We’re heading into the dog days of summer, which typically means really hot days and a lot of sunshine. This can be great for enjoying some time in the pool, on the lake, or at the beach, but your dentist in Sparks wants you to know that all of this sun can also be great for your oral and overall health thanks to the extra boost of vitamin D.
The Power of Vitamin D
The sun is a pretty powerful thing — it helps us grow food, it keeps us warm, and it prevents the planet from turning into a giant ice ball. But the sun’s benefits run even deeper. In fact, we have the sun to thank for helping our bodies stay happy and healthy thanks to a little thing called vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps our overall and oral health in so many ways, such as:
- Calcium Absorption – We all know that calcium is needed to help build strong bones and teeth. But your dentist in Sparks also knows that without vitamin D, the benefits of calcium don’t go as far. Calcium needs vitamin D in order to absorb properly and completely, and in order for your body to get all of the benefits of calcium.
- Protection Against Tooth Decay – Similarly to the above, several studies also suggest a positive correlation between vitamin D and the prevention of tooth decay. Researchers have even shown that vitamin D can lower the risk of tooth decay by 50%!
- Immune System Support – Vitamin D can also help support the immune system and help it function properly. While this connection is complex, there is proof that vitamin D helps regulate and balance the immune system to protect us from germs, viruses, and infections.
The best way to get vitamin D is through some good old fashioned sunshine. But as we all know, too much sun can have negative effects, such as a painful sunburn and an increased risk for skin cancer. Enjoy sunlight in moderation and know your limits. Most researchers agree that anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes of sunshine a day is all it takes to get enough vitamin D.
Good Sources of Vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D can be difficult, especially during winter months or over several days of dreary, rainy weather. When the sun isn’t an option, you can get your vitamin D by choosing foods that contain it. Some foods that are good sources of vitamin D are:
- Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna
- Fortified cereal, orange juice, or yogurt
Knowing all of the benefits associated with sunshine and vitamin D, trust your dentist in Sparks when they say to get outside, enjoy the weather, and soak up some rays. Just make sure you limit your exposure to direct sunlight and wear sunscreen if you’ll be outside for an extended period of time.
Oral piercings, including lip and tongue piercings, are nothing new. In fact, they have actually been around since the Mayans. However, this form of self-expression doesn’t come without its risks. If you’re considering getting your lip or tongue pierced, read this information from your dentist in Sparks before you go under the needle.
Know The Risks
Like any type of piercing, a tongue or lip piercing requires your body to undergo minor trauma as well as introduces a foreign, metal object into your body. As a result, there are a few risks associated with an oral piercing such as:
- Infection. One of the most common side effects of piercings is infection. While infection can happen with any type of piercing, oral piercings may be more susceptible thanks to the ideal warm and moist environment the mouth provides, along with the fact that the mouth is already home to tons of bacteria. This type of environment is the perfect place for the bacteria to flourish and cause an infection. While these infections can be minor, there is a chance of a serious, life-threatening infection, too. Some infections may cause the tongue to swell, making it difficult to breathe.
- Tooth & Nerve Damage. You’ve probably noticed that those with a pierced tongue or lip tend to play with the piercing a lot. This constant clicking and clanking of metal against teeth increase the likelihood of tooth damage – such as chipped teeth, broken teeth, and worn enamel – which can expose teeth to bacteria and decay. Damage to teeth will need to be fixed by your dentist in Sparks before it leads to bigger and potentially painful problems. But that’s not all. There’s also the risk of nerve damage. Our tongues are home to a lot of nerves, and if the piercing needle hits one at the wrong angle, you may experience temporary or sometimes permanent numbness. This nerve damage can also affect your sense of taste and how you speak.
- Gum Disease. Teeth and nerves aren’t the only things that can be damaged by tongue or lip piercings. Gum tissue is also at risk for damage caused by a lip or tongue ring. While that may sound like a minor inconvenience, the truth is that once gum tissue is damaged, it makes it incredibly easy for mouth bacteria to work their way up under the gums and settle in, resulting in gum disease. Gum disease is a serious concern for your dentist in Sparks as it can lead to chronic bad breath, tooth loss, and even whole-body health concerns such as heart disease.
We’re not here to tell you that you can’t get a tongue or lip piercing, but we do encourage you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself against the risks above. Some things you can do include:
- Pick a professional piercer with a good track record and high sterilization standards. If they can’t answer your questions about safety and sanitation, choose someone else.
- After you get the piercing, clean it well and clean it often to help minimize your risk of infection.
- Rinse your mouth out with water after you eat to help wash away any food particles that may have gotten stuck in your piercing.
- Avoid playing with your piercing to minimize the chance of tooth and gum damage.
- Oral hygiene is even more important for those with an oral piercing so make sure you maintain great oral hygiene at home and see your dentist in Sparks every six months.
Most importantly, know the signs of infection and seek medical care immediately if you notice swelling, redness, fever, chills, or uncontrollable shaking.
If you have any questions or concerns about oral piercings, talk with your dentist.