if you are a chocoholic, it’s best to opt for dark chocolate because it’s packed with flavonoids, or compounds that help to protect your heart.

We would like to wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. From now until New Year’s Eve, don’t forget your oral health. Keep smiling and enjoy!

Is painful cavity treatment a thing of the past?

Is painful cavity treatment a thing of the past?

We love new technology, especially when it helps our patients feel comfortable at our office. It looks like there might be some exciting changes on the horizon regarding the way we treat cavities! There is a new product called Silver Diamine Fluoride that might help patients avoid the drill in the unfortunate event that they get a cavity.

Silver Diamine Fluoride is an antimicrobial liquid that can be brushed onto teeth directly over a cavity. This is a painless treatment that shows evidence of stopping tooth decay. In all honestly, this is not a recent discovery, in fact Silver Diamine Fluoride has been used as a method for treating oral health issues in other parts of the world for many years. For example, in Japan there are records of cavity treatment using this technology for several decades.

While we may feel a little envious knowing that SDF has been used in other countries for many years, we are thankful that the method has been thoroughly vetted before entering the United States market for use in dentist offices across the nation.

The first step in making Silver Diamine Fluoride available all across the nation was having it cleared for use by the Food and Drug administration. Though it has not been made fully available, it is making progress. For example, it is now permitted for use in people over the age of 21 to aid in teeth desensitization. Evidently it is very effective for this use in addition to healing cavities in all ages. It is our hope that in the near future, Silver Diamine Fluoride will be free for use on all ages for cavity prevention and for halting the progression of preexisting cavities.

The main benefit of using Silver Diamine Fluoride as an alternative to traditional methods of treating cavities is that it is completely pain free! We may be able to say goodbye to using the drill and injections for such common oral health issue as cavities. This will certainly make the visit to our office a lot more fun!

The one downside of SDF, is the fact that it is not always the most aesthetically pleasing alternative. When the SDF touches the cavity decay of the tooth, it turns the brown decay into a blackish color. Of course, if a cavity is small and not on the front of a tooth, this isn’t a large deterrent to treatment.

Overall, this could alter the dentistry industry in significant ways by making treatment more efficient, painless, faster, and less expensive. That is what we call a win-win.

Ouch! The best foods to eat when…

Ouch! The best foods to eat when…

Most of us love eating. We love sugary food, fatty food, crunchy, spicy, and salty foods. But are these the best things for us to eat when we are having oral health complications? We’ve compiled a guide full of yummy and appropriate foods for you to eat based on the oral health issue you currently face.

Braces

Braces are often a rite of passage for young people. Though the results are stunning the process can be daunting. Often they result in months and even years of a throbbing mouth. Each visit to the orthodontist is typically followed by several days of achiness.

Soft foods are your friend here. We suggest eating foods that are not easily stuck in your braces and pose the risk of breaking them. Food included in this list are bananas, mashed potatoes, yogurt, soups, and pasta.

Foods to avoid include crunchy foods like popcorn and tortilla chips. These can get wedged in the wires and cause bad bacteria to grow over time. Additionally, don’t snack on nuts or raw vegetables as these foods can damage and break your braces. We understand that the last thing you want is an emergency trip to the dentist because your wires snap!

Wisdom Teeth and other Oral Surgery

Many people have their wisdom Teeth removed at some point in their life. It is a relatively easy surgery with a relatively short recovery. However, it is still important to follow your doctor’s orders after the surgery. Eating things you shouldn’t can cause major oral health problems!

When you have your wisdom teeth removed you may experience soreness for 7 – 14 days. That means you may feel more comfortable eating soft and cold foods like smoothies. Since using a straw during your recovery period is prohibited, we recommend you stick to soup, applesauce, yogurt, and other things that can be eaten with a spoon.

Canker Sores

Even though you may love spicy or sour food, they aren’t your friend when you’ve got a canker sore. It is best to buckle up and opt in for bland options when you have a canker sore. Your body forms canker sores when you are short on nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B12, and zinc. Due to this deficiency you can reduce and even eliminate canker sores by eating foods that are rich in these resources. For example, you can eat salmon, which is rich in B12, leafy green vegetables to make up folic acid deficiency, and yogurt to replenish your bodies’ Zinc supplies.

If you suffer from canker sores often you should watch out for sneaky foods that are generally regarded as healthy but may contain too much salt or spice. Foods to avoid include coffee, tomatoes, and prepackaged snack nuts.

Dry Mouth

It may seem obvious that when you suffer from dry mouth it is best to increase your water and liquid intake; however there is more to the solution that simply adding moisture to your diet. We suggest filling your diet with high protein foods that aren’t too hard or crunchy. A good example of high protein food with plenty of moisture is fresh red meat. Foods that are dry and salty like bread or crackers can exacerbate the complications that come along with dry mouth. Soup, stew, and yogurt are also great additions to your ‘dry mouth diet’. Additionally, if you can avoid citrus and substitute in other fresh fruit you may be able to reduce dry mouth symptoms.

In general, there are several things you can do to maintain a healthy mouth and avoid complications. We suggest that throughout your lifetime you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, water, and protein. You should also avoid sugar as often as you can. Sugar is known to be a large contributor to tooth decay and bad health in general.

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

It is a commonly known fact that smoking cigarettes is bad for your oral health. Smoking causes tooth decay, tooth staining, gum disease, and in some cases even mouth cancer. Though traditional cigarettes are said to be worse for your mouth than smoking the new electronic cigarettes, new research shows that may not be the case.

If you smoke electronic cigarettes you may notice that you often struggle with bad breath. This is because electronic cigarettes contain the highly addictive and dangerous chemical called nicotine. Nicotine causes the mouth’s natural production of saliva to slow down, which often causes dry mouth, plaque build up, and even tooth decay.

Fortunately, e-cigarettes don’t contain many of the teeth staining chemicals that traditional ones do. For example, they don’t produce the smoke or contain tar which both stain teeth yellow. However, when e-cigarettes contain high nicotine level, the liquid does eventually begin to yellow and has some of the same staining effects.

The vapor created by burning the liquid in e-cigarettes was originally thought to be harmless to consumers but as more research is conducted it is becoming increasingly evident that this is not the case. In fact, “when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases”(Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.). This causes growing uncertainty regarding the safety of this wildly popular cigarette alternative. Little information regarding the ingredients in e-cigarettes is disclosed to the consumer. Most users have almost no information regarding the content of the product they are consuming on a daily basis, and many “e-juices” are produced overseas with little to no regulation.

Additionally, the Journal of Cellular Physiology published an article that stated over a period of three days the vapor created by e-cigarettes killed 53% of mouth cells. The deterioration of healthy mouth cells can lead to infection and a whole host of other oral health issues.

Overall, the extent to which e-cigarettes are detrimental to oral health is unclear. However, based on current research it is difficult to deny they cause damage if used regularly. We would recommend that our patients discontinue or severely reduce using e-cigarette products.

Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

It can be difficult to explain the importance of oral health to children. Understandably, most are more concerned with playing than with the current and future state of their gums. We have compiled some creative ways you can teach your whole family how to maintain healthy teeth.

One idea to increase receptiveness to the twice daily brushing routine is to let your kids pick a 2-3 minute long song to play while they brush their teeth. This ensures that they brush long enough while also making the task sound a whole lot more appealing. Be warned, if tooth brushing turns into a groovy dance party, watch out for those toothbrushes becoming a hazard! A sand timer also works well if you aren’t able to play music.

Another way to add fun to oral health is by giving your child more control over the details when they brush their teeth. For example, you should change your toothbrush every three months, and you can make this a fun task for kids by letting them pick a toothbrush themed with their favorite TV characters or toys. This will help your child feel more invested and in control of their brushing routine. Additionally, you can allow them to choose the flavor of their toothpaste. Believe it or not, most kids aren’t thrilled with the taste of plain peppermint. They usually enjoy flavors like watermelon and bubblegum much more.

A great way to combine learning about oral health with gaining time management skills is to create a brushing calendar for kids in which they get a sticker each time they brush their teeth. Motivate them by offering a reward at the end of the month if there are no missed days!

On days when keeping up with oral health means actually going to a dentist appointment, we recommend making it a field trip day. For example, when you make an appointment with your doctor you can also plan something fun as a reward for your child’s bravery. After they get their teeth cleaned, head to the zoo or the park so that they will associate their dental appointments with sunshine and good times.

Finally, to continue education about the long-term importance of oral health with your child, try buying an oral health educational coloring book for kids so they can learn about eating nutritious foods and staying on top of their oral health while they play. If you your kids are tech savvy, there are also tons of great resources for learning at Mouthhealthykids.org. This website allows you to access fun quizzes and other oral health learning tools for kids.

What your Smile Says About You

What your Smile Says About you

Our smile is one of the first things we use to communicate with others when we have a conversation or meet someone for the first time. How we choose to present our smile to others can say a lot about our personality, health, and how we want others to see us. While clothes and other accessories may depict our style or what’s currently trending, our smile and the shine of our teeth give others a peek into our eating habits, genetics, and how comfortable we are with ourselves. Living in a society where we pride ourselves on the condition of how straight or bright our teeth are can be make looking at someone’s smile an interesting starting point in knowing the not-so-obvious traits a person has.

In terms of personality, how we smile in a social setting can tell us a lot about the people we surround ourselves with. A person who doesn’t show their teeth in a photograph may tell you that that person is shy or reserved compared to a person who shows all of their teeth and has a wide smile on their face, which most of the time, we interpret as confidence and expressing happiness.

Let’s go back and compare today to the 19th and early 20th century when it was customary not to smile in photographs. Everyone appeared to be somber, even children. It was hypothesized that because cameras where a new and developing technology, the exposure time to capture an image took as long as one minute and expressions couldn’t be held for the duration it took to capture a picture. A second theory as to why people didn’t smile in their photographs was due to the fact that they did not have good dental hygiene and, thus, were self-conscious about their smile.

As the decades went by, smirks began to sneak in and eventually smiling was an acceptable form of appearing in a photograph that lead us to where we are today. As dental hygiene methods improved, as well as quicker exposure times for camera technology, people began to show their pearly whites.

The color and shape of someone’s teeth are unique to the individual and it is natural for teeth to have a yellow tinge of color to them. However, modern dentistry has helped us improve the appearance of our teeth and now many people opt to have bright, white teeth and love to show them off in selfies. In fact, the Teeth Whitening Industry in 2015 made over $11 billion with an additional $1.4 billion spent on teeth whitening products according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Our teeth are often considered as a part of ourselves that we present to others. It is important to keep them in shape and take care of them just like any other part of our body. By scheduling routine maintenance and dental cleanings every six months and with proper daily brushing and flossing, you will keep those teeth white, bright, and camera ready well into your golden years.

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

When we have a bacterial infection, our immune system kicks in to try to rid our bodies of harmful pathogens. While fighting off foreign bacteria, the immune system sends white blood cells and antibodies to find, destroy, and repair any damage that may have been caused which often results in us feeling sick. The problem with bacterial infections is that the bacteria multiply at a rapid rate making it difficult for the immune system to respond and treat the illness quick enough. However, modern medicine has developed a way to speed up the battle our immune system takes each time a bad bacteria invades our bodies. Antibiotics are prescribed when we are fighting off a bacterial infection and typically help speed up the recovery process.

Essentially, antibiotics work by targeting the pathogens causing the damage and killing the bad bacteria while also slowing down or putting a stop to their harmful multiplication cycle. This in turn allows our bodies to take care of the remaining infection and within a week or two we begin to start feeling like our normal selves.

The problem with antibiotics is that while it kills off bad bacteria, it also rids our bodies of good bacteria as well. Our bodies maintain a balance of bacteria naturally within our digestive system and sometimes when antibiotics are prescribed, this balance can be thrown out of whack. Many doctors, regardless of what bacterial infection you may be experiencing, often recommend to supplement your antibiotic prescription with yogurt to replenish good bacteria.

Another problem with antibiotics is that while they act as a miracle drug to many bacterial infectious diseases, many people do not complete their entire set of prescribed antibiotics. Sometimes we start to feel better after just taking a few days of antibiotics and because of that stop taking what remains in the prescription. This is troublesome because it gives the opportunity for pathogens that remain in our body to find ways to react to the antibiotic and mutate a resistance towards it, making it less effective and harder to fight off the next time we get sick. Unlike a viral infection where a virus is always changing it’s gene pool, bacteria are somewhat stable in their genetic makeup, until they find ways to mutate and combat antibiotics.

The over prescribing of antibiotics is also a cause for concern. It is estimated that 70% of illness causing germs are resistant to at least one antibiotic. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 50,000 deaths due to resistant antibiotic germs. The primary reason of resistant antibiotic germs is excessive use of antibiotics. When we are given antibiotics, it is important to finish all of the pills given to us and that when we are taking medication to be sure it is for something that our immune system needs assistance with in order to get better. Antibiotics have been used for years and have helped us cure many terrible bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, mouth infections, and much more. Without the advent of antibiotics, we would be living in a much more difficult world.

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween is upon us and you want to know what’s spooky? Sugar is the biggest component to the cause of dental decay. Yes, that’s right, the sugar you and your families are about to soon get a lot of. Tricks and treats and you won’t need to smell their feet because cavities are just as near. What are some tips you can use so that you don’t lose out on celebrating Halloween?

1. Brush your teeth after you or your kids eats candy. Brushing your teeth is the easiest and most efficient way to get that candy off of your teeth. Sticky, chewy candy is the worst for oral hygiene and it’s important to get all that sugar residue off as soon as possible. If left on the teeth, the sugar will cause plaque to build up and teeth to start decaying.
2. Encourage your kid to rinse with mouthwash after eating the candy. If we remove even some of the sugar by mouth rinsing, we are reducing the risk of decay. If you’re not near your toothbrush, just a quick swish will do. Again it’s about neutralizing the sugar and getting the candy off of your teeth quickly after eating it.
3. Your kids don’t have to eat all of the candy, after a few weeks reduce the load so the candy consumption will not go on forever. While there are a few reasons to avoid eating all your candy in one sitting, try to think of it as preserving the stash. Your teeth and body will thank you if you don’t overload on the sugar all at one time.

Kids are most likely to develop dental decay for a lot of reasons, so be sure this time of year to be on top of their brushing. It’s so important to celebrate holidays with your family, use it as an opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of themselves while still enjoying themselves. Upset tummies and tooth decay, be gone, because now you and your mouth are armed to the teeth with tips.