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Why Do My Gums Itch?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why Do My Gums Itch?

Itchy gums can be irritating especially if you don’t know the cause. Itchy gums can be the sign of many different oral conditions including allergies, gum disease, or even a dry mouth. Stop the itching using home remedies to relieve inflammation, but see your dentist to diagnose and treat oral diseases or conditions. Rinse out your mouth with cool or cold water. Rinsing may get rid of any debris that is causing your gums to itch and help soothe inflammation and swelling. Suck on a piece of ice if your gums are itchy. The cold can numb the discomfort and reduce any inflammation associated with itchy gums. Depending on the source of your itchy gums, gargling with some saltwater can relieve itchiness. Rinse with saltwater until your gums stop itching. Mix one tablespoon of salt in glass of warm water. Gargle a mouthful for about 30 seconds, concentrating on your gums. Spit out the water when you’re finished. Avoid swallowing the mixture and don’t use it for more than seven to 10 days. Mix baking soda and water to form a paste, then apply it to your gums. The paste may control any bacterial infections causing your gums to itch. Recent studies have shown that aloe vera can help with inflammation due to oral conditions. Dab some on your itchy gums to help relieve the condition. Consider limiting foods and drinks that may make any itchiness or inflammation worse. Limit or avoid spicy and acidic foods or tobacco. Studies have shown that psychological stress can contribute to periodontal disease. Reducing the stress in your life may help relieve itching gums. If you are experiencing itchy gums and home remedies don’t help after seven to 10 days, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can figure out the cause of your discomfort and find the right treatment. Itchy gums may be a product of fungal, viral, or bacterial infections; certain medications; nutritional deficiencies; improperly fitting dentures; teeth grinding; allergies; stress, or periodontal disease. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible. You may not notice any changes to your gums or mouth with some oral conditions. Tell your dentist when the symptoms started, what treatments you’ve tried, and what relieves or makes symptoms worse. Let your dentist know any medical conditions you have and medications you are taking. Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth practices modern cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Call today to schedule an appointment...

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Hormonal Changes Affect Gums

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Gum Disease | 0 comments

Hormonal Changes Affect Gums

Believe it or not, changes in your hormones can actually result in sensitive gums. Gums become more sensitive, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), because hormone fluctuations – such as those common during pregnancy – can change the way your body interacts with the bacteria you introduce to your mouth. This can result in gum and tooth decay, so it’s important to scheduled dental appointments during pregnancy.  Also be sure to mention any changes in oral health to your OB/GYN to avoid lasting damage. Your weight. Your mood. Your sex drive. Your dental health. There’s one thing that can make all these aspects of your health go haywire — hormones. Hormone surges may make you more vulnerable to gum disease. More female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) cause more blood to flow to your gums, which causes them to become more sensitive and “overreact” to anything that may irritate them. Women are more sensitive to the presence of plaque and bacteria around the gums when the hormone levels are high. This can cause your gums to become inflamed, swell and bleed. If left untreated, ongoing inflammation in the gums can also lead to bone loss around the teeth and eventual tooth loss. Your hormones are a fact of life, but gum disease not so much. It’s actually preventable and reversible in its early stages. So what’s a woman to do? Start by paying extra attention and taking good care of your mouth during these five times in your life. Puberty Raging hormones can leave a teenage girl’s gums red, swollen and bleeding. (In some cases, the gums’ overreaction to plaque may cause gums to actually grow bigger.) Some teenage girls may also find themselves developing canker sores, which usually heal on their own. Prevention is the best treatment. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day and see your dentist regularly. Removing plaque and bacteria thoroughly every day can reduce the inflammation, discomfort and bleeding. Your Period You may not notice any change in your mouth in the days before your period. In fact, most women don’t. But if you have swollen gums, bleeding gums, canker sores or swollen salivary glands, hormones may be to blame. These symptoms should subside after your period stops — but if they don’t, then the increased bleeding by your gums is signaling something else. Talk to your dentist if you have questions about how your monthly cycle and apparent health of your gums are related. Stay on top of your daily dental health routine, and if you find you have more sensitivity than usual before or during your period, schedule cleanings for about a week after it ends. Using Birth Control Pills Inflammation may have been a side effect for women taking birth control in the past, but today there’s good news for your gums. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in today’s birth control prescriptions are too low to cause any issues with your gums, according to a review in the journal Periodontology 2000. Still, it’s important make sure your health history forms at the dentist are up to date if you are taking birth control. Here’s why: Your dentist may need to write you a prescription, and some medications can make your birth control less effective. If you’re having a tooth removed, you...

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Teeth Change With Age

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in Healthy Smiles, Teeth Grinding | 0 comments

Teeth Change With Age

As we age, everyday wear and tear takes a toll on our teeth and teeth change with age. They may shift in position or change in shape, pull apart, but there’s plenty we can do to keep them in good shape. Teeth change with age Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth shares a few tips to help your smile age gracefully. Cut Down Wear and Tear Your teeth are strong, but they can be worn down. All the chewing, grinding, and biting through the years wears away the enamel. It also flattens the parts you use when you bite and chew. You may even notice as you age, the teeth are literally shorter and may shift in position. You can’t erase a lifetime of wear and tear, without having it restored by a dentist, but you can keep it from getting worse. Don’t chew ice or other hard foods that can cause chips in your enamel and even break your teeth. Keep Your Gums Healthy Plaque is always forming on your teeth. If you don’t remove it, it can cause soreness, swelling, and bleeding in your gums. It can even cause infection that hurts the bone underneath. We talked about this in detail in a recent blog on Tartar buildup. Dr. Phillips can treat serious gum disease (periodontitis). If you let gum disease go unchecked, it could harm your gums and bones. If this happens, it may lead to tooth loose or removal. How do you know if you have gum disease? Here are a few indicators of peri0dontitis: Bleeding when you brush your teeth Receding gums Loose teeth Bad breath Dr. Phillips says that the best way to keep your gums in good shape is to simply take good care of your teeth. Same old rule of thumb we’ve heard for ages – brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings. If you smoke, quit. Keep Your Mouth Moist Saliva helps clean teeth and protects your mouth from decay. As you get older, your mouth gets drier and your odds of tooth decay go up. Dry mouth could be caused by certain medications. There are a lot of drugs that cause dry mouth. To fight back, drink more water. Hold it in your mouth for a few seconds before you swallow. You can also suck on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum. If you think drugs are the cause, talk to your doctor about it. Stop Grinding & Clenching Your Teeth If you think you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, your first and most important step is to see a dentist. Many people grind their teeth at night and may not know it unless their dentist tells them, or they show other signs like a sore jaw, tooth sensitivity, headaches, loose teeth, earaches, and ringing of the ears. Your dentist will help you figure out the probable cause of your bruxism which could by any number of factors including, stress, diet, or misaligned teeth. The dentist can then help you determine an appropriate treatment. Therapies may involve stress management, dental splints, mouth guards, or even more extensive dental procedures. If your dentist recommends a mouth guard or a bite splint, you’ll need to use it exactly as your dentist instructs....

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Check Your Mouthwash and Toothpaste Ingredients

Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in Dental Health | 0 comments

Check Your Mouthwash and Toothpaste Ingredients

Check Your Mouthwash and Toothpaste Ingredients We’ve noticed some patients coming in with brown spots on their teeth. Some mouthwashes can cause this type of staining. This is due to a chemical called chlorhexidine gluconate — an antiseptic designed to reduce bacteria and remove plaque. The problem is that when regularly exposed to the teeth, this chemical can cause brown patches on the enamel because of a chemical reaction. Some ingredients in toothpaste, such as the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulphate, can interact with the fluoride in mouthwash, and deactivate it so that it loses its effect. For this reason, you might want to wait at least half an hour after brushing before sluicing with mouthwash. Chlorohexidine can produce tooth staining within about ten days of usage because it reacts with food additives which may be left on the teeth, particularly tannins, found in Coca-Cola, tea, coffee and red wine. If, for example, someone has gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), then it is important to keep plaque levels down, as this can make the inflammation worse. Dr. Phillips may suggest a two-week course of a high-fluoride mouthwash such as Corsodyl to help reduce the risk of further decay. There is also a condition called acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis, which is an acute infection of the gums. A prescription mouthwash called Peridex contains oxygen which can counteract the microorganisms that cause this problem. Peridex also has a lower concentration of chlorhexidine than Corsodyl. If you don’t have any dental problems, Dr. Phillips suggests using an alcohol-free mouthwash brand. To avoid tooth staining, he suggests products which contain cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) rather than chlorhexidine — both chemicals act as an antiseptic, but CPC won’t stain. Many of the active antibacterial ingredients in mouthwashes require the presence of alcohol to exert anti-plaque effects and help to prevent gum disease. Chlorhexidine is the “gold standard” antibacterial and is often advised by dentists for acute flare ups of gum disease to control the symptoms. Bottom line…chlorhexidine mouthwashes are not recommended for long-term use since they do have the side effect of staining. While Dr. Phillips can remove these brown stains, you could avoid the issue by using short-term or using a mouthwash containing CPC...

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Prevent Tartar Buildup

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in Dental Health, Tooth Enamel Erosion | 0 comments

Prevent Tartar Buildup

Plaque contains bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. As plaque forms and is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar. Tartar is sometimes called calculus which is calcified plaque that attaches to the enamel on your teeth. It can also buildup below the gum line. We recently had a patient who all of a sudden started experiencing a large buildup of tarter on the backside of her bottom front teeth. She was curious how this happened, so we thought we’d do a quick article explaining how and why tartar forms. How do you get tartar? We all have bacteria in our mouth even if we take great care of our teeth. The bacteria mixes with proteins and food byproducts and forms a sticky film called dental plaque. The plaque coats your teeth, gets under your gum line, and sticks to fillings and other dental work. Plaque carries bacteria that can damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. If you remove the plaque regularly, you can prevent permanent gum disease and tooth decay. Some studies link the bacteria in gum disease to heart disease and other health problems. Suffice it to say that it’s important to practice healthy dental habits on a regular basis to prevent dental plaque buildup. Is tartar harmful? Bigger problems arise if plaque stays on your teeth and hardens into tartar. Tartar forms below and above the gum line. It is rough and porous and can lead to receding gums and gum disease. Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD  said it best on a ShareCare.com answer to the question, “What are the complications of plaque and tartar?“. Dr. Oz stated, “If the plaque and tartar aren’t removed, the bacteria set up camp in the periodontal area between teeth and at the gum line. At first, the calcification and colonization causes mild gingivitis, swelling and bleeding of gums. But as more bacteria take hold in plaque- and tartar-laden gums, gingivitis can advance to full-blown periodontist. Eventually the pus-filled, inflamed tissue pulls away from the tooth, bone is compromised and exposed, and the tooth can no longer stay anchored in the mouth.” To see all of the answers, click here for the Healthy Oral Hygiene Survey. Tips to prevent tartar Brush regularly, twice a day for 2 minutes a time. A 30-second scrub twice a day won’t remove plaque or prevent tartar. Use a brush with soft bristles that is small enough to fit into your mouth. Include all hard-to-reach surfaces behind your teeth and on your rear molars. Electronic toothbrushes may get rid of plaque better than manual models according to studies. No matter which type of toothbrush you use, be sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. These have undergone rigorous quality control and safety tests. Choose a tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride. The fluoride will help repair tooth enamel damage. Some products have a substance called triclosan. Triclosan fights the bacteria in plaque. Floss, floss, and floss again. No matter how good you are with a toothbrush, dental floss is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth. Rinse daily. Use an antiseptic mouthwash daily to help kill bacteria that cause plaque. Eat a healthy diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on foods that are starchy or sugary and release harmful acids. Every time you eat, you also...

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Harmful Habits That Can Lead to Oral Cancer

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Dental Health, Oral DNA, Whole Health Dentistry | 0 comments

Harmful Habits That Can Lead to Oral Cancer

Brit Phillips DDS is looking for cavities during regular check-ups, but you may not realize he can also screen for cancer at the same time. It’s estimated that approximately 49,750 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue in 2017 according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Regular visits to Dr. Phillips can help you detect such cancers early, and changing a few potentially harmful habits may help reduce your chances of developing them. Read on to find out the top 7 risk factors from the ADA. Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer. The American Cancer Society attributes this to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use by men, but says more men of a younger age are being diagnosed with HPV-related forms of oral cancer. Most people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are 55 or older, according to the American Cancer Society. HPV-related oral cancers, however, are often diagnosed in people who are younger. Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco use increases your risk dramatically. Smoking can cause oral cancer, as well as cancer in other parts of the body. Pipe smokers are also at a higher risk for developing cancer in their lips. Smokeless tobacco, like chew, can lead to many issues in your mouth, the most serious being cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips. According to the American Cancer Society, 7 of 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an average of two drinks a day or more for men and an average of more than one drink a day for women. If you are a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker, your chances of developing oral cancer increase significantly. The sexually transmitted disease is now associated with about 9,000 cases of head and neck cancer (specifically those occurring at the back of the tongue, in or around the tonsils) diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the CDC. People who are diagnosed with HPV-related head and neck cancer tend to be younger and nonsmokers. People with HPV-positive cancers have a lower risk of death or recurrence, even though these cancers are often diagnosed at a later stage because it develops in difficult-to-detect areas. People who have jobs working outside are more prone to developing lip cancer and should use UV protection. Poor nutrition also may put you at risk for developing oral cancer. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may increase your chance of developing oral cancer, so add more color to your plate! Call Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth today and schedule your appointment at 817-361-1999. Be sure to ask about the cancer screening from OralDNA...

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Pulp Fiction

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Dental Health, Dental Routines | 0 comments

Pulp Fiction

A patient has a terrible tooth ache. They had a root canal at a local periodontist and several months later, they are experiencing severe pain and sensitivity in that tooth. What happened? It’s pulp fiction. Let’s start with tooth anatomy. The dental pulp is the part in the center of a tooth made up of living connective tissue and cells called odontoblasts. The dental pulp is a part of the dentin–pulp complex (endodontium). What is the function of tooth pulp? The pulp has several important functions. Although the primary function of tooth pulp is the formation of dentin, it has several other functions as well. Functions of tooth pulp include: Sensory Function – Pain from trauma to the dentin and/or pulp, differences in temperature, and pressure are caused by stimulation of the pulp. Formation of Dentin – The pulp is responsible for the formation of dentin. In response to trauma, the pulp forms secondary dentin, also known as reparative dentin. Nourishment – The pulp contains blood vessels that help to prevent the tooth from becoming brittle by keeping it moisturized and nourished. Tooth pulp is literally the most vital part of the tooth. How does the pulp get infected? When pulp is damaged, it breaks down, and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other dying pulp remnants can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of a tooth’s root. If you are experiencing a tooth ache, contact Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth today for a dental...

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Dazzling Smile Tips for Brides

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in Invisalign | 0 comments

Dazzling Smile Tips for Brides

Want to make your natural smile more dazzling for your special wedding day? We are giving you some expert tips from leading cosmetic dentist Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth. Whether you would like straighter teeth, whiter teeth, or a whole smile makeover, here are steps to take before your big day to help achieve that stunning smile. When to do it: For in-office options you can schedule this a few days before your wedding; for at-home, it’s best to start the routine two to three weeks before your wedding. STRAIGHTER TEETH What to do: Invisalign makes an enormous difference in transforming a bride’s smile while having minimal impact on her hectic schedule. After the initial fitting in our office, you’ll get removable “aligners” which are invisible trays that fit over your teeth to guide them into place. You’ll pop into our office every two weeks for about six months to swap them out. When to do it: Start at least 6 months before your wedding for traditional Invisalign; 10 weeks out for the Invisalign express version which is available for those patients who need only minor adjustments. WHITER TEETH What to do: Make an appointment for a regular cleaning, says Fort Worth cosmetic dentist Brit Phillips: “Air abrasion, polishing, and hand instruments can make a big difference in stains.” Then try our professional whitening services to get your teeth several shades lighter. You can also try at-home kits — slower but very effective — like Crest Whitestrips (from $35 – $65 available at most pharmacies.) TOTAL SMILE MAKEOVER What to do: Veneers are the best way to get a complete smile makeover quickly. These wafer-thin layers of porcelain are bonded to your teeth to change their shape, color, and alignment dramatically. They’re a financial investment, but they last up to 20 years, says Dr. Brit Phillips. When to do it:  Veneers are a relatively quick process requiring approximately three office visits over a two week period. Call our office and learn more about making your smile as special as your wedding day – Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth...

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Is Gum Recession Harmful?

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Gum Recession | 0 comments

Is Gum Recession Harmful?

Gum recession also called gingival recession, can be harmful to your mouth’s health. When the gingival tissue recedes enough to expose a tooth’s root, sensitivity or root decay may develop. The softer root surface decays faster than the enamel on the tooth’s crown. There are two forms of gingiva in the mouth: Attached gingiva which is the thick, pink tissue that hugs the teeth and is attached firmly to the underlying bone and Unattached gingiva also known as mucosa which is the soft, thin, moveable tissue that makes up the inside of the lips and cheeks. Gum recession occurs when the edge of the gingival tissue moves away from the crown of the tooth. One of the main causes of gum recession is an irregular or abnormal tooth position. A tooth may protrude because it was overcrowded when permanent teeth began to push through the tissue. As a result, inadequate jaw bone covers the root of the tooth. Heredity is also a factor. A person may have a genetic propensity for thin, fragile or insufficient gingival tissue. Other causes of gum recession are aggressive or excessive tooth brushing, periodontal disease and trauma to gingival tissues. When minor gum recession is ignored, continued recession and bone loss around teeth are very likely. Treatment methods vary according to the severity and type of gum recession. If it is due to excessive or aggressive brushing, one of our dental office staff members or Dr. Phillips can show you how to brush properly. Soft-tissue gum graft surgery and other procedures help create more attached gingiva to prevent gum recession from progressing and to help regenerate and re-establish root coverage. If it is determined that gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, the first step involves scaling and root planing. For many patients, this treatment coupled with excellent oral hygiene at home and regular dental checkups can help stop periodontal disease and prevent further gingival loss. If you are experiencing gum recession, call our office and schedule a dental checkup today – Brit Phillips DDS Fort Worth...

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Teeth Grinding: Why Early Intervention Is Key to Long-Term Dental Health

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Dental Health, Teeth Grinding | 0 comments

Teeth Grinding: Why Early Intervention Is Key to Long-Term Dental Health

Teeth Grinding: Why Early Intervention Is Key to Long-Term Dental Health The grinding of teeth, known in the dental world as bruxism, is a common problem that is found in people of all ages. Usually, it begins innocently enough, but it can cause tremendous dental concerns when it becomes a habit. Teeth grinding can even lead to eventual tooth, soft tissue and hard tissue disease or loss. The key is for dental professionals to diagnose and treat bruxism early, so the pattern can be broken. Why Do Kids and Teens and Even Babies Grind Their Teeth? Many parents want to know why their children are grinding their teeth. The underlying causes can vary widely from child to child. Researchers suggest that the following reasons typically contribute to the beginning of frequent teeth grinding: Teething– When babies begin to develop teeth, they must become accustomed to the feeling of having something new in their mouths. As they teethe, infants and toddlers sometimes begin to bite down on their gums to relieve the painful sensations they’re experiencing. Over time, this biting may continue, even after the teeth are fully in place and the pain has subsided. Anxiety– Yes, children and even babies, can feel stress! Like adults, they don’t always have healthy outlets to deal with their intense emotions, so they may begin unconsciously tensing up their jaws. This can not only lead to bruxism, but also undue tension placed upon the joint of the jaw. Malocclusions– This is a fancy term that means a bite is misaligned. In other words, the teeth haven’t come in straight. In an effort to make the misaligned teeth fit more comfortably, your child may be unwittingly rubbing the tops of their teeth together. Allergies and nasal problems– Some people believe that the underlying culprit of teeth grinding could relate to breathing issues. The suggestion is that when it’s difficult to get air, the infant, child, teen or adult bites down in a panicked state before opening his or her mouth to breathe. There are other reasons that some patients develop a tooth grinding routine. No matter why he or she begins the habit, it’s important to stop it. How Early Age Grinding Can Cause Dental Problems Bruxism that is caught early will not create a lifetime of problems. This said, teeth are not invincible to constant stressors such as biting. Eventually, bruxism can lead to several problems such as: Enamel damage– The enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) is a protective coating that helps keep bacteria from damaging the tooth. When the enamel is slowly ground away, small, unprotected areas appear and can easily decay. Increased cavities– As the teeth are worn down, the door is inevitably opened to the bacteria that foster the development of cavities. More cavities mean amplified trauma to the teeth at a young age. Cracked teeth– Sometimes, dentists notice that children with bruxism have teeth that are beginning to crack. These cracks must be filled in before they become too large. Lost teeth– If teeth develop cracks that are big enough, the tooth can be damaged to the point where it either falls out or requires extraction. Even if it’s a baby tooth, if the tooth is extracted but the tooth grinding continues, the permanent adult tooth will be...

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