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7 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of The Dentist

If the thought of a visit to the dentist gives you sweaty palms, you’re not alone!  Up to 80% of people experience a fear of the dentist.  This can vary from feeling slightly anxious to severe dental phobia.  Going to the dentist is unavoidable, so how can you overcome your fear of the dentist to make your next visit a little less stressful?  Here are some helpful tricks you can try. Find A Dentist You Trust Finding a dentist you trust can play a major role in how anxious you feel during your dental appointments.  The best way to find a good dentist is by recommendation.  Find a dentist you are comfortable with and that understands your fears.  Trust needs to be built up over time.  So for your first appointment, only book in for an examination.  It will give you a chance to meet the dentist and discuss your fears.  At the next appointment, you could get a clean which will allow you to get used to being in the dentist’s chair and further build your trust in the dentist. Understand That Dental Fears Are Normal Being in a dental chair does put you in a vulnerable position.  You aren’t in control and you aren’t always aware of what’s going on, so it’s understandable that you are fearful.  Fear of the dentist often stems from a fear of needles, a bad experience as a child, or simply the fear of not being in control. Book An Early Appointment There’s nothing worse than worrying about going to the dentist for the whole day.  Book an appointment early in the morning, so you don’t have a chance to stress about your dental visit.  It will also mean your dentist is more likely to be running on time, so you can avoid that nervous wait in the dental office. Take Something To Keep You Distracted A good book can help calm your nerves whilst you’re in the waiting room.  While you are in the dental chair, it may be helpful to hold onto a stress ball to relieve some tension.  If your dentist doesn’t mind, you could listen to your iPod during longer procedures. Take Deep Breaths And Wiggle Your Toes Concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths to make you feel calmer.  Deep breaths from your stomach can prevent you from having an anxiety attack.  It may sound silly, but wiggling your toes can help a great deal.  It’s a great distraction to help you avoid concentrating on what’s happening in your mouth. Take A Friend With You To Calm Your Nerves Taking a friend or family member with you to your dental appointments can serve as a good distraction and a calming influence.  Make sure your friend doesn’t have a fear of dentists, or it may be unhelpful to bring them along. Treat Yourself After Your Dental Appointment Treat yourself to a massage to reward yourself after your dental appointment.  It will also help you associate dental appointments with something you enjoy.  Overcoming your dental anxiety is a big thing, so you deserve a reward!

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7 Bad Habits To Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

Like most things in life, there is a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth.  As your teeth play an important role in your overall health, it’s important that you perfect your brushing technique.  Here are some common bad brushing habits: You Don’t Brush Your Teeth For Long Enough It’s impossible to brush your teeth properly in 30 seconds.  Unless, of course, you only have two teeth in your mouth!  For the rest of us though, we need to spend a full two minutes brushing our teeth.  Set your stopwatch and spend 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth.  Most electric toothbrushes have a built in timer which will alert you every 30 seconds. Being short on time is not an excuse.  There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so it’s not hard to spend just 2 of them each morning and night. You Don’t Concentrate On Brushing Your Teeth Next time you brush your teeth, watch yourself in the mirror.  It will be easier to spot which areas of your mouth you’re missing with your toothbrush.  Watching TV or walking around the house while brushing makes it much more difficult to do a good job of cleaning your teeth.  Avoid multitasking and concentrate on the important job at hand. You Use The Wrong Brushing Technique Using the wrong technique to brush your teeth can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.  Brushing your teeth from side to side can cause your gums to wear away.  Instead, brush your teeth using a small circular motion.  If you use an electric toothbrush, focus on one tooth at a time.  For manual toothbrush users, brush a few teeth at a time before moving on to the next section.  Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and gently brush every tooth.  Be sure to brush the outside, inside, and biting the surface of every tooth. You Don’t Floss Your Teeth No matter how well you brush your teeth, it is impossible to clean every surface of your teeth using a toothbrush alone.  Floss is needed to clean the area between your teeth, where plaque builds up.  Whether you floss before or after you brush is not particularly important.  The important thing is that you floss between your teeth every day before you go to bed. You Use The Wrong Toothbrush To properly clean your teeth, you need the right tool for the job.  It’s important to use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush with a small head.  The soft bristles will clean your teeth without doing any damage to your gums.  Using a toothbrush with a small head is easier to maneuver to reach areas that are difficult to clean.  Your toothbrush will need replacing every three months.  If the bristles become frayed, you may need to replace it more often.  A good rule of thumb is to get a new toothbrush every time the season changes. You Use The Wrong Toothpaste Using the correct toothpaste is important to avoid damaging your teeth.  Many kinds of toothpaste contain baking soda.  While this is great at removing stains, it’s abrasive properties can leave permanent scratches on the surface of your teeth. You Brush Too Hard Brushing too hard, especially in a side to side motion, can wear away the enamel of your teeth.  Enamel is the top surface of your teeth and has a shiny appearance.  Wearing away the enamel can eventually lead to notches in the teeth near the gums.  This can cause tooth sensitivity and may require a filling to relieve the discomfort.  Aggressive tooth brushing can also wear away the gums and cause a recession, which also contributes to tooth sensitivity. Conclusion With modern medicine, people are living longer than ever before.  This means that your teeth need to last longer than they used to.  Taking proper care of your teeth and avoiding these common brushing mistakes will help ensure that your teeth last for the rest of your life.

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What Age Do Baby Teeth Come Through? – Infographic

An infographic showing the age in which the baby’s teeth come through. With this chart, you will know when to expect your child’s teeth to appear in their mouth. On the upper teeth, the central incisor starts appearing within 6-12 months while the lateral incisor is 9-13 months. The cuspid grows in between 12 – 13 months. The first molar starts growing at 13 – 19 months and the second molar grows later in 25 – 33 months. For the lower teeth, teeth grow at a different rate compared to the upper teeth. Central incisor appears 6-10 months and lateral incisor grows at 10 – 16 months. Cuspid grows in 12 – 23 months. The first molar grows in 14 – 18 months and followed by the growth of the baby’s second molar within 23 – 31 months.

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Why Do Dentists Take X-Rays?

There are many reasons that dentists take x-rays of the teeth. Some of the most common reasons are listed below. Dentists Take X-Rays To Check For Decay Under Fillings Sometimes decay under fillings can occur and can only be seen with a dental x-ray.  It’s not uncommon for decay to recur under fillings some time after they were placed.  If the filling is quite old, the edges of it can deteriorate.  This allows bacteria to get under the filling and cause decay. Examine The Area Before Procedures  Dentists need a full view of the teeth and bone before procedures such as braces, implants, and tooth removal.  Before undertaking some procedures, the dentist may need to take x-rays to fully assess and recommend the appropriate treatment.  With surgical procedures, the dentist will need to see where the nerves are to assess whether there are any extra risks associated with the treatment. Look For Decay Between Teeth Sometimes decay isn’t visible to the naked eye and exists in areas the dentist cannot see.  In between the back teeth is commonplace for decay to occur.  As it is impossible for the dentist to clearly see these areas, x-rays will routinely be taken to check between the teeth. Look For Infection At The Tip Of The Root Infections can appear at the very bottom of your teeth where the bone is, which needs to be confirmed using an x-ray.  Before doing the treatment, the dentist will need to take an x-ray in order to confirm that there is an infection and to guide them on what treatment is necessary. Check For Bone Loss Associated With Gum Disease Gum disease can cause bone loss and an x-ray will show how advanced it is.  The x-ray will show how far the bone has shrunk back and in what parts of the mouth it is the most severe.

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What Is The Blue Curing Light Dentists Use And Is It Dangerous?

Have you noticed the glow of blue light during your dental visits?  People often wonder what this light is for used for and whether it’s dangerous or not.  The blue light is called a curing light and it is used for setting white fillings. What Does The Blue Light Do? The blue light sets fissure sealants, fillings, and cement in a matter of seconds.  When fillings are placed in the tooth they are very soft so they can be molded to the correct shape by the dentist.  When the dentist is happy with the shape of the filling they will set it with this light.  The blue light makes the filling go rock hard and strong enough to chew on.  The blue light is also used when having braces fitted to set the cement which holds the brackets on your teeth. Is The Curing Light Dangerous Or Harmful To Look At? The curing light is a very strong blue light.  It is not a laser or a UV light so it will not cause any damage to your teeth or gums.  The only danger is if you look directly at the light for too long.  Similar to how your eyes will hurt if you look at the sun for too long.  Dentists and assistants are advised not to look at the light for long periods of time. There are two types of curing lights used by dentists.  There is a halogen curing light and an LED curing light.  Most modern curing lights are LED as they do not overheat as the halogen curing lights do.  The only danger with the halogen light is that the heat it produces could potentially hurt the pulp of the tooth or the soft tissues in the mouth.  Although this is possible, it is very unlikely.  The majority of dentists use LED curing lights these days. What Does The Orange Shield Do? The orange shield is a filter so that your dentist and assistant can still look in your mouth without the strong blue light hurting their eyes.  The light is okay to look at for a few seconds but it’s not nice for dental staff to look at for too long.

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Worst Food And Drink For Your Teeth

Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth, but acidic foods can cause just as many problems. This is because the acid in food and drinks, such as orange juice, temporarily softens the enamel (which is the outside layer of your teeth). After you eat, it can take half an hour for the acids in your mouth to neutralize and the enamel to go back to normal. So if you are constantly eating throughout the day, your mouth never has a chance to recover and you will be more susceptible to acid wear and tooth decay. Some foods and drinks are worse for your teeth than others as they have a low pH, meaning that they are very acidic. Which Foods And Drinks Are Acidic? By reducing the amount of acidic food and increasing the number of alkaline foods you eat, you can reduce your chances of developing tooth decay (caries).  Below is a list of common foods and drinks and how acidic or alkaline they are. Best for teeth Neutral Worst for teeth Food/Drink Acidity Level Almonds Slightly alkaline Apples Slightly alkaline Apricots Slightly alkaline Avocado Moderately alkaline Asparagus Highly alkaline Baking soda Moderately alkaline Bananas Slightly alkaline Beef Highly acidic Blueberries Moderately alkaline Broccoli Highly alkaline Brussel sprouts Highly alkaline Butter (salted) Slightly acidic Butter (unsalted) Neutral Cabbage Highly alkaline Cantaloupe Slightly acidic Carrots Highly alkaline Cashews Moderately acidic Cauliflower Highly alkaline Celery Moderately alkaline Cheese (hard) Highly acidic Cheese (soft) Slightly acidic Cherries Moderately acidic Chicken Moderately acidic Chocolate Highly acidic Coffee Highly acidic Cola Highly acidic Corn Moderately acidic Cranberries Highly acidic Cucumber Highly alkaline Dates Slightly alkaline Eggs Slightly acidic Fish Slightly acidic Flour (white) Highly acidic Grapes Moderately alkaline Honey Slightly acidic Ice cream Highly acidic Lamb Highly acidic Lemon juice Highly acidic Lentils Slightly acidic Lettuce Moderately alkaline Liquor Highly acidic Mango Highly alkaline Mayonnaise Moderately acidic Milk (soy) Slightly alkaline Mushrooms Slightly alkaline Oats Moderately acidic Olive oil Neutral Onion Highly alkaline Orange juice Highly acidic Oysters Slightly acidic Pasta Highly acidic Pastries Highly acidic Peaches Slightly acidic Peanuts Highly acidic Peas Slightly alkaline Pickles Highly acidic Pineapple Slightly acidic Pinto beans Moderately acidic Plums Slightly acidic Pork Highly acidic Potato (without skin) Moderately acidic Potato skins Highly alkaline Prunes Highly acidic Pumpkin seeds Slightly acidic Raspberries Slightly acidic Rice (brown) Slightly acidic Rice (white) Moderately acidic Soft drink Highly acidic Spinach (cooked) Slightly acidic Spinach (uncooked) Highly alkaline Sugar (brown) Moderately acidic Sugar (white) Moderately acidic Sweet potato Moderately acidic Tea (green) Moderately alkaline Tomatoes (cooked) Moderately acidic Tomatoes (uncooked) Slightly alkaline Tomato ketchup Moderately acidic Turkey Moderately acidic Vinegar Highly acidic Walnuts Highly acidic Water (bottle) Slightly acidic Water (tap) Neutral Watermelon Slightly acidic Wine Highly acidic Yoghurt Slightly acidic Zucchini Moderately alkaline That’s not to say you should avoid acidic food altogether, in fact, many of these foods are very good for your health and should be eaten regularly.  The trick is to know how to eat these foods without causing damage to your teeth.  The opposite of acidic is alkaline, so if you eat something which is acidic you should eat something which is alkaline after it to neutralize the acid levels in your mouth.  For example, something high in acidity like chocolate should be followed with a cup of green tea which is alkaline.

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Occlusal Guard – What Is It And When Should I Wear One?

What Is An Occlusal Guard? An occlusal guard is a horseshoe-shaped piece of plastic that is worn over the teeth to protect them against damage caused by clenching or grinding.  It works by creating a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the plastic rather than wearing down your teeth.  Most people are unaware that they grind (also called bruxism) or clench their teeth as it usually happens when they are sleeping.  It is often a person’s partner who first notices that they are grinding their teeth.  People tend to go through phases of grinding their teeth, such as during times of stress.  It is during these times that you may need to wear an occlusal night guard to prevent doing permanent damage to your teeth. When Should I Wear My Occlusal Guard? Occlusal guards are usually only worn at night when people are not able to stop themselves from grinding or clenching their teeth.  If you are a severe grinder, your dentist may also recommend that you wear it during the day, but this is not usually required.  If you know that you only grind your teeth when you’re stressed you may only need to wear it occasionally, such as for a few weeks leading up to exams or any other stressful event. What Is An Occlusal Guard Made Of? An occlusal guard is made of clear acrylic. It may be either soft or hard acrylic depending on what your dentist recommends.  As it is only made of plastic, your occlusal guard may become cloudy and discolor over time, but this does not affect the functionality of the night guard.  Occlusal guards can be made for either the upper or lower teeth. How Long Does An Occlusal Guard Last? How long your night guard will last all depends on the severity of your teeth grinding.  While severe grinders may need to replace their occlusal guard every year, other people may not need to replace theirs for many years. If the guard still fits your teeth, it will not need replacing until you have worn through the acrylic which makes the guard no longer effective.  An occlusal guard works by forcing your upper and lower teeth apart to prevent them from wearing.  Sometimes if you haven’t worn your night guard for a while, your teeth may shift a little and the occlusal guard may no longer fit.  If this happens, take the occlusal guard to your dentist for advice. Taking Care Of Your Occlusal Guard When wearing your occlusal guard do not eat or drink anything other than water as this may discolor it.  After removing your occlusal guard in the morning, brush it with your toothbrush, and rinse with cold water.  It is best not to use toothpaste to clean it as toothpaste is abrasive and may scratch the surface of the occlusal guard and make it appear cloudy.  Also, never rinse your occlusal guard with hot water as this can distort the shape and cause it to no longer fit. Custom Made Occlusal Guard Price The occlusal guard cost will of course vary greatly from dentist to dentist.  It can be an extremely worthwhile investment in the long run.  It may prevent you from needing more expensive dental work in the future caused by grinding, such as fillings or crowns to rebuild the teeth.  You can purchase night guards from a chemist, but they will not fit as well as a custom made one from your dentist and may fall out during the night.  Occlusal Night guards made by your dentist are also much more comfortable to wear as they are less bulky.

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Teeth Grinding – Symptoms And Treatment

What Is Teeth Grinding? Teeth grinding, or bruxism is the movement of your upper and lower teeth against each other similar to the motion you make when you’re chewing food.  Over long periods of grinding, this rubbing motion can be a problem as it can wear your teeth down and cause jaw pain.  Most people don’t know that they grind their teeth as it is a habit that usually only happens at night. Teeth Grinding Symptoms Some of the symptoms of teeth grinding are headaches or a sore or stiff jaw.  If you experience teeth grinding at night, you may experience these symptoms in the morning only.  People don’t usually grind their teeth during the day, but they may clench their teeth instead.  This usually happens when a person is concentrating, such as when they are at work on the computer.  After a long period of teeth grinding, the teeth may begin to visibly show signs of wear and may become sensitive.  A dentist may point this out to you, or you may notice it yourself.  It may be helpful to look at old photos to see if your teeth have visibly worn down.  Teeth that are worn down look flat in appearance. How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth? The most effective method to stop grinding your teeth is to wear an occlusal night guard.  Applying heat and getting regular massages can also help relieve tension in your jaw muscles.  If you tend to clench your teeth during the day, give yourself reminders to stop clenching.  A note on your desk at work may help serve as a reminder.  As teeth grinding and clenching is usually caused by stress, reducing your levels of stress may also help lessen your grinding.  Visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist may also help with managing stress and if they advise, hypnosis may also be an option for you.

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Top 9 Causes Of Sensitive Teeth

If eating ice-cream makes you say “ouch!”, you know how painful having sensitive teeth can be.  Rather than skipping the ice-cream, you may want to know what some of the causes of sensitive teeth are and how to treat them.  Many of the causes can be cured by simply changing to a sensitive toothpaste, such as Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief, but others may require treatment by your dentist.  The most common causes of sensitive teeth are as follows. You Eat Too Much Acidic Food Acidic foods can strip away a layer of your enamel which may leave the sensitive part of your teeth exposed.  Avoid the amount of time you are exposed to acidic foods.  For example, avoid sipping on fruit juices throughout the day.  Instead, limit fruit juices to mealtimes and drink water throughout the day. You Brush Too Hard If you tend to scrub your teeth from side to side rather than gently brushing them, this could be causing your tooth sensitivity.  Using a hard toothbrush and applying too much pressure can wear away your enamel which exposes your dentine, leading to sensitivity.  Switch to a soft toothbrush and brush in a gentle circular motion to lessen the damage and sensitivity. Your Gums Have Receded Gum recession can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or it can happen naturally as you get older, called getting long in the tooth.  As the gums shrink back, the root surfaces of your teeth become exposed and as they are not covered by enamel, they can become sensitive.  The roots of your teeth are softer than enamel and can be worn down with your toothbrush.  If this happens, you may require fillings which will cover the roots and help lessen the sensitivity. You Have Too Much Plaque On Your Teeth Constantly having plaque on your teeth can irritate your gums making them inflamed and causing them to bleed, called gingivitis.  This can also cause your teeth to become sensitive.  Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is the only way to remove plaque.  This may be painful at first, but over time brushing will hurt less and your teeth will become less sensitive. You Grind Your Teeth Grinding your teeth over a long period of time can lead to loss of enamel and tooth sensitivity.  As most people grind in their sleep, you may need to ask your dentist to make you an occlusal guard.  An occlusal guard is similar to a mouthguard and is worn at night to prevent grinding. You Whiten Your Teeth With all the chemicals needed to whiten your teeth, it’s not surprising that you may experience some tooth sensitivity afterward.  This can happen with whitening done by your dentist, at home or using a whitening toothpaste.  Some people may experience sensitivity for only a short period of time after whitening but for others, it may be ongoing.  You may need to switch to using a sensitive toothpaste until the sensitivity subsides. You Have A Cracked Tooth The discomfort from a cracked tooth is usually more severe than general tooth sensitivity.  You will usually feel the most pain when chewing or biting.  A cracked tooth will require treatment by your dentist. You Have Fillings That Need Replacing Fillings don’t last forever and sometimes need replacing.  The bond which is used to hold a filling in may have become weak over time causing decay around the edge of the filling.  The filling may also be cracked which allows bacteria to get in, which can also cause sensitivity.  You will need to visit your dentist to have your mouth examined and, if required, get the filling replaced. You’ve Recently Had A Trip To The Dentist Sensitivity following a root canal, extraction, filling, or crown is not uncommon.  It can take some time for your teeth to calm down and the sensitivity to cease.  If the discomfort continues or gets worse you will need to go back to your dentist.

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Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) – Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

What Is Dry Mouth? Dry mouth, xerostomia, is when you don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.  Dry mouth is commonly called cottonmouth, as it can feel like you have just swallowed a ball of cotton.  Many people only experience dry mouth temporarily, such as when they first wake up or if they are nervous or stressed.  If a person constantly has a dry mouth, this can have a negative effect on the overall health of the teeth and mouth.  Although dry mouth may not seem like a serious condition, it can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Mouth? Many people are not aware that they have dry mouth until there is a 50% reduction in saliva.  Some common symptoms of dry mouth are: A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth Difficulty swallowing Dry, cracked lips, especially at the corners of the mouth Bad breath (also called halitosis) Changes or difficulty tasting food Frequently feeling thirsty Difficulty with chewing and speaking Mouth sores, red tongue Tingling or burning sensation, especially on the tongue Dry, hoarse throat. What Causes Dry Mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications.  In fact, there are around 1,000 medications that can cause xerostomia. Some common medications that cause dry mouth are antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, pain relievers, and diuretics. Dry mouth is also associated with age.  As we get older, we tend to produce less saliva which leads to xerostomia.  Older people are also more likely to have medical conditions and take medications that cause dry mouth. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause dry mouth.  These include Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV/AIDS.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat cancer can also lead to a dry mouth.  This can be temporary or permanent depending on if any damage was caused to the salivary glands. People with sinus problems also have a tendency to develop a dry mouth.  If you have a blocked nose, you are forced to breathe through your mouth which makes it become dry. Why Do I Get A Dry Mouth While Sleeping? While you sleep your body doesn’t produce as much saliva.  Lack of saliva throughout the night leaves you with a dry mouth when you wake.  People who breathe through their mouths at night are also more likely to get a dry mouth while sleeping. This is why it’s very important to brush your teeth before going to sleep as saliva naturally protects your teeth, which it is unable to do while you’re sleeping.  Saliva flow will return to normal once you start eating and drinking.  Brushing your teeth in the morning will also get rid of morning breath, which is caused by dry mouth. What Is The Treatment For Dry Mouth? It is important to get treatment for dry mouth as it can lead to tooth decay, halitosis, and gingivitis, not to mention the discomfort it causes.  The following tips can help the body produce more saliva or can relieve some of the symptoms of xerostomia. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol as they are very drying.  Instead, use products such as Biotene, which are designed for people with dry mouth Take frequent sips of water throughout the day Use saliva substitute products Brush your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste to protect them.  Toothpaste which doesn’t contain a foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulfate, are more comfortable to use for people with xerostomia As dry mouth sufferers are more likely to develop other dental problems, ensure you visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth checked and cleaned Ask your doctor to change medications that could be causing dry mouth Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol which can cause the mouth to become drier Avoid salty or spicy foods as they can be painful for dry mouth sufferers Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

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