Teeth are more fascinating than we give them credit for. It’s easy to lose sight of how magnificent the human body is when we’re always focused on keeping it in tip-top shape or peak operating condition. Rather than get bummed out about the problems our bodies give us, let’s revel in the glorious things they can do — and simply are. The human mouth is a unique, wild and wonderful space with some fascinating and gross things going on that are worth knowing, if only so you can win your local coffee shop trivia night.
Nothing that gives you joy during tough times is frivolous. With the status of your next dental appointment unknown or up in the air due to global health events, it’s only natural to focus on the state of your smile — it’s a major point of pride, and keeping it looking gleaming and sparkling is a priority for many. While the only safe teeth-whitening treatment is one provided by your dentist, there are some ways you can preserve and prolong the effects at home — and some DIY home remedies you should definitely steer clear of.
If you can’t stand the thought of eating ice cream or your morning cup of coffee makes you cringe until it’s lukewarm, you may have sensitive teeth. Acidic foods, like your favorite orange or spaghetti with tomato sauce, can also cause you pain at the mere thought of eating them, and you might be so sensitive that you wish you could skip brushing, flossing or rinsing with mouthwash altogether. Sensitive teeth are teeth that hurt — and while some people have naturally sensitive teeth, others may notice a sudden onset of sensitivity caused by other problems.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
If you hit the genetic lottery, you may just have naturally thinner enamel covering your teeth than other people. Enamel is the hard outer shell of your teeth that keeps the soft, sensitive dentin and pulp shielded from external stimuli.
Other times, you might experience sensitivity as a result of an underlying disease or condition. For example, GERD (gastro-esophagel reflux disease), gastroparesis or hyperemesis gravida can wear down enamel through excessive exposure to acid. Closer to the root of the pain, cavities, gingivitis or broken or lost fillings and crowns can also contribute to tooth sensitivity.
Habits like eating or drinking acidic foods too often, brushing your teeth overly enthusiastically or grinding your teeth at night can also add to pain throughout the day. If you’ve recently gotten dental work done — from intensive care like a filling to cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening — you may also experience a temporary increase in sensitivity to your teeth.
What Can I Do About Sensitive Teeth?
Caring for sensitive teeth starts with a good home care routine. Choose a soft toothbrush and ease up on your grip — you don’t need to scrub hard to ensure your teeth are clean and free from bacteria. Alcohol-free mouthwashes and rinses can help, as can those that provide extra fluoride.
Toothpastes made for sensitive teeth can provide some relief. These toothpastes are free from irritating ingredients and may have extra fluoride to help build up your enamel. Some sensitive toothpastes may also include ingredients that help numb the root of your teeth to provide relief from mild pain and irritation. Steer clear of whitening toothpastes, which can weaken enamel, as well as DIY or at-home whitening treatments. Skip gimmicky, charcoal-based toothpastes that can cause mechanical damage by abrading the surface of your teeth, which may be irreversible.
If you’re experiencing sensitivity that’s more than just an irritating sensation — pain or discomfort severe enough that it interferes with your life — it’s time to book an appointment with your dentist.
How Does My Dentist Treat Sensitive Teeth?
Your dentist will start by giving your teeth a cleaning and thorough exam to try to determine the underlying cause of your sensitive teeth. If your discomfort is due to thin enamel, you may be given a prescription for fluoride mouth rinse to help build up your teeth’s defenses. Your dentist may also apply fluoride via a custom-fit tray or directly to your teeth, and will likely advise you to skip whitening treatments or ingredients that promote tooth whitening.
For sensitivity caused by gum recession, cavities or other major issues, your dentist will form a treatment plan to help alleviate your discomfort. For example, gum recession due to periodontal disease may require a more advanced cleaning to restore gum health and allow your gums to grow back over the parts of your teeth that aren’t normally exposed and are therefore more sensitive. Sensitivity due to cavities can be remedied by a filling. For extreme pain or discomfort, you may need a root canal to remove the damaged nerve.
How We Can Help
The office of Drs. Krieger and Hur is currently closed to protect the health of our staff and patients and cannot take phone calls or requests for appointments at this time. We can, however, answer any questions or concerns sent via email, which you can do by clicking here. We hope to open again soon and can help address concerns about mild to moderate tooth sensitivity at that time.
Adding a member to your family is an exciting time. With so many appointments to ensure the health of mother and baby, it’s easy to forget that your teeth, gums and tongue play an important part in your overall health and wellness. Routine dental care while pregnant doesn’t just ensure you have a sparkling smile to match your new glow — it can also potentially prevent complications late in pregnancy and during birth and head off problems with your oral health after your bundle of joy enters the world.
It can be easy to lose sight of when your family’s dental health needs attending to. Between busy days managing a household, work activities and keeping kids on task, the last thing on anyone’s mind is when they should schedule a cleaning. Setting up a dental health schedule for your family can save you the headache of trying to keep track of it all. Whether you plot it out in your bullet journal, set a reminder on your phone’s calendar or have a list written out, a schedule of what needs to happen when to ensure your family’s teeth stay healthy is useful.
For adults, it’s fairly easy to remember to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once, but keeping kids on track with daily oral care can become daunting. The goal is to get to the point where it’s second nature and requires no prompting.
Some parents find a sticker chart to be helpful in getting their kids trained to remember these important tasks. Every time your young child brushes and flosses, add a sticker to their card. After a predetermined number of stickers, kids earn a reward — either something to make brushing and flossing more fun or something they’ve really been wishing for.
Make a habit to get the entire family brushing their teeth for two minutes at a time upon waking up and just before going to bed to keep plaque, biofilm and bacteria at bay.
It’s not a bad idea to take stock of how your mouth is feeling at least once a week. You can do this during your normal brushing time. Take note of any problems or issues you might be experiencing. For example, has your breath been a little more aromatic in the past week? Have you noticed new staining or sensitivities?
A weekly check-in with yourself can help you keep track of any emerging problems and ensure you get timely care for any issues that may arise. Check in with your kids and spouse weekly, too. This is also a good time to discuss any concerns and keep an ongoing dialogue open about oral health and wellness.
While oral cancer can strike anywhere, certain habits put you in a higher risk category. For example, if you haven’t been able to quit smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco, it’s a good idea to perform a self-check for early signs of oral cancer at least monthly. Take a good look into your mouth for any changes in color, cuts or lesions, swellings or growths. If you see anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have it checked out.
Go toothbrush shopping at least once every three to four months — sooner if your brush’s bristles start to fray or you experience an illness involving your ear, nose or throat. You can check this one off your list by buying brushes or electronic toothbrush heads in bulk for the year all at once or signing up for a subscription box or service that keeps toothbrushes automatically delivered to your home.
Schedule a cleaning and checkup with your dentist’s office once every six months. Some dental offices allow you to schedule an entire year’s at once, while others use scheduling software that only allows you to book an appointment a certain number of months in advance. Go ahead and plan out your family’s dental appointments or when you need to call in and make them in your own schedule, planner or calendar software to have an easy reminder.
How We Can Help
The office of Drs. Krieger and Hur is currently closed due to ongoing concern for the health and safety of our patients and staff, but we look forward to the day when we can see you in our office again. While we aren’t currently available by phone to take requests for appointments, you can reach us via email with questions or requests for appointments looking into the future by clicking here.
Choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste can quickly become an overwhelming task when confronted with all the options on the market available today. Separating facts from marketing claims and gimmicks from solid solutions to your individual problems can also be daunting. While your dentist is the best source of guidance when it comes to choosing daily home care items, there are some simple guidelines to stick to when choosing your dental health and hygiene necessities.
Self-care isn’t always lighting a candle and drawing a hot bath while brewing your favorite cup of tea. Self-care is sometimes choosing to actively and mindfully focus on improving part of your health, and one of the simplest ways to be more proactive is remedying commonly overlooked minor dental or oral health issues. While you may not be able to get into your dentist’s office, you can make plenty of self-care power moves for a fresher, cleaner, healthier smile at home.
Brushing and flossing are only two of the ways you can take care of your oral health at home. During times when you can’t get into the dentist’s office, your dentist and staff are relying on you to perform fastidious home care and make the best choices for your oral health. An often overlooked component of maintaining your smile between dentist visits is choosing the best foods to keep your teeth, tongue and gums looking and feeling their best. These five foods can deliver some added benefits beyond tasting great and being part of a balanced, healthy diet.
It’s undeniable that stress is bad. From sleepless nights spent worrying about your job, your loved ones and world events, it can be hard to escape daily anxieties that we all face. Plenty of research has been done on the effects of stress on systemic health, but we rarely talk about the impact worry can have on your dental and oral health — and it’s a doozy.
Stress and Your Gums
Healthy gums are vital to a healthy mouth — they hold our teeth in place and form a sort of soft armor around the deeper parts of dental tissue. They prevent potentially harmful oral bacteria from entering our bloodstream, as well.
When you’re stressed out, your body amps up the production of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is aptly referred to as the “stress hormone.” Responsible for putting our bodies into fight-or-flight mode when faced with a serious threat, cortisol also has smaller, less noticeable effects in our daily lives even when we’re not in a life-or-death situation.
At proper levels, cortisol can help regulate everything from immune function to digestion, but when things get out of whack because of stress, cortisol signals the body to go haywire.
Improper cortisol levels can lead to increased inflammation, which can in turn affect sensitive gums and contribute to a worsening of gum disease or its more severe cousin, periodontal disease.
Stress and Your Teeth
Grinding, gnashing and clenching your jaw may be par for the course when you’re stressed, but these actions are actually hurting your teeth — you may be grinding them down to actual nubs. For many people feeling a little stressed out, it’s enough to focus on consciously relaxing and untightening your jaw. But not everyone’s anxiety is easily solved.
Some people respond to stress by grinding their teeth at night, a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is sometimes treated with prescription medication, but the most effective nonpharmaceutical option is a mouthguard. Your dentist can help advise the proper course of treatment for your nocturnal teeth grinding and get you hooked up with a custom-fitted mouthguard to stop the damage.
Steps You Can Take to Tackle Stress
Stress management requires a holistic approach. And because no one knows what’s going on in your life better than you, the approach you take needs to be tailored to your unique needs and situation.
Talk to your doctor or other health care professional for ways to manage stress, worry and anxiety in your day-to-day life, as well as look for ways to stem its effects on your overall health. You may, for example, find therapy and medication useful. Or you may embark on a de-stressing routine of utilizing yoga or meditation. No one solution is right for everybody, and you may find a combination of strategies is the best for you.
When it comes to stress’s effect on your teeth, your dentist is your go-to for ways to mitigate damage. Depending on the problems stress is causing for your teeth, tongue and gums, different treatments may be recommended. Keeping your mouth in good condition by practicing good home care — brushing, flossing and rinsing as recommended — is an excellent baseline. Some people find the time spent brushing is an excellent time to take deep breaths and focus on calming themselves before facing the day ahead or winding down for bed — something that may quell anxiety and stress.
How We Can Help
At the office of Drs. Krieger and Hur, we recognize that booking a trip to the dentist can be stressful in and of itself. We take every care to make your visit as pain-free as possible. If you’re nervous, just let our staff know when you book your appointment and we’ll work with you to ease your fears as you come in for an exam to determine what to do about stress’s effects on your oral health.
Whether you need a custom mouthguard to stop damage from grinding your teeth at night or some extra care for gums that are going through it because of increased inflammation, we can help. The first step to seeing what we can do is booking an appointment for a regular exam to help us get an idea of what we’re working with — and give you a chance to tell us what’s going on.
You can reach out to our office and book an appointment by calling us at (201) 560-0606. You can also book your spot via email by clicking here — someone will get back to you about your appointment. Again, if visiting the dentist is a source of stress, say something! We won’t judge, and we’ll do all we can to accomodate your needs.
There’s an obscure, fun holiday for nearly every occasion, and celebrating your favorite dental professionals is no exception. Two holidays that give you an excuse to say “thank you” to the people behind your stellar smile exist in the month of March: National Dentist’s Day and Dental Assistants Recognition Week.