Frequently Asked Questions


QHow do I care for my teeth when I am pregnant?
A

See your dentist as you normally would, unless you haven’t been receiving regular dental care, in which case start now. Talk to your dentist about your own teeth, and about your baby’s teeth.

View the ADA briefing on dental care during pregnancy — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy

QHow does methamphetamine affect my mouth?
A

Methamphetamine, or meth, use causes serious dental and overall health problems. The affects of meth include a wide range of problems from nausea, vomiting, rampant tooth decay, hysteria, and permanent brain damage.

View the ADA briefing on methamphetamine use — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/meth-mouth

QIs it true that chewing gum helps keep my mouth healthy?
A

Yes, provided it is sugar-free gum, that is.  Chewing stimulates saliva flow, which helps to clean away food remains, and also helps a tooth to re-mineralise after an acid attack, using minerals in the saliva.

QIs oral piercing safe?
A

No. There is always a risk of infection with any form of piercing. The risks to health are greater with mouth piercing because of the closeness of the airway.  A swollen tongue can interfere with breathing, and infections underneath the tongue can spread rapidly.  Severely infected piercings have been reported as causes of septicemia, and toxic shock syndrome.

There is also a risk if piercing is carried out with less than rigorous hygiene.  Equipment should be disposable wherever possible and other equipment should be sterilized between clients using a piece of equipment known as an autoclave. Autoclaves start at around $2950 and up, so it is possible that they are not in general use by piercers.  If the equipment is not sterile, infections such as HIV or    Hepatitis B or C infections could pass from client to client, or between client and  piercer.  In addition to possible infection, tongue rings and other oral piercings cann interfere with intubations, or insertion of a breathing tube.  In the event of such an emergency, paramedics will generally remove the appliance or appliances with pliers.

View the ADA briefing on oral piercing — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-piercings

QShould I floss?
A

Ask your dentist or hygienist. Dentists do not recommend flossing for children. If you do floss, it is important to do it properly so that you clean around your teeth without damaging your gums.

View the ADA briefing on flossing — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing

QShould I use a mouthwash?
A

Ask your dentist for advice on mouth rinses. Some mouth rinses are of no health benefit, but others have shown in clinical trials that they help to keep mouths healthy.

View the ADA briefing on mouth rinses — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthwash

QWhat advice do dentists give about sports?
A

If you are taking part in competitive sports or training, don't let poor oral health undermine your performance. Participants in contact sports should use a properly made mouth guard to support and protect the teeth.

View the ADA briefing on mouth guards — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/athletes-and-dental-care

QWhat can dentists do about bad breath?
A

Poor oral hygiene and gum disease are the most common causes of bad breath, so dentists can do a lot for people with concerns about bad breath.

View the ADA briefing on bad breath — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bad-breath

QWhat can you tell me about gum disease?
A

National surveys show that a large number of adults suffer from some form of gum disease (most are unaware of the problem). If not treated, gum disease can ultimately make extraction necessary, but with good oral hygiene, gum disease can be prevented. If you smoke, give it up for dental reasons too because there is a well-established link between smoking, smokeless tobacco, gum disease and increased tooth loss. Several other factors can contribute to gum disease such as an unbalanced diet, pregnancy, certain medications, and diseases.

View the ADA briefing on gum disease — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease

View the ADA briefing on tobacco — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/smoking-and-tobacco

QWhat is meant by "Bottle Caries" or "Bottle Mouth Syndrome?"
A

"Bottle Caries" means rampant caries in babies, linked to continuous dripping of sugar containing liquids onto the teeth. This is particularly linked to the use of baby bottles, because many infants tend to ‘nurse’ a bottle, but may also be linked to cup feeding or very occasionally breastfeeding if this takes place on demand and throughout the night.

View the ADA briefing on rampant caries, and infant dental care — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-bottle-tooth-decay

QWhat sort of toothbrush should I be using?
A

Dentists recommend that you use a small-headed soft to medium brush with synthetic bristles which are “end-rounded” so that they do not damage you gums. Brush thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and change our brush when it becomes out of shape as it will be less effective for plaque removal. Your toothbrush should be replaced approximately every 3 months, and should be ADA approved.

View the ADA briefing on tooth brushes — http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth

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