There’s a common misconception that vaping is healthier than smoking. In fact, vaping is often used as a way to try and help smokers quit smoking. But is this method actually safer than traditional cigarettes? Research suggests that it’s not. Many studies have shown that vaping causes similar health concerns as smoking such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. But that’s not all. Your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to know that the oral health risks associated with vaping are also similar to those of smoking cigarettes.
Vaping & Overall Health
Vaping has been around in the United States since 2007, but has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among young adults and even teenagers. As more research about the effects of vaping is being conducted, we’re starting to see that it has similar health effects as smoking such as:
- Increased risk of pneumonia
- Rapid heart rate
- Congestive heart failure
Vaping & Oral Health
Unfortunately, the health concerns don’t end there. Vaping can affect oral health as well. Some reported ways that e-cigarettes can damage or teeth and overall oral health include:
- Facial & Mouth Damage
There have been reports of e-cigarettes exploding, whether in a pocket or while inhaling. This can cause serious injuries to the mouth, face, and even the neck. In fact, these explosions can be so intense that some people have even died as a result.
- Gum Disease
Nicotine is a prominent ingredient found in vaping liquid. This is why some smokers may find vaping helpful when trying to quit. Now, even though many e-liquids contain less nicotine than cigarettes, it’s still highly addictive and can cause damage in the mouth. Since many studies have been conducted regarding the effects of nicotine in cigarettes on oral health, we know that this ingredient can damage gum tissue and increase the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health condition that can contribute to tooth loss as well as heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems. However, if treated quickly by your dentist in Lawrenceville, the disease can be reversed.
- Decay & Cavities
Two liquid ingredients found in e-cigarettes are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, both of which can cause damage to the teeth. Propylene glycol, when inhaled orally, creates toxic byproducts that erode tooth enamel and the soft tissues in the mouth. This leaves teeth at risk for decay, dry mouth, bad breath, and gum disease. Vegetable glycerin is the ingredient that makes vaping liquid have its sweet taste. In fact, it’s found in some of the foods we eat. It’s good in the sense that studies suggest that it doesn’t cause cavities. It’s bad in e-liquid because when it merges with flavoring (which most liquids have) it can become thick. The vapors can then easily stick to the surfaces of teeth and trap bad bacteria into the crevices. The result? Decay and cavities.
Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?
Many people turn to vape pens as a way to wean off of cigarettes, but is it a viable way to quit? Well, some research suggests they are. Others show quite the opposite. For example, one study found that vaping helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit.
The consensus? What works for one person may not work for another, and it’s usually not a good idea to replace one addictive habit with another. Instead, your dentist in Lawrenceville recommends starting by looking at the resources offered by the American Lung Association.
It’s never too late to quit smoking or using e-cigarettes. Even though it takes some time, there is a method that will work for you.
After a long day, you may consider skipping your nightly brushing routine and heading straight to bed instead. However, brushing your teeth every morning and every night is crucial to maintaining good oral health and protecting your teeth against decay, cavities, and other oral health problems. No matter how tired you may be, trust your dentist in Lawrenceville and take two minutes to clean your pearly whites.
The Problem With Acid
Our mouths naturally produce acid constantly throughout the day and night. But thankfully, we have a built-in defense against acid — saliva. Saliva neutralizes these acids and rinses them away before they have a chance to wear down the protective layer of tooth enamel. Saliva production is more active during the day and is working overtime to destroy acid. But at night, saliva production slows down and can’t protect teeth against acid as well. However, brushing your teeth at night with fluoride toothpaste can create a layer of protection against these acids.
Ideally, we eat at least three meals a day, and sometimes we snack in between meals. That means there are a lot of chances for food debris to get left behind at the end of the day. If they’re left alone, bacteria will feed on the food, which increases the chance of decay. Brushing your teeth at night can help remove food particles, stave off bacteria, and protect your teeth as you sleep.
Protection Against Plaque
Plaque is the yellowish sticky stuff that adheres to the teeth. Regularly brushing and flossing can remove plaque and limit its ability to build up over time. When plaque isn’t removed, it can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. In fact, plaque build up is often the main cause of dental problems. Removing it each night can keep you from needing to see your dentist in Lawrenceville for treatment.
Morning or Night: Which is More Important?
Even though your dentist in Lawrenceville will always recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once a night, if you absolutely need to choose between the two, brushing at night is actually slightly more beneficial. Sticking to a regular brushing habit at bedtime removes food, acid, and bacteria that have built up throughout the day, protecting your teeth from cavities.
Before you lay your head down on your pillow to sleep, make sure you take some time to brush your teeth properly. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, angle it at 45-degrees, and gently scrub each section of your mouth in tiny circular motions. It’s also important that you floss in between each and every tooth to remove any plaque, bacteria, or food debris that may be hiding.
Besides brushing your teeth every night (and ideally every morning!), make sure you maintain regular appointments with your dentist in Lawrenceville. These checkups can remove any plaque that may have hardened into tartar and protect your teeth from oral health problems.
More than 91% of the American adult population has had at least one cavity, and the most common treatment for a cavity is a super-strong dental restoration called a filling. However, no matter how tough a filling is, it can still come loose and fall out. But how do you know if you lost a filling and need to see a dentist in Lawrenceville?
Pain & Sensitivity
While numerous things can contribute to tooth pain and sensitivity, one of the most common explanations for this type of discomfort is a lost filling. Hot or cold foods and drinks that cause zings of pain through your tooth could indicate that the protection of a filling is no longer there. If you’re ever experiencing tooth pain or hot-cold sensitivity, it usually means something isn’t right and that you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
Feeling a Hole
Sometimes fillings fall out and you don’t even know it. This usually happens while eating, and you may not experience any pain but your tongue feels a sharp hole or indentation in your tooth. This is a key indicator that your filling is no longer there and that you need a replacement.
Biting a Hard Crunch
As we’ve mentioned, losing a filling while eating is pretty common. If a filling falls out while you’re chewing you can actually bite down on it and feel a hard crunch. Now, tiny crunches happen while eating all sorts of food, so don’t panic. See if you can feel around for any holes. If you do, call your dentist in Lawrenceville.
Food Gets Stuck
Food particles will always get stuck in between teeth and in the tiny crevices. But if you’re noticing a large amount of food buildup in an area that had a filling, you may have lost a filling without knowing it.
Reduce Your Risk
Dental fillings are constructed of tough materials, but they aren’t invincible. They can weaken over time naturally or because of a bad bite, clenching, or grinding. However, many fillings fail due to the foods we eat. Chewy, sticky foods as well as hard, crunchy snacks such as popcorn and pretzels are some of the most common causes of loose or lost fillings. To reduce your risk of losing a filling, enjoy these types of foods in moderation, take good care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, and wear your night guard if you’re prone to clenching or grinding while you sleep.
If you think one of your fillings fell out, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as possible. Early treatment can help save your tooth and prevent other problems from occurring.
We’ve all heard our dentists talk about how important it is to take it easy on the soda. But did you know that there’s another drink out there that can also harm your teeth? It turns out that the sugar content in sweet sodas isn’t the only thing that concerns your dentist in Lawrenceville. Acid is also a problem, and it’s commonly found in many popular sports drinks.
The Problem With Acidic Drinks
Yes, too much sugar is certainly bad for teeth, which is why many people choose less sugary sports drinks over sodas. But it’s important to know that acid can also wreak havoc on a smile. In fact, acid is often the main factor in cavity development. When we drink beverages that are highly acidic, such as sports drinks or even some juices, the acid can wear down the protective layer of enamel. This loss of enamel leaves teeth exposed to bacteria. These bacteria work their way into the tooth, feed off sugars from the foods we eat, and release even more acid as a byproduct. This endless cycle can easily create decay and cavities.
Cavities Aren’t The Only Concern
Of course, nobody wants a cavity or to need treatment from their dentist in Lawrenceville. But getting any area of decay treated quickly is the best way to protect your teeth from additional problems. When decay isn’t treated promptly, the decay will continue to eat away at the tooth and may require additional dental treatment such as a root canal. While nobody wants a root canal either, this treatment can save a tooth and relieve any pain that’s commonly associated with deep decay. If the decay is still not treated when it gets to this point, you may develop a painful infection known as an abscess, or worse, you may even lose the tooth.
Signs of Decay
As we mentioned, treating a cavity early is the best way to protect your tooth and ward off any additional damage. If you notice any signs of decay, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as possible. Some signs of decay include:
- Pain with hot, cold, or sweet food or drinks
- A change in tooth color
- Painful chewing
- Noticeable pits or holes
We always recommend dental appointments every six-months to prevent any problems from going too long without proper treatment. So make sure you see your dentist at least twice a year for preventive care and seek treatment quickly for any problems.
If you notice that your teeth aren’t quite as white as they used to be, or if there’s a sudden appearance of brown, yellowish, or black spots, you have every right to be concerned. After all, we all want to have bright, white smiles we’re proud to show off. But if your smile is less than its ideal shade of white, your dentist in Lawrenceville can help.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
Before we can dive into ways to fix a dull or discolored smile, we need to understand what caused it in the first place. There are several lifestyle factors, as well as health conditions, that can contribute to tooth discoloration. The root cause varies from person to person, and the treatment will differ as well. So let’s take a look at some of the most common things that can cause teeth to darken.
- Lifestyle Factors
Perhaps the most common reasons behind a change in tooth color are things we do in our lives every day. The foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the habits we may have all play a role in tooth discoloration. For example, red wine drinkers may experience darkening of the teeth because of the staining properties in the wine itself. What’s more, is that everyday things such as a morning cup of tea or coffee and certain medications can also cause discoloration. Lastly, those who use tobacco products are more likely to not only have tooth staining but also additional dental concerns that will require treatment from your Lawrenceville dentist.
- Dental Health Contributors
However, it’s not always a lifestyle factor that leads to tooth discoloration. Overall oral and overall health complications can also darken teeth. There are various health conditions that can cause this including:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Dental materials such as amalgam or metal fillings
- Sudden trauma to the face or teeth
- Certain diseases and their treatments such as cancer radiation
Color Variations Can Be Normal
It’s important to note that each person’s natural tooth color varies, so don’t base your smile on what you see in others. If your regular checkups with your dentist in Lawrenceville are always good and there are no signs of trouble, you may just have naturally darker teeth. However, if it bothers you, your dentist can recommend smile whitening treatments to help transform your look. Some forms of cosmetic dentistry that can whiten teeth include:
- In-office professional smile whitening
- Dental bonding
Not all treatments are appropriate for each case, so talk with your dentist about the best way to whiten your smile.
If you’re concerned about the way your smile looks and are searching for ways to get whiter teeth, talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville. It’s especially important to have this discussion prior to starting treatment on your own such as over-the-counter whitening treatments.
The season of spring is officially upon us. But that’s not the only season affecting us nowadays. It’s also allergy season. For many people, allergy season can be brutally annoying. The stuffy nose, the itchy eyes and throat, and the sneezing can make it hard to breathe. But did you know that allergies may also contribute to tooth pain and other dental problems? Let’s take a look at what your dentist in Lawrenceville has to say about allergies and your oral health.
Congestion & Tooth Pain
Saying that allergies cause tooth pain can seem like a stretch, but your dentist in Lawrenceville knows just how true it can be. When you’re congested, such as when your allergies are in full bloom, your maxillary sinuses are packed with pressure. This can make your head or face feel full like a balloon. Your back molars may also experience some pain. Why does that happen? Well, since the roots and nerves of those back teeth are so close to the maxillary sinuses, sinus inflammation can put pressure on the nerves and cause discomfort. Unfortunately, dental concerns with allergies don’t end there.
Stuffy Nose & Oral Health
The traditional side effects of allergies are annoying enough, but some secondary symptoms concern your dentist in Lawrenceville. One of the hallmarks of an allergy flare is a stuffy, drippy nose. A stuffy nose happens when there’s too much mucus production. While mucus is normal, too much of it can block up the nasal airways and make it hard to breathe out of the nose. As a result, allergy sufferers will start to breathe out of their mouths. Now, while this doesn’t seem like a big deal, chronic mouth breathing can contribute to some serious dental problems.
Mouth Breathing & Dental Problems
We understand that you need to breathe, so if your nose is stuffed up and you need to breathe out of your mouth, that’s ok. But long-term mouth breathing can cause long-term problems. Mouth breathing tends to dry out salivary glands and leave the mouth feeling as dry as a desert, also appropriately known as dry mouth. Dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it can also put someone at risk for cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. You see, saliva is responsible for rinsing away bad breath and cavity-causing bacteria. Without it, these bacteria are left behind to attack tooth enamel. Bacteria are the main contributors to bad breath, cavity development, and gum disease.
Treat Your Allergies, Save Your Smile
During allergy season, it’s important to treat symptoms as best as you can to avoid discomfort and protect your teeth from pain and the effects of mouth breathing. Find a medication that works for you and stick to it. You should also talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville about seasonal allergies or other allergies.
Acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect other parts of the body. In fact, acid reflux is one of many whole-body problems that concern your dentist in Lawrenceville because of the negative way it can impact your oral health. Let’s take a closer look at what acid reflux is, how it affects your teeth, and what you can do to reduce these side effects.
Acid Reflux: 101
Our stomachs naturally produce acids to help break down food and aid in digestion. But when these acids find their way up into the esophagus and into the mouth, there can be quite a few unwanted side effects. First, acid reflux sufferers often complain of a burning sensation in the chest, also known as heartburn. This uncomfortable feeling can be painful and come along with a sour taste in your mouth, excessive burping, or a sore throat. Next, acid reflux can cause damage to teeth, oftentimes without the person ever knowing it.
What Does Acid Reflux Do To Teeth?
There’s a reason why your dentist in Lawrenceville cautions patients against eating or drinking anything acidic too often. Basically, acid is bad for teeth, and stomach acid is no different. When stomach acid creeps its way up into the mouth, it can easily wear down tooth enamel, also called tooth erosion. Without this protective layer of strong enamel, teeth are put at increased risk for decay, cavities, sensitive teeth, and discoloration. And that’s not all. Once erosion occurs, you can’t get enamel back. Your dentist will need to look at your specific case and find the best way to fix tooth erosion for you. Some treatments may include:
- Dental bonding
- Dental crowns
- Root Canal
Reduce Your Risk
Thanks to advancements in medications, acid reflux can often be treated with daily medication. However, your dentist and your physician or gastroenterologist may also recommend additional precautions such as:
- Using a fluoride toothpaste designed to strengthen enamel
- Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
- Avoiding acidic or spicy foods and drinks
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Swishing your mouth with water after eating
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Waiting an hour to brush your teeth after you eat or drink something acidic
- Seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months to catch any problems early.
Even though we recommend that everyone visits the dentist at least twice a year, it’s even more important for those with acid reflux. Since acid reflux can cause tooth damage without any signs or symptoms, your dentist in Lawrenceville should keep a close eye on your oral health so any potential problems are caught and treated early.
Gingivitis is a type of gum disease and is the mildest stage of gum disease. At its core, gingivitis means that there is an active infection in the gum tissue, but it can be treated and cured if it’s caught and treated by your dentist in Lawrenceville before it has a chance to progress into a more severe infection. If gingivitis is not treated, it can cause tooth loss and even increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene. When teeth aren’t thoroughly cleaned with daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on and in between teeth. Now, while plaque is completely normal, brushing and flossing typically remove it. But when plaque is left to build up, the bacteria in the plaque can cause problems. Not only can these bacteria cause an infection in the gum tissue, but they can also cause tooth decay and increase the risk of cavities. Additionally, plaque can also harden into tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist in Lawrenceville.
However, poor dental hygiene isn’t the only cause of gingivitis, and even those who take great care of their teeth may still develop it. Some other causes of gingivitis include:
- Hormonal changes that can occur during pregnancy, menopause, or puberty
- Some diseases such as cancer and diabetes
- Dry mouth, which can be caused by certain medications
- Tobacco use
Signs & Symptoms
One of the tough parts about gingivitis is that it can show no signs or symptoms until it develops into a more severe stage of gum disease. However, some of the early warning signs of gingivitis may include:
- Bright red gums
- Tender or painful gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Swelling of the gums
- Receding gums
If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as possible.
Gingivitis will need to be treated by your dentist and may include a deep cleaning or the use of an antibiotic. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may also recommend that you come in for dental cleanings more than twice a year to keep your gums healthy. Additionally, treatment to fix hard-to-clean crooked teeth or poor-fitting dentures or restorations may be part of your treatment plan.
The best way to protect yourself against gingivitis is to take excellent care of your teeth by brushing and flossing every day. It’s also important to keep your dental appointments as scheduled so any problems can be caught early when treatment is often more successful.
If you’ve been putting off your dental appointments, do your health a favor and schedule a visit today.
Eating a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, can go a long way in reducing the risk of serious health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Yet according to the CDC, less than 10% of American adults are getting enough vegetables and only 12% are eating the recommended amount of fruits. This is one reason why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month every March, and it’s an event also supported by your dentist in Lawrenceville. After all, nutrition doesn’t only affect whole-body health, it also affects oral health.
National Nutrition Month
The purpose of National Nutrition Month is to help raise awareness of how eating right can help fuel your body and protect your health. But is nutrition so complicated that it requires an entire 31 days and a whole awareness campaign? In short, yes, nutrition can be complicated, which may explain why many Americans don’t eat a well-balanced diet.
We know we should eat our vegetables. We know we should avoid high-fat foods. Yet many of us don’t get close to eating enough of what we should and eat more of what we shouldn’t. How can this be? Well, the truth is, nutrition is confusing. So much so that the Food Pyramid Guide from the United States Department of Agriculture has changed two times since it was originally created in 1992. Nutritional standards don’t fall into a one-size-fits-all recommendation, and food group intakes vary based on gender, age, height, weight, and activity level, among other things. This is where a site like MyPlate can help. Input your information and find your individual nutritional needs so you can start to find foods that fit your needs. Eating properly can help your body function well, protect your health, and, as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, protect your smile.
Eat Well, Smile Well
Research shows a strong correlation between whole-body health and oral health. This connection extends to include what we eat. After all, those who eat a balanced diet are often healthier and also typically have better oral health. When choosing foods for you and your family, look to pick options that are both recommended in your MyPlate account and ones that can also help your smile. Some smile-friendly foods include:
- Fatty Fish
When in doubt, pick foods that you know are good for your body. Chances are, they’re also good for your teeth.
A Note About Sugar
It’s no secret that your dentist in Lawrenceville doesn’t like sugar, but you should know that sweet treats packed with sugar aren’t only dangerous to your teeth, they can also put your overall health at risk. Sugar is a high-calorie food, and when consumed in large amounts it can cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. However, it’s not only sweet foods that show a high sugar content on the label that are concerning. Foods that are high in carbohydrates can also affect your body and your teeth similarly to sugars. Try your best to limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.
Eating well is one of the best ways to protect your body from disease. It’s also one of the best ways to protect your teeth. So this National Nutrition Month, commit to finding your individual nutritional needs and stick to eating well.
Any type of ongoing tooth pain usually means something isn’t quite right. But does that mean every toothache requires a visit to your dentist in Lawrenceville? The short answer — probably. However, if your pain lasts for 2 or more days, isn’t reduced with painkillers, and is paired with swelling or a bad taste in your mouth, you need to get to a dentist.
Understanding Different Types of Tooth Pain
Different types of tooth pain could indicate different types of problems, and it’s important to know what various feelings could mean. Being able to explain your pain to your dentist in Lawrenceville can help find the underlying cause and get you treated and out of pain quickly. The following pain descriptors are to be used for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose any problem. Always see your dentist.
Dull, Chronic Ache
A constant, dull ache is the most common type of toothache and could be a sign of anything from a piece of food lodged in your gums or between your teeth to an abscess. This type of pain can also be a sign of tooth grinding. If not treated, grinding your teeth can lead to broken or chipped teeth and TMJ disorder. You may be able to get relief by gently flossing your teeth to remove a leftover food particle, but if that doesn’t work you should see your dentist for a more thorough evaluation.
A lot of people have sensitive teeth, and sometimes it’s managed well by using the right toothpaste and regular cleanings. But extreme sensitivity to hot or cold things may also be a sign of something more serious. Tooth sensitivity that doesn’t go away after about 30 seconds could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, worn enamel, or fractured teeth.
Constant throbbing tooth pain can be a major distraction and keep you from doing other things such as working productively and sleeping. If it doesn’t go away it may be a sign of a cracked tooth, dying nerve, abscess or other infection, or an oral lesion. Call your dentist to find out and get relief.
A sharp, stabbing pain always requires a visit to your dentist and will most likely require some sort of restorative dentistry treatment. Sharp pain could mean you have a cavity, a cracked or broken tooth, or you have an old dental restoration such as a crown or filling that needs attention.
As we mentioned before, any type of tooth pain typically means something isn’t right and you should see your dentist in Lawrenceville for an exam, diagnosis, and treatment plan sooner rather than later.