Dental resolutions for 2014

December 30, 2013

As it gets closer to the new year, many of us are making resolutions to exercise, lose weight and get organized. What about your teeth? Here are a few suggested resolutions to help your smile stay bright and healthy:

Brush twice a day and floss daily. Brushing your teeth twice a day fights plaque and decay. Flossing gets rid of food particles trapped between your teeth and gums that a toothbrush just can’t reach.

Use mouthwash. A daily rinse with antiseptic mouthwash will help kill germs and bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Mouthwash will also freshen your breath and fight plaque.

Drink more water. At least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the recommendation. If you are drinking water, you are less likely to drink cola, tea and coffee, which can stain your teeth.

Use protective devices. Wear a custom-fitted mouth guard when playing sports (even during practice!) to protect your own or your child’s teeth.

Visit your dentist twice a year. Taking care of your teeth at home is just the first step in keeping a bright and healthy smile. Your dentist can diagnose and treat any potential problems before they become big issues.

2014 can be the year your entire family resolves to have brighter, healthier smiles.


What is TMJ disorder? How do I know if I have it?

June 28, 2013

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, the joints connecting your lower jaw with the upper jaw. Your dentist checks for TMJ disorder during your semiannual dental exam.

Sings of the disorder include:

  • An earache with no infection
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • A clicking or popping noise when you open or close your mouth
  • Problems opening or closing your mouth
  • Pain when you yawn, chew or open your mouth
  • Certain headaches or neckaches

Treatment can range from wearing a bite splint and taking prescribed medications, to adjusting your bite with braces. If you have any of the above signs, contact your dentist for an exam.

 

Sources: Michigan Dental Association and American Dental Association


What are some early warning signs of oral cancer?

April 12, 2012

Like all forms of cancer, early detection is extremely important. Be sure to check your mouth when brushing and flossing. If you notice any changes, or any of these signs and symptoms, contact your dentist immediately:

  • A mouth sore that does not heal or that bleeds easily.
  • A white or red patch in the mouth that will not go away.
  • A lump, thickening or soreness in the mouth, throat, or on the tongue.
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing food, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.

Source: Michigan Dental Association


Are twice a year dental cleanings really necessary?

March 9, 2012

Yes, you should have a complete dental exam and cleaning at least twice a year. Regular visits will aid in preventing future dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. In addition your dentist will provide oral health screenings. For instance, exams at my office include screenings for blood pressure, oral cancer, periodontal disease, TMJ disorder and a decay check.