Conquering Your Excuses for Flossing Your Teeth

Do you floss your teeth everyday?  If not, 2015 is the time to start this very healthy habit.  You may not realize it, but dentists agree that flossing your teeth everyday is just as important as brushing.  This is because dental floss can remove food particles from between the teeth that are not accessible with a toothbrush.  Despite this fact, many American children, teens and adults are not currently flossing their teeth everyday.  There are many excuses for not flossing your teeth.  Read on to find out how to conquer each of these excuses so you can safeguard your long-term dental health.

Time is one of the biggest excuses people use for not flossing.  However, investing in the one or two minutes it takes each day can save you from hours of time in a dental chair getting dental work such as fillings, crowns and root canals.  In addition to saving this time, flossing everyday can help you save money on expensive dental restorations.

Some people complain that their teeth are too close together to comfortably floss.  If this is the case, try dental floss that is waxed so it glides more easily between the teeth.  You could also use a threader or loop to help you find an entry point between the teeth.

Others complain that it hurts to floss their teeth.  If you experience pain when flossing, give yourself two weeks.  Make sure that you are not flossing too roughly.  A gentle touch is best.  If your gums still hurt and/or bleed when you floss after two weeks, it is time to see your dentist.  Your gum pain and irritation may be a sign of periodontal disease.  If this is the case, your dental hygiene becomes even more important.

Start out 2015 by resolving to floss your teeth everyday!  Experts say that it takes 21 days to form a habit so after three weeks, it should be easy going!

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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This Thanksgiving, Be Thankful for Your Dental Health

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings.  This can include family, friends, wealth and even our health.  If you are blessed enough to have good oral health, you probably have not spent enough time thinking about this particular blessing.  However, when our dental health goes south and we experience painful and expensive dental problems, it is then that we realize what a big blessing this is. Good dental health gives us the ability to chew and eat properly and to properly digest the foods we eat.  It also has a big effect on our confidence and our quality of life.

Unfortunately, many American adults are not blessed with good oral health.  This is evidenced by the fact that according to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 20 million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth.  The ADA also reports that more than 100 million people in the United States are missing between 11 to 15 of their teeth. Tooth decay in America is also a problem, especially in children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects more than 1/4 of U. S. children between the ages of 2 and 5 and half of children between the ages of 12 and 15.  Lastly, periodontal disease is rampant in American adults.  According to the CDC, half of American adults have some stage of periodontal disease, many of them undiagnosed.  This is unfortunate because untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.

Cavities, periodontal disease and missing teeth are largely preventable dental health conditions.  Many of these cases can be avoided with proper daily dental hygiene, regular dental care and a healthy, well-balanced diet.  If you are one of the many Americans who is not blessed with good oral health, now is the time to turn things around. Talk to your dentist today about the steps you can take to improve your dental health in the new year.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Choosing the Right Toothpaste

If you take a stroll down the dental health aisle at any grocery store or drugstore, you will see over 40 different types and brands of toothpastes. There are toothpastes with added fluoride, toothpastes for kids, teeth whitening toothpastes, tartar control toothpastes, toothpastes for sensitive teeth and more. With all these choices, how do you choose the one that is right for you? Here are some tips:

1. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to strengthen your teeth. Studies have shown that using a fluoride toothpaste helps to increase the concentration of fluoride in the teeth. This can help protect your teeth against tooth decay.

2. Choose a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Toothpastes that have earned the seal of approval from the ADA have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent panel of experts. All toothpastes that are approved by the ADA contain fluoride.

3. Consider any special needs including tooth sensitivity, tartar buildup or tooth discoloration. If you have any of these issues, you may want to choose a toothpaste that is specially made to treat your condition.

Most dentists agree that the type of toothpaste you choose is not the important factor in your dental health. The most important factor in your dental health is your daily dental hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily and flossing your teeth at least one time per day.

If you are still confused over which type or brand of toothpaste to buy, talk to your dentist. He or she can give you some recommendations based on your particular dental health needs and dental health history.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Caring For Your Dentures

Dentures are an investment and have a large bearing on your ability to eat, speak and chew with confidence. And, just like regular teeth, dentures require proper care and attention to keep them functioning at a high level and to make them last a long as possible. So, how should you properly care for your dentures? Read on to find out.

Keeping your dentures clean is one of the most important aspects of regular denture care and should be done on a daily basis. This includes cleaning them daily with a denture brush and soaking them in a cleanser solution. Cleaning your dentures daily will help to keep them white and bright and will prevent plaque buildup. Daily cleanings can also help to prevent denture odor. However, it is important not to brush too hard when you are cleaning your dentures as this can cause damage. Moistening the dentures prior to cleaning them can help you avoid scratching or damaging the delicate metal and plastic parts.

Before putting your dentures back into your mouth, you should brush your gums, tongue and any natural teeth (in the case of partial dentures) with a fluoride toothpaste. You can also rinse with a mouthwash to help get rid of bacteria in your mouth and give you a clean, refreshed feeling.

When you are not wearing your dentures, you should keep them moist to keep them from drying out and losing their shape. You can store them a container that is specially made for this purpose with either water or soaking solution.

If your dentures become loose or uncomfortable, you should notify your dentist as soon as possible. He or she may need to make certain adjustments to improve their fit and comfortability.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Your Nutrition and Your Dental Health

When most of us think about about dental health, we think about brushing and flossing daily.  We also think about visiting the dentist regularly.  However, when it comes to your dental health, what you eat is also very important.

Periodontal disease and tooth decay (dental caries) are two of the most common disease of modern civilization.  They are also largely preventable with good oral hygiene and a proper diet.  Tooth decay occurs when the teeth and surrounding tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from harmful bacteria in the mouth.  Certain foods and combinations of foods are linked to higher cavity-causing bacteria.  Periodontal diseases is a chronic infection of the tissues supporting the teeth.  When you do not eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, it can lower your immune system.  This negatively affects your body’s ability to fight off infections, thereby making your more susceptible to periodontal disease and making the infection more severe.

Moderation and variety are two keys words when it comes to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Before initiating any major changes in your eating habits, you should talk to your doctor.  When planning your diet, choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Keeping your mouth moist by drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is also important.  This will help your mouth to produce bacteria-cleansing saliva.

Foods that cling to your mouth promote tooth decay.  If possible, limit or avoid eating foods such as sticky candies, sugary gums, and soft, sweet sticky cakes.  Instead, snack on foods such as raw vegetables, nuts, cheese and plain yogurt.

If you want to get more information about how to eat to promote good oral health, talk to your dentist today.  You can also consult guidelines for healthy eating from reputable organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Heath.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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CDC Study Examines Oral Health of Women of Childbearing Age in the U.S.

It is widely known that oral diseases can be prevented or improved with regular dental visits. Additionally, pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease due to the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. For this reason, pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant in the future are encouraged to take especially good care of their oral health. However, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a need for improvement in the oral conditions and number of dental health visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the United States.

The objective of this CDC study was to assess and compare national estimates on self-reported oral health conditions and dental visits among pregnant and non-pregnant women in the U.S. who were of childbearing age.  This assessment used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2004.  In this study, researchers from the CDC analyzed self-reported oral health information on 897 pregnant women and 3,971 non-pregnant women of childbearing age (15-44 years).

Results of the study showed disparities in self-reported oral health conditions and use of dental services among women regardless of pregnancy status.  The results of the study highlight the need to improve dental service use among U.S. women of childbearing age especially in the following groups:  young pregnant women, black women, Mexican-American women and those with a low family income or low education level.  Researchers suggest that prenatal visits could be used as a key opportunity to education women about the importance of seeking preventive dental care during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant in the future, it is vitally important for you to engage in regular dental visits, and to carefully safeguard your dental health by practicing good daily oral hygiene.  Therefore, if you have not been to see your dentist in more than six months, schedule your appointment today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Diabetes and Your Dental Health

If you are living with Diabetes, you are predisposed to a number of dental health problems.  For this reason, practicing good daily oral hygiene and getting regular care from a dentist is vitally important.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood.  There are three different types of Diabetes including the following:

•  Type I Diabetes

•  Type II Diabetes

•  Gestational Diabetes

There are currently 26 million people in the United States who are living with some type of Diabetes.  Ninety to ninety-five percent of these cases of Diabetes are Diabetes Type II.  So what is the link between Diabetes and your dental health?  Diabetes impairs your ability to fight bacteria in your mouth.  Having high blood sugar encourages harmful bacteria to grow and this harmful bacteria can cause periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums and tissues supporting your teeth.  If it is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. High sugar levels in the blood can also lead to dry mouth and this condition also puts you at a higher risk for developing gum disease.

If you have Diabetes, the best thing you can do to protect your dental health is to control your blood sugar.  This can be achieved by checking your blood sugar levels often, taking any medications prescribed to you by your doctor, eating a diet that is recommended by your doctor and exercising regularly.  The second thing you can do to protect your longterm dental health is to visit your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and exams.  During this time, a dental hygienist can use special tools and techniques to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.  Your dental examination will also give your dentist the opportunity to look for any signs of periodontal disease and if necessary, to provide treatment for this serious condition.  The third thing you can do is practice good daily oral hygiene at home including thoroughly brushing your teeth at least twice a day and thoroughly flossing your teeth at least once a day.

If you would like to get more information regarding Diabetes and your dental health, talk to your dentist.  If you have Diabetes and have not been to a dentist in more than six months, schedule your appointment today!

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Geographical Tongue: Causes and Treatments

Geographical Tongue is a dental health condition that is characterized by a map-like appearance on the tongue and is also referred to as benign migratory glossitis and erythema migrans. It is a hereditary condition that occurs in roughly 1% to 3% of the population and is more common in women than in men.

Geographical Tongue occurs when parts of the tongue are missing layers of bumps called papillae.  While this condition is harmless and benign, it can make it more challenging to remove harmful bacteria from the tongue.  With this condition, brushing the tongue daily to remove bacteria becomes very important.  In most cases, patients with Geographical Tongue do not experience symptoms.  However,  approximately one in ten patients may experience mild discomfort or a burning sensation on the tongue.  Often times, this is due to a sensitivity to certain substances including cigarette smoke, spicy or acidic foods or toothpaste.

The cause of Geographical Tongue is not currently understood, however, individuals with psoriasis and/or fissured tongue are more likely to have Geographical Tongue.  This condition can be diagnosed by a dentist during a regular dental examination.  If you are diagnosed with Geographical Tongue, your dentist can provide you with helpful information about how to clean your tongue to remove the bacteria that can get lodged in the grooves of your tongue.  He or she can also closely monitor your dental health to look for any signs of periodontal (gum) disease.  Your dentist may also prescribe an antimicrobial rinse to help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria on your tongue.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Acute Tooth Pain: Is it an Abscessed Tooth?

If you have excruciating pain in one of your teeth, you could be dealing with an abscessed tooth.  An abscessed tooth is a painful condition that is caused by an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth.  The most common cause of an abscessed tooth is severe decay.  However, an abscessed tooth can also result from trauma to a tooth or gum disease.  Severe decay and tooth trauma such as a chipped or broken tooth can cause openings in a tooth’s enamel which allows bacteria to infect the center of a tooth (pulp).  This infection can also spread from the pulp to the root of the tooth and/or the surrounding bones and structure.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include severe, throbbing, and/or shooting pain in the area of the mouth where the abscess is located.  Other symptoms include fever, pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, bad breath, swollen neck glands, redness and swelling of the gums, an open, draining sore on the side of the gum and more.

If you think you may have an abscessed tooth, you should notify your dentist immediately, even if it is after traditional dentist office hours.  Many dental practices have a dentist that is on call to handle dental emergencies such as abscessed teeth.  To eliminate the infection, the abscess may need to be drained.  This can be achieved with a procedure called a root canal.  After a root canal procedure, the center of the tooth is this cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection.  In some cases of an abscessed tooth, the tooth is extracted, allowing drainage through the socket.  A third way to drain an abscess is to make an incision into the swollen gum tissue.

In most cases, antibiotics are prescribed to help fight off the infection.  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin and Alleve may be used to alleviate the pain.  Your dentist may also recommend that you rinse your mouth with warm salty water.

Failing to seek treatment for an abscessed tooth will only lead to more serious and more painful complications including tooth loss.  If you have severe tooth pain and think it may be due to an abscessed tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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If You Are Trying to Get Pregnant, Now is a Good Time to Visit the Dentist

If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, you probably have a long lists of things to do to prepare for your pregnancy. You will need to buy a crib, decorate a nursery and figure out childcare, if you are a working professional.  You may also need to make some important lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight or limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine.  All these things are important to increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.  Is visiting the dentist on your list? If not, it should be.  If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, it is a good idea to visit the dentist for a routine dental checkup now, before you actually become pregnant.  This will give your dentist the opportunity to diagnose and treat any dental health issues such as tooth decay, gum recession and periodontal disease, before you become pregnant.  This way, if anesthesia is required for your procedure, you do not have to worry about exposing your unborn child to it.  Additionally, some individuals experience anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist for dental procedures.  Due to the harmful affects of stress on the body, it is important to minimize stress and anxiety as much as possible during pregnancy.

The other reason that it is important to visit the dentist before you become pregnant is because the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.  Since periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, getting regular professional dental cleanings is important to prevent this serious condition.  Once you do become pregnant, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups to prevent periodontal disease.

If you have questions about pregnancy and your dental health, talk to your dentist today.  If it has been over six months since you last visited the dentist and you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, visit your dentist today for a routine dental checkup.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 
Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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