Tupelo Smiles

Chewing Gum

 

According to the American Dental Association, chewing a piece of sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum prevents decay by increasing the amount of saliva in the mouth. Increased saliva helps to carry important minerals like calcium and phosphate to your teeth, as well as to neutralize acidic bacteria, and to sweep away debris.  Gum with sugar does increase saliva in the mouth, but the added sugar causes plaque bacteria to accumulate in the mouth There are many sugarless gums sweetened with aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol that are approved by the ADA. Look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that your gum is sugarless. This seal is your assurance that the gum has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Do I still need to floss?

You may have seen recent headlines claiming there is no indication that flossing improves oral health. But according to the American Dental Association, flossing should still be a part of your daily oral health routine. Researchers at the ADA have found that flossing daily resulted in a significant reduction of cavities because flossing can reach food and debris that would be left behind by brushing alone. Flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease, gingivitis, and plaque buildup. To maintain good oral health, the ADA recommends brushing twice per day, flossing once per day, and visiting your dentist regularly. And always ask your dentist for instructions on how best to use dental floss or other flossers.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is interrupted in your sleep. This common yet dangerous condition’s most common side effect is snoring, though not all people who snore have sleep apnea. There are 2 types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissue at the back of the throat closes during sleep; while central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to trigger your muscles to breathe. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in:

high blood pressure

stroke

irregular heartbeat or heart attack

diabetes

or depression

Sleep apnea can be treated by adjusting your sleep habits, continuous air pressure (or CPAP), and other oral devices.. If the sleep apnea persists, surgery is also an option. Your doctor and dentist can work together to find the treatment that is best for you.

Mini Implants

 

Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing teeth. A titanium post is placed in the bone under the gums and acts as a root to hold the tooth in place. Mini implants are smaller than regular dental implants and are used to hold removable dentures or a temporary tooth. Mini implants can be a great option for people whose jawbones are not large enough for regular implants. Because they are smaller, mini implants usually heal faster and require fewer dental visits. The mini implant can be placed in as little as two hours and regular eating can usually begin the same day. With mini implants, you will be able to bite, chew and speak normally. Ask your dentist if he thinks mini implants could be right for you.

 

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Medicine and Dental Health

 

Almost all medications have side effects and sometimes these can impact your oral health. For example, there are more than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cause dry mouth as a side effect. The more common ones are antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretics. Staining of the teeth is another common side effect of some medications including tranquilizers, oral contraceptives, and anti-malarials. Drugs commonly used to treat chest pain and heart conditions can also lead to gingivitis. It is important to discuss any concerns about your medication with both your doctor and your dentist. Careful monitoring can help minimize any side effects’ impact on your oral health.

 

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Water Picks

 

Oral irrigators, or water picks, are becoming more common as a way to clean the spaces in between teeth. A water pick is a hand held device that works by gently aiming a stream of water at your teeth. This water cleans food particles from the surface of your teeth. Water picks have been shown to decrease gum bleeding and improve gum health. People with braces or bridges, who can sometimes have trouble using dental floss, can benefit from using a water pick. But should you replace your dental floss with a water pick? Researchers say not so fast. While water picks can be a great addition to you oral care routine, daily brushing and flossing is the best defense against oral health problems like gingivitis and plaque and tartar build up.

Myths about Tooth Decay

Myths about tooth decay are abundant. Watch this weeks video to get the facts!

Malocclusions

 

Malocclusions are the abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth. This may result in teeth that look protruded, crowded, or unevenly spaced. Alternatively, some people with malocclusions may appear to have straight teeth, but the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly. Teeth that are abnormally aligned are harder to clean, and therefore may experience higher instances of tooth decay, gum disease, or tooth loss. Malocclusions also may interfere with proper jaw development leading to problems with chewing and speaking. Orthodontic treatment is the best remedy for malocclusions and can create a beautiful and healthy smile through braces, aligners or oral surgery.

Antibiotics

Did you know, sometimes, dentists recommend some patients take antibiotics as a preventative measure during dental exams? Watch this week’s Your Dental Health to find out more.

Tooth Decay

It is very important to try to prevent decay of your child’s primary teeth. As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur.
One of the risk factors for this “baby bottle tooth decay” is frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids containing sugar. These liquids could include milk, breast milk, formula, and fruit juice. Tooth decay can also occur when parents or caregivers put a baby to bed with a bottle – or use milk, formula, or juice as a pacifier for a fussy baby.
If you use a pacifier, use a clean one. Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey before giving it to a baby. Prolonged use of pacifiers can harm the teeth just like prolonged thumb sucking, but it is often easier to wean a child from a pacifier than a thumb. Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday, and discourage frequent use of a training or Sippy cup. Never allow a baby to take a bottle to bed at night or naptime.