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27 Nov 2021
November 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

What’s Lurking in Your Saliva?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains all about saliva – what it is, what it does, and why it’s important for oral and overall health.Saliva. Just the word can conjure an array of images in your imagination. From salivating at a delicious meal to studying Pavlov’s dogs to watching a baseball player spit, life is full of saliva! And that’s a good thing because saliva is very important for oral and overall health. Problems with saliva can lead to dry mouth, cavities, and bad breath. Read more below from Portland dentist, Dr. David Case to learn more about your saliva.

Composition of Saliva
Saliva is 98% water. It also contains electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. Saliva travels to all parts of your mouth via “saliva ducts.” Saliva is made in your salivary glands and the contents come from your blood. Ancient doctors believed saliva and blood were “brothers” when it comes to a person’s wellness. 

Because saliva is so similar to blood, research is growing on how to use saliva samples to test for diseases. Saliva samples are already used to test for HIV, but studies are finding you can also detect breast cancer, oral cancer, gum disease, and viral hepatitis in your saliva! Saliva samples can also help doctors understand a person’s immune system. 

Functions of Saliva

Your saliva is hugely important for hygiene, digestion, wellness, and more. Some functions of saliva include:

  • Calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions keep teeth healthy and strong
  • Antibacterial compounds fight disease in your mouth and prevent cavities and infections
  • Helps you taste your food
  • Moistens your food and enzymes break it down to aid digestion
  • Washes food and debris off your gums and teeth
  • Maintains countless overall health functions that we learn more about every day

The more you chew, the more saliva you make. If you have problems chewing, or if your mouth seems overly dry, it’s important to see the dentist right away. People usually make less saliva at night, which is why it’s extra important to brush your teeth before bed.

Health Risks & Benefits of Saliva

Your health depends on your saliva and having just enough of it. Without saliva, you would be very uncomfortable, have trouble eating, and your breath would smell awful. Smoking, certain diseases, and prescription medicines can cause saliva deficiency. 

It can also be a problem if your body makes too much saliva (hello, drool). A dentist or doctor can treat you for either too little or too much saliva. Remember to avoid contact with another person’s saliva if they have a contagious illness because spit can carry those germs.

Treating a saliva imbalance can have many benefits for your overall health, including things like:

  • Acne
  • Cholesterol
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Heart problems
  • Allergies
  • Cold body temperature
  • Sleep problems
  • Inability to absorb calcium
  • Trouble conceiving children

It’s easy to take your spit for granted, but you’ll notice right away if anything is wrong with it. If you have any questions about saliva or how it’s related to your health, make an appointment at Family Dental Health today. We can help you achieve your best oral health and overall wellness!

 

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 2021
November 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Brushing Your Teeth – Are You Doing It Wrong?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares one common tooth brushing mistake that’s doing more harm than good.Did you know that certain times of day might be better for brushing than others? While it’s always recommended to brush your teeth twice per day, and floss once per day, your timing is also important. 

If you love your pearly whites and want to keep them around as long as possible (because face it, life would be pretty difficult without your teeth), read more to improve your tooth brushing game. 

The Acid in Your Mouth
Some level of acid in your mouth is normal, especially after you eat. After you eat, the healthy bacteria in your mouth go to work to break down microscopic bits of food leftover (yum!) and they produce acid as a result. However, consuming too much sugar increases acid production beyond a healthy level. Snacking all day also keeps those bacteria working and producing more acid than your teeth can handle. 

Why does this matter? Because long-term exposure to acid can erode your enamel, causing your teeth to become weak and decayed. Enamel is the hard, white, outer layer of your teeth and it’s essential for keeping your teeth strong, healthy, and decay- and pain-free. It’s important to understand the effects of acid on your teeth so that you can brush your teeth at the healthiest time of day.

Brushing After Eating

Highly acidic foods like citrus fruits can really take a toll on your tooth enamel even without the help of bacteria, and brushing too soon after eating can make matters worse. You want to protect your tooth enamel because it can’t ever be replaced once it’s gone.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you eat something highly acidic, you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. It’s best to rinse out your mouth with water after eating instead. Be sure to spit the water out, don’t swallow it, and you can chew sugarless gum with xylitol if you really need to freshen your breath (hello, 2 o’clock meeting).

We know people have their preferences and routines, and people are usually firmly in one camp or the other when it comes to the habit of brushing either before breakfast or after. This information might make the case for brushing your teeth first thing in the morning (before breakfast), instead of after—especially if you’re going to have oranges, lemons, grapefruit, or coffee with breakfast.

Brushing does a world of good for your teeth in the morning, even before you’ve eaten. This is because you produce less saliva overnight, and saliva is very important for keeping your teeth clean and healthy!

The one time this rule doesn’t apply is right before bed. Having a midnight snack without brushing after is linked to increased tooth loss and tooth decay. No matter what you ate, you should always brush your teeth right before bed, just be sure to rinse your mouth with water first to minimize acidity and enamel damage.

The Importance of Brushing

Brushing your teeth properly is the foundation for oral health. Anything else you do would be pointless without brushing. Use fluoride toothpaste, a toothbrush that’s no more than three months old, and brush for two whole minutes twice a day. Brushing and flossing gently clean your teeth and prevents many potential problems that can develop if your oral care isn’t managed.

If you have questions about acid, enamel, or how to brush properly, make an appointment at Family Dental Health in Portland today! Dr. David Case is a professional dentist who can help your smile look and feel its best.

 

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 2021
October 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

An Alkaline Diet for Oral Health

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains how an alkaline diet can benefit your oral health, overall health, and well-being.Acids and bases might sound like something from far back in your memory, like middle-school science class, but the concept is still very applicable to every aspect of life today.

The foods and beverages you consume daily have a very big effect on your oral health and overall health, for better or worse. You can protect and support your health by eating the right foods. We know this isn’t news to anyone, but it’s much easier said than done, right?

Dr. David Case, Portland dentist explains below how an alkaline diet can benefit your oral health and overall health.

What is an Alkaline Diet?
Everything around us is made of chemicals that are either some level of acidic or basic (alkaline). Chemicals are numbered on the pH scale from 0-6 as acidic, 7 as neutral, and 8-14 as alkaline and more people are talking these days about the negative effects of diets high in acidity. A minimally acidic—or alkaline—diet will contain mostly foods with a pH above 7.

Research shows that some chronic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease) and even cancer are linked with eating a highly acidic diet. An acidic environment is a breeding ground for bacteria, disease, and decay, and is the primary culprit behind chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is one of the main contributing factors for many different health problems. 

Eating an alkaline diet can counter these effects. Your body actually has great natural processes for balancing your internal pH, but you can relieve stress on these systems by eating less acidic and more alkaline foods. An alkaline diet aims to support your internal organ systems and the overall function of your body. 

Benefits of an Alkaline Diet for Oral Health

Too much acid in the body can leech calcium, which is bad for your bones. Eating an alkaline diet can help protect your teeth and oral health

Of course, acidic foods can be a problem for your teeth even before you fully digest them. Too much acid wears down your enamel (the hard, white, outside layer of each tooth). This is bad for tooth sensitivity, cavities, and the life expectancy of each tooth. Some studies found that the acid in dark soda (phosphoric acid) is particularly bad for your teeth.

Unfortunately, the standard American diet is high in processed, acidic foods like sugar and dairy, so it takes some effort to lower your consumption of them. But don’t worry—eating more alkaline foods is easier than you might think – and actually quite enjoyable!

Alkaline Diet Foods 

Alkaline foods tend to be raw and unprocessed. Think of fresh leafy greens, salads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The more colorful your diet, the better off you will be.

The most alkaline foods include:

  • Fresh vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumber, endive, garlic, grasses, kale, parsley, sprouts, spinach
  • Fresh fruits – avocado, coconut, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pomegranate, rhubarb, tomato
  • Beans, lentils, quinoa
  • Oils and fats – flax, hemp, avocado, olive, evening primrose, borage
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, buckwheat groats, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds
  • Hummus, tahini

Acidic foods you should avoid include:

  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Processed foods
  • Saturated fat
  • Vegetable oil

While citrus fruits are highly acidic in their natural state and can do damage to your tooth enamel, many of them actually become alkaline once digested and can provide a number of health benefits. Citrus fruits should be consumed in moderation, and you should always rinse your mouth with water after enjoying them to minimize damage to your teeth. 

Whenever you try new foods, it can take a while to learn how you like them prepared. Don’t be discouraged, but look for recipes and spices (other than salt) to enhance your alkaline diet.

If you have more questions about how your diet affects your oral health, Family Dental Health would love to empower you with information and support. Make an appointment to see us 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 Oct 2021
October 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Can Plaque Cause Tooth Loss?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains all about plaque and how to fight it with good oral hygiene and quality dental care.If you’ve ever gone too long between brushing your teeth, you know how slimy and dirty your teeth can feel. Some people lovingly call this layer of grime “teeth sweaters.” But it has a real name: plaque. Plaque is common but it can cause poor oral health if you ignore it. Read below for more information on what plaque is and how to deal with it.

What is Plaque?
To best understand what exactly plaque is, let us paint you a picture of the inside of your mouth after a meal. After enjoying your delicious food, someone else (or something else) is enjoying the leftovers. Oral bacteria are natural and normally present in everyone’s mouth. 

These bacteria feed off tiny bits of leftover food on your teeth – kind of gross, but it’s true! As bacteria eat the food, they digest and process it. Finally, the bacteria produce plaque as an aftereffect of digestion. This process happens with any food you eat, but the bacteria especially love carbohydrates and sugar. 

Plaque sticks to any and all parts of your teeth. In fact, the plaque on the sides of your teeth and near your gums can be different than the kind of plaque found in the grooves on the chewing surface of your teeth. 

Effects of Plaque on Teeth

The real problem with plaque is that it contains acid, which ruins your teeth. Over time, acid can erode your enamel and harm your gums. While plaque is totally normal, it’s still important to keep it at bay. 

The buildup of plaque can cause:

In summary, plaque is the basis of most oral health problems. Left untreated, many of the oral health problems listed above can lead to tooth loss and other oral health complications down the road.

What Causes Plaque?

You can’t avoid plaque completely. Plaque is simply the natural outcome of oral bacteria. Either the bacteria naturally reproduce or you pick up new bacteria from your environment. And some oral bacteria are actually good for you. 

So the idea isn’t to completely get rid of bacteria in your mouth. But certain foods (like sugar) and bad habits (like not brushing and flossing) can cause excessive plaque and harmful buildup that hardens into tartar and can wreak havoc on your oral health.

Fighting Plaque

The benefits of good oral hygiene go far beyond just your mouth. A healthy mouth is important for a healthy body and a joyful life. 

To keep your mouth healthy and plaque-free:

    • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice every day, especially in the morning and before bed. Saliva helps wash food off your teeth, but you have less saliva while you sleep, so it’s important to go to bed with very clean teeth to give the bacteria less to enjoy. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months to keep it clean.
    • Floss and clean between your teeth every day. A lot of plaque hides along and under the gum line, and flossing is the only way to get to this hard-to-reach plaque that brushing will miss.
    • Mouthwash can help loosen up plaque before or after you brush your teeth, and most have ingredients to fight bacteria. You might be sensitive to mouthwash and mouthwash should never replace regular brushing and flossing, so talk to your dentist about using it.

    • Eat less sugar. Especially avoid sugary drinks, which prolong your mouth’s exposure to sugar all day. Sugar is sneaky, you might be surprised how many snacks and beverages actually contain it. If you do have snacks with sugar, rinse your mouth with water right afterward.

    • Eat fewer snacks between meals. If you eat all day long, it’s like giving the bacteria in your mouth an all-day buffet. Eat a healthy meal, then either rinse your mouth or brush your teeth, then give your mouth a break from the plaque process.

    • See your Portland dentist. You can do a lot to fight bacteria and plaque every day, but professional cleaning is still necessary at least twice a year.

    • Ask your dentist about dental sealants for an added layer of protection against plaque and tooth decay.

To schedule a professional cleaning for your teeth, or to develop a new relationship with your Portland dentist, contact Family Dental Health today! Dr. David Case is taking new patients and would love to serve all your oral health needs, and help you keep plaque at bay.

 

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 2021
September 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Could Brushing & Flossing Prevent a Heart Attack?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains the connection between poor oral hygiene and heart attacks.A lot of healthy lifestyle choices benefit more than one system within your body. Eating well, exercising, good sleep, and fresh air all support a lot of your physical needs. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that what hurts one area of your health can easily hurt another area, too. An important (though less known) connection in your health systems is the connection between oral hygiene and heart health

Heart Disease

Your mouth is home to countless kinds of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are normal and good, but some may put you at a higher risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease. Heart disease is an umbrella term that covers a wide array of less-than-desirable conditions in your heart and its connecting vessels. Your heart muscle, valves, and rhythm can all be affected by heart disease.

If something prevents your heart and blood vessels from working properly, the consequences can be devastating. That’s why it’s important to know how your oral health and other lifestyle factors can support (or hurt) your heart health. If you have gum disease or dental plaque, you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Gum disease isn’t always obvious, though somewhere around 50% of all adults will get it. Warning signs include redness, swollen, and receding gums. The same bacteria that cause these problems also put your heart at risk.

Science shows that some bad oral bacteria can travel through your bloodstream and harm not only other parts of your body but the arteries they travel through. 

Harmful oral bacteria can cause:

  • Increased cholesterol buildup in your arteries
  • Arterial walls to thin and become more vulnerable
  • Arterial walls to become sticky and attract more cholesterol and other pathogens
  • The buildup in your arteries blocks your blood flow and can cause a heart attack or stroke

You can see how keeping a close eye on your oral health can compound positive effects. And the good news is that oral hygiene is simple and anyone can do it. (Even children need daily oral hygiene habits and should be taught how to care for their mouths.)

Prevent oral problems and heart disease by:

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Getting routine dental cleanings and check-ups
  • Eating a balanced diet with limited snacking between meals

Bonus: eating a diet rich in unprocessed foods and vegetables supports heart health, too! See, everything really is connected.

Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthy Life

The health of your mouth can affect countless other health concerns and desires you might have. Oral health supports your sleep, heart, digestion, immune system, brain, and pregnancy.

The field of research that studies these kinds of connections is called the oral-systemic link. As research grows, we know a few things for sure. Prevention is everything, and knowing your risk factors is always important. Having relationships with a doctor and a dentist you trust can help give you the life satisfaction you desire.

Your health is truly a tightly woven map of interconnected parts and systems. Don’t be overwhelmed by everything there is to know, but find the right health care providers, and definitely make use of all the simple ways you can take care of yourself.

Dentists are Doctors 

Dentists are medical professionals who can take care of a wide range of health and wellness needs. If you are looking for a Portland dentist who can get you on the right track, come to see Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health. Make an appointment and let our team of caring, knowledgeable staff give you the smile and the life you want.

 

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 2021
September 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Is Your Lipstick Aging You?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares how to pick the right lipstick shades for whiter teeth.Family Dental Health believes that natural beauty comes first. Our priority is for you to feel comfortable in your smile, and nothing should hold you back from laughing and grinning each day. Many different dental treatments can bring you this lifelong confidence. 

But we also know that the right makeup can enhance your natural beauty. It’s amazing what different products and colors can do to give you a different look and style. So, what shades of lipstick do we recommend to go with your healthy, beautiful smile? Read more below from Portland dentist, Dr. David Case, to learn what lipstick shades will make your teeth appear whiter, and which shades to avoid.

What Colors & Why
Fashion trends will come and go. But how do you pick a lipstick color that will improve your smile and make your teeth instantly appear whiter? 

The answer is to pick lipstick with blue undertones, instead of orange. Blue is the opposite of yellow-orange on the color wheel. Whereas orange-hued lipstick can bring out the yellow in your teeth, blue will balance it out and make your teeth appear whiter. 

You might be thinking, “blue lipstick?”…”orange lipstick?” Not exactly. Every shade of red and pink can be a warmer or cooler shade. So another way to say it is to pick lipstick with cooler undertones. Here are some examples:

  • When looking for classic red lipstick, look for blue undertones instead of orange undertones. 
  • When looking for pink lipstick, whether light or dark, pick berry colors instead of coral.
  • When looking for dark lipstick, pick a purple instead of a brown. The high-contrast of dark lipstick usually makes teeth appear whiter, but brown will only bring out any yellow and staining.
  • When looking for a nude lipstick, pick one with a little gloss instead of something matte.

Some lipsticks are formulated to make teeth look whiter, such as Apa® Blue Lip Shine.

The Impact of White Teeth

A study commissioned by Crest® found remarkable results that whiter teeth improved a person’s career and dating opportunities. It’s pretty obvious that white teeth just look healthier and happier, which translates to the person as a whole, not just their smile. 

You can get professional teeth whitening treatments at home or at Family Dental Health for real, long-lasting results. And you can maintain whiter teeth with everyday whitening toothpaste. 

If you have additional questions about whitening your teeth, make an appointment to see us soon! We’ll help you look your best for every occasion. 

 

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 2021
August 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

A Real Nail Biter

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares why nail biting is bad for your oral and overall health, and gives tips on how to break the habit!We all have those nervous habits we turn to when we feel awkward, stressed, or just plain bored. If your choice vice is biting your nails, you need to know that it can cause a lot of distress on your oral health and overall health. Dr. David Case, Portland dentist shares why nail biting is so bad for you and how you can break the habit.

Downsides of Biting your Nails
It may seem harmless, but nail biting can actually:

  • Chip your teeth
  • Hurt your jaw (due to frequently jutting your teeth out to bite)
  • Increase your risk of tooth loss and tooth-root loss if you have braces
  • Tear and damage your gums
  • Spread bacteria from under the fingernail into your mouth, bloodstream, and body

Not to mention the painful cuticles around each nail and your increased risk of bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching with painful side effects). According to the General Dentistry Journal, people who bite their nails and also chew on things like pencils are at a greater risk of having bruxism. Signs of bruxism include worn tooth enamel, sensitive teeth, and pain and popping in the jaw.

Biting your nails makes you look less confident and it certainly won’t increase your chances of a successful date or job interview. The most obvious downside here is, of course, jagged, unattractive nails, but it’s what’s living under your nails that might be the ultimate factor in your decision to quit the habit. Your fingertips are a cesspool of germs, and various types of bacteria, fungus, and yeast can live under your nails, including fecal matter and staph infection. Gross!

Why We Bite Our Nails

Don’t get down on yourself for biting your nails but do talk with your dentist if you want to break the habit. Biting your nails is a mindless action we slip into mostly for emotional and mental reasons. You might consider seeing a counselor to benefit your mental health, or finding something safer to fidget with when you feel stressed or anxious. (Fidget spinners, anyone?)

Adults and children alike struggle with nail biting. If you are the parent of a child who bites their nails, talk with the child and their dentist about how and why to break the habit. Underlying anxiety could be causing the child to resort to nail biting to release stress.

Break Your Nail Biting Habit

If you want to stop yourself from biting your nails, try using bitter-tasting nail polish or a mouthguard–anything that will protect your teeth and make you take your hands out of your mouth. You can also talk with your Portland dentist for more suggestions.

Whenever you start trying to break the habit, set small and manageable goals such as going one hour without biting. Slowly increase the hours and days until you can’t remember the last time you bit your nails.

Any time you’re trying to stop or start a new habit, you’ll need something to fill the space and get your mind off the temptation. Try sipping water every time you want to bite your nails, chewing sugarless gum, or get up and do a brief stretch. Don’t be too harsh if it takes a while, habits can be very hard to break, even if you know how bad they are!

Family Dental Health is here for any oral health and overall health questions and goals you may have. Make an appointment today if you’re looking for a professional dentist to help you feel and smile your best!

 

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 Aug 2021
August 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Hot on the Trail with Oral Pathology

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains what oral pathology is, and how it helps us diagnose and treat oral health problems.When it comes to your oral health, we hope you never have any pains or problems. Good preventive care will help you always feel your best! But even with the best habits, dental problems do happen. In that case, oral pathology is the science and medicine that helps diagnose and treat whatever is making you ache. If you think you have oral disease, don’t be embarrassed, but get help as soon as possible.

What is Oral Pathology?

Sometimes things go wrong, even in the healthiest people. If you have pain, bleeding, or unusual symptoms in your mouth, oral pathology helps us find the answers you need.

According to the American Dental Association: “Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions.” In other words, oral pathology is the science that understands the causes and effects of these diseases. Common practices include clinical examinations, lab testing, and taking the whole body health and chemistry into consideration.

Pathology is important because if you have a certain problem, we want to know exactly what it is so that we can offer the right treatment. For example, viruses and bacteria are completely different kinds of organisms. Both can make you sick, but in order to get the proper treatment, we want to know what exactly is causing the problem. 

For example, let’s say at your last checkup, Dr. David Case noticed your gums bled more than usual and have started to recede. These are early warning signs of gingivitis and gum disease. But why now? Your gums have been healthy for your whole life. After a brief discussion, we rule out any dietary, hygiene or lifestyle changes. But you are taking a new medication – a medication that is known to cause dry mouth, a common risk factor for gum disease. Aha! And there we have it. Oral pathology has done it again!

Oral pathology takes into consideration your personal health background to consider what existing medical conditions might be affecting you specifically. This is why it’s a great idea to have a good relationship with your Portland dentist that includes sharing any and all health problems and medications – even if you think they don’t have anything to do with your mouth. Your oral health and your overall health go hand-in-hand!

Oral Diseases

According to the World Health Organization: “Risk factors for oral diseases include an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, poor oral hygiene, and social determinants.” Any of these combined with your personal risk factors can make you and your mouth unhealthy.

The main categories of oral diseases are:

  • Pain: Any number of problems can cause pain in your mouth, jaw, and neck.
  • Infections: Can be caused by fungus, bacteria, or viruses.
  • Cancer: Warning signs include a discolored tongue or gums, open wounds, or lumps in your mouth or throat.
  • Cavities: Called dental caries, lead to tooth decay and other complications.
  • Gum Disease: A common but treatable infection and inflammation of the gums.
  • Tooth Loss: Many oral diseases can cause tooth loss. Your Portland dentist can treat the problem and also talk with you about tooth replacement options.

Anything that prevents you from comfortably speaking, smiling, chewing, and swallowing is an oral problem. While accidents and injuries aren’t diseases, but they can certainly harm your oral health.

A healthy mouth is key for a healthy body and a happy life. The best way to protect your oral health is through good oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes
  • Flossing or cleaning between your teeth once every day
  • Seeing the dentist regularly, usually two times per year
  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding/limiting smoking, sugar, and alcohol
  • Drinking lots of water and getting good sleep
  • Understanding how your overall health affects your oral health

If you’re experiencing any oral health problems and are wondering why we would love to help you find answers. Contact Family Dental Health today to make an appointment if you have any concerns about your oral health!

 

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 Jul 2021
July 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Can Dry Socket Be Deadly?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains how tooth extractions can cause dry socket. What is dry socket? How can we prevent it?The dreaded words of warning for anyone who has a tooth extraction: dry socket. A dry socket is a painful complication after a routine treatment like an extraction, but it can be avoided if you’re careful, and it definitely won’t kill you. Read more below from Portland dentist, Dr. David Case, on what a dry socket is, how to avoid it, and how to treat it if it happens to you.

What is a Dry Socket?
Like any part of your body, your mouth has its own way to heal and recover itself after accidents or treatments. If you have a tooth removed, your gums will make a blood clot over the hole where the tooth was. The spot in your gums where the tooth once was is called the socket. This clot, like a scab, protects the vulnerable tissues underneath and aids healing. 

If the blood clot gets removed (usually by accident), it leaves a painful and fresh wound. Where the tooth once was is now bare bone and nerves, and it hurts when they are exposed. Dry sockets increase your chance of infection and will increase your pain and prolong your healing after surgery.

Symptoms & Causes of Dry Socket

A dry socket is the most common complication following oral surgery such as tooth extraction. If you have had an extraction, the symptoms of dry socket include:

  • Losing some or all of the blood clot from the socket
  • Intense pain in the socket, as well as pain radiating up into other parts of your mouth and face
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Unpleasant taste and odor

Things that put you at risk for developing a dry socket include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use (both the chemicals and the physical process are likely to compromise the blood clot on the socket)
  • Drinking through a straw (this action causes a suction in the mouth that can loosen the blood clot)
  • Oral contraceptives (high estrogen level may delay the healing process of the first blood clot)
  • Tooth or gum infection (infection around the socket can delay healing)
  • Failure to care for the wound after surgery (be careful to follow your dentist’s instructions once you return home)
  • If you’ve had a dry socket in the past

Treating a Dry Socket

Dry sockets can be very painful and will prolong your healing process. Some amount of pain is to be expected after tooth removal, but if you’re in serious pain and/or experiencing any of the symptoms of a dry socket, you should call us immediately. 

The dentist can treat your dry socket by:

  • Cleaning the wound 
  • Applying topical numbing medicine for instant relief
  • Applying medical bandages to protect the socket
  • Prescribing pain medication
  • Giving you clear instructions on cleaning and dressing the socket at home

Pain from the dry socket will likely subside within a few days, but the dry socket will take some time to fully heal. Be sure to drink lots of water in the days following surgery to help yourself recover and eat only soft food per your dentist’s instructions. Continue to brush your teeth after tooth removal, even with a dry socket, but be very careful around the socket area.

Your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health is here to help with any dental needs you have. Make an appointment today if you have more questions about dry socket or any other oral health concern.

 

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 Jul 2021
July 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

Local Anesthetic – Is it Safe?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains anesthesia and the difference between local anesthetic and general anesthetic.If you get to go on a tropical vacation, your ability to feel the warm sun and the smooth sand is crucial to enjoying the atmosphere. There are, however, times in life when you would rather not feel anything. Getting a dental procedure can be one of those times—as important as the procedure might be. In that case, thank goodness for modern medicine and anesthesia. 

Ancient dentists used a number of herbs and drugs to numb their patients. Thankfully, today, you have the option of completely safe and effective anesthesia. Dr. David Case, Portland dentist shares more below about what anesthesia is and when you might need it.

What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a type of medicine best known for dulling pain. The root-word “an” means without and “aesthesis” means feeling. Anesthesia literally means “without feeling.” That perfectly describes how most people want to feel if they need to get a cavity filled or a tooth pulled. Anesthesia can also help you feel relaxed during your treatment and ease your pain afterward.

Besides numbing your sensation to feel, anesthesia can also contain chemicals that help the medicine get into your blood and stay in your system as long as necessary. Millions of patients every year receive anesthesia from their dentist.

Local Anesthetic

There are two kinds of anesthetics: general and local. If you have major surgery, even oral surgery, your doctor might recommend general anesthesia to numb your entire body and cause you to sleep for the duration of the procedure. This might sound scary, but many people really enjoy the chance to take an amazing nap.

Most often, dental work only requires a local anesthetic. Local anesthetic blocks your nerves in a small, specific part of your body. In your dental office, this is usually administered by injection. A topical anesthetic can first be placed on your gums or inner cheek to numb you from feeling the injection. 

If you have a toothache, you might consider an at-home topical anesthetic to ease your pain until you can get in to see your Portland dentist. Orajel™ is a popular topical numbing gel for adults and teething babies. Your local drugstore should have plenty of options depending on your specific needs.

Side Effects of Local Anesthesia

Anesthesia, when administered by a professional dentist, is very safe. Still, it’s important you know the potential side effects—especially if you have other health issues that might interact with your procedure. Talk to your dentist before agreeing to any medicine or treatment.

Potential side effects of local anesthesia are:

  • Hematoma: a blood-filled swelling at the injection site
  • Numbing and loose muscles in other parts of your face, beyond your mouth
  • Nerve injury at the injection site

Local anesthesia is commonly used safely and effectively with little to no side effects. 

After Your Appointment

If you receive a local anesthetic at the dentist, the numbing effects may stick around for a few hours after your appointment. Be careful not to bite down on your mouth where you don’t have any feeling. Plan on having some difficulty speaking, eating or drinking. (This is probably not the best time to schedule a first date or job interview!) You will be able to safely drive yourself home.

You can keep treating your pain at home with Tylenol or ibuprofen. Ask your Portland dentist for a recommendation.

With general anesthesia, however, you will need transportation to and from your appointment, and someone should stay with you for several hours afterward while the effects wear off.

If you need any dental work or just a good professional cleaning, contact 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.

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