Text that says September is National Gum Care Month with photo of man flossing

September is National Gum Care Month

September is here, which means welcoming the beginning of autumn, cooler weather, and most importantly in dentistry, National Gum Care Month! You probably already know the importance of good oral health, but you may not know how to give your gums the best care or how to identify the signs and symptoms of gum disease.

Know Your Gum Diseases

There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up and causes gum inflammation and bleeding. Of the two types of gum disease, gingivitis is less severe, and gum disease will start here and progress into periodontitis if left untreated. At the gingivitis stage, it is simple enough to treat and reverse the damage, which is why it is important to keep up with your regular dental cleaning appointments so that your dentist can catch it early.

Periodontitis, the secondary stage of gum disease, happens when tartar accumulates around the gumline and causes the formation of pockets around the teeth. These gum pockets allow bacteria and plaque to spread, destroying the tissues that keep your teeth secure in your mouth. With advanced periodontitis, you can lose your teeth. It’s the number one cause of adult tooth loss, so stopping gum disease in its tracks before it gets to this point is essential!

According to the CDC, gum diseases are more likely to affect certain demographics. The most at-risk groups are men, senior adults, and people living below the federal poverty line or who did not graduate from high school. Women experiencing hormonal changes such as pregnancy—or even simply using the birth control pill—have increased risk as well. Finally, genetics can also play a role. If your family is prone to dental problems, chances are you will be too.

Graphic of surprised woman and list of symptoms of unhealthy gums that is pulled from article

Healthy or Unhealthy?

Look in the mirror—are your gums healthy? Healthy gums should be pink, firm, and not have any bleeding or swelling when you floss or brush your teeth. Unhealthy gums are likely to have some or all of these symptoms:

If you notice any of these worrying signs, make an appointment with your dentist right away.

Preventing Periodontal Woes

By now, you probably know the drill (pun intended) if you’ve been listening to your dentist, but it bears repeating: brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are the most important habits you can have to maintain good oral hygiene! These are especially important if you have a family history of poor dental health.

Curbing some of your bad habits can help prevent gum disease. Smoking or not getting enough nutrients in your diet contribute to gum disease and dental deterioration. Brushing your teeth too aggressively or with a toothbrush with firm bristles can damage gums and cause the appearance of gingivitis. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head once every three months so bristles don’t become too worn to scrub off plaque and massage your gums.

Mouthwashes are an optional step, but these can be a good idea if you are genetically prone to gum disease or have higher-risk habits that you are unwilling or unable to give up. They can reduce the plaque that contributes to gum disease and provide bonuses like whitening teeth and/or freshening breath. There are also mouth rinses that help with dry mouth, and dry mouth can also be a factor in gum disease.

Knowledge is power! Now that you are armed with information, you can create healthy habits that last well beyond September and into the rest of your life.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Photo of person swimming in a pool wearing a swim cap and goggles, with article title text: swim away from dental damage this summer

Swim Away from Dental Damage This Summer

Swimming is a good way to beat the heat, but did you know it can have an impact on your dental health? It’s true!

In recent years, it has become clear that there is a link between chlorinated pool water and dental conditions referred to as swimmer’s erosion, swimmer’s calculus, or swimmer’s mouth. When left untreated, these conditions can cause unpleasant effects like enamel loss, tooth sensitivity, transparency around edges of teeth, yellow or brown staining, and tartar buildup. Fortunately, knowledge is power, and we are here to give you details about how you can avoid having chlorinated chompers.

Who Should Be Worried?

Competitive swimmers—defined as people who swim at least two hours each day five days a week—need to be especially mindful of harm caused by pool water. According to a study from the University of Western Australia, children who swim competitively have a significant increase in dental staining as compared to their peers.

On the other hand, if you are only an occasional swimmer, it is unlikely that you need to worry much about the effects on your teeth unless they are already compromised.

People who normally swim in a saltwater pool also have less to worry about. This type of pool still contains chlorine, but not as much as traditional pool water. Aside from being better for your oral health, saltwater pools have the added bonus of being milder for your eyes, skin, and hair.

Everyone, regardless of how much or where they swim, should avoid pools that aren’t regularly tested. Swimmer’s dental conditions will worsen from badly maintained pools with improper chlorine and pH levels.

graphic of woman swimming with excerpt text from the article

Preventing Damage

So, does this mean that you can no longer enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool if you want healthy teeth? Not at all! Swimming is great for your mind and body, and it’s a fun way to increase exercise during the hot summer months. However, taking a few precautions will reduce the chance of dental erosion and staining caused by pool water. Here are some tips to keep your teeth in great shape:

  • Try to keep your mouth closed while you swim.
  • Brush your teeth before getting in the water so that chemicals don’t stick to plaque.
  • If you own a chlorinated swimming pool, test the water weekly and keep the pH levels between 7.2 and 7.6 to protect enamel while still maintaining the bacteria-killing effects of the chlorine.
  • If using a public pool, there are two main things you can do to check for proper maintenance:
    • Ask questions about the facility’s pool maintenance procedures. If they aren’t testing the water regularly, try to swim in a different pool.
    • Look at structures attached to the pool such as ladders. If they show signs of erosion, chances are good that the water is not maintained properly and will do the same to your teeth.
  • Go for a relaxing dip in the water instead of swimming, and that way you can keep your head out of the water entirely.
  • There is some evidence that chewing xylitol gum three times a day can lower the risk of erosion.
  • If you swim six hours or more a week, tell your dentist and make sure to keep up on your recommended maintenance cleanings so any problems are caught early.
    • One option that the dentist may suggest is a special fluoride treatment for added enamel protection.

Many people are still unaware of the effect swimming can have on teeth, so share this article with a friend to save their smile this summer!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

water splashing with text: better hydration for better smiles

Better Hydration for Better Smiles

With the heat of summer on the horizon, many of us will need to drink more water than ever to stay hydrated. How does drinking water affect our teeth? Here are some ways that consuming water not only increases your overall health, but your dental health, too.

No Sugars, No Acids

Water is the best beverage partly because of what it doesn’t contain instead of what it does—that is, sugars and acids! These can erode your enamel over time and cause tooth decay, but drinking water helps cleanse your mouth and remove these substances from your teeth. It can reduce the amount of damage done over time and help keep your smile looking younger.

Decreases Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common occurrence that can be lessened by drinking enough water. It can lead to uncomfortable side effects like bad breath, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. It is important to note that increased water intake is not a permanent solution to dry mouth but is a first step toward better oral health. It is a good idea to talk about permanent dry mouth solutions with your dentist at your next appointment.

Fantastic Fluoride

If you are reading this, then the odds are good you live in a town or a city that includes added fluoride in their drinking water! According to the CDC, as of 2016, over 200 million people drink fluoridated water, which has been proven safe over the span of more than 75 years to help reduce cavities. To find out whether you have fluoridated water in your area, you can contact your local water utility provider or check if your state participates in the My Water’s Fluoride program and look up the information on the CDC’s website. If your water does not have added fluoride, speak to your dentist about how you can best supplement fluoride in your routine.

carbonated water

Carbonated Water

For people who prefer fizzy drinks, carbonated water is a popular way to stay hydrated and healthy. But does carbonated water make an ideal substitute for plain water? Mostly, the answer is yes, but there are some differences to keep in mind.

  • Sparkling water is more acidic than regular water, with a lower pH value. However, the good news is that studies have shown that the lowered pH value of plain carbonation is not enough to erode enamel! This can vary slightly depending on the flavor of the water—citrus flavors, because of their naturally occurring citric acid, are more likely to cause mild enamel erosion.
  • As a rule, carbonated waters do not contain added fluoride, nor do most plain bottled waters, so consuming a lot of sparkling water can mean you are not getting enough fluoride to provide cavity protection. This is a good reason to mix up your water intake and include tap water.
  • Some sparkling waters add sweeteners for flavor, and this takes carbonated water from a healthy beverage to one that can increase your risk of cavities.
  • Plain sparkling water or non-citrus, unsweetened flavored sparkling waters are the best for pearly white and healthy teeth, though citrus unsweetened waters are fine in moderation.

As you can see, staying hydrated is full of dental benefits, and is an all-around excellent idea for your health. Keeping up on your water intake can lead to a happier, healthier you!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

2022 is here, and so is winter! January is a very cold month; with the stormy weather, we may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth… or two. What exactly does that mean and why is it happening? The most common answer is tooth sensitivity.

    What is tooth sensitivity? It is exactly how it sounds, pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to hot or cold temperatures. When the enamel in our teeth starts to wear down, exposing the dentin, or if our gums are receding, it will expose the layers where the nerves are. This is what triggers it. The pain could be temporary, or it may linger a bit becoming a chronic issue. It can affect one tooth or multiple teeth at the same time. So, what triggers tooth sensitivity? The cause of it could be for multiple reasons:

  • Tooth decay (dental caries/cavity): Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in our mouths that create acid attacks on the surfaces of teeth. An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in your tooth, this is referred to as a tooth abscess.
  • Cracked teeth: Chipped or broken teeth become filled with bacteria from plaque and will start to enter the pulp, which causes inflammation.
  • Teeth grinding: Chronic grinding or over clenching our teeth can cause tooth enamel to wear down over time. This leads to the dentin underneath being exposed.
  • Brushing too hard: Over time, brushing our teeth roughly or using a hard-bristled toothbrush (use the soft ones!) can also wear down the enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed. Did you know that using a hard toothbrush can also cause a receding gum line?
  • Acidic foods: Certain food, especially ones with a high acid content can also make our teeth sensitive. Foods such as citrus fruits, sour candies, tomatoes, pickles, and tea can cause the enamel to wear down.

    Sometimes, other conditions will lead to tooth sensitivity that we wouldn’t even think about. One could be gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus that connects our mouth and stomach. Acid that is constantly coming into our esophagus can wear down our enamel over time. It is important to always be aware of what can potentially damage our teeth.

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or if you’re ready to have your teeth checked out, schedule your appointment today. We’ll check to see if there are any potential problems and catch them while they’re small. Remember, often cavities and tooth cracks show up on x-rays long before we feel that they’re there.

    Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. If the sensitivity you’re feeling is mild, several over-the-counter options can help alleviate the discomfort. Changing your toothpaste can make a difference. Remember to choose a toothpaste that is made specifically for sensitive teeth. These will have desensitizing ingredients that help block the discomfort. Sensodyne is a great example of a toothpaste that can help with sensitivity. Other common treatments for sensitivity include:

  • Alcohol-free mouthwash: The absence of alcohol, it’ll be less irritating for sensitive teeth. Some mouthwash use fluoride as the main ingredient to help strengthen the enamel and minimize sensitivity. These are also a good choice, especially for kids.
  • Root canal: If decay is present in the root, your tooth needs cleaning out, and then re-packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical gum graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will work with you to recommend the best treatment for your oral health.

    With sensitive teeth, it’s very important to remember to keep up with your daily dental hygiene. It is very common and can affect anyone. Brush 2x a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, use fluoride mouthwash, and floss daily. Our teeth should always be a priority because our smile is the first thing people notice about us… after we unmask!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy for Halloween

Halloween is approaching and we’re all looking forward to celebrating a little more freely this year! Vaccinations are out and people are feeling more comfortable going outside and participating in the festivities. Halloween brings out our inner child. It gets us excited to dress up, decorate the house, and share candy. It is also a time where we all feel comfortable enough to eat as many pieces of candy as we want, because what’s Halloween without sweets?

Kids come back home with hefty bags of candy, and it’s very hard to resist the temptation as we help them sort through it all. Candy is quite tempting, more so for some than others. Maintaining our oral health is vital, especially during these coming holidays that revolve around sweets. Remember, eat the candy that you like, BUT don’t let it ruin your smile! With that in mind, here are 5 easy tips to keep your teeth healthy for Halloween:

  • Eat candy at a specific time: The saliva in our mouth increases when we start to eat, and saliva helps cancel out the acid that gets produced by bacteria from the bits of food that linger after a snack or meal. The prime time for eating candy is right after lunch or dinner. Being full from a meal will also help with portion control while satisfying that sweet tooth. PRO TIP: Rinse away any left-over food particles with water once you’re done eating anything. 
  • Choose candy carefully: It’s very important to choose wisely what type of candy to eat especially if you’ve experienced dental problems in the past. Avoid those hard candies or the ones that stay inside of our mouths for too long. Anytime sugary foods linger; we are at risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Sugar-free candy is always a great option for kids and adults. 
  • Avoid sticky situations: A lot of us love sticky candy, so let’s all be mindful to this fact. Sticky candy clings onto our teeth, making it very difficult to remove even with regular brushing and flossing. This has candies like taffy, marshmallows, caramel, and gummy bears take longer to get washed away with our saliva. When candy gets stuck in our teeth, we’re at a higher risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Save these for special occasions
  • Drink water: Since we’re all concerned about tooth decay, one of the things that we can easily do to avoid it while eating candy is drinking more water. Drinking water helps keep our teeth healthy and free of food debris. PRO TIP: Drink water with fluoride. Fluoride helps alleviate some of the sugars from sticking to our teeth.
  • Brush and floss daily: With Halloween approaching, we must remember to brush our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. We have to make sure that we get out all of the candy and food particles so we can keep a clean, healthy mouth. Flossing should also help with getting in between the places that our toothbrushes cannot reach. PRO TIP: Remember that flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces!

With all these helpful tips being shared, we also want to take a moment to share that October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Truly a time to reflect on our habits and double the efforts on those we may be casual about. Since we’re all getting ready for Halloween, let’s be sure to schedule an appointment to maximize our dental benefits before they expire at the end of the year.

Be safe out there, have fun, and remember to protect your teeth!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

7 FUN ACTIVITIES TO FIGHT THE HOLIDAY BLUES AT HOME!

Happy Holidays everyone!

As the year FINALLY draws to a close, we are looking hopefully to 2021. As COVID cases continue to rise, now is the perfect time to try and ENJOY the holidays. And even though we are in this crazy and uncertain world, it is something GOOD to look forward to. Don’t you love the feeling in the air when you can swap over your pumpkin spice candles, for fresh balsam? And hang up the lights outside. Along with all the other traditions that go along with it.

If you’re just not feeling festive, let’s start looking at the holiday season as an exciting challenge, and create new holiday traditions. There are so many fun things to do at home, here are a few of our favorites!

  • Setting up the Christmas tree! Here’s our secret to a well-balanced tree… start with the big stuff, you can also add holiday plushies to fill up some of those bigger gaps. Then lay out the rest of the ornaments and go to town! Be mindful if you have pets as many ornaments are easily breakable.

  • Light up the house with decorations! People usually wait the day after Thanksgiving to start decorating the outside of their homes. You can decorate the outside of your house with lights, candy canes, and snowflakes, snowmen, and of course, Santa! We like to go all out. It’s so great when it starts getting dark out and all the lights come on. The inside of the house is decorated as well, and those lights pop on around the same time. Decorate and enjoy that holiday feeling when they are all on, shining and casting that warm glow.
  • Decorating cookies. Whether you pick up sugar cookies from the store or rollout gingerbread men, frosting and decorating cookies is a great activity no matter how many people are in your home. Take a spin on the traditional decorations by creating funky designs or use fun cookie cutter shapes. Using colorful frosting and a multitude of fun sprinkles, you can even turn it into a lighthearted contest!

  • Painting ornaments is great family fun. Create drawings and use pictures to personalize ornaments and make them extra special. Pick up a simple painting kit at your local craft store and get to work! Decorating your tree with your loved ones creates those lasting memories. And that’s something we can all use especially during this year.

  • Giving gifts to loved ones is always one of our favorites! This year, of course, is a little different for everyone. But it’s the thought that counts! Relish the moments that you get when you watch your family open gifts even if it is over Zoom. Share the cookies and ship the handmade ornaments.

  • While pets are the big winners of 2020 for anyone now working from home! Even though they have no idea what’s going on, it’s fun to include them in the Christmas spirit as well. You can buy them gifts, make them stockings and ornaments as well.

  • Spread some cheer with homemade Christmas or Happy New Year cards. Send them out to loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Paper, glue, pens, and a little glitter… you can create just about anything! Getting a card in the mail from someone special is always a treat! It’s really these small gestures that have the biggest impact.

No matter how you decide to celebrate this holiday season, or who you choose to spend it with, safely enjoy. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Why, When, What Type, and How to Floss

Did you know that by simply brushing, you’re only getting 50% of the job done? That’s because when you brush the bristles can only reach 60% of your tooth’s surface. That means 20% between your teeth is a hot spot for bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. When you don’t floss it gives the bacteria longer to build up and bind with your teeth creating a firm sticky substance known as plaque. Flossing, however, removes those food particles before they can harden into tartar, also known as calculus, which cannot be removed by regular flossing. After the tartar begins to build up it will take over the surface of the tooth under the gum line. Once there, tartar causes inflammation and irritation that leads to the development of gum disease.

When to Floss

Now that we know why we should floss; do you know why only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day? The largest percent says that it’s too time-consuming but once you get the hang of it, flossing takes just a couple minutes. Since we only floss once a day, it’s recommended to do it before you brush. When you floss after brushing all the loose plaque and bacteria floats around your mouth, giving it the chance to reattach to the tooth’s surface. So, at the very least, rinse your mouth.

 

How to Floss

We’ve got the basics down, why it’s important to floss, and when we should floss. Can you guess what’s next? That’s right, the correct way to floss. If you are flossing every day and still see a lot of plaque buildup, chances are you’re missing some crevices. When you floss incorrectly it can cause bleeding and damage to your gums and any surrounding dental work. Now before we get into the proper ways to floss, we really need to go over the different types of floss and what they are used for.

 

Types of FlossBody (2).png

  • Floss can come waxed or unwaxed and everyone can use it! It’s great to get those food particles in tight spaces. Typically, it comes rolled up in a small plastic box. Which makes flossing on the go much easier!
  • Dental Tape: This is similar to regular floss where it comes in either waxed or unwaxed. However, dental tape is much wider than floss and can clean more surface. If you have bigger hands or more space between your teeth, it’s recommended to use this.
  • Floss Picks: Are small plastic flossing sticks that are somewhat shaped like a candy cane. Used in the same way regular floss is, floss picks make it easier for people with less dexterity and they are great for kids!
  • Floss Threader: This is a firm stick with a loop at the end. It is used to thread the floss through dental appliances, which can make some teeth hard to reach. Typically, floss threaders are used with braces or bridges.
  • Interdental Brush: This is a pick with wired or non-wired bristles at the tip. These can be used for regular flossing; however, they are also useful in cleaning dental implants and braces.
  • Superfloss: Has a floss threader at one end, regular floss in the middle, and a soft spongy floss at the other end. The thread is used to pull the floss between an appliance then the regular floss is used on the adjacent tooth. The spongy floss is then used to clean around an implant-supported bridge or under a normal bridge.
  • Wooden Plaque Remover: Looks a lot like a toothpick but it has a tapered end with a triangular shape. Set the tapered end in your mouth for a few seconds to soften it. Then place the softened side between your teeth with the flat side on your gums. This is to stimulate blood flow which helps fight gum disease. Gently move the pick in and out to break up any food particles and disturb any forming plaque. This can be used by anyone and is preferable for flossing on the go.
  • Body (1).pngWater Flosser: The water flosser is a different type of device known as an oral irrigator. Instead of manually scraping the plaque off, the water pressure does it for you! If you have braces it’s an easy way to make sure you are fully cleaning those pearly whites, however, anyone can use a water flosser.

How Really to Floss

  • Flossing: Pull 18-20 in of floss from the container, then loosely wrap it around both middle fingers. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 in of floss in the middle. Hold the floss taut with your thumb and index fingers and glide it gently up and down the side of your teeth. When you get to the gum line form a C-shape and slide the floss down. Finally, remove the floss and continue with the same method on the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing with Braces: It’s recommended that you use waxed floss to avoid getting strands stuck in the brackets. Pull 18-24 in of waxed floss out of the container, thread it through the floss threader and carefully pull it through the wire; then continue to floss as normal. You can also use interdental brushes by pushing the bristles in an out 2-3 times for every tooth.
  • Flossing Dental Implants: Since implants can’t decay the plaque will still stick which can cause swelling and implant failure known as Peri-implantitis. This means it is still vital to floss around your implant. Use a non-wired interdental brush to avoid scratching the titanium or porcelain. Gently push it in and out 2-3 times, then continue to floss the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing a Dental Bridge: Start by pushing the threader end of Superfloss through the space between the bridge and the real tooth. Use the regular floss on the real tooth, then gently slide the super floss under the bridge 2-3 times and repeat on the other side. After, floss the rest of your teeth normally.
  • Flossing Implant-Supported Bridges: Use Superfloss to thread the spongy floss under the bridge, and gently use the spongy side to clean around the titanium implants. You can also use a non-wired interdental brush to clean them.
  • Flossing and Cleaning Implant-Supported Overdentures: Remove the dentures from your mouth, brush the dentures with detergent and place them in water. Then take a one-tuff brush and gently clean around the part of the implant that sits above your gums, commonly known as an abutment.

 

Flossing is simple, yet so crucial for your dental health. Remember, the floss most dentists recommend is any type that you will use every day!

 

 

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

10 Ways to Love Your Teeth

Ah, February, the month of love. Which also happens to be American Heart Month! Did you know that to keep your heart healthy you need healthy gums as well? Your gums are there to hold the roots of your teeth in place. When you don’t properly take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once, they’re at a higher risk of periodontal disease.

 

More commonly known as gum disease, its effects vary from redness and swelling, to complete destruction of the tooth’s bone support. Which often ends in tooth loss. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also travel into your bloodstream, causing blood vessel inflammation and damage to your heart. It also leaves tiny blood clots in its wake, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily there are a bunch of things you can do to keep that smile, and heart, safe and healthy!

 

Here are 10 tips and tricks to keep your mouth, and your heart healthy this Valentine’s Day!

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  1. Brush your teeth correctly:  Brushing is extremely important to your oral and overall health. The ADA recommends that you brush gently, in short strokes, and at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes. This prevents the bristles from removing the enamel that protects your teeth. When brushing the backs of your teeth, it’s best to turn the brush vertically and make multiple short strokes on every tooth.
  2. Know when to toss it: Your toothbrush only needs to stick around for about 3 months, or until the bristles start to fray. When they begin to fray, your brush won’t do its job properly leaving your mouth defenseless against harmful bacteria. Speaking of which, after a while, your toothbrush will start to gather food particles and bacteria that can’t be rinsed away with water. When you don’t replace your brush, all that bacteria gets reintroduced posing a bigger threat to your dental and heart health. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long you’ve had your brush, notice what condition it’s in, and take action when it’s time for a new one.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste:  Fluoride, known as natures cavity fighter, is a mineral found in the earth’s core. Before our teeth come in, our body is absorbing fluoride through our nutrients to help build a resistance to tooth decay, this is called a systemic benefit. Once our teeth are in, brushing or using other dental products with fluoride helps rebuild the eroded enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. With the risk of tooth decay lowered by using fluoride products, your chances of a heart attack or stroke also decrease.
  4. How to rinse: Contrary to common belief, you are not supposed to rinse your mouth with only water immediately after brushing. When you do this, you are taking all that wonderful fluoride we talked about in #3 and spitting it down the drain. By rinsing right after you brush you aren’t giving the fluoride enough time to attach to your teeth and patch up all that worn-down enamel. It’s best to rinse with water before you spit the foamy left-over toothpaste out. This allows your teeth to absorb the fluoride while rinsing out all the toothpaste.
  5. What to do about sweets: As you may know, sugar is possibly one of the worst things out there for you. Besides its obvious risks of excess sugar, obesity, and diabetes, sugar can have a bad effect on your teeth, gums, and heart. Sugar can increase the triglyceride (fat) in the blood, that fat can then get clogged in your arteries which could result in heart failure. Sugar also puts your teeth and gums at risk of acid attacks. When sugar binds with the bacteria in our mouths it creates acid. This acid can stick to enamel and cause it to erode. It’s best if you eat and drink sugar in small portions; and, if you’re craving something sweet have a bowl of fruit or some dark chocolate. They are both great for your heart and your smile.
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  6. Valentine’s candy and ortho appliances: If you have braces, the same candy rules still apply, chewy or sticky candy can get stuck in your brackets. The sugar then reacts with the bacteria in your mouth creating a white film around the brackets. This substance is nearly impossible to clean and can cause extended acid attacks and increases your risk of cavities.
  7. Floss daily: While flossing may be the most tedious part of your dental routine it is also the most important. The bristles on your toothbrush are too wide to get all the yucky plaque that gets stuck between your teeth. When you don’t floss that plaque sits in-between your teeth and hardens. After it has adhered to your tooth it will then make its way down to the root which can cause gum disease and recession.
  8. Cut the Tobacco: Another thing that may be worse for your mouth than sugar is tobacco products. Usage minimizes the amount of blood flow to the gums which can cause and hide signs of gum disease. While using tobacco you are 3 times more likely to develop gum disease, which elevates your risk of heart disease. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow and causes dry mouth. Both can end in tooth loss due to the lack of moisture in your gums.
  9. Tongues are important: When you forget to brush your tongue, all the bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque that causes cavities just sits there. Even after you have brushed your teeth if you don’t brush your tongue all the bacteria and plaque will attach itself onto your tooth roots and gums. This can lead to gum disease as well.
  10. Checkups: This is the most important part of your dental routine. By visiting your dentist twice a year you are showing your teeth the necessary TLC with a little professional help. Your dentist can clean your teeth, check for cavities, and catch issues in your mouth before they turn into bigger problems

 

Remember to brush 2x a day and floss at minimum once a day because dental hygiene is a vital part of your overall health. These are only a few tips and tricks, ask us at your next appointment how you can give your teeth some love. Make your heart and teeth happy by scheduling your appointment today!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

TMJ/TMD: Common Causes and Treatment

The Temporomandibular Joint commonly known as the TMJ acts as a sliding hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull. This makes it possible for our jaw to move in all directions to assist with things like eating, drinking, chewing, talking and even yawning. However, this joint can become damaged in many ways resulting in TMD.

 

TMD which stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a range of conditions due to having abnormal jaw function. The most common being myofascial pain which is the discomfort and pain in muscles controlling the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Others are dislocation or displacement of the condyle, the rounded part at the end of the jaw. As well as degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Common causes of TMD are:

  • StressStress
  • Facial injury
  • Teeth grinding
  • Genetics
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Malocclusion of the teeth (crossbite, overbite, underbite, open bite, or crowded teeth)
  • Missing teeth

 

There is an array of causes for TMD and most result in muscle spasms, tension, and pain. It can also lead to lockjaw or difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Other symptoms include:

 

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Worn or loose teeth
  • Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Earaches or clogged feeling in ears
  • Cramping in the jaw

 

It’s recommended that you avoid crunchy foods and chewing gum. These can exacerbate damage to your TMJ. There are treatments for TMD and many can be done from the comfort of your home.

 

  • Apply a hot or cold moist compress to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time
  • Exercises such as slowly massaging and stretching the jaw
  • Doctor recommended anti-inflammatory

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If the TMD is more severe your dentist may recommend a two-phase treatment. Phase 1 typically includes the use of an orthotic device that sits on your lower or upper teeth, 24/7 for 4-6 months. Afterwards when the pain levels have decreased, phase 2 will begin. This phase can include any of the following:

 

  • Wearing a long term removable orthotic, full time or part-time
  • Replacing missing teeth
  • Orthodontic treatment such as braces
  • Restore all the lower and/or upper teeth with crowns and veneers to preserve the optimal occlusion (bite) achieved in phase I.

 

Your TMJ is delicate and can be the source of much pain and discomfort. Somethings are just unavoidable, like a facial or dental trauma. It can be challenging dealing with stress or even your genetics. No matter the reason, there are treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms you don’t need to suffer in silence.  Remember if you are experiencing oral pain call us right away!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How is it Treated?

With the weather changing, many may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth. This could be the result of tooth sensitivity, but what exactly does that mean?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for many reasons

Cementum.png

The leading cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel and cementum. Your enamel is a hard substance that covers the surface of your tooth. Its job is to protect the tooth above the gum line from everyday life. The job of the cementum is quite similar except its responsibility lies beneath the gum line. The cementum covers and protects the roots as well as a more delicate layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

 

Dentin has small fluid-filled tubes that connect directly to nerve endings underneath the gum line. When the cementum is eroded, the dentin has a higher exposure to the elements. Which causes pain and sensitivity to hot and cold components that may not have been there before.

 

Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. Common treatments are:

 

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: After multiple uses, it starts to block the pain linked with sensitive teeth.Hot vs Cold.png
  • Fluoride: This treatment is applied by your dentist to different parts of your teeth to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Root Canal: If decay is present in the root. Your tooth will be cleaned out and packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will recommend which solution is best for your health.

With sensitive teeth it is very important to not neglect your dental hygiene; this can cause your condition to get worse as well as running the risk of developing (or worsening) gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once, and come in for your checkup twice a year. If you are experiencing pain due to tooth sensitivity schedule an appointment for yourself right away!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388