Cooking For A Happy, Healthy Sweet Tooth

Sweet treats and a healthy smile—can they go hand in hand? Rising awareness of the dangers of sugar has many parents wondering how to please their children’s taste buds without contributing to the formation of plaque and cavities. Here are some simple ways to protect your children’s teeth while pleasing their taste buds with sweet, healthy treats.

The Foundations of a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Before launching into some tooth-friendly replacements for sugar, let’s cover some healthy eating habits that provide the nutrients for teeth that are strong and cavity-free.

Wholefood Vitamins and Minerals

The two most important minerals for strengthening tooth enamel according to the American Dental Association are calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is abundant in foods such as cheese, milk, almonds, and dark leafy green vegetables. Phosphorus is present in meat, eggs, and fish.

To maximize these key minerals and their uptake in the body, it’s best to go for grass-fed, organic animal products (and to ingest milk in its probiotic-rich fermented forms). Nuts and seeds should be soaked overnight in the fridge to reduce anti-nutrients like oxalic acid.

Cod Liver Oil and High-Vitamin Butter Oil

Dr. Weston A. Price—a renowned dentist who studied primitive cultures in the early 1900s—observed that communities that still ate a traditional diet ingested ten times more vitamin A and D than people in the modern world. He also noted that these fat-soluble vitamins, when paired with Vitamin K2, significantly improved the body’s retention and utilization of dietary minerals for strong teeth and bones.

To increase these key vitamins in your family’s diet, Dr. Price and the Weston A. Price Foundation recommend consuming quality fermented cod liver oil and grass-fed butter oil daily (including before and during pregnancy) to prevent many of the most common dental issues in children and adults.

Sweets that Please Your Teeth as Much as Your Taste Buds

In addition to the dietary guidelines set out above, your family can enjoy a number of healthy sweets that won’t harm your teeth or contribute to the development of diabetes later in life.

1. Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And as it turns out, an apple a day may keep the dentist away, too. Raw, crunchy foods like apples, carrots, celery, and cucumbers can help to dislodge plaque and cleanse your mouth so that bacteria are cleared away instead of settling down and causing cavities. For a tooth-friendly treat that is low in natural sugars, try green apples rather than red. Your body will thank you!

2. Chewing Honey

As one of the most intense natural sweeteners, honey may seem like a surprising ingredient to include in a “tooth-friendly” ingredient list. However, a 2014 study demonstrated that chewing honey can reduce oral bacteria more effectively than antibiotics. It also helps acid levels in the mouth to drop off much more quickly after a meal than either sucrose or sorbitol did under the same conditions.

3. Stevia

Stevia is a naturally sweet leaf from South America that is typically ground into a powder and sold in its powdered or crystallized form. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), stevia does not produce lactic acid when ingested, which is one of the main by-products of refined sugar that eats away at your teeth.

4. Xylitol

A sweetener that is derived from the natural sugar alcohol present in birch fibers, xylitol may be the star of the show when it comes to tooth-happy sweeteners. This powdered substance prevents the acid attack that typically occurs for up to 30 minutes after eating and can reduce acid-forming bacteria by up to 90%.

As if that weren’t enough, this sweetener raises the concentration of amino acids and ammonia in the saliva, increasing the pH of the oral cavity. When the pH of the mouth is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in your saliva move to the weak areas of tooth enamel and actually begin to repair it!

5. Cranberries

Cranberries can be eaten fresh or dried and contain polyphenols (just like black tea). A study from the Dentistry Journal indicates that polyphenols may prevent plaque from attaching itself to teeth, lowering the chance of cavities. Be sure to buy cranberries with no added sugar as this tart fruit is often sweetened.

6. Raisins

Raisins contain phytochemicals, which may help to kill bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities. These delicious little treats can also help to control some of the bacteria associated with gum disease and are easy to send with your children for a healthy school lunch. As with any dried fruit, consume raisins in moderation as a complement to fresh, raw, and whole foods.

Tooth-Friendly Habits to Develop in Your Family

Complete your family’s tooth-friendly program by rinsing your mouth with water after each meal, brushing everyone’s teeth twice daily, and flossing once a day—preferably after meals containing stringy fibers or red meat.

Visiting the dentist every six months is a great way to check that you and your children are using effective brushing techniques and to catch demineralization in its tracks for a lifetime of strong, happy, and healthy teeth.

Image sources

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https://pixabay.com/photos/stevia-leaf-sugar-plant-sweetness-74187/
https://pixabay.com/photos/trees-birch-white-trunk-forest-690727/
https://pixabay.com/photos/backdrop-background-berry-cranberry-22024/
https://pixabay.com/photos/raisins-dried-vine-useful-617416/

Written by Aaron Smith

Tooth Whitening: Home Remedies and Prevention Tips

We all want to look our best, and sporting a beautiful, white smile can go a long way to freshening our look and brightening up our face. Dentists offer teeth whitening treatments that can be extremely effective, however there are also various techniques you can try at home to get rid of plaque and stains and to lighten up dull-looking teeth.

They say you’re never fully dressed without a smile, so read on to discover some top tips for getting shiny, white teeth from the comfort of your own home. Always consult a dentist before embarking upon any home whitening treatments and ensure that your teeth are as healthy and well looked after as possible. Brush and floss at least twice a day and stop any additional treatments straight away if you experience any pain or sensitivity as a result.

Cut out the acid

This tip may not secure you rapid results, but it is an excellent way to not only improve the appearance of your teeth, but also strengthen their condition and boost your overall oral and physical health.

Foods with a high acidic content can wear down the outer enamel coating, eventually exposing the more yellow dentine underneath. This erosion can also leave your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. So, try to avoid or cut down on high-acid foods, such as citrus, sugar, sodas and processed meals. While on the subject of making changes to the diet, avoid dark coloured food and drinks too, such as tea and coffee, red wine, cola and tomato-based sauces.

If you must have them, use a straw and finish your portion or drink in one go to minimise the time your teeth will be in direct contact with them.

Activated charcoal

More and more people are becoming aware of the tooth whitening benefits of activated charcoal. It is easier to find toothpaste containing this ingredient, and you can also make your own version at home. Activated charcoal was historically used to treat poisoning due to its propensity to absorb, or bind with much of what it comes into contact with. Including yellowing plaque or teeth stains. It removes surface stains only without harming the enamel surface underneath. It works as a paste smeared on the teeth, left for five to ten minutes then gently rubbed or brushed away.

Saliva-inducing foods

Eating food that naturally produces lots of saliva can be an effective way of encouraging your mouth to treat itself, washing away bacteria and gently rubbing away yellowing plaque and other stains. Foods that you have to chew down on can work well, such as celery or carrots to encourage saliva and act as an abrasive cleanser to clean the surface enamel without having to resort to chemicals. Another bonus is that saliva has been proven to help neutralise the acid in food and drink that causes tooth decay.

Home whitening kits

This may seem an obvious one, but you can find home whitening kits in chemists, supermarkets and other stores that you can try at home. These range in price, but all tend to work in the same way, with a whitening substance, such as hydrogen peroxide, that you paste onto your teeth, that you brush onto your teeth or add to a mini tray that molds to fit your teeth as you bite down onto it and leave to work for a specified time. Always read the instructions very carefully and ask your dentist about any teeth whitening treatments intended for home use if you are unsure.

Water, water everywhere

Another universal top tip for optimum oral health is to make sure you drink enough water. This has benefits for the teeth as every time you swill your mouth with water, you are dislodging food debris that can attract bacteria, as well as removing lighter stains and helping to loosen deeper ones. Water can also get in between teeth to help support your flossing efforts and stop yellow patches from forming along the edges of your gums. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal to keep your teeth free from as many stains and bits of debris as possible. You might like to add a teaspoon of salt to add to its anti-bacterial properties and help keep your gums healthy and pink.

Baking soda

Baking soda has natural properties that are mild enough not to damage your teeth if you brush them with it. It is a common ingredient in toothpastes and perfectly safe to brush directly onto the teeth to help them look brighter. Using baking soda is not a quick fix to whiten your teeth at home, but should help give positive results over time. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water to form a paste and use as you would a regular toothpaste and toothbrush.

Stop smoking

Laying off the cigarettes brings multiple proven benefits to your entire body; however, your teeth will especially thank you for no longer exposing them to tobacco that leaves unsightly stains that penetrate into the grooves and dents in your enamel. The longer you smoke, the more stubborn these stains become to remove. Cigarettes can also exacerbate gum disease and bad breath. Using a specialist toothpaste designed to remove tobacco stains can also help whiten teeth dulled by cigarettes at home.

Final tip

To round things off, here’s a sneaky final tip for make-up fans… if you wear a red lipstick that has a bluer undertone to it, this can often make your teeth appear whiter.

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5 Needful tips to find a trustworthy and good dentist near me

Not many are comfortable while visiting a dentist. It is difficult for anyone to sit with their mouth wide open for hours together. But all of us dream of that Hollywood smile with small, square, and pearly white teeth. Given our bad eating practices, a visit to a dentist is almost inevitable in our lifetime. And, dentistry is a field where even small procedures could quickly go wrong. Moreover, these procedures could cost you a fortune.

How many people can accept a distorted shape of your face after dental surgery? One feels cheated and helpless. And then one could incur further costs in the name of correcting things. To avoid all this mess, one should know how to find the right dentist. Here are a few tips for finding a right and trustworthy dentist:

The golden rule:

A good dentist will not remove your healthy teeth unnecessarily. They would try to repair them instead. They know that the teeth, once removed, will not grow again in adults. So, you should have a basic idea about the situations when surgical extraction becomes necessary. Accidents, extensive decay, and crowding can lead to the removal of teeth. But you can prevent these conditions by maintaining dental hygiene and a little carefulness. Also, the dentist should go for extraction when there is no response to root canal treatment. One might require removal of the wisdom teeth due to its uncomfortable position or incomplete growth.  

Excellent communication skills:

An oral healthcare professional must be comfortable and bond well with the patient. People with dental issues are very anxious as they suffer gruesome pain. So a dentist needs to comfort them and assure them that things will be alright. In most of the cases, dental procedures take many sittings. It can extend up to months.

Even during the process, the quality of life is affected. So, a dentist needs to empathize with the patients and make them at ease. It is necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment. They should also interact well with colleagues and other staff in the hospital. They need the help of various technicians, and excellent interpersonal skills ensure a smooth workflow and fast recovery.  


Proximity to your place:

You should get dental care at the right time. So, it is better to find a dentist who is close to your location. Dental problems arise all of a sudden and require immediate attention. The Clinic can be close to your workplace or residence. You could reach on time and avoid unnecessary delays. It is essentials as a single sitting with a dentist might take more than an hour, and dentists mostly have a tight schedule.

Also, one might feel lazy to travel long distances and end up with quick-fix methods to alleviate pain. But non-treatment of dental diseases could affect your ability to eat, sleep, and concentrate well. So, your overall quality of life gets deteriorated. Removal of the damaged tooth and restorative care become the ultimate solutions. So your aim should be finding a “good dentist near me” and not just any old dentist in your place.


Dental Insurance:

Your dentist must be in your dental insurance network if in the USA. The dental charges are regulated if the dentist is within the insurance network. So, you will come to know the optimum pricing for all treatment facilities. Moreover, it becomes easier to switch an in-network provider, in case you have to change your location.

One should check out the various options for dental health plans available with the hospital. A rough estimate of the standard procedures like cleanings, fillings, extractions, and dental implants must be available to you. The insurance plan must cover functional and preventive dentistry. The aim of the insurance plan should be minimizing expenses, and get the best care during an emergency. 


Well-Educated: 

The dentist should be from a good dental school. The aim of education in the case of healthcare professionals is to make them successful practitioners. The training that they receive at their universities plays a crucial role in their treatment methods and behavior. They should be able to explain all the problems and their consequences clearly to the patients. They should not hide anything from the patients.

Also, they should be a part of the network of dental professionals and update themselves regularly on the latest technologies and practices. They should have all the essential licenses and certifications.  

You can know and predict a few of these qualities from your first visit to the dentist. The info on qualifications and certifications are mostly available on the net. From the approachability of the hospital staff, one can know the smooth handling of the treatment. Also, from the attire and work premises of the dentist, one can guess about his passion for beauty and style. Above all, the dentist should be compassionate and honest. They should give you tips on maintaining good oral hygiene.   

What to Expect Before, During and After Dental Implant Surgery?

Everyone enjoys having a beautiful smile that can hide any flaws in your face and make you look gorgeous. To wear a nice smile, you need to have a beautiful set of teeth.

With time, your teeth decay due to several reasons and those look bad. Also, many people are not blessed with a fine set of teeth. So, with age, when you lose any teeth, a dental implant is the way to get back your natural set of teeth without any fuss.

Dental implant surgery is one of the best ways to remove the root area of decayed or missing teeth and fixes an artificial tooth at that place. This entire process has certain stages through which the patient has to go through. The all on 4 dental implants are one of the best processes through which the entire top or bottom row are replaced with artificial teeth.

What You Can Expect Before Dental Implant Surgery?

It is very important to take perfect care of your mouth before going for dental implant surgery. You will be instructed by the dentist to follow certain advice before the surgery. The pre-surgery instructions usually include the following things-

  • You should eat a healthy breakfast on the day of surgery. Often dentists prefer to give a sedative to you and that’s why ask you not to have any food on the evening before the surgery.
  • If your doctor decides you need surgery, he may recommend a specific antibacterial mouthwash for regular use up to surgery.
  • Make sure you have arranged proper transportation to reach the clinic and come back.

Once you follow all these guidelines, it is time to go through an x-ray to check out the area and the condition before implanting it.

If you have decided to go for dental implant surgery, then you need to consult the best dentist around. Your doctor will decide if you need bone grafting before the dental implant. If your jawbone is not thick enough, bone grafting will be done. In this method, the dentist will borrow sturdy bone from another part of your body and go for bone grafting. Usually, bone grafting can take only an hour if you need very little. Else, the dentist will decide how much time it will take.

What to Expect During the Dental Implant Surgery?

After following all the advice of the dentist, finally, the surgery day arrives. The only question that troubles many patients is that ‘Is the surgery painful?’ Now, there will be an incision in your mouth and it will be uncomfortable for you. But, the dentist will use local anesthesia or any kind of sedatives that will make the area numb and you won’t feel any pain during the surgery.

After you are anaesthetised, the surgeon will follow the following steps-

  • He will make a small incision inside your mouth to open the bone where the implant to be placed.
  • He will use a drill to create space for implanting the artificial teeth.
  • Usually, dental implants come with titanium screw, crown and abutment. The dentist fixes the screw at the space.
  • It will take time to grow the jawbone and fuse with the metal post the dentist implant there.
  • In the next sitting, when the bone regrowth completes, the dentist will fix the abutment with the titanium screw. It will keep the crown at the place.
  • Again you need to wait for a few weeks as your gum will heal within this period. 
  • In the next appointment, the doctor will check the condition and will take the teeth impression to know if implants can fit well.
  • At the final step, the natural-looking crown is fixed on the abutment.

The entire process will take a few weeks to a month, depending on the number of teeth you want to replace.

How to Recover after Surgery?

You will feel a bit of discomfort after surgery. You can face problems like:

  • Swelling at gum and face
  • A bit of bruising
  • Slight bleeding
  • Pain at the place of the implant

Your dentist may prescribe you medicines, like painkillers to get rid of pain and discomfort. If you suffer from immense pain and it doesn’t heal with painkillers, you should consult your dentist immediately.

To have a faster recovery, you can follow certain instructions, like-

  • Avoid having hard and crunchy foods
  • Go for regular check-ups
  • Brush and floss your teeth every day
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash

You should treat the new teeth like your natural teeth. In the beginning, it will feel a bit weird, but you will soon get used to it. The success rate of dental implants is quite high, but it completely depends on how you care about it well.

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Why Is It Important To Replace Missing Teeth?

Baby teeth are temporary and adult teeth are considered to be permanent. Even though adult teeth are made to last lifelong, some unfortunate conditions can lead to the loss of your permanent teeth. 

Reasons You Can Lose Your Adult Tooth Or Teeth

  1. Poor Eating Habits – A balanced diet is extremely necessary for the good health of your teeth. Eating unhealthy food can increase the chances of tooth decay and tooth loss. On the other hand, a proper, balanced diet can make your teeth healthy and strong.
  2. Lack of Oral Hygiene – Not brushing your teeth twice daily or not flossing them regularly are some habits that can harm your permanent teeth. Poor oral hygiene can cause build up of bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases.
  3. Tabaco – Chewing tabaco or smoking is another reason for adult tooth loss. These habits don’t just lead to tooth decay and extraction, but also to dangerous diseases like cancer. 
  4.  Accidents – Your teeth are at a higher risk of being damaged or broken while playing sports like football. Protecting them with the help of a mouth guard is important. 

What Happens If You Lose Your Permanent tooth or teeth?

Though you may assume that a missing tooth can only hamper the look of your smile and your self-esteem, it’s damage is actually much more than that. Missing teeth are a threat to your overall dental health and well-being.  

A broken tooth creates a huge gap between two teeth. If left untreated for a long time, it can cause the adjacent teeth to shift from their place to fill in the gap. This shift can create gaps between all the other teeth, causing the food to get caught in between. Accumulated food in between teeth is prone to bacteria attack, leading to completed problems like gum disease or bone loss. Moreover, the tooth in the opposite side of the missing tooth may loosen from the socket looking for the former point of contact. Another disadvantage of missing teeth is that they can create pressure on the remaining teeth while chewing, causing them to wear out early. 

Apart from affecting the other teeth in your mouth, missing teeth can result in compromised speech and premature facial aging because of lack of stimulation to the jawbone. Hence, it is wise to say that even one missing tooth can create a plenty of problems for your dental function. 

How Can You Treat Missing Tooth?

No matter what the reason behind your missing tooth is, there are treatments to help you regain your perfect smile.

  • Dental Implants 

Dental implants can be used to replace single or more missing teeth. Your dentist will first conduct a surgery to mount a titanium metal post on the jaw of the missing tooth. A replacement tooth will then be fixed to the implant that allows it to stay still in its position. 

  • Fixed Dental Bridge 

Your dentist will suggest this treatment if you have multiple missing teeth in the same area. As its name suggests, a fixed dental bridge allows to bridge the gap caused by a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is attached to the adjacent teeth and secured by dental cement to fill in the gap permanently. 

  • Dentures

If you need to replace all your teeth, then your dentist may suggest dentures. However, if you have only a few missing teeth, you will be suggested to go for removable partial dentures. These dentures have a natural-looking pink base on which replacement teeth are fixed.

What Precautions To Take To Prevent Adult Tooth Loss?

Avoiding the loss of adult teeth may not be possible always. However, there are certain steps you can take to protect them from damage. 

One of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy is by visiting your dentist regularly. It is important to get a regular dental check-up done every 6 months. These check-ups will help your dentist detect the dental problems in the initial stage, thus preventing your teeth from being damaged further. 

Apart from paying regular visits to the dentist, it is highly essential to maintain oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly at least once in a day. The use of anti-plaque mouthwash is recommended too. Also, avoid food and drinks with excessive sugar like sweetened juices, chocolates, cream biscuits, etc. 

If your lifestyle includes smoking and chewing tabaco, then you must consider quitting them completely. Giving up on such habits will not just ensure you healthy teeth, but also protect you from other life-threatening diseases.      

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5 Ways A Dentist Can Help You Smile More!

Smiles are beautiful. It’s one of the most attractive aspects of one’s personality. It can make anyone look more inviting, warm and friendly.

 However, if you feel less confident while smiling because of discolored or crooked teeth and would rather cover your mouth while smiling or laughing, you are not alone. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the impact of dental esthetics on self-confidence, approximately a quarter of the participants felt insecure while smiling and covered their teeth every time they smiled.   

So is there a way to feel more confident about your smile and have a set of pearly whites to show off?

Of course!

This article explains 5 ways through which dentists can help you smile more. Keep reading to find out!

  1. Whitening 

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure aimed to reduce stains and discoloration from the teeth to make them appear whiter and healthier. A dentist can conduct this procedure in their clinic or prescribe the patient a take-home kit for an at-home whitening procedure. 

Whitening usually involves treating the surface of the teeth with bleaching agents to get rid of the stains and discoloration. Your dentist will first perform a dental examination to ensure whether whitening is appropriate for you.

  1. Veneers  

Veneers are porcelain or resin shells that serve as restorations for the teeth. They cover the surface of the teeth and help in correcting small gaps, cracks or chips, crooked teeth or discolorations. Your dentist can recommend you veneers as an alternative to teeth whitening and if you want to alter the shape of your teeth as well. Moreover, your dentist will select the material of the veneer according to the color of your natural teeth. 

However, this is for minor cracks or crookedness. For more serious conditions, your dentist may recommend you avail orthodontic treatment. 

  1. Orthodontics 

Orthodontics involve the use of braces or aligners to help in correcting misaligned teeth or jaws. This treatment can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem as it makes the teeth appear straighter. Moreover, people who don’t want to get the very noticeable metal braces can get clear aligners. 

Your dentist will decide the treatment length based on your particular case and the aligners you select. In this regard, treatment may take anywhere from a few months to a few years. 

  1. Crowns 

A crown is a dental cap made out of ceramic or porcelain to completely cap a tooth usually following a root canal treatment or other dental surgery procedures. Crowns are also used for covering severely damaged, discolored or crooked teeth. Your dentist will color match the crown to the rest of your teeth for a more natural-looking finish. Usually, it’ll take you a couple of visits down to your dental clinic to get a crown; however, your dentist can also offer you same-day crowns. 

  1. Bridges 

Bridges are false teeth that are fitted between two crowns and are used for replacing missing teeth. Your dentist will first examine and prepare the teeth at either side of the gap to put crowns and cement the bridge between them. 

Like other options, your dentist will examine your mouth and evaluate if you need bridges or not. While these are temporary options for lost tooth, they are suitable if the teeth near the gap already have crowns or fillings. 

Author Bio

Sophie Taylor is an avid reader and writer. She loves to write about different topics – ranging from business development to crafting tips, healthcare and elderly care.

If you want to enhance your pearly whites to have the perfect smile, get in touch with Blackburn Dental Centre for a dentist in Orleans. The dental team at the clinic will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth and jaws to determine what kind of treatment will be best for you and begin your treatment plan accordingly. Get in touch today for personalized treatment and compassionate care.  

Teens and Dental Opioids: A Guide for Parents

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Drug abuse is one of the priority concerns among parents in many regions of the world. Over the last few years, the number of teens using various drugs for non-drug purposes has increased tremendously. Although there is adequate drug education in schools, experts believe parents have an essential role to play in helping their children stay away from drugs.

Most doctors associate drug abuse with hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal meth. While these drugs still result in the worst cases of abuse, addiction, and overdose, other new dimensions continue to emerge. According to studies, prescription drugs are currently the leading cause of drug abuse and overdoses in the US. This is particularly common among high school teenagers with reports indicating that as many as 20% of high school seniors take prescription drugs with no underlying medical condition. 

Prescription drugs and abuse 

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Prescription drugs are a group of FDA-approved medicines. While prescriptions exist in almost all drug doses, most abuse cases stem from pain relievers. Opioids, in particular, are very effective in relieving pain. Opioid prescriptions come in various names including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Popular brand equivalents are oxycontin (oxy), Percocet and Vicodin. There are several other opioid painkillers on the market, some offering instant pain-relief while others promise to reduce the overall distress. 

Unfortunately, prescription drugs offer both desirable and undesirable symptoms. Like cocaine and heroin, opioids can result in feelings of euphoria and temporary “high.” This euphoric feeling is what most drug users chase, and it can quickly develop into a habit or addiction. Due to the habit-forming nature of prescription pain relievers, their use should remain under careful monitoring and control by doctors and parents alike. 

Dental opioids in teenage drug abuse

Dental opioids are popular prescription drugs among teenagers. Although most dentists believe it is unnecessary, teenagers and some adults use dental opioids for pain relief following dental procedures such as root canal. Doctors can prescribe pain relievers following surgery or accident. Whenever this is the case, it is essential to find out about the duration your child will have to take prescriptions. This can help prevent drug abuse and unnecessary use. However, a significant number of teenagers resort to using opioids and other potent pain relievers to deal with oral pain. 

The euphoria one gets from using opioids, and pain prescriptions are short-lived. As such, most teenagers end up using higher doses to achieve the initial “high.” It is common for teenage parties, especially seniors, to feature prescription pills for entertainment. Using drugs for non-medical purposes is the primary cause of overdoses as there is no more control of the dosage one takes. 

Preventing and managing dental opioids in teenagers

It is recommendable to find alternative pain-relief therapies that can avoid over-dependence on the prescriptions. According to the American Dental Association, regular dental procedures like removal of wisdom teeth do not require strong pain relievers. Studies have shown generic NSAIDs like ibuprofen to be sufficient in offering relief for mild pain. Nonetheless, there are rare cases of severe oral pain that may require stronger painkillers and opioids. It is essential to know your options and requirements.

According to experts, parents and teenagers should choose the most reputable doctors and facilities close to their residence. A simple search string like the best dentist near me can begin your quest for a competent dentist in your region. However, drug abuse prevention goes beyond choosing a credible, trustworthy doctor. Two best practices include:

  1. Have an open discussion with the doctor and your child
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Parents must learn to talk openly with their children about drug use and abuse, including the adverse effects of over-indulging in various substances. More importantly, you should talk frankly with the doctor to enable them to determine the best care for your child’s unique needs. Understanding what your kid is going through and communicating any information regarding opioids use is the best way to plan their medication. Teenagers and kids require awareness education to help them understand the importance of proper drug use, avoiding sharing medication, and prospects of using drugs for recreational purposes.

  1. Control the use of painkillers

When your doctor prescribes painkillers or opioids for pain relief, make sure you only purchase the exact dosage. If there are any leftovers, dispose of them properly. Proper control is crucial in preventing abuse and addiction. It is also essential to know all the options available for pain relief and choose the best drugs for your kid. Opioid painkillers can be useful in reducing dental pain. It is possible to use these options safely. However, both the doctor and parent must ensure effective control of choices and dosage.

Conclusion

No parent wishes to see their kid turn into an addict. There are various things that parents can do to help their teenage children understand the prospects of drug use and abuse. By having the right discussions at home, kids can grow up well-aware of the risks and characteristics of opioids and drug abuse, as well as how to find help. It is also essential to choose reputable clinics and medical facilities that are licensed to offer dental services in the area. Before accepting any opioids or prescriptions, make sure you discuss its usage, dosage, prospect side effects, effectiveness, active ingredients, classification, and any other vital information.  

Diabetes and teeth – what’s the link?

Diabetes has become a rapidly growing disease in recent times partly due to our poor lifestyle choices. This disease has many consequences in the body including on oral health. 

Poorly controlled diabetes may cause:

  • Increased oral infections because blood supply to the gums may be reduced if the blood vessels are compromised. High blood sugar levels over time will accelerate any gum disease you may have, and also compromise your immune system. This means that your body will not be able to fight off the infection easily. 

Fungal infections are also more common, in part due to the compromised immune system but also by the dry mouth that is often associated with diabetes. 

  • A dry mouth is a common symptom of diabetes. This lack of saliva production encourages bacterial growth that will increase tartar build-up and encourage gum disease. Over time and without the proper treatment, gum disease can progress to more severe periodontitis. This type of infection takes a long time to treat. In severe cases, it can cause tooth loss.
  • Bad breath (halitosis) may also be a symptom due to the dry mouth and gum infections. 

What can you do?

  • Controlling your blood sugar levels is key to great oral health if you have diabetes. Ensure you’re taking the correct medications and dosages that your doctor has prescribed and make regular doctor’s appointments to ensure the medication dosages don’t need to be adjusted. This will help you prevent all the possible complications of diabetes on your dental health, like gum disease.
  • Develop great daily oral hygiene habits. This includes:
  1. Brushing your teeth at least two times daily. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste to gently brush your teeth in a circular motion. Fluoride will keep the teeth strong and protect against tooth decay. Prevent brushing too hard as this may cause irritated gums. If you have snacked on particularly sticky foods, clean your teeth immediately after, if possible. Some dentists advise using an electric toothbrush which does most of the brushing for you. Remember to change the brush head regularly to ensure your teeth are being cleaned properly.
  2. Use floss to clean food debris from the hard-to-reach areas. There are many commercially available products that can make flossing easy, like the waxed varieties and the various types of flossing devices.
  3.  Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and to clean your teeth professionally. Your dentist will be alerted to any dental problems before they become serious. 
  4. It is very important that your dentist knows you are a diabetic so that they can be on the lookout for any complications. Remind them at every visit of this. Be sure to mention any irregular symptoms that you may be experiencing like xerostomia (dry mouth), a tooth that may feel loose or any oral pain.  Your dentist needs to be aware of your diabetes because he may prescribe some medications that may interfere with your diabetic medications. 
  5. Examine your mouth regularly for signs of inflammation like redness, gums that are bleeding and swelling. Make a dental appointment if you notice any of this. 
  6. Eat a balanced and healthy diet as directed by your doctor or dietician. A good diet will help you to control your blood sugar levels together with your prescribed medicines. Cut out sugary snacks and carbonated drinks which will help control your blood sugar levels and prevent tooth decay. 

Ensure you adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes giving up smoking. Smoking increases the numerous problems of diabetes, like gingivitis. Seek advice on how to stop smoking if required.  

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I Can’t Stop Grinding My Teeth! What Should I Do?

Contrary to what we often see on TV, people don’t just grind their teeth when they’re feeling angry. In fact, regular teeth grinding is incredibly common. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is thought to affect as much as a third of the population. It usually occurs involuntarily and most often during sleep. Without treatment, it can cause ongoing health problems as well as lasting cosmetic damage to your teeth. 

What are the symptoms?

Many people who suffer from bruxism don’t realise it As it usually happens at night, sufferers might simply dismiss their symptoms as something else entirely. The symptoms of bruxism are numerous. Some range from relatively minor short term symptoms, to long term symptoms that can affect your everyday life. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Gum inflammation
  • Muscle pain
  • Excessive teeth wear
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
  • Tooth fracture
  • Gum recession
  • Earache
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain

These symptoms are often found in other common disorders, making it easy to overlook teeth grinding as the potential root of the problem. Your dentist should be able to spot evidence of bruxism, such as changes in your teeth or excessive wear. During your next dental appointment, tell your dentist if you are having any symptoms and ask them to check whether bruxism could be the cause.  

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism can often be associated with stress or anxiety disorders. In fact, nearly 70 percent of cases are reported to be due to stress or anxiety. A study of shift workers found that those who reported suffering work related stress were more likely to suffer from nighttime teeth grinding. Ignoring stress therefore can have long term effects on your teeth. The National Sleep Foundation recommends regular exercise to help alleviate stress, taking a relaxing bath before sleep or other stress reducing activities. If feelings of stress or anxiety are severe or last longer than a few days, you should seek help from a professional. 

While bruxism can affect your sleep, conversely, sleep disorders can cause bruxism. Sleep disorders, particularly those that include periods of disturbed sleep, can cause teeth grinding or clenching to occur. An example of this is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, which involves short periods during sleep where the sufferer stops breathing temporarily. Sleep talking, sleep paralysis and sleep hallucinations also contribute to teeth grinding. Other physical conditions can exacerbate teeth grinding, such as Parkinson’s disease, which causes involuntary tremors. 

Finally, certain lifestyle elements can have an impact on teeth grinding. Smokers, for example, are more likely to suffer from bruxism. People who drink more than six cups of coffee a day or who regularly consume alcohol, too are susceptible. Regular drug users are also likely to suffer, particularly those who take methamphetamines, ecstasy or even certain antidepressant medications. 

What can I do to stop?

If teeth grinding has you concerned, the good news is there are things you can do. First, try actions that will alleviate stress such as exercise, deep breathing, engaging in relaxing hobbies and other self care activities If you think you are suffering from severe stress or anxiety, go to your doctor to discuss your options. 

The next step is to visit your dentist. While unfortunately there is no cure for bruxism, there is a wide variety of treatment options that can help. The most common treatment is occlusal splints. These splints act as mouthguards you can wear at night, keeping your teeth separate and protecting them against grinding. You can have splints made specially for your mouth, so that you don’t experience discomfort when wearing them. Mandibular advancement devices, which are often used to prevent snoring, can also help. 

Some people find hypnosis and other similar treatments such as meditation and psychoanalysis helpful. Studies have shown positive outcomes when bruxism sufferers underwent hypnosis treatments to stop teeth grinding. 

If crooked or misaligned teeth are causing your teeth grinding, your dentist might suggest braces to help correct the alignment of your teeth. Other treatments might include equilibration, which involves reshaping the surface of your teeth, or cosmetic treatments such as dental crowns, bridges or veneers

What can I do to fix teeth damaged by teeth grinding?

For teeth that have been worn down or damaged by incessant clenching or grinding, there are solutions to help restore their look, feel and function. Treatment can also work to prevent any more wear or damage, as well as helping to reduce sensitivity. 

If your teeth are severely damaged or worn down by grinding, you might consider crowns or veneers to help strengthen your teeth and improve their overall look and feel. Alternatively, composite bonding has become more advanced in recent years and is a popular method for restoring teeth. Composite is a tooth coloured material which is bonded to the tooth’s surface, protecting it and giving a natural appearance. These treatments can help patients who suffer from bruxism to regain confidence in their smiles.  

Teeth grinding doesn’t have to cause you pain. Speak to your dentist today about treatment options. 

Is It True That Women Are at More Risk of TMJ Pain Than Men?

More than 10 million people in the US suffer from temporomandibular joint or TMJ pain of varying intensities. 90% of those who see a TMJ specialist to seek treatment for extremely severe symptoms are women in their childbearing years. In this article, we will explore why women are more prone to TMJ pain as compared to men. 

Why Women Are at More Risk?

Men and women have different natural levels of hormones, which essentially function as chemical messengers within the body. They have different hormones or different levels of similar hormones. If there are any hormonal changes or if they fluctuate above or below their normal level, there will be some side effects. 

The hormone variations can be observed in people of different ages. However, the women who usually are at the highest risk of TMJ pain are those of childbearing age. This is because they have more pronounced fluctuations in their levels of estrogen and progesterone. 

Stress is another factor that leads to TMJ pain. Women experience stress more physically than men. They are most likely to clench the jaw or grind the teeth. Moreover, stress negatively impacts the hormones and cause an imbalance. This can lead to TMJ pain or worsen the existing TMJ condition.

Women who suffer from nutritional deficiencies can also be at risk of TMJ disorder. 

Do Hormones Affect TMJ?

The exact link between TMJ and hormones is unknown but there are studies done in this area. Researchers have found that women who take estrogen supplements or use certain forms of birth control are at increased risk of developing TMD disorder. 

However, if the level of natural estrogen is high, it lessens the pain associated with the disorder. 

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

These are some of the signs you must look out for:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pain while chewing food
  • Radiating pain in the face
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Earaches
  • Inability to open the jaw wide 
  • Popping of the jaw
  • Muscle spasms

How to Relieve TMJ Pain?

Perform a simple self-assessment to become aware of your jaw function. You should be able to fit in at least 3 fingers between your front teeth when opening widely, and chew and swallow without difficulty. You should also be able to move your lower jaw side to side, without any pain. If you hear any joint noise or any sudden changes to the bite, it may be a sign of some issue in the joint. These may lead to TMJ disorder if you do not seek any treatment.

If you experience any of the TMJ symptoms, apply moist heat to the jaw, eat a soft diet or take over-the-counter medication. 

TMJ treatment also includes orthodontic treatment which make changes to the jaw and teeth. The dentists may grind the teeth down, use splints that move the jaw to a different position or opt for surgery. 

Passive jaw stretching, yoga or special jaw and TMJ relaxation exercises can also help in relieving some pain. 

Do not wait until the pain becomes unbearable to visit your TMJ specialist.  

Author Bio: Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.