Articles on teeth

Happy Teeth or Snappy Teeth: A List of Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Dr. Ragini Parmar, Dentist
The world is full of these incredible deliciously mouthwatering foods, don’t you agree? Some are good for your mouth and some are terrible for oral hygiene. Let’s have a closer look at what makes your teeth happy and what makes them snappy.GOOD FOODS!Foods good for your mouth help prevent tooth decay and work towards destroying plaque buildup.Dairy ProductsMilk and other dairy products contain calcium and phosphates. Consumption of dairy products makes teeth stronger. Cheese is a saliva maker as well, which is important because saliva helps reduce the effect of acids and harmful enzymes.Fruits and VegetablesFruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber are also good for the mouth. They get saliva flowing and act as a detergent in the mouth, cleaning out unwanted bacteria. They are the best home remedy for prevention of tooth decay and cavities.Sugarless Chewing GumGum is a saliva maker and helps remove leftover food particles in the mouth. The lack of sugar in the gum is simply an added advantage for prevention of cavities. Also the chewing action helps develop facial muscles. This creates a good jaw line and tones the face helping get rid of double chins. Lots of actors use this trick to enhance their facial features. However, one must practice caution as too much gum is not the healthiest option.TeaGreen tea and black tea contain polyphenols, which are an organic chemical and considered as micronutrients in our diet. These destroy plaque and bacteria, and hence are an asset in the mouth. However, watch the quantity, as too much tea could stain your teeth too.Fluoride FoodsAny kind of food with fluoride helps your teeth. Dehydrated soups, powdered juices, powdered cereals, commercially prepared poultry products and even sea food - all contain fluoride.BAD FOODS!Foods bad for the teeth are easy to spot as they encourage tooth decay and plaque buildup.Carbonated DrinksOther than the obvious high sugar content carbonated drinks contain phosphoric and citric acid both of which wear down tooth enamel.Dry Mouth FoodsAlcohol dries out the mouth which means there is less saliva and hence a weaker fight against bacteria. Some medicines dry the mouth too. A fluoride rinse for your mouth will help.StarchFoods that have high starch composition like tapioca,potato chips or soft breads are to be avoided as they get lodged between the tiny gaps in teeth and are hard to take out.SweetsWhen opting for sweets, go for those that don’t stick to your teeth and are easy to wash off. You can opt for cacao, which has proven to have some health benefits.Choosing the right kinds of food is important as it helps promote oral health. You should choose food that encourage production of saliva, as saliva keeps the teeth moist. So be careful what you eat, because everything you put in your mouth has numerous consequences. Each time you are up in the middle of the night and find yourself starving be mindful and choose the food that offers you a health benefit.

Q&A: Helping Children Who Grind Their Teeth

Dr. Ishwari Bhirud, Dentist
Q: My child, age 3, grinds his teeth at night. What can we do to prevent him from doing this? What is this doing to his teeth?A: Grinding teeth, or bruxism, is surprisingly common in children. Nearly one in three children does it at some point, nearly always during sleep.Nobody knows the cause. There are theories, including teeth not fitting together properly (malocclusion), a problem with the joint of the jaw (temporomandibular joint), anxiety or just habit. The cause may be different in different children.Luckily, children usually stop by themselves—and there is usually no damage to the teeth. If they grind hard enough for long enough it can wear down the teeth and increase the risk of infections, but this is uncommon.It’s important, for all sorts of reasons, that you take your child to the dentist regularly. The next time you do, mention your concerns about teeth grinding. If the dentist sees more than the average wear and tear, he or she may prescribe a mouth guard. It’s most likely, though, that nothing will need to be done.Because bruxism can be associated with stress, be on the lookout for any changes in your child's behavior—and think about whether anything in his life may be worrying or upsetting him (like a new school, new sibling, conflict between parents) and whether there is anything you can do about it. If your child has been having changes in his behavior, and if your efforts to help him aren't making a difference, talk to your pediatrician.

5 Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth

Dr. Shefali Gupta, Dentist
Teeth play an important role to look attractive and  in overall nutrition and general health. Teeth allow you to follow a healthy diet and stay well nourished by preparing the food you eat for swallowing and digestion.However loss of teeth can have several hidden consequences-ON GENERAL HEALTH-The nutrition of elderly people is of growing interest to many health professionals.Missing teeth results in limited food choices.  Thus, nutritional changes begin to cause medical problems and affect your general well being.Even after the loss of one tooth, the jaw bone irreversibly changes. Without chewing pressure to stimulate the bone it begins to dissolve away immediately after extraction and continues forever unless any prosthesis is placed.FACIAL COSMETIC PROBLEMS-The deterioration of the jaw bones affects the appearance of how the face “drapes”over the bone. Facial sagging makes you look older, which is due to shrinkage in the upper and lower jaw bones further it may  cause profound emotional effects on individual.TOOTH DRIFTING AND DESTRUCTION OT THE REMAINING TEETH-When all the teeth are present they support each other much like the bricks in a roman archway.When some teeth are missing, the opposite teeth have no “counter acting force” and will erupt upward into the mouth. When no back teeth are touching the stress is now placed on the front teeth, this ‘overloads’ them and forces them to move forward and outward. When back molars are missing the damage is even more serious.The back chewing teeth begin to erupt down into the empty spaces where the lower molar teeth are missing. The chewing forces have shifted to the front teeth and due to overloaded stress the front teeth begin to flare and fan apart creating spaces.The fanning and spaces get worse over a period of time. This ‘’fanning out’’ and ‘’opening of the front spaces’’ eventually leads to looseness and gum disease and the loss of the front teeth.Even a single missing teeth can lead to drift (this is just like taking a brick out of an arch way and seeing the arch collapse). That one missing tooth can set you up for a “domino effect” of losing teeth for the rest of your life. Gum disease due to the movement and misalignment of the teeth can cause more tooth loss and decay.HEADACHE FROM MISSING TEETH-Without the support of back chewing teeth, as the teeth randomly drift, unusual dental bites develop that cause excessive stress and damage to the joints (TMJ) that connect the two jaw bones with pain and headaches being a common side effect.CHANGES IN SPEECH-Speech is a very sophisticated autonomous, and unconscious activity.They are intimately related as the mouth, lower jaw, lips,teeth and tongue are used for both activities. Any alteration of these structures will inevitably mediate a disturbance in the system.NEED TO REPLACE LOST TEETH-Earlier we see the various consequence due to loss of teeth, it affects the patients in many aspects. So it is necessary to have artificial replacements for the natural teeth becausethe body cannot function properly if some of the important organ involved in speech, swallowing and mastication are lost. Common approaches to replacing a lost tooth are the dental implants, fixed partial dentures, removable partial dentures. The most appropriate for you will depend on a variety of factors that you should discuss with your dentist.

Wisdom teeth- The Problems & Their Solutions

Dr. Prasanth Pillai, Dentist
What are impacted wisdom teeth?Wisdom teeth are molar teeth, which are the last to erupt into the mouth, usually after the age of 15 years, or even much later. They are four in number – one each situated in the four corners of the mouth, behind the second molar teeth and have no clearly defined shape or form unlike the other permanent teeth. They are often called wisdom teeth as they erupt at an age when the person is in the transition phase from childhood to adulthood. The remaining 28 teeth normally erupt into the oral cavity by the age of 13 years.Wisdom teeth are considered impacted when they are unable to erupt into their normal functional positions, mainly due to lack of space for their eruption. Approximately 20% of the population has impacted wisdom teeth. Less than 5% of the population has sufficient room to accommodate the wisdom teeth. Of the other permanent teeth in normal individuals, very few are found impacted except the canines.What are the causes for impaction of wisdom teeth?It has been found that during the process of evolution, the jaws are progressively becoming smaller in size and the braincase is expanding at the expense of the jaws. This is said to occur because with the passage of time, man is increasingly using his brain whereas the use of the jaws for chewing has been progressively on the decline, as the diet we are having has become refined and soft. Hence the chewing efficiency of the jaws is not put to full use. Masticatory force (force exerted while chewing) has been found to be contributory to jaw growth. Soft diet thus adversely affects jaw growth. An underdeveloped jaw will not be able to accommodate all 32 teeth. This reduces the space for the wisdom teeth, which erupt last, to erupt into place. Evolutionary trends also point to a gradual reduction in the number of teeth, though this may occur only over a considerable period of time.Another important factor, which predisposes to development of impacted wisdom teeth, is heredity. It has been found that parents who have impacted wisdom teeth are likely to pass on the trait to children. However, this may only be a very small part of the evolutionary design.Certain disease conditions such as rickets, endocrine dysfunction, anemia, achondroplasia, cleidocranial dysostosis, Treacher Collins syndrome etc. have also found to be associated with impacted teeth. Here, impactions of teeth other than that of the wisdom teeth are also found frequently.What are the problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth?Infection is the most common problem encountered associated with impacted teeth. It may range from a localized gum infection to acute, extensive, life-threatening infections involving the head and neck. Localized gum infections tend to recur intermittently when complete eruption of the tooth is not possible. Recurrent infections (which may be subacute and not painful for the patient) will frequently lead to gum disease and decay on adjacent teeth, which can ultimately result in the loss of these teeth in addition to the wisdom teeth.Sometimes wisdom teeth erupt in abnormal positions and angulations making them non-functional, as they are unable to contact their corresponding opposing wisdom teeth. In such situations, frequent cheek biting or tongue biting can result from the abnormal positioning causing injuries to the cheeks and tongue while chewing. Besides this, the unsupported upper wisdom tooth also starts over-erupting, lengthening out from the supporting gums, thereby leading to food trapping, decay and gum infections in the region.There are situations when the wisdom teeth do not erupt at all into the mouth. They lie buried within the gum tissue or bone. Often, patients do not experience problems in such situations. There are also instances where wisdom teeth are totally absent in certain individuals.What can happen if impacted wisdom teeth are not treated?Serious problems can develop from partially blocked teeth such as infection, which may turn life threatening and possible crowding of, and damage to adjacent teeth and bone. Another serious complication can develop when the sac that surrounds the impacted tooth fills with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst causing an enlargement that hollows out the jaw and results in permanent damage to the adjacent teeth, jawbone and nerves. Left untreated, a tumor may develop from the walls of these cysts and a more complicated surgical procedure would be required for removal.Rare instances have been found when the impacted wisdom teeth remain asymptomatic without causing any problems. However, no prediction can be made as to when an impacted molar will cause trouble, but trouble will probably arise, and that too at inconvenient times. When it does, the circumstances can be much more painful and the teeth can be more complicated to treat. Here, the tooth cannot be removed until the infection or other complications have been treated. This means loss of more time and added expense along with some added risk. It's best to have impacted teeth removed before trouble begins.How are impacted wisdom teeth treated?X-rays of the wisdom teeth are made to help assess the positions, shapes and sizes of the crowns and roots, the surrounding bone and the nerve, which usually runs below the roots of the teeth. X-rays also help in identification of associated disease conditions such as cysts and tumors in relation to the teeth, apart from aiding in planning of the surgical procedure.In certain cases of impacted teeth, where there seems to be adequate space available for eruption, the dental surgeon may advise a pericoronal flap excision (removal of the gum tissue overlying the impacted tooth) and observation. In such cases, the tooth may erupt into place after the procedure. However, in many cases, infection of the overlying gum tissue has been found to recur. Here, there is no other choice other than the removal of the offending wisdom tooth.In light of the clinical experience that most impacted teeth will ultimately give rise to some type of problem or disease, it is generally felt that preventive removal of impacted third molars is indicated. Because complications are significantly reduced when the impacted tooth has no associated disease conditions, and because difficulty of removal increases with age, it is recommended that impacted teeth be removed early. It is best done as soon as it becomes apparent that there is insufficient space or that they are not positioned for normal eruption. Generally, this will occur somewhere between the ages of 16-18. At this age, the roots of the developing tooth are usually between one half to two thirds formed and the bone is less dense, which makes their removal easier and the post-operative recovery smoother. A young patient usually is also in optimal general health, which facilitates safe anesthesia and rapid, complete healing. In older patients, removal before complications develop is key to shorter recovery and shorter healing time, besides minimizing discomfort after surgery.Before the removal of the impacted wisdom tooth, the patient is normally put on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to eliminate existing infection and inflammation in the area. The removal of an impacted tooth is normally a minor surgical operation, lasting 10 - 45 minutes. It often requires incision of the gum, cutting the tooth and probably some removal of bone too. The oral surgeon may provide anesthesia options of local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia to make the procedure more relaxing for the patient. The surgical wound is often sutured with silk (non-absorbable) or with absorbable suture materials. Some surgeons advise extraction of the corresponding upper wisdom teeth also during the same sitting.When taken up under local anesthesia (LA), removal of impacted teeth is done on one side at a time. This allows a patient to chew on the other side, facilitates faster healing and recovery. In certain situations, impacted wisdom teeth on both sides are removed under general anesthesia (GA) as a single procedure. If the impacted teeth are very deeply situated, or if they have abnormal shapes and forms making the procedure difficult to undertake, GA may again be required for surgical removal. If the surgical procedure is found to be complex, then the dental surgeon may refer the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who is trained in surgical treatment of such problems.After the surgery, the patient is asked to continue the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs which should be meticulously taken by the patient without break in order to facilitate better wound healing without complications. The patient is given pressure packs to bite on over the surgical area and ice packs to be placed over the jaw, immediate post-operatively. The patient is advised to rinse the mouth with ice-cold water about half an hour after the procedure, after the gauze/cotton pressure dressings in the area are removed. After 12 hours have elapsed, the patient may start having warm foodstuffs. However, it would be ideal if the patient has semi-solid or liquid food (yogurt, eggs, fruit juice, milkshakes, protein supplements etc.) for about a day or two after the surgery, after which he/she may have normal food, without disturbing the surgical area. The patient should also abstain from smoking and drinking during the post-surgical phase, to facilitate better healing and to avoid complications. The patient may also rinse the mouth with luke-warm saline twice or thrice a day after the 24-hour period.

The 5 Subconscious Habits You’re Doing That Damage Your Teeth

Dr. Komal Shiroya, Dentist
We all have times when we're running on autopilot, and we're pulled in a million different directions. At these times, you might not even realize the wear & tear you're doing to your teeth. Beware of these 5 habits you probably do subconsciously that could wind you up at the dentist's office. 1. Crunching on iceThis one is a tough habit to break because most people either never eat ice or eat ice all of the time. Your teeth are designed to crush THROUGH things, not AGAINST them, so the hardness of ice cubes can cause serious damage to your teeth. One dentist reminds use that even "your blender needs special blades to crush ice."2. Using your teeth as toolsWe've all done it. Don't see the tool you need laying close by hand? Plan B: Use your teeth – whether it's breaking off a clothing tag, opening a bag of chips, or unscrewing that impossible soda top. But remember, your teeth are meant for 3 things: to chew food, to speak properly, and to look better when smiling. If you're not using your teeth for any of those 3 things, don't use them at all. 3. Absent mindedly chewing on whatever you have in your handYou might not even realize how often you do this. (You might not even realize you're doing it right now!) Some people have a habit of holding whatever object they have in their hand – pens, pencils, eyeglasses, etc. – between their teeth when they're concentrating. Again, your teeth are designed to crush through things, so even though it might not seem like a big deal, you're most likely putting more pressure on your teeth than you even realize. 4. Sipping on sodaWe all know soda is bad for us — too much sugar, too many calories, leads to serious health conditions (really, is there anything good about soda?) — but sipping on soda over a long period of time can be detrimental to your teeth.  By casually drinking a soda at your desk, you're literally washing your teeth in acid for an hour.  In the long term, this leads to decay and loss of enamel.5. Excessive snackingIt's true that snacking throughout the day kickstarts your metabolism, but it also raises the acidity level in your mouth for a prolonged period of time. When you snack, it takes your saliva about an hour to return the acidity level in your mouth back to normal, but if you're snacking every hour or every two hours, the acidity level will be high many times throughout the day, which causes decay and enamel erosion. 

All About Teeth and Oil Pulling

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
For the record, a regular oil-pulling routine should not replace routine dental visits and traditional at-home oral care. Oil pulling does not reverse the effects of tooth decay, and it’s important that patients are made fully aware of that. That being said, I do believe that it is a great supplemental therapy. The phrase “oil pulling” comes from the process of the oil being “worked” in the mouth by pulling, pushing, and sucking it.Here’s how to do it:Put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15-20 minutes.Spit out the oil, then brush your teeth.If you use coconut oil , then you may have to chew on the oil for a minute or so to let it melt, because it is solid at room temperature.It is best to do this on an empty stomach, before you brush your teeth. I prefer to do it while I take a shower in the morning.TOP  BENEFITS of oil pulling: WHITENS TEETHThere is no need for chemical teeth whitening strips when oil pulling works just as well! The oil possesses natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that brighten and cleans teeth, keeping them pearly white. Try it for two weeks and you will see difference.Oil pulling is highly effective at reducing tooth cavities and at eradicating bad breath. Removing the Streptococcus mutant bacteria (an important player in tooth decay) as well as other microorganisms, oil pulling is great for oral health. It also helps with plaque-induced gingivitis.Kills bad breathHeals bleeding gumsPrevents heart diseaseReduces inflammationSoothes throat drynessPrevents cavitiesHeals cracked lipsBoosts Immune SystemImproves acneStrengthens gums and jawWHY ONLY COCONUT OILBecause coconut oil has been shown to:Balance HormonesKill CandidaImprove DigestionMoisturize SkinReduce CelluliteDecrease Wrinkles and Age SpotsBalance Blood Sugar and Improve EnergyImprove Alzheimer’sIncrease HDL and Lower LDL CholesterolBurn FatBecause it is highly absorbable, you can experience many of these benefits simply by oil pulling!** “Oil pulling will not and cannot loosen properly placed crowns or fillings. "** Within one week, most people notice a cleaner mouth and change in their breath. Within a month, some people have experienced dental repair or healthier gums.** Because you spit out the toxins that are “pulled” out when swishing, there should not be any harm in oil pulling while pregnant. In fact, it can be a soothing way to clean your teeth if you experience any gum sensitivity.2. PROMOTES ORAL HYGIENE

10 Habits That Harm Your Teeth!

Dr. Ami Sukhija, Dentist
Are you damaging your teeth without knowing it?? While some of these habits can do immediate damage to your teeth, some may add up over time and cause greater harm. Find out what these are and put these bad habits to rest.Thumb-Sucking: Children between 5-6 yrs of age , who suck on their fingers or thumbs after their permanent teeth start coming can cause changes in their teeth alignment or jaw structure permanently. Its important to wean these children off their habit.Get a control on those ACIDS: People who drink a lot of acidic beverages or suck on lemons often can experience erosion of their enamel slowly which may lead to sensitivity and other dental problems. Brushing Too Hard: Brushing is part of good oral hygiene, however if you brush vigorously you can cause wear of enamel , irritate your gums, make your teeth sensitive or cause cavities. Normal pressure while brushing is advisable and a proper technique if adopted can give you perfect results.Jaw Clenching/ Teeth Grinding: For some people, stress triggers clenching of jaw or teeth grinding. Micro-fractures can result due to this and weaken you teeth or damage any dental work done in your mouth. If it happens more during the night , one can get a night-guard made to break off the habit.Crunching on ICE: Ice cubes may seem harmless but the cold temperature and the hardness can cause serious damages. Remember even your blender needs special blades to crush ice... Don't test your teeth with them Teeth are not TOOLS: Don't use them for ripping off tags from clothing / opening packets  or opening bottle caps they can unknowingly cause damage to your teeth .  Don't park your pencil between teeth: Holding you pen/ pencil / bobby pins etc. between your front teeth often can cause notches on your teeth's edges over a period of time .Biting on nails:  Regular biting of nails on your teeth not only harms your nails and skin but can cause damages on the edges of your teeth too. Using toothpicks: When used carefully, they can help, if used aggressively they cause damage to gum tissues. Switch to flossing of your teeth on a regular basis for better oral hygiene.Smoking: Tobacco in any form ( chewable/cigarettes ) can cause temporary to permanent damage to your teeth , gum tissues and overall oral and general health . Quitting is the best choice one can consider A strict control over these habits can help you prolong your teeth's life and health. Start TODAY!

"Diabetes" and Dental Care / Gums & Teeth

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
How can diabetes hurt my teeth and gums?Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs also called plaque builds up on your teeth. High blood glucose helps germs (bacteria) grow. Then you can get red, sore and swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high. High blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse. You can even lose your teeth.Smoking makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are age 45 or older.Red, sore and bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. This can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infection in the gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the infection gets worse, your gums may pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look long.Call your dentist if you think you have problems with your teeth or gums.What to do to stay healthy with diabetes ?Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have worked out. Eat your meals and snacks at around the same times each day.Be active a total of 30 minutes most days. Ask your doctor what activities are best for you.Take your diabetes medicine at the same times each day.Check your blood glucose every day. Each time you check your blood glucose, write the number in your record book. Call your doctor if your numbers are too high or too low for 2 to 3 days.Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness or sore toenails.Brush and floss your teeth and gums every day.Don't smoke.