How Gaps Between Your Teeth Can Harm Your Oral Health

When you smile, people instantly take note of your teeth. Dental imperfections, no matter how minor, can cause self-consciousness, making you make every attempt to hide your mouth. And a refusal to smile can negatively impact a person’s initial impression.

Gaps between your teeth, while viewed by some as cute and endearing, are one of these imperfections, and one that can harm your oral health.

What Causes Gaps Between Teeth?

Gaps between your teeth, often referred to as diastemas, have several causes. They are often caused by a discrepancy between the size of your jaw and the size of your teeth. They are common in children, because their mouths outgrow their baby teeth, but adults can have them too. Gaps can be caused by an upper lip tie (the labial frenulum has a low attachment), gum disease (bone loss leads to spaces), and missing teeth

Gum Disease

Not only does gum disease cause diastemas, diastemas can cause gum disease. This is because if you have gaps between your teeth, food is more likely to become lodged there. Plaque can build up and bacteria can collect. If the spaces aren’t properly cared for (flossed), bacteria can continue to grow, causing cavities and leaving you more susceptible to gum disease.

Poor Alignment

Gaps can also lead to poor alignment. This is because when there is extra space between your teeth, your teeth may shift. If the teeth shift, they no longer line up properly, which throws off your bite. An off bite can cause uneven tooth wear, problems with your TMJ and pain.

Correcting Gaps

There are a few different ways in which gaps can be corrected. First, however, the underlying cause needs to be diagnosed. If gum disease has caused gaps, treatment is needed first. Common ways to fix gaps between teeth include:

• Oral surgery (such as a frenectomy).

• Cosmetic procedures (porcelain veneers or dental bonding).

• Replacing missing teeth (bridges, partial dentures, dental implants).

If the gaps between your teeth are affecting your confidence, or your oral health, be sure to contact our office about the best options for you. The right fix can give you a beautiful, and healthy, smile that everyone will notice.

How Dentists Can Help if You Snore

Snoring is not a normal sound that people make simply because they are in a deep sleep. Typically, snoring is a symptom of a much larger issue, and that is having trouble breathing while asleep.

Letting your dentist know that you are having trouble with snoring may not make much sense, as most people think of telling their doctor first.

However, your dentist is actually the go-to person to help with snoring in most cases. Plus, they can help protect your teeth if you are snoring with your mouth open.

Your Dentist Wants to Know if You Snore

Snoring is a signal that there is a problem. Usually the problem is that you have too much tissue between your sinuses and your lungs, somewhere. This tissue is vibrating when you sleep, causing the noise we know as snoring. Sometimes the problem is congestion of the nose, while other times, people are actually in the early stages of sleep apnea when they snore. If the trouble is from a breathing issue, your dentist can help.

The main thing they can do is to help protect your teeth during this time. Most people do not realize how much damage can happen when your mouth stays open during the night. Your saliva is meant to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy all night.

If it is all dried up off of your teeth and gums, then caries and gum disease can run rampant in your mouth. Sleep night guards can help hold your jaw open the right way to alleviate the issue with too much tissue, and can keep your mouth moist while you sleep, keeping you healthier.

If you have been told by a loved one, or even a neighbor, that you snore, contact our office. They can help you get better sleep, and stay healthier, too.

Discreet Options for Keeping Your Teeth Clean While at Work

Oral hygiene is important. While the minimum recommendation is to brush your teeth twice a day (first thing in the morning and then again before bed), it never hurts to make an effort to keep your teeth during the day too. After all, you eat several meals and snacks in between brushing sessions.

If you’re like most Americans, you spend several hours a day at work, away from the comforts of your own bathroom.

Having a clean mouth and fresh breath at work can be beneficial not just your oral health, but your confidence as well. However, brushing your teeth at work may not be all that appealing. Here are a few discreet ways to keep your teeth clean.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum 30 minutes after a meal or beverage has several benefits for your mouth. First, it helps to freshen your breath. Second, chewing on gum stimulates saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria, containing enzymes that destroy them. It also neutralizes acids and helps to wash your mouth clean.

Pack Lunch Thoughtfully

What you eat can play a role in keeping your teeth clean. Certain foods, such as hard, crunchy fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, carrots, celery, etc.), scrape your teeth as you chew them, scrubbing away plaque and bacteria, without any extra added effort. Cheeses clean your teeth as well, and provide you with calcium. The extra chewing also stimulates saliva production, which, again, is important for destroying oral bacteria.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is good for your whole body, including the health of your mouth. Not only does it help keep you hydrated (which is important for all of the processes in your body, brain function, and staying energized), it also helps to wash away lingering food particles and bacteria. And, staying hydrated helps to keep your saliva flow strong.

Keeping your mouth clean at work can greatly improve your oral health. Contact our office if you have any questions about your oral health.

Did You Know that if the Bristles of Your Toothbrush Bend You’re Brushing Too Hard?

Yes with zeal, these days, people are brushing their teeth. The great strides made in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible to have teeth that look almost perfect and at a price that doesn’t cost so much that you qualify for a medical deduction.

Toothpaste manufacturers have joined this revolution with their own contribution.

The whitening toothpastes they produce help people get their teeth cleaner and whiter. Even some mouthwashes promise to whiten your teeth. But this zeal for white teeth presents a potential problem. Some people may start brushing harder or more frequently

What is Wrong with Brushing Harder?

Brushing your teeth is good, but brushing more frequently or harder can lead to a problem for you. While you usually exchange your toothbrush for a new one after three months, your vigorous brushing may actually dictate that you replace your toothbrush more frequently. If you don’t want to replace your toothbrush more frequently then you must have a way to determine if you are brushing too vigorously.

How Can You Tell if You’re Brushing Too Hard?

To determine if you are brushing too hard you will have to brush your teeth where there is a mirror. While you are brushing, watch the bristles on your toothbrush. The bristles should stay straight because the objective is to gently rub the bacteria and debris from the surface of your teeth.

If you are putting too much pressure on your toothbrush, and consequently your teeth, your toothbrush bristles will bend. If your toothbrush bristles bend, you are brushing too hard.

If you are brushing hard to get your teeth cleaner or whiter faster, stop. Brushing harder doesn’t make your teeth cleaner. In fact, it can damage your teeth. As for getting your teeth whiter, that is a process that happens over time. The more diligent you are in brushing, flossing and avoiding substances like tea, coffee and tobacco products, your teeth will eventually get as white as they can.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about brushing your teeth too hard.

Can a Cavity Be Left Without a Filling?

Typically, when a tooth develops a cavity, the dentist removes the decay and replaces it with a filling. But does that tooth need to have a filling in it? Most of the time, the answer is yes.

The only way to keep the tooth’s integrity in place is by putting a filling where dense tooth once was. However, there are occasional circumstances where a filling really isn’t necessary.

When Your Tooth May Not Require a Filling

Some cavities are very easy to spot at a very early stage. This means the dentist was able to see the spot of decay on your tooth as it was just starting to form, and rid your mouth of the decaying tissue. If the resulting hole in your tooth is quite small, you may not need a filling. Teeth do regenerate to some degree, much like a broken bone.

It will fill back in some of the area on its own, provided that area is kept clean and doesn’t begin to decay again. If you were incredibly lucky and found your cavity when it was just beginning to cause damage, you may also be lucky enough to be able to avoid the subsequent filling.

Talk to your dentist about their filling policies at your next appointment. They may have a minimum size in order to put a filling in, or your dentist may believe that all cavities should be filled. They will be able to explain to you what they normally do, and why.

You can also find out at that time if there are any exceptions, and see if you have any cavities that fit into those exceptions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions by contacting our office today. They like you knowing about your care, and welcome all the questions you may have.