Dental Emergencies: Tooth Injuries

A child losing a baby tooth is considered to be a rite of passage, but a child, teen, or adult losing a permanent tooth is considered a dental emergency. If you or someone you know ever loses a permanent tooth, a dentist may be able to save the tooth if it’s replaced within about an hour. Learn what to do when someone is involved in an accident and dislodges a permanent tooth.

Babies, Toddlers and Young Children Tooth Injuries

If the gums or baby teeth are injured, use a piece of cold, wet gauze to apply pressure to the affected area. If the child is capable of following directions, have him bite down on the gauze. Reduce swelling with an ice pop or an icepack wrapped in a clean washcloth and held to the cheek. Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen (according to package and dosage directions) to help ease the pain if needed after you call a dentist to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, you’ll want to keep an eye out for signs of fever, pain, inflammation or tooth discoloration.

For broken or chipped permanent teeth, gather as many pieces of the tooth as possible and rinse the child’s mouth out with warm water. Contact the child’s dentist and make an appointment for the next available appointment.

Dislodged Permanent Tooth

Take your child to an urgent care dental clinic as soon as possible if a permanent tooth is knocked out (if it’s late and your dentist is not open you may consider going to the emergency room, although the doctors will likely only be able to treat the bleeding and control the pain; they probably will be unable to replace the tooth).

If possible, find the tooth and bring it along with you, holding it by the “chewing end” rather than the root. To preserve the tooth, place it in a solution of water with a pinch of table salt or a container of milk. For older kids, teens, or even adults, you can attempt to place the tooth back in the socket, taking care that you don’t touch the root of the tooth.

If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with water prior to placing it back in the mouth. Have the person bite down on gauze to keep the tooth in place. If the tooth has to be stored in a container, add a little bit of milk or some water with a pinch of table salt, then put gauze or a clean handkerchief or towel in the person’s mouth to slow the bleeding on your way to the dentist. 

Act quickly and keep calm if your child ever loses a permanent tooth. Follow the above steps and get to the dentist as soon as possible to help your child keep his or her smile. 

Secrets to a Brighter, Whiter Smile

There are more things you can do to whiten your teeth besides switch toothpaste, visit your dentist, and use whitening strips and trays. Even if you’re already taking these actions, there are several other steps you can take to brighten your smile without spending a lot of money.

Swap Your Toothbrush More Often

Trade out your old toothbrush for a new one every three months or whenever your bristles start to look faded and worn. Doing so ensures that your toothbrush is always providing the proper friction for scrubbing your teeth cleaner and whiter.

Avoid Eating Dark Pigment Foods

No matter how much you might like blueberries, marinara sauce, soy sauce and other dark foods, they aren’t doing your teeth any favors. Such foods can leave stains on your teeth thanks to their dark pigmentation. While not all dark foods are necessarily bad, it’s a good idea to limit how much of these types of foods you eat and make sure you enjoy them with plenty of water to help reduce the chances of staining.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

While not as powerful as other whitening methods, rinsing with apple cider vinegar is a natural way to help brighten your smile (though perhaps not a very enjoyable one). To make the most of this tip, you’ll want to rinse your mouth out for a full minute with a mixture of one part apple cider and two parts water.

Avoid Drinking Energy Drinks

Besides dark foods, tea, coffee and red wine, energy drinks have also been known to cause staining on your teeth due to high acid content. Acid is also found in citrus fruits, so you’ll want to be careful of those as well. If you simply can’t go without your energy drink or soda, it’s better that you drink it through a straw to keep the liquid from coming into direct contact with your teeth.

Making a few small changes can do wonders not only for the color of your teeth, but for your overall oral health. Pay attention to the small signs that your teeth and mouth might be giving you about the state of your teeth to get a whiter smile and a healthier mouth.    

Studies Show Men More Likely to Ignore Dental Health

Studies Show Men More Likely to Ignore Dental Health

What do daily exercise, taking a multivitamin, and brushing your teeth all have in common? These are all fairly simple daily habits that could improve a man’s overall health, but ones that far too many men are ignoring. Oral health, in particular, is an area where many men could stand to “brush up” their skills a little, so to speak.

The Oral Health Battle of the Sexes

While both men and women report that a great smile is one of the first things they notice about a potential dating partner, women apparently take that more seriously than men.

A study published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Periodontology showed that women are more proactive about teeth and gum maintenance than their male counterparts. Women are twice as likely to have been for a recent dental checkup (in the past year), and were proactive in scheduling recommended follow-up treatments. These healthy habits resulted in far lower incidence of common periodontal disease indicators, such as plaque, calculus, and bleeding gums.

Other Benefits of Good Oral Health

Man brushing teethTaking care of your teeth care is the best way for a man to maintain a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile, but the benefits extend beyond just aesthetics. Research published in the June 2008 issue of The Lancet Oncology found that gum disease, often the result of poor oral health habits, puts men at a higher risk of developing cancer, including kidney cancer (49% more likely), pancreatic cancer (54% more likely), and blood cancers (30% more likely).

Gum disease has also been linked to higher risk for other serious health conditions, such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

Developing Healthy Oral Habits

To maintain that bright white smile, or get it back if you’ve neglected it for a little bit too long, dentists recommend making oral health care a priority.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Spend at least two minutes brushing, and make sure you are moving the toothbrush throughout your mouth to clean every surface.
  • Floss teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque that get stuck between teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Throw out your old toothbrush every three months, after you have been sick, or when you can see obvious signs of damage, such as bent or missing bristles.
  • Avoid behaviors that can damage teeth, such as smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or drinking dark beverages (such as coffee or soda) that can wear down enamel.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. While brushing teeth daily is important, it’s no substitute for the professional cleaning you get from the dentist every six months.

It’s also important to know the warning signs of periodontal disease so you can seek treatment. These signs include gums that are red or swollen or that bleed easily, areas where gums have pulled away from the teeth, persistent bad breath, tooth loss, or changes in your bite (the way your jaws fit together). If you notice any of these potential warning signs, see your dentist or consider visiting a periodontist to look into it more closely.

If you don’t have a dentist, you can contact The Dental Clinic at Roseman University at 801-878-1200 to schedule an appointment for affordable dental care in the Salt Lake valley provided by student dentists.

What You Need to Know About Bruxism in Children

If you ever check on your children at night, you may notice that they are grinding their teeth. The official medical term for teeth grinding is “bruxism,” it can be pretty common in children and often takes place during sleep or times of stress. According to statistics, two to three out of ten kids clench and grind their teeth and jaw, but a majority of them will eventually outgrow it.

Triggers for Bruxism

The exact cause of bruxism has yet to be determined, but there are cases where children grind their teeth because their bottom teeth are improperly aligned. Other stressful times, such as teething and earaches, can be reasons for kids to clench their teeth in an effort to ease the discomfort.

Children can also become stressed by a shift in a normal routine or due to exterior factors like after-school activities, tests, and assignments in school. A child can also suffer if parents are arguing around them, causing them to react by clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth. There are also situations where children who are on certain mediations or suffer from medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, start to show signs of bruxism.  

Effects of Bruxism

A majority of children who develop bruxism do so without any negative effects and do eventually outgrow the condition, but there are instances where it can cause earaches or headaches and be an annoyance to family members and those around the child because of the sound of grinding teeth.

There are also situations where the child can clench or grind his teeth so much that he starts to wear away at tooth enamel, chip a tooth, experience sensitivity to temperatures and/or develop major jaw complications and facial pain. One example of jaw problems a child might suffer from because of bruxism is temporomandibular joint disease, otherwise known as TMJ. Unless and until bruxism becomes a chronic condition, it generally will not become TMJ.   

If your child has developed bruxism, make an appointment with your dentist to have them checked today.