What we eat and drink can certainly affect our overall health. But did you know they can also affect dental health? Some beverages are beneficial for teeth while others can wreak havoc in your mouth. Tune in as your dentist in Sparks talks about which drinks you should enjoy regularly and which you should avoid or drink in moderation to protect your teeth.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but soda of any kind is bad for your teeth. This also includes sugar-free options. Soda is typically loaded with sugar, but that’s not the only problem. It’s also acidic and can weaken tooth enamel, making it easier for bacteria to attack teeth and create cavities. In fact, studies show that even diet soda or sugar-free options can still break down enamel thanks to the acid.
Fruit Juice & Fruit Punch
Drinking something with fruit right in the name may seem like a healthy option, but this can be deceiving. Most commercial fruit juices contain added sugars and are made from concentrate, not actual fruit juice. If you can find an option that is 100% fruit juice and doesn’t have added sugars, it’s an ok option. Fruit punch on the other hand isn’t actually juice or fruit at all. They’re mostly sugar and acidic.
Not all alcohol is necessarily bad for teeth if enjoyed in moderation. Early studies on beer, for example, may show a beneficial effect on teeth because of the hops. More research is needed to be sure. But other alcoholic drinks like wine are often acidic and can weaken enamel. Alcohol is also naturally drying, so it can easily dry out the mouth. A dry mouth is a haven for bacteria to thrive.
Often marketed as a great option for active people, sports drinks are high in sugar and are also acidic. As we’ve mentioned, this duo can be dangerous to teeth and increase the risk of dental problems.
What To Choose Instead
When it comes to choosing the best beverages for your family, there are some great options available that can quench your thirst and benefit your oral health.
Your dentist in Sparks can’t stress the importance of drinking enough water every day. This not only helps keep your body hydrated, but it also helps wash away bacteria, neutralize acid, and promotes saliva production.
We all know that milk helps build strong bones, but it can also help build strong teeth and keep them strong. Milk contains calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, all of which are beneficial for teeth. Milk also contains caseins, a protein that forms a protective barrier on teeth to keep bacteria and acids away. However, because milk also contains sugar, your dentist in Sparks recommends drinking milk in one sitting and not over a period of time.
Even though drinking too much tea can stain your teeth and make you explore teeth whitening options, it does have some health benefits. Black and green tea in particular may inhibit the growth of bacteria and help keep decay away. Tea can also decrease acid production which can protect teeth even more. However, keep in mind that these studies were for unsweetened tea. Any sweetener from sugar to natural honey can encourage decay.
To help protect your teeth against decay, choose what you drink wisely. If you do indulge in beverages that aren’t so great for your smile, especially acidic ones, try to use a straw and wait at least 20 minutes after drinking to brush your teeth.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can affect both children and adults. It can cause some concerning overall health issues and, in children, behavior concerns. Recognizing the signs of sleep apnea is one of the most important ways you can help spot a problem and seek treatment. In this blog, your dentist in Sparks will cover some of the most common signs of sleep apnea as well as some of the complications it can cause.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping. This can happen for a few seconds or longer, and you may not even know it’s happening. Interruptions in breathing during sleep can cause oxygen levels to drop and carbon dioxide levels to rise, making sleep and rest difficult to achieve.
Know The Signs
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may appear during sleep as well as when you are awake. Pay attention to your sleep habits and how you feel while awake, and keep an eye out for:
- Mouth breathing
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Pauses in breathing or gasping for breath
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth
Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax so much during sleep that they block the airway, making breathing difficult. This can happen for a number of reasons:
- Family history
- Nasal congestion
- Large tonsils or adenoids
Other risk factors that can make someone more prone to developing sleep apnea include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and smoking.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
The first step in getting a proper diagnosis is to see your dentist in Sparks for an evaluation. The next step can vary depending on your symptoms and exam. The following step may include tests such as a sleep study, measurement of oxygen levels overnight, or an electrocardiogram. Your dentist may also examine the size of the tonsils.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Treatment varies from patient to patient and can range from:
- Medications such as nasal spray or allergy medicine
- Tonsil or adenoid removal
- CPAP machine
- Oral appliance
Sleep apnea can be scary, but treatment is available. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea or you share a bedroom with someone who has symptoms, consider talking with your dentist. Come prepared with symptoms and a log of when you notice them as well as any family history of sleep apnea.
Even if you see your dentist in Sparks twice a year for exams and cleanings, it’s crucial that you also take excellent care of your teeth at home between visits. Following a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing can also help your oral health and overall health. So how often should you brush your teeth, and what happens if you don’t?
Two Times a Day is What They Say
The American Dental Association and your dentist in Sparks recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before you go to bed. Brushing two times every day is essential for a few reasons.
Think about all of the things you eat and drink throughout the day. Everything from your morning cup of coffee to your spaghetti dinner is exposed to your teeth. If you don’t brush away the food particles, bacteria, and plaque, your teeth are at increased risk for problems. Additionally, the longer food and bacteria linger around, for example, while you sleep, the more issues it can cause.
What If You Skip Brushing?
Even though you should do everything you can to brush your teeth twice a day, things happen, and there are times when you may miss a brushing. If this happens occasionally, it’s probably not that big of a deal. But if you skip brushings regularly, it can put your oral health at risk for:
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
But that’s not all. There’s also a connection between oral health and overall health, and other parts of your body can become affected by poor dental hygiene.
Oral Health & Whole-Body Health
Many studies have linked poor oral health with several whole-body health concerns, which makes brushing your teeth regularly even more important. Some of the conditions that have been tied to oral health are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
The Right Way To Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth seems like a pretty simple thing to do, but there is a right way to make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning your teeth and not causing damage in the process.
- Don’t scrub, use gentle circles
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to clean the gumline
- Brush each area of every tooth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces
- Proper brushing should take two minutes
- Don’t forget the floss
Preventive dentistry like brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist every six months is the best way to protect your oral and overall health from problems. These steps can also keep larger, more expensive dental issues from popping up. Don’t forget that your dentist is here to help, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about how to best take care of your smile.
Even though summer break may be a time for family fun, vacations, and a chance to kick back and relax in the warm weather, proper dental care doesn’t take a summer vacation! In fact, dental care over the summer may be a bit trickier than other times of the year. After all, your family’s routine has probably changed, so it’s important to keep up with a good oral hygiene routine and protect your smiles all summer (and all year) long. Your dentist in Sparks has some tips to help.
1. Never Miss a Brushing
Whether you’re on vacation or your kids are simply staying up later or sleeping in longer, schedules can quickly get messed up, but it’s still important to make sure the entire family is still brushing their teeth twice a day. It’s crucial to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine. Everyone should brush their teeth for two minutes every day and floss once a day no matter how chaotic schedules may be.
2. Limit Sugary Treats
Even though your dentist in Sparks always recommends enjoying sweet snacks and sugary drinks in moderation, it can be especially hard to follow this guidance during the hot summer months. Sugar is everywhere and is sometimes hidden in the sneakiest places. Make sure to read the nutrition labels on food, drinks, and even condiments to reduce the amount of sugar your family consumes. When in doubt, water is always the best beverage.
3. Protect Lips From The Sun
You probably already lather sunscreen on your skin, but don’t forget about your lips. Lips can also get a sunburn, so it’s important to protect them with a layer of lip balm with SPF-15 or higher. Over time, sunburn on the lips, or anywhere else on the body, can cause several problems, including skin cancer.
4. Watch Out For Swimmer’s Calculus
While it may be hard to believe, swimming pools may cause tooth damage. Pool water should have a very specific pH level — typically between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH drops too low, it becomes acidic. Acidic water can have effects on the whole body, including burning eyes, skin irritation, and tooth enamel erosion. If your family loves hanging out at the pool all summer long, keep an eye out for swimmer’s calculus. Swimmer’s calculus usually shows itself as brown spotting on the teeth. Swimmer’s calculus is nearly impossible to remove at home, so if you notice signs, call your dentist in Sparks for help.
5. Schedule a Dental Appointment
Summertime is a great time to schedule your family’s dental appointments, but make sure to call and schedule early as these appointments are very popular and will book up quickly. While you’re at it, try to book the next dental appointment with your dentist in Sparks in six months. Regular dental care can help prevent problems and make any necessary treatment much easier.
Everyone should enjoy their summer break, but don’t let dental care take a backseat during this time. Make sure your family is brushing their teeth twice a day no matter what, limiting sugary snacks, and protecting their skin.
Your dentist in Sparks uses dental x-rays to help see things going on inside the mouth that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Dental x-rays can allow your dentist to catch cavities early when they’re still really easy to treat. Additionally, images from x-rays will show your dental team the overall health of the entire mouth. But we also understand that you may have some concerns about the safety of dental x-rays. We’re here to ease your worries.
Dental x-rays are incredibly safe for both kids and adults. Thanks to advancements in technology, many dentists now offer digital x-rays instead of traditional film x-rays. These digital x-rays not only reduce the amount of radiation exposure by 90%, but they also allow for faster appointments, clearer pictures, and more accurate diagnoses.
How Often Should I Get Dental X-Rays?
We know that we say this a lot but every patient is different, so how often you get dental x-rays will depend on your specific oral health history, current oral health, and individual needs. Please know that your dentist in Sparks will only take x-rays when necessary in order to help diagnose and monitor health. Now, keep in mind that kids may get dental x-rays more often than adults simply because their bodies are changing quickly, they have a lot of growing to do, and decay is more common in kids.
Why Are X-Rays Still Necessary If I Don’t Have Cavities?
X-rays are great at showing areas of decay early when cavities are super small and hard to detect without x-ray images. However, x-rays can show your dentist in Sparks a lot more than just cavities. X-rays can clearly identify any potential concerns with the eruption of adult teeth, see the health of the jaw bone, aid in planning for orthodontics or dental implants, and identify many oral health conditions.
Types of Dental X-Rays
Your dentist may take a variety of different types of dental x-rays at your appointments as each one allows them to see different things.
- Bitewing – Bitewing x-rays take photos of small sections of the mouth and are able to capture photos of multiple teeth in one take. These x-rays can help find decay and cavities.
- Panoramic – Panoramic x-rays show the entire mouth, including all teeth and the jawbone. The images from panoramic x-rays will show your dentist the health of your jaw bone and many other things.
- Occlusal – Occlusal x-rays show the arch of teeth and will help evaluate your bite including an underbite or overbite.
Dental x-rays are an invaluable tool to help monitor your oral health over time and are key to catching potential problems early. After all, prevention and early intervention are key to protecting teeth so your smile can stay healthy.
If you’re missing one or even several teeth, you may be considering dental implants from your dentist in Sparks. After all, dental implants are an excellent way to replace your natural tooth as well as the tooth root. They’re permanent, secure, and can transform your life. But just how painful is it to get dental implants?
What to Expect
Deciding to get a dental implant is an important decision to make, so it’s important to know what to expect before your procedure. Dental implant treatment is a surgical procedure that can be completed in one day under either general or local anesthesia. Your dentist in Sparks will prep the area, which may include extracting a damaged tooth or performing a bone graft if your jaw needs more support. After that, the process includes:
- Placing the implant into the jaw bone
- Allowing the bone to fuse to the implant (this can take a few months)
- Placing an abutment for the crown to sit on
- Finishing up with an artificial tooth that’s custom-crafted to match your ideal smile
Does it Hurt?
Any type of surgery can be scary, especially when we’re talking about placing a metal post into the jaw bone. However, thanks to advancements in dental technology, many patients don’t experience any pain during the actual treatment and some may only have minor discomfort after the procedure. Mild pain can occur at the placement location as well as in the face and jaw. The good news is that patients often say this temporary pain is well worth getting their smile back.
How Long Does The Pain Last?
While it can depend on the case, most patients can feel some level of discomfort for about 10-14 days. There may also be some swelling, but the pain is often well controlled with antibiotics, following post-op instructions, and perhaps painkillers. If pain lasts longer than 14 days, patients should schedule an appointment with their dentist in Sparks to make sure everything is healing properly.
What You Can do To Reduce Pain
Besides following your dentist’s instructions, there are things you can do to help promote healing and relieve pain quickly.
- Gently rinse with warm saltwater
- Avoid crunchy and hot foods
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth, taking care to brush gently near the implant site
- Use a cold compress to help reduce swelling
You don’t have to live with missing teeth. There are many options to replace your natural teeth, including dental implants or perhaps dentures. Talk to your dentist in Sparks about the best way to replace missing teeth so you can make the right choice for yourself.
Now that we have your attention, the truth is, we don’t really have a big dental secret. But we do have some interesting news. Researchers have compiled evidence that supports the idea that good dental health can help slow down the aging process, and who doesn’t want to stay younger for longer? Let’s check in with your dentist in Sparks to see exactly how healthy teeth could help out as we get older.
The main connection between aging and oral health is inflammation. Inflammation occurs as the body’s response to infection or injury and is very common in those who have gum disease. Gum disease often occurs from poor oral hygiene, among other things, and can be damaging to both oral health and overall health. In fact, research shows that those with gum disease are at increased risk of heart disease and dementia, among other whole-body problems.
When gum disease is present, so is inflammation. What makes it worse is that advanced gum disease can’t be reversed by your dentist in Sparks. This means that your body is constantly exposed to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can weaken your immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off disease, including age-related diseases.
Keeping your teeth healthy and strong can also help reduce the appearance of aging. While having white teeth is one sign of a younger appearance, there are many other ways your oral health can help keep you looking young.
Teeth and the entire jaw essentially form your facial appearance. This is one reason why it’s so important to keep your natural teeth. Without them, your face can take on a baggy, older look. To help keep your teeth for a lifetime, make sure you brush and floss every day and see your dentist in Sparks at least every six months.
How Can Dentistry Help?
Even if your smile is showing your age more than you want it to, there are numerous ways dentistry can help. Depending on your specific concerns, you may be a candidate for certain types of cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry, such as:
- Smile Whitening – Professional whitening can help transform the color of your teeth and make you look younger.
- Dental Veneers – Veneers can cover up any imperfections that you don’t like and create a youthful smile.
- Dental Implants – Missing teeth can often be replaced with dental implants. These permanent replacements help in many ways, including continuing to stimulate the jaw bone so it doesn’t take on a sagging appearance.
As we’ve mentioned before, we don’t really have a huge dental secret to help during the aging process. Truly, taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year are easy ways to protect your oral health and keep you feeling and looking young.
Have you been waking up for years with a sore jaw and you write it off as getting older or simply deal with it? Are there consistent headaches plaguing your mornings, making it difficult to start your day without pain? These issues (and many others) could be caused by bruxism or grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist in Sparks can reassure you that teeth grinding is more common than you might think. While it’s normal to occasionally clench and grind your teeth, chronic sleep bruxism can negatively affect your oral and overall health if left untreated.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?
According to the Sleep Foundation, nocturnal teeth grinding still isn’t entirely understood, even with the advanced technology and treatments available in dental and regular medicine today. However, many contributing factors can lead to nighttime grinding that can include:
- Increased daytime stress
- Anxiety and depression
- Frustration and anger
- Caffeine or alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
You’ll want to discuss what medications you’re taking with your dentist in Sparks. Certain pills, such as antidepressants, can lead to teeth grinding.
How Does Teeth Grinding Impact My Health?
Forget about the constant disruptions to your sleep cycle that are keeping you from getting the rest you need; bruxism can be bad for your teeth and cause severe pain. When you chronically grind your teeth, it wears down your enamel. When you lose your precious tooth enamel this can result in:
- Increased sensitivity
- Deterioration and decay
- Chips or breaks
What’s worse, your grinding and clenching can also cause issues with your temporomandibular joint or TMJ joining resulting in pain and loss of functionality.
How to Treat Nighttime Teeth Grinding
Your dentist in Sparks will take the first step in helping you find relief from your bruxism by trying to determine the underlying cause of it. Is it stress or anxiety that’s causing your grinding? Is it another condition called sleep apnea contributing to your issue? If you or someone in your family has constant or persistent pain in your mouth, neck, and jaw from grinding, it’s time to talk with us. You’re experiencing this discomfort because you probably don’t even realize you’re grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth, with up to 250 pounds of force, leading to headaches and so much more.
Grinding your teeth is not 100 percent curable, but there are ways to:
- Reduce how often it’s happening
- Decrease the amount of impact it has
- Relieve your stress and symptoms
It’s important to speak with a professional about sleep bruxism and teeth grinding because we can also identify if it’s connected to other conditions like sleep apnea or acid reflux. We’ll find answers to your questions and figure out what solution will be best for you. You might benefit from a custom-fitted nightguard that will help to protect your smile from further damage while you work on a treatment plan.
Are you ready to get help? Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can address your questions and help you heal.
Summer in Sparks is a fun, carefree time for everyone, with all of the exciting events and activities available every day. This time of year, it can be easy to take a break from our regular routines, which is part of what makes a summer vacation so necessary. Breaking free from our day-to-day creates time to get some much-needed relaxation. However, don’t let your oral or overall health struggle by putting off your regular care. Let’s do our best to keep your smile bright and functional this summer!
Don’t Forget to Take Your Toothbrush
Are you traveling this summer for a luxurious vacation? Whether you’re headed out on a road trip, camping outdoors, or staying with friends and family, there’s one vital thing you don’t want to miss when you’re packing, and that’s your toothbrush. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll still want to take time to brush your teeth two or three times a day while also flossing at least once. There are so many stores that offer travel-sized toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste; they make it easier to throw them in your suitcase or backpack and go!
Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
We always want to remind our patients that their teeth are strong, but they’re not strong enough to be used as tools. You can end up with a tooth that’s chipped or broken because you tried to use it to open a bottle, wrapper, chip bag, etc. (you know what we mean.) Your Sparks dentist knows how easy it is to rip open that annoying plastic with your teeth quickly, but it could come with unexpected or unwanted consequences.
Don’t Go Overboard With Sugar
While summer is a fun time to indulge, especially when you’re on vacation, it’s important to fill your body with good foods to support optimal oral and overall health. Some foods actually help clean your teeth naturally and can be a good choice for summer snacking, such as:
Foods like these are often referred to as “nature’s toothbrushes.” They are also full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function correctly. There’s no substitute for a real brushing, though, so don’t forget to use your toothbrush and toothpaste whenever and wherever possible.
Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
One place people tend to forget to cover is their lips. Always apply a lip balm with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15. This is essential because your lips are very sensitive and susceptible to getting sunburnt, just like the rest of your body. Don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water when outside this summer.
As your dentist in Sparks, we want you to know that we hope you and your family can take some time for a vacation this summer. Enjoy every minute of what the season has to offer. If you need to schedule a cleaning or have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we’ll talk.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of just-brushed teeth, and your dentist in Sparks recommends that all patients brush their teeth two times a day and floss once a day. But where does mouthwash play a role in your oral hygiene routine? Should you use mouthwash every day?
Different Types of Mouthwash
Mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your oral hygiene routine as it can help kill mouth bacteria that could otherwise lead to cavities and other problems. While there are a variety of different types of mouthwash available, most over-the-counter options aim to kill these bacteria and prevent decay. It’s important to note that some mouthwash is alcohol-based, and others are non-alcohol-based.
If your mouthwash gives you that burning sensation when you rinse with it — it most likely contains alcohol. Alcohol-based mouthwash may seem like it’s working better because of this tingling, but that’s not necessarily true.
Some patients find the feeling of alcohol-based mouthwash too intense. A good alternative for this would be a non-alcohol-based mouthwash. These products can still help remove bacteria just without the burn.
The Best Way to Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash can be used every day if instructed by your dentist. However, make sure to also follow the instructions on your specific product, including how often to use it and how much to use. Keep in mind, mouthwash isn’t recommended for children under six years of age as they may not have the proper mechanics to swish and spit effectively.
Mouthwash Isn’t a Substitute for Brushing
Even though rising with mouthwash can further kill off bacteria, it is not meant to substitute for brushing and flossing. Mouthwash isn’t designed to be used on its own to keep teeth decay-free. It’s still important to brush and floss your teeth daily, as well as see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year for professional cleanings and exams.
Signs You Should Stop Using Mouthwash
While most patients shouldn’t experience any side effects of mouthwash, it is possible. Here are some signs that you should stop using mouthwash and talk with your dentist in Sparks:
- Dry mouth
- Teeth staining
- Sensitivity after using the mouthwash
- Canker sores or mouth sores
If you do experience any of these side effects, discontinue use and talk with your dentist. Additionally, if you have known allergies, make sure to check labels carefully before purchasing.
Your dentist is here to help you make the best decisions about your oral health. Make sure you talk about any concerns you have about using mouthwash at your next appointment. We’re always happy to help.