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Is Nail Biting a Dental Problem?

Is Nail Biting a Dental Problem?

Also called onychophagia, nail biting is a common habit for lots of people, usually children, teens, and young adults. Often, nail biting is caused by stress and seems to wane as people get older. Though some would argue that it’s not as bad as smoking or other less desirable habits, there are several reasons to stop nail biting:

It’s unsanitary. Did you know that your mouth and your hands/nails are two of the germiest areas on your body? If you have any open sores on your fingertips and you bite your nails, the germs from your mouth spread to that area. Pretty gross if you think about it.

It’s unattractive. Nobody really wants to watch someone bite their nails. As well, it doesn’t make your nails look very nice either.

It hurts your teeth. When you bite your nails, it strains front teeth and can weaken them, which may contribute to misalignment or crookedness. Nail biting also keeps your teeth in constant chewing motion and may wear them down faster than if you didn’t bite your nails.

It can cost you money. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that nail biting may add $4000 to dental bills over a lifetime.

Stopping any habit can be difficult. To curtail your nail biting, try to:

  1. Think about it. Sometimes, just be conscious of this habit can help you stop.
  2. Make your nails look nice. You won’t want to mess them up if they are neatly manicured.
  3. Create a deterrent. Check at the drug store for colorless, odorless solutions you apply to the
    nails. These topicals taste awful, which should make it easier to quit.

Take the first step towards optimal oral hygiene. Reserve your dental appointment at our Baltimore dental office now and experience personalized care.

Make the Most of Your Dental Visits

Make the Most of Your Dental Visits

Seeing your dentist twice a year is an important part of keeping your oral health in good condition. While this activity may not top the list of fun things to do, a dental visit doesn’t have to make you miserable either. With a little planning, you can ensure that your dental visit is a positive experience.

• Find the right dentist.

Selecting a dentist that you feel comfortable with will go a long way towards creating a good dental visit. At Brown, Reynolds & Snow, we understand that finding doctors with broad knowledge and expertise in all areas of dentistry will provide you with that extra incentive and confidence in seeking the smile you have always desired.

• Provide all the facts

Your dentist can do a better job meeting your needs if you are up front about any concerns you have or any problems you have been experiencing.

• Take care of your mouth

If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you are setting yourself up to fail. Good home care can prevent problems like gum disease and tooth decay from developing, which will save you extra time in the dental chair.

• Schedule routine exams

When you don’t see a dentist for years, your mouth won’t be in the best condition. Visiting the dentist twice a year ensures that you get professional cleanings and it allows the doctor to watch for signs of trouble.

• Try to relax

Deep breathing exercises or mediation may calm your nerves. If you feel especially anxious about your dental visits, talk with the dentist about your fears, and see what options the practice has available to make you more comfortable.

Do not wait any longer. Book your appointment now and achieve the smile you have always wanted. Dr. Farrugia is accepting new patients from Baltimore and the surrounding area.

Examining Amalgam Fillings

Examining Amalgam Fillings

The traditional silver fillings that patients have been getting for many years have come into the spotlight in recent years. Some people wonder if these silver, or amalgam, fillings are safe because they contain small amounts of mercury.

Background
Amalgam fillings contain a mixture of half liquid mercury and half a blend of silver, copper, and tin. This material is soft and malleable, which makes it easy to be sculpted to fit well into the tooth and not affect the patient’s bite. Amalgam fillings have been used to fill cavities for over 150 years.

Risks
The concern about mercury as an ingredient in amalgam fillings is due to the health risks of toxicity or allergies associated with exposure. Significant mercury exposure can cause chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, birth defects, oral lesions, and mental disorders. The FDA has investigated the safety of amalgam fillings, however, and determined that the mercury levels are too low to present adverse health risks for adults or children over age six. It has also been deemed safe for nursing mothers to have amalgam fillings. Both the FDA and the American Dental Association maintain that these types of fillings are safe.

Alternatives
Patients who are uncomfortable with amalgam fillings may choose composite resin material instead. This newer type of filling is used in about 70 percent of fillings performed today, and many patients prefer the tooth-colored resin because it is less noticeable in the mouth than silver fillings. Patients who have concerns about amalgam fillings already in place may ask the dentist about switching to composite resin instead.

Take the first step towards optimal oral hygiene. Reserve your dental appointment at our Baltimore dental office now and experience personalized care.

Stress and Its Connection to Teeth Grinding

Stress and Its Connection to Teeth Grinding

Modern lifestyles can be extremely stressful as many people have to deal with deadlines, demands and other frustrations that make up daily life. This can be an issue if you’re constantly under stress as it may affect your health. There are numerous health conditions that can be affected by high stress levels, and one of these is teeth grinding.

What Is Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition that causes you to clench and grind your teeth together. It normally occurs during sleep so you may not even realize you have bruxism. This condition is likely to be identified by your family dentist in Baltimore due to teeth becoming worn down and chipped, or quite often a sleeping partner will complain about the grinding noise during the night.

What Does Stress Have To Do with Bruxism?
Teeth grinding has been linked to high levels of stress and anxiety. It’s been shown that people under stress are more likely to grind their teeth, particularly if they don’t have any coping mechanisms.

How Could Teeth Grinding Affect Me?
Teeth grinding can have more of an effect than you might imagine. It can cause teeth to become cracked, sensitive or even loose. Excessive grinding can damage the gums and bone surrounding your teeth, or may cause a painful disorder called TMD. This affects the jaw joints or temporomandibular joints, and can cause headaches, earache and facial pain.

How is Bruxism Treated?
Your dentist in Baltimore is likely to recommend a custom-made night guard which is worn while sleeping to protect your teeth and jaws from any further damage. It works through preventing your teeth from coming into contact. Additionally, you may be prescribed a muscle relaxant to help prevent clenching. It can be helpful to reduce stress levels through various measures which can include exercise, yoga, meditation or stress counseling.

Take the first step towards optimal oral hygiene. Reserve your dental appointment at our Baltimore dental office now and experience personalized care.

Dental Concerns Unique to Pregnancy

Dental Concerns Unique to Pregnancy

Importance of Dental Health During Pregnancy

Good oral hygiene plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. During pregnancy, hormonal changes in the body can lead to an increased risk of several dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth erosion. In addition to these issues, poor dental health during pregnancy has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weight.

Brief Overview of Common Dental Concerns During Pregnancy

There are several unique dental concerns that pregnant women may face:

  • Gingivitis: hormonal changes in the body cause an increase in blood flow to gums making them more sensitive and prone to inflammation which leads to gingivitis
  • Tooth decay: morning sickness causes acid reflux which leads to enamel erosion on teeth
  • Pregnancy tumors: overgrowth or swellings occur more often on gum tissue due to hormonal changes
  • Dry mouth: pregnant women may experience dry mouth due to hormonal fluctuations which can lead them vulnerable for cavities and gum disease
  • Cavities: pregnant women may develop cavities if they consume more sugary foods or experience morning sickness

Although these dental concerns can be concerning, they can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Next, we will delve into the most common dental problems experienced by pregnant women: hormonal changes and gum disease.

Hormonal Changes and Gum Disease

Pregnancy is a unique phase of life when a woman’s body undergoes many hormonal changes. These changes can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

The hormone progesterone, which increases during pregnancy, causes an exaggerated response to plaque and bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to red, swollen and bleeding gums.

Symptoms and signs of gum disease in pregnant women

Early signs of gum disease include swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. As the disease progresses, pockets form between the teeth and gums and may cause bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. In advanced stages, teeth may become loose or fall out.

Prevention and treatment options for gum disease during pregnancy

Prevention is always better than cure, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene practices during pregnancy such as brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly. Regular dental check-ups with a dentist are also crucial as they can identify any potential issues early on.

Treatment for gum disease during pregnancy may include deep cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing (which removes plaque build-up below the gum line) or more extensive treatment if needed after delivery. If you suspect you have gum disease while pregnant, you should contact your dentist right away to schedule an appointment.

Morning Sickness and Tooth Erosion

Morning sickness is a common symptom experienced by many pregnant women. This condition is characterized by nausea and vomiting, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the acidic vomit produced during morning sickness can have a negative impact on dental health.

The acid present in vomit can cause tooth erosion, which is the wearing away of the enamel on teeth. Tooth erosion can cause sensitivity and pain while eating or drinking.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Erosion During Pregnancy

Preventing tooth erosion during pregnancy starts with good dental hygiene practices. Pregnant women should brush their teeth twice daily for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. They should also floss daily to remove food particles that may be stuck between teeth and gums.

Additionally, pregnant women should rinse their mouth with water after vomiting to help neutralize any stomach acid left in the mouth. Pregnant women can also take steps to reduce morning sickness symptoms, which will ultimately help prevent tooth erosion.

Eating small meals throughout the day instead of large meals can reduce nausea and vomiting episodes. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water or herbal tea, can also help reduce morning sickness symptoms.

Treatment Options for Tooth Erosion in Pregnant Women

If tooth erosion does occur during pregnancy, treatment options will depend on the severity of the condition. If caught early enough, enamel remineralization treatments may be used to restore some of the lost enamel on teeth.

In more severe cases, restorative dentistry procedures such as fillings or crowns may be necessary to repair damaged teeth. However, it’s important for pregnant women to consult with their dentist regarding any dental procedures they may need as some treatments are not recommended during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Tumors

Definition and Explanation of Pregnancy Tumors

Pregnancy tumors, also known as pyogenic granulomas, are non-cancerous growths that can develop on the gums during pregnancy. These growths are typically localized, meaning they only affect one area of the gums, and can range in size from a few millimeters to over a centimeter. They are usually painless, although some women may experience discomfort or bleeding when brushing their teeth.

Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors Associated with Pregnancy Tumors

The exact cause of pregnancy tumors is unknown. However, hormonal changes during pregnancy are believed to play a role in their development.

Specifically, an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels can cause an overgrowth of blood vessels in the gums. This overgrowth can then lead to the formation of pregnancy tumors.

While pregnancy tumors can develop in any woman who is pregnant, some women may be at a higher risk than others. For example, women who have poor dental hygiene or pre-existing gum disease may be more likely to develop these growths.

The symptoms of pregnancy tumors include red or purple bumps on the gums that bleed easily when touched or brushed. Some women may also experience pain or discomfort in the affected area.

Treatment Options for Pregnancy Tumors

In most cases, pregnancy tumors do not require treatment and will go away on their own after delivery. However, some women may choose to have them removed if they cause discomfort or embarrassment. If treatment is necessary, there are several options available.

One common treatment is surgical removal of the tumor under local anesthesia. Laser therapy may also be used to remove the growth while minimizing bleeding and discomfort.

Good oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing and flossing can help prevent the development of pregnancy tumors during pregnancy. Additionally, seeing a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help identify and treat any dental concerns before they become more serious issues.

Medications During Pregnancy

The Impact of Medications on Dental Health

Pregnant women are often prescribed medications to manage various health issues, but some medications can affect dental health. For example, certain antibiotics like tetracycline can cause tooth discoloration in developing fetuses.

Additionally, some over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy because they can increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, pregnant women should always inform their dentists and doctors about any medications they are taking to ensure that they receive the appropriate dental care.

Safe Medications for Pregnant Women

There are many safe options for pregnant women who need dental treatment. For example, topical fluoride treatments and local anesthesia are generally considered safe during pregnancy.

Antibiotics like penicillin and erythromycin are also generally safe for use during pregnancy. However, it is important to remember that every medication has risks associated with it, so dentists and doctors must weigh the benefits against any potential adverse effects.

Precautions when Taking Medication

While certain medications may be deemed safe during pregnancy, it is always important to take precautions when taking any medication. Pregnant women should always follow their doctors’ instructions carefully and only take medications as prescribed. They should also avoid self-medicating or taking medication without consulting a healthcare provider first.

Furthermore, pregnant women should inform their dentists or doctors if they experience any side effects from their medication or if they have any concerns about their treatment plan. Overall, while there may be some risks associated with taking medication during pregnancy as it affects dental health; seeking professional advice from healthcare providers can help minimize these risks and promote healthy outcomes for both mother and baby.

Nutrition During Pregnancy And Its Effect On Dental Health

Importance of nutrition in maintaining good oral health

A healthy diet is essential for maintaining good oral health during pregnancy. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products.

Calcium and vitamin D are particularly important for maintaining strong teeth and bones. Pregnant women should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Listing out foods that promote good oral health

Foods that promote good oral health include those that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), leafy greens (kale, spinach), almonds, and salmon. Foods high in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries) can also help strengthen gums and prevent gum disease. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots can help clean teeth naturally.

Foods That Should Be Avoided

During pregnancy it’s best to avoid sugary foods which contribute to tooth decay. Soft drinks should be avoided as they contain high levels of sugar which can harm the teeth already weakened by hormonal changes during pregnancy. Eating between meals or snacking all day leads to increased exposure to acid which is not good for the teeth either.

Eating a balanced diet during pregnancy is essential for overall health including dental hygiene. 

Proper nutrition helps ensure the growth of a healthy baby while decreasing risks associated with premature birth or low birth weight. By consuming enough vitamins & minerals from quality food options pregnant women will maintain strong teeth while reducing their risk of gum disease or tooth decay even with hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy.

Do not wait any longer. Book your appointment now and achieve the smile you have always wanted. Dr. Farrugia is accepting new patients from Baltimore and the surrounding area.

Stress and Teeth Grinding

Stress and Teeth Grinding

Life can be full of frustrations, demands, deadlines, and inconveniences. For lots of people, stress is a way of life. The problem is that when you’re constantly stressed out, your health can pay the price. There are many health conditions that are caused or worsen due to high stress levels, but did you know that your mouth may be affected in the form of teeth grinding?

What is teeth grinding?

The condition of grinding or gnashing your teeth together is called bruxism, and often includes clenching your jaw. It commonly happens while sleeping, so that you may not even realize you’re doing it. Sometimes a sleeping partner hears it, or your dentist may recognize the signs of unusual wear on your teeth.

What does my stress level have to do with it?

Teeth grinding has been linked to stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that people who are stressed from daily life and don’t have adequate coping methods are more likely to grind their teeth. Experts say that both adults and children facing stress sometimes cope by grinding their teeth.

How does teeth grinding affect me?

Grinding your teeth has more negative effects than you might think. It often causes headaches, earaches, and sleep problems. It can cause chipped, loose, cracked, or sensitive teeth. Tooth enamel can suffer excessive wear, and gum tissue may be damaged. Teeth grinding also often causes a painful jaw disorder of the temporomadibular joint, commonly called TMJ.

What can I do about it?

Your dentist may recommend wearing an over-the-counter or custom mouthguard at night, to protect your teeth from further damage. Medications usually are not helpful, although a muscle relaxant before bed may help prevent jaw clenching. The ideal treatment is to try to reduce or eliminate stress that may be contributing to your teeth grinding. Relaxation therapy, stress management, corrective exercises, and counseling are some of the options that dentists suggest to help you remedy the problem.

We treat patients from Baltimore and the surrounding area