Pink Prescriptions - October 2015

Keep Your Teeth & Mouth Healthy

Prescriptions web

What are the advantages of having my teeth professionally whitened? Are there long-term risks to the enamel on my teeth?

Tooth bleaching is one of the most conservative and cost-effective dental treatments to enhance your smile! It removes persistent stains, leaving you with more self-confidence about your smile. Before using a bleaching product, you should consult with a dentist, especially if you have fillings, crowns and extremely dark stains. 

Professional teeth whitening is safer and more effective than over-the-counter treatments. According to several studies, there is minimal to no effect on the enamel of your teeth when whitening is performed by a trained dental professional. 

Alina O. Porcelli, RDH, Bluffton Center for Dentistry

I can’t stick to the long regime required for over-the-counter teeth whitening. Is professional teeth whitening easier?

Yes, professional teeth whitening can be done in no more than one hour and you get professional level results and maximum whitening!

Maui Whitening, HHI

What are the top three things I need to do to keep my mouth & teeth healthy?

1. See a dentist every six months for a regular check up, an oral cancer exam and a professional cleaning. Preventing problems from occurring is important. Many dental problems do not become visible or cause pain until they are in more advanced stages. Treating problems when they are more manageable will give the patient a more affordable option and a better prognosis. 

2. Brush and floss correctly. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using a soft bristled toothbrush. Also, using toothpaste containing fluoride. And to floss daily by holding the floss against each tooth forming the letter “C.” 

3. Maintain a healthy life style. This means eating a nutritious diet, limiting your sugar intake and not using tobacco.

What are the most common dental diseases?

Cavities: Acid acting on the outer layer of the tooth causes cavities. Acid is produced when sugars consumed in foods and drinks react with the bacteria present on the tooth surface. The acid produced leads to a loss of calcium and phosphate from the enamel. This process is called demineralization. When demineralization occurs over a long period of time a cavity is formed.

Gingivitis and Periodontal disease: These are infections caused by bacteria in the dental plaque left on teeth. When you have gingivitis your gums become tender, red and bleed easily. Gingivitis only affects the gums and is reversible. However, if left untreated it can advance to periodontal disease. With periodontal disease, the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets collecting debris and bacteria. When this happens the teeth become loose and tooth loss occurs.

Jennifer Elizabeth Christy, DDS. Howard Family Dental, Bluffton

My boyfriend has bad breath. Is there a way to cure it rather than just mask it with mouthwash or mints?

Certain bacteria, certain foods, lack of saliva or dry mouth, infections either in the mouth or elsewhere in the body, or stress may cause bad breath.

Here are 4 solutions:

1. Brush your tongue. An effective way is to use a teaspoon. Place the inverted teaspoon as far back as is comfortable on the upper side of your tongue. Then, gently glide the teaspoon forward, removing the bacterial film and microscopic food particles. Repeat this 2-3 times, and then wash off the teaspoon. Perform this tongue-cleaning method in the morning and then in the evening before bed.

2. Brush and floss your teeth correctly. This will remove the film of bacteria from around the gum line.

3. Have regular dental checkups to make sure your oral health is up to par, and professional cleanings at your dentist’s office to remove any tartar from under the gum tissues.

4. Eat a Paleo-type diet to improve the health of both the microbes in your gut and also the lining of your gut. The fiber in veggies that dominate a Paleo-type diet will feed the good bacteria of the colon.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS, Bluffton Center for Dentistry

Define good oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing! This may sound easy, but about only half of people routinely floss the recommended once daily and brush the recommended 2-3 times daily. Those who do floss, often do it incorrectly by relying on floss picks that miss areas of the teeth because the floss is pulled tight in a straight line and cannot conform to the curvature of the teeth. Those who brush, often brush too hard and not for the recommended 2 minutes.

Can pregnancy affect my dental health?

Pregnancy Granuloma, also called a pregnancy tumor, is an overgrowth on the gums or skin that is seen with about 5 percent of pregnant women. While the growths are harmless, they can occur rapidly, usually between the teeth and can vary in size and color. They are have lots of blood vessels, which cause them to bleed very easily. It’s important to keep the area clean by gently brushing and flossing. They can be removed during pregnancy if they inhibit speech, diet or esthetics, but close to 50 percent are known to reappear. Changes in hormones can cause their formation, but most times they disappear after birth and need no follow up treatment.

Jessica M. Gower, DMD. Palmetto Dental Arts, P.A., Bluffton

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