Posts for category: Oral Health
As you age, dental care becomes even more important for your health. Dr. Nidhi Sikka of Sikka Dental in San Jose, CA, helps patients of all ages stay on top of their oral health.
Regular teeth cleanings and exams are important for patients of all ages, and your senior care dentist in San Jose, CA, recommends cleanings twice a year. Cleanings and exams are an important opportunity for your dentist to check your oral health and screen for oral cancer.
With age, the nerves in your teeth can become less sensitive, making you less aware of any tooth decay or cavities. Seeing your dentist every six months can prevent these issues from becoming much worse and you from needing more dental work. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of a patient diagnosed with mouth, throat, and tongue cancer is 62. Oral cancer screenings can save lives and are an important part of your regular dental appointments.
Some seniors experience negative side effects of medications they take. Dry mouth is a very common side effect of many medications, so drinking enough water throughout the day is essential to keep the mouth healthy. Talk to your dentist if your mouth is dry and it could be a side effect of medication. Patients with dentures should clean them with a brush every day and soak them overnight.
At any age, daily brushing and flossing are essential for great oral health. Your dentist will recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Some older seniors have trouble with the fine motor movements involved in brushing and flossing. A water flosser or electric toothbrush could be a wise investment for these patients. Water flossers help you floss with a pulsing stream of water that cleans between the teeth. A good hygiene routine at home and regular dental appointments keep your teeth and mouth healthy!
Dr. Nidhi Sikka and Sikka Dental are here to take care of your dental health as you age. Contact us in San Jose, CA, at (408) 259-1280.
Emma Roberts, star of American Horror Story (and niece of actress Julia Roberts), welcomed her first child at the end of 2020. She confessed that her love of sweets made pregnancy challenging. She couldn't get enough of cupcakes with sprinkles and a Salt & Straw ice cream flavor called The Great Candycopia. But Roberts isn't unique. Hormonal changes in pregnancy often bring heightened cravings for certain foods. Unfortunately, this can increase an expectant mother's risk for dental disease, especially if they're consuming more sugary foods.
In fact, around four in ten expectant women will develop a form of periodontal disease called pregnancy gingivitis. It begins with dental plaque, a thin film that forms on tooth surfaces filled with oral bacteria that can infect the gums. And what do these bacteria love to eat? Yep—sugar, the same thing many women crave during pregnancy.
So, if you're expecting a baby, what can you do to minimize your risk for dental disease?
Practice oral hygiene. Removing dental plaque by brushing and flossing daily is the most important thing you can do personally to prevent both tooth decay and gum disease. It's even more important given the physical and hormonal changes that occur when you're pregnant. Be sure, then, that you're diligent about brushing and flossing every day without fail.
Control your sugar intake. If you have strong cravings for sweets, cutting back may be about as easy as stopping an elephant on a rampage through the jungle. But do give your best effort to eating more dairy- and protein-rich foods rather than refined carbohydrates like pastries or candies. Not only will reducing sugar help you avoid dental disease, these other foods will help strengthen your teeth.
Maintain regular dental visits. Seeing us for regular cleanings further reduces your disease risk. We can clean your teeth of any plaque deposits you might have missed, especially hardened plaque called tartar that's nearly impossible to remove with brushing and flossing. We'll also monitor your teeth and gums for any developing disease that requires further treatment.
Undergo needed treatments. Concerned for their baby's safety, many expectant mothers are hesitant about undergoing dental procedures. But both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dental Association endorse necessary dental treatments during pregnancy, even if they include local anesthesia. We will make you have only a safe type of anesthesia, and we can advise you when it is prudent to postpone certain treatments, such as some elective procedures, until after the baby is born.
Emma Roberts got through a healthy pregnancy—cravings and all—and is now enjoying her new baby boy. Whether you're a celebrity like Emma Roberts or not, expecting a baby is an exciting life moment. Follow these tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your pregnancy, and be sure to let the dental team know of your pregnancy before any treatment.If you would like more information about dental care during pregnancy, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Pregnancy and Oral Health.”
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and for good reason—it's your teeth's first line of defense against wearing and harmful oral bacteria. But although enamel can “take a licking and keep on ticking,” it can lose its mineral content, soften and eventually erode to expose the teeth to bacteria.
Here are 4 tips for protecting your enamel so it keeps on protecting you.
Practice sound brushing techniques. Brushing is necessary for removing bacterial plaque that can trigger dental disease. But how you brush could prove not only ineffective, but also harmful to your enamel. So, be sure you're brushing all tooth surfaces, but not too forcefully or too often (twice a day is enough)—otherwise, you could wear down enamel and damage your gums.
Wait to brush after eating. The acid levels in the mouth go up during eating, causing an immediate softening of enamel. But saliva then goes to work neutralizing acid and helping to restore enamel's mineral content. Since it takes saliva about thirty minutes to an hour to complete this task, wait on brushing at least that long. Otherwise, you might remove tiny traces of temporarily softened enamel.
Avoid eating right before bed. While we sleep, our saliva flow decreases until we wake up. If you eat just before bed, you may not be giving your saliva enough time to neutralize acid before it “goes to sleep” with you for the night. So, give your saliva ample time to neutralize any remaining acid by not eating anymore at least an hour before you turn in.
Limit drinking acidic beverages. Some of our favorite drinks—sodas, energy and sports drinks, and even some juices—can be high in acid. To protect your enamel, reduce your consumption of these types of beverages in favor of water or milk (the calcium in the latter will also benefit your enamel). When you do drink acidic beverages, use a straw to minimize contact of the fluid with your enamel.
Healthy and strong enamel is the key to healthy and strong teeth. It's worth taking these steps to protect this important defense against destructive tooth decay.
If you would like more information on personal dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “6 Tips to Help Prevent the Erosion of Tooth Enamel.”
Protect your smile from dental issues as you age. Our senior care dental team can help.
It’s important that you are practicing good oral hygiene regardless of age; however, our San Jose, CA, dentist Dr. Nidhi Sikka understands the unique needs that seniors require when it comes to their oral health. Age puts us at risk for a variety of dental problems, and it’s important to protect your dental health in order to protect your general health. Here’s why you should make your dental health a top priority,
Protect Against Tooth Loss
Tooth loss becomes incredibly common as we age. In fact, by age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth! Periodontal disease and cavities are often to blame for tooth loss in seniors; however, these are problems that can be prevented with proper oral care and nutrition. Our San Jose, CA, dentist specializes in senior dental care, which involves providing recommendations and advice on special products, important habits and healthy lifestyle changes that can help support healthy teeth and gums in seniors.
Prevent Decay and Gum Disease
As you get older you are also more at risk for cavities and gum disease. If you deal with dry mouth, as many older adults do, this puts you at risk for decay. This is why it’s important to talk with our senior care dentist, Dr. Sikka, about ways to combat dry mouth to protect against cavities. With 2 out of 3 adults over age 65 dealing with gum disease (according to the CDC), it’s also crucial that you are not only flossing daily and brushing twice a day but that you are visiting the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. It’s the best way to prevent and even catch gum disease early when it’s easy to treat.
Detect Oral Cancer
Older adults, especially those who smoke or used to smoke (or used tobacco products, in general) are also at an increased risk for oral cancer. Fortunately, by coming into our office every six months for checkups we can perform a quick oral exam to look for sores, patches and other signs of oral cancer that you might overlook.
We understand just how important it is for our patients to get dental care, even during COVID-19. Of course, our San Jose, CA, senior care dentist Dr. Sikka and her team here at Sikka Dental also understand how important it is to protect our seniors who come into our office. Learn more about the extra safety precautions we are taking to keep all of our patients, including our high-risk seniors, healthy and safe. To schedule an appointment call us at (408) 259-1280.
If you're among the estimated 14 million families with a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA), New Year's Eve has an added meaning—that's typically the deadline for using any current year funds. Since any remaining money in your FSA could go poof at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, you might be looking for a way to spend it. If so, consider a dental health boost for you and your family.
FSAs were created in the 1970s by the U.S. Government as a salary benefit that employers could offer employees. Instead of receiving all of their pay as taxable income, employees could designate a portion of it (currently up to $2,650) in a non-taxable account to use for certain medical and dental expenses. An FSA thus provides families a way to pay for uncovered healthcare costs while saving on their taxes.
But because most FSAs expire by the end of the year and then restart with a fresh balance in the new year, there's a natural concern that you will “use or lose” remaining money. People thus begin looking for eligible expenses like treatments, prescribed medications or eyeglasses. They can't, however, use them for items like over-the-counter medical products (though some pain relievers get a pass this year because of COVID-19), as well as most things cosmetic.
The same generally holds true for dental expenses—you won't be able to use FSA funds for procedures like teeth whitening or veneers. Toothbrushes and other routine oral care products are also ineligible, although you may be able to buy items like a water flosser if your dentist issues you a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).
Still, there's a wide range of eligible dental items you could pay for with remaining FSA funds.
Prevention measures. Any procedures or treatments intended to prevent disease are typically FSA-eligible. These can include measures like regular dental cleanings, sealants or fluoride applications.
Disease treatment. FSAs cover procedures like fillings, extractions, gum surgery or root canals. This could include repairing damage from disease through dental bonding or crowns, which might also improve your smile.
Dental restorations. Missing teeth restorations like bridgework, dentures or dental implants are also covered. These may improve your appearance, but they primarily restore disrupted dental function.
Out-of-pocket expenses. Although you can't pay for dental insurance premiums, an FSA may be able to help in other ways. You can use FSA funds for co-pays or any remaining out-of-pocket expenses.
If you're not sure what dental expenses might be eligible for FSA funds, give our office a call and we can provide you guidance. If FSA funds can help, you'll be able to improve your dental health—and possibly your appearance—before you ring in 2021.
If you would like more information about managing your dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation.