Your Guide to Canker Sores

A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.

What do they look like?

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.

What causes them?

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.

What can I do?

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office by filling out the form or calling 410-363-2121. We look forward to seeing you.

Be Prepared This Summer!

Summer is the time for a relaxing vacation with family and friends, whether it be at the beach, a new city, or somewhere outdoors. But being away from home means you’re also away from us at Crossroads Dental Arts! While you can’t prevent a dental emergency from happening while you’re away, here are some must-have items to keep on hand when you’re on vacation should a dental emergency arise:

Pain relief: ibuprofen

Motrin, Advil, or generic ibuprofen can be effective for minor oral discomfort.

Lost filling or crown: Dentemp One Step Filling Material

Dentemp One Step Filling Material, which is found at most drugstores, is a good temporary fix for replacing a crown or protecting an area exposed by a lost filling.

Broken denture: The D.O.C. Denture Repair Kit

This kit, also available at most drugstores, works to temporarily repair a cracked denture.

Lost tooth: empty prescription medicine vial and liquid

Place the lost adult tooth (keeping the root intact without cleaning or handling it) in an empty prescription medicine vial with some liquid (preferably milk) and seek dental attention immediately.

Food stuck in teeth: dental floss

Fix this uncomfortable situation with some dental floss (either waxed or unwaxed), which is always a good idea to have on hand anyway!

Cut on gums, lips, or tongue: clean gauze or cloth and peroxide (if available)

Put pressure on the cut with clean gauze or cloth and peroxide. If the bleeding does not stop, seek immediate medical attention.

Minor dental irritations: warm salt water rinse

A warm salt water rinse will provide temporary relief for most oral irritations, and we prefer it to Anbesol Gel, which has many side effects and can harm the mouth tissues with overuse.

Remember that the items listed above are for temporary use. If an emergency arises, see a dentist as soon as possible.

Here at Crossroads Dental Arts, we are always here for you even if you’re away from home. Call or text us at 410-363-2121 if you have any questions about a dental emergency or anything else dental-related. We can’t wait to hear all about your vacation the next time you’re in the office!

Excuses, Excuses

We hear it all the time. “I’ve been meaning to schedule my dental appointment, but it keeps slipping my mind.”

We get lots of excuses about not scheduling appointments at the dentist, and here are our thoughts on the most common ones.

Excuse #1: Going to the dentist is expensive.

While quality health care can be pricey, investing in preventive dental procedures (including cleanings, exams, and necessary x-rays) can save thousands of dollars in treatments later. If you put off your dental visit, they will become more extensive and more expensive, but the more often you visit us, the more your piggy bank will thank you.

Excuse #2: Going to the dentist might be uncomfortable.

While we know you’d have more fun going to an afternoon movie, trips to the dentist are more pleasant than ever before thanks to modern dental techniques and technology. We can start your appointment with a warm lemon-scented towel, and if you want to listen to music during your appointment, just tell us know your favorite genre! Let us know if you have any concerns when you come in, and we’ll be sure to make your experience as relaxing as possible.

Excuse #3: If I’m not in pain, why come in?

If you’re experiencing pain, it means you’ve waited too long to schedule your visit! Early gum disease and cavities are usually painless and can only be detected at a dental appointment. Waiting for symptoms to arise can lead to expensive treatments, but we’ve already reviewed how to avoid those (see Excuse #1!).

Excuse #4: I must take care of my children’s teeth first.

By the time your children are grown and out of the house, your oral health could have suffered to the point where conditions become irreversible, resulting in tooth loss. Don’t let that happen! Find the time and money for yourself and your spouse as well as the children in your family.

At Crossroads Dental Arts, we understand the importance of regular dental examinations and cleanings. We want to make your dental experience as cost-efficient, comfortable, and painless as possible. Start with a consultation and just get to know us.

Having run out of excuses, if you’d like to schedule an appointment, please call or text us at 410.363.2121.

How to Deal with Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is a condition that can make everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and even walking outside in colder weather painful and unpleasant. If you frequently experience a sharp burst of pain in your teeth when drinking coffee, eating ice cream or being hit by a gust of cold air, sensitive teeth may be the cause. Sensitive teeth are a common, though frustrating issue. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) estimates that up to 40 million adults in the United States suffer from this condition.

The primary cause of sensitive teeth is thinning of the enamel, the hard covering that protects teeth from damage. Thinning of the enamel exposes the dentin within teeth, which is full of nerve endings. Exposed nerve endings are the reason you can feel a sudden flash of pain when enjoying your favorite ice cream.

Fortunately, sensitive teeth are a treatable condition. Here are some of your options for managing sensitive teeth.

Adjust your brushing habits

Tooth sensitivity may be reduced by a simple change in your daily brushing habits. Switching to a softer toothbrush should be one of your first steps. Brushes with hard bristles can aggravate your teeth, increasing sensitivity and discomfort. Likewise, scrubbing teeth aggressively can hasten damage to the tissue covering the roots of your teeth and increase sensitivity. Be sure to brush gently for a full two minutes at least twice daily.

Try a special toothpaste

Toothpastes made to treat sensitive teeth can be a helpful remedy. These toothpastes can be purchased over the counter and contain ingredients designed to help protect your teeth. It is important to use the toothpaste regularly to see improvement.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks

Soda, citrus and red wine are some of the acidic biggest offenders. If you cannot fully avoid acidic foods and beverages, be sure to brush twenty minutes after consumption. Be aware that brushing immediately after can actually increase sensitivity, so it is better to rinse your mouth and allow sufficient time for the acids to be neutralized by your saliva before brushing.

Surgical solutions

In some cases, surgical solutions may be recommended to treat the underlying cause of your teeth sensitivity. If you have receding gums, tissue grafts can help protect your teeth roots and reduce sensitivity. Inlays, crowns and bonding may also be options if there is damage to your teeth that is causing or exacerbating your sensitivity.

Speak with our dentist to determine what type of treatment is best for your sensitivity. Contact our office for your consultation.

10 Crossroads Drive
Suite 203
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Phone: (410) 363-2121

An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Crossroads Dental Arts of Owings Mills
10 Crossroads Dr #203, Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 363-2121

Do I Really Need an Exam?

It’s highly likely that after visiting our practice, you understand the value of a thorough, professional dental cleaning. It’s also likely that you may not fully understand the importance of a complete exam and radiographs.

There are many reasons the exam is an important part of your oral health routine.

1. Exams allow the doctor to evaluate for signs of health conditions. Many health conditions present early signs and symptoms in the mouth, including: Crohn’s, Addison’s, Leukemia, Diabetes, Lupus, Anemia and many others. Skipping an exam could prevent your dentist from screening for oral manifestations of systemic disease.

2. According to research, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. A thorough complete examination can catch early signs of oral cancer, allowing for early treatment, which can be key to survival.

3. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is related to serious systemic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, among many others. Evaluating your soft tissue and bone health allows our team to identify early signs of periodontal disease, which can allow for prevention and early treatment. This is vital for your oral and overall health.

4. Radiographs provide valuable insight. Decay and other oral health issues are often hidden from the human eye. Radiographs (X-Rays) allow us to find what we could not otherwise see, allowing for early treatment and less invasive solutions.

Whether it has been 6 months or 6 years since your last appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you and your heath and comfort are our main concerns.

Crossroads Dental Arts of Owings Mills
10 Crossroads Dr #203, Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 363-2121

3 Steps to a Healthy Smile

Did you know that tooth decay is the single largest cause of school absences? The longer decay goes untreated, the worse it gets. Not only can this mean costlier expenses for you, but it also jeopardizes your child’s oral health and education. You can help your child have a healthy, happy smile by taking a few steps to defend against tooth decay. Here are three steps you can take at home.

Reduce Excessive Sugar

Sugary foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Limit your child’s sugary intake by keeping candy, soft drinks, juices, and other sweets to a minimum. If your child does indulge in a sugary snack or treat, make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.

Follow a Consistent Brushing Routine

One of the best steps you can take for your child is to help them establish a daily brushing routine. They should brush for at least two minutes both morning and night. Try brushing at the same times each day so that it becomes a habit. We also strongly recommend that parents monitor their children to make sure they are brushing correctly and safely. It’s important that children avoid swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash.

Strengthen Teeth with Dairy Products

Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, particularly cheese, yogurt, and milk. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth. Increasing the amount of calcium in your child’s diet can help strengthen tooth enamel, one of the natural defenses against decay. If your child is lactose intolerant or cannot consume other dairy products, we suggest you talk to our team for additional solutions.

Healthy teeth start at home. Implement the three simple steps above with your child at home to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile. The single most important step you can take for your child is to bring them in to see our team. Regular oral health examinations for your child are essential to ensure that their teeth are healthy and growing properly.

Contact our team to schedule your child’s next examination today.

Crossroads Dental Arts of Owings Mills
10 Crossroads Dr #203
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 363-2121

One Tool for Better Gum Health

Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.

Floss to the Rescue

Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.

Facts Behind Flossing

According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips for Flossing Correctly

It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.

It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but these minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.

10 Crossroads Dr #203
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 363-2121

3 Simple Ways to Reduce Tooth Decay

Dentist in Owings Mills MDA happy smile is a healthy smile! There are a number of steps you can take to keep your smile healthy by reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. Here are a few suggestions from our team.

Eat a Tooth Friendly Diet

Reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. Decay-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on these substances.

We suggest you reduce grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in your diet when possible. These foods can lead to demineralization of your teeth and bones due to their acidic content. Consider adding foods high in minerals and vitamins to your diet such as apples, leafy greens, celery, or carrots.

Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat

Routine brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing and a mouth rinse is the optimal at home dental care routine. Brush for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach every tooth.

Dental Sealants

Children often get dental sealants to protect the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of their mouths. However, dental sealants can benefit adults and those who have a higher risk of decay. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that coats the top surface of the tooth. Sealants protect the crevices in the tooth where bacteria reside and minimizes exposure of the tooth to harmful acids and sugars that wear down enamel.

When left untreated, tooth decay can cause discomfort and spread to other healthy teeth. You can combat tooth decay by reducing sugars and acids in your diet and brushing and flossing regularly. For some patients, dental sealants might be a solution.

Don’t forget to schedule your next visit to our office. Our team can provide a professional cleaning and check for signs of tooth decay.

Fix Your Bad Breath For Good

It’s probably safe to assume that you don’t want the first thing people notice about you to be your bad breath. In fact, depending on the frequency and severity of the odor, bad breath could be hurting you professionally and relationally. There are some obvious causes of bad breath, including foods with strong smells, illness, or dry mouth. However, if you’re finding that a good oral care routine that includes flossing, brushing, and mouthwash isn’t enough to fix the problem, our dental team can help. Below is some information about the common causes of and cures for bad breath. Contact our dental practice today to learn more and to schedule an examination and cleaning!

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by a variety of factors. Eating food with strong odors can cause them to linger on your breath. Particles of food left behind in your mouth can cause the buildup of odor-causing bacteria. Alcohol and tobacco can exacerbate unpleasant smells in your mouth. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause strong odors as the bacteria eats away at your mouth. Patients with diabetes can experience a buildup in ketones, causing bad breath. Bad breath therefore is not only an embarrassing nuisance; it can also be a warning sign of other health issues.

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene, so there are some easy steps you can take at home to begin addressing the issue. Make sure you’re following a regular oral care routine that includes daily flossing, twice daily brushing, regular mouthwash rinses, and twice yearly professional cleanings. You should also take time to brush your tongue, and might want to invest in a tongue scraper to help keep it clean. Stay hydrated to avoid dry mouth by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Quit smoking, which will have far reaching health benefits beyond improving your breath. If needed, alter your diet. Foods that are overly sugary, spicy, or seasoned can all cause bad breath, as well as items like onions, garlic, coffee, and alcohol.

If none of these steps alleviate your bad breath, it could be a sign of a more serious issue. To learn more about preventing bad breath, or to schedule an examination and professional cleaning with our dentist, contact our practice today!