Posts for: April, 2018
Could your daily routine be improving or negatively impacting your oral health?
Do you sometimes skip out on brushing your teeth before rushing to work? Do you find yourself too tired to even lift the floss to your mouth let alone actually floss your teeth? Did you reach for that donut in the office break room? Not all choices are good ones, and, unfortunately, these choices can have a profound effect on your oral health, over time. Our Huntersville, NC, dentist, Dr. JC Duncan, doesn’t like seeing patients with cavities and other issues, especially when they can be prevented with these simple rules.
Rule #1: Brush twice a day.
This is a rule that you should always follow. We know that sometimes life gets hectic, but it’s important that even with a crazy schedule that you carve out just two whole minutes in the morning and then again at night before bedtime. Really focus on cleaning every surface of your teeth and don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Rule #2: Floss every day.
Just like you need to brush twice a day you also need to spend a little time flossing your teeth. Of course, you really only need to floss once a day in order to remove plaque and food from between teeth and along the gumline. A good rule of thumb is to floss right before bedtime to remove all the plaque, food and bacteria from the day.
If you aren’t sure if you are using the proper flossing technique then you should definitely ask our Huntersville general dentist to show you the best flossing techniques during your next visit.
Rule #3: Routine dental checkups are for everyone.
Some people assume that they only need to visit the dentist if they are dealing with problems. This is simply not true. Even if you aren’t noticing any problems you still want to come into the office twice a year so that we can remove plaque and tartar buildup, provide a more comprehensive and thorough cleaning for your teeth and gums, and even check the health of your mouth to make sure there aren’t any issues.
Do you have questions about the dental services we offer in Huntersville, NC? Is it time to schedule a professional cleaning and to make sure your oral health is up to par? Then don’t hesitate to call our dental office today to schedule your next visit.
Lots of people don’t know that April is National Stress Awareness Month; don’t fret if you’re one of them. For many, stress is already a common feature of everyday life. According to the American Psychological Association, 62% of Americans are stressed at their jobs, and stress has been estimated to cause the loss of some 275 million working days every year.
In addition to its other negative physical and mental consequences, stress can also spell trouble for your oral health. It may lead to the problems of teeth clenching and grinding, which dentists call bruxism. A habitual behavior that can occur in the daytime or at night, bruxism is thought to affect perhaps one in ten adults. While the evidence that stress causes bruxism is not conclusive, there’s a strong case for the linkage.
Bruxism sometimes causes symptoms like headaches, soreness or pain in the jaw muscles or joints, and problems with fully opening the mouth. It can be detected in the dental office by excessive tooth wear, and/or damage to tooth surfaces or dental work. Grinding or tapping noises heard at night may indicate that someone is grinding their teeth while sleeping. In children, nighttime bruxism is common and not necessarily a reason for concern; in adults, it may be more troubling.
So what can you do if you’re experiencing this problem? If you find yourself clenching and grinding during the daytime, simply becoming more aware of the behavior and trying to limit it can help. A bit of clenching during times of stress isn’t abnormal, but excessive grinding may be reason for concern. Many of the same techniques used to relieve stress in other situations—such as taking a step back, talking out your issues, and creating a calmer and more soothing environment—may prove helpful here as well.
Occasionally, prescription drugs may cause bruxism as an unwanted side effect; in this case, a medical professional may recommend changing your medication. The use of stimulants like coffee and mood altering substances like alcohol and illicit drugs have also been associated with teeth grinding—so if you’re having this issue, consider foregoing these substances and making healthier lifestyle choices.
There are also a number of dental treatments that can help protect your teeth from excessive grinding. The most common is an occlusal guard or “night guard.” This is a custom-fabricated appliance made of plastic that fits comfortably over your teeth. Usually worn at night, it keeps your teeth from actually coming into contact with each other and being damaged. Occasionally, additional treatments such as bite adjustment or orthodontics may be recommended to help solve the problem.
If you would like more information about teeth clenching and grinding, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”
Periodontal (gum) disease is a devastating infection that eventually causes tooth loss if not treated. Plaque removal, antibiotics and possible surgical intervention have proven quite effective in stopping the infection and restoring diseased tissues; however, the more advanced the disease, the more difficult it can be to treat. It’s important then to know the warning signs of gum disease.
Bleeding gums are the most common early sign of gum disease. The infection triggers tissue inflammation, the body’s defensive response to isolate and fight bacteria. As the inflammation becomes chronic, however, it can weaken the gum tissues, which will then bleed easily.
Bleeding, though, is often overlooked as normal, perhaps from brushing too hard. In actuality, bleeding gums is not normal: if your gums routinely bleed during normal brushing and flossing, you should contact us for an examination as soon as possible. Similarly, if your gums are red, swollen or tender to the touch, this is also a sign of inflammation and an indication of infection.
Gum disease is often called a “silent” disease, meaning it can develop without any indication of pain or discomfort. Sometimes, though, bacteria can concentrate in a particular portion of the gum tissue to form a periodontal abscess. In this case, the abscessed tissue can become very painful, swollen and red, and may even discharge pus.
There are also advanced signs of gum disease. If your teeth are painfully sensitive when you brush, consume something hot or cold, or when you bite down, this may mean the gums have pulled back (receded) from the teeth and the highly sensitive dentin and roots are now exposed. Teeth that appear to have moved or that feel loose may mean the gum tissues have significantly detached from the teeth as increasing amount of bone loss occurs. If you see any of these signs you should contact us without delay.
Regardless of the level of disease advancement when diagnosed, prompt treatment should begin as soon as possible. This is the only way to bring the infection under control and give the gum tissues a chance to heal and rejuvenate. From then on, it’s a matter of renewed dental hygiene, frequent cleanings and checkups and an ever vigilant eye for signs of returning infection.
If you would like more information on the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.”