What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

Your body is a little bit like a puzzle. It gives you clues to help you figure out what’s going on within your body. Did you know your mouth can give you hints about things that may be happening elsewhere in your body? Here’s a list of some of the signs your mouth can give you to pay attention to certain other aspects of your health.

Worn teeth and headache

If your teeth are showing extensive wear, you may be grinding your teeth. This would be even a stronger possibility if you’re also experiencing regular headaches, which can be caused by the muscle tension related to teeth grinding. This condition also indicates that you are likely under too much stress, and that you are unconsciously coping with it by grinding your teeth.

Gums covering teeth

If your gums begin to grow over your teeth and you are on medication, it may mean that your medication is at fault. Some medicines can cause your gums to overgrow, and the dosage needs to be adjusted.

Mouth sores

An open sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks can be an indicator of oral cancer. Numbness and unexplained bleeding in your mouth are other signs. Smokers and people over age 60 are at the most risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others too. See your dentist to make sure all is okay.

Cracked teeth

If your teeth begin to crack or wear extensively, you may have gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD). It’s a digestive disease that allows stomach acid to flow back into your food pipe and mouth. This acid can cause your teeth to deteriorate. Additional signs of GERD are acid reflux, heartburn, and dry mouth.

Unclean dentures

If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them regularly. Inhaling food debris from your dentures that makes its way to your lungs can lead to pneumonia.

We look forward to seeing you in our Fernandina Beach dental office

Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

As we age, our birthdays tend to bring new oral health issues along with them. It’s a fact of life that our teeth and gums are impacted by our age. Here are some common problems to watch for, and suggestions for treatment.

Gum disease:
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to avoid gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis and it’s reversible. If untreated, it can lead to a very serious advanced stage called periodontitis. You may not experience signs of gum disease, so practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist are the best ways to keep it at bay.

Tooth sensitivity:
If cold or hot foods cause you discomfort, you have a common problem called tooth sensitivity. It can result from decay, worn fillings, gum disease, broken teeth, or exposed roots. Your dentist may recommend toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity, or other treatments based on the cause of your problem. Good oral hygiene can help with sensitivity also.

Missing teeth:
If you are missing any teeth, it not only looks unappealing but it can also affect your ability to eat and speak. Your other teeth may move, and bone loss can occur. Discuss treatment options with your dentist because you might be able to restore your smile. Bridges, implants, and dentures are a few of the dental advances that might help.

Dry mouth:
Medicines and some health conditions often cause your mouth to be overly dry. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it also can seriously impact your teeth and gums. Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, the risks of tooth decay and other problems increase. Ask your dentist to look for signs of decay, and to help you identify the cause for your dry mouth. Be sure to tell your dentist about your medical history and medications.

Oral cancer:
Oral cancer can include your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, throat, or soft palate. It sometimes begins with just a tiny spot or swollen area, so regular dental checkups can help catch this disease early. A variety of treatment options are available, but early detection makes a difference.

Schedule your appointment at our Fernandina Beach dental office

Tartar is the Enemy

Tartar is the Enemy

It’s hard to miss with advertisements and visits to the dentist that tartar is something you want to avoid for good oral health. But do you know what this substance is, how to keep from getting it, and what to do if tartar does develop?

What’s so bad about tartar?

Even if you brush and floss regularly, it’s impossible to get rid of all of the bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria and food residue combine to form plaque on your teeth. If left to thrive, plaque attacks your teeth and gums. It causes decay, gum inflammation, and will harden into tartar if not removed before it has the chance.

What does it do to my teeth and gums?

Tartar buildup makes it more difficult to brush and floss well, and tartar along your gums may lead to gum disease. Mild gum disease, or gingivitis, is often caused by plaque and tartar on your teeth. It can usually be reversed with careful dental hygiene. If left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. This more serious gum disease can damage the bones and tissue that support your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth loss. It may also cause infections that contribute to heart disease and other health problems.

How can I control tartar?

Here are some ways to prevent tartar formation:

  • Brush at least twice daily long enough to thoroughly clean every tooth and all of your gums. Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective for plaque removal.
  • Use tartar-control fluoride toothpaste. It is formulated to help prevent tartar formation, and the fluoride can repair damage to your teeth that may have already begun.
  • Floss every day to reach the areas that brushing cannot.
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sugars and starches, and limit snacks between meals. Drink plenty of water to help rinse away plaque and bacteria.
  • Don’t smoke because tobacco use has been shown to increase tartar buildup.

How do I get rid of it?

A professional cleaning is the only way to successfully remove tartar. See your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.

Schedule your appointment at our Fernandina Beach dental office

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton? Or does it remind you of the Sahara Desert? Having an overly dry mouth can result from a variety of dental and medical issues. For example, one common culprit of dry mouth symptoms is related to medications. The best long-term solution is to consult your dentist or physician to determine the root cause of your dry mouth, and to get treatment to solve the problem. Sometimes all that is needed is to change to a different medication, and your dry mouth will disappear. However, here are some things you can try to temporarily relieve your dry mouth until you are able to determine what is causing it.

  • Sip water often.
  • Limit caffeine consumption, which can dry out your mouth even more.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, such as Biotene.
  • Do not use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Do not use mouthwashes containing alcohol, because it can be drying.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen your dryness symptoms.
  • Add moisture to the air using a humidifier.
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

If you do experience the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s especially important to protect your oral health. Make sure you brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist if prescription fluoride toothpaste would benefit you. Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth. Limit the amount of sugary foods or items high in acids, as both of these types of foods increase your risk of tooth decay. Following these tips for relieving dry mouth symptoms can make it more comfortable for you to eat, swallow, and talk.

Our dental office is located in Fernandina Beach

Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Reaching for a sports drink may seem like a smart way to rehydrate during a big game or after completing your exercise regimen, but you may not be as educated as you think. Consumption of sports drinks is on the rise, with 62 percent of American teenagers drinking at least one a day. That’s why it’s important to inform consumers that these drinks which are touted to help your body can also take a toll on your health, at least on your oral health. Let’s find out exactly how sports drinks can negatively impact your teeth.

What makes sports drinks harmful?

You might guess that sugar is what makes these drinks less appealing. It’s true that you should avoid the brands heavy in sugar, but that’s actually not your teeth’s biggest enemy in sports drinks. It’s the high acid content that presents the most danger. Researchers have found that sports drinks have so much acid that they can start damaging your teeth after just five days of regular consumption.

Aren’t they better than drinking soda?

Most people choose these drinks thinking they will enhance their sports performance, and that they’re a better option than soda. Sports drinks are not that different than soda because they contain as much or more sugar. It’s simply not true that sports drinks are healthier for your teeth than soda.

What kind of damage can they do?

The acid in sports drinks can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. They erode your enamel, which is the shiny outer layer of your teeth, causing them to become sensitive to temperature changes and to touch. It also increases your risk of decay and cavities.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?

If you just can’t give up sports drinks, at least try to minimize the amount you consume. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards, but don’t brush your teeth immediately because it might spread the acid around your mouth. Wait about an hour for the pH level in your mouth to normalize, and then brush. You can also chew sugarless gum after having a sports drink, which increases your saliva flow and helps to return your mouth’s acidity levels back to normal.

Schedule your appointment at our Fernandina Beach dental office

I Can’t Give Up my Coffee!!

I Can’t Give Up my Coffee!!

You’ve probably seen what coffee can do to a cup. Those brown stains that you see left on your cup are also sticking to your teeth. Coffee is especially hard on your teeth due to an ingredient called tannic acid, which gets into the grooves and pits of your tooth enamel and can stain it brown. Certainly the ideal way to stop the staining is to quit drinking the java, but that’s an unrealistic solution for many people. So what else can you do to save your pearly whites?

Drink smart

First, try and reduce the amount of coffee you drink. If you drink a lot of coffee, even cutting out one cup a day can lessen the dark stains on your teeth. Another suggestion is to drink your coffee in one or two sittings instead of sipping it all day long. Also, try lowering the temperature of your coffee. The hotter the coffee is, the more easily it can stain your teeth. Just letting it cool a couple of degrees can make a difference to your teeth.

Rinse

After every cup of coffee you drink, rinse your mouth with room-temperature water. This will remove some of the staining elements before they have a chance to set in. The water also helps neutralize acids in your mouth, which will lower the bacteria in your mouth that can lead to cavities.

Use a straw

If you like iced coffee or tea, drink it with a straw so that the dark beverage doesn’t directly contact your front lower and upper teeth. Using a straw reduces your teeth’s exposure to liquids that can stain.

Whiten your teeth

Ask your dentist about professional whitening methods, as well as products you can try at home. There are even some brands of whitening toothpaste made especially for coffee drinkers.

Practice good hygiene

Brush your teeth several times a day, especially after drinking coffee. Flossing daily also helps prevent stains, and is important if you add sugar or cream to your cup of joe. See your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings, which can do a better job of removing stains and restoring your smile.

We treat patients from Fernandina Beach and the surrounding area

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Amelia Dental Group
1947 Citrona Drive
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
P. (904) 261-7181
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