Can My Oral Health Affect My Pregnancy?

Finding out you are pregnant can be a very joyous occasion and it usually means that there is a lot of planning and prepping to do in the immediate future. Very quickly, the focus shifts from the soon-to-be Mom, to the baby that is on it’s way. While this is a necessary thing, there are some things that the Mom could and should be doing to take care of herself in the process, and your oral health is a big one!

Many women think that they can’t go to the dentist while they are pregnant or that their teeth are just going to suffer and that’s the way it is. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What is true is that the combination of hormones a woman experiences during pregnancy put her at a greater risk for periodontal issues and that pregnant women should visit a dentist and pay extra attention to taking care of their mouth.

New research is suggesting more and more frequently that bacteria that can live in your mouth and gums are related to many diseases, and can even negatively affect pregnancy. 

A recent article published in the International Journal of Health Sciences reported that “Robust evidence shows the association of periodontal diseases with systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. … Periodontitis is related to maternal infection, preterm birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia.”

While this study is pretty scientific and technical, what it comes down to is that pregnant women should be seeing their dentist during their pregnancy and evaluating the health of their gums. At Grand Avenue Dental Care, we are familiar with the signs and symptoms of the bacteria that can cause gum disease and potentially harm your unborn baby. We also have several treatments and methods that we can use to get the bacteria under control, which will benefit both your health and the health of your unborn baby

For more information on how to best take care of your teeth when pregnant, check out this article from mouthhealthy.org!

We want what is best for all of our patients at all stages of life. Being pregnant is a very exciting, and constantly changing, time for soon-to-be moms. It’s easy to forget about yourself and put all of the focus on the new baby-to-be, but we want to encourage all pregnant women to come and see us while they are pregnant. It’s important for both you and your baby!

 

Teeth Whitening - It’s Everywhere!

These days it seems we can find the words “teeth whitening” on nearly every product in the dental aisle. The truth is that, as a country, we spend $1.5 billion annually on teeth whitening products! That is a lot of money and the results will vary greatly based on what the product is and where you got it from. One of the biggest questions we get is: What is the difference between over-the-counter teeth whitening products compared to what we can provide you in the dental office?

Well, we’ve put together a list for you!

Over-The-Counter Whitening Projects:

  • Treat extrinsic stains (on the surface of your teeth)
  • Use hydrogen peroxide to help whiten
  • Have limited amounts of active ingredients they can use 
  • Use a one-size-fits-all mentality, where the size of the trays and the percentage of whitening agents are the same for everyone

In-Office Teeth Whitening Options:

  • Treat intrinsic stains that go deeper than the surface of your teeth
  • Use several active ingredients (including hydrogen peroxide) to whiten your teeth
  • Have a much higher percentage of active ingredients for quicker, more noticeable results
  • Can be customized for each individual patient. We make trays for each person and will recommend a whitening product and percentage that we think is best for you!

Here at Grand Avenue Dental Care, we recommend that you speak to your dentist or hygienist about which whitening product would be best for you and your lifestyle. In our office, we offer both in-office whitening and take-home whitening options, both of which can be very effective. Our ‘Whitening For Life' program allows our patients to spend just $99.00 to get custom made trays to take home and use with a high percentage whitening solution. As long as you keep up with your regular dental appointments (every 6 months), we continue to give you additional whitening solution to use with your trays! 

Using a whitening toothpaste at home will still help in removing external stains from your teeth, but if you want to really jump start your whitening, we recommend you speak to your dental professional to get the best options for you!

How to Get our Kids to Be Better Brushers!

It is a constant challenge to keep kids interested and motivated to do the things that we want them to do: making their beds, doing their homework and getting out the door on time are all things that fall under this category. While we don’t have quick-fixes for all of these challenges, here at Grand Avenue Dental Care, we do have a couple of tips to help you motivate your kids to brush their teeth consistently.

The first way to try to get your kids to do anything, is to be a good example of that activity. That is no different when it come to brushing your teeth. If you are a good example of healthy oral hygiene habits, your kids will see that and be more likely to want to do the same thing! So, be sure YOU are brushing for two minutes, two times a day and flossing once a day! 

Another way to encourage your kids is to make brushing FUN! Getting them engaged in the activity, especially at a young age, can be instrumental in creating positive, lifelong habits. With technology so readily available today, there are quite a few apps that you can download to your phone, iPad or tablet, that were created JUST for this situation. A couple of our favorite tooth brushing apps are the Disney Magic Timer and the Brusheez app! They are both kid-approved but there are many more where they came from! See what works best for your child. Some kids really like the tangible, flip-over, 2 minute timer or they might prefer 2 minutes of dancing, while brushing, to their favorite song. Find out what works best for them, and if they loses their initial excitement, try something new!

Fun is always good, but so are rewards and positive reinforcement. Regardless of how you motivate your child to be a better, more consistent brusher, be sure to take notice! Just complementing how well they are doing is wonderful, but it might also be nice to set up a reward program if they do it well. We’ve created the below Brushing Calendar to help with just that. Feel free to print it out and encourage your child to color each half of the day (morning and night) as they brush. They can use their favorite color, green and gold for their favorite team or even stickers in each section. If they fill out the entire calendar for one month, you can arrange a special reward for them. Or, if they bring it in to Grand Avenue Dental Care, with their parents signature- we will give them a special treat. 

Remember, as soon as your child gets their first tooth, you should start brushing. You should also schedule them for their first dental visit once they have that first tooth, or by the time they are one year old. The earlier good brushing habits are formed, the better kids are at taking care of their teeth and the less cavities they will experience. We hope these few tips help you to build better brushing habits with your kids! Their bed might still be un-made, but at least their smile will sparkle! 

92% of Us Have Had at Least One Cavity!

That is a BIG number and yes, cavities are common. But, in many cases, they are preventable! So, here are a few ways that you can help to prevent cavities:

  1. Brush! It always goes back to brushing, doesn’t it? Two minutes, two times a day. No exceptions! Brushing in the morning and at night can help to remove debris and keep your teeth cavity-free. Remember- it takes about 6 weeks to develop a new habit, so be prepared to hit some roadblocks and keep at it!
  2. Floss! Along with the brushing, flossing reaches the remaining tooth surface to keep it all clean. Even the best brusher would be missing over 30% of tooth structure without flossing. That is a lot of your teeth, so be sure to floss once a day. 
  3. Watch the Sugar! What you eat goes a long way when it comes to dental health. Many foods that are healthy for us (or we think are healthy) have a lot of sugar in them. Read your labels and limit how much sugar you eat. Pay attention not only to the food you eat but the drinks you drink. Sports drinks, juices, sodas and coffee can all have natural and added sugars in them, and can also be acidic, which puts your teeth at a higher risk for decay. Chewy foods are more likely to stick in the grooves of your teeth, so crunchy foods (think nuts) or dairy (think cheese sticks) make great snacks in-between meals. 
  4. Rinse! We know that it’s not always possible to brush and floss throughout the day or eat perfectly. So, while you are sipping your coffee or your soda at work, be sure you are drinking water in between. Rinsing with water throughout the day is a great way to allow your mouth to return to it’s normal pH level and try to rinse away some of the debris from lunch(or that pick-me-up snack/coffee!). You can also try chewing some sugar free gum to help remove debris and freshen your breath while out and about all day! Gum with xylitol like this one from Walmart or this one from Thrive Market offer a ‘one-up’, as xylitol has been proven effective in reducing the risk of cavities … even better!

Ultimately, your daily eating and brushing habits will make the biggest difference in how often you will get cavities. By taking the time and making a few changes to your habits, you can make a positive impact on your oral health. And, as always, if you ever have a question about your teeth or oral health, don’t hesitate to ask any of us at Grand Avenue Dental Care!

Over-the-Counter Pain Killers Provide Better Dental Pain Relief than Prescription Opioids

For years, our doctors have recommended that patients take a combination of Tylenol and Ibuprofen to counter the affects of dental pain. The combination of the two over-the-counter medications is extremely effective in fighting the swelling and pain associated with dental issues and has less negative side effects than prescription medications.

A recent article from WebMD.com focuses on  a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association that agrees. One of their co-authors states, "What we know is that prescribing narcotics should be a last resort," said study co-author Anita Aminoshariae, an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University's School of Dental Medicine, in Cleveland. She went on to say, "The best available data suggests that the use of non-steroidal medications [NSAIDs], with or without acetaminophen, offers the most favorable balance between benefits and harms, optimizing efficacy [effectiveness] while minimizing acute adverse events."

Here at Grand Avenue Dental Care we have been and continue to practice this philosophy and only prescribe prescription medications when necessary. If you are unable to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen you should speak to your doctor or dentist so that they can make an alternate recommendation for pain management. You also should not take acetaminophen (Tylenol) while consuming or after consuming alcohol. If you ever have any questions about your dental health or managing dental pain, please contact us!