National Sunscreen Day is celebrated every year on May 27th and is designed to raise awareness of the dangers that can come from getting too much sun, especially without the protection of sunscreen. But how exactly does this apply to your teeth, and why is your dentist in Sparks talking about it? The truth is, sunshine can both benefit and damage oral health.
Oral Health Benefits of Sunshine
The sun has one of the most important things teeth need to stay strong and healthy – vitamin D. Vitamin D is what allows the body to absorb calcium, and you need to get the right amount of both to get the benefits. Getting some sun, along with eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium, can help. However, too many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D. Around 42% of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient. Without enough vitamin D, the body and teeth could be in trouble. Vitamin D deficiency can cause or contribute to:
- Gum Disease
- Weak or Underdeveloped Teeth
- Increased Risk for Depression
- Weakened Bones
Even though we can get vitamin D by eating foods such as fatty fish, eggs, and fortified food like dairy, juice, and plant milk, the best way to get vitamin D is through the sun. Just always make sure to wear sunscreen on your skin and reapply often.
Oral Health Dangers of Sunshine
Luckily, the teeth aren’t often directly at risk for damage from the sun, although it’s still possible. But other areas of the mouth are more likely to sustain negative effects from too much sunshine.
- Dry Mouth
Heat makes us sweat. Sweat makes our bodies lose water. Losing water causes dehydration. Dehydration is certainly a serious problem that affects overall health, but it’s also a concern for your dentist in Sparks. Dehydration can cause something called dry mouth. Dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, but it will also allow bacteria that are usually rinsed away by saliva to build up, increasing the risk of cavities of gum disease. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re spending time getting sun.
- Lip Cancer
While the risk of too much sun exposure damaging teeth is low, the lips are another story. Lip skin is sensitive and can easily burn, and they’re often bypassed while applying sunscreen. Giving your lips some love with a lip balm with an SPF of 15 higher before heading outdoors, and several times during, can lower the risk of lip, skin, or oral cancer.
The best way to celebrate National Sunscreen Day and protect your oral and overall health is to pledge to wear sunscreen every time you’ll be outside, even when it’s not necessarily sunny. When it comes to oral health specifically, make sure to see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year for regular checkups. These visits can help monitor overall oral health and catch any potential problems such as lip or oral cancer early when they’re easy to treat, often successfully.
If you or members of your family have been itching, sniffling, and sneezing lately, allergies may be to blame. In fact, a recent study shows that allergies may be starting earlier and be more severe than ever before. This could mean that more and more people are experiencing the side effects of high pollen counts, which is unpleasant in and of itself. But your dentist in Sparks also wants you to know that allergies can also cause the body to react in such a way that could increase the risk for cavities and other dental problems.
Mucky Mucus & Mouth Breathing
We’ve all experienced the surge of mucky mucus thanks to seasonal allergies. No matter how unpleasant this feeling is, it’s important to know that it’s a natural response. When we come in contact with an allergen, the body will overproduce mucus, which in turn will cause a stuffy nose. This can make it hard to breathe properly out of the nose, causing us to breathe from the mouth. While the intake of oxygen is sure to please the body, the mouth may disagree.
Why is Mouth Breathing a Bad Thing?
While allergies themselves don’t necessarily directly cause oral health problems, the symptoms can, such as mouth breathing due to a buildup of mucus and a stuffy nose. When we breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses, our mouths dry out faster than normal. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, and a healthy mouth needs saliva in order to stay healthy. Without it, bad bacteria can linger around and cause bad breath, wear away at protective tooth enamel, cause cavities, and can even result in gum disease. Additionally, and not necessarily related to allergies, mouth breathing while sleeping can be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause someone to stop breathing during sleep, sometimes several times a night. Signs of mouth breathing that should be reported to your dentist in Sparks include snoring and abrupt awakenings.
As if the overproduction of mucus potentially contributing to cavities concerns wasn’t enough, this mucus can also cause pain. An excessive amount of mucus can put pressure on the sinuses, which you may feel in your face or head. But this pressure can also extend to the maxillary sinuses, a nearby neighbor to the roots and nerves of the back teeth. When the maxillary sinuses are inflamed, it can put pressure on those nearby tooth nerves and cause discomfort.
Allergy Medicine Can Help… And Hurt
Anyone suffering from allergies, or who has a child dealing with the symptoms, will often turn to allergy medication to alleviate the uncomfortable side effects of a flare-up. While these medications can relieve some of the stuffiness, itchiness, and drippiness, they too can sometimes cause dry mouth. But lucky for you, your dentist in Sparks knows a few tricks that can reduce the likelihood of experiencing negative side effects of dry mouth, such as:
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using lubricating mouthwash
- Drinking water
- Sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom
Allergy season can feel neverending, but we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Many different things can cause tooth pain, from a cavity to an abscess and anything in between. It’s always wise to see your dentist in Sparks if you’re experiencing pain as it’s typically a sign that something is going on inside your mouth that should be checked out. But one thing that’s often overlooked when it comes to tooth pain is your bite or the way top teeth meet the bottom teeth when biting down. The truth is, a bad bite, or malocclusion can also cause unexplained pain.
What’s a Bad Bite?
The way your upper teeth and lower teeth come together when you bite down is an important part of your oral and overall health. After all, proper bite function helps with your ability to chew, swallow, and even breathe. A healthy bite also makes it easier to care for teeth and lowers the risk of enamel erosion and jaw pain. If your upper teeth fall slightly over your lower teeth and the points and grooves in your back molars fit together like a puzzle, chances are you have a good, healthy bite. If they don’t, it’s more likely that you have a bad bite. Bad bites can cause jaw pain, enamel erosion, bad breath, dry mouth, and many other dental problems that will require visits to your dentist in Sparks.
Types of Pain Caused by a Bad Bite
While many bad bites have obvious signs, such as “buck teeth” or a lower jaw that protrudes, others aren’t as obvious until there’s pain involved. Some types of pain that may be a sign of a bite include:
- TMJ Pain – Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, helps you open and close your mouth. When your teeth don’t line up, it can cause stress on this joint and result in jaw pain, stiffness, or clicking when opening and closing your mouth.
- Headaches – While headaches are a sign of TMJ trouble, they can also indicate a problem with your bite. When your bite is misaligned, the muscles in your jaw, which connect to your head, can become strained and cause headaches.
- Tooth Pain – Even though tooth pain can be caused by any number of things, if you have a bad bite, you’re at more risk for enamel erosion and excessive wear and teeth, all of which can cause tooth pain.
What Causes a Bad Bite
Bad bites are usually considered a problem reserved for kids or teens, but adults can develop bad bites too. Most bad bites are the result of genetics, but others can be contributed to things such as:
- Pacifier use
- Dental injuries
- Nail biting
- Tooth grinding
- Bone or tooth misalignment
- Pushing the tongue against the teeth
4 Different Types of Bad Bites
Bad bites can present themselves in a variety of ways, but many can be classified into four main types of bad bites. The four different types of bad bites are:
- Underbite – when the lower teeth fall over your top teeth
- Overbite – when the top teeth hang out too far over the bottom teeth
- Crossbite – when a top tooth, or even several top teeth, fall inside of lower teeth
- Open Bite – when the front teeth the molars on top don’t touch those on the bottom
The best way to know for sure if a bad bite is to blame for any pain you have is to see your dentist in Sparks. They’ll talk to you about whether or not a bad bite is causing your pain as well as the best way to alleviate your discomfort.
April is National Stress Awareness Month, and its mission is to raise awareness of the negative health impacts of prolonged stress. While many of the effects of long-term stress are well known, including heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes, your dentist in Sparks wants to raise awareness of the fact that stress can also negatively impact oral health.
The Body’s Response to Stress
When we feel stressed, our bodies will react in ways we may not even realize. For example, our immune system’s response will become delayed, and our adrenal glands will release the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol. The surge in these hormones will cause our nervous system to enter “fight or flight” mode, which is beneficial in times of short-term stress. But when it comes to prolonged stress, it can affect our memories, and learning systems, and increase the risk of depression. Additionally, heightened periods of stress can seriously affect oral health.
- Tooth Decay & Stress
During periods of prolonged stress, we are more susceptible to tooth decay. Why? Stress can cause our bodies to remove the naturally occurring protective minerals and allow dangerous bacteria and acid to linger around in the mouth. This can increase the likelihood of developing a cavity. Additionally, when we are stressed, we tend to resort to things that make us feel better, including alcohol, nicotine, or foods loaded with sugars. But these clutches can inevitably cause more harm than good.
- Gum Disease
Study upon study has shown a correlation between the development of gum disease and experiencing stress. There are several theories behind why this happens. One of which is when we are feeling stressed, we tend to bypass everyday things like brushing and flossing our teeth. Additionally, since increased stress levels can make our immune systems less effective, it means that our bodies can’t effectively fight off bad bacteria in the mouth. This increases the risk of developing gum disease. If not treated by a dentist in Sparks quickly, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems, such as heart disease.
- Jaw Pain
Everyone experiences and reacts to stress differently. Some of the most common side effects of increased stress include clenching or grinding your teeth. These reactions are often done without us even realizing we’re doing it, but they can lead to some problems. For example, when we clench or grind our teeth, whether it’s done while we’re awake or asleep, the jaw can experience unnatural pressure and cause pain. Other signs that you’re clenching or grinding may include:
- Jaw clicking
- Weakened tooth enamel
- Increased tooth sensitivity
Reduce Stress, Protect Teeth
Combating stress is tough because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, here are some tips you can try to reduce stress and protect your teeth.
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating a well-balanced diet with fruits, veggies, and whole grains will allow your body to function properly and can help keep stress levels low.
- Exercise Often. Exercising, even if it’s a quick walk around the block, will activate the “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed.
- Get Enough Sleep. Adults should get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This will help your body relax and reset, lowering stress.
Oral health is the window to overall health, and taking good care of it can help protect your body from some scary, and serious problems. One of the best things you can do to ensure a healthy mouth is to see your dentist in Sparks every six months for regular checkups. Schedule an appointment with us today.
World Oral Health Day is an annual event that’s celebrated worldwide on March 20th. This day is coordinated by the FDI World Dental Federation, a top organization representing over 1 million dentists across the globe, and has the goal of promoting awareness of how oral health impacts overall health. This day is an opportunity for people, including your dentist in Sparks, to promote oral health and educate people about the steps they can take to maintain good oral hygiene.
Why is This Day Needed?
Around 90% of the world’s population will develop some sort of dental disease at least once in their lifetime. Additionally, many of the oral health diseases that will affect most of the world’s population are preventable. This is one reason why a day dedicated to talking about oral health is important. By joining together and spreading knowledge and education on the importance of dental health, we can not only do more to protect oral health but overall health, too.
Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body.
Focusing on dental health is just as important as focusing on overall health. In fact, studies show that several diseases can be linked back to oral health problems. For example, research on patients with gum disease shows a probable link between it and heart disease, respiratory disease, some cancers, and diabetic issues.
Signs That There is an Oral Health Problem
Knowing the early warning signs of an oral health problem can make all the difference between a quick, easy fix and risking your overall health. Some of the top warning signs that there is an oral health problem include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Pain in the jaw or mouth
- Mouth sores or lumps
If you recognize any of these signs, we encourage you to see your dentist in Sparks as soon as possible.
Best Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth
Taking care of your teeth and overall oral health is the best way to prevent problems such as gum disease, cavities, and oral cancer. Make sure you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Avoid tobacco
- See your dentist in Sparks twice a year
There’s never been a better time to commit to caring for your smile, and your body, than World Oral Health Day. Head over to WorldOralHealthDay.org to find resources about how you can take action for yourself and your community.
According to the CDC, nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, and your dentist in Sparks wants you to know that this is nothing to take lightly. Gum disease is a serious condition that has been connected to an increased risk of developing both oral and overall health problems such as tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke. But there’s even more. A new study conducted by the American Academy for Cancer Research shows a potential link between gum disease and gastrointestinal cancers, including colon cancer.
The Link Between Gum Disease and GI Cancer
The survey from the American Academy for Cancer Research followed over 40,000 men and women for more than a decade, monitoring their health, diets, and results of their colonoscopies. Researchers focused on two types of intestinal lesions that are often precursors to developing colon cancer – serrated polyps and conventional adenomas – as well as patients’ oral health. While it may seem odd to study gut health in relation to oral health, the results were interesting.
- Patients studied were 17% more likely to have a serrated polyp if there was also a history of gum disease.
- Researchers saw an 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma if a history of gum disease was also present.
- Participants who lost more than four teeth, a common side effect of gum disease, had a 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp.
While these survey results certainly seem to point to a correlation between gum disease and colon cancer, researchers say that more studies are needed.
How Can You Tell If You Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be treated and cured if it’s detected in its early stages. This is why it’s so important to see your dentist in Sparks twice a year for regular checkups. Early detection is key to treating gum disease effectively before it has a chance to cause bigger oral health or overall health problems. Some tell-tale signs of gum disease may include:
- Bad breath or bad taste that doesn’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gum recession
If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Sparks as soon as possible to get treatment.
Preventing Gum Disease
There are several ways to protect yourself from developing gum disease, including:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Quitting smoking
- Seeing your dentist in Sparks at least every six months
However, it’s important to know that genetics, age, and certain medications can also impact the risk of developing gum disease. Make sure to mention all health conditions and medications to your dentist at every appointment.
We always recommend that patients visit their dentist at least twice a year for checkups, dental cleanings, and routine dental x-rays. These appointments help keep a close eye on your oral health and protect teeth against disease. But we do understand that coming to the dentist can sometimes cause anxiety, which may cause patients to skip out of these important appointments. However, finding the best dentist in Sparks for your family can make all the difference.
What to Look For When Picking a Dentist
Searching for a nearby dentist can be overwhelming, so let’s take a look at some of the ways you can narrow down your list in order to find the best dentist for you and your family:
- Ask Friends – Sometimes finding the best dentist is as easy as talking to friends, co-workers, or family members. So ask around to start your search.
- Read Reviews – Read online reviews of any dental offices you find either from your friends or from an online search to see what your neighbors are saying.
- Check Out The Environment – Look at office photos. Does the office look clean and inviting?
- Get a Feel for The Personality – Once you narrow down your choices, schedule an appointment with your top choice and pay attention to how the team interacts with you. Finding an office and a team that you feel comfortable with is important.
Choosing a Dentist in Sparks For Advanced Dental Care
If you’re someone who is looking for a dental home as well as a dentist that can provide advanced dental care such as cosmetic dentistry like tooth whitening and smile makeovers or restorative dental implants, you may want to dig a little deeper into other aspects of dental offices such as:
- Types of Sedation dentistry Available
- Before and After Photos
- Patient Testimonials
- Education and Accreditations
No matter what type of dental office you’re looking for, one fact remains the same – everyone should visit a dentist at least twice a year to protect oral health. These preventive checkups allow your dental team to check for early signs of any problems such as decay. After all, early intervention is key to quicker, easier treatment.
When it comes to the oral health of you and your family, there’s perhaps no better way to protect it than finding the right dentist. At our Sparks dental office, we’re here to take care of our community’s smiles. Give us a call to schedule an appointment!
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a public health event brought to us by the American Dental Association (ADA). The purpose of this month-long celebration is to bring parents, caregivers, teachers, and healthcare providers like your dentist in Sparks together to raise awareness of the importance of proper oral hygiene and dental care in children. The theme for 2023 is Brush, Floss, Smile!, and there are tons of ways you can help make dental care more fun for the children in your life.
“Brush, Floss, Smile!”
This year’s slogan is Brush, Floss, Smile! helps both kids and caregivers learn just how important it is for kids to brush their teeth regularly as well as floss in between each and every tooth. To help, ADA has put together fun, interactive games and activities to make learning about dental care fun for kids. Head on over the ADA website and download all sorts of free educational tools including coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, and a calendar to keep track of brushing habits.
How Should Kids Brush & Floss?
Brushing and flossing tiny teeth are important, but your dentist in Sparks will also encourage you to make sure your little ones are doing them correctly. Developing proper technique and a solid routine will help children throughout their lives..
Kids and adults should brush their teeth twice a day, once when you wake up in the morning and once before bed at night. Use the following techniques:
- Angle the toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degrees
- Gently scrub teeth using small circles with the brush
- Brush all surfaces of each tooth and up under the gums
- Brush the tongue from back to front
A thorough brushing should take about two minutes. Don’t shy away from humming songs or finding two-minute brushing videos to turn a habit into a fun activity.
It’s just as important for kids to floss once a day as it is for adults, and little ones should start flossing whenever they have two teeth that touch each other. But like brushing, flossing requires a specific technique, and it can be hard for kids. The best way to floss is to gently wiggle the floss in between each tooth and curve it up under the gums. You can try traditional floss but you may have more success with a floss pick.
While brushing and flossing are crucial for all smiles, maintaining visits to your dentist in Sparks is also necessary. Schedule an appointment today!
Cavities are incredibly common. In fact, nearly every American will have at least one cavity in their lifetime. Cavities, also known as tooth decay, can happen for any number of reasons including poor dental hygiene, frequent snacking, and having a diet full of food or drinks that are packed with sugar. If cavities aren’t treated promptly, they can become larger and require advanced dental care. However, when they’re caught early, treatment is fairly simple. Regular checkups with your dentist in Sparks can help spot a cavity before it becomes a bigger issue. But there are still ways you can identify a cavity at home in between appointments.
We may all experience some level of tooth sensitivity at some point, but sensitivity due to a cavity may be a new sensation or result in more severe pain than what you’re used to. Typically, tooth sensitivity related to a cavity will occur when you’re eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet. This sensitivity is directly caused by the weakening of tooth enamel from decay, making tooth roots and nerves more susceptible to feeling pain.
- Holes or Pits
Teeth are strong, but when decay takes hold, it can easily eat away the tooth structure. As a result, you may notice a deeper pit or obvious hole that wasn’t there before. If you do feel a hole or pit that’s new, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist in Sparks. You may have a cavity that requires immediate intervention to keep it from progressing. Now, there may be times when you don’t feel anything happening in your mouth. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t decay lurking. Dentists have the tools and technology to see early signs of decay before you even know something is wrong. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year.
Tooth discoloration can happen for many reasons – from coffee to smoking and even eating certain foods. However, the discoloration can also be a sign of active decay. Any changes in the color of your teeth should alert you that it’s time to see a dentist, even if it’s white. The truth is, decay can start as a white spot and progress into a brown or darkened appearance over time.
While a toothache can be a sign of many different things, it may have some tell-tale signs if it’s related to a cavity. For example, if you feel pain in your tooth when you bite down, it may be a sign of a cavity. However, if you have a toothache, it’s always wise to see your dentist. Pain is usually a sign of something. Whether or not it’s a cavity or something more, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
It’s important to know that sometimes cavities will have no symptoms. This is especially common when they’re small. So make sure you see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year for preventive checkups. During these visits, your dentist will be able to see areas of decay before they become a problem and when they’re easy to treat.
During your dental check ups, it’s common to see both your hygienist and dentist in Sparks. Ideally, these check ups happen twice a year so your dental team can keep a close eye on your oral health and catch any problems early before they have a chance to become a bigger, more serious problem, and while they’re still usually treated easily. But what exactly do your dentist and dental hygienist do during check ups?
Before any type of dentistry begins, your dental team will get an update on your overall and oral health. They’ll want to gather information such as if there has been any changes to medications or newly diagnosed conditions. It’s important to be honest during this conversation as many whole-health problems are also linked to oral health, so the more your dentist knows, the better care they can provide. You should also mention any concerns you may have about your oral health such as any pain, sensitivity, or cosmetic services you may be interested in.
First Steps During an Appointment
While the order of how things happen during your appointment may vary depending on the office, the following is a typical outline of what happens during the first stage of a dental check up.
- Initial Exam
Your dental hygienist may begin your appointment by taking a peek inside your mouth and looking at your teeth and gums. They’re looking for any signs of gum swelling or redness as well as any visual areas of decay. Additionally, some hygienists will also measure gum pockets to monitor for gum disease.
Next, your hygienist will get to work thoroughly, yet gently, cleaning your teeth. This is a more in depth process than brushing and flossing at home. Special tools are used to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your gums and teeth, which can’t be done at home. They may also gently poke at teeth to check for cavities.
Following your cleaning, your hygienist will polish off your pearly whites using a special tool and paste. Polishing can help remove leftover plaque from your teeth and can even remove surface tooth stains.
Dental x-rays don’t usually happen at every check up, but they will be taken if it’s been a year or more since your last radiographs or if your dental team needs to see below the surface of your teeth to more closely check out any areas of concern. Dental x-rays are safe and emit very low levels of radiation.
Meeting with Your Dentist in Sparks
After your hygienist conducts an initial exam, cleans your teeth, and takes any necessary x-rays, your dentist will come in to check things out. If there are any areas of concern, they’ll take a closer look at the area and any accompanying x-rays or images. Your dentist will also evaluate your jaw, bite, and teeth for any signs of decay.
Dental health can change quickly, so it’s important to get a check up every six months. If you’re overdue, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Sparks today.