What is Dental Erosion?

What is Dental Erosion?

Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.

How do I know I have dental erosion?

Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower colour than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth can also be more sensitive to heat and cold, or acidic foods and drinks.

What causes dental erosion?

Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. If this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth.

What can I do to prevent dental erosion?

There are a number of things you can do:

  • Have acidic food and drinks, and fizzy drinks, sodas and pops, just at mealtimes. This will reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
  • Drink quickly, without holding the drink in your mouth or ‘swishing’ it around your mouth. Or use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.
  • Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help cancel out the acid.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
  • Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.

How can it be treated?

Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check-ups and advice your dental team can prevent the problem getting any worse and the erosion going any further. If a tooth does need treatment, it is important to protect the enamel and the dentine underneath to prevent sensitivity. Usually, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. However, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer.

Tooth Sensitivity – Causes and Treatment

Tooth Sensitivity – Causes and Treatment

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity — also known as dentin hypersensitivity — affects the tooth or exposed root surfaces. This occurs when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface, the dentin, thus, reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.
If hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, or breathing in cold air, makes your teeth or a tooth sensitive or painful then you may have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time

Cause

There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, including:
Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush or brushing too aggressively
Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages
Tooth erosion due to bulimia or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed

Prevention

Brushing properly twice daily for 2 minutes with toothpaste that does not have high levels of abrasives, and flossing once a day, can help reduce the chance of tooth sensitivity. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, or over-brush, your gums may become sensitive. A diet low in acidic foods and drinks also helps prevent tooth sensitivity.

Treatment

In addition to recommending toothpaste without high levels of abrasives, your dentist may prescribe an at-home, brush-on fluoride gel or a fluoride rinse, or high fluoride level toothpaste specially formulated to make your teeth less sensitive and provide extra protection against decay. Other treatments — such as fluoride varnishes — can be painted onto the teeth to provide added protection.

Halitosis! How to prevent bad breath ?

Halitosis! How to prevent bad breath ?

Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. It can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing, even mouthwash merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.

 

What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?

  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • See your dentist regularly
  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products
  • Drink lots of water.

 

Who Treats Bad Breath?

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your family doctor or to a specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan. If the odor is due to gum disease, for example, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum conditions.

 

 

 

 

Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergencies

Toothaches

First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. See your dentist as soon as possible.

 

Chipped or broken teeth

Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. See your dentist as soon as possible.

 

Knocked-out tooth

Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

 

Lost filling

As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.

 

Lost crown

If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

 

Abscess

Abscesses are infections that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums. See your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

Mouth Sores! What Causes Mouth Sores?

Mouth Sores! What Causes Mouth Sores?

Mouth Sores are common ailments that can appear on any of the soft tissues of the mouth, including the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and floor and roof of the mouth. You can even develop mouth sores on your esophagus, the tube leading to the stomach.

 

What are the symptoms of mouth sores?

In most cases, mouth sores cause some redness and pain, especially when eating and drinking. Depending on the size, severity, and location of the sores in your mouth, they can make it difficult to eat, drink, swallow, talk, or breathe. The sores may also develop blisters.

 

What causes mouth sores?

Several things can lead to mouth sores, ranging from minor everyday causes to serious illnesses. Usually, a mouth sore might develop if you:

  • bite your tongue, cheek, or lip
  • burn your mouth
  • have irritation from a sharp object, such braces, retainer, or dentures
  • brush your teeth too hard, or use a very firm toothbrush
  • chew tobacco
  • are infected with the herpes simplex virus

Doctors do not know what causes canker sores. However, these sores are not contagious. You may be more prone to them due to the following:

  • a weakened immune system because of illness or stress
  • hormone changes
  • a vitamin deficiency, especially of folate and B-12
  • intestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Occasionally, mouth sores are the result of, or a reaction to, the following:

  • over-the-counter or prescription medications
  • radiation or chemotherapy
  • autoimmune disorders
  • bleeding disorders
  • cancer
  • bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
  • weakened immune system due to AIDS or a recent organ transplant

 

Do mouth sores need to be diagnosed?

You can usually tell when you have a mouth sore without needing a doctor’s diagnosis. However, you should see your doctor if you:

  • have white patches on the sores
  • have, or suspect you may have, herpes simplex or another infection
  • have sores that do not go away after a couple of weeks, or they get worse
  • just started taking a new medication
    started cancer treatment
  • recently had transplant surgery

 

How are mouth sores treated?

Often, minor mouth sores often go away naturally within 10 to 14 days, but they can last up to six weeks. Some simple home remedies might help reduce the pain and possibly speed up the healing process. You may want to:

  • avoid hot, spicy, salty, citrus-based, and high-sugar foods
  • avoid tobacco and alcohol
  • gargle with salt water
  • eat ice, ice pops, sherbet, or other cold foods
  • take anti-pain medications, such as acetaminophen
  • avoid squeezing or picking at the sores or blisters
  • apply a thin paste of baking soda and water
  • gently dab on a solution that is one part
  • hydrogen peroxide and one part water
  • ask your pharmacist about other over-the counter medications, pastes, or mouthwash that may be helpful

 

Can mouth sores be prevented?

There is no absolute way to prevent all mouth sores. However, there are steps you can take to avoid getting them. You should try to:

  • avoid very hot foods and drinks
  • chew slowly
  • use a soft toothbrush and practice regular dental hygiene
  • see your dentist if any dental hardware or teeth may be irritating your mouth
  • decrease stress
  • eat a balanced diet
  • reduce or eliminate food irritants, such as hot, spicy foods
  • take vitamin supplements, especially B vitamins
  • drink plenty of water
  • do not smoke or use tobacco
  • avoid or limit alcohol consumption
  • shade your lips when in the sun or use SPF 15 lip balm

 

Are there any long-term effects of mouth sores?

In most cases, mouth sores have no long-term effects.
If you have herpes simplex, the sores may reappear. Outbreaks are more common if you are under stress, if you are ill or have a weakened immune system, if you had too much sun exposure, or if there is a break in your mouth’s skin.
In cases of cancer, your long-term effects and outlook depends on the type, severity, and treatment of your cancer.

Gum Disease! What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum Disease! What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis, also generally called gum disease or periodontal disease, begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and may end — if not properly treated — with tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.

 

What Causes Gum Disease?

Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease. These include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums.
  • Medications
  • Bad habits such as smoking make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Gum disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.

 

How Does My Dentist Diagnose Gum Disease?

During a dental exam, your dentist typically checks for these things:

  • Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
  • Your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth

 

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

The goals of gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy gums to teeth; reduce swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression. Treatment options depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Options range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues. A full description of the various treatment options is provided in Gum Disease Treatments.

 

How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

Gum disease can be reversed in nearly all cases when proper plaque control is practiced. Proper plaque control consists of professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing eliminates plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that can be reached; flossing removes food particles and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. Antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.
Other health and lifestyle changes that will decrease the risk, severity, and speed of gum disease development include:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.