Protect Your Smile: Top 5 Reasons To Wear A Mouthguard

Protect Your Smile: Top 5 Reasons To Wear A Mouthguard

Football playersWhether you’re racing down the field for a touchdown or going for a slam dunk on the court, the last thing on an athlete’s mind is the health of their smile. Despite this seemingly unrelated topic, more dental accidents occur while playing sports than you might think.

According to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports. What’s even more, 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth.

Although many athletes neglect the safety of their teeth, it’s critical to address this issue to avoid dental trauma. In celebration of National Facial Protection Month, all of us here at Dentistry of Nashville encourage our patients to protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard while playing any contact sports.

Why Is It Important To Wear A Mouthguard?

The importance of wearing a mouthguard should not be overlooked. Some of the top reasons to wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports include:

  1. Avoid Fractures: The most obvious benefit of wearing a mouthguard is protecting your teeth from breaking. If a fracture does occur, there are still several dental treatments that can save your tooth. However, we believe that preventative measures should be taken to avoid this problem altogether.
  2. Avoid Tooth Displacement: Even if your teeth remain intact without any chips or fractures, they can still be displaced. Displacement occurs when the tooth still remains partially or completely in the socket but has shifted. This is particularly dangerous because it can cause your tooth to move easily after the accident.
  3. Protect Your Jaw: A mouthguard can also be a useful tool for protecting your jaw. In the instance of impact, a mouthguard can help to absorb the shock and prevent a painful injury to the jaw.
  4. Protect Soft Tissue: A mouthguard is useful for protecting the soft tissues of the mouth, including the gums, cheeks, and lips. During impact, many athletes can bite through their lower lip or inner cheek. Wearing a mouthguard can protect your teeth along with these soft tissues.
  5. Save Money: In the end, investing money in a mouthguard will save you the pain and financial burden of costly treatment for dental injuries.

The Most Common Dental Injuries For Athletes

According to the American Dental Assistants’ Association, approximately 5 million Americans lose teeth due to injuries related to sports. The most common types of injuries fall into three categories:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Fractured roots
  • Tooth intrusion

No matter what category your dental trauma falls in, it’s critical to treat the issue as soon as possible. Avoiding treatment can impact the rest of your teeth, and you may even end up losing a tooth that initially could have been saved.

Types Of Mouthguards

If you’ve decided to invest in a mouthguard, we’d like to congratulate you on taking the first step to protecting your smile and dental health! The next important step is choosing the right mouthguard according to your budget and preferences.

A mouthguard should be resilient, comfortable, and not restrict your breathing. Some of your choices for mouthguards include:

  • Custom-made mouthguards: A custom-made device provides the best fit and the most protection. The mouthguard is made by taking an impression of your teeth to perfectly fit your mouth. While this is the most comfortable, effective option, it is also the most expensive.
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards: These types of mouthguards come pre-formed and can be fitted by boiling the mouthguard and biting down. Most boil-and-bite mouthguards can be found at sporting good stores and are a more comfortable option than stock mouthguards.
  • Stock mouthguards: These mouthguards are preformed and ready to wear. These can often be the least comfortable.

Mouthguard Maintenance

Maintaining your mouthguard is also important for protecting your smile. According to a 2011 study published in Sports Medicine, researchers found a variety of molds and bacteria on the mouthguards of football players. Properly cleaning and caring for your mouthguard will ensure your mouth stays clear of bacteria while protecting your teeth. Some of the best ways to maintain your mouthguard include:

  • Keeping your mouthguard in a clean dry area between games
  • Rinse and brush your mouthguard before and after use
  • Soak your mouthguard in soapy water and rinse for thorough cleanings
  • Never leave your mouthguard in hot water or the hot sun
  • Look for signs of wear and replace your mouthguard when necessary

Contact Dentistry Of Nashville

Do you have additional questions about protecting your smile while playing sports? No matter what your dental concerns are, we are here to assist you! From family dentistry to restorative treatment, your smile is in the best hands possible with us! Contact our office today to learn more about how we can give you a healthier, beautiful smile.

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Quit These Habits To Maintain Health Teeth

Quit These Habits To Maintain Health Teeth

Your teeth are vital for your overall health and longevity. Strong and healthy teeth, helps you speak and eat with ease and helps keep your gums in great shape. Keeping your teeth healthy is very important to do. Maintaining them is necessary if you want to prevent oral diseases and the spreading of bacterial infections throughout the body.

Although many people may have a fantastic regimen to keep their pearly whites strong, certain common practices can have negative effects. View our top 5 common habits that can cause damage to your teeth.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

While chewing on ice cubes can be refreshing for the body on a hot day, your teeth may not enjoy it. Chewing ice can cause micro-cracks in the enamel and can cause tooth sensitivity over time. Chewing on ice can also damage the gums and cause gum recession.

Surprisingly, craving ice is often a sign of iron deficiency and stress. Sometimes taking iron pills can make the ice craving go away. Next time that you choose to chew on ice, substitute it for a great snack like carrots or celery, that will provide the same crunch effect but with healthy vitamins.

If you feel like you crave ice all of the time, speak to your healthcare professional to determine any further medical concerns.

  1. Brushing Forcefully

Many people believe that the harder that you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. That is not the case brushing your teeth too hard can actually cause many serious problems to your teeth and gums. If you apply too much pressure to your teeth when brushing your teeth, you run the risk of developing receding gums, cavities and enamel wear. Below you will find a few signs of over brushing.

  • Enamel wear
  • Receding gums
  • Cavities on teeth

Dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth with a gentle toothbrush while using soft gentle strokes in a circular motion around each tooth. It is recommended that you brush your teeth for 2-3 mins to get optimal results. Finish your routine with flossing in between your teeth and using a mouthwash.

  1. Teeth Grinding

Over 30 to 40 million Americans grind their teeth consciously or unconsciously. The behavior is also called bruxism. It’s important for people who suffer from this disorder understand the consequences that happen to your oral health. It can cause chips, pain, and discomfort to your enamel.

If you don’t know if you suffer from teeth grinding, there are many symptoms that are noticeable when you are awake. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Dull constant headache
  • Sore jaw
  • Someone hears your grinding during your sleep
  • Indentations on your tongue
  • Tooth sensitivity

If you suspect that you may have the teeth grinding condition, schedule an appointment with your dental professional. They will provide the solution to combat the problem.

  1. Consuming Sugary Foods

According to the National Institutes of Health, 58% of teens aged 12 to 19 have cavities, with adults 20-64 at an astonishing 92%. Consumption of sugar is a primary reason that cavities and tooth decay are at a rise in the United States.

When you consume sugar, mouth bacteria feed on it. The bacteria then leaves its residue on your teeth, which leads to gum disease, tartar, and cavities. To prevent this, make sure to consume less sugar in your diet and to brush your teeth after indulging in it.

  1. Biting Your Nails or Cuticles

Biting your nails is a common habit that can cause by nervousness. According to the American Psychiatric Association, biting your nails is considered a form of the obsessive compulsive disorder. In a study conducted by a few researchers, nail biting is common in 45% of all teenagers of either gender.

Many people may not realize the damage that nail biting can cause on the enamel of the teeth. According to Colgate, patients who bite their nails chip the enamel away from their front teeth due to the pressure and stress caused to the enamel. In addition to the damage that it causes to the enamel of the tooth, a person can develop bruxism (teeth grinding) as a result of this habit.

Your dental professional may prescribe a mouth guard to help prevent patients from further biting their nails, resulting in damaging their teeth. Other professionals may develop a therapy that patients can learn that helps them learn different techniques that will eliminate them from biting their nails or cuticles.

Contact Us

Maintaining healthy teeth is important if you want to have great overall health. Our doctors and staff are dedicated to helping all of their patients achieve great oral health. If you have further questions on how to maintain a great oral health contact us today.

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8 Foods To Eat For A Better Smile

8 Foods To Eat For A Better Smile

Foods For A Better SmileMarch is National Nutrition Month, a time when we raise awareness of the importance of making healthy diet and exercise choices. While most of us understand that choosing good food has an effect on our overall health, we find that a lot of our patients forget to take their teeth into account.

In observance of National Nutrition Month, the Dentistry of Nashville team is here to offer a list of the 8 best foods to eat to keep your teeth healthy.

1. Tea

Black and green teas are full of polyphenols, compounds that slow the growth of bacterias that cause cavities and gum disease. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for 1 minute 10 times per day had less plaque buildup on their teeth as opposed to those who rinsed with water. Even more, the size and stickiness of their plaque was reduced as well.

Not only does tea prevent bacteria from clumping together with other bacteria, it can also keep bad breath at bay. Those polyphenols suppress the genes of bacteria that stimulate the production of smelly compounds in the mouth.

2. Cheese

Recent studies found that teenagers aged 12-15 who ate cheddar cheese had lower levels of acid in their mouths than those who ate yogurt or milk. This signifies that cheese can neutralize acidic compounds around the teeth, compounds that can cause cavities and gum disease.

Cheese also stimulates saliva production, which washes away bacteria and debris.

3. Raisins

Natural raisins are sweet without the addition of sucrose, better known as table sugar.  The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce an acid waste, which is the primary cause of cavities. Raisins are a source of phytochemicals as well, which kill cavity-causing plaque and bacteria.

4. Crunchy Fruits And Vegetables

You’ve probably been hearing about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables since you were young, so it should come as no surprise that they also help your teeth.

Crisp produce such as apples, celery and carrots act like natural toothbrushes. When you chew on them, their fibers scrub against your enamel and help remove plaque and other harmful bacteria.

5. Vitamin-rich Foods

Foods containing calcium—such as cheese, almonds and leafy greens—and foods high in phosphorous—like meat, eggs and fish—can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Foods and drinks with high acid levels can cause tiny, damaging lesions on tooth enamel. Calcium and phosphate help redeposit minerals back into those lesions, repairing damaged enamel as you eat.

Calcium also strengthens bones, including those in your jaw. This helps prevent tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.

6. Sugarless Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate 10 times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does saliva neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping keep your teeth clean.

In addition, sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, halting the cavity formation process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.

7. Milk

The sugar present in milk is lactose, which is the least damaging type of sugar for your teeth. This gives milk a sweet and tasty quality while not being harmful to teeth. In fact, the calcium in milk strengthens and revitalizes enamel that has been damaged by acidic foods.

Additionally, studies have shown that when cavity-causing foods are eaten along with milk, like a sugary chocolate chip cookie, the milk can help protect the teeth from damage. If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t drink milk, ask your dentist about other calcium-rich foods and toothpastes that can remineralize your teeth.

8. Cranberries

The enzymes in cranberries pack a powerful punch. Along with stopping the bacteria before they start to feed on sugars in your mouth, they may also disrupt the production of glucan, one of the main components of plaque.

While helping you fight plaque formation, a single glass of 100% cranberry juice can also:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Treat colds and sore throats
  • Boost eyesight
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fight free-radicals

Learn More About The Best Foods To Keep Your Teeth Healthy

The Dentistry of Nashville team is dedicated to enhancing the smiles of each and every patient that comes through our doors. But visiting your dentist every 6 months is only half the battle toward a healthy smile. Ensuring that you eat properly and establish a good dental health routine is essential in attaining bright, healthy teeth.

If you want to learn more about the best cavity-fighting foods, contact our office to make an appointment today.

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Proper Oral Hygiene: Flossing Vs. Water Flosser

Proper Oral Hygiene: Flossing Vs. Water Flosser

flossIt’s no secret that proper oral hygiene is absolutely critical to a healthy smile. The tools of the trade— floss and a toothbrush — help to remove harmful, cavity-causing bacteria. While these tools are non-negotiable aspects of good oral hygiene, there are plenty of types of toothbrushes and interdental cleaners to choose from.

When it comes to cleaning between your teeth, many patients want to know if they should use traditional floss or a water flosser. The truth is, the best choice will depend on many personal factors like the current state of your oral health and your own preferences. To explain more about the pros and cons of both options, the dental professionals at  Dentistry of Nashville give a brief overview of traditional floss and water flossers.

Why Is Interdental Cleaning Important?

According to a study from the American Academy of Periodontology, more than one-third of Americans would rather do an unpleasant activity like clean the toilet, sit in gridlock traffic or wash a sink full of dirty dishes than floss. Despite this common attitude toward flossing, it is still crucial for removing plaque in hard-to-reach areas.

Simply brushing your teeth is only half of the work. Food particles and plaque tend to get stuck and accumulate between the teeth. This is also an area where cavities will typically develop if patients don’t floss. Other important reasons to make interdental cleaning a priority include:

  • Avoiding plaque hardening into tartar
  • Enjoying a whiter smile
  • Avoiding bad breath
  • Avoiding gum disease

The Pros And Cons Of Using Floss

Flossing is one of the oldest forms of oral care and dates all the way back to prehistoric times. Although flossing has been around for a long time, it wasn’t formally patented until the mid-1800s by Asahel M. Schurtleff. The design of the pack of floss included a cutter, which is very similar to the way floss packs are sold today.

There are a variety of options to choose from for traditional floss as well. Some of your options include dental pics with pre-cut floss strings or strands of floss you cut yourself. There are also different flavors along with waxed or unwaxed floss.

Some of the pros of using traditional floss include:

  • Affordability
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Easy to control

Some of the downsides to traditional floss include:

  • More time consuming
  • Less thorough

The Pros And Cons Of Using A Water Flosser

For some patients, traditional string floss may not be the best option. This is especially important for patients who are dealing with periodontal disease. When patients develop periodontal disease, the gum tissue will pull away from the teeth to create deep pockets that are hard to reach with traditional floss. Food particles and plaque can easily get trapped, thus worsening the state of their periodontal health. A water flosser can be more effective for these patients than traditional string floss.

A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam Academic Center for Dentistry found that a water flosser was twice as effective as string floss for reducing gingival bleeding. Researchers used 104 subjects over a 30-day period and found significant improvements in gingival bleeding.

Some of the notable benefits of using a water flosser include:

  • Gentler on gums
  • Less time consuming than string floss
  • Easier to handle
  • Optimal for patients with braces, dental implants or severe periodontal pockets

Some of the cons of water flossers include:

  • More expensive than string floss
  • Less travel-friendly than traditional floss

When Should I Opt For A Water Flosser?

If financially feasible, a water flosser is an ideal option for certain patients. For patients completing orthodontic treatment, a water flosser makes it much easier to remove plaque when metal wires and brackets are in the way. According to a study conducted by BioSci Research Canada, a water flosser is 3 times as effective as string floss for orthodontic patients.

For patients with dental implants, periodontal care should especially be a priority to preserve the longevity of their restorations. A water flosser is also an optimal option because it’s more effective at reducing gingival bleeding for these dental implant patients. A study from Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine found a reduction in the incidence of bleeding on probing with patients who used a water flosser.

Contact Dentistry Of Nashville

Whether you choose to use string floss or a water flosser, it’s important to remove plaque in these hard-to-reach areas each day. If you have any other questions regarding your dental health or oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to contact our office at (615) 383-3690.

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Taking Care Of Your Child’s Teeth

Taking Care Of Your Child’s Teeth

Caring For Your Child's TeethGetting your kids to the dentist can be like pulling teeth. Practicing good dental habits at an early age is critical in ensuring that your child grows up to have healthy gums and teeth. Those 20 primary teeth (baby teeth) need proper attention and care because their health impacts the development of their future smiles. Learn the best ways to take care of your child’s teeth as they grow.

How To Care For Your Baby’s Teeth

Because newborns don’t have teeth, you may not consider the ways in which their oral hygiene affects their health. Prevent your little one from cavities and Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by practicing oral care right away.

Begin by wiping their mouth with a clean gauze pad or cloth to remove plaque that can harm emerging teeth. As soon as their teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Don’t give your infant sodas or sugary juices opt for formula and milk instead. Make sure that they finish their bottle prior to naptime and bedtime so that you can brush their teeth before they fall asleep.

If you must put your infant to bed with a bottle, fill it with water when it is safe to do so.

How To Care For Your Toddler’s Teeth

Toddler age is usually a great time to begin teaching your child how to brush their own teeth. Developing healthy brushing and flossing habits early is important in ensuring that they maintain good oral care throughout their lives. Let your child imitate the way you brush your teeth and explain to them the importance of keeping teeth healthy. Provide additional help to remove food particles and plaque that they may have missed.

If your child still sucks on his or her thumb or uses a pacifier when permanent teeth begin to grow, you should take action. Limit the pacifier use and, eventually, take it away completely. Talk to your child’s dentist or doctor about ways to limit the thumb sucking–they may recommend certain courses of action..

How To Prevent Your Child From Getting Cavities

There are many ways to prevent your child from developing tooth decay:

  • Limit the amount of candy, sweets, and other sugary foods that your child eats.
  • Brush their teeth or teach them to brush their teeth after meals, at least twice per day.
  • Opt for sugar-free cough syrups and medications as opposed to their cavity-causing counterparts.
  • Choose healthy meal options at home. Always include calcium-rich foods like milk and broccoli.
  • Stay away from soda, juice, and other sugary drinks.
  • Visit the dentist before your child’s first birthday, and then regularly throughout childhood.

What To Do If Your Child Has A Dental Emergency

Accidents happen. Whether your child gets hurt on the playground or eats too many sweets, there are always steps to take to ensure that they remain healthy. Knowing the proper ways to handle dental emergencies can be the difference between losing and saving a permanent tooth.

Here are the ways to approach common childhood dental emergencies:

  • Knocked-out tooth – Keep the knocked-out tooth moist at all times. If possible, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. Otherwise, place it between your child’s gum and cheek or in a cup of milk. Most importantly, call your child’s dentist right away. Immediate action is required in order to save the tooth.
  • Cracked tooth –  Immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Place a cold compress on the face to minimize swelling and pain. Make an appointment with your child’s dentist.
  • Toothache – Clean out the mouth by rinsing it with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. If the pain persists, make an appointment with your child’s dentist for a check up.
  • Injured cheek or lip – If your child’s cheek or lip is bleeding due to an injury or accidental bite, apply firm, direct pressure to the area with a clean cloth. In the case of swelling, place ice on the affected area. If the bleeding does not stop, take your child to the Emergency Room immediately.
  • Dental concussion – Typically occurring in toddlers and young children, a dental concussion is characterized as a tooth that has not been dislodged or fractured, but has received a bang or a knock. Unless the affected tooth becomes dark or discolored, dental concussion does not require emergency treatment.
  • Fractured jaw – If your child has a fractured jaw, it is best to head to the Emergency Room. Encourage them to move their jaw as little as possible. The Emergency Room doctors will help determine whether or not further dental treatment is required.

Bring the Family In!

As a parent concerned for your child’s health, it is important that you do not forget about their mouth. Their dental health impacts the health and well-being of their entire body, and instilling good habits at a young age will have a positive impact on their future oral care. Make an appointment with our office today to get started on a lifetime of healthy habits!

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