Five Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Five Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

At one point in time, maybe even only a few years ago, sleep apnea was not well-known among the public. Now, thankfully, public awareness of sleep apnea is much higher. After all, it is a dangerous condition, and because it is a disease that affects sleep, many people who have sleep apnea aren’t even aware of it.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will temporarily stop breathing during the night—up to hundreds of times! The health implications are quite serious, as sleep apnea is linked to many cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart arrhythmias. So if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment.

So what are some signs or risk factors for sleep apnea?

You’re overweight.

Body weight is linked to obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by tissues in the upper throat collapsing, constricting the flow of air to the lungs. Heavier people can have tissue built up around their neck and throat; these tissues fall back and obstruct the airway when they’re lying down.

You have high blood pressure.

When you stop breathing during an episode of sleep apnea, less oxygen gets to your brain. Since your brain needs to maintain sufficient oxygen levels at all times, this can lead to spikes in blood pressure as your body tries to compensate for low oxygen levels by pumping more blood, faster, to your brain.

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Four Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth

Four Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth

Last month, we looked at foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, but whiteness isn’t the only measure of healthy teeth. There are lots of foods that can chip your teeth or damage dental work in your mouth when you eat them. What are some of these problem foods? Your Pocatello, ID dentist can warn you about some of the biggest culprits when it comes to chipped teeth, loose fillings, and broken crowns.

Ice

On a hot summer day, it’s great to fill a tall glass with ice and pour in some soda, lemonade, or tea to help cool down. You’re right if you assume that sugary drinks are bad for your teeth (they are!), but they’re bad in an over-the-long-term kind of way. In fact, lemonade and soda are also quite acidic, which isn’t good for your tooth enamel, either. However, it’s the ice that can actually chip your teeth if you chew it. Other hard foods can damage your teeth, too, so be careful when you’re eating things like baguettes, hard pretzels, and biscotti.

Popcorn

Lots of people enjoy buttered popcorn while sitting in a cool, air-conditioned movie theater, but unpopped kernels can definitely ruin the fun. They’re hard enough to chip a tooth if you crunch down on one of them by accident or on purpose. However, popcorn actually poses a double threat. The thin shell that covers the kernel can actually get stuck between your teeth or between your tooth and gum, giving bacteria a source of food and promoting tooth decay.

Fruits with pits

What do olives, cherries, dates, and peaches all have in common? They all have pits, of course, and those pits can damage teeth. If you accidentally bite into a pit, you can definitely crack or loosen a crown—or damage regular tooth enamel.

Candy

Pretty much every type of candy can damage your teeth. Hard candies can chip teeth if you bite on them or chew them up; if you suck on them and let them dissolve slowly, you’re basically giving your teeth (and the bacteria in your mouth) a sugar bath. Chewy candies, like caramels or taffy, can stick to your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities, or stick to fillings and crowns, loosening them. But sour candies are probably the most damaging of all because they combine three dangers to your teeth all in one. They’re loaded with sugar and they stick to your teeth, but the sour flavor actually comes from acids, which eat away at tooth enamel.

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Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

By this point, it’s pretty clear that people want white teeth. As a country, we spend $1.4 billion on consumer teeth whitening products, and the teeth whitening industry generates over $11 billion a year in revenue. We’re not complaining that people are willing to pay to have white teeth, but it does beg the question—what’s staining our teeth in the first place?

Foods and drinks cause staining in a couple ways. Foods that are high in acid tend to strip away enamel, which exposes the more vulnerable dentin to staining. Many foods—typically ones with natural bright or rich colors—contain chromogens, substances that adhere to tooth enamel and stain it.

Coffee and Tea: Whether you drink coffee or tea to give yourself a quick pick-up, you’re staining your teeth. The acids in these drinks can strip enamel off your teeth—and leave dark stains behind as well. Wine: Most people think of red wine as a culprit for staining, and it is. It’s acidic and contains stain-causing chromogens. However, most people don’t realize that white wine stains teeth—it’s much more acidic, so it strips tooth enamel and leaves them vulnerable to staining from anything else you’re eating at the time. Rich Sauces: Sauces that have a rich color—think tomato sauces and curries—combine both acidity and stain-causing pigments that can darken tooth dentin. Food Coloring: It’s not difficult to imagine why foods high in food coloring stain teeth. After all, they have added chemicals whose sole purpose is to turn the food a bright color! Popsicles and hard candies are big culprits here. Sugary Drinks: Sports drinks, energy drinks, and soda all contain acids and high amounts of sugar that are damaging to your teeth. They can leave your teeth vulnerable to stains from any food coloring in the drink—and cause cavities as well. Balsamic Vinegar: All vinegars are acidic, but balsamic vinegar combines the acidity with darker coloring that can stain dentin. Berries: Cranberries, blueberries, and cherries all contain lots of chromogens and can stain your teeth. In general, if a food (or drink) will leave a stain that is tough to remove from fabric, chances are it will stain your teeth as well.

We’re not recommending that you cut all these foods and drinks out of your diet. It’s just not practical. However, if you want to keep your teeth whiter for longer stretches of time, there are some tips you can use:

Avoid sugary drinks and highly processed sugary treats. They tend to cause tooth decay as well as stains.Drink through a straw. If you’re going to have a sugary or acidic drink, using a straw can largely bring the drink past your teeth, reducing the risk of stains.Brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, or even chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking these trouble foods. It helps remove the stain-causing compounds from your mouth.

You can always use consumer whitening products to reduce stains on your teeth, and in fact, we’ve blogged about them recently! However, if you really want to whiten your teeth as much as possible, we’d love to talk to you and explain the results you can achieve with professional whitening.

To learn more about how to reduce the risk of stains or to schedule an appointment, call your Pocatello, ID dentist at 208.252.7163 today!
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Avoid Bad Breath for Good

Avoid Bad Breath for Good
In almost every social situation, there is one thing most people are concerned about: halitosis, better known as bad breath. It can be embarrassing for you, uncomfortable to other people, and potentially a deal breaker for a job interview or date. To make it even more difficult to manage, our bodies have a great way of blocking out constant smells, making it very hard to determine if we have bad breath before it’s too late.How do I know if I have bad breath?

You can easily test how your breath smells to others with this simple test. Lick part of your arm and smell it after about 10 seconds. Now, licking your arm in public may seem weird (and have its own social consequences), this test can give you a good indication of how your breath smells. However, it may not always be accurate. The best thing you can do is be aware of what causes bad breath and prevent it before it happens to you.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Hygiene The most common cause of bad breath is straightforward; you have a dirty mouth. Bacteria live in your mouth, and when you eat, they eat. These odors are made worse by your tongue, which acts like a fleshy dish sponge, absorbing food particles and bacterial byproducts.

If you think this is your issue–and it is best place to start–the best remedy is to brush and floss daily. This will help eliminate leftovers for the bacteria to eat. To further eliminate any odor, open your mouth and look at the back of your tongue. If looks like it’s covered in a white or brown substance, this could be the main source of your bad breath. Brush as far back on your tongue as you can with your toothbrush, or use a tongue scraper, which will do the job more efficiently.

Dry Mouth Saliva keeps the mouth clean by washing away bacteria, plaque, and keeping the acidic levels in your mouth at the proper level. If your mouth is chronically dry, bacteria can take over, leading to bad breath. If you are experiencing dry mouth, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Additionally, check to see if any medication you are taking causes dry mouth. If so, talk to your doctor about solutions or a potential change in medication, if possible.

Specific Types of Food There are certain types of food that cause bad breath. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to avoid the unwelcome baggage they carry. Coffee, tuna, onion, and garlic have a tendency to stick around even after you brush your teeth. For example, as garlic is digested, sulfur compounds permeate your lungs and skin, meaning there isn’t much you can do to hide the smell. For the sake of everyone around you, don’t go to hot yoga after eating a clove of garlic.

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How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Imagine you are eating a big, juicy steak cooked to perfection. You cut out a chunk of steak place it in your mouth. The first bite is delicious, and the second bite is even better.

But then, in your fervor for chewing, you forget where the steak ends and where your cheek begins. Before you know it–chomp!–a bite that was intended for that tasty piece of steak caught your cheek. It’s painful and irritating, but you can get past the pain.

The next day, your wound is healing well, but unfortunately during lunch you bite down on it again. Now it’s official: you have a full blown canker sore. While not all canker sores are self-inflicted, it’s good to know what causes canker sores and some remedies you can implement to promote healing while reducing pain.

For the most part, canker sores are more of a nuisance than a health issue. They can appear on the inside of your lips, cheeks and on your tongue. They can either be caused by trauma (like biting on the inside of your cheek or braces irritating your mouth) or other factors like stress and the types of food you eat.

Avoid agitating your canker soreTry not to hit it with your toothbrush.Steer clear of foods that will annoy your canker sore, including crunchy, dry, or acidic foods–especially citrus!If you have braces, apply wax where the canker sore comes in contact with them. If your braces or dentures continue to cause discomfort and canker sores, your dentist may be able to make the proper adjustments to fix the issue.Since most canker sores go away on their own, the best thing you can do is manage the painGargle with salt water. Mix about ¼ to ½ teaspoons of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Put about two to three ounces of water into your mouth at a time and swish it around for 20-30 seconds, then spit it out. Continue to do this until all of the water is gone.Consider using a local numbing agent. Products like Oragel can be applied to the canker sore and numb it for temporary relief. These types of products contain benzocaine, so please read all cautions before applying.Take over-the-counter pain relief medication, like ibuprofen.If your canker sore doesn’t heal within a few weeks, it’s time to see a dentist. If your canker sore makes it too painful to eat or drink, consider seeing your dentist before the three week mark. Make an appointment with your local Pocatello dentist if you think you may need additional canker sore treatment.
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When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Keep Your Toothbrush in Fighting ShapeEverything You Need to Know About Your Toothbrush

You hear it time and time again: Brush your teeth at least twice a day. It becomes so routine that you brush your teeth while juggling a few other tasks at the same time. How much time goes by before you notice the shape your toothbrush is in? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I don’t need to clean my toothbrush, my toothbrush cleans me!” The condition of your toothbrush is often the last thing you think about in your busy life, but it plays a significant factor in your oral health.

Symptoms of an Unclean, Older Toothbrush

The most common issue with an older toothbrush is effectiveness. When the bristles are frayed, its cleaning ability is compromised — leaving your teeth more exposed to bacteria.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should monitor and replace your toothbrush more often if you or a family member have:

A systemic disease that may be transmissible by blood or salivaA compromised immune system or low resistance to infection due to disease, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, etc.How to Disinfect Your ToothbrushRinse and air dry. The simplest way to keep your toothbrush clean: After every use, rinse it and keep it upright in an open area.Soak it in hydrogen peroxide.Boil it in hot water. This is another simple option, but be sure the toothbrush is completely cooled before handling/using. No one wants scalded gums.Use an ultra-violet light toothbrush sanitizer. These sanitizers made for toothbrushes (more specifically, electric toothbrush heads) are a good option, but studies show that while they do kill bacteria, they don’t have a distinct advantage over any other method.

  The ADA warns to be wary of any product that says it will do more than sanitize or reduce bacterial contamination. If you are interested in a toothbrush sanitation product, make sure it is Food and Drug Administration approved. There isn’t an obvious answer as to which method is preferred or best, so do what works for you.

Not Recommended Toothbrush CareMicrowave: While this idea makes sense on paper, the ADA doesn’t approve. It will most likely kill bacteria on your toothbrush, but zapping it can have adverse effects on the brush itself.Dishwasher: While this is an effective way to clean your toothbrush, the ADA states that this method will also compromise the quality of your brush.How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

For typical usage with no special circumstances, you should change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you see that your toothbrush bristles are frayed or beginning to fray, replace it. If your toothbrush seems to fray too fast, you are mostly likely brushing too hard — go easy on those teeth!

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E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health: The Smokeless Threat to Your Smile

E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health: The Smokeless Threat to Your Smile

For many smokers, e-cigarettes seem like the best answer to avoiding the nasty side effects of smoking traditional cigarettes, including the odor and the staining of teeth, skin, and clothing. Though e-cigarettes still contain the highly addictive chemical nicotine, tobacco and other harmful elements are eliminated from the electronic smoking process, or what some refer to as “vaping.”

The growing popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping, especially among young people, has caused a rise in concern over the lack of knowledge around the effects it has on health. While clinical studies are currently underway, in 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement saying “e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.”

Even though the FDA isn’t yet ready to comment on health risks associated with vaping, dentists are able to speak to how these new smoking devices threaten your oral health. Nicotine is harmful to your teeth and gums, even in the absence of tobacco and other chemicals traditionally found in cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes still deliver nicotine to their users through the mouth, throat, and lungs. The following are some of the consequences that come with using smokeless cigarettes.

Gum Disease: One of the telltale signs of gum disease is swelling of the gums caused by irritation. Nicotine reduces blood flow, preventing swelling, which can mask the presence of gum disease — causing your dentist to miss the symptoms and allowing the disease to progress.

Gum Recession: Lack of blood flow to the gums keeps the tissue from receiving the nutrients it needs to survive. Over time the skin dies and recedes.

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Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

“Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah. Summer loving happened so fast…” —Grease, Summer Nights

Its’ the stuff dreams and movies are made of: summer love. Warm summer nights, afternoons at the beach, vacations to the Caribbean—whether you are hoping to meet your next crush or are looking forward to romancing your long-time love —summer is sure to heat things up.

Did you know that June 19th is National Kissing Day? Are you ready to get romantic? A healthy mouth and kissable lips are key to having the summer you have been dreaming of. From making sure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, to protecting and caring for your lips so they stay soft and blemish free, there are several measures you can take to stay romance ready all summer long.

Tips for a healthy mouth

The best way to make sure that your mouth stays healthy and halitosis free is to stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene practices. Don’t forget the basics:

Brush twice a dayRinse after brushingFloss daily

  Take your oral care to the next level. You already know you need to set up routine visits with your dentist to keep your teeth in top condition. Consider the following treatments for extra protection.

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What Does Mom’s Smile Say? A Mother’s Oral Health Could Be Affecting Her Kids

What Does Mom’s Smile Say? A Mother’s Oral Health Could Be Affecting Her Kids

Motherhood is both wonderful and challenging. Most women agree that the only way to truly understand what being a mom is like is to become one. Once you have had children, they become your main focus, the purpose behind everything you do…and don’t do.

It’s not uncommon for women to neglect themselves after having a baby. From missing the daily shower to going an extra month or two without a haircut, it’s natural for mothers to reroute all of their resources to their child or children, whether that be time, money, or energy. But could that self-neglect be having a negative affect that extends beyond Mom?

Healthy Mom Equals Healthy Child

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research (Jan. 19, 2011)1, moms’ oral health predicts their children’s oral health. This 27-year-long study found that if mothers had poor oral-hygiene practices while their children were young, the children had a higher rate of dental caries and poor overall oral health as adults. The study was conducted in New Zealand and consisted of 835 mothers who participated in a self-rated survey and 1,000 children who were examined at age 5 and then again at 32 (more than 900 examined at this time).

The results were overwhelming. Almost half of the children with mothers who had poor dental health suffered from tooth decay and eventual tooth loss as adults.

Bad News or Good?

Initially, these results may sound like bad news, but they support the belief that when moms take time to care for themselves, they are also taking care of their children — a little relief from guilt for mom.

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Oral Piercings & Your Dental Health

oralpiercings

A Healthy Smile Is Your Best Accessory

Body piercings have become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, and with more and more celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Tyrese, and Christina Aguilera sporting them, they are only gaining popularity among people of all ages. While piercings offer people the opportunity to express their individuality and add some extra bling to their personal style, some of the most popular piercings are located in the mouth area, which can lead to the rapid deterioration of oral health.

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Four DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

valentinesgift

Nothing Is Sweeter Than a Healthy Smile

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can leave many parents feeling conflicted. Anything that gives you an excuse to spoil your kiddos with gifts and tell them how much you love them is a welcome retreat from the daily grind of handing out chores and pushing through homework. One daily parenting task that commonly elicits dread is convincing your children to brush their teeth. Every parent knows how important their children’s oral health is, and instilling solid early oral hygiene practices so that your kids can enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles is even more important. Thus the downside of Valentine’s Day: all the sugary treats.

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Understanding the Dental-Health/Whole-Health Connection

fullbodycare

When you think about visiting the dentist, you most likely think about keeping your teeth white and straight, and having an attractive smile. What you may not realize is that maintaining good oral health has value beyond the obvious aesthetic rewards of a beautiful smile. Dedication to maintaining good at-home oral hygiene practices and making regular visits to the dentist protect your overall health and can help you avoid serious health complications and disease.

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’Tis the Season for Getting Fresh: Avoid Bad Breath

avoidbadbreath

Mistletoe has been hung, setting blissful, kissing booby traps for the unsuspecting, and when the ball drops, lips will lock everywhere.

During the month of December, your oral health and hygiene needs to be on point!

Brushing and rinsing twice a day, as well as daily flossing, helps keep your mouth healthy but doesn’t necessarily ensure fresh breath that will last all day long. And during a season hallmarked by the unexpected, one does not want to be caught face-to-face suffering from a bad case of halitosis. So what can you do to improve your chances of being 100% smoochable should the opportunity arise? Read on for breath-saving tips that are sure to improve your chances of ringing in the New Year with more than a smile on your lips.

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The Perfect Gift: A Smile

smilegift

The holiday season is often touted as “the best time of the year!” While this is true for many, for some it can be the most difficult. For individuals and families coping with homelessness, in crisis, or dealing with a time of personal hardship, this time of year can be intensely challenging to face and even harder get through. When basic needs aren’t being met, the gift-giving season can take a toll. So during this season of abundance, consider giving someone less fortunate their smile back.

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Use Your Dental Benefits Before the Ball Drops

yourmoney

The weather is finally turning, and you only have a couple of months left to get the most out of your yearly dental insurance. Visiting the dentist may not be on your annual to-do list, but it is key to maintaining optimal oral health. With the holidays — and all of those treats and sweets — on the horizon, now is the perfect time to prepare and protect your pearly whites so you can enjoy the celebratory season that lies ahead.

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