Consumer Overview: Denture Products

Consumer Overview: Denture Products
Dental Consumer Products Overview: Denture ProductsIf you have dentures, or even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve seen TV advertisements for denture products. Because dentures and teeth loss can be emotional topics, it’s no surprise that the advertisements try (let’s call them) unconventional approaches. Sometimes they try too hard to be funny, sincere, or authoritative. Other times they go for realness and end up somewhere closer to too-much-information.

But for all their flaws, these ads are speaking to a sizable market. Over 60 million people in the US lack teeth, and according to the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, there will be 37.5 million people wearing full dentures by 2020. For people with dentures, consumer products on the market attempt to address two primary needs:

Keeping dentures cleanKeeping dentures in your mouth (preferably comfortably!)

Cleaning products come in a few varieties. Martha Raye, denture wearer, advocated for a brand of dissolving tablets that killed bacteria and removed stains. There are also pastes, much like toothpaste, that patients can use to brush their dentures—once the dentures are safely out of your mouth. Ultrasonic cleaning appliances can remove stains from dentures, although they are more expensive and also require the use of a special cleaning fluid. For patients concerned with chemical cleansers, homemade solutions using lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda can all help remove stains and re-whiten dentures.

Denture adhesives include pastes or gels that come in a tube, like toothpaste, and adhesive strips. These adhesives are meant to keep dentures in patients’ mouths comfortably while eating and talking.

Dentures are meant to fit comfortably in the mouth—and not require adhesives—because they are molded specially to the patient’s jawbone and palate. However, without teeth anchored in the jaw, the bone deteriorates over time, and its shape changes. This eventually leads to dentures that don’t fit, or that cause discomfort, requiring adhesive. Even cleaning dentures, which requires them to be removed from the mouth, could conceivably cause patients to experience negative feelings.

However, changes in dental technology can reduce these issues for patients. Fixed implant dentures use dental implants to secure replacement teeth permanently to the jaw. Patients can brush them in their mouth, just like teeth, and the implants themselves help the jawbone avoid further deterioration. Although implants do tend to be more expensive than traditional dentures, for many they are an appropriate, life-long solution to their dental needs.

Whether you’re looking for the best way to take care of your dentures or you’re considering whether implants might be a better solution for you, we’d love to talk to you. Call your Pocatello, ID dentist today at 208.252.7163 for an appointment to find out more!
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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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Toothpastes

Toothpastes

Do you ever stand in the oral care section at a store—maybe your local supermarket, maybe a general retailer or a pharmacy—and wonder why there are so many different types of toothpaste? Think about how many brands there are—and then how many different types of toothpaste there are for each brand! Crest 3DWhite, Pro-Health, Pro-Health Advanced, with Scope, Sensi, regular old Crest, Kids’ Crest… the list goes on and on.

A helpful way to think about your toothpaste choice is to think about your goals, beyond basic hygiene, when you brush. Do you want fresh breath or whiter teeth? Do your teeth hurt when you brush? Do you want to avoid a long cleaning next time you’re at the dentist? When you answer those questions, you’ll start to narrow down that overwhelming selection of toothpastes to a more manageable few.

There are a few basic types of toothpastes out there today. However, it’s important to realize that many toothpastes fit into one or more of the categories. (This is why there are more than 40 different types of Crest alone, after all.)

Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpastes contain fluoride compounds to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by strengthening, and even helping repair, tooth enamel. These toothpastes vary in the amount and type of fluoride compounds they contain and can come in a variety of flavors that appeal to both adults and children.

Whitening Toothpaste

If you’d like your teeth to look a little whiter, whitening toothpastes can help. They’re not as effective as dedicated whitening products (like whitening strips), but they can help you maintain whitened teeth. However, keep in mind that many whitening toothpastes can be more abrasive than regular toothpastes. If you use them, give your teeth an occasional break by using less abrasive toothpastes as well!

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Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Imagine you’re standing in the dental products aisle at your local Target or Walmart. You’re about to run out of floss at home, and you just want to pick some up. If you’re like most people, your first thought is probably something like this:

Why in the world are there so many types of dental floss?

Unfortunately, this can make it hard to know which product is the best. Being a dental practice, we have to tell you the truth: it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what type of floss you prefer, as long as you are actually flossing. However, that doesn’t really help you when you’re standing in the store, trying to decide between dozens of different types of dental floss.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll inform you about different types of dental products, so you can choose which dental product is right for you, starting with floss. With floss, it’s important to know that there a few different types of floss on the market. Choosing the one that’s right for you can make flossing pain-free and more effective.

Woven

There are two types of woven floss you may hear about. The first type of woven floss is generally made of cotton. With these flosses, you can clearly see the wrapped threads, especially since they are often different colors. Cotton woven floss can be very effective in cleaning plaque, and because of the material it’s made of, can also be gentler on your gums. The second type of woven floss consists of nylon filaments threaded together to form a single, larger thread.

In general, woven flosses are effective, but depending on the space between your teeth, the threads can come apart.

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Why do I Need Professional Teeth Cleanings?

Why do I Need Professional Teeth Cleanings?
Why do I Need Professional Teeth Cleanings?

Let’s look at five reasons why you should get your teeth regularly cleaned.

1. We check for oral cancer With cancer, the sooner it’s detected the better chance you have of successfully getting rid of it. Oral cancer is no different. During each teeth cleaning, we check for any signs of oral cancer.

2. Cleanings help prevent cavities Brushing and flossing every day will do wonders in maintaining a healthy mouth. But, sometimes you may forget to floss, or maybe you had a few too many sodas and candy bars. Our dental hygienists will ensure that your mouth is free of plaque, and can also give you tips for your at-home cleaning if they see something you may not be doing.

3. Cleanings help prevent gum disease Gum disease can easily creep up on anyone. It is often painless until it becomes a bigger problem. When diagnosed with gingivitis, it can still be reversed with proper gum maintenance.

Once gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, it requires ongoing professional care to prevent further damage to your mouth. Professional cleanings at twice a year drastically reduce the risk of gum disease ever starting.

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So You Burnt Your Tongue, What’s Next?

So You Burnt Your Tongue, What’s Next?

Foods and drinks are a huge part of our daily life. Not only do we need them to live, but meals are a huge part of every culture. Let’s paint a scene for you. You are out with a group of friends at a pizza parlor. The aroma of wood baked pizza fills your nose and makes your stomach gurgle with anticipation. You order your favorite type of pizza and patiently wait for it to come out.

After some time passes, you eye your waiter heading towards your table with your pizza. As he sets it down in front of you, he warns, “Careful, this just came out of the oven.”

Overcome with excitement, you ignore his cautionary advice. You bite down–the cheese is scalding hot. At this point, you inhale and exhale repeatedly to try and cool the bite of pizza off. You debate if you should spit it out, but you don’t want to be gross in front of your friends. It’s too late. The damage to your tongue is done.

What To Do After You Burn Your Tongue

Now that your favorite pizza parlor has implemented a scorched earth strategy on your tongue, it’s time to find ways to soothe the damage done.

Just like if you burn another part of your body, applying something cold as soon as possible can help mitigate pain. Sucking on an ice cube will help.Put granulated sugar on your tongue and press it on the roof of your mouth. These instructions might seem ironic coming from a dentist, but this trick will help with the pain. But no, this doesn’t give you an excuse to eat a Snickers bar. That’s on you.Don’t add inSALT to injury. Seriously, avoid eating hot, salty, acidic, or spicy foods. These foods can irritate your burn, and hot foods can add to the injury as well. Until your tongue heals stick with cold pizza.If your tongue still hurts after these remedies, consider taking medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These will help with swelling and pain. If you are unsure if you can take these, make sure you check with your doctor first.If your tongue is still in pain after about 7 days, seek medical attention from your local doctor or dentist.Degrees Of Burns On Your Tongue

While this blog offers solutions to help burnt tongues, if you believe you have a second or third degree burn, please go seek medical attention to ensure you have the best possible care.

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Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

Ouch! Maybe it’s a fresh smoothie, a spoonful of ice cream, or even just a sip of ice water—but there it is, throbbing tooth pain.

There are many reasons why you might be experiencing tooth sensitivity to cold. Fortunately, you can take several steps to remedy this yourself, including checking with your dentist.

Other symptoms often accompany sensitivity to cold, including:

Sensitivity to hot foodsPain when biting or chewingPersistent dull or throbbing tooth pain

  But what conditions cause these kinds of tooth sensitivity?

Exposed Roots

Tooth enamel, the hardest substance in your body, covers your tooth above the gumline. However, the root of your tooth, the part normally covered by your gums, does not have this protective layer. If you don’t brush and floss regularly—or if you brush and floss too vigorously—your gums may recede, exposing the roots of one or more of your teeth. If you have exposed roots, the best course of action is to follow general oral hygiene. Continue brushing and flossing, but use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth. If the pain continues, though, make sure to see your dentist.

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Dental Tips for the Mentally Disabled

Dental Tips for the Mentally Disabled
National Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Dental Tips for the Developmentally Disabled

If you’ve ever taken care of someone else, you understand how difficult it can be to get them to brush their teeth and floss every day. When you’re caring for a child—or adult—with a disability, the challenges can be even greater, as they may be predisposed to certain oral health conditions. On top of that, going to the dentist can be stressful to anyone, let alone someone who’s not able to prepare for what to expect.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and we would like to share a few tips you as a caregiver can do to make sure your loved one maintains a healthy smile.

Dental Issues for People with Down Syndrome

There are common mouth issues that are associated with Down syndrome. Being aware of these issues will allow you to prepare and understand what steps to take next.

Children with Down syndrome often wait twice as long for baby teeth to arrive–usually around 12 to 14 months. Along with delayed eruption, they may have missing teeth, or their teeth may emerge in a different order than usual.

People with Down syndrome have a smaller upper jaw, which will crowd the upper teeth, causing an unaligned bite. Orthodontics can solve this issue, but they can be problematic for younger children. You may want to wait until they are older.

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Stressed Out: Can Stress Affect Your Teeth?

Stressed Out: Can Stress Affect Your Teeth?
Stressed Out: Can Stress Affect Your Teeth?

You have too much to do at work. You have to juggle a million tasks between your children, your spouse, and errands — not to mention your mother-in-law is in town for the weekend. We all have those days, and those days can add immense stress to your life. That stress affects more than just your emotional health; it physically alters you as well.

Physical Symptoms of Stress on Your Mouth

Your mouth already experiences daily wear and tear that you need to prevent as much as possible. If you are too stressed, this adds another layer of factors fighting against the health of your mouth. It starts before you even realize — you are stressed out thinking about everything you need to do, and then you notice you’ve been clenching your teeth for the past few minutes. Depending on how you handle stress, you may be doing this multiple times per day, which takes a toll on your mouth.

Stress-related clenching and teeth grinding (also called bruxism) can carry into the night while you sleep. If left untreated, bruxism can also destroy dental restorations (fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.) that you’ve had done, creating more pain and costing more money. Additionally, this can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD). Symptoms can include:

Constant headacheSore jaw musclesSensitive teethExtra tooth wearHow to Prevent Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Since one of the main causes of teeth grinding and clenching is stress, the best way to stop is to reduce your stress. Hold on — put down that glass of chardonnay or moonshine you have after work to unwind (alcohol increases the likelihood of teeth grinding while sleeping). Here are some stress-management techniques that will help reduce your overall stress.

Exercise. Not only does this release endorphins to help combat stress, but at the end of the day, you’ll be too tired to have stress-inducing thoughts.Autogenic relaxation. This method involves “commanding” your body to relax. This takes a lot of practice but can be very effective once learned. Learn more about autogenic relaxation here.Visualization. Trying to use all five of your senses, imagine a scenario that is relaxing. For example, if you imagine yourself in a forest, listen to the sway of the branches, feel the warm light creeping between the trees, and note the scent of pine needles.Listen to your favorite music. Classical is always a reliable genre to relax to, but listen to the type of music that helps you unwind.

 

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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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Am I at Risk? The Question That’s on Everyone’s Lips

Am I at Risk? The Question That’s on Everyone’s Lips

Speaking, eating, and smooching — these are all daily activities that draw attention to your lips. You most likely catch a glimpse of them every time you look in the mirror throughout the day, like when you brush your teeth during your morning routine and then again before going to bed. With their high visibility, you might guess that identifying lip cancer in its earliest stages would be common, but you might be surprised at how often early signs go unnoticed.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and according to the American Dental Association, 41,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. With 60% of the U.S. population visiting the dentist each year, where there mouths are closely examined and oral cancer screenings are done routinely, the dental community is the first line of defense for early detection.

What Is the Difference Between Lip and Oral Cancer?

Lip cancer is one kind of oral cancer. Simply put, cancer is the rapid and uncontrollable growth of invasive cells that damage surrounding tissue. When this occurs on or in the mouth, it is referred to as oral cancer. A notable difference between lip cancer and cancer that occurs inside the mouth and throat is the added risk factor of prolonged exposure to the sun. Lip cancer is often caused by the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, and the lower lip specifically has the greatest risk because it has more exposure to the sun.

Risk Factors

While sun exposure increases the likelihood of suffering from lip cancer, there are other factors that increase your risk for oral cancer, most of which are avoidable.

Tobacco: Tobacco use of any kind increases your chances of getting oral cancer.Alcohol: Heavy alcohol use and abuse has been found to be a risk factor.Sun exposure: Individuals who have regular, prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer of the lips.HPV: HPV is tied to the development of cervical cancer and is also a risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancers.Dentures: Though the connection is debated, some believe that poorly fit dentures that cause long-term irritation of the mouth lining may lead to cancer. It is important that patients who wear dentures have the fit checked regularly, along with a regular oral cancer screening, to minimize their risk.Signs of Oral Cancer

Cancer of the mouth reveals itself as a growth or sore in the mouth or throat that doesn’t go away with time. Other symptoms include:

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Conquer Toothaches Once and For All

Conquer Toothaches Once and For All

There is nothing worse than feeling the pain of a toothache creep into your mouth. In honor of National Toothache Day (February 9th), let us delve into toothache symptoms, what it could mean, and some things you can do to help with pain, as well as prevent toothaches from happening.

Symptoms

Since a toothache is a common problem, it comes with a lot of symptoms too. Some of these include:

Throbbing painSharp painPain when pressure is appliedPain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures

If any of these symptoms last longer than 1-2 days, it’s time to see your dentist for further examination.

Causes

Unfortunately, it can be hard to pinpoint what’s causing your toothache since so many issues can cause them.

Tooth Decay and cavities are very common. When you eat foods, especially ones that have a lot of sugar, you’re feeding the bacteria in your mouth. As the bacteria eat, they produce acid, which damages tooth enamel. Typically, you won’t feel pain until the acid eats past your enamel and reaches the nerves underneath. If you are to the point where you feel pain, you will most likely need a filling, crown, or root canal (depending on the amount of damage).

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