The fancy name for teeth grinding and clenching is bruxism. When you’re feeling particularly stressed or frazzled, you might find yourself tightening your jaw and clenching your teeth, and this might not cause any damage at first. However, if you are one of the many people who grind regularly, such as in your sleep when you aren’t even aware that it’s happening, you might end up with scary problems like loose, worn, or fractured teeth, along with jaw problems like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ).
Retainers are great because they help you retain your beautiful new smile after you’ve used braces. However, they can get pretty funky from sitting in your mouth for extended periods of time, so keeping them clean is imperative.
What are some of the easiest ways to ensure your retainer will always be as clean as possible? We’ve compiled a list of tips below to help you get started, but if you have any questions about the very best methods for keeping these dental products bacteria-free, consulting with your dentist or orthodontist is recommended.
These days, there are a lot of dental products and procedures available to make your smile the best that it could possibly be. One popular example is dental veneers. Put simply, when you get veneers, porcelain in the color of your teeth is applied permanently to the front of your pearly whites, giving them a perfect appearance.
Want to instantly and easily whiten your teeth? Do you have enamel that’s been damaged over the years, or perhaps some cosmetic imperfections, and you want to restore the exterior of your teeth? Veneers might be the ideal solution that you’ve been hoping for!
You’ve seen the various ads warning you about the adverse health effects of smoking—some of them are pretty disturbing, aren’t they? And you likely already know that smoking can do damage to your teeth and gums. But what, exactly, are smokers teeth, anyway? What will smoking do to your pearly whites and your gums if you don’t quit the addiction?
Smoking Takes a Major Toll on Your Gums
Smoking doesn’t only give you bad breath. In fact, bad breath is a small side effect compared to the serious effects of this unhealthy habit.
First off, when you smoke, your immune system is weakened. How does this affect your mouth, specifically? Well, it becomes more challenging for your body to fight infections in your gums. Your gums become increasingly more damaged every time you smoke, and they become less and less capable of healing as well.
What are some of the symptoms of gum disease? They include pain when you chew, as well as gums that are red, tender, swollen, or bleeding. You might notice that your gums are beginning to pull away from your teeth, too. And teeth typically become sensitive or loose as gum disease progresses. Yikes!
Your risk of developing gum disease only increases the more you smoke. In fact, your risk for this oral health problem doubles when you smoke. And, if you do develop it, the usual treatments that would work for other patients might not be as effective on you because of your smoking addiction. So, the sooner you quit, the better it’ll be for your gum health.
Smoking stains teeth—hence, the term, “smokers teeth.” So, if you smoke, you might find yourself splurging on over-the-counter whitening treatments or asking your dentist for a professional whitening session. Basically, your chompers can become pretty unsightly, with yellow stains that may develop more quickly than you might expect. And the more you smoke, the darker the stains. Over time, your white teeth will turn into an unattractive shade of dark yellow or brown. Yuck!
As if the stains weren’t bad enough, smoking does even more to further damage your teeth: it can boost the risk of tooth decay through a rise in the buildup of plaque and tartar. And when your dentist fills your teeth, the smoking will continue to discolor your once pearly whites, as well as the fillings themselves, so even restorative treatments might leave you disappointed with the results.
Speaking of fillings—composite fillings, in particular—smoking won’t only stain them; it will also cause them to wear out before they should. So if you want your composite fillings to continue looking good, and you want them to last as long as possible, quitting smoking is the way to go.
Remember when we mentioned above that smoking reduces the strength of your immune system? This also means that, if you have to undergo oral surgery or a dental procedure like a tooth extraction, your mouth will take longer to heal. And if you need to get a dental implant to replace a lost or damaged tooth, the success rate might also be lower for you if you’re a smoker.
This Is Super Serious: Smoking Increases Your Risk of Oral Cancer!
When you smoke, you aren’t just doing harm to your teeth and gums; you’re also harming your entire mouth, increasing your risk of oral cancer. If that isn’t frightening, we don’t know what is.
To put things in perspective, and to illustrate the severity of a smoking addiction: the risk of developing cancer in the mouth, tongue, throat, and lips is six times higher compared to people who don’t smoke. Wow! It’s clear that the effects of smoking extend far beyond stained teeth and swollen gums.
Need Extra Advice? Have a Chat with Your Dentist!
If you’re a smoker, your dentist can point out the damage that your habit is doing to your mouth. Beyond that, however, you can also ask your dentist for advice on how to quit. Perhaps talking to a dental pro and learning about the risks to your teeth and gums will give you the motivation that you need to take your first step towards quitting this addiction for good.
Although you might immediately think of “smokers teeth” as the negative effect on the appearance of your chompers, smoking does much more damage than you might realize at first. From being one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults, to contributing to the risk of mouth cancer, there’s no denying that smoking is a nasty habit that’s worth quitting.
Do you know what the early signs of gum disease are?
What’s particularly scary about gum disease is that it doesn’t just affect your gums. As the disease progresses and worsens, your teeth can become loose and fall out! So it’s really important to take this seriously and to be aware of what the early signs are. With this information, you’ll be able to take action right away if symptoms do develop, and you could regain the health of your gums with the right treatment from your dentist.
You might think that your baby’s pacifier is a godsend, especially during those moments when nothing else will calm your child. Unfortunately, though, like anything else in life, pacifiers do come with their own set of drawbacks that are worth thinking about. Those drawbacks include what’s known as “pacifier teeth.”
Amalgam fillings go by other names, such as silver fillings and mercury fillings. This material has been used by dentists around the world for more than 150 years to help people keep their teeth when a cavity develops. Rather than having to yank a tooth because of decay, dentists can fill it and restore its strength.
You or someone you love might even have a mercury filling in one or more of your teeth already. Unfortunately, despite their long history and widespread use, there is quite a bit of controversy and concern surrounding the use of mercury fillings. So, what are some of the things that you should be aware of so that you can make more informed decisions when you’re at the dentist and told that you have a cavity? Check out the info below to learn more.
What Are Amalgam Fillings?
Do amalgam fillings contain mercury? The answer is yes, they do. But there’s more to it.
Beyond mercury, which makes up roughly half of the filling, other metals are used to create a durable material that will last a long time and withstand pressure from chewing. Those metals include copper, silver, and tin.
Because these fillings are visible, thanks to their silvery appearance, many people today opt for composite fillings instead because they’re tooth-colored and, therefore, not obvious when you open your mouth. But newer fillings can be more expensive, and they may not be appropriate in all cases, so amalgam is still commonly used.
Why the Big Fuss Over Mercury Fillings?
According to the FDA, if you get an amalgam filling, the great thing about it is that there’s a lower chance of it breaking compared to other materials. Plus, it’s the most affordable of the options available. But experts do admit that there are some potential risks to consider before you and your dentist decide to go with amalgam.
So, here’s the thing: because these fillings have elemental mercury in them, a low level of mercury vapor is released. And that vapor can, indeed, be absorbed by your lungs when you inhale. Okay, that’s kind of scary, right? But it gets worse: if your body is exposed to high levels of this vapor, the kidneys and brain might also be affected. It’s no wonder that there are so many concerns about mercury fillings!
Then there’s a little something known as bioaccumulation, which is the term used for the buildup of a chemical within the body. You guessed it—mercury, even from a filling, is considered bioaccumulative. Basically, the vapor from these fillings can build up in certain tissues, including those in the brain and kidneys, even though the vapor is absorbed mostly by the lungs.
But, Wait, You Can Rest Easy About Amalgam Fillings After All
That’s a lot of bad news about amalgam fillings, huh? But there’s something else that you should know: the FDA has stated that they’ve reviewed available evidence in an effort to figure out if a low amount of mercury vapor from a filling would really be harmful to human health.
Bottom line: experts have concluded that these fillings are safe after all. In fact, children from age 6 and above, as well as adults, of course, can get a mercury filling without having to worry about it having an adverse effect on their health.
On top of that, clinical studies in kids and adults haven’t been able to find any link between health problems and the mercury in dental fillings. Phew!
And you know how it could bioaccumulate? Well, studies haven’t been able to prove that this causes any actual damage to the body’s organs. That’s a relief, right?
Allergies to Mercury? Yep, It Can Happen
It’s worth noting that some people may be sensitive to mercury, or they might even be allergic to it. Beyond that, some individuals might not be the right candidates for an amalgam filling because they’re allergic to the other metals within it.
Symptoms of an adverse reaction to an amalgam filling include contact reactions and oral lesions. Ouch!
The best way to avoid these reactions is to let your dentist know if you’re allergic to any of the components in the fillings. Don’t worry, modern dentistry offers so many great alternatives that will help you get your teeth strong and healthy again.
Should You Bother Having Your Mercury Fillings Replaced?
With newer filling materials available, you might be thinking, “Should I just replace my old amalgam fillings?” According to experts, the short answer is, no, you don’t really have to, unless you’re sensitive or allergic to the mercury or the other metals in the amalgam.
Also, if your fillings aren’t holding up anymore, or if there is decay under a filling, you can have an old filling removed and replaced with a different material, such as a composite filling. But if your fillings are still in good shape and your teeth are fine, there’s likely no need to go through the trouble—and expense—of having them replaced.
Plus, when you have an amalgam filling removed, more vapor will be released in the process. And your dentist will have to remove more healthy tooth, too. So, as you can see, it might not be worth it. But, ultimately, this important decision will be up to you and your dentist.
Still Have Questions About Mercury in Dental Fillings?
If you’re still concerned about mercury in fillings, or if you’re pregnant and you need to have dental work done, it’s best to consult with your dentist to learn about the pros and cons of amalgam. You can even let your dentist know that you’re interested in learning about other, newer filling materials that contain less mercury or no mercury at all. No matter what, you have options, whether you choose to go with good old amalgam or an alternative filling material to restore the health of your teeth.
They say you are what you eat, but did you know about the impact that nutrition has on your pearly whites, in particular? A lot of people don’t realize that food not only promotes the health of your skin, bones, and organs, but also the health of your teeth and gums.
Flossing is an integral component to any great oral hygiene routine. If you are brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you’re on the right track towards maintaining healthy gums, strong teeth, and fresh breath.
If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ, you know how painful it can be. But you don’t have to live with the discomfort. In addition to working with your dentist to determine what treatment options would be right for you, there are also easy exercises for TMJ pain that you can do at home. A few of those exercises are described below to help you get started.
Participating in activities like sports and martial arts can be a lot of fun, as well as a smart way to exercise, but it could also be risky, particularly when it comes to your teeth. And that’s where a good mouthguard can come in to provide the protection that you need.
What are mouthguards, and why would you need to use one? We’ve got you covered with some helpful information below.
Bad breath is unpleasant and embarrassing. No one wants it, and no one wants to smell it either. But, sometimes, the person who has it isn’t even aware of the problem. So, what can you do to break the news gently to someone who has halitosis so that you can both get relief?
Tooth sensitivity is a literal pain. And even though it is temporary, arising suddenly before subsiding after a few moments, no one wants to deal with the discomfort that comes with sensitive teeth, especially while enjoying tasty foods and drinks. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to handle sensitivity in your pearly whites, so a few easy strategies and treatments are listed below to help you get relief.
Walk into a store that sells dental care products and you’ll be inundated with a range of toothbrushes, from manual to electronic, and from soft to hard bristles. Sometimes, having so many options is a good thing; other times, it only makes shopping for the right product all the more confusing.
When it comes to shopping for a toothbrush, how do you know that you’re choosing one that will really keep your teeth and gums healthy, without causing irritation? To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a short list of things that you should consider.
If you’ve ever experienced a toothache, which is pain that’s felt around or in your tooth, you aren’t alone. This is a common problem, but a lot of people aren’t sure about what causes a toothache and what can be done to get rid of the pain. That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful information about the symptoms of a toothache, along with tips on what you can do to feel relief.
Let’s Start with What Causes a Toothache, Shall We?
You’ve learned about the connection between dental health and heart health, right? But have you read about the link between tooth decay and hearing loss? It’s true; taking care of your chompers may also help you maintain your hearing!
Continue reading to learn about yet another interesting way that the various parts of your body are connected.
Every year, new research in the world of dentistry opens our eyes to information that can help us gain even greater control over our oral health. Whether you’re learning more about the connections between the health of your mouth and the well-being of the rest of your body, or you’re accessing new tips on how to address a range of common dental problems, there’s always some fresh insight to look forward to. And 2018 definitely did not disappoint. Check out our dental news review below to learn about a few of the top headlines from the last year.
Wisdom tooth removal: it’s surprisingly common, yet it does make people super nervous. So we’ve compiled a short guide to what you can expect when you need to have one or more of your wisdom teeth extracted.
When you aren’t in the mood for plain water, sparkling water might seem like the next best choice. After all, it isn’t sugary soda or juice, right? But it turns out that this water might affect your teeth in negative ways. How can this be possible? We explain it all below.