Tag Archives: Oral Health

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.    

What To Do When Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

Whether you’re playing a sport or just took a bad fall, teeth can get knocked out. There is no need to panic! Often times teeth can be replaced, and it not a false replacement can be placed. If you aren’t able to salvage your original tooth—don’t worry! You can still have a tooth that looks and feels real.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out:

1.  Don’t panic—Keep calm and take action. If you are able to salvage the original tooth, you need to act quickly. So, take a deep breath and follow these steps.

2.  Apply pressure to stop bleeding—If you’ve just had a tooth knocked out, you likely have a blood situation on your hands. Use a damp towel to apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding. If it does not stop bleeding within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.

3.  Gently pick up the tooth by the crown—Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth. If the tooth is salvageable, the root will need to be untouched. Ideally, you will be able to place the tooth back into place, but for this to work, the root needs to be unaffected.

4.  If the tooth is dirty, clean it—Rinse the tooth very gently and briefly with water. If the tooth isn’t dirty or bloody, leave it as is.

5.  Keep tooth moist—As you take the tooth to the dentist to see if you can salvage it, place it in liquid. It should be put in milk, in your mouth, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit. Don’t use regular tap water, root surface cells can’t tolerate tab water for extended periods of time.

6.  See a dentist ASAP—You should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Be sure to bring the tooth with you. For the tooth to be salvageable, it will need to be re-implanted within the hour of it being knocked out.

What will happen at the dentist:

Each case will be different. In some cases, placing the tooth back in place is very simple, whereas other times it’s more complicated—particularly when the tooth or bone is broken.

First, your dentist will flush the socket, and ensure it is clean. Then they will attempt to re-implant the tooth by slipping it back into place. If needed, your dentist may also perform a root canal. This can be done right away or may be done later—depending on how long the tooth has been out of place. There are also other factors that can determine when a root canal will happen.

In any case, an avulsed tooth can be splinted to surrounding teeth with a soft wire or composite material. The splint may only be needed for a few days or may be needed for longer.

In cases where the bone has been fractured, the root will need to be firmly reattached to the gone. This can take around 3-4 weeks. The more damage there is, the longer it will take, possibly up to 6-8 weeks. Your dentist should check the tooth 3 to6 months after the re-implantation to ensure that all is going well, and most importantly that there are no signs of infection. There should be another follow-up appointment 2 to 3 years later. 

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when breathing is affected while sleeping. When breathing stops and starts during sleep, it can be dangerous. There are a few different kinds of sleep apnea—the most common are obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind—this occurs when the muscles in the throat relax. This includes the uvula, the tonsils, and the side walls of the throat and tongue. When these muscles relax, airways narrow or sometimes close altogether, making it difficult to breathe. Your brain will usually wake you up to reopen your airways when this happens.

Central sleep apnea happens when your brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles needed for breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

There are a few signs of sleep apnea, but the most common is loud snoring. Because of the breathing difficulty that occurs, snorts, gasps, and loud snoring are common among those with sleep apnea. Other signs include not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep, having trouble focusing while awake, feeling excessive sleepiness during the day, and general irritability. Those with sleep apnea may also experience difficulty sleeping, waking up with a headache or a dry mouth in the morning. You may also have an episode of difficulty breathing during the night without waking up—this would have to be determined by another person who witnessed you sleeping.

How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are certain factors that will increase your risk of sleep apnea. Some of these factors are in your control, while others are not. Some unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and use of narcotic pain medication and opioid medications. Other things that increase your risk of sleep apnea include age—the older you are the higher your risk, gender—sleep apnea is much more common in men than women, nasal congestion, medical family history, and heart disorders. Your neck circumference also makes a difference—thicker necks tend to have narrower airways.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The most common treatment option for sleep apnea is wearing a CPAP mask during sleep. CPAP therapy can be effective, but if you don’t want to wear a mask at night, you may want to look into other options. Certain oral and dental appliances can help to open airways. There are also surgical options. Surgery in the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, adenoids, tongue, upper and lower jaw, can impact sleep apnea as it can help to reduce or eliminate any extra tissue that is blocking your airways.

Losing weight can also treat sleep apnea. Though if your sleep apnea is caused by narrow nasal passages or airways, this will not be effective.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. 


Signs You Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are teeth at the back of the mouth—usually the last adult teeth to come in. They become impacted when they don’t have enough room to develop or fully emerge.

Because of their location, they are often difficult to reach and therefore difficult to clean. This makes them vulnerable to decay and the surrounding areas prone to gum disease.

Often times impacted teeth are deep into the jaw without a fully exposed surface, making them even more difficult to brush and keep clean.

Impacted wisdom teeth are often very painful, even more so than regular wisdom teeth can be. These impacted teeth are known to cause infections, damages to other teeth, and further dental issues. 

Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you think any of your wisdom teeth may be impacted, there are a few signs to look for. Impacted wisdom teeth often lead to:

  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Jaw pain or swelling around the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Stiffness in your jaw or difficulty opening your mouth
  • A bad taste in your mouth

In some rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth will not show any symptoms. Whether or not they are painful, they can still have bad side effects. 

What Causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth become impacted when they don’t enough space to erupt. This can lead them to grow in at strange angles. They can grow into other teeth, leading them to move teeth around in your mouth, causing the need for orthodontics. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can grow at an angle that essentially has them lying down on the jawbone. They can also get trapped within the jawbone. When this happens, it causes jaw problems and soreness. 

What to Do When Your Wisdom Teeth are Impacted 

Impacted wisdom teeth should be dealt with as soon as possible. When left untreated they can lead to cysts along the jawbone, tooth decay, gum disease, or damage other to teeth. Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth are not preventable, but you can treat them before they get worse or cause more damage. The impaction will not go away and will likely only worsen. 

If your wisdom teeth have come in and you have not gotten your wisdom teeth out yet, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our team of experts will work with you to ensure that your wisdom teeth are removed as quickly and painlessly as possible. Putting off taking out your wisdom teeth can lead to many other complications. Getting your wisdom teeth out does not need to be such a painful process. While impacted wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove, our team of skilled surgeons are pros at making the process as painless as possible. Come in to get a consultation for your wisdom teeth today! 


Worst Foods For Your Breath

No one wants to be that person—foul smelling breath is a social faux pas. Even if you practice great dental hygiene, bad breath can still sneak in. There are a few foods out there that will leave your breath smelling…less than desirable. If you’re going to be in close courters with someone, avoid these foods. Or take measures to rid your breath of the lingering smells. Whether you’re going on a big date or just heading to work, don’t be the person no one wants to stand next to.

1. Garlic and Onions

No surprise here, garlic and onion made the top of the list. These pungent smelling foods are delicious, no denying that. Their strong taste is difficult to wash away, it can linger in your mouth all day. Onions contain amino acid allin—when cut this acid turns into propenyl acid—the chemical responsible for the eye-watering effects of cutting onions. It’s also the chemical responsible for the strong smell.

Garlic is a double threat as it impacts multiple parts of your body. When the body digests garlic, it absorbs allyl methyl sulfide into your bloodstream. This is then transferred into the lungs, making it difficult to get rid of garlic breath. As it is digested, garlic also releases gas through your skin. The garlic smell can actually come out through your skin! It’s a difficult one to get rid of.

2. Caffeinated Drinks and Alcohol

Beverages that contain alcohol or high amounts of caffeine can cause dry mouth. When the mouth is dry, bacteria can thrive. Saliva production is one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Bacteria and other bad breath inducing elements can easily be washed away with water and saliva. If you don’t want to cut back on the drinks, be sure to follow up your dry mouth inducing beverage with some water. Dehydration leads to smelly breath, so keep the water flowing and keep your breath smelling good.

3. Spicy Foods

Curry does have some antibacterial qualities that can be good for you, but the smell is strong. Curry is made with strong spices that can linger in your mouth for hours. If you’re indulging in some curry, be sure to wash it down with some water and follow up with a good brushing. Maybe throw a mint in there for good measure.

4. Chewy or Starchy Foods

Chewy and starchy foods may not smell badly going in, but they can easily get caught in your teeth. These foods easily get stuck between teeth or in grooves and lead to decay and bacteria growth—which usually means smelly breath. Be sure to brush and floss after you eat chewy and starchy foods to avoid tooth decay and bad breath.

5. Tuna and Other Fish

Another well-known culprit of bad breath—tuna and other fish. Seafood may be a delicious indulgence, but it can leave your breath smelling fishy. The fishy smell is caused by trimethylamine. When you splash your seafood with something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice, it can also reduce its odor. 


What Your Tongue Says About Your Overall Health

What does a healthy tongue look like? A healthy tongue should be pink and covered in papillae (or small nodules). Any change in your tongue’s appearance or any pain could mean something more about your oral health or your overall health. When you go through your nightly routine, be sure to check your tongue. Notice any differences? In this post, we’re talking about what tongue abnormalities could mean.

If your tongue has white patches on it, it could mean a few things:

  • Oral thrush—this is a yeast infection that develops in the mouth. It usually looks like white patches in a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Oral thrush is most common in infants and the elderly.
  • Leukoplakia—this condition occurs when the cells in the mouth grow too excessively. It can be identified by white patches on the tongue and on the inside of the mouth. Leukoplakia develops when the tongue is irritated. It’s most common in tobacco users.
  • Oral lichen planus—this condition appears as little raised white lines on your tongue. Its cause is unknown, but it usually goes away on its own.

If your tongue is unusually red, it could be:

  • Vitamin deficiency—both vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies can cause a red tongue.
  • Geographic tongue—this is a condition that leaves a pattern similar to a map of reddish spots on the surface of the tongue. It is usually harmless.
  • Scarlet fever—this is an infection that can lead to the tongue looking red and bumpy, similar to a strawberry. Antibiotics are usually necessary to kill the infection.  
  • Kawasaki disease—this condition can also lead to a strawberry-like appearance on the surface of the tongue. It’s usually seen in children under the age of 5 and often accompanied by a high fever. It is a serious condition. If you suspect Kawasaki disease, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If your tongue is sore and bumpy, it may mean:

  • Trauma—have you recently bit or burnt your tongue? Grinding or clenching teeth can also irritate your tongue and mouth.
  • Smoking—smoking irritates your tongue and throat. It can lead to soreness.
  • Canker sores—mouth ulcers are common and can develop on the tongue. It can be caused by stress. They normally heal on their own but can also be treated by ointments.
  • Oral cancer—signs of oral cancer can appear in your mouth and on your tongue. A lump or sore on your tongue that doesn’t go away on its own, usually within two weeks, seek an evaluation from a medical professional. Oral cancer usually is not painful in its early stages, but it much easier to deal with if caught early on.  

How To Prevent Dry Mouth

Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when your salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva, leaving your mouth feel dry and uncomfortable. It can be caused by many different factors—medications, other health issues, stress, nutritional deficiencies, etc. Changing a few of your oral health care habits and eating habits may be able to solve the problem for you.

  • Chew gum—chewing will help you produce salvia. For better dental health, be sure that it’s sugar-free gum.
  • Avoid mouthwash with alcohol—many types of mouthwash contain high levels of alcohol, which will dry out your mouth. Look for a mouthwash with no alcohol, and preferably with fluoride.  
  • Drink more water—sipping water regularly throughout the day will help to keep your mouth damp. Dehydration could be causing your dry mouth. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should be drinking about 3 liters of water a day and women should be drinking about 2.2 liters of water a day. Water can also to cleanse your mouth, increase your saliva flow, and wash out harmful bacteria.
  • Limit caffeine intake—caffeine can dry out your mouth. You make find that second cup of coffee each day is drying out your mouth.
  • Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes—if you are having trouble producing salvia, look for products to help. Some of these may include Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray or Mouth Kole.  
  • Don’t take antihistamines and decongestants—certain over-the-counter medications can worsen dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking—smoking can cause dry mouth and slow down your body’s production of saliva.
  • Use a humidifier—many people sleep with their mouths open and experience dry mouth at night. If you must sleep with your mouth open, try using a humidifier. It could make a big difference for your mouth.
  • Suck on a mint or sugar-free candy—sucking will also produce salvia. If your mouth is feeling dry, pop in a mint. Plus, you’ll have fresher breath!
  • Breathe through your nose—this may seem like a no brainer, but if you aren’t breathing through your mouth, it won’t be as dry. You can also produce more salvia when your mouth is closed.
  • Incorporate fluoride into your routine—fluoride is extremely beneficial to your teeth in many ways. Be sure that you are brushing with fluoride toothpaste. You can also use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel for extra fluoride protection.
  • Practice good oral hygiene—having overall good oral health will help you prevent dry mouth. Brush your teeth twice daily, floss at least once a day, and visit your dentist for cleanings semi-annually.  

If your symptoms continue or worsen, see a dentist. There are medications that can help, or it’s possible your dry mouth is being caused by another underlying condition. For long-term relief from dry mouth, see your dentist.


Cavity Prevention Tips

A cavity is tooth decay. Over time, a cavity can create a hole in a tooth. If left untreated, decay will continue to spread and worsen. Cavities can be painful, but they can also go unnoticed. Cavity treatments usually include a filling that will prevent decay growth and allow you to return to your everyday life eating and chewing without any pain. Cavities don’t need to be a big problem, but if left untreated, they can become a problem. If you are experiencing any teeth pain, be sure to visit your dentist.

Though cavities are not reversible, they are preventable. There are simple, everyday habits that can help you avoid the pain of cavities. Work these habits in your life for a healthier smile that will last throughout your life.

1. Brushing Twice Daily

The best way to prevent cavities is to practice good oral care. That starts with brushing your teeth—no surprise there. Brushing every morning and night will help to keep your teeth healthy and free of plaque. You can ensure that your brushing is effective as you use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride has been proven in multiple studies to greatly improve oral health and prevent cavities.

2. Floss Daily

Flossing is a great way to prevent cavities. Debris from food is consistently getting caught in between your teeth. Toothbrushes often don’t get to these hard to reach places, which leaves between food to slowly eat away at the enamel protecting your teeth which will eventually lead to decay.

3. Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash cannot replace brushing or flossing, but it can add extra protection against tooth decay—especially if the mouthwash has fluoride.

4. Regular Dental Visits and Cleanings

Even if you have great oral hygiene habits, you should still visit the dentist regularly. Having your teeth professionally cleaned will certainly help to avoid cavities. You can get a good fix of fluoride at the dentist, plus if there is any decay, you can catch it early before it spreads. You should be visiting the dentist every six months.

5. Dental Sealants

Dental sealants fill in the grooves in your molars with a plastic that seal off your teeth. It can prevent food from getting cause in the grooves of your teeth and causing decay. Sealants last up to ten years.

6. Drink More Water

Drinking water is good for your health all around—including your oral health. Water can help to wash out your mouth, loosen any food debris left behind, and increase saliva production—which will also help you have fresher smelling breath. Plus, many cities have fluoride in their tap water which can also help you avoid cavities.

7. Tooth-Healthy Foods

Certain foods can also benefit your oral health. Crispy fruits and vegetables are great for your teeth. Other good options include green tea and sugar-free gum.


How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

What Your Oral Health Says About Your Overall Health

You may not think that your oral health is connected to your overall health, but it can be. Your body is all connected. What is going on in your mouth can impact what is going on in the rest of your body. If there are health issues there, they can be spread elsewhere. Not only can your oral health be telling of other health issues that may potentially be going on in your body, but it can also impact the rest of your body.

If you have infections impacting your oral health, it is likely from bacteria growth. This growth or infection can spread to other parts of your body as well.

Gum disease, otherwise known ad periodontist, is an infection of the gums that is caused by poor oral hygiene. This infection has been connected to other health afflictions such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

As the body is fighting off oral infections, it can also lower the body’s resistance to fight other potential infections and leave you vulnerable to many unwanted conditions.  

Conditions Linked with Oral Health

There are many medical conditions that have been linked with your oral hygiene. Poor oral health can contribute to these health conditions:

  • Endocarditis—this infection of the inner lining of your heart, occurs when bacteria or germs from another part of the body (like your mouth) spreads to your heart through your bloodstream.
  • Cardiovascular disease—heart disease and other heart related conditions such as, clogged arteries, and strokes may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria growth.
  • Diabetes—gum disease is more frequent in those who have diabetes. Diabetes can reduce your body’s resistance to infection, including oral infection and gum disease.
  • Osteoporosis—this condition causes bones to become weak and brittle. It can be linked with gum disease which can lead to bone loss and tooth loss.

Other conditions that have been linked to oral health include head and neck cancers, eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and even pregnancy and birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weights.

How To Improve Your Oral Health

So how can you avoid your oral health from affecting your overall health? Improve your oral health. Keep your mouth healthy and avoid infection starting at all. Good oral practices include brushing at least twice daily. Flossing your teeth at least once a day. Use fluoride in your oral care. Look for toothpaste with fluoride. Be sure to visit your dentist about every six months for a semi-annual cleaning. This is also a great way to work fluoride into your oral care. You should also replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. As the bristles wear down, they will be less effective in removing plaque from your mouth. You should also avoid tobacco to ensure better oral health.


Signs of Gum Disease

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection that is a result of poor dental hygiene. Gum disease starts as gingivitis and then becomes periodontitis. Gum disease is very common and easily prevented.

At certain stages, it can be reversible. If left untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and even leave you at risk for heart and lung diseases. An infection left untreated will continue to spread and infect other parts of your body.

The Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease starts with a built up of plaque. Plaque will start to build up on the teeth and gumline. The first stage is gingivitis—at this point, it is still reversible with some good oral hygiene habits. Getting a professional dental cleaning and practicing good habits like brushing and flossing can reserve it.

The next stage of gum disease is periodontitis. At this more advanced stage, treatment options are more invasive. Techniques may include cleaning of the surfaces of your roots, removing plaque from beneath your gum line, or even surgery.  

Signs of Gum Disease:

Early signs of gum disease can be subtle and often go unnoticed for some time. Look for these symptoms:

  1. Swollen gums—gum disease typically starts with red and swollen gums. They may or may not be tender. It’s common that they will not be painful, and thus get overlooked.
  2. Bleeding when you floss—you may start to notice some bleeding when you floss. Again, it may or may not hurt, but if there is blood, that is a sure sign of gum disease.
  3. Bad breath—this can be caused by many things. But if you are experiencing bad breath regularly and cannot determine another cause, it can be from gum disease.
  4. Gums are pulling away from teeth—gums will become less healthy and start to pull away from teeth.
  5. Change in bite—you may notice your bite slightly changing. This could be a result of teeth moving due to decay.
  6. Your permanent teeth are loose—when gums are infected, they can’t do their job. Your permanent teeth may start to loosen and even wiggle if they are attached to an unhealthy gum.

How To Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease can easily be prevented with good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day will help you to avoid many dental hiccups including gum disease. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings will also help you to prevent any sort of infection or decay. Working fluoride into your dental routine will also help you to avoid decay.

Regular dental visits will also help your catch gum disease in its early stages when it’s still reversible. Prevention and early detection are key to fighting gum disease. The longer the infection lives in your mouth the more it will spread. Avoid dealing with the woes of gum disease all together when you practice good oral care.