How to take care of your teeth after the enamel has worn

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At Pacific Dental Care we make it a point to practice preventative dentistry, which involves education and instilling good dental health habits that our patients can practice for their entire lives. However, we do realize that sometimes we run into folks who may not have had the guidance that we make sure to bestow upon our valued patients. We do have patients come to us who’ve experienced damage to their teeth, particularly to their enamel. This can result in sensitive teeth and a number of other oral health complications, so we’d like to take some time to advise our patients who suffer from worn down tooth enamel about ways that they can give some extra TLC to their teeth.

Do you get an intense pain when eating foods extreme in temperature? Ice cream and hot tea can be painful undertakings if you’ve experienced enamel erosion. Enamel, a tooth’s outer covering, is a translucent layer of thin (but extremely strong) coating that protects the tooth and dentin, acting as a protective shield. Enamel also works as fortification against temperature, chemicals, and bacteria. Enamel doesn’t contain living cells, so when you lose it, there is no way for your body to regenerate it. Since you may not be able to restore your teeth, there are some steps and precautions that you can take to give your teeth the extra attention they need and deserve.

Stay away from sodas and fruit juices

Get your fruit the old fashioned way. Or, make a smoothie if you have a food processor. It’s good to avoid sodas and fruit juices because they contain many different types of acids that can corrode your enamel. If your enamel is already worn, beverages like these can wreak havoc on your teeth. You wouldn’t think so, but fruit juices actually erode your teeth more than soda will.

If you must, drink fruit juices and sodas with a straw, which will limit tooth exposure. A straw will make sure that the soda and juices have less direct contact with your teeth, directing the liquid to the back of the mouth instead.

Chew sugarless gum

If you eat during the day, especially foods high in starch or sugar, your mouth will become intensely acidic. To offset this effect, chew sugarless gum, which will help even the playing field as your mouth produces more saliva. Minerals in your saliva actually will help strengthen enamel. Make sure that your sugar free gum has xylitol in it, which is an ingredient that has been shown to diminish destructive acids found in food, fruit juices, and sodas.

Chew thoroughly and make sure your saliva production is up to par

Chronic dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) can cause problems for your mouth, affecting your tooth enamel particularly. Saliva, as mentioned before, actually contains calcium and phosphate, which both protect tooth enamel. When your saliva production is low, your tooth enamel is more susceptible to damage. Chewing thoroughly helps produce saliva. Chewing sugarless gum also helps to produce saliva between meals.

Make sure you schedule and keep your routine checkups with Pacific Dental Care

This is the most important step to take of all. It’s important that you work with a trained professional who can monitor and track progress with your teeth and oral health. We’re in this together, helping you build good habits and increase your knowledge about good oral health, which is being linked more and more to good overall health. Contact Pacific Dental Care to schedule your next visit. If there’s a problem, we’re here to take a look and lend our expertise. Even if there’s nothing wrong as far as you can tell, schedule your next routine checkup today.

Activities that Jeopardize Your Teeth

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We like when our patients stay active at Pacific Dental care, and a part of that is engaging in activities, getting out of your comfort zone, and really experimenting with your overall health. A part of that is making sure that you take care of your teeth and mouth in the process. Too often, even as adults, sporting events or extracurricular activities end in a dental emergency either because the participants aren’t taking the proper precaution (like wearing a mouthguard), or they are being careless about other people’s safety. Today, Pacific Dental Care would like to talk about the most dangerous activities for your teeth and mouth, in addition to making some suggestions about how you can boost your chances of getting in and out of the event with your pearly whites in tact.

We would never try to dissuade anybody from taking part in sports and physical activities, but it’s good to have a plan in place to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and the people you’re playing with. Dangerous activities for your teeth can take you anywhere from the court to the field, from the city to the snow-capped mountains.

First, we’d like to talk about the extreme sports. Skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, biking, even knee boarding and tubing can be dangerous activities for your teeth. It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the park on the mountain, hitting that handrail, or if you’re being towed by a boat while sitting on an innertube, a single motion can send your face smacking into a rail, crashing into the pavement, or your knee flying up into your mouth. Tooth loss and damage can happen in the blink of an eye during these activities. It’s always good to wear a mouthguard, even while being extreme. You might get a couple of snide looks out there, but your teeth with thank you for it in the long run. Not many people can pull off the missing tooth look.

Second, the sports that involve hand-to-hand combat, or one on one competition, like wrestling, boxing, martial arts, and MMA fighting can pose a risk to your teeth. When your opponent is trying to land a punch to your face, it’s going to also pose a threat to your mouth. Luckily, many of these sports involve headgear and have mouthguard requirements. With sports such as these, there is an out-in-the-open sort of risk that makes officials enforce strict safety rules. That’s what makes these sports come up a little less on our radar, because participants already know about the risk and prepare accordingly.

Next come the “ball and stick” sports and games. Baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, any of these sports come with dental injury risk. Hockey is an especially risky sport for your teeth, since many players refuse to wear facemasks (even goalies used to decline face masks in the early days of the sport, can you believe that?). By and large, players will wear mouthguards, especially in lacrosse and hockey. We can also lump football in this category, even though no sticks are involved in its current iteration. Widespread mouthguard use extant since the 1950s is a big reason that football is no longer the most risky activity for your teeth.

The most risky sport for your teeth is actually (drum roll)… basketball! It’s hard to believe this, because basketball has been deemed one of the more poetic and beautiful games, much like soccer. But, unlike soccer, basketball is extremely physical, especially the game played inside the key. Pick up games are seldom regulated by officials, so these games can often get physical. Professional players even lose their teeth during games. Mouth guard use is incorporated but not enforced. In one study, men’s basketball counted for almost 11% of dental injuries per 100 athletes, which is about 3 times more than football.

So, it’s important that when you gear up for some good, healthy competition, make sure that you pack your mouthguard. It’s also beneficial to play safe out there. There’s really no reason to put yourself or anyone else at increased risk of injury by playing with reckless abandon. Keep yourself and the people you play with safe. Look out for each other in sport and in life. Make sure you also schedule your regular visits with Pacific Dental Care, and if you have any questions about how to safeguard your million dollar smile, we’ll be happy to give you any sort of advice you need.

Oral Health and its Link to Overall Health

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More and more evidence is being discovered that links good overall health to good oral health. In more ways than one, when you skip out on brushing and flossing regularly, your body is also paying a price in addition to your pearly whites. Gum inflammation has been known and shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but there are also a number of other health maladies that can invade a person’s life due to poor dental habits. Pacific Dental Care is all about educating our patients, so they can cultivate and practice good dental habits on a daily basis that will save you costly procedures (both dental and medical) down the road.

Gum Inflammation has been shown to increase risk of heart disease.

Oral inflammation is no joke. Extended bacterial exposure has been shown to be linked to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation poses a major risk for heart disease. A two front attack should be set in place between your dentist at Pacific Dental Care and your cardiologist, because a problem in one area can often be an indicator of problems in the other.

Your oral health is linked to diabetes.

This one makes sense. Serious gum disease can actually promote diabetes, because gum disease affects your blood glucose levels. Since periodontitis is a bacterial infection, these individual bacteria produce harmful toxins which affect cells and carbohydrate metabolism. These bacteria also increase the body’s insulin resistance, which affects blood glucose levels as well. Diabetes is on the rise in this day and age, making it even more important to stay on top of good brushing habits and schedule your biannual checkups with Pacific Dental Care.

Oral health is linked to a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Canadian studies have suggested a link between progressive gum disease and preterm deliveries as well as low birthweight. If you’ve achieved pregnancy and have a healthy plan in place, this plan should also include your regular visits with Pacific Dental Care. We want to see that baby develop, but we also want to make sure that your oral health is also in check. Babies born preterm or with low birth weight run a heightened risk of complications and developing additional infections, birth abnormalities, and behavioral difficulties. It’s important that you take extra special care of your teeth and gums during this formative time for you and your baby.

Bruxism and TMJ Disorder can cause problems with your overall health.

When Bruxism is especially severe, constant teeth grinding can aggravate the complex system of joints in your lower jaw (temporomandibular joints/TMJs). This can lead to headaches, earaches, troubles with sleep, hand-eye coordination dysfunction, increased irritability, and a number of additional health problems that will penetrate your daily life. Bruxism is also obviously horrible for your teeth as well, wearing down your enamel and protective coating of your teeth. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and also chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.

Smoking affects your teeth, which affect your overall health.

As if you needed another reason to quit smoking, here’s another. When you smoke, you are developing illnesses that can prove to be life-threatening. Quitting smoking can significantly lower your risk for emphysema, painful lesions, oral cancer, lung cancer, and a number of other health complications. Tobacco is also a major contributing cause of tooth loss, gum recession, yellowing teeth, bad breath, reduced sense of smell and taste, and a number of other detrimental medical and cosmetic effects.

Some quick tips on oral health:

First, make sure to practice preventative dentistry. Once you have your adult teeth, it’s the only set you’ve got, so you have to make sure you take good care of them. Instill a good routine twice a day, brushing and flossing as your dentist at Pacific Dental Care recommends, because this will significantly reduce your chances of spending money on costly medical and dental procedures down the road. Using a soft bristle toothbrush is important. If you can afford to, spring for one of the electronic models, which provide consistent, equal pressure, making the brushing process easier on you and your gums. Make sure that you spend extra time on your tongue and the rest of your mouth, making sure to get rid your mouth of as much bacteria as possible. This will avoid infection and bacterial overgrowth which can lead to a vast array of health problems, including those we’ve mentioned above.

Make sure that you schedule your regular checkups with Pacific Dental Care. We’ll stay on top of your dental care habits and make sure that we cultivate good oral health habits that you can carry with you throughout your life.