There are a number of things that can stain our teeth and make them look dull and discolored. When this happens, we tend to look for ways to bring back our bright, white smiles. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we have some good news — there are many ways to whiten your teeth! Let’s take a look at some of the most common things you can do to get a whiter smile.
Professional Teeth Whitening
The best way to whiten your smile fast is to get professional whitening from your dentist in Erdenheim. Even though this option is more costly than many over-the-counter tooth whitening products, you can customize just how white you want your teeth to get and see the results immediately. Many times dental offices can also provide you with custom trays and whitening gel that you can use at home safely to maintain your new look.
DIY Smile Whitening
If you’re looking for ways to whiten your teeth, you may begin by exploring all of the options in your local grocery store or online. While there are tons of over-the-counter smile whitening products available, and they can be cheaper than a professional whitening, they do come with some risks. For example, you may be using a solution that’s too high for your teeth that could cause sensitivity and pain. Additionally, whitening strips and non-custom trays can allow the solution to seep into your gums. If left too long it can cause gum damage. Lastly, over-the-counter tooth whitening products tend to take longer to work.
If traditional forms of smile whitening just aren’t making your teeth as white as you’d like, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry. The truth is, there are some types of tooth staining that don’t respond to whitening gels. In this case, the best solution may be dental veneers. Dental veneers essentially cover up the front of your natural teeth with a custom-made slice of porcelain. These veneers can be your ideal shade of white and are shaped to blend in with your other natural teeth.
It’s important to note that you should talk to your dentist before beginning any whitening treatment. Not all whitening solutions are appropriate for everyone. To find the best option for you and to reduce the risk of negative side effects, meet with your dentist.
If you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with you about what you’d like to change as well as your oral health history so we can recommend the best tooth whitening treatment for you.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at our dental office in Erdenheim, we know just how serious and scary oral cancer can be. To do our part to help raise awareness, we’re here to share facts, signs, and risk factors of oral cancer with our patients and neighbors.
Facts About Oral Cancer
- More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
- Oral cancer kills more than 8,500 people annually
- Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
- Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
- Patients who have had oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer
The Importance of a Fast Diagnosis
Oral cancer can be treated, however, treatment is much more successful when the disease is caught early. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist in Erdenheim are so important. You see, unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer like there is for, say, colon or breast cancer. Your regular dental visits essentially act as regular oral cancer screenings. These checkups allow your dental team to identify any potential signs of oral cancer early so that you can get treatment fast.
Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms
One thing that can make oral cancer difficult to diagnose is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as common oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal. However, you’re better safe than sorry… so if you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.
- A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away
- A lump inside the mouth or neck
- Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Changes in voice
- Chronic bad breath
Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are some people who may be at increased risk including:
Oral cancer is a very serious disease. Reduce your risk by changing any risky habits and commit to seeing your dentist every six months. Of course, if you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer, or are concerned by any potential signs, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office.
Did you ever wake up in the morning and notice that your face and jaw are sore? Do you get up in the mornings with unexplainable headaches? Our dental office in Erdenheim wants to know if you’ve ever considered that your pain and discomfort could be caused by teeth grinding or bruxism. Read on and see if your smile is at risk because of clenching or grinding…
What Exactly is Bruxism Anyway?
Bruxism is defined as the involuntary habitual grinding of your teeth, mainly while you’re asleep. That’s what makes teeth grinding so dangerous for you and your smile. Many of the 30 million people who struggle with bruxism don’t even know they’re doing it, so they don’t know what signs and symptoms they should be looking for. That’s why it’s important to have a partner like your dentist in Erdenheim who can see the early warning signs and help you fight your bruxism before it badly damages your teeth.
What Causes Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?
The American Dental Association says there’s three big reasons why patients of all ages grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. While we break them down here, ask yourself if any of these could be affecting you oral and overall health.
- Anxiety or Stress – This is a big one that so many people can relate to, especially when life is busy and demanding. Worrying or feeling stressed can cause us to tense up making it all the more likely you’ll start to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. It’s important to address your stress before it ruins your smile and your sleep.
- Having a Bad Bite – Sometimes when your teeth are out of alignment, it can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding facial muscles. Your muscle can start to spasm during sleep causing you to grind your teeth together in response.
- Medical Complications – Some patients who grind their teeth at night could have an underlying, undiagnosed medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease or even acid reflux. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain prescription medications.
Stop ignoring your pain or masking it with medications. It’s time to call our Erdenheim dental office as soon as possible before your teeth become damaged or broken. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam, learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and monitor your bite. From there, we’ll be able to address the severity of your teeth grinding and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.
We always like to take a moment this time of year to dedicate a special blog to eating healthy in honor of National Nutrition Month. Ask anyone of our team members at our dental office in Erdenheim, and they’re going to tell you how important it is to make sure you’re only putting good foods into your body. This will help ensure that your smile (and the rest of you) stays healthy so that you can live a long, happy life.
How Do I Know What to Eat?
The first thing your dentist in Erdenheim is going to recommend is that you limit the amount of sugar, fats, and processed foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful, healthy replacements you can easily incorporate in both your personal diet and the foods you feed your family.
- Replace sugary sodas and sports drinks with: Water. It’s just that simple. Water is the best way for your mouth and your body to stay hydrated which is essential to your overall health. Think of water like a superhero when it comes to protecting your body. By drinking plenty of water every day, you’re going to wash away food and debris that can get stuck in your teeth, as well as stimulate your body to produce more saliva– which is your best defense against smile deterioration because it’s rich with minerals and proteins.
- Replace acidic foods with: Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus aren’t going erode your teeth like foods that cause the formation of harmful acid in your mouth. These elements can help keep your enamel and gums going strong.
- To get more calcium: Try cheese (aged, hard), plain yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, almonds, and tofu
- To get more phosphorus: Try nuts, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, and fish
- Replace unhealthy snacks with: Hard, crunchy foods that contain large amounts of water. Again, crunching and munching on these foods is going to signal your mouth to create more saliva, which is beneficial to keeping your smile free from cavity-causing bacteria. Crunchy foods can even act like a toothbrush, helping to remove excess plaque and unwanted food particles. Try raw celery, cucumbers, apples, and carrots to add an extra, healthy bite to your diet.
Do I Really Need to Avoid Sugar?
The simple answer is yes. We know it can be hard, especially when sugars are hidden everywhere. Carbohydrate-loaded foods, even though they’re not overtly overflowing with sugars, will break down into simple sugars in your body, and this is just as dangerous as eating sweets and drinking sugary beverages. Try to be more mindful of what the labels say when you’re shopping at the store for you and your family in order to reduce or even eliminate the number of carbs your family regularly intakes.
Our Erdenheim dental office knows hows challenging it can be to change your diet, especially when you’ve got a hungry, picky family to feed. If you find that you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, try taking small steps to get your diet back on track. You won’t regret making the change for your smile and yourself.
Halitosis, or more commonly referred to as bad breath, can happen to anyone. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But what’s more concerning for the team at our dental office in Erdenheim is that bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at what causes bad breath and some ways you can get rid of it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be caused by something temporary such as fragrant food or something like coffee. This type of bad breath usually resolves itself and is probably nothing to worry about. However, when bad breath becomes an ongoing occurrence, you should consider calling your dentist in Erdenheim.
Chronic bad breath is typically caused by an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. Now, while the bacteria themselves don’t smell bad, the byproduct they give off after feeding certainly does. This byproduct is stinky hydrogen sulfide and it’s what we’re referring to when we talk about smelling bad breath.
Why is Bad Breath Concerning?
Besides causing embarrassment, bad breath can be an early symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem not only for your mouth but also for your body. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, sensitivity, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Essentially, bad breath is something you should take seriously and seek proactive treatment.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
If you suffer from bad breath, there are few tips you can try.
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Making sure that you brush and floss daily is a great way to get rid of bacteria that could contribute to bad breath if left alone. Clean the surface of every tooth, under the gum line, and the tongue.
- Choose Water. Keeping your mouth hydrated helps wash away bacteria which can lower your risk of bad breath. When our mouths don’t get enough water, they dry out and saliva production slows, leaving bacteria free to linger around.
- See Your Dentist. Maintaining regular visits to your Erdenheim dentist can not only help protect your smile from cavities, it can also help catch any potential problems before they have a chance to become serious… including gum disease. If you’re worried about your bad breath, or if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, give us a call today.
Toothaches can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone. When they do make an appearance, they can cause severe pain and leave us wanting immediate relief. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we understand the discomfort associated with a toothache and are here to share our top five tips to get rid of one.
Before we dive into the best toothache remedies out there, it’s important to note that a toothache is usually a sign of a bigger problem. While there are ways you can treat a toothache at home, please note that the relief is temporary and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Erdenheim as quickly as you can to get treated.
Top 5 Toothache Treatments
- Warm Salt Water – Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water until it dissolves then take a sip and swish the mixture around in your mouth. After a few seconds, spit it into the sink. You can repeat this a few times throughout the day. The salt can help dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and give you some relief.
- Ice Packs – Ice has been a trusted method to treat many injuries because it can decrease inflammation. Toothaches are no different. Wrap an ice pack in a shirt or cloth and gently apply it your cheek for 15 minutes at a time. Make sure to give your skin a rest in between icings.
- Anti-inflammatory Medication – If you can safely take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, it may help ease your toothache pain. Take any medications as directed and never apply a pill or a crushed up pill directly to the gums or tooth. This will only result in more pain and more problems.
- Floss – Floss can be a lifesaver if your toothache is caused by a piece of food that’s wedged between your teeth. Simply take a piece of floss or a floss pick and carefully wiggle it between the painful area and try to remove anything that may be stuck in there. Don’t use too much pressure or be too rough.
- Over-the-Counter Anesthetic – There are plenty of over-the-counter oral anesthetics designed to ease toothache pain. These anesthetics can provide temporary relief by numbing the area. However, oral anesthetics are not designed to be used for long periods of time.
Reduce Your Risk
Even though there’s no fool-proof way to completely avoid a toothache, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of one. Brushing and flossing daily as well as maintain visits to our Erdenheim dental office every six months can help protect your teeth and treat any problems before they have a chance to sneak up on you and cause a toothache.
Don’t let the pain of a toothache take its toll on you. Try the remedies above and see your dentist as soon as you can.
About 90% of the American population has had their wisdom teeth removed. But why is it important that we get these teeth extracted? Is wisdom teeth surgery really that important? What happens if we don’t have our wisdom teeth taken out? The team at our dental office in Erdenheim has the answers.
Wisdom Teeth Basics
Wisdom teeth tend to develop in our teens. This is when your dentist in Erdenheim should start to see these third molars on x-rays and when your dental team will start to monitor their development. Occasionally, wisdom teeth develop just fine and there are no reasons for concern. Other times people don’t get their wisdom teeth at all. But more commonly, wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few specific reasons. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why wisdom teeth extraction is usually recommended.
There’s No Room
Most people fall into the category where their mouths don’t have enough space to accommodate four more teeth. This can often be identified early through dental x-rays, and wisdom teeth removal can be incredibly easy. However, if treatment is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and put you at increased risk for infection or an abscess. Furthermore, if wisdom teeth aren’t removed and are allowed to force their way into the mouth, other teeth will shift to make room. This will result in overlapping, crooked teeth.
They’re Facing the Wrong Way
Normally wisdom teeth will be facing crown up like all your other teeth. But sometimes wisdom teeth can come in at a weird angle or even sideways. When this happens the wisdom teeth should definitely be extracted. If not, these large teeth can cause permanent damage and severely affect the other teeth in the mouth.
When Wisdom Teeth Can Stay… Maybe
There are times when wisdom teeth come in almost perfectly and there’s no immediate need for extraction. However, wisdom teeth are difficult to care for properly. They’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and flossing requires an almost acrobatic approach. Because of this, your dentist may still recommend having them removed if only to reduce the risk of other problems down the road.
Wisdom teeth removal is incredibly common and most people have theirs removed at some point in their lives. The best way to monitor wisdom teeth development is to maintain regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office. Keeping a close eye on how your wisdom teeth are erupting can mean a quicker treatment plan and easier removal.
Making sure your child gets enough of the right vitamins and minerals is an important part of helping them grow up big and strong. Their oral health is no different. Kids need to get the recommended amount of a variety of vitamins (and minerals!) in order to develop strong teeth and good oral health. Our dental office in Erdenheim is here to help give you a guide on what vitamins your kid needs.
Calcium is most well-known for building strong bones, but it’s crucial for developing strong, healthy teeth too. Starting with strong teeth can help your child have good oral health for life and lower their risk for problems later on. Get calcium through dairy products, leafy green veggies, and nuts.
While calcium is definitely important, it doesn’t work alone. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly, it needs vitamin D. Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin D foods such as tuna, cheese, and egg yolks.
Vitamin A is often linked to developing good vision, but it’s also needed to help keep gums healthy. Vitamin A helps saliva glands produce more spit, and spit is a good thing. Saliva rinses away bacteria that otherwise could easily bury themselves into the gum tissue and cause problems. Foods loaded with vitamin A include fortified cereals, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that just so happens to also fight off cavities and decay. It’s also crucial in developing strong protective tooth enamel. Most public water supplies include enough fluoride to protect your child. Your dentist in Erdenheim should also provide fluoride treatments to your child regularly.
Supplements or No Supplements?
Oftentimes a well-balanced diet complete with fruit, vegetables, dairy, and whole grain provides kids with the vitamins they need. However, doing this isn’t always easy. Life can get crazy and there’s not always time for a home-cooked meal including items from each food group. That’s ok! When there’s a chance your kid isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals through their food, consider supplements or fun multivitamins.
Whether you choose to give your kids the vitamins they need in form of food or supplements, making sure they get enough can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Of course, maintaining regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office is also important for optimal dental health. Call to schedule a visit with us today!
Cavities are one of the most common dental concerns we hear about at our children’s dental office in Erdenheim. While worries about cavities are valid, since they can lead to pain, sensitivity, and more serious oral health conditions, there are many beliefs about cavities that just aren’t true. Join us as we look at some facts and some myths involving kids and cavities…
Fact or Fiction? Sugar is the main cause of cavities.
Fiction. This may be surprising to hear from your Erdenheim children’s dentist but sugar isn’t the main source of cavities in kids (or adults!). In fact, bacteria are the main cavity-causing culprits. Bacteria produce acid, acid destroys teeth, and cavities are formed as a result. But where do the bacteria come from? Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in bread, rice, potatoes, and yes, sugar, are the main triggers behind bacteria production.
Fact or Fiction? Kids are more likely to get cavities than adults.
Fiction. Developments in dental technology and prevention have led to a decrease in tooth decay in children by 50% in the last 20 years. This means that children are actually at a lower risk for cavities than their grandparents. Senior citizens are at the highest risk for cavities because a lot of medications lead to dry mouth, lack of saliva production, and in turn, tooth decay and cavities. However, this still means that regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are vitally important for keeping kids cavity free.
Fact or Fiction? Acidic foods cause tooth decay.
Fact. Foods that are highly acidic such as lemons, citrus fruits, and soda greatly increase the chance for decay. The acid found in these treats will eat away at the protective tooth enamel, putting your kids’ teeth at greater risk for cavities. Choose water over soda or even fruit juice and enjoy acidic foods and beverages in moderation.
Fact or Fiction? Gaps in teeth increase the likelihood of cavities.
Fact. Gaps in teeth or even over-crowded crooked teeth provide a great place for bacteria to hide. These gaps or overlaps are hard to reach with a toothbrush and even floss, so it’s difficult to properly clean these areas. This can make it easy for bacteria and food particles to linger behind, leaving your kids more susceptible to cavities.
A little knowledge and regular dental care can go a long way in protecting your kids’ smiles against cavities. Help them practice proper brushing and flossing, encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, and of course, schedule dental appointments at our Erdenheim children’s dental office at least every six months.
There are an estimated 3 million canker sore cases a year. But knowing that these annoying and painful sores affect nearly everyone doesn’t necessarily make them easy to tolerate when they happen to your child. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we understand that canker sores are uncomfortable and can hurt. That’s why we’re here to share some information about canker sores and how you can help ease your little one’s discomfort.
Signs of a Canker Sore
If you suspect your child has a canker sore, look for the following common symptoms:
- Blister-like sores inside the mouth. The sores are usually red but can have a white or gray center.
- The sores can be on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of the mouth.
- Occasionally severe canker sores can be paired with a fever.
Treating a Canker Sore
Canker sores will usually go away on their own within a week or two. But asking a child to simply tolerate the pain isn’t always an option. To help, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Other times your pediatric dentist may prescribe a topical ointment, medicinal mouthwash, or offer up additional pain relief tips. Either way, canker sores are usually nothing to be concerned about as they’re not contagious and will typically resolve without any treatment.
When to See a Pediatric Dentist for a Canker Sore
Since canker sores will heal themselves most of the time, a visit to your children’s dentist in Erdenheim may not be necessary. However, if the sore lasts longer than two weeks or is causing severe pain, it’s best to schedule an appointment. Also, if your child gets more then two or three canker sores a year, make sure to mention it at his next dental appointment.
To reduce the pain and discomfort associated with canker sores, you can also encourage your child to:
- Avoid eating foods that can irritate the sore such as nuts, potato chips, spicy and acidic foods.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Try not to touch with the area with their tongue or teeth.
If you have concerns about any changes in your child’s mouth, we encourage you to call our Erdenheim children’s dental office today. We’re here to help keep your little one healthy and will be happy to see him.