Apple Cider Vinegar - what it does to our teeth

Recently, we have had some people asking us about using apple cider vinegar for teeth cleaning and whitening.  We are in agreement with the American Dental Association when we say that an acidic solution, such as apple cider vinegar, is the last thing you would want to use daily on your teeth.  Anything acidic, like this, will wear out the enamel, which is the protective layer of your teeth, and will cause darkening of the teeth and cavities.  The best option, here, is to brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time with a toothpaste with the ADA seal. 

Diabetes and Oral Health

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.  What is even more eye opening is that around 8 million people are living with diabetes and they don’t know it.

Symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurry vision, slow or non-healing cuts or bruises, weight loss despite eating more and tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and/or feet.  If you have noticed any of these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

Untreated diabetes can affect your mouth in the following ways:

  • Less saliva, resulting in a very dry mouth
  • Because of less saliva, you’ll be at a higher risk for developing cavities
  • Inflamed and bleeding gums – around teeth and implants
    • Treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control which will, in turn, decrease the progression of the disease. 
  • Ability to taste food diminishes or changes
  • Delayed wound healing – this is extremely important for extractions and for the success of implants
  • Increased risk of infections inside your mouth – also very important for extractions and implants

How does a diabetic keep a healthy mouth?

  • Blood sugar control – using diabetic medications as directed, healthy diet and exercise
  • Avoid smoking
  • Routine cleanings or deep cleanings when necessary
  • Clean dentures daily
  • Brush teeth and implants twice daily
  • Floss teeth and implants daily
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups

 

Next time, we'll talk about oral health and heart disease!

Are your medications affecting your dental health?

We all know that daily brushing and flossing, in addition to professional cleanings and examinations at least twice per year, are the key to maintaining our teeth and implants, but what about the medications that we take for other medical conditions?  How are they affecting our teeth and implants?

  • There are many medications which cause an increase in clenching and grinding.  In addition to exacerbating temporomandibular joint disorders, these habits can be detrimental to teeth and implants, causing pain, looseness and in some cases, even failure of the implants. 
  • Some medications can lead to a reduction in salivary flow.  This dramatically increases the risk of developing dental decay.  These patients should have frequent dental examinations in order to catch new lesions while they are small enough to be treated conservatively.
  • Latest news about dental implants suggests that some medications can improve the success rate of the implant treatment, while some can reduce the success rate of the implant treatment. 

Our doctors carefully review medical conditions and medications for each patient to ensure the best treatment outcome.  If you have questions regarding your medications, you can ask your doctor.  

Five dental hygiene aids most often recommended by our office

At our office, we emphasize home care with our patients so that they are able to maintain their dentition and implants as best as possible.  Here is a quick guide to our most recommended dental hygiene aids, all of which can be found over-the-counter in the dental aisle of your pharmacy.  Please ask any of our doctors or our hygienists at your next visit which is right for you!

 

1.        Fluoridated toothpaste

If you have teeth or any permanent implant restoration in your mouth, you should be using toothpaste to clean your teeth at least twice per day.  It is recommended to brush your teeth, morning and night, for 2 minutes each time.  Most of us (unless otherwise prescribed) should be using an over-the-counter (OTC) fluoridated toothpaste.  It is not hard to find fluoridated toothpaste, as the vast majority of the OTC options have some fluoride in them.

 

2.       Dental floss – for teeth and implants

There is no real substitution for flossing your teeth.  Floss allows you to clean the surface of the tooth which touches the adjacent tooth.  This area of direct contact is often so small that the only thing that will adequately clean it is floss.  Flossing should be done every evening.  Many people say, “when I floss my teeth, my gums bleed.”  Yes, this is because the gums are inflamed and will bleed easily.  You will see that if you start to get into the habit of flossing every night, your gums will be less red and will not bleed when flossed. 

3.       Interproximal brushes – for teeth and implants

These little brushes resemble pipe cleaners and are great for cleaning out areas between the teeth next to the gum line, particularly on patients with periodontal disease.  These areas can enlarge and become food traps and interproximal brushes are perfect to clean these hard-to-reach spots. 

 

4.       WaterPik – for teeth and implants

A WaterPik is a great homecare tool for patients with periodontal disease, bone loss and/or implants.  The thin plastic tip releases water to flush out any debris and rinse the areas between teeth/implants and the surrounding gingiva.  Be sure to use the WaterPik on its lowest setting and to point the tip straight through the open space, not pointed down into the gum line.

 

5.       Electric toothbrush – for teeth and implants

Electric toothbrushes are a wonderful addition to dental homecare routines.  There are many brands available now and some of them even include 2-minute timers which will ensure you are brushing the proper amount of time.  The key to an electric toothbrush is to hold the brush steady on the tooth and move it throughout the arch while letting the brush do the work.  There is no need for additional tooth brushing motion from you while the electric brush is working and additional motion can actually wear tooth structure away quicker.