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An allergic reaction is caused by our immune systems being sensitive to a specific substance (also called an allergen). An allergic reaction occurs when you make contact with, inhale, swallow, or inject a substance into your body that causes your immune system to produce a reaction. Many allergic reactions are quite  mild, such as hay fever while others can cause breathing or swallowing to stop, and be life threatening. It is believed 1 in 5 people in America are susceptible to allergies of some kind. There are some common dental products that can cause allergic reactions that we should all be aware of.

Allergic Reaction During Dental Care

The dental office utilizes many types of compounds that could potentially be an allergic issue for you as a patient unless you communicate with your dentist. Some know of their allergies, while others may develop new ones at any time after exposure. The usual first response is itching, redness and irritation of tissue. A rash, or welts may occur, swelling of the face, tongue , lips and/or throat may occur in a severe reaction.  The main potential allergens in a dental office include:

-Latex – This is a natural rubber harvested from trees and used in a wide range of products. Dental products that may have latex include masks, gloves, rubber dams, prophy cups, and some syringes.  The latex gloves are the usual culprit as they may contain powder particles which come into direct contact with the skin and mouth. Prolonged exposure to latex and the dust they shed can trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction can be minor to one that is more severe. Luckily, most dental offices are aware of this allergy today and have non latex gloves available for sensitive patients or have made the switch completely for the safety of all patients.

-Local Anesthesia – A very rare reaction but it does happen to a small subset of the population. Dentists use a variety of local anesthetics based on the need and situtation of the patient. The main anesthetic used is lidocaine. A true allergy to local anesthetic is quite rare and it is usually due to a sensitivity to para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). That term is quite a handful but it is simply a by product of the local anesthetic. There have also been cases of local anesthetic allergies to preservatives added to local anesthetics. Most patients who report an allergic reaction are not actually allergies, but instead a reaction to the effects of epinephrine. This reaction usually takes the form of a rapid heartbeat or an increase in blood pressure.

-Metals – Metals are used throughout dentistry and can be a  concern for many. The most common form of metal allergy is a nickel allergy. Nickel alloys are used to create a lot of our everyday items, like buttons, buckles, zippers and kitchen ware. Nickel is also found in some 14K and 18K gold, and when you sweat, it draws the nickel out. Stainless steel has nickel in it, too, but it’s usually bound so tightly that it won’t affect even the most allergic person. But very allergic people can react to the nickel present in some food items, which include nuts, chocolate, tea, coffee, beer and apricots. Dentists can avoid nickel allergies by the use of dental crowns with no nickel content as well as using orthodontic brackets made of ceramic.

-Pine, Mint- Most fluoride varnishes, not pastes, contain natural pine to make them stick to the teeth. Many dental items are flavored with mint oil to make them taste better. Many people are allergic to pine or mints such as spearmint, peppermint, and cinnamon.

-Acrylic Monomer- Acrylic is used in temporary crowns, and removable dentures. The liquid used to activate and harden the acrylic can cause severe allergic reactions to those susceptible.

Dental Allergies Conclusion

Allergies can develop over time, so it is important to tell your dentist if you notice any allergic type reactions during or after your dental appointment. Also, if you know before any dental treatment that you have any allergies you should tell your dentist so the proper materials can be used to avoid an allergic response. The main goal of any dental treatment is to take care of your dental health and not to compromise it. With a little knowledge and good communication, dental allergy issues can be addressed and avoided altogether. An allergist can test you to help determine what you should avoid to prevent an allergic response.

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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