Nothing ruins a great week more than a nuisance in your mouth. I’m talking about those toothaches we sometimes get in life. Whether it’s because of a cavity, wisdom teeth, or sensitivity, toothaches are never a good time. Sometimes we may feel vulnerable to it in that we can’t necessarily diagnose ourselves. But we’re here to give you some tips for relief. Here’s what to do if you have a toothache.
Call Your Dentist or Head to the ER
Obviously the first thing you want to do is call your dentist. Regardless of how severe or light the pain is, you don’t want to take chances when it comes when it comes to your teeth. You only get one permanent set and they’re hard to replace! Depending on the severity and their availability, they may be able to schedule you right away. However, if it’s a holiday or they’re closed and the pain is pretty sever, you may just want to head over to the Emergency Room. Again, this isn’t something to be taken lightly. If the pain is severe, there’s no shame in going to the emergency.
If you’re able to schedule an appointment but you want some relief until then, the following tips are definitely going to help!
Take Some Pain Reliever
Advil and Ibuprofen is always great when it comes to pain relief. If you’ve never taken any of these types of medication, please be sure to consult with your doctor. Pain relievers help with the swelling of the area and relief some of the pressure causing a toothache.
You can also apply some Orajel or any type of oral numbing agent to the area. This helps with the swelling and obviously numbs the area. Keep in mind, this is all for temporary relief until you see your dentist.
Apply Some Cold Packs
If you prefer a more natural remedy as opposed to medication, cold packs work well to numb the area. Place a cold pack of vegetables to the side of your face that is in pain. Or suck on some ice (but don’t bite!) until your appointment.
Use Clove Oil
Clove Oil is an essential oil that can be found at most health food stores (Whole Foods or Sprouts). Place a little bit of oil on a cotton swab and dab the area effected. Clove oil provides the same pain relief as benzocaine, but it is a more natural alternative. Again, always check with your dentist or doctor before using and make sure your skin doesn’t react badly to it.
Use a Salt Rinse
Mix in some salt with some warm water and rinse for 30 seconds. Do this 4-5 times a day. Who knows, the root to your pain could just be a sesame seed stuck under gum line!
Keep Your Head Elevated
Keeping your head elevated can reduce the swelling in your teeth. If it’s going to be more than a day before you see your dentist, sleep with your head elevated to reduce the swelling.
If you’ve been on social media the past couple of years, particularly, Pinterest, you may have noticed a few articles suggesting the practice of “Oil Pulling.” With the millennial generation having kids and starting their families comes tips and tricks to: 1. Save Money and 2. Be More Natural/Organic. Just head over to Pinterest and search “Natural Home…” and you’ll find plenty of lists for “Natural Home Remedies,” “Natural Home Cleansers,” “Natural Insect Repellent,” and the list can go on and on.
And I applaud this effort! Reducing the amounts of chemicals in the home is probably the best option, especially when it comes to raising your family and doing our part for the environment.
However, it’s just as important to make informed decisions regarding natural remedies.
Which leads us back to our topic: Oil Pulling. It’s understandable when you want to treat your ailment with natural remedies you read about on Pinterest. Curing a cough by putting onions in your socks is not all that crazy. But it’s backed by science.
Oil Pulling, not so much.
Your oral healthcare is more important than we understand. Or to rephrase, than we want to understand. We skip brushing here and there. Some of us have never even picked up the floss. Some avoid the dentist all together. And worse, yet, they’re replacing these basic daily routines with something that only seems more natural. Oil Pulling is not backed by the American Dental Association, and that’s something that should be taken very seriously.
It’s an old traditional folk remedy practiced primarily in India and southern Asia, in which you take a spoonful of edible oil (coconut, sunflower, etc), and swish it around your mouth for 5-20 minutes, “pulling” it through your teeth. Supposedly, this “pulls” the toxins from you gums which links to the toxins throughout your body.
While your gums are in fact connected to your body, which is why a healthy daily oral hygiene routine is incredibly important, there’s no scientific evidence that shows oil pulling actually “pulls” the toxins from your mouth. And surprisingly enough, or maybe not, there have actually been side effects with this practice.
It’s not up to us to tell you whether or not you should be oil pulling. While there’s no scientific evidence that shows the benefits, there’s also none that shows it doesn’t benefit. But it’s important you stick to the recommended daily routine: brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, maybe rinse once a day, visiting your dentist twice a year. It’s not a rigorous routine, and it’s certainly far easier than swishing around oil in your mouth for 20 minutes at a time.
Believe us when we say that we understand how nervous you can get when it’s time to visit the dentist. There could be many factors that play a part to your anxiety. Maybe you had a bad experience at the dentist. Maybe it’s your first time. Maybe the idea of the instruments and tools we use put you on edge. Whatever it is, we understand, and we’re here to help you get through it. Because as much as we understand the anxiety you may be feeling, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to skip out on your bi-annual visits with us.
Here are a few tips to overcome that dental anxiety and get you through your next visit.
Go with someone you know
It’s okay to bring someone with you. We might suggest calling ahead to make sure there’s enough room during your actual visit. However, most dental offices accommodate at least one person to be in the room with you. Taking someone you know and trust is totally acceptable and if it helps you with your anxiety, then most places are pretty understanding. Hold their hand during the procedure. Have them talk to you and calm you down. Whatever it is, make sure they’re there to actually help you and not make things worse!
Distract yourself through music (or television!)
Take a pair of earphones with you and ask your dentist if you can listen to some music. Might we suggest something calming and relaxing and save the metal or electronica dance for another time. However, who are we to say! Whatever will get your mind off you anxiety have at it. Some dentist offices even have televisions overhead to distract you! You even get to choose what you want to watch! Call ahead and ask! Like we said, dental offices are very sympathetic to your anxiety.
Talk to your dentist
In fact, talk to everyone in the office you are interacting with. Let the woman the front desk know you have some anxieties. Let the hygienist know. Let your dentist know. They’re all going to give you tips on how to stay calm. They’re going to talk in detail about the procedure to make sure there’s no surprises. The more you know about what’s going on, the easier your visit might feel. And sometimes, if your anxiety is severe, they may have some options to calm your nerves. The team may also come up with a signal for you so they know when they need to give you a minute to regain your composure. Again, their main goal is to make sure you are calm so they can do their jobs the best they can. And get you back in the office to keep up with your dental health!
Breathing is always really great when dealing with anxiety and stress. Mediation helps as well. We understand finding your zen might be a little difficult with a dentist in your mouth, but go prepared. Have a little mantra to tell yourself while your with us and focus on it. A stress ball might help as well. One of those fidget finger things help as well, as they keep your mind distracted.
Keep up with your oral hygiene
This is not to just lecture you about keeping up with your daily dental care routine, but we’ll take it. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause of the pain and uncomfortableness at the dentist has to do with your poor oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day will call for an easier dental checkup. Add some mouthwash once a day, and your gold. That’s not to say sometimes we may catch something, but for the most part, keeping up with a good dental healthcare routine daily calls for an easier visit.
Consider seeing a therapist
If your anxiety is very severe, you may want to see a therapist. Skipping out on the dentist is not good for your overall health. Your dental hygiene is just as important as your overall health, therefore it’s important to overcome these anxieties to get you through those doors and in that chair.
There are two kinds of people: those who know exactly what kind of toothpaste they use and NEVER change it and those who go down the oral hygiene aisle and become completely overwhelmed with the choices offered.
Whichever group you fall into, however, you may want to pay attention, because as we get older and as our bodies change, our teeth may need something different. There’s a reason why there are so many choices of toothpaste, and no, it’s not to just drive us completely insane.
Let me ease your stress by giving you this handy guide on choosing the best toothpaste for your teeth. Before we begin however, it’s important to make sure whatever toothpaste you use contains fluoride. “Fluoride is important as it is effective in preventing tooth decay, strengthening enamel, and lowering the risk of cavities” (source).
If you have yellow teeth…
…chances are you’re trying to whiten them up. First off, you should know that your teeth have been turning yellow for reasons. The most common reasons are probably your eating, drinking, or smoking something that’s staining your teeth. Coffees and teas are pretty big culprits to turning your teeth yellow. We might suggest brushing your teeth after consumption. A general rule, if it’s staining your tongue, it’s probably staining your teeth.
However, if your teeth are already yellows and you’re looking for your pearly whites to be, well, white, then we suggest looking for the toothpastes that have the word WHITE or WHITENING in it, such as Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste or Rembrandt Deeply White + Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste. These aren’t really bleaching solutions as they are a solution to removing stains from your teeth. We don’t really want to just cover up the stains. We want a toothpaste that will tackle the problem by getting rid of them. Whitening toothpastes usually do the trick (source).
If you have cavities…
…at this point, you definitely want to come in and see us. And the biggest question we get is if you can reverse a cavity without needing a filling. You can with a rigorous oral hygiene routine and upkeep. But, just so we’re clear, if you have a severe cavity that has not been treated, you need it filled!
But none the less, if you have issues with cavities, choosing a toothpaste that has words such as “prevent & repair,” and you also want to make sure it has a high fluoride content. Fluoride is “a mineral that can fill in these spots and harden the surface of the enamel.” It’s also important you don’t use a tartar-control toothpaste. These toothpastes stops mineral from forming on your teeth. When using these toothpastes, you may not want to rinse. Definitely spit, but if you skip the rinsing, you leave the fluoride in and working overtime on your teeth. We want the good minerals to help with your cavities. Colgate Sensitive Prevent and Repair Toothpaste and Colgate PreviDent 5000 Plus are the types of toothpastes you need, and you may even need a prescription for a high fluoride toothpaste from your dentist (source).
If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums…
…you might be brushing too hard! Go figure! Many people have the misconception that brushing hard is equivalent to brushing well. But in fact, you could be causing more damage to your teeth and gums,and you might have sensitive teeth now.
However, that’s not always the case. There are many reasons you could have sensitive teeth, and there are toothpastes that can help with that. When shopping for a toothpaste that accommodates to your sensitive teeth, look for “strontium chloride” or “potassium nitrate” ingredients. These desensitize your teeth and gums. Sensodyne products are obviously toothpastes specifically for people with sensitive teeth, and this is a good way to go (source)
If you’re trying to prevent/treat tartar build-up…
As previously noted, if you’re trying to treat a cavity and treating tartar buildup as well, you’re not going to get very far. Tartar prevention toothpastes rids the teeth of minerals, which, as we said, includes the cavity fighting mineral, fluoride. Tartar is simply hardened plaque that hasn’t been removed. It’s incredibly difficult to take off, and on top of that, it can be painful when you visit your dentist. Obviously brush your teeth and floss regularly, but use a toothpaste that fights tartar. You still want a good fluoride toothpaste but also find a toothpaste that also contains sodium polymetaphosphate. These two ingredients together attack the tartar. Crest Pro-Health Advanced Active Strengthening toothpaste is a good tartar treating selection (source, source).
If you’re a toddler…
…then I’m amazed you can read this! Joking aside, if you’re shopping for toothpaste for your toddler you want to look for something that’s not too harsh. You still want the important fluoride ingredient, however, other toothpastes that treat tartar and plaque build up might be too abrasive for your kid’s brand new teeth! Definitely stick to the kids toothpaste, look for fluoride, and maybe even consider the flavor. You want your kid to enjoy brushing their teeth. Make sure you encourage them to spit and only give them a small amount of toothpaste, as too much ingested fluoride is bad for you toddler. Fun Colgate Kids Minions toothpaste contains fluoride and has a fun flavor you kid should love (source).
If you have dentures…
…your oral hygiene routine changes, but not too much. It’s still important to brush your teeth regularly, but there are some added steps you want to go over with your dentist. Some people with dentures opt for tablets and solutions to clean their dentures. Talk about that with your dentist. If you plan on brushing your dentures, look for a sensitive toothpaste, such as Colgate Sensitive Complete Protectionand use a soft bristled toothbrush (source).
Here are some tips on brushing your teeth properly:
With today’s easy access to information and all sorts of “alternative facts” floating around out there, it’s easy to get confused about what’s believable and what should be ignored. In particular, there are plenty of warped “alternative facts” about keeping a good healthy mouth. Let us help you by letting you know which myths need to be ignored immediately!
Myth: White Teeth are Healthy Teeth
A glamorous white smile doesn’t necessarily mean you have healthy teeth. Most people focus on the surface area of the teeth to determine whether they have a healthy smile. But it’s important to know that our teeth is more than just the visible surface area. Some people with the whitest smile have severe issues past the gums or even behind the teeth. They may never floss! It’s not to say that white teeth DOESN’T equal a healthy smile, it’s just to say this is not a determining factor. Not to mention the fact that our teeth will naturally discolor as we age. So, even though you may have shiny pearly whites, you want to make sure you visit the dentist regularly to check between and behind the teeth for any issues as well as keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that doesn’t just involve brushing (source, source).
Myth: Brushing Bleeding Gums is Bad For You
Admittedly, it can be off putting to see your spitting up some blood when you brush your teeth. You may even notice it as you floss. Too many people assume it’s from brushing too hard and so they choose to take it easy on the brushing or even skip a few brushes and opt for rinsing with mouthwash instead. This is the WRONG thing to do. You want to consider brushing your teeth, because this is the first step to dealing with bleeding gums. If your gums are bleeding, you may have a case of gingivitis or plaque buildup beyond your gumline. It’s important to continue with your brushing routine as well as make an appointment with your dentist, as soon as possible. Another tip when dealing with bleeding gums is instead of rinsing with water, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash (source, source).
Myth: Tooth Decay & Cavities is Mainly Caused by Sugar
This is not to say sugar DOESN’T cause cavities and tooth decay, but it is not the MAIN cause. It’s not an issue of staying away from sugar all together, but knowing what to do when consuming more sugar than normal (a party, Thanksgiving, etc.) and keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Bacteria in the mouth needs sugar to survive, so when you consume more sugar, you’re basically feeding the bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria, sugar, and acid all leave to an unhealthy mouth. Instead of completely staying away from sugar, watch your sugar intake and brush your teeth or rinse after consuming sugar. It’s important you understand that it’s not the sugar that is causing your cavities, it’s the lack of oral hygiene (source, source).
Myth: Brushing More Makes Your Teeth Healthier
This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be brushing your teeth more, and it also depends on other factors and who you are. Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day is a pretty good routine to keep up with. Once you start brushing above that, it can maybe start causing damage to your enamel. Plus, if you’re using a more abrasive toothpaste and using a harder toothbrush, you may be doing more damage to your teeth. Keep the brushing to 2-3 times a day with a soft to medium toothbrush. And doing anything out of the ordinary, such as eating something with a lot of processed sugar, can call for a quick brush (source).
Myth: It’s Not Necessary to Visit the Dentist
I’m not just saying this because we’re a Dentist office, I’m saying this because it is the absolute truth! Visiting the dentist is often seen as more of a luxury than a necessity, but that’s a common misconception. Part of keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine is visiting the dentist at twice a year. Your dentist can address a lot of issues you cannot check, such as things happening below the surface, gum disease, and even detecting for oral cancer. Make sure you’re making your appointments and not skipping out on seeing us on a regular basis (source).
Having a good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be difficult. The most difficult thing to do, in fact, is getting started on a routine. But that goes with anything. It’s hard to get up in the morning, but the more we do it the more it becomes habit. It’s difficult for us to get to the gym or get some sort of daily exercise. But as we continue to do it everyday, it just becomes routine. In fact, it almost becomes a necessity to include our daily habits in our routines, otherwise we feel unsteady. There are certain things we want to include in our daily routine so that it just becomes habit. An oral hygiene routine needs to become a habit. Research shows that you have to do something consistently for at least 66 days for something to become natural to you. Just a little over two months. And those two months are usually the hardest when starting something new, especially something rigorous (source).
But oral hygiene doesn’t necessarily have to be rigorous. It’s most definitely something you want to start doing in order to build a habit, because you want to have a good, healthy smile. And let’s not forget that one of the most powerful and influential pharaohs of ancient Egypt most likely died due to dental problems. If that’s not motivation enough for you to take care of your teeth, I don’t know what is! Maybe google some gruesome pictures.
But I’m here to help you get started on a regular dental routine so that you can keep a healthy smile. Keep it up for a couple of months and it will just come natural to you.
1. Brush 2-3 times a day
Brushing once you get up in the morning and before you go to bed are ideal. When you get up in the morning, your mouth has not been producing enough saliva, which is a good time for bacteria to start attaching to your teeth. Giving you bad breath and making you prone to cavities. At the end of the day, before you go to bed, that is, you want to brush your teeth again so to get rid of the bits of food your mouth has not completely digested. Food that may have been left between your teeth where bacteria loves to camp out over night. The magic number is two, meaning you want to brush your teeth at least twice a day. You can maybe brush after lunch if you really want to up your routine, but it’s not absolutely necessary all the time. And brushing your teeth any more than that may start causing damage to your enamel.
2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue
The tongue is home to alot of bacteria considering the texture of our tongues is a little more abrasive than our teeth. Think about that next time you see your significant other! It can be the cause to some serious bad breath issues. It’s important you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper every time you brush your teeth, otherwise your missing a major part of cleaning your mouth.
3. Floss once a day
Flossing once a day is so easy to miss and to so many, it’s even tedious. And it’s understandable. It can be a hassle and some teeth are harder to reach. We try to get out of it by making excuses, but let me assure you that you cannot skip out on flossing once a day. Your toothbrush does not reach all the crevices between your teeth and even below your gumline. Understand, food left in our mouth, even food we cannot see, is food for bacteria. Surely you know that food is being left behind between your teeth. Plaque and tartar tend to build up here because we ignore flossing. This can lead to some serious gum disease. Make it a habit to floss once a day, and it doesn’t matter whether you do it in the morning or at night, as long as you do it.
4. Carry flosser picks
This does not count as your one time a day for flossing. Flosser picks are good for after you’ve eaten something and maybe you have something caught in your teeth. It’s good to carry them around for this purpose. But I also want to point out that after eating certain foods, you may want to use a flosser pick you have handy on you. Such as eating something with a high sugar content or something very acidic. Flossing after eating or drinking such foods will help tremendously. Speaking of which…
5. Limit sugary & acidic foods
We’re not saying this is the cause to your cavities. But we are saying you may want to watch what you eat and the effects these foods will have on your teeth. Sugar, acid, and bacteria in your mouth is the perfect equation for cavities and tooth decay. Limit these types of foods, or at the very least consider brushing your teeth after you consume these foods. For example, if you’re a morning coffee drinker, drink your coffee first and then brush your teeth in the morning. If you’re an afternoon coffee drinker, consider adding a third brushing to your daily routine. Or even more convenient…
6. Consider mouthwash
Using a proper mouthwash after you brush and floss helps quite a bit in keeping a good clean mouth. It can reach some of the spots you may have missed and kills the bacteria. But consider carrying a travel sized bottle on you if you are a coffee or tea drinker. This will definitely help in controlling the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities and tooth decay.
7. See your dentist
I understand if you haven’t kept up with a good oral hygiene routine, going to the dentist can be the most dreaded time of the year. But if you keep up with a good routine, it doesn’t have to be. Going to the dentist and getting a cleaning twice a year is one of the best things you can do, because the dentist can see things you cannot. Don’t consider going to the dentist to make up for all the flossing you didn’t do. Go to the dentist as a precaution for future issues you cannot necessarily prevent on your own.
Keep up with this routine and I promise you’ll have one of the best smiles around!
Believe me, I understand! We are already concerned about food’s effects on our bodies as far as calorie intake and saturated fat and sugar content and all sorts of things! Why am I stressing you out more about food!
Well trust me when I say we have the best of intentions, and remember, a healthy mouth is a healthy body! And fortunately for us, it’s not too much to remember. Certain foods do really terrible things to our teeth, however, there are ways to treat it and prevent it. And there are also foods that are great for our teeth, which we want you to consider when you’re choosing your meals.
The Best Foods
Crunchy Fruits & Vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables that require a lot of chewing (celery, apples, carrots) and provide a good crunch are great for your teeth because chewing more creates more saliva. Saliva is necessary to fight bad bacteria in your mouth. The more saliva (without the drool) the better. These foods create more saliva.
Not only that, the crunch of the food will also remove leftover food and bacteria left on your teeth and sort of scrub your teeth. Imagine that! A cleaning and a snack!
Eating high fiber foods also creates more saliva, which as we know fights bad bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities. Fiber is good for your overall health, so eating plenty of it is only going to benefit you. Some yummy high fiber foods include raisins, bananas, oranges, and almonds. You can make a pretty great granola with just those ingredients!
High Calcium Dairy
Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are great for your teeth because they have a high source of calcium. Cheese in particular is great because it also generates saliva. If you remember the Does a Body Good ads, then you know that milk and other high calcium foods are good for strong bones. While teeth are not bones, they still need calcium, similar to bones, to help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods. Including a good amount of calcium in your diet is pertinent to maintaining healthy and strong teeth.
Foods with Fluoride
A good toothpaste has a good amount of fluoride, and this is because fluoride helps fight plaque and tartar. Therefore, consuming food and drinks with fluoride is good for your teeth. Fluoridated drinking water, powdered juices (that don’t contain a lot of sugar), and commercially prepared foods (poultry, seafood) have fluoride in them and are great for your teeth.
The Worst Foods
If you’re going to eat something sweet, first of all, eat it with a meal. Give your other foods a chance to take out the leftover sugars and bacteria created from the processed sugar. Second of all, choose a sweet that doesn’t stay too long in your mouth. Lollipops and caramels are not too good for your teeth as they stick to your teeth and create the perfect environment for bad bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay. If you do decide to eat these foods, be sure your rinse or floss or even do a quick brushing of the teeth as a precaution. We all will falter sometimes!
Any starchy foods that get stuck in your teeth should mostly be avoided, if we’re being honest. Popcorn just happens to be the biggest culprit. This however can easily be avoided by staying away from the foods or rinsing, flossing, or brushing after having said foods. Another thing you can do is follow it up with a crunchy fruit or vegetable to help take out the leftover food. The most important thing to consider however is to make sure that big chunks of food is not left behind for bacteria to fester in.
Sodas and Other Carbonated Drinks
Of course, we all know how much sugar is in soft drinks which is terrible for your teeth, but as a double whammy, most carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids. Sugar, acid, and bacteria is the perfect equation for tooth decay, and not only that acids erode tooth enamel. Overall, we want to do our best to stay away from these drinks. Rinsing and brushing after helps a bit, but overall, we mostly want to stay away. Your body will thank you later, trust me!
Too much alcohol dries out your mouth which prevents your mouth from naturally keeping away bad bacteria in your mouth. If you’re having a night out, then it’s important when you get home you brush your teeth and are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth clean. As well as prevent a hangover!
Having a healthy mouth and a clean smile is clearly important for your oral hygiene, but would it surprise you to know that your oral health effects other parts of your body? In fact having a healthy oral hygiene can prevent a few diseases and issues in your body and life.
Keeping your teeth clean and having your dentist lecture you about brushing and flossing isn’t just to keep your pearly whites attractive. It’s to make sure you are, in fact, healthy, and living the best life you possibly can. Here are a few issues that can be prevented with a good healthy oral hygiene.
“Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause” (source). The issue lies with patients not seeing their dentist, assuming they have healthy teeth because they’re not bother them. But statistics show that more than 80 percent of Americans are living with periodontal or gum disease, and most of it goes undetected. This puts them at risk for heart disease as their gum disease progresses. Your mouth, particularly your gums, re connected through the blood stream. Having gum disease means you have a collection of bacteria in your gums. As this bacteria starts to flow within your bloodstream, it will eventually reach your heart. This can cause a number of cardiovascular diseases including endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart), atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), and even stroke caused by oral bacteria (source).
Vising the dentist regularly and keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine can put your mind at ease and you can feel comfortable in knowing you are in fact taking preventive measure for not only oral disease, but cardiovascular disease.
“The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, that might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease” (source). The specific bacteria is called Porphyromonas gingivalis. In a recent study, resarches studied 20 donated brain samples. Ten samples were from people with dementia and the other ten were without. Four of the samples with dementia contained this bacteria, and it is theorized that this particular bacteria may cause changes in the brain contributing to symptoms including confusion and memory loss (source).
There is still much research to be done, but either way, this specific bacteria we do not want in our blood stream. Flossing and brushing everyday and seeing your dentist regularly is pertinent to keep this bacteria out of the rest of your body.
A study published by the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with respiratory diseases had worse periodontal health than those with healthy lungs. Interesting, but it also shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise considering what we breath in goes through our lungs. Consider the bacteria that is already in your mouth from poor hygiene and how you breath it in regularly. As you breath in and out, tiny droplets of saliva are carried to and from the mouth with each breath. If you have an excessive amount of harmful bacteria, you’re body is carrying this bacteria to your lungs. Usually your immune system can prevent the bacteria from entering the lungs, but the tissue lining can become irritated and inflamed from the bacteria. This could then cause issues such as bronchitis and pneumonia (source).
Next time you’re feeling under the weather, think about your oral health and have you been neglecting your teeth and gums.
Being diabetic can cause some issues with your oral health, however, it should be noted that poor oral hygiene may also have an effect on your blood glucose control and eventually contribute to the progression of diabetes. Serious cases of gum disease or neglecting to treat it are at an increased risk for becoming diabetic (source).
Overall, your oral health effects some of the most crucial parts of your body, including your heart, your lungs, and your brain. Taking care of your mouth is not only pertinent for having a great smile, but it is crucial for your overall health. Be sure you’re taking care of it by keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist regularly.
It should come as no surprise to us that many Americans do not include flossing in their daily oral hygiene routine. To be more specific, 32 percent of Americans say they never floss and 37 percent claim they floss, but not on a daily basis. And let’s be honest, how many of us have lied to our dentist and claim, “Yeah, I totally floss everyday” (source).
Despite our dental visits and lectures about the importance of flossing, most patients tend to take it in stride. Maybe keep up with it a day or two after their visit, but ultimately, the task becomes tedious or they may feel it doesn’t make much of a difference.
But I’m here to tell you that flossing may do much more than just lengthen your oral hygiene routine. In fact, here are four reasons you should be flossing EVERYDAY.
Brushing Only Cleans the Surface Area
You may claim you have a pretty vigorous routine when it comes to brushing your teeth. Maybe you count the 72 brushes over your teeth each time, or you have one of those toothbrushes with a timer. I once saw one that plays Lady Gaga while you brush! But either way, you brush your teeth, then that’s fantastic! But, brushing your teeth alone is not enough!
We’re visual people, for sure, so when we see clean white teeth, that’s satisfying enough for us. But the surface area is only part of the tooth. “Gum disease starts between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t clean” (source).
Brushing your teeth takes care of less than half of the plaque on your teeth, which means there’s about 57% of plaque in between your teeth you’re not getting! Which leads to all sorts of gum diseases and tooth decay. Brushing is not enough!
Prevents Gingivitis & Other Gum DiseasesPlaque tends to start at the gum line, especially if you’re not flossing. If you continue to ignore this plaque buildup it hardens and becomes tartar. Not the kind you dip your fish sticks in! As it becomes worse and worse, to the point where you can develop an infection below the gum line where your teeth attaches. This is gingivitis. If left untreated, your tooth can become unstable and you may even lose it. You’re either putting a hole in your wallet or in your smile when you refuse to floss (source).
Save Money on Preventive Care
Besides gingivitis, not flossing can cause a number of issues with your teeth, such as cavities. You’re looking at issues that can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, such as root canals ($750 – 900), crown canals ($1200), and implants (up to $3,500!). Spending an extra couple of minutes and a couple of dollars on some floss is worth it in the long run. Not only that, even after you get your routines done, you still have to floss! Start now, and your wallet and mouth will thank you (source).
Have a More Pleasant Dental Visit
Let’s hope that as part of your oral hygiene routine, you’re visiting your dentist at least twice a year for your cleaning. It doesn’t have to be so dreaded. In fact, most of the pain and pricking comes from trying to remove hardened plaque and tartar from your gum line. Admittedly, a very sensitive area. And yes, it tends to get bloodier and more painful. But you can actually prevent that from happening with regular flossing. Your dental visit can even be, dare I say, quick and painless if you just spend a couple of minutes every day flossing.
Tips on Flossing
Happy flossing everybody!
Nothing ruins a date, a doctor’s visit, or even a simple conversation like bad breath. There’s nothing more awkward than to be on either the receiving or giving end of bad breath. I once had a teacher in college who had awful breath. I was only a freshmen, so faculty intimidated me like none other, so most of us endured his breath. Long story short, I taught myself calculus that semester!
The scientific term for bad breath is halitosis. Most everybody will experience bad breath in their life, particularly of the morning variety. Some bad breath causes are more severe than others, and most causes of bad breath can be treated. Bad breath happens naturally when an influx of bacteria is not being broken down in our mouths.
The cause of bad breath can be a number of things, but here are the six most common cause of bad breath.
Most everybody experiences morning breath. The reason being is because the lack of saliva production when we sleep.
We produce more saliva during the day and when we eat. The enzymes found in saliva “are essential in beginning the process of digestion of dietary starches and fats. These enzymes also play a role in breaking down food particles entrapped within dental crevices” (source).
So when our mouths are not producing saliva, our mouths get dry, making it a perfect environment for bacteria to make way, which then causes bad breath. Hence, morning breath.
You might be a little more of a mouth breather, which tends to dry out your mouth. If you do breath with your mouth, you might have more issues with bad breath.
You Haven’t Eaten
When we don’t eat, we don’t produce saliva. This goes hand in hand with dry mouth. This specifically is sometimes referred to as “Hunger Breath.” It’s not that hunger is making your breath smell. It’s the fact that you’re not producing regular saliva. When you’re not producing saliva, bacteria gathers more easily, and thusly it produces that sulfuric bad breath smell we all hate so much.
We’ve got morning breath, hunger breath, and now let me introduce you to “Smoker’s Breath.” Smoker’s breath is a little more specific and has more factors than just dry mouth. Although dry mouth still plays a part, considering inhaling that smoke tends to dry out your mouth, which as we know is a big factor for halitosis.
But more specifically, “the most immediate way that cigarettes cause bad breath is by leaving smoke particles in the throat and lungs. This effect is typical of nearly any tobacco product that involves inhaling smoke or rolling it around in the mouth. The smell of a freshly smoked cigarette can linger in the lungs for hours” (source).
Being sick can cause bad breath for a variety of reasons. First of all, when we’re sick (allergies or a cold), our bodies have produced too much mucus. When we’re sleeping and our mucus is draining, some of us might experience something called “post-nasal drip” which is mucus collecting in the back of your throat. A very uncomfortable feeling, but in regards to your breath, the mucus collection in the back of your throat is a great food source for bacteria that causes bad breath. I know how much we want to stay in bed when we’re sick, but it’s important to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash when we’re sick to rid ourselves of unnecessary bacteria (source).
Strep throat can also cause some serious bad breath. Strep is a bacterial infection, and as you know bacteria is the culprit of bad breath.
Not only that, some medications, especially antihistamines, diuretics, antipsychotics, and muscle relaxants, cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is, as we know, bad breath.
Bad breath might be caused by a cavity or two in your mouth. If you have a cavity that has not been treated, chances are you’re collecting more bacteria. Getting a cavity is caused by plaque buildup. If you build up too much plaque it starts to eat away at your tooth, which causes it to decay, or give you a cavity. That cavity is already caused by bacteria which causes bad breath, but on top of that, your daily oral hygiene routine is not getting the bacteria rid of the bacteria that is in the cavity. Thusly, that cavity and the bacteria collecting in it might be the cause to your bad breath. It’s important to get your cavities treated, and even more important, prevent them from happening (source)!
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is a little different when it comes to bad breath. When we consume a copious amount of alcohol, our bodies treat it as a toxin. We start to break it down to a less harmful substance. Most of it will be converted into acetic acid, but some of it is released through our sweat and our respiratory system. If you’ve ever had a hangover, that’s the reason you’re sweating so much. But, when it comes to bad breath, some of the toxins are leaving through our breath. Literal toxic breath! Also, the smell can come from our stomach processing the alcohol and making us burp a very unpleasant smell (source).
All of us will experience bad breath at some point, but at least now you know the cause, which will allow you to treat it a little more effectively. Get some water in you. Eat a regular diet. Quit your smoking. Cut back on the drinking. And have a happy health mouth!