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What is Lichen Planus?

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Do you have a series of red, shiny bumps or a white, lacy rash on the surface of your tongue or the inside of your cheeks? It may be a condition known as oral lichen planus. Though the causes of this condition are not well understood, it generally does not call for treatment in its milder form. However, if it gets severe, it can represent a risk for oral cancer and it may be necessary to bring it to the attention of our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

The symptoms of lichen planus include a sore feeling in your mouth, sometimes coupled with blisters or ulcers. Spicy and acidic foods can aggravate your symptoms, so it is best to avoid such items until it runs its course. In the event that you require medical treatment, it will generally consist of a corticosteroid cream, though certain cases call for an immunosuppressant.

Warning Signs of Fractured Teeth

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When your tooth fractures, it can frequently invite serious decay and, if left untreated for too long, it call for a root canal. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible to have a fractured tooth without realizing it for an extended period of time. Fractured teeth can feel entirely normal to the touch, and you might not notice any symptoms until the pulp of your tooth becomes infected. Stay on the lookout for a fractured tooth by remaining mindful of the following warning signs:

  • Erratic pain that accompanies chewing.
  • Pain, swelling, or pocketing in the gums.
  • Pain that results from changes in temperature, particularly cold temperatures.
  • A rough or sharp feeling on one of your teeth.

If you think that you might have a fractured tooth, it is important that you bring it to our Federal Way dentistry clinic before the damage can progress too far.

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

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Do you ever experience a burning sensation on the inside of your mouth or on your tongue? This is a condition known as burning mouth syndrome, and sometimes burning tongue syndrome. It is often paired with symptoms of dry mouth or a metallic taste, and can be made worse by eating hot or spicy foods. Causes of burning mouth syndrome are many, and can include a vitamin B12 deficiency, menopause, yeast infections in the mouth, or irritation caused by dentures or similar objects.

If you are experiencing burning mouth syndrome, consult your dentist at Bella Dental’s Federal Way dentistry clinic to better understand your problem and discuss possible solutions.

Tooth-Friendly Nutrition

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Everybody knows that a tooth-friendly diet involves cutting back on the refined sugars. However, there is also a number of important nutrients you should make sure to get enough of in order to get the best out of your mouth. Get enough of the following in your diet, and you should be well on your way towards favorable oral health:

  • Calcium: This mineral is used to make new teeth and bones.
  • Vitamin D: Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.
  • Vitamin C: If you don’t get enough of this vitamin, you invite loose teeth and weak gums upon yourself.
  • Fiber and Whole Grains: When you consume low sugar, high fiber foods like crunchy vegetables and grains, they can act as a natural toothbrush as you chew.

Talk to our Federal Way dentistry clinic for more information on how you can tailor your diet towards achieving strong oral health.

Your Genetics and Your Dental Care

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Brushing and flossing well will go a long way towards maintaining proper oral health. Unfortunately, there is also a certain degree to which forces beyond your control, like your genetics, are going to play an important role. Tell our Federal Way dentistry clinic if you have a family history of any of the following so that we can customize your treatments appropriately:

  • Gingivitis. You may be more genetically disposed to gum disease.
  • Bleeding disorders. A family history of clotting problems or similar bleeding issues can impact your dental treatments.
  • Crooked teeth. If there are a lot of braces in your family, chances are good that you’ll need them as well.
  • Certain disease that tend to run in families, like diabetes, can have a powerful effect on your oral health.

Do Tooth-Colored Fillings Stain?

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The advantage of tooth-colored fillings is that they blend in with your natural tooth structure. Unfortunately, as you expose your teeth to coffee, smoke, and other staining materials, your fillings can be made to stand out starkly among the rest of your tooth. You may gradually begin to see a distinct, brownish outline around your fillings, which can mar the aesthetic of your smile if located on a front-facing tooth surface.

The bad news in this case is that bleaching stains away is not as feasible for composite filling materials. However, a badly stained filling can often be polished until it matches your natural teeth again.

More importantly, a stained filling may be indicative of tooth decay. You’ll want to visit our Federal Way dentistry clinic so that we can inspect the filling, and replace it if need be.

Familial Discord Linked to Poor Dental Health

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Nobody is immune to tooth decay. This is why our Federal Way dentistry clinic believes in striving to provide people from all walks of life with quality dental care. However, there are some households that are more at risk of poor oral health than others, regardless of their genetics or financial situation. According to a recent study conducted by New York University, individuals in troubled families have a higher risk of cavities and missing teeth.

The result of the study showed that, for every above-average statistical increase in a partner’s aggression towards a married individual, the occurrence of cavities would go up substantially. Women would have an average of 3.5 additional cavities, while men would have an average of 5.3 more. Children, meanwhile, showed an average of 1.9 more cavities for every above-average increase of emotional aggression exhibited by their mothers towards their other parent.

It would appear that domestic violence, whether verbal or physical, is conducive of bad oral hygiene. A noxious household environment undermines regular, organized routines, and this includes brushing and flossing. Additionally, people in such environments are prone towards stress eating, exposing themselves to harmful sugars for extended periods of time.

Is Oil Pulling the Real Deal?

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There is a recent trend emerging in dental care known as “oil pulling”. This is where tooth brushing is done away with in favor of vigorously swishing some kind of natural oil for twenty minutes, two times a day. The idea is that the oil cleans your teeth, reduce inflammation, and grant you a list of other health benefits. But is this for real, or is it another snake oil treatment? Before you throw away your own toothbrush, our Federal Way dentistry clinic has some words of caution.

There is a lot to be skeptical about when looking at oil pulling. Many of the claims attached to this practice are downright absurd, and the rest are backed up with some fairly suspect studies. It can be difficult to entirely discount the practice, of course, but it does remain clear that it is no substitute for tooth brushing.

Firstly, try swishing with oil for twenty minutes. Chances are that your jaw will be tired within the first few minutes. And, after all this, you’re still not deriving the same benefits of two minutes of conventional toothbrushing. A toothbrush is the only known way to reliably remove plaque from your teeth, and fluoride toothpaste is important for reinforcing your enamel. Therefore, think twice before replacing proven oral hygiene techniques for unproven medical fads.

Black Hairy Tongue

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Has your tongue taken on the appearance of being covered in dark-colored hair? This is a condition known, appropriately, as black hairy tongue. It is a painless, but detrimental development that our Federal Way dentistry clinic can help you with.

Black hairy tongue occurs when the papillae on your tongue swell and lengthen. This creates a hair-like appearance, then captures bacteria and particles within your mouth. The pigments from your food and bacteria gradually turns the papillae black, or occasionally brown, green, yellow, or another color.

There are many causes of black hairy tongue, including the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Antibiotics or certain medications
  • Drinking excessive tea or coffee
  • Dehydration
  • Mouthwash containing peroxide, witch hazel, or menthol
  • Radiation therapy in the head or neck

Curing black hairy tongue is often just a matter of improving your oral hygiene. First and foremost, start scraping your tongue if you do not already do so. Additionally, you may consider giving up on smoking, drinking more water, or consulting your dentist for further options.

Looking Out for Leukoplakia

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There are many unusual growths and diseases that can show up in your mouth, some of which are harmless but others of which can be deadly. The condition known as leukoplakia can go either way. Therefore, if you see any signs of this condition, alert our Federal Way dentistry clinic to get it looked at.

Leukoplakia appears in the form of a white or gray region on your tongue, inside your cheek, or on the roof or floor of your mouth. You will usually not experience any pain, though the area may be sensitive to touch, heat, or spicy food.

This condition is usually caused by an irritation of your delicate mucous membranes, which may come from rough teeth, poorly-fitting dentures, smoking, or sun exposure on the lips. In rare circumstances, it can be more serious. Look out if the patch takes on a fuzzy appearance, as it may be a sign of an HIV infection. Alternatively, it can serve as an early warning sign of oral cancer. This is why you should have all cases of leukoplakia looked at by a medical professional.

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