Keeping smiles happy when family comes to town

by MikeMeehan 12/19/2018 2:10 PM

If you’re hosting holiday celebrations at your place, add a little prep time to ensure your family’s smiles stay sparkling – especially for relatives traveling from out of town. Consider stopping by the store beforehand to stock up on these oral health supplies:  • Extra floss, toothpaste and new toothbrushes in case someone forgets theirs.• Mouth-friendly snacks like broccoli, celery, carrots, cheese and nuts.• A baby gate so younger guests don’t venture into areas that pose a risk for mouth injuries.• Pain medications such as acetaminophen for children and ibuprofen for adults.• A dental emergency kit with items like gauze, bandages, temporary filling material, dental wax for people with braces, dental cement for broken fillings or crowns and hydrogen peroxide for wound disinfection. Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, mouth emergencies can still happen. Make sure you know when to seek professional care. • Toothaches are not the time for home remedies. Call your dentist for their advice. • Depending on the severity, bitten tongues and lips might be solvable at home, but if bleeding continues, you should go to the emergency room.  • Professional care is normally needed for chipped teeth. • Emergency care is always required for adult teeth that fall out from an injury. If you address a lost tooth quickly enough, you might be able to save the tooth.  Because it’s the holidays, most regular dental offices will probably be closed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options for professional care. Start by contacting your personal dentist via an after-hours care number. Some dentists will see family members, depending on the circumstances, or can provide a referral to solve the problem. If you end up needing to find a new dentist, look for one in your family member’s dental benefits network. Additionally, you might consider visiting urgent care or the emergency room. These facilities can help manage pain but won’t be able to fix teeth. Your dental benefits don’t cover these visits, so you’ll need to check your medical plan. Your family member will save the most money by visiting a dentist in their plan’s network. If they’re covered by Delta Dental, you can quickly find an in-network dentist with the Delta Dental website or our free mobile app. Stay safe this season and be prepared for any surprises your family might encounter. Happy holidays!

Keeping smiles happy when family comes to town

by MikeMeehan 12/19/2018 2:10 PM

If you’re hosting holiday celebrations at your place, add a little prep time to ensure your family’s smiles stay sparkling – especially for relatives traveling from out of town. Consider stopping by the store beforehand to stock up on these oral health supplies:  • Extra floss, toothpaste and new toothbrushes in case someone forgets theirs.• Mouth-friendly snacks like broccoli, celery, carrots, cheese and nuts.• A baby gate so younger guests don’t venture into areas that pose a risk for mouth injuries.• Pain medications such as acetaminophen for children and ibuprofen for adults.• A dental emergency kit with items like gauze, bandages, temporary filling material, dental wax for people with braces, dental cement for broken fillings or crowns and hydrogen peroxide for wound disinfection. Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, mouth emergencies can still happen. Make sure you know when to seek professional care. • Toothaches are not the time for home remedies. Call your dentist for their advice. • Depending on the severity, bitten tongues and lips might be solvable at home, but if bleeding continues, you should go to the emergency room.  • Professional care is normally needed for chipped teeth. • Emergency care is always required for adult teeth that fall out from an injury. If you address a lost tooth quickly enough, you might be able to save the tooth.  Because it’s the holidays, most regular dental offices will probably be closed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options for professional care. Start by contacting your personal dentist via an after-hours care number. Some dentists will see family members, depending on the circumstances, or can provide a referral to solve the problem. If you end up needing to find a new dentist, look for one in your family member’s dental benefits network. Additionally, you might consider visiting urgent care or the emergency room. These facilities can help manage pain but won’t be able to fix teeth. Your dental benefits don’t cover these visits, so you’ll need to check your medical plan. Your family member will save the most money by visiting a dentist in their plan’s network. If they’re covered by Delta Dental, you can quickly find an in-network dentist with the Delta Dental website or our free mobile app. Stay safe this season and be prepared for any surprises your family might encounter. Happy holidays!

Oral health issues that may arise with age

by MikeMeehan 9/13/2018 2:09 PM

As you age, your body can experience shifts in health that affect your mouth in ways you might not expect. In honor of Healthy Aging Month, take a look at two conditions people may encounter with age that can affect their oral health – Sjögren’s syndrome and bone loss. Sjögren’s syndrome People age 40 and older can develop a chronic autoimmune condition called Sjögren’s syndrome. Currently, as many as 4 million Americans are living with Sjögren’s. While experiences with the disease vary widely, some of its symptoms include difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing; a sore or cracked tongue; a dry or burning throat; dry or peeling lips; and severe fatigue.  One symptom that’s shared to some degree among almost every person with Sjögren’s, however, is dry mouth. Without adequate levels of saliva to help remove mouth debris, your teeth become increasingly vulnerable to decay. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the effects such as taking frequent drinks of water, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, avoiding tobacco and limiting the number of carbonated beverages you drink. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum, using artificial saliva and trying an oral rinse may help.  Bone loss As you age, you become increasingly vulnerable to bone loss. One of the more common causes is osteoporosis, which causes bone density to decrease. In the United States alone, over 53 million people already have osteoporosis or are at high risk for developing it. Women are especially susceptible to bone loss, since many experience lower estrogen levels after menopause. What does all this have to do with your smile? When your jaw bones lose density, you become more susceptible to loose teeth and tooth loss. It can also cause your gums to recede, leaving more of your tooth exposed and susceptible to tooth decay.  With these threats to your oral and overall health, it’s important to take proactive measures to stay in control. Calcium and vitamin D are both critical to preventing bone loss. It can also help to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption and engage in regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight training. Work with your dentist to prevent bone loss or to treat it if you’ve already begun experiencing symptoms.  By staying vigilant and working with your dentist and physician, you can help ease the effects of Sjögren’s syndrome and bone loss.

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