Eye and Mouth Safety Tips for National Safety Month

by MikeMeehan 6/28/2017 9:26 AM

We’re all about protecting your teeth and eyes! So as the Fourth of July approaches and we come to the end of National Safety Month, let’s talk about safety concerning your teeth and eyes. Although we may feel like we’re invincible sometimes, keeping our eyes and mouth safe only requires a few steps. Whether you or your kids are playing highly competitive sports or doing some chores around the house, remember to keep teeth and eyes protected. Certain sports could pose greater risk Do your kids play sports? Do you? Or do you all ride your bikes? While you’re healthy and active, we hope you use mouth guards and safety glasses to help prevent injuries to your teeth and eyes. For sports like hockey and football, mouth guards are considered part of the uniform. But sports like gymnastics, skateboarding and biking, where there might not be as much perceived risk to your teeth, mouth guards are just as necessary, especially for children. Mouth injuries can damage teeth, cause a chipped or lost tooth, jaw displacement or other injuries to the tongue, lips or cheek. Also, if you or your child wears braces or if you have other teeth appliances, a mouth guard can be essential. Mouth guards can provide ample protection from sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaws and surrounding areas. Your dentist or orthodontist can make recommendations for the proper mouth protector. Basketball, baseball and racquet sports can have the most potential for eye injury. According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, the amount of sports-related eye injuries reported in emergency rooms are over 40,000 every year. But most of these injuries are preventable with protective eyewear. With sports, we may think of flying objects as the hazard, but eye injuries can be a result of an elbow or finger in a close contact sport. Follow same work precautions at home So maybe after all the fun of playing on a recreational team, or after you come home from your kids soccer game, you’re then taking care of the house by cleaning and doing yard work. Again, we hope eye safety is on your mind. You may already be required to wear safety protection at work, like safety glasses or face shields, but remember when you’re working at home, you need that protection, too. Some house chores that could be hazardous to your eyes include home repairs, cooking, yard work and cleaning with chemicals. Choose the right gear There are three main types of mouth guards – custom-made, boil and bite, and stock. A custom-made mouth guard provides better fitting and protection as it is made-to-order according to size. Boil and bite is like a semi-custom model in which hot water softens the plastic for better fitting. Stock mouth guards come in standard sizes and are inexpensive.    Make sure the mouth guard fits properly for maximum security. Take care of your mouth guard and replace it when it’s in poor condition. It’s important to change mouth guards from time to time in order to maintain the protection they provide to the mouth area. Talk to your dentist about the best mouth guard for you and your kids. If you already wear glasses, those glasses aren’t enough to protect you. When choosing protective eyewear for you and your kids, look for the appropriate kind for the activity. For sports, the National Eye Institute created a chart to find the right eye protection for a list of sports. There are many varieties of sports goggles, all specially designed for certain sports. And not only will the sports eyewear protect, they can advance and improve the performance of the athlete. At work, or when working at home, consider safety glasses with side shields, face shields, goggles with ventilation, and other variations when deciding what gear best fits with your task. Just like with your mouth guard, the fit of your protective eyewear is important for its effectiveness. Fourth of July warnings It seems fitting that this blog will be posted just before the Fourth of July, because as wonderful as this holiday is, there are always safety concerns with fireworks. In addition to the bodily harm that can occur, remember eye safety is at risk too. Make safety part of the routine You and your kids might be serious about sports, or just enjoy a laidback game. Either way, make mouth guards and safety glasses a part of the routine, norm and ritual of the sport. And if you need to convince the kids, try selling it as a competitive tool to intimidate or psych out the opposition. And remember to grab your safety glasses as you head out to mow the lawn this weekend. 

Improve Your Brushing Technique

by MikeMeehan 5/1/2017 2:30 PM

When it comes to dental hygiene, brushing and flossing are some of the most important routines for your smile, yet they could possibly use a little improvement. Why You Need to Brush Twice a Day Brushing and flossing can remove plaque, tartar and stains. These three culprits can cause problems of all sorts: • Cavities • Gum disease, like gingivitis or periodontitis • Weakened tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to chips or cracks Conditions like these can wreak havoc on your smile. But the issues don’t stop there. Bad oral health doesn’t just put you at risk for cavities, gum disease, and weakened tooth enamel; it can increase risks for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Follow these steps to ensure that you are brushing properly. Six Steps for Better Brushing 1. Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gumline 2. Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. Don’t squish the bristles 3. Brush all inner and outer tooth surfaces several times, using short, circular strokes. Be sure to brush along the gumline as well 4. Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush 5. Clean only one or two teeth at a time 6. Brush your tongue, as oral bacteria can remain in taste buds By following these brushing techniques, you will keep your smile healthy and help improve your overall health

How Stress Can Harm You: From the perspective of your oral and vision health

by MikeMeehan 4/18/2017 1:31 PM

We talk about it, hear about it and complain about it. The phrase “I’m stressed out” has become so overused, we may even dismiss it. Despite the abundant information and worn out terms, the harm stress can cause is worthy of the overemphasis. So we are going to use the occasion of Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the ways stress can affect your oral and vision health. You may associate stress with lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed, but two common physical symptoms of stress are associated with your oral health — jaw pain or clenching and teeth grinding. Stress can also affect your vision temporarily. Stress and Oral Health Here are 4 ways stress can affect your mouth: Gum disease or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. Warning signs include red and swollen gums, gums that pull away from your teeth and persistent bad breath. When you are under stress, your ability to fight off infections (like gum disease) is affected. Bruxism is the technical term for the condition of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw which can be caused by stress. Symptoms include headaches, tooth sensitivity and a sore jaw.  Canker sores are small ulcers in the mouth and may be caused by stress. The severity can vary. Also, if you chew on your tongue, cheeks or inside of your mouth, you could be susceptible to canker sores. Temporomandibular disorders, more easily referred to as TMD (or TMJ), are a range of conditions that affect the muscles and joints in your jaw and neck. Symptoms include jaw pain and soreness, clicking of the jaw and discomfort when you move your jaw up and down. Stress may cause or aggravate TMD.  Stress and Vision Health When you think about stress, you might not associate it with your eyes or vision. Here are some symptoms: Tunnel or blurry vision: Lose of peripheral vision and a slight blurriness can occur when your stress levels increase. Eye twitching: That annoying spasm occurring in your eye could be a sign of stress. Eye strain: Recently, we covered digital eye strain from prolonged time in front of a screen, but the stress occurring in your life can also cause eye strain and fatigue. Eye floaters: Spots and specks that float across your field of vision are not necessarily a cause for concern, but you may notice them during times of elevated stress. Solutions with a dental and vision focus While stress reduction methods like yoga, physical activity and breathing exercises have been abundantly endorsed, here are some recommendations specifically for your oral and vision health. From the perspective of your oral health, talk to your dentist if you have jaw pain or if you grind your teeth. You may not be aware that you grind your teeth at night, so a visit to the dentist could discover the problem and will prompt a discussion about possible treatments. During stressful situations, try to relax your face, neck and shoulders to avoid clenching your jaw. Avoid gum and tough foods that cause extra chewing and effort from your jaw. Practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining your regimen, even during the difficult times, will help prevent dental issues. Daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque buildup can help the fight against gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis. And try not to turn to caffeine or sugar when you are feeling stressed. Both choices are detrimental to your oral health. From the perspective of vision health, if you continue to have some of these stress-related eye problems, be sure to visit your eye doctor. But since most stress-induced eye problems are temporary, find the most effective stress reducing tactics that work for you personally, and give yourself some time for the symptoms to subside and go away. Looking for more ways to alleviate stress, or more information on the ways stress affects your smile or eyes? You can find more articles like this on our website and more information from our oral health library.

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