5 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Neglect Your Oral Health

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Good oral health is precious. We use our teeth every day of our lives to eat food. Our tongue and the joints on each side of the jaw help us speak with proper enunciation. When we neglect our oral health by not making regular visits to a dental office or by practicing improper oral hygiene, we put our wellbeing at great risk.

Neglecting one’s oral health can affect all the structures in the oral cavity along with greatly increasing the likelihood of developing destructive oral health conditions that will require professional treatment from a dentist. Following are five reasons why we should not neglect our oral health.

Tooth Loss

One major complication associated with neglecting one’s oral health is the loss of teeth in adulthood. When we disregard our oral health, our teeth can become badly decayed or our gums can become diseased. In severe instances, these conditions can cause tooth loss. Losing teeth is devastating and affects more than a person’s appearance. Tooth loss will negatively impact oral function, lead to bone loss, and cause depression and social anxiety.

Gum Disease

Another common condition associated with neglecting oral health is the development of gum disease. Most commonly caused by improper oral hygiene, untreated gum disease can advance into a progressive condition that destroys all the mouth’s tissues including bone and teeth.

Oral Cancer

Like many other health conditions, oral cancer is treatable when detected early on. A dentist will perform screenings for oral cancer during routine checkups. By foregoing regular checkups, oral cancer can go undetected and potentially advance into a fatal condition.

Bone Deterioration

Bone deterioration commonly afflicts those who have neglected their oral health – especially when tooth loss and periodontal (gum) disease are present. The density of our jawbones is important for supporting teeth, oral function, and a youthful appearance. Losing bone mass can have many negative effects on one’s wellbeing.

Costly Restorative Treatment

Not only does neglect lead to oral disease, treating advanced dental conditions can be very costly and invasive. Early detection typically yields conservative and wallet-friendly treatment. We strongly encourage preventive care and regular checkups to diminish the likelihood of a person developing chronic oral health problems.

Call our dental office today to reserve a checkup.

Brushing and Flossing Do More Than Just Clean Teeth

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Brushing teeth twice daily helps prevent plaque from building up on teeth. Plaque starts out as a sticky substance, but over a period of hours can harden. Once it has hardened on teeth, you can no longer remove it with your tooth brush. A visit to your dental office will be needed.

Daily flossing removes food debris between teeth and at the gum line that your tooth brush failed to reach. The flossing action also stimulates gum tissue. This stimulation can be important in preventing the onset of gum disease, a condition that can have serious consequences such as gum recession, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.

Dental floss comes in many different styles … waxed or plain, thick or thin, flavored or plain; you can buy floss in small containers or floss with tooth picks on the other end. Your dentist can demonstrate the correct way to floss your teeth; using floss daily enhances dental health.

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay

There is a difference between “clean” teeth and “white” teeth. White teeth are aesthetically pleasing for your smile; clean teeth are more important to your dental health. You can have bright, shining teeth … but if your gums bleed, you have bad breath, are experiencing receding gums, or teeth feel loose … your dental health is in jeopardy.

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay; decay occurs when bacteria breaches dental enamel resulting in a cavity. Failure to catch decay in its earliest stages can mean a large dental filling. For excessive decay, the patient might be faced with the need for a restoration like a crown to save their tooth.

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, consistent appointments with your dentist every six months for the type of cleaning you can’t do on your own is important on several fronts … teeth are cleaned removing any plaque that has formed since the previous visit; any potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to escalate; and you benefit by having stain removed allowing teeth to look their best.

Even patients that are diligent about their daily oral care routine can run into a dental problem; know your dental health and recognize when you need to consult your dental office for needed care.

If it’s time to schedule your next exam, contact Anderson Dentistry at either of our convenient locations.

Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums Throughout the Retirement Years

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Thanks to better, more accessible dental care, an increasing number of older adults are able to keep their natural teeth throughout their lives. To avoid the tooth loss (and dentures!) that often accompanied aging in years past, however, patients need to continue to maintain their smiles throughout their golden years.

In many ways, practicing the same oral hygiene regimen you used when you were younger will also serve you well as you age. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily still go a long way toward minimizing plaque when you’re in your 60s, 70s and 80s, just like they do when you’re in your 20s, 30s and 40s!

Of course, professional care from a dentist and hygienists is also essential. Older adults also should continue to visit the dental office for exams and routine cleanings at least every six months.

The risk of gum disease increases in older patients, so the routine exams can spot symptoms of this condition in its earliest stages when it is most easily treated. Your dentist will look for signs like redness, swelling or bleeding in your gums, and if those are present, a deep professional cleaning can help to remove any lingering bacteria that are contributing to the inflammation of the gum tissue.

While you are in the dental office, you will also be screened for oral cancer. Not only will this help to preserve your smile as you age, it can also save your life. Oral cancer that is detected early typically responds well to treatment.

Even if you do experience tooth loss, you have some good options to restore your smile that take advantage of technological advances in dentistry. For example, dental implants offer a structurally complete tooth replacement, and these devices can be used to support a single crown, a bridge or an entire denture.

It is now possible to keep your biological teeth throughout your lifespan. Make sure that you are taking proper care of your smile, and ask one of our seasoned practitioners if you have any questions about oral hygiene for older adults. Contact our team at Anderson Dentistry today to schedule your next visit.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

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Most patients are aware how stress affects their everyday life, but many are unaware of how stress can also affect oral health. From behavioral problems such as clenching, grinding, and chewing on non-food items, to physiological problems which can lead to compromised immunity, stress can profoundly impact oral health. Managing stress can go a long way in improving overall and oral health, and a visit to our dental office can help.

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, and clenching of the jaw put undue pressure on the teeth, bones, jaw joints, and facial muscles. Many patients are unaware of their grinding problems as this is a very common nighttime behavior, occurring while the patient is asleep. Patients that grind their teeth at night may wake up with sore jaw and face muscles. When these muscles are sore or tense, patients may clench their jaw more during the day and at night. Evidence of these behaviors are detected by dentists in the form of worn down, chipped, and broken teeth, as well as lost fillings and other obvious indicators.

Stress also weakens the immune system, increasing the occurrence of cold sores, canker sores, inflammation, and even gum disease. Patients that experience stress-related oral health problems often report bleeding when they brush and floss, sore gums, and similar issues. Dentists may find increased inflammation, redness, and swelling in the gums, significant bleeding, and other oral health conditions.

The mouth is resilient, however; when stress increases and patients notice these problems arising, rinsing the mouth a few times a day with warm salt water and engaging in diligent brushing and flossing can greatly improve oral health.

Some patients experience dry mouth when stressed. When the mouth is excessively dry for extended periods of time it can create the ideal conditions for bacteria to increase in between teeth, along gums, and even on the tongue and other parts of the oral cavity. While managing the stress is the ideal first step, caring for the mouth, gums, and teeth can go a long way in reducing the negative effects of stress on oral health.

For more information on caring for teeth, gums, and dental health, contact our knowledgeable dentistry team by calling 817-485-2111 today!

How Regular Dental Visits Can Save You Money

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A visit to your dental office every six months can save you more than just cash … being proactive with your dental health can mean less time spent undergoing dental corrections as well as saving yourself from any discomfort that may be preventable.

What happens at these twice yearly dental appointments that are so critical to your dental health? Quite simply, your dentist or hygienist will clean away plaque that has built up on your teeth since your last visit. Plaque build-up contributes significantly to decay and gum disease.

As plaque is removed, unattractive stains are scraped away as well. Teeth are flossed and polished as the final step to the cleaning process. A dental exam is conducted checking for problems like cavities or gum issues; however, this exam could literally save your life because your dentist is also checking for oral cancer. Your dentist has been trained on what to look for, and if anything suspicious appears, further testing is recommended.

Imagine skipping dental appointments … a mere one hour every six months … and eventually being faced with extensive dental repair, or worse, that likely could have been prevented with that one hour investment.

Many patients will cite lack of dental insurance as a reason to skip semi-annual appointments; however, for the cost of a family dinner out or an evening at the movies or a concert, you could experience the best dental care available.

Now that you have seen the advantages of regular dental appointments, you need to follow the guidelines to help maintain excellent dental health between appointments:

  1. Floss daily to remove particles your tooth brush doesn’t reach.
  2. Brush a minimum of twice per day with a fluoridated tooth paste or gel.
  3. Do not use tobacco products in any form.
  4. Limit sugary snacks and beverages. Sugar is the primary substance that sticks to teeth resulting in plaque build-up.
  5. Keep hydrated (water is recommended). Dry mouth can contribute to dental problems so if you are experiencing this, ask your dentist for possible solutions.

Keeping regular dental appointments and following these simple rules may save you from expensive and time consuming repairs. But even the most vigilant patient may be faced with unexpected issues … if this occurs, follow the program outlined by your dental provider for the best results.

To learn more or to schedule your next dental visit, contact our skilled and dedicated team at Anderson Dentistry today.

Harmful Effects of Soda on Teeth

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One of the primary ingredients in soda is sugar. The other attraction to soda is carbonation. These two components can result in dental decay, teeth stains, and enamel erosion. Keeping regular and consistent visits to your dental office, coupled with daily brushing and flossing are helpful; however, the best way to control these negative problems to your oral health is to limit or discontinue drinking soda.

When you drink soda (or pop), the sugars cling to the bacteria already living on your teeth. With each soda consumed, bacteria grow and the potential for decay expands.

This bacteria growth can mean cavities, sensitivity, and may lead to gum disease. With gum disease, the potential for tooth loss exists. If you start experiencing discomfort or sensitivity, see your dentist as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment.

The sugars in soda change to acid which can escalate enamel erosion. The caffeine in soda can have a negative effect on the calcium in bones. Our jaws contain bone with the primary responsibility of holding our teeth in place. In addition to the calcium in bones, our teeth also contain calcium putting teeth in jeopardy with excessive caffeine consumption as well.

Soda has the potential to stain teeth. One way to prevent staining is to consume cold beverages through a straw. This allows the liquid to bypass the teeth. Never swish … swallow as quickly as you can.

After consuming soda, brush your teeth. One word of caution, if citrus is consumed, delay brushing for at least one hour as dental enamel is softened when citrus is exposed to teeth. Brushing softened enamel can contribute to premature erosion and enamel damage.

Understanding the negative impact of soda consumption may decrease its appeal. But in the event that you are going to continue to drink soda pop, floss daily and brush at least twice each day with a fluoridated tooth paste or gel.

Visit our dental office every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam. Follow instructions and recommendations including fluoride treatments, dental sealants, and any other preventive measures your dental provider may suggest.

A Healthy Smile and Healthy Body go Hand in Hand

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Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important for your smile. Yellowing, stained teeth or bleeding gums are detrimental to your smile. Making and keeping appointments with your dental office will go a long way to help prevent the issues associated with problematic teeth.

It is a proven fact that people suffering from illness associated with the immune system (i.e. diabetes) or heart disease are more likely to experience problems with their oral health as well.

Having a healthy body will likely contribute to good oral health. Enjoying good oral health will likely translate into a healthy smile. Visits to your dental office twice per year will provide several benefits.

Your hygienist will clean and polish your teeth providing their best appearance available. Your dentist will perform a thorough exam to allow you to enjoy the best oral health possible. Your dentist will be completing an oral cancer exam; checking for dental decay; looking for issues with your bite that can be corrected to improve your ability to eat, speak, and smile.

Other things you can do for your health that can impact your smile include:

  1. Do not use tobacco in any form … even the creation of e-cigarettes is not to be considered a “healthy” substitute for smoking.
  2. Limit sugary snacks and beverages … it’s not just candy or cookies that contain sugar. Even snacks that are perceived as healthy like yogurt or “health drinks” contain sugar. Reading the label is the only way to know how much sugar you are ingesting.
  3. Drink plenty of water each day … a properly hydrated body is a healthier body.
  4. Adequate rest and daily exercise is not always achievable … each day that you can get well-rested and some physical activity in is a plus for your physical well-being.
  5. Brush daily with a fluoridated tooth paste or gel … use a soft bristle brush to help prevent premature gum recession.
  6. Floss daily … this will remove debris from between your teeth as well as stimulate your gum tissue.

Follow the instructions and advice provided by your dentist … from caring for your teeth and gums to teeth whitening or straightening, your dental provider is your best asset for excellent oral health.

Contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 for more information and to schedule your next visit.

Nail Biting May Lead to Dental Issues

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Often times, people resort to nail biting out of boredom or anxiety. Whatever the reason, the end result is unsanitary, unhealthy, and can do irreversible harm to teeth resulting in needing to make an appointment with your dental office.

Biting fingernails can chip dental enamel; jagged nail edges can result in abrasions to soft mouth tissues which allow bacteria to permeate the mouth and can actually become infected; however a more serious concern involves altering the bite to accommodate the habit. Constant nail biting can encourage bruxism, which is when teeth grinding and clenching occurs also becoming habitual.

Grinding and clenching can be the result of a malocclusion, a condition where the top teeth do not align properly with the bottom teeth. Constant nail biting can result in a malocclusion as the patient will contort their mouth and jaw to make nail biting accessible.

Constant nail biting can result in a malocclusion as the patient will contort their mouth and jaw to make nail biting accessible.

Most nail biters start this habit at a very young age, and many outgrow it by the time they become adults. However, the damage can already be done. Children that were introduced to regular appointments with their dentist as youngsters will have received all the words of caution, but children often need additional reinforcement.

Parents that recognize the onset of this problem can get help from their dental office if needed. But there are a couple of things you might try. Biting nails is often a nervous habit, so if you can pin down when this action is likely to occur like when doing homework, you can encourage chewing sugar free gum while studying.

Putting a substance on nails during homework time that is bitter or bad tasting will alert the child when hands subconsciously go to the mouth.

If boredom triggers nail biting, help with finding a solution to keep your child active. Playing computer games keeps the hands busy, and provides an activity to alleviate boredom. Of course, as with anything, limits are important.

Knowing the triggers to nail biting will help to find a solution. Informing the nail biter of all the negative results their actions can create is sometimes enough to discourage the habit. But if not, perhaps an informative visit with our dental team will be enough to help break this habit.

The Important Role Saliva Plays in Oral Health

Stop for a moment and think about the factors that contribute to your oral health. You might think about your teeth and your gums, but have you ever given thought to the importance of your saliva? Your saliva is the unsung hero of your oral health. Its benefits are often overlooked unless we have too much saliva or too little. Fortunately, when you are in the dental office, your dentist is trained to evaluate the signs and symptoms of inadequate saliva. Identifying and treating salivary problems are essential to maintaining a long-lasting smile.

The clear fluid that moisturizes our mouths serves a surprising number of functions. Take a look at just how hard your saliva works for you:

  • It cleanses the oral cavity.
  • It helps to dissolve food and improve digestion.
  • It dilutes plaque and leftover food particles.
  • It moisturizes and lubricates the delicate oral surfaces.
  • It actually helps to bind chewed food together, preparing it to be swallowed.
  • It improves our taste perception, our chewing ability, and our ability to swallow.
  • Allows the lips, tongue, and cheeks to move across the teeth for smoother speaking.
  • It soothes and protects the teeth and the lining of the mouth.
  • It buffers (neutralizes) destructive acids.
  • It provides a natural antimicrobial defense.

For some of our most basic bodily functions such as swallowing and digestion, adequate salivary functioning is critical. However, a slight reduction in the quantity or quality of your saliva may not catch your attention. In fact, many patients become accustomed to lower levels of saliva or chronic dry mouth, and may be unaware of the dangers that it presents.

Thick or ropey saliva, decreased saliva, or saliva that is of poor quality can leave you at great risk for bad breath, periodontal disease, cavities, and oral irritations. There are several common health conditions and related medications that can affect your salivary output and quality.

For more information, contact our dental office in Bedford & Colleyville today to schedule an examination.