Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? The problems that start in your mouth can affect the rest of your body making your oral health more important than many of us realize.
Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. In most cases, the bacteria in your mouth will be kept under control with good oral habits, like regular brushing and flossing.
In rare cases, and without proper oral hygiene, the bacteria in your mouth will reach high levels, causing oral infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.
As your mouth is also an entry point for your digestive and respiratory tracts, the overflow of bacteria can easily enter your body and cause illness and disease.
If your gums are inflamed due to periodontal disease the bacteria that cause it can get into the bloodstream. This will result in the buildup of plaque in the arteries causing blood flow problems, heart blockages, and increasing your chance of a heart attack.
Because gum disease can lead to higher than normal blood sugar levels, a person with poor oral health is at an increased risk of developing diabetes. People who already have diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can also make diabetes more difficult to control.
Bacteria in the mouth from infected teeth and gums can be breathed into the lungs or easily travel there through the bloodstream. Once in the lungs, the bacteria can lead to respiratory infections, acute bronchitis and even pneumonia.
We all know that smoking or using tobacco products can lead to oral and throat cancers, but kidney cancer and blood cancers have also been linked to gum disease and poor oral health.
Infections such as periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. People with gum disease have weaker immune systems and are more likely to develop infections. Many people who suffer from poor oral health also suffer from kidney disease.
People with gum disease are four times more likely to also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both gum disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis are inflammatory diseases. Additionally, oral bacteria from gingivitis can increase inflammation in the body, making you more susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Scheduling regular dental exams in our office can help keep your teeth and gums clean, preventing any serious health issues.
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
When you take care of your oral health, you also take care of your body and your overall health. Good oral hygiene will prevent problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, which in turn will help prevent more serious health issues in your body.
Remember… your mouth is the pathway to everything in your body.
The holidays are nearly here, and so are the holiday parties, sweets and delicacies we have been waiting on all year. And when our taste buds are delighted to enjoy each bite of pie or candy, and each sip of holiday punch, our teeth and gums are often cowering in dread from this yearly onslaught.
So why worry about our oral health if it’s only a few months out of the year?
This is where we can get ourselves into a bit of trouble. Our oral health affects our entire body, and most importantly, our mouth is a part of our immune system.
So, while we want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season, we also want to share with you some simple tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and your smile beautiful and bright not only for the next month but for the many years to come.
We all know that a little indulgence in holiday sweets is fine, but too much sugar can wreak havoc not only on your teeth and gums but also on your overall health. Remember to balance your intake of sweets with healthier choices of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sticky, hard, chewy, gummy, or sugary foods may be what the holiday season is all about for many of us, but they are the worst offenders to our teeth and gums. This included candy canes, dried fruit, and soft mint chews. Limit those for some of the healthier options.
Remember to carry a refillable water bottle with you to holiday parties. Water has many benefits and is important especially during the holidays when you are out and about more than ever. Water can clean away freshly formed bacteria in your mouth, it can also freshen your breath and aid in digestion. As an added bonus, water will fill you up so you won’t overindulge in all the sweets.
The holidays can make your schedule crazy, but brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day is an absolute must. This is even more crucial if you plan on consuming a lot of holiday treats. Brushing removes sugar from your teeth, and flossing will take care of any plaque & bacteria. With just a little bit of effort and planning now, you can look forward to a clean bill of dental health in the New Year.
Avoid using your teeth to open gifts, or crack nuts or hard candy. Although our teeth are one of the toughest parts of our body, they are susceptible to cracks and breaks. Trust us, we see this every year!
For many of us, holidays can be a busy time and despite all your best intentions, there will be times you’ll forget some of these tips. Make sure you schedule your post-holiday dental cleaning and checkup now, so the moment the holidays are over, you can make sure your teeth and gums get back on track for the start of the new year.
Once you reach your late teen years, you may think that the discomfort associated with losing your baby teeth and growing your adult teeth is finally behind you.
Your wisdom teeth can still break through, even in early adulthood, and despite their name, they won’t make you any wiser.
For many of us, having our wisdom teeth removed is almost a right of passage. But should you still have them removed, even if they don’t present any problems?
Your wisdom teeth typically develop anywhere between the teenage years to young adulthood. By that time you have lost all of your baby teeth, and most of your adult teeth are fully developed.
What this means for most people is that there isn’t a lot of space left for your wisdom teeth to fully grow.
Still, there are some instances when wisdom teeth don’t pose problems:
If you are one of those lucky individuals, your dentist might suggest that you keep your wisdom teeth.
Just because your wisdom teeth aren’t a source of pain, it still doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong. A dental exam and x-ray are the only way to know if your wisdom teeth will present a problem in the future.
Your dentists may advise you to take out healthy molars to prevent problems later on. As you age, the bones in your mouth get harder, which will make removing them a lot more challenging, and costly.
Here are some of the common problems caused by wisdom teeth:
While some people can live with their wisdom teeth their entire life, many will need to have their wisdom teeth removed to preserve the health of their other teeth, gums, and jaw.
Only your dentist can advise you on when is the best time to remove your wisdom teeth.
Ultimately, there is little control you have over your wisdom teeth as they erupt and grow. Partner with your dentist to discuss your options, and to understand if you are a candidate for wisdom teeth removal.
If you have any questions, our office is always happy to speak with you and help you make the best decision.
At Dr. Blum’s & Associates, we are here for you and your family! If you are staying closer to home and not venturing out quite yet, there are some simple things you can do to maintain your dental health until you’re ready to make your next appointment.
With so many of us working from home today our normal routine ends up on the back burner. We put appointments off that we know we should schedule. One thing gets piled on top of another and it all just seems like too much!
Here’s the good news…There are simple things you can do to ensure that you are taking care of your teeth until you can get to your dentist.
Here’s something to think about…in the world, we’re living in today, where we feel like we don’t have control over much of anything, isn’t it nice to know that YOU CAN control your oral health?
February is Children’s Oral Health Month!
We want the best for our kids, and oral health is a big part of their physical wellbeing. That’s why we treasure the opportunity to give your children healthy smiles. Today, we’ve got some tips on how to make sure that your little ones’ teeth are as healthy as possible.
Kids may lose their baby teeth, but they still need oral care that is as thorough and regular as their adult teeth will receive.
Healthy gums are essential for good oral health, and permanent teeth begin developing long before they make their presence known. According to the CDC, cavities from tooth decay is one of the most common sources of chronic illness in children.
Children with poor oral health may develop discomfort that distracts them from learning and playing, but the good news is that this is preventable with a little vigilance on the part of guardians and instilling good habits in kids while they’re small.
Your dentist can prescribe protective measures to help, like dental sealants on the surfaces of the teeth, which help guard against cavities for years.
Not only do sugary foods contribute to poor nutrition, but they are also terrible for children’s oral health.
Sticky foods adhere to dental enamel, wearing it down and contributing to plaque buildup, which causes decay. One of the very worst foods you can give kids as snacks are raisins, as they are both sticky and sugary, so use them in moderation.
Try apple slices instead, and make sure your children drink plenty of water to rinse their mouths and stay well-hydrated.
Studies conducted by the CDC indicate a strong link between children who drink fluoridated water or brush with fluoridated toothpaste have stronger teeth with fewer cavities. Once kids are old enough to brush, rinse, and spit on their own, give them a fluoride rinse to use before bed.
To drink, we recommend tap water, so they get the included fluoride for their developing permanent teeth. If you use bottled, filtered, or distilled water, consider a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist.
Even when they are a baby, brush your children’s teeth for them so they are used to the feeling. Before their teeth come in, gently wipe their gums with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding and before bed.
When their teeth start to emerge, use a soft brush and fluoridated water. Be very gentle- teething makes little ones’ gums tender. Introduce your child to the dentist early to spot any problems before they get worse and to assure your child that the dentist is a friend.
Don’t forget to floss!
Make sure that your kids know how to floss properly in a gentle J-shaped motion to clean the teeth and gums. When they’re able to brush their own teeth, brush and floss yours at the same time so they learn to model your good habits.
Most importantly, a good example, from you at home, is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children in any area of life. Show them good examples by taking care of your own teeth, too!
We all have bad habits. Maybe you’re not good at texting people back, or you crack your knuckles, or watch too much reality TV. We get it, but bad oral habits are dangerous. It’s easy to forget to make good oral habits, but we’re here to help. Even if you don’t think you have bad habits that are harmful to your teeth, keep reading.
Once you’ve grown your adult teeth, that’s the only set you get, and we’d like to help you keep those teeth in good shape forever. Today, we’d like to show you three habits you should break now for a healthier 2020 and beyond.
Sugar is the enemy of healthy teeth. When it comes to sugar affecting your teeth, you might immediately think of soda, but it’s not the only thing that contains sugar. Carbohydrates in food get broken down into sugar, even the carbs found in fruits and vegetables. Don’t stop eating your fruits and vegetables, just watch out for sugars that linger on your teeth.
Sugars and artificial sweeteners, especially in drinks, are often accompanied by citric and phosphoric acids. These eat away at your teeth, making them weaker.
Bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth) is a destructive habit that many of us don’t realize we have. To be fair, it often happens in our sleep when we can’t help it.
Clenching your teeth, especially the edges of your incisors and canines, damages the structural integrity of your teeth and can cause pain in the mouth, jaw, face, and head.
Your teeth should touch as little as possible. Here are a few tips:
We talk a lot about flossing because it’s so overlooked and underappreciated. Brushing gets all the attention, but flossing is even more important than brushing. Not flossing is a major cause of decay and bone loss, and it’s a bad habit harmful to your teeth.
The spaces between teeth and all-around your gumlines are where oral biofilm (plaque) collects, and plaque is what damages your teeth. Brushing helps, but it doesn’t do enough.
And remember to schedule your routine teeth cleaning at least twice a year, or as often as your dentist recommends.
Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to break those bad habits that harm your teeth. Call Dr. Blum and Associates today to make an appointment and learn how to put good oral health habits in place. Clean, healthy teeth and gums are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
We love the holidays at Dr. Blum and Associates. But what we don’t love is tooth decay or tooth pain! When it’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday you celebrate, it often begins to look a lot like some holiday feasting is about to take place. We have some tips for how to keep your teeth healthy during the holidays.
We don’t mean you have to carry a toothbrush and toothpaste around in your pocket to have healthy teeth during the holidays. You can enjoy everything the season has to offer without sacrificing your oral health. Here are a few foods and drinks to be aware of so that your smile can be both merry and healthy.
These are some foods and drinks that affect your dental health during the holidays:
You can still enjoy holiday treats by practicing a little preventive maintenance. Here are some good strategies to protect your teeth and healthy smile:
In these winter holidays, maintain clean, strong teeth so that those you love can see your healthy smile. As always, don’t forget to get your regular checkups and cleanings at Dr. Blum and Associates. Schedule yours in advance, whether you’re preparing for the holidays or cleaning up after them.
Have you ever asked yourself “What causes snoring”? Sometimes it’s funny, most of the time it’s bothersome, but it can be a sign of something more serious. We can probably all think of a time when we couldn’t sleep because someone was snoring loudly nearby.
Snoring is not a medical disorder on its own, but beyond disrupting sleep, snoring can be a symptom of an underlying problem, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But why do we snore, and what can we do about it? Let’s look at what causes snoring and some snoring remedies.
What causes snoring? According to the Mayo Clinic, snoring is a result of compressed airways that force the air from each breath through a tightened space, causing tissues like the soft palate to vibrate. This produces that lovely chainsaw melody that we all know and dislike. But what is putting pressure on those passages?
If air passages become so compressed that they close completely, that is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is dangerous because it interrupts normal breathing, and thus oxygen flow to the heart. It is not common for sleep apnea to be a direct cause of death, but sleep apnea can lead to other, potentially fatal health problems. It also disturbs sleep patterns, which can lead to tiredness, impaired reflexes, and a lower quality of life in general.
After we ask, “What causes snoring?”, we also need to ask, “How do we stop snoring?” and what are some snoring remedies? If your nights are noisy due to your partner’s snoring, or if you snore and want to feel better, there are things you can do about it. As always, visit your dentist to work out what is causing your snoring, and follow their directions.
At Dr. Blum and Associates, we frequently use sleep apnea appliances to help our patients snore less. Custom-fitted for maximum comfort, these correct the position of the jaw and tongue to open airways without drying them out.
We believe that restful sleep is something we should all be able to enjoy. If your sleep quality (or someone else’s) is affected by snoring, then we can help you work out what might be causing your snoring and how to get rid of it.
We’d all like to have a brighter smile, but it can be hard to identify the best method for safe teeth whitening. There’s a lot of information out there, some that’s been around for years, some that’s fairly new. It can be hard to know what you can rely on, what won’t do anything, and what might actually hurt you.
As always, you should ask your dentist how to whiten your teeth. So, let’s ask a dentist: “How do you safely whiten your teeth at home?”
To understand how to whiten your teeth, we first have to know why teeth become discolored. We’d like to mention that your teeth are like your fingerprint in that they’re uniquely yours, and no two people have the same set. Some people’s teeth have lighter or darker staining teeth for no reason at all.
There are two kinds of tooth discoloration. The first kind is called “extrinsic stains”. These come from outside sources having to do with diet and behavior.
These are not just cosmetic issues and can easily be prevented by developing good habits, rinsing your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks or foods and regular teeth cleanings.
The second kind of tooth discoloration is “intrinsic stains”. These come from inside your teeth and often signal disease or loss of structural integrity.
Now that we know what causes stains on our teeth, let’s look at how you can safely whiten your teeth at home.
Dr. Blum recommends that you do not treat your teeth with anything that has not been thoroughly checked out by reliable institutions like the ADA, (the American Dental Association). At Dr. Blum’s office, we recommend the Opalescence teeth whitening system, a gentle method that uses soft trays and gel containing potassium nitrate and fluoride. This is another reason why we are your gentle dentists.
There’s so much more we could say on this topic, but it is best if we discuss in a FREE consultation. If you have any questions, keep reading, or contact us anytime!
As grown-ups, we realize that our teeth require consistent care. Starting proper dental habits when children are very young translates into better oral health for life. Truth be told, the disregard of a kid’s teeth and general oral wellbeing can have genuine results that could last well into adulthood.
Here is a tip to make sure your kids are brushing correctly and taking care of their teeth as they grow. The American Dental Association’s recommendation is to stand behind your young children and have them look up at you in the mirror as brushing time daily. This causes the mouth to hang open more for better reach and allows them to emulate you to learn to brush properly.
It is also important to educate your children that certain kinds of foods and beverages can cause discoloring or decay. The ADA Healthline.com website suggests being careful and educated with the following:
It’s not surprising that candy is bad for your mouth. But sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are tougher on your teeth. Plus, because they’re chewy, they stick to your teeth for a longer time, so they’re more likely to cause decay. If you’re craving sweets, grab a square of chocolate instead, which you can chew quickly and wash away easily.
Think twice as you walk down the supermarket bread aisle. When you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. Now transformed into a gummy paste-like substance, the bread sticks to the crevices between teeth. And that can cause cavities. When you’re craving some carbs, aim for less-refined varieties like whole wheat. These contain less added sugars and aren’t as easily broken down.
We all know that little, if any, good comes from soda or pop, even if it’s got the word “diet” on the can. A recent study even found that drinking large quantities of carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as using methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. So if you sip soda all day, you’re essentially coating your teeth in acid. Plus it dries out your mouth, meaning you have less saliva. And last but not least, dark-colored sodas can discolor or stain your teeth. A note: don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking a soda; this could actually hasten decay.
In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately, too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are tasty as both fruits and juices and are packed with vitamin C. But their acid content can erode enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Even squeezing a lemon or lime into water adds acid to a drink. Plus, acid from citrus can be bothersome to mouth sores. If you want to get a dose of their antioxidants and vitamins, eat and drink them in moderation at mealtime and rinse with water afterwards.
The crunch of a potato chip is eternally satisfying to many of us. Unfortunately, they’re loaded with starch, which becomes sugar that can get trapped in and between the teeth and feed the bacteria in the plaque. Since we rarely have just one, the acid production from the chips lingers and lasts awhile. After you’ve gorged on a bag, floss to remove the trapped particles.
You likely assume that dried fruits are a healthy snack. That may be true, but many dried fruits — apricots, prunes, figs, and raisins, to name a few — are sticky. They get stuck and cling in the teeth and their crevices, leaving behind lots of sugar. If you do like to eat dried fruits, make sure you rinse your mouth with water, and then brush and floss after. And because they’re less concentrated with sugar, it is a better choice to eat the fresh versions instead!
There’s no doubt a cold sports drink is refreshing after a good workout. But these drinks are usually high in sugar. Like soda or candy, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. A better way to for your kids to stay hydrated after sports or play is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water.
Source: ADA Healthline.com and WebMD.com