What do our readers want to know about their oral health?

Dear Readers- 

     Here at Dentistry Done Differently we want to know what you want to know about your oral health. Have you ever left the dentist office remembering a question you forgot to ask your dentist. Here is your chance to ask. It can be from how to floss to what are root canals. At the bottom of this post leave your questions in the comment section and we will answer them to the best of our ability. Thank you for your previous comments and feed back. We want to create a community that is full of healthy mouths and happy smiles. 


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Canker Sores


Karen Kelley RDH

Canker sores can be a nuisance and a pain to people who frequently get them. As a hygienist, it’s one of the things I often get asked about. Here’s some information about canker sores and some ideas for prevention and relief.


Most canker sores are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They form inside your mouth —on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. (Even though they look similar, they are not the same as a fever blisters which occur on or around the lips and are from the herpes virus.) Canker sores may begin with a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores actually appear. There are several types of canker sores, including minor, major and herpetiform sores. Minor canker sores are the most common and what will be addressed in this article. They are usually small and heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

The precise cause of canker sores remains unclear, though researchers suspect that a combination of several factors contribute to outbreaks. Possible triggers for canker sores include: a minor injury to your mouth from dental work or other trauma, overzealous brushing, spicy or acidic foods, or an accidental cheek bite. Strangely enough, many toothpastes and mouth rinses contain sodium lauryl sulfate which for those who are prone to getting canker sores, can be an additional trigger. Another trigger can be from certain foods, particularly chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese and highly acidic foods, such as pineapple. Research also associates canker sores to a diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron and they have also found a link to emotional stress and hormonal shifts. Certain diseases may also cause canker sores to manifest more frequently. An interesting fact is that being female makes you more susceptible as well as having a family history of canker sores.

The following are some home remedies for the relief of canker sores from the Mayo Clinic website:

1. Rinse your mouth using salt water, (1 tsp of salt to 1 cup of warm water), baking soda (1 teaspoon of soda to 1/2 cup warm water), equal parts of hydrogen peroxide to water or a mixture of 1 tsp Benadryl to either 1 tsp Kaopectate or 1 tsp Maalox. Be sure to spit out the mixtures after rinsing.

2. Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sore a few times a day with a cotton swab .

3. Cover canker sores with a paste made of baking soda plus a small amount of water — just enough to make a paste.

4. Apply ice to the canker sore. The slowly dissolving ice will make the sore feel better.

Over-the-counter products that contain the numbing agent benzocaine, such as Anbesol and Orajel can also be beneficial.

A prescription medication that some find helpful is Kenalog in Orabase. It’s a thick gel that is placed on the canker sore with a cotton swab every few hours. It helps to reduce the inflammation so that the sore feels better and is less puffy.

There are some things to avoid so that canker sores can be prevented. These include abrasive, acidic or spicy foods that can cause further irritation and pain. When brushing your teeth, brush gently using a soft brush and toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). The following products are SLS free: Biotene, Sensodyne ProNamel and Rembrandt Canker Sore. Also, make sure your diet contains enough B-12, zinc, folate and iron.

Keep in mind that even though canker sores are painful, canker sores tend to heal well on their own. Consult your dentist when canker sores do not heal after 14 days, are accompanied by a fever, or appear to be infected.











Pregnancy and Oral Health


Amanda Orvis RDH

Being pregnant comes with various responsibilities, your oral hygiene being one of them. It is important that you continue to maintain your normal brushing and flossing routine. It is also a great idea to rinse daily with a fluoridated mouth rinse. There are several brands to choose from, just make sure you look for the ADA seal which guarantees safety and effectiveness.


     For most women your routine dental visits are safe throughout your pregnancy. Make sure when calling to make your dental appointments you let your dental office know what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Let your dentist know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you have received any special instructions from your physician. Depending on your specific situation and your treatment needs, some of your dental appointments and procedures may need to be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. It may be wise to contact your physician prior to your dental appointment to get their approval to have x-rays if necessary.


     During pregnancy some women may develop a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is typically caused by hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy. This is a mild form of periodontal disease that can cause the gums to be red, tender and/or sore. It may be recommended that you be seen for more frequent cleanings to help control the gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, please contact your dentist.

During your pregnancy you may have the desire to eat more frequently. When you feel the need to snack try to choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for you and your baby. Frequent snacking can cause tooth decay.

Feeling nauseous? If you experience morning sickness you can try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This mixture lowers the acidity in your mouth. The acidity can cause erosion of the enamel. Your gag reflex may be extra sensitive during your pregnancy, so switching to a smaller toothbrush head may be beneficial.