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Caring for Teeth While Wearing Braces

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Braces can make your normal brushing routine difficult. Wire braces give food particles and bacteria more places to hide from your toothbrush, making good oral hygiene all the more essential. You may also want to schedule additional regular appointments with our Federal Way dentistry clinic for the duration of your braces.

If you have braces that can be easily removed, you should always take them out before eating. If your braces cannot be taken out, it is best to entirely avoid foods that will stick to or damage them. Hard, gummy, and chewy candies are right out, as is popcorn and gum. It’s best to stay away from soda and sugary juices as well.

Some pain is to be expected as your teeth adjust to the braces. Simple painkillers should be enough to help you cope under normal circumstances. However, you should be on the lookout for any poking or scratching sensations in your mouth that may be the result of a broken set of braces; damaged braces should be reported to your orthodontist as quickly as possible.

What Happens if I Lose a Filling?

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Even with all the advances in dental technology, no filling is completely invulnerable. A filling will occasionally pop out of your tooth, possibly after a sharp impact, possibly while you are chewing on a sticky substance, possibly for no discernable reason. When this happens, it’s important to get to your Federal Way dentistry clinic as soon as you can in order to replace this filling and protect the vulnerable insides of your tooth again.

If you swallow your filling, don’t worry. Modern fillings are non-toxic, and should pass harmlessly from your system. There are some cases of a filling going down the wrong pipe and getting stuck in the lungs, though, which represents a problem for your doctor to take a look at.

One thing to remember when you lose a filling is that you can’t necessarily blame the taffy that yanked it out, or the baseball that knocked it loose. Chances are good that there was a pre-existing problem with your filling; maybe you had some decay or weak tooth structure underneath the filling that allowed it to fall out. With this in mind, you can look at your lost filling as an important opportunity to address what might have been a more serious problem down the line.

The Consequences of Acid Reflux on Your Teeth

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Acid reflux is a difficult problem to live with.

This condition describes when your stomach acid leaks up into your esophagus, where it burns your throat and causes a lot of pain. Some of this acid may also make its way into your mouth, which can break down your teeth and fragile soft tissues. Our Federal dentistry clinic advises that you take measures to manage your acid reflux for the sake of your dental health.

You can reduce your acid reflux symptoms by controlling your diet. Many foods bring about excess acid in your system, contributing to your acid reflux. These include alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, coffee, tea, onions, garlic, dairy products, citrus, tomatoes, spicy foods, mint, and fatty fried foods. Avoid eating these a while before going to sleep, and try propping up the front legs of your bed a few inches so that your throat is above your stomach. This will go a long way towards sparing your tooth enamel the ravages of stomach acid.

The Problem with Whitening Toothpaste

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Have you ever considered whitening toothpaste as an alternative to a professional whitening treatment from our Federal Way Dentistry? If you have, you may want to think again. The truth is that so-called “whitening” toothpastes may in fact be doing far more harm than good.

If you have a toothpaste that identifies itself as a whitener, take a close look at the package. It probably says that it whitens your teeth “by removing surface stains”. Essentially, this means that it’s wiping away the staining agents on your teeth that have not yet become stains. This is all well and good, but it will leave you stuck with the stains you already have. To remove actual stains, you need strong whitening agents that cannot come in toothpaste form; any bleach in a toothpaste get rinsed away too quickly to have any effect, and ultimately only serve to make your paste more abrasive on your sensitive gums. Do the right thing for your teeth, and have them whitened at Bella Dental.

Dealing with Cold Sores

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The mouth can be the site for many different bumps, lesions, and sores, and the cold sore is one of the more obnoxious.  Should you or your family members become afflicted with one, our Federal Way Dentistry advises that you take the following precautions in order to expedite recovery, minimize pain, and keep the virus from spreading:

  • Cold sores are caused by a herpes virus, and therefore cannot simply be cured.  However, there are over-the-counter drugs that can be very effective in reducing the pain of the sores, reducing cracking, and speeding up the healing process.

  • Cold sores can be aggravated by a bacterial infection, so keep the area clean.  You can wash a sore gently with soap and water as needed.

  • Apply a sunscreen to your face and lips if you are to experience any prolonged exposure to the sun.

  • Don’t spread the virus to others!  Wash your hands after touching a sore, don’t kiss anyone, and don’t share utensils, drinks, or anything else that comes into contact with your mouth.

  • Also, remember that you can spread the virus to other parts of your own body.  Particularly vulnerable areas include your eyes and genitals.  Wash your hands before touching other parts of your body, or you could develop blindness or genital herpes.

  • Replace your toothbrush, and don’t let your infected brush mingle with other people’s brushes.

Remember that your sores will remain contagious until they crust over completely.  Cold sores generally heal by themselves within seven or ten days.

Periodontitis and Chronic Kidney Disease

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Patients suffering from chronic kidney disease should take even more care of their teeth than they otherwise might. According to a study coming out of the University of Birmingham in the UK, people struggling with both kidney disease and periodontitis have a greater risk of death, compared to those who have chronic kidney disease and healthy gums.

In this study, 861 chronic kidney disease patients were examined over the course of ten years. The team determined the cause of death for any who expired during this period, finding that the mortality rate of those who exhibited periodontitis was 41%, opposed to the 32% observed in the group with healthy gums.

It’s no mystery that your oral health has a close relationship to the rest of your health. The bacteria that thrives in your gums when you suffer from periodontitis enters your bloodstream and can aggravate your kidney disease. Since you may even have gum disease without realizing it, be sure to keep your regular check-ups with our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

Early Dental Care

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Your Federal Way Dentist advises that it’s never too early to start proper dental care. Indeed, even before your child’s teeth begin to come in, there are measures you should be taking to help assure a strong and healthy mouth well into his or her adulthood.

One of the biggest risks to a baby’s mouth is something called “bottle mouth”. This is the pattern of gum disease that comes about when a child is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. Much of what your baby drinks, including milk and sugary juices, poses as much of a threat to his or her gums as a mouthful of candy. Meanwhile, since the mouth is less able to defend itself when you fall asleep, the sugary drink is able to pool and make quick work within the gums. This seriously affects how the child’s primary teeth will come in, which can have long-standing consequences for many years down the line.

In order to assure a healthy mouth for your baby, take the bottle away when it is time to go to sleep. You can also wipe his or her gums clean with a bit of gauze or a delicate washcloth after each feeding. Start brushing the teeth when they come in by using a baby’s toothbrush, without toothpaste, and schedule his or her first dental appointment by the time the child turns one year old.

The Effects of Bottled Water on Your Teeth

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According to the American Dental Association, the average 160-pound person should ingest about four milligrams of fluoride every day. This is why cities across the US fortify their drinking water with fluoride. In general, you can expect the water coming out of your faucet to give you about 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter which, when paired with the fluoride content of a typical toothpaste, should be enough to give you the fluoride you need to maintain strong and healthy teeth.

Unfortunately, some people turn to bottled water for much of their hydration. They are attracted to the superior purity that such water allegedly has. Though some are indeed purer than others, this purity is not necessarily doing you many favors. The average bottle of water gives you only 0.3 milligrams of fluoride per liter, making it far more difficult to remineralize your teeth and prevent cavities.

For more information on how to maintain good oral health, contact our Federal Way dentistry clinic for a cleaning and consultation.

The Dangers of Sleeping With Your Mouth Open

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Do you often breathe through your mouth while you sleep? This is a problem that can put your teeth at unnecessary risk. According to a research team at the University of Otago, Dunedin, in New Zealand, leaving your mouth open while sleeping is subjecting your tooth enamel to dangerous levels of acid. Participants wore a device that monitored the acidity of their mouths during the night, and it was found that sleeping with your mouth open brings your pH down as low as 3.6. When you consider that your enamel begins to break down at a pH of 5.5, this is a truly problematic figure.

The problem is that your mouth needs saliva to defend it from decay and, while your saliva production is already down when you sleep, it dries out all the more if you let your mouth hang open. So, if you frequently wake up with a dry mouth or a sore throat, you may want to look for ways to keep your mouth closed. Talk to our Federal Way dentistry clinic to learn more about how to defend your mouth from decay.

Bioactive Glass May Improve on Dental Fillings

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Bioactive glass is a special material made from crushed glass that doctors have been using for many years now. This glass is known to be able to interact with organic material; the cells in your body react to its presence as it might react to a natural part of your body. When used to repair broken bones, the bones are able to remain stronger for longer periods of time.

Recently, a research team has been exploring the potential for bioactive glass to be used in the dentistry field. Its bioactive properties, combined with its antibacterial properties, have a lot to offer as a dental filling. According to their study, fillings made with such glass can last longer and slow secondary tooth decay.

In the future, it could be a simple matter to incorporate this glass into existing dental filling compounds. Patients may be able to benefit from bioactive fillings within the next few years. Until such a time, you can count on our Federal Way dentistry clinic to give you the best in restorative dental care.

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