Summertime for most means lots of time by the pool and out in the sun but did you also know it could mean dental health issues? Below you will find a list of some helpful tips to keep your smile safe this summer.
Summertime Smile Protection Tips
-Stay Hydrated. This is good for your entire body but can especially be true when snacking and drinking by the pool. Keeping our mouths hydrated will help protect against tooth decay and keep our oral tissues moist and prevent them from drying out. Lemonade is a favorite summertime drink especially for kids but the high acidic content along with high sugar can equal a dry mouth and tooth decay development. Water will help wash away the excess sugars as well as neutralize that acidic content of the lemonade.
-Snack Wisely. Making the right choices can keep you healthy while the wrong choices can damage your health. Good choices include fresh fruits like watermelon and banana’s. Bad choices include many citrus fruits (which have a high sugar and acid content) and sugary snacks.
-Sunscreen Is Not Just For Your Body. Our dry summer heat here in Las Vegas can cause dry, chapped lips. Protected your lips with a lip balm or lip gloss with moisture and SPF protection is important. Damage to our lips can lead to oral cancer down the road. Try to use lip protection with an SPF rating of at least 15.
-Protect Your Teeth. Summertime also means outdoor activites including sports like basketball. It is important that you wear an athletic mouthguard to protect your teeth from the physical contact. There is also a possible reduction in risk of concussions when wearing a properly fitted mouthguard. A custom fabricated athletic mouthgaurd will keep your teeth safe while enjoying your favorite activities.
-Swim Wisely. Many people are unaware the damage swimming in a pool can cause on our dental health. Swimming in pools with high chlorine content can actually cause tooth enamel erosion. Swimming in the ocean is actually a better option. The high salt water content can actually reduce oral bacteria. SO, if swimming in a pool remember to brush and rinse regularly to limit the possible damage to your smile.
-Avoid Sports Drinks. Sports drinks have become extremely popular for athletes as well as non athletes. Most sports drinks are highly acidic with a high content of sugar. These drinks can lead to tooth enamel erosion as well as tooth decay. It is important to remember, sport drinks are made to replace what your body loses during extreme sweating and exertion, they are not meant to be a casual beverage consumed with lunch. Use them properly and you will not suffer the damage that they can incur.
-Do Not Forget Breakfast. People often forget the most important meal of the day especially in the summer. Skipping breakfast can lead to increased snacking on unhealthy items. Maintain a regular schedule of meals to stay healthy all summer.
Summertime is just around the corner and it is never too early to get ready to protect our smiles and our families. Following these simple tips can keep you smiling all summer.
As the new year begins many of us are trying to choose healthier options. This includes attempting to make smarter choices in our choice of drink. A choice for many is to forego sugary sodas and choose carbonated water. The thought is we will choose a lower calorie drink that is also less harmful to our oral health. But is sparkling water safer for our teeth and gums?
What Is Sparkling Water?
Sparkling water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating carbonic acid. This chemical process just adds bubbles. It does not add sugar, calories, or even caffeine. Tonic water, club soda, and mineral water are all types of readily available carbonated water, but these have added sodium, vitamins, or sweeteners, so it’s important to read the label.
Is Sparkling Water Harmful To Our Teeth?
Yes, sparkling water can harm your teeth. While sparkling water is only slightly more acidic than regular tap water it has the power to do damage to our teeth’s enamel through a process called tooth erosion (wearing away of the outer layer of our teeth due to acids). Some of the causes of tooth enamel erosion include:
-Consuming excessive amounts of sodas (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
-Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)
-Dry mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)
-Diet (high in sugar and starches)
-Acid reflux disease (also called GERD)
-Medications (for example aspirin and antihistamines)
-Environmental factors (friction, wear and tear, and stress)
Research has shown that sparkling water has a pH (measure of aciditiy) of approximately 3 (with 5 being neutral). The researchers used extracted teeth and placed them in glasses filled with various types of sparkling waters. What they found was quite surprising. Sparkling water does in fact have the acidity to erode tooth enamel. In fact, the researchers found that the sparkling water compared to orange juice in terms of its erosive effect.
Sparkling Water Conclusion
While the research showed that the sparkling waters can erode tooth enamel, it is important to note that if used in moderation it is a perfectly healthy alternative to sodas and energy drinks. Remember to practice good oral hygiene after using these drinks and you should have little to worry about in terms of your dental health.
Being pregnant is an exciting time but it can bring with it lots of anxiety. Anxiety over doing what it is right for you and your baby’s health. This should include dental health as well since there have been direct links between oral health and our overall health. Once you know you are pregnant it is never too early to start thinking about dental health. A baby’s teeth are already beginning to form by about the 5th-6th week following conception. By the time your baby is born all 20 of their baby (primary) teeth are almost completely formed. Below you will find some helpful tips to care for your dental health as well as the baby’s.
What To Expecting When Expecting Your Baby
Does the calcium for my child’s teeth come from my teeth?
No! This is a common myth but it is simply not true. The baby receives all calcium just like their other nutrients from the mother’s dietary intake.
What’s The Best Way To Maintain My Dental Health While Pregnant?
Maintaining dental health during pregnancy is similar to when not pregnant. To prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease it is important to brush your teeth at least 2x per day, floss at least once per day, and use an antibacterial rinse. Pregnancy gingivitis (earliest stage of periodontal disease) can be especially problemsome especially during the 7th-8th month of pregnancy as hormones are raging. Almost one half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis, starting in the 2nd or 3rd month of pregnancy. It generally increases in severity all the way through to the eighth month. This pregnancy gingivitis can be very uncomfortable and cause inflammation, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gums. If you already have poor dental hygiene and periodontal disease before pregnancy begins, expect an extreme progression in your periodontal condition as you end your first trimester and onward. In some women, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to irritants and form large growths. These are called pregnancy tumors. These are not cancerous and are usually painless in nature. This tumor may require removal by a dentist if it persists. Research has suggested that pregnant women who have severe periodontal disease may be at a higher risk for preterm birth and low birth weight
Is Fluoride Safe?
For women who take fluoride supplements during pregnancy, it is expected that the added fluoride will help their children form strong teeth. However, this is a controversial subject and has not been fully studied. Additional fluoride will not necessarily aid in the process of enamel formation because fluoride works best when the teeth have fully formed and have erupted in the mouth. Fluoride changes the chemical bonds in the enamel of the erupted teeth to make it more resistant to tooth decay. More research studies are needed to determine the advantages, if any, and the safe dosage levels for prenatal fluoride supplementation.
What About Medications Used In Dental Work During Pregnancy?
Lidocaine is the most commonly used drug for dental work. Lidocaine (category B – No evidence of risk in humans. This category has shown adverse effects in animal trials but in controlled human trials have been deemed to be safe with no increased risk of fetal abnormalities.) is able to cross the placenta after administration. Any local anesthesia can cross the placenta and cause fetal depression, therefore anesthesia dosage should be limited to the minimum required to keep patient comfortable. Luckily, most dentistry can be completed with very small amounts of local anesthetic, thus causing no danger to mom or baby. A major study was completed spanning about 35 years and tracking 55,000 children. The study showed no evidence of any adverse reactions from local anesthetic use in pregnant women.
Dental work often requires antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin, which are also labeled category B for safety in pregnancy, may be prescribed after your procedure. The penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics most commonly used in dentistry (penicillin V, amoxicillin, and caphalexin) are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. Clindamycin, metronidazole, and erythromycin are also believed to have minimal risk. Tetracyclines, including doxycycline, have shown to cause tooth discoloration and impaired bone metabolism. As a side note, taking antibiotics while using birth control medications will generally cause the birth control to be ineffective.
Will My Teeth Be Affected By Morning Sickness?
Vomiting due to morning sickness can lead to erosion of the enamel on the back of your front teeth. However, it is unlikely since the morning sickness lasts for such a short period of time. This is more likely to occur with frequent vomiting over a long period of time. If this is a concern of yours be sure to rinse with water and brush following bouts of morning sickness.
When Is The Best Time To Have Dental Work Performed?
Routine dental maintenance can be performed at any time but during third trimester it might be more difficult to sit in dental chair for long periods of time. The ideal time to see your dentist is during your second trimester, since your baby is more vulnerable during the first and third trimesters, when major development is occurring (first trimester) and the risk of premature delivery increases (late third trimester).
Can I Have My Teeth Whitened While Pregnant?
If you are pregnant, it is suggested to hole off from the use of bleaching agents, this also includes the use of whitening toothpastes. Teeth whitening may be resumed after pregnancy.
One of the best things you can do as an expectant mother is to maintain your own dental and general health.This should include a nutritious diet, regular visits to your physician as well as your dentist. A healthy mom will lead to an easier pregnancy as well as an easier time recovering after birth.
Many of us are very diligent about our dental care. This includes regular dental visits, maintaining good dental hygiene, and watching our diet. However, many of us over time develop habits that can create dental issues that effect your dental health. Below you will find a list of the main culrpits when it comes to bad habits and your dental health.
Worst Dental Habits For Your Dental Health
-Chewing On Ice. This is very common and one of those habits most people do not even realize they are doing. Seems harmless enough but it is far from it. The combination of the hardness of the ice cubes and cold temperature can cause your teeth to fracture and crack. They can also cause tiny microscopic fractures in your teeth which can lead to even bigger issues over time.
-Sipping Harmful Drinks. Aside from the dietary concerns, sipping on sugary or even diet soda all day exposes your teeth to sugar and acid. This can cause a host of issues that includes tooth decay, tooth enamel erosion, and even tooth sensitivity. A good tip is to at least use a straw to allow the majority of acids and sugars to pass your teeth.
-Using Teeth To Open Household Items. You would be surprised to hear how many of us use our teeth as tools to open things ranging from a bad of chips, rip a tag off clothing, pull a wristwatch stem, or even attempt to open a bottle. This places tremendous stress on your teeth increasing the chances of weakening the enamel and causing possible fracture of your teeth.
-Sucking On Lemons. Lemons are highly acidic (as most citrus fruits are). The high acid content can erode our tooth enamel which can lead to fractures over time as well as tooth sensitivity.
-Jaw Clenching/Teeth Grinding. Stress tends to be a big driver of this bad habit. Clenching and grinding can create tremendous forces on our teeth. This can lead to fractures of your teeth as well as TMJ issues. It can also damage existing dental work.
-Not Maintaining At Home Dental Hygiene. This may not seem like a bad habit compared to the others but it can cause just as much damage of not more. Poor dental hygiene will lead to development of periodontal disease which will eventually lead to tooth loss and dental infection. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least 2x per day for about 2 minutes each time and floss at least once per day (Preferably at bedtime).
-Avoid Biting Your Nails. Nail biting damages your hands but it also damages your teeth. It can also create an oral hygiene issue. There is bacteria under all of our nails from our daily activities.
Bad Habits Conclusion
Changing these habits will not be easy but to maintain good dental health it is essential. The first step is realizing you have a possible problem and move towards fixing it. Work with your dentist if you are having trouble beating these habits.