Archive for November, 2011

Dental Care Dos and Don’ts

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

As part of a healthy lifestyle, dental care should make the top of your priority list. Keeping your teeth and gums in good shape will allow you to eat the foods you love and smile with confidence. The following Dos and Don’ts offer practical advice for preserving your fantastic smile.

• Do brush and floss often. Daily home care removes plaque and bacteria from your mouth, so brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

• Do make sure you use proper brushing techniques. For best results, use a soft-bristled brush, don’t forget back teeth, and brush for at least two minutes.

• Do remember to change your toothbrush regularly. Most dentists recommend that you replace the brush or head every three to four months, or as soon as bristles look worn.

• Do choose toothpaste with fluoride. This mineral helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay.

• Don’t miss regular checkups. These appointments allow your dentist to look for problems, like gum disease or tooth decay, that can creep up without your knowledge. Addressing small problems before they become larger issues will save you time and money.

• Don’t eat lots of sugary treats. Too many cookies or sodas provide bacteria with a fertile breeding ground, so snack on carrots or apples instead.

• Don’t ignore a toothache. Pain is a sign of a problem that needs attention. Contact your dentist’s office to make an appointment.

• Don’t live with an unattractive smile. Even simple cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening or cosmetic bonding can transform your appearance and boost confidence.

Give us a call at Brown, Reynolds & Snow today!

Cancer and Your Oral Health

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

If you are fighting cancer, you have a lot of issues on your plate. A cancer diagnosis impacts your whole life. Many patients don’t realize that cancer and the subsequent treatment can affect your oral health. Chemotherapy and radiation can produce unpleasant side effects including dry mouth, inflammation of mucous membranes, burning, swelling, and poor diet because of difficult eating. Working with your dentist and oncologist can help minimize the damage and discomfort. Consider the following tips to help you during treatment:

• Schedule a dental checkup up before your cancer treatment begins, if at all possible. During this appointment, talk with the dentist about your current situation and provide detailed information about your oncologist.

• Once your therapy begins, make sure to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste unless your physician advises differently.

• Floss at least once a day. If sores develop on the soft tissue areas, avoid these spots until they heal.

• Ask your dentist about the benefits of using a mouth rinse or fluoride gel at home for added protection.

• Several times a day, rinse your mouth with a solution of baking soda and salt; follow it with a plain water rinse.

• If you experience dry mouth, talk with your dentist about saliva replacement options, which you can find at most pharmacies. Drinking lots of water and chewing sugarless gum may also help.

• Maintain a balanced diet. Stick to soft foods like pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs if your mouth hurts.

We care about your oral health at Brown, Reynolds & Snow

The Ins and Outs of Dry Mouth

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Every once in a while, we all experience dry mouth, especially if we feel nervous or under distress. If you consistently have dry mouth, or xerostomia, you may experience discomfort or other health concerns. In fact, dry mouth can make chewing, swallowing, or speaking tough. As well, it can also increase the risk of tooth decay and other dental problems.

What is dry mouth?
When you don’t have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth moist, the condition is called dry mouth. Common signs of dry mouth include a sticky feeling in the mouth, cracked lips, mouth sores, and difficulty chewing or swallowing.

Why does saliva production matter?
By keeping your mouth wet, saliva helps with food digestion, protects against decay, prevents infections, and assists with chewing and swallowing.

What causes dry mouth?
Sometimes, the salivary glands stop working properly and don’t produce enough moisture. Certain factors can cause issues with the salivary glands, such as nerve damage, radiation, chemotherapy, side effects of medications, and diseases like HIV or diabetes.

How can I treat dry mouth?
The cause of your xerostomia will impact the treatment options. When medicine is creating the symptoms, your physician may adjust the dosage or switch medications. If you aren’t producing enough saliva, the dentist may suggest artificial saliva or medication that increases saliva production.

What can I do about dry mouth?
After consulting your dentist, you can take some steps to improve xerostomia on your own. Drinking lots of water, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, chewing sugarless gum, and using a humidifier at night can help with this condition.

Mouth Guards Protect Smiles

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

For many people, enjoying the cooler fall weather involves touch football, bike riding, or other activities. While it’s great to have a good time, you need to preserve your smile as you participate in the fun. Approximately 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face. Wearing a mouth guard can ensure that you don’t hurt your teeth and gums if an accident occurs. In fact, a mouth guard can reduce the risk of concussion by 50 percent.

Who needs a mouth guard?
Anyone who is involved in sports that could result in contact should purchase a mouth guard, including soccer, hockey, football, and basketball. Even non-contact activities such as skateboarding, horseback riding, and mountain biking could result in injury to your face or mouth, so you may want to consider a mouth guard as well.

Can adults wear mouth guards?
Absolutely. Whether you play on the community softball team or just like to throw the football with the neighbors, you are never too old to protect your smile.

What are the options for a mouth guard?
If you decide to look into getting a mouth guard, you have several choices. Inexpensive and available at any sporting goods store, pre-made mouth guards can be bulky and may not fit correctly. Boil-and-bite mouth guards are designed to conform to your teeth after you place them in scalding, hot water. Most dentists and orthodontists recommend custom mouth guards, which are created from molds of your mouth. Custom mouth guards offer the best protection.

Can I wear a mouth guard with braces?
Yes. During orthodontic treatment, you still need to worry about your mouth if you play sports. Because of the braces, you will need to wear a non-fitted mouth guard so that the appliance doesn’t damage your orthodontia.

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