Removing plaque and tartar from teeth

 

 

The buildup of plaque tartar on the teeth can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, several simple home remedies can help treat and prevent plaque and tartar. Learn them viaMedical News Today! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on the outside of the teeth and along the gum line. A person can often prevent and treat plaque buildup at home. If a person does not practice good dental hygiene, plaque can turn into a hard yellow-brown substance called tartar.

When people eat, bacteria in the mouth breakdown the carbohydrates from food into acid, which mixes with leftover food particles and saliva to create plaque.

Brushing and flossing often prevent plaque and tartar from forming. However, tartar can be more difficult to remove and sometimes requires a visit to the dentist’s office for a professional cleaning.

Poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (gingivitis). Recent research has also uncovered possible associations between gum disease and other health conditions, including pneumoniadementia, and heart disease.

In this article, learn about simple ways to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup at home.

Practicing good oral hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to remove plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. They also recommend flossing once a day.

Flossing first will remove pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth and hard-to-reach areas. After flossing, the toothbrush will remove plaque on the surface of the teeth.

To brush the teeth effectively, a person can:

  1. Start in the back of the mouth with the top molars.
  2. Use short, circular brush strokes.
  3. Brush the front and back surfaces of all the upper teeth.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 on the bottom teeth.

People can achieve great results using manual toothbrushes. However, a 2014 systematic reviewfound that electric toothbrushes, especially those with oscillating heads, are more effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis.

After flossing and brushing the teeth, rinse out the mouth with mouthwash. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain fluoride for extra protection against plaque.

People who have gingivitis may require a stronger type of mouthwash. A dentist or another healthcare provider can prescribe antiseptic mouthwashes that are more potent than those available over the counter.

Brushing with baking soda

Brushing with baking soda is a safe and effective way to remove plaque. Baking soda can remove plaque without damaging the enamel.

Studies suggest that toothpaste that contains baking soda may be more effective at reducing the amount of plaque in the mouth than traditional toothpaste.

Baking soda also protects against demineralization, which is a chemical process that removes calcium from tooth enamel.

Carbohydrates from food can drastically lower the pH level in the mouth, creating an acidic environment that causes demineralization.

Scientists measure the acidity of a substance using the pH scale. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance.

The lower limit for enamel pH ranges between 5.1 and 5.5. When the pH drops below this range, demineralization begins to occur.

Baking soda reduces demineralization because it has a high pH, which can help balance the pH level inside the mouth and prevent enamel loss.

The mouth is home to a diverse ecosystem of bacteria, some of which are beneficial while others can be harmful. Streptococcus mutans, for example, is the bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay.

Baking soda also has antimicrobial properties that may prevent tooth decay. Research suggests that baking soda can significantly reduce the amount of S. mutans.

People can find baking soda in many grocery stores and online.

What can cause gum pain?

  By: Rachel Nall RN MSN, Medical News Today   The gums are soft, fleshy tissue that supports and protects the teeth. Gum pain can be a sign of irritation, infection, or injury to the gums and teeth. Medical News Today discussed some of the possible causes of gum pain, treatment, home remedies, prevention, and when to see us! The Oral Surgery DC Team  

Causes

Usually, gum pain is temporary, but it can be the result of infection. Gum pain can range from a minor irritation to severe and debilitating. Some potential causes of gum pain include:
  • Canker sores: These are small, painful ulcers that can occur on the gums. Causes of canker sores can include emotional stress, mouth injuries, an impaired immune system, or other underlying health conditions.
  • Cuts or injuries: Food and objects that enter the mouth can sometimes cause minor cuts or injuries to the gums and teeth. A person may also accidentally bite down on the gums, which can sometimes cause pain and bleeding.
  • Gum disease: Also known as gingivitis, this condition occurs when bacteria build up under the gums and cause inflammation and bleeding. Without treatment, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis and lead to loose teeth. People who smoke are at a higher risk for gum disease than nonsmokers.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, especially during pregnancy, can cause a person to experience swelling, pain, and bleeding in the gums.
  • Improper flossing or brushing techniques: Brushing or flossing too vigorously or frequently can sometimes cause the gums to bleed and be painful.
  • Sinusitis: A bacterial or viral infection in the sinuses can cause swelling of the sinus cavity. Some people with sinusitis also experience gum pain and toothache.
  • Tooth abscess: A bacterial infection in the root of a tooth can cause an abscess or pus-filled sac. Tooth abscesses can lead to gum swelling and pain. They can also be serious and spread to other parts of the body, so it is essential to see a dentist quickly.

Treatment

Treatment for gum pain depends upon the underlying cause. For people with gum disease, for example, a dentist may recommend professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the gums. They may also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash, such as one containing alcohol or chlorhexidine, to kill excess bacteria and prevent the future build-up of plaque. If a person has severe gum disease, a dentist may recommend surgery to repair bone or gum loss that the condition has caused. Sometimes, this can include bone and tissue grafting to encourage the growth of new, healthy tissue. People with tooth abscesses may require root canal treatment. During this procedure, a dentist will remove the infected pulp, or soft tissue inside the tooth, and the abscess from the root and then repair and seal the damaged tooth. Gum pain due to sinusitis usually lessens once the infection clears up. For bacterial infections, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Home remedies

People with gum pain that they cannot explain should see their dentist for a checkup. However, some simple home remedies may help relieve the discomfort. These include:
  • Gargling salt water. A person can prepare a gargle by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Clove oil. Applying clove oil to gums can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Pain medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to reduce gum pain.
  • Brushing carefully. Brush sore, swollen, or bleeding areas of the gums gently.
Avoiding foods that can irritate or scratch the gums may also help while they are healing. Examples include:
  • acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes
  • sharp or scratchy foods, such as chips, nuts, or pretzels
  • spicy foods, such as those containing chilis or other hot peppers
For people with canker sores, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, such as iron and vitamin B-12, may help reduce gum pain.

Prevention

Good oral hygiene can help prevent gum pain and other dental issues. This includes:
  • brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for at least 2 minutes
  • flossing once daily
  • using a dental mouthwash daily
  • having regular checkups with a dentist, such as every 6 months
If a person stops smoking, this can also improve gum health. Smoking can reduce blood flow to the gums, which may impair healing and lead to discomfort.

When to see a dentist

It is advisable for people with severe, persistent, or recurring gum pain to see a dentist for a checkup. A dentist can examine the gums, teeth, and mouth for signs of infection, tooth decay, and other dental issues. A person may also want to consider seeing a dentist if the pain occurs alongside any of the following symptoms:
  • bad breath that does not improve with tooth brushing
  • bleeding gums
  • gums that are receding
  • loose teeth
  • pain when chewing
  • red gums
  • sensitive teeth

Summary

There are many possible causes of gum pain, including gum disease, infections, abscesses, and ulcers. People with gum pain they cannot explain may wish to consider seeing a dentist for a checkup. Without treatment, some causes of gum pain can lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. Home remedies for gum pain include applying clove oil to gums, rinsing the mouth with salt water, and avoiding irritating foods.   Source: bit.ly/gum-pain

Breastfeeding: 6 Things Nursing Moms Should Know About Dental Health

By: Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association (ADA)

 

🤱 Breastfeeding can help your baby’s body fight infections and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS and obesity in children and studies show nursing moms may lower their chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

But did you know breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? The American Dental Association explains how. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Breastfeeding is one of the first (and most personal) decisions a mother makes for her baby. It can help your baby’s body fight infections and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS and obesity in children. Nursing moms may lower their chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. But did you know breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? Here’s how:

Breastfeeding May Help Build a Better Bite

Several recent studies, one in Pediatrics in 2015 and one in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those exclusively breastfed for shorter lengths of time or not at all.

Still, this doesn’t mean your exclusively breastfed baby won’t need braces someday. Other factors, including genetics, pacifier use, and thumbsucking, affect alignment. “Every baby, every child is different,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota, mother and American Dental Association spokesperson. “The best thing for a mom to do is to take the child to the dentist and make sure the dentist is able to monitor eruption, that baby teeth are coming out at the right time and permanent teeth are coming in at the right time.”

You Don’t Have to Wean When Your Baby Gets Teeth

It’s a question that often pops up in parenting message boards and conversations with new moms: Should I stop breastfeeding when my baby starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life; the World Health Organization encourages moms to go for two. “As it goes with breastfeeding, every child is different, every mother is different,” Dr. Sahota says. “You should stop breastfeeding when you think it’s the best for you and the baby but not just because the teeth come in.”

Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, Dr. Sahota says, is a reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This type of tooth decay often occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle – even ones containing formula, milk or fruit juice. (Water is fine because the teeth won’t be bathed in sugary liquids for a prolonged time.) It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Breastfed Babies Can Still Get Cavities

It’s one of the most common questions nursing mothers ask: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? Yes, it can. Although natural, breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. That is why breastfed or bottle fed, it’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. A few days after birth, begin wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day. Then, brush her teeth twice a day as soon as that first tooth emerges. Use fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.

Need Dental Work Done? Double Check Your Medications

If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician, and pediatrician to make sure it is safe for baby. “It’s important to know there are antibiotics we can give you that won’t hurt the baby,” Dr. Sahota says. “It’s not only safe to go to the dentist while you’re pregnant and while you’re nursing, but it’s also very important to do so for the best health of your child.”

Another helpful resource for nursing moms is the U.S National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Simply search for any medication and get information about how it affects your supply, your baby and if there’s an alternative available. Talk to your doctor about what you find.

Mom, Take Care of Yourself

Dr. Sahota says there’s one thing she sees in new moms, breastfeeding or not. “I definitely see moms who are, as simple as it sounds, are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before the baby,” she says. “Moms that are just not brushing as much as they used to, whether they’re brushing once a day or not brushing at all.”

A dip in dental care could lead to more gum disease and cavities. Cavity prevention is especially crucial for moms, as even the simple act of sharing a spoon with could transfer that bacteria into your baby’s mouth. “It’s really important to do the basics: Brush twice a day, floss once a day. See your ADA dentist regularly,” she says. “Make sure you have prevented decay and don’t have any cavities so you don’t transfer that to your baby.”

Dr. Sahota says she also sees more teeth grinding (bruxism) in moms. “I see a lot more head and neck muscle tension, which causes our jaws to be a little bit tenser and then that causes us to grind our teeth,” she says. “Trouble sleeping when we’re pregnant, that can cause us to grind our teeth a little bit. Postnatally, stress can increase and it can also be an issue.”

All moms need to stay hydrated, especially if breastfeeding. “Not drinking enough water, that in itself is a very dangerous thing for your mouth,” she says. “If we have a dry mouth, we put ourselves at risk for gum disease, for cavities, so many things.”

And there’s one last piece of advice Dr. Sahota gives all moms. “Just like if you’re on an airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you put it on your child,” she says. “If you’re not healthy, you will not have the time and the energy to make sure your children are also healthy.”

 

Source: bit.ly/6breastfeedingtips

Baby Teeth

By: MouthHealthy, American Dental Association (ADA)

 

👶 If you think your baby’s toothless smile is cute, just wait until their first few teeth make an appearance!

After that first tooth comes in, don’t forget to follow these key takeaways from the American Dental Association to care for your baby’s oral health! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

When Do Baby Teeth Come In?

A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and typically begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year.

Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3. Check out this baby teeth eruption chart to see the order in which teeth break through and at what ages you can expect specific teeth to appear. Every child is different, but usually, the first teeth to come in are located in the top and bottom front of their mouth.

When teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physician.

Why Baby Teeth Matter

Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help him or her chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find a room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

After the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well-baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for cavities and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to handle habits like thumb sucking. Learn more about how to prepare for this visit.

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

It’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. Here’s what to do:

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
  • For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
  • For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin cleaning between their teeth daily.

 

Source: bit.ly/babyteethimportance

Which comes first, brushing or flossing? New study shows that we should clean between our teeth before brushing

By: George Bushell, Oral Health Foundation

 

Brushing may come before flossing in the dictionary, but it shouldn’t when it comes to our teeth according to the Oral Health Foundation! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

That’s because new research has shown interdental cleaning before brushing is the best way to clean our teeth effectively.

The study found that flossing loosens bacteria and food debris from between the teeth, which allows brushing to be much more successful at removing plaque.

Those that interdentally cleaned before brushing were left with a much cleaner mouth than those who did it afterward.

Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the findings of the study illustrate why it is so important to make interdental cleaning part of our daily routine.

Dr. Carter says: “While brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is absolutely essential for a good oral health routine, this study shows that interdental cleaning also has a big part to play when it comes to keeping our teeth and gums healthy.

“Brushing alone only cleans three of the five surfaces of our teeth, so cleaning between them before we pick up our toothbrush is hugely beneficial. It helps to prevent gum disease by removing plaque from areas the toothbrush alone cannot reach.

“It is a myth that having a good oral health routine begins and ends with brushing our teeth twice a day. This is simply not true.

“The importance of looking after the health of our teeth and gums by cleaning interdentally and then brushing cannot be stressed enough. Doing this alongside maintaining a balanced, low-in-sugar diet and regularly visiting the dentist will make us far less likely to encounter problems with our oral health.”

The charity is keen to highlight the importance of a healthy mouth following a number of recent studies linking poor oral health to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and even erectile dysfunction.

The Oral Health Foundation’s Guide to Interdental Brushing

Interdental brushes come in a range of different sizes, from as thin as 0.4mm to as thick as 1.5mm. Whichever one you have should be able to fit between your teeth comfortably, you shouldn’t have to use much force. You may find you need a couple of different sizes but the best way to find out is to ask your dentist or hygienist the next time you have an appointment.

  1. Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth – don’t force the brush through the gap.
  3. Brush in and out of each space between your teeth.

The research, published in the Journal of Periodontology, also found that cleaning interdentally before brushing is better for our teeth because more fluoride is likely to remain in your mouth afterward.

“Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects teeth against tooth decay and reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on teeth produce,” adds Dr. Carter.

“Having great oral health doesn’t come down to any one thing. It is important to understand how the different choices you make each day can have an impact on the health of your teeth and gums.”

 

Source: bit.ly/brushingorflossing

Tooth brushing habits tied to risk of heart disease

 

By: Oral Health Foundation

 

Looking after our mouth should be a priority every day and the benefits of doing so are simply too important to ignore.

One of the most common oral health problems we encounter is gum disease which has been shown to have a detrimental impact on our heart health, in addition to other aspects of our wellbeing.

📍 Oral Health Foundation has some pieces of advice about caring for your oral health! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste can lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease – according to a new study.

The new research reveals that regularly brushing your teeth for enough time can decrease the risk of developing heart problems by as much as three times.

The American study, examining the tooth-brushing habits of nearly 700 adults, investigated the risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

It also highlighted the likelihood that poor oral health can lead to poor general health and wellbeing in other areas of the body.

In response to these findings, the Oral Health Foundation is keen to stress the importance of taking good care of your oral health, believing it can provide benefits that go far beyond the mouth.

Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “Findings like this may sound slightly scary to hear but it could prove to be just the push we need to take better care of our oral health.

“This study adds to the growing scientific evidence that this is a strong link between the health of our mouth and that of our body.

“For many years, gum disease has been linked with conditions like strokes, diabetes, dementia, and pregnancy outcomes. These are all serious conditions that could impact on a person’s quality of life.

“Looking after our mouth should be a priority every day and the benefits of doing so are simply too important to ignore.”

The new study was presented during an American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago. It follows European research conducted earlier this year which highlighted a link between gum disease and erectile dysfunction.

“The time it takes to brush our teeth is such a small portion of our day and the impact it could have is highly significant. In some cases, it can be potentially life-saving,” Dr. Carter adds.

“One of the most common oral health problems we encounter is gum disease. This has been shown to have a detrimental impact on our heart health, in addition to other aspects of our wellbeing.

“Fortunately, gum disease is an entirely preventable and treatable disease.

“Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between your teeth once a day using interdental brushes and maintaining regular visits to the dentist are the best way to avoid problems like gum disease.”

 

Source: bit.ly/toothbrushinghabits