Quick Fix for Some Common Dental Problems

Dental problems can occur at any time of the day.

When there’s dental emergency, getting dental care as soon as possible is advised.

Oftentimes, however, you have to wait for hours or even days before your dentist can see and evaluate your dental problem.

This is why it is important to learn some quick fixes, and here are some of them.

Sensitivity

Common causes of tooth sensitivity include exposed tooth roots, often due to advanced form of gum disease.

In such case, avoid using toothpastes with baking soda and phosphates because they’re abrasive and can thus make your teeth even more sensitive.

Opt instead for toothpastes that are especially-formulated for sensitive teeth.

After brushing your teeth, dispense a small amount of this toothpaste and apply it directly on the exposed tooth roots.

Tooth Erosion

Eating acidic foods can be quite detrimental for your smile.

When acid comes in contact with the tooth enamel, it wears down this outer layer of the tooth.

This makes the teeth thinner and weaker. Luckily, you don’t have to stop munching on your favorite fruits and drinks. All you have to do is to change your habit.

For one, when you drink acidic beverages, use a straw instead of sipping it directly from the glass or can. That way, you minimize the contact between your teeth and the acid.

For other acidic foods, be sure to rinse you mouth with water after eating to wash away the acid and prevent tooth erosion.

Bad Breath

While spices like garlic and onion add lots of flavors to your dishes, they are also the most common culprits for bad breath.

To eliminate the foul odor, you must also pay attention to your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. Scrape or rake your tongue after brushing.

Brushing your tongue won’t help remove bad breath, as it only compacts all the bacteria and debris.

It is also recommended that you use a mouthwash, but look for ones that has a natural formula and does not contain any alcohol or triclosan.

Chronic use of mouthwashes containing these ingredients can only cause problems that are more severe than bad breath.

Alcohol, for instance, can irritate the gums and may also increase one’s risk to oral cancer, according to some studies.

Knocked out Teeth

A knocked out teeth, or what dentists call an avulsed tooth, frequently occurs as a result of accidents or sports injuries.

It is when the tooth gets completely displaced out of its socket. This causes a tear in the periodontal ligament, or the structure that attaches the tooth to the bone.

But the good news is, the teeth remain alive for a couple of minutes and can therefore be replanted by the dentist back into your mouth.

But while on your way to the dental clinic, pick up the tooth immediately and wash it under running water.

Store it in milk, or better yet, put it on the inside of your cheek and let it bathe with your saliva.

Do this and if your tooth is replanted early enough, it can go back to its normal state.

Take note that while all the given tips above work, they are nothing more than a quick fix and not a permanent one. You still need to see your dentist for a more permanent solution.

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Teething Do’s and Don’ts

The lower incisors, the first baby teeth to erupt, come out at around six months.

It can be a pain not just to your little baby, but for the whole family as well. It practically leaves everyone in dire need for relief.

There’s drooling, crying, and difficulty sleeping that often throws you in the loop. As a parent, you are often left wondering what you can do to make your little one’s pain go away.

Luckily, there are a lot of remedies that promise to sooth your infant’s sensitive gums, but not all of them are reliable. Here are some of the best – and worst – ideas.

PAIN RELIEF

Do:

Massage your baby’s gums. After washing your hands, use your fingers to gently rub your baby’s gums.

It is a great way to relieve pain, while also making your little one more accustomed to the feel of brushing in his/her mouth.

Give proper dose of pain relievers. If your tot is having difficulty falling asleep or wakes up in the middle of the night due to teething, then you may consider giving him/her some mild pain relievers like paracetamol.

Ideally, you should consult with the pediatrician but if it is some sort of emergency, be sure to use the medications sparingly and follow the instructions closely to avoid any unwanted reactions.

Don’t:

Use topical anesthetics. Gels containing local anesthetics like lidocaine and benzocaine seem like a quick fix, but they actually an absolute no-no.

Anesthetics are toxic to infants and very young children. They can lead to serious side effects like brain damage, seizures, and worst – death.

Benzocaine, which is more commonly available as Baby Orajel, potentially causes a rare serious condition called methemoglobinemia.

Use teething tablets. Just a couple of years ago, the US FDA issued warning against a particular brand of teething tablet due to its potential side effects.

To be sure, avoid using any form of teething tablets for your little one.

Use pain relievers on infants below four months. Children under four months are more prone to serious adverse reactions from pain relievers.

If medications are absolutely needed, consult a pediatrician first before giving him/her any medicine.

INFLAMMED GUMS

Do:

Give a teething ring to bite on. Teething babies love to chew on things because it can somehow relieve the discomfort caused by their inflamed gums. A cold teething ring will do just that.

Have your kid chew on a cold washcloth. If you don’t have a teething ring lying around, this is a much simpler, yet equally effective trick.

Put damp washcloth in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, being careful not to freeze it. And be sure that the cloth is made from safe materials and that your kid does the chewing under supervision.

Also watch out for any tears and holes, and replace the cloth if any.

Don’t:

Give liquid-filled teething rings.

This kind may leak or break over time and cause you child to ingest potentially dangerous materials. And while cold teething rings feel good, remember to avoid freezing them because they can hurt your kid’s already sensitive gums.

DROOLING

Do:

Keep a dry washcloth handy. This is so you can dry all the excess saliva that has pooled on your baby’s chin.

Teething involves a lot of drooling here and there so you always have to have a cloth nearby.

Apply a protective coating on your baby’s skin. Try using Vaseline and apply it onto your kid’s cheek and chin before putting him to sleep.

This will help protect your baby’s skin.

It is particularly beneficial if your baby has a sensitive skin that develops “drool rash” upon contact with saliva.

The appearance of your baby’s little teeth is such an amazing milestone. And while the process of teething can be stressful for you and your baby, it is a step closer to a wonderful smile.

Be sure to take great care of your kid’s teeth by cleaning it twice daily and paying a visit to your pediatric dentist.

Second Opinion for Dental Work: Why, How, and When it is Necessary

When your dentist has diagnosed that you have a “mouthful” of oral health problems that need to be fixed, there are times when you have doubts if all of the prescribed dental work are absolutely necessary.

Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal.

Each dentist has a unique background and have encountered various dental health problems in their practice.

If you think you need a second opinion just to be sure, then by all means, get one.

There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion – even the American Dental Association says so.

The benefit of getting a second opinion

Seeking a second – or even third or fourth opinion – can help you make a more informed decision about your treatment because you are given multiple perspectives.

Especially if your dentist is a general dentist, it would be more advantageous to seek the opinion of a specialist.

This is not to say that your general dentist lacks knowledge; rather, it’s because a specialist has more experience in the diagnosis and management of specific oral health problems.

When to get a second opinion

To reiterate, one instance where it might be necessary to get a second opinion is when your case requires to be seen by specialist.

While there is no rule on when to get a second opinion, it still depends on what the problem is and the corresponding treatment for it.

For example, minor oral health problems like a little cavity on your molar or changing a filling don’t really warrant a look by multiple dentists.

But if it is something like a gum surgery, then it is worth consulting with a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum problems).

Other instances where you should consider a second opinion include:

1) A major health problem was diagnosed (i.e. oral cancer),
2) The treatment instituted did not improve your condition in any way, and
3) The recommended treatment or treatment plan is not within your budget and you want an alternative.

How to get a second opinion

There are a number of ways for you to find another dentist to seek second opinion from. For one, you can ask you current dentist for referral to one of her colleagues.

If you’re not comfortable talking to your dentist, you can ask your family or friends instead and see if they can recommend their dentist.

You can also call a dental society (local or national) and they can surely refer you for a second opinion consultation.

If you have dental insurance, be sure to call your insurance company first to confirm if second opinions are covered.

Most companies cover further consultations but only under certain conditions or circumstances.

Once your find you second dentist, here are some important points to discuss:

  • The diagnosis of your current dentist.
  • The treatment options available, both recommended and alternative.
  • The cost and risks of each treatment option.
  • The consequences of refusing treatment.
  • The longevity of the results and need for additional treatments in the future.

Upon getting your second opinion and comparing it with your current dentist’s recommendations, be sure to weigh your options thoroughly before proceeding.

If the two opinions are conflicting and you can’t make up your mind, you can always ask for another opinion.

After all, when making decisions about your health – oral or general – you have to be 100% comfortable and satisfied with the information you receive.

Top 5 Reasons for Avoiding the Dentist and How to Go About Them

Regular trips to your dentist are the number one key to better oral health, but some people don’t seem to grasp their importance.

Whatever the reason is, you’re not alone – many of us make skipping dental visits practically a habit.

But really, why do people avoid dental visits? The answers to this age-old question include the following:

Cost

One of the major factors that discourage people to visit their dentist or even getting the treatment they badly need is the high cost of dental work.

Most people whose cost is the main concern don’t have an insurance plan.

But the truth is, if you take good care of your teeth and you try to invest on preventive treatment, yearly dental visits won’t actually cost a lot of money. Keep your mouth healthy by improving your oral hygiene.

Aside from brushing, incorporate in your routine flossing and using an alcohol-free mouthrinse with therapeutic benefits.

Dental fear and anxiety

Another very common reason for skipping dental appointments is the fear of dentist or the misconception that the treatment is going to be a dreadful procedure involving a scary dental instrument.

Nonetheless, there are lots of things you can do to address this, and one effective way is to talk to your dentist about your fears. As with lots of things, communication is the key.

You may also consider listening to a soothing, relaxing music while undergoing treatment.

Oral health neglect

Some skip their appointments not because of fear to the dentist or dental instruments; rather, they don’t want to hear the dental problems they’ve acquired and be lectured about it.

But then again, who wants lectured (or worse – reprimanded)?

To prevent this pervasive thought, just think instead that your dentist is not reprimanding you, but just giving a reminder that you should not neglect your oral health because there are consequences for it.

Bad memories

Unpleasant past experiences instill fear that can actually last for many years.

Even the gentlest hands and most advanced techniques won’t be able to erase bad memories of past dental visits.

But the good thing is, most clinics now are offering music, videos, and other form of entertainment (especially for kids) that can help ease your worries and make the experience much more pleasant.

Too busy… or just plain lazy

Sometimes, there’s too much going on in our life that we forget about dental visits.

Most of us, however, are just too lazy to make an effort.

Regardless, you should know that we are creatures of habit, so incorporating dental visits in your routine is a must if you want it to be among the things that you have to get around doing.

Once you skip a visit or two, then it will be out of your routine already.

Whatever reason/s you have, the best way to address avoidance is to voice out your concerns to your dentist. Let them know so they can have the opportunity to explain, reassure, and lead you back on the right path to good oral health.

How to Teach Your Kids Better Oral Hygiene

Children must be taught of the importance of oral health care as soon as possible.

Learning proper oral hygiene at an early age is crucial for long-term oral health.

Help your child develop a lifetime of healthy smiles by teaching them good dental care habits.

Here are some strategies that could help you.

Lead by example

The best way to teach your kids is by showing them how something is done. They learn faster that way.

Your kid should see you brushing your teeth when you wake up in the morning and before going to bed at night.

If you do this before they wake up or after they go to bed, change your routine so they can watch you. You can even let you help them you brush your teeth like how you help them with theirs.

Make it a fun time

Seeing you actually do it is a great start, but it would be a whole lot better if you’d make toothbrushing a fun time.

Be creative and make up a story, sing, or have them listen to a cute song about toothbrushing.

If you make it a fun and exciting activity, you kid will surely look forward to it.

Use an electric toothbrush

Another effective way to motivate your child to brush their teeth is by using an electric toothbrush.

Aside from looking like a toy which they’d be more excited to use, it also makes brushing fast, easy, and more efficient.

A water flosser instead of the usual thread floss will also be more interesting for them. For mouth rinses, use one with yummy color and flavor.

Gross them out

You kid will also be encouraged to improve their oral hygiene if they know what will happen if they don’t brush their teeth.

One way to do so is by using plaque disclosing tablets or solutions that would help show areas of plaque buildup.

Tell them that these areas are the ones they often miss, but don’t forget to also show those areas that they were able to brush thoroughly.

If the plaque deposits have already turned into tartar, let them know that they need to visit the dentist to have them removed because simple toothbrushing won’t do.

Let them take over

Children aged six years old and above may be able to brush on their own so let them take over.

Kids’ dexterity at this age is enough for them to be allowed to take charge of their own dental care.

Just be sure to supervise them while doing it and inspect their teeth after to make sure that they have done it properly.

The American Dental Association recommends supervising your kids until age 8.

Better yet, ask them to brush along with you. You can also use a timer that will let them know when to proceed onto the next teeth.

Children live by their older people’s example, so it is up to you as a parent and role model whether or not they will stick with good dental habits.

Encourage them to brush and floss daily and watch them grow up with strong teeth and overall healthy mouths.

Cough Syrup and Cavities: How this humble medicine could be hurting your teeth

The holiday season is not over yet, and so is the season for coughs, flu, and cold.

And when you have that pestering cough ruining an otherwise joyful celebration, all you want is to get rid of it ASAP.

So like most people, you will probably get that cough syrup to find relief from your symptoms.

While it is true that your medicine can provide that soothing fix, did you know that your cough syrup could actually be hurting your teeth in exchange?

It makes your teeth more susceptible to tooth decay

Many cough medications contain ingredients that are detrimental to the health of your teeth.

These include sucrose, corn syrup, citric acid, and alcohol. Sucrose and corn syrup are basically sugars that are added to improve taste.

While they allow the medicine to go down much easier, they are just as damaging to your teeth as candies are.

Your oral bacteria can feed on these sugars and make your teeth more susceptible to decay.

Citric acid, on the other hand, can erode and weaken the tooth enamel.

The combination of these ingredients is a dangerous one, as it can makes your teeth sensitive to hot and cold and even more prone to decay.

Some popular cough syrups also contain alcohol and antihistamines which are known to cause xerostomia (a.k.a. dry mouth) by decreasing the flow of saliva.

A normal, healthy mouth produces about a liter of saliva per day.

Saliva serves to dilute and buffer the acids produced by the oral bacteria, while also naturally washing the sugars, acids, and bacteria away from the teeth.

When alcohol is introduced to the oral tissues, the production of saliva decreases and its buffering effect becomes less effective.

Without enough saliva, the sugar and acids stay in the mouth longer, rendering your teeth at greater risk for decay.

This risk is even greater if you take the medication before bedtime, because less saliva is produced when you sleep, meaning all the sugar and acids will be in contact with your teeth for a longer period.

What you can do about it

Now, we are not telling you to stop taking you meds, but it will be a good idea to take extra care of your teeth while taking them.

Fortunately for you, there are lots of things that you can do to still find relief from your medication without endangering the health of your teeth.

First, opt for the soft gel, tablet, or caplet form instead of the syrup form if you can.

With pills, you minimize the contact between your teeth and the medication’s damaging ingredients.

It is also important if you take the medication during the day, preferably after meals, instead of bedtime.

Because after eating, more saliva is produced to partially digest the food that you’ve just eaten. This also means that all the sugars and acids from food will be washed away more easily.

Brush your teeth a couple of minutes after taking the medication or if you can’t, just rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and brush as soon as you can.

If your medication is causing dry mouth, you may also chew sugar-free gum to stimulate salivary flow.

Follow these tips and you’ll surely get rid of that cough at the same time have a wonderful celebration.