The holidays are upon us, and with these festivities come the feasts! You might find yourself eating more sweets than you usually do — or changing your healthy dental habits to adapt to multiple celebrations. However, even changes that only last through the holiday season are enough to do damage to your pearly whites. It’s important to take some steps to help protect your smile and ensure a healthy holiday season.
What can happen to my teeth during the holidays?
Your teeth’s number one enemy is sugar, and the holidays are a time when desserts play center stage. Buckets of Halloween candy are just the start to a season that prides itself on pies of all flavors, candy canes, and homemade cookies, cakes, fudges, and other desserts crafted specially for family gatherings. Those sweets are central in holiday traditions and memories, but you don’t want those memories tarnished by an emergency trip to the dentist during this time.
Bacteria that already live in our mouth naturally devour the sugar we eat, leaving acid behind. This acid is responsible for eroding our enamel and leading to tooth decay, cavities, and worse. Since we typically eat even more sugar than normal during the holiday season, we can really wreak havoc on the health of our teeth — not to mention rack up extra sensitivity.
Beyond the damage that sugar can do to our smile, there are a number of treats that can cause extra harm. In a worst-case scenario, highly sticky candies like taffy can yank out fillings. Hard desserts like peanut brittle can damage existing dental work or even crack or break natural teeth. Before you take a bite, ask yourself: is this item worth the risk of having to schedule an emergency appointment with the dentist? Plan accordingly!
How can I ensure healthy holiday habits for my teeth?
Don’t treat your teeth like tools. Avoid using them to open packaging, remove tags, and other similar situations. Even seemingly innocuous tasks could damage dental work — or even your natural teeth. Likewise, leave cracking nutshells to nutcrackers. You could land in an emergency dental appointment in the middle of holiday festivities, making this year certainly memorable — but not in a good way.
Whenever possible, try to brush your teeth after eating meals — particularly when those meals entail delicious desserts. Pack a travel toothbrush, floss, and travel-sized tube of toothpaste in your purse or travel bag to use between meals. There are also a number of single-use, disposable teeth-cleaning options available on the market for just these kinds of situations. That way, you can have the tools you need on hand to clean your teeth without the extra worry of transporting your toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere you go.
No matter how much you might try to be prepared for anything, a holiday meal — or treat — might just catch you unaware. If you’re caught without your teeth-cleaning tools, even rinsing with plain water is better than nothing. Doing so after meals and snacks can help neutralize the acids that the sugar-eating bacteria leave on your teeth.
In the end, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to completely restrict yourself from the treats that make the holiday fun. Everything in moderation — and rinse with water afterward.
What are some healthy holiday activities that won’t hurt my teeth?
When it comes to delicious holiday feasts, prioritize the treats that mean the most to you. For example, indulge when it comes to a meaningful dessert recipe handed down from generation to generation, but skip the soda. Trade sugary, carbonated beverages with water — especially since they’re not the stars of the show when it comes to sweets.
Also, try not to snack throughout the day. The buildup of debris in and around your teeth coupled with the accumulation of sugar and acid can harm your teeth. Strive to eat once — even with desserts — and then brush or rinse your mouth.
Think about what kinds of desserts could be good alternatives to the traditional, rich, sugary treats normally found at holiday celebrations. There are plenty of delicious low-sugar options in cookies, brownies, and bars. You can also cook these recipes in a way to ward off overly crunchy treats that might cause tooth breakages. There are even healthy options, like yogurt parfaits, fruit-based desserts, and more. Think about where you could replace syrups and whipped creams with fresh fruit toppings, like on cheesecakes and pancakes. With all the sweetener alternatives available nowadays, you don’t have to trade taste for health.
Above all, make sure you continue to brush and floss your teeth twice a day — even if you’re traveling out of town for the holidays or attending multiple gatherings. Don’t miss out on your healthy dental hygiene habits just because it’s the holidays!
If you have questions about your dental health or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at Lifetime Dental Health at (614) 333-9442.
If your dentist has recently mentioned dental sealants, or if you’ve read about them online and you’re not sure what they are, don’t worry. You’re not alone. While dental sealants are becoming more and more popular, many people don’t know exactly what they are or how they work.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a form of preventative care. Your dentist may recommend these to help prevent any future cavities or tooth decay, especially if you are at high risk for developing these due to an illness or vitamin deficiency. Dental sealants are thin plastic caps or coatings, similar to a crown, that go over your teeth to protect the enamel. These sit on top of your teeth and do not require any additional work such as drilling.
Why Should You Consider Getting Dental Sealants?
No matter how well you brush, floss, and rinse your mouth, there will always be some food particles leftover – either stuck in between your teeth or in the grooves of your molars. Over time, these can build up and attract bacteria to your mouth while slowly decaying your teeth. Dental sealants will help prevent this from happening by covering the enamel of your tooth, preventing both food and bacteria from getting into the grooves and weakening your teeth.
Dental sealants are also a good idea if you have any health condition or vitamin deficiency that results in weakened enamel. While a sealant won’t protect your teeth from your body, it will protect your teeth from any bacteria that try to take advantage of your weakened enamel. This will save you time and money in the long run as you won’t have to pay for more expensive repairs such as fillings, crowns, and even extractions. It can also keep you from pain — so long as your teeth are protected and don’t have cavities, your chances for an infection or your tooth breaking are greatly reduced.
What is the Process for Getting Dental Sealants?
Placing dental sealants is actually a fairly simple, painless process, which is another reason that they are so popular.
First, your dentist will most likely want to perform a cleaning. It is important to make sure that your teeth are as clean as possible so that no bacteria are trapped. If bacteria are trapped, then you will be unable to reach them while brushing, and this can greatly harm the condition and health of your teeth.
Your dentist will then dry your teeth and line them with cotton swabs, so they remain dry throughout the procedure. If you have ever had a filling placed, then it is similar to that process. The teeth are then prepped for the sealant and recleaned and dried. Finally, the sealant is applied and left to dry.
This process is quick and simple, and so long as no complications occur such as your teeth needing to be dried again, it will only take a few minutes for all of your teeth to be sealed and completed.
Is There Any Aftercare for Dental Sealants?
One of the best things about dental sealants is that they do not require special treatment or care after they are placed on your teeth. In order to keep them in good condition, and therefore your teeth in good health, it is important to practice proper dental hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash twice a day. Chewing sugar-free gum is also advised. You also need to continue seeing your dentist at least once every six months. This is not just for your biannual cleaning, but also so that your dentist can check your dental sealants for any flaws or imperfections. A crack in the sealant can allow bacteria to reach the inside and damage your teeth, and your brush won’t be able to reach in that crack. A cracked or flawed dental sealant will need to be repaired or replaced immediately. Other than this, however, there are no major lifestyle changes that you will need to make.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
How long your dental sealants last depends on how well you take care of them. Of course, as you read above, the aftercare is fairly simple and doesn’t require anything other than proper dental hygiene and regular dentist visits. So long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, your dental sealants should last for around ten years. However, if they become chipped or cracked, it does not mean that you will have to go through the entire process again. Your dentist will be able to reapply the sealant to a single tooth whenever problems or flaws arise.
If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants or scheduling an appointment to have some placed over your teeth, contact our practice today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442.
Are you experiencing pain in your mouth, ear, jaw, or the entire right or left side of your face? Do you feel pain when trying to chew or talk? Are you experiencing muscle spasms, locking joints and severe headaches? If you are undergoing one or more of these symptoms, you could be suffering from TMJ disorder.
Below we will discuss TMJ disorder, the causes, symptoms and treatment options.
What is TMJ?
TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is a hinge that connects at the joint of the jaw and the skull, connecting the temporal bone and lower jaw. There is a temporomandibular joint located on the left and right sides of your jaw. Its primary function is to allow the jaw bone to open and close when you are chewing and talking.
If the temporomandibular joints are working correctly, both will be functioning in harmony, without pain, when you are opening and closing your mouth.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is when the joints are not working in synchronized motions as you are opening and closing your mouth. The joint may twist or slide when the jaw is making the open and close motions, causing pain to your mouth, jaw, face, or all three.
TMJ affects everyone differently; some people experience chronic pain in multiple areas, while others may not.
This condition is also known to be more common in women than in men.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
It is exigent to determine the actual cause of TMJ disorder. Experts suggest that there are several reasons behind the origin of TMJ disorder, such as:
Genetics – Researchers have primarily looked at genes related to how people respond to stress, since stress is a possible cause for TMJ disorder. A genetic cause does not mean if your mother had TMJ disorder due to stress then you will too; it merely means your chances are a bit higher to develop TMJ disorder at some point.
Jaw Injury – This refers to any damage, such as high impact, to the jaw affecting temporomandibular joints.
Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can affect the function of the temporomandibular joints.
Osteoarthritis– This is known as a degenerative joint disease that causes the deterioration of cartilage.
Bruxism – Also known as grinding the teeth, bruxism primarily happens while a person is sleeping and can lead to inflammation and pain in the temporomandibular joints.
Clenching – This can take place while awake or sleep. Clenching of the teeth is closely linked to stress.
Physical Activity – Severe vigorous physical activity can cause TMJ disorder; this can also be associated with physical stress on the body.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
As mentioned previously, most people that are suffering from TMJ disorder have pain in their mouth, ear, or jaw. They may also experience the locking or spasm of muscles.
Other symptoms include:
Difficulty opening/closing the mouth
Clicking or popping when opening/closing the mouth
How Can I Treat TMJ Disorder?
There are a variety of treatment options available, depending on the level of pain you are experiencing and the cause of TMJ disorder.
The pain associated with TMJ disorder can generally be treated with over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen, however some people may experience more chronic pain and require prescription painkillers or muscle relaxers to alleviate the pain.
In some severe cases, surgery may be a treatment option, though surgery is never the firstrecommended treatment option.
Is It Possible to Avoid TMJ Disorder?
There are a few suggestions available to avoid TMJ disorder:
Take smaller bites when eating
Avoid chewing gum
Avoid biting hard objects (e.g. fingernails & pen lids)
Apply moist heat when experiencing muscle spasms
When Should I Seek Medical Care for TMJ Disorder?
Everyone’s case of TMJ is different, so knowing when to seek medical care will vary case to case. In most instances, TMJ disorder can be treated at home, however, if over the counter medications do not eliminate the pain then it is advised to seek medical care.
If a person’s jaw is stuck in the open or closed position, it is advised to seek immediate medical care as well.
I Think I Have TMJ Disorder – Is It Permanent?
TMJ disorder is not considered a permanent condition. TMJ generally goes away with the appropriate treatment, but the disorder can come back in times of stress or if reinjured.
Be sure to follow up with a medical professional and follow the treatment plan you have in place.
Contact us at Lifetime Dental Health at 614-333-9442, our professional dental staff will be more than happy to assist you with your dental concerns.
As summer grows near, most people are looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation. During this time, you are primarily concentrating on picking the perfect destination, the best time to travel and even arranging an intense, yet flawless vacation schedule to fully enjoy yourself.
Often we seem to overlook a thing or two during the craziness of vacationing; even though oral hygiene probably takes less time to complete than most of your daily tasks, it is one of the most common activities that seem to be easily overlooked during vacation.
Below we will discuss the importance of executing proper oral care; which will include five super simple tips that will help you stay on top of your oral hygiene while on vacation.
Why is it important?
Daily oral hygiene is essential because it helps eliminate bacteria that can lead to bad breath, gum disease, and even tooth decay. As recommended, you should brush and floss at least twice a day to make sure you are adequately cleaning your teeth and gums.
Once you have this type of positive oral cleaning routine, you do not want to fall out of habit, especially because of a vacation. Just going one to three days without brushing and flossing can cause severe plaque buildup, although it may take more than one to three days for a cavity to develop.
However, if you happen to lose your routine and get out of the habit of the proper daily oral care, it may make it easier to skip a day here and thereafter you return from vacation, which will eventually lead to more serious dental issues down the road!
How can I stay on top of oral hygiene while vacationing?
Acknowledge the importance of healthy teeth
First, you want to recognize the importance of having healthy teeth. If you can agree that keeping your teeth clean is just as important and essential to life as eating or drinking, then you will be more likely not to omit to complete the task as needed.
Bring your dental kits
As you are packing, be sure to include your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. It is recommended that when you pack your dental supplies to pack the travel sizes. Doing this helps you pack light and makes less of a hassle.
If you happen to forget to pack your toothbrush, or maybe the kids left it at the last destination, do not fret, most hotels have complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste at the front desk.
Another suggestion would be to make sure and pack a few extra travel size dental supplies, just in case you find yourself in a pinch.
Bring some bottled water
Depending on where you are traveling or how you are traveling, bottled water can be essential to have.
For example, if you are driving for an extended period of time and there are not any rest stops available to brush your teeth after you had your morning coffee, then having a bottle of water would definitely be beneficial. It would only take a few moments to find a place to stop and brush your teeth, using your travel size dental kit and bottled water to rinse when you were done.
Bottled water would also be beneficial if you were in an area that did not have clean drinking water. You do not want to brush your teeth with water you cannot drink!
Don’t over-do it on the sugar
It is your vacation, so you should definitely enjoy the new foods you may encounter during your trip.
You don’t have to steer clear of your favorite sweet treats either. However, you want to be sure not to overindulge on the sugary treats. No matter how delicious or how “well deserved” the sugary sweetness may be, any sugar can contribute to tooth decay.
If possible, keep fruits, nuts, and other low sugar snack options for enjoying in between your vacation style meals.
Be prepared for dental emergencies
No one plans to experience a dental emergency, such as chipped teeth or gum abscesses, but we all know that life happens and it is possible. You always want to be prepared for a dental emergency in any situation, but especially while on vacation!
While vacationing, you should plan ahead and locate the dentist offices closest to where you will be staying.
You should also carry your dental information with you. That way if you were to experience a dental emergency, you would easily be able to provide the applicable information to the dentist office, and ultimately expedite your care.
What did we learn today?
Overall you can enjoy a relaxing, successful vacation without omitting your oral hygiene care. If you realize the importance of including a proper oral hygiene routine in your vacation planning, it will not feel as if you are not doing any extra work. Also, the tips listed above will help you jump-start the process and help put your mind at ease.
Call us today at Lifetime Dental Health at 614-333-9106 to schedule your check-up before vacation, or if you have any summer dental hygiene questions.
Summer is time for frolicking in the sun, a little less work (hopefully), and more time spent with family whenever possible. There are trips to the beach, lazily lounging poolside, and soaking up the sun…carefully, of course. But what about going to the dentist? Everyone does that, right? While a visit to the dentist is not usually on the summer “bucket list,” it ought to be, and here’s why.
My Oral Health Can Wait ‘Til Fall… Can’t I Take The Summer Off?
You may not feel like throwing in the beach towel and booking an appointment with the dentist, but summer gives you no excuse to get lazy about oral care. The entire family needs to fit in the time to be seen for a general check-up, as much as you would rather pack up for a family picnic or a trip to the park. Oral health maintenance is a year-round matter, and taking the summer season off could only make things worse come fall, and for the future. Even if no one in the family is feeling tooth pain or having other oral issues, being proactive means that regular dental visits should not be skipped come summer. After all, your teeth do not know what season it is, so treat them well 365 days per year.
The Kids Are Going Away For The Season To Summer Camp. Should We See The Dentist Before They’re Off?
By all means, bring the kids in for a check-up before they go away to camp. Once they are off for the summer, they may not have access to decent dental care until they are back home. This means a cavity, crack, or other issues will remain unchecked, potentially worsen, and cause the child pain or discomfort. Even if there is a dentist available at their camp or close by, kids may not mention they are having issues because they do not want to miss out on the camp fun with the other kids. As you plan for their summer camp departure, be sure to put “Make an appointment with Lifetime Dental Health” on your to-do list. If they have already left for camp, remind your kids to brush and floss regularly (as always), and if they notice a problem, to alert their camp counselor right away. Once the kids return home, be sure to book a visit with us as soon as possible so we can prevent additional issues from arising and repair anything necessary. And remember, along with your care packages, include a brand new toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and some dental floss. A little nudge will remind the kids to take care of their teeth while at camp.
My Whole Family Loves Summer Snacking. The Treats Are Too Good To Pass Up. Are There Foods To Avoid Altogether?
“Everything in moderation” is always a good goal to keep in mind when it comes to snacking, but there are some foods specific to summer that are not the best for your teeth. Those ooey gooey campfire roasted marshmallows can stick to the surface of the teeth, so brush them as soon as you can after enjoying those sweet s’mores. The same goes for the tasty treats you will get off the ice cream truck. Sugary frosty cold drinks sure hit the spot when the sun is blazing and you’re drenched in sweat, but they will also wreak havoc on your teeth if you do not practice good oral hygiene after slurping them up. Enjoy your favorite summertime foods, but be sure to care for your teeth with the same level of enthusiasm. It doesn’t take long to make a difference.
Summer is not a time to slack off in terms of dental health; it is just too important to neglect, no matter the season. The whole family can focus on summer fun, but bring the topic of oral care to the table too. The kids will follow in their parents’ footsteps, so be a good role model and book your dental appointment this summer at Lifetime Dental Health. We are a family-friendly practice with patients of all ages. Your family will be in the best of hands at Lifetime Dental Health and Drs. Barry and Love can’t wait to see you, so kick off your summer with a smile that is as healthy as can be.
Book an appointment for a check-up for yourself and the rest of your family as soon as possible by calling 614-333-9106. Our front desk staff will find you a slot ASAP, we’ll fit you in, then you can get back to your summer adventures. ‘Til then, take care of your teeth at home – summertime and anytime — by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and eating right. It is up to you to stay healthy, and we’re your proactive and preventative partner in making a positive impact on your family.
Snoring is often poked fun at, but it’s no laughing matter. Around 90 million Americans experience snoring nightly. For half of those people, snoring may be a sign of a dangerous sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea always causes loud snoring, but loud snoring isn’t always a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring in the absence of OSA is referred to as primary snoring. Snoring due to OSA is bad news by any measure.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused when the tissues in the back of the throat relax to an extreme degree. These tissues slide partially into the airway, where they vibrate when air passes across them. The severity of a person’s snoring is affected by their build, weight and many other factors.
How is snoring due to sleep apnea different?
In Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a person’s breathing slows or even stops. “Apnea” itself refers to a temporary halt in breathing. The brain senses a sharp, rapid rise in carbon dioxide and rouses the sleeper briefly, so briefly that there’s no memory of the sleep interruption. Sleep returns immediately upon the resumption of normal breathing. This pattern occurs over and over during the night, from a few times to hundreds of instances. Unlike primary snoring, sleep apnea is caused by a fundamental failure of a primary life sustaining function—in this case, breathing.
Snoring in OSA sounds different from primary snoring. Snoring in OSA is very loud, followed by silence due to the airway being choked off by the back of the tongue and tissues in the lower oral cavity. Next, loud gasping and choking noises following, sometimes accompanied by snorting or half-formed vocalizations.
Sleep quality with OSA is abysmal. OSA causes the release of stress hormones that put immense pressure on the heart and major blood vessels. OSA contributes to high blood pressure, daytime tiredness, chronic fatigue, and even depression. People with OSA tend to gain weight, which makes their situation even worse. OSA leads to metabolic syndrome, in which nutrients aren’t efficiently processed or absorbed by the body. Work performance suffers because of OSA and interpersonal relationships suffer. OSA also may lead to congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and stroke. The above disorders are all primary risks of OSA.
Sometimes OSA causes breathing to stop for more than a minute. Lack of fresh oxygen injures organs and tissues on a microscopic but cumulative level. The brain uses almost one-quarter of the freshly oxygenated blood in the body at any given time. A drop in oxygen impairs brain function, causing impairments in memory, mental clarity, and retention of information.
There are more concerns. Lack of consistent, restful, regenerative sleep leads to a marked drop in concentration and coordination, which can cause accidents. People may nod off in episodes of micro-sleep
How is primary snoring treated? What about OSA?
Primary snoring can be treated by over-the-counter nasal strips and sleeping in different positions. Reducing alcohol intake sometimes relieves primary snoring. In cases of OSA, several options are available. In the case of an obese patient, weight loss can relieve pressure on throat tissue. Large tonsils and adenoidal tissues can be removed to open up air passages. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is the most common and best treatment. CPAP uses a small air blower, which forces a steady stream of air onto the face of the wearer via tubing and a mask. Although CPAP treatment is effective, sleeping with a CPAP machine is challenging. Many people find it awkward and uncomfortable.
There are newer devices on the market that use different technology to alleviate sleep apnea, such as the Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure device (EPAP). Provent, an EPAP system, uses nasal plugs with tiny valves that partially close during exhalation, generating pressure in the airway that keeps it from closing. Provent requires no masks, no electricity and is portable. Provent requires a prescription.
Mouthpieces are also available that treat OSA. They help your throat to stay open by gently moving your jaw forward, which in some cases is enough to relieve obstructive sleep apnea. If you want to try this
approach, you’ll be referred to a dentist who specializes in sleep medicine to be custom-fitted for a mouthguard.
EPAP and primary snoring
The FDA has approved the Theravent snore therapy system for use as an over-the-counter primary snoring treatment. Theravent devices fit over the nostril, creating positive pressure that keeps the airway open when exhaling.
Get help for OSA
No one should dismiss snoring as an unavoidable annoyance. There’s at least a fifty percent chance a snorer has obstructive sleep apnea. A physician can make an accurate diagnosis, most often through a sleep study. There’s no reason to give up on getting the best sleep of your life. With diagnosis and treatment, all the harm from OSA can be prevented.
Consult our professionals at Lifetime Dental Health if you are a snorer, and we can discuss possible next steps to get you the sleep you deserve!