Posts for tag: Prevention
If your previous dental history isn't something that you can brag about, then it's easy to feel as though you're destined for a lifetime of ongoing dental problems. You might even be feeling as though you'd rather avoid scheduling an appointment with any dentist for fear of hearing more bad news about your teeth.
You should know that your dental future isn't hopeless, though. No matter how bad things have been in the past, you can actually use your past dental experiences to improve the future of your oral health.
For starters, although some dental problems can come without much warning, most often, they can be prevented or minimized when you take action early. Think about what could have been done to prevent your oral health from spiraling out of control, and make a commitment to prevent them from ever happening again. If you never want to experience a toothache again or never want to lose another tooth, think back to how it all began:
- Did you choose a healthy diet or lifestyle? Processed foods, sports drinks, starchy meals, and poor general health are know to contribute to dental problems.
- Was your oral hygiene routine adequate? Poor hygiene habits and plaque accumulation raise your risk for dental diseases.
- Did you maintain routine dental check-ups? This is the best way to identify and tackle a small problem before it becomes a big one.
- Did you contact the dentist as soon as you noticed a problem or pain? Pain or persistent sensitivity can be a sign of an advanced dental problem.
- Did you follow your dentist's recommendations for preventive or restorative treatments in a timely manner? A small problem can become much worse when you delay or ignore the dentist's recommendations.
Toothpaste no longer comes in simple choices of fluoride and fresh breath. Paste is not even the only option! You can choose gel forms and even some with ribbons of color and flavor. With so many varieties available, it may be difficult to know which features or combinations of ingredients are best for your mouth.
FLUORIDE. The majority of all dental patients should use toothpaste with fluoride, which helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth; making them stronger and more resistant to decay.
SENSITIVITY PROTECTION. If your teeth are sensitive to temperatures, toothpaste with sensitivity protection can work wonders for your discomfort. Ingredients in these pastes or gels work to block the pathways to the nerves that react to hot or cold.
PLAQUE, TARTAR, & GINGIVAL PROTECTION. Everyone has bacteria in his or her mouth, and this bacteria is normal. Unfortunately, some bacteria also cause plaque. If the plaque remains on your teeth, it hardens into tartar or calculus, which is the cement-like substance that cannot be removed by brushing alone.
WHITENING. White teeth are desirable, and manufacturers are heavily marketing whitening toothpastes. Most brands do not contain bleaching ingredients; instead, they use abrasives to polish stains away. Unfortunately, too much abrasive use can be damaging to your teeth.
Blood, saliva and even breath may one day be able to diagnose lung cancer, which is the number 1 cancer killer in the U.S. A primary reason why is that lung cancer is often detected at later stages than some other cancers. Lung cancer currently does not have a widespread and easy to implement screening test available compared with other cancers - think of the annual or biannual mammogram for breast cancer, routine pap smear for cervical cancer or colonoscopies for colon cancer.
New research is currently looking into developing an early screening method for lung cancer. Researchers are investigating whether body fluids other than blood may provide insight into diagnosing lung cancer at an earlier stage. The salivary diagnostics lab at UCLA School of Dentistry are analyzing molecules in saliva, including DNA, RNA, proteins, metabolites and microbiota to determine whether these elements hold clues as to the individual's cancer status. Unlike the current lung biopsy, salivary diagnostics are a non-invasive, easy to use tool for patient specimen collection as well. Although more research is needed, these advances in the early diagnosis of lung cancer appear to be very promising.
In a world where everything moves so quickly and teens and young adults find themselves pulling "all-nighters" or working long hours, energy drinks have grabbed the spotlight. You will have one (or three) and suddenly you have the drive that you need to keep on going. The same can be said for sports drinks. It's common for people to have one even when they are not engaged in any strenuous physical activity, which is what they were designed for. People will drink them simply because they have grown to love the taste.
Although they might taste great and boost your energy, there's a serious down side to consuming energy and sports drinks on a steady basis. Studies have shown that these drinks contain so much acid that they start to destroy your teeth after just five days of consistent use! The acid in these drinks dissolves your tooth enamel, which can make your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria. This can progress to staining, tooth decay, and hypersensitivity.
Limiting the amount of sports and energy drinks that you consume is in your dental best interest. If you do enjoy either or both of these drinks, you should make it a habit to rinse your mouth with water immediately after consumption, and brush your teeth about an hour later, after the period when the acid has a softening effect on your enamel has passed.
Did you know that there are certain foods that you can eat which help to clean your teeth? They are known as "detergent foods." In dentistry, we look at the impact of food in three ways: the kind of food, how often it is eaten, and when it is eaten. Detergent foods should be the last piece of food you consume during a meal for the best results. Think of them as the closest you can get to brushing your teeth.
A healthy diet is important for oral health as well as overall health, but here are some particular foods that can help clean your teeth and mouth:
- Celery Sticks
As you can see, detergent foods are usually firm and crisp. They act like scrubbers on and around your teeth and gums. They also bring your mouth's pH back to 7.0, which is optimal. Always remember, these foods are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You still need good dental hygiene regardless of what you are eating!