Spring has sprung – well, at least we think so. After what seems to have been a very long week filled with lots of teeth-staining coffee, tea and hot cocoa, it’s time to brighten your smile and for a good teeth cleaning. At Amsterdam Dental, we agree and also have a few other tips to pass along.
Get a new toothbrush
As you clean out draws and stow away the winter garb, remember to replace old and worn toothbrushes. Why? When the bristles wear down, they are no longer able to reach the small crevices and can leave food particles behind. Also, toothbrushes are prone to retain infectious agents that can cause colds and viruses. Therefore, in addition to regularly replacing your toothbrush every three months, it’s a good idea to grab a new one after any cold or flu.
Mouthwash can expire
Like everything else we eat and drink, mouthwash does have a shelf like. It’s indicated right on the bottle. Not only does outdated mouthwash taste bad but it will lose its effectiveness. Check yours to be sure it provides the best possible breath freshening, plaque removal and tooth decay prevention.
Stock up on floss
Did you know it is recommended that 18 inches of floss to maximize the benefits? That’s a foot and a half every time you floss and literally 45 feet per month! It may sound like a lot but after wrapping the “string” around your fingers, an inch or two is needed to that actually do the work. Since brushing alone is not enough, make sure you never run out.
Set a date in the dental chair
Brushing and flossing is great but a visit to the dentist for an exam, check up and preventative treatment is highly recommended. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry getting a professional cleaning a least twice a year can have a significant impact on your long term oral health. So, while checking the calendar to meet up with relatives or friends, remember to visit your dentist too!
Last year during American Heart Month, we highlighted the connection between periodontal disease and overall health. One of the most often discussed is the effect on heart disease. What is less frequently highlighted is the relationship between various cardiovascular conditions and dental treatment.
So this year, we at Amsterdam Dental Group want to focus on the care and precautions important for patients suffering from the many types of heart disease. This can include reviewing medications, measuring blood pressure and even delaying treatment. But nothing is more important than open communication to provide the best possible care.
Here are some common conditions and related dental treatment.
After a heart attack, dental treatment should be delayed at least six months. Since cases, conditions and medications differ, most dentists will want to consult your physician as it may impact the method of treatment as in the case of blood thinners and cautions related to dental surgery or extractions. Another is to ensure oxygen and nitroglycerin is on hand during appointments.
High Blood Pressure
There are a number of possible oral side effects to high blood pressure medications – dry mouth, altered taste, gum overgrowth and faintness. Although most will safely interact with anti-anxiety drugs and local anesthesia, it is important for your dentist to be made aware of any prescriptions. For those suffering with this condition, a baseline blood pressure should be taken at the start of each visit and monitored throughout the procedure.
Dental treatment will vary for stable and unstable angina sufferers. Stable angina generally does not require special circumstances except having oxygen and nitroglycerin on hand. For those with unstable angina, only emergency dental care should be undertaken during which your heart should be monitored continuously.
There are various long-term effects caused by a stroke and some can impact oral health care. To help, special toothbrushes and floss holders are available along with fluoride gel and saliva substitutes. Denture wearers may require adjustments. Although routine dental care is safe, it is recommended to bring a copy of recent bloodwork and have your dental and medical professionals consult prior to in depth dental procedures.
Congestive Heart Failure
In general, there are usually no special guidelines for those with congestive heart failure (CHF), yet your dentist may choose different alternatives based upon prescribed medications. For those with more severe CHF, dental chair position should be modulated to avoid possible fluid build-up in your lungs. Patients should refrain from sitting up quickly, which can cause light-headedness. In some cases, dental treatment may be best suited in a hospital setting.
Patients with a pacemaker should avoid non-emergency dental care for several weeks after implantation. Once cleared, it is important to review any possible interactions between your dentist’s electromagnetic devices and pacemakers. The dental staff can check this in advance with a call to the manufacturer and your dentist can plan accordingly.
In the end, the interrelationship between heart health and oral health cannot be untangled. They often go hand in hand. The best advice is to open the lines of communication between your dentist and physician – both who will have your best interests and care at heart.
For more information, please contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or your dental professional.
Try these tips on breaking bad habits instead of your teeth
It’s the new year and perfect time to brush away some bad habits ~ especially those that can harm your teeth and wreak havoc on a winning smile. Here are just some of the common ways we damage our teeth and tips to overcome them.
It’s not something everyone does nor taste good. But this nervous habit can do more than chip teeth. Placing pressure in a protruding position for sustained periods of time can cause jaw dysfunction. Solution: Start by recognizing some of the triggers that cause nail biting and try to keep your hands and fingers busy. Other ideas include bitter-tasting nail polish and stress reduction toys or tools.
Brushing Too Hard:
We all know the mantra – brush teeth for two minutes twice a day. However, brushing forcefully or with a hard toothbrush can often do more harm than good, including damaging both teeth and gums. Solution: A first step is to use an ADA-approved soft toothbrush and the motion should be more akin to a massage than scrubbing the bathroom floor.
Grinding and Clenching:
This habit is one that is sometimes so subconscious that we don’t realize we are doing it. Especially when it takes place while sleeping. This can result in chipped or cracked teeth but also sore muscles and joints. Solution: Relaxation is key and yes, easier said than done. In such cases, certain exercises can help. If this occurs primarily when asleep, a mouth guard may be needed overnight.
Chewing Ice Cubes:
Imagine two crystals pressed against one another. That’s the same as tooth enamel and ice – both are crystals. While more often teeth win, chewing on ice can cause a tooth or filling to break. Solution: There are a couple ways to curb this habit, including drinking cold beverages without ice or use a straw.
Who can resist noshing throughout the day but sugary foods and drinks can really put your teeth at risk for cavities. The on-going presence of bacteria produces acid and damages a tooth’s outer shell. Solution: Step one is to eat well balanced meals. This helps you feel fuller, longer. Yet snacking is far too tempting so choose something low in fat and sugar. When your sweet tooth does takeover, have a big glass of water to wash away leftover bacteria.
Using Teeth As Tools:
The only job teeth should be used for is eating. They are not a vice when hands are full nor scissors to tear a plastic bag. Such actions can cause cracked teeth, injured jaws and accidental swallowing. Solution: Take a moment to find someone or something else to help with the job at hand.
So, start the year of right and break those bad habits and not your teeth. If questions or conditions arise, contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or any dental professional.
We turn the spotlight on preventing periodontal disease.
September is National Gum Care Month and Amsterdam Dental turns the spotlight on preventing periodontal disease – a common condition that can often have no warning signs.
Simply defined… periodontal disease (or periodontitis) is a serious gum infection and one of the major causes of tooth loss in adults. While often preventable with proper oral hygiene, early symptoms of red, swollen or receding gums should not be overlooked. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental conditions, such as tissue damage and jawbone deterioration. In addition, periodontitis has also been linked to heart and other diseases.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, research has indicated the bacteria and inflammation related to periodontal disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also have a negative effect on existing heart conditions. Evidence has further shown a relationship between periodontitis and other diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and respiratory-related illnesses.
At-A-Glance: Signs & Symptoms
Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
Receding gums or those that move away from the tooth
Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums
At-A-Glance: Risk Factors
Poor oral hygiene
Smoking or chewing tobacco
Genetics and/or age
Crooked, hard to clean teeth
Certain medications (steroids, select anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives)
At-A-Glance: Gum Disease Prevention
Brush teeth daily
Floss teeth daily
Swish with mouthwash
Know gum disease risk factors
There is good news! Periodontal disease is treatable using special dental procedures to clean the pockets around teeth and prevent damage of surrounding bone. In advanced cases, periodontal surgery may be required. As with all diseases, early detection is best. If you have questions or show symptoms, the team of Amsterdam Dental Group periodontists can diagnosis, create and manage a personal, case-specific treatment plan.
So as we celebrate National Gum Care, keep your healthy with good oral hygiene.
Tailgating is always fun! And, yes, it can be tooth-friendly!
It’s fall and that means… Get out and start tailgating! From SUV-filled stadium parking lots to a comfortable gathering in front of the big screen at home, there is no shortage of food and fun. The good news is there are some easy ways to maintain dental health while rooting for your favorite team. Here are some quick and good-tasting options.
Take a pass on the tradition and replace hamburgers and hot dogs with some grilled vegetables, fish, chicken and other lean meats instead. All good ways to avoid bad breath and mouth sores.
Back up your starting line up with a raw vegetable tray. These fiber-rich favorites stimulate saliva and wash away cavity-causing sugars and bacteria.
Kick off the tailgate with some cheese and crackers. The calcium-infused favorite is a great source of minerals for your teeth. Go for two points by opting for whole-grain or whole-wheat picks.
Gear up for overtime with some healthy sweet treats like sugar-free peanut butter cookies or sliced fruit with yogurt dip.
Win or lose, the best end of game advice is to be sure and brush afterward or at least swish with a little water! Happy tailgating!