How Saliva Can Help Your Oral Health | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-80707547We have been taught since we were kids that keeping your smile pretty means you have to brush, floss and rinse every day. In fact, we’ve also been told we should do it after every meal. As a child, it’s incredibly difficult to keep up that tall order. What kid keeps a toothbrush with them? But keeping it to twice a day was a bit more feasible with mom’s constant reminders. What you don’t know is that we are given a natural tooth decaying weapon – saliva.

That’s right. The answer is already inside of your mouth. See, tooth decay is something that happens when bacteria feeds off the sugars we consume through food and drink. This plaque latches on to your teeth and begins to eat through the enamel. Generally, we are under the impression that by brushing our teeth after every meal, there isn’t much time for this oral menace to do a whole lot of damage. But even more than that, when the saliva glands are activated in our mouths, it actually helps rinse off the bacteria naturally.

So what causes us to create saliva? Chewing. Every meal and every snack you eat, every piece of bubble gum you chew is all helping to create the saliva that fights against germs and bad breath. But keep in mind, it takes 20 minutes for sugar to be cleared from your mouth after its consumption. The more often you are chewing on something sugary, the more often you are exposing your teeth to more bacteria, so try to keep the things you consume less sugary and more healthy. Sugar-free gum & candy is great, but so is a simple bottle of water. Keeping a nice balance will not only get those salivary glands working, but will also help out when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Unfortunately, there are some conditions that prevent a healthy amount of saliva to produce in our mouths. Certain medications or diseases can also affect the way your body produces saliva. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is more likely to develop conditions like rapid tooth decay, gum disease, cavities or even bad breath. This may be able to be cured naturally by drinking lots of water and chewing on sugar-free gum or candy, but you should have a medical professional give you their opinion, just in case it is preventable.

If you are on the other side of the spectrum, you are producing too much saliva. Overactive glands could be affected by something as simple as taste buds reacting to spicy foods, to something much more serious, like poisoning or stroke. And while it is generally fixable, you may need a doctor to prescribe you something if it is an actual health condition causing the excessive saliva.

Saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. It is nature’s disinfecting cavity fighter. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth healthy, both at home and when visiting a dental professional. You don’t have to brush your teeth…Just the ones you want to keep!

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

The Ins & Outs of Dental Floss | Northridge Dentist

flossing

As important as oral health is to our overall well-being, we really have a lax stance on participating to our fullest potential. One of the least favorite of these little dental chores is flossing. Not only did a survey conducted by the American Dental Association revealed that more adult would rather do something they find awful than floss, but the amount of times they floss is the biggest lie dentists hear on a day-to-day basis. But why do we find it so similar to our own daily torture? It’s the forgotten hygiene. Either we’re too busy or we are too lazy, but flossing has become the “Do I haveta?” of the dental world. And unfortunately, flossing is much more important than we think.

Flossing is merely the act of wrapping a piece of string around your teeth, one by one, in order to remove any bacteria and excess material stuck between each tooth. In its conception, floss was made from strands of silk (fancy!), but nowadays it comes from thin filament cord. There are varying thicknesses and varieties to choose from, depending on preference. Some are waxed, some are electric or water-based. There are also handy tools available on the market that help facilitate you in flossing properly, whether you need help reaching all of your teeth or working your way around complicated dental work, like braces. So no matter your reason for avoiding the floss, it isn’t a good one.

Even the process itself is relatively simple. Cut yourself a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap both sides around your fingers until you have a good two inches separating either side. Pull it taut between your thumb and index finger and guide the floss in between each tooth. With a downward zigzag motion, slide the floss around each tooth in a curved motion, reminiscent to a shoe shine fella’s rag. What you’re trying to do is gently scrub down all the space between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Now beyond that, there aren’t a whole lot of rules. Use a new area of floss for every tooth, don’t snap or flick the floss between your teeth (it isn’t good for your teeth and it’s gross), and always use a new piece each time you floss. No particular order necessary to do it right. Work from top to bottom or vice versa. Floss before you brush your teeth or after. You just want to get the cleanest mouth you possibly can each time you clean those pearly whites so that bacteria can’t glom onto your teeth and give you cavities or some other kind of gum disease while you aren’t looking. Preventative measures lead to fewer emergency dental visits.

If you’re considering a dental checkup and would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. David P. Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding proper ways to floss.

David P. Lunt proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and all surrounding areas.

Seven Things Your Dentists Knows About You Just By Looking in Your Mouth | Northridge, Ca Dentist

465559697While cavities and plaque build-up may be what’s on your mind before a teeth cleaning, your dentist is looking for a whole lot more. One might say the mouth is the window to the body! Often, diseases like cancer, anemia and diabetes will first be identified by the dentist in a regular examination, and this can saves lives. It’s not just diseases—dentists can discover everything from your bad habits to your favorite beverages simply by asking you to say, “Ahh!”

1. You flossed right before your appointment—and that’s the only time.

Sorry, but you can’t fool your dentist into thinking you floss daily by doing so the night before or morning of your visit.

2. You’re pregnant.

Nearly 40% of women will develop gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is caused by increased progesterone, which facilitates the growth of bacteria, causing gingivitis. Some women will develop a deep red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma.This type of tumor is completely benign and will go away after the pregnancy is over. Most women are typically pretty far along before their gums start bleeding, so it’s not as though a dentist will “discover” that a patient is pregnant.

3. You used to suck your thumb.

Most children that suck their thumbs or a finger have no long-term effects from the habit. Those who did so past the age of seven or eight may show significant changes to their bite or the position of their teeth. Much of that can be corrected through orthodontic treatment, but some telltale signs can remain.

4. Your bad breath may mean something.

General bad breath is categorized as halitosis. But dentists are also trained to identify “fruity” smells and “fishy” smells, which can mean numerous things. Fruit’ breath could indicate uncontrolled diabetes or a dietary fast that has gone too far, while ‘fishy’ breath could be a sign of kidney or liver failure.  If the smell is very foul it could be anything from gastroesophageal reflux to other underlying problems. The first thing your dentist should do is rule out the odor coming from the teeth and gums and proceed from there.

5. You may have an eating disorder.

Many patients are surprised that their dentist is the first one to ask about eating disorders. Bulimia exhibits a very distinct pattern of tooth wear that your dentist can easily identify. Other possibilities include acid reflux and the use of antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, both of which reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, thereby upping the odds of acid damage.

6. You have oral cancer.

The first signs of oral cancer can be seen from the following: unexplained bleeding in the mouth, white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, swellings, thickenings, lumps or bumps or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. An oral surgeon should be consulted for a biopsy of any suspicious tissue.

7. You love Soda & Energy Drinks.

You may know why you chipped your tooth and even though the cause may be apparent, there could be underlying factors that weakened the tooth and made it susceptible to being chipped in the first place. He explains that teeth can be softened by sodas and other sugary beverages over time, which may make a tooth more susceptible to chipping. Energy drinks, which tend to be even more acidic than soft drinks, may cause even more damage to tooth enamel(Source: Prevention.com).

Keep your teeth and possibly your entire health seriously with regular visits to your dentist. It could save your life!

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt DDS Restorative, Preventive and General Dentistry by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.