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13 Jan 2021
January 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health provides all you need to know about toothpaste with this ultimate guide.Fresh breath sets the tone for every moment of your day: first thing in the morning, before an important meeting, after working out, or just before bed. Whether you prefer cool mint, invigorating cinnamon, or herbal anise, it’s your favorite trusty toothpaste that delivers that fresh, clean feeling.

So, what’s the scoop on toothpaste? What knowledge is essential to get the most out of your toothpaste? You might be surprised as you learn more about this common product. Dr. Case in Portland gives you the full story on toothpaste to empower you to take oral health into your own hands.

What is Toothpaste?

Toothpaste is an important preventive product. It can prevent tartar (hardened plaque) and gum disease if used regularly. Toothpaste comes in a variety of forms – paste, gels, powders. But all toothpaste has similar ingredients that allow it to work, and work well.

  • Abrasives — The most important thing toothpaste does is remove unwanted stuff from the surface of your teeth. Long ago, people used gritty materials like brick dust, charcoal, tree bark, and animal hooves to wash away unwanted gunk from their teeth. Thanks to technology and modern science, we now have much gentler ingredients proven to be safe and effective.

    • Detergent — An ingredient more often associated with dishes or laundry, detergent makes toothpaste foam. This foam helps move particles off your teeth that water alone cannot.

    • Fluoride — This mineral strengthens tooth enamel and makes teeth more resistant to decay. Some parents of small children are concerned about fluoride in children’s toothpaste because kids swallow a lot of paste as they are learning to brush (and too much fluoride is not good to ingest). Toothpaste follows regulations for safe use, but talk with your dentist if you become concerned.

    • Humectants — These substances keep the paste from drying out, which is very helpful since you open and close the toothpaste tube multiple times each day.

    • Flavor — Thanks to modern science, our toothpaste has amazing flavors like peppermint, cinnamon, and bubblegum without any sugar or components that would cause tooth decay.

Can You Use Toothpaste Wrong?

Dish soap doesn’t work unless you scrub the dirty dishes, and no toothpaste would be effective without the actual brushing motion.  Be sure you’ve got your brushing technique down to get the most out of your paste.

To start, you only need a small amount of toothpaste on your brush. The size of a pea is just enough. Commercials show toothbrushes overloaded with paste, which encourages you to use more than you need and use up that tube (and spend money) faster than necessary!

For the healthiest smile, take your time. You want more than just a quick brush for fresh breath. Hold your brush perpendicular (at a 45-degree angle) to your teeth and gums and brush gently for a whole 2 minutes. Be mindful of brushing each tooth and near your gum line. Be sure not to swallow any excess toothpaste.

Which Toothpaste is Right for Me?

When it comes to different kinds of toothpaste, you have no shortage of options. The most important thing is that you buy toothpaste that will make you excited to brush your teeth!

  • Sensitive — If you have sensitive teeth, that painful zing is caused by dentin (the bone at the core of your teeth) being exposed.  Kinds of toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth have ingredients that work hard to protect teeth and alleviate pain related to hot or cold temperatures.
  • Holistic — If you’re into natural health and wellness, there are plenty of toothpaste brands that use fewer chemicals. These products are not always studied or proven effective, but will still work if you maintain good brushing techniques.
  • Whitening — All toothpaste removes some stains, but whitening toothpaste uses more abrasives to scrub harder at those stains and provide more dramatic results.  Be mindful of the abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste, as it may lead to increased tooth sensitivity.  If you want whiter teeth without that risk, consider getting a professional whitening treatment.

When shopping for toothpaste in stores, look for seals of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA). The FDA tests toothpaste for safety and the ADA makes sure that toothpaste does what its labels claim.

Toothpaste is good at preventing plaque buildup on your teeth and infection in your gums, but cannot replace the effect of a professional dental cleaning. Only dentists can remove tartar, which is buildup from food or other materials that have hardened and cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone.

Your teeth and gums serve you every day, it’s only fair to treat them well in return. Get in touch with Family Dental Health today for a hygiene appointment!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Dec 2020
December 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Do You Have TMJ? You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health explains how TMJ and sleep apnea are related, how they affect your health and your treatment options.Your jawbone (the mandible) meets your skull bone (the temporal bone) at the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. On a good day, this joint allows your mouth to open and close, to speak and eat or rest. On a bad day, you can develop pain and dysfunction in the TMJ that affects many areas of your life and health. Portland dentist Dr. Case explains more below about how problems with your TMJ are connected to problems with sleep.

TMJ Disorders
If you have a recurring problem with your temporomandibular joint, it’s called temporomandibular disorder (or TMD, although TMD and TMJ are often used interchangeably). The National Institutes of Health estimates that 10 million people have TMD, though the cases are usually mild. 

TMD frequently includes pain, clicking or popping, and tight, sore facial muscles. TMD can be caused by genetics, arthritis, or jaw injuries. Sometimes it’s hard to diagnose what’s exactly causing the problem because stress and jaw problems can turn into a painful, self-perpetuating cycle.

Clenching and grinding your teeth may be chronic or stress-induced habits that make TMJ pain worse. You may also notice that pain from TMD can spread into your face, neck, head, and shoulders. Many TMD sufferers suffer from chronic headaches and migraines.

TMD & Sleep Apnea

One study found that 43% of people with TMD also have problems sleeping. So what’s the link between TMD and sleep apnea? When the airway collapses as it does with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the body’s automatic response is to push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway. This constant motion of the TMJ throughout the night can cause a lot of stress and tension in the jaw joint and is the primary reason TMD and sleep apnea go hand-in-hand.

TMD is also known to be linked with chronic fatigue syndrome which can exacerbate sleep apnea and impact your overall health.  It could also be the physical position or misalignment of your jaw (malocclusion) that prevents the airway from staying open while you sleep. When you think about how connected your airway is to the position of your jaw, the connection between sleep apnea and TMD becomes very clear.

Improving TMJ & Your Sleep

Sometimes TMD goes away on its own, but you don’t have to live with the pain and difficulty of TMD. Because good sleep is so important for every other part of your health, it’s a good idea to take care of yourself and get better rest at night.

Possible treatments for TMD include:

  • Oral splints and mouthguards
  • Medication such as muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatories
  • Surgery for severe cases
  • Corticosteroid injections to relieve pain
  • Botox® injections to relax muscles
  • Counseling to decrease the stress that causes clenching and grinding 
  • At-home gentle massage and stretching exercises
  • TruDenta® therapy

Sleep apnea will not go away on its own and can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Sleep apnea increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and many other serious diseases, and can even be deadly.

Possible treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Oral appliance therapy
  • CPAP machine
  • Surgery for severe cases

If you have any sleep issues or develop pain in your jaw, you should see Dr. Case immediately to begin looking for answers. 

Life is no fun if you’re sick, tired, and in pain! Make an appointment today at Family Dental Health in Portland to take the first step toward a healthier you and a better quality of life.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Dec 2020
December 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Baby Dentistry: Teething & Other Joys

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health shares all you need to know about baby dentistry and early pediatric dental care—teething tips, hygiene and more!It’s easy to think that baby teeth aren’t that important. They make their grand entrance (however painfully) and leave your baby’s mouth soon thereafter. But your baby’s oral health is very important, both in the present and to set the stage for a lifetime of health. Today Family Dental Health would like to talk about those tiny teeth and how to care for them. 

Teething Facts

  1. Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months and can continue until your child is 3 years old. Every baby is different.
  2. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 additional lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars. 
  3. One reason we get baby teeth is that our baby mouths aren’t big enough for the size and number of adult teeth we need later in life.
  4. Babies have 20 teeth that fall out. They are then replaced by 32 adult teeth. 
  5. Chewing on a cold, wet washcloth, extra snuggles, and a little pain-relieving medicine are certain to help ease the pain of teething.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, teething is not proven to cause sickness like diarrhea, fever, or a runny nose.
  7. Children should see the dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start coming in.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

  • Breastfeeding: According to a recent study, babies that exclusively breastfed for at least six months have a 72% less chance of developing an improper bite. Breastfeeding also reduces your child’s risk of baby bottle tooth decay and cavities.
  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Overexposure to sugar in the liquids your baby drinks can cause early tooth decay, which is when the important, hard enamel cover of your teeth breaks down. Enamel never grows back, so it’s very important to protect. Avoid baby tooth decay by only using either formula or breast milk in your child’s bottle, not putting honey or sugar on their pacifiers, and not letting them fall asleep drinking from the bottle.
  • Cleaning: “Welcome to earth! Now, let me wash your gums.” It may seem silly, but you’re actually supposed to wash your baby’s gums from the first day they are born. Use a clean washcloth and water, and maintain the habit as all the baby teeth start coming in. Once a tooth erupts, you can use a grain of rice size amount of fluoridated toothpaste. After age 3 you can use a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
  • Thumbs and Pacifiers:  Discuss thumb sucking and pacifier use with Dr. Case. Usually, both are fine until babies become little children. However, they can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay, jaw misalignment, and an improper bite. Consider weaning off either of these habits depending on what your dentist recommends.
  • Insurance for Pediatric Dental Care: Most states cover dental visits for children on governmental support. And most dental offices have flexible payment plans to help everyone prioritize oral health for the whole family. Don’t let finances hold you back from keeping your baby as healthy as possible—feel free to reach out to us, we’re happy to help.

Once your baby’s first tooth has emerged, it’s very important to begin a regular dental care routine. Contact Family Dental Health today to make an appointment. We’d love to see your little bundle of joy smile!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Nov 2020
November 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Don’t Have a Stroke – Your Dentist Can Help

Portland dentist Dr. Case of Family Dental Health explains the connection between oral wellness and stroke, and how you can increase your protection.You might be surprised to hear that the state of your oral health has a lot to do with preventing a stroke. There’s a certain kind of bad oral bacteria that cause gum disease, travel to other parts of your body, and cause harm.

A stroke is a common but dangerous medical condition that causes a lack of blood in the brain. The effects of a stroke can be long-term and life-changing. People of any age can experience a stroke, but it’s most common in adults 40 years and older. 

 

Oral Wellness
The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center lists favorable oral health among its top five factors that prevent stroke, and a growing number of studies are finding the link between certain kinds of oral bacteria and the harm they cause to your brain. For example, these bacteria can travel into your head through your bloodstream, causing brain bleeding and dementia. This sounds scary—and it certainly can be. But with good, simple oral hygiene, you can take care of your mouth and prevent a lot of other overall health issues. There are also a number of companies that provide testing for these bacteria using saliva samples.

Gum disease is incredibly common and can range anywhere from slightly tender and red gums to a mouth full of discolored, receding gums. Adults over 30 years old have a 50/50 chance of developing gum disease. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it or live with the consequences. 

You can prevent gum disease (and many other oral and systemic health problems) by:

 

The Stroke Connection

Not all oral bacteria are bad-in fact, some are necessary for digestion and immunity-but research continues to prove some bacteria are especially harmful. Cardiovascular disease is just one condition that can be deeply affected by your oral health. Others include mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, and arthritis. There are three main links between “bad” oral bacteria and heart health:

  • Cholesterol: gum disease increases your risk of developing bad cholesterol (LDL) and its buildup in blood arteries.
  • Chemicals: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become thin and more vulnerable to cholesterol.
  • Stickiness: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become very sticky, which attracts more plaque and cholesterol buildup.

You can see how each of these three circumstances has the potential to put your health at risk, especially in combination; they can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  When this kind of buildup happens in your brain, blood flow slows or stops.  The brain becomes starved of blood, causing a stroke.  Brain cells without blood can die within minutes and prove fatal – or cause lifelong health problems to stroke survivors. 

The good news is that science is getting better at finding the dangerous bacteria that cause these problems. If you have signs or a diagnosis of gum disease, ask your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

 

Your Dentist is Your Partner

Dentists are medical professionals who can do a lot to save your health and even your life. If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. Case in Portland can answer your questions and help you start taking better care of your overall wellness. Make an appointment at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Nov 2020
November 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

“Buy-Up” Dental Insurance: A Little Extra Protection

Family Dental Health discuss how Buy-Up dental insurance worksWhen it comes to dental insurance, it seems like there can be as many (or more) questions as there are answers. Even when you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, navigating its use can still be very confusing. Many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought – until the day comes when they need to use it.  Today, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health would like to talk to you about an option not everyone knows about – “buy-up” dental insurance.

What is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance?

“Buy-up” dental insurance allows enrollees with group insurance to “buy-up” to more generous benefits by paying higher monthly premiums and receiving more comprehensive dental coverage in return. The differences between “regular” and “buy-up” dental coverages are easy to pinpoint when benefit summaries of the plans are viewed side by side: “buy-up” dental calendar year maximums are higher, annual deductibles are lower, and a percentage of more extensive restorations like bridges, crowns, dental implants, and sometimes even orthodontics are covered, while regular group dental insurance plans often provide little to coverage for these procedures. As with any other insurance plan, whether dental providers are in-network also factors into the level of coverage when considering “buy-up” dental.

Is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance Worth the Added Cost?

When the only factor under consideration is economics, one recent study would likely call it a draw. The sample showed the average insured household spent $978 in out-of-pocket dental costs – including premiums – while the average uninsured household spent $1,007 – a mere $29 difference. If “buy-up” dental insurance becomes an option for you, the specific pros and cons of your individual and family situation will need to be weighed when you choose your insurance plan.  

If you are a weekend hockey player, have kids that need orthodontia, or just tend to be unlucky when it comes to your teeth, it’s hard to put a price tag on your peace of mind. Dental insurance can be a saving grace for those with unusually high dental expenses from serious financial hardship, and better-than-average coverage would only ease the burden. 

It may seem like a gamble to dig into your pockets and invest more money in a higher-priced dental plan when the extra coverage may never be needed. However, to reiterate – many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought until the time comes when they NEED it – and when you need your dental insurance, you really need it. Some of the most expensive dental procedures are also the most unexpected and in many cases, they are true medical emergencies that require treatment. 

One way to think about “buy-up” dental insurance is to compare it to enhanced towing coverage for your vehicle, such as the type offered by AAA. You can pay one nominal annual fee that covers unlimited towing costs, so no matter where your vehicle breaks down within a certain geographical radius, there will be no additional cost to you for your car to be towed. If you carry this coverage, your vehicle may not break down during that coverage year and your benefits may never be used, but if your vehicle does break down and you do require towing, the annual premium price is about the same or less than one tow, and the coverage has paid for itself with just one use.

Dr. Case and our team are always happy to discuss your insurance coverage, as well as your other financing options if you need additional help working dental care into your budget. Contact us anytime – we’d love to help!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Oct 2020
October 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental TechnologyPatient Care

The Buzz on Electric Toothbrushes: Are They Really Worth the Investment?

Family Dental Health discuss what an electric toothbrush has to offerElectric toothbrushes have been on the market for years now, and whether you’re a devout user or a critical skeptic, you may still be wondering: do they really work better, or have we all been duped? Dr. Case is here to break down some of the myths and separate fact from fiction to give us the spin on electric versus manual toothbrushes.

What’s Wrong with Ol’ Trusty?

Well, nothing… really. People have been brushing manually since the Middle Ages and continue to use manual toothbrushes effectively today. So why reinvent the wheel if it already rolls? Simple—technology and innovation drive us forward. Wheels today aren’t made of stone, they’re made from high-tech metals and rubber because we’ve discovered better materials and designs that fit our modern needs. Yes, they both accomplish the same end goal, but one is clearly more efficient than the other. 

So, the question becomes not what is wrong with manual toothbrushes, but what’s wrong with how we’re using them? With the proper technique and routine, manual toothbrushes and floss are usually all that’s needed to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The problem is, most of us slack off with “drive-by brushing”—we don’t brush long enough or use the proper technique to clean our teeth and gums effectively. 

Don’t Fight the Power

Standing up and speaking out for social justice causes is encouraged, and the power of electric toothbrushes is one movement you may want to jump on board with. Electric toothbrushes clean at up to 30,000 strokes per minute, while manual brushes only produce up to 200 strokes. More brush strokes equal more plaque removed, so that figure alone should tell you an electric brush is well worth the extra cost.

Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric models reduce 21% more plaque and 11% more gingivitis after three months of use according to an analysis of 56 studies published in 2014 by the international evidence-based research organization, Cochrane.

Quit Working So Hard

Do you ever struggle to find the energy to brush and floss right before bedtime? No… just us? Ok. Well if you did, you might be interested to know that electric toothbrushes are not only more effective, but they require less effort than a manual. As the name implies, manual brushes require your own energy to move the brush in small circles (not up and down). With electric models, however, you can sit back and let the brush do the work for you. That is not to say you don’t have to do anything—you still need to move the brush along each tooth surface and get the bristles between teeth and under the gum line—but the brush does most of the heavy lifting. So, if your technique isn’t perfect (like most of us), you can rest assured you’re still getting a quality clean each time. 

Proper brushing technique requires a certain level of dexterity, which can make it difficult for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Electric brushes are great for everyone, of course, but these particular demographics that may otherwise struggle to brush effectively can have a trusty tool on their side to get the job done better.

But They’re So Expensive

Not compared to a dental crown or gum disease treatment! We know, the cost of an electric brush can be more than three times that of a manual (and often you get a manual brush for free after seeing the dentist), but if you look at the lifetime value and return on your investment, electric is the way to go. Electric brushes can range anywhere from $30-$200+ dollars, but with up to 150x the cleaning power, the investment is well worth it. 

If you’re an expert brusher and flosser with perfect technique and you’ve never had any issues with tooth decay or gingivitis, then a manual toothbrush is probably just fine—but if you’re like the rest of us, an electric toothbrush is the way to go. Dr. Case would be happy to recommend one that suits your individual needs and budget. Whatever brush you use, be sure to use light pressure, a 45-degree angle, and small circular motions for at least two minutes, twice per day for the best results.

If you’d like to talk toothbrushes with Dr. Case, contact your Portland dentist at Family Dental Health today! And remember, when it comes to choosing a toothbrush—you gotta feel it… it’s electric! Boogie woogie woogie woogie!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Oct 2020
October 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

How are Dental Savings Plans Different from Insurance?

Family Dental Health discuss financial options for Portland patients without insuranceUnderstanding any type of medical or dental insurance can be a challenge, especially for uninsured folks trying to find a plan on their own. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, about 74 million Americans had no dental insurance coverage at the end of 2016. One possible solution is dental savings plans (also called dental discount plans). 

Dr. Case would like to talk about plans like these and their potential to reduce out-of-pocket dental costs for patients (who doesn’t like to save money?).

How Do Dental Savings Plans Work?

With a dental discount plan, the consumer pays an annual fee, just as they would pay for a buyer’s club membership to Costco or Sam’s Club or for emergency roadside assistance insurance like AAA. In return, they get access to a dental network that offers special savings to plan members, usually in the form of percentage-off discounts. For example, if a participating provider offers a 40% discount on crowns, that crown will cost $600 rather than $1,000 for the dental savings plan holder.

There are no exclusions for preexisting conditions and no annual cap on costs under a dental discount plan. A patient is free to choose the plan offering them the most savings, pay the plan’s annual fee with the full knowledge they need extensive work done, and be in the participating dentist’s chair as soon as they can book an appointment for the procedures they need!

When Do Dental Discount Plans Make Sense?

If you already have traditional dental insurance and know you’ll need a lot of work done this calendar year that won’t exceed your policy’s annual limits, a discount dental plan is probably not necessary for you. However, if you are postponing a costly procedure until the next calendar year, or you have a child or teen that needs braces soon, a discount dental plan might be just the thing.  Before you sign up, do your research—find out what providers in your area are on the plan, which procedures the plan covers, and whether the discount the plan has the potential to actually save you money.

Differences Between Dental Savings Plans & Dental Insurance

  • Discount plans generally cost less than dental insurance.
  • Dental discount plans require services paid upfront (or a payment plan is negotiated at the time of service if the provider allows). There will be no reimbursement from the plan later—and as a result, there is no claim paperwork to complete. While paying for services upfront can present a hardship, there are also no surprises.
  • There are no annual maximums, deductibles, copays, premiums, or preexisting conditions with a dental discount plan.
  • Some dental discount plans cover elective services such as teeth whitening, orthodontics or other cosmetic dentistry procedures.
  • Some dental discount plans throw in bonus savings on chiropractic, vision, or hearing, particularly those plans that are geared toward seniors.

Family Dental Health loves to help our patients get the care they need in a way that will work for them. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. Case today to learn more or schedule a visit!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Sep 2020
September 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Dry Mouth: Nothing to Spit At

Dry Mouth: nothing to spit atCan you imagine a 2-liter bottle of your favorite soda? Now imagine that same bottle filled with spit. That’s approximately how much saliva the average adult produces in their mouth every day! It may be gross, but it’s definitely important. Saliva is a normal body fluid that’s crucial for oral health and overall wellness. 

If you struggle to make enough saliva, your mouth will feel very dry and you will have trouble with daily activities like speaking, eating, and swallowing. This condition is commonly known as dry mouth, but the clinical name is xerostomia. A chronically dry mouth is uncomfortable and unhealthy. 

You have three salivary glands in different parts of your jaw that make and secrete saliva. Saliva is mostly made of water, but it also contains important molecules called enzymes that help keep your mouth clean and fight infection.

Dry mouth is common and can usually be fixed with the help of your Portland dentist and primary care doctor. Dr. Case shares more below about what causes dry mouth and how to treat it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

When your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, there’s not enough moisture in your mouth and it becomes overly dry. Dry mouth can be a random side effect of prescription medicine or a sign that there’s something actually wrong with your salivary glands. 

Common causes of dry mouth are:

  • Prescription medication
  • Nerve damage in your mouth from an impact or injury
  • Smoking
  • Chemotherapy and radiation 
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Other health conditions 

It’s important to talk with your primary care provider to determine what exactly is causing your dry mouth. Your body is a complex machine with many interconnected parts that all work together to keep you healthy.

What Are the Side Effects of Dry Mouth?

The importance of saliva goes beyond just your mouth. The water and enzymes in saliva are necessary for good breathing, digestion, immunity, and oral health. 

Common side effects of dry mouth include:

  • Dry (scratchy, painful) nasal passages and throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Increased risk of infection in the mouth
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Trouble tasting food

How Do I Treat Dry Mouth?

Talk with your doctor to figure out what’s causing your dry mouth. There are prescription and over-the-counter medicines and mouth rinses that might be able to ease your symptoms.

If you have dry mouth, it’s very important you maintain good oral hygiene to protect yourself against tooth decay and gum disease. Talk with your dentist about prescription fluoride or more regular cleanings to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Some easy ways to keep yourself comfortable with dry mouth include:

  • Drink more water
  • Chew sugar-free gum (with xylitol) to help produce saliva and keep your teeth clean
  • Breathe out of your nose instead of your mouth
  • Use a humidifier at home
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages
  • Don’t take antihistamines or decongestants

If you have concerns about dry mouth or any other oral health questions, we’d love to be your partner in health. Make an appointment with your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health today and we will see you soon!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Sep 2020
September 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

Types for All Stripes: Teeth Whitening

Teeth whiteningWhiter, brighter teeth are on the top of everyone’s smile wish list – and for good reason! White teeth look young and healthy. The good news is that teeth whitening is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your smile, and the results are almost immediate. If you’re already taking good care of your oral health, whitening your teeth will truly put the polish on all of your efforts.

Teeth Staining 101

Your unique smile and lifestyle determine the color of your teeth. The hard, outer surface of every tooth is called enamel. Enamel is usually white or off-white, but health and environmental factors can make it turn yellow, brown, or gray. Your mouth may do the talking, but your teeth can say a lot about your habits and health.

  • Coffee, tea, red wine, soda, sports drinks, and tobacco are the biggest causes of stains in healthy teeth. Limit these to preserve your natural pearly whites.
  • One dark or discolored tooth may be the sign of a more serious problem. It’s important to see a dentist that can get an accurate diagnosis for a single discolored tooth.
  • Aging causes your enamel to thin. This causes yellowing and sensitivity in teeth.

Bleach & Brush

All teeth whitening involves either bleaching out stains or rubbing them away. Light abrasives can scrape surface-level stains off your enamel, but bleach moves through the layers of the teeth to remove deeper stains that give teeth their true color. Both options work by breaking down stains to make them less visible. 

Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are the two dental bleaching options. Carbamide peroxide may be preferred because it’s less acidic and works longer. Small amounts of these chemicals have been approved for teeth whitening without harming your teeth.

Yellow teeth respond best to whitening procedures and can be brightened many shades. Brown or gray teeth may not respond at all and you should speak with a dentist first before attempting to whiten them.

Professional Whitening Treatments

  • Your Portland dentist can use the highest concentration of dental bleach in our office. To get professional whitening results in one visit, simply make an appointment and prepare to be amazed.
  • Your dentist can also make you a custom bleaching system to use at home over a couple of weeks. The kit includes a lower concentration of bleach and trays made to fit your mouth.
  • Some professional whitening treatments use lasers to enhance or speed up whitening results.
  • Veneers may be the best option for severely discolored teeth with the added benefit of being able to better shape or fill in your smile’s imperfections.

At-Home Whitening Treatments

  • Most toothpaste helps whiten teeth, though the results will take longer and not be as noticeable as professional bleaching. All toothpaste uses gentle abrasives to rub off surface stains. For bleaching toothpaste, look for the key ingredients: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Whitening strips and gels are similar. Your results won’t be as dramatic, but these options cost much less than professional treatments and can be found right on your drugstore shelf.
  • Natural remedies for whitening teeth include oil pulling and activated charcoal. You can learn about these DIY options online, but nothing will replace the important role of your dentist who cares about your oral health. Find a holistic dentist if you’re interested in learning more about more natural teeth whitening.

Lasting Results

Teeth whitening results should last at least six months and can last much longer depending on each individual person and their oral hygiene habits. You can really prevent new stains by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and limiting teeth-staining habits and substances. Talk with your dentist if your teeth feel sensitive after whitening. 

If you’re interested in achieving your brightest smile, call Family Dental Health today to make an appointment!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Aug 2020
August 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Dental Implants: A Brief History of Tooth Replacement Innovation

Dental Implants: a brief history of innovationToday’s dental implants boast a long-term success rate of near 97%. Because implants support surrounding teeth, encourage new tissue growth and continued bone formation, and give patients back full chewing ability and a complete smile, they have become the industry standard for tooth replacement. 

Today, your Portland dentist, Dr. Case, would like to share some interesting history about dental implants and how we got to where we are today.

History of Dental Implants

    • 4,000 Years Ago: The first record of temporary dental implants were bamboo pegs used to replace missing teeth in China.
    • 3,000 Years Ago: The first recorded case of a metal replacement tooth (a copper peg) fixed to a jawbone occurred in the mouth of an Egyptian king. Experts believe it may have been placed after death due to how painful placement would have been to a living person. There is also evidence that the Egyptians tried to stabilize teeth with ligature gold wire around this same era.
    • 2,300 Years Ago: An iron tooth was found among real teeth in a Celtic grave in France. Experts again concurred replacement teeth like these were likely to have been placed after death.
    • 2,000 Years Ago: People replaced missing teeth with human teeth purchased from underprivileged people or teeth stolen from corpses or animals. Teeth like these would be rejected by the host due to infection.
    • 1,350 Years Ago: An excavation of Mayan ruins in Honduras uncovered a jawbone with what may be the oldest recorded permanent tooth replacement using seashells. The replacement tooth had actually begun the process of fusion with the jawbone, indicating that it was placed during life, not after death.
  • 800 AD: A stone implant was found among cultural artifacts from early Honduras.
  • 18th Century: A European doctor implanted a still-developing tooth into a rooster – and the tooth integrated with the rooster’s tissues.
  • 1886: A porcelain crown mounted on a platinum disc, silver capsules, corrugated porcelain, and iridium tubes were some of the materials to make implants during this time without much success.
  • 1930s: Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock are believed to be the first to place the first endosteal (in the bone) implant made of a biocompatible metal.
  • 1940s: A number of different doctors continued to experiment with and design implants made of different types of metal, perfecting the design along the way to allow for greater stability in the jaw.
  • 1952: A Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Branemark discovered titanium fused and regrew bone while studying blood flow in rabbits.
  • 1960s: The 1960s saw more innovations in implant design from many different doctors. Implant design expanded to allow for placement into the maxilla or the mandible and to accommodate more than one missing tooth. 
  • 1965: Branemark placed his first titanium implant into a live human volunteer. Branemark continued to research bone healing, performing experiments and publishing studies, eventually making dental implants a commercial endeavor in 1978. 
  • 1980s: The 1980s ushered in the use of titanium for implants, which have continued to improve to the present day. Recent developments include antibiotic coatings to prevent infection and even more biocompatible materials like zirconia and ceramic.

Family Dental Health can give you all the information you need about the history of implants and how they exist today and everything they can do to bring back your full, healthy smile. If you are curious to discover more about implants or wonder if you could be an implant candidate, contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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