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!

brush-floss.png

  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.
    braces-candy.png
  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!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

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:

Stress

  • Stress
  • 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.JAW PAIN_ (1).png

 

  • 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

 

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!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

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

  • Tooth decay AKA cavities
  • Cracked teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Exposed tooth root from receding gums
  • Worn enamel and cementum

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
  • FluorideThis 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!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501