Be Aware of Tongue Piercing Risks

tongue piercing, oral piercingWe understand why some people gravitate toward oral piercings. It’s the sign of a rebel, as well as a fashionable way to be different. However, such fashion statements also pose serious dental risks. We’ll explain the potential dangers and risks of tongue piercing. Find out why our family dentists don’t recommend them.

Why Tongue Piercing Is a Problem

In one study, 6% of people with a tongue piercing experienced some sort of dental problem. This may seem like a fairly low percentage, but the risk is still very real. Risks include bleeding, nerve damage, and permanent scarring. Oral surgeons also warn that it can elevate risk of periodontal disease. In rare cases, the tongue and the floor of the mouth may become infected, requiring intravenous antibiotics.

Risk of Tooth Damage

A tongue barbell is solid metal. As you move your tongue around, it can ram against your teeth, causing them to chip. One study found that half of people with a tongue piercing for at least four years exhibited teeth damage. The damage was especially prevalent in the back teeth. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent In-Flight Tooth Pain

in-flight tooth painDo you have summer travel plans abroad? During your flight, you may experience in-flight tooth pain. Then you ask: Why is this happening at 35,000-feet of altitude? Am I going to be miserable for the entire duration of the flight? Our oral surgeons understand this phenomenon quite well.

What Causes In-Flight Tooth Pain?

Just about everyone has experienced the popping sensation in their ears as their flight takes off. This occurs due to the change in cabin pressure. The same popping sensation can also manifest in your tooth.

An infected or decayed tooth is especially prone to in-flight pain since the tooth may contain tiny pockets of air. You may not notice anything wrong at ground level. However, once your elevation increases significantly, the pressure change causes you to experience distressing symptoms.

As unpleasant as it is, an in-flight toothache does have a silver lining. It may alert you to a hidden dental problem. Continue Reading →

Is Fluoride Safe for Toddlers?

fluoride for toddlersA lot of concerned parents wonder whether fluoride is safe for toddlers. This is especially the case considering recent news that fluoride exposure causes long-term health problems. Do children at such a young age need fluoride when they haven’t even learned how to brush yet?

The Truth About Fluoride Safety and Toddlers

Fluoride is available naturally in water. The compound strengthens teeth enamel and prevents decay. It also makes the tooth more resistant to acid erosion. This is why our oral surgeons recommend it.

The American Dental Association recommends that parents brush their children’s teeth starting from one-year of age. The ADA also said parents can use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste as soon as their child’s teeth begin to show. Most parents don’t do this, though; instead they give in to their uncooperative child.

The Research

The ADA’s recommendation arose as a result of recent findings by the Center for Disease Control. Research showed an increase of cavities among preschoolers who aren’t exposed to fluoride. In some of the more severe cases, children had cavities in more than half their baby teeth. Continue Reading →

The Benefits of a Saltwater Mouth Rinse

saltwater mouth rinseYou may have heard of a saltwater mouth rinse as a home remedy for treating a number of ailments. Does salt really have healing properties? Do I really need to rinse my mouth with salt if I already use a normal mouthwash? Find out what our family dentists have to say about this.

Why Is a Saltwater Mouth Rinse Beneficial?

Salt doesn’t kill bacteria directly. Instead, it increases the pH balance inside your mouth. This results in a more alkaline environment, making it harder for bacteria to survive. Germs tend to thrive in an acidic environment.

Uses for Saltwater Mouth Rinse

Swishing saltwater in your mouth alleviates a number of ailments. It’s good for:

  • Reducing sore throat
  • Reducing soreness or infection after oral surgery
  • Removing food particles lodged in your teeth
  • Freshening your breath. This is a good alternative if you’re sensitive to alcohol-based mouthwash
  • Temporarily relieving canker sore pain. Mix the salt and water with baking soda to form a paste to specifically target the region.
  • Relieving soreness associated with braces. Our endodontists usually recommend this to patients after installing traditional metal-wire braces.

Continue Reading →

How to Floss With Braces

floss with bracesFlossing is vital for long-term oral health; that’s a given. However, most people find flossing a burdensome task; hence 20% of Americans never floss. For those with braces, flossing is even more of a perceived hassle. We’ll explain how to floss with braces efficiently. Yes, you may not feel like doing it, but you know it’s a daily necessity—as much as brushing.

Use the Right Floss

Before you begin, wisely choose the type of floss. We advise sticking with wax-coated floss. The unwaxed variety is more thread-like and prone to getting caught in the wiring. You can also use a floss threader; this is an easy-to-use tool that simplifies flossing around the braces. You may also elect to invest in a water flosser to make the process even easier. Continue Reading →

Six Uses for an Old Toothbrush

old toothbrushOur family dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months. Over the course of your life, that is a lot of brushes that you temporarily use and throw away. However, you don’t necessarily have to throw them in the trash. Consider these alternative uses for an old toothbrush; give it renewed life.

Old Toothbrush Alternative Uses

1. Clean the Bike Chain: Many people have reported that they use their old brushes for cleaning a bike chain before giving it a lube. The brush is just small enough to reach the small nook and crannies.

2. Keep It in the Bathroom: It may no longer clean your teeth, but you can now use the brush to clean some parts of the bathroom. The brush is effective for cleaning tile corners and the underside of the toilet bowl rim. Continue Reading →

Are You at Risk of Jailbreak Bacteria?

jailbreak bacteriaYour mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad; that’s a given. However, the bad bacteria can affect your well-being beyond your oral health. This occurs due to jailbreak bacteria, which escapes your mouth and relocates to other areas of your body.

What Is Jailbreak Bacteria?

The term describes bacteria that “jailbreaks” from the mouth and enters the blood stream. This is why bleeding gums is a serious matter. Plaque-causing bacteria uses the blood system as an escape route where they reach internal organs and cause blood clots.

Why Jailbreak Bacteria Can Be Deadly

Bad bacteria in the mouth is known as streptococcus bacteria, which causes periodontal disease. When they reach the bloodstream, they use a protein to bind together in the blood, eventually creating a clot-inducing clump. This also leads to inflamed blood vessels that block blood flow to the heart and brain. Continue Reading →

What Is the Best Age Range for Braces?

best age for bracesWhen should you enquire about braces? Can you be fitted for braces too early or too late? What age range is the ideal window of opportunity? We’ll evaluate the best age range for braces and why understanding the differences is important.

The Ideal Age Range for Braces

We don’t have a universal answer because various factors are at play. Here are our recommendations.

Ages 7–9

Our family dentists recommend evaluations for children starting between ages seven and nine. Will they apply braces at this age? Not necessarily, but an exam is important for determining whether your child will require them down the road. Continue Reading →

How to Commit to Your Dental Appointment

dental appointmentWe normally recommend some dental resolutions as the year comes to a close. One of the resolutions is committing to every dental appointment. It’s fine if you have to postpone every now and then, but too many patients cancel and never reschedule. Often,“later” becomes “never.”

Why Patients Cancel

Patients cancel appointments for varied reasons. Others simply don’t show up, without even canceling. A published study under Science Direct actually takes a look into this. According to the report, one out of every four respondents has missed an appointment. 40% have also canceled at least once.

The number one reason for missing an appointment? The patient simply forgot. The second cause was a conflicting schedule, such as a last-minute work or family commitment. Those that missed an appointment were also far more likely to have cancelled on at least one other occasion. Continue Reading →

Getting Your Kids to Brush This Holiday

getting your kids to brushYoung kids see brushing as a chore. Parents need to be proactive in getting their kids to brush every day, and to follow the correct brushing methods. With the holidays around the corner, we figured you can use this time of year to your advantage for this purpose.

Getting Your Kids to Brush Doesn’t Have to Be a Challenge

Food intake increases during the holidays. Schools and other venues serve sugary snacks and beverages, including gingerbread cookies, Hershey Kisses, eggnog, and fruitcake. This is why you need to instill good brushing habits as Christmas looms. Continue Reading →