Posts for: July, 2015
Find out the best ways to maintain strong, functional dental bridges for years.
You finally decided to say goodbye to your tooth loss and choose to get a dental bridge. Having a healthy new smile can be quite the confidence booster for anyone. Your Charlotte family dentists Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom hope you are happy with your new look and in order to keep your smile healthy it’s important to properly care for your dental bridges so they last.
Don’t chew ice: Dental crowns and bridges are usually made from ceramic, which is durable and strong, but just like regular teeth, if there is enough pressure or force placed on the dental work it will fracture. Avoid activities like chewing ice or opening bottles with your teeth, which can greatly increase your chances of damaging your dental bridge.
Brush your dental bridge every day: Just because your crowns and bridges are artificial doesn’t mean they don’t require the proper oral care. You need to brush your dental work every day to prevent plaque and tartar buildup from forming. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is soft on your dental work but tough on build-up.
Floss meticulous: Flossing is a vitally important component to any oral care routine, and it’s just as important that you clean between teeth and into the gums so that decay or gum disease doesn’t develop between your natural teeth and your dental work. Floss every day and preferably before you brush to really get your mouth sufficiently clean.
Use a fluoride rinse: While the main purpose of the dental crown is to restore strength and function back into the crown of the tooth that lies above the gum line, special care should also be taken to care for the actual gum line to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup in this region. While brushing and flossing is imperative, opting for a fluoride rinse or toothpaste with a high fluoride content will give your smile a little extra boost against decay. This step is particularly important for those who are at risk for developing high amounts of dental decay or those who have gum disease.
In the beginning, you may notice a slight sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures once you get your bridge. Talk to your Charlotte dentists about which sensitivity toothpaste could help reduce this symptom.
Besides caring for your smile at home, you still need to keep up with six-month dental cleanings and exams with your Charlotte family dentists. We can check that your dental bridge is fitting properly and that everything is healthy. Call Hockaday & Baucom to schedule your next visit.
If you occasionally experience small sores in the softer tissues of your mouth, you may have aphthous ulcers or better known as canker sores. While rarely a health concern, they can be painful and annoying particularly when you’re eating and drinking.
These breaks in the skin or mucosa (the lining membranes of the mouth) usually occur in the thinner tissues found in the cheeks, lips, under the tongue or in the back of the throat. They tend to be most painful (especially while eating acidic foods like citrus or tomato sauce) between the first few hours of appearing and for a couple of days afterward, and will often occur during periods of anxiety, stress or after a minor injury. The sores will normally heal and fade within a couple of weeks.
Although occasional outbreaks of canker sores are quite common with most people, 20-25% of people (more often women) have a recurring form of painful outbreak known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). Another variation called herpetiform aphthae, similar in appearance to herpes simplex virus sores, is characterized by smaller clusters of ulcers. While the specific causes for canker sores are still unclear, there’s some correlation between them and abnormalities with a person’s immune system, as well as with other systemic conditions like gastrointestinal disorders or vitamin deficiencies.
The basic treatment for canker sores is to first soothe the pain and promote quicker healing. Many over-the-counter medications are available for mild cases that numb the area temporarily and provide a protective covering while the sore heals. For more severe cases, there are also prescription medications (like steroids) that can be applied topically or through injection.
While canker sores are not contagious and usually benign, there are some situations that call for a dental examination: sores that haven’t healed within 2 weeks; increasing occurrences and severity of the sores; and never being completely free of a sore in the mouth. These may indicate some other condition, or be an occurrence of cancer or a pre-cancerous condition.
If you have any concerns, be sure to schedule a visit. We’ll be glad to evaluate any occurrence of the sores and recommend the best course of treatment to ease the pain and annoyance.
If you would like more information on canker sores or other types of mouth ulcers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouth Sores.”
Exchanging passionate kisses with big-screen star Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a dream come true. But according to Liam Hemsworth, her Hunger Games co-star, it could also be a nightmare… because J.Law’s breath wasn’t always fresh. “Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth said on The Tonight Show.
Lawrence said the problem resulted from her inadvertently consuming tuna or garlic before the lip-locking scenes; fortunately, the two stars were able to share a laugh about it later. But for many people, bad breath is no joke. It can lead to embarrassment and social difficulties — and it occasionally signifies a more serious problem. So what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?
In 9 out of 10 cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. (In rare situations, it results from a medical issue in another part of the body, such as liver disease or a lung infection.) The foul odors associated with bad breath can be temporarily masked with mouthwash or breath mints — but in order to really control it, we need to find out exactly what’s causing the problem, and address its source.
As Lawrence and Hemsworth found out, some foods and beverages can indeed cause a malodorous mouth. Onions, garlic, alcohol and coffee are deservedly blamed for this. Tobacco products are also big contributors to bad breath — which is one more reason to quit. But fasting isn’t the answer either: stop eating for long enough and another set of foul-smelling substances will be released. Your best bet is to stay well hydrated and snack on crisp, fresh foods like celery, apples or parsley.
And speaking of hydration (or the lack of it): Mouth dryness and reduced salivary flow during the nighttime hours is what causes “morning breath.” Certain health issues and some medications can also cause “dry mouth,” or xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water can encourage the production of healthy saliva — but if that’s not enough, tell us about it: We may recommend switching medications (if possible), chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.
Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a great way to avoid bad breath. The goal of oral hygiene is to control the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath — so keeping them in check is good for your overall oral health. Remember to brush twice and floss once daily, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and visit the dental office regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
So did J.Law apologize for the malodorous makeout session? Not exactly. “[For] Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, yeah, I’ll brush my teeth,” she laughed.
Hemsworth jokingly agreed: “If I was kissing Christian Bale I probably would have brushed my teeth too. With you, it’s like, ‘Eh. Whatever.’”
If you would like more information about bad breath and oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than Just Embarrassing.”