Category Archives: Oral Health

Why You Should Visit the Dentist Every Six Months

Not many people like sitting in the dentist’s chair, but scheduling biannual appointments with your dentist guarantees your teeth will stay in healthy condition. Although the American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist once a year, you should plan on seeing yours twice a year to prevent oral problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Learn more about the importance of dental check-ups.

Prevent Gum Disease

Do you notice a bit of blood in your sink after brushing your teeth? This is one of the first symptoms of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s usually the result of inadequate brushing and flossing habits, which leads to plaque build-up.

The mild variety is called gingivitis, which means only your gums are infected. If left untreated, it can travel below your gum line and into your bone; this may result in late-stage gum disease known as periodontitis. Both variations may increase your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease, and cancer.

Your dentist can detect the first signs of gum disease before it becomes a severe health concern. Moreover, they will suggest ways to prevent it, which include scheduling a biannual cleaning with a dental hygienist and teaching you how to floss and brush your teeth properly.

Save Money in the Long Run

Treating oral-related problems early can help you save money in the future. Although it may sound like visiting your dentist twice a year is expensive, routine maintenance reduces the chances of you developing problems that require costly dental work, such as a tooth extraction.

Remember, a root canal is more expensive and time-consuming than a basic filling. Treating gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer can be costly, but by visiting your dentist a few times a year, you probably won’t develop these problems in the first place.

Show off Your Smile

Keeping your teeth clean and healthy by visiting your dentist will motivate you to smile more. Most people who don’t pay a visit to their dentist develop stained teeth, which can make them feel self-conscious. Stains are usually the result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or red wine.

Fortunately, tooth stains aren’t harmful; however, they’re preventable. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year will treat minor surface stains before they become permanent.

What to Expect During Your Visit

If you haven’t visited your dentist in years, you’ve probably forgotten the process. Don’t worry, checkups are easy-going and are broken into two parts, which are an examination and a deep cleaning. They will look for cavities and take X-rays. Additionally, they will examine your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck.
During your cleaning, your dentist will scale your teeth, which is when they use small tools to remove tartar.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Once you ease into the routine of visiting your dentist twice a year, they may recommend you to an oral surgeon if you require a procedure, such as wisdom teeth extraction. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can give you a smile you deserve. Schedule your consultation today.

What Happens If You Never Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars most people grow in their early years of adulthood. These teeth can be beneficial to your oral health when they’re correctly aligned. Unfortunately, they usually grow misaligned and require surgical removal.

Learn more about wisdom teeth extraction.

The Dangers of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Emerging wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there’s not enough room for them to grow, or if they erupt at the wrong angle. Wisdom teeth become impacted when they grow under your gums or are trapped inside your jaw. As your wisdom teeth break through your gums, your dentist will check your mouth for the following symptoms:

Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position: Misaligned wisdom teeth lead to trapped food in between the gums and teeth, which promotes bacterial growth. Excessive bacteria can result in cavities.

Inability to floss: It may not be easy for you to floss between your wisdom teeth and your neighboring molars.

Infection: If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, and a stiff jaw, you likely have an infection as a result of bacteria growth.

Cysts: Impacted teeth can result in cyst formation, which can damage your teeth’s roots and destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

The Importance of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing issues, it’s best to undergo extraction to prevent future problems. Everyone experiences wisdom teeth growth differently, and some people don’t grow them at all. Your dentist may recommend a period of observation because it may be too early to tell if yours will become impacted or not.

If you’re considering getting braces, your dentist will advise you to go through with extraction. You won’t qualify for braces if you refuse to go through with removal because the rest of your teeth can’t straighten if there’s an obstruction.

Most people go through this procedure when they’re 18-25 years old because there’s a decreased chance of damaging adjacent teeth, lower risks associated with it, and they recover faster. Getting yours removed too early can lead to a challenging surgery because your wisdom teeth may still be embedded into your jawbone. Conversely, if you wait too long, there will be an increased risk of complications due to weakened teeth, bones, and gums.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth

Some people refuse to get their wisdom teeth extracted because they don’t want to experience pain. Although you may not like the thought of surgery, you must understand that removal is less painful than living with crowded teeth. If you decide to keep yours, remember to floss around them each night and visit your dentist regularly.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you’re tired of the pain and want to live comfortably again, then wisdom teeth extraction is right for you. Once your dentist takes your X-rays, you will need to consult with an oral surgeon. Schedule your consultation with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today.


The Effects of Pacifiers on Your Child’s Oral Health

Is there reason to be concerned about pacifiers? It’s true that they can impact the oral health of your child—both negatively and positively. It all depends on how and when your baby is using their pacifier. In some situations, pacifiers can impact the dental development of your baby—this is commonly referred to as pacifier teeth. 

Are pacifiers bad for your baby?

Pacifiers are not necessarily bad for your baby if they are weaned off of them before the age of two. After that, teeth start to develop, and oral health can be impacted. As the jaw develops, if there is consistently a pacifier, a thumb, or other obstruct in it, the jaw will develop around it. This can lead to an overbite, underbite, misaligned teeth, changes in the roof of the mouth, or other issues. In short, if a baby used a pacifier long term, it can impact the shape of their mouth and the alignment of their teeth. Sucking a thumb can have a similar effect. 

Pacifiers can also lead to other issues. Babies who are six months or older and still using a pacifier are at higher risk for ear infections—introducing a baby to a pacifier before one month can create problems with breastfeeding. 

Benefits of a Pacifier

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there can be many benefits to a baby using a pacifier between the ages of one month and six months. It’s natural for a baby to enjoy sucking—it can be very soothing for them. Giving them a pacifier can prevent them from using their thumb. Though there is no real harm in thumb sucking, it is much more difficult to wean off of. You can take away a pacifier, but you can’t take away a thumb. It’s also easier to keep a pacifier clean and germ-free. 

According to a study done by the American Academy of Family Physicians, pacifiers can reduce a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS.)  

Weaning the Pacifier 

It seems that the key to using a pacifier is to wean off of it before it can cause damage. There are many methods for helping your baby break the pacifier habit. Praises and rewards when they don’t use the pacifier can be helpful. Giving them a little extra help or comfort when they usually use their pacifier is also a good idea. It’s crucial to avoid punishments or scolding regarding the pacifier; this can lead to other issues and has proven to be ineffective. 

No matter your baby’s pacifier habits, be sure that you are caring for your little one’s teeth.  Keep them clean by brushing them twice daily with toothpaste formulated for infants or babies. Reduce their risk of pacifier teeth and other oral issues and start good oral hygiene early on.

How To Relieve Anxiety Before Oral Surgery

Having oral surgery can be a little nerve-wracking. If you’re feeling some pre-surgery anxiety—that is normal! You can work through your stress with a few of these simple tips. 

  1. Educate Yourself—Anxiety is often caused by the unknown. Educating yourself about your procedure and what exactly it entails may help to ease your mind. Do your research on the surgery, the condition, and even the hospital or clinic you’ll be at—all of this information can help you feel more comfortable with the proceedings. Be sure that you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole of what could go wrong during your research; this may end up increasing your anxiety. Be sure that you are getting your information from trusted sources. 
  2. Have a Plan—Another source of concern is a feeling that things are out of your control. Though you will not be able to control everything about your surgery, having a plan, and sticking to it may help to ease some of your anxiety. Plan the day. What will you do before the procedure? And after? Having other aspects of the day to focus on may be helpful. 
  3. Talk to Your DoctorTalking to your doctor or surgeon about your anxiety can be a big help. If they are aware of your feelings and concerns, they may be able to put your mind at ease with some words of wisdom. They may also take your anxiety into account as they work with you. It could mean talking in more soothing tones, talking you through the procedure, or other helpful practices. 
  4. Distract Yourself—Distract yourself in any way possible. When you start feeling anxious, do something that will put your mind at ease. Put on a movie, go for a walk or a run, pick up a book, turn on some music—do what you need to take your mind off of things. It may also be helpful to distract during the procedure if you aren’t going under. Having a playlist with calming music that can help you make it through the surgery as calmly as possible. 
  5. Use Relaxation Techniques—Don’t underestimate the power of relaxation techniques. Doing some breathing exercises and practicing meditation can make a world of difference. Use these relaxation techniques before your surgery, and whenever you feel anxious to help you calm down. Taking control of your breath is usually the first step to calming anxiety. 
  6. Get a Support Group—You are not the only one who feels anxiety about surgery—there are plenty of others out there! Talking to others who have gone through and are currently going through your circumstance will be very helpful. You can quiet your fears as you learn about other’s experiences. Ask your doctor about local support groups. Ask your support group members how they dealt with their anxieties. Learn from others and draw support from them. 

The Dangers of Gaps in Your Teeth

Widespread teeth or a smile with gaps can be problematic for many reasons. Taylor Swift may “love the gaps between your teeth and the riddles that you speak,” but she might not like them so much if she knew the health risks. Gaps in teeth may be hereditary or caused by oral hygiene habits. Consistently thrusting your tongue between your teeth can lead to gaps. Teeth movement can also be a result of grinding teeth. Gaps can also be due to a larger than average jaw, teeth will try to spread out and cover the area. You may also just be missing a tooth or two and left with a large gap. 

No matter their cause, they can look unseemly, leading to self-confidence and self-esteem issues. Looks aside, gaps in teeth can lead to other issues such as oral diseases. Some of these issues include:

  • Gingivitis and Periodontitis—these gum diseases are more likely to occur in a mouth with teeth gaps. Food tends to get caught in those gaps, leaving bacteria to grow and cause decay to your gums. It seems like flossing would be easier with large gums, but it’s just the opposite. When flossing with large gaps, you must be very careful not to scrape your gums. Both teeth and gums can be weakened by disease leading to gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities. 
  • Heart Disease—when oral diseases are not dealt with, they can lead to bigger issues. Infection in the mouth can get into your bloodstream and eventually reach other organs, leading to bigger issues such as heart disease. 
  • Misaligned Bite—gaps in teeth can lead to a misaligned bite. This can cause teeth to move further out of place and shift regularly, leading to pain. This could lead to pain in the forehead, ear, or jaw. Chewing may become painful and teeth may be more sensitive. 
  • Chewing Problems—with misaligned teeth or large gaps, your bite can become more forceful which can lead to chipped teeth. Chewing is also difficult, leading to swallowing big chunks of food, which can lead to digestive issues. 
  • Bad Breath—because gaps in teeth provide a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria, it can often lead to bad breath due to bacteria growth. It can also cause yellowing teeth.
  • Bleeding Gums—gums may become more sensitive as they are more exposed. Gaps in teeth may lead to excessive bleeding and pain in the gums during everyday activities such as chewing and flossing. 

If you have gaps in your teeth that you’d like to take care of, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. There are many options to move teeth, fill in gaps, or replace missing teeth to make your smile whole again. 


Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Teeth?

Whether or not chewing gum is good for your teeth depends on the kind of gum. Chewing the right kind of gum can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum, or really chewing most things, can help your mouth to produce more saliva. Saliva is great for your mouth—it helps to rinse out food debris left behind, avoid dry mouth, and neutralizes acids that can cause tooth decay. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of gum can stimulate saliva flow and multiple it significantly. There is a mineral that is generated by extra saliva that can actually help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and reduce the risk of dental decay.

Chewing gum after a meal can be especially beneficial as it helps you remove food particles left behind from your meal and protects your teeth. However, if you are chewing gum that contains sugar, it may be more harmful than helpful. Sugary gum can increase your risk of cavities. If you’re looking to chew gum to benefit your oral health, go sugar-free.

If chewing your gum is causing your jaw pain—stop. You may have temporomandibular disorder symptoms or TMJ. This is manifested in jaw pain and can be worsened by chewing gum. If you think this is the case, refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist or an oral surgeon about options for TMJ treatment.

Sugarless Gum

Most sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol. There have been many clinical studies that have revealed that chewing gum with xylitol is good for your oral health. If you want to be sure that you are chewing a gum that will improve your oral health—look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on the packaging.

These artificial sweeteners still taste very sweet. You can easily satisfy your sweet tooth while still protecting your teeth. There are so many options for you at the checkout line at the grocery store—just be sure that you’re looking for options with no sugar and possibly the seal of approval.

Harden Tooth Enamel

Certain gum manufacturers have started to use casein phosphatide amorphous calcium phosphate—a substance that can actually harden tooth enamel. The enamel on your teeth is protecting them from tooth decay.

Overall, there are many benefits to chewing certain gums, and some dangers of chewing other gums. Chewing some dentist-approved, sugar-free gum could save you from some from tooth decay down the line. So next time you’re craving something sweet, chomp on some sugar-free gum to satisfy that craving and fight cavities. Your teeth will thank you! 

5 Ways To Improve Your Oral Health

You may have good oral hygiene habits, but you can always do more. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can help you to keep tooth decay at bay. Even if you have good oral hygiene, you can be susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

1. Floss Daily

No other dental practice can replace diligent flossing. A natural survey conducted by Colgate discovered that about 1 in 4 adults do not floss daily. Flossing effective removes food from between teeth cannot be reached in any other way. Be sure that you are flossing at least once a day to remove food residue and plaque. It may be a good idea to get into the habit of flossing at night before bed to remove any food particles that have built up throughout the day. Flossing daily will help you to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Try Antibacterial Mouthwash

Bacteria can easily build up in your mouth throughout the day, leading to bad bread, tooth decay, or gum disease. Mouthwash can help to reach crevices and clean germs away that brushing cannot. Mouthwash can give you fresher breath while also fighting cavities and gum disease. When choosing your mouthwash, be sure that you go with antibacterial. It is also important to avoid mouthwash with high amounts of alcohol—alcohol can cause dry mouth and cancel out the benefits of mouthwash.

3. Get a Better Toothbrush

Even if you are brushing twice a day, it may not be very effective if you’re are using an old and soft-bristled toothbrush. You don’t necessarily need a fancy electric brush or tough bristles; these things can actually harm your oral health if you’re not careful. With use, toothbrushes wear down over time and become less effective. You should be replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months to ensure that you are effectively removing plaque.

4. Eat More Fruits and Veggies

There are many foods out there that can help your oral health, mainly crispy fruits and vegetables. Limiting other certain foods can also improve your oral health. Foods that are high in sugar or excessively chewing can easily get caught in your teeth and lead to decay. Crispy fruits and vegetables can dislodge food particle caught in teeth, and certain antioxidants and other attributes to these foods can greatly benefit your mouth, even fighting unwanted bacteria.

5. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated benefits your health in numerous ways. Drinking water can help you avoid overeating. Plus, most tap water these days has fluoride in it, which is great for your oral health. Drinking water can also help to dislodge any food particles stuck in your mouth and encourage saliva production. You can avoid dry mouth with some hydration—dry mouth can lead to bad breath and bacteria growth.