Dental Topics of Interest
What is the best kind of toothbrush?
Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.
Bruxism is a common disorder that results in the erosion of teeth; the jaw clenches the top and bottom teeth together while grinding them against one another. This is most common during the sleeping hours, but it can even happen while awake during times of stress. Repeated enough times, the pressure and friction destroys the teeth and can:
- Wear down tooth enamel
- Break fillings or other dental work
- Worsening of TMJ dysfunction
- Create jaw pain,toothaches, headaches, or earaches
- Cause tooth sensitivity
- Increase tooth mobility
- Chip Teeth
While there is no cure for Bruxism, the condition can be managed. The most common method to alleviate pain and discomfort is a Nightguard. Sufferers of Bruxims that have already experienced severe damage should ask Dental Health of San Francisco about restorative solutions, such as Veneers.
How do I use dental floss?
Floss is cheap, so don't be stingy! Tear off about a forearm's length to start. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand to 'anchor' it and pick up the other end about 4-6 inches away with the middle finger of the other hand. This allows you to manipulate the floss with your thumb and fore finger. As you soil a section of floss, 'reel' in another 4-6 inches of clean floss with the anchor finger as you release the floss with the other finger. Never shoe-shine the teeth in a back-and-forth motion as you will either notch your teeth and/or cut your gums.
Oral piercings can be bad for your health. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Pain and swelling are other side effects of piercing. Your tongue (a popular piercing site in the mouth) could swell large enough to close off your airway. Piercings can also cause uncontrollable bleeding or nerve damage. The jewelry itself also presents some hazards. You can choke on any studs, barbells or hoops that come loose in your mouth, and contact with the jewelry can chip or crack your teeth.
How often should I get dental checkups?
For most people, a checkup and cleaning every 6 months is standard protocol. Depending on a person's dental health, however, a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months may be recommended.
How often should I get x-rays?
For most people, a complete radiographic survey should be done every 3 years, and a 'check up' or 'recall' set every 6 to 12 months. A complete set of x-rays is estimated to expose you to the same amount of radiation you get on a flight from San Francisco to Seattle. Doctors use x-rays as an aid in diagnosing problems. Without x-rays 'seeing' the problem will be difficult if not impossible.
We ask that our female patients who are pregnant or think they possibly could be to inform us prior to your x-ray examination and dental treatment.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay happens when plaque or bacteria come in contact with the tooth and is allowed to sit. The bacteria, once fed with sugars, will begin eroding the enamel.
Causes for tooth decay include:
- Poor oral hygiene (brushing / flossing)
- Poor diet
Adults tend to get cavities around old fillings, which may be cracked, rough around the edges or loose in the tooth. Another common form of tooth decay in adults is root cavities. These are likely to occur in adults who have receding gums due to age or periodontal disease. As the gum line recedes, the tooth root becomes exposed. Since root tissue is softer than enamel, it decays more easily.
You are probably familiar with the links between tobacco use and lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Current studies have also established that tobacco smoking not only causes direct damage to your mouth but also makes periodontal diseases more damaging and harder to treat.
There is a greater incidence of calculus formation on teeth, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, more gum recession and more loss of the bone that hold teeth in your mouth. In addition, smokeless tobacco greatly increases your chance of developing oral cancer. Any tobacco usage can complicate the placement of dental implants.
Besides smokeless tobacco, cigarette smoking negatively impacts the health of the gums. The healing capacity of the mouth is significantly altered. The healing time from any procedure is always increased. Needless to say smoking creates more tartar, more stain, bad breath and an increased potential for mouth cancer.
Other chemicals impair the function of your white blood cells which are your first line of defense against infection. The tars contain carcinogens which over time induce cell mutations and cancers.
Quitting tobacco use will lower the risk of your developing cancer and improve the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your heart and lungs.
Smokeless tobacco poses very serious problems including:
- Causes tooth decay
- Eats away your gums
- Leads to tooth loss
- Bad breath
- Stains your teeth
- Causes oral sensitivity to hot and cold
- Decreases sense of taste and smell
If oral cancer is left untreated long enough, it may even cause death.
Our Sunset District dental office provides smile makeovers to achieve the beautiful, natural look you seek. We can reshape your natural teeth to make them straighter and more youthful. Our office is easily accessible and makes it convenient to those living near San Francisco to get the care they deserve.
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