Sensitive Teeth – What Causes It And How to Treat It

Do you experience pain when drinking something hot or cold?
Do you hate brushing because it’s uncomfortable?
If you answered yes, you probably have sensitive teeth.
So how do get sensitive teeth?

Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity happens because of exposed dentin due to enamel loss or receding gums. Dentin is the grayish or yellowish tissue that is found under your enamel and contains a large number of tubes. These tubes run from the tooth’s outer surface to the nerve, and when exposed are highly sensitive to temperature changes. That’s why eating specific foods (such as hot, cold or spicy) may be painful.

Causes for tooth sensitivity can include:

  • Brushing too hard – Aggressive brushing can wear away your tooth enamel and gum line, exposing your roots
  • Cracked teeth – A cracked tooth can expose your dentin and make your tooth vulnerable to bacterial plaque, inflaming your nerves
  • Grinding your teeth – Continuous teeth grinding can wear down enamel and uncover your dentin
  • Gum disease – Gum disease can cause pain as your teeth break down and gums recede
  • Tooth bleaching – Teeth bleaching products that contain peroxide or baking soda can irritate exposed roots or dentin
  • Age – People who are between the ages of 25 to 30 years old are more susceptible to sensitive teeth

How to tell if you have sensitive teeth

The best way to see if you have sensitive teeth is by visiting your dentist. Your dentist will check for exposed dentin and try to determine what the cause is. If your tooth sensitivity is due to cavities, they can be treated. If it’s due to gum disease, a comprehensive cleaning can be done to remove plaque and tartar. However, if the cause is due to exposed dentin, there are a number of treatment options available to reduce sensitivity.
In office treatments

  • Fluoride varnishes can be applied to seal tubule openings and rebuild exposed dentin and worn away enamel
  • Fluoride gels or foams can be placed in a disposable tray covering your teeth. As you bite down on it for a few minutes, it provides a high dosage of fluoride to strengthen your teeth
  • Bonding agents can be used to seal exposed dentin and reduce tooth sensitivity

At home treatments

  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush which can minimize the erosion caused from brushing too hard
  • Use toothpaste with potassium nitrate, which penetrates exposed dentin and soothes painful tooth nerve endings
  • Brush with a high concentration fluoride toothpaste that can strengthen your teeth and help protect them from pain
  • Brushing gently and ensuring you don’t over brush

Tooth sensitivity is unpleasant and can be a sign of more serious oral problems. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, definitely seek out professional dental help. The dental professionals at the Lotus Dental Group are experienced at treating a wide variety of dental issues and take patient care seriously. Contact us today at (669) 222-8315 if you’re having problems with your teeth.

Do I Have Gum Disease?

Gum Disease: What Are The Stages?

Did you know 7 out of 10 Canadians will have gum disease during their lifetime?

In fact, it’s the most widespread oral disease in Canada. Gum disease can start out painlessly but can quickly become a serious problem if left untreated.

If you think you have gum disease (and even if you don’t) it’s important to get the facts so you know what you’re dealing with.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection that affects your gum and bone tissues that keep your teeth in place. The bacteria in plaque slowly build up on your gums and teeth and if not removed can harden and turn into tartar. As gum disease becomes more serious, it can cause your teeth to become loose and painful and eventually fall out.

Gum disease progresses in 3 main stages:

Stage 1: Gingivitis

The earliest stage of gum disease occurs when the gums become inflamed as a result of plaque buildup. If the plaque isn’t removed (by daily brushing and flossing) it can infect your gums and cause gingivitis. Symptoms include bleeding and sensitive gums. This stage of gum disease can be easily treated since it only affects the gums and not the bone tissue that supports your teeth.

Stage 2: Periodontis

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to the more serious stage known as periodontitis. At this stage, your gum and bone tissues supporting your teeth are affected. Pockets will begin to develop below your gum line where plaque and food debris can get trapped. Proper oral hygiene and professional dental care can help stop further damage to your oral tissues.

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontis

During this stage, your gum and bone tissues are so damaged that they can’t support your teeth anymore. This causes your teeth to shift and loosen. Teeth may even have to be removed if the damage is severe enough.

Signs and Symptoms

Even though gum disease mostly affects adults, children can also be affected. Many of the signs may not be obvious and if not detected early, can quickly progress to the more serious stages of gum disease. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Deep pockets that have developed between your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in your teeth alignment when you bite

Diagnosis and Treatment

The best way to check for gum disease is scheduling an exam with your dentist. During your exam, your dentist will check your gums for bleeding and tenderness. Your teeth and bite will also be evaluated. The key to fighting gum disease is detecting it early so it doesn’t progress to more serious forms. In the early stages, good oral hygiene is often enough to treat and reverse the development of gum disease. Brushing removes the sticky plaque on your tooth surfaces, while flossing removes the plaque between your teeth and gums.

However, if gum disease is allowed to progress, plaque buildup can turn into tartar, which can only be removed through professional cleaning by your dentist. If there’s bone loss or severe gum recession, ‘scaling’ and ‘root planning’ (SRP) may be required. Scaling involves scraping the plaque and tartar from above and below your gum line. Root planning smoothes uneven surfaces on your teeth’s roots so plaque and germs are less likely to form.

By brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist every 6 months, gum disease can be detected early and more easily treated. If you think you have signs of gum disease, contact our office today at 669-222-8311 to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Arestin. “There are 2 main stages of periodontal (gum) disease” http://www.arestin.com/periodontal-gum-disease/stages.php

Canadian Dental Association. “Gum Disease FAQs” http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/faqs/gum_diseases_faqs.asp

Colgate. “Fighting Gum Disease: How To Keep Your Teeth” http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Popular-Topics/Gum-Disease/article/Fighting-Gum-Disease-How-to-Keep-Your-Teeth.cvsp

Colgate. “What are the Stages of Gum Disease?” http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Popular-Topics/Gum-Disease/article/What-are-the-Stages-of-Gum-Disease.cvsp

4 dental myths debunked!

You know how you should brush after every meal? Actually, you don’t. Sugar isn’t the main cause of cavities. And bleaching doesn’t weaken your teeth. With so many misconceptions surrounding dental health, it’s not surprising that we’ve made up a few myths over the years to explain our dental issues. So why do we believe these myths? We usually heard them from somewhere, and they get repeated over and over again that we just take them for face value. But when it comes to your dental health, having false information can be dangerous. For your benefit, we have debunked four of the most common dental myths below:

Myth #1: You should brush after every meal

It’s obvious that brushing your teeth is important. But you may be surprised to learn that brushing right after a meal may be harming your teeth.

Wait, what!?

Yep! When you eat, your mouth produces acids, which soften your tooth enamel while it breaks down food particles. Brushing too soon after eating can actually wear away the protective tooth enamel, your mouth’s primary defense against cavities. It’s best to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before brushing to give your saliva time to neutralize the high acid levels in your mouth caused by eating and drinking.

Myth #2: Sugar is the main cause of cavities

Contrary to popular belief, sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities. It’s the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth which causes cavities. These bacteria are triggered to produce acid whenever you eat anything with carbohydrates or sugar. The acid eats into your tooth, creating decay and therefore the cavity.

The amount of carbs or sugar you eat doesn’t matter as much as how long your teeth are exposed to it. If you gulp down one soda for lunch and stop there, that’s not too bad. But if spend all day sipping on that soda, you’re exposing your teeth for a much longer time, and that’s much more unhealthy for your teeth.

Just remember: Sipping all day causes tooth decay.

Myth #3: You should brush less for bleeding gums

On the surface this myth makes sense – if your gums are bleeding it seems reasonable you should leave them alone and let them heal. In fact, the opposite is true. Gums often bleed because plaque and food particles become caught along the gum line causing it to become inflamed. A build-up of plaque irritates sensitive gum tissue.

To stop bleeding gums, you need to begin consistently brushing and flossing gently twice a day. The key is holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, with the bristles pointing to your gums. This is the best way to remove plaque by brushing. It the bleeding persists, it may be a sign of possible gum disease and you should consult with your dentist.

Myth #4: Bleaching and whitening weakens your teeth

We’d all like our teeth to be whiter. Luckily there are many bleaching and whitening products available to make your teeth look their best. However, some people worry that using bleaching products can be harmful to their teeth and make them weaker.

Is there any truth behind this? No, there isn’t. Bleaching products are generally safe if used according to the directions. That’s because bleaching only changes the color of the teeth by removing tooth pigmentation, and doesn’t affect their health or strength. Just keep in mind that over bleaching may cause tooth sensitivity and irritated gums, so if you decide to use whitening products, please do so responsibly.

So, how do you steer clear of dental myths?

The best way to avoid them is to see your dentist on a regular basis. He will diagnose any dental problems and let you know the facts regarding your oral health. Therefore take the time to educate yourself and develop good dental habits towards a healthier smile!

5 Super Foods to Strengthen your Teeth in Adulthood

Maintaining good oral health is very important in life. As we get older, we often think there’s not much we can do to strengthen our teeth once we pass a certain age. We seem to believe that strong teeth can only be developed when we’re still young. The good news is with some simple lifestyle adjustments, adults of any age can make their pure whites stronger.

5 Super Foods

Tooth decay is largely based on mouth chemistry – a chemistry that can be changed at any time in your life by adjusting your eating habits. Decay begins when your teeth enamel becomes weak leaving you susceptible to cavities, chipping and other teeth problems. By eating the proper foods you can stop this process, known as demineralization, and reinforce your teeth enamel. Here are 5 great foods for stronger healthier teeth.

1. Raw Dairy

Raw Dairy

Just like your mother said, “Drink your milk and you will grow big and strong.” However, add one caveat: Choose raw dairy products, such as raw milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese, which are loaded with calcium, vitamin D and phosphorous. These help to strengthen your teeth enamel and promote re-mineralization. They also increase saliva secretion, which can help protect teeth against bacteria and balance the mouth’s pH level.

2. Celery

Celery

Celery is great when eaten raw because its crisp texture can help protect teeth and its enamel by wiping away plaque-causing bacteria. Its fibrous nature promotes more saliva production which helps to maintain a healthy pH level in the mouth. Also, its high fiber content has the added effect of gently massaging your gums while bringing freshness to your breath.

3. Sesame

Sesame

Sesame is similar to celery in that its abrasive texture can help cleanse teeth and remove debris-causing bacteria. It stimulates teeth growth since its rich in calcium, which helps to protect the bone around the teeth and gums. Mix a small handful of sesame seeds with your next meal for some extra oral protection.

4. Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries are chock-full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which are essential in maintaining the overall health of your teeth. They also help to whiten your teeth and remove discolorations due to its malic acid content. To boost the teeth-whitening effects of strawberries, mix a crushed berry with one half of a teaspoon of baking soda. Apply and leave it on your teeth for five minutes, and then rinse your mouth out and brush thoroughly with toothpaste.

5. Parsley

Parsley

Chewing parsley after a spicy meal is a great natural breath freshener. Parsley contains monoterpenes, substances that quickly evaporate into your bloodstream and into your lungs, releasing a pleasant smell through your breath. The herb is also rich in calcium and fluorine which help to re-mineralize your tooth enamel. Next time, instead of chewing sugary gum, munch on some parsley instead to freshen your breath and fortify your teeth.

When Should You Get A Soft Reline?

You notice that your dentures are starting to rub against your gums, leaving them sore.

Your denturist has already adjusted your dentures, but it’s still a bit lose and uncomfortable.
When Should
So what are your options?

It’s probably time for a soft reline.

A soft reline involves using soft material that provides a cushioned buffer between your denture and gums tissues. The liner helps to keep your denture in place by restoring its snug fit. It also makes it more comfortable to wear and easier to chew with.

A soft reline is most suitable for people who have:

  • acute sore gum tissues
  • thin gum tissues
  • flat gum tissues

Why your dentures becomes loose

Your dentures can become loose after your teeth are extracted. Following extraction, your jaw bones go through the ‘resorption’ process and lose bone tissues. In fact, your jaw bone structure can decrease up to 40% after wearing dentures, with the biggest changes occurring within 6 months of extraction. The aging process also plays a role in bone loss.

Because a denture is used to replace missing teeth, the denture will eventually become loose – especially if it was worn right after your teeth were extracted. So instead of fully replacing loose dentures, a soft reline can restore your denture’s fit – at least temporarily.

Situations for a soft reline

A soft reline is commonly used in 3 situations:

  • For an immediate denture to allow for proper bone healing after a tooth extraction.
  • After surgery – like the removal of excess bone – to help minimize swelling and pain.
  • Following the placement of an implant, when the reline material is used to stop direct contact between the implant and the base of the denture.

In each of these situations, its fine if the reline material is left longer than 30 days. However, if left for too long, the material can become hard and cause damage to your gum tissues. Thus, soft liners require regular checkups to preserve its fit and elasticity.

How your dentures are relined

Before the reline material is applied to your denture, your soft mouth tissues and the denture’s inner areas have to be clean and dry.

Liners are originally in powder and liquid form, which is then mixed to create the thick paste. It is applied to the insides of the denture and inserted into your mouth while you gently bite on it. To enhance your comfort, you may be asked to bite into cotton rolls for a couple of minutes. You will also be required to move your mouth in various directions to mold the reline material for an optimal fit.

The entire process takes approximately 6 minutes, which is how long it takes for the reline material to set. Any excess material is then removed.

Taking care of relined dentures

When you’re not wearing your relined dentures, you should keep them in water instead of conventional denture cleanser since it can wear away the reline material.

Your dentures should also be rinsed with water after you eat to keep them clean. However, you should not brush the relined areas to prevent erosion.

Improper cleaning methods can ruin the reline material and lead to deterioration, poor fit and damage to your gum tissues.

With appropriate care, a soft reline can provide you with a temporary, comfortable solution for your loose denture problems.

A Healthy Smile, A Healthy Body

Regular checkups with your dentist can do more than keep your teeth healthy – it can keep your body healthy too. There’s a strong correlation between one’s oral health and overall health. The hygiene of your mouth can greatly affect the rest of your body.

Healthy Smile

Bacteria that accumulates on teeth may make the gums susceptible to infection. In defense, your immune system attacks the infection leading to the gums being inflamed. The inflammation continues until the infection is stabilized. If left untreated, it can erode gums and teeth resulting in gum disease (known as periodontitis) and problems with other body parts.

Gum Disease and Health Issues

Research from the Academy of General Dentistry shows a link between gum disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, digestive problems, and heart disease. Women with gum disease are also more likely to give birth to premature or low weight babies.

Other studies reveal that most systemic diseases – diseases affecting the whole body – involve oral complications, such as mouth ulcers, swollen gums, and dry mouth. Systemic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, leukemia, and oral cancer.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

The gum disease/diabetes relationship may be the strongest one of all. Inflammation originating from the mouth may negatively affect the body’s ability to manage sugar levels. People with diabetes have problems controlling blood sugar levels since their body cells don’t break down sugar the way healthy body cells do. This results in extremely high blood sugar and insulin levels. To make matters more complicated, gum disease and diabetes appear to have a two-way relationship. High blood sugar levels can also promote infections to grow, such as gum infections.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Researchers at the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with gum disease are two times more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without it. The two diseases have a number of common risk factors, such as being overweight, unhealthy eating habits, and smoking.

If you suffer from gum disease, oral bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and lead to infection in your heart and lungs. The bacteria can also stick to the insides leading to blockages and blood clots to form. All these factors greatly increase one’s risk of having heart complications, such as heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Establishing Good Hygiene Habits

You can minimize potential health complications by:

  • Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes after every meal with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque and using mouth wash to get rid of bacteria.
  • Eating plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to get your nutrients.
  • Avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, which increase one’s risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Visiting your dentist annually for cleanings and to check for cavities and gum problems.

Following these steps can not only protect your teeth, it can also save your life!

Wisdom Teeth: To Pull Or Not To Pull?

Wisdom tooth removal

The wisdom teeth grow at the back of your gums and are the last teeth to come through. Most people have four wisdom teeth – one in each corner.

Wisdom teeth usually grow through the gums during the late teens or early twenties. By this time, the other 28 adult teeth are usually in place, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow properly.

Wisdom Teeth

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Your wisdom teeth don’t usually need to be removed if they’re impacted but aren’t causing any problems. This is because there’s no proven benefit of doing this and it carries the risk of complications.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth that have become impacted or haven’t fully broken through the surface of the gum can cause dental problems.

Should you Floss Before or After Brushing?

However, unlike how often you should floss which is pretty much unanimously agreed upon as at least once a day, this is one of those questions that is argued both ways and there is more variance in the answer given.

Should you Floss Before

The argument for flossing before brushing

Reasons given for flossing and interdental cleaning before brushing the teeth boil down to the thought and belief that by doing it before brushing; you are cleaning the interdental space and gaps within your teeth, disrupting the plaque and food particles so that they can be more easily brushed away when you brush your teeth.

Flossing after brushing

If you floss after you brush, there will be less plaque for you to get rid of since some of it would have been removed when you brushed. This makes flossing less time to consume and feel like less work for people. Some dentists also suggest brushing first since this is the way most of us have been taught. And since there’s no hard evidence as to which order is better, they say we should just continue what we’ve been doing before.

Oral Health And Mental Health – Is There A Connection?

There is a close connection between the health of the body and that of the mind. There is further evidence to suggest those who experience mental illness also suffer from poor oral health.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include anxiety and panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

Mental illness and oral health

Neglect: Research has shown that those suffering from mental illnesses tend to avoid dental care so much that their oral hygiene is neglected. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

Anxiety: Many people suffer from some form of dental phobia and as a result, stop seeing their dentist regularly. Infrequent dental visits have a severe impact on oral health.