We’ve all been told at least once in our life that flossing daily is crucial. Here are four reasons why flossing may be beneficial for your oral health routine:
Preventative care. Food and bacteria buildup between your teeth is unavoidable. Over time, these bacterial colonies lead to tooth decay and the destruction of your dental health. Flossing helps remove food and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth that needs attention. Many people take care of their teeth but ignore their gums. Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry explain that the people who floss regularly experience much lower instances of periodontal pathogens, gum bleeding, and decay-causing bacteria in contrast with people who do not floss.
Protects your smile. Flossing does more than just prevent cavities—it also preserves the bones that support your teeth. By preserving the height of that bony structure as well as a healthy smile, you’re maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance that will benefit you for years to come.
Gives you better overall health. Gum disease doesn’t just affect your mouth and jaw. It has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even respiratory diseases. Flossing daily is more than just an optimal habit—it can help keep you healthy as you age.
We are pleased to offer a variety of oral health solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment with our dental team today.
Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.
No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months
The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger.
A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar
Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.
Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth
Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.
According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.
Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.
Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.
Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.
1. Nail Biting
Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.
The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.
2. Brushing Too Hard
Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.
The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.
3. Grinding and Clenching
Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your
mouth wide. The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.
4. Chewing Ice Cubes
Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.
The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.
5. Constant Snacking
Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.
The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.
6. Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.
The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.
Sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. Being sick can make it more difficult to keep up with your daily routine. Don’t let your cold or flu become an excuse for overlooking your oral hygiene. In fact, when you’re sick it is essential that you continue to stick to your regular brushing and flossing routine. Here are a few tips to keep you on track and on your way to getting better.
Brush After Each Meal
When you’re sick, try maintaining a schedule of brushing your teeth shortly after each meal. Your mouth can be a prime location where bacteria breed. Being extra vigilant in your brushing routine is an excellent way to minimize the multiplication of germs and bacteria.
Be Selective with Cough Drops and Lozenges
Numerous brands of cough drops and throat lozenges contain sugar. In fact, many cough drops or lozenges are similar to candy. Candy, particularly sucking candy that lasts in your mouth for an extended period of time, can lead to tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar to create acids that damage your teeth. Consider looking for drops and lozenges that are sugar free, or those that do not include corn syrup and fructose.
If you are vomiting, keeping your mouth clean is important. Stomach acids can damage your teeth. However, brushing right away will just cause you to rub the acids all over your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash and wait at least 20 minutes before reaching for the toothbrush.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is one of the keys to recovery. Drinking water is also an effective way to prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to decay and bad breath. Some medications you might be taking to relieve your cold or flu symptoms might dry out your mouth, so be sure to continue to drink water throughout the day.
Replace Your Brush
Once you have recovered from your illness, consider replacing your toothbrush. While it isn’t likely that you would cause yourself to get sick again, you may wish to err on the side of caution. The American Dental Association recommends that you regularly replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
When you are sick, make it a point to keep up with your oral health. Your medications or over-the-counter remedies can have an impact on your oral health. Watch out for sugar content in cough drops and throat lozenges, and stay hydrated with water to avoid dry mouth. Keeping your mouth healthy is the first step to keeping your entire body healthy.
Unless you have been referred to a specialist for a root canal treatment, you may not have heard the term “Endodontics” before now. Even if you have, here are a few interesting things shared by our Columbia, MD dental team that you may not have known about this dental specialty.
“Endodontics” is taken from two older Greek terms literally meaning “inner tooth.” In the word endodontics, “endo” is a prefix meaning “inner” and “odont” is the root word “tooth.” Endodontic treatment dates back to the 17th century.
Endodontics focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of the internal structure of the tooth. This can include root canal therapy, apicoectomy, treatment of tooth infections, and more.
Endodontists start by training as dentists. Prior to obtaining their specialization, an endodontist like our doctor will earn a degree in dentistry. Afterward, they will complete an additional 2-4 years of focused education and training to gain their specialization.
Root canal treatment preserves a tooth. If you develop an infection in the soft inner tissue of your tooth, antibiotics are not sufficient to treat the issue. Rather than removing your permanent tooth, a root canal treatment will clean out the infection and fill the tooth to protect it from further damage. A single root canal treatment can preserve your tooth for a lifetime.
Root canal therapy relieves pain. Contrary to popular belief, having root canal treatment is not the cause of the pain that people often associate with it. The infection or trauma that underlies the need for treatment is the cause of the pain. Even though your tooth will likely be tender for a few days, most patients notice significantly reduced sensitivity following treatment.
Endodontists can help save a tooth following dental trauma. In addition to their expertise in root canal treatment, endodontists receive training in a wide range of dental trauma concerns. In many cases, our dentist in 21044 may be able to stabilize or reposition an injured tooth to prevent the need for extraction.
As a patient, you likely think of your general dentist or hygienist as your partner in your dental health. These are people you see frequently, who monitor your oral health during each visit and talk with you regarding any progress or potential issues that they find. While both of these dental professionals are vital, your endodontist can be a valuable partner in ensuring your oral health, as well.
It is likely that you were originally referred to our office by your general dentist because you needed root canal treatment. Endodontists specialize in performing root canal therapy to help save an infected tooth from extraction. However, this is not our only area of expertise. An endodontist’s specialty training also focused heavily on providing effective treatment for dental trauma.
Damage or trauma to the teeth, mouth, or jaws can range from very mild to extreme. Our office is available for expert consultation, evaluation, and treatment of dental trauma, often extending beyond normal business hours. If you or your child experience dental trauma, contact our general dentist in Columbia immediately, so you can be seen and treated as soon as possible.
Dental trauma includes:
Cracked or fractured tooth
Soft tissue injury to gums, lips, cheek, or tongue
Jaw bone injury
Damage to dental restoration
As one of your partners in dental health, our team is happy to provide you with any information you need regarding the services we offer. Whether you need a quick appointment for dental trauma treatment, root canal therapy to stop the pain from an infected tooth, or a second opinion on whether a tooth needs to be extracted, our Columbia, MD dental team is here to help.
If you have ever needed root canal therapy, you may know that an Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in treatment of the tooth root. However, there are some cases where traditional root canal therapy will not be possible or will not yield the best solution for your infection. In these cases, your dentist in 21044 may refer you to our office for an apicoectomy. Here’s what you need to know:
What it is
An apicoectomy is a minor treatment that involves removing the infected tip of a tooth root, then sealing the interior of the tooth to prevent further infection.
Why It Is Done
In most cases, when pulp in the root of a tooth becomes infected, root canal therapy is performed. This removes the infection and prevents it from spreading further. In traditional root canal therapy, the full pulp is removed from the tooth, along with any infected tissue. When this is not possible or previous root canal therapy has failed, an apicoectomy is recommended.
An apicoectomy is generally performed by a certified Endodontist, like our doctor. You will receive local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout your treatment. We will make a small incision in the gum tissue. The inflamed root tip is then removed and sealed to prevent the infection from spreading. You should expect this treatment to take 30 to 90 minutes. In most cases, an apicoectomy on a front tooth takes less time than one on a lower molar.
What to expect afterwards
Like any oral surgery, some discomfort can occur for the first few days following the procedure. When brushing your teeth, you will want to be gentle around the area. Any further discomfort can usually be mitigated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. We may prescribe medicine, if needed, to alleviate any discomfort that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Please use medications only as directed by our doctor.
Unlike traditional root canal therapy, you may not need to have a dental crown placed following an apicoectomy.
Acting on root issues as soon as they are detected is your best defense against infection and tooth loss. For more tips on keeping teeth healthy or for questions about apicoectomies, contact our Columbia, MD dental office.
Primary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.
In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. Our dentist in 21044 may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.
Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.
After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This dental crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.
There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:
Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
Practice healthy nutrition in your home
Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums
Root canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.
Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:
Deep tooth decay
Chip or crack in tooth structure
Tooth root fracture
Periodontal (gum) disease
Repeated treatment on a single tooth
Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.
Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.
After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.
According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option.
Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.
This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.
Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.
In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.
Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.
This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s.
Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.
In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.
Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.
There is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time, adding further complication to oral health care.
Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, is the best option for overall health.
By saving the natural tooth, patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.
Whenever possible, your dentist in Columbia MD should make every effort to preserve your natural teeth. If you are advised to have an extraction, ask if root canal treatment is an option. Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to an endodontist if you want a second opinion. Endodontists have at least 2 years of specialized training in tooth preservation, in addition to their dental degree.