Common Oral Problems in the Winter

January might be coming to a close, but Winter is still in full swing, with many cold months for the foreseeable future. With the less than warm weather becoming the norm, there are a few oral issues that arise as a result. Here are the top mouth problems of the winter, and tips to help prevent and heal them.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are wounds that most commonly appear on the inside of your cheeks, under your tongue, and on your gums. They are especially prevalent in the winter time as they can appear when someone consumes acidic things such as cider, or particularly spicy treats.

Partaking in these treats occasionally shouldn’t have too big of an impact on your mouth, and therefore cutting back on the consumption should lessen the risk, but for those who already have canker sores, the treatment is simple. Mix in a tablespoon of salt in a small glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth, careful not to swallow the mixture. The canker sores should clear up in a few days.

Cold Sores

Not to be confused with the aforementioned canker sores, cold sores develop on the outside of the mouth and will do so much more frequently if you’re constantly exposed to the chilly outdoors. Moisturizing around the mouth and using products which have an SPF of at least 15 can help lessen the chance of contracting cold sores. Keeping a scarf up and over your mouth when the cold winds hit can also help in the prevention.

As far as treatment goes, there are many cold sore remedies that are available over the counter at any local pharmacy or grocery store.

Chapped Lips

Possibly the most common winter problem of them all is chapped lips. Like cold sores, chapped lips are a result of being out in the chilly temperatures which can suck the moisture right out of your lips, making them dry and prone to cracking and even bleeding. To prevent these, keep a lip balm on hand at all times to apply when your lips start feeling a little dry. This also works as a treatment for those who already have dry lips, as well as drinking water to keep your skin hydrated.

Take care of yourself this winter season, taking necessary precautions to ensure that these things do not happen to you.

Teeth Whitening in Burbank, California

Although teeth are not made to be naturally pure white, toothpaste brands have pushed a certain image into the media, making it appear as though that is the norm. While some pursue teeth whitening in order to reach this image, others seek it out because of staining that has occurred on their teeth due to foods or products like wine and tobacco, the natural process of aging, or through dental procedures such as root canals and fillings. No matter the cause of the staining, or what has led the individual to inquire about teeth whitening, the one thing that is important to know is that teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure and therefore not covered under any form of insurance. However, there are alternative methods available for those who are unable to afford teeth whitening at the dentist’s office. Let’s take a look at all the options available.

Dental Bleaching

Beginning with the treatment that can be done by your dentist, dental bleaching is by far the most expensive out of the options, but arguably the fastest and most effective method for those who want near-immediate results. There are two forms of dental bleaching available, vital and non-vital. The one that will be chosen for use depends on a few factors and the patients dental history.

The most common type of bleaching treatment, called vital bleaching, is done on teeth that are “alive”, or otherwise known as teeth that have not undergone another dental procedure such as a bridge, veneer, or have been capped with a crown. Vital bleaching is chosen for the patient who has stains due to coffee, wine, tobacco, or aging as it works on the surface of the tooth. 

The second method of bleaching is called non-vital bleaching which are done on teeth that need the bleaching to work from the inside out. Stains caused by root canals and other procedures on not considered to be surface stains, and therefore a stronger bleach is needed in order to remove the discolouration.

Surface Whiteners

As mentioned above, dental bleaching can be expensive and is not the best option for everyone. However, there is an alternative over-the-counter method in the form of surface whiteners. Surface whiteners are great for individuals who have only minor staining, as from the title of the product, they only work on the surface of the tooth. While it takes longer to achieve the level of white that one may desire, it certainly is the most affordable option. You can find a variety of surface whiteners in a grocery or drug store, displayed alongside the toothpastes and toothbrushes. At first, you may feel overwhelmed and confused with all of the choices presented, but rest assured that any one will work as they all generally use the same ingredients and are applied the same way–through the use of strips that cover your teeth.

If you are unsure if the product is right for you and your situation, consult with your dentist first.

If you are interested in teeth whitening services, please give us a call to book a consultation to discuss your options.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

“Do I have to get my wisdom teeth removed?” Well, it all depends. Each dentist has their own own opinion on the matter, but it also depends on your situation as well. If they’re not causing any harm and people don’t want to shell out the money to get them removed, there’s no harm in letting them stay in. But others like to get them removed before they cause any problems. Before you make a decision on your own, let’s take a closer look at wisdom teeth as a whole. 

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that humans get at the very back of their mouth. They usually make an appearance after the rest of your adult teeth have already come in, around the 18-20 years old range. Some people, however, never develop wisdom teeth, and therefore do not have to debate what to do with them. Impacted wisdom teeth that need to be removed will start showing up and causing pain that feels similar to a very intense toothache around the same timeframe. Wisdom teeth that have not broken through the surface of the gum can be seen through an x-ray, so your dentist will be able to tell you their condition.

Why do we have Wisdom Teeth? 

It’s widely acknowledged that wisdom teeth once served a purpose to our ancestors who needed the extra set in order to break down food materials. Having no access to modern machinery that cooks our food and makes it easier to eat, they needed the extra teeth in order to be able to survive. However, much like the appendix, they have no further use for humans during modern times, and therefore are not needed. 

What is the Extraction Process?

For those that choose to have their wisdom teeth removed, or for those who absolutely need it done to save their other teeth, the extraction process is quite simple and will take only a couple hours out of your day to do, depending on the number of wisdom teeth being extracted. A dental surgeon will perform the task right in their office and you’ll be able to go home the very same day. Just be sure to bring someone with you as your mouth may be in pain once the numbing wears off, affecting your ability to drive. Patients who opt for getting a sedative during the procedure, MUST bring someone with them as it is unsafe to leave alone after just waking up. 

What is the Healing time?

 Again, it all depends on the number of wisdom teeth being extracted, but generally, you can expect full healing to happen between a couple weeks to a full month. The first week is especially important in the healing process, so please take care and only eat foods that are soft and don’t require a lot of chewing. Avoid using straws of any material as well as the suction caused by drinking through them has the potential to tear the stitches and cause bleeding. A complete list of the do’s and don’ts will be provided to you from the dental surgeon once the procedure has been completed.

Any further questions about wisdom teeth can be directed at your dentist at your next visit. If you feel like your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, or you’d like to inquire about the extraction process, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.

5 Ways to Prevent Cavities

Cavities, although most common in children due to them often not being able to commit to a strict oral hygiene schedule, can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Particularly when we eat sugary foods, the acids produced from those foods erode away at the tooth’s hard surface. But there are ways to prevent cavities while still enjoying our favorite snacks. Take a look at the list below.

Drink Sugary Drinks Through a Straw

If soda isn’t something you can completely eliminate from your diet, you can reduce the effect it has on your teeth by drinking it with a straw. Using a straw minimizes the contact that the soda has with your teeth.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

Visiting the dentist for your bi-yearly teeth cleaning removes plaque build up that has formed on your teeth, and can inform you of teeth to keep a close eye on. A warning sign of a cavity is a white spot which is much easier to view from a dentist’s perspective and trained eye. They can then give you helpful tips in order to prevent it from turning into a cavity and do preventive care on it as well.

Eat More Fibrous Foods

Foods like apples, carrots, and celery can actually help clean your mouth. The texture of these different foods can wipe away bacteria from the surface of your teeth, preventing it from spreading and turning into something far less easy to clean off. 

Drink More Water

Water acts as a nourishing mouthwash, washing away bacteria and foot particles after a meal that get stuck in between the teeth. Tooth decay also occurs much more frequently in a dry mouth, so drinking water can combat this and hydrate you.

Brush and Floss After Every Meal

The best way to clear your teeth of harmful bacteria and tooth particles is to brush your teeth. The most effective way would be to do so as soon as you finish eating, but if that’s not possible, drink water, or brush your teeth as soon as you’re able to. Dentists recommend twice a day at a minimum.

If you have any concerns about how to take care of your teeth, do not hesitate to contact your dentist today.