How Diet Affects Oral Health

While children are at risk for developing cavities, adults are too, especially as they age. When considering the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice, the importance of proper nutrition is evident. According to this study, severe tooth loss in the elderly serves as a key indicator of a compromised diet.

Dietary Factors Directly Affect Oral Health

Research has established that an individual’s dietary choices directly relate to the development of cavities and erosion of the tooth enamel, which is the protective coating over each tooth. Once the enamel is compromised, bacteria and plaque can build up, resulting in cavities.

Foods Offering the Highest Level of Nutrition

Obviously, Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Besides offering vitamins and minerals, these foods also contain water and fiber. The water and fiber help balance the natural sugars that these foods contain.

Eating raw fruits and veggies that are crunchy increases saliva production. This increase in saliva benefits the teeth because it helps wash away any food particles or acids that remain in the mouth. Left in the mouth too long, these acids and particles can harm the teeth.

Berries and Citrus Fruits

These fruits are full of vitamin C and calcium, however, they also contain natural sugar and citrus fruit is acidic, so limited consumption is recommended. Furthermore, after eating any type of acidic food, rinsing your mouth is essential. This acid can wreak havoc on the enamel of your teeth.

Dark leafy greens (e.g., kale, spinach, etc.) are rich in calcium and vitamin C, both of which help fight periodontal disease. In addition, these vegetables have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Shiitake mushrooms are considered a superfood because they contain an antibacterial compound (lentinan) that has the ability to prevent bacterial growth. In addition, these mushrooms help prevent plaque buildup on the teeth.

Snacks

Choose wholesome snacks that are sugar-free. Sticky treats (e.g., fruit snacks and caramels, etc.) attach to the grooves of your teeth, providing the bacteria with plenty of food. It is recommended that all sweets be consumed at the same time as a meal because the excess saliva that is created while eating will help to dilute and then wash the sugars away.

Sugar remains as one of the main reasons for dental issues, here is why:

Bacteria in your mouth eat the sugar and then release an acid that damages the teeth. Once decay begins, if the cavity remains untreated, it will continue to develop and eventually result in a painful toothache.

Dairy and Protein

Dairy products contain casein, which helps neutralize the acids that the bacteria in the mouth produce. These products include yogurt and cheese.

Eating lean proteins rich in phosphorous strengthens the teeth. These proteins include eggs, meat, poultry, milk and fish. Other forms of fiber, minerals and protein include beans, seeds and nuts.

Cleaning Your Teeth When Brushing is Delayed

If the ability to brush is delayed, chewing sugar-free gum or fibrous vegetables can help clean your teeth.

Strong, healthy teeth can prevent tooth loss and reduce the likelihood of developing painful conditions like temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) syndrome. At Heritage Oral Surgery & Implant Centers, we replace missing teeth and treat TMJ. To learn more, contact one of our centers.

What is Bone Grafting?

Your jaw bone does more than make your face look strong. It also is an integral piece of the overall health of your teeth and gums. The teeth are connected via your gums, which are connected via your jaw bone. When this bone starts to deteriorate, your teeth may become loose or even fall out. No one wants this to happen, but sometimes it does. When bone loss becomes an issue, your dentist may suggest that you get bone grafting, which can enable you to either save the teeth you have to receive restoration treatments.

What is Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a technique where a piece of bone from someplace else is surgically applied to another area that needs more bone. Then the bone is accepted and grows so that more bone is grown in the area that lacked it in the first place.

Where Does the Grafted Bone Come From?

Grafted bone can come from a variety of sources. For dental purposes, the bone may come from another human or it can come from bovine. The vast majority of grafted bone does come from bovine. If you are going to undergo bone grafting, you can talk to your dentist about the source. If you have a preference, you can express that to your dentist so that they can source the bone according to your wishes.

Is Bone Grafting Safe?

Bone grafting has been done in the dentist’s offices for decades. It has been rigorously tested by agencies and determined to be completely safe. There are little to no side effects from bone grafting, and you can be sure that you will suffer no ill side effects. If you have questions about the safety of bone grafting, you can talk to your dentist.

Bone grafting has been known to save people’s dignity and teeth regarding oral health. It’s often a confusing topic, but it’s something that your dentist is highly familiar with. If you have any questions about the safety of bone grafting or how it can help you save your original teeth, please contact your dentist today. We would be happy to answer any questions that you have.

 

3 Ways a Broken Jaw Can Affect Your Oral Health

A direct blow to the mandible or another part of the jaw can cause these bones to break just like other bones in your body. A broken jaw can occur:

  • If your chin hits the dash during an automobile accident
  • If you are punched directly in the jaw
  • If you fall and hit your jaw on the ground

Unfortunately, a broken jaw can lead to a lot of oral health issues that have to be corrected. Take a look at some of the common ways a broken jaw can affect your oral health.

You Could Develop a TMJ Disorder

TMJ (Temporomandibular) disorders are disorders that affect the jaw joints and muscles that are responsible for things like biting, chewing, and speaking. People who have had a broken jaw are more prone to TMJ disorders. These disorders are commonly linked to cracking and popping when you speak or chew, pain in the jaw, and tension in the jaw muscles that make it difficult to use your mouth.

Your Bite Alignment Could Be Altered

One of the most common issues in patients who have sustained a broken jaw is the alignment of their bite. You may notice that your teeth do not connect when you close your mouth, that your lower teeth have shifted sideways or forward, or other issues with bite alignment. These issues stem from the shift of the mandible, which can be slight or quite substantial with severe breaks. Over time, this change in the bite alignment can be hard on your teeth because you will naturally chew awkwardly when you eat.

Your Speech Could Change

Many people who suffer a broken jaw develop numbness in their lower lip or even in their chin or tongue. There is a series of nerves that run through the mandible, and certain fractures can impede upon these nerves. Unfortunately, if the nerves are affected and you do not get proper treatment, it can affect your speech for the long term.

Reach Out To Heritage Oral Surgery & Implant Centers for Advice

A broken jaw is not something you should ignore. The jaw must be carefully reset and monitored for proper healing afterward. If you have issues due to a broken jaw, reach out to us at Heritage Oral Health & Implant Centers for an appointment.

3 Signs You are a Good Candidate for Dental Implant Surgery

Perhaps you have lost some or all of your natural teeth, and you are considering dental implants to restore your smile. Even though dental implants are a good fit for most individuals, some people would fare better with other tooth replacement options. Here are a few good signs you are a good candidate.

Your gums are in good health.

Good gum health is imperative during dental implant surgery. Once your new implants are placed, the gum tissue needs to close around the base of the new tooth. If you have periodontal disease or other gum health issues, this process may not happen properly. In some cases, gum grafts are taken to encourage new growth around the base of the implants, but even this requires healthy tissue to start with.

You are vigilant about good oral hygiene practices.

Do you feel like your day is never right if you forget to brush your teeth in the morning? Do you floss every day? How often do you get your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist? If you are vigilant about all of these things, you are probably going to be a good candidate for dental implant surgery. Even though the implants are made out of synthetic materials, the health of your mouth overall is what helps them stay securely in place. For example, if your lack of attention to brushing leads to gum disease, your new teeth could be at risk.

You are not a smoker.

Some cosmetic dentists will not perform dental implants on patients who are smokers, and it is for good reason. Smoking raises the temperature in your mouth considerably, according to Science Direct. The elevated temperature can make your mouth more prone to infections, which can actually prevent newly placed implants from healing. In general, smoking is bad for your oral health and should be avoided if you plan to obtain implants.

Talk to Us If You Believe You Are a Good Candidate for Dental Implants

Dental implants can change your life, and finding out you are a candidate is a big relief. If you believe you would be a good candidate for dental implants, reach out to us at Heritage Oral Surgery for an appointment.

What is TMJ?

The jaw muscles and joints that allow us to open and close our mouths are referred to as the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints are located on each side of the face and control the mandible (i.e., lower jaw) as it moves backward, forward and side to side, the temporomandibular joints work together whenever we speak, chew or swallow. In addition, these are the joints that connect the jaw to the skull.

The Inner Workings of the Temporomandibular Joints

Each temporomandibular joint consists of a ball and socket joint with a shock-absorbing disc in between: this disc essentially cushions the load placed on the joint, allowing us to comfortably open, close, glide and rotate our jaw.

The bones that interact with these joints are covered with cartilage. The movement remains smooth due to the shock-absorbing disc. However, any issue that affects the ability of the temporomandibular joints’ complex system of ligaments, muscles, bones and discs to work together could lead to a painful condition referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or temporomandibular joint syndrome, or, simply, TMJ.

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Aching in and around the ear.
  • Jaw tenderness or pain.
  • Facial pain.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (one or both joints).
  • Pain while chewing.
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

Treating TMJ

For the most part, the symptoms associated with this condition are temporary. The pain and discomfort experienced can be addressed using nonsurgical treatments or self-managed care. Surgical intervention is always the last resort: Only being considered after conservative measures fail.

What Causes TMJ?

Sometimes, the reason a person develops temporomandibular joint disorder is difficult to determine because pain can result due to a variety of factors, including cartilage damage caused by arthritis, a jaw injury or even genetic issues like incorrect tooth and jaw alignment. People who clench their teeth regularly or who have bruxism, a condition in which someone subconsciously grinds his or her teeth while asleep, are at a higher risk of developing TMJ; however, there are people who clench their teeth or have bruxism and never develop temporomandibular joint disorders.

Is It Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or Something Else?

A TMJ disorder typically causes clicking sounds and irritating sensations when opening the mouth or while chewing. If you are not experiencing any limitation of movement or clicking in your jaw, then you most likely do not have TMJ.

When to Seek Treatment

If you cannot open or close your jaw all the way, or if you are experiencing persistent tenderness or pain in your jaw, contact the Heritage Oral Surgery and Implant Center location that is the most convenient for you today. We can help determine what is causing your pain. Once we have a diagnosis, your personalized treatment plan will be created. We have offices located in Valencia, Palmdale and West Valley, California.

What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common dental surgeries dentists perform. After all, millions of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed every year, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. So, if your dentist recommends you get your wisdom teeth removed, don’t panic. Many other people just like you have had them removed.

But you’re probably wondering just how long the recovery will take, and what you’ll experience in the hours, days, and weeks following their removal?

How Long Will It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

The recovery process after getting your “teeth pulled” varies for everyone, but in general, you can likely expect your recovery time to happen within two weeks, with gradual improvement every day. The wisdom teeth removal surgery healing process can be broken down into stages as follows.

  • The first day: Blood clots form
  • Two to three days: You find that your swelling has decreased.
  • One week: If you have remaining stitches, your dentist can remove them now.
  • One week to ten days: Jaw soreness should dissipate
  • Two weeks: Mild bruising should heal

If a blood clot becomes dislodged, your healing and recovery could be longer. Therefore, it’s essential to not “play” with these blood clots to accidentally remove them.

Tips to Help With Healing from Wisdom Teeth Removal

To assist your recovery and healing from having your teeth pulled, practice all post-wisdom teeth instruction tips provided by your dentist, which may include the following:

  • Refraining from sucking through straws for at least 24 hours after your surgery to prevent dislodging a blood clot.
  • Using an ice pack on the outside of the extraction site to help with swelling and bruising
  • Avoiding drinking hot beverages and eating hot foods for three or four days.
  • Eating soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, jello, soft noodles, mashed bananas and soups. while avoiding foods that require chewing,
  • Avoiding eating any foods that are sticky or chewy.
  • Refraining from brushing your teeth residing near your extraction sites.
  • Rinsing with an antiseptic mouth rinse if and when your dentist advises.
  • Rinsing with warm salt water as needed and as directed by your dentist.

Remember, everyone heals differently from a tooth extraction, so always follow the instructions given by your dental professional. You can find important do’s and don’ts following wisdom removal surgery on our website here.

Potential Complications from Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Complications after wisdom teeth removal are rare. However, if you experience fever, pain, yellow or white pus around the wound, you may have developed an infection. If you develop intense throbbing, it may be indicative of a dry socket whereby your newly formed blood clots were lost or formed improperly. If you experience any of the above symptoms, call your dentist right away.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth removal at Heritage Oral Surgery & Implant Centers, give us a call at one of our offices: Valencia 661-253-3500, West Valley (818) 703-8200, or Palmdale (661) 538-1400.

 

What is the Recovery Period Like After Oral Surgery?

Dental implants and other dental procedures that require oral surgery require some recovery time. Oral surgery is like any other type of surgery. For example, you will probably be given some form of anesthesia. There are many other conditions that exist or can develop after oral surgery, which will affect your recovery period.

Nausea

You may experience nausea or vomiting during the recovery period. This is often a side effect of the anesthesia. Your doctor can recommend some anti-nausea remedies to alleviate these feelings.

Trouble Eating and Drinking

Your mouth, teeth and/or gums will be sensitive following oral surgery. It’s helpful to stock up on some recommended food and drink items so they’re ready when you come home after oral surgery. Ask your doctor for a list of items that will be suitable depending on your procedure. In addition, certain foods and drinks will be prohibited immediately following your oral surgery, so be sure to stay away from those particular items.

Bleeding

If you’ve had certain procedures, such as a wisdom tooth extraction, you may experience some residual bleeding from the site. Typically, applying pressure with sterile gauze for a period of time will stem the bleeding. Try not to swallow any of the blood, since that can exacerbate stomach upset. Excess bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t respond to pressure and gauze should be reported to your doctor.

Swelling

Oral surgery is traumatic to the tissues in and around your mouth. As such, you may experience swelling in the area. Swelling is caused when white blood cells race to the “scene” to initiate healing. In fact, a little swelling is a sign that your body is reacting normally. Swelling may look and feel uncomfortable, but it will typically go down on its own within about 24 hours after oral surgery.

Plan on resting at home after oral surgery. You won’t feel like going back to work for two or three days at least. Follow your doctor’s instructions and let their office know if you’re experiencing anything that feels unusual or worrying. After you’ve recovered from oral surgery, you can look forward to improved oral health for many years to come!