Does Having a Cold and Flu Hurt my Teeth?

Cold and flu season is in full swing in Kamloops. Many of us have experienced sleepless nights with a cough that won’t stop, a stuffy head that makes breathing impossible, and a runny nose that has us constantly reaching for tissues. We are all aware of how the common cold and flu can wreak havoc on the body, but did you know how these bugs affect your oral health? Read on to learn how to deal with these issues and protect your teeth.

Nasal Congestion and Dry Mouth

The cold and flu bugs have taken up residence in your sinuses, so when you finally lay down to rest, you’re too stuffed up to breathe through your nose. Instead, you have to breathe through your mouth, leaving you feeling parched all night.  Cold and flu symptoms are a major cause of dry mouth, but medications such as decongestants may make it worse. And when the mouth is dry, bacteria grow faster, increasing your risk of gingivitis and tooth decay.

To combat dry mouth during a cold or flu, continue using decongestants as indicated, they will help in the long run. But make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Humidifiers are also crucial, especially in a dry climate like Kamloops. They add moisture to the air and help soothe dry tissues.

When cold and flu symptoms start, I also recommend using a nasal rinse such as the NeilMed Sinus Rinse products available at any drugstore. Make sure you use previously-boiled or distilled water with the saline packets. Nasal rinsing significantly reduces congestion, as well as post-nasal drip which often causes sore throats.

Sinus Pain and Toothaches

cold and flu

Don’t be fooled, cold and flu symptoms often mimic tooth pain! The telltale sign is when the pain isn’t limited to just one tooth. Other symptoms include pain and pressure around the face and eyes and nasal congestion. Acute sinus infections often resolve on their own, but sometimes require antibiotics. Please keep in mind, your dentist isn’t able to prescribe those antibiotics as the infection isn’t tooth-related, so speak to your family doctor.

Keep on Top of Your Oral Hygiene

gingivitisAlthough you might not feel up to it when sick, keep up with your oral care. Allowing plaque to build-up not only puts you at risk for gingivitis and tooth decay, but also encourages bacterial growth. This means a slower recovery from the cold and flu because your immune system is dealing with your mouth instead of fighting the cold or flu. Stick with your regular brushing and flossing routine. And if you really don’t have the energy, try a soothing mouth rinse.

Our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you achieve optimal oral health and we are happily accepting new patients. You can contact us by clicking here or visit our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates and fun contests.

DIY…Dentistry?

Hey, I’m as crafty as anyone. Give me a good Do-It-Yourself project and an online tutorial and I’ll make something half-decent or have fun trying! But there is a new trend on the internet that is making all us dentists very nervous – DIY Dentistry.

Unfortunately, due to the barriers to dental treatment in our society, I can see why people are tempted to try DIY Dentistry. The online “kits” and “tutorials” look easy, are very cheap, it’s well marketed, and websites are full of positive testimonials and success stories. But what about the cases that go wrong?

DIY Dentistry Isn’t Effective or Safe

The biggest threat of DIY dentistry is that it isn’t conducted in a controlled environment and under professional medical supervision. How do YOU know if you are a good candidate for the procedure? Do you have healthy roots and gums that will support this type of treatment?

The two most common examples of DIY dentistry are extractions and orthodontics, both of which can have major consequences if not done correctly.

There are stories of people removing their own teeth or using rubber bands on their teeth in an attempt to improve alignment. Both of these DIY tactics can be catastrophic to your smile. People who remove their own teeth may not remove the entire tooth AND they could be setting the stage for a serious infection. If you’re doing your own orthodontic treatment, especially with rubber bands, you risk serious tooth or gum damage. The rubber bands can slip underneath the gums, causing the teeth to be lost or gums to recede. Sadly, you will almost never receive optimal results from these techniques. So, what happens next?

Cleaning Up DIY Dentistry is Expensive

One of the big reasons people elect to do their own treatment is the price. Orthodontic treatment alone will typically cost thousands of dollars. An extraction, on the other hand, is only a few hundred dollars. But your costs can skyrocket if your DIY project goes wrong, and there are now reports of patients attempting to perform their own treatment and then needing tens of thousands of dollars in restorative dentistry, corrective orthodontics, treatment of gum disease, etc. Some people have even been hospitalized due to major infections.

Talk to the Professionals

When it comes to DIY projects, I urge you to stick with home improvements, crafts, and cakes. Instead, ask your dentist what your options for treatment are. Ask your insurance company to verify what procedures are coverage, or ask your employer if there are options to enhance your dental benefits so that certain procedures, such as braces, might be better covered. Don’t risk permanently damaging your health before you’ve considered all the possibilities.

Our team at Horizon Dental would be happy to help you achieve optimal oral health and we are happily accepting new patients. You can contact us by clicking here!

Play It Safe with a Sports Mouthguard

Get your athletes ready for spring and summer sports! One essential piece of equipment for many sports is a custom-fit sports mouthguard. It will help protect against injury to the face and teeth, as well as lessening the severity of concussion. At Horizon Dental, we can customize your mouthguard with your name, team colours, and logo!

Spring in Kamloops means that it’s time to get outside and play! Registration is open for soccer, football, lacrosse, and more! So, while you’re gathering all the necessary equipment, I suggest you also talk to your dentist about a custom-fit sports mouthguard.

A mouthguard is a made of a soft plastic material and is fitting around the top teeth. It is essential for preventing injury to the teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, and brain while playing many popular sports.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports: acrobatics, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Research shows that an athlete is 60 times more likely to damage his/her teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. These painful injuries include broken or cracked teeth, lost teeth, jaw and joint fractures, cuts, and infections.

Recently, we’ve learned that a customized mouthguard can also reduce the severity of concussions, by lessening the force of an impact by stabilizing the jaw and neck. Up to 95% of concussions are transmitted through the lower jaw to the brain.

Facts About Mouthguards

You should replace your mouthguard every 6 months or sooner if it’s worn out.

Mouthguards must be washed after every use to prevent bacterial growth. Simply scrub out the mouthguard with a toothbrush and rinse under cold water before storing in your container.

For many sports, such as hockey, combining a face-shield and mouthguard will provide optimal protection. The cage can deflect sticks, pucks, and elbows, but the mouthguard is also needed to help absorb and disperse any impact to the cage or helmet.

Selecting a Mouthguard

There are three primary types of mouthguards available:

  1. Ready-made stock. These are inexpensive mouthguards and come in various sizes, but may not fit well and can make it difficult to breath or speak.
  2. Boil-and-bite. A boil-and-bite mouthguard offers a semi-custom fit and usually ranges between $10 and $25.
  3. Custom-fit. This is the best option for anyone that participates in any high-impact sport and for kids who wear braces. Because they are custom-made in our dental office, they offer a proper fit and the best protection. It’s also easier to talk around them so you can communicate with your teammates.

We can also customize your sports mouthguard with your name, team colours, logo!

At Horizon Dental, we charge $45 for a custom sports mouthguard. All we need is an impression, or mold, of your teeth. Is gagging a problem? We can do a digital scan instead – no messy impression material required. Click on the video below to see a demonstration of our TRIOS Digital Scanner.

I hope this post got you thinking. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you see, please share with your friends and follow me on Google +, Facebook, or Instagram!

And if you’re looking for a dentist in Kamloops, we are happily accepting new patients! You can contact us by clicking here!

How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies this Holiday Season

We all make plans over the holidays - but no one plans for a dental emergency! So, let's look at how to handle the most common dental emergencies, just in case!

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas with plans winding down. Not a dentist was working, it seemed in our town.”

And most dentists in Kamloops, myself included, will be closed at some point during the holidays – possibly for several weeks. December is also a very busy month, as we try to get the most out of patients’ yearly benefits before they renew in January.

So if you run into any trouble, here’s my advice for handling 5 Common Dental Emergencies:

1) Missing Fillings –  might be sensitive or sharp to the tongue but most teeth will be okay. Best way to cope is grab some orthodontic wax from the drugstore and use that to fill the hole. It will insulate the tooth from cold and keep food from getting stuck.

2) Missing Crown – just don’t swallow it and everything will be fine! Gently clean and dry the tooth and crown as best you can, stick toothpaste in the crown and gently replace it over the tooth. Your dentist can usually put it back permanently later.

3) Chipped or Broken Tooth – if the nerve isn’t exposed, refer to #1. If there is cheek swelling or pain, use ice. If the nerve IS exposed (and this will really hurt) then it’s time to call your dentist and get some help.

4) Knocked-Out Tooth – only a problem if it’s an adult tooth. In this case, you need to see a dentist within 4 hours to save it. In the meantime, try to put the tooth back in the socket to keep it alive. If you can’t, hold it gently in the cheek or, if all else fails, a glass of milk is better than nothing.

5) Infection – always a big deal, but can need antibiotics before the offending tooth can be treated. This is because swelling can make it hard to open your mouth or for the local anesthetic to work properly. Call your dentist’s emergency line – he/she can usually prescribe an antibiotic or will arrange to take a look.

Hope you all enjoy your holiday festivities, and always know that if you really need me, I’m here for you!

And if you’re looking for a dentist in Kamloops, we are happily accepting new patients! You can contact us by clicking here!

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