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Your Oral Health and Vaping

It’s just been over the last few years that the popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping has grown. Many people make the switch from traditional cigarettes because they think vaping and e-cigs pose fewer health risks. However, most don’t realize there can be some hazards presented to your oral health. Vape juice doesn’t have tar, this is true, but there are some other aspects which can be harmful to your gums and teeth.

What is an E-Cigarette?

E-cigarettes are an electronic device that works by heating a liquid. This vape juice turns into a vapor as it becomes hot. Vape juice is made from a mixture of flavorings, glycerin, water, and propylene glycol. Even though vape juice doesn’t contain tar, most of them do contain some nicotine.

Can Vaping Be Harmful to Your Mouth?

Since there isn’t any tar, one harmful chemical has been removed from vape juice. The research to determine if there are any long-term negative effects caused by other ingredients is still ongoing. Whether they are safe or not is not known. However, your Saginaw, MI dentist does know some of the chemicals are harmful to your dental health. Here are a few of the potential hazards users might face:

Inhaling Bacteria

Bacteria that settle into the bumpy and uneven areas of your teeth, such as pits and crevices, is often responsible for promoting tooth decay, which ultimately leads to cavities. When users inhale the vapor from an e-cigarette, they also bring bacteria into their mouths. This is just as bad for the teeth as eating sugary candies. Bacteria cause plaque buildup in the mouth. Those who use e-cigarettes may find they are more prone to cavities, especially for those who do not maintain good oral hygiene habits.

Leads to Dry Mouth

Some users experience dry mouth, which is primarily caused by propylene glycol. It may sound annoying, but it can lead to other, more serious oral health problems. The saliva in the mouth is a natural defense against bacteria. Vaping presents heat and chemicals into the environment in the mouth. This removes some of the natural moisture. When there isn’t enough saliva, then it is easier for tooth decay to occur. This can also cause more cavities. In some cases, painful sores develop on the gums or other tissue in the mouth. Also, chronic bad breath can become a problem.

Gum Disease and Vaping

When there are excess bacteria, and the mouth is dry, the gums can be affected negatively. Just vaping may be harmful to your gums. Some people develop sores on their gums or in their mouths, and others are sensitive to the chemicals used in e-cigarettes. They often inflame and irritate the gums. If the case is severe, the gums might develop pockets, bleed, and recede. These are all signs of gum disease.

Sugary Flavors

One of the things that makes vaping popular is the many different flavors you can choose from. Maybe you noticed how sweet the vapor from e-cigarettes can be. The flavorings, however, contain the same properties as sweet drinks and candy. The bad thing is, they also have the same effects on the teeth. That means an increased chance of both cavities and tooth decay.

If You Are Choosing to Vape

Please note that while e-cigarettes may not have exactly the same harmful effects on your health as traditional cigarettes, vaping can affect your oral health. There are some hazards. Your Saginaw, MI dental team wants you to be aware of the potentially harmful effects on your oral and physical health. Here are a few tips to help lessen the dangers if you choose to vape.

  • Avoid vape juice that contains nicotine. 
  • Drink lots of water to replace the moisture vaping removes from the mouth.
  • Continue good oral hygiene habits.
  • Keep your regular dental checkups and cleanings as scheduled.

Contact Us

 Please contact  Dr. Schau and the team if you have any questions about the effect of vaping on your oral health. And please schedule your next checkup with Dr. Jennifer Schau. Maintaining good oral health is our priority.

 

Tips for Oral Care During Cold and Flu Season

It’s that time of year everyone dreads, cold and flu season. If you or someone in your house gets sick the first objective is to help them feel better as soon as possible. Honestly, it’s probably not your teeth you are worried about. But cold and flu season can present some real problems for your teeth. Your Saginaw, MI dental team has compiled a few tips for oral care to help you protect your teeth and mouth when sickness is rampant.

Time to Toss Your Toothbrush?

Dr. Jennifer Schau suggests you never share a toothbrush with another person. It’s not a good idea and you can end up sharing germs and viruses. You do cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, right? That’s because it helps protect others from catching a cold or the flu. Not sharing your toothbrush is another way to protect each other. You may also have heard you should toss your toothbrush after being sick. This is not necessarily true. It’s not likely you will get re-infected if you continue to use it. However, it’s better safe than sorry and if it’s been three or more months since you replaced your toothbrush, you might consider tossing it for a new one.

Cough Drops and Oral Care

When you get a cold or the flu, you may use cough drops to help soothe your throat or help clear your sinuses. The problem is they have a lot of sugar in them and that can be bad for the teeth. Sucking on a cough drop gives the bacteria in your mouth just what it needs to survive and thrive. Even though they provide a little bit of relief, it can lead to cavities down the road. Before buying cough drops, read the ingredients listed on the container to see if there is sugar in them. You can purchase cough drops that are sugar-free to help protect your oral health.

Use a Mouth Rinse

Throwing up is not a pleasant experience and talking about it is not fun. However, when you have the flu or a virus it’s a real possibility. When you vomit, your teeth are exposed to stomach acid. Brushing can be detrimental and end up coating your teeth with acid. Rinsing your mouth out with water can help get rid of the acid. You can also make your own mouth rinse using a little baking soda in water. Swish it around and spit it out, and then wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Hydration to Protect Your Teeth

Your doctor will probably suggest drinking more liquids when you are sick to prevent dehydration. But when you are well hydrated, it can also protect your teeth. Getting dehydrated can lead to dry mouth which can lead to having cavities. Also, when you take some medications that are used to treat flu-like symptoms, they can dry your mouth out some too. Staying hydrated helps prevent dry mouth. Using sugar-free cough drops can help the mouth produce adequate amounts of saliva which can help prevent dry mouth as well.

Water is the overall best and safest choice for staying hydrated. If your doctor suggests a sports drink to help with electrolyte balance, just drink it for as long as you need to. You can also try sugar-free sports drinks to help protect your teeth.

Contact Your Saginaw, MI Dentist

If you still have questions about these tips for oral care, or how you can protect your oral health during flu and cold season, please contact our offices. Dr. Schau and the team will be happy to answer your questions. If it’s time for your routine exam, please schedule yours today!

How Does Getting Dental Implants Work?

It’s never good to lose a tooth, but it does happen sometimes. Fortunately, there are several solutions for tooth replacement. Choices for replacing missing teeth include getting a dental bridge, full or partial dentures, or dental implants. More people have started choosing implants over dentures since they are a more natural solution. Dr. Schau and the team can discuss your situation with you to help you determine if you are a good candidate for implants. They are not removable fixtures like dentures, instead, they are surgically attached to the jawbone. If you are in good health, have healthy gums and a strong jawbone, you may be an ideal candidate.

Will implants look and feel natural?

One of the main reasons people choose dental implants is that they look more natural, but they also feel more natural. The implant will be attached to the jawbone by a surgical procedure. The post won’t be visible, but it looks sort of like a screw. This replaces the root of the tooth that was lost. The post can be made out of titanium, or an alloy so that it is not likely to cause a reaction when it comes in contact with the gum tissue. Once the customized tooth is placed on the post, it will look like your natural teeth. It will function and feel more like your normal teeth too.

What will the procedure be like?

dental implantOnce your Saginaw, MI dentist determines you are a good candidate for implants, they will discuss the procedure in great detail with you. You’ll be able to ask them any questions you may have at that time. The procedure itself is often done in the dental office. Dr. Jennifer Schau will administer local anesthesia. It will require more than one visit to complete the entire procedure which is usually done in three phases.

  •       Phase 1 – The first phase in the process will involve surgically placing the implant in the jawbone. It will then grow to the jawbone. It will take a little time for healing to become complete. It can take up to three to six months for it to heal completely.
  •       Phase 2 – Once the implant has been placed into the jawbone, the metal post will be attached to it. The post provides stability like a root and will anchor the tooth replacement. In some instances, the dentist can do both of these steps at the same time. For others though, it will be done in two steps.
  •       Phase 3 – In the last phase, once the areas around both the implant and post have healed, the custom made crown will be attached to the post.

What makes implants a good tooth replacement option?

There are several things about dental implants that make them a more popular choice than other tooth replacement options. Some of the main reasons patients choose them include:

  •       More Like Natural Teeth. Once the implants have been placed and healed, they tend to feel more like your natural teeth. This helps a lot when eating and talking. They are the next best thing to your real teeth.
  •       Long-Term Options. When it comes to a long term option, implants have the best track record. Bridges have to be replaced from time to time and usually don’t last more than 10 years. However, dental implants can last for your lifetime given proper care.
  •       Better for Bone Structures. Deterioration of jawbone and facial muscles begins quickly and they can change in shape and diminish in strength over time. Wearing dentures even accelerates the rate of deterioration. Implants, though, help to restore the normal function in the jaw, face, and bones so that bone loss is prevented.

Who Shouldn’t Consider Implants?

There are some instances when the Saginaw, MI dental team may discourage a patient from dental implants. In these cases, other tooth replacement alternatives will be recommended. Pregnant women should not undergo the procedure until after they have had their baby. And those who have either a chronic condition or suffer from immunosuppression shouldn’t have the procedure since they are at risk of developing an infection which could be dangerous for them. Children are not good candidates since their jawbones are still in the developing process. And if you grind your teeth, you may not be a good candidate because it can put too much pressure on the implants.

Contact Us

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Saginaw, MI dental team if you have more questions or concerns. Dr. Schau will be happy to discuss the possibility of dental implants with you and help you determine if you are a good candidate. Call us today!

Protecting Your Tooth Enamel

The enamel is the outer layer on your teeth that helps protect them. When the enamel breaks down, it can lead to serious tooth decay. While it is subject to normal wear and tear, there are some steps you can take to help keep the enamel strong so it can continue protecting your teeth. Here are three things you can do to protect your tooth enamel.

Eating and Drinking to Protect Enamel

 Sugary drinks and foods such as soda can damage tooth enamel. Sometimes overly acidic foods and drinks like eating citrus fruits or drinking orange juice can be damaging to tooth enamel. This can, of course, lead to cavities. The best drink when you’re thirsty is plain water. And the best thing you can do for your teeth is to avoid sugary foods.

You’ll also want to eat foods that contain calcium as it can help you maintain healthy, strong teeth. Dairy products have calcium, but so do other foods like almonds, white beans, and broccoli.

Brush Correctly

Ask Dr. Jennifer Schau about correct brushing techniques. You don’t want to brush too harshly, but you do need to brush every day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles for brushing and use gentle back and forth strokes. Choose a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel.

Don’t Grind Your Teeth

Many adults suffer from bruxism at night, which can wear away the surface of the teeth. Dr. Schau and the team can help you find a solution, such as a night mouthguard to protect your teeth.

Talk to Your Dentist

Your Saginaw, MI dental team can help you maintain your healthy smile for life.  It’s important to visit Your Saginaw, MI dentist wants to help you maintain a beautiful smile through regular cleanings and exams every six months. In between dental appointments Call us today to schedule your next exam. 

 

Should My Child Wear a Mouthguard to Play Sports?

It is important for children to wear a mouthguard when they are playing sports. A good mouthguard can protect your child’s mouth from serious injury during sports. It is important to make sure that you are buying the right mouthguard for them to prevent broken teeth or damage to the mouth.

Your child needs a mouth protector just like they need their other safety equipment. It can protect them from a dental emergency. While it’s always best to consult your Saginaw, MI dentist for advice on what mouthguards are best, it still pays to know the differences between the three types of mouthguards available.

Custom-Fit Mouthguards

Custom-fit mouthguards are made for your child and designed to fit their mouths. A dental professional will make an imprint of your child’s teeth and mouth. It will then be used to make the well-fitted mouthguard. They are more expensive than other types of mouthguards. The advantage of this type is that they almost always offer more protection since they fit better. Dr. Jennifer Schau and her Saginaw, MI dental team can fit your child with a mouthguard that provides the best possible protection.

Stock Mouthguards

Stock mouthguards come pre-formed and ready to use. They are relatively inexpensive, but since they aren’t customized to fit your child, they might not fit properly or provide as much protection as a custom-fitted mouthguard.

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards

Boil-and-bite mouthguards can be considered the middle ground between custom-fit mouthguards and stock mouthguards. They can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, and they can adapt to your child’s mouth after they are softened in boiling water.

Want more information on mouthguards?

If your child wears braces or other dental equipment talk to the dentist about the type of mouthguard they should wear. For more information about mouthguards or to find the mouthguard that is best for your child, contact Dr. Jennifer Schau today. Dr. Schau and the team will be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

What to do about a Cracked Tooth

dental examA cracked tooth may be a serious problem, but it’s one that is easy to overlook. You might be able to see a large crack, but not always. Most cracks are invisible to the naked eye, and some won’t even show up on an x-ray. And yet, they can lead to some serious issues if they aren’t repaired by your Saginaw, MI dentist. 

Identifying a Cracked Tooth

The best way to know if you have a cracked tooth is to make an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Schau and her Saginaw, MI dental team. If you have localized pain in one part of your mouth that flares when you bite down on something or expose your teeth to something very hot or very cold, you might have a tooth that needs to be repaired. This can be done with bonding, a crown, or a root canal if the damage has gotten particularly severe. 

What Causes a Tooth to Crack?

There are a number of things that can cause a cracked tooth. Forceful trauma to the head or mouth can crack a tooth. You can also accidentally break, chip, or crack a tooth by biting down on a hard piece of candy, a nut, or a piece of ice. If you find yourself grinding your teeth in your sleep, or when you are stressed out, you may be more susceptible to having a cracked tooth.  In any case, you should never wait to have a cracked tooth repaired. Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau to set up an appointment as soon as you suspect that you have a problem.

Contact Us

If you have a painful tooth, don’t wait until it gets any worse. Call us today and schedule an exam. Catching problems early is essential for making sure they don’t cause secondary, more complicated problems.

The Link Between Obesity and Oral Health

Obesity and Oral Health 

Obesity rates around the globe are getting worse. Many governmental agencies are trying to find ways to reduce the rates and help people live healthier lives. But recently, studies have revealed a connection between obesity and oral health. You might not think there’s a connection between these two conditions, but scientists are convinced there is a strong link. Your Saginaw, MI dentist, Dr. Jennifer Schau, is aware of the statistics which make a strong connection between people having a high body mass index above 30, and those who have an increased incidence of periodontal disease and other oral health issues.

The Connecting link 

The connection between these two conditions appears to be the diet. Studies have been conducted which show that almost all obese people have a high level of bacteria in their mouths. This bacterium is the same type most closely associated with periodontal disease. This particular type of bacteria come from consuming refined carbohydrates and sugary foods. These are the same type of foods which lead to obesity and are also determined to be bad for oral health. Refined carbohydrates and sugars can help promote cavities and gum disease.  

This being the case, your Saginaw, MI dental team recommends that anyone who is significantly overweight adopt a lifestyle change with respect to their diet. By including more of the healthy foods which can help to stave off oral health issues, and also help to manage weight, a person should automatically reduce their intake of carbs, fats, and sugars. Dr. Schau and team are happy to help patients maintain better oral health by adopting healthier eating habits.

 Contact us!

Please contact our offices with your questions and concerns about how diet affects your oral health. We are glad to help. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your oral health with a professional.

 

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a very common form of periodontal disease which generally occurs after plaque builds up around the teeth and is not removed by brushing. During your regular visit with the Saginaw, MI dental team, Dr. Jennifer Schau can spot the symptoms and identify gingivitis, so you can take steps to correct the situation. 

Can gingivitis be prevented?

The best defense against gingivitis is good brushing and flossing, so plaque doesn’t have a chance to accumulate. If it is allowed to build up and is not removed, it can harden into a substance called tartar, and this can only be removed by Dr. Schau and her dental team. 

What are the symptoms?

When gingivitis is mild, you can identify the symptoms easily. Seeing a dentist right away is key to successful treatment. Some of the symptoms include red or swollen gums, sensitivity around the gums, or bleeding which occurs near sensitive gum tissue. Bleeding is usually noticed after brushing or flossing. 

Getting a Diagnosis

When you come in for a dental check-up, your Saginaw, MI dentist will check for signs of gingivitis or periodontitis. If the dentist discovers any signs, she will remove the tartar, and you will be advised that additional brushing and flossing will be necessary to manage any further outbreaks of gingivitis. With good at-home oral hygiene, your gums will recover, and symptoms will fade away. When diagnosed early, it’s easily treatable. However, waiting can lead to more serious conditions like the break down of gum tissue.  This can eventually lead to other complications like the loss of one or more teeth. 

Contact Us!

Do you think you have the symptoms of gingivitis? Please contact us to schedule a dental exam. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about your dental health.

 

 

Drinking Water and Your Oral Health

When you think about taking care of your body, chances are drinking enough water is high on your list. But did you know that drinking water helps your dental health, too? That’s especially true if your water is fluoridated. Your Saginaw, MI dentist, Dr. Schau, and team want to help you keep your mouth healthy, and here’s how water can help you do it.

Water and Your Body

The body is made up of about 60% water. Proper hydration ensures the body can distribute key nutrients throughout the body, rid itself of waste, keeps muscles moving, and gives the skin a nice glow. It provides essential nutrients and minerals to help balance out the electrolytes in the body. You will have more energy and clearer thoughts when you consume enough water.

How Water Benefits Oral Health

Fluoridated water is a great way to help fight cavities. Not only does fluoride strengthen your teeth, but the water washes away bacteria and food particles that could be on your teeth after eating. It also provides hydration for your mouth so your saliva works properly to protect your teeth. When saliva works like it is supposed to it helps protect the teeth from cavities. If you develop dry mouth, your saliva doesn’t do it’s part so your teeth are unprotected. Drinking enough water is beneficial for preventing dry mouth and helping saliva protect your teeth. When you drink water, you’re helping your body work to keep your smile healthy and beautiful, even between dental appointments.

Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau

When it’s time to get a check-up or you want to know more about improving dental health between appointments, be sure to call your Saginaw, MI dental team to make an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Schau. Contact the dental office today to schedule your exam or find answers to your questions about water and your oral health.

Do You Brush Your Tongue?

Most people learn from a young age that it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily. This is necessary to take good care of your mouth. But did you know that if you don’t take care of your tongue, you’re not doing everything you should for your oral health?

Why Brushing Your Tongue is Important

Your tongue is prime for lots of bacteria to grow in your mouth. If you don’t do anything, the bacteria will continue to grow and cause problems beyond bad breath. In fact, if you don’t brush your tongue, you could get more cavities, even if you’re brushing your teeth and flossing regularly. Brushing your tongue is especially important if you have dry mouth, have tooth decay or periodontal disease, or have certain health problems like diabetes or kidney disease. Those things can also contribute to bad breath, so it’s important to do what you can to counteract it.

How do you brush your tongue?

The best way to brush your tongue is to include it every time you brush your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your tongue in side-to-side motions all along the surface. Then, rinse well with water. Be careful not to brush too hard so you don’t damage the surface of your tongue. If you use a tongue scraper, make sure you follow the instructions carefully so you don’t damage the skin on your tongue. If you have questions about brushing your tongue, you should reach out to Dr. Shau and the team at your Saginaw, MI dentist office.

Contact Us

If you’re battling bad breath even with proper oral health care at home, call your Saginaw, MI dental team to make an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Shau. We would be happy to help you improve your oral health!

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