National Pet Dental Health Month

Every February, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month to raise awareness of the importance of proper dental care for our furry best friends. While our Hyde Park dental office doesn’t treat these cuddly critters, we know a lot of our patients have pets, and we’d like to provide them tips on how to care for the furrier members of their families.

Brushing Your Pets Teeth is Important

You know your dentist in Hyde Park encourages each and every patient to brush their teeth twice a day, every day. Now while it’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth that often, it is important that you do it occasionally. Typically brushing two to three times a week will do wonders in keeping their mouths healthy. While brushing your pet’s teeth may be a challenge at first, doing it regularly can help make it a routine. When you start, take a piece of gauze and a pet-friendly toothpaste to gently massage your pet’s teeth in tight circles. This small step can really help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. But good brushing doesn’t end there. You should take your pet to get a professional dental cleaning once a year for a thorough job.

Encourage Chewing

We don’t necessarily mean that you let your pet take control of the house and nibble on anything he wants. But most vets do encourage you to let him chew on toys or treats specifically designed to help scrub away plaque. While bones may seem like the obvious choice, these tough treats can actually do more harm than good. In fact, chewing a hard bone increases the risk for dental damage. Instead, consider buying toys or treats that strengthen teeth, stimulate gums, and remove plaque and tartar. Whatever you and your vet choose, remember that brushing is still crucial for optimal oral health (this applies to you too!).

Know What to Look For

Just like humans, knowing the signs of a potential problem and seeking treatment sooner rather than later is key to successful treatment. What’s also similar between humans and animals are the signs of a dental concern. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Bleeding

If you notice any of the above in your pet, call your vet. If you notice any in yourself, call your Hyde Park dentist. Following the tips above and being open with your vet can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy for life. The same applies to you. Make sure to practice a proper oral health care routine and maintain regular visits at our dental office in Hyde Park.

How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore

It all started with a slight tingling sensation in your mouth. Then all of a sudden, up pops a canker sore. Now you’re stuck with this uncomfortable and painful blister-like sore. What can you do to get rid of it? Even though there’s no official cure for canker sores, there are some things you can do to help reduce discomfort. Join our dental office in Hyde Park as we cover some common canker sore treatments and talk about how you may be able to prevent one in the future.

Canker Sore Treatment

While there isn’t any cure that will quickly and easily get rid of canker sores, you don’t have to stay feeling uncomfortable while the sore runs its course. Your first go-to treatment option can be buying one of the several over-the-counter products designed to numb and ease the pain associated with canker sores. If that doesn’t quite cut it, you can schedule an appointment with your Hyde Park dentist. They may be able to use a laser to speed up healing time or may even suggest a corticosteroid or prescription-strength antimicrobial rinse.

Symptoms of a Canker Sore?

Canker sores can start with that weird tingly or itchy sensation before you can even see any signs of a sore at all. Other signs of a canker sore can include a blister-type sore inside the mouth. Canker sores are typically small, red and can have a white or gray middle. They’re usually found on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of the mouth. Sometimes canker sores can also cause a fever.

Causes

Unfortunately, there isn’t a known or proven cause of canker sores. But many people can identify triggers to what caused one to develop. Some common explanations behind canker sores include:

If you can find out what seems to be causing canker sores, do your best to avoid them. Doing so can help prevent canker sores or limit how often you get one.

Unlike cold sores, which are very similar to canker sores but affect the outside of the mouth, canker sores are not contagious. They’re mostly just annoying. But if you’ve been dealing with a canker sore for longer than three weeks or you notice any other changes to your mouth, don’t hesitate to call our Hyde Park dental office today.

Avoid the Flu with These Five Easy Things

Flu season has officially begun and will continue through February, or maybe even later. Nobody wants to catch this ache-inducing, sneezing-causing, and overall yucky-feeling sickness. While sometimes the flu is unavoidable, there are easy things you can do to reduce your chance of falling ill. Join your dentist in Hyde Park in practicing these top tips all flu season long.

Clean & Sanitize

During flu season, it’s wise to clean and sanitize your living and workspace more often than usual. Germs can live on surfaces for quite some time, and all it takes is touching an infected surface to come down with the flu. Make sure to clean the areas you use most often or that are touched by multiple people like the kitchen, bathroom, and conference room tables at work. Don’t forget about the little items like remote controls, toilet handles, doorknobs, and keyboards.

Wash Your Hands

Your dentist in Hyde Park and all medical professionals will tell you that washing your hands often is one of the best ways to avoid the flu and the common cold. Scrubbing your mitts with warm water and antibacterial soap is an effective way to remove any germs you may have picked up throughout the day. Cover your palms, fingers, and even fingernails with soapy water after using the restroom, before eating, and after you touch anyone. If you can’t get to a sink right away, an alcohol-based sanitizer can work in a pinch.

Keep Hands Away from the Face

According to the CDC, another common way to transfer germs from person to person or from surface to person is by putting our hands on our face or near our mouths, eyes, or nose. Since these areas of the body contain mucus, anything that gets into them is easily transported into the rest of the body, including germs.

Choose Healthy Meals

While we always recommend trying to eat a well-balanced diet all year round, it can be even more important during flu season. Fueling your body with all of the good stuff it needs to function optimally puts it in good fighting shape if germs do find their way inside. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and avoid sugar as much as you can.

Increase Your Water Intake

Besides eating well, it’s also important to drink a lot of water throughout the day. When a body is properly hydrated, it’s better prepared to fight off anything that may try to make you sick. Follow the 8×8 rule by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.

These tips can go a long way in keeping the flu away from you and your family this season. But if you do happen to get sick, the team at our Hyde Park dental office recommends treating your symptoms with sugar-free medication to protect your teeth. Also, don’t forget to swap out your toothbrush for a new one after any illness.

Let’s Talk About Lip Biting

Many people repeatedly bite their lip (or cheeks or tongue) as a way to deal with nerves or stress. It’s a habit that some may find relieving, although sometimes also painful. However, to your dentist in Hyde Park, constant biting of the soft tissues in the mouth can certainly raise some concern. Let’s take a closer look at lip biting, why we do it, why it’s bad, and how we can stop.

Why is it Bad?

The truth is, biting our lips, cheeks, or tongue may cause more harm than many of us may have ever thought. When we constantly bite these delicate, soft tissues it can cause painful sores. These sores can become infected if not treated or if reopened repeatedly by even more biting. Any infection in the mouth should be considered serious as it can create additional problems. Constant biting can also lead to inflammation, swelling, redness, and of course, pain.

Why Do We Bite in The First Place?

Of course, we’ve all experienced the pain associated with the occasional accidental bite. These one-off bites are usually nothing to be concerned about and typically heal on their own in a few days. However, when biting happens often, we should look further into why. There are several reasons why someone may bite their lips, cheeks, or tongue a lot. One possible cause of lip biting is psychological — the habitual biting as a response to stress or nervousness we mentioned earlier. Another explanation can be physical in the form of a bad bite. When we don’t purposely bite our lips, cheeks, or tongue, yet find ourselves accidentally doing it a lot while chewing or even talking, our bite can be to blame. Malocclusion, or bad bite, increases the likelihood for our tongue, cheeks, or lips to get stuck in between our upper and lower teeth. The result? A painful chomp to these soft tissues.

Ways to Stop Biting

The best way to stop biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue depends on why it happens. If the cause of your biting is psychological you can try to:

  • Become more aware of when you do it. Knowing your triggers can help you be more conscious of the habits and allow you to work to fix it.
  • Find a support system. Talk with trusted friends, co-workers, or family members about your habit and determine a way that they can support you in stopping. It can be as simple as kindly telling you when you’re doing it so you can become more aware.
  • Behavior therapy. There are various types of behavior therapy available that can help change habits.

If the cause of your biting is physical, it’s best that you schedule an appointment with your dentist in Hyde Park. Your dental team can help identify if your bite may be causing you to accidentally bite your lip, cheeks, or tongue and discuss the best dental treatment to help you. If you suffer from chronically biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue, call your Hyde Park dentist so you can start getting some relief or so you can have any existing sores examined or treated before they have a chance to cause bigger, more serious problems.

Bad Breath & The Keto Diet

One of the most popular weight-loss diets today is the Keto Diet. Many people find it to be effective and watch the pounds drop off. But what does this have to do with dentistry, and why is your dentist in Hyde Park talking about a weight loss diet? The truth is, what we eat affects our oral health, and the Keto Diet is no exception. In fact, many Keto Dieters notice a change in their breath after following the program. Let’s take a deeper look at why this happens.

The Science Behind The Keto Diet

Before we can understand why some people on the Keto Diet get bad breath, we need to understand how the Keto Diet works. The Keto Diet encourages increased consumption of high-fat foods and the decrease of carbohydrates. When carbs break down during digestion they produce glucose, which is the body’s preferred energy source. However, when there are no carbs to create glucose, the body burns fat instead, hence the weight loss. But when the body burns fat, it gives off three ketones called acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. The acetone is what causes bad breath.

Acetone

Acetone is a byproduct that occurs when our bodies burn fat. And it smells. But since the body can’t use acetone to store energy, our bodies get rid of it through urination or the lungs. When acetone is released through the lungs, its odor comes out as bad breath, also known as halitosis. But there’s good news — the longer someone is on the Keto Diet the more likely it is that they will become “keto-adapted,” which means your body adjusts to the diet and the bad breath goes away. In the meantime, you can fight off bad breath by practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist in Hyde Park every six months.

How the Keto Diet Can Help Your Teeth

Even though the Keto Diet commonly causes bad breath, there are actually some oral health benefits associated with it. Since carbs contain a lot of sugar, which everyone knows is bad for teeth, decreasing the number of carbs you eat also limits your teeth’s exposure to damaging sugars. When we eat foods with high sugar content, our mouth bacteria feed on the sugars. As a byproduct, these bacteria release acid. This acid is the main culprit to decay and cavities. In fact, some research shows that limiting the number of carbohydrates can lower the likelihood of cavities and even gum disease by more than 50%.

Talk to Your Doctor

Despite the fact that the Keto Diet can help people lose weight and may also protect teeth against cavities, the truth is, like all diets, it may not be beneficial for everyone. Before starting a diet, talk with your doctor and even consider talking with your dentist in Hyde Park. After all, what we eat not only affects our overall health, it also affects our oral health. Advice and input from both your physician and your dentist can help you find the diet that’s best for you.