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How common is gum disease?

Gum disease is common. According to the Canadian Dental Association, it’ll affect seven out of ten Canadians at one point in their lives.

You may never know you have gum disease and it may start to become painful once it’s already in its advanced stages. The good thing is that this dental issue is preventable and reversible.

Symptoms

When plaque gets stuck below the gum line, it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar causes bacterial infection in the area where the teeth and gums meet. This triggers gum disease.

When gum disease starts, you may notice your gum turning red and sensitive when you brush. It can also bleed when you eat hard food. This can still be treated by maintaining good dental hygiene habits.

Once gum disease progresses, the gums, bone, and tissues holding your teeth in place can get infected and break down. You may end up losing one or several teeth.

Your dentist can diagnose gum disease in its early stages and treat it. You may need to get new xrays to check whether there’s bone loss and if the tooth can still be saved.

If the gum disease is already serious, you may be referred to a periodontist.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Smoking, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, and taking certain medications can make you more vulnerable to gum disease.

To prevent gum disease, keeping your mouth clean is essential. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth will help prevent bacterial infection in your mouth.

Seeing your dentist and hygienist is also crucial to remove any tartar buildup on your teeth. Routine dental appointments also allow you to have your mouth checked for signs of gum disease.

Update your dental team too if you’re currently taking certain medications.

Maintaining a balanced diet and quitting smoking also helps lower your risk of developing gum diseases.

Should you notice gum disease symptoms, you don’t have to wait for your next dental visit. See your dentist right away.

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Why do I have Dry Mouth?

Does your mouth feel dry when you wake up or even during the day?

Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can also cause bad breath. But you don’t have to endure it for long. Your dental team can help you manage to treat it.

Dry mouth or xerostomia is caused by the lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important as it helps neutralize acids in the mouth, control bacterial growth, and flush down food debris. Saliva also helps make eating and chewing enjoyable experiences.

Dry Mouth Causes

Dry Mouth and Your Oral Health

When you have dry mouth, you become more vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and mouth ulcers. Saliva helps keep the mouth clean and also aids in food digestion.

How to Prevent Dry Mouth

The treatment for dry mouth depends on its cause. If you feel you have a dry mouth, talk to your doctors. The tips listed above may help relieve dry mouth, but they won’t resolve it for good.

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What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a common gum disease characterized by swelling and redness of the gingiva. Gingiva is the gum tissue surrounding the base of the teeth.

Gingivitis is caused by the body’s response to bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. Bacteria naturally exist in the mouth. Some are good and some are bad. The bad bacteria can spread with poor oral hygiene.

Other factors can trigger gingivitis but for bacteria-related cases, the problem is the plaque that sticks to the tooth. Plaque contains bacteria and food debris. When not removed, it irritates the gums and as a response, the body starts to fight the bacteria.

When you notice bleeding, tenderness, and redness in your gums, that’s a sign your body is attempting to beat down harmful bacteria. Don’t panic when you see blood when you brush. Gingivitis is reversible. And this shouldn’t keep you from brushing and flossing.

Some stop brushing and flossing thinking this could only cause the gums to bleed more. But when gingivitis starts, the more you need to start paying closer (and not less) attention to your dental care habits.

Risk Factors for Gingivitis

Aside from gingivitis, other possible reasons for bleeding gums include hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstrual or post-menopausal cycles. At these times, the mouth can become extra sensitive.

Those diagnosed with diabetes and other diseases are also more susceptible to gingivitis. Taking certain medications can also increase your risk of developing gum disease.

How to Treat and Prevent Gingivitis

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is key.

Some are more prone to developing tartar. Talk to your dentist about this so you can be advised about the right frequency for your dental hygiene appointments. You may need to visit the dental office more often to get rid of plaque not removed by daily brushing and flossing and keep them from maturing.

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What can I do if my gums are receding?

Gums should fit snugly around the tooth. However, there are instances when they wear away and recede. The roots of the teeth have no protective coating, unlike the crowns. When gums recede, the roots become exposed.

Receding gums can cause pain, increased sensitivity, and infection. Here are some tips to prevent it from progressing.

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene habits. This is the simplest way to slow down gum recession. Be sure to floss between the teeth and below the gum line at least once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth at least twice per day. If you’re having difficulties using a manual toothbrush, switch to an electric toothbrush.
  1. Improve your brushing techniques. Brush gently, making sure to cover all areas of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces. Use small strokes as you brush back and forth. Hold your toothbrush in a vertical position when brushing the inner sides of the teeth. And spend at least two minutes every brushing session.
  1. Use a custom mouthguard. If you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, consider investing in a custom mouthguard at the dental office. This appliance can help protect your gums against the damaging effects of teeth grinding. A mouthguard can help distribute pressure across the jaw and prevent your top and bottom teeth from hitting each other. Unlike store-bought options, a custom mouthguard fits and works better.
  1. Have your dentures checked. If you’re using dentures, take them to your dentist for a check. Over time, dentures may no longer fit as comfortably as the bone, gums, and jaw alignment also change. They’re also subject to natural wear and tear. Ensuring your dentures are a good fit for your mouth will also help prevent gum recession.
  2. See your dentist regularly. Be sure to keep up with your routine dental appointments. Your dentist will be able to detect early signs of receding gums and assess any dental work you have had.

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist regularly can help prevent, stop, or slow down gum recession. Talk to your dentist today about tips on treating any gum issues you may have. Keep your gums in good condition to keep your teeth in place.

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Is sedation dentistry right for me?

If you’re nervous about going to the dental office and have been missing appointments due to dental fear, you’re not alone. Regardless of the reason, you feel anxious, sedation dentistry may offer a solution.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows patients to receive dental treatments they need in a relaxed manner. Your dentist will recommend a method that’s suitable for your stress or anxiety level.

Since sedation options work differently, it’s important to fully understand them. Your dentist will work with you in choosing the right form of sedation dentistry.

Should You Use Sedation Dentistry?

If you or a loved one experiences any of the following, you may require sedation dentistry.

With sedation dentistry, you can relax and feel confident about going to the dental office. You can get dental issues fixed before they worsen.

Sedation allows you to take control of your oral health. If you feel that you, too, can benefit from it, call your dental office. Take the stress out of dental visits with sedation dentistry.

At Generations Dental we offer several anxiety-free sedation dentistry options, so you can come in for your regular health checks and cleaning, as well as any potential dental procedure or treatment you may need.

At Generations Dental in Grande Prairie, we strive to give you the most positive experience and if there is anything we can do for you please do not hesitate to ask. Call our office today at (587) 803‑4406 or make an appointment online.

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You only get two sets of teeth

Is it okay to care less about the primary or baby teeth since they’ll eventually be replaced by adult teeth?

A person has only two sets of teeth. First is the primary and second is the adult teeth. Both have their purpose. If they get lost prematurely, this can lead to oral health issues, such as an improper bite or bone loss.

A baby’s first teeth usually start to erupt during their 6th month, beginning with the central teeth at the bottom. The timeline varies per child. Regardless, it’s crucial to keep the baby teeth until the adult teeth take their place.

Why Keeping the Baby Teeth is Crucial

The baby teeth secure the spot for adult teeth. When a child loses a tooth, adjacent teeth can shift into the empty space. When the adult tooth starts to come in, there may not be enough room to accommodate it. As a result, it can erupt in an awkward position.

If a child loses a tooth due to cavities, injuries, or an accident, talk to your dentist about using a space maintainer. This will help keep the spot open for the adult tooth and keep the other teeth from occupying the space.

The permanent or adult teeth usually begin to erupt around the age of 6, but this can also vary from one person to another. It replaces the baby tooth by dissolving its root until it falls out on its own.

An adult tooth will still take a few years to mature. On its early stages, it is not fully mineralized yet. Getting fluoride can help strengthen it. Lack of fluoride can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Invest in Preventative Dental Care

When you go to the dental office, the first goal of the dentists and their team is to provide you with preventive care.

Ensuring good oral hygiene practices at home and maintaining dental appointments are key. If your area does not have fluoridated water, your dentist may recommend getting supplemental fluoride.

With that said, please take care of your baby’s teeth. Prevent premature tooth loss at all costs. When you’re a child, missing a tooth may not be a big deal but the truth is, this can have a significant impact in your mouth. The remaining teeth are pressured to work harder, shouldering the job left by the missing tooth. This can result in premature wear.

Missing teeth can also affect your bite or how your teeth meet together. If you would like to have a tooth removed, you’ll need to talk to your dentist about getting a replacement to prevent potential oral health care issues.

Take care of both your baby and adult teeth. You’re getting no more than these two sets in your lifetime.

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Are Sports Drinks Bad for My Teeth?

You see athletes take sports drinks before the game and even during breaks. Sports drinks help keep them energized and hydrated, but are they good for the teeth? And is there a better alternative to them?

Before you head to the grocery or chug down another bottle of your favourite sports drink, read this first.

What’s In a Sports Drink?

Sports drinks help replenish water and minerals you lose due to sweating. It contains electrolytes, for one, which helps ensure optimal performance during your game.

But did you know that sports drinks have high acid and sugar content? They can damage the tooth enamel down to the layer beneath it called the dentin.

A sports drink can have as high as 14 teaspoons of sugar. That can be the amount of sugar you consume for every bottle you finish. Harmful bacteria love feeding on sugar and become acids that attack the enamel.

If you’re playing for a long period and are unable to brush your teeth right away, you also let the sugar linger long in your mouth. This gives acids even more time to beat down tooth surfaces.

Sports Drinks and Your Oral Health

Sports drinks and oral health don’t go well together. They can make the teeth more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

When the tooth enamel is already too weak, this can result in your teeth becoming sensitive to hot and cold. A bite of your favourite ice cream can cause you extreme pain.

Daily consumption of sugary beverages can also lead to tooth decay. When tooth decay isn’t treated immediately, it can lead to gum disease.

Sports drinks can also cause tooth discolouration.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Teeth

Hydrate your body and replenish minerals you lose without harming your teeth. Always bring your refillable bottles with you if you’ll be out for a game and drink water when you can.

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Get Rid of the Pain: How to Ease Sensitive Teeth

Anyone can experience sensitive teeth, and there’s no telltale signs when it’s coming. However, it’s most prevalent among those aged 20 to 40. The condition occurs when the tooth’s protective layer, the enamel, wears away. This exposes the dentin beneath the enamel, leading to sensitivity when eating or drinking things that are hot, cold, sweet, or acidic. 

What Causes Enamel to Wear Away

  • Aggressive brushing. When you brush too hard, the enamel may erode.
  • Acid attacks. Sugary foods are favourite targets of harmful bacteria. These bacteria turn into acids that beat the tooth enamel down. The enamel, as a result, gets thinner until the dentin is exposed.
  • Receding gums. Tartar buildup may cause the gums to recede, creating an opportunity for the root surface to lose its protective layer and for pockets to form around the tooth. Bacteria may thrive in these areas as it’s harder to access and clean. All of this leads to sensitivity.
  • Tooth whitening treatments. Both in-office and at-home whitening treatments may cause temporary sensitivity afterward. If you’re already experiencing tooth sensitivity and are scheduled for a whitening treatment, ask your dentist what you can expect after.
  • Tooth grinding. Clenching the teeth also wears enamel away. You may not realize that you grind your teeth while you sleep, but your dentist can detect the signs of nighttime grinding by checking your mouth. Your dentist can make a customized mouth guard for you to wear at night to protect from future enamel wear from grinding.

 With heightened sensitivity, you may experience sharp bursts of pain in your teeth. This can cause mild to severe discomfort that can last for hours. Thankfully, there are ways you can relieve sensitivity. 

How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

  • Avoid triggers such as extremely hot or cold food and drinks.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste brands that help relieve tooth sensitivity.
  • Practice excellent oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed at night.
  • Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three to four months. Move the brush in small, circular motions instead of back and forth in a straight direction. This will also help ensure you’re covering all areas, especially where the teeth and gum line meet.
  • Wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth after every meal.

Finally, always keep up with your dental visits. If you feel tooth sensitivity is getting worse, let your dentist know. He or she will be able to recommend treatments for the sensitivity, such as fluoride gels or varnishes.

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Best Foods for Your Teeth

Eat Your Way to a Healthy Smile: Best Foods for Your Teeth

 You take great care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist as scheduled. But are you doing everything you can? Just like carrots are good for our eyes and water for our skin, specific foods deliver healthy benefits to our mouths. If you’re already being diligent with your oral hygiene routine, then you’ll also want to take great care about what food you put in your mouth. Let’s explore the best foods for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 

Calcium and Phosphorus Sources

 Our teeth are composed of minerals. These minerals are lost and replenished during the remineralization process which naturally occurs in our teeth. However, when the acidity level is high, minerals are lost and not naturally replenished. This can cause the teeth’s outermost layer, the enamel, to corrode. Calcium is crucial as it helps keep the bones healthy and strong. It works better, though, when combined with phosphorus. They help replenish lost minerals on the teeth. Here are food choices that are great sources of calcium.

  • Cheese. Hard cheese, like cheddar, is a good source of calcium for your teeth. Cheese helps increase salivary flow and decrease the acidity level in the mouth.
  • Yogurt. It’s no surprise that yogurt is gaining in popularity. It’s a healthy snack rich in calcium. It also helps fight gum disease.
  • Tofu. Vegetarians can always choose tofu for a tooth-friendly meal. Tofu is rich in phosphorus which protects tooth enamel.
  • Almonds. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with both calcium and phosphorus. They aid in cavity-fighting.
  • Seafood. Fatty fish like salmon are filled with phosphorus, vital for strengthening tooth enamel.

Crunchy, Water-Rich Food

Crunchy foods promote salivary flow. They also serve as natural teeth cleaners, removing food residue on the tooth surface. They’re easily portable to snack on daily at school, work, or play. Introduce these healthy foods to kids when they’re young. Sweets are fine when enjoyed sparingly.

  • Apples. They’re high in water content, plus they’re tasty too.
  • Carrots. Since raw carrots are hard and require a lot of chewing, they help stimulate saliva production in the mouth. Their texture also helps with gentle scrubbing of the tooth surfaces.
  • Celery. This raw vegetable is not just good for the body, it’s great for our teeth too. Consider it a natural dental floss, thanks to its fibre-rich strands.

Vitamin D Sources

 Vitamin D is good for your overall health as it helps with optimum calcium absorption.

  • Sunlight. While it does not qualify as food, sunlight is known as the best natural source of Vitamin D. So when the sun is out, make sure to get your healthy dose of Vitamin D.
  • Egg yolks. If you mostly opt for egg whites, having the egg yolks occasionally are worth a try. They’re rich in vitamin D which is recognized for reducing the risk of developing tooth decay or dental caries.

As you plan your meals, don’t forget to incorporate the best foods that will benefit your body and oral health.

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How to Choose the Right Toothpaste Type for Your Family

Brushing with the right toothpaste is key to maintaining a bright, healthy smile. One type of toothpaste may be more effective for you than another. This guide will help you select the best one to meet your specific needs.

The first toothpaste was invented by Ancient Egyptians in 5000 BC, even before toothbrushes were invented. It’s believed that these toothpastes were in powder form and mixed with water when used. These days, toothpastes can be found in various formulations. Choosing the right one can be confusing.

The best person to talk to regarding the right toothpaste for your needs is your dentist. However, it pays to know more about the various types. That’s what we’re talking about in this post.

Let’s begin.

Whitening Toothpastes

You’ll find these types promoted for making smiles shine brighter.

Whitening toothpastes usually contain baking soda or hydrogen peroxide that help lighten tooth colour. You should note that if your goal is to make your teeth several shades lighter, these can only do so much.

Yellowing of teeth is inevitable. As we age, our tooth enamel gets thinner and we see more of the darker layer beneath it called the dentin. This makes the tooth appear less white.

Whitening treatments available in the dental office will be more effective in removing or lightening stains. Treatment results can vary in the areas you’ve received prior dental work.

Desensitizing Toothpaste

If you have sensitive teeth, then you may want to use desensitizing toothpastes.

This type of paste is specially made to provide relief against hypersensitivity. It contains ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride which block pain signals to the nerve of the tooth. It would be best, though, to consult your dentist first about the cause of the tooth sensitivity.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

Your dentist may recommend that you use tartar control toothpaste if you are prone to tartar buildup.

Anti-plaque toothpaste helps prevent tartar buildup that can result in gum disease. Plaque is the sticky film that hardens on teeth and turns into tartar and can only be removed at the dental office.

Toothpaste for Kids

To make brushing more fun for kids, use flavoured toothpastes specially formulated for them. If your little ones are still unable to spit, opt for toothpastes that are safe to swallow.

Make sure that you apply the toothpaste on their brush. Grain size would be enough for them. For kids aged three and older a pea-sized amount should be enough.

Brushing can only be as effective as the right choice of toothpaste for our specific needs. So for the sake of your and your family’s oral health, don’t choose your toothpaste based solely on packaging and price.

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