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Stress is the body’s internal and external reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to be bad for us but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your dental health?

Dental Issues That Can Be Caused By Stress

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this includes being diligent with maintaining their dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, your dental health as well as your general health will begin to suffer. This is especially true if you already suffer from periodontal disease as skipping any part of your dental hygiene program can worsen the periodontal disease. Another issue with being under stress is your nutrition changes. Most people dealing with stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include snacking on larger than normal amounts of sugary foods and drinks. These changes will increase your risk for tooth decay.

A good way to combat stress in your life is to maintain a routine of regularly exercising. Exercising regularly can help you relieve some of that stress and give you an extra energy boost. Exercise will also boost your immune system which is always a plus.

Teeth Grinding (also called Bruxism)

One of the main reasons why people grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism can occur day or night but it is usually a subconscious act. Stress is not the only cause of bruxism but it does make it worse. Some of the dental issues associated with bruxism include:

-Headaches

-Ear Pain

-Worn Down Teeth.

-Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

-Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

-Receding gums or teeth with notches in them at the gum line

Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage caused to your teeth. Usually, if stress is the cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor is removed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores come in many forms. These can include:

-Canker sores. These are small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red.  There has been vigorous debate regarding what causes canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system issue, bacteria, or even a virus. Consensus is that stress can increase the risk of them showing up. Canker sores are not known to be contagious.

Canker sores generally last about 7-10 days. Spicy foods as well as highly acidic foods should be avoided as they tend to irritate the sores. One of the best forms of relief comes from a dentist prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This medicine is applied directly to the sore and can reduce symptoms as well as the length that the sores are present.

-Cold sores (or fever blisters). These sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They can also appear under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Other triggers include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores often heal on their own in about a week’s time. Treatment is available, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if either could help you. It is important to start treatment as soon as you feel or notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you start treatment the effects of the cold sore will be reduced.

Periodontal Disease

Stress can lead to depression. And studies have shown that patients who are depressed have twice the risk of a poor outcome from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not in a depressed state. You can not make depression or the stress disappear, of course. But most experts agrees that learning healthy coping strategies can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are depressed tend to have poor overall hygiene and that includes dental hygiene.

Conclusion

Keep in mind we all have stress during the course of our day. Developing proper techniques for dealing with that stress can make a world of difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall health. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you keep your smile as healthy as can be!

Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.

We have all experienced the dreaded foul taste associated with orange juice after brushing. Most adults are aware of this phenomenon but many kids have yet to experience the displeasure firsthand. The question arises, why does tooth brushing change our tastes so dramatically to be able to turn sweet orange juice into a bitter tasting drink?

Main ToothPaste Ingredients

Toothpaste is generally in the form of a paste or a gel that serves the main purpose, of cleaning and maintaining our teeth and gums. Toothpaste has the ability to be abrasive, in order to remove light staining as well as dental plaque from around our teeth. Today, there are also many toothpastes to serve other roles, including teeth whitening, to relieve tooth sensitivity, and to relieve bad breath. These toothpastes use many different ingredients to specifically fit your dental needs and preferences. So what are the main ingredients of toothpaste?

-Abrasives - These ingredients make up the majority of most toothpastes (usually very close to 50%). These abrasives work to physically remove plaque and light stain. Some tooth pastes used white mica as their abrasive. White mica is a very mild abrasive and also gives tooth paste its trademark shimmer in the light. Many other brands use baking soda as an abrasive.

-Fluoride – The addition of fluoride to toothpaste gives the added benefit in replacing weaker ions with stronger fluoride ions in enamel. There are different types of fluoride used and these include Sodium Fluoride (most common), stannous fluoride, olaflur, and sodium monophosphate. In studies, it has been shown that stannous fluoride is  effective  in decreasing tooth decay and also controlling gingivitis and sensitivity.

-Surfactants (detergents) – Most toothpastes contain an ingredient known to cause the very familiar  foaming action. This ingredient is called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and is also found in other personal hygiene products like shampoo. The foaming action increases a toothpastes effective cleaning power. Surfactants also help to remove plaque and stains and form a slippery barrier so that it is more difficult for plaque to adhere.

Other Ingredients – These can include antibacterial agents (like triclosan or zinc chloride), tooth enamel remineralizers (like calcium phosphate), and flavorants (like peppermint or spearmint).

Which Ingredient Is The Culprit?

It is believed that we perceive flavors based on interactions between taste molecules and the receptors on our tongues. Different molecules will interact with different receptors ( bitter, salty, sweet, etc.). The culprit in tooth paste is believed to be Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS has been known to suppress the receptors in your mouth responsible for the taste of sweets. It has also been found to destroy phosholipids. Phospholipids act as inhibitors to your bitter receptors. So, the theory is that by inhibiting sweet receptors and destroying phospholipids, SLS is able to dull the sweetness and promotes the bitter taste in orange juice.

SLS is found in about 99% of all toothpastes sold in the world today. It is believed that this foaming detergent is also responsible for giving people canker sores. Patients who have found that switching to an SLS free toothpaste helps reduce the number of canker sores they get over time.

Mint oil is also a culprit. Mint is a very strong flavor, it can easily overpower the subtleties of orange juice flavor.

Conclusion

Now you finally have an answer to that question that has been in the back of your mind all of these years! Now that you know why orange juice and toothpaste taste so bad together, try to remind yourself that it is better to brush after breakfast than before. Remember to practice good oral hygiene daily as well as visiting your dentist regularly to maintain a healthy and bright smile.

Teeth whitening has become one of the most requested and performed procedures in dental offices across America and the world. According to the American

Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening is the number one requested cosmetic dentistry procedure requested by patients to improve their smile. We have long known that the importance of feeling good about our smile increases our self esteem and confidence. It alters how others look at us and interact with us. So it is no surprise that people want a whiter smile. But did you know teeth whitening can occur using natural ingredients?

The first step is the maintenance of good dental hygiene. Our Health and beauty are one and the same. Start with clean, healthy teeth and gums.Removing plaque, and stains will help give your smile the sparkle you need and the  confidence to smile. Teeth covered in plaque, tartar and debris, and red, swollen puffy gums are never beautiful. Maintaining a regimen of brushing and flossing as well as regular visits to dentist and hygienist are the first step in any improvement to our smiles.

Foods To Eat for Teeth Whitening

-Crunchy, crispy fruits and vegetables have an abrasiveness that can help remove stains from the teeth and give the illusion they are whiter. Consider these like nature’s toothbrush. Apples, fresh green beans, cauliflower, carrots, celery and other crunchy fruits and vegetables help whiten by gently scrubbing the teeth. These abrasive vegetables and fruits have enough abrasiveness for teeth whitening without causing any harm to the enamel. A great snack for teeth whitening are crudités (sliced, fresh, raw veggies). Fibrous fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in nutrients and massage gums and promote blood flow to help keep oral tissues healthy. They also help to increase salivary flow. Good salivary flow is an important key to help protect our oral health.

-Strawberries. This delicious fruit contains an enzyme called malic acid that helps with teeth whitening.

-Eating tart fruits such as oranges and pineapples. These may cause the mouth to produce more saliva, which washes

teeth clean naturally. Beware of using these very acidic directly on teeth, because too much acid can cause damage to the teeth.

-Cheese and other dairy products (like yogurt and milk). These products contain a type of lactic acid that helps prevent decay. Hard cheeses also scrub teeth similar to the crunchy fruits and vegetables to help with teeth whitening by removing stain build up.

-Ginger Root. This help is owed to the anti inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients of the fruit. Patients with periodontitis will receive some benefit by introducing ginger into their diet.

-Basil. This is known as a strong natural antibiotic. Basil can reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the oral cavity. Basil also acts as a defense mechanism deterring the bacteria from multiplying.

-Sesame seeds. Nature’s scrubbing toothbrush. These will help in reduction of plaque deposits. Just take a few teaspoons of sesame seeds a few times per week, and you will begin to note a change in how clean your teeth are. You will probably see reduced plaque deposits.

Teeth Whitening with Crest Baking Soda

Teeth Whitening with Crest Baking Soda Toothpaste

-Baking Soda. Studies have found that toothpastes that contain baking soda do a better job of removing plaque than toothpastes without the ingredient. To try it, your best bet is brushing with a commercial paste (like Crest Baking soda teeth whitening toothpaste) that contains the mild abrasive. This will happen with teeth whitening due to removal of stains by the abrasive paste

Foods to Avoid for teeth whitening

I am sure most people can rattle off the worst offenders pretty quickly. Tea, coffee, red wine, and sodas. But there are a few foods that might surprise you. They include:

White wine. This can promote staining because it contains tannins and acids that can actually etch tooth surfaces. Alcoholic drinks are generally not acidic unless mixed with acidic beverages in cocktails. These can include drinks such as screwdrivers (vodka and orange juice) or cosmopolitans (vodka with cranberry and lime juice).

Sports drinks. These drinks tend to have a higher acidic content regardless of whether they are regular or sugar free.

teeth whitening - epic xylitol gum

xylitol gum – teeth whitening

Most people won’t give up staining foods. So they must maintain regular visits to the dentist as well as adding the next two to their diet on a regular basis.

Water works to reduce staining. Drink water with meals and rinse your mouth with water after eating. Just sip and give a final swish (and swallow) after a meal.

Sugar-free gum can also help clean teeth. This is helpful when you won’t be able to brush for a while. Xylitol (artificial sweetener) in some sugar-free gums also helps prevent decay by stimulating salivary flow.

 

Following some of the steps above will probably not get you the results of professional teeth whitening but they will help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile for many years to come. Teeth Whitening comes in many forms!

 

 

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