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How to Look After Your Teeth On the Go
How to Look After Your Teeth On the Go

Did you know there is a connection between poor dental hygiene and your overall health? For instance, if you have gum disease you are at a higher risk of getting heart disease? There is no question that you need to brush, floss, and use mouthwash to keep your teeth healthy, but what if you have a hectic schedule that gives you little or no time for these things or you only think about brushing twice a day? If this applies to you, sink your teeth into these tips on how you can take care of your teeth on the go.

Keep Dental Supplies with You

If you frequently forget to brush, floss, or use mouthwash in the morning, the best thing to do is keep a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash with you. If you work in an office, keep these things in your desk. If you travel frequently, keep them in a small bag inside your purse or backpack. If you always on the go, maybe that is what your glove compartment is for! When you run to the bathroom, take the supplies with you. It only takes a few minutes and if you have the supplies on you, you are more likely to use them!

Floss Twice a Day

Flossing is a crucial part of any dental care routine yet millions of people neglect to do it. Flossing takes less than a minute yet the benefits are tremendous. Flossing not only dislodges plaque and food particles that are trapped deep between the teeth that a toothbrush simply does not have access to, it also builds up gum strength, putting you less at risk for gum disease. Remember the last time you had popcorn at the movies or enjoyed some BBQ ribs? You wished you had floss then, and you probably wish you had it now! So remember to keep floss on you in your go kit, as well as in your nightstand to assure you remember to floss before bed.  

Chew Gum

Chewing gum is a great way to keep your teeth healthy when you have a hectic schedule. It’s easy to get, requires no prep and contains very little calories. Gum is a great way to dislodge food that’s stuck in your teeth. Gums can also help remove stubborn plaque that’s stuck on and between your teeth. Finally, chewing gum increases saliva production in the mouth which protects teeth from tooth decay and is good for tooth enamel.

Eat Healthy Snacks and Lunch

A huge component of dental care is your diet. If you have a busy schedule that doesn’t give you much time to take care of your teeth, improving your diet can help. Foods like citrus fruits, coffee, and sodas are some examples of foods to avoid or limit. They weaken the enamel and end up staining your teeth. Cut down on them and add more water to your routine. Food with natural abrasions include apples and celery; the fiber will gently slough away any excess plaque.

Rinse, Repeat

If you haven’t any time to brush or floss, a good swish of water can remove excess debris as well as residue that could stain your teeth from the likes of coffee or wine. Rinsing also helps after taking certain medications such as asthma inhalers, which leave residue that could result in thrush.  

To ensure your pearly whites are healthy, it’s essential you regularly visit a dentist. At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff would be happy to provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. To make an appointment, call 209-385-1479 today. You can also request an appointment online.


The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health
The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

Want to know if you’re at risk for heart disease? Check out your oral hygiene.

Research shows that people with periodontal disease (serious gum infection) are almost twice as likely to have heart disease – and their risk could be greater than those with high cholesterol.

What’s the connection? In a word, bacteria.

In periodontal disease, the bacteria festering in infected gum tissue around your teeth break down the barrier between your gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation or swelling.  When you chew your food or brush your teeth, bacteria can enter your bloodstream, where it moves to other parts of your circulatory system. Ultimately, they attach to fatty deposits in the heart’s blood vessels, leading to the formation of arterial plaque and the onset of atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow your arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, causing blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Clearly, there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. To help protect your gums – and potentially your heart – look out for these warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums or other painful conditions in your mouth.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, or when you eat hard or tough food.
  • Gums that are receding from your teeth, causing them to look longer than before.
  • Loose or separating teeth.
  • Pus deposits between your gums and teeth.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • A change in the way your teeth meet when you bite down.
  • A change in the fit of your partial dentures.

Getting to the heart of the matter

It’s easy to ignore these indicators of periodontal disease, which is why it’s important to maintain your oral health – especially if you already have or have a family history of heart disease. Here’s what doctors and dentists recommend:

·       Brush and floss your teeth daily and consider rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash to rid your mouth of bacteria.

·       If you have an existing heart problem, make sure your dentist is aware of it.

·       Conscientiously follow your doctor’s and dentist’s instructions, and use prescribed medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.

·       Keep clear of sugary or acidic foods that encourage bacteria to thrive.

Most importantly, maintain regular check-ups with your dentist.  Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist will decide the best way to treat your condition. It may merely require a professional cleaning. However, if your condition is more serious and has already progressed to periodontitis, more aggressive treatment may be required. The most effective will probably involve scaling and planning, a procedure that cleans between the teeth and gums to remove the infection. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to help eliminate the infection.

If you suspect you may or a loved one may have gum disease – even if you are a conscientious brusher and flosser – don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an assessment as promptly as possible. Both your oral health and heart health may be at stake.

If you live in the greater Merced area, contact El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.  Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked
Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked

When it comes to maintaining good oral health and a gleaming smile, having the right information is important. Surprisingly, though, certain myths about dental hygiene still persist that could lead to unnecessary problems with your teeth if they are believed and followed.

Here are five common dental myths that should be put to rest:

Myth #1: Brushing and flossing twice a day isn’t as important as dentists have you believe.

In our busy modern world, it’s easy to become lax about dental hygiene. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why brushing and flossing at least twice a day makes sense. 

Most people have three meals a day, not including snacks here and there. Every time we eat, small food particles get left behind in our gums and between our teeth. Those food particles breed bacteria and, if not removed, eventually become plaque and then tartar.  However, if you brush in the morning and again at night, it helps reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and keeps your tooth surfaces smooth so that bacteria can’t cling as easily. 

However, brushing only covers two sides of your teeth. It hardly affects the spaces between your teeth. That’s why flossing is also important. It removes food particles trapped between your teeth and should be done each time you brush. If flossing daily is a chore, however, at least floss every other day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Myth #2: Brushing your teeth more than once a day can erode tooth enamel.

It’s not the frequency of brushing that can wear down tooth enamel; it’s mostly other factors such as the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, acid reflux, grinding teeth, and nail-biting. However, a hard-bristled toothbrush can also affect the wear and tear of your tooth enamel. That’s why most dentists recommend that you use a soft toothbrush to avoid damage to your teeth and gums.

Also, it’s a matter of brushing your teeth properly. It should only take about two minutes. Brush gently, in short strokes at a 45-degree angle from the gum line, and use up-and-down strokes brushing the back of your teeth. Hold your toothbrush with your fingertips as opposed to in the palm of your hand to avoid brushing too hard. Rule of thumb, you’re brushing too hard if the bristles bend.

Myth #3: If you eat sugary foods, it’ll destroy your teeth.

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to have tooth decay. There’s a simple way to have your cake – and candy and other sweets – and beat tooth decay, too.

What happens is that the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produces an acid that deteriorates the enamel of your teeth. And the longer the sugar lingers in your mouth, the more likely the bacteria will feed off it and produce the acid.

So, the problem isn’t how much sugar you’re eating, but how long the sugar remains on your teeth. The obvious solution is to brush your teeth and rinse out your mouth right after eating, especially if you also sip sugary drinks.

Myth #4: Teeth whitening will ruin your enamel.

Teeth whitening gel (or bleach) does not damage tooth enamel. The hydrogen peroxide is soaked up by the inner tissue of your teeth (dentin), which becomes lighter, and the whiter color is reflected out through the enamel. The process can cause temporary tooth sensitivity, but no erosion of the enamel.

New advances in dental technology have made teeth whitening safer and more effective – for both cosmetic dental procedure and in-office and over-the-counter products.

Myth #5: Dental visits are painful.

This is a common excuse for avoiding dental visits, no doubt fostered by scenes of dentists drilling cavities and prodding sensitive teeth in movies and television shows. Some patients might even have had a bad experience at a dental office that makes them dread seeing any dentist. 

However, dentistry has evolved over the years to the point where a patient’s physical and emotional comfort has become a top priority. One option that eliminates the pain and fear is sedation dentistry. Conscious sedation is administered in the form of a pill that allows you to be awake throughout your dental appointment, yet relaxed throughout a procedure.

Getting the facts straight is an important part of proper dental care. Before skipping a routine visit or trying an unproven treatment, visit a trusted dental practice. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.