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Dental Health and Pregnancy

Posted by on 3:34 pm in Blog | 0 comments

As an expectant mother, you have a lot to think about, but it is important that you don’t neglect your oral health. Hormonal changes can affect your dental health, and if neglected or untreated, these conditions can pose a health risk to you and your baby. By understanding how pregnancy can affect your oral health, you can take the steps you need to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.   Common Dental Health Problems in Pregnancy There are three major problems that can involve dental health during pregnancy: Gum disease. Pregnancy-related hormonal changes can result in gingivitis, which is a disease of the gum tissue that results in inflammation. If this is left untreated, gum disease may result in low birth weight or preterm births. Loose teeth. Increased estrogen and progesterone levels may affect the bones and ligaments of the teeth, and this can result in the loosening of the teeth during pregnancy. This can occur even without gum disease. Tooth decay. An increased acidity within the mouth during pregnancy may increase your risk of tooth decay. Additionally, vomiting throughout pregnancy can make the problem worse by exposing more gastric acid to the teeth.   Caring for Your Teeth during Pregnancy After you learn that you are pregnant, you should visit Dr. Matthews regularly in order to maintain optimal dental health. Be sure to tell Dr. Matthews about your pregnancy, as certain dental treatments should be avoided during the first trimester and during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. This is important because these are critical times in the growth of your baby, and some procedures may influence that development. For example, dental x-rays and exposure to unnecessary radiation should be avoided in order to protect your unborn child.   Other precautions should also be taken throughout your pregnancy in order to maintain your oral health and the health of your baby: Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Your new baby’s teeth will develop around three months into your pregnancy, so it is important to eat foods that are good for the developing bones, gums, and teeth of your baby. This may include dairy products. Avoid sweet snacks. While sugary cravings might be common during pregnancy, you should be mindful that frequent snacking can result in tooth decay. Choose a bland-tasting toothpaste if you are suffering from morning sickness, and use a mouth wash or a rinse of water if you deal with frequent bouts of...

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Avoid Gingivitis during Pregnancy

Posted by on 3:14 pm in Blog | 0 comments

  Gingivitis is a type of inflammation that affects the gum when too much plaque accumulates in the spaces between teeth and gums. The accumulation of this bacteria can result in bone loss, and it can eventually result in tooth loss and tooth decay. While over half of adults experience some form of gingivitis, it is especially common with pregnant women. It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of all women experience pregnancy gingivitis while they are expecting.   What is Pregnancy Gingivitis? Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition that exaggerates the response of a woman’s body to dental plaque, and it is caused by an increase in her hormone levels. The extra plaque that she experiences can result to redness, tenderness, bleeding, soreness, and swelling of the gums. These changes can begin during the second month of pregnancy and may continue up until the mid-third trimester. Therefore, it is essential that pregnant women practice good oral care in order to reduce the number of bacteria in their mouths that can result in pregnancy gingivitis.   Avoiding Pregnancy Gingivitis As previously noted, good oral hygiene is important for both pregnant and non-pregnant individuals, as it can prevent gingivitis. Other tips for maintaining good oral hygiene in order to prevent this disease include: Avoid consuming sugary snacks, especially right before bed. Consume a healthy and well-balanced diet. Visit your dentist regularly, as long as it is safe for your baby to do so. Floss your teeth at least once a day in order to avoid bacteria build up. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after you finish brushing in order to ensure that bacteria found in difficult to reach places have been removed. Use toothpaste that fights plaque so that you can protect your teeth from gingivitis and decay. Go slowly and spend at least two minutes brushing during each teeth brushing session. Ensure that you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, preferably when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.   Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is important in order to avoid the risk of developing gingivitis. It is also important for ensuring your long-term health. It’s important to note that necessary dental procedures can only be completed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Contact Dr. Matthews if you believe you are suffering from pregnancy gingivitis and continue with proper oral hygiene at...

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Coping with Sensitive Teeth

Posted by on 4:05 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain, and if you are dealing with sensitivity, you may feel stinging or throbbing in the event that you consume hot or cold drinks and food. For the most part, teeth become sensitive when their protective layers have worn away. This exposes the dentin of the tooth, and this portion is full of small tubes with nerve endings that run through them. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can try to cope with and reduce tooth sensitivity. Contact Dr. Matthews if you are experiencing sensitivity to your teeth.   Avoid Drinks and Food with High Acid Levels Exposure to acidic food and drinks, including soda, juices, oranges, pickles, and even wine, can be harmful to your teeth. Limit your consumption of these foods, and try to brush your teeth immediately after eating them.   Choose Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth Several different toothpaste brands are made specifically for people who experience tooth sensitivity. Many of these pastes include potassium nitrate, and this ingredient works to block the dentin tubules. However, it is important that you continue using this type of toothpaste long-term, as simply using it for a little while and then stopping will not correct your problem.   Consider Painted-on Barriers If toothpaste for sensitive teeth isn’t doing the trick, ask us about getting painted-on barriers. Plastic resins or fluoride varnishes can act as desensitizing agents, and they can be applied to your teeth in the most sensitive areas. However, they are not a permanent fix since they will wear off over time.   Get Receding Gum Treatment If you have gum disease or receding gums that are due to hard brushing, your roots can be exposed.  If we diagnose this as the cause of your tooth sensitivity, we may recommend a restorative treatment for your gums.   Kick the Grinding Habit If you are a teeth grinder, you may be wearing down your enamel and causing your sensitivity problem. In many cases, people don’t even know that they are grinding their teeth, as it often occurs during sleep. However, headaches and unexplained pain of the jaw could be signs that this is a problem. If you are aware that you grind your teeth, try changing your sleeping position or using a mouth guard at night to try and breath the habit to protect your...

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What is an Abscessed Tooth?

Posted by on 2:00 pm in Blog | 0 comments

If you have experienced trauma to your tooth, such as chipping or breaking, or if you have gum disease, you may have a painful infection known as an abscessed tooth. These problems can cause openings within the enamel of the teeth, and then bacteria can infect the center pulp area. This infection can then spread to your tooth’s root and the bones that help to support the tooth. Abscessed Tooth Symptoms If you are experiencing a severe or chronic toothache that results in throbbing or shooting pains, you may have an abscessed tooth. Some of the other major symptoms include the following: Swollen glands in the neck Foul smell of the breath Pain when chewing Fever Teeth that are sensitive to cold or heat Swelling or redness of the gums General uneasiness or discomfort Swollen jaw area A draining sore found within the gums Preventing an Abscessed Tooth There are some things that you can do in order to reduce your risk of developing an abscessed tooth. The most important strategy that you can employ is to practice good dental hygiene In addition, if you experience any type of oral trauma, such as a tooth that starts to loosen or is chipped, it is important to seek dental attention immediately. Dr. Matthews can assess your situation to determine if you, indeed, are suffering from an abscessed tooth, and you can then take the steps needed to correct the...

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The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health

Posted by on 6:10 pm in Blog | 0 comments

  Most people know that smoking can be detrimental to your health and that it is a leading cause of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. However, fewer people are as concerned about how smoking can affect their oral health, and it can be a major cause of issues regarding the jawbone, gums, and teeth. Some of the major ways that smoking can damage your overall health are identified below. If you have some of these problems, come see Dr. Matthews.   Oral cancer If the possibility of contracting lung cancer isn’t enough to scare you out of smoking, it is important to note that tobacco use also increases your likelihood of contracting an oral cancer. It is estimated that 90% of patients who are treated for oral cancer are smokers. You should also be aware that all tobacco products can result in these devastating effects on your oral cavity, including chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipes.   Chronic Bad Breath Smoking is a major cause of halitosis, or bad breath. It is responsible for giving you dry mouth, but a more common problem is that nicotine and tar can settle into your oral cavity. This can lead to a condition that many people refer to as “smoker’s breath.” Smoking can also lead to gum disease, which may also result in bad breath.   Tooth Discoloration Smoking is a major cause of tooth discoloration and stains. While veneers or teeth whitening products, such as toothpaste, strips, or professional whitening sessions, can help to remove the stains, these products and procedures can be costly. You will save yourself money by avoiding tobacco products altogether.   Periodontal Disease Smoking causes interference in gum tissue cell function, and gums can become damaged and separated from the bone. This leaves them open to the possibility of infection, so smokers have a greater chance of developing advanced gum disease than people who do not smoke.   Decay Tobacco increases the dental plaque found within a mouth, and the greater amount of plaque, the more difficult it is to remove. This can result in an increase in tartar and eventual tooth decay.   Tooth Loss Advanced gum disease will eventually result in deterioration of the bone and ultimately tooth loss. This may require you to wear partial or complete dentures or to have expensive dental work done to try and repair your smile. Save yourself the pain, money, and time by beginning a smoking cessation effort in order to protect your teeth and overall oral...

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