To Floss or Not To Floss

Post by: Gerarda on 23 Feb 2022

A common question we hear at Stockholm Dental is, “Do I really need to floss, or is brushing enough?” Unlike many things in life, flossing isn’t a mere suggestion; it’s actually an integral part of good oral hygiene, therefore, an indispensable part of your daily routine.

The purpose of flossing is to remove plaque and food particles from tight spaces between your teeth and hard to reach places. Flossing helps to keep your gums protected from bacteria which can cause periodontal disease. Flossing also keeps your teeth free of decay and your smile white.

The purpose of daily flossing is not only to promote healthy teeth, it further contributes to your health in other ways. There is increasing evidence linking periodontal disease to an increased risk of heart disease and an increase of inflammatory substances in the blood. (See blog post Jan 11, 2022)

Teeth brushing alone may not protect you from gum disease and subsequent tooth loss in extreme cases; however, adding flossing to your daily routine helps improve the health of your gums which in turn prevents gums from bleeding and feeding bacteria which causes tooth decay.

The American Dental Association has recommended flossing since 1908 and that recommendation hasn’t changed. Make the most of your oral care routine.

Don’t skip the flossing.

Tooth Enamel Erosion and How to Prevent it

Post by: Gerarda on 19 Apr 2021

Even though you have the body’s hardest tissue covering your teeth, enamel, it is still very susceptible to damage especially from crunching or grinding hard substances, consuming acidic drinks, or chipping from opening a bottle with your teeth or biting your fingernails.

Enamel covers the crown of a tooth and is the only part visible outside the gum. Enamel serves a function of protection, providing a layer of insulation against temperatures and chemicals. If you have a tooth that has eroded you can have sensitivity for hot or cold when eating and drinking. Breathing cold air or eating sweets can also give you that same sensitivity. Once the tooth has eroded it leaves openings for the sensitivity to get through to the layer of tooth that contains the nerve fibers.

What causes tooth enamel erosion?
Eating too much food or drink containing sugar and acids erodes the enamel on teeth. Normal bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar and unless you maintain good oral hygiene, bacteria are left to feed on the sugar which wreaks havoc on your teeth.

Tooth enamel erosion can be caused by the following:
• Soft drinks & fruit drinks
• Sour foods or candies – any food that tastes sour indicates the presence of an acid
• Foods high in sugar and starches – bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, breakfast cereals, oats and other grains
• Bulimia or alcoholism – frequent vomiting can erode the tooth enamel
• Dry mouth or low saliva flow (xerostomia)
• Environmental conditions – grinding (bruxism), wear and tear, stress
• Abrasion – brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard toothbrush
• Acid reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Medications (antihistamines, aspirin, vitamin C)

How to avoid tooth erosion?
• Limit the amount of acidic food and drink you consume. If you are having a soft drink or fruit juice then have a glass of water or milk after to rinse your mouth or eat a piece of cheese.
• Drink water throughout the day.
• Use a soft toothbrush.
• Use fluoride toothpaste.
• Get treatment for any health conditions.
• Ask your dentist about sealants or dental bonding to prevent tooth erosion.

What to do if I have tooth erosion?
The tooth needs treatment in the form of tooth bonding or depending on the amount of tooth substance lost, it may need a veneer or a crown to protect it from further damage.

The Teeth & Kidney Connection

Post by: Gerarda on 15 Mar 2021

March is National Kidney Month, a time when people take part in activities to raise awareness about kidney disease. While this year’s focus is on “taking charge of your health and the many factors that go into managing your kidney disease”, my focus is on teeth and kidney disease.

Despite the fact that chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1.7 million people in Europe and 37 million people in America, it is often overlooked until symptoms appear. By that time it is usually very advanced. CKD is progressive and can put a person at risk for other serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones and of course kidney failure.

Although good dental care is important for everyone, it is especially so for people with kidney disease.

Cavities and gum disease are chronic bacterial infection. It is essential for everyone to have these treated, but even more so for someone with kidney disease. If left untreated oral bacteria and inflammation don’t stay in the mouth, but travel throughout the body, especially if you have a weak immune system. Chronic infections create continuous inflammation which is especially harmful to people with kidney disease.

Along with screening for all types of infections, even a dental check-up is required for any person being evaluated for a kidney transplant. That is how important infection and inflammation are to the transplant process. If problems are identified during the examination, the kidney transplant will be delayed or even cancelled depending on the severity of them.

It is important to remember what might start out being a minor infection for a healthy person could become a major problem for someone with kidney disease. Infections in the body that are normally helped by the body´s natural healing system of inflammation cause serious harm in CKD patients who have prolonged or chronic infection. Anti-rejection medication used after a transplant weakens the body´s defenses against infection.

If you have kidney disease, are on dialysis, have had a kidney transplant or in the screening process, it is important that you tell your dentist.

The Bitter Truth of Lemons

Post by: Gerarda on 10 Mar 2021

The biggest delinquent in tooth erosion (loss of tooth enamel) is acidic drinks. People are constantly being told that drinking the juice of a lemon the first thing in the morning is a great detox for the liver or the gastrointestinal tract. What you are not told is the fact that lemon is a highly acidic food. While lemon might be good for your digestive system and a good source for Vitamin C it is not good for your teeth.

If you must drink lemon juice, drink it with 250ml of warm water (not hot) to lessen the acidity. After drinking the lemon water, rinse your mouth with water immediately. This removes any acid that may remain on the tooth surface and reduces the acidity of your saliva.

DO NOT brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after drinking the lemon water.

Use a soft toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste (fluoride strengthens tooth enamel) and brush gently. The acid in the juice softens tooth enamel and makes it more prone to erosion during brushing.

 

The Pandemic and Your Teeth

Post by: Gerarda on 28 Oct 2020

We have noticed a marked increase in broken teeth and sore jaws with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems since the pandemic of COVID-19 started and people were in lockdown; enough to warrant more than a passing thought. The need for mouth guards to prevent people from grinding and clenching their teeth is correspondingly up.

The Spanish Dental Association (Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Dentistas de Málaga, COEMA) hasn’t done a survey to verify this increase in dental problems since the pandemic started, but reports from colleagues of pandemic-related dental problems are common says Dr. Mikael Kahn. Mikael says, “Bacteria doesn’t take a break, nor does it know there is pandemic! One can postpone dental treatment for a while, but sooner or later it gets to a point where one can´t put it off any more.”

The combination of being in lockdown and therefore, delaying treatment, the stress of being without a job or wondering how one will pay one’s rent, or the fact that one has adverse working conditions, has caused the problems of broken teeth and sore jaws.

We are seeing the amount of stress people are under, having a severe impact on their teeth because of clenching and grinding. This in turn has created problems with their jaw and TMJ. Additionally, with people working from home more often than not they don’t have appropriate chairs to sit in for long periods of time and therefore, are hunched over at their computers. This in turn can increase grinding (bruxism).

In addition to stress and delayed care, we are seeing more cavities as people are snacking more because they are working from home and have ready access to foods that they would not ordinarily have at work. Consequently, people are also brushing less frequently. When people get out of their routines, many times the oral hygiene follows suit.

Having reviewed our records from the same period as last year from June to October, we have seen a 54% increase in the need for mouth guards, 87% increase in broken teeth treated either by composite repair or crowns and a 12% increase in treatment for cavities.

While we can´t say definitively that these statistics are a direct result of the lockdown we experienced in the spring, we can say that we have treated more broken teeth and TMJ problems than ever before during the same period.