Articles for March 2017

Bleeding Gums

There are many reasons your gums could bleed.

In some cases, bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease. If your gums bleed easily or bleed when you brush, talk to your dentist about your oral health. Gingivitis is reversible and preventable.

If you’ve just started a new flossing routine, for instance, your gums may bleed at first as they get used to cleaning between the teeth. This usually goes away on its own in about a week. Some pregnant women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Gums also may bleed a little when brushing or flossing. If you take blood thinners, these medications may cause your gums to bleed. Contact your physician if the bleeding does not stop quickly. Your gums could also be bleeding if you brush too hard. Use an extra-soft or soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing your teeth.

If your gums bleed regularly or enough to worry you, make an appointment with your dentist or physician. It could be a sign that something else is wrong.

Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day and schedule regular dental visits.

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Brushing Your Teeth

 

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile the ADA recommends you:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

The proper brushing technique is to:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Check out this handy infographic on brushing!

Of course, brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also make sure to:

  • Clean between teeth daily with floss. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

 

Talk to your dentist about what types of dental products will be most effective for you. The ADA Seal lets you know the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, oral irrigators, mouth rinses and other oral hygiene products.

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Bad Breath?


Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives.

What Causes Bad Breath?

There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.

Bacteria
Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry Mouth
Feeling parched? Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

Gum Disease
Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

Food
Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

Medical Conditions
Mouth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?

Brush and Floss
Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

Mouthwash
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

Clean Your Dentures
If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

Keep That Saliva Flowing
To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.

Quit Smoking
Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly
If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor. Need a dentist? Request an appointment today.

Fluoridation

Adding fluoride to public water supplies is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay and has played a major role in in improving the public’s dental health for 70 years. “Fluoride’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay extends throughout one’s life, resulting in fewer—and less severe̵—cavities,” says Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. Read on to learn more about what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proclaimed as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

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What Is Community Water Fluoridation?

Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water to an optimal level for the prevention of tooth decay. Think of it this way: Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying milk with Vitamin D, table salt with iodine, and bread and cereals with folic acid.

The number of communities who make the choice to fluoridate their water continues to grow. From 2000-2014, more than 449 U.S. communities in 42 states have voted to adopt or retain successful fluoridation programs. The latest data show that in 2012, 74.6% of the U.S. population on public water systems, or a total of 210.7 million people, had access to optimally fluoridated water.

How Much Fluoride Is Recommended In Community Water Systems?

It is recommended that community water systems adjust the amount of fluoride to .7 milligrams per liter of water. Use the chart below to see what that amount is equivalent to.

Fluoride facts

5 Reasons Why Fluoride in Water is Good for Communities

    1. Prevents tooth decay. Fluoride in water is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases – tooth decay. An estimated 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness, and one study has shown that children who live in communities without fluoridation are three times more likely to end up in the hospital to undergo dental surgery.

 

  1. Protects all ages against cavities. Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste. Why fluoride is called nature’s cavity fighter.
  2. Safe and effective. For 70 years, the best available scientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been endorsed by numerous U.S. Surgeons General, and more than 100 health organizations recognize the health benefits of water fluoridation for preventing dental decay, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the American Dental Association.
  3. Saves money. When it comes to the cost of treating dental disease, everyone pays. Not just those who need treatment, but the entire community – through higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.
  4. It’s natural. Fluoride is naturally present in groundwater and the oceans. Water fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride to a recommended level for preventing tooth decay. It’s similar to fortifying other foods and beverages, like fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D, orange juice with calcium and bread with folic acid.

If you have specific questions about your family’s fluoride needs, please contact your family dentist, pediatrician or physician.

Next: Why fluoride is like a superhero in your mouth >>

For additional information on fluoridation visit:

 

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