Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

We will all deal with sensitive teeth at some point in our lifetime. Sometimes the cause is acute and can come on suddenly. Other times, we may deal with chronic sensitive teeth for long periods of time. Either way, it’s important to know what causes sensitive teeth and what you can do to treat and prevent this common problem.

bearded man holds his jaw because of sensitive teeth

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If you’ve noticed an unusually uncomfortable feeling when eating hard, cold, or hot foods, you may be dealing with sensitive teeth. You aren’t alone. Approximately 1 out of every 8 American adults suffers from sensitive teeth, with women experiencing this more than men. Sensitive teeth are affected by hot and cold air and food, and can feel tender upon touch or biting down. The causes of sensitive teeth are varied. Chronic tooth clenching, cavities, or a dental infection can all cause your teeth to feel pain. That’s why it’s always best to see a dentist when you notice new or worsening pain. We can help treat urgent and chronic problems and help you find relief.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Chronic tooth clenching, or bruxism, is an extremely common condition that means you grip your jaw shut. Often, this happens at night while we are sleeping. If you wake up with a sore jaw, headache, or neck ache, you may have bruxism. Bruxism can cause enamel to wear away and break down, causing sensitivity. If you think you have bruxism, a simple night guard will help prevent tooth sensitivity. To prevent other causes of dental pain, like cavities and tooth decay, you need to take great care of your teeth. Each day, brush with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes, twice a day. Be sure to floss once daily. Make sure to have your teeth regularly cleaned and examined by a dentist. All of these actions will help to prevent the causes of acute dental pain.

How to Cure Sensitive Teeth

Although chronic tooth sensitivity will come and go, there are ways to reduce your pain and discomfort. First, avoid eating and drinking foods that trigger a response. Ice, soups, hard candy, anything that may bring you pain should be avoided until the condition improves. We recommend using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. These types of toothpaste contain ingredients that will help relieve pain, while building strength in your enamel.

We Care About Your Oral Health!

As always, let us know about pain in your mouth and teeth, especially if it comes on suddenly. This could be a sign of a condition that needs to be treated right away. Taking good care of your teeth is key to preventing tooth pain. If it’s time to schedule a check-up, contact us today!

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!

Can Poor Oral Hygiene Cause Acne?

Your oral hygiene and health has an impact far beyond just your teeth and gums. Not only does research show a link between gum disease and heart disease, it also suggests a connection between your oral health and clear skin. If you’ve been struggling with acne that just won’t go away, there’s a chance that oral bacteria may be the culprit!

woman checking her chin and cheek for acne

The Link Between Healthy Teeth and Clear Skin

If the thought of healthy pearly whites is not enough to motivate you to practice good oral hygiene, maybe this will encourage you: studies show that oral bacteria from an infected tooth or gums can get onto your face, irritating your skin and causing you to break out. Research suggests that if your acne is clustered around your chin, lips, or cheeks, this may be a sign that poor oral hygiene is the cause.

You can limit the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth by following a good dental hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss each day, and visit our office regularly for professional cleanings and exams. When it comes to brushing teeth and washing your face, order matters. Be sure you’re washing your face after you brush your teeth to clean away any bacteria from your mouth that may get onto your face as a result of brushing.

If you’re wondering if your oral health may be to blame for your acne, schedule a professional cleaning at our office. Dr. Desai and our team will carefully examine your mouth and note any problem areas that may be behind your skin issues. Treating your skin may be as simple as addressing your oral health.

To ask our team any questions about the link between oral hygiene and acne or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

What Is Gingivitis?

You know from dental visits and toothpaste commercials that gingivitis is something you want to avoid. But what do you really know about gingivitis? What causes it and how can you prevent it? We have all the answers for you here.

An Overview of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum line near your teeth. It’s a mild form of gum disease or periodontitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that may bleed while brushing or flossing, bad breath, and receding gums. Gingivitis in common but can cause deeper problems if not treated, and can eventually lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.

dark haired girl holding her lower lip wondering about gingivitis

Causes

Gingivitis is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, but the risks increase for the elderly, people with dry mouth, and those with lowered immune response. Hormonal changes like pregnancy and certain contraceptive methods can also increase risk. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up around the gum line, causing the tissue to become inflamed. Plaque forms when bacteria feed off of food (especially sugar) left in the mouth. This leads to tartar (the hardening of plaque) on teeth, cavities, and bad breath.

Prevention

In order to prevent gingivitis, you must take good care of your teeth. Brush two times a day for 2 minutes each time. Floss daily, especially after meals. Reduce sugar intake. Oral bacteria feed on sugar in the mouth. Maintain dental appointments for cleaning. At your dental appointment, we’ll scrape off tartar and plaque that brushing can’t remove.

Treatment

If we see gingivitis at your next visit, we’ll let you know. Please let us know if you notice any of the signs or symptoms. We will help guide you toward a treatment plan that is right for you. This may include a deep clean of your teeth, or simply better maintenance of tooth care at home. We also recommend you consider purchasing a gingivitis-fighting mouthwash in addition to your daily brushing and flossing. Look for the active ingredients cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine.

If you suspect you may have gingivitis, contact us today. We’ll talk you through ways to improve the condition of the gums and may want to schedule an appointment. You don’t want your condition to worsen, so please let us know if you have concerns!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!