The Pros & Cons of Chewing Gum

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we have mixed opinions on chewing gum. On the one hand, it can be a great quick fix to freshen breath and clean teeth. On the other hand, it can lead to tooth decay and excess wear on your teeth. Today, we want to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to chewing gum and your oral health.

girl blowing a bubble gum bubble

The Good: Freshen Breath & Fight Cavities

When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production in your mouth. Saliva can not only wash away leftover food residue on teeth before bacteria have a chance to feed on it and produce acid — it also contains an enzyme that can fight off the number of bacteria in the mouth. When fewer bacteria are present, your breath smells fresher!

If you’re looking for benefits of chewing gum, reach for a pack of sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that can neutralize the pH of your mouth and keep acid from wearing away on teeth and causing cavities.

The Bad: Chewing Gum May Loosen Dental Work

For folks with retainers, oral appliances, or dental work like fillings and crowns, chewing gum can create more problems. It can loosen fillings, crowns, and bridges or limit their longevity. If you have had dental work done, consult with our office if you are unsure whether you can chew gum.

The Ugly: Chewing Gum Can Lead to Tooth Decay

If you chew gum that contains sugar, you may be unknowingly contributing to the growth of cavities in your mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar to produce acid, so chewing gum with sugar may result in more bacteria and acid in your mouth. Without proper care, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

While chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to clean teeth and freshen breath, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage teeth. If you do decide to chew gum, choose wisely! To ask our team any questions about chewing gum or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Is Chocolate Bad for My Teeth?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that you can expect to eat (or at least be tempted by) lots of chocolate over the course of the next few weeks! But if you’re trying to maintain a strong, healthy smile, will an uptick in chocolate consumption harm your efforts? We’ll share the truth behind chocolate’s effect on your teeth, and ways you can keep your smile sparkling this Valentine’s Day season.

heart shaped box of valentine's day chocolates

Is Chocolate the Problem?

You’ve probably heard that chocolate and other candy can “rot” your teeth, but this isn’t entirely true. Yes, eating too much candy can harm your teeth and cause cavities in the long run, but it’s because of its high sugar content above all else. When sugar sits on your teeth for too long, it attracts plaque and bacteria that secrete acid when they snack on the sugar. This acid in turn corrodes your teeth, making it easier to develop cavities and decay. If left untreated, you can lose your teeth down the line.

How to Curb the Effects of Sugar

The number one way to avoid sugar damage to your teeth is to avoid eating sugar entirely. It’s understandably hard to do this time of year, so if you must indulge in a little chocolate here and there, you should opt for dark chocolate or even sugar free options (like chocolates sweetened with stevia or coconut sugar).

Another way to protect your teeth is to make sure that you thoroughly brush and floss your teeth after eating sugary foods. That way plaque and bacteria won’t have much time to develop on your teeth and won’t have much to consume if there is no sugar sitting on your teeth to begin with.

Other Foods to Avoid

Aside from sugary chocolate and candy, other foods you should generally avoid in order to protect your teeth are foods that are high in acid like certain fruits (including dried fruit, which is loaded with sugar), coffee and soda, and alcohol.

Foods to Eat Instead

Want something healthy that feels indulgent this Valentine’s Day? Try dipping strawberries (which are full of malic acid that can whiten teeth) in dark chocolate for a guilt-free snack. Other foods to eat year-round are fresh fruit, nuts, cheese and dairy products, dark leafy greens, and crunchy vegetables. All of these foods contain fiber and vitamins and minerals that support strong teeth!

Show love to your teeth this Valentine’s Day by opting for less sugary snacks. If you’re in need for a dental checkup this year, pay us a visit at North Richland Hills Dentistry. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

What Is Phantom Tooth Pain?

Phantom tooth pain—also variously known by the technical names “atypical facial pain,” “atypical odontalgia,” and “neuropathic orofacial pain,” is one of the most mysterious conditions in the field of oral health. Chronic pain in a tooth or teeth is the defining characteristic. However, unlike the typical toothache, there is no evidence of decay, periodontal disease, injury, or other identifiable cause.

man holding his head in pain from phantom tooth pain

Symptoms

Constant throbbing or aching in a tooth, teeth, or extraction site that is persistent and unremitting is how phantom tooth pain is usually described. In addition, hot or cold sensations do not significantly affect the pain, and even local anesthetic often cannot relieve it. The intensity ranges from mild to severe.

What Causes It & Who Is Most Likely to Get It?

It is theorized that phantom tooth pain is caused by changes in parts of the brain that process pain signals, causing a persistent sensation of pain even when an identifiable source of pain does not exist. Why this happens, however, is not known. Genetics, age, and gender seem to play a role, with women and those older than middle-age being the most affected.

How Is It Diagnosed & Treated?

If a review of the patient’s history, a thorough clinical examination, and radiographic assessment cannot identify the source of pain, a diagnosis of phantom tooth pain is often made. Various medications have been used in an attempt to treat it, with tricyclic antidepressants being the most common. Generally, treatment is successful in reducing the pain but not eliminating it completely.

If you have any symptoms of phantom tooth pain, be sure to contact us at North Richland Hills Dentistry right away so Dr. Desai can evaluate your specific situation and help you determine the best course of action.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency

Emergencies happen when you least expect them—that’s why they’re emergencies! It’s important, however, to be mindful that bad things do happen. We know how we can ready ourselves when bad weather, a sudden disaster, or a medical emergency strike, but would you know what to do if you found yourself having a dental emergency? Here’s how you can prepare for one.

cartoon man with a broken tooth dental emergency

Recognizing a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency isn’t always obvious. While chipping or knocking out a tooth would definitely constitute a dental emergency, you can also consider excessive bleeding, swelling, or pain as a dental emergency, whether it occurs in relation to a recent dental procedure or not. When in doubt, consider it an emergency!

Preparing for a Dental Emergency

One thing that you should absolutely have on hand before you find yourself in an emergency is to have your dentist’s contact information handy, and to be sure that your dentist can accommodate emergency visits (or can recommend someone who does ahead of time).

In the event of a knocked out tooth, try to put the tooth in a glass of milk before you head over to your dentist. If they can see you within the hour, they may be able to reattach it!

If you are having excessive pain and swelling, grab some ice and place it on your cheeks in ten-minute increments. This will help numb the area and even reduce puffiness.

How to Prevent a Dental Emergency

It’s not always easy to prevent a dental emergency, but there are a few ways that you can avoid having one in the future. First, always practice good oral hygiene habits and brush and floss your teeth twice a day. This will greatly reduce your chances of developing painful tooth decay, which can cause bleeding and swelling. Moreover, having a clean bill of oral health means you probably won’t require any dental procedures in the future, so you won’t have the chance of developing any potential complications like excessive swelling from them. if you play contact sports, it’s important that you always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from being chipped or knocked out.

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we offer convenient scheduling and see emergencies promptly. Contact us at 817-656-2945 if you experience a dental emergency or contact us below to schedule your next treatment at our practice!
Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How Can I Reduce Waste While Caring for My Smile?

man embracing mountains

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we believe in reducing waste whenever possible. Often, our patients are surprised to learn just how damaging to the environment oral healthcare can be. With the health of our planet in mind, we’ve put together the following tips on how to you can care for the planet while also caring for your pearly whites.

Conserve Water

Did you know that letting the tap run while brushing your teeth can waste up to 200 gallons of water each month? There’s no need to let that precious water run while you’re brushing your teeth, so turn the tap off until you’re ready to rinse. If you have kids, make sure they learn to turn off the faucet, too. Your water bill and the planet will thank you!

Use Natural Materials

At your local natural store, you’re bound to find toothbrushes made from bamboo, toothpaste made from mint, and other products designed with the environment and your health in mind. For example, instead of using floss made from nylon that is not biodegradable, choose silk floss that can be composted. You’ll avoid using plastic and chemicals while getting the same quality of oral care.

Recycle

If you’re not ready to take the plunge to natural dental products, consider recycling your plastic products when you’re finished with them. Plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers, and packaging can be recycled through programs like Terracycle. While you’re at it, why not repurpose your old toothbrushes to clean hard to reach areas or unusually shaped items around the house?

Dr. Desai and the rest of our team are committed to using highly efficient dental technology to cut down on waste and provide you and your family with the highest quality dental care. To ask our team any questions or to schedule your next visit at our office, contact us today.

Why Am I Afraid of the Dentist?

brunette woman wearing a black jacket looks down anxiously while standing in front of a red brick wall

If you’ve been putting off a visit to Dr. Desai because you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Some studies show that around 15% of Americans avoid visiting the dentist because they are afraid or anxious. Today, we want to identify a few common causes of dental phobia and share some knowledge that may help you overcome it so you can get the care you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Common Causes of Dental Fear:

1. Pain

Often, our patients mention that they are afraid of getting their teeth examined or undergoing certain procedures because they believe it will hurt. Whether this belief is the result of some previous traumatic experience at the dentist or based on depictions in the media, our team will reassure you that we take every precaution to make sure that your visit is as comfortable, pain-free, and stress-free as possible. Moreover, ask us about our dental sedation options that can help you remain relaxed throughout your visit!

2. Helplessness

We understand that the dentist’s chair may feel like a vulnerable place to be. For that reason, we encourage our patients to familiarize themselves with our team and our office, and to ask questions before, during, and after their appointment. We will take extra time to explain exactly what will occur during any given procedure, and we can help you figure out the best payment options for your unique situation.

How to Manage Dental Anxiety:

There are many things you can do to help ease your fear of the dentist:

closeup of a brunette woman breathing deeply to calm her dental anxiety

1. Choose North Richland Hills Dentistry as your dentist, because we understand your worries concerning feelings of pain and helplessness. We hope that after meeting Dr. Desai, making yourself at home in our welcoming office, checking out our patient amenities, and receiving quality care from our compassionate team, you’ll feel less dental anxiety.

2. Try breathing and relaxation techniques.

3. Listen to soothing music.

4. Get a good night’s sleep the day before your appointment so can you feel alert and refreshed.

5. Bring a friend to help you feel more comfortable during your dental treatment.

We Want to Help You Get the Dental Care You Need!

Do you have any other strategies you’ve used to help overcome your fear of the dentist? We want to hear from you! To learn more about how our team will help you feel safe, comfortable, and confident during your next dental appointment or to schedule a visit to our office, contact us today.