5 Back To School Dental Tips For Students

When you’re busy with tests, essay deadlines and a hectic social life, it’s easy to forget all of the dental tips that you learned when you were a child. Keep the following dental tips in mind to maximize your oral health easily and effectively.

 

1) Watch what you drink

When you’re out at a bar or a party, remember that some drinks are more likely to cause tooth decay or staining. Top dental tips include drinking fewer sugary cocktails or alcopops, and swapping your red wine for white wine if you want to keep a bright, attractive smile.

 

2) Whiten your teeth in the dentist’s office

If you’re looking for whiter teeth, one of the smartest dental tips is to go to your dentist’s office instead of buying a cheap product from the mall. Some of these products can damage tooth enamel when used excessively.

 

3) Think twice about a mouth piercing

Although you might want a tongue or lip piercing for aesthetic reasons, one of our dental tips is to avoid these piercing. They commonly result in chipped teeth, and they also increase your chances of getting a painful infection.

 

4) Don’t forget your checkups

Dental checkups are as important now as they were when you were a child, so one of the most useful dental tips is to see your dentist at least every six months. Although you may not think there is anything wrong with your mouth, your dentist can spot the early signs of problems like tooth decay and gum disease before they get more serious.

 

5) Keep an eye on stress levels

When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to grind your teeth, and this can not only cause tooth damage but also lead to intense pain in your jaw. One of our top dental tips is to make sure you relax before bed. In addition, make sure that you take breaks when studying.

Top Tips for Making Wearing Invisalign® Everyday More Comfortable

If you are one of the many individuals choosing modern options for straightening the teeth today, you might be wondering what the top 3 tips for making wearing Invisalign® everyday more comfortable are. It’s a logical question, and the answer will probably make a huge difference in how well you like wearing your clear trays everyday. The top 3 tips for Invisalign® include wearing the aligners 20 to 22 hours, cleaning them, and rinsing them after cleaning them daily. You should not think that any of the top 3 tips for Invisalign® wearers is any more important than the other ones.

 

Wearing the Aligners 20 to 22 Hours Each Day

 

We recommend that you wear your clear aligners everyday for 20 to 22 hours. This is important advice, which is why it is included in the top 3 tips for Invisalign®. Since the aligners are designed to gently push your teeth into a specific position, they fit tightly and exert minor pressure on your teeth. If you wear them everyday for the suggested length of time, your teeth become used to doing so. As a result, your aligners won’t feel uncomfortable. However, if you start leaving them off for extended periods of time, then they will feel tight and uncomfortable when you put them on again.

 

Invisalign®: Cleaning Your Aligners Everyday

 

Cleaning your aligners daily is another one of the top 3 tips for Invisalign® wearers. It is essential that you keep your aligners clean for the sake of your oral health. If you forget to clean the aligners, bacteria can grow in them. As a result, your gums might develop an infection and become sore.

 

Rinsing Your Aligners after Cleaning Them

 

Rinsing your aligners after you clean them is equally important. If you leave any residue behind, your aligners can become uncomfortable to wear. They won’t fit as tightly if you have a buildup of grime and toothpaste inside of them. Therefore, this is one of the top 3 tips for Invisalign® wearers to follow everyday.

This Is What Your Teeth Can Reveal About Your Overall Health

The dentist may not be your favorite appointment, but it’s a necessity.

Good oral hygiene saves you from more than just tooth decay, cavities and bad breath. It is critically important because it can help prevent certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

And here’s something else: The state of your teeth, mouth and gums can clue your dentist into other medical issues you may need to address. By examining your mouth, your dentist can identify eating disorders, sleeping problems, anxiety, stress and more.

Below are some of the things dentists can see about your overall wellness just by looking your mouth:

1. Anxiety or poor sleep.

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Your teeth could be a clue to any distress you might be feeling. Stress, anxiety or a sleep disorder can cause teeth grinding. Bruxism, the medical term for teeth grinding, is significantly more frequent in people with obstructive sleep apnea, according to research.

“The surfaces of the teeth become flat and the teeth get worn down,” Charles Rankin, DDS and professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, told HuffPost, noting that a healthy tooth reaches a certain height and has an uneven, bumpy crown. “Grinding your teeth [at night] makes that height go down.”

The most important thing you can do if you grind your teeth, advises Rankin, is to talk to your dentist about getting a night guard to prevent it from happening.

“Then the patient really needs to get into an exercise program or have stress counseling,” Rankin said.

2. Eating disorders.

Certain types of disordered eating, such as anorexia or bulimia, can be apparent to a dentist. Research shows that gastric acid from purging, which is associated with the conditions, can erode both tooth enamel and dentine, the softer layer just underneath the enamel. The erosion is usually found on the backside of the teeth, Rankin said.

But while enamel erosion can prompt dentists to inquire about eating disorders, it is not always the culprit. Enamel erosion can be genetic or congenital, Panos Papapanou, DDS and professor of dental medicine at Columbia University told HuffPost. Even acid reflux could be the cause.

3. Poor diet.

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Coffee, tea, sauces like marinara, energy drinks and dark berries leave their mark. So does chocolate, candy and dark soda. How you may ask? Stains.

“But there are things you can do,” Rankin said. “Drink coffee and soda through a straw ― so it stays away from the tooth. Rinsing and brushing right after you eat helps immensely.”

And we all know that sugar can cause cavities. But according to Rankin, if patients actually brushed and flossed every time they ate candy, the risk of a dental issue would be much smaller.

4. Alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse can cause good oral hygiene habits to fall by the wayside and dentists can smell alcohol on a patient’s breath, according to Rankin.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Periodontology also found some insight into the drinking and oral health connection. Brazilian researchers discovered that gum disease, or periodontitis, increased with drinking frequency. The study also showed that overall poor oral hygiene is a common trait among people who excessively drink. The researchers also found that study participants without gum disease had higher levels of plaque than non-drinkers, possibly due to the way alcohol slows down the production of saliva and dries out the mouth.

5. Heart disease or diabetes.

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“Among people that are unaware of whether they have diabetes or not, poor gum status has been shown to be associated with diabetes,” Papapanou said. “This is a pretty critical situation in which a dentist can help to identify undiagnosed diabetes.”

The relationship between periodontitis and diabetes is not yet totally understood, however researchers know it is a two-way street: Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, and gum inflammation negatively impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, according to a study published in Diabetologia. And it could be inflammation of the gum that is causing the association between gum disease, diabetes and periodontitis, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

Furthermore, people with diabetes are three times more likely to experience this most severe type of gum disease. So, if you have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, stay on top of your oral health through regular cleanings, brushing and flossing. It’s possible that bacteria can get under inflamed gums and aggravate these diseases further, Rankin noted.

Just as with keeping any area of your body healthy, it’s best to keep tabs on what might not feel right and to stay curious about what is happening in the mouth. That includes looking for “pain, swelling, bleeding gums, broken or loose teeth, enamel erosion,” Rankin explained.

“If the dentist goes in there and sees this, he or she has to question [the patient],” he said. “But the patient is really the first line of defense.”

Take care of your smile ― and the rest of you.

How to Save Money at the Dentist

More Americans have dental coverage than they did 20 years ago, but their spending on dental visits is significantly higher, according to a recent reportfrom the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that tallied survey data from 1996 to 2015.

While the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made dental insurance coverage much more common for children—88 percent of those under 21 were covered in 2015, compared with 73 percent in 1996—progress has been slower for adults, and especially seniors, the report found.

Most adults (72 percent) between the ages of 21 and 64 are covered, but just 38 percent of seniors are—up only slightly from 34 percent in 1996.

And while the mean cost of dental care per person per year seemed to peak about 10 years ago, it’s still much higher than it once was, even adjusted for inflation: $696 in 2015 compared to $565 in 1996. Costs for seniors, meanwhile, were even higher, averaging $912 per person in 2015.

After retirement, many people learn that Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care at all. And even people with dental coverage can struggle to pay for costly procedures like root canals and oral surgery.

A few tips can help make the costs of dental care more manageable.

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Tips for More Affordable Dental Care

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, and floss regularly. Avoid sugary foods and beverages, and drink plenty of water.
  • Consider dental savings plans. While savings plans aren’t as comprehensive as insurance, they’re a good option for those who can’t get covered. An annual fee of $80 to $200 generally provides access to a large network of dentists who offer discounts of up to 50 percent for members. You can search for a savings plan at DentalPlans.com.
  • Try community health centers and university dental schools. Both frequently offer low-cost dental care, the latter often provided by dental students who are supervised by faculty members. You can search for a center or school near you at toothwisdom.org.
  • Avoid unnecessary treatments. When in doubt, ask if a screening or procedure is really necessary. X-rays, for example, “are terribly abused,” says Jay Friedman, D.D.S., a dental adviser to Consumer Reports. If you haven’t had recent cavities, you only need a dental X-ray once every two to three years, Friedman says.

Meet Eddy Goldfarb, Inventor of “Chattering Teeth” Toy

At age 6, Eddy Goldfarb knew he wanted to be an independent inventor. Around the age of 23, he invented one of his most popular items, Yakity-Yak wind-up teeth, commonly known as “chattering teeth,” something he thought would just be fun to create. His other successful inventions include Kerplunk, Shark Attack, Stompers and Spin-Art, among many others.


Eddy Goldfarb, inventor of Yakity-Yak or “chattering teeth” wind-up toy

Serving on a submarine in World War II, Eddy had time to read and started creating things. He thought about what he wanted to do after the War, and actually developed his first three inventions while aboard the submarine.

Today, at age 95, Eddy and his son work side-by-side creating new inventions through their company, Eddy & Martin Goldfarb & Associates. Eddy continues to come up with new creations in his garage everyday. In addition to toys, he also develops items for seniors to help keep them from falling down, such as railings in the bathroom or shower.

Eddy’s advice for seniors is to “pick up something in which you can be creative and that keeps you excited.” Sensational advice from an amazing person.

Why Inflammation in Your Mouth May Raise Your Risk of Cancer

Women with gum disease are 14% more likely to develop cancer than those with healthy teeth and gums, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The link appears to be strongest for esophageal cancer, but associations were also found between poor oral health and lung, gallbladder, breast, and skin cancer.

The study looked at data from nearly 66,000 postmenopausal women, ages 54 to 86, who were followed for about eight years. At the start of the study, they completed a health survey and reported whether they had ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease, an inflammation off the gums that can lead to tooth loss.

Gum disease is caused by sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that forms on teeth. In the early stages, known as gingivitis, the gums can be swollen and bleed easily. Daily flossing and brushing can usually reverse gingivitis. If plaque is left on teeth, it can progress to periodontal disease, which is inflammation around the teeth that causes gums to pull away and form pockets, which can trap more food and bacteria. With time, the bacteria, inflammation, and body’s immune reaction can damage teeth and supporting bone structures, which can lead to tooth loss.

During the study’s follow-up period, about 7,100 of those women developed cancer. Overall, those with a history of periodontal disease were more than three times as likely to develop esophageal cancer—and nearly twice as likely to develop gallbladder cancer—than women without. Their risk for lung cancer, skin melanomas, and breast cancer was also increased by 31%, 23%, and 13%, respectively.

MOREThe Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

Periodontal disease is more common in people who smoke and drink, which are also risk factors for several types of cancer. And in the new study, women with periodontal disease were more likely to report a history of smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and alcohol consumption.

But even among non-smokers, gum disease was still associated with a 12% increased risk of developing cancer overall. For some types of cancer, the link to gum disease did disappear when the researchers factored out smoking habits. For other types—like melanoma and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract—the connection remained.

This isn’t the first study to suggest that gum disease is associated with certain cancers, but few studies—and none on older women—have calculated an overall increased risk. The researchers focused on this population because risks for gum disease and cancer both increase with age, and because a link had already been established in men.

Researchers don’t know for sure why gum disease and cancer are linked, says senior author Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the State University of New York at Buffalo. But she and other researchers believe that bacterial pathogens in the oral cavity may play a role.

MOREYou Asked: Do I Really Need To Floss?

“These pathogens can travel to different parts of the body through your saliva, and they come in contact with your stomach and esophagus when you swallow, or end up in your lungs through aspiration,” says Wactawski-Wende. When gums become inflamed and infected, pathogens—or disease-causing toxins—can also permeate the tissue and enter the blood stream, and travel to other parts of the body as well.

Previous studies have shown that these pathogens may play a direct role in the formation of cancer tumors and other inflammatory health issues throughout the body. Gum disease has also been tied to obesitydiabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it’s not clear whether gum disease contributes to these conditions or vice versa.

The study authors point out that they were only able to find an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, between gum disease and cancer risk. And it’s possible that gum disease in the study was under-reported, they add, since they relied on survey responses rather than a doctor’s or dentist’s exam.

But the large study size and the strength of their findings make a good argument for more research, they say. In fact, they’re currently studying the oral microbiome—the type and variety of mouth bacteria—of women with gum disease, and they plan to see if there are any patterns or links to the cancers the women may develop n the future.

The study also makes a good argument for taking care of those pearly whites, says Wactawski-Wende—and the gums that keep them in place.

“Between this and other studies, we’ve seen a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, and now cancer, so it seem to me that it would be prudent to recommend maintaining good oral health,” says Wactawski-Wende. “That involves brushing and flossing, but also seeing a dental professional who can monitor and clean your teeth, and who can prevent periodontal disease or treat any cases that do arise.”

How to Order Tooth-Healthy Coffee Shop Drinks

Between mountains of whipped cream and caramel drizzles, it can be hard to stay away from sugar at coffee shops. But balance can be found at our favorite coffee chain. Here’s how to order healthy coffee shop drinks:

 

Choose a smaller size
The larger your drink, the more sugar you consume. It’s important to treat yourself, but only in moderation. What’s the best way to do that? Opt for a smaller size.

 

Skip the extras
Sweeter coffee selections include whipped cream, sprinkles or syrups drizzle or additional toppings. And caramel drizzle, for example, adds 4 grams of sugar to the drink. Skip ‘em—or at least ask for less.

 

Ask for less syrup
The thing that sends sweet coffee drinks over the edge in sugar content is the flavored syrup. One pump of flavored syrup is 5 grams of sugar. That puts small drinks at 15 grams of sugar, medium at 20 grams of sugar and large at 25 grams of sugar, a whopping 100% of recommended daily sugar intake for women. Shrink your sugar intake and ask for:
•1 pump of syrup in a small drink – cuts sugar from 15 to 5 grams
•2 Pumps of syrup in a medium drink – cuts sugar from 20 to 10 grams
•3 Pumps of syrup in a large drink — cuts sugar from 25 to 15 grams

 

Stay strong, coffee addicts! Feed your need the healthier way. Learn how to break up with your sugar addiction.

 

92% of Seniors Want Dental Coverage in Medicare

Currently, more than 55 million older adults access healthcare services through Medicare; however, they are limited when it comes to accessing oral health. Original Medicare does not cover routine preventive or restorative services such as screenings, exams, cleanings, fillings, or extractions.

Understanding the importance of maintaining good oral health and the costs associated with it, 93% of the older adults surveyed would like to see the current Medicare system change to fit the needs of the older adults it serves and, as a result, include dental coverage as a benefit in Medicare.

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Helping Your Child Trust The Dentist

Even though we all know how important it is to go to the dentist, dental anxiety can make many people avoid crucial dental checkups.

For some, dental anxiety starts in childhood and lasts a lifetime. How can we help our children start out with a positive mindset towards the dentist so that they will always seek the professional care and attention their teeth need as adults?

Be Honest But Avoid Negativity

The most important thing you can do for your child is to not make a trip to the dentist into an ordeal. Simply approach it as a perfectly normal part of staying healthy. Tell your child about an upcoming dental visit ahead of time so that it isn’t a surprise, and answer their questions about what dental appointments are like. Try to avoid scary words like “pain” and “shots,” and leave the detailed explanations of dental procedures to us.

One crucial thing to do even when there isn’t an appointment coming up is to never use the dentist as a threat. Saying things like, “If you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll end up at the dentist!” will only make a child think dentist visits are punishments — something to be feared and avoided. You can still encourage good oral hygiene habits without portraying the dentist as the boogeyman, like the way this video does:

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Address Existing Sources Of Fear

If your child is already afraid of the dentist, you might have a little more of an uphill battle to fight, but it’s still a battle you can win! Communication is key. Talk to your child about why they’re afraid of the dentist and help them understand that it isn’t so scary. Lead by example and show them that you go to the dentist too.

Patience is also crucial. Even for adults, the idea of having a stranger poking and prodding inside our mouths while we’re lying in a vulnerable position can be unsettling, so imagine how that must be for a child who isn’t used to it. Make sure your child understands that dental cleanings will make their teeth feel great and that the dentist is on their team, helping them fight bad germs and tooth decay.

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When To See The Dentist

Because prevention is such a major part of good dental care, it’s critical to visit the dentist for regular checkups.

In most cases, two regular dental cleanings a year will be all you need, but not always. So what are the signs that you shouldn’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to come back? For this blog post, we’ve listed the top five.

1. Aches Of Any Kind

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, that could mean a cavity has gotten to the point where the dental pulp is getting infected. Don’t tough it out thinking it’ll just go away on its own. Other types of pain you should bring to the dentist are an aching jaw and frequent headaches. These are often connected to oral health issues such as bruxism (teeth-grinding), and the dentist can help!

2. Mouth Sores And Bleeding Gums

Mouth sores usually go away on their own, but they can also be a sign of infection or disease, so it’s important to get those looked at when they appear. If you notice that you’re bleeding after brushing or flossing, it’s time to come see the dentist, particularly if you’re already using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms of gum disease, so don’t ignore the signs!

3. Previous Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work done in the past and there’s a problem with it now, don’t wait until a regular appointment to get that fixed, because it will likely get worse. A cracked or chipped crown needs to be repaired quickly so that infection doesn’t set in. Worn-out fillings need to be replaced to prevent bacteria from thriving in the gaps between the tooth and the filling.

4. Serious Medical Concerns

Serious conditions such as diabetes, eating disorders, and gum disease affect our oral health more than we realize, and sometimes the treatments have negative impacts too. Many medications cause dry mouth, which can seriously jeopardize oral health. That’s why if you are diagnosed with a chronic disease and/or have new medications prescribed to you, your dentist needs to know about it.

5. Bad Breath

Few things are as mortifying as being in a social situation and realizing you have bad breath, but did you know that bad breath is sometimes a symptom of gum disease or other health problems? If you find yourself having an unusually hard time keeping your breath minty fresh, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist so we can discover the underlying cause.