Biting your tongue and cheeks

Everyone has accidentally bitten his tongue while eating or woken up with a small mark on the inside of his cheek. But what do you do if this nuisance becomes a common occurrence? Many people frequently bite the inside of their mouth during sleep or while eating, but the causes vary. In some cases, it is due to misalignment of the teeth or poor denture fitting. In that situation, the teeth can overlap with the person’s tongue, increasing the chance of a bite. In other cases, a person may constantly breathe with his mouth open, leading to a slightly swollen tongue, which can again lead to accidental bites.

In some rare cases, a person may also have seizures, causing him to involuntarily bite his tongue or cheek. Regardless of the reason, though, constant wounds in the mouth can become more than just annoying. Over time, biting can lead to scars and decreased sensitivity, so it is important to treat the bites properly and speak with a dentist about preventing future occurrences. He or she will help you identify the cause of the biting and hasten the time until you can eliminate the bites altogether.

Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing.

Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments. Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists.

Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts dental plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.

Tips for Cleaning your child’s teeth

Although a baby’s first visit to the dentist should be by his or her first birthday, parents must also be vigilant about their child’s oral health at home. Do not wait until your child has multiple teeth before establishing a routine. At the first emergence of a tooth, parents should keep it clean by gently rubbing it with a terry cloth washcloth or clean piece of gauze once a day. As more teeth grow in, parents may begin to use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush. Most babies that are at least five months old can use the infant toothpastes sold at drugstores.

For young children, remember to never put more than a small smear of toothpaste on the toothbrush, as swallowing too much can be dangerous. If your child is too young to brush his or her teeth independently, it may be helpful to sit behind the child and tilt his or her mouth back toward you so you can see every section of the teeth and gums. The British Dental Health Foundation suggests brushing in small circular movements and focusing on one area at a time. In addition, it is important to remember to brush behind the teeth as well as on the gums.

Although most children ages 4 and older can start brushing their teeth on their own, parents should supervise the routine until at least age 7 to make sure the child is brushing thoroughly. If you have difficulty getting your kids to brush their teeth, try establishing a routine that is consistent and fun. Regular, direct praise can go a long way in encouraging children to keep their teeth clean and healthy. For more information about oral hygiene and young children, talk to a pediatric dentist on your dental plan. He or she can help you find a routine that fits your family and give you advice to keep your children’s smiles sparkling.

Oral health and its link to adequate nutrition

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain a healthy diet and consume the proper amount of vitamins in order to remain in good health. Older adults are particularly susceptible to nutrient-deficient conditions, such as osteoporosis and anemia. In response to this need, researchers for the Journal of the American Dental Association studied a group of seniors ages 79 and older and analyzed their diets. What they found has since shed more light on the need for oral hygiene.

In this study, seniors who had fewer natural and healthy teeth were found to have poorer dietary habits and higher nutrient deficiencies. This same conclusion was drawn about older adults who do not have properly fitting dentures. In both cases, the seniors who maintained good oral hygiene and had either natural teeth or well-fitting dentures were more likely to eat a variety of foods and, consequently, consume a wider range of vitamins throughout the day. Based on this study, the researchers at JADA concluded that it is important to encourage dental hygiene as a person ages in order to avoid needing dentures. In the event that a person does need dentures, however, it’s equally important that he is educated about the proper use and fit of false teeth.

One way to achieve this is by encouraging a healthy exchange of communication between older adults and their dentists. If you or someone in your family seems to not be eating as well due to deteriorating or ill-fitting teeth, make an appointment with your True Care discount dental plan dentist to talk about your options. Your dentist will be able to give you suggestions on taking proper care of your teeth as you age and can also make sure any dentures you already have are the correct size and shape for your mouth. By taking advantage of this link between oral hygiene and nutrition, you can make maintaining your health both simple and affordable.