8 Ways to Sustain Your Family’s Dental Hygiene This Summer

2021-05-25T20:00:30+00:00May 25th, 2021|Dental Trends, Oral Health|

Tips to Help Your Families Dental Health

Summer is around the corner, which means it’s time for all the fun things that come with Summer. Maybe your family is planning to go on a big vacation. Maybe you’re getting geared up for long days at the pool. Perhaps you’re looking forward to some sweet, cold treats to tame the rising temperatures.

But amid the summertime excitement, it’s important not to leave your dental health in the dust. The shifts in routine and the seasonal activities don’t remove your family’s need to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Adam Brown DDS is here with some practical tips and information for how your family can keep your teeth and gums healthy through the sun-kissed days of Summer:

 

  1. Stick to Your Dental Routine 

We’ll start with the basics: keeping up with your normal dental care routine. Even if your kids are out of school and staying up later than usual, don’t let them go to bed without brushing their teeth. And to the adults in the room—don’t allow yourselves to get lax either!

For many families, summer is packed with special events and relaxed bedtimes, but everyone should be brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Also, make sure you are flossing once a day; any two teeth that touch should be cleaned regularly. Many children lack the motor skills to floss until they are more than 10-years-old. If necessary, help your child floss, or invest in a water flosser. 

 

  1. Pack Wisely 

The quickest way for your family to fall behind on dental hygiene is to forget the essentials when you travel. As you plan your vacation, be sure to pack travel-sized items like these:

 

Toothbrush

Like the other items on this list, you can find a selection of travel-sized toothbrushes at most major retailers, grocery stores, and pharmacies. These brushes will fold and easily fit into a carry-on bag. Your travel brush may not be quite as comfortable or effective as your full-sized brush, but it will get the job done. 

 

Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste is another essential item that you can’t go without on your trip. If you only took two dental care products when you travel, you would want them to be a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

 

Floss

You can get travel-sized packs of floss, but flossers are even better. Particularly if you have kids, flossers are easier to use on the go, and they’re effective at removing excess food particles and plaque between teeth. If possible, bring a pack of floss in addition to your flosser. 

 

Mouthwash  

While it shouldn’t be used to replace your brushing habit too often, mouthwash can do wonders for killing bacteria and germs in your mouth. You won’t have any trouble fitting travel-sized mouthwashes in your carry-on, and you can use them to freshen your breath when you don’t have a chance to brush. 

 

Toothpicks

Toothpicks are the perfect little gadgets for removing food particles after a meal. Get a travel-sized pack of toothpicks for your trip to use when you don’t have the opportunity to floss. 

 

Wisps

Manufactured by Colgate, Wisp brushes are relatively new. And they’re one of the handiest oral hygiene products you can buy. These pocket-sized, disposable brushes are surprisingly effective at removing food particles and plaque, and each brush comes with a built-in freshening bead that releases toothpaste as you brush. The best part is that you don’t even have to rinse!

 

Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum is great for keeping bad breath at bay, but it also increases saliva production when you chew it. Since saliva is essential for dissolving acids and helping you fight dry mouth, this is a good thing. Stay fresh and avoid cavities by packing sugar-free gum for your vacation. 

 

  1. Consider Sustainable Products 

While travel-sized dental care products are great for taking trips, using eco-conscious products for your everyday routine is a great way to benefit both your oral health and the environment. Here are some of the most popular types of eco-conscious dental care products available today:

 

Toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes typically are not compostable, nor are the packages they come in. That’s why bamboo toothbrushes are gaining in popularity. Not only are the bristles and handles easily compostable, but bamboo brushes can be just as effective for cleaning your teeth and gums as conventional brushes. 

 

Toothpaste  

Natural toothpaste has been around for a long time. But it has come a long way over the years in terms of helping you effectively remove plaque and prevent cavities. Unless you have a high decay risk, your family could benefit your oral health and the environment by using natural toothpaste that comes in a compostable tube. 

 

Floss

The packaging of conventional floss can take years to biodegrade. There are many sustainable, low-waste floss products on the market that come in biodegradable packaging and are just as effective at removing food particles and plaque. 

 

Mouthwash

Alcohol-based mouthwashes may leave you with a feeling of freshness in your mouth, but they can also dehydrate your oral cavity, hinder saliva production, and cause irritation. If you want to add a mouth rinse to your dental care routine, opt for one that contains coconut oil and xylitol, which are known for their antibacterial properties and less harsh on the gums than alcohol. 

 

Whitening

Brushing with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda once a week can noticeably brighten your smile, and it has no impact on the environment! Just make sure it’s not part of your daily routine. When used too frequently, hydrogen peroxide can cause chemical burns on your gums while baking soda can damage your enamel. 

 

  1. Don’t Chew Ice 

Few things are more satisfying than an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day. But if you’re an ice-chewer, know the risks that come with it. Chewing ice, especially large cubes, can cause a variety of oral health issues and even lead to a hefty bill from the dentist or orthodontist. Some common consequences of chewing ice include damaged tooth enamel, damaged dental fillings, cracked or chipped teeth, and broken oral appliances. 

While adults should also take precautions, kids are particularly prone to chew ice subconsciously. Make sure your children know the risks involved and try to prevent the habit if possible. If anyone in your family experiences one of the injuries above to your teeth or oral appliances, contact Adam Brown DDS immediately to arrange an emergency dental visit.  

 

  1. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks 

We get it—Summer is meant to be enjoyed. And sometimes that includes chomping on yummy foods that are not so good for your teeth. Try to moderate your consumption of sugary foods and beverages, as they can significantly hinder your oral health routine. For example, sodas, juices, and ice cream can erode your enamel and cause cavities. Even acidic fruits like blueberries and pineapples can harm your enamel. After eating foods like these, be sure to rinse your mouth, brush, and floss as soon as possible.   

 

  1. Embrace Healthy Summer Foods 

Now that you have an idea of what foods to limit in your summer diet, let’s talk about some foods that can specifically benefit your oral health:

 

Salmon 

Salmon is not only a versatile fish for recipes, but it’s also one of the best foods you can eat for vitamin D. And without vitamin D, your body won’t be able to absorb nutrients like calcium. Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical in the prevention of periodontal disease and fostering overall health. 

 

Cheese 

For most people, this one doesn’t take a lot of convincing. Obviously, cheese is best eaten in moderation because it’s high in fat content, but it’s a wonderful source of calcium. And calcium is perhaps the single most beneficial nutrient for teeth, as it helps to keep your enamel strong and your jawbones durable. Moreover, cheese contains casein—a protein that provides a protective layer on your teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. 

 

Bananas

Bananas are one of the most beneficial fruits you can eat for your dental health. They have a low acidic content, and they’re high in potassium, which helps to maintain jawbone density and tooth strength. Yes, bananas have sugar in them, but they won’t stick to your teeth like candy and other sugary foods. 

 

Oranges

Vitamin C plays a critical role in helping your gums fight off gingivitis and other oral infections, and oranges offer a beaucoup of vitamin C. Boost your gum health, and you’ll significantly lower your risk of loose teeth. 

 

Apples

If nature had a toothbrush, it would be an apple. Along with containing vital nutrients (e.g., potassium, vitamin C, fiber, etc.), apples massage the gums, increase saliva, and remove plaque. Making apples a part of your daily diet will help you maintain a clean mouth, fresh breath, healthy gums, and strong teeth. 

 

Carrots

Carrots are also a wonder for cleaning your teeth and gums. They contain lots of keratin, which combat plaque and tartar, and they massage your gums. They also have beta carotene, a nutrient that converts to vitamin A, which increases saliva production and enables oral wounds to heal more quickly. 

 

Kale 

This superfood is known for its incredible array of nutrients, and it’s one of the best foods you can eat for your oral and overall health. Kale has high levels of vitamin K, which helps to protect your bones and enamel, boost your immune system, and foster healing. It also helps the body absorb osteocalcin—another nutrient that benefits bones and teeth. 

 

  1. Drink Plenty of Water 

Water is essential for keeping you hydrated in the heat. But it also comes with specific dental benefits. For instance, it helps to keep your mouth clean by washing away leftover food and residue that would otherwise attract bacteria, in turn reducing the risk of cavities. Furthermore, water dilutes the acids produced by oral bacteria. Start your morning off with a glass of water, and always keep a refillable water bottle with you so that you can sip throughout the day. 

 

  1. Prepare for Accidents 

Finally, accidents happen. While you want to take every precaution, such as having your child wear a mouthguard while playing sports, you may not always be able to avoid injury. That’s why it’s essential to prepare a kit of supplies for your child to keep nearby in the event of a dental emergency. Whether they’re playing a contact sport, engaging in an individual physical activity, or hanging out at the pool, make sure they have easy access to a kit with these items:

  • Gauze
  • Saline solution
  • OTC pain medication
  • A small container (for a knocked-out tooth)
  • The number to their dentist 

 

Conclusion

Summertime may be when the living’s easy (especially for kids), but your family’s dental health still matters. Along with maintaining your regular oral hygiene routine, look for new products that can benefit your smile and the planet. Avoid chewing ice, consume sugary foods and beverages in moderation, and incorporate dental-friendly foods in your diet. Lastly, be sure to drink a lot of water, stay prepared for dental emergencies, and book your back-to-school appointments now at Adam Brown DDS!

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Oral Piercings and Dental Health

2021-03-22T16:34:40+00:00March 22nd, 2021|Dental Trends, Oral Health|

Oral Piercings and Dental Health Monroe, NC

There is no denying the fact oral piercings have become more prominent over the years. Today, you can find people of just about any age or gender who have a tongue or other oral area pierced. But even though this way of self-expression may be trendy, oral piercings can cause dental complications if they are not properly cared for. Is your piercing negatively affecting your oral health? 

All piercings need to be cleaned regularly, but for oral piercings, this cleaning needs to be extra thorough, because they can attract unwanted reactions and infections that can then cause trauma to your overall oral health. This means it is so important that you maintain a regular hygiene regimen throughout the process of having the piercing.

What sort of reactions can your mouth have to an oral piercing? There are a number of things to watch for—here are the most common:

  • Oral Infections. Since our mouths are filled with bacteria (mostly the good kind), any sort of oral piercing is subject to infection since it is in continual contact with the saliva and bacteria in your mouth. If the bacteria in your mouth manages its way into your bloodstream, through the hole your piercing is in, a condition called Endocarditis can occur. This is an oral infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and, as you can imagine, this can cause serious health problems—beyond oral.
  • Chipped and Broken Teeth. Piercings located close to the gum tissue can rub and wear at the roots of your teeth. This may not be a noticeable problem at first, but over time this constant friction will cause your gums to recede, exposing the sensitive nerves to your teeth. From this point, as the piercing continues to rub at the base of the gum, the teeth can become brittle and begin to crack. Once there is a crack or break in the tooth it may need major dental work such as a repair filling and a root canal.

*TIP: It’s a good idea to use plastic or other softer materials for oral piercings if possible. Hard metal piercings that rub at your gums and teeth have a high possibility of causing damage.

  • Scratches and Rashes. Lip piercings and other piercings close to the jaw and gum line can cause gum tissue scratches, which do heal but the scratch itself can get infected. Rashes can also break out and other wounds, which open up the possibility for a host of oral infections.
  • Negative Reaction. Speaking of rashes and wounds, since most mouth piercings contain nickel, an allergic reaction can come about if you aren’t sure how your body reacts to the metal. This is why it is so important to make sure you are not allergic to nickel prior to getting a piercing.
  • Ingesting a Piercing. Since oral piercings are inside the mouth there is always the chance of swallowing a piercing or a piece of it. Piercing studios will tell you that swallowing a piercing is harmless, as it will safely pass through your stool, there is no guarantee this is true.
  • Complications with Swelling. Tongue piercings especially like to swell since the piercing itself is damaging nerves and tissue. Some people swell more than others, and for those who do swell a lot, this can be dangerous because the tongue can balloon up enough to make breathing difficult, or even block your airway completely. If you are thinking of getting your tongue pierced, make sure you have quick access to medical attention if needed!

 

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our bodies are amazing machines that like to communicate with us when they are healthy and when there might be something wrong. If we pay attention, our bodies are giving little tells all the time indicating our current levels of health. This information is likely nothing new, but at Adam Brown, DDS we think it’s important for you to recognize a not-so-common sign that your oral health may be in danger, whether that danger is due to a piercing or anything else.

Paying close attention to your gums is incredibly important for analyzing your own oral health. If we have piercings, we know the importance of keeping them clean, we all know the necessity of flossing and brushing and making sure those gums are not receding, but what about when areas of the gums begin to turn white? What is your body trying to tell you when this happens? White spots on the gums are more common than not, but most people do not understand the possible dangers that could arise because of them. 

Unfortunately, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness. They can be caused by irritations due to piercings, but they can also come from a lack of proper oral care. That being said, as long as you catch it in time and know the possible reasons, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be.

Here are some possible reasons for white 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 to anemia is the sudden whiteness of skin beyond just the gums. Some common causes of anemia include vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, Crohn’s disease, 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 saltwater. 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 is 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.

Oral piercings or not, it is of the utmost importance to keep up on proper oral health. Whenever in doubt to what your body is telling you, contact us at Adam Brown, DDS. We are always here to help!

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Laser Procedures: A Beneficial Trend in Modern Dentistry

2020-06-11T13:33:01+00:00November 21st, 2019|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends|

Lasers (Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) are used for all sorts of things these days: welding, cutting, printing, surveying—and dentistry.  A laser is a device that uses radiation to stimulate light so that it can penetrate a foreign material, which makes it a perfect device for taking care of things like cavities or excess gums overlapping the teeth.

 

Some patients may have a bit of reluctance towards having a radiated light used inside their mouths, but realizing what a laser can do to cavities and gums, and understanding how safe it actually is, should quickly relieve any apprehension.

Since the mid-90s, lasers have been slowly incorporated into dentistry for use on such things as:

  • Biopsies—since a laser is incredibly precise and reliable it can be used to remove a very small portion of tissue without affecting the surrounding areas. Using a laser also allows for a faster healing process.
  • Tooth Decay—using a laser to remove the decaying portion of a tooth has proven to be a quicker and a more efficient process than using traditional methods.
  • Gum Disease—a laser is a great way to reshape gums and remove built-up bacteria without damaging the teeth.
  • Teeth Whitening—modern dentistry has found a way to whiten the teeth by applying a peroxide bleaching solution to the teeth then having it activated by a laser to speed the whitening process up. And it’s completely painless.

There’s even more that dentists can do with lasers. They can be used for reducing the pain of canker and cold sores, expose hidden wisdom teeth, remove excess muscles in the mouth that restrict proper movement, and help treat infections from root canals. And as we make advancements in laser dentistry, the list just continues to grow.

 

Lasers Treatments

Essentially, there are two types of lasers used in dentistry: one for soft tissue and another for hard tissue.

Soft-Tissue Lasers.

These use an absorbable wavelength, making them less dangerous to use on softer tissue like the gums. The surrounding areas can then absorb and handle the effect of the beam without being damaged. Another benefit to using a soft-tissue laser is that it has the capability to kill bacteria and simultaneously encourage new growth. Postoperative pain is minimal from the use of soft-tissue lasers because, at the same time they are penetrating one area of tissue, they are able to seal the surrounding blood vessels. Soft-tissue lasers are typically used for:

  • Soft-Tissue Folds—devices such as dentures can cause actual folds of tissue in the mouth, which can become painfully uncomfortable and a health hazard. Using a laser is a painless way to reshape the gums and etch away areas of excess, molding the interior of your mouth to the shape it should be.
  • Crown Lengthening—this is a form of gum reshaping so that the foundation of the tooth is strengthened and exposed from overlapping gums. Patients don’t always notice they need crown lengthening, but the procedure does make the tooth healthier in the long run.
  • Muscle Attachment—for those who have limited tongue movement due to muscle restraints, a soft-tissue laser can be used to reshape or remove pieces of tissue to free up the tongue and allow for better movement within the mouth.

Hard-Tissue Lasers.

These types of lasers have a high enough wavelength that they can cut into hard tissues such as bone and teeth. This laser has such incredible accuracy that it only penetrates the desired material and causes little to no impact on the surrounding areas.

A hard-tissue laser is primarily used for prepping dental fillings. In the past, a drill was used to rid a tooth of unwanted bacteria before a filling was attached, and for this to take place the area had to be anesthetized and the prep and process were arduous. With a hard- tissue laser, there is no pain and therefore no need for anesthesia. The process is easier, faster, and much more accurate.

This type of laser is also used to help with overly sensitive teeth. On the root of sensitive teeth there can be found open tubules, which cause the unwanted sensation. By using a hard-tissue laser, a dentist can seal these holes and strengthen the teeth.

 

A Case for Lasers

There is a clear case for laser dentistry. The handful of procedures they are currently used for are just scratching the surface of what can be done with lasers. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we’re excited about what can be done with laser procedures. Call or visit us today to make an appointment. It’s time to be confident with your smile, and we can help.

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Managing Pain and Anxiety During Dental Visits

2020-06-11T13:38:58+00:00October 9th, 2019|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends, General|

It’s no secret that regular dental visits are an important tool for maintaining good oral health. Despite this, as much as 36% of the population fears a visit to the dentist and 1 in 25 suffers from dentophobia (extreme fear of dental visits). While there are many reasons people might have anxiety around a trip to the dentist, there are also a number of ways that both you and your dentist can help to alleviate those fears.

 

Pain and Anxiety Management

Fear of pain is the number one reason people are afraid to visit the dentist. And while having your teeth worked on won’t necessarily be something you look forward to, it also doesn’t have to be something you fear. Technology has come a long way when it comes to anxiety and pain management. Here is a list of some of the tools you and your dentist have at your disposal to combat any fears that might arise.

 

Pain-Free Shots –  Let’s just say it. Shots are scary. For all of us. No one likes to be poked with needles, especially in their mouths. However, dentists have multiple options at their disposal to help make the experience of getting a shot much easier and a whole lot less scary. If they aren’t already, ask your dentist to use an anesthetic gel or rinse to help numb your mouth before administering the shot. This will desensitize the area and lessen pain significantly.

Studies have also shown that the speed at which a shot is administered can affect the level of discomfort a person experiences. The general rule of thumb is “the slower the better” when it comes to administering numbing medication. If your doctor gives you novocaine, expect it to take approximately 60-90 minutes to wear off after the procedure depending on the amount given.

 

Providing distraction – Oftentimes dentists will offer various forms of distraction that can help to lessen a person’s anxiety and make it easier to get through a procedure. Some of these distractions include tv’s on the ceiling, movie headsets that immerse you in a world outside of your current situation and soothing aromatherapy scents such as orange and lavender. Some dentists even go so far as to have a spa-like atmosphere that provides perks such as a manicurist and reflexologist to be available during procedures.

 

Oral Pain Relief – If an alternative to a shot is needed, there are various oral solutions that can be considered. The first option is the use of nitrous oxide (N2O). We all know nitrous oxide from our childhood by its informal name of “laughing gas”. N2O works to relax you and provide you with a more pleasurable emotional feeling. Pain is intensified when we are stressed or anxious so allowing yourself to relax can be an effective method of management. In addition, N2O is considered safe and effective because it begins to work quickly and the effect is completely reversible with no long-lasting effects. When used for a dental procedure, you will recover quickly enough afterward to be able to drive yourself home.

Another oral method used to help people alleviate the fear of a trip to the dentist is a pill called Halcion. Halcion is a member of the Valium family and is usually administered an hour or two before work is done. Some dentists will also provide a pill the night before to ensure the patient has a full night’s sleep. When this pill is used, patients can feel sleepy and relaxed but are still able to communicate with the dentist.

 

Electronically Delivered Pain Relief – An alternative to injection, this type of pain relief is commonly known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS for short. TENS uses low voltage electricity to help alleviate pain. Your dentist will place adhesive pads on your face in the area where they are working and send a low current through in order to achieve numbness. TENS can help to relax your jaw and facial muscles, a commonly tense area when people experience anxiety.

 

Laser Drills – While not yet formally approved by the American Dental Association, the organization says that they are cautiously optimistic about how this technology can influence the future of dentistry. Laser drills provide an alternative to traditional drills by using the energy from light to cut or vaporize infected tissues. This form of treatment is less invasive and less painful than traditional methods currently being used. A few examples of how lasers can be used in dentistry include treating tooth decay, remedying issues associated with gum disease, performing biopsies and whitening teeth.

 

IV Sedation – If more moderate sedation is needed, a dentist will sometimes use IV sedation. One advantage to this form of sedation is that the dentist has direct control over the levels you are given and can quickly adjust to meet your individual needs.

 

Additional Sedation Options – While family dentists don’t perform deep sedation or general anesthesia, sometimes when you are referred to a specialist, you may encounter these options. In order to administer deep sedation, providers need to complete a program through CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) focusing on deep sedation and general anesthesia. Typically this accreditation is completed by oral surgeons and dental anesthesiologists.

 

Post Dental Pain – What to Expect

While pain management during dental treatment is important, understanding pain post-treatment is equally as important. Having the ability to discern between what type of pain is normal versus when it is necessary to contact a professional can be a huge advantage for someone who is anxious about their recovery. Here are a few examples of different types of pain you might experience after a visit to the dentist.

 

Jaw Soreness/Tenderness – This type of pain is one of the more common types experienced after a dental procedure. It occurs because of your mouth being held open for an extended period of time. The muscles in your mouth are no different from the muscles in any other part of your body. Use them more than they’re used to being used and they’ll become sore and tired. One way to remedy the pain is to ask your dentist if he has a bite block available for you to use. A bite block will allow your jaw to rest while still allowing the dentist to perform dental work. If you do experience this type of pain, it will typically clear up after a day or two depending on the procedure. For people who grind their teeth, it may take slightly longer as grinding is also a major cause of jaw soreness.

 

Pulpitis – Pulpitis is caused by an inflammation of the pulp within the tooth. It can feel like the sudden onset of a toothache. Pulpitis can also cause hot and cold temperature sensitivity within a tooth. This type of pain can occur after any dental procedure where a tooth has been worked on from a filling to the repair of a cracked or chipped tooth. There is both reversible and irreversible pulpitis. With reversible pulpitis, you won’t feel pain unless something comes in contact with the tooth to affect its sensitivity. However, irreversible pulpitis is a constant pain that typically requires a root canal to remedy. Irreversible pulpitis is not a common side effect of performed dental work, rather, it is typically a sign that dental work may be necessary.

 

Referred Pain – Referred pain is when you feel pain in other areas of your body than where the pain originated. So, for example, while you might have had a root canal on your molar, your eye sockets or ears may experience pain as a result. Referred pain can be experienced from any traumatic event and can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. If you experience referred pain that doesn’t go away within a week of your procedure, be sure to check in with your dentist and let him know about the symptoms you are experiencing.

 

Methods for Addressing Post Dental Pain

While there may be no sure-fire method to completely escape the discomfort that comes after a dental procedure, there are ways to lessen the pain and make recovery a more pleasant experience. A few suggestions for improved recovery time are listed below.

  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet before you go to the dentist. Focusing on foods that help combat inflammation will improve your overall recovery time.
  • For those with TMJ/TMD, focus on relaxing your jaw before your procedure. Consciously working to relax and stretch your jaw muscles will help reduce pain post-procedure.
  • Check for a bite block. As stated above, asking if your dentist has a bite block available can lead to a lot less pain and discomfort after the work is over.
  • Relax! While this tactic is obviously easier said than done, it’s a known fact that stress will tense your muscles and cause a longer recovery as a result. Practicing mindfulness and focusing on your breathing can go a long way towards bringing down the levels of stress associated with a dental procedure.

Of course, taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen is also a perfectly acceptable way to deal with pain after a procedure. If your dentist prescribes medication, be sure to follow all the directions associated with it and never share a prescription with someone else. If for any reason, your pain doesn’t diminish or feels like it’s getting worse, call your dentist and set up an appointment to check and make sure everything is healing the way it should.

 

Pain isn’t fun for anyone. The good news is that there are several tools at your dentist’s disposal that they can use to help you through a procedure with a minimal level of discomfort. While the dentist’s chair can sometimes seem like a scary place, remember that first and foremost, they are there to help you maintain a strong, healthy smile. They have their teeth worked on the same as you and, like you, they also desire an outcome that doesn’t leave pain in its wake.

 

Our dentists are sensitive to your needs and are always happy to speak with you about the options we provide when it comes to pain control. Please feel free to call anytime during office hours and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation for you to learn more.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Boge, Emily. “Dental Phobia, Fear of Dentist & Anxiety: Colgate Oral Care.” Dental Phobia, Fear of Dentist & Anxiety | Colgate Oral Care, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/how-dental-phobia-develops-and-what-offices-do-to-help-0515.

Collins, Sonya. “Do You Dread the Dentist?” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/dentist-anxiety#1.

“Controlling Anxiety and Pain at the Dentist’s Office.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/controlling-dental-pain#1.

DDS, Mark Burhenne. “Pain After a Dental Visit: What’s Normal, and What’s Not.” Ask the Dentist, 30 Aug. 2019, https://askthedentist.com/pain-dental-visit/.

Garret-Bernardin, Annelyse, et al. “Pain Experience and Behavior Management in Pediatric Dentistry: A Comparison between Traditional Local Anesthesia and the Wand Computerized Delivery System.” Pain Research & Management, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28293129.

Kasat, Vikrant, et al. “Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in Dentistry- A Review.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, Medicina Oral S.L., 1 Dec. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312687/.

“Laser Use in Dentistry.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/laser-use-dentistry.

“Sedation Dentistry: Can You Really Relax in the Dentist’s Chair?” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/sedation-dentistry-can-you-really-relax-in-the-dentists-chair#1.

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The ABC’s of Whitening Toothpaste

2020-07-16T16:54:54+00:00July 8th, 2019|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends, General, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning, Teeth Whitening|

Teeth whitening is on the rise across the country. In 2018 alone, over 40.5 million people used some form of bleaching product to improve their smiles. Whitening toothpaste, in particular, is marketed as an affordable way to brighten your smile, but is it actually doing more harm than good?


    

A Brief History of Tooth Whitening

Despite its recent rise in popularity, you might be surprised to learn that the process of teeth whitening has been around for over 4,000 years. Egyptians were some of the first known people to follow the practice. They used ground pumice stone soaked in vinegar to improve their overall smiles. As time progressed, so did the methods. During the 1600’s people actually relied on their barbers to whiten their teeth in addition to cutting their hair. The barber would file the teeth down and then soak them in nitric acid as a way to whiten someone’s smile. Fluoride was discovered as a way to protect teeth in the early 19th century and toothpaste as we currently know it began to make its way to the public around 1945. Finally, in 1989, Rembrandt officially launched the first whitening toothpaste into the grocery market effectively empowering the general public to whiten their teeth with an affordable over-the-counter product.

Today there are hundreds of different brands of whitening toothpaste to choose from and not all are created equal. With everything from big names to natural alternatives vying for space on the shelves, it’s hard to know which path to take.

     

Understanding Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Tooth Whitening

In order to understand how whitening toothpaste affects your smile, it’s helpful to first understand how the process of whitening works. When we observe stains on our teeth, we are generally seeing two types, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are considered surface stains whereas intrinsic stains run deeper inside the tooth and are more difficult to remedy.

 

Causes of extrinsic stains include: Causes of intrinsic stains include:
Coffee or tea Tooth decay
Dark fruits such as blueberries and cherries Overuse of fluoride
Red wines Cracks/Scratches in enamel
Dark vegetables such as carrots and beets Genetics
Smoking or Chewing Tobacco Certain Antibiotics (Tetracycline based)
   

Over the counter products such as whitening toothpaste and strips are only strong enough to handle extrinsic stains. For intrinsic stains, it is recommended that you see a cosmetic dentist to learn more about safe, professional procedures that may be available to you.

 

How Whitening Toothpaste Works

Contrary to its name, one of the main ways whitening toothpaste works to remove stains is through abrasion. Tiny silica particles are added to the paste and are used to essentially “scratch” the stains off of your teeth. While this method may initially remove some of the discolorations, overuse can actually cause staining to become worse. This is because the abrasive material doesn’t just eliminate the tinge, it also scratches through the protective enamel. Loss of enamel can eventually lead to deeper, more permanent intrinsic staining. As the unprotected dentin becomes increasingly exposed to everyday food and drink, discoloration is able to penetrate past the surface and into the underlying layers of the tooth below.

In addition to abrasive particles, whitening toothpaste can also contain bleaching agents. The two most common bleaching agents used to whiten teeth in toothpaste include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. While these ingredients are shown to be effective at whitening teeth, they should always be used in moderation as overuse can lead to demineralization of your teeth and if swallowed, can potentially inflame your internal organs or cause internal bleeding.

 

Common Dental Issues that Arise From the Use of Whitening Toothpaste

Some common dental issues that arise when using whitening toothpaste include sensitivity, retracting gum lines, and even increased discoloration as the enamel breaks down and stains are able to penetrate to deeper levels inside the tooth.

Sensitivity – sensitivity can occur for a number of reasons. Some of these include overuse of whitening toothpaste, keeping the paste on your teeth for an extended period of time, and allowing the toothpaste to penetrate through cracks or openings that are exposing the inner dentin. It should be noted that it’s never a good thing to feel sensitivity from the use of whitening toothpaste. If you have this issue, stop using the toothpaste and consult with your dentist for alternative options.

Receding Gums – if whitening products aren’t used properly and in moderation, they can irritate the gums and cause them to recede. Receding gum lines are harmful for a number of reasons. Healthy oral tissue is important not only to help prevent your teeth from getting infected but also to protect the internal area of the tooth from negative exposure to bacteria and germs. When whitening toothpaste isn’t used properly, it can cause permanent damage to gum lines, causing them to recede, and eventually exposing the vulnerable dentin and root below.

Loss of Enamel both abrasive particles and bleaching agents can lead to a loss of enamel over time. It’s important to understand that enamel does not grow back so great care should be taken any time you choose to use a whitening product. Always consult with your dentist before using over-the-counter products so they can instruct on the safest way to achieve the results you want.

 

The Dangers of Children Using Whitening Toothpaste

While whitening toothpaste is problematic for adults, it can be even more detrimental to children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children under the age of 15 refrain from teeth whitening.  This is because a child’s enamel is thinner than an adult’s and the nerve and dentin on the inside of the tooth are still developing. Tooth enamel isn’t fully calcified until approximately two years after the permanent teeth finish emerging. The Pediatric Safety Organization warns of teenage use of whitening products in particular. Teenagers are at a greater risk for misuse and/or overuse because they tend to want to hasten or intensify the process without fully understanding the consequences. This can cause the developing teeth to become over-oxidized, resulting in a permanent breakdown of the teeth’s structure.

In general, improper use of these types of whitening products before a child’s smile is fully developed can result in increased sensitivity, demineralization of the enamel, and variations in tooth color. Children with braces or other mouth hardware are also at risk of uneven coloring to their teeth, as the portion of the tooth that is covered will not be affected by the whitener and will end up showing as a different shade from the exposed portions of the teeth.

 

Natural Alternatives to Traditional Teeth Whitening

Having whiter teeth doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthier smile. However, if you decide you want to brighten your smile using safer, more natural methods, you have a handful of options at your disposal.

Oil Pulling – oil pulling has been shown to have numerous benefits for oral health. In addition to killing the bacteria in your mouth that is responsible for plaque and gum disease, it also helps to reduce inflammation. Currently, there is no definitive evidence showing that oil pulling whitens teeth, however, many people who use the practice claim they notice a visible whitening of their teeth. Add to the fact that it’s a safe and beneficial method overall, and there’s really no reason not to give it a try to see if it works for you.

To try oil pulling, simply choose an oil of your choice (recommended options include coconut, olive, and sesame) and swish it around in your mouth for 5 to 20 minutes. You can also use a soft toothbrush to apply the oil or wipe it over your teeth with a washcloth.

Baking Soda – Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda as it is commonly called, is another natural product that can help to whiten your teeth. When used properly, it can reduce plaque, fight bad breath, help maintain a healthy pH inside your mouth, and assist in the overall whitening of your teeth. For the safest use with regards to oral health, it is recommended that you mix a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Gently apply the mixture using either your finger or a soft toothbrush and let it sit on your teeth for approximately two minutes followed by a thorough rinse. You can apply this tincture multiple times per week for best results. Just be careful to apply gently as baking soda is abrasive and can harm your enamel if applied too strongly and too often.

Apple Cider Vinegar – apple cider vinegar is another effective way to help whiten your teeth. The reason vinegar works as a whitener is because it contains acetic acid which helps to remove the plaque and clean teeth. To use vinegar effectively as a whitener, mix one part vinegar with three parts water and swish in your mouth for about a minute. Be sure to spit it out once you’re finished. A couple of tips to remember when using Apple Cider Vinegar include:

 

  1. Always dilute the vinegar with water before swishing. Straight vinegar has a highly acidic pH and will damage the enamel on your teeth if overused.
  1. Only use organic brands of apple cider vinegar. This is because non-organic brands are typically pasteurized, which removes the majority of the beneficial properties contained in the vinegar.
  1. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after use. Residual vinegar remains on your teeth and can harm your enamel if you brush while it’s still present.

 

Brush and Rinse After Eating and Drinking – being vigilant about your teeth after eating and drinking can really make a difference in the amount of staining you accumulate over time. Make an effort, when possible, to brush your teeth after eating food and drink so that you can alleviate stains before they happen. If you drink coffee or other staining drinks, try to follow it up with a glass of water to help mitigate the effects. Regular coffee drinkers or smokers may also want to consider a visit to the dentist every three months instead of six to help keep their smile bright and healthy.

Naturally, one of the best ways to keep a sparkling, white smile is to take care of your teeth on a daily basis. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, floss regularly, and visit your dentist every six months. If you are interested in learning more about professional teeth whitening, please feel free to call our office. We’ll be happy to help answer any questions you might have and discuss how we can safely and effectively help you to achieve a brighter, whiter smile.

 

– Julie Mastbrook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

“Apple Cider Vinegar Teeth Whitening: Can You Safely Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Whiten Teeth?” Emergency Dentists USA, www.emergencydentistsusa.com/apple-cider-vinegar-teeth-whitening/.

 

“Apple Cider Vinegar vs. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/107959-apple-cider-vinegar-vs.-organic/.

 

Axe, Josh. “6 Ways to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth.” Dr. Axe, 9 Mar. 2018, draxe.com/6-ways-to-naturally-whiten-your-teeth/.

 

“History of Toothpaste – Toothbrush History.” History of Toothpaste – Toothbrush History, www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/history-of-toothbrushes-and-toothpastes.

 

“Is Teeth Whitening Safe For Children?” Kids Dental Online – Plano & Carrollton, www.kidsdentalonline.com/dental-topics/teeth-whitening-safe-children/.

 

Lee, Sean S., et al. “Tooth Whitening in Children and Adolescents: A Literature Review.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Pediatric Dentistry, 17 Aug. 2005, www.aapd.org/globalassets/media/publications/archives/lee-27-5.pdf.

 

Pesce, Nicole Lyn. “The Dark Side of Teeth-Whitening Strips.” MarketWatch, 10 Apr. 2019, www.marketwatch.com/story/the-dark-side-of-teeth-whitening-strips-2019-04-10.

“The Risks of Tooth Whitening Toothpastes | Winston Salem Dentist.” Distinctive Dental, 30 Nov. 2017, www.distinctivelydental.com/can-whitening-toothpastes-damage-teeth/.

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Finding an Experienced Dentist in Monroe, North Carolina

2020-07-16T16:55:10+00:00June 17th, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Crowns, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General, Oral Health, Teeth Whitening|

There are fewer things more stressful than finding a new health provider, much less finding an office and staff to trust you and your family’s smile with. Whether you’re searching for the right dentist to advise your oral health regimen, or are simply in the market for a new dentist, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to equip you with the right knowledge to find an experienced dentist suited for your treatment needs.

 

Find an Experienced Dentist—Don’t Get Unnecessary Treatments

In need of a second opinion after getting a hefty price estimate for a procedure, you’re not sure you really need? Had a bad experience with a previous dentist and searching for a new practice to rebuild trust with? Waited so long for a dental visit that you’re just ready for a fresh start and motivation? No judgments and no worries! Finding an experienced dentist does not have to be an ordeal.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by your search for the right dentist. From Google searches, Yelp reviews, to scouring websites and seeking out word of mouth recommendations, there are many ways in which we try to find a great dentist. If you’ve moved recently or switched insurance companies, it can also be difficult to move on from a long-time dentist and find another that meets all of your expectations.

Where should you even start? We have laid out the most important considerations in your search for the right experienced dentist.

 

Question 1: What makes a good dental practice?

You have probably asked yourself this before. What makes a good dentist? Is it a staff of gentle hygienists? A dentist who spends time in the room with the patient? The cheapest treatment options around? Let’s discuss it!

 

Expectations should be met with every point of contact, including staff

Whether you are making your first call to inquire about services, scheduling an appointment, or entering the practice, the staff should be welcoming to patients. Practices that leave patients in the waiting room without greeting and without respect for patients’ time are red flags that the dental practice does not respect the time of their clients. A friendly, punctual staff ensures that the visit is great from start to finish.

 

Active listening

Between the hygienists and the dentist, you need a practice that listens to what you say. As the patient, you are the best advocate and knowledge base of your own health, and a good dental practice values that. By listening to your concerns and requests, and acting on what they hear, rather than talking over the patient or not spending and giving the time to the patient to speak their concerns, the patient will collaborate with the dental practice to ensure they are receiving the best treatment options.

 

Attempts to know the patient

In a larger practice, we do not expect our dentists to know the patient’s entire history, but no patient wants to feel like another file on the shelf. A dentist taking the time to know you can affect the level of care that the patient gets. Whether that’s making friendly conversation or taking a few minutes to read your chart, attempting to know the patient can make all the difference in your dental care.

 

Question 2: What are the warning signs of a bad dentist?

Fraudulent dentists certainly are not the norm, but more often than you would think, dishonest practices have impacted patients in their long-term trust in dentistry and their own oral health. The wrong dentist is more concerned with his pocketbook rather than the overall health of your mouth, meaning he may recommend and perform unnecessary treatments. Procedures that aren’t necessary can wreak havoc on your mouth and lead to further problems down the road.

 

Signs of Fraudulent Practice

  1. Urgency without explanation:

If your dentist identifies an issue that is not a dental emergency and tells you a procedure needs to be done immediately, you should start by asking why and for full disclosure on the procedure itself. If you are in a new dentist’s chair for a regular cleaning and suddenly you’re bombarded with procedures of a type you’ve never needed before, or that you did not enter the practice asking for help with, then it may be a red flag. When the dentist is vague on the reasoning for procedures, he may be pressuring you into going forward without understanding all of your options.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is:

Some dentists offer very discounted, or even free cleanings as a way to get patients in the door. Once in the chair, they may either hit you with fees that were never mentioned as part of the deal or as mentioned before, pressure you into procedures with intensity.

  1. Lack of Patient Education:

As we mentioned before, the sign of a great dentist is one who educates patients and ensures that decisions are made collectively between the patient and dentist. It is not good practice when dentists and hygienists are not willing to take time and explain the dental issues and recommended procedures to the patient. Even the act of not showing patients their x-rays can be a red flag. Your dentist should take the time to discuss what is shown in your x-rays, point out any lesions or unhealthy teeth, and talk through the treatment plan with the findings.

 

Question 3: How does dentistry become susceptible to fraud, and how can I determine if I am part of fraudulent dentistry?

We know that for the majority of dentists out there, it took years of hard work and building trust among their patients to make a successful dental practice. But, as in any profession, there are a small number of professionals out there who turn to taking shortcuts for financial gain. For the medical profession in general, medical diagnoses can be subjective. Because of this, we have a number of suggestions to improve patient advocacy.

 

Understand how your insurance works with the dental practice.

Beyond having a sense of your general dental coverage, you may not know how the dental practices interact before and after your dental visit. After scheduling your appointment, the staff at the dental practice will reach out to your dental insurance company to find out everything that is covered under your provider. So before you even enter the office, the experienced dentist will know everything that can be billed to you during your dental visit. Unfortunately, this can leave the patient vulnerable to receiving treatments that are more likely to be reimbursed by the insurance company, rather than what’s truly right for the teeth.

 

For example, a dentist may be choosing between a filling and a root canal for a patient. Taking the path with the root canal and crown is more lucrative for the dental practice. This is because it is common knowledge that root canals are easier to pass through an insurance company than a filling, and by receiving a root canal, you’re automatically approved for a crown. Root canals are easier to pass simply because the dentist can justify the root canal by claiming that the patient was in pain. The problem here is that the dentist may have just been able to perform a filling, which is a cheaper procedure and less invasive for the patient.

 

Now that there are some ways of identifying fraud, let’s talk about active ways to prevent getting in those situations in the first place.

 

  1. Choose your dentist based on referrals

Your insurance company may be telling you which dentists to see, but take time to do your own research. Seek out others with the same insurance and ask for a recommendation. Or, if you have a current dentist in the same area but you have switched insurance policies, ask your dentist for a recommendation, or ask for a recommendation from a local dentist society or health professional. Just because the insurance company covers a dentist does not make it a suitable referral. Plus, seeking out opinions from family, friends, and co-workers can give recommendations backed by real experiences.

  1. Consider going family-owned rather than corporate

Chain-dentistry practices drive patients through the door with heavy advertising and discounts, quick cleanings, free exams, and of course, hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work. Corporate dental chains can run on a quota-based model that can sometimes lead to practices working on the side of pushing unnecessary treatments.

  1. Ask for the appointment time

Generally, a new patient appointment should take around an hour and a half. If the office tells you that appointment should only last about a half hour, they may be trying to rush you through what should be a thorough cleaning and appointment, rather than give you the time you deserve as a patient. If you’re an established patient, appointment time can vary, but a cleaning should take at least 45 minutes. If it lasts only 15 minutes, it’s time to start asking questions.

  1. Always check your bill

In a true dental scam, a dentist might inflate claims or bill insurers for procedures that the patient didn’t receive. The best way to avoid this from happening is to ensure communication with your dentist, ask for an estimated price upfront (prior to sitting in the dental chair), and always checking your bill at checkout. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, it is estimated that Americans lose about $68 billion dollars each year to healthcare fraud. Don’t be a victim of dental fraud; know the signs and do not be afraid to advocate for yourself as a patient.

  1. Check the market rate for common procedures.

There are common procedures you have had before that you know the price for, but when dental pain strikes, sometimes you are willing to pay anything for it to get fixed. It’s at these times when it is most important to ensure that you are being offered a fair, market-rate price, and not just being offered the most expensive procedure that your insurance may or may not cover.

  1. Seek other opinions.

If you have ever had a major dental procedure, it is likely that you might have sought out another opinion. One dentist may recommend that you need it, while another may not. This is totally normal, and encouraged, especially if you feel that any of the signs above are occurring.

  1. Feel out the culture of the office.

While how you feel as a patient is important, seeing how the experienced dentist treats the staff can also impact the care you receive. The best doctors are attentive to patients and staff. If you have a bad feeling with your interaction from the front desk to the dental chair, how can you trust your oral health to the practice? You should feel safe and welcome at the dentist from the moment you walk in the door. 

 

Find a dental provider who’s right for you and your family

Carolina’s Dental Choice is here to make you feel right at home, whether you’re new to the area or a longtime resident. Give us a call today if you’re in need of a welcoming, friendly face in the dental practice world at 704-289-9519.

 

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The Hidden Dangers of Mouthwash: What You Need to Know

2021-02-05T18:11:46+00:00June 5th, 2019|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends, Dentist Office Monroe NC, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning, Teeth Whitening|

Mouthwash is often touted as a safe and effective method for curing bad breath and improving overall oral health. But recent studies show that not all mouthwashes are created equal. Before you add a mouthwash to your daily dental regimen, take a minute to understand some of the potential dangers that might be hiding in that morning and evening routine.

 

The Problems with Conventional Mouthwash

While advertising may state that conventional mouthwash kills 99.9% of all bacteria, that’s not always the full dental story. Many conventional types of mouthwash contain up to a 26% alcohol content in addition to other dangerous ingredients. When you swish mouthwash twice a day in your mouth for an extended period of time, a number of things occur.

  1. Alcohol destroys the friendly bacteria your body needs to maintain normal blood pressure and positive oral health. Think of it like an antibiotic for your mouth. It doesn’t distinguish between good and bad oral bacteria, it simply kills it all.
  2. Conventional mouthwash dries out your mouth and affects saliva production. This can actually result in worsened breath over time in addition to increased cavity production because saliva acts as a natural barrier for both of these dental conditions.
  3. Recent studies have shown that using conventional mouthwash may potentially lead to high blood pressure issues because of disruption with the body’s production of NO (Nitric Oxide), a molecule inside the body that helps to regulate blood pressure.

A sample of ingredients that are the biggest culprits for these dental issues include alcohol (associated with drying your mouth and killing bacteria), Chlorine Dioxide (used as a bleaching agent to whiten teeth), Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic that is also an allergen), and formaldehyde (dangers include cancer risk and respiratory problems).

 

Discovering Natural Mouthwash Alternatives

There are several natural mouthwash alternatives available over the counter that provide a safer option for those that want to maintain their daily swishing regimen. A few choices are listed below.

  1. The Natural Dentist
    This mouthwash can be found at most major retailers and is tailored towards those with sensitive teeth and gums. The ingredients are all natural and contain 20% Aloe Vera which is a natural antiseptic that replaces conventional use of Chlorhexidine without the side effects.
  2. Therabreath
    This mouthwash is also available at most major retailers and helps increase saliva production instead of drying out your mouth. It also uses natural ingredients including aloe vera and tea tree oil which is another natural antiseptic used to aid in overall oral health.
  3. Oral Essentials
    Created by dentists and thoroughly tested, this mouthwash contains sea salt to help maintain the healthy mineral balance in your mouth. In addition, you’ll find such natural ingredients as aloe vera, coconut oil (a natural teeth whitener), and essential oils (aids in freshening breath). This mouthwash can be found on Amazon in addition to other online retailers.

  

Do-It-Yourself Mouthwash? Why not!

A quick search on the internet for do-it-yourself mouthwash will yield plenty of recipes for you to experiment with. When wading through the never-ending list of oral options, keep a few essential ingredients in mind. 

  1. Aloe Vera
    As mentioned above, Aloe Vera is a top-notch replacement for the conventional mouthwash ingredient, Chlorhexidine. Studies have shown that it is equally as effective as an antiseptic but without all the harmful side effects.
  2. Essential Oils
    Essential Oils are a natural way to freshen breath without the drying effect of alcohol. They also contain antibacterial properties and oils such as lemon contain whitening properties to help keep your teeth shiny and bright.
  3. Sea Salt and Baking Soda
    Both these ingredients have strong benefits for oral health. Used as mouthwash ingredients, sea salt will help to restore the mineral balance of your mouth while baking soda will help to ease gingivitis and whiten teeth.

 

Final Thoughts on Mouthwash

Studies show that conventional mouthwashes are not as effective or as safe as typically advertised. They can contribute to dry mouth, mess with the balance of bacteria in your mouth and even cause increased gingivitis and cavity formation. The best way to keep your dental health in tip-top shape is to work on the problem from the inside out. Keep a balanced diet and stay away from processed foods and sugars. If you still want to make mouthwash a regular part of your dental routine, stick with all natural brands or create your own recipe so that you are in control of the ingredients going into your mouth and body.  For more information, please contact Carolina’s Dental Choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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