Don’t Try This at Home: Five Dental Treatments to Leave to the Pros

 

We all take pride in accomplishing tasks ourselves, but there are some things in life that are best left in the hands of the professionals. Nowhere is this truer than in dentistry. That’s because while some treatments may look easy enough, they can leave you with permanent and irreversible damage to your teeth and gums – or leave you spending all your savings repairing the damage. While some DIY treatments are harmless, some are absolutely a bad idea. Here’s a list of five of the worst treatments to try at home.

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Should New York City Teachers Brush Their Students' Teeth?

 

When the New York City Board of Health recently announced a proposal to require preschool teachers to brush students’ teeth after meals and snacks, many people thought it was a brilliant idea - but others were left scratching their heads. How can we ask a teacher to provide this type of personal care to a student, especially when many teachers are already stretched for time, space and resources? But is this a good reason to not require this program? Here are the reasons why this proposal could - and should - work.

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Five Foods to Avoid Before a Dental Appointment

 

With so many healthy dietary choices out there, most Americans have no reason to eat junk food if they can help it. But just because a food is good for you doesn’t mean it’s a good choice to eat before your dental or orthodontic appointment. If you’re wondering what to avoid before you hit the dental chair, check out this list of the top five offenders, and what makes them such a bad mix with your exam.

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Startling Oral Health Data from Ireland Raises Important Questions in America

According to a new study by Queen Mary University in London, parents in Ireland are failing to bring their children to the dentist at appropriate times. The study found that only 30 percent of parents brought their child to the dentist when the child was suffering from dental pain, while the rest visited either general practitioners to address the pain or the pharmacy for over-the-counter pain medication.

"The problem with this, obviously, is that a general practitioner isn’t a dentist and can’t fix a dental problem," says Bellmore, New York, dentist Dr. Gary Lederman. "Even if a general practitioner could diagnose a dental problem, they would still end up referring the patient to a dentist."

The problem is increasingly troubling because Ireland and the entire United Kingdom are facing major budget shortfalls due to cuts in their National Health Service (NHS) medical care program - shortfalls that have had a significant impact on the dental services the NHS provides U.K. residents.

"The NHS was in the news recently because they have charities that normally provide free dental care to children in Third World countries coming to the United Kingdom to work on children in England. That’s how short they are on funding. The program cannot even pay for routine dental care for its own participating children," says Lederman.

The other problem, which Lederman says is a far bigger issue, is that some parents are completely bypassing the general practitioner and heading straight to the pharmacy.

"Treating your child’s dental pain with over-the-counter pain medication instead of addressing the problem is just asking for trouble," says Lederman. "They might find temporary relief, but meanwhile the problem could be getting worse, which will only end up causing more pain and costing more money down the road."

While there appears to be no viable solutions on the horizon for the NHS budget crisis, Lederman says that domestically, parents can learn a thing or two from the United Kingdom situation.

"This should really show us just how vital it is to take care of our children’s teeth, and how urgent it is to be seen by a dentist if your child is complaining of discomfort," says Lederman. "We are fortunate here in America to have government programs like the NHS program, so if your child needs dental care and you are uninsured or cannot afford it, I absolutely encourage you to look into Medicaid programs in your community."

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Is It OK to Brush Teeth in the Shower?

 

You may or may not remember a very interesting interview with actress Jennifer Aniston that was published back in 2008, in which the actress claimed to be eco-friendly because she limited her showers to three minutes and during that time also brushed her teeth. That’s right. She brushes her teeth in the shower. For some of us, that admission came as a total shock - not because an actress would want to conserve water, but that someone would actually brush their teeth while they were showering. But for others, this admission was not remotely surprising, as this is common practice for some people.here aren’t any data on just how many people brush while showering, but there are enough of them out there that it has become somewhat of a subject of debate between dentists and patients over the years.

When it comes to brushing your teeth in the shower, there are a few questions we need to ask ourselves when trying to determine if this is a good idea or not. First of all, why are you brushing your teeth in the shower? If you are doing so like Aniston to save water, this is not a good idea. Why? Because if you are in the shower, you are using a lot more water than you would if you brushed at the sink. Unless you're doing other tasks - like shampooing or scrubbing your back - at the same time, you're not really doing much good. And if you are standing directly under the water, you may be getting some of it in your mouth as you brush, causing your toothpaste to dilute or run down your face.

Bottom line: If you want to save water, take your shower as quickly as you can, and brush your teeth before or after with the faucet off while you brush.

Another reason people brush in the shower is to save time, or to multi-task. This is a good idea in theory, but it can have its drawbacks, too. First of all, where are you storing your toothbrush when you’re done? Is it staying in the shower? Do you share the shower with another person? If you have a hook in the shower for your brush, can you be 100 percent sure it's not getting sprayed with soap or oils from someone else when you’re not using it?

Furthermore, how clean is your shower? Do you regularly scrub the tiles for mold, mildew, hard water scale and soap scum? Leaving your brush in a space that is susceptible to any of those contaminants could mean you’re getting them in your toothbrush, too, and by proxy brushing that onto your teeth. Showers can be a hotbed of all kinds of nasty bacteria - not exactly something you want to be putting into your mouth. For this reason, if you truly must brush your teeth in the shower, it is highly recommended that your toothbrush be stored outside of the shower when not in use.

Another question you have to ask yourself about shower brushing is: Where does all that foam go when you’re done brushing? Do you spit out your toothpaste onto the floor of your shower? Do you step out of the shower to spit it into the sink? Many people would argue that the idea of stepping in their own used toothpaste during the shower is not a pleasant one.

Finally, there’s one more reason that brushing in the shower isn’t the best idea. Accuracy. Yes, you’ve probably been brushing your teeth for longer than you’ve been showering, so chances are you know what you’re doing by now. But how can you be sure you’ve gotten all the plaque and debris from your teeth if you’re not brushing in front of a mirror? It makes more sense to brush at your sink, so you can see exactly what you’re doing and make sure you’re not missing any particles that are on your teeth. Furthermore, you still need to floss, which is very difficult to do without a mirror. If you’re going to floss in the mirror, shouldn’t you just brush there too?

Ultimately, it's up to you when and where you brush your teeth, but brushing in the shower is definitely not recommended. The time it may save is negligible, and the water it may save is debatable. If you’re short on time or worried about your water consumption, set your alarm a few minutes earlier in the morning so you don’t have to rush, and make sure you and your family are shutting the faucet off while they are brushing in the sink. These little changes can make as big of, if not a bigger, impact than shower brushing, and they’re a lot better for you, too.

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This Candy Helps Fight Cavities

You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn't love candy. But for many parents, it’s a love they’re hesitant to indulge. That’s because with so much sugar already in our diets, the last thing most kids need is more of it. Sugar in moderation is OK, but when sugar is overdone, it can cause a whole list of chronic problems including obesity, diabetes and cavities. Some studies have even linked it to hormone imbalances, premature aging and cancer.

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How to Ease the Pain of New Braces

Congratulations, you just got new braces! You can expect many great things from orthodontics: straighter teeth, a more even smile and even a better aligned bite. But what you may not be expecting is the pain that goes along with new braces. It can be hard to adjust to. Usually when you experience tooth pain, it’s focused on one or two teeth. With braces, your entire upper and lower jaw can hurt at once, and that can often be almost unbearable.

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Resolve to Quit Smoking in 2018

A new year means a fresh start. It’s also a wonderful time to implement new resolutions to improve your quality of life. But some resolutions are easier to achieve than others. One of the most difficult resolutions to stick with is quitting smoking. Smoking statistics are scary ones. An estimated 15 of every 100 Americans smoke cigarettes. That’s about 36.5 million people! Worse yet, an estimated 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related illness, such as lung cancer or emphysema – and these diseases are completely preventable. Smoking also prematurely ages you, gives you bad breath and stains your teeth.

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Study Finds Link Between Gum Disease, Frailty

A recent study by the American Academy of Geriatrics has found a link between the presence of gum disease, tooth loss and frailty in senior citizens. Conducted in the United Kingdom, the study of nearly 8,000 people found that more than 60 percent of citizens over the age of 65 had some form of periodontal disease, and many more were missing more than one tooth. Another common side effect experienced by respondents was dry mouth.

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Mouth May Offers Signs of Celiac

Do you suffer from frequent canker sores? Do you always seem to have dry mouth? These could be caused by many things that are no cause for alarm, but they could also be warning signs of a bigger problem: celiac disease. Celiac disease has several of what are known as "oral manifestations" – physical symptoms that occur in the mouth that may indicate the presence of celiac disease in the body. If you are experiencing any one or more of these indicators, you may have the condition.

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Proper Denture Care Is Crucial for Overall Health

Whether you’ve just gotten your first set of dentures or you’re a seasoned pro at wearing them, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you have dentures you no longer need to care for your oral health. In fact, improperly cleaned or poorly fitting dentures can be just as dangerous to the mouth as failing to care for natural teeth.

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Oral Health a Growing Concern Among Older Adults

According to the University of Michigan’s "National Poll on Healthy Aging" released in September 2017, an increasing number of older Americans are worried about caring for – and paying for – their teeth as they age. The poll, which was conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan, worked in partnership with the AARP and Michigan Medicine.

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Sweets Surrender: How to Finally Stamp Out Sugar

There are few things on earth as tasty -- or addictive -- as sugar. But as delicious as it may be, sugar has also been found to be extremely bad for you. From cavities to obesity and diabetes, excessive consumption of sugar can cause a host of dangerous and even deadly problems. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to cut sugar from your diet.  If you’re ready to ditch sugar for good but aren’t sure how to do it, try these tips to help make your sweets surrender as easy as possible!

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What’s the Big Deal About Xylitol?

An artificial sweetener called Xylitol is making a lot of headlines lately. It looks and tastes just like sugar but has 40 percent fewer calories and will not increase blood sugar levels like sugar. That also means it’s a lot better for your teeth than sugar!

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Tooth Idioms Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

Idioms. They’re one of those elements of everyday language that we often use without thinking about or really understanding what they mean. Curious about where some of the most common tooth-related idioms come from? Keep reading, and we’ll "spill the beans!"  

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Brace Yourself for a Beautiful Smile

Having your braces removed is a big moment in any adult or young adult’s life. Getting your braces removed means not only do you get a beautiful, even smile, but you also get the freedom of being able to feel your teeth with your tongue, the ease of cleaning bare teeth and the joy of being able to eat whatever you want again! But it can also be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve had your braces on for a long time. Here’s what to expect when you get your braces removed.  

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New Hope for Treating Sensitive Teeth

For an estimated 1 in 8 Americans, sensitive teeth are a real problem. While the condition itself has many causes, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, it most frequently affects people between the ages of 18-44, with women nearly twice as likely to experience sensitivity as men.  But there may be good news on the way for sufferers of sensitive teeth, and it’s got ties to a very unlikely source: rust remover. Dr. Gary Lederman of Bellmore, New York has seen this in his patients. 

If you’re at all familiar with that can rust remover, you may have heard of an ingredient called potassium oxalate. The compound, which can also be used to bleach wood and textiles, and is also used as a precipitating agent in metal processing, is now being tested for use in protecting sensitive teeth.

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Should It Stay or Should It Go: Root Canals versus Tooth Extraction

For the thousands of patients faced with the agonizing pain of a dental abscess each year, many are also faced with a common dilemma: should they go through the trouble of having a root canal- or should they cut their losses and skip ahead to a tooth extraction? There are serious pros and cons to each procedure- but they can often be difficult to decide upon when you are in pain and seeking immediate relief. With Root Canal Awareness Week right around the corner (from March 27 to April 2), we spoke to Dr. Gary Lederman of Bellmore, New York about which option is best and how to make a choice for yourself if you’re ever faced with an abscess.

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