More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a serious condition that compromises your rest and can impact your health. Some symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, extreme daytime tiredness, mouth breathing, and irritability. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea, much less common, happens when the brain fails to signal your breathing muscles.
Characterized by short episodes of not breathing, which can occur from five to 50 times a night, obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the muscles in your throat relax and your airways become blocked as you sleep. Your brain senses the lack of breathing and wakes you briefly to restore airflow. These episodes disrupt sleep and keep you from feeling rested.
Not only does sleep apnea keep you from getting a good night’s rest, but it can also put your health at risk. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, risk of stroke, memory impairment, and weight gain. As well, your sleep partner may not get enough sleep because of your snoring and/or waking episodes.
If you suspect sleep apnea, talk with your dentist, who may recommend a sleep evaluation. Through overnight monitoring, a sleep specialist can determine if you suffer from sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea may include lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, or an oral appliance. Your dentist can fit you for night guard that will hold your jaw in the correct position to keep your airways open.
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If your smile looks dull or yellow, you may feel embarrassed about your appearance. While there is no shortage on products for bleaching your teeth, from creams to gels to whitening strips, some people would prefer not to use harsh chemicals. The following suggestions will help you put the pizzazz back in your smile naturally:
Try do-it-yourself paste
Combine half a teaspoon baking soda with half a teaspoon table salt to make a natural cleanser. Mix a little water in to moisten the mixture that you can use weekly on your teeth. The baking soda will polish your teeth, while a chemical reaction with the water lightens stains.
Pick pure H2O
Right after you finish eating, swish water around in your mouth for 30 seconds to prevent the food from sticking to your teeth.
Add spinach and other dark green veggies, like broccoli and kale, to your diet because these leafy greens contain a mineral compound that produces a film, covering teeth and protecting against stains.
Snack on this
When you need a little something between meals, choose apples, carrots, and celery. These foods naturally remove plaque from teeth and they encourage saliva production, which rinses away decay-causing agents.
Discover the magic of minerals
Because of a gentle abrasive component, kaolin clay can be used as a natural whitening agent. For fresh breath, you can add a drop of peppermint or clove essential oil. To protect enamel, only use this mixture once a week.
Follow this lipstick tip
For a quick fix, ladies can try this trick: wear a blue-tinted lipstick. The cool undertones make your teeth sparkle in comparison.
According to the American Dental Association, men are less likely than women to prioritize preventive dental care. In fact, men often neglect their oral health, brushing and flossing infrequently. Consequently, men are more like to develop oral health issues such as oral cancer and gum disease. Follow these tips to protect your teeth and gums so that you can enjoy a lifetime of amazing smiles:
• Remember to brush twice daily. Make sure to spend at least two to three minutes brushing for optimal results.
• Floss every day. Brushing alone won’t remove plaque and food particles from between teeth, which can contribute to decay and gum disease.
• Schedule regular dental visits. Seeing the dentist twice a year will allow the doctor to examine your mouth and make sure everything looks okay. If problems do arise, the dentist can catch them early and prevent further damage.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much can cause the odds of getting oral cancer to increase.
• Cut out tobacco use. Not only does smoking create overall health problems, but it can also lead to oral health concerns such as gum disease and oral cancer.
• Watch your diet. Eating a variety of healthy foods, including low-fat dairy options, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, will help keep teeth and gums in good shape.
• Keep your dentist informed. At your routine appointments, let your dentist know about any medications you are taking or about any health issues you are currently facing so that your dentist can provide the best care possible.
No one wants to get cavities, so finding a way to prevent them is very appealing. Of course brushing and flossing make a big difference, but if you want to provide an extra layer of protection you should consider dental sealants. A sealant is a thin plastic material applied to your teeth’s chewing surfaces to act as a barrier against decay. Experts say that children benefit the most from sealants because they have newer teeth that are vulnerable to cavities. However, sealants can be applied to adult teeth to protect them too. Read on to help you decide if sealants might be right for you.
Brushing and flossing removes plaque and debris from teeth surfaces, but these tools can’t always reach your teeth’s grooves and hidden areas. The purpose of sealant is to protect those areas and prevent bacteria and food from getting through.
It only takes a few minutes for your dentist to seal each of your teeth. Your dentist will clean the tooth, and roughen the chewing surface with an acid solution to help the sealant adhere. Then the dentist will paint the sealant on the tooth, and allow it to harden. The process is painless and takes only up to about 45 minutes to complete, depending on how many teeth are sealed.
Sealants usually last for several years before needing to be reapplied. As long as it remains in place, the tooth surface is protected from decay. Your dentist will check sealant condition during regular exams, and reapply them when necessary.
Research shows that correctly applied sealants are completely effective in protecting the surface of your teeth from decay. If part or all of the bond is broken, the protection from the sealant reduces. However, teeth that lose sealants are no more at risk for decay than teeth that never had sealants.
Even when you take care of your teeth and gums, problems can still arise. While it isn’t fun to deal with dental ailments, your dentist can help you resolve the issue and get your oral health back on track. With a basic knowledge of common dental ailments, you will have an idea of what to look for and how to skillfully handle these issues.
Typically, people develop mouth sores or mouth ulcers when they are stressed out or rundown. Brushing too roughly or ill-fitting dentures can also cause these sores to appear. Usually, mouth sores go away without treatment. Salt water rinses may promote faster healing.
Caused mainly from improper oral hygiene and lack of dental care, gum disease is inflammation of the gums around the teeth. Initially, gum disease presents with swollen, bleeding gums and may go unnoticed. As it progresses, you can experience pain, gum recession, and tooth loss. Regular checkups will help protect your oral health.
Eating garlic, a head cold, and tobacco use can cause episodes of bad breath, or halitosis. Continuous bad breath often happens because of chronic health problems or issues with your dental health. Practice good oral hygiene, brush your tongue, and watch what you eat. If this doesn’t work, ask your dentist for advice.
Discomfort in a tooth often indicates an underlying problem. A sharp pain that occurs when you have hot, cold, or sweet foods can be caused by the beginnings of cavity. If you have a dull, aching sensation when you chew, it can signal gum inflammation. Continuous, throbbing usually suggests advanced tooth decay. With any tooth pain, you should contact your dentist’s office right away.
Protecting your child’s smile is a full-time job. From birth to the school years to adolescence and beyond, you need to care for their teeth and gums as well as teach them about the importance of oral health care. The following information will help you accomplish these goals at each stage of development.
It’s never too early to start dental care. Gently clean your baby’s gums with a damp rag to remove plaque from the gums. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. To prevent baby bottle mouth, never put your child to sleep with milk or juice.
The Toddler Years
At this point, you should help your child brush their teeth twice daily. Until age two or three, use training toothpaste so that they don’t ingest too much fluoride and develop fluorosis, white spots on teeth from overexposure to fluoride. Most dentists recommend that you begin regular dental checkups by the time your child turns three.
By six or seven, your children should be able to brush and floss teeth by themselves, but you may need to inspect their work. Children in this group need to use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities. Encourage your kids to brush for at least two minutes.
Tweens and Teens
Older kids often have busy lives, so make sure dental care remains a priority. Ask your dentist to help reinforce the need for good home hygiene because often tweens and teens listen more intently to the information when it comes from a source other than their parents.