Tacoma Dentist | 5 Tips for Denture Wearers

Dentist Tacoma

Taking care of your dentures can seem like an added chore. Don’t worry, with a little effort your dentures can stay clean. Here are 5 tips for keeping your dentures clean and your smile healthy.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

Prior to brushing, it helps to rinse your dentures off.  Run them through water to help wash away food and other small particles. Be extra careful when handling your fragile dentures. Avoid using hot or boiling water, as that could damage your dentures.

  1. Clean Your Dentures

Just as you would brush your teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well. Never use cleaning solutions while your dentures are in. Rather, remove your dentures and carefully brush using a soft toothbrush. Avoid using whitening toothpastes or harsh cleaning materials like bleach products. Talk to our dentist about the right type of cleaner for your dentures. Using too strong a solution can cause damage to your dentures.

  1. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth

You still need to take care of your natural teeth. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Be gentle when brushing and cleaning your gums. Cleaning your gums will help you reduce your risk of developing an oral infection. If your toothbrush is too rough on your gums, an alternative is to use gauze. Be sure to come see us if you are experiencing gum pain and we can make recommendations.

  1. Keep Them Covered

When you remove your dentures for bed, be sure to keep them in a covered container overnight. Use a denture-soaking solution to keep them clean overnight. Water works as a substitute, as your dentures need moisture to retain their shape. If you have any questions about storing your dentures, talk to us and we’ll help you.

  1. Care with Adhesives

It can sometimes be difficult to remove your dentures with an adhesive. If you are having trouble, try swishing warm water or a mouthwash around your mouth. Never use any cleaning solution, tool, or foreign object to remove your dentures. Take special care to ensure the grooves of your dentures that attach to your gums are clean and free of adhesive.

When taken care of properly, your dentures will provide you with a lasting smile. Be vigilant in keeping up with cleaning your dentures. If you have any questions about caring for your dentures, get in touch with our office. We would be happy to work with you to figure out a solution for your denture concerns.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today.

Tacoma WA Dentist | Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush

Tacoma Dentist

Dentist TacomaOccasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water

When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Floss Your Teeth

We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush

If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact our office.

Dentist in Tacoma | You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why

Dentist  Tacoma

Tacoma DentistEven a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can leading to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it.

What is it?

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.

Who Does It Affect?

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.

What can it Do?

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth.

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart.

How can I Prevent It?

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.

The American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you.

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist Tacoma | Tobacco and Oral Health

Dentist in Tacoma

Whether you use smokeless tobacco or smoke cigars, cigarettes, or a pipe, tobacco use poses a serious threat to both your oral health and your overall health. In addition to the effects smoking has on your respiratory health, pregnancy, and heart health, a recent study has found profound connections between smoking and periodontal (gum) disease.

Most people are aware that tobacco use commonly causes a wide range of unpleasant side effects. Some of these include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Stained teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of taste and smell

While these may seem like minor issues, they can lead to serious oral health complications. For example, chronic dry mouth will increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, the presence of frequent mouth sores raises your chances of developing an infection that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.

Even more seriously, tobacco use greatly increases your risks of dangerous oral health complications. Dental implant failure is significantly more common among patients who smoke. Oral cancers are 6 times as likely to develop in smokers than non-smokers. Immune system suppression from smoking can lead to slowed healing and worsening gum disease, and even limit the benefits you receive from periodontal treatments.

Gum disease is 3-6 times more likely in smokers than non-smokers, depending on the daily intake. Gum disease in smokers can be more challenging to recognize in early stages because smokers are less likely to have bleeding gums. This is due to the blood vessel constriction common to smokers, and not an indication of healthy gums.

By breaking the tobacco habit you can significantly reduce your risks of damage to your gums and teeth. Former smokers who stop for at least 11 years have no higher risk of periodontal disease than non-smokers. Even reducing your tobacco intake can help reduce your risks of the serious health complications that smoking and tobacco use can cause.

For information on ways to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of resources that can help. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quitting-resources.html.

For more information about periodontal disease or to schedule a periodontal examination, contact our office.

Dentist in Tacoma | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Tacoma Dentist

The food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks.
Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

Tacoma Dentist | Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dentist in Tacoma WA

Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) share a complex relationship with one another. Both of these chronic conditions cause increased inflammation in the body. Both can lead to serious damage, especially if a patient does not seek prompt, effective treatment. However, the connection between these potentially destructive illnesses does not end with similarity of symptoms. If you have either periodontal disease or RA, you may benefit from learning more about the links between the two.

Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue in the mouth. Patients with periodontal disease most often experience swelling, redness, sensitivity, and/or painful, bleeding gums. They will develop pockets where the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. These pockets are more difficult to properly clean, so are more prone to infection and bacteria that cause tooth decay. If not treated regularly, periodontal disease will worsen over time and can lead to tooth and bone loss.

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease where the protective immune response is triggered when no harmful viruses or bacteria are present. With no pathogens to attack, the white blood cells instead attack the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and eventually deterioration of the joints. Since RA often affects the small joints of the hands and wrists, many patients have difficulty maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits. With less effective dental hygiene, patients with RA are at increased risk of developing, or worsening, periodontal disease.

Moreover, in a recent study, scientists looked at the effects of the bacterium porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease. They found that this bacterium can lead to earlier onset, more rapid progression of symptoms, and increased severity of RA. Fortunately, it was also discovered that successful treatment for periodontal disease can reduce RA pain and other symptoms.

If you have RA and are having difficulty maintaining your oral hygiene due to stiff, painful joints, consider these simple ideas:

  • Add a tennis ball or bicycle handlebar grip to make your toothbrush easier to hold.
  • Try replacing ordinary string floss with a water flosser that may be easier to hold and manipulate.
  • Use a pump-style toothpaste dispenser to avoid the need to squeeze and roll a small tube.
  • Have professional cleanings at least 2-3 times each year.
  • Schedule a periodontal screening annually.
  • Ask your dental hygienist for more ideas on making your daily regimen work for you.

For more information regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our office to schedule a consultation.