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Sugar Is the Root of the Problem!

2022-11-19T01:28:42+00:00November 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

For your teeth, sugar is the root of all evil. Humanity’s collective sweet tooth is doing us harm, and without proper care—and perhaps a reevaluation of our daily routines—we will continue to be plagued by the one thing we seem to love the most: sugar.

A fine set of pearly whites does a lot for a person: they restore confidence and connote a sense of hygienic care. There is evidence of our attention to dental care that reaches as far back as the Middle Ages where one used a paste of natural herbs and rubbed it on the teeth with a linen cloth. There is even evidence of herbal mouthwashes being used. Imagine the first person to ever deal with tooth decay: the pain and suffering, the not knowing what to do…Luckily, we know a lot more these days about the root of tooth decay.

There is plenty of evidence that paints a picture of humanity’s battle with the effects of sugar. Since its arrival, even when it was only used as a light seasoning ingredient, sugar has wreaked havoc on our teeth. And though there seems to be no cure for this particular crisis—one that only seems to be getting worse—maybe the answer to keeping sugar from killing our teeth can be found in how we use it. As the rate of sugar intake increases with the prevalence of sugary drinks and foods and sweets, maybe we need to rethink how we take care of our teeth.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

To better understand how to prevent tooth decay, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what’s happening in your mouth when sugar is introduced. It’s not necessarily the sugar that’s to blame, rather it’s a combination of sugar and another ingredient that creates the danger.

Tooth decay begins when acid inside the mouth attacks the enamel and supporting structures of the teeth. Over time, if not properly addressed, holes and cavities appear and it keeps getting worse. Where does this noxious acid come from? Well, when the bacteria present in plaque interact with sugar, acid is produced. It’s that easy, and it doesn’t take long for this acid to dissolve your tooth bit by bit.

According to a study done by the World Health Organization in 2010, there is clear evidence of the relationship between sugar intake and tooth decay and the rate seems to increase as we age—do we take in more sugar as we get older? The scary thing is that it’s difficult to stay away from sugar. It seems to be in everything we eat and drink, and over years and years of sugars and bacteria combining, it makes sense our teeth are battered the older we get.

There are natural sugars, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and honey; these can do damage to the teeth; however, they are not as damaging as processed sugar. Foods high in white processed sugar, found in the likes of chips and cookies, are particularly rough on the teeth because the sugar leaves a sticky residue covering the teeth that is too tough to be rinsed away by saliva. The only way to remove this residue is to floss and brush. This is why these foods should be eaten occasionally, not every day and proper teeth cleaning should occur immediately after consuming them. So, the next time you enjoy your favorite processed snack, remember to brush afterward!

It’s not only in the food we eat. Drinking sweet drinks can be even harder on your teeth than foods can be because they often come with sugar and added acidity, both attacking your teeth. Sodas, in particular, are packed with processed sugar and acidity—the same with beer and alcoholic seltzer drinks.

Some sodas even have high fructose corn syrup added to them as a sweetening agent, which completely coats your mouth with a sticky, toxic film that breeds bacteria and acid. (Sounds like a scene from Stranger Things!)

Who Is at Risk?

We are all at risk of tooth decay, but children and adolescents—those grouped as most likely to consume larger amounts of sugar than others—are at most risk, as tooth decay and tooth loss are at the highest numbers among youngsters.

Plaque, a key ingredient in the acid that decays teeth, can begin to build as quickly as 20 minutes after we start eating (yes, “start eating,” not after we eat). The sugar in the food we are in the process of eating can begin to combine with this plaque and boom, you are eating food that is now eating your teeth. Clearly, the more sugar in the food you eat—not to mention the type of sugar—the more plaque and acid buildup inside the mouth.

Those who regularly consume alcohol and/or use tobacco, even vaping, are another group at high risk of serious tooth decay. Even coffee drinkers need to be careful. That little bit of creamer, that half a scoop of raw sugar can do some damage.

How To Combat Tooth Decay

Perhaps it’s not sugar that’s the issue, but rather our response to it. Sure, we can go “sugar-free” as often as possible, but the ubiquitous nature of the substance will cause it to always find its way into our foods and drinks. That said, the actions we take immediately after taking in sugar could be a remedy for tooth decay. Let’s be honest: eating or drinking sugar-laden treats will happen. So what then?

Here are some easy ways to keep that plaque and sugar from turning into acid:

Use a Straw

When drinking something you know has sugar in it, use a straw to keep as much liquid as possible from interacting with your teeth—this really works! Keep straws with you wherever you go, but keep away from the metal ones, as they tend to chip the teeth. Stick with paper or plastic straws. Do keep it in mind though that drinking from straws causes one to drink faster so slow it down a bit, especially if you are consuming an alcoholic beverage.

Have a Chaser

Remember, it only takes about 20 minutes for tooth decay to begin once you have begun eating, so you want to rinse as soon as possible. While eating, take sips of water between bites and swish it around a little—without being obnoxious. Once you finish eating, take a big gulp and try and use it to rinse. If you consume something containing processed sugar, a water chaser won’t be as effective. Consider using mouthwash (it’s a good idea to keep a small bottle handy) or, for best results, lightly brush your teeth.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum right after a meal can break free those little seeds or bits of food from your teeth. Most importantly, make sure you are only chewing sugarless gum, otherwise, you are actually doing more damage to those teeth. Note that it’s not a good idea to always be chewing gum. A few times a day, after meals is fine, and don’t chew for too long. Overdoing it can cause discomfort to sensitive teeth. Once the flavor is gone, that’s a good sign to dispose of the gum.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge how well your teeth are doing. A dentist can tell you if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, or anything else.

Stop into Adam Brown, DDS or visit us online today to set up an appointment. We can help you get on track, no matter your current state of oral health.

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Gingivitis vs. Periodontal Disease: What’s the Difference?

2022-10-19T12:19:53+00:00October 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

 

Gum disease can come in many forms, but most often it shows as gingivitis or — the more serious of the two — periodontal disease. Both can have serious side effects and happen to anyone; the good news is that gum disease is preventable. Knowing the differences between gingivitis and periodontal disease, paired with how to avoid them, will help you to maintain proper oral health.

 

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

To begin, it’s crucial to know the signs of gum disease. The typical signs of gingivitis are irritated, red gums that tend to bleed easily (even with the use of a soft-bristled toothbrush). Though gingivitis is a milder form of disease, if it isn’t treated correctly, it can lead to a more mature form of gum disease, periodontitis, which is flagged by inflammation and deep infection that eats away at the gums and teeth (the ligaments, sockets and all!).

The positive news is that both types of gum disease are treatable, even preventable, when you maintain proper hygienic procedures. If you’re experiencing sensitive and/or inflamed gums, your best bet is to come in for an examination right away. At Adam Brown DDS, we can accurately evaluate the health of your gums by taking measurements and x-rays of the jaw if needed. Once we make an assessment, we’ll develop a plan for treating and eliminating the disease through specific preventative methods.

Symptoms of PeriodontitisSigns of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Unfortunately, noticing a white coloration on the gums or tongue, inflammation of the gums, light aches and pains inside the mouth, even chronic bad breath could mean a number of different things — and they all have varying levels of seriousness. That being said, as long as you catch the onset of gum disease in time and know the possible reasons, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be. Here are a couple of specific gum diseases and their warning signs:

Gingivitis

This is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation and loose teeth. The most common cause to gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to avoid this uncomfortable situation.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a more advanced gum disease that can quickly turn to periodontitis if untreated. Common symptoms if periodontal disease include:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in the position of your teeth or loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Red, tender, or swollen gums
  • Buildup of plaque or tartar on your teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tooth loss
  • Foul taste in your mouth
  • Inflammatory response throughout your body

Symptoms in the early stages of periodontal disease (and periodontitis) are often not very noticeable. Your dentist will likely be the first to point them out.

How To Treat Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease? 

As you can guess, the level of treatment depends solely on the level of progress the disease has made inside your mouth. Once properly cleaned by a professional and oral hygiene is maintained at home, early stages of either type of disease (gingivitis/periodontitis) begin to reverse and return to a healthy state immediately. However, if the gum disease has progressed, teeth may have to be removed and replaced.

When caught early, gum disease can usually be treated before tooth loss occurs. But preventing it altogether is even better than catching it early. Good and consistent at-home oral care (brushing and flossing) and regular dental checkups and cleanings can go a long way in keeping your gums healthy and disease-free. Some tips include:

1. Be Sure To Floss

Nasty rumors recently spread that flossing is bad for your teeth and gums. But any dentist will tell you this is simply not true, though flossing excessively can cause the gums to recede.

The key, and an important one at that, is to floss twice daily. Once in the morning and again at night. And the process should be as follows: rinse with mouthwash, floss, brush, and rinse again with water. Doing this twice a day will drastically help rid your mouth of unwanted residue from juicing or eating. How dare anyone say such a thing as flossing has unwarranted health benefits! It’s simply one of the most beneficial things you can do for your gums and teeth.

2. Get the Right Toothpaste

Many people like to rush right to whitening toothpastes. It makes sense, who doesn’t want white teeth? But when juicing, the acid that comes into contact with your teeth (and no matter what you do, there will be a least a tiny bit that does) makes them softer and more sensitive. Combines with the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpaste, this can cause a lot of discomfort.

It’s better to use toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth because it will clean the teeth well without hurting them. And, honestly, brushing twice a day will do well at keeping your teeth white. If you feel you need something more, there are plenty of products out there that do not hurt the teeth, even sensitive strips and mouthwashes that can advance your whitening.

3. Avoid Over-Brushing

Never thought you could brush too much, did you? Well, you can. Too much brushing can actually help the acid erode the enamel off your teeth. As previously said, juicing can leave your teeth extra sensitive. To go and brush excessively after that can cause some problems.

Try to stick to the twice-a-day standard, and use a soft or medium bristle when you brush. Brush lightly, and use a mechanical toothbrush if possible. These are made to get to those hard-to-reach places and they put the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth and gums. And nowadays, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get one. There are plenty of reasonably priced electric toothbrushes out there; you just have to do a bit of research.

4. Chew Gum

Makes sense if you think about it. Chewing gum can break free those little seeds or bits of unblended food from your teeth. Just make sure you only chew sugarless gum. Otherwise, you will add to the harmful agents in your mouth. And it’s not a good idea to constantly chew gum. A few times a day, after meals is fine, but overdoing it can cause discomfort to sensitive teeth.

5. Use Mouthwash Regularly

Just like flossing and brushing, the twice-a-day rule is all you need with mouthwash. Use water if you feel the need to rinse more than that. But once in the morning, then again at night, can do wonders to clean the mouth. Mouthwash also helps keep your teeth white and your breath fresh.

6. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge how well your teeth are handling the juicing. A dentist can tell you if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, or anything else. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first, as long as you consistently do a thorough job of both.

7. Drink Through Straws Whenever Possible

When drinking your favorite blended healthy concoction, it’s possible to keep most of the liquid from having too much contact with your teeth. This is especially true with thicker drinks. By using a straw, you can keep even more liquid from hitting your teeth.

It’s a good idea to have many different types of straws around, including a wide straw for thick juices, narrow or regular sized for normal densities, and a bendy straw just because they’re fun. Just stay away from those trendy metal straws because they can chip your teeth. Basically, any way of transferring your juice directly from the cup to your throat without touching anything (besides the straw) helps. Just be careful; using a straw makes drinking a lot of liquid much easier. You don’t want to overdo it on the juicing!

8. Always Have a Water Chaser

The more time acidic liquids have to rest in-between and on the teeth, the better the chances of stains and erosion. And you know what that means: more trips to the dentist and quite possibly some intensive dental work to be done.

So, even if you use a straw, consider keeping a glass of crisp and clean water to drink from between each gulp of juice you take. This makes those acidic bits even more difficult to stick around and manages to rinse any residue left behind that would stain the teeth. Plus, water will fill you up more, an added bonus for people who want to lose weight.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Gum disease can be treated and prevented if caught early, so don’t wait until your gums start bleeding or your teeth start hurting. Adam Brown DDS is here to help you get your smile back on track — contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Creating a Healthy Attitude Towards Dentistry

2022-09-14T16:03:21+00:00September 14th, 2022|General|

Tips to Create Healthy Dentist Environment for Kids

Because maintaining one’s oral health is such an important issue—due to the fact that poor oral care can lead to a number of dangerous maladies—it is essential to help children establish, at an early age, a healthy attitude towards dentistry and individual oral care. By taking the time to prepare your child for a dental visit, and by encouraging regular brushing and flossing routines, children realize early on the importance and the benefits of taking care of their teeth and gums. 

The patient-dentist relationship is fostered through familiarity with, not only your family dentist but the entire dental staff as well. Due to Covid, we have seen a lack of this rapport between families and dental offices, but it is these relationships that help create positive experiences that reinforce the importance of oral health.  

Youngsters who are not taught the importance of regular dental visits, as well as, personal daily care for their teeth and gums can result in poor checkup consistency and resistance to dental care (the use of night guards, braces, etc.). Extreme reluctance to dental care could even result in the necessity of sedation for regular checkups.  

 

Is It Safe?

Though it seems we are mostly passed the big scare Covid gave us all over the past two years, nothing these days is one hundred percent safe. However, with the right safety procedures in place, a family dental visit is nothing to fear. 

The dangers of forgoing regular checkups for a prolonged period can cause severe problems, especially after a pandemic where we were confined to small areas and tended to eat more tooth-decaying foods and exercise a bit less. Throw in a few carbonated drinks and sweet snacks every day and it won’t take long for your oral health to drastically deteriorate, and the fact that sugary foods and drinks are especially tempting for children puts them at a higher risk for tooth decay. 

 

The Necessity of Maintaining Your Oral Health

Preventative care and dentistry not only preserve your oral health, but they also save you money. By keeping yourself and your dentist in the know of your level of oral health, your family can take preventative measures to keep harmful bacteria from festering into something dangerous, which requires expensive procedures or surgeries. Your oral health is unique to you, and the more you understand about your particular set of teeth, the better your chances of keeping a healthy mouth. Here are a few more key details of preventative dentistry you should consider: 

  1. It takes a community. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums. 
  2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition—that was not caught by your dentist—will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement. The pain and frustration and money simply aren’t worth it. 
  3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your needs. There are so many products out there to choose from, and without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. 
  4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth, and the list goes on. These side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem and individual health. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. 
  5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases. 

Once you enter the office for your appointment, the nurse will take your temperature before you wait for the dentist. 

 

Preparing Your Child for a Visit

Trying to explain to your children what they are about to walk into before a trip to the dentist will surely scare them, no matter how nicely you try and say it. Chances are, children will hear something like this: “Someone with a gown on is going to stick sharp, metal objects in your mouth,” no matter what it is you actually say.

Instead of starting with an explanation, try to show what the experience will be like as much as possible. Put on a long gown and have your child sit in a chair like he or she would during a visit to the dentist. Mimic the movements of a teeth cleaning, rinsing, etc. Maybe even get a toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth, and do the same with floss. Let them see that dentists are people too!

Try and make it fun, but also mention that this is what it will be like going to see the real dentist. Include the fact that dental visits are going to be a part of life—at least two times a year. Let your children ask questions and keep the conversation open, you know those little minds will be thinking about this for much longer. 

Before making the trip to see the dentist, pull up a picture of the entire dental team and show your child. Along with your child, take special note of the names, hair, and eye color of each individual so when they see them in person they already feel a connection. 

It is also important to encourage your child to talk to and ask questions of the staff. Anything that can be done to highlight the fact that the entire dental team is friendly and here to help. At Adam Brown, DDS you can definitely count on the entire staff to engage in conversation as much as possible, so you are not completely alone in your quest to normalize your child’s trip to the dentist. 

At Adam Brown DDS, we understand that a trip to the dentist can be especially scary for young ones these days. If you find your child is struggling to understand why we visit the dentist, take the time now to show what it will look like and explain that there is nothing scary about a regular visit to your family dentist. 

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How to Tell if Your Tooth is Infected

2022-08-15T15:52:19+00:00August 15th, 2022|Tooth Infection|

How to Know If Your Tooth is Infected

There is nothing fun or exciting about having an infected tooth. The pain and swelling can leave even the toughest of individuals lying awake at night wondering how to find relief.

How do teeth get infected and what should you do if it happens?

Answering these questions is the first step to maintaining proper oral health and keeping your teeth free from infection.

There are a variety of ways a tooth can become infected: an untreated dental cavity can quickly become infected, an injured tooth that is not kept clean, or even prior dental work—if not properly cared for—can result in swelling at the tooth’s root, which then spreads infection.

If you think you might have an infected tooth, see your dentist right away. Then, he can drain the infected area, clean it, and advise on proper care in order to nurse the tooth back to health. If the infection is bad enough, the tooth may have to be removed and replaced. Not treating an infected tooth can lead to major complications, even some life-threatening ones.

 

Warning Signs of an Infected Tooth

It is never a good idea to try and diagnose your own oral health, and it’s an even worse idea to ignore mouth swelling and/or pain with the hope it will simply go away. That pain and uneasiness you feel is your body telling you to pay attention! Here are some of the most common warning signs of an infected tooth:

  • Maintaining a low or mid fever can be indicative of many maladies, and a tooth infection is definitely one.
  • A continuous throbbing tooth that spreads its pulsating pain through the jawbone and neck and ear is probably one of the clearest signs you are suffering from a tooth infection.
  • A sharp pain when eating or drinking items that are hot or cold temperatures.
  • A sharp pain when your teeth are active—chewing gum, biting down on food, brushing, flossing, etc.
  • If you notice any swelling of the face, or portions of the face such as the cheeks, is a good sign of infection. This swelling can also cause difficulty breathing and swallowing.
  • If ever your lymph nodes and jaw/neck area are sore for a series of days, this could be due to infection.
  • Bad breath you can’t seem to get rid of even after thoroughly brushing, rinsing can be due to a tooth that is rotting from infection.
  • To go along with the bad breath, there may also be a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away—this is when the infection itself begins to leak into other areas of the mouth.

 

Preventing A Tooth Infection

Clearly, if you have any symptoms of infection it’s best to make an appointment with the dentist, but if ever you are struggling to breathe and swallow to a dangerous degree, head straight to the emergency room.
Hopefully, though, you will never get to that point. By using preventative measures, avoiding tooth infection is not a difficult task. Use these tips to keep your oral health in gear:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and be sure and brush for at least two minutes, once in the morning and again at night.
  • Use an antiseptic or fluoride every morning before brushing. (You can at night before brushing as well, but once a day is all that’s needed.)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and make sure a lot of the water you drink contains fluoride, which helps fight against the possibility of infection.
  • Floss—with dental floss or a water pik flosser—at least once a day.
  • Make sure and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three or four months (or earlier if you notice the bristles are fraying).
  • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. And when you do eat or drink them, be sure and brush right after or at least thoroughly rinse with water.
  • Visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups (at least twice a year).

 

From Teeth to Gums

Unfortunately, an infected tooth is not the only danger our mouths may face. For instance, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness.

Infections of teeth or gums are nothing to play with.

That being said, as long as you catch it in time and know the possible reasons for the infection, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be. Here are some possible reasons for infected gums:

Leukoplakia: this is an oral disease where white or gray coloration appears on or around the gums. These light spots are created due to mucous membranes that are sensitive and quite painful. Think canker sores, only on your gums! Leukoplakia is often caused by long-term tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, poorly fitting dental appliances, mouth injury, or bodily maladies such as cancer and HIV. If you find painful, white sores on your gums, the best thing to do is see a dentist immediately. Whether it is leukoplakia or not, your gums should never be white.

Anemia: this is a tough one because it can produce in many different forms, making it difficult to identify. The best way to diagnose anemia is to notice if the white coloration on your gums is paired with any of the following happenings:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constant fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Spells of dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bodily weakness
  • Spells of irregular heartbeat

Another tell sign of anemia is sudden whiteness of skin beyond just the gums. Some common causes of anemia include vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac disease. This is definitely one you want to take care of right away. If you feel any of these symptoms could be true for you, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Mouth Ulcers: noticing white spots on your gums could indicate oncoming ulcers. This is much less serious than the previous causes of white gums, but these sores are no fun at all. If you feel the white spots on your gums could be connected to ulcers, it’s a good idea to begin washing your mouth out with salt water. This is a great way to keep them away and the inside of your mouth healthy. Some causes of mouth ulcers are sugary foods and drinks, as well as, tobacco use. There is no need to completely cut these out of your diet, but regulation is a must.

Gingivitis: this is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation, and loose teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to keep from this uncomfortable situation.

Lichen Planus: this chronic autoimmune condition can inflame the gums and begin to turn them white in lacy patches. Symptoms of lichen planus are similar to gingivitis, but regular dental check-ups can keep this condition from inflammation.

Candidiasis: simply put, this is a yeast infection that causes creamy white sores on the gums. This type of infection is usually seen in babies and older adults and is often brought on by diabetes. If you happen to fit any of these categories, it is best to maintain a strict teeth-and-gum cleaning schedule and keep up with your dental appointments. Two appointments a year are recommended, but in this case, you might benefit more from three or four check-ups a year.

Oral Cancer: if you ever notice white bumps or growths on your gums, or if you suddenly find it difficult to chew or swallow, see a dentist right away. Most importantly, though, don’t panic. White growths or raised sections on the gums do not always equate to cancer, and even if they do, the faster you get them looked at the better your chances of having them safely removed.

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Tips to Reduce Stress and Avoid Teeth Grinding

2022-07-14T17:21:27+00:00July 14th, 2022|Stress, Teeth Grinding|

Tips to Reduce Stress and Teeth Grinding

Whether it is Covid-19, gas prices, or the overall state of our economy there is always something to drive our anxiety—a daily, weekly, monthly occurrence or event that pushes us to clench our jaws while we lie awake at night. But this doesn’t have to be so. Not that we can necessarily adjust the price of gas and groceries and eliminate a Covid, but we can adjust how we react to the stress these things create. With some thoughtful steps and strategies, Adam Brown DDS can keep you from grinding your teeth and get you back to that healthy, restful sleep you need every night.

Stress-induced teeth grinding is on the rise, dentists say.

Last July, ABC News released a report indicating that more adults and children suffer from a lack of restful sleep and from teeth grinding than we have seen in years past.

With this information in mind, it seems that mouth guards and sleep aids, such as melatonin—a natural sleep-inducer that has become popular in recent years—are quelling a problem rather than eliminating it. Most experts agree that grinding teeth and struggling to gain a restful sleep at night are side effects of something else: stress and anxiety, which means that in order to get back on a healthy track, we need to attack the source of the problem, not only the nasty effects it causes.

 

Tips for Reducing Stress

Nobody enjoys feeling stressed. Sure, some stress is good—it can keep you on track, and motivate you to finish a project; but, too much and anxiety can begin to rule your life. Soon, every decision, every move you make is dictated by that built-up ball of stress in the pit of your stomach. This is not good for you physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, which is why it is so important to take immediate measures to begin dealing with and reducing your anxiety. How to do this? Here are some great tips for getting your life back:

1. Get Physical.
Virtually any form of physical exertion can act as a stress reliever. Moving the body to produce a little sweat will release endorphins and clear the mind so you can better assess that anxiety and begin to deal with it. You don’t have to be an athlete and you certainly don’t need to commit to rigorous exercise routines in order for this to work. Simple activities such as walking for twenty or thirty minutes, swimming, cycling, it really doesn’t matter what you do just as long as you are moving. Commit to one week of doing some sort of physical activity each day and see how this affects your daily stress and anxieties.

2. Develop Healthy Eating Habits.
Drinking alcohol, snacking, smoking—these are terrible ways to deal with stress (and, unfortunately, are the most commonly used). Consider this: the more you feel you are in control of your life, the less effective the stress you feel will be on your psyche and physical being. One of the first steps to controlling your life is replacing those bad habits with healthy ones. Instead of alcohol, have a healthy drink (seltzer, protein shake, etc.); rather than an unhealthy snack, eat some veggies and fruit. This will be tough at first, but once you feel the benefits it will become much easier.

3. Look on the Sunny Side.
When feeling a tinge of anxiety one of the most difficult things to do is stay positive. However, if you can approach every situation with a solution-based mindset, it makes it much harder for stress to affect you. So rather than thinking, “Oh, what am I to do?” think, “How can this issue be alleviated properly?” Sometimes you may not know what needs to be done, but at least you are heading in the right direction—and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

4. Don’t Do it Alone.
One of the first things we want to do when feeling stressed and anxious is to isolate ourselves. Keeping to the self is, however, also one of the worst things we can do when feeling this way. Remember, gaining control over any aspect of our lives helps to alleviate stress, and even though simply talking through our issues with a friend or family member might not bring us answers, it will help us better understand our situation. The act of speaking truthfully about how we feel to someone who is good at listening is priceless, as it calms the mind and strengthens our resolve.

5. Meditate.
If stress and anxiety spur the mind out of control, meditation is the perfect foil. When we meditate we quiet the mind and then open it up. The most important thing to know about meditation is it takes a while to get used to, so don’t give up after a few attempts. For those who have never, or who have rarely done it, meditating can be difficult. It can take a week of attempts only to get the mind settled down, but it’s worth it!

Take a week and carve out ten or twenty minutes to lie on a couch or sit in a comfy chair and simply be. Think of nothing, and when some stress begins to creep in shut it back out. Continue this and do not get frustrated (it takes time to build these mental muscles). Once you feel you can get into a meditative state of nothingness for a bit, begin to let your mind wander: ruminate on what your mind brings in—you might be surprised. Be mindful though, stress and anxiety will always try and creep back in, so stay focused and consider every thought. You will be amazed at the clarity and peace meditation can bring.

 

Sleeping Better

Doing any and all of the activities listed above will surely help your sleeping habits, but there are a few more specific things you can do that will directly affect your level of sleep. Check these out:

  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will help with better sleep quality. Attempt to go to bed around the same time every night, and try to wake at the same time every morning. This will train your body and mind to get in the habit of shutting down and resting during these specific times each night. Even if you still struggle to fall asleep, keep it up—the rest of you will catch up.
  • Try not to snack or drink anything besides water at least two-to-three hours before you go to bed. This way there is no chance of sugar or caffeine or any other stimulant keeping you from a full night’s rest.
  • Another good idea is to stay off your phone (and the television if you can help it) before bed. Especially with computers and phones, our minds begin to race when prompted by the onslaught of activity these technologies provide. You are trying to wind down, not stimulate the mind.
  • Lastly, make sure your bedroom is a restful environment. For some, this means soft music, a nightlight, and essential oils going; for others, it means blacking out the windows, perfect silence, and nightly prayer. Whatever spells comfort and relaxation for you, that’s what needs to be done. Get your atmosphere right if you expect to have some peaceful shuteye.

 

Dealing with Bruxism

While you are in the process of managing your stress, there are more immediate measures you can take to keep your teeth and jaw safe from unconscious teeth grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism. Even if you are unsure if you are suffering from bruxism, it’s worth a quick appointment with us to find out and get help if needed.

During your dental exam, we will look for any excessive wear on your teeth, any cracks or chips, or even loose teeth. Depending on what we find, we will then discuss a plan to stop you from grinding those teeth every night. Here are some possible solutions:

  • Wearing a Mandibular Advancement Device. This is a method for the more serious grinders where a mouthpiece is attached to your head that keeps your jaw fixed in one position. It’s not the most comfortable solution, but it works!
  • Wearing a basic mouth guard to protect the teeth while asleep. The mouth guard is perfectly molded to your teeth, and though this is a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, you will quickly get used to it.
  • Wearing a splint that keeps the teeth separated. If the mouth guard is too bulky or awkward, consider the low-profile splint instead.
  • Abstain from alcohol for a while. It has been proven that drinking alcohol does, at times, intensify bruxism while sleeping.
  • Cut back, or cut out completely, anything with caffeine in it. The energy gained from caffeine can cause nerves and muscles to work overtime while sleeping.
  • Begin using stress-management techniques. Maybe even begin some behavioral therapy, such as training yourself to hold your jaw and mouth in a single position for long periods of time.

The good news is that bruxism is treatable.

Even if you are practicing staying stress-free and nothing seems to be working, we will find a way to stop it. This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist as soon as you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night. We can assess and apply the appropriate method of treatment and make any adjustments along the way. The key thing to note is the sooner you get treatment, the healthier your teeth and mouth will be—and remain to be.

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Why Do I Have Naturally Stained Yellow Teeth?

2022-06-14T16:49:52+00:00June 14th, 2022|Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

Tips to Avoid Yellow Teeth

Despite the guarantee of many whitening products—the strips, the trays, the paint-on whitening liquid—not all teeth, or stains on the teeth, respond to these products.

So now for the million-dollar question: if these whitening products aren’t working, am I destined to have yellow, stained teeth for the rest of my life?

Luckily, the answer to this question is NO. There are a number of possible reasons your teeth are not responding to whitening agents and narrowing down the possibilities as to why is the first step in finding the culprit and solution to your naturally stained teeth.

At Adam Brown, DDS we know how frustrating it can be trying to get and maintain white teeth, especially since not all teeth are created the same; some respond well to whitening agents, while others don’t need whitening agents at all in order to show that pearly glow. For those of us with naturally stained or discolored teeth, the prospect of getting them to a whiter shade seems futile, but it’s important not to give up hope. The truth is, regardless of the level of staining, you can have white teeth.

When it comes down to it, there are only three options, and they should be followed in this order:
Make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly. Brushing and flossing daily is not only important for your oral health, but it will also remove stains that are not natural or permanent. There is really no way of knowing if your teeth are naturally stained if this step has not been taken. If you are unsure whether you are properly cleaning your teeth or not, see your dentist right away—he will be able to let you know pretty quickly.
Try whitening agents. Once you are confident those teeth are being kept clean, try some whitening agents. It’s a good idea to consult your dentist on this first, as he can point you in the direction of those products that will work best for you—some can irritate sensitive teeth, and others might not be strong enough for what you need.
Consider veneers. Veneers are a coating that goes over your teeth (permanently) and is the fastest way to brighten that smile. For those teeth with stains that simply won’t respond to regular cleaning and whitening, veneers are your only option.

 

Strategies for Keeping Healthy, White Teeth

When trying to find the culprit for naturally stained teeth, focus on your daily cleaning routine. Beyond brushing and flossing, there are a few other things you can do to keep those teeth healthy—and hopefully stain-free.

1. Drink Through Straws Whenever Possible
Any liquid with additives like sugar or caffeine can negatively affect your teeth, but there is an easy way to keep most of the liquid from having too much contact with your teeth: use a straw. By using a straw, you can keep liquid from contacting and leaving some residue on your teeth. You can use a wide straw for thick juices, narrow or regular-sized for normal densities, or even a bendy straw just because they’re fun. (Do stay away from those trendy metal straws though, as they can chip your teeth.)

2. Always Have a Water Chaser
The more time acidic liquids have to rest in-between and on the teeth, the better the chances of stains and erosion, and you know what that means: more trips to the dentist and quite possibly some intensive dental work to be done. So, even if you use a straw, it is a great idea to have a glass of crisp and clean water to drink from between each gulp of non-water you take. A quick swig of water makes those acidic bits difficult to stick around and manages to rinse any residue left behind that would stain the teeth.

3. Get the Right Toothpaste
A lot of people like to rush right to the whitening toothpaste. It makes sense, if it says “whitening” it must work, right? Well, not on all teeth. Sensitive teeth and gums can clash with the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpaste, and this can cause a lot of discomforts. It’s better to use toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. This will clean the teeth well without hurting them, and if your teeth are clean and the stains remain, the toothpaste is not your issue. Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and brush twice a day. If there are removable stains on your teeth, this should help.

4. Avoid Over-Brushing
Never thought you could brush too much, did you? Well, you can. Too much brushing can actually help acid and bacteria erode the enamel off your teeth, turning them to a dingy yellow color. When you brush, use a soft or medium bristle; brush lightly, and use a mechanical toothbrush if possible. These are made to get to those hard-to-reach places and they put the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth and gums.

5. Use Mouthwash Regularly
Just like flossing and brushing, the twice-a-day rule is all you need with mouthwash. If you feel the need to rinse more than that use water, but once in the morning, then again at night, can do wonders to clean the mouth. Mouthwash also helps keep your teeth white and your breath fresh.

6. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge the health level of your teeth, as well as, document what is and is not working as far as whitening. Your dentist can tell if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or more stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, permanent stains, or anything else.

 

Tips for Whitening

One possible reason those stains aren’t disappearing is that you are using the wrong kind of whiteners on your teeth. Each year there seems to be some new teeth-whitening trend, but not all of these methods effectively work to brighten that smile. There is one newer method catching attention that is showing some spectacular results for users. It’s called LED lighting and dentists and patients are beginning to take a closer look at this advanced method of removing coffee, nicotine, and seemingly permanent stains from the teeth. But is using LED lighting—or, blue lighting, as it is often called—for whitening teeth a safe practice? Though the results of this particular whitening method are positive, patients are still citing some enamel loss and increased sensitivity. Luckily, doctors have just recently discovered an even newer method, still using LED lighting, to whiten teeth but without the negative effects.

Here’s how it works: A gel is applied to the teeth then LED lights are used to trigger photocatalysts in the teeth, which then brighten and whiten. The gel is used to speed up the process and make the LED light more effective.

Though the chemicals in the gel used in conjunction with the LED lighting may not be quite as powerful as what’s used in other strips or gels, this process can still be harsh on the teeth—especially sensitive teeth. This has caused a bit of backlash, but this method is still seen as a step in the right direction, as it is not as intense as other take-home whitening products.

 

Before You Whiten

Though it is tempting to buy the most popular take-home whitening products on the market, be careful of what you get. Just because your friend has found a product that works to remove those pesky stains without causing sensitivity and enamel loss, it doesn’t mean the results will be the same for you.

Your first step is to come in and meet with Dr. Brown and his team. They can successfully assess your teeth and gums to forecast which method(s) might be best for you. But, if you absolutely must start the whitening process immediately, follow these tips until you can come to see us:

  1. Keep away from trays and gels. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show. And, most people who use the tray and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterward.
  2. Use caution with whitening strips as well. Though results can show in about a week, over time, this can cause irritation. Also, if you use the strips too often, your teeth can become sensitive.
  3. When you have the time to wait, use a paint-on. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek. You simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time. The only downside to this method is it can take months before results can be seen, and you have to be diligent in getting the gel on each tooth daily.
  4. Whitening devices are your best option. Go ahead and do a little research and find an LED lighting kit to order—you can get them off Amazon.
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Preventative Dentistry is Better for Your Wallet

2022-05-14T14:47:43+00:00May 12th, 2022|Preventative Dentistry|

Healthy Teeth and Saving Money Tips

Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings is the best way to maintain positive oral health—it’s also the best way to save money. Monitoring the condition of your teeth and gums can prevent major health issues, as well as, keep you from spending a lot of money on a procedure or surgery that could have been avoided. Tack on the rising costs of dentistry due to inflation and that dental price tag will be even higher.

If you haven’t scheduled your next teeth cleaning/checkup, now is definitely the time.

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth at least twice a day. We also know the necessity of flossing each night—even if we don’t get it done every night, but we try! There is more, however, to maintaining your oral health than the daily routine. A professional checkup is what truly keeps us in the know of our level of oral health and this is how we learn about the specific preventative measures we can take to better our current situation, whatever that might be.

The state of the inside of our mouths is a complicated one: cavities don’t simply show up one day, they turn over time. The same is true with gum diseases and other preventative health issues. These progressively get worse over time if they are not addressed. This is why it’s so important to keep regular checkups so you can always be in the know of where the level of your oral health is.

What is Preventative Dentistry?

Simply put, preventative dentistry is regular, professional cleaning and monitoring of your oral health. Here are a few things that are done and looked for when you come in:

  • Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. Though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of this sticky substance from your teeth, little bits of plaque can still remain and harden. In time, that plaque will discolor and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.
  • Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease continue to show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.
  • Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth, and like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.
  • Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Preventative dentistry starts with you—you make and keep the appointments, and you maintain the regime you and your dentist decide upon. At Adam Brown DDS, we like to work in tandem with our patients to first identify any issues or potential issues, then—together—work towards a plan to get that oral health with it needs to be and maintain it.

 

The Importance of Maintaining Your Oral Health

As stated earlier, preventative dentistry not only preserves your oral health, it also saves you money in the end. Here are a few more key details to preventative dentistry you should consider:

1. You can’t do it alone. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums.

2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition, that was not caught by your dentist, will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement! The pain and frustration and money just aren’t worth it

3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your need(s). There are so many products out there too! Without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. This toothpaste promises whiter teeth in two weeks, but this one says it fights gum disease—which to get? At Adam Brown, DDS not only can we advise on products to use, but we can also show you how best to use them.

4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth…the list goes on, and these side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. Preventative dentistry has the power to give you back your confidence!

5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications—such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants—can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases.

Ultimately, your best option for a healthy, fresh smile is to visit us at Adam Brown, DDS. Let us diagnose the current state of your particular oral health and advise on exactly what can be done to clean those teeth and brighten that smile. No matter your current condition, we can help—be sure to schedule now and save money!

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