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Best New Years Resolutions for you and your teeth

“New year, new you!”

You may be considering saving some extra money, getting a better job or losing weight. Many people set new goals about having a healthier lifestyle in the new year.  Why not try adding some New Year resolutions for your teeth into the mix? Setting a goal to improve dental health is easy and it can benefit your overall health too.

Simple New Years Resolutions for you and your teeth

  • Schedule out your two dentist appointments – We all know that professional cleanings should happen twice a year, but most people have a hard time making it into the office for just one of the two appointments. We all have packed and growing schedules. So, make it a point to actually see the dentist twice in 2015, even if that means scheduling the appointments right now. You will be glad you did once you’re walking out with a healthy smile!
  • Diet Change (2 birds 1 stone) – Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system making you more susceptible to a long list of mouth problems (including gum disease). Luckily, eating crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.  Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.
  • Quit smoking – Smokers experience twice the tooth loss of non-smokers, due to plaque and tartar buildup that encourages dental decay.  Your ability to fight infection throughout the body decreases significantly, including in the mouth and gums.  Lastly smoking causes bad breath (and it’s much more pleasant to kiss a non-smoker!)
  • Finally (possibly the hardest resolution) Pick up that FLOSS! – It’s been in the drawer for months just hoping to get it’s big break – why not make 2015 the year? Flossing is the only way to get between the teeth and all the way down in the gum line. The seemingly never ending list of benefits  might just be the kick you need.

So we’ve got you on the right path and hopefully you will think about your teeth while you plan out your New Year’s resolutions, and you will have a healthier, better-looking smile by the time the next year rolls around!

The first and easiest step is picking up the phone to make your appointments – Dr. Chauvin is waiting for your call!

Happy New Year!

How to get rid of bad breath

Understanding the causes can help you confidently get rid of bad breath. Generally, bad breath (also called halitosis) isn’t serious. In most cases it’s caused by poor dental hygiene but can also be caused by bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue or gum disease.

Reasons for Bad breath:

  •  Food and Drink – Strong smelling food such as garlic, onions, some milk-based products (cheese) and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion.
  • Not flossing – Small particles of food that get stuck between your teeth and around your gums. Hard to reach places that toothbrushes can’t reach. When food particles are left behind, they collect bacteria, which in turn causes bad breath and plaque.
  • Tongue Bacteria – Bacterial growth on the tongue accounts for 80-90 percent of all cases of mouth-related bad breath.
  • Smoking –  Smoking leaves particles in the throat and lungs. This  is typical of nearly any tobacco product that involves inhaling smoke or rolling it around in the mouth. The smell of a freshly smoked cigarette can linger in the lungs for hours, hence the stale scent associated with smoker’s breath

Getting Rid of Bad Breath

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • See you dentist twice a year  
  • Use Mouthwash 
  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Brush your tongue
  • Floss 
  • Quit smoking 

If your bad breath persists after making such changes, see your dentist. If your dentist suspects a more serious condition is causing your bad breath.  They will likely smell both the breath from your mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor on a scale. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor. If they find something more serious you will likely be prescribed a mouth wash to control the bacteria in the mouth.  If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets that accumulate odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes these bacteria can be removed by a professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

 

After trying a few of these and you see that bad breath gets worse or is no improving contact Dr. Chauvins office today.

 

mouth guard

Custom night guard benefits

A custom night guard protects people that have problems with bruxism. Bruxism is the compression and gritting of teeth. For some people, it is a mild annoyance. For others, this can become a serious issue that becomes difficult to control and treat at advanced stages.Typically, bruxism happens in your sleep.

The damage caused by bruxism can include:

  • Serrations in the teeth
  • Deterioration of the biting surface area
  • Tooth fractures or breaks
  • Tooth loss
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain

As a person grinds their teeth, the incisors and canines move against one another sideways. This causes the degradation of the enamel, which leads to dulled biting edges. Bruxism not only causes problems for the individual suffering for it, but also for those around them. Some people grind their molars loudly while they sleep. If they are sleeping with anyone, that person is going to have a hard time trying to stay asleep.

Teeth grinding leads to serious dental harm, if left untreated. Many people are usually either unaware they have a problem, or aren’t as severely affected as others. That is because only five to ten percent people develop severe symptoms.

Treatment for Bruxism:mouth guard

Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct treatment for bruxism itself. The best way to prevent additional damage is with a custom night guard. While this helps protect a person’s teeth, it doesn’t do much for the head and muscle pain caused by grinding. There are a few things someone can do to try to reduce the severity of their grinding:

  • Reduce caffeine consumption
  • Stay away from alcohol
  • Avoid chewing on things that aren’t food, especially chewing gum
  • Be more observant during the day. If you find yourself clenching, put the tip of your tongue in between your teeth. This forces your jaw to relax.
  • Before bed, place a warm washcloth on your jaw to relax the muscles.

While these won’t necessarily eliminate the problem, they can help reduce the severity of it. Over the counter night guards are available, but if they don’t fit well, they can actually make the problem worse. A custom night guard will be measured to fit your mouth exactly. A dentist will use putty to take a mold of your mouth, and then he’ll send the impression off to be turned into a night guard. The end result is a perfect mold of your mouth that will protect your teeth and help you manage your grinding. Questions? Give us a call!

What you need to know about Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a severe problem, in which the gums have actually pulled away from the teeth. Pockets then form at the base of the teeth. These pockets fill with debris, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Once they get infected, the body begins to fight the infection. The bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place get caught in the crossfire, and begin to be destroyed. If left untreated, a person will begin to lose their teeth.

Luckily, this isn’t an overnight process. Periodontal disease is actually the second stage of gum disease, the first being gingivitis. No bone loss or irreversible damage happens until the late stages of periodontitis, so as long as it is caught and diagnosed early, it can be reversed.

Symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Swollen, tender, reddened gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • If your bite feels different
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while chewing
  • Smelly breath that doesn’t go away after brushing

Can periodontal gums be corrected?

Yes they can. You have to discover it early and be diligent. Complex periodontal gum conditions can also be treated, but they need a special cleaning, which your dentist can provide.

Green mouthwashAdopting an intense oral hygiene routine can go a long way to improve periodontal gums. Brush thoroughly once you get up each morning and prior to going to bed every night. Brushing, or at the very least, rinsing with drinking water after meals and snacks may also help remove germs trapped between teeth, assisting in slowing down periodontitis. Rinse the mouth with an excellent antibacterial mouthwash for a complete thirty second cycle, twice every day. This can help reach germs trapped in pockets below your gum collection, aiding in reversing periodontal gum illness. Floss each day, and pay special focus on flossing just underneath the gum line for reversing periodontal gum illness.

While a diligent dental hygiene program can go quite the distance in assisting the treatment of periodontal gum disease, sometimes that’s not enough, and it’s time for professional help.

Your dentist can perform periodontal cleaning, if x-rays show heavy pockets of germs surrounding all of your teeth below the gums. There are several treatment options, but they are all focused on removing bacteria from below the gum line. You may be prescribed a special antibacterial mouthwash, or have to have a very in depth cleaning.

If necessary, he might perform actual periodontal medical procedures. These involve lifting the flaps of the gum, making it possible for heavy cleaning, and then suturing them back in place. Following the procedure, you should have several appointments to be sure of the achievement of the cleaning. This type of treatment is very successful, and most regain normal use of their teeth when everything has healed.

The important thing is to seek help once you notice any signs of trouble with your gums. Periodontal gum illness can be absolutely corrected when it’s found early. If you need to get your gums checked out, give us a call!

How often do I need to get a teeth cleaning?

One of the best things a person can do for their health is take care of their mouth.  If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.  For patients with gum disease it can be every three months.

Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates and can lead to periodontal disease that can cause inflammation of the tissues or gums (gingivitis) or the bones (periodontitis) that surround and support the teeth. Once these conditions have developed, they can be challenging to treat. The best protection is prevention, with regular teeth cleanings, avoiding smoking and practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly at home.

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What Can I Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

During a teeth cleaning, the dentist or hygienist will evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene.  They will check for any tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease.   Any stains or deposits on your teeth are removed with tools including a tooth polisher and a scaler. Tooth polishers buff teeth and eliminate tiny pieces of plaque. Scalers look a bit like metal hooks and are used to remove hard plaque, especially between teeth. 

 

What you can do to prevent bad news:

There several things you can do to improve your mouth’s health and decrease your chances of dental problems.

  • Regular teeth cleaning
  • Brushing 2-3 times a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Using mouthwash once a day
  • Not brushing too hard
  • Using the correct type of toothbrush

Every day, your mouth has to battle the forces of tooth decay. As you eat, food particles are smashed in-between your teeth, and are immediately food for any harmful bacteria hanging out in your mouth. Acidic drinks such as orange juice or sodas can wear away enamel over time. Brushing too much can damage your enamel, and brushing too little can allow plaque to build up. Every person’s mouth is different, so it’s important to see your dentist regularly. Need a teeth cleaning but don’t have a regular dentist? Give us a call, we’re taking new patients!

Why Flossing Is So Important

Raise your hand if you have been to the dentist and lied when he or she asked – “Have you been flossing regularly?”  Even though we feel the need to say ‘Yes,’ that still doesn’t give us the kick we need to go home and floss everyday as the American Dental Association recommends. [source: ADA]. While brushing your teeth twice a day will go a long way toward maintaining oral health, you’re not getting the optimal cleaning if you leave the floss unused in the back of your medicine cabinet.

While the toothbrush works by physically removing plaque with its bristles and the toothpaste enhances the effect of the toothbrush by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth –  there is a big drawback: A toothbrush’s bristles can’t adequately clean between the teeth or under the gums [source: ADA].

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What does flossing do?

Flossing helps remove debris between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque.  Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar and can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and if left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can spread even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis.

  This expensive snowball effect can be avoided by flossing.

When is the best time to floss?

According to the American Dental Association, you can floss either before or after brushing.  However, if you use dental floss before you brush, the fluoride from the toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth. Unlike brushing, you only need to floss once a day. Although you may choose to do it in the morning or afternoon, many prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. This could prevent the build-up of plaque too.

 

How to choose the right floss

When picking a floss it’s easy to get overwhelmed with how many varieties there are.  All floss types work well when used daily but it is important to know the differences in teeth and what works best for your type. There is waxed, unwaxed, tape, ultra floss and flossing picks – just to name a few. 

A few helpful tips when choosing:

  • Large gaps? Try dental tape 
  • Not much space between your teeth? Try waxed floss to slide into those tight spaces.
  • Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers 
  • Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option

 

It is important to remember to floss everyday and if you need a reason there are plenty to choose from!  Maybe you want fresher breath or whiter teeth  – whatever your reason just START FLOSSING!