Are Your Teeth Sensitive? Here’s Why

DO YOU EVER cringe when you watch someone bite into ice cream? Are you sometimes fearful of that first sip of hot soup or drink of tea? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear about!

Teeth Feel Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed 

On the outside of each tooth is a protective layer of enamel. Over time, the enamel can wear away leaving an inner layer, called the dentin, exposed. This occurs due to normal wear and tear, poor dental hygiene or certain lifestyle choices.

Dentin contains fluid-filled tubules that reach into the innermost part of the tooth where all the nerves reside. Because the nerves inside the tooth are exposed when the enamel is eroded away, sensitivity is the result.

Another form of tooth sensitivity develops when gum recession leaves the root of the tooth exposed to food, drink and air.

Desensitizing Toothpaste Can Help

Desensitizing toothpastes are a great way to ease tooth sensitivity. Many of our patients ask us how these toothpastes actually work! It’s simple: they are specially formulated to either block the tubules in the dentin, protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure, or numb your teeth, in a manner of speaking, so you don’t register the pain of sensitivity.

It’s important to remember, however, that if your teeth are at all sensitive, your first stop should be your dentist’s office. Some problems that cause teeth to be sensitive can be quite serious and may require more extensive treatment than desensitizing toothpaste can provide.

Follow These Helpful Tips To Avoid Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. To prevent further damage to your teeth, or any sensitivity in the first place, follow the suggestions below:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are frequently the cause of tooth sensitivity. In addition, avoid smoking or any form of tobacco use.
  • Don’t brush so hard. Aggressive brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and enamel erosion. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much force. Plaque comes off easier than you think!
  • Protect your teeth. If you clench your teeth frequently or have been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding), make sure you protect your teeth with a nightguard provided to you by your dentist and try to be conscious of your clenching habits during the day.
  • Make sure your diet is healthy. Eat sugar and carbohydrates in moderation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and vegetables.

Nobody Should Live With Tooth Pain

No matter what your level of discomfort, it’s our belief that nobody should have to live with tooth pain. If you experience any kind of sensitivity in your teeth, come in and see us! We can diagnose the root cause of your sensitivity and ascertain the best way to treat it.

We are thankful for our wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

We encourage you to bring your young ones with you to your next dental appointment! The dentist will let them ‘ride’ the dental chair up and down and will count their teeth, showing them that seeing the dentist is not scary. They can get their own toothbrush and even a small prize! We call this a ‘Happy Visit’.

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Preparing For Your Child’s First Dental Visit

SEEING A BABY’S FIRST SMILE is a wonderful moment in a new parent’s life–that little grin leaves a lasting impression! Visiting the dentist early ensures that your child’s smile remains happy and healthy.

First Tooth Pop In? Time To Schedule Their Appointment!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental appointment once their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. Although this may seem early for a first visit, there are many reasons for acquainting your child with a dentist so early in their oral development.

The first, and most obvious, is that we are able to monitor the health of their new teeth as they come in. As soon as your little one’s first tooth erupts, he or she can begin to develop cavities. Aside from checking for tooth decay, we check to ensure that their overall oral development is on track and answer any questions you may have about your child’s growing smile.

What To Expect During Your Child’s First Visit

As you prepare your child for their first dental visit, you may begin to wonder what you can expect during their appointment. The first dental visit is often very brief and gives your child an opportunity to meet their dentist in a friendly, non-threatening way. This helps get them acquainted and can help calm your child before their dental exam.

Once your child is ready for their exam, the dentist will:

  • Check their existing teeth for decay
  • Examine their bite and look for any problems with the gums, jaw and oral tissues
  • If discussed beforehand, clean any teeth present

These appointments are also an excellent opportunity for us to share information with you about proper oral care as your child’s smile develops. If you have any questions about your child’s oral hygiene routine, this is a perfect time to ask! We’ll be happy to discuss strategies to help soothe your baby during the teething phase, answer questions about oral habits such as thumb sucking, or share tips about a smile-healthy diet.

After their visit is complete, your dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits based on the unique needs of your child.

Watch the video below to learn more about your child’s first dental visit and how to prepare them for their appointment:

We’ll Make Sure Your Child Leaves With A Smile!

Whether it’s your child’s first visit or their 50th, we’re committed to giving them an experience that helps pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health. If you have any questions about your child’s first visit in our office, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to talk with you about any specific needs they may have for their first appointment.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

A Brief History Of Dental Floss

TODAY, FLOSSING IS A staple of oral hygiene and health. But have you ever wondered when we started flossing? You might be surprised by the answer. 

Flossing Is An Older Concept Than You Might Think

While we don’t know the exact beginnings of flossing, it looks like as long as food has been getting stuck in our teeth, we’ve used some type of interdental cleaner. Discoveries have been made that suggest cleaning between teeth was practiced as early as the Prehistoric period!

Did you know that even some species of monkeys practice flossing? This has been most prominently observed in Thailand. Long-tailed macaque monkeys have been known to pull out hair from their human visitors and use it as floss! They have also been observed flossing with coconut fibers or twigs. Mothers even take the time to teach their young how to floss properly!

The First Dentist To Recommend Flossing

Floss as we know it today was developed around 200 years ago. In 1815, an American dentist named Levi Spear Parmly introduced the idea of using waxen silk thread as floss. In his book called “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth,” he stated that the silk thread should be run “through the interstices of the teeth… to dislodge that irritating matter which no brush can remove and which is the real source of disease.”

Unfortunately, flossing didn’t catch on right away. Victorian’s were more interested in toothpicks than putting their hands in their mouths to pull thread through their teeth. Charles Dickens–along with many other wealthy gentlemen of the time–owned a retractable toothpick engraved with his initials and ornamented with ivory. Fancy!

Over Time, Flossing Slowly Gained Popularity

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that flossing became more widespread. During World War II, Dr. Charles C. Bass, known as “The Father of Preventive Dentistry,” developed nylon floss, noting that it was more elastic and durable than silk. After the war, flossing became much more mainstream.

Keep Up The Good Work And Floss On!

For the most part, floss today is still made of nylon. But now, there are a lot more options than there used to be such as dental tape, waxed floss or woven floss. There are pre-threaded floss picks and floss threaders for orthodontic patients; there are even devices that floss your teeth with water or air!

All in all, it doesn’t much matter what you use to floss, what matters is that you do! Correct daily flossing can make all the difference in your oral health and is one of the simplest ways to prevent tooth decay. So, since human beings have been cleaning between their teeth for centuries, all we have to say is keep up the good work, and floss on!

Thank you for choosing our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Photos by S.Harrison/UofL used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

How Your Oral And Overall Health Are Linked

WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN… taking care of your teeth and mouth is more than just about cosmetics, it’s about your health! When you think of being healthy, your mouth probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But your oral and overall health are more intertwined than you think.

Your Mouth Is The Gateway To The Rest Of Your Body

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Periodontal Disease And Its Connection To Chronic Diseases

Not only can many illnesses and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, your oral health can also affect your body. This is especially true of periodontal or “gum” disease.

Diabetes

Did you know that gum disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes? People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria and are thus more susceptible to gum disease. In like manner, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Heart Disease

While health care professionals aren’t completely sure as to why, heart and gum disease often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. It is believed that the link between these two conditions is inflammation.

Cancer

These statistics may surprise you, but researchers have found that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.

What’s more, cancer treatments often have oral manifestations. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.

Other Complications

Gum disease has also been linked with stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have preterm births and low birth-weight babies.

The Health Of Your Mouth Is In Your Hands

As you can see, there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. That’s why it’s important to make your dentist a part of your health care team by going to your regular dental appointments and updating them on your medical history. We care about your whole body health!

The good news is that, for the most part, dental disease is entirely preventable. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can keep gum disease at bay and protect you from cavities. Your oral health is in your hands, so choose to be mouth-healthy!

Thank you for supporting our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Björn Söderqvist used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Is Chewing Gum Good Or Bad For Your Teeth?

DID YOU KNOW that the average American consumes 1.8 pounds of gum each year? With so much gum going into our mouths it’s important to know how chewing gum affects our dental health. You may have heard that it’s both good and bad for your teeth… so what’s the real answer? Read on to find out!

Avoid Chewing Gum Sweetened With Sugar

Gum has always been a childhood favorite! What child doesn’t love that sweet burst of flavor or a bubble-blowing competition with friends? Unfortunately, gum sweetened with sugar is bad news for teeth.

When you or your child choose sugary chewing gum, you’re not the only ones satisfying your sweet tooth. The bacteria in our mouths like sugar too! And they enjoy it long after we’ve spit our gum out. These bacteria use sugar as fuel, producing acids that weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Stick To Sugarless Gum

Here’s the good news: chewing sugar-free gum can actually boost your oral health! Chewing gum increases saliva flow in your mouth, strengthening your teeth and washing away food debris and bacteria. While the same is true for sugary gum, the increased saliva flow isn’t quite enough to offset the damage that the sugar can do.

According to the American Dental Association, studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. Saliva helps neutralize acids in our mouths after eating. It also contains calcium and phosphate which strengthen tooth enamel, our teeth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

So, when choosing gum, “stick” to the sugarless kind!

Gum Can’t Replace Good Oral Hygiene

Chewing sugar-free gum can only act as a supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine and can’t replace daily brushing and flossing. Keep up your everyday mouth-healthy habits and you’ll have strong, beautiful teeth for life!

Check out the video below to learn more about how chewing sugarless gum can supplement your oral hygiene routine!

Make The Right Choice For Your Smile

Chewing gum is fun and delicious! But remember, the type of gum you choose can make a big difference for your teeth. So next time you’re at the checkout counter and reach for a pack of gum, make sure it’s sugar-free. Your smile will thank you!

We love to treat you! Thank you for supporting our practice.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

New Year, New Resolutions!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our wonderful patients, fans, and friends!

Here at Rio Rancho Family Dental Care, we’re excited for the new year and we wanted to take a moment to share our new year’s resolutions with you. Also, we’d love to hear YOUR resolutions too!

Here Are Some Of OUR Resolutions:

To be a kinder, better person. Everyone can use some kindness in their lives. You do not know what a person is going through and just a simple smile could change their day. There is too much hate and unkindness in the world right now, and we can all change that. Patience is the key to accomplishing this goal. Just take a breath and count to ten before responding.

Live life to the fullest! Live in this moment, today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Do what makes you happy. If you are happy, truly happy, then you make those around you happy. Take a moment for yourself everyday. 

Eating healthier. Not just a diet, but a lifestyle change. Cut out the fast food, replace unhealthy snacks with healthier ones, and most important, portion control! Start small, so as not to get overwhelmed. Replace soda with water at every meal and really focus on smaller portions.

Need a bit of help keeping your New Year’s resolution? Check out the video below!

Now Share YOUR Resolutions With Us!

So, now that you know OUR resolutions, what are YOURS? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Happy New Year!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Some Of History’s Fun And Bizarre Dental Stories

HISTORY IS FULL of outrageous tales about teeth! How many of these dental facts have you heard before?

The Dental Woes That Won the Battle Of Yorktown?

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington wrote a letter to his dentist requesting some dental cleaning tools to be sent to New York, noting that the American forces wouldn’t be in Philadelphia any time soon. The correspondence was intercepted by the British, making them think that Washington would not move his army to Yorktown. When the Americans attacked Yorktown anyway, the British were caught unawares and the battle was ultimately won.

Check out the video below to learn more about George Washington’s teeth and dentures!

The Power Of A Tooth

In Sri Lanka, the Temple of the Tooth is home to Buddha’s left canine. After Buddha’s death, this tooth played a major role in politics–whoever was in possession of the tooth had the right to rule the country. The tooth was passed down from monarch to monarch for generations as a symbol of power and authority to govern. Talk about strong teeth!

Cotton Candy And A Good Laugh

Some dentists throughout history put their names on the map as inventors. William Morrison may have been a dentist, but he is best known for developing the cotton candy machine! We think it was his history as a dentist that inspired him to first call cotton candy “fairy floss.”

Another dentist named Horace Wells saw a public demonstration of the effects of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and recognized its medical possibilities. He asked a colleague to pull one of his teeth out while he was under the influence of laughing gas and said he didn’t feel a thing, effectively introducing general anesthesia to dentistry. Now that’s dedication!

The $31,000 Tooth

After getting a tooth extracted, John Lennon gave it to his housekeeper whose daughter was a huge Beatles fan. The tooth stayed in the family for over 40 years until it was sold at an auction for approximately 31,000 dollars!

Sir, You Have Spinach In Your Teeth…

The famous frontman for the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, added some flare to his smile by putting an emerald chip in one of his teeth. Unfortunately, most people thought it was a piece of spinach. He changed it to a ruby but got tired of people telling him it was a drop of blood. He finally settled on a diamond instead.

Floss Your Way To Freedom?

In 1994, an inmate escaped from a West Virginia prison by braiding dental floss into a rope and scaling the prison wall! We recommend just using floss to clean out those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth.

Getting Into Character

Some actors are really devoted to their craft! For his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Johnny Depp had gold caps put on his teeth. He wore them until after the filming of the third film!

In the comedy “The Hangover,” Ed Helms’ character loses a tooth after getting punched by the boxing legend, Mike Tyson. Well, guess what? His toothless grin is real! When Helms’ permanent tooth never grew in, he decided to get a dental implant to improve the appearance of his smile. For the film, he had his implant taken out so the tooth loss would be authentic!

Know Any More Interesting Stories?

There are plenty of other crazy dental facts and tales out there. Which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Thomas Tivoli used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Do Dental Fillings Last Forever?

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.

We Check Your Fillings At Your Regular Visits

You may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.

At your six-month appointment, we will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. We will look for early signs of wear and tear so we can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. We also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.

We’re Here For You In An Emergency

Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly. This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly, however accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Chewing on hard items or foods
  • Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
  • Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept

Although the following video discusses tooth loss, the same principals apply for a lost filling!

If you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call us immediately–we’re here for you in an emergency! We will get you in as quickly as we can. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free.

If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to come in as soon as possible to have it treated. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.

Call Us Anytime, Day Or Night

Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile. With that being said, we know not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours. That’s why we strive to make ourselves available to our patients as often as possible. If you need us, call us! Your health and comfort is our number one priority.

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Vladimir Pustovit used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Baby Teeth Myths—Busted!

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there, so we’re going to set the record straight: here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly.

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, give us a call! We love any opportunity to help you, our wonderful patients!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.