Your teeth are important for everything from eating and nutrition to proper speech, so an injury to your teeth can have much larger implications than just affecting your beautiful smile. When engaging in certain kinds of physical activity, your mouth is potentially at risk for injury causing knocked-out teeth and injuries to the gums, lips, tongue, and surrounding tissues. Make sure you are always careful and take preventative measures to ensure you teeth and mouth stay healthy and injury-free.
Situations Where Tooth and Mouth Injuries Are Common
Most of your daily activities won’t put you at risk for tooth injury, but in the following situations you will want to have a mouth guard or take other precautions to prevent injury.
- Babies and toddlers who are learning to walk will stumble and fall a lot. It is important to keep an eye on them to make sure they are careful, and if they are in this early stumbling phase, don’t let them practice on a hard surface like concrete or asphalt.
- Sports injuries are a common reason for a visit to a dentist. Anyone who plays contact sports, such as boxing, football, basketball, soccer, or lacrosse needs to always wear a mouth guard. Even heavy physical exertion offers an opportunity to fall down and chip a tooth, so while it may not require a mouth guard, be sure to take care and watch your step!
- Some people experience tooth pain when they wake up after sleeping for the night. If you are one of these, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. A visit to a doctor or dentist will reveal if your tooth damage is the result of grinding and your dentist can help you decide if wearing a mouth guard when you sleep is the best option.
You don’t have to avoid risky situations to avoid mouth injury. Just make sure to take the appropriate precautions before you go at it.
With school almost out and great weather ahead, summer is a time when most kids get out and play—whether it’s in the water, on a bicycle, or out on a sports field. Unfortunately, with many summer activities, there is a higher risk of facial injury. Many dentists see an increase in facial trauma that leads to tooth loss or other damage, simply due to the increase in outdoor and sports activities.
Here are a few of the most common summer activities that could put your teeth at risk, and suggestions for ways you can prevent injury this season.
Playing Contact Sports
Whether you prefer to take the field for a game of soccer, hit the courts for a quick game of basketball, or play baseball, softball, or football this season, contact sports can be dangerous. This is especially true in sports like baseball, softball, and soccer, where mouth guards and facemasks are not mandatory, or in pick-up games that you’re just playing for fun with friends, since you often don’t wear the same protective gear as you would when you’re playing in an official game or league.
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that about 1 in 3 facial injuries are sports-related, but mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries every year, so they should be a critical part of your sports uniform, even for casual games. This is especially true if you have braces or other orthodontic work, which can cause mouth cuts, jaw injuries, and other damage to your teeth.
You can buy stock mouth guards “off the shelf” that are standard sizes, although they provide limited protection because they are not customized specifically for you. A better option is the mouth-formed guards that you boil and bite to fit to your mouth, or a custom mouth protector that you get from your dentist. The latter is the best option because it is made specifically for your mouth, but it is also the most expensive option. In some cases, a custom-fit mouth guard from your dentist may be covered by dental insurance, so check with your provider to find out.
Activities on Wheels
There are plenty of fun ways to get out on a set of wheels during the summer—including skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades, bicycles, motorcycle, dirt bikes, and more. Unfortunately these activities also pose a risk for injuries that range from head trauma to broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and facial trauma, including broken or damaged teeth, missing teeth, and mouth cuts, to name a few.
If you’re planning an activity on wheels, use caution to avoid crashing. Try to stay away from busy roads or highways, always wear a helmet and other protective gear (including mouth guards), and for particularly dangerous activities such as motorcycles, BMX/bike stunts, mountain biking on technical trails, or dirt bikes, consider a helmet that includes a face guard.
Summer is a great time to be outside, and if you take proper precautions to protect your face, jaw, mouth, and teeth, you can have a lot of fun without the pain and suffering from facial trauma. Talk to your dentist today to find out the best way to protect yourself during your favorite summer activities.
Trick-or-treating is the highlight of Halloween for most children, but excessive candy consumption can be harmful to a child’s dental and physical heath. Halloween doesn’t have to be a sugar-laden free-for-all. There are many ways to limit your child’s sugar intake without a making a scary scene.
- Collect Less Candy – Limit the amount of candy your child collects by having her use a smaller treat bag and calling it quits once the bag is filled. You can also set a time limit on her trick-or-treating or visit only houses within a certain walking distance.
- Trade Candy For Cash – Many dentists participate in a candy buyback program. If yours doesn’t, consider forking out some of your own cash in exchange for your kid’s candy, then donate the stash to a local shelter or a branch of the military.
- Plan a Visit From the Candy Fairy – If your child is too young to be interested in cash, consider swapping the loot for a toy they have had their eye on. Instruct your child to leave the goodies in a special location, and make the trade while they are asleep.
- Ration the Goodies – Let your child pick out a few of his favorites on Halloween night, then store the rest out of sight and out of reach. Pack one small piece in his or her lunch each day, or save it to dole out only on special occasions.
- Pass Out An Alternate Treat – You can do your part to limit junk food in your neighborhood by passing out something other than candy. Stock up on stickers, glow sticks or another prize to give away, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
However you choose to prevent sugar overload this holiday, be sure your child knows what to expect beforehand. Fill her up with a healthy dinner before she begins knocking on doors, and allow a little indulging before the night is over. Have a plan for the rest of the candy, and no matter how late your little ghoul is up, don’t send her to bed without brushing!
Brushing and flossing regularly are essential habits for healthy teeth, but did you know that nutrition is also important to the overall health of your mouth? It’s especially important to help kids start healthy eating habits while they’re young and their teeth are still developing. Here are the top nutrition tips to keep your family’s oral health strong.
1. Don’t Put the Baby to Bed with a Bottle
Many people like to put their baby to bed with a bottle of milk or other drink. However, this seemingly harmless practice actually allows bacteria to flourish and can lead to tooth decay. Giving your baby a bottle at night is okay, but make sure you follow it up with a gentle tooth-brushing session (or simply wiping their gums with a warm washcloth if they don’t have teeth yet) before putting your baby in bed.
2. Eat Plenty of Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
The standard American diet is extremely high in sugar. While avoiding sugar entirely may not be practical, it is best to limit consumption of sweets and sodas since they increase the risk of cavities. Even so-called “fruit” drinks contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar and should not be consumed in excess. Make sure to check the nutrition facts to get the real scoop on how much sugar is involved, even if a beverage claims to be fruit-based. If you or your children do have sweets, make sure to brush soon afterwards.
3. Avoid Sugary Foods
The standard American diet is extremely high in sugar, and while it may not be practical to avoid sugar altogether, it is best to limit consumption of sweets and sodas since they increase the risk of cavities. Even so-called “fruit” drinks contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar and should not be consumed in excess. If you or your children do have sweets, make sure to brush soon afterwards.
4. Drink Water with Food
Drinking water with each meal helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that might otherwise become stuck on or between the teeth and contribute to tooth decay. Taking a drink of water immediately after a meal serves the same purpose and can keep your mouth from becoming too dry.
A nutritious diet is just as important for oral health as brushing and flossing. Improving your current diet can be as easy as adding an extra portion of vegetables or fruit to a meal, eating fewer sweets, and increasing your water intake. Small changes can make a big difference.
Talk with your dentist about how your nutrition and oral health are connected. If you don’t have your next check-up on the calendar yet, make an appointment with Roseman Dental for affordable quality dental care.
Xerostomia is a big word with a simple definition: dry mouth. It’s the term for the absence of saliva in the mouth that can cause discomfort, often leading patients to seek medical treatment. The condition isn’t a disease in itself, but is actually caused by other factors.
While everyone experiences a dry mouth at one time or another, chronic dry mouth can not only be frustrating, but can also cause medical and dental issues. Treating xerostomia is important to improve overall quality of life as well as preventing any additional problems.
What Causes Xerostomia?
Many different issues can cause dry mouth. Some of the causes for this common condition include:
- Medications. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs list dry mouth as a side effect.
- Nerve damage. Damage to the nerves that control saliva production can result in xerostomia.
- Cancer treatments. Chemotherapy drugs or radiation can halt the production of saliva.
- Other diseases. Parkinson’s or Sjogren’s syndrome can affect the salivary gland.
Other conditions, including stress and depression, can lead to a lower production of saliva as well.
What Problems does Xerostomia Cause?
Leaving xerostomia untreated can lead to further issues. The condition can cause difficulties with speech and eating, as well as an increase in cavities or infections in the mouth, since salvia helps wash away bacteria from the surface of the teeth.
What is the Treatment for Xerostomia?
To begin treatment for xerostomia, its root cause must be discovered. Eliminating the cause isn’t always possible, so dental professionals will find a treatment option that addresses the issue while not detracting from other medical care.
Some remedies can treat dry mouth, but they won’t cure it. These options include avoiding alcohol-based mouthwashes, using artificial saliva, sipping plain water, or using over-the-counter dry mouth products. Prescription medications can be used to stimulate saliva production in order to replace the saliva and prevent other medical and dental issues.
Dry mouth should be treated not only because of the discomfort it causes, but also because of the serious issues it can cause. Prioritize good oral care and regular dental treatments to prevent further problems. If you’re in need of dental care, make an appointment with Roseman Dental to get help from one of our empathic, patient-focused providers.
Periodontal disease occurs when the plaque that adheres to the teeth is not effectively removed. Plaque forms when bacteria in the mouth combine with mucus, creating a sticky and damaging substance that attaches to the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly does certainly help minimize the formation of plaque, but any plaque that remains often turns into something called tartar, which cannot be easily brushed or flossed away at home. This is just one reason regular dentist visits are so essential!
To reduce the chances of developing gum disease, it’s important to recognize risk factors. Here’s a look at some of the things that commonly lead to gum disease and ways to prevent them from getting that far:
Each person’s genetics play an important role in determining how healthy their teeth and gums are. So much so, in fact, that some researchers believe that as much as 30% of the population is especially susceptible to gum disease. However, even those who are predisposed to the issue can dramatically reduce their chances of developing it simply by engaging in strong oral hygiene practices. In this case of nature vs. nurture, go for nurture.
While stress in and of itself isn’t a direct contributor to periodontal disease, it has a tendency to weaken the overall immune system. This means that fighting off infections will be tougher in general. In other words, if you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease and are particularly stressed out, it will likely exacerbate the problem. Talk to a doctor if you need help managing stress and its affects.
If someone doesn’t already suffer from periodontal disease, smoking may cause it to develop. If someone is a smoker and already has symptoms of gum disease, continuing the habit will only make the problem worse. The more someone smokes, the greater their risk, so cutting down an existing habit (or better yet, quitting entirely) can pay off in the form of improved oral health.
There are many risk factors associated with periodontal disease. The easiest and most effective ways of reducing the chance of developing it is to practice strong brushing and flossing habits, and visit the dentist at regular intervals. If your next appointment isn’t on the calendar yet, make one with Roseman Dental to keep those gums and teeth healthy.