5 Cues It’s Time to See the Dentist

GUM DISEASE, TOOTH DECAY, and other oral health problems don’t set in overnight. That’s why it’s so important to have regular checkups and to be diligent with daily oral hygiene habits. If it’s been a while since the last trip to the dentist, here are the top 5 signs it’s time to schedule a quick visit:

1. Persistent Tooth Pain or Mouth Sores

Pain is the body’s alarm system, so don’t ignore it! Tooth pain rarely goes away on its own and can become much worse without treatment. A mouth sore that isn’t healing on its own could also be a sign of infection or disease.

2. Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums could be the result of an overly aggressive flossing or brushing technique (this is why soft bristles are best), but it’s rarely a sign of good gum health. Most likely, it’s a symptom of gum disease and should be checked by a dentist.

3. A Problem With Old Dental Work

If an old filling or crown becomes too worn out, damaged, or falls off, get to the dentist quickly so that it can be repaired before infection has a chance to set in.

4. A Medical Condition

A serious medical condition like diabetes or an eating disorder can impact oral health. So could a new prescription.

5. Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath isn’t just a source of embarrassment, it’s often a sign of a more serious problem like gum disease or tooth decay. Bring that problem to the dentist for help!

And a Bonus Reason…

One more sign you’re due for a dentist visit is that it’s been longer than six months since your last one! There’s no need to wait until you’re experiencing symptoms to visit the dentist. Maintenance on a car is easier to do than repairs, and the same is true of our teeth.

Preventative care is key where healthy smiles are concerned!

Follow These Tips to Help a Teething Child!

TEETHING CAN BE upsetting for babies and their parents alike! We’re here to help with a few simple teething tips:

1. Learn to spot signs of teething.

Typically around the six-month mark, the first teeth will begin to emerge. A teething baby may show behavioral changes that are actually teething symptoms, such as decreased interest in breastfeeding, excessive drooling, refusal of foods they normally like, difficulty sleeping, or general irritability. They might also become more interested in chewing or sucking on things.

2. Recognize what ISN’T a sign of teething.

Sometimes parents misidentify other symptoms as having to do with teething, when it could be an unrelated illness. A runny nose, fever, or diarrhea could be signs of a viral infection. Consult a pediatrician if they get worse.

3. Try different soothing techniques.

Continue breastfeeding if possible, and provide something safe to chew on like a teething toy, but be cautious when choosing teething toys. Make sure they do not contain PVC, BPA, or phthalates — all compounds that potentially cause harm if ingested by a child. Some toys can be chilled to provide extra relief, and some can be fastened to the child’s clothing.

Bring Us Your Teething Questions

If you’re stressing over your child’s teething symptoms, don’t hesitate to get in touch! This is a strange new experience for both you and your child, and we’re here to help. Also keep in mind that as soon as the first tooth appears, it’s a great time for baby’s first dental visit.

Your child deserves the best, including the best of dental health treatment!

For Healthy Teeth’s Sake, Stop Chewing Ice!

THERE’S A GOOD REASON dental health professionals warn their patients not to chew ice. This habit can cause serious and permanent damage to teeth and gums, so what makes it so addicting in spite of the dangers?

A Mental Condition

Compulsive ice eating is called pagophagia. Sometimes it’s a symptom of pica, a psychological disorder in which a person feels compelled to eat large quantities of non-food items, such as dirt, clay, hair, or ice. A nutrition gap could be responsible.

Compensating for Iron Deficiency?

Recent studies suggest a link between anemia and compulsive ice eating. The theory is that chewing ice makes up for the lack of iron (which we need to carry oxygen to the brain) by stimulating blood flow to the head. It’s an interesting workaround but doesn’t address the root cause. Iron supplements would be more effective, without the drawbacks to dental health.

Chewing Ice

The Damage Ice Can Do

What can ice do to our teeth and gums? The same thing it can do to pavement over repeated freezes and thaws. The problem isn’t how hard ice is, but how cold it is. Tooth enamel is very brittle and can easily fracture due to so many dramatic temperature changes from the contact with ice. The gums are also in danger. The ice numbs them, so it’s hard to notice if they’re getting sliced and damaged.

The Dentist Is Here to Help

If you’re struggling with an ice chewing addiction, the dentist can help, and so can your general physician. It’s important to discover the cause, treat any existing damage, and prevent additional damage by fighting the habit!

We’re here to help you leave the ice-chewing habit behind!

Childhood Tooth Injuries Are Preventable!

MINIMIZING THE RISK of childhood tooth injuries starts with knowing the most common causes of those injuries. Babies and toddlers are most likely to injure themselves by slipping in the bathtub. Non-slip mats are a great precaution! Projectiles like balls and frisbees can easily cause injuries, so make sure to discuss safety and not aiming at anyone’s head. Hard playground equipment can also be a hazard so extra care should be taken.

Make a Plan in Case of Accidents

Sometimes accidents happen even when we’re being careful, and having an emergency plan is a great way to prepare. Step one of any plan is not to panic. Make a calm assessment of the situation. If an adult tooth is knocked out, try to put it back in the socket. If that isn’t possible, store it in cold milk, but either way, get straight to the dentist. That will give us the best chance of replanting the tooth. Make sure not to touch the root, and don’t try to clean it or store it in ice.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Healthy teeth are harder to injure, which is one more reason to make good daily oral hygiene habits a big priority. That means daily flossing and twice-daily brushing!

The Dentist Is Your Best Resource

We want to make sure our patients (and the parents of our youngest patients) have all the information they need to make wise decisions and take informed action when it comes to tooth injuries. If you have any questions about how to make the environment around your child safer for their smile, let us know. We’re happy to help.

Thank you for making us your partner in lifelong oral health!