Category Archives: Blog

Dental Care After a Heart Attack

When you suffer a heart attack, your life is going to go through a number of changes for a while. You will want to take special measures to assure that, in your weakened state, you don’t further compromise your health or suffer a second attack. Unfortunately, this has implications on your normal dental hygiene.

If at all possible, it is important to wait for at least six months after your heart attack before you undergo any dental treatments. Your body may not be ready to deal with the anxiety that most people experience when they visit the dentist. Meanwhile, if you are taking medication to treat your heart, it may not interact well with your treatments. Some heart medications encourage bleeding, which is not favorable for any surgical procedures you may need.

When you finally return to our dentist in West Seattle after a heart attack, be sure to supply us with a list of your medications and their dosages. You should also give us the contact information of your doctor, in case anything should go wrong during your appointment.

Is Something Wrong if I Bite My Cheeks?

Everyone bites the inside of their cheeks from time to time. It’s never a pleasant experience, and it often gets worse before it gets better. If it happens often, some people naturally begin to wonder if they have some sort of problem with their teeth.

The good news is that biting your cheek is a fairly normal occurrence, even if your teeth are perfectly straight and healthy. If you continue to bite down in the same place over and over again, the fragile tissues of your cheek have likely become inflamed so that they are easier to accidentally bite down on. This aggravates your swelling all the more, and makes it easy to think you have a problem.

If you ever find yourself trapped in this vicious cycle, just try to be mindful of your injured cheek. Be careful as you chew your food and give the delicate tissues a chance to heal themselves. In severe cases, you might consider talking to our West Seattle dentistry clinic about orthodontic wax or a similar product to protect your injured area.

Gum Disease’s Link to Premature Birth

If you are either pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future, you would be well advised to take particular care of your oral health. When you manage to maintain a healthy set of teeth and gums, you are improving your chances of giving your developing child a proper start. Poor oral hygiene has been shown to raise the risk that your baby will be born prematurely.

Though the specific nature of the relationship between poor oral health and premature birth is not entirely understood, it was observed that women with gum disease have a higher occurrence of premature birth. Some have theorized that it has something to do with the inflammation that gum disease causes in the tissues of your gums. Unfortunately, the hormonal changes that you are experiencing during your pregnancy are making you all the more vulnerable to gum disease or similar dental problems. It’s a vicious cycle that you will need to take particular measures to avoid. For additional information, talk to our West Seattle dentist.

What is a Fissured Tongue?

If you have grooves or cracks running along the surface of your tongue, this is probably something that is known as fissured tongue, plicated tongue, or scrotal tongue. Somewhere between 2% and 5% of the US population has some degree of this condition. The fissures will run across the top and sides of the tongue, and can get as deep as six millimeters. The condition will occasionally emerge in childhood, though it is most common that it will come about in adulthood and grow deeper as you age.

Though fissured tongue may look unusual, it’s not a harmful condition. It’s not clear what causes it, but it may very well be nothing more than a genetic variation on the more typical tongue. The only concern is that a deep fissure can occasionally trap bits of detritus that can foster the development of harmful oral bacteria. With this in mind, anyone with fissured tongue would be well advised to take particular care in scraping their tongues once a day. Consult our dentist in West Seattle to learn more.

Black Hairy Tongue

If you ever notice a dark, hair-like covering developing on the surface of your tongue, this is a condition that is known simply as black hairy tongue. It is not a painful condition, but it is indicative of poor oral hygiene. It comes about when the papillae of your tongue swell up and grow longer. These then capture bacteria and other particles in your mouth until they take on an unusual color. This color is usually black, but it can also be brown, green, yellow, or another color.

There are a number of potential causes behind black hairy tongue, including the following:

  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Drinking excessive tea or coffee
  • Any kind of smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Antibiotics or certain other medications
  • Dehydration
  • The use of mouthwash containing peroxide, witch hazel, or menthol
  • Radiation therapy in the head or neck

Getting rid of black hairy tongue is often a simple matter of improving your oral hygiene. Try scraping your tongue once a day if you do not already do so. If you smoke, consider quitting. Be sure you are getting enough water, and visit our West Seattle dentistry for more information.

Blueberries vs. Gum Disease

Do you like blueberries? There are many great reasons to love these delightfully little fruits. Not only are they sweet and delicious, but they also boast a good many health benefits. In fact, blueberries may have the power to help you fight or prevent gum disease.

This information in coming to us from an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. According to the article, wild blueberries contain micronutrients that possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can go a long way toward preventing periodontal disease. Researchers observed that extracts from the lowbush blueberry prevented the buildup of dental plaque. The team believes that this revelation could serve to change the way dentists treat gum disease, which currently involves the use of antibiotics.

Though you may not yet be able to fend off gum disease with a bag of blueberries, 1st Impressions Dental can help to make your dental health a more pleasant experience. Call us to schedule an appointment with our dentist in West Seattle today.

Is Your Tea Too Hot for Your Throat?

Many people like to drink tea on a daily basis, benefitting from the valuable antioxidants and other substances found in most varieties. A cup of tea every day has been demonstrated to decrease your cancer risk, reduce your stress, and foster good health. Unfortunately, if you take your tea too hot, you may be inviting throat cancer upon yourself.

According to a study conducted on patients suffering from esophageal cancer, those who claimed to regularly drink more than a litre of hot black tea were more likely to contact the disease. Apparently, the high temperature of your drink is too harsh on the delicate tissues in your oral cavity. If you regularly drink tea, it is important to assure that you let it cool below sixty-five degrees. Allow your tea to sit for a minimum of four minutes after it is done boiling, after which you can expect it to reach a throat-friendly temperature.

Our dentist in West Seattle can give you further help in looking out for throat cancer. Be sure to see your dentist regularly to assure that you catch any malignant growths while they are still manageable.

Bulimia vs. Your Teeth

Bulimia is an unfortunate eating disorder that has a strong impact on your health. A bulimic will eat regular meals, but then immediately induces vomiting in an effort to avoid gaining weight. For obvious reasons, this is highly unhealthy. Your system is being deprived of most of the vital nutrients it needs, inviting many deficiencies and diseases upon yourself. Further, a bulimic is seriously affecting his or her dental health.

The important thing to remember is that vomiting is brutal on your mouth. Every time you regurgitate, you are exposing your teeth, throat, and gums to the brutal digestive acids that break down the food in your stomach. The effects are manageable if you only vomit occasionally, but a regular habit of inducing vomiting will quickly erode your tooth enamel and break down your sensitive gum tissues. For this reason, bulimics often suffer from serious decay and periodontal problems, which accounts for their reputation of losing teeth.

Our West Seattle dentistry clinic encourages you to do the right thing for your oral health, and say no to bulimia.

Genetics and Your Dental Health

There is a lot that you can do to assert control over your oral health. Unfortunately, many people find that their best brushing and flossing practices are not enough to maintain a strong set of teeth and gums. Indeed, there are forces beyond your control, like your genetics, that can play a big role in your dental health. Here are a few examples of ways that you may be genetically disposed towards dental problems:

  • Gingivitis: Some people just have more sensitive gums than others. If your family has a history of gingivitis, you may likewise be more susceptible.
  • Bleeding Disorders: A lot of dental procedures can be complicated by clotting problems, excessive bleeding, or similar disorders.
  • Crooked Teeth: Though crooked teeth can be caused by many things, genetics often plays a role. If a lot of people in your family have braces, you may very well need to wear them, too.
  • Wisdom Teeth: Not everybody develops wisdom teeth, and not everyone needs to have them removed. Your family may be indicative of how your teeth may develop.
  • Other Diseases: Some inherited diseases, including diabetes and asthma, have adverse implications on your oral health.

Talk to our dentist in West Seattle to learn more.

Asthma’s Effects on Your Dental Health

Asthma can be a difficult thing to live with, in that it affects much of your day-to-day life. Unfortunately, your oral care is no exception to this. People who suffer from asthma are well-advised to take particular care with their daily oral hygiene, as they are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and similar problems.

The problem with asthma is that it frequently encourages you to breathe through your mouth, causing your oral cavity to dry out. Since the saliva in your mouth plays an important role in keeping your teeth and gums clean of detrimental microorganisms, this practice invites decay and periodontal disease upon yourself. Even if you manage to avoid breathing through your mouth too much, you may find that the medication you are taking to manage your asthma has dry mouth as a side effect.

If you suffer from asthma, it is important that you tell our West Seattle dentist. With this information, we can take measures to accommodate any dental anxiety you may experience and prevent an attack during your regular dental visits.