The Expecting Mom’s Mouth

   pregnant woman

   Pregnancy brings with it many emotions and questions. What will your baby look like, what gender will it be, will you ever stop feeling sick? For all women though, how to care for your body while pregnant is at the top of the list. However, for many, oral hygiene seems to slip through the cracks.

There are many different opinions on this “hot topic” of whether dental care is safe and necessary during pregnancy. The answer is a little more complex than a yes or a no; so here are some general recommendations for pregnant women.

Firstly, there is no reason to postpone regular teeth cleaning and checkups while pregnant. In fact the added hormones during pregnancy can cause swelling in your gums which can allow for more food to get stuck between them, causing irritation and possibly a future cavity. Cleanings may be the most comfortable to have done during your second trimester when lying on your back is still comfortable. However any time during your pregnancy will be safe for you and baby.

If you do have a more serious problem come up in one of your teeth, the discussion should be made with your dentist about the safety of your specific procedure. A cavity, for example, should be filled even while pregnant. A tooth extraction or root canal is also an issue that is better taken care of as soon as it is found. Your dentist will be able to explain to you the types of numbing or medication used in these procedures and how each may or may not affect your pregnancy. Generally, if left unattended these problem areas or teeth can become more serious and require more drastic measures to be taken.

There are some cosmetic procedures that can and should wait until after pregnancy to be completed. Teeth whitening, for example, does not need to be done during pregnancy and can easily wait until after delivery.

Many women have increased sensitivity in their teeth and gums while pregnant and this can make you feel like avoiding the dentist at all costs. But continuing your routine of brushing, flossing and regular checkups will definitely save you the trouble of a more serious problem such as a cavity, or worse. As is the case with every health issue, you should ask your dentist as many questions as you feel necessary to be comfortable with your dental care during your pregnancy.

Strengthening Teeth

strengthening teeth

 

As we age we naturally lose the protective coating over our teeth called enamel. Although it is difficult to gets these layers back, there are certain measures we can take to help strengthen our teeth and prevent further loss.

1)      Watch your diet. Foods high in sugars, acids and starches can speed up tooth decay. Be aware when eating foods with these additives of the harmful effects they can have. Diet sodas for example contain great amounts of acid that are harmful to teeth.

2)      Rinse your mouth out with water. Right after consuming foods high in sugars and acids use plain water to remove anything from lingering on the surface of your teeth. The longer your teeth stay coated in sugars and acids, the more they seep into your teeth causing bacteria and enamel loss.

3)      Use a soft bristle toothbrush. It may seem counterintuitive, but brushing your teeth harder does not make them cleaner. A rough touch on a tooth’s surface, or using a tough bristled toothbrush can actually work to remove your existing enamel.

4)      Chew on sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum increases your saliva production that in turn can help to increase your tooth enamel. (Gum containing sugar will have the adverse affect, and will coat the teeth fighting your existing enamel.)

Adding these tips into your daily life is not a large change to make, but will greatly increase your overall oral health.

The Pouch Problem

baby feeding

 

In the last few years there has been new products developed that is geared towards a more convenient way to feed baby and toddlers. Companies like Gerber and Earth’s Best are pureeing fruits and vegetables and selling them in pouches. These pouches are easy and quick for on-the-go parents, but are having a negative impact on children’s teeth.

When fruit is pureed it is reduced down and loses much of its fiber, leaving only sugars remaining. When this sugary fruit is being consumed through the pouch it allows for the substance to attach itself to little ones’ teeth and stay on the surface for long periods of time. This exposure is causing many children even younger than 2 years old to get cavities, and have an unhealthy mouth.

Although these pouches are quick and convenient, the poor effects they have on teeth clearly outweighs their usefulness. Parents are encouraged to mash up fruits and vegetables and spoon-feed it to their children instead. By eating off of a spoon the exposure of these sugars to the teeth is greatly minimized. Parents are also encouraged to brush their children’s teeth long before they need to go to the dentist, to ensure good oral health.

The Toothpaste Test

 

 

toothpaste tubes

 

The American Dental Association (ADA) was created in 1859 for the purpose of promoting good oral health to the public and also to represent the dental profession. This group is the oldest in the world and carries with its name great prestige. You can be confident that products sold for the purpose of dental hygiene that bear the ADA stamp of approval contain quality ingredients. Keeping this information in mind should help you when deciding which brand of toothpaste is the best for your teeth.

Toothpaste itself has been around in some form or another since the time of the ancient Greeks, although its recipe has been continually changed and improved. Today there are over 10 quality brands of toothpaste made, which can make purchasing the right toothpaste overwhelming. Reading the labels of any brand there are a few key items to look for.

Firstly, your toothpaste must wear the ADA stamp of approval. This will guarantee the safety and quality of the toothpaste has been tested and controlled. Second, the toothpaste must contain fluoride. Fluoride helps fight plaque buildup and prevent cavities, as well as polishes your teeth. Third, if you have sensitive teeth look for a toothpaste that contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, these ingredients will protect the teeth that are connected to your nerves causing those hot or cold sensations to occur. If you follow these guidelines your toothpaste brand name does not matter so long as the above requirements are met. Do not be overwhelmed or swayed by creative packaging, simply make an informed choice and your dental hygiene will be strong.

Flossing Facts

floss

One of the single most important things we do for our teeth is probably one of the most hated as well. You all know what I’m talking about. The very same thing that we feel guilty about every time we visit the dentist. You guessed it, flossing. Flossing in between each tooth is the only way to remove plaque and food that sticks to our teeth and our gums. Brushing alone cannot reach all of the hiding spots for plaque that cause us to get cavities. We should floss every single day to keep our teeth healthy and prevent serious problems such as gum disease.

 

Now, we know how important flossing is, but that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable for us to do. Find the most suitable way to floss for you and run with it. Every drugstore and pharmacy sells multiple types of dental floss: waxed, unwaxed, bonded, etc. It does not matter which you use so long as you pick one. Individual flossing sticks can be useful to carry with you to the office or school. Extended flossing wands are popular to many who don’t love to shove their fingers in their mouth to reach molars. Any way you find that works for you will greatly benefit your dental hygiene. Your wallet will also thank you when it is not paying for cavities, crowns, or root canals!

When to visit

when to visit

One of the most frequently asked questions a Dentist receives is how often an adult needs to have their teeth cleaned. The answer is not always a simple one. The clearest answer is to follow the advice given by your specific dentist and dental hygienist. Most agree that visiting the dentist for a routine cleaning every 6 months is the best for your oral care.

Arguably the most important part about your visit is getting screened for gum disease, oral cancer or other diseases that begin in the mouth. A visit every 6 months will ensure that any signs of these disorders are discovered and can begin to receive treatment before the issue becomes serious. Even those who practice excellent oral care at home still need to regularly see their Dentist to receive these screenings.

Many Dentists recommend getting on a set schedule with all of your family members to visit together, planning future visits well in advance. This way you can be sure that each member of your family receives the dental care necessary to stay healthy.

Brushing for Baby

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For many parents, especially first timers, there are so many things to learn and remember to do for our babies. Brushing their teeth may fall lower on the list of things to do than it should. Getting good dental hygiene habits from the beginning will greatly benefit the life of your little ones teeth. So where to begin?

Brushing baby’s teeth should begin from that first sprouting of a pearly white. You should add brushing into your routine of caring for your little one twice a day. You can decide to either use water or a very small drop of children’s non-fluoride toothpaste. Choose either a cotton swab, fingerbrush, or a toothbrush with a soft head and soft bristles. Be sure to wipe both the outside and inside of the tooth, as well as wipe along the front of the tongue to freshen baby’s breath. If your little one is teething, gently rubbing their gums may provide them with temporary relief from their discomfort.

The purpose of baby teeth is to act as the placeholders for the adult teeth to grow in. Having good brushing habits in place long before the adult teeth appear will ensure your little one will be ready to care for their permanent teeth when they arrive.

The Pepsi Problem

PEPSI-CAN

 

Most of us have probably heard over the years that drinking soda is bad for our teeth, but is this based on fact or simply a myth spread by mothers of the world? Lets investigate this further…

 

It has been proven that soft drinks are one of the leading causes of tooth decay. The sugars and acidic substances found in these drinks are proven to soften tooth enamel. (That is the hard outer layer of our teeth, that when lost cannot be regained.) When we lose our enamel that leads to cavities and more serious problems for our teeth, including loss of the tooth itself!

 

Here are some helpful hints to protect our teeth and our smiles.

  1. Substitute soda with beverages that contain less sugar like milk, water or 100% fruit juices. (Getting into this habit will benefit not only your teeth but also your overall physical health.)
  2. If you have to have that Diet Coke with lunch, rinse your mouth out afterwards with water to help remove leftover acids. This way you are preventing prolonged exposure on your teeth.
  3. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, this will help to strengthen your existing enamel so that you are less prone to cavities.
  4. This one seems obvious, but visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleaning. The professional fluoride treatments given will be the best lasting defenders on your teeth to combat the sugars and acids in sodas.

 

It may seem impossible to give up your soda habit but your teeth with thank you for it. Try slowly cutting down your intake and follow the 4 helpful hints above to minimize the damage done by soft drinks.

Welcome to our new blog!

 

Welcome!

We are excited to be joining the online world of blogging. The purpose of this blog is to provide our patients and their friends with brief but useful information about oral care and also keep you all in the loop when it comes to important happenings at our office. Look for promotions, giveaways, fun events, important milestones like birthdays, and other fun content to come your way. Please follow our blog and/or add it to your favorite reader service. We greatly appreciate our community of patients and are excited to bring that community online!