A GOOD-LOOKING SMILE with white, even teeth is a major confidence booster and really helps make a good first impression, whether you’re going on a date or sitting down for a job interview. The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society, combined with internet culture, has given rise to a number of popular do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods. While these might seem like great life-hacks to try, many of them can actually do serious damage to our teeth.
Common DIY Whitening Trends
Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard about some of these trendy teeth whitening approaches, such as activated charcoal, lemon juice, and oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient folk remedy, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims about its health benefits. Lemon juice is absolutely a bad idea, because you’re essentially applying a strong acid directly to your teeth. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acid, and enamel loss is permanent.
Activated charcoal might be able to absorb stains and toxins, but those benefits are debatable when it comes to teeth, because charcoal is also abrasive, so it could be scraping away enamel even as it removes stains. Hold off on buying that tube of charcoal toothpaste until you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and definitely don’t mix up your own.
What About Peroxide And Baking Soda?
Another recent DIY whitening trend is using the baking soda in the pantry and the hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet to bleach teeth. The reasoning behind this idea is that hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening and baking soda is present in many ADA approved whitening toothpastes, and both proven to be effective at removing stains.
While it is true that peroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are used in professional and approved whitening products, that doesn’t mean these are safe chemicals to apply to our teeth however we want. There is a delicate balance between using too little, which won’t produce much of a whitening effect, and using too much, which can damage the enamel and the soft tissues of the mouth. Only dental professionals have the knowledge, training, and materials needed to strike the balance.
Come To The Right Place For Whitening
Your teeth will thank you if you put your trust in dental professionals for your whitening needs rather than trying something risky at home, so bring your teeth whitening questions with you to your next appointment. Together, we can make a plan for how best to whiten your smile. In the meantime, the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright are to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing habits, avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and don’t smoke.
We’re here to help you get the smile of your dreams!
Nov 5th, 2018 11:20 pm
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HALLOWEEN IS OUR favorite spooky time of year, but when it comes to sugar’s effects on teeth, all that candy can be downright scary. The reason sugar is bad for our teeth is that it feeds harmful oral bacteria that excrete acid, and the acid erodes enamel and leads to tooth decay. So how can we keep our costumed Halloween adventures clear of tooth decay?
Ranking Candy On Dental Health
Very few houses give away treats like sugar-free xylitol gum to trick-or-treaters, so the chances are slim that the candy will actually be healthy. However, some types of sugary candy are worse than others, or present different kinds of problems.
Hard candy is a problem because there’s a risk of breaking our teeth if we chew it, but sucking on it isn’t safe either because that means holding a source of sugar in our mouths for an extended period.
Sour candies are like a double attack against dental health, because not only do they contain a lot of sugar to feed the bacteria, but they are also highly acidic, so they can harm our enamel directly!
Sticky or gummy candy is especially bad for teeth because it remains stuck there, feeding the bacteria for a long time and giving them a larger opportunity to attack the enamel.
The good news is that the least harmful sugary candy is chocolate! It doesn’t stick to teeth like most other candies, and the cocoa in it has many beneficial properties. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar will be in it, so aim for dark chocolate.
Reducing The Candy Quantity
Being picky about which types of candy we eat is one way to reduce the risk of tooth decay, but an even better way to do that is by simply eating less candy. As parents, we can help our children out with this by coming up with a plan before trick-or-treating time. We could let them trade the bulk of their candy haul for some kind of non-candy prize or limit the number of houses they visit. We just have to make sure to discuss the plan with them in advance.
More Tooth-Healthy Strategies
There are a few other simple things you can do to reduce the dental effects of all that Halloween candy. You can drink more waterto rinse out the sugar, limit the frequency of candy consumption The reason for that last one is that it takes your saliva about half an hour to stabilize the pH of your mouth after eating sugar.
Keeping Teeth Healthy Year-Round
The Halloween season will come to an end, but the job of keeping our teeth healthy is never done! Make sure you’re always brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, keeping those sugary treats to a minimum, and scheduling regular dental visits!
Have a spooky Halloween!
Oct 30th, 2018 9:23 am
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ON THE SURFACE, a toothbrush seems like just another item on the grocery list, but choosing the best one for you can be tricky. There are several factors to take into account, such as bristle softness, grip feel, head size, and whether to stick with manual or go electric. That’s why we’re here to help make your selection process easier!
Toothbrush Qualities To Look For
Have you ever noticed that the toothbrushes you bring home from dentist appointments have very soft bristles? This is no accident. Hard bristles might seem like they’re better equipped to clean away plaque, but they could be damaging your teeth and gums while they’re at it. We recommend choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is particularly important for anyone with sensitive teeth or gums.
The next thing to look for is the size of the brush head. Mouths and teeth come in different sizes depending on age and genetics, which is why toothbrush heads have a range of sizes available. Find the toothbrush that matches the size of your mouth. Just like bristle hardness isn’t an indication of effectiveness, having more bristles doesn’t make the brush better if it won’t fit easily around your teeth.
You might think that a toothbrush’s handle is its least important part, but a toothbrush with the wrong kind of handle is a difficult toothbrush to use. Is your toothbrush comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver, or does it slip in your hand? The better you are able to hold your toothbrush, the better it can clean your teeth. This is a particularly crucial consideration for people with arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to grip objects.
Manual Or Electric?
This is one of the biggest debates when it comes to choosing a new toothbrush. A lot of people swear by their electric brushes while others claim manual ones are better. Some electric toothbrushes can do a better job of removing plaque, but it’s up to you to decide if that is worth the greatly increased price tag. Electric toothbrushes can be particularly beneficial to orthodontic patients who have to brush around braces, people with dexterity problems, and even children!
Out With The Old Toothbrush, In With The New
Regardless of what type of toothbrush you have, remember to always replace it between three and six months, and store it upright somewhere it can fully dry between uses. If you still have questions about what to look for in a toothbrush, just ask us! We want to make sure all our patients have the best tools for keeping their teeth healthy and clean.
Put that new toothbrush to good use!
Oct 28th, 2018 11:22 pm
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WE ALL KNOW WHAT it’s like to have a cold, with a nose so stuffy that you can’t breathe through it. At times like that, we breathe through our mouths instead, and that’s pretty much how it should work. Mouth-breathing is an emergency backup, not the default. There are many negative effects of mouth-breathing full-time, particularly if the habit begins in childhood.
Why Does Mouth-Breathing Become A Habit?
Many things can lead to a mouth-breathing habit. A small child might get a cold and then simply continue breathing through his mouth when his nose clears. A problem with bite alignment can make it difficult to keep the mouth closed. Persistent allergies, overlarge tonsils, or a deviated septum could make nose-breathing difficult or impossible most of the time. Fortunately, these problems can often be solved by orthodontic treatment or surgery.
Why Mouth-Breathing Is A Problem
In the short term, mouth-breathing leads to a variety of issues, including:
- Dry mouth: mouth-breathing dries out the mouth, removing the first defense against oral bacteria. This can lead to consequences such as chronic bad breath and tooth decay.
- Lack of energy: getting less oxygen by breathing through the mouth will result in poor sleep quality and lowered energy levels overall. For kids, this means difficulty paying attention in school, and for adults, work productivity can suffer.
The negative effects of mouth-breathing don’t stop in the short-term. They can actually be life-altering, particularly when the habit begins in childhood and goes unchecked.
- Facial structure: mouth-breathing can actually lead the bones of the face to develop differently, yielding flat features, drooping eyes, a narrow jaw and dental arch, and a small chin.
- Sleep apnea: the risk of sleep apnea goes up with mouth-breathing, and this can make it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.
- Orthodontic treatment: the narrowed dental arch of a chronic mouth-breather rarely has enough room for the full set of adult teeth, and this will require orthodontic treatment to correct.
The Benefits Of Nose-Breathing
Breathing through the nose doesn’t just help you avoid the effects of mouth-breathing; it comes with additional benefits too! Here are just a few of them:
- The nose acts as an air filter, delivering clean air to the lungs and reducing the amount of allergens that get in.
- Nose-breathing produces nitric oxide, which helps with oxygen absorption and sterilizes the air.
- Nose-breathing strengthens the immune system by activating immunoglobulin production.
Need Help Building Healthier Breathing Habits?
If you or your child has a mouth-breathing habit, it can be tricky to break, especially if the cause is a physical obstruction that requires treatment. Schedule a dental exam right away so the cause can be detected and you can get on the road to healthier breathing and all the benefits that come with it!
We love our wonderful patients!
Aug 8th, 2018 1:27 am
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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.
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!
Apr 26th, 2018 1:20 am
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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
- Choose whole grains. They’re better for you, and easier on your teeth than refined starches.
- Yogurt naturally neutralizes acids on teeth. Adding granola, chopped nuts, or fruit can make your breakfast more nutritious and delicious!
- If you eat acidic fruits, juices or smoothies, rinse your mouth with water when finished.
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!
Mar 29th, 2018 7:00 am
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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.
Mar 27th, 2018 7:00 am
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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!
Mar 22nd, 2018 7:00 am
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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!
Mar 20th, 2018 7:00 am
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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.
Mar 15th, 2018 7:00 am
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