As summer approaches, thoughts automatically shift to carefree days spent at the beach or enjoying a summer barbeque. Along with many of our summer activities comes food – most of it sweet, sticky and delicious. From ice cream cones licked sauntering down the boardwalk to s’mores enjoyed by a summer fire, and from sticky-sweet salt-water taffy, a beach going favorite, to cotton candy, a must at any amusement park or carnival, many of our summer favorites can wreak havoc on our teeth. In addition to all of these seasonal treats comes the fact that summer is a time when we tend to drink more, and unless our drink of choice is water, the sugars in sodas, juices and sports drinks can harm our overall oral health.
So, how do we go about maintaining a healthy summer smile without having to give up many of our favorite activities and foods? The key to optimal oral health is in how we care for our teeth and gums, despite what types of foods and drinks go into our mouths. Of course, visiting the dentist for our routine cleaning appointment is also important, if it’s time for a regular visit. But aside from that, here are a few tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy this summer…
Brush, brush, brush! – We always recommend that people brush their teeth at least twice a day – once upon waking and once before bedtime, to keep their teeth free from harmful bacteria that can cause decay. It’s also a good idea to brush after meals and snacks, especially when what you’re eating is sticky or sweet. Of course, we know proper tooth brushing is hard to do if you’re at the beach and you’ve just downed some delicious taffy or ice cream, but if you can’t brush your teeth, at least give your mouth a few swishes of water to try to get rid of anything that’s stuck to your teeth.
Don’t forget to floss! – It’s always important to floss, but when what you’re eating is likely to get stuck between your teeth – like ribs and corn on the cob at a weekend barbeque – it’s especially important to get rid of any food particles that are stuck between teeth. And even if you don’t have access to brushing your teeth after meals and snacks, it’s easy to carry along some dental floss with you so you can at least clean between your teeth after eating.
Whoa! Take it easy! – This tip doesn’t mean you should relax when it comes to oral hygiene, rather it means that you should try to limit how often you eat. We know you’re probably not going to avoid the delicious foods associated with summer altogether, but try to limit how often you eat them, and even how often you eat anything. So rather than snacking all day long while out at a street fair, try to limit the number of times you pop something into your mouth, even if you’re not going to limit how much you consume.
Water is your friend! – Not only is water the best way to hydrate on a hot summer day, it’s also a friend to your teeth. Drinking water instead of sugary drinks (yes, even sports drinks have loads of sugar!) is better for your teeth because it does not provide a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. Water is also your friend when you can’t manage to brush. Just a few sips of water swished around your mouth can help rid your teeth of some of the particles that eating leaves behind.
Of course, summer is an extremely important time to keep to your regularly schedule preventative maintenance dental appointments, so be sure to take time out from all the fun and relaxation to take good care of your teeth and gums. That’s sure to keep you smiling all summer long!
For more information about keeping your teeth healthy this summer, or to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Queens for a routine dental appointment, contact Park Dental Care at 718-274-1515.
Halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, is an embarrassing condition, and one that people generally want to avoid at all costs. The good news, however, is that there are a number of things you can do to avoid getting bad breath, and many of the things you should do to avoid the condition are things you should be doing any way in order to maintain good oral health.
Halitosis is typically caused by bacteria that are allowed to sit in your mouth and multiply. One of the best ways to prevent this is to maintain a proper regimen of daily brushing and flossing. It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and preferably you should brush after meals as well. When brushing, you should pay attention to how long you brush, since many people don’t brush long enough to most effectively clean their mouths. Most dentists recommend you brush teeth for about 2 – 3 minutes each time, and many people choose to sing a song in their heads to approximate the time. Songs like “happy birthday” or another favorite song are popular choices.
When brushing, it’s important to make sure you hit the teeth at all angles, especially in the back and along the gumline. You should also gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria. There are tongue brushers or scrapers that can be used for this purpose, or you can use your toothbrush.
Flossing is a key component to halting halitosis, since particles that get stuck between teeth can be among the biggest breeding grounds for smelly bacteria in the mouth, which inevitably lead to bad breath. So, make sure you floss at least once a day – and whenever you feel like you have something “stuck” between teeth.
Visiting your dentist for routine cleaning appointments is also key to combating the effects of bad breath. Your dentist or dental hygienist is able to clean your teeth and gums more thoroughly than you can at home and can also recognize if there is any tooth decay in your mouth. Tooth decay can lead to increased bad breath, since the same bacteria that cause tooth decay are also culprits in the development of halitosis. It’s also important to discuss your bad breath with your dentist at these visits, since they can provide you with additional recommendations if what you’re doing is not working. Additionally, bad breath can sometimes be an indication of other medical problems, so it’s important to rule out anything more serious than an overabundance of smelly bacteria in your mouth if the problem persists.
Other things you can do to prevent bad breath include avoiding foods and drinks that are known to lead to bad breath. This can include foods like onions and garlic, certain spices, and drinks like coffee, as an example. If you smoke, quitting can go a long way towards improving the smell of your breath, as well as providing many other health benefits. As far as food goes, eating parsley or mint can help improve the smell of your breath, although these will not eliminate the problem and will only provide a temporary solution.
Bad breath can also be caused by a dry mouth, so if you think this is the cause, make sure to keep your mouth well hydrated by periodically drinking water (not sugary drinks which allow bacteria to proliferate) or chewing sugar-free gum, which can increase the production of saliva.
Halitosis can usually be improved with proper oral hygiene and avoidance of food, drinks and habits that can make the breath smelly, but if despite your best efforts, your bad breath doesn’t improve, it’s important to see a dentist or doctor to rule out more serious medical conditions that can cause your breath to smell bad.
For more information about how to combat halitosis, or to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Queens to find out what is causing your bad breath, contact Park Dental Care at 718-274-1515.
If you have orthodontia, whether metal braces or Invisalign, you probably already know the importance of good oral hygiene. This is especially important as the temperature heats up, because during spring and summer months, we tend to eat more sugary, sticky food, as well as the types of food that can potentially cause damage to our braces. So, if you are a wearer of braces or Invisalign, it’s important to follow a few extra precautions when the longer, warmer days of the year also come with the temptation to eat foods we wouldn’t normally eat.
For those who have metal braces, it’s especially important to avoid sticky foods that can get stuck in braces and can also get trapped between brace components and the teeth. Foods like taffy, sticky candy, caramel or jelly apples, and other summer favorites can wreak havoc on brace-wearers. Spring and summer are not the time to slack off on avoiding foods that your orthodontist or dentist told you not to eat, because there is just as good a chance that you will cause damage to your braces or teeth now as you can during the rest of the year. Sure, the temptation is greater to eat these types of foods during this time of the year, but you have to stay strong and remind yourself how great your teeth will look when your braces come off.
If you wear Invisalign braces, you can of course take off the plastic aligners when you eat something sticky or sweet (you take them off anyway, no matter what you eat), but one thing you need to be especially vigilant about is cleaning teeth thoroughly after eating these types of foods. If you don’t properly clean teeth after eating, before putting your aligners back in place, you run the risk of having bacteria sit on your teeth, trapped by the aligners, where the bacteria can multiply and result in harmful decay.
Another food culprit that gets harder to avoid during warmer months, but that you still need to be careful of, is hard foods that you bite into. Foods like ribs, corn on the cob, candy apples and popcorn can result in broken braces, and nothing can ruin a fun-filled summer day like a broken wire jabbing into your gums or cheek. In addition to causing discomfort, eating foods that cause your braces to break require additional visits to the orthodontist, and this can increase the cost of braces, not to mention the extra time you need to spend making an appointment to have your braces fixed.
Whether you wear metal braces or Invisalign clear aligners, oral hygiene is as important as ever as you consume more sugary drinks and foods that can cause tooth decay. Be sure to stick to a regular brushing and flossing routine each day, and whenever possible, try to brush and/or floss after eating especially sweet or sticky foods. If you can’t manage to do this, the next best thing to do is to take a few sips of water and swoosh it around your mouth to help dislodge some of the food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and braces.
For more information about keeping your teeth and braces in good shape this spring and summer, or to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist in Queens, contact Park Dental Care at 718-274-1515.
Have you recently developed pain in facial areas such as your jaw, neck and shoulders? If so, there’s a chance that you may have developed TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder. TMJ disorder can occur and progress due to a number of different factors. TMJ is fairly common and most often can be a temporary condition. For more information about TMJ disorder in the greater New York City area, contact Park Dental Care of Astoria.
There are many different symptoms of TMJ disorder. Some of these include: blinking, difficulty biting or chewing, an unnatural “popping” sound when opening or closing the mouth, aching pain in the oral region, earaches, headaches, migraines, tenderness of the jaw, hearing loss, dizziness, and neck or shoulder pain. Sometimes patients will experience an uneven or uncomfortable bite and difficulty opening and closing their mouth. As you can see, the signs for TMJ are extremely varied and diverse. If you are experiencing difficulty moving your jaw, or have persistent pain and tenderness in the target TMJ areas, it is advisable that you seek dental assistance to determine if your discomfort is being caused by TMJ disorder.
The cause of TMJ disorder is obscure, to say the least. Often, doctors do not know why a patient develops TMJ. One common explanation is injury to the jaw or surrounding area. This, for obvious reasons, would cause many of the symptoms of TMJ and spark its development. Another source is grinding or clenching of the teeth. This would put unnecessary stress on the temporomandibular joints, creating pain and making contraction of the condition easier. Finally, arthritis is also often considered a source of TMJ.
Diagnosing TMJ disorder is a difficult and confusing process. There are so many possible causes and symptoms of TMJ that identifying a standard diagnosis for this disorder is hard to do. Generally, when determining whether a patient has TMJ, doctors will note the patient’s symptoms and take them into consideration, look over their medical history, and double check their “problem” areas: face, jaw, neck, shoulders and head. If needed, x-rays and imaging studies will be taken. Often, simply facial tenderness or aching symptoms may be a result of other conditions, such as sinus or ear infections and facial neuralgias. Therefore, ruling out these possibilities will help to identify whether or not a patient has TMJ.
Because TMJ is often temporary, treatment is sometimes simple and minimal. Doctors will usually tell TMJ patients to eat soft foods, apply ice packs, and avoid excessive jaw movements, such as yawning or singing. Sometimes patients will be taught gentle jaw exercises to ease the ache and relax the muscles. Additionally, over-the counter pain medication (such as ibuprofen) is recommended to ease pain. Finally, if the doctor sees fit, stabilization from a splint or bite guard may be suggested.
TMJ disorder is painful and gets in the way of many normal, everyday functions. If you are experiencing any of the TMJ symptoms mentioned above, seriously consider consulting a dentist. They can analyze your symptoms, diagnose your condition and rid you of those unnatural and uncomfortable bothers.
If you have dental problems that necessitate that you have a single false tooth or set of teeth placed into your mouth, one option you may be considering is a dental implant. This dental technique has grown in popularity in recent years due to the fact that dental implants provide “the next best thing” to a natural tooth, since the crown, bridge or denture that is attached to the implant can remain in place securely and permanently, just like a real tooth.
The first thing you need to know about dental implants is that they offer you a more permanent solution in comparison to certain other types of dental procedures. Dental implants consist of a permanent post (made of titanium) that is anchored directly into the bone of the jaw and that juts out from the gums to serve as a base for anchoring individual crowns, dental bridges or dentures. Once in place, they look and feel as natural as a person’s real teeth and can restore full oral functioning to a person’s mouth. Aesthetically, it is hard to tell the difference between a tooth anchored in place by a dental implant, as opposed to a real tooth.
Although implants may provide the most optimal solution for replacing lost teeth due to decay, disease, extraction or injury, you should know up front that dental implant procedures are generally more expensive initially than other types of cosmetic dental procedures. One thing to note, however, is that since the procedure provides a permanent solution for replacing lost teeth, in the long term it can be an economical solution.
Most people don’t choose to get dental implants because of the economics of the procedure (although they may choose not to go through with the procedure for this reason), but rather select this state-of-the art dental technique due to the permanence it offers in restoring a person’s teeth and the overall look of their smile. In addition to tooth restoration, the placement of dental implants can also help to halt bone loss in the jaw.
Dental implant procedures can be performed by dentists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists or periodontists. In some cases, you may see one type of dental professional for the actual implant procedure (attachment of the titanium anchor in the jaw bone) but then another professional for the making and fitting of the crown, bridge or denture that sits on the implanted anchor. Although many dentists are trained to perform dental implant procedures, it is especially important that you see an experienced dental specialist if the implant needs to be placed near the sinus cavity or a nerve, or if there is extensive bone loss in the jaw. In some cases, bone grafting must be performed first.
Dental implant procedures are not an “instant” solution. There is generally a period of 4 – 6 months of healing that must occur once the titanium anchor is implanted before a permanent tooth can be placed on the anchor. During that time, you will have a temporary tooth placed on the anchor so you will not be without a tooth, but it is important that proper healing occur before a permanent tooth is attached.
Looking for a dentist that’s perfect for you? The field of general dentistry offers countless qualified, dependable and trustworthy dentists. You just have to know where to find them! Luckily, for residents in the Queens and Metropolitan New York area, you only have to look as far as Park Dental Care in Astoria, where top-notch dentists are available for all of your general dentistry needs. But for the purposes of this article, we are going to provide a few tips for finding a qualified dentist, no matter where you choose to look.
To begin your search for the dentist that’s right for you, it is a great idea to talk to family, friends and co-workers and see who they recommend. These are the people that know you best, so chances are if they feel comfortable with a certain professional, you will too. If you want more certified advice, you can turn to your family doctor or local pharmacist or you can do some research online.
When searching for a dentist, you may come across two different titles: doctor of dental surgery (DDS) and doctor of dental medicine (DDM). Dentists that share either of these titles have both received dependable degrees in the field of general dentistry and can equally fulfill your dental needs. In addition, all qualified dentists should carry a license to practice. Other labels you may come across are related to the type of dental practice a dentist is in, where names such as “cosmetic dentistry” and “family dentistry” come into play. Again, either of these labels indicates a practice of general dentistry that sufficiently serves individual and family clients. These practices are typically not geared towards specialized dentistry.
General dentists should be able to provide quality services to keep your teeth and mouth in good condition. Some common services offered in the field of general dentistry include: teeth cleaning and extractions, root canals, dental bridges and dental crowns. They should provide treatment that covers all areas in and surrounding your oral cavity, such as your teeth, gums, and even face and neck if necessary. Prior to receiving treatment, a dentist should provide you with general information about the procedure you will undergo. It is best to talk with your dentist and establish a good relationship with them. That way, when you have questions or concerns about a treatment, you will feel comfortable addressing them. Finally, a good dentist should know their boundaries. If a dentist believes that a client needs specialized treatment outside their own capacity, they should be willing to recommend another professional that is able to meet the patient’s needs.
A good dentist should be available when you need them, whether it is an emergency or just a general checkup. Their office should be easily accessible by phone and e-mail, and this information should be easy to find as well. In addition to being reachable, quality dentists should be easy to talk to. You should feel comfortable with calling them at any time of day with questions or concerns (although you should also understand that sometimes you’ll have to wait for them to get back to you because they are busy with other patients).
It is crucial that you keep your teeth and mouth in excellent condition. Therefore, finding a quality dentist that can meet all of your general dentistry needs is essential. At Park Dental Care in Astoria, we offer New Yorkers general dentistry care provided by some of the best dentists around. Our professionals are fully qualified, easy to talk to and very experienced. Make sure your smile stays beautiful – contact Park Dental Care today!
For more information about our quality general dentists, contact Park Dental Care at 718-Dentist. At Park Dental Care of Astoria, we can ensure professional dental service that fits your every need. Residents of Queens, as well as those located throughout the metropolitan NYC, will find that we are conveniently located near the N & Q subway lines at the Astoria Ditmars Blvd. station. Let us help you keep your smile healthy and looking beautiful!