3 Summer Treats for a Healthy Smile

Summer Text with Palm is about vacations, group activities, family time, and great food. With the warmer weather comes the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. You may even be growing your own. Choosing the right snacks can both satisfy your sweet cravings and help your smile shine.

Strawberries

Strawberries are the perfect choice for boosting your oral health. Candy lovers and sweet addicts can snack on strawberries in place of surgery, teeth-eroding junk. Packed with vitamin C, this summer super food is a good source of calcium, which is essential for all of our bones- including our teeth.  Just one cup of strawberries is filled with maximum amounts of magnesium, folate and potassium: all necessary for a glowing smile!  To top it off, strawberries are also known to help clean your teeth. The seeds can work as tiny scrubbers helping to remove some plaque build-up.

WatermelonsummerTreat1

Summer BBQs are never complete without giant slabs of juicy watermelon. Not only is it a tasty and refreshing treat on hot days, watermelon is also great for your teeth.  Being mostly water, this fruit stimulates saliva flow, which is very effective in maintaining a healthy, bright smile.  Watermelon, like strawberries, is also packed with antioxidants and tons of Vitamin C which are great when going through any kind of recovery. Snacking on watermelon will also fill you up with Vitamin A, which is great for your skin and a fantastic complement to your beautiful smile!

Yogurt

Ok, yogurt IS available all year long. Packed with probiotics, calcium and protein, stick with no added sugar flavors for the healthiest choice. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, try mixing in those fresh strawberries for the perfect sweet and creamy snack. Beat the heat by turning them into frozen yogurt pops. Kids and adults will love this healthy swap!

Maintaining your smile is as easy as keeping your regular dental check-ups and having a little mindfulness. Look for small, healthy swaps, and embrace the delicious fresh options summer can bring to your family’s table.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Your Medicine Cabinet May Be Damaging Your Smile

Connecting The Dots of Gum Disease

We all know the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone – but the chain of command for your oral health can be a little less clear.

Well, plaque is connected to your teeth and daily brushing is key to plaque removal. What’s connected to plaque that isn’t removed? That would be tartar. Plaque hardens and becomes tartar, which makes a permanent home out of your teeth and gums. Only a professional can remove tartar – brushing alone cannot. Untreated tartar can wreck havoc on your oral health, and it isn’t always plain to see. This is what we call gum disease, or periodontitis. Signs you can look for include: swelling and/or redness of the gums (healthy gums should be tight and pink), as well as easy bleeding while brushing or flossing. Left untreated, the problem will worsen as your gums recede, creating pockets for more build-up to nest inside. The chain continues: the build-up’s connected to the infection of gums, and the infection of the gums is connected to the destruction of the bone structure and then removal of your teeth.

Yikes, the periodontitis song isn’t half as fun as the original.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – but what if you’re still seeing signs of periodontitis and you take excellent preventative care of your teeth? The answer may be in your medicine cabinet.

Dental Dangers in your Medicine Cabinet

medical-1572978_640Yes indeed. Some medications are known to reduce natural saliva production, and saliva prevents plaque from accumulating. A few medicines can even cause abnormal gum tissue growth.

Saliva Reduction: Over 400 medications are known to affect saliva production. This list includes common medications like asthma inhalers and anti-anxiety medications. Nobody but your doctor or pharmacist can tell you which medications may have certain side effects, so always ask questions when receiving a new prescription.

Abnormal gum tissue growth: This type of gum disease is sometimes called “drug induced gingival enlargement” (DIGO), and can be contributed to by medications intended to help other conditions, like seizures. While these prescriptions may be incredibly important, work with your doctor to find one that agrees with your personal medical needs without causing gum disease.

You don’t have to live with painful, unhealthy teeth

If you take excellent care of your teeth and any of these symptoms or other dental discomfort applies to you: talk to your dentist, talk to your doctor, but don’t let your oral discomfort spiral out of control.

The jawbone should only be connected to a healthy smile.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Root Canal Post Treatment Care

Guy Tooth Pain

Post treatment care is essential for the health and longevity of your tooth after a root canal. Luckily, the care is not complicated. A tooth that receives appropriate endodontic treatment followed by proper care can last as long as your natural teeth.  It is normal to feel tenderness at the site of the root canal and in the jaw for a few days after your dental procedure. This discomfort is temporary and usually responds well to pain medications. Following these simple guidelines post-treatment will ensure a smooth and successful recovery and reduce the tenderness as you heal.

After Endodontic Therapy Healing Guidelines

 

  • Immediately following the procedure, avoid chewing and drinking hot liquids until the numbness wears off. This prevents damage to the treated tooth and the soft tissues.
  • Control discomfort by taking your prescribed pain medication. If antibiotics are prescribed, take as directed to completion even after symptoms subside.
  • A temporary filling be placed between appointments to protect the tooth.  Occasionally, a piece will wear away or break off. However, if the entire filling falls out, please notify our office to schedule a replacement.
  • Most teeth that have had root canals will need some type of crown (cap) to protect the tooth from breakage.  We will also remove the temporary filling and place a more solid core inside.  Without these there is a strong risk of the tooth fracturing beyond any hope of repair.  The core and the crown should be scheduled very shortly after completion of the root canal.
  • Your tooth may feel different from your other teeth for some time after treatment. If you have moderate pain or pressure lasting more than a few days, contact us.

shutterstock_215264146

After the tooth has been restored, continue practicing proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing with regular dental visits. Call today if you have questions regarding your root canal or post treatment care.

 

 

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Do You Have a Dental Disorder?

 

 

The range of possible dental disorders are wide and some are more easily recognized than others. It can be a bit perplexing to consider you may have a dental disorder without realizing it. It’s actually more common than you might think.  Some disorders have obvious symptoms that may have you running to our office. Others can be more subtle. Do you feel tired, easily irritable, or have difficulty focusing?  Do you have facial soreness or pain? Surprisingly, these may be the result of a dental disorder. Our goal is to educate our patients on common and uncommon symptoms that may be a sign to visit our office and receive the required care to remedy these conditions.

shutterstock_115032628-VECTOR

A dental disorder is a disruption of your body’s natural process relating to your oral health. Despite its origins, it is important to understand symptoms may be experienced elsewhere in the body. For this reason, many suffer from ailments they don’t consider relevant to tell their dentist. However, as we are a medical provider we encourage you to share things that may not seem related – you never know!   Here are a few to keep on the lookout, so you can better identify signs should something be amiss.

1) Redness and swelling of the gums may indicate the presence of gingivitis, early-stage gum disease or even later stage gum and bone disease. Left untreated, it can progress into full blown periodontitis that can threaten your smile, cause oral odors, and even cause tooth loss. Bleeding gums, tooth mobility, and soreness are all signs of periodontitis and must be checked.

2) Simple bad breath, or halitosis, is very common among adults and teens. While it usually isn’t cause for too much concern, we understand it can weigh on your self-esteem. We care about your health and happiness, and would love to work with you to address the root of the issue. Restoring healthy smiles is what we do; restoring confidence is a happy side effect.

3) Additionally, a dry mouth may not seem like a dire situation. However, if your mouth constantly feels dry it can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in ridding your mouth of harmful bacteria.   Saliva also aids in digestion meaning dry mouth can evolve into issues that transcend the health of your smile.

4) Sleep apnea is another condition that may seem unrelated to your dental health. Sleep Apnea can lead to excessive tiredness and other signs of exhaustion.  Sleep Apnea threatens your overall health when you don’t receive adequate quality sleep over long periods of time. Your sleeping habits may not seem relevant to tell your dentist, but there is a lot we can do to completely resolve the situation!

Dentist Looking Glass Teeth

5)  While scary to confront, oral growths are a condition that can emerge as a serious condition. It is possible for oral growths to be completely benign and harmless, but in other cases they can be the beginning stages of cancer. For this reason it’s important a medical professional diagnose and treat the growths accordingly. Even if you are certain it’s harmless (for example, perhaps you suffered trauma to the face that injured your mouth), it’s still worth an appointment to ensure you’re not at an increased risk for infection or other potential issues.

6) TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) is a dysfunction of the TMJ – two joints located at the end of your lower jaw bone (the area near your ears you can feel move.)  TMD is sometimes known as “imposter syndrome” because it can mimic so many conditions, and it can be difficult to relate it back to a dental disorder. It can lead to pain in the jaws, clicking or popping sounds, migraines, numbness in the fingers and toes, lock jaw, or many other related issues. A common problem with TMD is that, in the event your symptoms include non-dental related pain such as migraines or numb extremities, patients may not tell their dentist (without realizing how closely related it may be) and find themselves unable to diagnose the problem and suffer with the consequences long-term.

We understand some conditions may seem complex. Rest assured we are here to work with you to find a solution to your unique needs. If you feel one or more of these conditions may apply to you or a family member, call our office to begin seeking relief today.

 

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Dental X-Rays and Your Health

shutterstock_8399488X-rays, otherwise known as dental radiographs, are a staple of quality dental care. While x-rays bring undeniable advantages when it comes to identifying and diagnosing potential health issues, some may harbor reservations regarding the risks of exposure to radiation.  Fortunately we can ease those concerns and serve as a resource for understanding radiography, so you can feel confident receiving excellent care.

Why Do I Need Dental X-Rays

x-ray-961977_1280X-rays are an important tool in the dental community (and medical community at large) as they provide valuable insights that we would not otherwise be able to access with visual inspection alone. Radiographs are not necessary for every appointment or procedure, and we follow the American Dental Association guidelines to determine when they are an appropriate component of your treatment plan. When we do believe they will be of benefit, with the help of x-rays, our team is able to see between, inside, and under your teeth. In doing so, we have the ability to check a variety of important health factors. This includes the presence of cavities, the health of your tooth roots, the bone structure surrounding the tooth, the status of developing teeth, the health of your jaw bone, and many more conditions that we would not otherwise be able to monitor. X-rays are instrumental when there is a known issue; with them, we are better able to understand the full scope of the situation and design an appropriate treatment plan for the beauty and health of your smile.

Radiation Exposure from X-Rays

shutterstock_300017999Radiography technology has come a long way, and your exposure to radiation is negligible amounts in terms of risk – in fact, the risk you assume by forgoing x-rays can create long-term damage that could otherwise have been identified and treated. We understand some patients have concerns about radiation exposure, and it’s important to understand we are all consistently exposed to radiation each and every day. It’s high levels of exposure that are the true cause for concern. Furthermore for the last 12 years, our office is proud to serve our patients using digital x-rays, an even more modernized technology – they use 80% less radiation than traditional versions! Our x-ray machines operate on a micro-scale that simply don’t compare to levels that warrant concern. We assure you receiving x-rays is one of the single most beneficial processes capable of saving your health by identifying small problems before they progress into serious conditions.

If you have any unaddressed concerns, in regards to x-rays or other dental procedures, our knowledgeable staff is happy to share answers with you. We want  you to feel relaxed in our office, and confident that you are receiving the best care possible!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

What Causes Bad Breath?

We’ve probably all known someone with bad breath. It can be uncomfortable to engage in discussion with someone whose breath smells downright foul. It’s also a sensitive topic to broach, as well as being a very common concern – after all, each year Americans spend an estimated $3 billion dollars on breath freshening products. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is clearly a concern well felt amongst adults – but what is the cause?

Symptoms and Sources of Bad Breath

demons-bad-breathThere are several sources of bad breath, including diet and dry mouth – both boil down to the presence of bacteria. The most common odor-causing bacteria are located on the tongue, particularly toward the back where they tend to be undisturbed. If neglected during cleaning, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria to feed on leftover food particles, dead skin cells, and mucus. In addition to the tongue, less common offenders include build-up between the teeth and below the gum line, increasing the bad odor. In addition to inconsistent oral care, there are other common reasons for mild cases of bad breath.

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘morning breath’ – a common reference to oral odor experienced in the early hours after waking up. Morning breath can be attributed to a dry mouth, as the result of inactivity during the night fueling bacteria production. Saliva is a natural defense against these offenders, and saliva production slows down the longer the mouth is inactive. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, the same principles apply whether it’s morning or not. Additionally, food particles (especially sugars) remaining in the mouth encourage bacteria growth. All of this adds up to an increasingly unpleasant and embarrassing odor when you are speaking and breathing.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

dentist-1468457_1920When it comes to solutions, anything not addressing the presence of bacteria is a purely cosmetic fix. This includes gum, mints, and similar – sorry! The solutions very much depend on the specific source, and may be as easy as improving your general oral hygiene routine, or it could require a deep cleaning by a dental professional. A more serious cause, and subsequent solution, may be decay present in the mouth that requires removal. No matter the case, vigilant oral care will always be helpful in terms of avoiding unpleasant breath!

Bad breath, while harmless, can be an indicator your oral care habits are insufficient. If you are concerned about your breath, try brushing and flossing more thoroughly to remove any lingering bacteria. If the problem persists, contact us for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

 

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

How the Holidays Affect Your Teeth

christmas-table-1909796_1920The holidays are infamous for being diet-breakers, but let’s not forget the effect excessive sweets can have on your oral health! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to convince you to pass on pecan pie or skip the cider; however, it is important to continue practicing healthy habits, even with some well-deserved indulgences peppered into your seasonal celebrations. Sugar affects everyone’s teeth, no matter how old. Younger children’s smiles are still in the process of development, which means they need added care throughout the growing stages.

The Start of Gum Disease and Cavities

To better understand why it’s important to monitor sugar consumption, we must first address the development of gum disease and cavities. When you eat normally throughout the day, food particles and bacteria collect in your mouth and on your teeth. As you brush and floss, these particles and bacteria are removed with no harm done. However, the presence of sugar fuels the bacteria, which creates enamel-destroying acid; left untreated, the acids corrode a hole in the tooth that deepens over time. Additionally, infection can occur in the gum tissues and lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain. It’s important to limit the bacteria’s opportunity to spread by practicing consistent oral care, and keep your mouth free of disease and infection.

Dental Decay in Children

christmas-1078274_1920When teeth are still in development, the story can be a bit different. The above still applies, but the stakes are higher during the formative years of cutting teeth. It isn’t uncommon to hear “oh, they’re just baby teeth”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child tooth decay is a rampant condition and, although completely preventable, is five times as common as asthma. It’s entirely possible for the infection to spread beneath the gum line, and compromise the healthy adult teeth growing below. Until children are a certain age, it’s imperative for parents to teach sustainable healthy habits. Fortunately, we have a tip or two for the whole family!

When it comes to limiting sugar intake, but also being practical enough to live a little (especially during the holidays!) we stress that it’s actually the timing of sugar consumption that affects dental health more than the quantity consumed. That means less sweets eaten throughout longer periods of the day can actually harm your teeth more than a large serving of dessert eaten at once. Additionally, serving sweets along with the meal can also prevent over-exposure, as they are less likely to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Bearing these facts in mind, we suggest instead of leaving sweets all over the house, limit consumption until meal time, and then allow yourselves and the kids to enjoy your share of holiday confections!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787