Dental emergencies can be scary and painful. Most often, these emergencies are a result of an unexpected accident, but other times they can be avoided by taking certain preventive measures. Join your dentist in Sparks as we share some easy ways you can reduce your risk of a dental emergency.
- Don’t Chew on Anything That’s Not Food. Our teeth are meant to help us chew and digest our food. But that doesn’t mean we should chew on non-food items. Nibbling on pen caps, pencils, fingernails, or other foreign objects can increase your risk of chipping or cracking a tooth, breaking a tooth, or injuring the soft tissues in your mouth. If it’s not food, keep it out of your mouth.
- Be Careful With the Food You Chew. So, even though we talked about how your teeth are specifically designed to help us chew our food, some foods can also increase the risk of tooth damage. Be careful when snacking on popcorn, hard fruits or vegetables, and even nuts. These foods are tough to chew, and if you catch a popcorn kernel or bite into a tough nut when you’re not expecting it, you can easily crack or chip a tooth or dental restoration. Lastly, avoid crunching on ice cubes. These frozen blocks are notorious for creating chips, cracks, and fractures in teeth.
- Choose Water. Water is the best beverage to both hydrate our bodies and to keep our oral health in tip-top shape. Other beverages such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks may seem refreshing, but they are packed with sugar and acid. These two ingredients are a particularly bad combination for your teeth as they can both contribute to decay and weakened enamel.
- Avoid Tobacco. All forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco damage teeth and can not only increase the likelihood of experiencing a dental emergency, but they can also cause long-term, serious complications to both your oral health and overall health. Tobacco users tend to be at greater risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
- Limit Your Snack Times. Snacking can be good for you, but constantly snacking can be dangerous to your oral health. When we snack multiple times throughout the day, we’re continuously introducing food particles into our mouths. Why is this concerning to your dentist in Sparks? Well, more food particles in your mouth mean more bacteria. And a constant stream of foodstuffs regularly fuels the bacteria and keeps them active. As a result, the bacteria are constantly releasing an acidic byproduct, increasing your risk of decay and cavities.
Following the tips above won’t guarantee the prevention of a dental emergency, but they can help lower the risk and keep your mouth healthy. Of course, making sure to follow a strict oral hygiene routine at home is also important to protect your smile. Brushing twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Sparks regularly.*
If you think you may have a dental emergency, call your dentist to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.
*At the time of publishing, the ADA has recommended the postponement of all preventive dental appointments. Please check your local recommendations.
With all of the uncertainty in the world today, we understand that your oral health may not be the first thing on your mind. But even though we’re temporarily postponing all elective dental procedures, your dentist in Sparks wants you to know that we’re still thinking about you and your oral health. We’re here for you during this tough time and want to help any way we can, which is why we’ve compiled a guide of oral health dos and don’ts that can help keep your teeth, gums, and entire mouth healthy until we can see you again.
Up First: The Dos
We like leading with the positive so let’s first focus on what you should do to protect your teeth during your at-home oral hygiene routine.
- Brush & Floss – The benefits of regularly brushing and flossing your teeth are undeniable, and you should continue to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day (even if you’re not leaving the house). Cleaning your teeth and removing debris from between them goes a long way in keeping your breath fresh and eliminating bacteria.
- Replace Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush needs to be in good condition to do its job effectively. For this reason, your dentist in Sparks recommends replacing your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months or as soon as you notice the bristles starting to fray. You should also get a new toothbrush if you get sick.
- Store Your Toothbrush Correctly – Believe it or not, there is a right way to store your toothbrush — upright and uncovered.
- Wash Your Hands – This advice is everywhere today and one that we wholeheartedly agree with. Washing your hands several times a day helps reduce the risk of getting sick. You should also wash your hands prior to brushing your teeth or flossing.
- Disinfect Your Toothbrush – A recent study found that 0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces coronavirus infectivity. To make this solution:
- Mix 1 fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of water
- Soak your toothbrush in the mixture for 10 minutes. Dump out the mixture.
- Rinse your toothbrush prior to brushing.
Now: The Don’ts
Just like there are things you should do to protect your oral health, there are also things that you should avoid if at all possible.
- Don’t Share Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush is yours and yours alone. Don’t share it with anyone, including other family members. Doing so can easily transfer bodily fluids from you to them or from them to you.
- Don’t Allow Family Brushes to Touch – Similarly to the above, you shouldn’t allow family members’ toothbrushes to touch while being stored. Make sure they’re kept a few inches away from each other.
- Don’t Bite Your Nails – Millions of Americans bite their nails, but now may be a good time to work on breaking that habit. Not only does nail biting easily spread bacteria from whatever may be lurking under our fingernails to our mouths, but it can also damage teeth.
As of the publishing date, the American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended the postponement of any preventive or routine dental care for three weeks. During this time, your dentist in Sparks wants to encourage you to do everything you can to take care of your smile, including following the tips above. Stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon.