Although I have been in dentistry for over 40 years, it was only 20 years ago that I made the daily commitment to thoroughly cleaning my mouth. For the past 20 years, I have not missed one day of my oral health care ritual of flossing every tooth, two-minute brushing, and tongue scraping. This is a no excuses, bright line habit I do every single morning without fail. I love that I do this for myself (and for those closest to me) and today I want to share the many benefits of tongue scraping.
I believe brushing your tongue is more effective than nothing, but using a scraper is the most successful way to remove bacteria and toxins from the tongue. Tongue scrapers come in many forms such as stainless steel, gold, silver, brass, tin, copper, and plastic. Copper is my preference due to the anti-bacterial and conductive properties of copper. Many scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that copper has fast, broad-spectrum antimicrobial effectiveness against the most toxic type of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The lymphatic system is a gatekeeper of the body’s immune system and it is believed that copper ions are absorbed into the lymph and blood to help support lymphatic flow.
Benefits of tongue scraping include:
- Removal of bacteria and toxins
- Stimulation of digestion and taste buds
- Energize internal organs of the body
- Freshens breath
Tongue scraping is an easy and effective way to maintain a healthy smile. Be gentle with this procedure and use care with the larger taste buds at the back of the tongue. But most of all enjoy the good feeling this brings to your entire day.
When I experience dental sensitivity, I never think of that as “normal.” I’m constantly surprised how many people will put up with sensitive teeth. I’ve heard all kinds of stories from patients with dental sensitivity. When patients say things like, “I just don’t drink hot beverages,” or “I haven’t eaten ice cream in years,” I feel for them. As a dentist, I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do more than empathize. I can help you understand the causes of dental sensitivity and get rid of this issue once and for all.
Causes of Dental Sensitivity
Before I begin treatment, we need to understand the root cause of dental sensitivity. The basic reason you experience sensitivity is that your tooth’s nerve is triggered, causing pain. I need to know why this is happening. I’ll examine your teeth for warning signs of oral health concerns that can lead to increased sensitivity. Common causes of dental sensitivity include:
- Worn enamel is one of the main reasons why patients experience sensitivity. Teeth grinding, chronic tooth decay, and aging can all lead to thinning tooth enamel.
- Another cause of tooth sensitivity is soft tissue recession. When the gums recede, the sensitive root structures of teeth may be accessed causing discomfort.
- Some patients are simply born with highly sensitive dental structures. Genetic predisposition may not be avoidable, but it is treatable!
- Severe sensitivity to changes in temperature that lingers may be a sign of root canal infection. This serious oral health issue should be treated right away, so please call us immediately.
Preventing Dental Sensitivity
As is often the case in dentistry, prevention is your best option. I recommend patients visit me at least twice a year for preventive appointments. During these visits, we will discuss any oral health issues you’re experiencing. If you notice sensitivity, I can intervene right away to restore healthy tooth function. Additionally, I can provide nightguards for teeth grinders, prescribe professional-grade fluoride toothpaste for patients who struggle with chronic tooth decay, and recommend other preventive measures to avoid dental sensitivity.
Treating Dental Sensitivity
The ways of treating dental sensitivity are as varied as the causes of this concern, but I can create a personalized treatment plan that will have you eating a popsicle in no time! Some common treatments for dental sensitivity are:
- In-office fluoride treatment
- At-home application of desensitizing gel
- Restorative treatments to replace lost gum tissue or build up tooth enamel
Trick or treat?! Both? At Halloween time, we all enjoy watching our kids get dressed up to collect candy from our neighbors. During this end of the year celebration and the entire holiday season, kids (and parents) consume large amounts of candy. Unfortunately, this increase in sugary treats is not great for teeth. This is especially true if you’re eating taffy or other sticky candies. In addition to coating teeth in highly acidic plaque, these chewy treats can damage restorations and teeth. Before you let your kids dig into their bags of Halloween candy, take a few moments to consider the possible dental repercussions of holiday sugar binges and monitor which sweets they eat.
Oral Health & Sticky Candies
Sticky candies are some of the worst treats for your teeth. Taffy, caramels, gummy bears, and other chewy sweets can do much more harm than most people realize. Some of the oral health issues I’ve seen caused by consuming too much sticky candy include:
- Lost and damaged fillings
- Dental crowns or fixed bridges coming loose or falling out
- Kids with loose baby teeth that fall out prematurely
- Adults who lose teeth
- Pieces of the candy lodged between teeth
- Cavities, cavities, and more cavities!
Preventing Cavities While Feeding Your Sweet Tooth
To keep your smile healthy, I’m in no way recommending you kick the candy out of Halloween altogether. Instead, consume delicious holiday treats in moderation. Eat a few candies. Then, drink water to rinse away any stuck on particles from your teeth. If at all possible, brush your teeth or use an antimicrobial mouthwash soon after eating candies. We all deserve a treat during the holidays, but we also deserve healthy smiles year round. The key to keeping your smile healthy and still feeding your sweet tooth – preventive dental care. Maybe I say that a lot, but it’s true! The best defense is a good offense, so keep up your daily brushing and flossing, and visit me twice a year to maintain your healthy, beautiful smile.
When it comes to repairing damaged teeth, I recommend you visit me as soon as possible, but not every situation requires urgent care on the same day. Lucky for my Erlanger dental patients, I’m here to help you protect your smile until you reach our office. One of the most common oral health concerns we hear about from patients is a lost dental crown. Over time, crowns can break away from the repaired tooth and need to be replaced. If you’ve lost a dental crown, take a breath and read this post to learn some first aid tips to care for your smile and relieve pain until you visit our Erlanger dental office.
What Happens if My Crown Comes Off?
The first thing you need to do is calmly assess the situation. Take a close look at your tooth, and consider the following:
- Are you in pain? – if so, how bad would you consider it on a scale from 1 to 10?
- Is the crown whole? – if it is, it may be possible to simply have the restoration replaced.
- Is it potentially damaging your surrounding teeth? – feel how the bite fits together, and check for damage to the surrounding tooth structure like breaks or fractures.
- Are there sharp edges that could injure your soft tissue? – if there are edges, move your mouth around to see if any of your soft tissue is at risk for damage.
In most cases, you can temporarily replace the dental crown using denture adhesive. Simply dab a small amount of adhesive into the crown. Then, reposition it onto your tooth. Until it’s fully repaired in our office, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and brush and floss with extra care. Remove the crown at least once a day to clean the tooth structure below. If your dental crown is damaged and cannot be put back in place, I’ll likely want to see you more quickly to ensure your tooth is not further damaged.
How Can You Help?
When you arrive at our office, we’ll clean the tooth and crown, removing old bonding material and ensuring there’s no leaking or plaque buildup. In most cases, we can simply recement the dental crown. However, if your crown is damaged, a new restoration may be necessary.
How Can I Care for my Dental Crown Repaired Tooth?
To prevent damage to your crown in the future, treat your restoration with care. Brush using soft bristled toothbrushes and minimally abrasive toothpaste. Consider switching to a waxed or easy glide floss to avoid unnecessary pulling on the crown. Visit our office twice a year, so we can assess your restoration and make sure it remains whole and functional.
With colder weather upon us, you might find yourself shivering when you’re outside. You may not even notice your teeth chattering, or if you do, you probably don’t think much about it. But did you know that actions such as teeth chattering, clenching, and grinding your teeth could all be causing damage to your pearly whites? Even though most of the time these actions are done subconsciously, it’s important to be aware of what the consequences can be and how, as your dentist in Erlanger, I can help you.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the term for clenching and grinding your teeth. Typically this takes place at night, while you are sleeping, so you may not even be aware that you’re doing it. However, your bed partner might know because grinding your teeth can be loud.
It can also cause damage to your teeth and your oral health such as:
- Small fractures or chipping to your teeth
- Excessive wear
- Joint problems such as TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder
- Tenderness in your jaw or when biting or chewing
- Headaches or migraines
The Good News
The good news is that I can help protect your teeth from the damage that bruxism causes with a comfortable night guard that you can wear at night while you sleep. A night guard is made from plastic and it fits over your teeth to protect them. It can also be designed to relax your jaw muscles, which helps prevent you from clenching and grinding your teeth.
Orthodontic treatment may be helpful for patients who suffer from bite misalignment. When your teeth are not properly aligned, it can cause clenching, grinding, and issues with your jaw joint.
I also recommend Botox treatments for some patients to relax muscles and alleviate symptoms of bruxism. I can administer those treatments right in the comfort of my office, and the effects last for about 4 months.
If you find yourself outside with your teeth chattering, I prescribe some hot cocoa to warm you up! If you suspect you may suffer from bruxism, I recommend that you call our office and schedule an examination to determine the best treatment for your needs.
Whether it’s eating healthier, or exercising more, New Year’s resolutions can be hard to stick to! I like to share with my patients that with a simple shift in your thinking, your resolutions don’t have to fall by the wayside. Here’s a simple idea from your dentist in Erlanger to help you meet your 2018 goals.
The Power of “I Am”
Your mind is a powerful tool, and by managing your thoughts you can change your life. For example, begin your day with a goal: “Today I am going to the gym to exercise.” Using the power of the phrase “Today I am” sets your intention for the day and you are more likely to achieve your goals.
Use this tool with your New Year’s resolutions, and be specific. “Today I am going to eat a salad for lunch.” Instead of just “eating healthier,” set your intention to eat a salad for lunch.
Using the power of “I am,” and being clear about your intention will help you stick to your resolutions until they become a habit or part of your daily routine.
Don’t Forget to Include Dentistry in Your Resolutions
Part of living a healthier life in 2018 includes partnering with your health care team. As your dentist, I encourage my patients to visit for routine cleanings and checkups at least twice per year or every six months.
These visits help me monitor your oral health and detect any concerns as early as possible. By taking great care of your oral health, you are also looking out for your overall health and well being since we now understand how periodontal disease is linked with other health concerns like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and vice versa.
Let me help you make 2018 your best year yet by committing to an excellent home care routine and regular dental visits. “Today I am going to brush my teeth thoroughly twice and floss them once. Today I am visiting Dr. Sand Wall for my six-month checkup.”
I look forward to helping you meet your 2018 goals!
In February, most of us tend to focus on Valentine’s Day! I love February, however, because it is Children’s Dental Health Month and it allows me to focus on some of my favorite patients – kids! It also gives me a chance to share some ideas with parents on how to make learning about the importance of oral health fun for their kids. So here are some of my favorite ideas in honor of Children’s Dental Health Month.
Buy Some New Toothbrushes Together
There are so many fun and colorful dental products on the market for children these days! Get your child excited about brushing their teeth by letting them pick a toothbrush in their favorite color or with the character they love on it. You should be changing your toothbrushes out every 3 to 4 months. And change them right away if someone has been sick.
Your child might like an electric toothbrush if they don’t already have one, and you will enjoy the benefits of a timer and a brush doing the hard work for them.
Make a Tracking Chart
Motivate your child to brush twice a day and floss once with a tracking chart. Decorate it in fun colors, use stickers for daily tracking, and help them set their goals.
For example, if they complete a week of exceptional brushing and flossing each day, they can earn a small reward like ice cream with mom, or a piece of sugar free gum.
Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist
As your family dentist, your child should visit me every six months just like you do. This gives us a chance to review their oral development and discuss any concerns you might have about your little one’s oral health.
I may recommend some additional treatment for them as they get older such as dental sealants and fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to build and strengthen your little one’s developing teeth, while dental sealants protect them from decay and cavities.
If it’s time for your child’s next dental visit, give my office a call today to schedule their next appointment.