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The Kentucky Derby: Racing with Healthy Teeth

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Aaahhhh… Derby Days! This weekend will be filled with celebrations, parties, and horse race watching. Get-togethers will be complete with derby attire, cocktails and lots of delicious food. Gamblers set their sights on their favorite picks…And, this event kicks off the first of the Triple Crown series for the year.

cincinnati dentist

Preparation For The Derby

An event this huge naturally has days, weeks, months and years of preparation going into it – for everyone involved: the horses, owners, riders, organizers and even the fans. An immense amount of effort and energy goes into keeping the race horses healthy, well trained and primed for these big events. And this includes their dental care and maintenance!

Just like a human needs regular dental care and dentist visits, so too a horse needs regular care by their owners and veterinarians to keep their teeth and mouths healthy. Just like we don’t want oral problems interfering with our day-to-day lives, no one wants to see a tooth problem in a horse affecting their performance on race day!

Regular Dental Care For Horses

Regular dental check-ups for horses are essential, just like they are for humans. For horses, a dental checkup is vital to their overall well-being, and should take place every six months to a year. These check-ups serve to ensure proper hygiene and function in the mouth, and to detect and eliminate any problems as early as possible, to keep the horse comfortable and able to eat and perform. Their dentist will check for teeth and dental abnormalities, potential tartar buildup, signs of infection or other issues, and gum disease (1,2).

How Does A Horse Communicate A Tooth Problem? 

When a horse experiences a tooth problem, it is sometimes mistaken for bad behavior. Signs that a horse could be dealing with a tooth problem could include head tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, excess salivation, sluggish chewing, refusing to eat, riding with his head held high, trying to avoid the bit, or problems staying on the bit mouthpiece. Understandably, the horse is trying to express his discomfort (1, 3).

Daily Chewing

Horses have, on average, 36 to 44 teeth, and chew a shocking 40,000 times per day as they eat. The high number of teeth and high usage of these teeth increases the risk that problems could arise with one of them.

For example, during the chewing process, horses normally wear down the chewing surface of the tooth slowly and steadily. As this happens, new tooth material slowly grows up to provide a fresh chewing surface.

However, this process isn’t perfect, and if the wear on the tooth is uneven, the teeth can form sharp edges. These sharp edges can cut into the horse’s cheeks or tongue, causing painful sores. These sharp edges are removed by a dental procedure for horses known as “floating”. In this process, the veterinarian uses specialized tools to smooth the sharp edges of the enamel (1, 3, 4).

Racing And Bits

The bit mouthpiece used in riding should never affect the horse’s teeth. But sometimes horses develop extra teeth called “wolf teeth” or “tushes.” In many horses, these teeth will never cause a problem. Depending on the shape and location of these extra teeth, they could interfere with the bit or become easily irritated. In this case, the horse may need a specialized bit, or the kentucky derby 2017problematic teeth may need to be removed by a veterinarian or equine dentist so they do not become sensitive or infected by irritation from contact with the bit mouthpiece (1, 4).

Keeping Horses In Top Performance

Race horse owners are especially diligent when it comes to dental hygiene for their steeds. Issues with chewing can result in an insufficient food intake, weight loss or difficulty maintaining weight. Pain and discomfort from oral issues in a horse can impact their training, stamina and race-day disposition. And for anyone who owns and loves an animal, the thought of them suffering in pain or discomfort is not a pleasant one (4).

Just like in humans, prevention in horses is typically easier, cheaper and more comfortable than waiting for a problem to occur. That’s why we commend horse owners who keep their regularly scheduled check-ups, AND why we recommend you do the same for you and your family!

Enjoy the Derby this weekend!

Questions for Dr. Hagen and the Hagen Dental Team?

We want to help keep the dental health of you and your family at its best! Call us at (513) 251-5500 to schedule your next visit.

Sources:

  1. https://www.thespruce.com/essential-dental-care-for-horses-1886863
  2. http://www.thehorse.com/articles/14175/brushing-horses-teeth
  3. http://sawpan.com/dental-care-tips-to-keep-your-horses-teeth-healthy/
  4. http://www.thehorse.com/articles/27010/20-things-your-horses-teeth-are-telling-you

What To Know About Water Flossers

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

What Is A Water Flosser?

Water flossers, also known as oral irrigators and interdental cleaners, are an alternative to traditional floss. A water flosser utilizes a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and food debris between the teeth and below your gum line.

The goal is the same as traditional string floss: to improve your oral and gingival health. Water flossers work fast, gently and effectively to remove 99.9 percent of plaque from treated areas.

They have been shown to improve gum health and even reverse gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis.

Why Floss?

You already know that flossing is a very important component to your daily oral health routine. As much as 30-40 percent of your tooth surface area doesn’t get clean without proper flossing habits!

Flossing helps to clean the areas between the teeth and at the gum line. But some people have trouble or dislike using traditional dental floss because of the difficulty, the awkwardness, or other complications like discomfort, large gaps between their teeth, or braces, which can all make flossing a bigger challenge.

Flossing should be incorporated into your dental routine to prevent plaque buildup, bad breath, gum inflammation, gum disease, dental decay and other preventable oral health issues.

With water flossers, you have an alternative option that gives as effective or better results than the regular manual or string floss.

The Convenience Of Water Flossers

Water flossers, such as the Water Pik Flosser’s line of products, allow users to adjust the flosser’s water pressure to their comfort level and preference. The motor pumps the pulsating water into the mouth as the user guides it to clean the gums and between the teeth.

Believe it or not, the water flosser was invented back in 1962, and has only improved over the last 55 years. These products have become more streamlined, user-friendly, and effective over the years.

Water flossers are offered in a variety of options to fit any person’s needs.

You can purchase anything from a travel flosser, to a flosser with up to 12 accessory tips to allow all your family members to share the same base unit. Yes – these devices are safe for kids to use; some models are even geared towards kid’s usage, but are still effective for adults. Water flossers are extremely effective and convenient for those with braces, who have a hard time cleaning their teeth in many cases.

How To Use A Water Flosser

First and foremost, ask us when you are in for your visit so that you can learn how to use your water flosser the right way.

Using a water flosser is simple and easy to learn.

First, you fill the device’s reservoir with lukewarm water and press the container firmly onto the base. Select your tip and press firmly into the handle. This is the section that can be removed and exchanged for other family members to use. Turn the unit on and adjust the pressure control, starting at the lowest pressure and moving up until you reach your desired jet stream pressure.

Turn the unit back off. Lean over the sink and place the tip in your mouth. Turn the unit on, guiding the stream of pulsating water over your teeth. Allow the used water to flow out of your mouth into the sink. Aim the tip of the water flosser just above the gum line at approximately a 90 degree angle.

Pause briefly between teeth to allow cleaning of the space between the teeth to occur. It only takes a few seconds of water pressure in an area to improve the cleanliness and help those gums become healthier. When finished, turn the unit off and use the tip eject button to remove your tip.

Repeat the next day! Better gum health can typically be seen in 14 days, on average.

Do You Have Questions for the Hagen Dental Team?

We want to help you find the best oral health tools for you and your family. Give us a call at Hagen Dental Practice to schedule your next checkup and we can help you navigate the choices. Call us today at (513) 251-5500.

Sources

  1. http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/february/waterpik-water-flosser-first-in-its-class-to-earn-ada-seal
  2. https://waterflosserguide.com/
  3. https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/how-to-floss/
  4. http://dentalcarematters.com/flossing-teeth/