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How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

May 28th, 2020

 

 

When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush?

We throw out expired foods, restock vitamins and supplements, and replace our beauty products often, but when it comes to health and beauty, it’s our dental hygiene that doesn’t get as much attention or thought as other areas of our regimen. However, there are important rules and tips you should follow for maintaining optimal dental health.

When To Change Your Toothbrush
Most dentists, and the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Overtime, toothbrushes go through normal wear and tear and become less effective with removing plaque from teeth and gums. Studies have found that around 3 months is when the bristles break down and lose effectiveness.

One other consideration we don’t typically think about (and probably don’t like to think about) is that germs can hide and build up in toothbrush bristles. This makes it important to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, or risk possible reinfection.

Fungus and bacteria can also develop in the bristles if not taken care of properly. After use, make sure you rinse off and dry your toothbrush thoroughly, storing uncovered in an upright position and keeping it away from other used toothbrushes. When traveling, be sure to cover your toothbrush head to protect it and reduce the spread of germs.

If you can’t remember exactly how long it’s been, pay particular attention to the condition your toothbrush head is in – whether the bristles are worn out, fan out, or frayed, or especially if you see dark color changes, which is a sign of mold.

What Happens If I Don’t Change My Toothbrush Often Enough?
If knowing that bacteria and fungus accumulates on your toothbrush bristles overtime isn’t enough reason to replace your toothbrush more often, there are also a number of other risks and uninviting issues involved with not replacing your toothbrush. One risk includes damaging your gums, as old toothbrushes become ineffective with removing plaque from your teeth, which leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to infection, which can cause teeth to fall out.

Even more unappealing, you can get sick from overused toothbrushes (see: bacteria and fungus build up), your toothbrush can grow mold, or possibly the least appealing, you can ingest unwanted particles if stored near a toilet.

What To Consider When Shopping for Dental Products
Ask your dentist during your next dental checkup and cleaning for recommendations about what you should be buying based off your individual needs, your particular dental health state, etc.

Some common suggestions among dental professionals are to look for toothbrushes with soft bristles, as hard bristles damage your teeth and gums, choose a toothbrush head size that touches one or two teeth at a time, use a toothpaste containing fluoride approved by the ADA, consider using mouthwash to further fight plaque and gingivitis, and don’t forget floss!

Consider investing in an electric toothbrush, as these have been proven to improve oral health beyond what a manual toothbrush can do by removing plaque, reducing gingivitis and eliminating teeth staining. They’ve also been shown to minimize the amount of plaque on the teeth of people with periodontal disease.

Do your research on what products fit your needs best, and don’t forget to ask your dentist for recommendations.

In need of a dentist? We’d love to see you!

Mental Illness and Oral Health

February 12th, 2020

 

There is a close connection between the health of the body and that of the mind. There is further evidence to suggest those who experience mental illness also suffer with poor oral health.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include: anxiety and panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia and psychosis.

Some of the main issues for those suffering with mental illness include:

Neglect: Research has shown that those suffering from mental illnesses tend to avoid dental care so much that their oral hygiene is neglected. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

Anxiety: Many people suffer from some form of dental phobia and as a result, stop seeing their dentist regularly. Infrequent dental visits have a severe impact on oral health.

Eating disorders: Those who suffer from conditions such as Bulimia often experience dental erosion from the acidity in vomit. Low levels of calcium are also common, which could affect the health of the teeth.

Brushing actions: Over-vigorous brushing actions by those with bipolar as similar disorders could result in brushing away the enamel on the surface of the tooth.

Medication: Some medications patients may be taking can produce adverse oral effects, especially dry mouth, which is as a result of reduced salvia flow.

It is important for carers to be aware of the link between oral health and mental health.

Those people suffering with mental health issues should understand value of good oral health and be motivated to maintain good dental habits.

Three key messages:

Brush last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Reduce the amount and how often sugary foods and drinks are consumed.

Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

What is Gum Disease

January 8th, 2020

 

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
gums that bleed easily
red, swollen, tender gums
gums that have pulled away from the teeth
persistent bad breath or bad taste
permanent teeth that are loose or separating
any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
poor oral hygiene
smoking or chewing tobacco
genetics
crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
pregnancy
diabetes
medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth This Holiday Season

December 10th, 2019

During the holiday time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in celebrating and let our routines slip. Keep these dental care tips in mind to end the holidays with the healthy smile you started them with.

1.Stick with your oral hygiene routine, it’s especially important during the treat-heavy holidays
2.Schedule a post-holiday checkup and cleaning to be sure you’re starting the new year clean and cavity-free
3.Protect your teeth during winter sports with a mouth-guard and avoid opening packages with your teeth to prevent chips or breaks
4.Be sure to drink more water, particularly after meals or sugary snacks
5.Speaking of snacks, opt for fresh fruits or other healthy treats whenever possible

For many still in school or college, the holiday season is the start of Winter break. This is an excellent time to schedule any necessary dental work such as wisdom teeth extractions or taking care of cavities. Schedule for your child today and send them back to school with a healthy smile. The holidays are a joyful, special time to enjoy with friends and family, and following these tips will help you share a beautiful, healthy smile with loved ones into the New Year.