oral health

3 Reasons Dental Cleanings Are Essential

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

When it comes to regular dental checkups, most people know that it is something they are obligated to do. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the real importance behind it.

Getting dental cleanings is not just something that we do because our parents told us to growing up. The truth is that cleanings and checkups are absolutely essential to good oral health.

Here are some of the ways in which dental cleanings can significantly impact your teeth for the better.Read more

Two Peas In a Pod: Why Brushing and Flossing Come Hand-in-Hand

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Gums
Two Peas In a Pod: Why Brushing and Flossing Come Hand-in-Hand

Brushing and Flossing, it’s a subject we deal with every time we go to the dentist. After a while, it begins to feel like white noise.

Sure, we all know that brushing is important, but flossing seems kind of redundant. Do we really need it? Why are both of them necessary?

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll try to break down the benefits of brushing and flossing and explain why you should be doing both. Read on to learn more.

The Weird World of Teeth

Dentistry can be potentially traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who were incredibly skilled as far as ancient doctors go. They were the first to understand that a broken bone could be set and would grow back together.

They also may have pioneered dentistry. Granted, that was a simpler time when a dental problem meant an untreated abscess or cavities from accidentally eating sand, and they couldn’t even cure that.

Let’s jump ahead a few thousand years to the mid-nineteenth century when the medical model now known as germ theory was becoming popular among the masses.

This brings us to today and the question of why flossing is important. Flossing and brushing combined help in the treatment of gingivitis, which is caused by bacteria. However, that’s not the only benefit.

It also helps to destroy other forms of plaque and bacteria, which could lead to more serious issues. In fact, your mouth can be thought of as the metaphorical canary in a coal mine.

Plaque in your mouth can potentially lead to a higher risk of heart disease, as well as mouth infections, which can spread to other areas of the body. Plus, paying close attention to your mouth can help you notice signs that might be a sign of another issue somewhere else in the body.

Brushing and Flossing

As great as toothbrushes are, they can’t do everything. Their shape is not particularly well-designed for cleaning in between teeth.

This helps to prevent bacteria from forming in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. It may seem like a hassle now, but in the long run, it can save a lot of money on dental procedures.

Plus, it helps to cure bad breath, and can even make your teeth appear whiter by cutting away particles you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

Oral Hygiene

It may seem like your dentist is beating a dead horse every time they talk to you about the benefits of brushing and flossing, but it is true. Brushing and flossing help cut down on plaque and bacteria, which can prevent a lot of problems later on.

Additionally, brushing and flossing can also help your mouth look better and smell better.

If you want to know more about dentistry and how to keep your mouth healthy, please visit our website. Maybe you have bleeding gums but aren’t sure why. We can help. Perhaps you want to know which foods you should avoid if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

Quit the Chattering: How to Deal with Your Dental Anxiety

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health
Quit the Chattering: How to Deal with Your Dental Anxiety

You’re eating popcorn then all of a sudden you feel it, the dreaded toothache. Instantly your palms get sweaty you may even get knots in your stomach.

Dental anxiety is more common than you would think. It’s estimated that around 80 percent of Americans have some anxiety when it comes to seeing the dentist.

Many of us have learned this fear from an early age, most likely from our first dentist appointment. Unfortunately, this isn’t a fear that we can get over by avoidance. Avoiding the dentist only makes the situation worse.

When it is time to go to the dentist, we have some tips to help you get through your appointment.

Share Your Dental Anxiety with Your Dentist

The best thing you can do is tell your dentist and the assistant, what exactly your fear or dental anxiety is about. If you are open with the staff they can help to modify things to lessen your anxiety.

Having good communication with them can be key to a tear-free dentist appointment. The different types of anxiety have different approaches to counteracting them.

Anxiety Caused by Expected Pain

This is one of the most common types of dental anxiety. Most simply because no one likes pain, and odds are if you have dental anxiety and you’re at the dentist – you may already be in pain.

Let your dentist or dental assistant know, they can give you topical numbing before the shots. Also don’t be afraid to tell them that you can still feel it if you think you can. Even if it’s in your head, it can’t hurt to give yourself the extra peace of mind.

If that doesn’t ease your mind, many dental offices can use the assistance of nitrous oxide or laughing gas that can help you relax.

Bad Experience in the Past

It seems like most people who have dental anxiety have had bad experiences in the past. Whether it was because of anxiety or the cause if it.

Bad experiences can leave you uneasy and anxious to go back to the dentist. Again, tell your dentist what happened, that way they can do their best to avoid doing what triggered you before.

Give your new dentist a chance don’t hold the new one accountable for the old one’s actions.

Not being Informed

Some people are afraid of the unknown. If you’re someone who likes to be told what they are doing every step of the way, tell them that.

If you have dental anxiety, and you’ve never had the dentist walk you though, it’s worth a try. Knowing what’s happening can help settle your anxiety. And if you don’t like it, you can always ask the dentist to stop.

You Don’t Need to be Anxious About the Dentist

Dental anxiety is so common that associate Professor Jason Armfield came up with a ‘dental anxiety scale‘ to help treat it all around the world.

The key to lowering your anxiety levels at the dentist is to stay open and communicate. Dentists understand and are more than willing to do what they can to help you feel at ease.

If you have other concerns or are looking for a dentist with experience in dental anxiety, contact us.

Reasons Why Your Gums Bleed

Dental Advice | Dental Problems | Gums

Noticing your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth can be alarming. The big question is: what are the possible causes of your bleeding gums? There can be different reasons why your gums might start to bleed when you brush. Some reasons are temporary while some are of more concern. It is important to make an appointment with your dentist if you are worried about your oral health.

 

Here are some of the possible reasons for bleeding gums:

 

GINGIVITIS

This is the first stage of gum disease. Plaque at the gumline and on your teeth that are not removed by flossing and brushing can infect your gums, leading to the symptoms of gingivitis. When this oral condition occurs, your gums can be tender, swollen, and sometimes, bleeding when you brush and floss. This early stage of the condition responds well to good brushing and flossing habits as well as regular trips to the dentist.

 

MEDICATIONS

Blood-thinning medications have been listed by the Canadian and American Dental Associations as a common cause of bleeding gums. These medications decrease blood’s ability to clot, thus leading to easier bleeding. Let your dentist know about any medications you may be on.

 

NEW TOOTHBRUSH

Switching from a soft-bristled toothbrush to a firmer one might also result in bleeding gums. When this happens, you may try returning to a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist about which toothbrush is best for you at your next dental visit.

 

NEW FLOSSING ROUTINE

Changing your flossing routine is also one possible reason why your gums are bleeding. For instance, if you have not flossed in a few days or if you start flossing more frequently to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth, then you might notice some bleeding. This temporary trauma would often clear up within a week once the overabundance or under abundance is corrected and healing resolves.

 

PREGNANCY GINGIVITIS

Some pregnant women might experience swollen and bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. This is called ‘pregnancy gingivitis’. Hormonal changes during one’s pregnancy might alter the body’s response to the bacteria causing gum disease. As per the American Pregnancy Association, symptoms would clear up after pregnancy. Regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing can help prevent gum problems from worsening.

 

PHYSICAL TRAUMA

Obviously, we are aware if we are hit in the mouth as anywhere else sudden impact can result in tissue trauma resulting in bleeding. However slow, sustained force is also capable of bringing blood prominently to the surface. This can be contributed to with force applications of an over-aggressive brush but more often force applications of the opposing teeth of clenching and grinding.

 

Remember, bleeding gums can be your sign of the presence of gingivitis. If left untreated, it can develop into the more serious stages of gum disease. Find out what is causing your bleeding gums by seeing a dentist. If you are suffering from this oral condition, setup an appointment with one of our dentists here at Midtown Dental today!

Prepare Your Children for Their First Trip to the Dentist

Children | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

If you have little ones at home, you must understand the importance of teaching them how to have good oral health. This includes having a great relationship with a dentist and starts with that very first trip to the dental clinic. For kids, this new experience can be scary. This is why parents and caregivers should know what they can do to help alleviate the fears of children; here are some ways how:

 

#01. Be a Great Role Model

Children are like little sponges who soak up every bit of emotion and information from adults around them. It is important that you maintain a good role model of dental health for your kids long before they even have their first dental appointment. Make sure that you demonstrate good dental habits in front of them, and show them how to properly care for their teeth. A child who knows that he or she has done a good job taking care of his or her teeth is less likely to feel anxious about going to the dentist.

 

#02. Start Them Young

There is no such thing as starting them too early in terms of good dental care. You should also talk to them about what they can expect in their first dental appointment. Help your kids understand that dentists only want to help them keep their teeth healthy. You should avoid telling your kids about “scary dental procedures”. Stay away from words such as “pain” or “drill” as those will only fuel their anxiety. Focus, instead, on all the helpful things that a dentist does. You should also encourage them to ask questions if they have any, and be sure to be honest with them.

 

#03. Have a Practice Visit

Children, just like adults, can be afraid of the unknown. You can try playing dentist to help them understand better what will happen once they visit the dentist. Doing this can help them be more at ease once they are actually there. Try brushing your child’s teeth the same way the dentist will, and just fully immerse yourself in the role play. Kids learn through play, so roleplaying is a great way to teach your kids about dental health.

 

#04. Use Visuals with Other Kids Having Positive Dental Experiences

Younger kids might enjoy the treat of having a book about the dentist read to them, and older ones will more likely benefit from watching more realistic videos that show other kids being in an actual dental office. Both books and videos are great visual tools for helping our kids visualize what to expect.

 

#05. Offer Your Kids Comfort

Be sure to NEVER dismiss your kids’ fear or make them feel, in any way, that they need to ‘toughen up’. Help ease their worries, and offer comfort whenever they show fear.

 

These five simple tips can make a huge difference in how your kid feels about their first trip to the dentist. Start early so you can both look forward to a great dental experience!

Food and Beverages That Are Bad for the Teeth

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

Want to maintain your great smile? The answer is simple, really – PREVENTION. Although crowns, fillings, professional whitening, and other treatment can make your teeth brighter and stronger, it is still better and cheaper to avoid stains and cavities from developing in the first place by brushing and flossing regularly, and of course, by eating right! The food and beverages that we ingest have a big impact on our teeth.

 

Here are some foods and beverages that you need to watch out for:

 

Citrus Fruits

As much as citrus fruits and juices are a rich source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients, they are not so good when it comes to the teeth. Lemon juice and grapefruit, in particular, are highly acidic and they can erode tooth enamel over time. Orange juice, however, is less acidic, and there are many store-bought varieties that are also fortified with teeth-friendly vitamin D and calcium. So when you do drink fortified orange juice, make sure that you brush and floss afterward.

 

Chewy Candies

Keep this simple concept in mind: the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Extra-chewy candies like caramels or taffy tend to stick to and between the teeth for a long time, thus allowing the bacteria in the mouth to feast on the deposited sugars.

 

Hard Candies

Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers do not cling to the teeth as much as chewy ones, but they still have their downside. Unlike chocolate-based sugary treats which can be washed away easily, hard candies dissolve slowly and saturate the mouth for several minutes at a time, thus giving bacteria more time to produce harmful acid. There are also many varieties of hard candies that are flavoured with citric acid.

 

Soda

It is not a secret that drinking too many sugary sodas can breed cavities. What most people do not know is that the acids found in carbonated drinks appear to be more harmful than their sugar content. Even sugar-free diet sodas can erode enamel if consumed in large doses! If you cannot do without soda, you should best drink it during a meal instead of sipping it throughout the day. The food helps neutralize the acid.

 

Sports Drinks

If you are in the mood for something fizzy or sweet, energy and sports drinks might seem like a better alternative to soda. However, energy drinks will not do your teeth any favours either! These beverages are, in fact, acidic, too, and they are potentially even more damaging to the teeth.

 

Next month, we will be posting more foods and beverages that are harmful to the teeth; so watch out for that!

Why You Should Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

When was the last time you visited your dentist? Your dentist likely recommends you to come back every six months – have you ever wondered why that is? Even the Canadian and American Dental Associations recommend bi-annual check-ups and hygiene maintenance. Regular dental visits are important for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. In between those visits, it is essential that you work hard to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. If your dentist feels that you need additional help, he or she might even suggest more frequent visits.

 

Skipping a dental checkup due to costs or other factors such as dental anxiety or time can cost you more in the long run, so be sure to consider all the risks first. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should make it a point to see your dentist regularly:

 

PLAQUE, TARTAR, AND CAVITIES

Even the most diligent brushers and flossers can still have some areas in their mouth that are missed by regular flossing and brushing, so do not be too complacent. There are hiding spots for bacteria. When plaque builds up, it can be more difficult to remove, solidifying and becoming tartar, which is extremely challenging to get rid of without help from a dentist or dental hygienist. The erosion of teeth or having holes in them due to the decay process can be prevented by having regular dental cleanings and pristine oral hygiene. Cavities rarely give warning signs as they form, and once the damage has been done, you will need to go back to your dentist to have cavities and other tooth problems fixed. Again, with regular cleanings and self-diligence, this can all be avoided.

 

GUM DISEASE

The buildup of plaque and tartar do not only cause tooth decay, but it can also erode the mouth’s gum tissues. When tartar buildup causes an infection where the gum is connected to the tooth, the gum is pulled away from the tooth. This is known as gingivitis and the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth breaks down when this occurs. When it reaches this point, it officially becomes gum disease. You will start to experience bleeding, swelling and soreness in the mouth. In addition to the breakdown of gum tissue, gum disease can also cause breakdown of the bone that holds your teeth in place. During this point, it is common to see loose or failing teeth and drastic treatment methods might be required.

 

FINDING PROBLEMS UNDER THE SURFACE VIA X-RAYS

Another crucial part of visiting your dentist regularly is getting your teeth and underlying structures x-rayed. X-ray images enable dental professionals to see what is really happening beneath the surfaces of your mouth. They can also find and diagnose issues that are invisible to the naked eye. X-rays show bone levels, structures and varying degrees of density to detect loss or spots that are softening especially between teeth where a surface inspection may not be able to access.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Keep in mind that dental professionals are not only concerned with fixing our teeth. They professionally clean the teeth, ensure that our teeth and gums are healthy, and they also check for abnormalities that might otherwise go unnoticed and that could be a sign of larger health issues.

 

So, be sure to have regular trips to the dentist! If you are looking for dentists you can rely on, contact us today and set up an appointment with us!