Tag Archives: Oral Health

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.

8 Worst Habits For Your Oral Health

Your oral health isn’t just dependent on your brushing and flossing habits. There is more than can affect it. Take note of these bad habits that may be harming your teeth or mouth. You could avoid future oral health problems by cutting out a few of these!

1.Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails is a common nervous habit, but it can chip teeth and create jaw dysfunction. Do what you can to avoid biting your nails. Whether you need to reduce stress or develop other coping mechanisms, biting your nails is not a useful outlet.

2. Using Your Teeth to Open Something

It can be tempting to use your teeth as a tool, but it can also be harmful. When teeth are used in place of scissors, you can at risk for cracking a tooth or injuring your jaw.

3. Clenching Your Jaw

Jaw clenching can happen when you’re asleep or you may be unconsciously doing it when you’re awake. This can lead to muscles tenderness and joint pain over time. Doing relaxation exercises can help with this. You can also be more aware of when you are clenching your jaw and make an effort to avoid it.

4. Snacking Too Much

Snack foods often include foods that are not good for your teeth. Foods like chips, popcorn, crackers, and sugary, chewy foods, can easily get caught in your teeth and put you’re a higher risk for tooth decay. Cavities are often caused by leftover food that is caught in your teeth. To avoid this, eat balanced meals that will leave you feeling fuller, longer. If you do choose to snack, snack on foods that are better for your oral health than typical snack foods.

5. Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard or Too Often

Brushing your teeth twice a day for approximately two minutes is an extremely healthy and important habit for your oral health. However, when taken to the extreme, brush too much or too hard can actually damage teeth and irritate gums.

6. Chewing on Ice Cubes

Chewing on ice cubes can break down the enamel that is protecting your teeth and leave them vulnerable to decay. It can also chip a tooth or break a filling. Drinking chilled beverages without ice is a good way to avoid chewing it or drinking out of a straw.

7. Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding is most common in your sleep. Grinding your teeth can lead to chipped or cracked teeth or muscle tenderness. This can be avoided in a few ways. Wearing a mouth guard when you sleep can help you avoid grinding when your unconscious. Consciously finding other ways to deal with stress may also help.

8. Tongue or Lip Piercings

Having pieces of metal in your mouth is risky. It can easily get infected. You can accidentally bite down on it and chip or crack a tooth. Metal rubbing against your gums can cause damages. There are many risks that go along with it.

   

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer includes cancer in the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, sinuses, throat, and hard and soft palates. Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells—these cells invade and damage tissue. Oral cancer is often manifest in a sore that will not go away.

Common Oral Cancer Symptoms:

  • Jaw swelling
  • Change in voice
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty moving tongue and jaw
  • Struggling to swallow or chew
  • Sore throat
  • White and red patches in the mouth or lips
  • Mouth pain
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • Pain in the ears without loss of hearing
  • Loose teeth

Oral Cancer Screening

Screenings for oral cancer and quick and painless. As is always the case with cancer, it’s much more manageable if you catch it early on. During a typical check up at your dentist, they should also be visually scanning your mouth and lips for any outward signs. Your dentist may also palpate your neck and jaw to examine. These screenings should be done every six months. If you notice any potential symptoms of oral cancer, discuss it with your dentist. They will likely refer you to an oral surgeon if there is anything suspicious—that’s where we come in. At Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah, we specialize in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Our experienced surgeons are at the top of their game—we will help you through the process from diagnosis to surgery and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.

Oral Cancer Treatment

If a dentist suspects cancer, they will likely recommend a biopsy of the area. If there is a diagnosis of cancer, surgery is often a good option. Radiation and chemotherapy treatment may also be recommended. Most treatments for oral cancers are multidisciplinary.

Your individual treatment will differ based on your diagnosis. Whether you need surgery, therapy, another treatment, or some combination there are will depend on the type of your cancer and what stage it’s in.

Patients with oral cancers that are caught and treated in the early stages experience little to no post treatment disfigurement. However, patients with extensive cancer growth may need to have portions of their oral cavity or facial features removed to effectively remove the cancer and prevent further growth.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Preventing oral cancer is as simple as practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will help keep your mouth healthy. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease can help to prevent oral cancer. You should also be sure to use fluoride toothpaste to ensure maximum oral health.

If you are in need of oral surgery, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah. Our professional surgeons have years of experience. Your comfort is our top priority. Come see us to learn more.