Posts for: March, 2018
March is national nutrition month—a good time to look at the connection between diet and oral health. You probably know that sugar is a major culprit in dental problems. This is because bacteria feed on sugars and create acid that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks as much as possible is a good rule of thumb, but there are some food choices that actually benefit your oral health. Here are nutrition tips that will help keep your smile healthy for life:
Say cheese. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium and phosphorus to build teeth and strengthen the supporting bone. And cheese neutralizes acid in the mouth to help fight cavities and gum disease.
Choose lean proteins. Lean meats, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help strengthen teeth. They are rich in protein and phosphorous, which is essential for building strong bones and teeth.
Eat a rainbow. Fruits and vegetables provide many key nutrients, including vitamins necessary for healing, bone strength, and healthy gums. Besides being nutritious, fruits and veggies scrub your teeth while you chew and stimulate the production of saliva, which is necessary for neutralizing acid and rebuilding enamel.
Nibble on nuts. Nuts contain protein, fiber and healthy fats. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals to keep teeth strong and gums healthy. Further, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, lowering the risk of tooth decay.
Go for the grains. Studies have shown that eating too many refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sweet bakery items can lead to chronic inflammation, which is a factor in gum disease, heart disease, stroke and other conditions. In contrast, eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains may reduce inflammation in the body.
What you put in your body can play a big role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, so choose foods that provide the right building blocks for optimal dental and overall health.
Have you noticed a change in your teeth or gums recently? Even seemingly minor signs and symptoms can be clues that a root canal is in your future. Dr. James Bourne, your dentist in Homer, AK, shares a few common root canal signs.
Your tooth aches or throbs
Inflammation or infection in your tooth pulp can cause significant pain. Even if the pain doesn't seem that bad or comes or go, it's important to schedule an appointment with our Homer office. Although pain that only occurs intermittently may seem like a minor problem, your painful symptoms won't go away and will only worsen whether you need a root canal or have a cavity. If you do need a root canal and put off treatment, you may eventually develop a serious bacterial infection known as an abscess. Abscesses are dental emergencies that require root canal therapy and treatment with an antibiotic.
Have you noticed that your tooth hurts more if you press or chew on it or eat or drink hot, cold, or sugary foods and beverages? These symptoms may also occur if you need a root canal.
You see red when you look in your mouth
The gum surrounding your tooth may be red, inflamed, and swollen if an inflammation or infection lurks deep inside your tooth. If you have an abscess, you may also notice a little pus on the gum or a bump that resembles a pimple.
Your tooth has changed color
Changes in tooth color aren't uncommon if you need a root canal. You may notice that your tooth looks darker than other teeth due to the changes in the pulp.
Bacterial abscesses can make you feel terrible. If you have an abscess, you may develop severe pain, swollen lymph nodes, facial swelling and a fever.
How a root canal help
Root canals relieve your pain by removing your tooth pulp. After the pulp is removed, your tooth and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped, and the pulp is replaced with a rubber-based filling. Before the procedure begins, you'll receive a topical anesthetic to ensure that you remain pain-free during your entire treatment. Although your tooth will be a little weaker after root canal therapy, it will continue to function normally. Fortunately, it's easy to strengthen and protect the tooth by adding a crown.
Are you concerned about a persistent toothache? Call Dr. Bourne, your dentist in Homer, AK, at (907) 235-8574 to schedule an appointment.
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”