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Periodontal Health during Pregnancy

April 1st, 2020

Congratulations! Your pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement—and a time to take special care of yourself. You’ve discovered that pregnancy brings many physical changes, but it may still come as a surprise to learn that pregnancy hormones can affect your oral health as well. What should you look out for?

Gingivitis

Beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy, your gum tissue may show signs of gingivitis. Pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in the blood supply to your gums and affect the way your gums respond to plaque. These changes may lead to gums that are swollen, red and more likely to bleed upon brushing. This early form of gum disease should be treated as quickly as possible to avoid a more serious condition called periodontitis.

Periodontitis

Without treatment, the inflammation caused by gingivitis can increase. Periodontitis can lead to gums pulling away from the teeth, creating “pockets” that can be home to infection. These infections can lead to bone and tooth loss, so professional treatment is a must.

Pregnancy Granulomas

If you find a dark red swelling along the gumline or between two teeth, it might be a pregnancy granuloma. These granulomas are thought to be triggered by pregnancy hormones and may be a reaction to plaque or some other irritant. They often disappear once your baby is born and usually don’t cause any bother, but if you develop discomfort eating or speaking, your dentist might suggest removal.

You are looking for every way possible to provide your baby with the best start in life, so it is important to know that some studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease in pregnancy and complications such as pre-term delivery and low birth weight. Here are some important ways to maintain your oral health during pregnancy:

  • Call Dr. Richard Mullens and Dr. James Nguyen when you find out you are pregnant. We have suggestions for your dental care that you can use immediately.
  • Keep to your regular schedule of dental examinations and cleanings at our Jacksonville, FL office. If you find your gums beginning to show signs of gingivitis, call our office for an appointment. You might need to have your teeth cleaned more often during your pregnancy to avoid plaque buildup.
  • Maintain your daily dental hygiene. Be sure to carefully brush along the gumline to discourage plaque formation. If you have not switched to a soft bristle toothbrush, now is the time! Talk to us about possible rinses or other at-home treatments.
  • See a periodontist if needed for more serious gum problems.

Your pregnancy is a time to treat yourself and your baby with care. Talk to our office as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Making your dental health a priority can bring rewards both now and in the future, and we welcome the opportunity to suggest the best possible ways to care for yourself and your baby!

Top Five Things to Keep Your Dentist Smiling

March 4th, 2020

Come say hello twice a year. The American Dental Association says two times is the charm. Multiple visits a year lets us keep an eye out for any developing issues. It’s important to remember that this goes for the whole family. Children over one year old should be seeing Dr. Richard Mullens and Dr. James Nguyen!

Stay fresh. At Mullens & Nguyen Distinctive Dentistry, we have a virtually unlimited stock of toothbrushes and floss, which means you have no excuse to be using a sad, ineffective toothbrush. As soon as bristles begin to fray, pick up a new one or stop by our Jacksonville, FL office and we’ll replace yours. On average, you should be opening a new one every two to three months.

For goodness sake, floss! Flossing is an efficient way to keep your whole mouth healthy. It not only protects your teeth by removing aggregated plaque, it keeps your gums happy, too.

And brush. Practicing regular healthy habits is essential to keeping your mouth—and us—happy! When it comes to brushing that means two minutes, two times a day. If your kids need some encouragement, try making a calendar or playing a song like this.

Tell a friend. One way you can help us is by spreading the love. Tell your friends about what a good thing we’ve got going here. The more the merrier. And the healthier.

Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?

February 26th, 2020

Health and beauty trends surface on the web every day, and it can be difficult to tell which ones are worth your time, or even safe, for that matter. Perhaps one of the biggest dental trends recently on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram has been teeth whitening through brushing with activated charcoal.

Unfortunately, charcoal whitening isn’t everything the Internet makes it out to be. Activated charcoal isn’t what you use to grill at a summer barbecue; it’s an oxidized substance made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell or petroleum heated with a gas.

Toxins and surface stains can cling to charcoal due to its adhesive qualities, which is why some people declare it’s perfect for removing discoloration on teeth. Although it may show quick results initially, charcoal is nothing more than a temporary solution.

The abrasive texture may roughen up enamel, which will make it easier for future stains to stick to the surface of your teeth. They may show stains shortly after you use charcoal on them, and may become even more discolored than before.

It’s crucial to emphasize the results of damaged tooth enamel because it cannot replenish itself, which means any damage is permanent. People with receding gums or sensitive teeth especially should steer clear of charcoal because it can make brushing too harsh and worsen sensitivity.

Long-time use can deplete enamel, which over time exposes dentin: the soft, yellowish layer in the tooth. This puts you at a higher risk for cavities, tooth discoloration, and complicated dental problems such as periodontal disease in the future.

The American Dental Association does not approve of charcoal as a safe means for whitening teeth. If you do choose to use it, do so with caution.

Charcoal should be used once every other week at the most, even if your teeth feel fine. The only proven ways to whiten teeth safely are with ADA-approved whitening products or in-office bleaching treatments overseen by a dental professional.

Before you begin any whitening treatment at home, consult with Dr. Richard Mullens and Dr. James Nguyen to make sure your teeth won’t be harmed in the process. If you are already experiencing sensitivity, stop charcoal use immediately and make an appointment with our office right away.

If you have questions about whitening or want to schedule an in-office whitening treatment, feel free to give our Jacksonville, FL office a call today!

Celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 25th, 2020

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and a perfect time for the team at Mullens & Nguyen Distinctive Dentistry to educate children and parents on techniques for tooth care which results in healthy habits for a lifetime. 

Getting your child into a healthy dental routine can be tricky but we have some tips on how to make sure your child’s smile is healthy and happy. Children's teeth should be checked twice a year by their dentist. Remember that toothbrushes should be changed when worn out as well as after your child is sick. Limit your child’s sugary snacks, sodas, and sports drinks to protect their teeth from decay.

Dental health looks slightly different at each stage of a child’s development. Babies can begin to get primary teeth as young as 6 months 10 upper and 10 lower teeth will come in usually by age 3. Wash clothes can be used to gently wipe gum tissue and teeth. Toddlers have more teeth than babies. A wet washcloth can also be rubbed gently over the teeth to clean and a flat handled toothbrush can be introduced to help toddlers imitate parents and make it easier for them to hold. School-aged children should brush a minimum of two times daily with fluoridated toothpaste to help their enamel mineralize and prevent decay. Flossing keeps cavities from forming between teeth.

Parents should keep the topic positive, avoiding words that scare. Talk about the fun of shiny teeth and the treasure chest prizes. Our office loves children and makes their visit interesting and fun. Children can be examined as soon as teeth begin to come in. By age 3 children should begin seeing their dentist for cleanings and examining for cavities.

Children should only use a pea size of toothpaste. Brushing with too much toothpaste can damage enamel because children could swallow too much fluoride while their teeth are developing.

Our goal is to continually inspire children to practice healthy oral care habits. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more, our team at Mullins & Nguyen Distinctive Dentistry is always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year! We can’t wait to see you and your family in our office again soon.