The Flu And Your Dental Care

There have been between 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of the flu since 2010, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates. Along with a high fever, chills, aches, pains, and general fatigue, the flu can result in the near-inability to tackle your normal daily activities. This includes routine dental care.

Before tossing your brush aside the next time that the flu hits you, take a look at the whys and hows of keeping your mouth healthy during an extreme illness.

Remove Microorganisms

The flu is caused by a virus. But that isn’t the only microorganism living in your body when you’re sick. Your mouth is filled with bacteria. Most oral bacteria are harmless and won’t lead to serious problems, but when the bacteria get out of balance, they can cause dental decay.

Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth helps to remove particles of food that the bacteria feed on, reducing the likelihood of developing cavities. Even though the virus in your body makes getting out of bed difficult, skipping out on your regular brushing routine could lead to an overgrowth of bacteria.

While a few days of poor oral care won’t necessarily lead to decay, it can start a vicious cycle that results in damage or dental caries.

Clean the Brush

Using your toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time helps to keep your mouth clean — whether you’re already sick or not.

Under normal conditions, a quick rinse of your brush can remove leftover food particles and microorganisms that may linger. But if you’re sick, the flu virus may stay stuck to the bristles or back of the brush. Not only can the virus transfer from your mouth to the head of the brush, but you can also transport it from your fingers to the brush’s handle.

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on hard surfaces for as long as 48 hours. While you won’t re-infect yourself during mid-flu illness, your germ-covered brush can infect other members of your household — especially if you keep all of the family’s toothbrushes in the same cup or holder.

Help everyone else in your household to stay safe and healthy by cleaning your brush off well. If you keep your brush in close quarters with other people’s brushes, find a new place to stash the dental device during your illness.

Rehydrate Yourself

The flu can quickly lead to dehydration. Along with dehydration due to nasal symptoms, some people (especially children) may experience vomiting too. A dry mouth makes it challenging for your body to wash away leftover food particles and microorganisms in the mouth. This increases the likelihood of developing dental decay or disease.

Sip on hydrating liquids, such as water, during the day to keep your body quenched. This can reduce the chances of developing decay-causing dry mouth. Avoid drinking soda or sports drinks. These contain high amounts of sugar, making it easier for oral bacteria to take over and cause dental damage. Even though orange juice is a sick-day staple, it’s also extremely high in sugar. Again, this can also lead to dental caries.

Select Sugar-Free Options

Beverages aren’t the only culprits behind dental decay. The cough drops that are soothing your sore throat are also bathing your teeth and gums in sugar. This creates the ideal environment for bacteria to grow and flourish.

Regular cough drops are basically hard sugar candies. Choose drops that are labeled sugar-free to reduce the risks associated with sugar and dental decay.

Do your teeth need a professional-level cleaning following an illness? Contact the office of Dr. Kenneth Schweizer DDS, PA, for more information. Contact our Sarasota FL Dentist for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Care Tips For Bonded Teeth

4 Crucial Care Tips for Bonded Teeth

Modern composite resins are truly a cut above the tooth-colored dental restoration materials available years ago, capable of flexing with your natural teeth and remaining intact for decades. Unfortunately, bonded teeth aren’t immune to damage, which is why you should remember these three crucial care tips for composite resin repairs.

Watch the Whitening

Your dental enamel contains thousands of microscopic pores that can absorb pigment, which is why most people experience some accumulative discoloration over time. Unfortunately, because the composite resins used by your dentist in Sarasota have a different molecular structure, they will not lighten like your natural teeth.

In fact, whitening your teeth when you have composite resin restorations may create a mottled appearance because your teeth may become lighter than the restorations. To avoid problems, always talk with your doctor before you start any kind of whitening routine, and only use toothpastes recommended by your dentist.

If you need dental bonding and teeth whitening, have your teeth whitened prior to having the composite resins added. That way, your dentist can opt for a composite the same color as your whitened teeth, and the repairs will blend in seamlessly.

Dentists can also recommend the proper whitening agent for your level of staining, helping you to avoid side effects like dental sensitivity and opaque tooth edges.

Be Gentle With Teeth

As you go about your day, you might encounter several different items that need to be opened, including bottles and packages. Unfortunately, if you use your teeth to twist open those bottles or rip into those bags, you could fracture your dental bonding.

People can also run into trouble with damaged dental bonding when they chew hard foods or rip off plastic retail tags with their teeth. Playing sports or living with a teeth grinding problem can also ruin composite resin restorations.

To protect your bonded teeth, be gentle with your smile. Only use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and focus on never biting into packages with your teeth. Avoid habits that could damage your smile, such as biting your nails or chewing on pens. If you suspect that you clench or grind your teeth when you sleep, talk with your dentist about protective mouth guards.

Although prevention is always easier than repairs, dental bonding is easy to restore if damage does happen. After carefully evaluating the damage and making sure the issue hasn’t caused deeper problems, your dentist can match composite resins with the natural shade of your teeth, add the proper amount of resin, and then shape and polish it until your teeth look perfect again.

Avoid Alcohol

After dental bonding is put in place, your dentist will cure it with a blue ultra-violet light to cure the compound. While it is true that this process creates incredibly hard and solid dental restorations, the molecular structure of composite resins can be disturbed by alcohol, which is why dentists recommend avoiding mouthwashes or drinks that contain alcohol.

If dental bonding is softened by continued exposure to alcohol, the bonding material may be more likely to sustain microscopic scratches or dents, which could damage the structural integrity of the repair. Additionally, alcohol can contribute to mouth dryness, leading to dental decay and bad breath.

When you purchase mouthwash, make sure it doesn’t contain alcohol. If you enjoy alcoholic beverages from time to time, use a straw and swish your mouth with water afterward to prevent contact between the beverage and your dental repair.

If your smile could use a few updates, stop by the office of Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA. In addition to helping families with a full range of preventive and restorative dentistry services, our experienced team of family dentists can also help with CEREC® same-day crowns and dental implants in Sarasota, FL.

How Dental Sealants Benefit Your Tooth Health

The American Dental Association reports that dental sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay in molars by almost 80%. So when it comes to dental health, individuals should consider dental sealants in addition to routine exams and cleanings. Usually, dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent cavities in children and teens’ teeth, but adults can also take advantage of this painless procedure.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants in Sarasota are applied in liquid form over both molars and pre-molars. Dental sealants are made up of thin, clear plastic, and once they harden, patients never even know they are there. All you will feel is the clean, smooth surface of your tooth.

Even though you can’t tell that the sealants are there, the special coating provides a barrier that stops food and bacteria from getting stuck in the crevices of teeth and causing cavities. Even with faithful brushing and flossing, it isn’t possible to clean out every nook and cranny, which is why dental sealants are still beneficial to those who follow the best oral hygiene practices.

When Is the Best Time to Get Sealants?

Children should get sealants as soon as their molars erupt, generally around the age of six and again around age 12. It is also a good idea to return to the dentist once your wisdom teeth arrive, as these teeth are especially hard to reach and clean properly.

Adults who’ve never had sealants can request them at any time, so long as the teeth in question do not already have cavities or fillings. Dental sealants typically last around 10 years, so have your Sarasota dentist keep an eye on your teeth to determine when a new set of sealants is needed.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Since the dental sealant procedure is painless, there is no need for novocaine or any type of anesthetic. The dentist or their hygienist will thoroughly clean the molars to prepare them for the sealants. Next, an acidic gel is applied to the teeth for a few minutes before being rinsed off. This gel will help the sealants bond to your teeth by roughing up the surface of each tooth. After the dentist dries your teeth, he or she will paint on the sealant and use a special blue light to harden the plastic surrounding your teeth. The entire procedure only takes a few minutes, so you won’t even have to hold your mouth open that long.

How Do I Care for the Sealants?

Once the sealants are properly placed, patients can eat and drink as they normally would immediately after leaving the dentist’s office. Of course, there are a few things patients can do to keep their sealants intact. Avoid any sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, caramels, Fruit Roll-Ups, and chewing gum. Patients will also benefit by staying away from hard-to-chew items, like ice chips, jawbreakers, peanut brittle, and other hard candies. Your dentist should also check your sealants for any chipping at your regular check-ups and replace them as needed.

Will My Insurance Cover Sealants?

Most insurances cover the cost of sealants for children. Adults, on the other hand, may have to pay out of pocket depending on the type of dental plan they carry. You’ll need to check with your provider before making an appointment with the dentist. If the procedure is not covered, you can expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $60 per tooth. If you’d like more information on dental sealants, contact us at the dental office of Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA. Our team is fluent in multiple languages and our office is designed to promote a relaxing atmosphere for your ultimate comfort.