Rose City Dental Blog

11 Early Signs of Gum Disease

Posted by John Lee - August 31, 2016 - Uncategorized

When you think about oral health, you most likely focus on the way your teeth look and feel. However, your teeth rely on healthy, tight gums for support. When your gums become diseased, it can lead to a host of other issues. In fact, advanced periodontal disease has been linked to a number of health conditions that we discuss in our previous blog "Does Periodontal Disease Cause Other Diseases?"

So how do you know when you need help combating gum disease? In this blog, we list 11 common early signs of gum disease.

1. Bleeding During or After Brushing

If you notice bleeding when you brush, your first thought may be that you simply pressed too hard. However, in most cases, bleeding during brushing actually indicates unhealthy gum tissue that lacks strength and elasticity it would usually have.

2. Change in Overall Bite Alignment

Your gums do most of the work to keep your teeth in place. If you notice that your teeth don't fit together the way you're used to over time, an untreated gum condition could be the cause.

3. Change in Taste

Much of the sensory input your tongue processes comes from the surface of your gums. If bacteria has settled on the gums or an infection has taken hold, you may notice a lingering unpleasant taste or changes in how your mouth feels.

4. Discolored Gum Tissue

Healthy gums look taut and pink. When gums become damaged, they can change color in a number of ways. You might notice dark spots which look similar to bruises, red or irritated patches, or even a purple coloration.

5. Increased Tooth Sensitivity

Your gums cover one of the most sensitive portions of your teeth: the root. When gums become unhealthy, they pull away and expose this sensitive section. If you experience increased sensitivity, especially near the base of your teeth, you may have a gum disease.

6. Loose Permanent Teeth

In addition to misalignment, loose gums can make even permanent teeth feel wobbly. If you can shift a tooth with your tongue, you should see a dentist about saving that tooth as soon as possible. You might also notice movement around partial dentures or bridges.

7. New Spaces Between Teeth

If your teeth begin to shift, you may notice visible changes to your smile, including new gaps. Read through our previous blog "Braces, Now Spaces: Caring for Teeth After They've Moved" to learn how to care for the teeth around these gaps between now and your next appointment.

8. Pain When Chewing

Without normal support, you may notice more tooth discomfort. One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is pangs or twinges in the teeth while chewing.

9. Persistent Bad Breath

Just as gum disease can change the way your mouth tastes, it can also change how your mouth smells. If your bad breath does not respond to countermeasures, it may indicate gum disease.

10. Sores or Pockets in Gums

As gums pull away from teeth, they can leave small pockets that provide the perfect living environment for harmful bacteria. Address any sores, pockets, or discharge with your dentist as soon as possible.

11. Swollen or Tender Gum Tissue

In addition to discoloration, unhealthy gums can change shape or sensation. If you notice a sudden swelling or tenderness that doesn't go away with gentle, routine brushing, it may indicate a gum condition.

 

If you notice any combination of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Early treatment and an adequate change in oral hygiene habits can prevent most of the complications associated with periodontal disease.

To learn more about the causes, stages, and prevention of periodontal disease, visit our periodontal disease service page.

3 Ways Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Posted by John Lee - June 15, 2016 - Uncategorized

Everyone feels stress from time to time. You might feel anxious when you arrive late to an important work meeting. You may feel bothered when your roommate asks for money when he or she hasn't paid rent yet. Or you could feel agitated when your parents expect you to host the next family reunion.

While some stress keeps you on your toes and ready to tackle problems, chronic stress can lead to exhaustion, muscle tension, and high blood pressure. Furthermore, stress can have a negative impact on your oral health, putting you at risk for the following problems.

Read on…

A Patient’s Guide to Dental X-rays

Posted by John Lee - May 16, 2016 - Uncategorized

Many routine dental appointments begin much the same. A hygienist guides you from the waiting room back into the main office.  From there, you may go to an X-ray room.

Once in the room, you take a seat and the hygienist places a specialized apron on your lap and chest. The hygienist may place foam inserts in your mouth and have you bite down while the X-ray captures the image of your teeth.

Hundreds of patients undergo this process in a given day. But some patients find themselves wondering if there are things they should know about dental X-rays that they don't already.

In this blog, we answer common questions our patients have about this routine process, its uses, and its effects. 

Read on…

What Type of Floss Should You Use?

Posted by John Lee - April 12, 2016 - Uncategorized

Flosses come from multiple brands, and they come in various configurations. Some have the traditional thread-like form, while others look like a thumb-sized slingshot.

Because you have so many options to choose from, you might wonder which flossing product works best for your needs. Do some brands or configurations work better than others?

Below, you'll find an outline of some available flossing products and their advantages and disadvantages. If you still do not know which product to use after reading this description, talk to your dentist. He or she can advise you based on your mouth's unique needs.

1. Stringed Floss

Traditional dental floss comes in a long stretch of string coiled up in a small box. When you need to floss your teeth, you simply grab one end of the length of string and draw out 12 to 18 inches of it, using the sharp edge provided in the box to cut off that portion of string. Then you wrap the ends of the floss several times around each of your index fingers to make the length more manageable.

This flossing method has a few advantages if you do it correctly. First, each gap between your teeth receives cleaning from unused portion of the string as you move your fingers. The bacteria and food debris from the last gap will not move to new gaps because you reuse the same bit of string again. You can also floss your teeth more gently because you have your hands in the immediate area for more control.

Additionally, when you want to floss around your gums, this floss gives you one of the easier and more effective options. However, in some cases, your mouth might not open wide enough to get your floss to the back of your mouth.

2. Dental Tape Floss

Dental tape floss functions the same way as regular stringed floss. However, it has a flat, broad construction rather than a thread-like one. The broad, flat surface allows for more scraping power between the teeth. The broadness also makes this floss easier to use with teeth that have larger gaps between them. Otherwise, dental tape has the same advantages and disadvantages as normal floss.

3. Floss Picks or Floss Holders

Floss picks represent one of the most popular modern floss trends. They sometimes come in a Y-shaped or slingshot-shaped plastic apparatus that has floss string suspended between the prongs. You can also find floss picks that come in a more knife-shaped configuration.

Floss picks give you a superior reach. You will not struggle to clean the gaps between your back teeth. You can also clean between your front teeth more quickly. However keep in mind that floss picks cannot wrap around your gum line like regular floss, so they might not clean that part of your teeth as effectively.

4. Oral Irrigators

Irrigators use a jet of water to force bacteria and debris out from between your teeth. These devices have many of the same advantages as floss picks, but they can also clean your gum line effectively. If you purchase one, remember to lean over the sink, close your lips, and hold the tip at a 90-degree angle to your teeth.

The disadvantage in this case simply comes down to cost. Oral irrigators will cost more than regular dental floss, dental tape, or floss picks.

5. Electric Flossers

Just as you can buy an electric toothbrush, you can buy an electric flosser. These devices look similar to a floss pick in that they often have a Y-shaped configuration with string between two prongs, but you have to clean the string between uses and eventually replace the flosser's head. These flossers have the same disadvantage as floss picks as well. However, they will give you a thorough clean.

 

Again, if you still do not know which flossing product suits your needs best, talk to your dentist. Additionally, if you have further questions about flossing techniques or other dental hygiene concerns, browse the rest of our blog posts.

Top 10 Reasons to Need an Extraction as an Adult

Posted by John Lee - March 14, 2016 - Uncategorized

As a child, you expected to lose teeth. Your parents and other authority figures told you that it would happen as part of growing up. They also told you that once you grew your permanent set of teeth, you would have to depend on that set for the rest of your life.

True, you will not grow any more teeth. However, you could still lose your adult teeth due to trauma, illness, and other factors as outlined below. If you find yourself in any of the situations outlined in this post, know that you will not spend the rest of your years with gaps in your smile. You do have replacement options-these replacements will just be synthetic.

1. You Develop a Serious Cavity or Abscess

In most cases, adults require tooth extraction because they develop serious cavities that either eat away at enamel or turn into painful abscesses. When this occurs, your dentist could save the tooth with an extensive filling, but that filling might not give the tooth the structural support it needs. You would be better served by removing the tooth and getting an implant or bridge instead.

2. You Have Advanced Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can make your gums recede. When your gums recede enough, they no longer securely anchor your teeth. Your teeth could fall out anyway, so your dentist will save you the discomfort by removing at-risk teeth in advance.

3. You Have a Serious Infection

In addition to cavities and periodontal disease, other infections can damage your teeth and gums. For example, if you have pericoronitis, or a concentrated infection around a tooth's crown, then you might need to have the affected tooth removed. To catch pericoronitis and similar infections, remember to visit your dentist regularly.

4. You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

If you have wisdom teeth that haven't caused you any problems, then you do not need to remove them. You only need to remove them if they move your teeth and jaw out of alignment or if they cause infections and discomfort. Consult with your dentist to see if you need your wisdom teeth extracted.

5. Your Teeth Will Not Fit in Your Mouth, Even With Orthodontics

Genetics may have given you larger teeth and a smaller jaw. Even if you undergo significant orthodontic work, your teeth might not fit in your mouth. Your dentist will extract extra teeth to resolve this problem so you can have a balanced and comfortable bite.

6. You Have Supernumerary Teeth

Genetics causes the problem in this case as well. Supernumerary teeth are extra, unnecessary teeth that grow in your mouth, sometimes in unusual places and sometimes in the place of a tooth that should normally grow in that spot. Your dentist will remove the extra teeth to free up space.

7. You Suffer a Blow or Other Injury to the Jaw

After cavities, trauma represents the biggest threat to an adult's teeth. Trauma can occur during sports and other physical activities. It can happen as the result of an automobile accident or similar incident. You can also experience tooth trauma if you try to open a bottle or packaging with your mouth. Should the damage to your teeth prove severe, your dental caregiver will extract the teeth and replace them.

8. You Undergo Radiation Therapy or Chemotherapy Around Your Face

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can have an adverse effect on your dental health. If your dentist sees at-risk teeth in your mouth, he or she will recommend that you remove them before undergoing chemical or radiation treatment.

9. You Have to Take Immunosuppressive Medications After an Organ Transplant

Immunosuppressive medications increase your risk for infection, especially in your mouth. Again, if you have at-risk teeth, your dentist will usually recommend an extraction.

10. You Have Malformed or Unsightly Teeth

Finally, you can also request an extraction on your own terms if you have unattractive teeth or enamel that formed in an unusual manner. Of course, your dentist may recommend that you consider veneers or crowns instead, but the decision lies with you.

Dental implants, bridges, and even dentures can fill the gaps in your smile if you find yourself in any of the above situations. Should you have any other questions about general tooth care, peruse our other blog posts.

Do You Need to See a Dentist While You Earn a Foreign Degree?

Posted by John Lee - February 24, 2016 - Uncategorized

Like many 21st-century students, you’ve chosen to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree at a foreign school. You’re excited to explore the world and learn more about your chosen field in a different country.

However, amid the excitement, you might realize that you don’t know how you’ll manage your dental health in this new country. Even if you plan to study in a first-world country, that nation might have different dental practices and standards than your native country, and its dentists may not accept your insurance.

Should you simply depend on your oral health regimen to keep your teeth healthy, or should you try to find a dentist while you study?

Below, you’ll find an outline of everything you need to know about maintaining your dental health while you study abroad.

1. Get a Dental Checkup Before You Leave

In the month before you leave, set up an appointment with your dentist to have him or her check your dental health. If you have a thorough oral examination before you leave, your dentist can take care of any cavities or other anomalies right then. You won’t have to go to a dentist you don’t know for emergency treatment later.

This checkup also tells you how soon you will need to see a dentist once you travel. You might have to see one sooner than you think if you have receding gums or any other developing condition.

2. Arrange to See Your Dentist on Visits Home

Even if you earn a degree abroad, you should not go without seeing a dentist in the interim. Ideally, try to set up an appointment with your current dentist the next time you come home to see friends or family. If possible, plan your dental visits around your upcoming summer break or winter vacation.

3. Check Water Standards and Brush With Bottled Water When Necessary

Sometimes, even if you travel to another first-world country, the tap water doesn’t go through the same purification processes that it does in the United States. Search online to determine whether or not you can safely use the water in your new region. If you can’t, brush your teeth with bottled water instead.

4. Ask Your Dentist to Recommend Foreign Practitioners

Perhaps you can’t fit in dentist visits during your trips home. In these circumstances, you may have to find a new dental practitioner in your host country. However, you don’t necessarily have to make the search alone. Ask your dentist if he or she knows or has heard of a quality dentist by your school.

Your current dentist may have contacts or knowledge of certifications in your new country. Ask him or her who or what she knows, and he or she can accelerate your search for a new foreign dentist.

5. Check Online Reviews of Local Dental Products

You may find your favorite toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash brands in your new country, or you may not. Fortunately, it’s easy to check up on this beforehand. Before you leave, read online reviews of the country’s popular dental products to see if any of them will work for you. Most countries have strong dental product lines. Your dentist can likely give you recommendations as needed.

6. Ship Dental Products From the United States When Necessary

In some cases, your host country might not have the same standards as the United States when it comes to dental hygiene products. If you suspect that local products might not have enough cleansing power to keep your mouth healthy, use online shopping sites like Amazon to ship trustworthy brands to your new home.

 

In most cases, you won’t have to worry about compatible dental treatment standards in other countries. However, if you find yourself in an area that doesn’t have the same standards as the United States, keep the above tips in mind. And if you have further questions about your personal dental health needs while abroad, talk to your dentist.

Upcoming Nuptials? Don’t Forget These Three Dental Steps

Posted by John Lee - February 10, 2016 - Uncategorized

On your wedding day, you expect a few mishaps. A bridesmaid may spill punch or wine all over her dress before the photographer has finished with pictures. One of the guests at the wedding dinner may say something that offends the other side of your family. However, amidst all these mishaps, you expect one thing to go smoothly-your own appearance.

Whether you will be the bride or the groom, you put a lot of work into how you will look when you say your vows. If you are the bride, you likely spend weeks looking for the perfect dress, the perfect hairpiece, and the perfect makeup to match. And if you are the groom, you put about as much consideration into your tuxedo ensemble.

However, as you go about perfecting your appearance for your special day, don’t neglect one vital element your mouth. If you want your wedding pictures to look flawless, you need a perfectly white, uniform smile, so consider taking the steps listed below.

1. Erase Discoloration With Teeth Whitening

If you do nothing else, make sure you whiten your smile before your impending nuptials. After all, you will either wear the white dress or stand next to it, and if you don’t have a white smile, not only will everyone notice, but it will show up in your pictures as well. It’s a good idea to meet with your dentist to go over your whitening options at least a month or so before your wedding date.

You have a few options when it comes to teeth whitening. First, you could opt for at-home whitening trays or whitening toothpaste. However, keep in mind that these methods only take your enamel’s shade so far. Nor do they work particularly quickly. If you need a dramatic shade change fast, you must choose a professional option.

Some of the best professional whitening treatments use lasers and can brighten your teeth by several shades in as little as an hour. If you visit your dentist for this treatment multiple times, you can whiten your teeth past natural shades until they match the wedding dress or anything else white you might wear.

2. Straighten Your Alignment With Orthodontics

Perhaps you already have a white smile. However, do your teeth form a uniform, elegant arch around your jawbone like they should? If they do not, consider getting braces in preparation for your big day. When you have a uniform, perfectly straight smile, you don’t have to worry about having shadows in your teeth when you flash your pearly whites at the camera.

Additionally, when you have straight teeth, you benefit even after your wedding day and honeymoon have ended. Aligned teeth ensure your jaw muscles and bones function properly, so they won’t wear down and lead to conditions like TMD.

3. Cover Flaws and Irregularities With Crowns or Veneers

Sometimes, even if you have a white, straight set of teeth, your smile still has flaws. Maybe one of your teeth developed incorrectly or just has a spot that whitening did not erase. In these cases, you still have a way to cover up the imperfections-you can use crowns or veneers instead.

Veneers represent the simpler option because your dentist adheres them to the front of your teeth. They are about as strong as your natural tooth enamel and can give you an immaculate smile for years. Crowns do something similar, except they replace all your tooth tissue apart from the roots. Your dentist shaves off most of the enamel to create a base, and then he or she installs the crown.

 

If you want to give yourself a stunning smile on your wedding day, don’t forget the three steps above. Schedule a meeting with your dentist so he or she can determine which of the above services you need to flash a dazzling grin.

Your Guide to Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy

Posted by John Lee - January 26, 2016 - Uncategorized

Congratulations! With your new bundle of joy on his or her way, you have a few things to do before the big arrival day. Did you include your dental hygiene on the list? Many times women will forget dental appointments during pregnancy. However, pregnant women need dental care now more than ever due to hormone changes in their body.

Hormones produced during pregnancy may cause swelling in the gum area. Swollen gums can trap food in between teeth resulting in dental concerns like gingivitis, gum disease, or tooth loss. Along with increased hormones, some women also have morning sickness. The stomach acid from throwing up can eat away tooth enamel on their teeth.

Use this guide to keep your pearly whites healthy during pregnancy.

Notify Your Dentist

Let your dentist know you are pregnant. This information will help your dentist make necessary precautions to ensure you and your baby’s safety. For example, procedures, such as x-rays, require special provisions for pregnant women.

Your dentist will also need to know any doctor recommendations you’ve received and what medications you’re taking. They can include this information in your dental treatment plan to avoid harmful substances that could affect your baby.

Don’t Skip Appointments

Some women may avoid the dentist while pregnant to reduce any possible health risks. However, you should seek out dental treatment now more than ever. You need regular gum exams to check your teeth are free from gum disease and/or gingivitis. Your gums will require particular attention as they are at an increased risk of infection. If you experience tenderness, bleeding, or swelling in your gums, talk with your dentist immediately.

You may want to avoid treatment in the first 12 weeks and the last 6 weeks of pregnancy as these are critical development times for your baby. However, you shouldn’t go the full nine months without an appointment.

As for treatments, you should only receive necessary dental work, such as tooth extraction or root canals. Unnecessary treatments include teeth whitening or cosmetic procedures. Although risks are minimal with elective treatments, you should try and limit risks to your developing baby.

Use X-rays with Caution

The American Dental Association has determined getting x-rays during pregnancy is safe as long as dentists use appropriate shielding. To lower the risk of harm to your baby, only get x-rays when necessary. Most routine x-rays aren’t required until after pregnancy. For emergency dental work, you can use shielding to minimize exposure.

Only Use Approved Medications  

Your dental treatment may require medications, anesthesia, or antibiotics. Always consult with your dentist and doctor about which medications you need. For instance, lidocaine is a drug you may want to consult with your doctor about. Studies are conflicted about the effects on fetuses from this medication because it does cross the placenta.

You may also need anesthesia during dental work. Your dentist should only use the minimum amount of dosages. You can always add more if you’re in pain. Stress from pain is also not safe for your baby. Talk with your dentist to find a happy medium.

Some dental treatments require antibiotics including penicillin, clindamycin, and amoxicillin. These antibiotics are determined as fairly safe during pregnancy. Keep in mind, not all antibiotics are safe. For example, tetracycline could affect your child’s teeth development. Your dentist can help you create a treatment plan that will protect your baby and your teeth.

Use this guide as a reference for dental work during your pregnancy. Always consult your dentist about precautions and procedures. Once you have a dental treatment plan in place, you can focus on getting ready for your precious new addition.

3 Ways to Prepare for a Child’s Dental Emergency

Posted by John Lee - January 11, 2016 - Uncategorized

As a loving parent, you do everything you can to keep your children safe, comfortable, and happy. You insist that your children wear mouth guards when they play sports. You teach them to how to properly brush and floss. And you find new ways to make trips to the dentist’s office fun and rewarding.

But for all your sound advice and constant care, your kids are still kids. As they play and explore, they have the slight risk of experiencing an accident and suffering an injury. They might trip on the curb, fall off the swings, or run face first into another child.

Although these accidents seem frightening at a glance, they are a part of growing up. When you learn to prepare for the worst, you can quickly take action and provide medical care for your son or daughter during an emergency.

To feel better prepared for trips, falls, and tumbles, follow the guide below.

1. Assemble an Emergency Kit

You may already have a basic first aid kit on hand, complete with adhesive bandages and anti-bacterial gel for cuts and scrapes. But does your kit include gear for dental emergencies? If not, add these items to your collection:

  • Save-a-Tooth solution. Teeth need to stay in a moist environment to remain in good condition. If your child were to lose or knock out a tooth, you’ll want to place the broken pieces in a sterile solution that nourishes the tooth. You can buy Save-a-Tooth solution at many grocery stores in the pharmacy section.
  • Tweezers. If your child loses a tooth, you’ll need to pick up the pieces quickly. But as a general rule, you should avoid touching the root of a tooth, lest you cause further damage. Tweezers will allow you to grab those tiny baby teeth with precision and care.
  • Pain relievers. Any oral injury will result in some level of pain, and you’ll want to relieve that pain as quickly as possible to keep your child calm and relaxed. Stock up on some child-friendly pain relievers, such as Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin-based products. Aspirin acts as a blood thinner, which can inhibit clotting.

You may also want to add other emergency essentials such as gauze, cotton balls, and dental floss.

2. Learn Emergency Practices

Your emergency kit will come in handy should the worst happen to your child. However, your kit won’t do your child much good if you don’t know how to use it. Make sure you know how to respond quickly to the following dental scenarios:

  • Chipped tooth. Try to find the fragment and store it in Save-a-Tooth solution (or milk). Have your child rinse his or her mouth with water. Place wet gauze on any bleeding areas and apply pressure until bleeding stops.  
  • Knocked-out tooth. Try to find the missing tooth, pick it up by the crown, and store it in Save-a-Tooth solution. Have your child rinse his or her mouth. Apply a cold pack to lips or cheeks near the tooth to minimize swelling.
  • Embedded objects. Gently floss around the object to loosen it. Do not use sharp tools to yank out or remove the object.

Feel free to do a little extra research of your own so you can feel prepared for any situation.

3. Save Emergency Contact Numbers

Though you can provide temporary relief to your child during an emergency, your son or daughter will need immediate medical care from a professional. Depending on the severity of the problem, you’ll want to take your child to his or her dentist or to the emergency room for treatment.

If your dentist provides emergency care, save his or her number to your smart phone so you won’t have to look up the number later. Better still, add the number to your speed dial so you can set up an appointment as soon as possible.

If the trauma involves more than oral damage, don’t hesitate to call 911 or your local hospital for help.

 

Once you’ve fully prepared for an emergency, you can feel confident that you can help your children whenever a stumble or fall results in damaged teeth.  

Why Do My Teeth Hurt in Cold Weather?

Posted by John Lee - January 1, 2016 - Uncategorized

Between the rain and wind and the ice and snow, Portland can feel a bit dreary and cold during the winter months. Though you do your best to bundle up, your teeth can’t help but chatter whenever you go outside. Even worse, whenever you inhale through your mouth, you feel a sharp twinge of pain spreading from the tips of your incisors to your gums.

Is It The Weather or Something Else?

When closed, your mouth’s internal temperature should stay at about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But whenever you open your mouth, this temperature changes depending on the drinks you consume, the food you eat, and the air you breathe.

During the winter, the cold air from outside causes the different layers of your teeth to contract. If the inner dentin contracts faster than your outer enamel, the contraction stresses your tooth, resulting in discomfort and sensitivity.

However, sensitivity to cold can also happen for a variety of reasons, not just tooth contraction. Some of the most common factors include the following.

Defective or Large Metal Fillings

Although fillings last a long time, some materials deteriorate faster than others. Gold fillings, for example, last about 10 to 15 years. But composite fillings may only last about 5 years. As these fillings loosen and wear away, the softer inner layers of the tooth become vulnerable to decay and temperature changes.

Furthermore, metal fillings conduct heat more effectively than your enamel. As a result, they expand and contract more dramatically when exposed to temperature fluctuations.

Cracked or Chipped Teeth

If you grind your teeth or if you recently suffered oral damage, your teeth may have tiny cracks and fractures across the surface. The separated pieces will move slightly whenever you bite, chew, or speak. The movement irritates your tooth’s pulp, resulting in discomfort and pain.

Additionally, cracks in your teeth increase your risk for infection and tooth decay. If bacteria become trapped in the fissures, they’ll infect the pulp tissue and trigger inflammation.

Recessed or Infected Gums

When bacteria build up along the gum line, the infection irritates and damages the gum tissues. If left untreated, the gums will gradually pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth’s root.

Your tooth’s root does not have protective enamel like the rest of your tooth. Instead, the root has a soft layer, or cementum, which wears away quickly when exposed. Once the cementum has deteriorated, your tooth’s root will remain highly sensitive to temperature changes.

Ways You Can Minimize Sensitivity

Although you can’t change Portland’s weather, you can take steps to protect your teeth and minimize sensitivity.

Breathe Through Your Nose

Your lips, tongue, and cheeks all protect, warm, and insulate your teeth against the cold. So whenever possible, breathe through your nose rather than your mouth this winter.

If you struggle to breathe through your nose, consider wearing a protective ski mask or similar item to trap heat close to your mouth.

Use the Right Toothpaste

Not all toothpastes are created equal. Some brands fight cavities more effectively than others, while others focus more on whitening your smile. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, opt for a toothpaste formulated specifically for sensitive teeth.

The right toothpaste contains ingredients that protect your exposed dentin and minimize pain whenever you eat and drink. And some brands also contain fluoride to reinforce your enamel, increasing your tooth’s resistance against decay and infection.

Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist can help you determine the underlying cause for your sensitive teeth and recommend the right treatment for you. For example, if you grind your teeth at night, he or she may recommend a mouth guard to prevent chips and cracks. Or if you have recessed gums, your dentist may recommend a deeper cleaning, or scaling, to prevent further gum damage.

When you follow your dentist’s instructions and practice good oral hygiene, your teeth will stay comfortable despite the chilly weather.