Hillsboro Dentist

YOU HEAR ALL THE TIME about the importance of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and you hear almost as often about the importance of daily flossing. What you probably don’t hear a lot is that, if we want to maintain good oral health and hygiene, it’s also important for us to clean our tongues.

Why Should We Clean Our Tongues?
The tongue is one of the most bacteria-covered spots in our bodies. A tongue doesn’t just have taste buds on it, it also has crevices, elevations, and all sorts of tiny structures that bacteria will hide between unless physically removed. Letting all this bacteria sit and multiply can cause bad breath or halitosis, as well as tooth decay on the inner surfaces of the teeth. This is why it’s so important to regularly clean our tongues — so we can get rid of all the unwanted bacterial buildup!
Another benefit to removing the bacteria from our tongues is that it clears the way for our tastebuds to do their jobs. A bacteria-free tongue can taste food much more effectively, and it makes the first stage of the digestive process more effective too, which means improving our digestive health!
The Right Tools For Tongue-Cleaning
You might think mouthwash or rinsing with water is enough to clean your tongue, but that bacteria is stubborn, and simply swishing liquid in your mouth won’t clean out all those crevices on the tongue’s surface. If you really want to clean out that biofilm of bacteria, the key is to scrape it, preferably with a tongue-scraper. You can find these at the store near the toothbrushes, and you should use one every time you brush your teeth.
A toothbrush can do a decent job of cleaning your tongue if you don’t have a special tongue-scraper, and some toothbrushes even have bumps for tongue-scrubbing built in. After you brush your teeth but before you rinse and spit, take that brush or scraper to your tongue. Start at the back and work your way forward, and make sure to get as much of the surface as you can. It’s quick and easy and will make a major difference!
Tongue Scrapers Go Way Back
How long do you think tongue scrapers have been around? A few decades? Try since ancient times! Tongue-scraping is part of the daily hygiene regimen recommended by Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Over the centuries, tongue scrapers in different cultures have been made of many different materials, including metals like copper, silver, gold, tin, or brass, as well as ivory,

These days, they’re most often made of plastic or stainless steel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U95NuZB_dCg

Need More Tips On Tongue-Cleaning?

If you have questions about cleaning your tongue or finding the right tongue-scraper, just ask! We are more than happy to help you add this important step to your dental hygiene routine. And don’t forget to keep brushing and flossing and scheduling those regular dental appointments!

Way to be the best patients!

Smile-Friendly Breakfast Secrets

BREAKFAST MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day, but for many of us it’s also the most unhealthy. A bad breakfast is not only bad for our teeth, but makes us feel sluggish before we even get out the door—setting us on a track for unhealthy choices throughout the day.

How Often Do You Eat Breakfast On-The-Go?

We usually don’t give ourselves time for healthy breakfast options. We grab something handy and rush out the door. Donuts, starchy muffins, and sugary pastries gulped down with acidic orange juice or tooth-staining coffee aren’t exactly tooth friendly. Even our morning cereals may contain more decay-causing sugar than candy bars!

3 Smart Breakfast Tips To Protect Your Teeth

  1. Choose whole grains. They’re better for you, and easier on your teeth than refined starches.
  2. Yogurt naturally neutralizes acids on teeth. Adding granola, chopped nuts, or fruit can make your breakfast more nutritious and delicious!
  3. If you eat acidic fruits, juices or smoothies, rinse your mouth with water when finished.

Smile-Healthy Breakfasts

What’s good for your teeth is usually what’s good for your body. Here are some great menu ideas:

  • Whole grain, sugar-light cereal with calcium-rich milk
  • Scrambled eggs and whole-wheat toast
  • Yogurt with granola or muesli

What’s your favorite quick-and-healthy breakfast? Share in the comments below. We love to hear from you.

Thanks for being a valued part of our practice family!

Alternative Ways To Get Calcium In Your Diet

CALCIUM AND MILK go together like fluoride and toothpaste. Without the former, it can be hard to find the latter. And, like fluoride, calcium is essential to our oral health.
 

How Calcium Benefits Your Oral Health

We all know that calcium is the main component of our teeth and jaw bones, but our mouths are also made up of gum tissue, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Calcium is important for these things as well because it helps them function as they should.

How Much Calcium Do We Need?

The range of calcium intake recommended for the average person on a daily basis is between 1000-1300mg from ages four to 70+ yrs. Children younger than four need about 700mg or less. The numbers vary based on gender and age.

Getting less than 500mg of calcium a day puts you at greater risk of developing gum disease, and the scary thing is that most people don’t meet their daily recommendation. Take a look at the foods you’re eating and make sure you’re including at least 800mg of daily calcium to keep your teeth and oral health in great shape!

 Non-dairy Calcium Sources

Most people can get their daily calcium from milk and other dairy products, but some don’t have that option. Luckily, there are many alternative sources of this crucial mineral, and we’ve made a list of them to help out our dairy-averse patients.

  • Canned fish with the bones in. The bones of small, canned fish are an excellent source of calcium, and they’re soft enough to eat! It’s up to you whether you eat them straight from the can or mix them into a larger meal.
  • Dark leafy greens. Starting at 180mg and reaching about 350mg, kale, spinach and collard greens are the three leafy greens with the highest calcium content.
  • Beans and black-eyed peas. Legumes such as beans and black-eyed peas contain an impressive amount of calcium, with 350mg to 515mg in just one cup!
  • Fortified drinks. Fortified orange juice contains around 1500mg and soy milk has 340mg per cup.
  • Tofu. Most tofu has added calcium, giving it about 860mg per half cup, but you’ll still get between 100-200mg per serving with no calcium added!
  • Broccoli and broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe (rob) has about 80mg of calcium per 2/3-cup serving and broccoli has about 100mg per 2cup serving.
  • Edamame. With 98mg in just one cup of cooked edamame, it’s a good source of calcium as well as protein!
  • Almonds. Out of all the nuts, almonds contain the highest level of calcium, with 8% of the recommended daily intake in a single ounce.
  • Dried Figs. Figs have a sweet, dessert-like flavor, so eating the half cup it takes to get the calcium from them will feel like indulging in a treat!

We Can Help

If you think you may be prone to gum disease or have further questions about how you can improve your daily calcium intake, we’d love to talk to you about it, so schedule a visit with us today!

We love helping our patients keep their teeth healthy and strong!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Soda Versus Our Teeth

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? It’s what happens to our teeth when we drink too much soda. The term comes from rural Appalachia, where that particular drink has long been the carbonated beverage of choice and tooth decay is alarmingly common. But this doesn’t just happen in Appalachia, and Mountain Dew isn’t the only drink that contributes to tooth decay.

The Dangers Of Sugary Drinks

When we eat or drink something with sugar in it, the sugar sticks to our teeth afterward. Sugar itself doesn’t do any damage to our oral health, but it is unfortunately the favorite food of the bacteria that lives in our mouths. These bacteria eat the sugar and then excrete acids that erode our tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. They also cause inflammation that increase the risk of gum disease.

Any source of sugar can negatively impact oral health. Sugary drinks (including fruit juice, but especially soda) are particularly dangerous because they aren’t filling like solid food and are therefore easy to keep drinking.

Effects Of Carbonation

So if sugar is the problem, then can’t we keep our teeth healthy by switching to diet soda instead of giving up carbonated beverages altogether? Diet soda is certainly an improvement, but sugar isn’t soda’s only threat to dental health. The other is acid. Sugar leads to tooth decay because oral bacteria eat sugar and excrete acid that erode tooth enamel. Soda cuts out the middle man and applies acid directly to the teeth.

Even diet sodas and carbonated water contain acid. The three types of acid commonly found in soda are citric, phosphoric, and carbonic. Any drink with citrus flavoring will have citric acid, many colas get their flavor from phosphoric acid, and carbonic acid is what makes these drinks fizzy in the first place.

Protecting Your Smile

It would be best for your teeth to avoid soda and other sugary drinks entirely. If you can’t bring yourself to give up your favorite drink completely though, there are a few ways to enjoy it while protecting your teeth. A big one would be to only drink soda with a meal instead of sipping from a can or bottle throughout the day so that the sugar and acid aren’t sitting in your mouth for long periods.

You can also help balance your mouth’s pH and rinse away remaining sugar by drinking water after the soda. Finally, you can clean away the last traces of sugar and acid by brushing your teeth, but it’s a good idea to wait until the pH balance is back to normal before brushing, which takes about thirty minutes.

It is particularly important for children and people with braces to avoid overindulging in sugary drinks. Children have the highest risk of enamel erosion because their enamel isn’t yet fully developed, and braces plus a soda habit is a great way to end up with stained teeth when the braces come off.

Don’t Forget That We Can Help Too!

Following these good habits will go a long way towards protecting your teeth against decay and erosion from the sugar and acid in soda. Still, don’t forget that your dentist is also an important part of the equation. Keep scheduling those visits every six months!

Thank you for always being our valued patients!

A Healthier Mouth = A Healthier Heart?

OUR BODIES ARE ECOSYSTEMS where a change in one area affects other areas. This connection is becoming clearer as scientists continue examining the links between oral health and cardiovascular health. Recent studies suggest that taking care of your gums through great oral hygiene could cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke!

Important Links Between Gum Health And Heart Health

Inflammation caused by gum disease could contribute to an increased risk for heart problems. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and gums that are infected or bleeding provide easy access for bacteria to get into the bloodstream. Once inside, certain types of bacteria cause low-level inflammation of blood vessels without causing a full-blown blood infection. Because of this, treatment is very difficult once the bacteria have become established. The constant low-level inflammation can induce atherosclerosis–the hardening of arterial walls–and lead to blockages.

Mom Was Right—An Ounce of Prevention…

Beyond diet and exercise, it’s hard to know what to do to prevent heart disease. However, gum disease and tooth decay are completely preventable!

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes, gently massaging the gums.
  • Floss once daily.
  • Brush or rinse with water after eating or drinking.
  • Don’t miss your regular cleanings and check-ups with us.

As such studies continue, it’s likely more evidence will be found linking gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, there are already enough reasons to take charge of your oral health! Establishing good dental hygiene habits now and sticking to them will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and a host of other problems.

Stay Healthy For The People You Love

We’re proud to assist you in your pursuit of comprehensive, lasting health. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit.

Thank you for allowing us to be your lifelong health partner. We appreciate you!

 

 

Men’s Oral Health Tips

MAINTAINING GOOD ORAL HEALTH is crucial for everyone, but that can mean different things for men than for women. That’s why we’ve put together a list of concerns men should particularly watch out for, as well as some tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy!
 

Brush That Charming Smile!

Many women say a man’s most attractive feature is his smile. However, on average, men tend not to take care of their teeth as well as women do, and that puts those charming smiles at risk! According to a national survey, men were 20% less likely than women to brush their teeth twice a day, and they also change their toothbrushes less often. Make sure you’re brushing two minutes twice a day and regularly replacing that toothbrush like you’re supposed to!

The good news? Your luxurious beard might actually be helping you keep harmful germs away from your face and out of your mouth!

Minimizing Risk Factors For Disease

Because men tend to chew tobacco, smoke, and drink more than women, they become more susceptible to the oral health consequences that come with those substances, such as periodontitis, tooth loss, and even oral cancer. Make sure to avoid habits like these that put your oral health at risk!

Greater Risks Of Dry Mouth

Men are statistically more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease than women, and with these kinds of diseases comes the need for medication. One very common side-effect of many such medications is dry mouth.

Saliva is crucial to good oral health because it washes away bacteria and regulates the mouth’s pH. When the saliva runs dry, there’s an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. If you’re experiencing problems from dry mouth, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Be A Man: Go To The Dentist

This leads us to another problem that impacts men more than women, and that is the tendency to neglect regular dental visits. Prevention is crucial to good oral health, which is why we recommend that all patients schedule a dental appointment every six months, whether or not anything seems to be wrong with their teeth.

Let’s Keep Those Pearly Whites Shining!

Don’t take the “tough guy” approach with your dental health by holding out until you’re experiencing significant tooth pain or some other obvious problem before you see your dentist. Always make sure to schedule those regular appointments so that you can stay ahead of any problems, and keep up with your good oral health habits in the meantime!

As always, we love helping our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: Oral Health’s MVP

SALIVA IS SUCH an ordinary thing that you probably haven’t given it much thought, but it’s actually as important to the healthy function of our mouths as oil is to a working car engine. Saliva is an essential component of our ability to eat, taste our favorite foods, and speak, it’s crucial to a healthy immune system, and it’s our first line of defense against many oral health problems.
 

Saliva Production And Stages

In a healthy mouth, saliva is produced continuously by the salivary glands, which are located under our tongues and in our cheeks. These glands produce between two and six cups of saliva every day! Saliva is 98-99 percent water, and the rest consists of proteins, digestive enzymes, antimicrobial factors, and electrolytes.

Depending on where food is in the digestive process, saliva goes through a few different stages: cephalic, buccal, oesophageal, gastric, and intestinal. When you smell something delicious and your mouth waters, that’s the cephalic stage! Actually eating moves it to the buccal stage, which helps us swallow food. The oesophageal stage helps move swallowed food down the esophagus.

The last two stages are less pleasant, but still important. If you’re about to throw up, your salivary glands work overtime in the gastric stage so that the stomach acid won’t do as much damage when it comes up and out with the partially digested food. The intestinal stage is similar, activating when the body doesn’t agree with food that reaches the upper intestine.

Saliva And Oral Health

There are many reasons we have saliva, but the most important role it plays for your teeth is keeping your mouth’s pH balancedand flushing away remnants of food to keep everything clean. Eating food tends to make our mouths more acidic, and even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies, it only takes a pH of 5.5 to start dissolving it. Many of the foods we eat are far more acidic than that, which makes saliva critical in protecting our teeth.

The antimicrobial factors in saliva also fight bacteria, protecting us against gum disease and bad breath. Growth factors in saliva are why injuries in your mouth (like a burned tongue or a bitten cheek) heal faster than injuries elsewhere on the body. And those are just the benefits to oral health, but saliva does much more.

When The Spit Runs Dry…

All of these benefits are why dry mouth is such a serious problem. It can happen for a number of reasons. Our mouths tend to go dry in stressful situations. We also tend to produce less saliva in old age. Drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all cause dry mouth as well. Unfortunately, many prescription medications cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Let’s Get That Mouth Watering!

If you’ve been experiencing dry mouth for any reason, schedule an appointment with us. We can discover the cause and get that saliva flowing again so that you won’t miss out on any of its great health benefits!

Thank you for trusting in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Is Your Frenulum Holding You Back?

YOU’VE HEARD OF being tongue-tied, but what about lip-tied? Both are actually legitimate medical conditions, and the culprits are pieces of tissue in our mouths called frenula.
 

Tongue Ties And Lip Ties

We all have a frenulum (or frenum) that connects our upper lips to our upper gums, one that connects our lower lips to our lower gums, and one that connects our tongues to the floors of our mouths. Normally, they are all thin and highly elastic, allowing free movement of our lips and tongues. If someone is literally tongue-tied, it means the lingual frenulum (the one under the tongue) is large enough to restrict the movement of their tongue, causing difficulties with speech, chewing, and swallowing.

Having a “lip tie,” on the other hand, means one of the labial frenula is so thick and/or tight that it restricts movement of the lip it’s attached to. Being lip-tied can lead to problems such as a large gap between the teeth, gum recession, and, in infants, not being able to latch while breastfeeding.

What Can We Do About It?

Luckily, a simple surgery called a frenectomy can reduce or remove an abnormal frenulum. Now, don’t let the word “surgery” scare you off. A frenectomy is definitely worth considering for anyone with these frenulum-related problems, particularly if they’re experiencing pain or discomfort.

Frenectomies are relatively quick procedures with short healing times. Periodontists (dentists who specialize in working with the gums) and oral surgeons are normally the ones who perform them. The way it works is that the doctor will numb the area  and make a small incision in the frenulum to make it smaller or remove it. Alternatively, the procedure could involve laser surgery, where the doctor removes the frenulum with a laser. Either way, that pesky lip tie or tongue tie will be gone!

Let’s Take Care Of That Frenulum

For the majority of people, frenulums will never be a problem. If you think any of yours might be thick or tight enough to cause the above problems, schedule an appointment with us, and the same goes for your children if they seem to have these problems. We can take a look and see if a frenectomy would be a good option. If it is, then we can recommend a periodontist or oral surgeon to take care of it.

Thank you for choosing us to take care of that smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Expect At The Dentist… When You’re Expecting

IF YOU’RE PREGNANT, you’re probably worried about anything and everything that may affect your baby, especially if you’re a first-time mother. But when it comes to your dental care, there’s no need to worry!

Annual exams and preventive dental care during pregnancy are not only safe, but recommended. In fact, you need to pay special attention to your dental health while pregnant, as your teeth and gums can be affected by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.

Watch Out For These Things During Pregnancy

Morning sickness and increased levels of progesterone can result in some dental problems for pregnant women. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

  • Pregnancy gingivitis—an inflammation of the gums—occurs because of changing hormone levels. Some women may experience bleeding when brushing or flossing and red, swollen gums.
  • Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is caused by bacterial infection that develops below the gum line. This disease damages the fibers that hold your teeth in place and can also affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown that expectant mothers with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of premature delivery and lower birth weights.
  • Dry mouth comes from a decrease in saliva caused by hormonal changes. Chewing sugarless gum can help increase saliva production.
  • Erosion of tooth enamel is always a risk associated with vomiting. As morning sickness and frequent vomiting are common during pregnancy, enamel erosion on the back of the front teeth is more likely to occur.

How To Care For Your Teeth When Expecting

So, how do you avoid the dental problems that can arise during pregnancy? Easy: be consistent in your normal oral care routine!

  • Eat healthy. Nutrition is important for your teeth, as well as the teeth of your developing baby. A nutrient-rich diet is the best thing you can do for your oral and overall health.
  • Brush regularly. As usual, brush at least two times a day for two minutes, and if possible, brush with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss. Need we remind you? Flossing at least once a day helps prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
  • Use mouthwash. Antimicrobial mouthwash fights the bacteria that contribute to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Tell your dentist you’re pregnant. If X-rays, medication, or anesthetics are being considered, your dentist can weigh the risks and do what’s best for you and your baby.
  • Visit your dentist. Preventive dental care while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections. When you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment and speak to your dentist about how you can avoid pregnancy-related dental problems.

Expectant Mothers Can Trust Our Practice

Visits to your dentist during your pregnancy are just as important as visits to your healthcare provider. We care about the dental and overall health of you and your child. So, between trips to the doctor and Babies-R-Us, don’t let visiting the dentist fall off of your pregnancy to-do list!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

 

How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

PREGNANCY AFFECTS NEARLY every aspect of your life–your lifestyle, your diet, your health, and much more! Your mouth is no exception to the changes your body may experience during pregnancy. During this special time, you’ll need to pay particular attention to your oral health for both your sake and your growing baby’s.

You May Be More Prone To Dental Problems

One of the main concerns we have for expectant mothers is what we call pregnancy gingivitis. Around 40 percent of pregnant women have some form of gum disease–gingivitis being the first stage. Because of raised hormone levels during pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to dental plaque than before, causing your gums to be sensitive, swell and bleed. Studies have linked mothers with gum disease to premature delivery and lower birth weights.

In about five percent of pregnancies, women may experience lumps along the gum line and in between teeth. Luckily, these swellings are harmless and usually go away after baby is born. Even though these are known as “pregnancy tumors,” there is no need to be alarmed as they are not cancerous and can be easily removed by your dentist.

Morning sickness can also cause dental woes for expectant mothers. Pregnant women often complain of sensitive gag reflexes and even routine tasks such as brushing and flossing can induce vomiting. Exposure to acid, especially strong stomach acid, can lead to tooth enamel erosion, decay and sensitivity. After vomiting, we recommend rinsing your mouth out with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize stomach acid and prevent any damage to teeth.

Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy

To protect your teeth during pregnancy, one of your first stops should be the dentist’s office. If you are planning on getting pregnant, talk to your dentist beforehand so you can fix any dental issues before conceiving. And when you do find out that you are pregnant, don’t just go to your OB/GYN, make your way to the dentist’s as well!

Routine cleanings and checkups are safe during pregnancy, and as you may be more susceptible to certain dental problems at this time, getting frequent cleanings is a must. You will also need to be diligent about your oral hygiene at home. As always, brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

Another thing to remember is that your diet matters. Did you know that baby’s teeth start developing between the third and sixth months of pregnancy? You will need plenty of nutrients–specifically vitamins A, C and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous–to make sure their teeth, gums and bones develop properly.

Mothers, We Are Here For You

Pregnancy can bring with it a lot of change and responsibility, but we want our patients to know that we are here for you. We want to make sure that your dental health is taken care of so you can focus on preparing for your little one to come into the world. So whether you’re planning on becoming pregnant or already are, we’d love to see you in our office!

Our patients mean the world to us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.