The History of Gum Gives You a Lot to Chew On

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Need help whitening your teeth? Want to quit smoking? Trying to lose weight? There’s a chewing gum for all of that and more. New types of chewing gum are introduced all the time, but did you ever wonder how it managed to gain such a grip on consumers? Believe it or not, people have had a love affair with gum for thousands of years. From humble beginnings to hundreds of varieties, here’s a look at how chewing gum rose to become the powerhouse product it is today.

How It Originated

Long before William Wrigley Jr. made a name for chewing gum, ancient civilizations were tapping into trees and other sources of resin and chewing on soft, rubbery substances both for enjoyment and medicinal purposes. Evidence indicates prehistoric Europeans would chew on birch bark tar quite possibly to help relieve toothaches, while Aztecs and Mayans would turn to gum from the chicle tree to appease their thirst or hunger. In North America, Native Americans favored spruce tree resin, and it became commercialized and sold in sticks by a colonist named John Bacon Curtis in 1848.

Eventually, scientist Thomas Adams succeeded in enhancing chicle with flavor, and his work would set off various trials to improve the ability to retain flavor – with peppermint found to be particularly effective. Adams helped bring attention to chewing gum by introducing it to vending machines and selling it in the subways of New York in 1888, but chewing gum really took off when a soap industrialist named William Wrigley Jr. promoted it as an add-on to his products. From “Juicy Fruit” to “Doublemint” gum, Wrigley created one of the most successful chewing gum companies that ever existed, and many of his products remain popular today.

Gum Gets a Modern Makeover

After the turn of the century, chewing gum innovations accelerated due to deeper research and newfound discoveries. Bubble gum and other sweet flavors became a mainstay, and production further proliferated in the 1930’s and 1940’s, when synthetic rubbers made mass production easier than ever. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements came in the 1950’s, when sugarless chewing gum was first created by a dentist, Dr. Petrulis, and sold to William Wrigley Jr. The nation was becoming more health-conscious, and chewing gum products followed suit.

Today, chewing gum comes in countless varieties, and has grown even more popular due to its ability to:

Freshen breath: almost all types of gum come flavored to help mask odors

Keep teeth white: both chewing and active ingredients can fight tooth staining

Fight plaque: sugar free, xylitol-based gum inhibits the growth of oral bacteria

Aid in weight loss: many turn to gum as a low calorie treat instead of snacking

Help quit smoking: nicotine gum is an effective substitute for cigarettes

Supplement your diet: certain gums are fortified with vitamins and minerals

Several sugarless brands also come with a seal of approval from the American Dental Association, and are recommended by dentists to help fight tooth decay.

Choosing the Right Gum

Chewing gum is often purchased on impulse, but putting a little thought into the type of gum you choose can make a big difference to your oral health. Read the labels closely to ensure you have selected a sugarless variety that won’t harm your teeth, and then narrow down the field based on additional preferences – from flavor to active ingredients and beyond. If you need help in choosing the right gum, or are unsure about the effectiveness of a particular brand you have chosen, simply call your dentist for guidance. Just like most things, chewing gum should be done in moderation – chewing gum too frequently may lead to jaw muscle fatigue or more serious issues such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ).

Source: Chew On This – The History of Gum

 

 

Dental Discoloration: Causes and Best Solutions

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Making a Few Lifestyle Changes May Prevent Tooth Discoloration

There are plenty of factors that can cause temporary or permanent tooth discolorations. First, there is the extrinsic discoloration, which means that your teeth get discolored because of external factors.

For example, if you consume caffeinated beverages, red wine, cola or you are smoking - these can all cause temporary discoloration and staining of your teeth. Dentists highly advise patients who consume such beverages to rinse their mouth with water every time after the consumption of a glass of wine or a cola. This way, you will not allow the harmful particles to stick to your teeth and cause staining.

Teeth can also get discolored because of intrinsic causes. This means that the staining is caused by an internal factor. The internal structure of your tooth called the dentin will get discolored (yellowish), and this type of staining is much more difficult to deal with. Some of the main causes on intrinsic staining include:

Taking prescription pills, especially minocycline antibiotics.

If the patient has been exposed to large amounts of fluoride during childhood, the dentin can also get discolored years later because of this exposure.

A health condition known as dentinogenesis imperfect. This health condition causes your teeth to get that gray and purple discoloration.

As a result of the natural aging process, our teeth cannot maintain that beautiful and shiny ivory/white color for all our life. As we age, our entire body suffers transformations.

 

How to Avoid/Prevent Staining

In order to avoid the staining of the dentin and of course the thinning of it, you should keep in mind the following:

Rinse your mouth with pure water every time you get the occasion.

Use toothpaste which has in its composition whitening agents, and also use an antibacterial/whitening mouthwash regularly.

Using proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques.

Avoid the foods and beverages that cause stains.

Consider bondings or veneers.

Use in-home whitening agents purchased from your dentist.

 

In Office Dental Whitening/Bleaching

The two main methods of professional whitening are tray whitening and in-office whitening. In tray whitening, an impression is taken by your dentist and a custom tray is made for the patient. Then, a supply of whitening gel is given to the patient and he/she wears the tray for a few hours each day (techniques differ) for a period of time until an acceptable result is achieved. Sensitivity of the teeth is a normal side-effect of this whitening method and is almost always transitional.

On the other hand, in-office whitening is the most efficient means of whitening. There are a number of different types used, but the process is very similar for these methods; you can have your teeth whitened in one session and achieve significant results. Your dentist can give you more detailed information and help you decide which method is more suitable for you and your teeth.

Professional dental whitening has the power to remove even intrinsic stains, thanks to the maximum strength of the peroxide gel to penetrate the tooth. Just talk to your dentist about the suitable whitening options if you struggle with stained teeth.

 

Source:  Worldental.org, WebMD.com

 

7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know About

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Wonderful Ways Smiling Makes Life Better

Smiling and laughing can have a positive impact on your well-being, but as you make the transition from child to adult, you often tend to lose the habit of indulging in these behaviors. A good example of this is a children’s playground: You often see the kids running around, constantly laughing and smiling as they enjoy living in the moment, while the parents sit around the edge, full of the stresses that modern life can bring, with the occasional grin breaking their otherwise serious facial expressions. Adults can benefit from taking a lead from children and making more room in life for smiling and laughter.

In addition to improved health, these simple facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a distinctive positive impact on all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, mostly without you being consciously aware of it happening.

1. Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile.

These are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face, which is interpreted by your brain, which in turn releases these chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lower stress levels. Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thing—the brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way. This is known as the facial feedback hypothesis. The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical the more often we feel happier and relaxed.

2. Endorphins make us feel happier and less stressed.

They also act as the body’s natural pain killers. For sufferers of chronic pain, laughing and smiling can be very effective in pain management, as can laughing off the pain when you bump an elbow or fall over.

3. While the release of endorphins is increased, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced.

Cortisol is more active when we feel stressed or anxious and contributes to the unpleasant feelings we experience, and by lowering it we can reduce these negative feelings.

4. Laughing expands the lungs, stretches the muscles in the body and stimulates homeostasis.

This exercises the body, replenishing the cells from a lungful of oxygen and gaining all the benefits of exercising the body.

5. A good laugh can be an effective way to release emotions.

A good laugh can help you release emotions, especially those emotions that you might bottle up inside. Everything looks that little bit better after a good laugh and life can be seen from a more positive perspective. Smiling and laughing have positive social implications as well.

6. Smiling is an attractive expression, which is more likely to draw people to you rather than push them away.

Smiling makes you appear more approachable. Interaction with others is easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughs are shared, and these behaviors are contagious, making others feel better too, and make you a more appealing and attractive person to be around. This in turn will have a positive effect on your well-being.

7. A happy, positive expression will serve you well in life.

This is particularly true for challenging situations such as job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations. This will also be of benefit in your career, building healthy relationships with colleagues and being seen in a favorable light by your employers.

Source: LifeHack.org

 

 

 

Five Signs of a Healthy Mouth

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A Quick Home Oral Health Check and What to Be On the Lookout For

With just a few minutes of exploring your teeth, gums, tongue, and lips -- as well as the lining of your cheeks - you could learn something important about your health. Here's five signs of good oral health and what you should look for:

Healthy Gums

Scan your gums. They should be pink and firm to the touch, not red or white, and not swollen or tender.  Teeth should be seated firmly and should not feel wiggly or loose.  Gums should sit flush with the teeth, with no flaps, pockets, or places where they appear to be receding from the tooth.  Flossing daily helps to keep gums healthy, and prevent pockets and places for bacteria to collect and cause damage, decay, and bad breath.

Puffy, red, inflamed gums can signal any number of things. You may simply be brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with too-stiff bristles. Or you may be flossing improperly and irritating your gums. But, typically, red and inflamed gums are a classic sign of gingivitis, the first step toward periodontal disease. Healthy gums are a leading indicator of a healthy body. 

Strong Teeth & Dental Restorations

Check out your chops. Check your teeth for strength and condition, including teeth that have restorations such as fillings or teeth with crowns including dental implants. Grinding or clenching (bruxism) is a common issue that can increase the wear on teeth and restorations, including teeth with fillings.

Have you noticed any tooth discoloration or pitting? These can be early signs of decay. Gaps and growing spaces between teeth can cause trouble with your bite, too.

Pleasant or Neutral Breath

Take a breath test. A healthy mouth means naturally pleasant or neutral breath.  You can test this easily at home.  Floss between a couple of your teeth, or scrape your tongue with a fingernail and take a sniff.  This is a more realistic sense of what your breath may smell like once toothpaste and mouthwash have faded for the day.  The presence of bacteria and food particles is directly related to persistent bad breath.  Bad breath can also be an indicator of other health issues such as diabetes, and even sinus issues.  The best possible way to keep your breath pleasant is with good brushing and flossing habits.

Proper Jaw Alignment & Tooth Spacing

Bare your bite. Do your teeth meet like they used to, or are they getting more crowded? Crooked, crowded teeth may be harder to clean properly. Teeth that are straight and aligned properly are much easier to brush and floss, meaning better breath and fewer places for cavities or gum disease to develop with proper home care.  Crowding, also known as a “malocclusion,” can impact chewing and normal digestion, and may be related to bruxism (clenching or grinding), gum disease, jaw disorders such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), migraines or other neurological symptoms, and even the overall shape of your face. 

Healthy Oral Tissues

Stick out your tongue. Healthy oral tissues are often pink, firm and moist. If you have low iron, your tongue might look a little inflamed. A sluggish thyroid may cause your tongue to thicken. And a fungal infection can show up as white patches on your tongue. Look for lumps, ulcers, bleeding, and sores, too. They could indicate something mild -- like a viral infection -- or something much rarer but serious, like tongue cancer.

Check your cheeks. Look at the mucous membrane lining your mouth and the inside of your lips for signs of irritation, which can appear as white or gray patches (called leukoplakia) or red patches (called erythroplakia). Irritation in and of itself may not be harmful. But it could indicate anything from a rough tooth or filling that's rubbing against your cheek to something more serious, such as a precancerous lesion. Also, don't ignore canker sores. These small, shallow ulcers are usually harmless but can be painful. And if one persists for more than 10 days or returns frequently, it may signal a vitamin deficiency, a bacterial infection, or even an inflammatory bowel disease.

Let a Pro Take a Peek

Of course, you shouldn't count on your own eyes to determine whether your mouth is showing signs of disease. And you don't want to wait for an obvious problem before you see a medical professional. So see your dentist twice a year. Decay, as well as tiny cracks or other issues with teeth and restorations may not always be visible to the naked eye.  Dental x-rays and a thorough exam may help detect issues before they become painful and often more difficult to treat. If you've noticed anything odd in there, bring it up. But trouble may be brewing long before you notice it - and can occur in places where you can't see - so you need to call in the experts for a look, too.

 

Sources: WebMD, ShareCare.com

 

Favorite Treats That are Good for Your Teeth

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Pinch Yourself, You’re Not Dreaming

Studies have revealed that a few of our most favorite dietary vices may actually have cavity-fighting properties and be good for your teeth. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Dark Chocolate

All hail the cocoa bean!  This news may have been around awhile, but it’s still good news. Cocoa beans, which are used to make chocolate, contain antioxidants including flavonoids, polyphenols and tannins. Tannins are what cause dark chocolate to have that delightful yet bitter taste, and they also have properties which help to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Polyphenols have antimicrobial properties, which means they help to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

Bacteria in the mouth are what cause bad breath and gum disease. Research has been conducted by the University of Osaka in Japan, as well as other studies in the US and UK. If you’re planning to run out to get some dark chocolate, aim for 70% cacao or higher.

Cheese

If you're one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. A recent study found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects' mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. It's thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar.

Almonds

Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch. You can also add a handful to a salad or to a stir-fry dinner.

Red Wine

Yes, you heard right. Red wine, like dark chocolate, also contains tannins and other antioxidants. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry recently concluded that red wine, whether or not it contained alcohol, inhibited the growth of bacteria and oral biofilms, which become plaque. The same study also found properties in grape seed extract to have similar antimicrobial properties.

Black Coffee

Results of a recent study released by Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University in Brazil have revealed that black coffee may also have properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria. The study found that an extract called Coffee Canephora, which is present in about 30% of the world’s coffee, helped to break down the biofilms. Coffee also contains tannins, the same antioxidants found in red wine and dark chocolate. The coffee bean cited in this study is called Robusta. Robusta is often found in darker, stronger roasts. The key is to drink coffee without cream or sugar, as both will counteract the potential benefits from the coffee beans.

Along with adding leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you're drinking. Since it has no calories or sugar, water is always the best pick, especially compared to juice or soda. Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile.

Enjoy, In Moderation

Is this all too good to be true?  Well, a little bit. Coffee, chocolate and red wine all have dark pigments that can stain teeth, which is why many dentists may encourage people to avoid them. Dental restorations such as crowns and veneers, as well as recently whitened teeth, may be more susceptible to staining, so it is important to follow the recommendations of your dentist.

If you plan to enjoy any of these treats, remember to do so in moderation. We also recommend you follow up with a good swish of water reduce the staining potential until you can find time to brush. Brushing for 2 minutes twice a day, and flossing, are a critical part of your oral health routine. It is also important to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. The good news is that you can reward yourself after your dental visit with some delightful treats!

Source: Colgate.com, MouthHealthy.org (American Dental Association)

 

 

 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas That Will Have Dad Smiling

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This Father’s Day Give Dad a Dental Gift to Keep Him Healthy for Years to Come

Father’s Day is just around the corner, on Sunday, June 19. June is also Men’s Health Month, where we devote extra time to help the Dads we know and love to remember to care for themselves as much as they care for their families.

Don’t take the easy road with another tie or set of tongs – give him something for his teeth! Why?

Men are:

Less likely to brush their teeth twice a day

Less likely to brush their teeth after every meal

More likely to develop gum disease

More likely to develop oral cancer

Check out these cool gift ideas:

Bluetooth Toothbrush: For the gadget/techie guy, check out the Oral B SmartSeries line. This new electric toothbrush features Bluetooth technology for 2-way communication with Dad’s smartphone. Apps are already available for iPhone and Android. If the Dad you’re shopping for is an early adopter of new technology, get the jump on this brush!

During the wait for that Bluetooth toothbrush, Dad can also download a free app called Brush DJ. This fun and creative app helps keep track of dental health including when it’s time to replace a brush or brush head, and also happens to play awesome music to make sure everyone is brushing for the recommended two minutes!

Creative Toothbrush Holders:  Oral hygiene should be routine, but it doesn’t have to be boring with a fun and interesting toothbrush holder. Brushing and flossing can be a fun family affair with a little creativity!

Dental Emergency Kit: Do you know a Dad who loves to camp and travel?  Nothing can bring even the toughest hiker and traveler to his knees like dental problems when he is hours from a dentist. An emergency kit contains some basic first aid to help deal with most common dental emergencies until Dad can get to a dentist.

Noise Canceling Headphones: You may not be able to send Dad on a vacation for Father’s Day, but you can give him the gift of a little peace and quiet with some noise canceling headphones. These headphones are also a great accessory to bring to dental appointments for those who are less than excited to hear some of the noises that are usually found in a dental office.

A Scheduled Appointment or Dental Procedure: An appointment with one of our highly trained specialists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs will detail exactly what he needs. Whether it’s just a routine cleaning and examination, a straighter smile or whiter teeth, he will leave our office feeling — and looking — like a new man! A routine cleaning, which is recommended for everyone annually, x-rays and a thorough examination, keeps teeth and gums healthy, which is important to overall health. If Dad is interested in any cosmetic services, we have just the thing to enhance his look, not just for Father’s Day, but for the long term.

Any concerns he may have about crooked teeth can be fixed with the Invisalign treatment we offer—invisible braces which will go unnoticed the whole time he has them and give him all the more reason to smile. Signs of discoloration, minor gaps or chipped teeth can be corrected with custom made porcelain veneers. The experienced professionals in our office know how important oral hygiene is for overall health so give Dad a gift this Father’s Day that will keep him healthy for many years to come.

 

Sources: DeltaDentalar.com

 

Smoothies for Your Smile

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What You Eat and Drink Can Deteriorate or Fortify Teeth

Not all smoothies are created equally. It is very easy to make a smoothie that is loaded with sugar, and while it may taste good, can contribute to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and an array of other health problems.

Here’s three great smoothies for a healthy and happy smile:

The Super Bright Smile Smoothie

This smoothie will not only make you smile because it tastes great, but it will also give your entire mouth a healthy boost. The apples in this recipe contain as much fiber as a whole serving of bran cereal. Apples are also mildly acidic, so they act as an astringent by gently killing bacteria and whitening teeth.

Avocados are also great for your smile, containing an average of 18mg of calcium ensuring that your teeth stay strong. They’re also packed with vitamin B6, another essential nutrient for good oral health.
The mint leaves aren’t there just for good looks! They’re natural breath fresheners and have been shown to whiten teeth as well.

3 Apples

2 Kiwis

1 Avocado

1 Orange

3 Mint Leaves

The Healthy Gums Smoothie

This smoothie is great for maintaining healthy gum tissues because of the high levels of Vitamin C found in the kiwi and mixed berries. Kiwis contain more vitamin C than any other fruit for their size, including the Vitamin C packed orange. But just in case, we’ve added an orange to this recipe as well! Research has shown that high levels of vitamin C is essential for healthy gums and helps to fight off periodontal disease.

The creamy consistency of this smoothie comes from the addition of Greek yogurt, which is itself a dental super food. A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those that consumed the most yogurt. Yogurt has also been shown to strengthen teeth and fight bad breath.

1 Kiwi

1 Banana

½ Cup Frozen Berries

1 Cup Strawberries

½ Cup Orange

8 oz. Greek Yogurt

The Tooth Strengthening Smoothie

Like the previous smoothie, this great tasting snack contains a huge amount of Vitamin C. But the real tooth strengthening benefits come from manganese, which is found in high quantities in pineapple. Manganese is a trace element that helps to build strong bones. One serving of this smoothie gives you a full daily supply of recommended manganese.

There is one important item to note, however. The high acid level of pineapple along with the sweetness of added honey means that you shouldn’t neglect your regular brushing routine just because the nutrients in this smoothie are good for your teeth. Of course, you’re careful to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, right?

2/3 of 1 Whole Pineapple
1 ½ Tbs. Honey
1 Peach
½ Cup Frozen Pineapple/ Mango
1 Banana
1 Orange

 

 

Sources: HealthySmoothieHQ.com, IncredibleSmoothies.com

 

 

5 Dental Apps That Will Keep Your Oral Health on Track

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Mobile Apps That Keep Your Smile Bright and Mouth Clean

Many mobile dental applications are available free, others are free to download but require a paid upgrade or annual subscription for full functionality, and some apps must be purchased. Fees can be as nominal as 99 cents or range into the hundreds of dollars. According to WebMD, as well as countless other reliable medical resources, medical professionals constantly find direct links with dental health and heart health. If you need a little help keeping up on your dental health, need some help managing your plan or meds, or just would like to know more in general about keeping your mouth clean, check out these helpful apps.

eProcrates Rx

Dental patients with prescriptions find the most benefit from this app. With eProcrates Rx, you get a free mobile clinical reference library. You’ll find a drug guide, drug interaction checker, and information on drug formulas. It constantly updates and gives relevant medical news. You can download versions that include other types of information, such as alternative medicines, insurance codes, diagnostic tests, disease diagnosis and a medical dictionary, but that extra information costs anywhere from $99 to $199 per year. One of the best parts about this app is that it tells you dosage information, interactions, and contraindications.

iRomexis

iRomexis offers a comprehensive image viewer for the iPad that works with both 2D and 3D images. It can display any image it gets from Planmeca X-ray units. With great resolution, you can take your X-rays to your home to look at as well as any other professional for a consultation. You can share the images on this map to any mobile device, meaning you can zoom and measure the images, as well as adjust the brightness and contrast, and take a snapshot of any angle.

DDS GP

Like iRomexis, DDS GP designers made the app with dentists in mind. It’s designed to help dentists and patients make a dental treatment plan for their diagnosis. It’s great if you want to fully understand your diagnosis and do the best you can to treat it and prevent any further issues. You’ll find a plethora of topics spanning the dental industry, as well as a drawing board. Bring this app or suggest it to your dentist and see what they come up with. It’s a great source of information.

Lexi-Dental Complete

Lexi-Dental Complete gives you a full library filled with dental resources. These resources include drug information and effects, patient resources, photos of dental procedures and conditions, information on diagnostic procedures, natural product information, Stedman’s Medical Dictionary and a dental office emergency handbook. Though it lands on the pricey side, you can download it for a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, you’ll have to shell out $285 annually; a reasonable price considering the resources available.

If you’re not satisfied with that, you can also try checking out Kool Smiles’ information on their website, dedicated to helping spread dental care and education globally. They focus on the dental divide, with a goal to even the playing field and allow everybody the same access to dental health. They spend millions of dollars every year towards providing free dental services for those who can’t afford to pay for it.

My Smile

This simple little app allows you to compare your smile to a 15-shade tooth palate, letting you know where your teeth fall in the range of colors. Just keep in mind when using the app that the quality, angle, and lighting of the photo you use have an effect on where you’ll land on the chart. It works best as a relative scale.

Remember, no matter how you do it, it’s important to keep up on your dental health. Find what method works for you; just make sure you don’t slack on cleaning your mouth. After all, you do use it to kiss people.

 

Sources: WorlDental.org, WebMD

 

5 Tips for a Healthy Mouth and a Beautiful Smile

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Do You Think a Beautiful Smile Happens Naturally? It Doesn’t.

Brushing, flossing and rinsing are the ABCs of oral health, but they're only the beginning. A marvelous mouth takes more than squeezing paste out of a tube - think about improving your tooth brushing technique, ditching the daily soda habit, and saying good-bye to cigarettes. Here are five ways to a fantastic smile from the team at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs.

Brush Twice a Day for two to three minutes with fluoridated toothpaste. Practice proper technique. Although you probably know you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, if you're like most people, you don't give much thought to how to do it. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointed toward the gum line, and use gentle, short, circular motions. Brush each tooth 10 to 15 times, but don't overdo it. Overly aggressive brushing can damage teeth and erode your gum line.

Floss Daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can't reach. It's simple: Flossing fosters healthier teeth and gums. But like brushing, there's a right and wrong way because flaws in your flossing can cause friction and damage the gum line. Wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, keeping about two inches between your fingers to work with. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth, and keep the floss tight against the tooth to break up plaque while leaving your gums in good shape.

Eat a Healthy Diet to provide the nutrients necessary to prevent gum disease. The best way to maintain a healthy mouth is by eating a healthy diet. Be sure to include nutritious foods that offer vitamins A through E for healthy gums. In addition, eat crunchy fruits and vegetables to help clean your teeth. Even eating pineapple can lessen stains on teeth. Cut back on sugar which is a major culprit in tooth decay. It fuels bacteria and acidity in your mouth, causing plaque to form and eat away at your enamel and gums. Your pearly whites are hit with up to 20 minutes of acid production for every sugar fest you indulge in, from sweetened coffee in the morning to ice cream at night. To avoid being among the 20% of people in the United States who face tooth decay every time they look in the mirror, try to cut down on sugary treats.

Avoid Tobacco Use, which may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer. You've heard it before: Quit smoking. But this time, it's your dentist talking. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes not only turn your teeth an unsightly shade of yellow, they eat away at your gums. Smoking creates a ripe environment for bacteria and plaque on your teeth and along the gum line. That harms tissue, degrades the bone that supports teeth, and, eventually, increases your risk of tooth loss. Even worse, tobacco chemicals can lead to oral cancer.

Regular Dental Checkups are the surest way to detect early signs of periodontal disease. If you're prone to ditching the dentist, you're among the roughly 50% of adults in the United States who don't see a dentist yearly because of dental phobia, finances, or just plain neglect. But spend some quality time with your dentist (twice a year, the American Dental Association advises), and you'll catch problems at an early stage when they're treatable, not to mention more affordable to take care of. Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment. Provide your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs with a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health developments, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health.

Sources: Delta Dental, WebMD

 

 

Are Your Wisdom Teeth Impacted?

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See Your Dentist If You Experience Any of These Problems

When your wisdom teeth start to emerge it can definitely be painful, but it can be even worse if your wisdom teeth become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are trying to erupt but are unable to do so because there is not sufficient room for them to emerge. This usually means that your wisdom teeth are painfully lodged in your jawbone.

Not everyone decides to take the immediate removal route, so knowing the potential of dangerously impacted wisdom teeth is important; they could damage adjacent teeth, lead to gum disease or tooth decay and even cause cysts to develop. While there are not always noticeable signs of impacted wisdom teeth, these are a few of the warning symptoms that could indicate the need for dental intervention:

Jaw Pain

While there are many different dental issues that can cause jaw pain, the discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain through the jaw and into the skull, often resulting in terrible headaches. The pain could be more intense while chewing, especially if the pain shoots to the back of the mouth or into nearby teeth. The jaw pain could also lead to swelling of the entire jaw area. This can indicate an especially dangerous impaction, as the tooth may be causing infection or damage to the nerves around it. A visibly swollen jaw line is a definitive way to tell that something is wrong with the tooth.

Sore or Bleeding Gums

Impacted wisdom teeth can be a very serious affliction, and a person’s overall dental health may begin to deteriorate. Because jaw and tooth pain often extends throughout the entire area, the gums can also be affected. Sore or bleeding gums, especially when the bleeding occurs with very little provocation, is a definite sign that something is going wrong with the teeth. Tenderness and swollen gums in the back of the mouth generally indicate that the problem is in the wisdom teeth area.

Bad Tastes and Smells

When wisdom teeth are impacted, bacteria often becomes trapped in the soft folds of the teeth and gums. This bacteria grows rapidly in dark, damp areas, such as the back of the mouth, and infections may begin. These infections can fester, potentially leading to cysts and decay. A person experiencing tooth decay or excessive bacteria will notice a bad taste in his or her mouth, even while chewing other food. In addition, it can lead to exceptionally bad breath that may be noticed by other people.

Other possible but less common signs of impacted wisdom teeth may include:


Shooting pain in the back of the mouth
Swollen glands
Difficulty opening the mouth
Ongoing earaches

Because impacted wisdom teeth can cause many complications, including irreversibly damaged nerves and necessary orthodontia, it is important that these warning signs be taken very seriously. Allowing the damage to continue without dental intervention can be very dangerous to overall health, so an appointment should be scheduled as soon as any of these potential symptoms are observed.

 

Source: DentalInsurance.com, WebMD