Chewing Gum: Can it Hurt or Help Your Teeth?

Whether chewing gum is beneficial or harmful to your teeth depends entirely upon the type of gum you chew. Gums that contain sugar can cause a significant amount of damage to your teeth. Bacteria feeds on sugar and emits fumes that damage your teeth. However, there are many benefits to regularly chewing sugar-free gum.

Produce Saliva

Chewing gum helps stimulate saliva production. This provides many benefits for your teeth. It helps neutralize and rinse acid from your mouth. Increased saliva production also rinses out food particles from your teeth.

Remineralize Teeth

Many gum makers have started adding a chemical called casein phosphopetide-amorphous calcium phosphate to their gum. This chemical has been shown to help remineralize and strengthen teeth. Remineralization helps repair damage to the enamel of the teeth.

Chewing gum can help your teeth significantly. It can help eliminate and neutralize acid, as well as remove excess food particles before they cause damage. Make sure that you only chew sugar-free gum. Gum with sugar can do much more damage than good, as the sugar will feed the bacteria.

There are many other ways to help protect your teeth. It is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once. It is also important to receive regular dental cleanings. To schedule your regular dental appointment, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a method for taking care of your teeth. It involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Claims suggest that oil pulling helps to whiten and clean teeth, as well as remove particles and bacteria. Oil pulling most often uses coconut, sunflower, or sesame seed oil.

Does Oil Pulling Work?

Oil pulling reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. It has been shown to have multiple health benefits for your mouth. However, this is often caused by the increased saliva production it produces. The same effect can be reproduced through swirling water or mouthwash for the same length of time.

How to Care for Your Teeth

The most effective way to care for your teeth is through practicing proper oral hygiene. It is necessary to brush your teeth twice a day to remove the plaque, bacteria, and food particles. You must also floss at least once every day. Another vital step is obtaining dental cleanings every 6 months.

Oil pulling is a dental health fad that fluctuates in popularity, but there is insufficient evidence that it has any benefits. The best way to keep your teeth healthy is through an adequate dental health routine. To schedule your regular dental cleaning, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

What is the Best Age for Braces?

Every child is different, which is why there is no specific age that is “best” for your child to get braces. This will depend entirely on the child, their teeth, and their rate of development. Straightening teeth is important because crooked teeth are more difficult to clean. Crooked, crowded, or otherwise misaligned teeth can lead to many oral health problems, like tooth decay.

Initial Evaluation

Most orthodontists recommend having your child’s teeth evaluated around the age of 7. This will allow them to determine whether the child is likely to need braces or not. It will also help them determine a general age that will be ideal to begin treatment.

The Right Age

Typically, braces are implemented between 10-14 years of age. It is extremely useful to straighten the teeth while the jaw is still growing, because the teeth will be able to be straightened more easily. A child must have all of their adult teeth before getting braces. Straightening a child’s baby teeth is ineffective, because the process will just have to be repeated when the adult teeth come in.

Another important milestone before obtaining braces is the child’s ability to be responsible for their oral hygiene routine. It is always important for them to take proper care of their teeth, but it is especially important when the child has braces. They will only be able to have braces once they are able to thoroughly and consistently brush and floss their teeth.

The best age for your child to obtain braces will depend entirely on the child. Ensure that your child takes good care of their teeth and take them to see a dentist for regular dental cleanings. Your dentist will likely be able to recommend the best age for your child to obtain braces. To schedule your child’s regular dental cleaning, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

How to Clean Teeth with Braces

Cleaning teeth with braces can be difficult, but it is very important. When you first get braces, you have to adjust to a new mouth position. You have to relearn how to talk and how to chew with the pressure on your teeth. There are a few ways that can help your teeth stay clean while you have braces. Failure to do so can cause dental problems while you have braces, which can make them more complicated to repair. It can also cause discoloration with your teeth, among other problems.

Rinse

Rinsing your mouth frequently can help you remove food particles from your teeth. Removing these particles can help prevent tooth decay and make it easier to remove the rest with brushing.

Brush

It is important to brush twice a day, even with braces. In fact, most dentists recommend that you brush after every meal if you have braces. You must hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle while brushing your teeth. Make sure that you brush above and below the wire, as well as between the wire and the teeth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush will help you prevent damage from overbrushing.

Floss

It is also important to floss with braces. This is best done at night, to remove all of the food particles from the previous day. Flossing with braces is very similar to flossing regularly, but you must thread the floss under the wire. You can use a floss threader to help you accomplish this.

Dental Cleanings

Routine cleanings are always important, but they are especially important when you have braces. You should have a routine cleaning done every 6 months. This helps your dentist discover problems in the early stages, when they are much easier to fix.

Braces don’t mean that you can let your oral hygiene practices go. It is more important than ever to ensure that you are taking proper care of your teeth. To schedule your routine dental cleaning, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

Why Are Your Gums Bleeding

There are many reasons that your gums may be bleeding. None of these reasons should be ignored, because they may indicate severe problems with your teeth. Healthy gums shouldn’t bleed easily. Knowing why your gums are bleeding can help you stop the bleeding or find the proper steps to resolve the problem.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the leading cause of bleeding gums. It occurs when plaque and bacteria cause swelling and infection in the gums. The gums eventually pull away from the teeth and can lead to many other issues. Gum disease should be reversed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth.

Flossing

Any change in your flossing routine may result in bleeding gums. If you don’t floss regularly or have missed a few days of flossing, your teeth might bleed when you floss. After several days of consistent flossing, your gums should become accustomed and stop bleeding.

Medications

Blood thinning medications can cause you to bleed easier. If your gums start bleeding immediately after taking a new medication, it may be the culprit. Even medications like ibuprofen can thin your blood.

Oral Hygiene Routine

Bleeding gums usually indicate an inadequate oral hygiene routine. It is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once. You should also obtain dental cleanings every 6 months. Bleeding gums may also be caused by brushing too hard. This can either mean you are applying too much pressure while brushing or are using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard.

Diet

Poor nutrition can also cause problems with your teeth. Frequently consuming sugar or soda can cause damage to your teeth, which may cause them to bleed.

If you are unsure how to fix your bleeding gums, you should consult your dentist. They will be able to provide solutions. To schedule your dental cleaning or to discuss concerns with your bleeding gums, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

How to Tell if you Have Bad Breath

Bad breath is the invisible enemy. No one wants to have bad breath and it can be difficult to determine if you currently have it. Your nose tends to ignore smells that originate from your oral pathways and people don’t want to be the bearer of bad news (or breath). Here are a few ways to tell if you have bad breath.

Lick Test

The lick test doesn’t require any external tools. To perform the lick test, you lick the inside of your wrist. Wait 5-10 seconds for the saliva to dry and sniff your wrist. If there is no odor, your breath is probably fine.

Swab Test

Use a swab or spoon to scrape bacteria from the back of the tongue. The bacteria may be clear, or it may be darker. The darker the bacteria, the more likely it is to be odorous. Smelling the bacteria is a good indication of the state of your breath.

Floss

Take a piece of floss and floss the teeth near the back of your mouth. Then sniff the floss. If it is emitting an odor, your breath might be following suit.

Ask Someone

The most effective way to tell if you have bad breath is to ask someone you’re close to. If you have a significant other, they are the ideal person to ask. Otherwise, ask someone you talk with frequently. If this is too embarrassing, watch people’s body language when they talk to you. If they lean back or turn their face away, you might have bad breath.

Solution

There are many causes of halitosis. The best way to protect your teeth is through brushing twice a day and flossing once. Keep track of what you eat and determine if that is related to your bad breath. Your dentist will be able to inform you of any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your halitosis.

To learn more about how to prevent bad breath, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Canker sores are painful occurrences and 20% of people are affected by them. They are sores in the mouth that can be caused through a variety of things, including injury to the mouth, genetics, stress, spicy foods, smoking, and more. There is no actual cure for canker sores, but there are many ways to help deal with the pain and speed up the healing process.

Speed Up the Healing Process

When you have canker sores, you should avoid hot and spicy foods. These will not only be painful, but they may also aggravate the sore. Avoiding sharp-edged food like chips and acidic foods or beverages can also help with the healing process. You should drink lots of water and ensure that you stay hydrated while you have a canker sore. Rinsing with salt water or a baking soda water solution can help speed up the process, as well as prevent infections. Common canker sores may indicate a zinc deficiency, so taking zinc supplements may help prevent them.

Pain Relief

Pain medications, like ibuprofen, can help reduce the pain caused by the canker sore. Applying a topical anesthetic can numb the area around the canker sore. It can also create a barrier around the canker sore to protect it from further damage. Drinking aloe vera juice can also help reduce the pain.

If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know how painful they can be. If you’ve never had a canker sore, you’re extraordinarily lucky. Canker sores are not fun and it can be helpful to learn how to get rid of them quickly. If you have frequent canker sores, they may be caused by another issue. The best way to determine this is through consulting with your dentist. If you are concerned by canker sores, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

Is it Sinus Pressure or a Toothache?

The roots of the upper teeth are extremely close to the sinuses. Because these nerves are so close together, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the pain comes from. This begs the question; should you see a doctor or a dentist for your pain? Here are a few ways to determine whether the pain is coming from your sinuses or your teeth.

Sinus Pressure

A sinus infection is often accompanied by a sore throat and nasal discharge. If you are having significant allergies, have been ill recently, or find yourself blowing your nose frequently, there is a good chance that your pain is caused by sinus pressure. The best course of action is to see your doctor, who will likely prescribe antibiotics to clear the sinus infection. Frequent sinus infections might indicate other factors, so it is important to see a doctor if they occur often.

Toothache

The biggest indication that your pain is caused by tooth decay or filling deterioration is temperature sensitivity. If the pain increases when exposed to hot or cold temperatures, the pain is likely caused by your teeth. Recent fillings or other dental work will increase the likelihood that your pain is related to your oral health.

Both

There are many symptoms that are the same for both sinus infections and dental problems. Both issues can cause a fever and pain. Sensitivity when pressure is put on the teeth is also the same for both conditions.

If you are still unsure whether your pain is coming from your sinuses or your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to take an x-ray that will show any problems with the teeth, as well as congestion in the sinuses. To schedule your dental appointment, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Many people will have to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their life. While the procedure is most often performed on younger patients, impacted wisdom teeth may have to be removed if they cause health complications later in life. So what function do wisdom teeth serve?

Why We Have Wisdom Teeth

Anthropologists theorize that evolution caused humans to develop wisdom teeth out of necessity.  The foods that used to compose past humans’ diets were much harder and ground down the teeth. This grinding made it necessary to have another set of teeth. The teeth had to perform many of the functions that silverware does today.

As humans began to cook their food, the food grew softer and wisdom teeth ultimately became unnecessary. Most people have them removed, because without the teeth grinding down, there isn’t enough room for the wisdom teeth.

Anthropologists believe that the lack in necessity has caused the decrease in people who have wisdom teeth. Though fewer and fewer people have wisdom teeth, the majority of people do.

Possible Health Complications

There are several possible oral health problems that can be caused by wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth can cause crowding, which can result in crooked teeth. Many dentists recommend having your wisdom teeth before having significant orthodontic work done, to prevent having the work undone by the appearance of wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth require the same amount of care as all the other teeth. Otherwise, they can become painfully infected. Partially or fully impacted teeth can be even more difficult to maintain, because a portion of the tooth is still covered by the gums. Check with your dentist to see if you should have your wisdom teeth removed, even if they have not yet broken through the gums.

For more information about wisdom teeth, or to schedule a consultation, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

What to Do in Case of a Dental Emergency

Accidents happen and sometimes even taking precautions can’t prevent dental emergencies. So what is considered a dental emergency? What can wait for normal dentist’s office hours? What should you do in the event of a dental emergency?

 

Signs of an Emergency

There are specific situations that are always considered dental emergencies. Completely losing a tooth is one of these. If handled quickly and correctly, the dentist may be able to restore the tooth. Severe cracks, large chips, and nerve damage are other dental emergencies. An abscessed tooth is another emergency. Signs of a dental emergency include:

  • Severe pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding

A chipped tooth or minor fracture that doesn’t have any of these signs is probably not a dental emergency. Make an appointment to see your dentist during their regular operating hours.

What to Do

Knowing what to do in case of a dental emergency can be the difference in saving or losing a tooth. Here is what to do in the case of some common dental emergencies.

Losing a Tooth

The time immediately after losing a tooth is vital in potentially saving the tooth. Try to put the tooth back in the socket for the journey to the dentist. Avoid touching the roots of the tooth. If you can’t reliably keep the tooth in the socket, make sure to keep it hydrated. You can place the tooth in a container of milk or your own saliva.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is extremely important to handle immediately. An abscessed tooth is caused by a pocket of pus that leads to an infection. The infection can potentially spread into your jaw, surrounding tissue, and other areas of the body. An abscessed tooth is a life-threatening condition. Signs of an abscessed tooth include:

  • Fever
  • Tooth sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • A severe and persistent toothache
  • Swelling
  • A bump on the gums near the infected tooth

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist immediately. Rinsing your mouth with salt water can help ease the pain and will coax the pus to the surface.

The best way to prevent an abscessed tooth is to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. To set up an appointment, contact Hyde Park Dental today.