Adult Dentistry: It’s Never Too Late for Dental Care

Good News for Grown-Ups

“Adulting” can be hard. Between rent, bills, kids, a career, and other responsibilities, it can be tough to make time for yourself. But independence, parenting, fulfilling work, and the wisdom that comes with age can be pretty fantastic, too. So how does your oral healthcare fit into a grown-up lifestyle?

Nelson Ridge Family Dental serves adults from all over New Lenox. Read more for our tips on how to care for your oral health at this particular stage in life.

  • Priorities: You manage a lot on any given day. Brushing your teeth and making a dental appointment may not feel like the most pressing of matters, but you know they are important in the long run—so you do it.
  • Family Life: Many people are more motivated to take care of themselves when good habits easily fit in with family life, and others are looking to you to set a positive example. Whether you are caring for children or aging parents, preventative oral healthcare is more likely to happen when done together as a family.
  • Benefits: If you have a job that provides dental coverage, there’s really no reason not to see the dentist. You should even be able to use paid time off for the appointment. Ever heard of “me time”?
  • Holistic Dentistry: As we get older, we tend to know ourselves better. Holistic medicine is getting more popular as people consider all the ways one part of their health affects another. Keep solid notes on how your whole body and mouth are doing and share the notes with both your doctor and your dentist.

Adult Oral Health Concerns

As grown-ups, we all know that time is not always on our side. As you age, some things are actually hurting your chances of having a healthy mouth and lifestyle. You won’t get yesterday back, so when it comes to starting and maintaining healthy oral care habits, it’s never too late to start implementing healthier habits today.

Here is what you’re up against:

  • Stains: Yellow teeth look old and unhealthy. Avoid or decrease sugar, coffee, red wine, and nicotine to keep your pearly whites actually white. (And if you need a little help, there are plenty of teeth whitening options available.)
  • Enamel: Sugar in soda, juice and desserts threaten your enamel. Enamel is the hard, protective cover on each tooth and it can never be replaced. Sensitive toothpaste can help preserve your enamel.
  • Receding Gums: Brushing too hard, smoking, and simply aging can cause your gums to pull back and reveal more of your tooth. Talk with your dentist if you’re concerned about receding gums.
  • Gum Disease: Nearly half of all Americans over 30 have gum disease. Gum disease can be painful inflammation called gingivitis or advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Bad breath, bone loss, and tooth loss are all potential side effects of severe periodontitis.
  • Pregnancy & Nursing: Oral care is important for pregnant and nursing women. Having children takes a toll on your body and you need to replenish and care for yourself. Gum disease in pregnant women has even been linked to birth defects and labor complications, so it’s worth the time and effort to prevent it.

Adult Preventive Care

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll never grow out of needing to brush your teeth, eat a healthy diet, and visit the dentist. These three habits are the keys to a healthy mouth for people of all ages.

At this age, a lot of people are counting on you, so maintain healthy habits today for the best chance of a healthy mouth later in life. Make an appointment to get a professional cleaning in New Lenox or just to learn more about adult oral health care.

The content of 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.

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Baby Dentistry: Teething & Other Joys

It’s easy to think that baby teeth aren’t that important. They make their grand entrance (however painfully) and leave your baby’s mouth soon thereafter. But your baby’s oral health is very important, both in the present and to set the stage for a lifetime of health. Today Nelson Ridge Family Dental would like to talk about those tiny teeth and how to care for them.

Teething Facts

  1. Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months and can continue until your child is 3 years old. Every baby is different.
  2. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 additional lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars.
  3. One reason we get baby teeth is that our baby mouths aren’t big enough for the size and number of adult teeth we need later in life.
  4. Babies have 20 teeth that fall out. They are then replaced by 32 adult teeth.
  5. Chewing on a cold, wet washcloth, extra snuggles, and a little pain-relieving medicine are certain to help ease the pain of teething.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, teething is not proven to cause sickness like diarrhea, fever, or a runny nose.
  7. Children should see the dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start coming in.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

  • Breastfeeding: According to a recent study, babies that exclusively breastfed for at least six months have a 72% less chance of developing an improper bite. Breastfeeding also reduces your child’s risk of baby bottle tooth decay and cavities.
  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Overexposure to sugar in the liquids your baby drinks can cause early tooth decay, which is when the important, hard enamel cover of your teeth breaks down. Enamel never grows back, so it’s very important to protect. Avoid baby tooth decay by only using formula and breast milk in your child’s bottle, not putting honey or sugar on their pacifiers, and not letting them fall asleep drinking from the bottle.
  • Cleaning: “Welcome to earth! Now, let me wash your gums.” It may seem silly, but you’re actually supposed to wash your baby’s gums from the first day they are born. Use a clean washcloth and water, and maintain the habit as all the baby teeth start coming in. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended after your child turns 3. Fluoride-free toothpaste or “training toothpaste” is popular for kids under 3.
  • Thumbs and Pacifiers: Discuss thumb sucking and pacifier use with us. Usually, both are fine until babies become little children. However, they can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay, jaw misalignment, and an improper bite. Consider weaning off either of these habits depending on what your dentist recommends.
  • Insurance for Pediatric Dental Care: Most states cover dental visits for children on governmental support. And most dental offices have flexible payment plans to help everyone prioritize oral health for the whole family. Don’t let finances hold you back from keeping your baby as healthy as possible—feel free to reach out to us, we’re happy to help.

Once your baby’s first tooth has emerged, it’s very important to begin a regular dental care routine. Contact your New Lenox dentists today to make an appointment. We’d love to see your little bundle of joy smile!

The content of 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.

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Finding Your Oasis: Food & Drinks for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is the technical term for dry mouth, the condition that results from absent or reduced saliva flow. It is not a disease on its own, but it may be a side effect of medication or radiation treatments. Xerostomia affects about 20% of the elderly population—not because of their age, but due to the increased likelihood of using medication or having radiation therapy that causes dry mouth. The New Lenox dentists of Nelson Ridge Family Dental are here to discuss some foods and beverages to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Food & Beverages that Help Dry Mouth

8-12 glasses of water per day is ideal to keep saliva production on track, so making a habit of carrying a water bottle with you is a great idea. Sugar-free juices, reduced-sugar sports drinks, club soda, and herbal tea with lemon are good beverage choices when you just can’t stand the idea of drinking any more water.

A soft, high-protein diet is recommended for people with dry mouth. Substitute moist fish, eggs, and cheese for red meat. Serving food lukewarm or at room temperature reduces the chances of burning the mouth with hot food. To make bread or rolls easier to eat with dry mouth, soak them in milk or your favorite sauce to soften them. Eat moist casseroles and other foods that incorporate gravy, sauce, or broth in their recipes. Make smoothies, slushies, or shakes in the blender that incorporate milk alternatives like soy, almond, or rice milk (consumption of cow’s milk often produces thicker saliva and can worsen dry mouth).

More examples of soft natural foods that are helpful for people with dry mouth include tender meats like chicken and fish, smooth peanut butter, soups, canned fruits, soft-cooked/blended vegetables like carrots or celery, mashed potatoes, soft-cooked pasta, oatmeal, ice cream, pudding, and popsicles. Herbal flavor enhancers, condiments, and fruit extracts can be used to make food more flavorful, as the diet for dry mouth may seem bland to many.

There are also artificial saliva substitutes and stimulants that can help curb dry mouth, as can sugarless candies and chewing gums. Sucking on fruit pits from cherries or olives, and lemon rinds can help stimulate saliva flow, as do lemon drops and other hard candies, although be wary of excessive sugar intake.

Food & Beverages to Avoid for Dry Mouth

Increased water and fluid intake are recommended, but caffeinated fluids such as tea, coffee, and cola act as diuretics and are not ideal for xerostomia sufferers. If you’re craving soda, let it go flat prior to indulging. Alcohol consumption should also be limited or avoided.

Foods should not be excessively hot or cold, sugary, salty, spicy, or acidic, including citric fruits like tomato, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple and astringent foods like apple, pomegranate, pear, quinoa, legumes, tofu, sprouts, beans, and lentils. You should also avoid dry, crumbly foods like crackers, cereal, pastries, toast, and dry meat.

If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, contact Dr. Etchison, Dr. Pycinska, Dr. Eberhardt or Dr. Danesh today and we’ll be happy to talk about solutions with you!

The content of 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.

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