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Tuesday, 20 January 2015 15:31

Oral Health Problems in Seniors

dentures ChattanoogaAge, health conditions and other factors can all put seniors at risk for a number of oral health issues. Oral health is an important component of overall health and well-being, but can often be overlooked. There are several conditions that are commonly found in senior patients:

Cavities effect all ages, not just children. As you age, the risk of tooth decay increases, simply because adults do not visit the dentist as regularly as children. When cavities go undetected and untreated for longer periods, the problem ultimatley worsens. No matter your age, you should visit the dentist on a regular basis.

Dry mouth or xerostomia, is a condition plaguing many seniors. It is estimated that upwards of 20% of seniors suffer from dry mouth. Typically it is caused by a variety of medicines. Common prescriptions such as decongestants, antihistamines, pain medicines, antidepressants, diuretics, muscle relaxers and high blood pressure medicines can all cause the condition. To help alleviate dry mouth, drink plenty of water and limit you caffeine and alcohol intake.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal disease is an infection that effects the gums and tissues surrounding the teeth causing them to become inflammed or seperate from the teeth. In the early stages, the disease is painless, but as it advances it becomes more painful, causing sore gums and pain when eating. Proper brushing and flossing can prevent gum disease. Seniors are more prone to the disease due to arthritis and limited dexterity.

Many seniors can also have difficulty eating due to cavities, missing teeth, gum disease, or poorly fitting dentures. These oral health problems can make it challenging to eat and force an adjustment in the balance of their diet.

Good oral health habits are important at any age. Regardless of age, brushing twice a day, flossing and regular visits to the dentist can keep your teeth at their healthiest.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:05

Caring for Your Cosmetic Dental Procedure

cosmetic dentist OoltewahYour smile is one of your best features, and usually the first thing people notice. If you are less than pleased with your pearly whites, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer to your dental issues. Cosmetic dental procedures such as teeth whitening, dental veneers, and dental implants can all provide a permanent improvement and give you the confidence you need to really make your smile shine.

Like any other medical procedure, there are steps you should take to maintain the results of your cosmetic dentistry enhancements. Following your treatment, there will be instructions for care and for maximizing the benefits of the procedure. It is important that you follow these instructions and contact your dentist if a problem should arise. Additionally, there are a few other behaviors to avoid if you want to keep your smile at its best.

  • To keep your smile at its brightest, you will want to reduce your intake of soda, tea and coffee. When consuming these beverages, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth as the liquids can stain.
  • Switch that sugary snack for one that is high in protein. Diets that are high in sugar can lead to tooth decay resulting in more invasive dental work, while high protein diets support oral health.
  • Ice crunching is a common habit, but can lead to serious tooth damage. The crunching behavior can fracture or crack your teeth resulting in more invasive dental work.
  • Wear a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding. Continual grinding increases your risk of cracks or fractures in your teeth or dental veneers.
  • Biting your fingernails puts excessive pressure on your teeth and can be especially harmful if you have dental veneers. Consider nail polish or acrylic tips to help reduce the biting urge.
  • When you use your tongue to press against your upper teeth, you can cause your teeth to shift over time. This pressure can ultimately change the appearance of your teeth and lower face.

Keep your teeth at their healthiest and your smile at its whitest and brightest with cosmetic dental enchantments from our Chattanooga dentist.

Written by Tiffany Hutton
Monday, 17 November 2014 12:01

The Effects of Sugar on Your Teeth

pediatric dentist Ooltewah TNSugar can be one of the worst foods for your dental health, often leading to tooth decay and enamel erosion. The oral bacteria, plaque, use the sugar as energy to grow and strengthen in thickness. Without a proper brushing after eating, the plaque will eat away at the enamel eventually resulting in cavities and tooth decay.

In addition to a decline in tooth health, plaque can irritate gums making them more sensitive and susceptible to bleeding and gum disease. When the gums and teeth become separated, the resulting pockets can fill with bacteria and when left untreated can destroy the bone around the tooth causing loose teeth.

Here are a few tips to increase your overall oral health:
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Don’t eliminate entire food groups as that can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Use a straw when drinking sugary or carbonated beverages to limit direct contact with your teeth.
  • Limit sugar consumption to a maximum of 4 times per day.
  • Snack on foods that are low in sugar such as cheese, nuts, vegetables or fruit.
  • When you do drink a soda, do so with a meal as it is less harmful to your teeth.
  • To protect against tooth decay, combine carbs with other foods to help neutralize acid.
  • Drink water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist and free of food particles.
A healthy and well balanced diet is essential to good overall health. While you should limit your sugar intake, it isn’t feasible to remove it from your diet entirely. Read the labels on products and be mindful to limit foods that have added sugar.

Like the saying states, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but when you find yourself needing a cleaning, give our Ooltewah dentist office a call. Written by Tiffany Hutton
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 08:47

Your Guide for Dental Emergencies

Ooltewah TN dentistA dental emergency, like any other medical emergency is something that should be taken seriously. When left untreated, the problem could increase your risk for more expensive and extensive treatment in the future.

Here is a quick guide to treating your dental emergencies:

Toothaches
Toothaches are a common and there are several things you can do to reduce the discomfort. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush or floss gently clean and remove any food particles, then rinse with warm salt water. If you are experiencing swelling, place a cold compress on the affected area to help reduce the pain. Refrain from placing aspirin against the gum as it can burn the gum tissue.


Lost Tooth
If your tooth is knocked out, it is important to see your dentist immediately. The highest chance of having the tooth re-implanted come when they are returned to their socket within an hour of being lost. After the tooth has been knocked out, recover it and gently rinse with water being careful not to remove any remaining tissue. In route to the dentist, place the tooth between the cheek and gums or place it in a small container of milk or salt water.


Chipped Tooth
Depending of the severity of the chip, it can be repaired through re-attaching, a bonding material or a crown. If possible, locate the missing piece and place it in a moist cloth until you see the dentist. After rinsing any blood or debris from your mouth, place a cold compress against the affected area to help relieve any swelling or pain.


Tissue Injury
Injuries to the tongue, lips, cheeks and gums can be painful. Trauma to these sensitive areas can often result in bleeding. Apply pressure to the affected area with a clean cloth or gauze to help stop the bleeding. Stitches may be necessary if the bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes. A cold compress can also help to reduce bleeding or relieve pain.


Lost Fillings and Crowns
If you lost a filling, sugarless gum or dental cement can act as a temporary fix until you are able to see your dentist. Clove oil can help relieve the pain of losing a crown. If you are unable to make it to the dentist office right away you can temporarily attach the crown with dental cement or denture adhesive.


Having a dental first aid kit can help to make emergencies easier to handle. An emergency kit containing a small plastic container, gauze, saline, water and the dentist phone number can help relieve stress and discomfort. Like other medical emergencies a prompt visit to the dentist can help the risk of permanent damage. Our Ooltewah dentist office is trained to handle a variety of dental emergencies.

Written by Tiffany Hutton
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