Medications’ Impact On Oral Health

MANY OF US need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions. However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.

Medicine And Oral Chemistry

Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.

Side-Effects For Your Mouth

Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.

Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding

If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth(or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.

To learn more about the risks of gum disease, watch the video below:

Altered Taste

Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.

Dry Mouth

The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.

Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Taking Medications? Let Us Know!

The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.

At Alki Dental, we’re rooting for your oral—and overall—health!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth.We’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts With Bacteria

We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal! Brush, floss and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum for good measure. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. A clean mouth, is a fresh mouth!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3cefDeDQH0


Choose Breath-Friendly Foods And Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth.

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse.

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here For You

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, come in to see us so we can address the issue and find the proper solution. We are here to serve you!

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit Juice

EVERY CHILD LOVES sugary treats! But most parents understand how bad they can be for a developing smile. Unfortunately, some sweet things are more deceiving than others. As your trusted dental team, we’re here to make sure your kids can get the nutrients they need to have strong, healthy and beautiful teeth!

Fruit Juice Contains A Lot Of Sugar

It’s not always easy getting little ones to eat their fruits and veggies. Many parents turn to juice as an alternative to help them get some of the nutrients they need. While there are nutritional benefits to fruit juice, it can also be really hard on teeth.

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. And even though fruit juice is often touted as a healthy alternative to soda, the majority of them contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more! And as you well know, sugar is the number one culprit behind tooth decay.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid can pack a mean punch: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Needless to say, this can be extremely bad for young, developing teeth!

Follow These Steps To Protect Your Child’s Teeth

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children one to six years old should have no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day. When you give your child fruit juice, follow these five tips to help protect their teeth from decay:

  1. Don’t let them sip throughout the day. Have your child drink fruit juice all at once instead of throughout the day. Tooth decay is more about how long sugar comes in contact with the teeth and less about how much. This means that parents should avoid putting juice in sippy cups.
  2. Dilute it with water. This is an easy step to protect your child’s teeth from damage.
  3. Drink at mealtime. More saliva is produced when eating a meal, helping wash away sugar left by juice and remineralize tooth enamel. Chewing food also helps to physically remove sugar adhering to teeth.
  4. Use a straw. Using a straw will reduce the amount of sugar and acid that comes in direct contact with teeth.
  5. Rinse with water. Offer your child water after drinking juice to wash away any remaining sugar.

In general, it’s better to eat fruit than to drink it. Fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, so it’s not only better for your child’s teeth, it’s also better for their body.

Check out this video to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and the negative effects of sugary drinks on your child’s smile:

Your Child’s Smile Deserves The Best

Fruit juice and soda may be what your child requests, but milk and water are much better choices. They’ll thank you later in life for healthy, cavity-free teeth! After all, your child’s smile deserves the best… not necessarily their taste buds!

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s dental health!

4 Tips For A Younger Looking Smile

THERE ARE COUNTLESS methods we use to try and turn back the clock on our appearance. Whether it’s hip wardrobes and hairstyles or costly cosmetic surgeries, people go to great lengths to recapture the look and feeling of their youth.

Despite all of these anti-aging fads and gimmicks, studies show your smile can do more to make you look younger than anything else!

Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Your Smile Looking Younger, Longer

The simplest thing you can do to keep Father Time at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly promotes healthy teeth and gums and keeps your smile looking and feeling clean. If we ignore these simple habits, we put our smiles at risk of harmful bacteria which can lead to unsightly effects such as:

  • Cavities,
  • Tooth discoloration or tooth loss,
  • And periodontal disease.

Maintaining good oral health throughout your life doesn’t just preserve the appearance of your smile, but it can preserve your overall health too. Bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can allow bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. Research suggests gum disease can increase our risk for serious health problems, including…

  • Diabetes
  • Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Strokes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

For a few tips on how to floss properly to fight off that harmful bacteria, check out the video below!

Brighten Your Smile With Professional Tooth Whitening

Even when you take good care of your teeth, over time they naturally yellow. Micro-fractures, thinning enamel, and built-up stains all make your teeth look duller and older. But, that can be changed with tooth whitening!

There are several tooth whitening solutions, each with their own unique benefits. From over the counter whitening strips to in-office whitening treatments, we can help you decide which whitening solution is best for your smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You The Look You Want

Whether you need just few touch-ups or would like an amazing dental makeover, cosmetic dentistry can provide exactly the look you want. Cosmetic dentistry has both therapeutic and aesthetic benefits. Treatment can repair your teeth and correct your bite, and at the same time give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted!

Be Confident In Your Smile

One of the best ways to appear more youthful is to smile more! This can start a wonderful cycle too! Smiling more can actually make you happier, and make you want to smile more.

We love our patients and love seeing your bright shining smiles each day. If you have any questions about how we can give you a healthier, more beautiful smile, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our practice or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for brightening our day.

Fluoride treatment

In May 2006, The ADA(American Dental Association)  Council on Scientific Affairs researched about Fluoride use.

Fluoridated water, fluoride toothpaste, fluoride gels, and fluoride varnish were tested in multiple test groups.

In the low risk group, fluoride was found to provide adequate caries (cavity) prevention.  In the moderate/high risk group, professionally applied topical Fluoride was found to be beneficial for all ages.

Fluoride supplements have been recommended for preventing caries for more than three decades. In the systemic review, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of supplements for caries prevention in existing primary (baby) teeth was weak. However, for forming  permanent teeth, the daily use of supplements was found to prevent dental caries.

The Gibson research in 2014 states that Fluoride use reduces the need for future restorations in adults with high risk for caries.

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What is Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the tooth’s enamel surface. The most common types of fluorosis do not affect the function of the tooth and don’t cause pain.

What Causes Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is caused by consuming too much fluoride over the period of time when teeth are forming but before they appear in the mouth. This takes place before 8 years of age. To avoid this possibility, supervise brushing so that children do not use too much toothpaste, mouthwash, or mouthrinse and learn to spit, not swallow.

See more detail in CDC https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/dental_fluorosis/index.htm website

Another  thing you should know about Fluoride Varnish:

Fluoride Varnish contains pine nuts. Is it safe to give to kids that have nut allergies?

The risk would be extremely low with the use of a fluoride varnish in a patient with “nut allergies”. However, cross reactivity or simultaneous allergy has been described with almonds and peanuts. If the tree nut allergy is severe, it is suggested to test for pine nut allergy if pine nuts are in the product to be used. If the test is positive, it is recommend to search for another fluoride varnish hat does not contain pine nuts.

If you have more questions, call us 206)933-9300 to have a free consultation.

Is Chewing Gum Good Or Bad For Your Teeth?

 

DID YOU KNOW that the average American consumes 1.8 pounds of gum each year? With so much gum going into our mouths it’s important to know how chewing gum affects our dental health. You may have heard that it’s both good and bad for your teeth… so what’s the real answer? Read on to find out!

Avoid Chewing Gum Sweetened With Sugar

Gum has always been a childhood favorite! What child doesn’t love that sweet burst of flavor or a bubble-blowing competition with friends? Unfortunately, gum sweetened with sugar is bad news for teeth.

When you or your child choose sugary chewing gum, you’re not the only ones satisfying your sweet tooth. The bacteria in our mouths like sugar too! And they enjoy it long after we’ve spit our gum out. These bacteria use sugar as fuel, producing acids that weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Stick To Sugarless Gum

Here’s the good news: chewing sugar-free gum can actually boost your oral health! Chewing gum increases saliva flow in your mouth, strengthening your teeth and washing away food debris and bacteria. While the same is true for sugary gum, the increased saliva flow isn’t quite enough to offset the damage that the sugar can do.

According to the American Dental Association, studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. Saliva helps neutralize acids in our mouths after eating. It also contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen tooth enamel, our teeth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

When you choose sugar-free gum, find out if the gum has Xylitol in it. Xylitol is very effective to kill the bacteria which causes cavity and gum disease. Xylitol is naturally found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, and can be produced by the action of yeast on the xylose contained in fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse. However, industrial production starts from xylan (a hemicellulose) extracted from hardwoods or corncobs, which is hydrolyzed into xylose and catalytically hydrogenated into xylitol.

So, when choosing gum, “stick” to the sugarless kind and Xylitol!

Gum Can’t Replace Good Oral Hygiene

Chewing sugar-free gum can only act as a supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine and can’t replace daily brushing and flossing. Keep up your everyday mouth-healthy habits and you’ll have strong, beautiful teeth for life!

Check out the video below to learn more about how chewing sugarless gum can supplement your oral hygiene routine!

Make The Right Choice For Your Smile

Chewing gum is fun and delicious! But remember, the type of gum you choose can make a big difference for your teeth. So next time you’re at the checkout counter and reach for a pack of gum, make sure it’s sugar-free. Your smile will thank you!

We love to treat you! Thank you for supporting Alki Dental.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Seasonal Allergies? Take Care Of Your Smile

SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON and we couldn’t be more excited! Chirping birds, blooming flowers, and warmer weather are just a few of the things we look forward to when spring comes around. We have to admit though, there is one thing about the season that’s not particularly appealing, and that’s allergies.

Be Aware Of These Dental Side Effects During Allergy Season

Many of you have experienced it, red, itchy and watery eyes and the constant sneezing and congestion. The effects of seasonal allergies can go even further, however, and may even affect your oral health! Here are some mouth-related symptoms to be on the lookout for when seasonal allergies strike.

Tooth Pain

When your body reacts to allergens in the air, you often end up with congested sinuses. Sinus pressure in the maxillary sinuses can sometimes cause the upper molars to ache. Treating your allergies and the congestion should relieve tooth pain. If the pain persists, however, make an appointment with your dentist. It’s important to make sure any aching teeth aren’t the result of tooth decay.

Bad Breath

All that mucus your body is creating can also be bad news for your breath. When you’re congested, mucus from the sinuses leaks into the back of the throat–we call this “post-nasal drip.” Not only can post-nasal drip lead to a sore throat, it can also be the cause of persistent bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Many of you will reach for antihistamines to keep your allergies under control this spring. As helpful as they are, they can often lead to an unpleasant side effect: dry mouth. Saliva is our number one defense against cavity-causing bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, you have a higher risk of developing tooth decay.

Protect Your Mouth This Spring

We want your mouth to stay healthy, even during allergy season. Here are some helpful tips to help you protect your mouth this spring:

  • Continue to practice good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, and floss on a daily basis!
  • Take allergy medication as recommended by your physician, but remember to drink plenty of water to compensate for dry mouth.
  • Try gargling with salt water to help with congestion. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle for a few seconds before spitting it out.

To get a more in-depth look at what causes those pesky allergies and what you can do to avoid them, check out the video below!
Don’t Let Allergies Get The Best Of You

We know how difficult spring can be for some of our patients because of allergies. Keep practicing good oral hygiene and call us if you need anything! We’re here to get you through allergy season with a smile on your face.

Thank you for ACHOO-sing our practice! (Gesundheit…)

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Tips To Keep Teeth Clean Between Meals

WE UNDERSTAND HOW BUSY life can get–between work, school, sports, and having a social and family life, it can be hard to find time for your dental health. Because we know how precious your time is, we’ve decided to compile a list of quick, easy tips to keep your teeth clean in between meals and on the go!

First Of All, Snack Healthy

Did you know that frequent snacking throughout the day can contribute to tooth decay? Try to keep snacking to a minimum. If you do need a pick-me-up during the day, choose tooth-friendly snacks, such as broccoli, carrots, seeds, nuts or apples. These are also great choices when finishing off a meal! Because of their abrasive texture, these foods act as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing your teeth as you chew and removing bacteria and plaque.

Brush And Floss Your Teeth, Even On The Go

This is an obvious one. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and dental disease is to brush and floss often! With that being said, we understand that not everyone has time to make a trip to the bathroom to brush their teeth after every meal. A quick on-the-go tip is to brush your teeth without toothpaste!

Carry a travel toothbrush with you and when you feel plaque or food on your teeth, simply pull it out and brush! Even without the added benefits of toothpaste, this will help remove plaque and bacteria adhering to your teeth. You can do this sitting at your office desk or waiting in the car for your kids to come out from school!

A lot of our patients have also benefited from floss picks. Because of their easy-to-use handle, you can use them one handed and without a mirror. This makes flossing in between meals much easier and more accessible!

Chew Sugar-Free Gum And Drink Plenty Of Water

We’ve mentioned the benefits of chewing sugarless gum after a meal plenty of times before. It’s such an easy and enjoyable way of protecting your teeth from cavities that we can’t say enough about it!

The act of chewing increases saliva flow in your mouth, which washes away food particles and neutralizes acids. Saliva also promotes remineralization, helping teeth to recover from any damage incurred while eating. Just pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth for 20 minutes after a snack or meal to reap the benefits!

Although this video is meant for dental professionals, it provides the perfect explanation as to why chewing sugar-free gum protects your teeth after a meal!

Water, similar to saliva, washes away food debris and cleans between teeth. Rinsing your mouth out frequently, especially after eating, is a simple way to bolster your teeth’s defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

Keep Your Oral Health In Check

We know life gets busy. We hope these tips will make it a lot easier to keep your oral health in check! By taking care of your teeth throughout the day, not just in the morning and at night, you can ensure that your smile will be happy and healthy for a lifetime. Do you have any more on-the-go tips? Let us know in the comments below!

We love to serve you!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Do you see notches in your mouth?

Do you see notches similar to these in your mouth? You might have abrasion.
People often confuse this with gum recession, and sometimes gum recession accompanies root abrasion, but not always.
What is abrasion?
Abrasion is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign element.  Tooth structure is composed of crown and root. The root portion (dentin) is weaker than the crown portion (enamel). Enamel is the strongest bone in the body while dentin is relatively soft.  Using a stiff toothbrush and/or abrasive toothpaste can cause structural  damage to your root surface.  This resulting damage is called abrasion.
Several factors can cause abrasion, but these are the top three:
1. tooth brush
A soft tooth brush is better for your teeth and gums than a hard one.  Some people feel the need to “scrub” their teeth, but keep in mind that we are cleaning live teeth, not  tires. We recommend using an extra soft toothbrush with a very thin bristle and gently cleaning your teeth and gums with a circular motion.
 2. tooth paste
 Every tooth paste contains either silica or silicon dioxide to make the teeth smooth. However if there is to much in the paste, it can abrade your  tooth structure.  The RDH number on the package represents the abrasive level.  We recommend below 70.
Please check your tooth paste RDA number below.
3. pH
 pH is the level of acidity. Below pH 7 represents acidic and above pH 7 represents alkalic. We recommend a pH higher than  7 in the mouth for 2 reasons:
1) When our mouth is acidic, tooth structure becomes weak because calcium and phosphate leach from the tooth.
2)  Bacteria likes an acidic environment. This is one of the reasons dental professionals discourage drinking soda and energy drinks.
Abrasion can also be cause by the forces of your bite, however this is a less frequent cause.
If you have tooth sensitivity, please come and get it checked out as soon as possible. If you have esthetic concerns  we can help you with that as well.  Usually we can just cover the abraded area with tooth colored composite.

Calcium Isn’t Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

WE’VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t. Read more