We all know that dental health habits are important at any age, but as we grow older, we may face more oral health concerns than we did in our earlier years. This is why it’s important to establish and maintain great dental hygiene routines and to foster a relationship with a great dentist to help meet dental challenges as they come.
What happens to our teeth as we get older? The fact of the matter is, as our bodies age, we sometimes find ourselves dealing with ailments that were not a problem in our youth. This can apply to our teeth and gums as well. Most of these dental problems that can arise in seniors are easy to identify, resolve, and even prevent when you know what signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. Here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to senior oral health.
Attrition simply means wear and tear, something your teeth see a lot of over the years as they help you chew your food, speak, and function normally. Years of use, eating, grinding, and general aging can take their toll on your teeth. Also as your healthy tooth enamel wears down over time, they leave your teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities.
Aging in and of itself does not necessarily make the symptoms of dry mouth more likely; however, certain factors that come along with it can, such as chronic conditions, medications you may take, and so on. If you are experiencing dry mouth, it can be indicative of issues you’ll need to address with your dentist.
Gum disease happens to be one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Also referred to as periodontal disease, this dental issue is caused by plaque forming on the teeth, and being left untreated. Gum disease symptoms include red, puffy, or bleeding gums, consistently bad breath, pain, and tooth sensitivity, all of which can be prevented by diligent oral care. Gum disease is also reversible when detected and treated early.
Some also find that tooth sensitivity is more of an issue as they age. Gums naturally recede over time, and that can leave areas of tooth exposed that are not well-protected by enamel. Sometimes sensitivity can be an indication of a bigger problem such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
Often as a result of gum disease, the roots of your teeth can become exposed as gums recede over time. This can cause tooth decay to develop at an increased rate, which can then lead to a whole host of other dental problems that will require the attention of your dentist.
Of course, maintaining oral health for seniors looks a lot like it does for folks at any age, and keeping your teeth and gums in prime condition just takes a little bit of effort. Combat dental problems that can become more likely with age through the following practices:
Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry is here to support families in their oral health regardless of age. We offer preventative dental care for children, adults, and senior adults, and we want to help you achieve your greatest possible oral health at every age! Contact our team to schedule an exam or cleaning, or to address any dental issues you may be experiencing.
When it comes to oral health, it’s about so much more than just teeth. Your gums play a critical role in maintaining a healthy mouth, and even in ensuring your teeth remain healthy and strong. Even if your teeth are cavity free and aesthetically beautiful, that doesn’t mean you are immune to gum disease. Gum disease can oftentimes be completely painless, and therefore difficult to detect.
Gum disease affects 47.2% of adults ages 30 and up, according to the CDC. It begins with plaque that builds up under and along the gum line, and can cause infections that hurt the gum and bone, leading to tooth decay and other issues. The presence of plaque can also cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause your gums to become red, tender, swollen, and inflamed, and can cause bleeding as well. As unpleasant as that sounds, the upside is that this damage is completely reversible.
Periodontitis, however, is a more advanced stage of gum disease, and can impact the bones that hold your teeth in place within the mouth. If left untreated, this can be the ruin of gums, bones, and tissues inside the mouth. The final and most serious stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, and in this phase, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed. This can result in issues with your bite as well as tooth loss.
Per the American Dental Association (the ADA), signs that you may have gum disease include:
Consistently bad breath A consistently bad taste in your mouth Separating or loose permanent teeth Gums that easily bleed Gums that are red, swollen, or tender Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
A positive thing to note here is that gum disease is completely preventable, and here are a few tips for healthy gums that will help you evade these problems when it comes you your own oral health.
1– FLOSS ‘EM
Just do it, ok? Floss your teeth at least once per day to help remove plaque and food particles that are beyond the reach of your toothbrush. It doesn’t really matter that much when you do it, just do it!
2– BRUSH TWICE A DAY
Brush at least twice a day, or even better yet, after every meal. Brushing your teeth removes food bits and plaque that can build up on your teeth and gums. You’ll also want to brush your tongue, which can be a hotspot for all sorts of problem-causing bacteria (and stinky breath). Your toothbrush should ideally have soft bristles and fit comfortably in your mouth.
3– FLUORIDE OR DIE
Let your fluoride toothpaste be your oral health ride or die. Your toothpaste aisle might have you a little overwhelmed with options, but no matter what you do, be sure to choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of acceptance. Type, flavor, brand is all completely your call.
4– SWISH N’ SPIT
The next tip for healthy gums is to use an over the counter therapeutic mouthwash. This can help reduce plaque, prevent gingivitis, and reduce the speed at which tartar develops in the mouth. More than that, the actual act of swishing and rinsing helps to loosen and remove food particles and debris that can take up residence in the mouth. Just remember mouthwash is not a suitable alternative to regular brushing and flossing, but an additional step that can do a lot of good!
5– DON’T SMOKE
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your gums. Smoking is strongly associated with the development of gum disease, and even makes it harder to fight off gum infections by weakening your immune system, according to the CDC. Smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal after facing damage.
6– MAKE YOUR DENTIST YOUR BFF
The final tip for healthy gums is to prioritize dental cleanings and exams. Your dentist can help diagnose any issues that arise early, and help ensure you get the treatments necessary for maintaining your overall oral health. Professional dental cleanings are also necessary for removing tartar build up on the teeth and along the gumline, which can cause problems if left untreated.
If it’s time for a dental check up, contact our team at Tedford Family Dentistry today, and we’ll get you taken care of. In the meantime, make your oral health a priority with these tips for healthy gums. We assure you, you won’t regret the extra effort!
Dental accidents can occur anytime, anywhere, and parents need to be prepared for these unforeseen situations so they can react quickly and appropriately. Knowing what to do when faced with a children’s dental emergency can mean the difference between your child losing a tooth forever or saving that permanent tooth by taking the right actions immediately. No matter what the dental emergency is, it’s imperative that you take your child to the dentist or the closest emergency room as soon as possible.
If your child cracks a tooth, rinse the mouth out with warm water to cleanse the area, and put a cold compress on the face to help reduce pain and swelling. See the dentist as soon as possible for the next steps.
First of all, make sure your child doesn’t have a more serious injury in addition to the knocked-out tooth—it’s important to assess the entire situation. For a knocked-out permanent tooth, it’s important to keep it moist at all times. Ideally, place the tooth in a container of milk, or use a tooth preservation product marked by the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. Then, get to the dentist’s office as soon as possible. A primary tooth, or baby tooth, does not need to be placed in milk, but should still be brought to the dentist if possible.
If your child accidentally bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water, then apply a cold compress. Contact your dentist or primary care doctor to determine how severe the bite is. If the bite is severe, go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
For toothaches in children, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Gently floss the area to remove any debris that could be causing the pain. If the pain persists, visit your pediatric dentist ASAP.
If your child has something caught between his or her teeth, first try to remove it gently with dental floss. Don’t ever use metal, plastic, or any other sharp tool to attempt to remove a stuck object between teeth, as this can cause more damage. If you are unable to remove the object, contact your dentist immediately.
First, rinse the mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress on the area to reduce swelling. Try your best to find the broken-off piece of tooth, and then contact your dentist immediately.
If you believe your child’s jaw may be broken or fractured, it’s important to exercise caution. VERY gently apply a cold compress to help control swelling and pain, and get to your dentist or ER immediately. Try your best to stabilize the jaw to keep it from moving.
Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry is equipped to handle your children’s dental emergencies. Contact us if you need assistance, and if it’s after hours, be sure to contact our emergency line or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate care.
Cavities aren’t ideal, but they are common. According to the CDC, about 20% of children ages five to 11 have at least one, untreated decaying tooth or cavity. Are you wondering what to do if your kid has a cavity? Keep calm, and call your Chattanooga pediatric dentist. When it comes to cavities, the worst thing you can do is nothing. You don’t want to leave a cavity untreated or unfilled, because it will progressively get worse, and cause pain and more problems if you don’t address the issue early on.
Several factors can make children susceptible to developing cavities including poor dental hygiene, improper diet, lack of dental care, and even genetics. Though a lack of regular brushing and flossing is often the culprit in the presence of dental caries, it’s not always the problem. Some people are just more genetically predisposed to tooth decay than others. That said, it’s important to teach your children to brush regularly and do what they can to prevent tooth decay.
There are several warning signs that your child may be developing a cavity, and when you notice them, it’s best to make an appointment with your pediatric dentist straight away. The earliest sign of developing tooth decay is the formation of chalky, white spots on the tooth due to calcium loss and the presence of plaque. As the cavity begins to form, the area will become light brown, and as the spots deepen, they will darken in color.
Symptoms of a cavity often include:
If your child does develop a dental cavity, your Chattanooga pediatric dentist will present you with the treatment options that make the most sense for your child. Treatment will depend on the size and location of the cavity, as well as whether it’s in a baby tooth or a permanent one.
Dental Filling Types:
No one wants their child to have to deal with the discomfort or the aftermath of having dental cavities, but they are very common and very treatable particularly when caught early. Still, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of cavities for your children including:
Dental visits can be stress inducing, for patients of all ages, but what do you do when your child is outright afraid of going? There are some things you can do to help ease them into these situations with confidence. Here are 5 tips to get your kids comfortable with dental appointments Chattanooga, and we hope you’ll give them a shot.
Start em young. One great way to ensure your child is totally comfortable with dental appointments is to follow the recommendations of the ADA, and start taking your child to the dentist around the age of 6 months. As soon as your baby starts getting teeth, it’s time to start taking care of them. Early exposure to dental appointments can help create a comfort level with that type of care with your child. Treat it like the routing occurrence it is, and your child will likely follow suit.
Kids pick up on energy. Don’t forget this. If you’re stressed, they feel it. If you’re anxious, they feel it. Lead by example, and take great care of your own teeth at home. When you have dental appointments, make sure your child sees you going into them with confidence. If you have had bad experiences with dentists in the past, keep that under your hat. Your attitude about the whole thing will influence your child more than you might realize.
Before your child’s dental appointment, have a trial run at home. Do a little role playing, and make it fun. Your little one might gain some comfort from approaching things this way, and it also provides an opportunity for your child to ask any questions that may come up about the dental appointment and what to expect.
Don’t overwhelm your child with too much information or too many details, but talking about the upcoming dental appointment can really help ease any worries. Talk about how important it is to take great care of your teeth and gums, and explain that the dentist and his staff are going to brush their teeth just like you do at home to make sure they are clean and healthy. Avoid words like scary, pain, and shot, because those will likely just frighten your child. Using neutral language will soothe your child, and create a feeling of comfort and security.
Another important factor in instilling confidence for your child regarding dental appointments Chattanooga, is to find the right pediatric dentist. At Tedford Family Dentistry, we work to create an environment where children can feel comfortable. We understand how important it is for kids to feel confident about coming into the office for cleanings and other procedures, and we strive to create a sense of security and comfort with every office interaction.
Some dentists and their staff members have specialized training when it comes to providing pediatric dental care. The key is working with a team that invests time in building rapport and trust with your child, in an environment designed for treating kids. Our team at Tedford understands that this goes a long way.
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in Chattanooga, contact our team today. We’d love to take care of your little ones and help steer them toward lifelong oral health.
Does the thought of stepping into a dental office cause you immediate waves of anxiety? If so you’re not alone by any stretch. Many people deal with a very real fear of the dentist that can stem from all sorts of things. Some people deal with fear of injections or pain in general, others may feel embarrassment associated with the state of their teeth, and others still have suffered through negative dental experiences in the past that cause dental anxiety. Some people struggle with anxiety so severe that it keeps them from seeing a dentist regularly which only exacerbates the issues.
So how do you overcome this dental anxiety or fear of the dentist? There are lots of things you can do, but we think the number one line of defense should be to find a Chattanooga dentist who is just right for you. When you take the time to find a dentist who is able to make you feel comfortable when you’re in his or her care, you’ll be surprised at how much of your dental anxiety or fear will melt away.
Lots of factors can come into play when it comes to your comfort level at the dentist’s office. The atmosphere, the support staff, and the overall feel of the practice can go a long way in helping to ensure your comfort. It also helps to find a dentist who you trust who does great work, has experienced assistants, and who takes the time to discuss things with you to ease your worries about any necessary treatments or procedures.
Another way to combat dental anxiety is to practice relaxation techniques to help actively calm your mind and body. Deep breathing is a great place to start, as it is instrumental in relaxing tense muscles. Focusing your mind on your breath is also a great way to meditate and center yourself. Counting your breaths can serve as a great source of distraction while you’re undergoing dental procedures that have you stressed, plus this mindful breathing practice also helps to lower heart rate. You can also try systematically relaxing all the muscles in your body from head to toe, starting with the face and neck, and then the shoulders and so on.
Some dentists will use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help relax patients who suffer from dental anxiety. Many patients find that the use of laughing gas is enough to quell their fears surrounding dental experiences. Talk with your Chattanooga dentist about this option if you are feeling extra anxious about your dental visit.
Some dental procedures that are more involved may require anesthesia, in which case your provider will discuss with you the options available. One option that’s sometimes available is conscious sedation. This type of anesthesia involves the use of drugs that depress the central nervous system allowing for the dental procedure to be carried out while the patient is still conscious and able to communicate with the dental staff during the visit. Different levels of sedation through anesthesia are often available during more invasive dental procedures.
No matter how you address your fear of the dentist or dental anxiety, be sure it doesn’t get so overwhelming that it keeps you from your regularly scheduled visits. Skipping out on cleanings and dental exams can lead to dental problems that are unpleasant and costly to address, and those experiences will only contribute to any negative feelings you may have about seeking dental work. If you are looking for an experienced and caring dental staff in the Chattanooga area, contact our team at Tedford Family Dentistry. We work hard to create an environment in which our patients can feel safe and comfortable while receiving the quality dental care they deserve.
If you’re a stress grinder or tend to clench your teeth and jaw at night, you may want to explore the option of a dental night guard with your Chattanooga dentist. Teeth clenching, also known as bruxism, can result in a lot of discomfort and serious damage to your teeth over time. Grinding and clenching can cause jaw pain, jaw dysfunction, ongoing fatigue, and even teeth breakage due to the constant pressure.
If any of this is sounding familiar, chat with your dentist about dental night guard options that can help protect your teeth while you sleep. Even though wearing a night guard takes some getting used to, and can feel uncomfortable at first, the pros far outweigh the cons. Here are what we consider the top three benefits of wearing a dental night guard.
The last thing you want to deal with is broken teeth. They are painful and expensive to fix. A dental night guard protects your teeth from damage by acting as a cushion, a barrier of sorts, while you clench or grind your teeth. This helps prevent chipping, worn-down teeth, and breakage.
Clenching one’s teeth throughout the night puts a lot of stress on the jaw. As such, many people who clench their teeth at night will experience some level of jaw pain, which can actually lead to ongoing headaches and even migraines in more severe cases. Wearing a dental night guard can help minimize the effects of clenching and grinding.
A lot of people who clench their teeth during the night wake themselves up doing so. By this token, wearing a night guard will help them get a better night’s sleep. The dental night guard takes the brunt of the force associated with clenching and grinding, allowing the muscles of the jaw and face to relax more during sleep.
If you think you could benefit from wearing a dental night guard, chat with your Chattanooga dentist at Tedford Family Dentistry. We’d love to help you find the right solution for your bruxism, grinding, or clenching. Your teeth deserve a break, and you deserve peaceful sleep.
Dental hygiene is critical, but sometimes gets tossed to the back burner if we’re running late, tired, or just don’t feel like facing the dentist for that much-needed check up. Here’s the thing though, the teeth you have are the only ones you’ll ever have, so taking great care of them is imperative. That said, if you need to rally with some new, fun, dental care products to ramp up your oral health game, we’ve got some suggestions for products you should check out. In the meantime, schedule an appointment with our team at Tedford Family Dentistry, because when it comes to oral health Chattanooga, we’ve got your back all the way.
You have likely tried electric toothbrushes before, but the technology going into them is greater and more impressive than ever before. Switching from a regular toothbrush to a sleek, electric one with a spinning head can serve to motivate you to brush more frequently, and will help you be more effective in the process. We love the Oral-B 6000 SmartSeries Electric Toothbrush.
Say goodbye to replacing batteries, as this tool from Oral-B is rechargeable. More than that, this toothbrush actually features bluetooth connectivity so you can pair it to your smartphone for real-time feedback about how well you’re doing on the toothbrushing front. This powerful tool can remove up to 300% more plaque along the gumline than a manual toothbrush can. How’s that for upping your oral health game? Read more about this toothbrush on the Oral-B site.
Another way to reimagine your approach to oral health care at home is by using toothpaste tablets. Totally hygienic, and generally tidier than tube toothpaste, toothpaste tablets are easy to use, and perform just like regular toothpaste when it comes to cleaning teeth. One of the great features of using tablets is they prevent cross-contamination, which is particularly helpful when it comes to the spread of germs. Other benefits to these tiny tablets include easy storage and ease of use for travel. They also result in less waste, and often feature recyclable packaging! (Did you know that nearly 1 billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills yearly?) They also help promote better dental health habits as they make brushing your teeth extremely convenient.
Let’s admit that most of us don’t floss as often as we should. Dentists agree that you should floss at least once per day, but twice is better, and flossing your teeth after each meal is even better. It’s important to actively remove bits of left behind food while also mitigating the formation of plaque between the teeth with regular flossing. One way to encourage yourself to reach for the floss more frequently is by finding a fun new flavor.
Cocofloss is a brand we love that comes in a variety of flavors, and this floss is also coated in coconut oil which serves to help gently scrub away plaque. Coconut oil is also a natural antimicrobial, working to sooth the gums while also fighting cavity-causing plaque build up. Try the fun flavors this brand has to offer like the classic Delicious Mint, or go for something more left field like Fresh Coconut, Pure Strawberries, or Cara Cara Orange. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will your gums.
With these different products, you can revive your home oral health habits, and have a little fun in the process. If it’s time for a check up or dental cleaning, contact our team at Tedford Family Dentistry. We care about oral health Chattanooga, and we’d love to help you get and stay on track for your best oral health ever.
If you’re toothpaste shopping at your local store or supermarket, you’ll probably find yourself presented with an almost overwhelming number of choices. Rows and rows of boxes of toothpaste from different brands, with different claims– tartar control, whitening, sensitivity, fresh breath. So how do you choose the best toothpaste for you? We’ve got a few tips to help you narrow down your choices, and of course, your dentist at Tedford Family Dentistry is always happy to answer any questions about choosing the right oral care products.
First ask yourself some helpful questions about your teeth and gums. Do you have sensitive teeth? Are you looking for whitening help? Do you need extra tartar protection? Do you have gingivitis or any other gum disease? Are you looking for a toothpaste that will appeal to your kids? No matter what the situation, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before purchasing a toothpaste.
Step one is going to be to check for that ADA stamp of approval on the toothpaste you’re considering. To earn this seal, toothpastes must meet the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs requirements for safety and efficacy in reducing tooth decay. Essentially, you know the toothpaste will be safe and effective at cleaning your teeth so long as it has been ADA approved.
It’s imperative that the toothpaste you choose contains fluoride. This natural mineral fights cavities and protects your enamel, or the outermost layer of the teeth. According to the ADA, “Fluoride strengthens teeth to help prevent tooth decay and remineralizes tooth enamel in the early stages of tooth decay.” The fluoride in your toothpaste can strengthen weakened and compromised teeth, and serve as a preventative defense against future dental problems.
Some toothpaste options contain ingredients that can be potentially harmful to teeth and their delicate enamel. Again, the ADA approval seal will ensure your chosen toothpaste is effective and safe to use, so that’s the first line of defense against toothpastes with potentially abrasive ingredients to steer clear of. For example, a relatively newer trend in dental care involves the use of products that contain activated charcoal. If used regularly, charcoal can be rather abrasive, and could potentially damage tooth enamel or even contribute to increased tooth sensitivity in the long term. Though activated charcoal does have some proven health benefits, there isn’t enough solid scientific evidence to prove dental whitening is among them. Furthermore, charcoal dental products generally don’t contain fluoride, which, as we’ve established, is critical for proper oral care.
If you have any questions or concerns about the dental products you’re using or how to choose the best toothpaste for you, discuss your situation with your Chattanooga Tedford dentist at your next visit. If you need to schedule an appointment, cleaning, or exam, contact our team today!
At Tedford Family Dentistry, we think teeth are fascinating. Of course, not everyone shares our level of enthusiasm for all things dental health; however, we think you’ll find these strange and interesting facts about teeth to be rather entertaining. We hope, too, to inspire you to work toward greater dental health by furthering your knowledge about teeth. So here are 10 things you didn’t know about teeth to galvanize your personal dental health journey.
A common misconception, teeth are actually not bones. Though they are hard and white, they are made up of different materials than your bones are. Bones can heal themselves over a long period of time, while teeth do not have this ability to recover from stresses.
An important tool in forensics, teeth are just as unique as fingerprints, if not even moreso. The way your teeth are arranged inside your mouth is unique to you and you alone. Every human has their own bite that cannot be replicated by anyone else. Even if you’ve worn braces!
8 incisors, or your front teeth, 4 canine teeth, 8 premolars, and 12 molars– that is the set up most people are working with, landing at 32 total teeth. That said, every mouth is different. Some people are missing certain teeth genetically, and others have lost some due to various circumstances.
Wildly enough, braces have been a part of human dental history for an incredibly long time. Archeologists have even discovered Egyptian mummies with simpler versions of braces on their teeth. The first documented braces, however, were designed in 1728.
Plaque actually contains millions of types of bacteria, made up of more than 300 different species. The main cause of dental health problems is Streptococcus mutans, which is a bacteria that converts carbs and sugar into an acid in your mouth that eats away at healthy tooth enamel.
Your body produces saliva constantly, about a quart every day, which averages out to be about 10,000 gallons over a lifetime. That is enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! That saliva generated serves important functions in overall health. It makes food easier to swallow by helping to break it down as you chew, contains enzymes that aid in digestion, and washes lingering food particles away from your teeth. It also contains calcium and phosphate, which help to neutralize the acids in plaque that cause tooth decay.
Enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth, and like a hard shell, it exists to protect the rest of the tooth. Made mostly of calcium and phosphate, the enamel is like bones, only stronger as it is formed from specific proteins and crystallites.
What? Yes, it’s true. Cheese is good for your teeth! Eating cheese can actually help protect your teeth by creating a layer over them that wards off the effects of acids and plaque. Cheese also has high levels of calcium and phosphate, which also work to strengthen your teeth from the inside out. Another fun fact is that cheese actually helps to balance the pH level inside your mouth resulting in less acidic saliva, and consequently fewer cavities. As if we needed more reasons to love cheese!
Teeth are similar to icebergs in that about a third of them is underneath the gum line. So there’s a lot more to your teeth than meets the eye. This is why it’s extremely important to take great care of your gums and keep them healthy. Healthy gums are firm and pink in color.
Though dental care has evolved dramatically over the years, people have actually been using toothpaste to clean their teeth since roughly 500 B.C. In that time, the ancient Greeks used a mixture of iron rust and coral powder to clean their teeth, though the toothbrush-type instruments used were made of twigs.
Dental health is paramount to overall physical wellbeing, and the more you know and understand about teeth and gums, and how to keep them healthy, the better success you will have. Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry hopes you’re inspired by these strange and fun facts about teeth and oral care, and that you’ll come see our staff for preventative cleanings and exams, as well as with any issues that may arise with your teeth. Visit our Ooltewah family dentistry office today!