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Cotswold Family Dentistry Blog

Date: 3/22/2017 4:14 AM PDT

Teeth grinder blog

 

Notice a change in the shape of your teeth? Do you think you could be clenching or grinding?

I'm a teeth grinder.  In my sleep I grind my teeth. 
I didn't know this for many years.  Growing up, I always brushed assiduously twice a day, especially after I had to have a couple of fillings placed and then got braces during my adolescence.  What truly motivated me to keep up on my oral hygiene, though, was what I saw while waiting for a ride home from the senior citizens' center my pop directed.  All around me, the consequences of poor dental care were all too apparent in the startling array of dental appliances the senior center regulars were forced to use when consuming anything denser than tapioca pudding.  Not me, I thought.  Whatever it takes, I don't want to have to deal with that - ever.  And my strategy seemed to pay off, as after those childhood run-ins with tooth decay, I didn't need another filling or any other dental treatment beyond regular cleanings for well over a decade.

It was a good run, but one spring day it came to an end as I was eating a bowl of French onion soup at a café in the Latin Quarter of Paris. (Where better to eat French onion soup?)  As I swallowed a spoonful of the rich, cheesy liquid, I realized that something in my mouth felt wrong.  Rushing to the men's toilette, I bared my teeth at the mirror and was crestfallen to see that about a third of my right front tooth had fairly shattered.  The whole event was baffling; after all, I hadn't been chewing on ice or tearing away at spare ribs. I was eating a food that even denture wearers can consume without trouble.

Don't Think About It, It Won't Feel Bad

Once I returned Stateside, I made an appointment to have the broken tooth repaired and asked my dentist what might have gone wrong.  He shrugged and said that I'd probably weakened the tooth by biting down on some hard food earlier and the fracture just chose that moment to work itself loose.  Okay, fair enough.  The doctor was slightly concerned about signs of erosion around the bases of a number of my teeth, but chalked it up to overzealous brushing habits developed in childhood (not me, not ever) and my, er, enthusiastic consumption of carbonated caffeinated beverages. I promised him I'd try to tone both down and went on my way, contented for the moment with my fracture-free smile and dismissing the incident as a one-time fluke.

Unfortunately, my problems didn't go away. In fact, they only worsened over the course of the next eight months. When I'd arise in the mornings, my mouth, neck, and head would often ache, and when I ate hot or cold foods certain teeth would tingle sensitively.  On particularly bad mornings, my teeth would even feel slightly loose - though I usually managed to rationalize that away as a figment of my imagination.

Finally, one of my molars fractured as I was eating a wheat cracker.  (A wheat cracker!)   This second broken tooth had been previously repaired with an old fashioned metal amalgam filling, and fortunately the fracture didn't cause me any additional pain, but this was a clear message that something was definitely wrong.  I hadn't had any dental issues since high school and within less than a year I pop up with two broken teeth?  If things continued at this rate I'd be in denturetown with the senior citizens before I got within twenty years of retirement age.

As soon as I was able, I scheduled an appointment with a new dentist and explained my situation.  He took one look in my mouth and asked, "Have you been under a lot of stress lately?"

"I would kill for a good night's sleep."

"Do you grind your teeth in your sleep?"

"Uh...I don't think so.  I mean, not that I know of.  No one's ever said anything to me about it, anyway."

"Well, you see here...and here...and here where the bases of the teeth are worn?  That's probably from clenching your teeth and grinding from side to side in your sleep.  Plus, the locations where these fractures occurred are exactly where your bite comes together."  He called my significant other in from the waiting room and asked, "Have you ever seen him grind his teeth in his sleep?"

"Oh yeah, definitely.  He does it all the time."

My head whipped around as I asked, "Why didn't you ever mention it to me?"
"I figured you already knew.  You didn't know you grind your teeth?"

No, I Didn't Know I Grind My Teeth

Fortunately, my new dentist was able to make some recommendations to help halt the progression of damage and control my nocturnal bruxism (or nighttime teeth grinding).  I immediately began wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard designed to protect my teeth from the forces of grinding each night as I slept.  The improvements were almost immediately noticeable: first, that bizarre "loose teeth" feeling in the mornings went away, and then the dull ache in my teeth that had gradually become like constant background noise in my head began to fade. My teeth were less sensitive to temperature, allowing me to eat a wider range of my favorite foods without discomfort once again, and unexpectedly (to me, anyway), my headaches and neck pain also began to lessen. 
My dentist explained that, while doctors don't currently understand all of the causes of bruxism, a number of factors have been identified as contributing to teeth grinding.  In children, the condition is thought to be related to the growth and development of the jaw, as teeth may not fit together as comfortably due to the rapid growth spurts that occur during childhood and adolescence.  In adults, bruxism has been associated with misalignments between the upper and lower teeth; side effects from antidepressant medications such as Zoloft® or Prozac®; consumption of alcohol or caffeine; sleep disorders; psychological factors, including a hyperactive or hypercompetitive personality, high levels of stress, and suppressed frustration or anger; and other conditions including Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.  When left unchecked, teeth grinding can not only lead to severe tooth wear and damage, but may also cause head, neck, or back pain and disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

While there is currently no cure for bruxism and treatment may vary depending on the patient, nighttime mouth guards to prevent teeth grinding (sometimes referred to as bite splints) are the most frequently recommended solution.  These devices are made from a durable plastic material that is strong enough to endure repeated grinding but soft enough to shield the teeth from damage.  In young children, teeth grinding usually goes away during adolescence, so no correction may be necessary.  Other solutions that are sometimes used to treat bruxism include use of biofeedback devices, combinations of vitamin and mineral supplements, use of muscle relaxants or injections of BOTOX® botulinum toxin, meditation and relaxation techniques, and psychotherapy.

Whichever bruxism treatment is used, arresting the condition may be only half the battle. By the time the condition is diagnosed, many teeth grinders have already suffered significant tooth damage.  Depending on the nature and severity of the damage in your case, your dentist may recommend placement of porcelain crowns or veneers to restore damaged or badly worn teeth, orthodontic treatment to correct a misaligned bite, or other cosmetic dental treatments designed to restore the appearance of a healthy smile.

In my case, after two years of dental bonding treatments and placement of new tooth-colored fillings, I'm finally back to the point where I see a smile I'm happy with in the mirror each morning.  I replace my mouth guard when necessary, I try to keep stress to a manageable level, and I've cut caffeine almost entirely out of my life.  Still, I keep a close eye on my teeth for new signs of wear, and I make sure to visit my dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
I'm a teeth grinder - but I don't have to let bruxism turn me into a toothless wonder before my time.

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Date: 1/30/2017 7:02 AM PST

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Cavities are an unfortunate result of improper oral hygiene. Most people today have or have had cavities in one or more of their teeth. Cavities on the surface of the teeth are quite common, but did you know that you can also have cavities in between your teeth?

Cavities between teeth are a very common phenomena and occur when there is accumulation of food debris between the teeth, which are acted upon by the bacteria. These bacteria will break down the food debris which will lead to release of acids and disintegration of the teeth. The basic physiology of cavities between teeth is the same as cavities in any other region of the mouth, the only difference being that instead of being on the surface of the teeth, these cavities are present in between teeth.

Cavities between the teeth are treatable. The approach is slightly different than a typical cavity, and that is what we will discuss in the next section.

What Causes Cavities Between Teeth?

As discussed above, cavities between teeth are caused as a result of the food accumulation between the two teeth, which leads to bacterial growth and disintegration of the tooth, as a result of the byproducts created by the bacteria to dissolve the food.

Typically, the food is commonly seen to accumulate in the crevices of teeth, and hence it is more common for the cavities to occur in the posterior teeth (i.e the molars and the premolar teeth). It is difficult for food to stick on the smooth surface of the tooth, which is the reason that dentists don’t commonly see cavities on such surfaces.

When we brush our teeth, we normally focus the brushing action on the surface of the anterior teeth (i.e the front teeth including the incisors and the canines) or the surface of the posterior teeth (i.e the molars and premolars). It is very common for an individual to neglect the regions which are present in between the teeth. This could either be due to the fact that we tend to focus on the regions which are directly in our field of vision, but it can also be due to the fact that it is difficult to get the bristle of the tooth brush into the region present between the teeth. This is one of many reasons why it is so important to floss.

Cavities which are present between the two teeth can be in both the anterior as well as the posterior teeth. These cavities can also be either exclusively present between the side of the two teeth, but they may also extend to the surface of teeth.

How to treat cavities between two teeth

You may be able to observe that you have these cavities on your own upon inspection in the mirror. Once you are aware of the fact that you have caries present between your teeth, it is very important to get treated as soon as possible. Caries have a tendency to spread pretty fast, and the cavities which are present between teeth will have a damaging effect to not one, but two teeth.

It is not uncommon for inter-proximal caries to be bigger than they appear to be on the surface. Your dentist will normally take a bitewing x-ray, with the help of which he/she will be able to access the depth of the cavity.

If the carious lesion is only extending on the surface of the teeth present between the teeth and is very shallow, remineralization may occur and the problem will be corrected without any active intervention.

In most cases, a tooth-colored white filling (called composite fillings) will be used. These fillings will be of a shade of color which resembles your teeth’s natural color. This is especially important when the filling to be done is in between the anterior teeth, as these are the teeth which are visible when smiling/talking/eating. Composite fillings are the more esthetic choice verses amalgam.

How to prevent cavities between teeth

It is very important to take precautionary measures to ensure that you do not have cavities in between your teeth. Prevention can go a long way in saving your teeth from becoming carious, and hence check the requirement of undue treatment.

As the main cause of cavities between teeth is the accumulation of food between the teeth, it is very important to practice proper oral hygiene measures which will prevent the accumulation of food in this region. This can be done by following a proper methods to brush your teeth. Although simply brushing your teeth may be enough, some people may require special aids like interdental brushes which can aid in the removal of food debris lodged between two teeth.

Cavities between teeth is a very possible condition and should not be taken lightly. The good news is that with proper oral hygiene, this condition is easily preventable and you can save yourself from unnecessary procedures by just following methods of good oral hygiene.

Cavities between teeth are no different than other types of cavities, the only difference being that they are present in the space between two teeth and can possibly effect more than one tooth.

If you have further questions about cavities between your teeth, or suspect you may have them, contact us to discuss treatment options.

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Date: 1/23/2017 6:14 AM PST

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Gum disease is not that common

On the contrary, gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can eventually harden into calculus or tartar.

I don't have cavities so I can't have gum disease

Being cavity-free doesn’t ensure you are in the clear where gum disease is concerned. That’s because gum disease is painless and many people have no idea they have it. Gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen or tender is a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease and the only stage that is reversible. When caught early gingivitis can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at the dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Having gum disease means I will lose my teeth

Not so! You don’t have to lose any of your teeth to gum disease if you practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, cleaning between your teeth daily, eating a healthy diet, and scheduling regular dental visits. Even if you are diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist can design a treatment plan to help you keep it under control.

Bleeding gums during pregnancy is normal

While it’s true that some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” it’s not true that everyone experiences this. You can help prevent this condition by taking extra care during your brushing and flossing routine. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.

Bad breath may be an indicator of gum disease

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can be an indicator of gum disease and other oral diseases so it is important that you uncover what’s causing the problem. If constantly have bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems as your bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care physician.

I have diabetes so I am bound to have gum disease

Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body's ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes can also lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process. If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems, including gum disease, so it's important that you are extra diligent with your oral health.
Curated from: Mouth Healthy

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Date: 12/23/2016 4:41 AM PST

We were able to get together as a CFD family and celebrate the holiday season! Can you tell the running theme here (besides Christmas)?

Here's to another successful year! We're proud of our staff and grateful for our wonderful patients.

 

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Date: 12/16/2016 11:16 AM PST

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Like other common dental problems, missing teeth can cause serious complications over time if left untreated. Therefore, it is important that individuals missing one or more teeth seek treatment as soon as possible. Several treatment options are available to restore both beauty and functionality to the mouth.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

There are many reasons a person might be missing teeth. The most common is tooth decay, which is related to gingivitis. Teeth that are not properly cared for decay over time. If left untreated, these teeth can become loose and fall out. The best way to prevent tooth loss is to brush and floss regularly, and to visit the dentist for periodic cleanings and checkups so decay can be detected and treated before tooth loss occurs. Missing teeth may also be linked to other oral diseases, including periodontal (gum) disease. Conditions such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can also cause tooth loss as undue strain is placed on the teeth and supporting structures.

In some cases, tooth loss is caused by injuries to either the tooth itself or to the surrounding tissues, including the gums and jaws. These injuries are particularly common among those participating in sports, which is why it is so important to wear appropriate safety gear such as mouth and face guards.

Effects of Tooth Loss

Immediately after tooth loss, many people experience tooth pain or sensitivity. However, even in cases of tooth loss where pain is not a problem, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Tooth loss can cause immediate problems with eating, speech, and other basic activities that may worsen with time. Eventually, the remaining teeth in the jaw shift in an attempt to fill in the gap left by a missing tooth. The resulting crooked teeth can cause serious bite problems that  require orthodontics to correct. Further, because each tooth is supported by those around it, missing teeth can weaken the overall structure of the mouth, causing additional tooth loss or injury that may worsen with time.

Replacing Missing Teeth

There are many options available to replace missing teeth. The most permanent treatments are dental implants and implant-supported dental bridges. A qualified oral surgeon can implant titanium screws into the jaw that act as artificial tooth roots, providing optimum long-term strength and stability for false teeth. This technique is so effective that many patients who choose an implant dentistry option report that their false teeth are indistinguishable in both appearance and function from their natural teeth. Dentures and dental bridges are typically the best non-surgical treatment option. Bridges are permanently attached to dental crowns to close the gaps left by missing teeth, while dentures are removable restorations that replace missing teeth.

Curated from: DocShop

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Date: 12/9/2016 12:08 PM PST

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Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the world with nearly a third of all adults disliking the dentist, and 1 in 10 of us having a phobia so strong that we actually avoid making visits to the dentist. Dental fear is a problem that needs to be tackled head on however as our oral hygiene is incredibly important for our health. With that in mind, we thought it would be worth examining the strategies and techniques you can use to overcome dental anxiety.

Overcoming Mild Dental Anxiety

Mild dental anxiety is discomfort and nervousness at the dentist (as opposed to terror and panic). It can be treated in a number of ways.

Talking to your dentist

Talking to your dentist is the first step to overcoming your dental fears. Make sure your dentist understands your exact fears and work with them to make your appointment as relaxed as possible by taking breaks and letting them put you at ease.

Practicing breathing techniques

Controlled breathing relaxes your body and shifts your focus to other things in order to preoccupy your mind. This is fantastic when you are at the dentist as you can avoid a lot of discomfort and anxiety. The easiest breathing techniques simply involve inhaling and exhaling through your nose for a slow count of three - so three seconds breathing in followed by three seconds breathing out. This technique is particularly useful as it also overcomes the breathing issues many of us feel when things are in our mouth.

Using relaxation techniques

There are a number of relaxation techniques that may work for you. We have headphones and calming music of your choice to help. Different relaxation and distraction techniques work for different people so try and find something that will work well for you.

Overcoming Severe Dental Anxiety

Severe dental anxiety often cannot be treated by the steps above - though all of these techniques can and should be used to try and put you at ease.

When it comes to severe dental anxiety we are dealing more with a psychological phobia that is less due to nerves and more due to fears. We can potentially overcome severe dental anxiety in a few ways.

Counseling

You can receive counseling for your phobia. This will aim to look at the root causes of your phobia and will try to work through it so that you can move beyond it.

Support Networks

Dental anxiety is very common and there are a wide number of support networks for people with these phobias. Sites like DentalFearCentral have forums dedicated to overcoming phobias as well as support groups and recommended dentists.

Our office takes the time to consult with you one-on-one, and we do our best to make every visit as comfortable as possible. When you see the CFD difference, we are confident your dental visit fears will subside. See some of our testimonials where we have helped patients just like you.

Curated from: Dental Health

 


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Date: 11/30/2016 12:07 PM PST

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Whether you are considering getting dentures, already have them, or know someone with them, it’s very likely that you may have some questions about them. What follows is information on what dentures really are, what kind of care they require, and how dentures can improve your oral health. We hope to help you find the answers to all your denture queries and to find out, if necessary, whether dentures might be right for you.

What are dentures?

Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are formed to your mouth and created by your dentists to replace lost or removed natural teeth. Dentures can either be full or partial, meaning they can either replace all teeth on either the top or bottom gum line, or just a few that are missing. Regardless of what kind of dentures you may need, they will be custom designed to fit your mouth, and visually matched to your existing teeth.

What are they made out of?

creation of half of a new set of denturesIn the past, the artificial teeth that make up dentures were made out of porcelain or plastic, but more modern dentures are generally made out of a hard resin. The materials used to make denture teeth are known to be more fragile than natural teeth and can easily chip or crack if dropped or otherwise uncared for. This material also wears down much quicker than natural teeth and thus must be replaced with a new set of dentures every five years or so.

The supporting structure of dentures that holds the artificial teeth in place and resembles the natural gum line is often made out of a similar resin used for the teeth, or a more flexible polymer material that fits snugly on the natural gum line.

Why wear dentures?

Dentures not only improve the appearance of a smile that has multiple missing teeth, but they also keep the structure of the mouth sound by supporting the structures around the cheeks and lips. Dentures also make it possible to eat foods that require chewing, making it possible to keep your diet the same and ensure that you are properly nourished. Lastly, dentures are a viable solution to replace teeth that are causing serious pain and oral health issues, such as those with rotted roots or severe damage. Having dentures fitted means that troublesome teeth are eliminated and replaced with a strong and beautiful alternative.

Partial dentures

Partial dentures are often used instead of other tooth replacement methods when the surrounding natural teeth are not strong enough to support structures such as dental bridges, or when more than one or two teeth are missing.

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Classic partial dentures
 

 

The partial dentures are fitted to the part of the gum line that they will sit on, and fasten to nearby natural teeth to keep from falling out of place. They are not permanently fastened, however, and can be easily taken out at any time for cleaning and while sleeping.

Full dentures

Full dentures, otherwise known as complete dentures, are dentures that replace all of your natural teeth. You can have them fitted for your top or bottom gum line, and are held in place by suction and/or the help of an oral adhesive. Just like partial dentures, they are easily removable.

 

an implant overdentureAn implant overdenture

Immediate dentures and overdentures

There are some other kinds of full and partial dentures that differ from traditional permanent dentures including a type called immediate dentures. These dentures are created before the teeth that are being replaced with dentures have been removed and are used immediately after tooth extraction and during the healing process, which can be up to six months long. These dentures can be more easily refitted than permanent dentures to accommodate for mouth changes as the swelling in the gums and jaw subsides while healing. The immediate dentures will be disposed of once the healing process is complete and your mouth is ready for permanent dentures.

Overdentures are an alternative that can be used if traditional dentures prove to be extremely uncomfortable or if you have a few natural teeth left. Overdentures are fitted over the roots of natural teeth and either rest on these or on dental implants, if there are no natural teeth to fit over. Some find this type of denture more comfortable and they are also easily removable.

Implant-supported dentures

dental implant components and see-through versionAs the name seems to imply, these are dentures which are anchored by dental implants. A dental implant is a permanent fixture that is anchored to the jawbone and can be used to replace any number of teeth. They’re comprised of the implant itself, a metal post (usually titanium), and a custom crown which looks just like a natural tooth.

Implant-supported dentures have a couple of different ways in which they can attach, but should be cared for and treated like traditional dentures. It’s more common to have them done on the lower jaw since the upper has fewer problems with fitting securely, but plenty of people have implants on both.

How to clean dentures

Regardless of what kind of dentures you may have, all dentures need to be cleaned daily, just like regular teeth. Even though dentures are made up of artificial teeth, bacteria, plaque and tartar still build up on them and can harm existing teeth and gums.

To clean your dentures, take them out of your mouth and run clean water over them to dislodge any food particles that may be stuck between teeth, along the gum line, or underneath the structure. Then brush the dentures all over with a denture brush or very soft toothbrush using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Be sure not to use any other cleaners, regular toothpaste, or electric toothbrushes as these are all too abrasive and can damage and wear away the denture materials. After cleaning, make sure to rinse them well.

While your dentures are out of your mouth, be sure to clean your gums and any natural teeth with a very soft and wet toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste if needed. If your toothbrush is too harsh, wrap your finger in a wet, soft washcloth and gently rub your gums, making sure to cover all surfaces.

Preserving your dentures

Always remove your dentures before sleeping to avoid damaging them, dislodging them, and to give your gums some time to relax. Submerge your dentures fully in warm, but not hot, water to keep them from drying out and becoming misshapen. Only use denture soaking solution if your dentures do not have metal components as the solution can tarnish the metal.

More questions?

If you still aren’t sure whether or not dentures are right for you or if you have other questions or concerns, talk to us at your next regular dental checkup to discuss the right path for you.

And remember, anyone could end up needing dentures! Hockey players, victims of automobile accidents, or people with genetic disorders may require an oral prosthetic of some sort, so the notion that it’s only for senior citizens is no longer accurate. If you or someone you know might need them, regardless of your age, don’t hesitate to inquire.

Curated from: 123Dentist

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Date: 11/15/2016 8:56 AM PST

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Dental care is especially important during pregnancy. Let your dentist know you're pregnant, so proper screening and treatment guidelines can be followed.

Carrying a child affects your entire body — and that goes for your mouth, too. Since your teeth and gums can be affected by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy, you'll need to pay special attention to your dental health when you're pregnant.

In addition, there are a few extra safety measures you will need to be sure are followed when going to the dentist. Here's how to stay on top of your dental care when you're expecting.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Dental Health

Problems that women may experience with their teeth and mouth during pregnancy include:

Pregnancy gingivitis. Increased levels of the hormone progesterone can result in gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. This, along with pregnancy-related changes in your immune system, can cause your gums to become red and swollen, and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis usually go away after the baby is born.

Periodontal disease. Some pregnant women experience a more serious dental condition, called periodontal, or gum disease. Periodontal disease occurs when a bacterial infection develops in pockets below the gum line, which can damage the fibers that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease can also affect the health of the baby, since women with periodontal disease are at higher risk of having babies early and with lower birth weights.

Pregnancy granuloma. A pregnancy granuloma is a red growth that usually appears along the upper line of your gums. This nodular growth bleeds easily and sometimes crusts over. While these growths are not dangerous, they can be uncomfortable and affect the way you speak and eat. Pregnancy granulomas usually occur in the second trimester and affect 2 to 10 percent of pregnant women. They usually go away after the baby is born.

Dry mouth. Many pregnant women experience dryness in their mouth caused by a decrease in saliva, which can be brought on by hormonal changes. Dry mouth can increase the risk of many dental problems. Chewing sugarless gum can help.

Erosion of tooth enamel.Vomiting due to morning sickness can lead to erosion of the enamel on the back of your front teeth. This is more likely to occur with frequent vomiting over a long period of time.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Since changes in oral health are common during pregnancy, you should pay special attention to dental care while you're pregnant. To maintain good dental care during pregnancy, follow these guidelines:

Eat a healthful diet. Eating plenty of foods rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins to help support the health of your baby, as well as protect your teeth.

Brush regularly. You should brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day, making sure you brush for at least two minutes.

Don't forget to floss. Flossing at least one time every day can help prevent or minimize pregnancy gingivitis.

Use mouthwash. Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash can help control the bacteria that contribute to gingivitis.

Visit your dentistSee your dentist for regular dental care while you're pregnant.

Special Dental Considerations for Pregnant Women

It is important to continue going to the dentist while you're pregnant and to follow your regular dental care schedule; and there are certain things you need to do to protect the health of your unborn baby:

Tell your dentist you're pregnant. No matter how far along you are, make sure that your dentist knows you're pregnant. That way, if X-rays, sedatives, or other medications are being considered, your dentist can weigh their risks to your unborn baby.

Avoid major procedures when possible. If you need to have major work performed on your teeth or mouth, it's best to wait until your baby is born to have these procedures done, if possible. However, if you have periodontal disease, you may benefit from a special kind of cleaning called scaling and root planing, which cleans the infected areas beneath the gums and around the roots of your teeth.

Plan your dental visit carefully. It's ideal to see your dentist 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).

Ask questions. If you have any concerns or questions about the safety of a dental procedure, share them with your dentist. Also, discuss your concerns with your obstetrician-gynecologist or pregnancy health care provider. They can offer reassurance to you that what is being done is safe for your baby.

Curated from: Everyday Health

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Date: 10/27/2016 11:28 AM PDT

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If you use over-the-counter or prescription medications, it’s important to let your dentist know. You should also mention any side effects you’ve experienced as these can negatively affect oral health and even lead to more serious conditions. Luckily, early dentist detection can help reduce or alleviate many of these problems.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is a side effect of many medications. Although discomfort may be minimal, decreased saliva can cause bacteria and plaque to accumulate in your mouth, making you more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. Help combat dry mouth by drinking plenty of water (six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day), and talk to your dentist about alleviating symptoms.

Gingival enlargement

Some medications – including the calcium channel blockers frequently prescribed to control high blood pressure – can cause gingival enlargement, a condition that causes gums to swell and begin to grow over the teeth. If left untreated, it can cause severe periodontal (gum) infection. Luckily, early detection and dentist monitoring can help reduce its negative effects.

Tooth decay

From cough drops to antacid tablets, many medications in a dissolvable tablet or liquid form are sweetened to make them more palatable. The downside is that these sugars can leave sticky residue on teeth, making them more susceptible to tooth decay. If you think your medication may be sweetened, be sure to brush your teeth after each dose.

Other side effects

There are many other medication side effects that can affect your oral health. Oral contraceptives and blood pressure control pills have been linked to oral sores and inflammation. Tetracycline, used for acne treatment, can discolor teeth and underlying bone. A number of over-the-counter remedies, from antibiotics to ibuprofen, can produce lesions or ulcers in the mouth.

Nervous system medications

Drugs affecting the central nervous system can negatively impact oral health. Side effects like fatigue, lethargy and motor impairment may make brushing and flossing difficult. Adults taking antidepressants and high blood pressure medications can have elevated levels of plaque and the clinical signs of gingivitis.

Curated from: Delta Dental

 

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Date: 10/20/2016 6:51 AM PDT

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Children’s Halloween dream -- to get lots of candy -- can be their parents’ nightmare. But pediatric dental experts say Halloween can be a time to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats (think moderation). Here are their five best tricks for healthy teeth.

Halloween Candy vs. Cavities: Don’t Make Kids Choose

Don't deny your children the Halloween experience. That can send the entirely wrong message -- deprivation -- and make candy seem even more irresistible, leading to other problems. They may end up sneaking sweets or eating too much candy once they're out on their own. Instead, let them have the joy of Halloween in all its sticky goodness and the experience of going to a party or trick-or-treating.

After your children get back from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of Halloween candy together. Tell them to each pick the 10 or so (whatever number you decide, based on factors such as age) treats they want the most.

Get the unpicked treats out of sight. You can donate them to a food bank or freeze them if you can't bear to throw them out.

This can also be a good time to teach (or remind) children that it isn't just excess sugar that can lead to cavities. Snacks such as pretzels, with starches that stay in the mouth longer, can also lead to cavities, as can fruit juices.

Letting children help decide what is a reasonable amount of candy to keep has benefits beyond good oral health. The message isn't "candy is bad," but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. Children learn two important lessons:

  1. How to control their diets
  2. That what they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health
Preventing Cavities in Children: Set a Treat Time

With your child, set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats:

Children learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day feast. Moderation is key.

Knowing they have a specific sweet time can help make children less inclined to think about eating sweets at other times of the day.

Children’s Oral Health: Set Up a Teeth Brushing Schedule

No matter when treat time is, it's crucial to brush soon after. If it is nighttime, for example, brushing and flossing teeth before bed will help sweep away the recent sweets. Fluoride mouth rinses for kids also help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

Until a child is 7 or 8 years old, a parent should help with teeth brushing, not simply supervise. Even after age 8, parents should supervise brushing. That includes friendly reminders to older children to brush and floss until they get to high school, when it should be a habit.

Use Disclosing Tablets, Swabs, or Solution

Some dentists use disclosing tablets to spot bacterial plaque on teeth. These chewable tablets temporarily stain the plaque that builds up on teeth.

Parents can also use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show children how well they are brushing or flossing their teeth -- especially if they already have a cavity or two. A 12-pack of disclosing tablets is available over the counter and online for about $5.

Keep Teeth Brushing Fun

You should replace toothbrushes every three or four months anyway, so make Halloween an occasion for getting your child a new brush. Dentists say that when children like the toothbrushes, they are more apt to enjoy brushing. Children can choose from a variety of kid-sized brushes that feature cartoon characters and colorful designs. Young children typically can't wait to use a new toothbrush.

Children also like to pick out their own toothpaste. Give your child the freedom to pick from gels or pastes, different colors, and different flavors. Just check the tube label to be sure it contains fluoride.

Check the condition of your child's toothbrush from time to time. If it doesn't look worn after weeks of use, he or she may not be brushing well.

Curated from: WebMD

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