Your Teeth and Holiday Tips

It is my most favorite time of the year.  The Fall has come and the seasonal fun is beginning.  I know I am going to spend lots of time with my family and also hanging out with my friends for all kinds of gatherings and parties.  This is a time to enjoy my favorite snacks, desserts, and wonderful holiday drinks.  The pumpkin spice latte is now available at Starbucks and I know it is time to indulge.  But this is also the time of year that my teeth take the worst pounding.  I know that the health of my dental routine is probably not good enough to get past my indulgence in this holiday season.  So I wanted to make myself a list of tips to personally follow to help me stay healthy and safe for this season.  With COVID-19 all around I know that being healthy is really important right now and staying away from medical situations is key.

Really the one thing that I love about the Holiday is the thing I should avoid the most.  But really avoiding won’t be an option for me.  If I give up sugar and sweet drinks then I will most likely just binge later on and ruin the whole plan. So really trying to limit the amount of sugary and highly acidic food and drinks is a good idea.  When it comes to sugary coffees I am going to limit those to times after I have brushed my teeth and when a new brushing is coming.  I am also planning on not going nuts on eating sugary foods.  These are really bad on your teeth and can eat away at your enamel.  That can really become a problem if you constantly are putting sugar on your teeth.  Plaque is a big issue and when all of these things combine they get worse.  So my goal is to cut back and eat and drink sparingly, but not stop it altogether. 

I am also planning on keeping my mouth clean after eating and drinking bad things for the season.  Water is a great way to rinse the bacteria causing and enamel eroding things off your teeth and out of your mouth.  So carrying a bottle of water with me is going to be a staple of my holiday. I have several nice mugs and stainless steel water bottles that fit all times of the day where I would need one.  At a party, just make sure to switch out every other drink from cider to water.  Or an adult beverage to a water after each one.  This will help you clean your mouth and also help you stay hydrated enough to produce saliva. 

Saliva is a great way to help your teeth during this season because it is a natural cleaner.  So by drinking water you are not only rinsing your teeth but also creating a cleaner in your mouth to act as a nice mouthwash.  This is important to keep up on and a great idea to work on staying healthy.  Just keep water in mind and many good things will come from it.

It is also good to keep some disposable brushes with you too. I like the mini ones you can use quickly and toss after you eat dessert.  It is a great way to keep your health up and still enjoy that seasonal snack. 

Protect Your Teeth this Year

I seem to always think about health in the long run.  When it comes to my body I am always considering what my day to day tasks will end up producing for the long haul.  If I am eating poorly daily that will most likely have more of an effect on my body and my dental hygiene than almost anything else I do.  But there are also little things that you should be keeping an eye on to make sure that you are staying healthy.  With the COVID-19 Pandemic going on, I have never thought it was more important than to work on my health.  The last thing I want to do is to go into a hospital with an emergency when it could have been prevented with a good protective routine.  So that is what I am focusing on this year and that is setting good routines.  Especially, now that the holidays have come, I know that my teeth will be in for a hard time.  So making sure my mouth is safe is possibly going to be a life-saving ordeal this year. So I wanted to go over a few things I am doing to keep my mouth protected.

Really the first thing I am going to work on is drinking more water.  It sounds silly, but I know that staying hydrated actually has more to do with your dental health than you might think.  By rinsing off your teeth consistently you have more of a chance to get rid of all that plaque-causing food and sugar that may end up sticking to your teeth.  Water also has the wonderful task of helping you to create more saliva.  This is like the body’s natural mouth rinse.  So by simply drinking more water each day, and helping to rinse my teeth, I can keep the bad bacteria from eating away at my enamel and causing major issues.  This is why I am incorporating a water bottle into my daily life.  I think that it is important to continue to drink water more and to have a nice bottle that doesn’t interfere with my daily life.

Now another routine I am working on is brushing right after lunch.  I want to make sure I am keeping a protective layer on my teeth throughout the day and also keeping excess food off of my teeth.  The last thing I want is to go the entire day with extra sugar attached and eating away at a part of my mouth.  That seems like a bad idea and now that I am working from home in the pandemic I can easily brush my teeth for lunch.  It has taken me some work to create the habit of doing this, but with my cell phone alarm, I am have hammered down on myself to do it.  Because of this, I feel that my teeth are in better shape and that my teeth are actually getting a bit whiter.  That certainly is a nice addition to the extra work and a nice pat on my own back.

The last habit that I have tried to incorporate is to floss once a day.  I use these little floss sticks that keep my fingers out of my mouth and away from the floss string.  That stuff grosses me out, but these have made it pretty easy for me to ensure my mouth is clean. If you get a chance to incorporate these ideas into your routine, give it a try!

Hawley Retainer To Maintain Your Straight Smile

Wearing braces means a long-term commitment to a smile-straightening treatment, which costs both time and money. After your braces are removed, you have a beautiful smile. But you are not there yet. There is still the risk of your teeth shifting back, which means you may need some additional treatment to keep your teeth straightened for life. That is where you can consider wearing a Hawley retailer.

A Hawley retainer keeps your teeth in their new positions. You can remove these retainers when the jawbone surrounds your teeth to make the new alignment permanent. Since it is the final step in orthodontic treatment, you have to practice patience.

Elements of a Hawley retainer

This post-braces orthodontic appliance consists of metal and plastic, custom-molded to fit your new teeth alignment. The wires on this retainer sit on your front teeth while loops on your canines. These elements keep your teeth in place. Since it is a more delicate appliance than braces, wearing it carefully is a must. You don’t want the plastic or wire structure to get damaged when wearing or removing the appliance. After consistent use for a few months, your dentist will ask you to reduce its wear time. However, you will have to wear it for almost the entire time at the onset.

Caring for your Hawley retainer

Due to the delicate structure and relatively higher costs, Hawley retainers need special care. While you may fix minor problems with traditional retainers without affecting their quality that much, Hawley retainers are more complicated appliances. Even a minor fix will take weeks. That will prove detrimental to the reason you wear retainers.

Here is how you can care for your Hawley retainers.

  • Clean these retainers to remove food particles and bacteria.
  • Be watchful when using hot water to clean these retainers.
  • Keep them away from high temperatures.
  • Store them in a secure custom container when not wearing.

Cleaning your Hawley retainer

Plaque and tartar can build up on your retainer just as they would on your teeth. That is why it is crucial to clean your Hawley retainer regularly. The cleaning process has to be diligent and precise. Here are a few things you have to do when cleaning your retainer.

  • Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use it gently while cleaning. You can also use toothpaste.
  • Soak the retainer in a cleaning agent to kill harmful germs.
  • Ask your orthodontist regarding how to clean your Hawley retainer. You may get some specific instructions.

No matter what your age is, you can benefit from a Hawley retainer after the removal of your braces. If you want to get these retainers to your child, be sure to teach him or her how to take care of them. Since children tend to be careless during their day-to-day routines, it is crucial to remind them of the importance of these retainers.

The good news is that you do not have to wear these retainers forever. Once your teeth are properly set in place, your dentist will ask you to engage in the retainer removal process, which can be a bit gradual.

How To Take Care Of Your Oral Health During Cancer Treatment

Cancer patients undergoing intense medical procedures do not think much about their oral health, yet chemotherapy and radiation can have severe side effects on the oral cavity. Paying attention to basic oral care can help you prevent any oral health complications that might result in any hindrance to cancer treatment.

People who face a higher risk

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), about 40% of patients who receive cancer treatment are at a higher risk of developing oral health complications. About 80% of patients receiving stem cell transplants face such a risk. All patients getting treatment for head and neck cancer are the risk of oral health complications. The good news is that you can prevent these complications, or at least minimize their severity, with simple preventive measures.

Pretreatment oral care

You can visit your dentist one month before receiving chemo or radiation therapy. This proactive approach will help you address any problems with your oral cavity. Your dentist will also give you an oral care routine to stick with during cancer treatment. These measures will help you alleviate the risk of severe oral health complications. Apart from regular dental visits, you may have to commit to a customized oral care routine.

Preventing and treating oral complications

Your dental hygiene routine is the first and foremost thing that you will need to consider to prevent oral health complications under any circumstances. You are going to need to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and mild-tasting fluoride toothpaste to stay on top of your oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth in the morning and before going to bed. It is equally crucial to clean spaces between your teeth, so make sure to floss more regularly. Using a non-alcoholic mouthwash provides an added protection against the bacterial attack on your teeth and gums.

There may be some bleeding when you brush or floss, and sometimes while eating. Cancer treatments can lower the platelet count, resulting in the gums becoming more susceptible to bleeding. You may still want to consult with your dentist or doctor to determine the real cause. Excessive bleeding should be a cause of concern, and so you should consult with your doctor to know what’s causing that much bleeding. It is pertinent to note that no matter if your gums bleed excessively, you should stick to your oral hygiene routine. You may have to be gentler with your cleaning approach, though.

The most noticeable and irritating side effect of cancer treatment is dry mouth. You may want to discuss this problem with your dentist and ask about the products that you can use to stimulate saliva production in your mouth. Using artificial saliva products, sugarless gum, and lozenges may be helpful in this regard. You may also want to sip water more frequently to keep your oral cavity moist appropriately. Remember, mouth dryness can be a significant reason for tooth decay and gum disease.

Cancer treatments can result in various oral health issues, so discussing with your dentist and surgeon can empower you with the necessary information that you need to prevent these complications.

Dental tools

Walking to the back rooms of a dental office is kind of intimidating. Walking past the operating rooms, you can see the dentists working on their patients with their shiny tools. Some of the tools you can see look quite scary. The good news is the dentists know how to use those tools and what each one is used for. I personally do not like having the dentist scrap on my teeth with their pointy sticks; it hurts most of the time. Not to mention if the dentist slips, you will get a poke to the gums, and that does not feel good.

The primary tool dentists use is called a scaler or curette. Often referred to as a plaque scraper, this tool is used for what the name says to scrape plaque and tartar build-up from the teeth. This tool is the primary tool dental surgeons use. It is a long pencil-shaped item with curved pointy bits on either end. These tools come in different sizes so the surgeons can get precise with their removal of plaque. Usually paired with this tool is a mouth mirror. This tool is like the scaler but has a mirror on one end. This mirror is used to see inside the patient’s mouth so the surgeon can accurately scrape away plaque behind the teeth or to see the molars at the back.

Anesthetic is another tool a dentist uses but not very often. On the outside, teeth are hard, but the enamel under the teeth is not. In fact, it is rather sensitive and easily damaged. The dentist will administer an anesthetic to numb your mouth. This numbing of the mouth helps the surgeon so they can do what they need without hurting the patient. With today’s advancements, some dental practices have pain-free sedation. This means you will not even know you have had a sedative to numb the tooth or teeth. Procedures like pulling a tooth may require an anesthetic, so you do not feel the pain. 

A dental drill is another kind of tool a dentist may use. This tool is like a standard drill, but this one is much smaller and has less power. This tool is used as another method to remove plaque just at a quicker rate. The vibrations and sound caused by the drill can be unsettling for some people as it can be nerve-racking to have a drill in your mouth near your gums. This sensation is nothing to worry about. This tool is also used to remove any decay attached to the tooth before filing a cavity. Additionally, this tool will be used to put on fluoride onto your teeth for generally polishing before leaving the dental office. 

There are many other tools a dental surgeon may use, but these are a few of the main ones used. Anesthetic, drills, and tools for poking and scraping. In my opinion, the drill is horrifying. Even though I know the person using it has practice and experience doing it, I still fear they will accidentally slip and catch my gum, and I know that will hurt. There is nothing to be afraid of when you are lying on the chair, and the surgeon brings out their tools, the surgeon will take good care of you. I need to remember that next time I go for my next dental check-up. 

A Dentist’s History

A dentist, sometimes called oral surgeons, is a medical professional specializing in the mouth and teeth. They provide a diagnosis of diseases, prevent mouth-born infections, and treatment for such conditions and diseases. The dentist profession has been around since the early 1400s, with the first dentists being barbers, believe it or not. Dentists first came about in China and France and have been evolving to the profession it is today as time went on. 

In France and China, they developed two distinct groups. One being called Guild of Barbers. The other is called Lay Barbers. The Guild of Barbers were the more distinguished group. They were educated to read, write, and how to do complex surgeries. The Lay Barbers, on the other hand, were formed and only allowed to do minor hygienic clean up such as shaving, tooth extraction, and very basic surgeries. In the mid to late 1400s, France passed laws prohibiting the Lay Barbers from practicing all types of surgery. In the 1530’s up to 1575, most 

 publications were focused on dentistry. 

Many people consider a french man named Ambroise Paré to be the father of oral surgery. Before he was a dentist, he was an Army doctor and developed a revolutionary way to extract bullets from their wounds. Ambroise published many books about what he believed to be the proper way to take care of your mouth and provide care to patients. We may not have had the invention of toothbrushes if it weren’t for Ambroise’s discoveries and publications. He was a barber-surgeon who worked on many monarchs throughout his lifetime. Paré is praised for raising the status of a barber-surgeon. 

An additional big name in the dentistry past is another french man named Pierre Fauchard. He is praised for being the father of modern dentistry. He was the first to publish a scientific textbook regarding proper dental practice and techniques in 1728. As time went on more and more people started to train as a dentist due to Pierre’s book. Europeans started migrating to America to expand their knowledge and to set up their own practices. By 1760 America had its native own practices. At the time, newspapers were used to spread the word about these dental services. By 1770 the dentistry profession was booming—new techniques to try and adopt. New tools were being developed specifically for dentists—a wheel gun to clean teeth quicker and more efficiently. A new type of chair specifically made for dentist’s patients was being developed as well. Around 1867 the first school specifically for dental professionals came about, along with the Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree. The first-ever tubed toothpaste finally came in the 1840’s replacing the liquor and powders that were once used by everyone.

The history of a dentist goes as far back as the discovery of America. Barbers in China and France were trying to help out their customers more than just cutting their hair soon developed into what we know today as dentists. If it were not for them, who knows what today’s world would look like. I think everyone would be walking around angry with a toothache but, who is to say, really? It is fascinating that even with so few resources, the people of yesterday shaped the world we live in today. 

Don’t eat these if you want white teeth

Even though it is 2021  many of us around the country are stuck at home due to local stay-at-home laws.  It is truly sad to still be under totalitarian rule when the pandemic has been proven to be nothing more than the intense flu that 99.97 % of people survive.  Even though this is true we are not eating more food than ever as an average American citizen and it is likely we are eating lots of the wrong foods for our dental health. There are lots of reasons people are picking up more unhealthy foods and one of those reasons is lack of options. It is sad to be apart of this new normal and all for lies.  What is still happening because of the lockdowns is that many of our grocery stores are missing lots of essential foods and basic staples in our diets.  So I am not saying do not eat or drink these foods or beverages because there may be no other options currently available.  But if you are able to avoid these foods you should try and keep track of what you eat if you still do.  It is wise to eat bad things less often. 

There are a lot of things we should avoid and one of the most known and still probably the worst thing you can ingest that is commonly on your grocery store shelves is carbonated beverages. Generally, it’s well known that soda, or pop, and anything with the label diet is going to be bad for your dental hygiene. The acid in these is really high and can really damage your teeth.  It has been reported that drinking carbonated beverages is just as bad for your teeth as methamphetamines and cocaine. That is indeed rather wild to think about.  Many of us have seen the before and after photos of what those federally banned drugs can do to your teeth and it is very hard to look at and to see. 

 Plaque is a big issue when it comes to carbonated beverages. The excess sugar and acids build extra plaque and allow for it to attack your tooth enamel.  This creates cavities which are a very painful and expensive problem to fix for your teeth.  Another side effect of sodas and pops is that they dry out your mouth causing less saliva to be present.  Saliva actually helps clean your teeth and eliminate those acids from building up.  Work on keeping your saliva alive and well in your mouth.

Lastly, there is another type of food you should try to avoid is going to be a surprising dietary staple.  Eating citrus and lots of fruits are actually rather bad for your dental health. Your average orange or clementine is going to be on that list.  Lots of dietary staples for breakfast like grapefruit is also going to be a poor choice for dental health.  This is because they are loaded with acids. What this does is erode your enamel quicker which leads to tooth decay.  So when you are out of quarantine you may be visiting your dentist sooner than you had hoped. Try to simply eat smart and stay away from the things you know will hurt you. Then you can avoid going to the dentist too often and pay a lot more.