Important Nutrients to Monitor for Your Oral Health If You Live a Vegan Lifestyle  

The shift toward plant-based diets has been a drastic one in modern society. And, there is no question that eating whole foods that are derived from plants can yield a list of health advantages. Nevertheless, when you completely eliminate animal products from your dietary lineup, certain nutrients can be a bit harder to come by. Unfortunately, not getting enough of certain key vitamins and minerals can be bad for the health of your smile. Take a look at a few key nutrients you may be missing if you eat strictly plants and how you can work them into your diet.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most vital nutrients where the health f your teeth are concerned, and you can easily miss out on proper levels of calcium intake if you are eating only plant-based foods. To make sure you are getting enough calcium, be sure to incorporate plenty of leafy green veggies, such as kale and collard greens, but you may also want to consider adding vegan-friendly milk products that have been fortified with calcium. For example, you can find some almond and soy mils that have calcium added.

Vitamin B12

B12 is an essential vitamin that your body needs for many reasons, but it is also important to your oral health. B12 is not abundant in plants; it is usually found in meat and dairy products. However, quite a few foods are fortified with vitamin B12, such as breakfast cereals. You may also want to consider adding a B12 supplement to your everyday nutrition plan.

Amino Acids

Certain amino acids are more readily available in foods like poultry, red meat, milk, and fish. One amino acid specifically, arginine, is known to help thwart your risks of gum disease and possibly even help to break down plaque on the teeth. Even though you are eating vegan, you don’t have to go without arginine; you only have to work to incorporate certain foods into your diet. A few good sources of arginine include peanuts, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and chickpeas.

Work with Your Beaumont Dentist to Protect Your Oral Health

Eating all-vegan all the time can offer a lot of good things to your body, but be sure your teeth are still getting what they need. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care in Beaumont, TX to keep your oral health in check.

bleeding gums

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding gums may be a precursor to more serious oral health complications. If you have signs of bleeding gums, you should see your Beaumont, TX dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the problem.

When Do Bleeding Gums Occur?

Typically, bleeding of the gums occurs when you are conducting oral hygiene. This is because the gums are stimulated when you brush, floss, and rinse. If you notice that your gums are bleeding during any of these activities, that doesn’t mean you should stop brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Bleeding gums are harmless as far as immediate danger and you should continue your oral cleansing routines. When your gums bleed there is a distinct distaste in the mouth. You should never swallow any of the blood. Always try to spit out as much as possible. Rinse your mouth with warm water until the rinse water is clear of blood.

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

There are many possible causes of bleeding gums. Some of them can be quite serious, which is why you should always contact your Beaumont dentist when you experience bleeding of the gums. Following are some common causes of bleeding gums:

  • Too vigorous brushing – avoid exerting too much force on the delicate gum tissue
  • Too hard bristles – try switching to a medium or soft-bristled brush
  • Systemic bleeding disorder such as hemophilia– this should be managed by a physician and your dentist
  • Hormonal pregnancy changes – the situation is likely temporary
  • Incorrect flossing – ask your dentist to demonstrate the technique
  • Disease – Diseases like leukemia can cause gum bleeding
  • Vitamin deficiency – Insufficient Vitamin C or Vitamin K can lead to excess gum bleeding
  • Overuse of blood thinners – even too much aspirin can cause gums to bleed
  • Poorly fitted dentures – ask your dentist to refit dentures
  • Tooth infection – especially if the bleeding is localized around one tooth
  • Periodontal disease – this must be treated immediately to avoid tooth loss

As you can see, there is no definitive reason why your gums may be bleeding. This is why a dentist visit is imperative; to diagnose and treat your bleeding gums. If no serious cause is determined, then you’ll have assurance that your overall oral health is not in danger. If a serious cause is determined, then your Beaumont dentist will be your first line of defense to get you back to oral health!

Artificial jaw in the dentist's office

3 Good Reasons to Replace Ill-Fitting Dentures with Dental Implants

Even though more modern forms of smile restoration are available, 90 percent of the 23 million Americans with no teeth do have dentures. While dentures are a cost-effective and functional way to give you your smile back, dentures are not always the best-fitting solution for every individual. If you have dentures that don’t seem to fit so well, dental implants may be something you want to consider. While the investment in implants can be considerably more, by comparison, the outcome can be so valuable. Here is a look at good reasons to replace your ill-fitting dentures with dental implants.

1. Be more confident about your smile.

Even though well-made dentures can give you a certain degree of confidence, ill-fitting dentures can do the opposite. You may find yourself self-conscious about sharing your smile or worried about dentures shifting while you speak or eat in front of others. Dental implants give you prosthetic teeth that look more natural and stay firmly placed so you can smile, speak, and eat in public without any issues or concerns.

2. Protect the bones in your jawlines.

Did you know that once your teeth are pulled the bones in your jaws start to lose height? Over time, this can make it harder for you to be fitted with well-fitting dentures, but it can also change the shape of your face and mouth. Dental implants are anchored directly into the bones in your jaws, which helps them to retain their height and you retain the shape of your face.

3. Regain your chewing power.

Some estimates claim that dentures only give you a fraction of your usual chewing power. Dentures, especially those that don’t fit well, can shift and move in your mouth when you chew your food. You may even find there are foods you simply cannot eat. On the other hand, dental implants restore both biting and chewing power. The implants are stable, anchored into the jawline, which means they won’t move while you chew.

Talk to a Cosmetic Dentist in Beaumont About Dental Implants

Dental implants are a big decision, but you may find your life changed for the better once you take the leap. If you would like to know more about dental implants, reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care in Beaumont, TX to schedule an appointment.

4 Changes You May See in Your Mouth During Pregnancy

You’ve found out that you have a huge reason to be smiling—congratulations! At Southern Oaks Dental Care, we’re here to help you keep your healthy smile throughout your pregnancy. Here are a few changes you may see with your smile while you have a baby-in-progress.

1. You may have more issues with bleeding gums.

During pregnancy, your blood volume naturally increases to support your growing baby. However, this extra blood volume gets circulated throughout the body as well. You may actually notice that your gums bleed a little easier than usual.

2. You may have problems with dry mouth and bad breath.

Dry mouth and bad breath can be a little more common during your gestation due to fluctuating hormones, changes in blood glucose levels, and other things happening within the body during pregnancy. Stay hydrated and talk to your dentist if you are still having issues.

3. You may experience inflammation in your gums.

Changes in hormonal levels during pregnancy may mean you are more at risk of gingivitis. In fact, about 60 to 70 percent of pregnant women will experience gum disease during pregnancy according to the Centers for Disease Control ad Prevention. Pay close attention to any inflamed areas, swelling, or sore spots on your gums and alert the dentist if you spot anything out of the ordinary.

4. You may have more issues with plaque around the gumline.

Most women do change their diet to some degree when they’re pregnant. You may eat more starchy foods because you are eating for two, find yourself snacking more frequently, and even dealing with new and unusual cravings. All this is perfectly normal, but it can also mean you are a little more prone to plaque buildup on your teeth. In general, women are more prone to cavities while they are pregnant, and this excess plaque caused by dietary changes can have a part to play.

Work with a Beaumont Dentist Throughout Your Pregnancy

When your baby is born, you will no doubt be doing a lot of smiling. Taking care of your teeth during pregnancy will sure help make sure you are confident as you do. If you need to schedule an appointment for oral care during pregnancy, reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care in Beaumont, TX.

Is Soda Really Bad for Your Teeth?

Available in a multitude of flavors, soda is the go-to drink for a lot of Americans. If you are usually found with a can of soda with a meal or a bottle of soda to carry you through the day, you may sometimes wonder if soda is actually bad for your teeth. Here is a look at some of the things every soda drinker should know about how this popular drink can affect the health of your smile.

Soda is sugary and acidic, both of which can be hard on your smile.

Take a look at the ingredients on your favorite soda. Two things you are likely to see mentioned are sugar and citric acid, both of which can be really hard on your teeth. Not to mention, sugar can mingle with the natural bacteria in your mouth and make the environment even more acidic. Unfortunately, this combination of factors means sipping on soda all day is a surefire way to have issues with decay.

Even diet sodas can be hard on your teeth.

Diet sodas may seem perfectly harmless because they are technically sugar-free. However, these drinks still have their own sweeteners and acidic ingredients, so the same rules still apply.

Some sodas can stain your teeth.

Not only can soda be hard on your teeth and lead to decay, but it can also cause issues with stains on your teeth. Dark-colored sodas can be especially capable of causing stains on the enamel.

Make an effort to brush after drinking soda to protect your smile.

While the occasional soda may be hard to live without, it is best to not make sodas your primary beverage to sip on throughout the day. In fact, it is actually best to make an effort to brush and floss after having a soda, which can be difficult if you are reaching for these carbonated, sugary beverages every time you get thirsty.

Talk to Your Beaumont Dentist About Your Biggest Oral Health Threats

Even the things that seem so harmless that you consume every day can have a detrimental effect on your oral health. Soda can be one of the biggest threats, but there are steps you can take to protect your smile just the same. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care for more information.

3 Ways Smoking Is Really Bad for Your Smile

If you are part of the population that is still firing up a cigarette when you get the chance, you should know that quitting could be one of the best things you ever do for your oral health. In fact, if you value your smile, you have a really good reason to kick the habit. Take a look at just three of the ways that smoking is really bad for your smile.

Smoking increases your risks of gum disease.

People who smoke are naturally more prone to gum disease. Smoking naturally elevates the temperature of your mouth when you inhale by 0.2° C for 30 minutes afterword. The elevated temperature can contribute to bacterial growth that can encourage infections of the soft tissues in your mouth. Plus, smoking seems to negatively interfere with normal gum tissue cell regeneration.

Smoking puts you at risk of losing your teeth.

Smokers are more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers. The issues already mentioned are often to blame for smokers losing their teeth. For example, the elevated temperature can lead to excess bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay. According to Delta Dental Insurance, men lose an average of 2.9 teeth per ten years of smoking and women lose 1.5 teeth per ten years of smoking.

Smoking causes stains on the enamel of your teeth.

Nicotine and the tar in cigarettes are known to cause stains on both your clothing and your hands. However, these components in tobacco smoke can also cause stains on the enamel of your teeth. The stains are usually a brownish-yellow color, and they are the result of the tar and yellow nicotine absorbing into microscopic pores on the tooth’s enameled surface. Many people do not understand that even though nicotine is clear, it can actually turn yellow when it is exposed to oxygen, which means even clear nicotine juice or salts used in vape cigarettes can cause stains.

Contact Us for a Dental Checkup in Beaumont, TX

If you are a smoker, it is even more important that you are vigilant about your dental health needs and get the proper checkups. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care for more information or to schedule an appointment.

3 Problems to Be Alert to with Your Smile as a Diabetic

In the United States alone, there are 29.1 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Just as diabetes can affect your overall health, it can also affect the health of your mouth and smile. Check out this short list of problems with oral health every diabetic should know about so they can keep an eye on developing issues.

Gum Disease

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels have a detrimental effect on the circulatory system, which means diabetes can lead to poor blood flow to the gums. If these soft tissues are not getting fresh, oxygenated blood, they are more prone to breaking down. Gum diseases like gingivitis are typical among diabetic patients.

Dry Mouth

The exact reason why diabetes presents problems with dry mouth is unknown. However, it is a very common problem and one that can affect your overall oral health. Lack of saliva can be the root cause for multiple oral health conditions, including tooth decay.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Halitosis can come along with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, but it is not the state of your blood sugar that actually generates foul odors. Your breath may smell bad because there is a lack of saliva or because of gum disease. Oftentimes, treating the underlying condition will help deter problems with bad breath.

Tooth Decay

The lack of saliva and reduced blood flow to the gums can lead to problems with dental decay. If the teeth are not consistently washed with natural saliva because of problems with a dry mouth, it can make it easier for bacteria to grow on the enamel of the teeth. Brushing regularly and getting regular professional cleanings are important.

As a diabetic, you should discuss all of these concerns with your dentist. Make sure you get proper professional attention and make appointments regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your diagnosis means you have to be even more attentive to your oral health than the average person if you want to protect your smile. Reach out to us at Southern Oaks Dental Care for more information about how we can help you with your smile if you have diabetes.

dentist with patient

The Benefits of Fluoride

You may have heard of fluoride as beneficial for your teeth — or even had a fluoride treatment at a dental cleaning. But what is fluoride exactly? Where does it come from? And what does it actually do for your teeth?

Ahead, we’ll answer these questions and more.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride actually comes from fluorine, a common element present in the crust of the earth. It can be found in many locations throughout nature, from rocks and soil to plants, water, and air. When combined with other specific elements, fluorine creates fluoride, a mineral that is known to fight cavities and strengthen tooth enamel.

dentist with patient

How Does Fluoride Work?

The enamel on the outer layers of your teeth is made up of phosphate and calcium, and believe it or not, it’s actually stronger than bone. Still, it can be broken down— namely by the particularly strong acids present in certain foods.

If you can go without eating these foods (like candy, bread and pasta, ice cream, chocolate, and other simple carbs), you may not have to deal with the accompanying acids. However, if you do eat these foods, natural bacteria in your mouth will inevitably feed off the carbs and create the acids that can break down tooth enamel. In the end, this can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

There’s good news, though.

If you have fluoride in your saliva (provided from fluoride-fortified water and other foods), it can come to your rescue. Together with the phosphate and calcium already present in your tooth enamel, fluoride will help your teeth create something called fluorapatite. This is amazing at fighting off acids, bacteria, tooth decay, and cavities.

When’s the Last Time You Had a Teeth Cleaning?

Whether or not you’re a good candidate for dental fluoride treatments yourself, remember to make sure you’re getting enough fluoride — either from fortified water or food or from your toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.

Additionally, dental professionals agree that everyone should have their teeth cleaned at least twice per year.

To make a regular appointment for a cleaning at Southern Oaks Dental Care, give us a call at (409) 835-6257 today. For online appointment requests, please go here.

woman with toothbrush

Tooth Enamel Loss

Everyday activities such as eating and drinking cause some degree of tooth enamel erosion at some point in nearly everyone’s lifetime. However, because tooth enamel is not comprised of living tissue, it doesn’t have the regenerative powers of certain other bodily elements such as skin — once your enamel is gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to help minimize tooth enamel erosion. They are:

Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly
Avoiding hard candy
Reducing sugary beverages
Drinking beverages through a straw to reduce exposure to tooth surfaces
Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings twice per year
Other causes of tooth enamel degradation include eating too many acidic foods, grinding your teeth at night, having dry mouth due to health conditions or specific medication side effects, and having acid reflux.

Signs of Tooth Enamel Loss

Those whose teeth experience higher than average sensitivity to hot and cold temperature extremes probably have developed a degree of tooth enamel loss. Other signs are teeth that have significantly yellowed or have otherwise become discolored, teeth that easily chip or fracture, and teeth that have a slightly translucent appearance. You may also notice rough edges and shiny spots on teeth that have lost some of their enamel.

Tooth enamel loss causes the internal tissues of the teeth to become vulnerable to damage by plaque and bacteria. Your dentist may recommend specific dental care products, such as enamel-protective toothpaste, to minimize this damage. These often work by neutralizing the bacteria and plaque present in the mouth to minimize the amount of damage they can do. Antibacterial mouthwashes also may be recommended.

woman with toothbrush

Dental Procedures That Can Help

Although the best defense against the erosion of tooth enamel is to practice good oral hygiene regularly to help reduce the chances of it happening in the first place, there are measures your dentist can take if tooth enamel erosion is severe enough so that it interferes with the patient’s quality of life. Bonding, a process in which a material called resin in applied over damaged or stained teeth, is among the most popular. For teeth that have experienced significant enamel loss, the dentist may recommend using veneers or crowns. All of these choices help prevent further damage by providing a barrier between the teeth and outside substances.

Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions or concerns regarding enamel loss or other dental health issues.

What is preventive Dentistry?

Simply speaking, preventative dentistry involves being mindful of good oral hygiene practices to promote optimal tooth and gum health. The goal of preventative dentistry is to help prevent serious issues such as gum disease and tooth decay from occurring at some point in the future. Conditions such as periodontal disease, for instance, can wreak havoc throughout the entire body. Fortunately, taking proper care of oral health goes a long way to ensure that gums and teeth remain healthy and robust. Following are three best practices for helping this happen.

Regular Brushing and Flossing

Optimal oral health begins at home with regular brushing and flossing. Use a brand of toothpaste that’s been approved by the American Dental Association and make sure that you replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles begin to wear out and fray — usually about every three months. Flossing removes the bits of food debris that brushing fails to dislodge. An increasing number of patients prefer water flossing devices to traditional dental floss. As a final layer of protection, finish off your oral care routine by swishing around an antibacterial mouthwash.

Regular Cleanings and Exams

Scheduling regular cleanings by a skilled oral health professional is another essential component of preventive dental care. Those who are at low risk for developing dental issues can probably get away with having a comprehensive cleaning once per year, but if you’ve got problems such as gingivitis or a history of cavities and tooth decay, you should have a conversation with your dentist about increasing the frequency of your cleanings.

Your dentist will also perform a thorough exam during the appointment for your cleaning. You’ll be checked for signs of cavities, emerging tooth decay, the onset of gum disease, and other conditions that can affect your dental health.

Limit Sugar in Your Diet

Sugary foods and beverages probably won’t cause your teeth too much harm when enjoyed as an occasional treat, but if they’re a regular part of your diet, they may be negatively affecting your oral health. This is particularly true of candies meant to dissolve in your mouth and sugary sodas.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on preventative dental health measures.