CPAP Alternatives for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway becomes occluded during sleep, reducing airflow. In some patients, the blocking of the airway is partial, leading to loud snoring. In others, it can occlude entirely, activating the body’s stress response and causing the patient to startle awake to resume normal breathing.

Sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose because it occurs when a person is in an unconscious state. Often, the only sign of sleep apnea is waking up in the morning feeling groggy, as if you have not had a proper night of rest. Unfortunately, if you allow the condition to continue long-term, it can lead to several severe health issues, including problems concentrating, irregular heartbeat, headaches, and, in some extreme cases, heart attack.

Currently, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a popular treatment method that seeks to manage sleep apnea symptoms and facilitate better rest. The device uses a mask connected to a pump that maintains mild positive air pressure in the airways at all times, preventing occlusion.

Generally, the therapy is the most recommended treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea patients, but it comes with some drawbacks. The main issue is the feeling of claustrophobia that many patients get when wearing the CPAP mask. Covering the mouth and nose leads to the sensation of being enclosed – not something that patients want when trying to get a restful night’s sleep. Furthermore, CPAP can lead to nasal congestion and a runny nose – an annoying side effect for a surprisingly large number of sleep apnea patients.

Alternatives To CPAP Treatment

Fortunately, several appliances can alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea for patients who can’t tolerate CPAP machines. Many of these options are non-invasive and simply insert into the mouth at night.

Dr. Kevin F. Postol offer three devices that function as CPAP alternatives: EMA, the TAP 3, and the Herbst OA. Tap 3 is a proven treatment for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The device works by attaching the top and bottom of the jaw via a small hook. The on-board key allows patients to adjust the guard’s position incrementally until they achieve the desired position.

The Tap 3 is famously non-invasive and has a compliance rate of around 95 percent. Patients can continue adjusting the key until the appliance is wholly closed inside their mouth,

The Herbst OA works on a similar principle but uses a set of pistons that slide within a tube instead. The device provides the user with a high degree of freedom, allowing them to move the jaw slightly while also protecting against teeth grinding. Durable elastic bands on the device prevent the jaw from flopping open during sleep (which could put them at risk of experiencing sleep apnea symptoms).

Oral appliances work by moving the lower jaw forward to ease the airflow and prevent the airway from becoming blocked by the tongue or soft palate. They fit very similarly to mouthguards, allowing you to insert and remove them whenever you like.

The Effectiveness Of CPAP Alternatives

While CPAP machines are the current go-to device for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), oral appliance therapy is also highly effective and may have greater compliance. According to data from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, devices like TAP 3 and Herbst OA have a 40 percent success rate among patients with severe OSA and a 60 to 75 rate of success for those with mild to moderate symptoms.

Thus, Dr. Postol typically recommend oral appliance therapy for patients with mild sleep apnea over and above CPAP as a first line of treatment. CPAP alternatives are much quieter and more comfortable, and they do not rely on the maintenance of positive air pressure, which can feel upsetting to some patients.

Interestingly, even those who just snore (and don’t have sleep apnea) can benefit tremendously from oral appliances. Around 85 percent of snorers who receive this type of therapy experience quieter, higher-quality sleep.

Who Are CPAP Alternatives For?

Primarily CPAP alternatives are for patients who refuse or cannot tolerate CPAP or for whom CPAP fails. It is an excellent choice for anyone with low tolerance of nasal CPAP or who primarily wants something that they can use during travel for mild to moderate OSA (or snoring).

What Are The Side Effects Or Oral Appliance Therapy?

Oral appliance therapy is a low-risk treatment. However, you may experience some transient symptoms as you adjust the device. Because the prosthetic changes the lower jaw’s position, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some tension after wearing it for a prolonged period. For the same reason, it can also lead to sore gums and teeth.

Some symptoms are more dangerous than others. If you experience permanent changes in your bite or lose your dental crowns and bridges, you’ll need to talk to Dr. Postol as soon as possible.

Is Oral Appliance Therapy Better Than Surgery?

Surgery is widely considered the last resort for sleep apnea treatment, even though it is often touted to cure it. However, there are some drawbacks. As patients get older, the skin at the back of the throat relaxes. This natural process can occasionally cause the tongue to collapse back into the palate, negating the procedure’s effectiveness.

Most patients benefit from a combination of oral appliance therapy plus evidence-based lifestyle modifications that may improve symptoms. Appliances are useful for considerably more than half of all patients with mild to moderate OSA. It is an excellent non-invasive option.

Get Treatment For Sleep Apnea

If you believe either you or a partner has sleep apnea; please contact us for an appointment. We have more than twenty-five years of experience helping patients take back control of their sleep and we can help you too. It takes around three weeks to fabricate oral appliances for OSA, so the sooner you get help from us for your condition, the better.

Causes and Symptoms of TMJ

Everybody experiences pain in their jaw from time to time and that’s normal, but if you experience jaw pain and tightness on a regular basis, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder. Your TMJ or temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones on the side of your face, and it is this joint that allows you to open and close your mouth when speaking or chewing. In some patients, issues with the TMJ can lead to pain and locking in the jaw.

It is estimated that around 25% of the population will experience TMJ disorders, many of them women between the age of 20 and 40. Every patient is different and while some people will experience mild pain that can be dealt with using simple medications, some patients experience severe pain and require more extensive TMJ treatment. If you are experiencing a lot of pain in your jaw and you think that you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol immediately. Our expert team has experience in a wide range of treatments and we will work with you to find the right TMJ treatment for you.

What Are The Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders?

Although pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders, it affects patients in a range of different ways. Common signs of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw.
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joints (in some cases, you will only experience pain on one side of the face).
  • Pain while chewing, or difficult moving the jaw while chewing.
  • Aching around the ears or in other areas of the face.
  • Swelling around the face.
  • Stiff joints or locking, which makes it difficult to open and close your mouth when eating or speaking, especially when trying to open your mouth wide.

In some cases, patients notice a clicking or popping sound when they open and close their mouth. Lots of patients experience this clicking but they don’t have any pain or difficulty opening and closing their mouth. In this case, you may not need TMJ treatment if you are willing to live with the clicking. However, if your symptoms are more severe, it is important that you schedule an appointment to come and see us right away.

When Should You Seek Medical Advice?

Many people live with a TMJ disorder for a long time before seeking medical advice because they are unsure whether they need TMJ treatment or not. In mild cases where you only experience a clicking or popping sound, without any pain, you do not necessarily need TMJ treatment. However, if you experience regular pain in the jaw, ears, or face, you should seek help. If you have trouble opening and closing your mouth and it makes it difficult to eat or speak, that is also a sign that you may need TMJ treatment. If you start to notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment right away and we can recommend the right TMJ treatment for you.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

The short answer is, we don’t know. Unfortunately, there is no clear reason why people suffer from TMJ disorder and, in most cases, it is caused by a combination of different factors. The temporomandibular joint is made up of a hinge joint that also involves sliding actions. There is cartilage and a small shock absorbing disk in between the bones to keep the movements smooth. In many patients, TMJ disorder is caused by damage to the cartilage as a result of arthritis, or the disk wearing away or moving out of alignment. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the causes of TMJ disorder are less clear.

If you have recently sustained a head or facial injury, the impact can cause damage to the joints and that can lead to a TMJ disorder as well. This is particularly common in people that experience whiplash.

TMJ disorder can also be caused by certain habits that people have. Clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth (known as bruxism) can lead to issues with tightness and pain in the jaw. People that suffer from excess stress often clench their jaws and this may be the cause of your TMJ disorder.

Risk factors for TMJ disorder

Although anybody can suffer from TMJ disorder, there are risk factors that make it more likely in certain patients.

People that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis are more likely to develop problems with the joints in their jaw, which require TMJ treatment. Anybody that has suffered a recent jaw injury should also seek medical advice if they notice ongoing pain and stiffness. If you have a connective tissue disease, this may potentially cause problems with the temporomandibular joint as well.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

If you notice one or more of these symptoms and they persist for an extended period, contact us and our expert team can diagnose the issue and offer tailored TMJ treatment. There is no widely recognized method for diagnosing TMJ because the exact causes are unknown and it is often caused by a variety of factors. When you come for your appointment, our team of highly trained dental professionals will consider your symptoms and ask some simple questions about your medical history. In some cases, we may also recommend x-rays so we can examine your jaw in more detail.

Using this information, we will then recommend the best TMJ treatment for you. In many cases, changing habits like teeth grinding and taking medications to relax muscles and manage pain will be enough to deal with the issue. However, in more severe cases, we may also recommend a more advanced TMJ treatment.

Many patients live with undiagnosed TMJ disorders for a long time, and it can have a big impact on your life, making it difficult and painful to do simple everyday things, like talking and eating. But there is no need to suffer in silence because we are here to help. If you notice any of the symptoms described above, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol today and we can provide the right TMJ treatment to give you the relief that you need.

Treatment Options for TMJ

TMJ disorders are a common issue that arises when there is a problem with the Temporomandibular Joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. The bones and muscles allow you to move your jaw up and down, so you can speak and chew food. Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team of highly trained dental professionals can help to diagnose and treat TMJ disorders, so if you think that you may be suffering, schedule an appointment right away.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders include pain or tenderness in the face and jaw area, a locking jaw, clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, trouble chewing, and swelling on the sides of the face. TMJ disorders can affect anybody and there is a wide range of possible causes. Many patients experience TMJ disorders following an injury to the jaw, neck or head. It may also be caused by arthritis in the joint, movement between the soft tissue between the ball and socket in the joint, clenching your teeth, or even stress, which causes you to tighten your face muscles.

Dr. Kevin Postol can identify the causes of your TMJ disorder and decide on the most appropriate treatment. In some cases, TMJ disorders will go away on their own, but most patients require some kind of TMj treatment. If you schedule an appointment, there is a wide range of different treatments that may be recommended.

Medications

Medications can be used to relieve the symptoms and treat the pain caused by TMJ disorders.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories

For mild cases of TMJ disorder, some patients find that over the counter pain medications are adequate. However, if the pain is more severe, we can prescribe stronger pain relievers. Medications such as prescription-strength ibuprofen, for example, may be prescribed for a limited time.

Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are most commonly used to treat mental health issues, like depression. However, in small doses, they can be used for pain relief and to improve sleep patterns. They can also be used to treat bruxism (excessive grinding of the teeth), which may be a cause of TMJ disorders.

Muscle Relaxants

If we suspect that your TMJ disorder is caused by tight muscles around the jaw, often as a result of stress, we can prescribe muscle relaxants. After a few weeks of use, you should notice a reduction in pain and symptoms.

Mediations can be very effective when trying to manage the symptoms of TMJ disorder and some patients will find that the issue goes away after taking medication. However, these medications will not always deal with the root cause of the issue and our team may recommend other treatment options.

Non-Drug Therapies

If medication is not giving you enough relief or you want to avoid taking medication, if possible, there are some non-drug therapies that we can offer.

Oral splints and mouthguards

Many patients that suffer from TMJ disorders benefit from a mouthguard or a splint in the mouth. It is a very beneficial non-drug treatment for a lot of patients that suffer from TMJ disorders.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is another effective TMJ treatment that treats issues with the muscles and joints around the jaw. We may prescribe certain stretches and exercises that are designed to stretch and loosen muscles in the jaw and strengthen them. In some cases, we can also offer treatments using ultrasound or heat and ice.

Counseling

If we believe that your TMJ disorder is caused by habits such as teeth grinding, biting your fingernails, and leaning on your chin, we may prescribe counseling. This will help you to understand why you engage in these behaviors, which are often caused by stress or anxiety. Many patients find that counseling helps them to avoid these behaviors, so they see a reduction in symptoms of TMJ disorder.

Surgical Procedures

If other methods of TMJ treatment are not working, Dr. Kevin Postol will take you through your different options for surgical procedures to deal with TMJ disorders.

Arthrocentesis

Arthrocentesis is a simple procedure that involves using small needles, which are inserted into the muscles in the jaw. This will remove fluids and reduce inflammation in the muscles. It is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require major surgery and many patients find that it is very effective.

Injections

You may also benefit from injections of corticosteroids into the jaw muscles. In rare cases, patients also benefit from botox injections into the jaw to prevent pain when chewing.

TMJ arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is often used as an alternative TMJ treatment to open-joint surgery as it is less invasive. A small tube, known as a cannula, is inserted into the joint space, then an arthroscope is inserted and small surgical tools are used to perform surgery. Although there are fewer risks involved than there are with open-joint surgery, this treatment is limited and, in some cases, open-joint surgery is necessary.

Modified condylotomy

Modified condylotomy is a TMJ treatment that involves surgery on the mandible rather than the jaw itself, but it can still address issues with a locking jaw and pain that are caused by TMJ disorder.

Open-joint surgery

If all other types of TMJ treatment are ineffective, we can offer open-joint surgery to address the issue. This is usually required when structural problems with the joints in the jaw are causing a TMJ disorder. Rebuilding or replacing the joint itself is necessary for some patients, and this is when open-joint surgery will be used. However, we will only use this in cases where other TMJ treatments are ineffective because there are more risks involved.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Postol today. Our experienced team can assess your issue and try to determine the root cause of your TMJ disorder. We will then recommend one of these TMJ treatments so you can find relief and manage your pain. Many people live with this disorder for too long before seeking TMJ treatments, but you don’t have to put up with the pain, so contact us today so we can help you.

Why You Should Consider Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Kevin. F. Postol and the team at our Ballwin dental practice like to ensure that every patient who steps through our doors can feel confident and comfortable with the treatment we provide. Besides guaranteeing some of the best care standards possible, we also like to make sure that you choose the best options for you.

When it comes to helping to improve the appearance of your teeth, cosmetic dentistry solutions are likely to be the best fit. Here are some reasons why they’re worth considering.

Improve the appearance of your smile

Perhaps the most common cosmetic issue our team deals with, above all else, is tooth discoloration. Your teeth can be discolored over time due to age, neglect of your dental routine, certain foods, medications, and smoking. Yellowing, greying, or browning teeth can affect your confidence in your smile, but from teeth whitening techniques to porcelain veneers, we can help you smile proudly.

You can repair all kinds of damage

The line between cosmetic and restorative dentistry can seem blurred. Both the porcelain veneers and dental crowns we offer can help you address discolored teeth, cracks, chips, and other damage that may compromise your smile. As well as improving and repairing the appearance of your smile, cosmetic treatments can also improve the health and function or your teeth. You will be able to eat as you could before any damage occurred.

Ensure the long-term health of your teeth

Issues like cracked and crooked teeth aren’t just cosmetic problems. They can be an issue for your general dental health, as well. Teeth that become more crooked over time can cause pain, tooth decay, gum disease, and damage to other healthy teeth. The Invisalign treatment provided by Dr. Postol can help you address this risk, improving your overall well being.

Long-lasting results

One of the best reasons to consider cosmetic treatments is that, as a patient, you can rest assured that the results are likely to last you for years. Some treatments, like teeth whitening and Invisalign, need to be carried out over multiple visits to ensure the best possible effects. With treatments like using veneers and crowns, you can expect them to last up to as long as a decade. Of course, this largely depends on the condition of your mouth and which treatments are best suited to your needs.

Improved quality of life overall

You should consider the physical reasons to look at our cosmetic dentistry services, but you should think about the positive impact they could have on your mental health. If you feel yourself being shy with your smiles, are self-conscious about photos, or how you appear in public settings due to your teeth, then we can help.

Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team are equipped and ready to help patients address all kinds of cosmetic dentistry needs. Whether you’re dealing with discolored, cracked, chipped, or crooked teeth, schedule a consultation with us to find the best way to fix them. Contact us today!

Your Smile is a Reflection of Your Overall Health

We smile hundreds of times a day – for happiness, confidence, politeness, and many other social reasons. With so much at stake, we should not forget about looking after the health of our mouth, teeth, and gums?! The look of your smile says a lot about you, so it should reflect its personality and health. Be sure to have one that others will notice for the right reasons.

A healthy smile, a healthy body

Following a poor diet, not exercising, smoking, or drinking can negatively affect our bodies. Just like you might notice a weight gain or new pimples, our lifestyle, and health affect our smile.

Indeed, what we eat and our daily habits can protect our teeth or can be highly detrimental. Moreover, some tooth problems, such as chipping and grinding, are directly linked to stress and anxiety. If you are not sure how to improve the health of your teeth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol and find out which of your habits are beneficial.

We will be able to identify any possible underlying issues and help you improve the general level of your health. Indeed, we would not limit ourselves to assess your teeth, but we also aim at resolving the root of the problem.

Chipped, missing, or worn teeth

Undoubtedly, your teeth and smile is the first thing others will notice about you and can truly help you make a fantastic first impression. However, time and detrimental habits might have taken a hit on the health and look of your teeth.

One of the most recurrent reasons behind tooth decay is our diet. Indeed, today our eating habits, ingredients, and recipes involve high quantities of sugars and refined carbs, which aid the development of harmful bacteria in our mouths.

However, wanting to repair a loose or missing tooth is not just a matter of vanity, but should also be a health priority. Such unbalance in your mouth can create jaw and chewing problems over time, as well as becoming more challenging to resolve.

In this case, paying a visit to your dentist can help you figure out what is the best solution and plan of action for your situation. Many patients indeed need to turn around their habits entirely and reevaluate their diets and routines. If you are concerned about changing your lifestyle, contact us so we can plan the best strategy together.

Healthy gums go a long way

Gums are often forgotten, yet they are just as important as your teeth in portraying your health. Indeed, our gums should be firm and pink. In the eventuality that you have noticed them being red, pale, or swollen, you should speak immediately to your dentist.

Aside from inflammations and infections, unhealthy gums can be a sign of anemia or diabetes, conditions that need prompt treatment. Moreover, eating disorders and conditions can cause your mouth to look unhealthy and worn. To restore the look and feel of your teeth, give us a call today!

At Home Oral Health Care Tips

Not everyone looks forward to visiting the dentist yet without it some are probably still not getting proper oral healthcare advice. It’s important to be informed about oral hygiene in order to prevent oral diseases and decay. Although different patients may have specific needs, there are certain tips everybody should follow. Here are some examples that you can do at home.

Teeth Cleaning Routine

You should have a daily routine to keep your teeth clean and healthy. This should include:

Brushing

Brush your teeth twice per day. Use a fluoride toothpaste, preferably with enamel support. Electric toothbrushes are usually recommended by any dentist but even if you use a manual one, always go for soft bristles and a small head. This will give you more access to your mouth so you can really get into those nooks and crannies.

Flossing

You should clean between your teeth daily either using loose floss or a floss pick. Ask your dentist if you need any help flossing, or if you notice your gums bleed. A little is perfectly normal but if it seems like a lot, this could be a sign of gum disease.

Mouthwash

Use a mouthwash daily as well. The important thing to remember with mouthwash is not the brand, but how you use it. Follow the instructions and swirl it around your mouth for 60 seconds as recommended, this will help to fight more bacteria, plaque, and diseases like gingivitis.

Diet

Your oral health is always connected to your diet. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks where possible. If you eat a healthy diet, your teeth will be healthier as well. Think about cutting down on the types of food and drink that might stain your teeth, such as red wine and coffee. Citric acid is also a danger, so be careful with oranges and lemons, if you do eat a lot of these, rinse your mouth out with water. After eating, brush your teeth as recommended which means taking a toothbrush to work with you.

Bad Habits

There are several bad habits that are harmful to your teeth and mouth such as smoking. If you are having problems quitting, speak to your dentist for some friendly advice. Chewing sugary gum is not good for your teeth so always opt for sugar-free. Don’t chew on other objects such as pens or your nails while working or studying. Your dentist will be able to give you tips on how to stop.

Mouthguards

These are more for particular cases such as patients who suffer from bruxism. This is a condition where you unconsciously grind your teeth and it can be damaging. Mouthguards will relieve strain on your jaw and help you to get over the habit. Always get a custom fitted mouthguard made by your dentist.

Contact us with any oral healthcare questions or to schedule an appointment for treatment today!

Questions Regarding Cracked and Split Teeth

Visiting us for regular exams and dental cleaning is essential for your overall oral health and wellness. From teeth cleanings to oral screenings, you should always make it a point to see Dr. Kevin F. Postol and the team here at our family and cosmetic dentistry practice at least twice a year.

But, dentistry is so much more than cleanings and screenings. Cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry are becoming more popular as people start to visit the dentist for the first time after years of neglecting their teeth.

No one wants cracked or split teeth. Not only can it be embarrassing, but it can even be painful or dangerous. Understandably, you might have questions about cosmetic dentistry for cracked teeth. Below, you’ll find some of the most common ones, as well as the answers you may be seeking.

How Do I Know if I Have Cracked or Split Teeth?

Believe it or not, cracked teeth aren’t always visible, especially in the back of the mouth. One way you can tell there’s a problem is if you’re experiencing pain. A cracked tooth can cause a sharp, shooting pain in the mouth.

You may have difficulty biting down on foods and may be hypersensitive to hot or cold foods. That’s usually an indication that there is some type of fracture because the interior of your tooth isn’t meant to be exposed to temperature changes. It can cause pain and discomfort. When this happens, we consider it a dental emergency, so please contact our office as soon as possible.

How Can a Cracked or Split Tooth Be Fixed?

If you suspect that your tooth is cracked or split, the most important thing is to give us a call as quickly as possible. Our team is experienced in dealing with cracked teeth and will provide you with quality care and reassurance to make you as comfortable as possible.

First, we’ll need to get a clear image of the teeth, so we will start by taking an X-ray to determine exactly what’s going on. The kind of treatment you’ll receive will depend on how much damage has been done and which teeth are affected.

A cracked tooth refers to a vertical crack that runs the length of the tooth itself, from the top to the gumline. In some cases, the tooth can be saved with a root canal and finished with a dental crown. But, if the crack goes underneath the gumline, it’s likely the tooth will have to be extracted. There are replacement options, of course, so don’t fret too much over tooth extraction – it’s a more common process than many people think.

If your tooth has split into different segments, part of it may be able to be saved with a root canal. But, teeth usually break this way when a fracture has gone untreated for a long time. If the tooth or gums have started to decay, an extraction is often the best solution.

You don’t have to live in pain or deal with the embarrassment of a visible cracked or split tooth. Feel free to contact us today if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. Dr. Postol will be happy to take a look and provide you with the best treatment possible.

How to Improve Your Oral Health Routine

If you want to make sure your oral health routine is doing the most for your oral health and your smile, you need to make sure you’re doing the following things.

Never Go To Bed Without Brushing Your Teeth

Never, ever go to bed without brushing your teeth. It’s all too easy to fall into bed when you’re tired and ‘forget’, but the things you have eaten throughout the day can have a party in your mouth (and not the good kind). Get into the habit of brushing twice a day without fail. Don’t leave it too late to brush your teeth if you’re always too tired to do it right before bed.

Brush Properly

Take your time to brush properly. Spend time on each tooth, even the ones at the back of your mouth. You should also brush the backs of your teeth. Make sure you’re getting all over the tooth and that you’re not brushing too hard or too soft.

Invest In A Better Toothbrush

A better toothbrush will mean you can simply focus on each tooth while the brush does the rest of the work. You should invest in a high quality electric or sonic toothbrush – many of them will even tell you when to move on to another part of your mouth, when the head needs to be changed, and when to charge. You won’t regret buying a good one if you want to take your oral hygiene seriously.

Never Neglect Your Tongue

Your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria, so you shouldn’t neglect to brush it. Give it a gentle brush each time you brush your teeth.

Always Floss

Flossing should be just as important as brushing in your routine. Your gums may bleed at first, but this should stop as you continue. Flossing will get rid of food and debris, stop plaque build up, and reduce bad breath. It’s also good for the gums and can reduce inflammation.

Use Mouthwash

Use mouthwash at least once a day to finish off your brushing routine. It helps to get rid of the bacteria in your mouth and will freshen your breath further.

Limit Sugary And Acidic Foods

Try to be mindful of the sugary and acidic foods you consume, as too much of them could harm your teeth.

Chew Sugar Free Gum After Meals

After each meal, chew some sugar free gum. This will neutralize the bacteria in your mouth and ensure the food you have just eaten isn’t doing you any harm. It’ll freshen your breath, too.

See A Dentist At Least Twice A Year

Book in with your dentist twice a year for a check up. A good dentist will be able to spot any issues before you do!

Schedule Your Appointment With Dr. Postol Today

If you want to begin improving your oral health routine, schedule an appointment with Dr. Postol today. Taking care of your teeth now will mean a healthier smile in the long run!

How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

The toothbrush has been around for thousands of years, and it’s an integral part of your daily routine. Without it, your oral hygiene will suffer, and you don’t need to be a dentist to know that’s the truth!

As an essential tool, it’s only right that you treat it with respect it deserves. That means changing it regularly to ensure it does an excellent job of keeping your teeth and gums clean.

But, when are you supposed to throw it in the garbage and invest in a new one? How long should you leave it before it’s too late? Continue reading to find out.

The ADA

The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months. Any longer and you run the risk of a build-up of bacteria and the brush becoming ineffective.

However, this is a general recommendation and doesn’t apply to every toothbrush.

Manual Versus Electric

Manual and electric brushes have their pros and cons, and you should choose one that suits your needs the best. To help you understand when it’s time to change your toothbrush regardless of the type, here are the signs to look out for with both.

Manual

Firmness: The firmness of the bristles is essential for manual brushes because people often make a common mistake. While hard bristles have their advantages, they can remove the enamel from your teeth if they are tough, leaving your teeth exposed. Therefore, they should be soft with a little give. However, they shouldn’t be soft to the point they are frayed or coming loose.

Head shape: Lots of manual brushes have rectangular heads, but circular ones age better. Why? It’s because the round and diamond-shaped ones can reach the areas that rectangular heads can’t. So, they are more useful for longer.

Electric

Power charge: Both bristle firmness and head shape apply to electric toothbrushes, but the main factor to consider is how effectively it keeps its charge. Electric brushes that regularly cut out negate the point of buying one in the first place. If you need to put it on charge or keep it plugged in, you should opt for a new one.

Other Factors

Illness and disease are two considerations that should always be in the back of your mind. The reason is simple: toothbrushes don’t fight against infections or sickness. So, if you’ve suffered from an ailment recently, there’s a chance it will linger on your brush. The next time you use it, you could feel ill and have to go through the process again.

As well as illness, you might want to change your brush:

  • If you had a sore throat
  • If you had a mouth sore such as a canker sore

How To Maintain Your Brush For Longer

  • Use a bristle guard: A guard stops bacteria from forming while preventing the bristles from fraying.
  • Rinse it: And do it thoroughly to remove all the excess bacteria from your mouth and the toothpaste.
  • Don’t share it: Sharing a toothbrush might not be too disgusting for partners, but it’s unhygienic.

Please contact us with any other questions regarding your toothbrush.

The Link Between Oral Health and Systemic Diseases

Most people associate poor oral hygiene with dental issues such as cavities, mouth infections, and gum disease. However, poor oral health isn’t only linked to problems with your teeth and gums. Numerous studies have shown that your oral health can have a significant impact on the rest of your body.

What are systemic diseases?

Systemic diseases are illnesses that affect your whole body, as opposed to just one part of your anatomy. A small cavity in your molar is a localized issue, for example, whereas an infection, like gum disease, that enters your bloodstream affects other parts of your body and is systemic.

While any health issue can have far-reaching effects, systemic diseases are particularly concerning. As the entire body is affected by a system illness, a number of complications can arise. In some cases, system diseases can be life-threatening, so it’s important that they are avoided and contained wherever possible.

Why is oral health linked to systemic diseases?

The link between oral health and systemic illnesses has been well-known for quite some time. It’s believed that bacteria in your mouth can make its way to other parts of the body, thus causing a systemic illness to occur.

Although it is natural to have some bacteria in your mouth, an excess amount increases the risk of health problems. As well as causing cavities and dental infections, bacteria in the mouth could cause inflammation and infection in other parts of the body if it migrates from your mouth.

Furthermore, our mouths are regularly exposed to a wide range of bacteria. When you eat, talk and even breath, you’re introducing new bacteria into your system. This enables particularly harmful bacteria to access your delicate system and wreak havoc.

If bacteria aren’t removed swiftly, there is a greater chance of it migrating to other parts of the body. By brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly, you can remove excess bacteria and minimize the risk of dental and systemic diseases developing.

What illnesses are linked to oral health?

There are a considerable number of system diseases that are already linked to oral health. Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease are two heart-related conditions that are known to be associated with oral health, for example. As both of these conditions can cause life-threatening complications, it’s clear that your oral health plays a major role in your overall well-being.

Furthermore, systemic illnesses can have an impact on your oral health, too. Conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis can cause bone weakening and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, for example. If you have been diagnosed with any type of health condition, it’s important to determine how this could affect your oral health and seek guidance from Dr. Kevin F. Postol.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can drastically improve your overall health, as well as minimizing the risk of localized dental issues. To find out more about the impact your oral health may be having on your well-being, contact us today.