Posts for category: Oral Health
These are such simple habits but yet important ones for keeping your teeth and gums problem-free.
You’ve been brushing and flossing and caring for your smile for as long as you can remember. It seems pretty simple, right? Well, yes and no. Brushing and flossing doesn’t have to be rocket science but it’s important that you are doing everything you can to keep cavities and gum disease away. Our Apple Valley, CA, dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, also serving patients in Lucerne Valley, is here to offer up some helpful tips for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape.
Maintain Clean Smiles
Here’s what you should know about keeping your teeth and gums clean:
- You should be brushing at least twice a day (better yet; brush after every meal)
- Floss your teeth daily (ideally, at the end of the evening before you brush)
- Make sure to replace your toothbrush head every three to four months, or once the bristles start to splay out. You should also replace your toothbrush head after an illness.
- When you do brush make sure you are doing it for at least two minutes. If you don’t have an electronic toothbrush with an automatic timer, set a timer yourself.
Don’t Forget About Your Dentist
No matter how busy you are you always need to find time to visit your dentist. If your smile is healthy you should only need to come in every six months. This is a great chance to not only remove plaque and tartar buildup but we can also pick up on subtle changes that could potentially lead to issues down the road if you aren’t careful. Visiting us regularly could mean the difference between a healthy smile and some serious dental problems.
Quit or Avoid Tobacco
If you don’t smoke then this is great news for your oral health, but if you are a smoker it’s time to ditch the habit as soon as possible. Smokers and tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease, infections, implant failure, oral cancer and a host of other long-term issues. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to our Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley general dentist who can recommend programs and support groups to help.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
As you probably already know, foods that are sugary or starchy aren’t good for your teeth. While we won’t say never to have sugar again (everything is moderation, right?), just be aware of the foods you are eating on a regular basis. Make sure your teeth and gums are getting the nutrients they need and you are maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Whether you have questions about your at-home oral routine or you need to book your next professional dental cleaning, the friendly dental folks at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, also serving the Lucerne Valley area, are ready to help in any way they can. Call us today!
Prompt dental care is essential if you have a dental emergency, but it's not always easy to decide if a problem is truly an emergency. Dr. Samuel Kim, your Apple Valley, CA, dentist, describes a few situations that require emergency dental treatment.
Your tooth was knocked out
Any hard blow to your mouth can knock out teeth. Luckily, your tooth may not be lost forever if you receive emergency dental treatment. If you see your dentist within an hour, it may be possible to reimplant your tooth.
Keeping the tooth hydrated while you travel to your emergency appointment is very important. Rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt and gently place it back in the socket. If you can't easily put the tooth in your socket, don't worry. Place it in your mouth between your teeth and your cheek, or wrap it in gauze and put in a container with milk or your saliva.
Your tooth is loose
Blows can also loosen teeth or knock them out of position. Both of these situations require emergency dental treatment. If your tooth has moved out of position, gently push it back into place if you can. Avoid putting any pressure on the tooth.
You have lacerations
Lacerations to your mouth, jaw and face are also dental emergencies. Hold a clean cloth against the laceration to stop the bleeding and take over-the-counter medications to ease the pain.
Your tooth broke
Broken teeth can be painful, particularly if the break exposes the nerve-laden pulp at the center of your teeth. Decrease the pain by applying a little dental cement to the tooth and take a pain reliever to keep discomfort under control until it's time for your emergency appointment.
You have an abscess
Dental abscesses occur when tooth pulp becomes infected. Abscesses are often very painful and can cause facial or jaw swelling, fever and swollen lymph nodes. You may also notice a little bump that looks like a pimple on your gum. Abscesses require emergency treatment because the infection can spread throughout your body if you don't receive antibiotic treatment. Your Apple Valley dentist can also prescribe pain medication that will reduce your discomfort.
If you experience any of these dental emergencies, get in touch with Dr. Kim, your Apple Valley, CA, dentist, immediately. Call him at (760) 247-6007 to arrange emergency dental treatment.
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!
A third of people treated for cancer develop adverse side effects within their mouth. But while these effects can be devastating to teeth and gums, there are ways to minimize the damage.
Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation work by destroying cancer cells. Unfortunately, they may also destroy normal cells. The accumulation of this “collateral damage” ultimately affects uninvolved areas and organ systems of the body. Chemotherapy, for example, can interrupt bone marrow blood cell formation and decrease the body's ability to fight infection.
These ripple effects can eventually reach the mouth. It's not uncommon for cancer patients to develop mouth sores or see an increase in tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. The treatments may also inhibit saliva flow: because saliva neutralizes acid and provides other benefits that lower disease risk, dental disease is more likely to develop when the salivary flow is reduced.
The first step to minimizing these effects is to improve oral health before cancer treatment begins. An unhealthy mouth vastly increases the chances for problems during treatment. Cooperating with your cancer physicians, we should attempt to treat any diseases present as soon as possible.
During cancer treatment we should also monitor your oral health and intervene when appropriate. If at all possible, you should continue regular dental visits for cleaning and checkups, and more so if conditions warrant. We can also protect your teeth and gums with protective measures like antibacterial mouth rinses, saliva stimulation or high-potency fluoride applications for your enamel.
What's most important, though, is what you can do for yourself to care for your mouth during the treatment period. Be sure to brush daily with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. You can use a weak solution of one-quarter teaspoon each of salt and baking soda to a quart of warm water to rinse your mouth and soothe any sores. And be sure to drink plenty of water to reduce dry mouth.
While you're waging your battle against cancer, stay vigilant about your teeth and gums. Taking care of them will ensure that after you've won your war against this malignant foe your mouth will be healthy too.
If you would like more information on taking care of your teeth and gums during cancer treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”
For millions of Americans, sleep apnea is a serious health condition. Not only can it impair your day-to-day living, you might be more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods while asleep. When blood oxygen drops too low, your body automatically wakes you to take a breath. This can disrupt your sleep several times a night. Chronic symptoms like drowsiness, irritability or headaches during the day, or indications you're a loud snorer, are all possible signs of sleep apnea.
Fortunately, we can treat sleep apnea. One way is continuous airway pressure therapy (CPAP), a pump device that supplies pressurized air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. Although CPAP is effective, some people find it uncomfortable to use.
There's a more comfortable option for sleep apnea caused by mouth structures like the tongue or tonsils obstructing the airway. It involves a custom-fitted oral appliance worn while you sleep that moves these structures out of the way.
Such appliances come in two basic types. One type fits over the upper and lower teeth and uses tiny metal hinges to move the lower jaw and tongue forward away from the airway. The other fits around and presses the tongue down like a tongue depressor to move it forward.
Before starting treatment, we need to first find out if you actually have sleep apnea and what's causing it (some cases may be more acute and require advanced treatments like jaw surgery). We'll need to perform medical and oral exams and take a history, and we'll likely refer you to a sleep medicine specialist for further testing.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a custom-fitted appliance could be a good solution. We'll create and adjust it according to your particular mouth and jaw contours for maximum comfort. Besides the appliance, you might also lose excess weight, adjust your sleep position, seek treatment for allergies, and quit smoking. All these could help reduce sleep apnea.
In any event, your first step is to find out if you have sleep apnea. From there we'll help you find the right treatment to improve your overall health and well being.
If you would like more information on treatments for sleep apnea, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”