Friend or Foe? Your Favourite Snack Might be Damaging Your Teeth

The best feeling in the world is the one you experience while munching on a favourite treat. Whether it is at a picnic or simply at home, there is nothing better than eating, in your opinion, the best snacks in the world.

damaging your teethUnfortunately, some of your favoured treats can be damaging, especially to your teeth. It is tempting to brush off your oral health for the sake of food pleasure, but it comes with hefty consequences.

Iced Lollies

There is nothing better than an iced lolly after a stroll under the sun. While this snack is refreshing, it is not your teeth’s best mate. Iced lollies come with large amounts of sugar and artificial dye. The bold colours cause deep staining, which requires professional teeth whitening to remedy.

With an iced lolly, you lick it for a longer period compared to other snacks. The longer you expose your teeth to sugar, the higher the risks for dental cavities.

Hard and Chewable Sweets

For some people, not a day goes by without them popping a hard candy to satiate their sweet cravings. You might be one of them.

Unfortunately, sucking and biting on hard sweets damages your teeth in numerous ways. First, the longer you suck on these, you coat your teeth in more sugar. Similar to iced lollies, the sugar in hard candy increases your risk for cavities. Also, if you bite these, you might crack your teeth.

In the case of chewable sweets (e.g. gummy candy), these can get stuck between the wedges of your teeth and gums. Pieces of candy can be difficult to remove, even with the help of floss or your toothbrush.

Popcorn

Popcorn is the best companion for when you are out at the movies with your mates or just watching at home. If you love these kernels but love your teeth more, consider switching to an alternative.

The hulls from popcorn easily lodge underneath your teeth and gums, which results in inflammation and redness. It also causes your teeth to be a breeding ground for bacteria, as well as chip or break them.

Snacks are necessities that liven up a dull day. By choosing sugar-free alternatives, you can still enjoy the pleasures of eating minus the guilt. It also helps to pay special attention to your teeth after eating. Let Blue Sky Dentistry help you. Book online for a consultation now.

Sweet Truth: Xylitol Does Not Prevent Tooth Decay

Most dental caries or tooth decay occur do to improper brushing habits, as well as a diet high in sugary foods. Pastries, cereals, and chocolate may surely contribute to tooth decay, but some say one type of sugary food actually fights tooth decay—xylitol gum.

tooth decayThis, however, is one of the biggest myths in the field of oral health, as proven by a recent 2015 study.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener extracted from plants. It has been incorporated into a range of products, including chewing gum, syrup, mouthwashes, gels, varnishes, and toothpaste. Unlike sugar, it helps keep a neutral level of acidity in the mouth. It also prevents bacteria from clinging to the teeth, presumably protecting it from tooth decay.

Little Evidence to Prove Xylitol Prevents Tooth Decay

The researchers from the study mentioned above observed two groups of children for three years. One group used xylitol toothpaste, while the other only used fluoride toothpaste. They found out that tooth decay was 13% lower in those who used xylitol toothpaste.

When the researchers further analysed the data, however, they found little to no evidence of tooth decay prevention in other xylitol-containing products, like xylitol chewing gum.

Long-Term Effects of Tooth Decay

Limiting consumption of sugary foods, including those that contain xylitol, may help. The best way to prevent tooth decay, however, remains the same: maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing.

Patients who fail to address tooth decay right away may suffer serious consequences. Dental caries lead to tooth loss, and in extreme cases, death, which may happen due to the infection advancing to the ‘cavernous sinus’—the air cell behind the eye, where it can then enter the brain.

The main treatment option when decay has already gone beyond the earliest enamel-erosion stage is fillings, which we offer here at Blue Sky Dentistry. During the procedure, we begin by removing the decay in the cavity using a dental drill, and use our fillings to seal the tooth.

At Blue Sky Dentistry, we only use tooth-coloured or white fillings, which mimic the natural appearance of the tooth structure. We can even change the size, colour and shape of the fillings to improve the appearance of your teeth.

Call our dental practice today—say goodbye to cavities, and hello to great-looking teeth.

Cause of Common Cold: Your Bacteria-Riddled Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is your best friend when it comes to scraping off stubborn plaque. You use it to brush the film of bacteria over your teeth and your tongue, yet you barely rinse it properly. All you do is shake it under the faucet and tap it clean.

toothbrushBut did you know that a thoroughly clean toothbrush is elemental in preventing common colds and flu?

The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria due to the food and drinks you consume. Because of this, you brush your teeth religiously to prevent build-up and cavity formation. While some of the germs go down the drain, many of them reside in your trusted toothbrush.

Toothbrushes: Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Unfortunately, despite their beneficial role, toothbrushes serve as an active breeding ground for virus strains and bacteria, which include strains of cold and flu.

The influenza virus is particularly a nasty strain that considers your brush its home. The germs from your food and environment lurk between the bristles. Because these microorganisms can multiply, the strains can compromise your health, which results in a day off work or school due to headaches and colds.

Your toothbrush will not get you a deadly infection, but it can increase the risks. In order to prevent catching stubborn colds, you should still pay attention to thorough toothbrush care.

The Best Line of Defence: Thoroughly Clean Toothbrush

Your best bet against stubborn plaque and the risk for colds is a clean toothbrush. It is not enough to simply rinse it or use an old toothbrush repeatedly; doing so encourages microorganisms to infect your mouth repeatedly.

Most bacteria thrive in damp and dark environments; after every brush allow your toothbrush to dry out. Shake it vigorously under running water and keep it upright for easy drying. Thoroughly rinse your brush to remove excess food and other particles. You can also use two brushes, one for mornings and another one for evening use.

Where you store your brush is important. Remember, never place your toothbrush near toilets. Every time you flush, your toilet releases bacteria in the air, which can promote virus strains.

A thoroughly cleaned toothbrush is one step in promoting physical and oral health. Another step you can take is by seeing your dentist regularly. Blue Sky Dentistry is here to help you with all of your dental concerns. Say hello to cleaner and healthier teeth by getting in touch with us today.

Learning To Floss Regularly

The British Dental Foundation says one in three Brits have never flossed their teeth. For those who understand the importance of flossing in oral hygiene, this number is nothing short of alarming.

flossingFlossing is necessary to get your teeth the cleanest they can possibly be without dental intervention. Brushing alone only cleans 60% of the tooth’s surface, leaving the rest to flossing. Unfortunately, adults are not as thorough and diligent as they should be. If you are serious about getting started, here’s what you need to do:

Do it at a time that is convenient for you

One reason people “forget” to floss is because they find it difficult to squeeze it into their busy schedules. The problem is that it undermines the very importance of flossing, feeding your disinclination to do it in the first place. To counter any feeling of reluctance, decide on the time of the day when you have a few minutes to spare without having to compromise other tasks.

Motivate yourself every day

Set up a daily reminder. Put it on alarm if you have to. For added inspiration, Google horrific images of periodontal diseases and infections that can result from plaque buildup. Do anything that will motivate you to do it every day. No excuses.

Choose the right tool for the job

One disadvantage of traditional floss is it requires the most effort, which is likely to prevent habit formation. The good news is that it is not the only tool that can remove plaque effectively. Try floss alternatives, such as Waterpik, interproximal brushes and floss picks.

It is hard to establish one type of floss as more effective than another, so it is best to find out which works best for you.

Because flossing is often missed out, we make it a point to remind patients about its great importance. They are either not watchful enough or too busy to do it – whatever the reason, flossing is a must in anyone’s routine and the best time to start is today.

We hope these pointers are effective in getting you started on a healthy oral habit. Contact us today for enquiries and appointments.

Poor Oral Health Increases Risk of Dementia

Poor self-esteem, changes in appearance and lifestyle challenges are not the only things people need to worry about when they have bad teeth. Chances are they may end up losing their memory as well. Recent studies suggest that people with poor oral health have higher risks of dementia.

Bad Teeth and Memory Problems

oral healthA study from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry revealed that poor dental health might have something to do with memory problems like dementia. People may experience confusion and failing memory because of certain gum disease bacteria.

Researchers studied the brain samples of 10 dementia patients and 10 people without dementia. Results showed that four among the dementia patients have Porphyromonas gingivalis in their brains.

How it happens

Researchers attributed the cause of teeth-related memory problems to the transfer of gum disease bacteria to the brain. Porphyromonas gingivalis may accumulate if people do not brush or floss their teeth properly. These bacteria may infect teeth and gums, causing dental caries and periodontitis.

Though bacteria live in the mouth, these may enter the bloodstream by consuming food and drinks, tooth brushing or even dental surgery. These may potentially reach the brain, thus causing the immune system to release chemicals. These chemicals may cause nerve cell death and possibly memory loss.

Whilst the study does not exactly prove that the presence of these bacteria in the brain contributes to the disease, they proved that there is a link between poor oral hygiene and memory problems.

Prevention and Treatment

Proper oral hygiene may help prevent or reduce the likelihood of memory disorders. People should floss and brush their teeth regularly. They should avoid thumb sucking, grinding hard objects and other oral habits that may cause disease-causing bacteria to invade the mouth.

Oral health experts suggest regular dental appointments and treatments as well. People should undergo professional dental cleaning to ensure that chances of teeth-related memory problems will be lower.

At Blue Sky Dentistry, we can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. We provide periodontal therapy and other dental treatments that will help lessen the risk of memory problems. With our services, you can maintain and improve the appearance of your teeth and smile.

Click here for more information on our treatments.

More than Aching Fingers: Arthritis’s Effect on Oral Health

When you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you are no stranger to pain and stiffness in your joints. You might be surprised to know, however, that RA increases your risk for tooth decay and other periodontal diseases.

gum diseasesA study published in the Journal of Periodontology reported that patients with RA suffered more gum diseases compared to those without. According to the researchers, RA victims were eight times at odds of having periodontal diseases.

The Link Between RA and Periodontal Disease: Inflammation

RA and gum diseases share a common symptom, which is inflammation. In the case of the latter, it occurs when bacterial plaque forms on your teeth. Accumulation of plaque leads to gum inflammation, otherwise known as gingivitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs due to an overactive immune system, which causes inflammation. This occurs when the body is in need of protective immune system response to harmful bacteria. In the case of RA, your immune system can trigger inflammation, despite the lack of viruses or bacteria to fight off. This results in swollen and painful joints.

Why the Greater Risk for RA Patients?

There are a number of factors that contribute to an RA patient’s risk for periodontal problems. First, chronic inflammatory diseases put you at risk of inflamed gum tissues and diseases. Periodontal diseases affect your jaw, which makes it difficult to chew. Also, your RA symptoms cause your hands to stiffen, which leads to challenges in brushing and flossing.

Breaking the Connection: Proper Dental Care for RA Patients

An RA patient’s only line of defence against gum disease is oral hygiene. It is important to always set aside time to manage your oral health. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day; this prevents tooth decay and keeps teeth and gums strong.

To ease the pain off your joints, you can reinvent your toothbrush. Try adding a bicycle handle or a tennis ball to get a better grip. An electric toothbrush is more efficient in helping you reach the nooks to keep your mouth clean and fresh. You can also use a toothpaste pump in place of a tube for easier brushing.

Also, see your dentist regularly for check-ups. At Blue Sky Dentist, we provide proper treatment and recommendations suitable for your case. Get in touch with us now and let us help you care for your teeth better.

Caring for Your Gums: Preventing Debilitating Diseases

Brushing your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene is important not only to keep them white and bright, but also to prevent gum diseases. Plaque, tartar and bleeding gums are just a few of your worries, and failing to address them may cause more debilitating problems in the long run.

Gum Diseases

gum diseasesMost of us tend to brush our teeth very quickly; we cannot help it sometimes, as we are often too busy or in a hurry. But, it is important to brush your teeth thoroughly to get rid of leftover food and scraps that may be hiding in the spaces between.

These may not seem threatening now, but they tend to attract bacteria, which in turn causes gingivitis. The plaque and bacteria cause gum inflammation. Apart from making the gums swell, these also cause them to bleed easily even with light brushing.

Although relatively mild, gingivitis can lead to more problems. Since brushing your teeth becomes painful, you will spend less time cleaning your teeth, and this causes bacteria to proliferate. Plaque eventually becomes tartar, and this is more difficult to get rid of, as the tartar eventually grows below the gum line.

In more serious cases, the gums actually start pulling away from the teeth, further increasing your risk of infection. Bacterial toxins may find their way into your bloodstream through the gums, and when this happens, your body may actually begin breaking down the tooth bone and the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place.

Brush Frequently and Thoroughly

Prevention is better than cure, and this is true when it comes to gum diseases. Whenever you eat oily and savoury food, always brush your teeth afterwards to prevent staining. Even the smallest of stains attract bacterial growth, after all.

Also, try to cut down on sugary drinks. Bacteria consume sugars, which in turn causes them to produce more waste and plaque. Always wash your food down or any sugary drinks with water to clean your mouth naturally.

At Blue Sky Dentistry, we know it is possible to prevent gum diseases from ever occurring, and you can do that by practicing good oral hygiene. Contact us today for more information about our preventative dentistry.

Soft Tissue Grafting: Why Teeth Need Each Other

Teeth are important to overall dental health as they form a line of defence with the gums to thwart bacterial infection and diseases such as tooth decay, bone loss and periodontitis.

soft tissue graftingA lost tooth enables bacteria and food debris to lodge onto pockets of space in the mouth. These spread and harm the surrounding teeth, leading to a gradual deterioration that damages dental health.

The Importance of Soft Tissue

When you lose a tooth, it affects surrounding teeth and gums. Gum tissue recedes and makes it difficult to maintain oral health.

Problems associated with tooth loss are gum disease, bone loss and tooth decay. The loss of gum tissue makes it difficult for teeth to stay in place firmly. The deterioration of support makes it easier for bacteria to spread and do their damage.

Loss of gum tissue may also lead to bone loss as teeth are no longer present to provide support. Your jaw begins to hollow and your face starts to droop. Difficulty in eating and speaking are also problems you will encounter when you suffer from bone loss in the mouth.

Gaps between teeth expose you to bacterial infection that may lead to tooth decay because of enamel and dentin erosion. You also increase the possibility of incurring periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease.

The soft tissue and teeth are both important to your dental well-being. Blue Sky Dentist has the expertise to provide you with a grafting procedure to keep your mouth healthy.

Dental Treatments from Blue Sky Dentist

We at Blue Sky Dentist provide patients with quality implants that give the support needed by teeth and gums. Before installing an implant, we make sure that you have sufficient bone to provide a strong foundation and healthy gums overlying the bone for maximum support.

The dental practice reinforces implants by performing a gum grafting operation; a dentist either uses tissue from the roof of the mouth or use Alloderm to support the new implant.

Contact us to learn more about what treatment is ideal for you.

Chewing Habits that Harm Your Teeth

Whilst brushing, flossing and going to the dentist regularly are good for your teeth, some other habits may have a negative impact on your oral health. We thought it would be best for our clients to know the chewing habits that can harm their teeth.

Here is a list of the things you should stop doing:

Chewing Ice

oral healthSome people find it soothing to chew ice, particularly when the weather is hot. This habit may provide quick relief and comfort during a sunny day, but its long-term negative effects to your teeth is extremely alarming. Chewing ice can:

  • Cause teeth fractures, chips and cracks
  • Increase tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks
  • Wear down tooth enamel
  • Make your teeth brittle and more vulnerable to decay

Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth during the day, at night or both wears your teeth down. Whether you are aware that you are doing it or not, you should stop this bad habit at once. Your dentist may recommend wearing a mouth guard whilst you sleep to protect your teeth against damage. If stress causes you to grind your teeth, think about going to counselling and exercise programs or joining social activities.

Using Teeth as Tools

Never use your teeth to tear open a bag of crisps or rip a tag off your new shirt. According to dentists, doing so increases the risks of chipped or broken teeth. Use scissors instead to avoid damage to your pearly whites.

Nail Biting

Millions of people around the globe are guilty of this bad habit. Biting your nails may help relieve tension, but it can likewise damage your teeth. Stop it before it:

  • Weakens your teeth
  • Causes TMJ problems
  • Causes gaps between your front teeth
  • Causes Gingivitis

Gum Chewing

You are putting your teeth’s health on the line when you are chewing gums that contain sugar. Even sugar-free gums may still ruin your precious smile. Researchers found that the so-called “tooth friendly” gums contain acidic flavouring that erodes dental enamel.

Here at Blue Sky Dentistry, we provide information, guidance and tips on caring for your teeth. Call us today to make an appointment and find out how you can stop these bad habits.

The Heart-Mouth Link: Protect Your Teeth and Gums to Protect the Heart

The simple habit of brushing teeth does more than keep gums and teeth healthy; it can also protect the heart from diseases. A growing body of research suggests that poor dental health can affect the cardiovascular system, increasing risk for serious conditions, including endocarditis, clogged arteries and stroke.

The Link between Oral and Cardiovascular Health

periodontal diseaseStudies show that people who have periodontal disease are more susceptible to developing heart problems than those who have healthy gums. Although the exact relationship is not yet established, researchers have various theories.

One possible link is the bacteria from infected gums that travel through the bloodstream. Periodontal disease develops when there is a plaque build-up along and below the gum line. When microorganisms dislodge from the gums, they may enter the blood stream, stick to blood vessels and create clots. The formation of clots compromises proper blood flow to the heart, which may then lead to high blood pressure and heart attack.

This may also increase risk for endocarditis, a medical condition that refers to the infection of the inner lining of your heart called endocardium. As oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, it may attach to the surface of the heart valves and the organ’s inner lining and cause abnormal growth, keeping the valves from functioning properly. In worse cases, this may cause heart failure as the organ becomes less efficient.

Another factor researchers are looking into is defence mechanisms against bacteria. When the body detects infection, its common response is inflammation. Microorganisms from the mouth may prompt the body for a similar response, making cells swell. As inflammation happens, clot formation and narrowing of arteries may occur.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Heart

Proper dental hygiene is crucial. Brush your mouth regularly; at least twice a day. Take your time and make sure brushing lasts at least two minutes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid using excessive force when brushing. Do not forget to scrape the tongue, as this can also contain bacteria.

More importantly, visit the dentist regularly to better monitor the condition of teeth and gums, and detect early signs of periodontal disease. Contact us for your dental needs; we offer periodontal therapy to restore good dental and over-all health.