teeth

Swimmer’s Ear? More Like Swimmer’s Tooth!

HAVE YOUR TEETH ever felt extra sensitive after a swim at the pool? That’s no coincidence, although it can take quite a lot of swimming before the effects become noticeable. What is it about the water in swimming pools that damages teeth?
 

Chlorine: Good For Sanitation, Bad For Teeth

That’s right: the same chemical that kills many of the germs that love swimming in fresh water as much as we do can also be pretty hard on our teeth if the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated. The proper pH for pool water is 7.2-7.8, but it can easily become acidic because of the chlorine.

Swimmer’s Calculus: A Risk For Serious Swimmers

Swimmer’s Calculus isn’t the name of an underwater math class; it’s what happens to tooth enamel after prolonged exposure to acidic chlorine ions. The pH of saliva in a healthy mouth is very close to neutral. It’s the perfect pH to keep your teeth strong (as long as we’re also brushing and flossing).

Acid, like the diluted hydrochloric acid that forms in pools with chlorine, will erode more tooth enamel the longer we swim. This can lead to “swimmer’s calculus,” or yellow and brown stains on our teeth. It can also make our teeth extra sensitive after swimming, because erosion of the enamel exposes the more vulnerable dentin underneath.

Other Underwater Tooth Problems

Maybe you’re not a huge fan of the public pool, but you love snorkeling and diving in natural bodies of water. While you probably won’t have to worry about swimmer’s calculus, those activities come with their own set of tooth-threatening problems.

Scuba Diving And Tooth Squeeze

Diving in the deep end of a pool is enough to make us feel the water pressure in our ears, but did you know that when you dive deep enough, you might feel it in your teeth? Barodontalgia, or tooth squeeze, is what happens when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure. This can cause significant tooth pain and it can even fracture teeth. The best way to prevent it is to visit the dentist before diving season begins.

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

Most divers know the inconvenience of the mouthpiece design, but you might not know all the specific ways it’s bad for your teeth. The shape has been described as “one size fits none” because it’s too small and doesn’t really fit most divers’ teeth. Despite the less-than-ideal size and shape, we still have to grip it between our teeth the entire time we dive.

Clenching our jaws for so long, especially when the pressure is mostly on the front teeth, can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. A good solution, particularly for a frequent diver, is to get a custom-fitted molded mouthpiece.

To learn more about TMJ and the treatment options available, watch the video below:

We’ll Help You Prepare Your Teeth For The Water!

We want to make sure you have a great summer enjoying all of your favorite water activities without fear for your teeth. Schedule an appointment so that we can come up with the best plan to help you avoid these common underwater tooth problems!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Are Your Teeth Sensitive? Here’s Why

Top image by Flickr user  Lachlan Hardy  used under  Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license . Image cropped and modified from original.

Top image by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

DO YOU EVER cringe when you watch someone bite into ice cream? Are you sometimes fearful of that first sip of hot soup or drink of tea? You’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear about!


Teeth Feel Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed

On the outside of each tooth is a protective layer of enamel. Over time, the enamel can wear away leaving an inner layer, called the dentin, exposed. This occurs due to normal wear and tear, poor dental hygiene or certain lifestyle choices.

Dentin contains fluid-filled tubules that reach into the innermost part of the tooth where all the nerves reside. Because the nerves inside the tooth are exposed when the enamel is eroded away, sensitivity is the result.

Another form of tooth sensitivity develops when gum recession leaves the root of the tooth exposed to food, drink and air.

Desensitizing Toothpaste Can Help

Desensitizing toothpastes are a great way to ease tooth sensitivity. Many of our patients ask us how these toothpastes actually work! It’s simple: they are specially formulated to either block the tubules in the dentin, protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure, or numb your teeth, in a manner of speaking, so you don’t register the pain of sensitivity.

It’s important to remember, however, that if your teeth are at all sensitive, your first stop should be your dentist’s office. Some problems that cause teeth to be sensitive can be quite serious and may require more extensive treatment than desensitizing toothpaste can provide.

Follow These Helpful Tips To Avoid Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. To prevent further damage to your teeth, or any sensitivity in the first place, follow the suggestions below:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are frequently the cause of tooth sensitivity. In addition, avoid smoking or any form of tobacco use.
  • Don’t brush so hard. Aggressive brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and enamel erosion. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much force. Plaque comes off easier than you think!
  • Protect your teeth. If you clench your teeth frequently or have been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding), make sure you protect your teeth with a nightguard provided to you by your dentist and try to be conscious of your clenching habits during the day.
  • Make sure your diet is healthy. Eat sugar and carbohydrates in moderation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and vegetables.

Nobody Should Live With Tooth Pain

No matter what your level of discomfort, it’s our belief that nobody should have to live with tooth pain. If you experience any kind of sensitivity in your teeth, come in and see us! We can diagnose the root cause of your sensitivity and ascertain the best way to treat it.

We are thankful for our wonderful patients and proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding areas!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR PRACTICE!  WE ARE PROUD TO SERVE SNOQUALMIE AND ALL THE SURROUNDING CITIES: NORTH BEND, FALL CITY, DUVALL, CARNATION, MAPLE VALLEY, SAMMAMISH, ISSAQUAH, ETC.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.