Dental Tips Blog

Jan
10

Could a New Health Care Plan Affect Your Dental Care?

There’s plenty of buzz about how proposed changes to health care coverage will affect the nation. Millions of people are rightly concerned about the future of their family’s medical (and dental) treatment.

Will The New Bill Affect Dental Care?

According to the Health Affairs Blog, while the Trump administration’s proposed plan would make many changes to health care, it’s not expected to impact the dental field as extensively. That’s because the current Affordable Care Act didn’t stipulate much in the way of dental care for adults.

But the previously mandatory pediatric dental benefits may change. People dependent on Medicaid dental coverage would also be significantly impacted.

What You Can Do Now

In the face of uncertainty, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of the benefits you have right now. Don’t put off getting that aching tooth looked at. Bite the bullet and get that filling done. Make the most of any preventative dental treatments your family is entitled to.  If you currently have coverage for routine dental cleanings and checkups, it might be a good idea to get your scheduled before your coverage changes.

Talk It Out With Your Dentist

Your local dental office has probably already had many discussions with patients about potential changes to health care coverage. Plan a visit as soon as possible to find out what changes they are anticipating. The practice likely has a system in place to make payment easier on the uninsured. Ask whether any financing plans are available.

How new plans affect dental care remains to be seen. But that makes it all the more urgent to do what you can now with the resources at your disposal. Schedule a dental checkup today to get on top of your oral health.

Posted on behalf of:
Fair Lakes Family Dentistry
15103 Mason Rd, Ste. B-8
Cypress, TX 77433
(281) 973-2843

Jan
10

Do You Need to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

For some of us, our dog is more than our best friend – he or she is family.  We’ll do anything for our cold-nosed companions! True dog lovers will go out of their way to get the perfect food formulas, the perfect accessories, and the perfect hair cut for their pets.

One important element of dog health is dental care. Yes, pooches need that too, and once again, those die-hard dog fans are already all over that.

Caring For Dog’s Teeth: What To Know

Dogs are not very susceptible to cavities. But like us, they can develop the heavy tartar buildup and bad breath that accompany gum disease. If not treated, gum inflammation can lead to serious health problems. Daily brushing is a great way to prevent bacterial buildup in your dog’s mouth.

What You Need

A pet store will have toothbrushes and toothpastes appropriate for dogs. NEVER use human toothpaste! Most of our toothpastes contain fluoride which is great for our teeth, but like chocolate, it’s not meant for dogs. Hard chew toys are good for cleansing dog teeth.

What To Do

Start small. You can ease your dog into brushing by starting when they’re young. Brush only for as long as they’ll tolerate, slowly increasing the brushing time each day. Reward your pooch’s cooperation with a treat.

Don’t forget that you need dental care, too! People need routine dental cleanings and checkups twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. We’re more prone to dental health problems than dogs are. To find out what your teeth need to stay healthy and strong, visit your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Amber Hills Dental
771 E. Horizon Dr
Suite 176-180
Henderson, NV 89015
702-831-4686

Dec
31

How Dentists Diagnose Cavities

Apparently, you have another cavity. But you don’t see anything there. You’re not entirely convinced the dentist isn’t making this up.

Before you jump to conclusions, keep in mind that a dentist is trained to pick up on tooth decay long before it turns into an ugly brown hole in your tooth.

How do dentists detect cavities? Here are a few of the main ways.

Classic Exploration

Those scary metal hooks the dentist “pokes” your teeth with are called explorers. The fine tipped instruments are very sensitive. With years of practice, your dentist can skim the tip of the tool over your tooth and notice unusually soft spots indicative of decay.

Lasers

More and more dental offices are incorporating the use of special lasers that ping back a result when they scan weakened tooth enamel. These lasers really come in handy when checking for cavities in the back teeth during your six-month dental visits.

X-Rays

Yearly x-rays are taken almost entirely because of cavities. A regular set of bitewing images helps the dentist see in-between your teeth where no one else can. Dark triangles in the enamel at the point where neighboring teeth touch mean that there is decay going on.

Dye

Some dentists use a non-toxic dye to check for signs of decay. This usually comes in handy when he or she is cleaning a cavity from a tooth and wants to make sure it’s completely gone before placing the filling.

Through routine dental cleanings and checkups, your dentist will make note of areas that are prime to develop decay and alert you to them. You will then get recommendations for treatment like fluoride or sealants to help you avoid cavities altogether. Schedule your routine dental examination today!

Posted on behalf of:
Salt Run Family Dentistry
700 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080
(904) 824-3540

Dec
31

9 Herbs and Spices That Are Good for Your Smile

Ready for something fresh? These nine herbs and spices are great natural sources of smile-boosting factors.

  1. Green tea. Loaded with antioxidants and an excellent natural breath-freshener, a cup of green tea every morning could do you a lot of good. Just take it without sugar so that it doesn’t become a cavity hazard.
  2. Cloves. Did you know this simple kitchen staple is the foundation for a lot of numbing agents in dentistry? You can enjoy clove’s anesthetic properties by chewing on a whole one when something in your mouth hurts.
  3. Cinnamon. Enjoy it in a hot drink, yogurt, or oatmeal every day to experience the way it can regulate blood sugar and cut down your sugar cravings. This is good for lowering your cavity risk!
  4. Fennel, 5. Cardamom, and 6. Parsley. These get grouped together as a trio of powerful breath-refreshers. Munching on them stimulates saliva flow which washes away traces of acid from your last snack.
  5. Rosemary. A tablespoon of this very average herb actually contains about 4% of your recommended daily value of calcium. Add it to a cheddar sauce over steamed broccoli for a calcium-loaded dinner.
  6. Turmeric. This spice is up-and-coming in research in terms of how powerfully beneficial it is. It lends a bright golden glow to Indian foods. Turmeric could potentially work better than the best mouthwash. Enjoy this spice in a variety of stir-fries and curries.
  7. Garlic. While this one may not be the best for breath, it is great at fighting virtually everything else. It’s best eaten raw, so try to incorporate it into salads, dressings, and sauces.

Remember, no natural herbal remedy can replace the help of your dentist so schedule a dental checkup and cleaning soon!

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

Dec
12

Will Calcium on My Teeth Cause Cavities?

Two dental cleanings and exams a year are usually enough to help you avoid a heavy buildup of tartar —  or calcium deposits — on your teeth. Besides the fact that buildup looks unsightly, there are some health reasons for getting it removed on a regular basis.

You might be surprised to learn that cavities have nothing to do with it.

What Is That Calcium?

The mixture is actually bacteria that are calcified (hardened) into a cement-like substance with minerals found in your saliva. Calcium phosphate, to be precise. This conglomerate debris is more technically called “calculus” in the dental setting. You might know it as tartar.

You can’t necessarily control the rate at which you form calculus. But you have some control over how heavily it develops. Frequent brushing and flossing will remove that plaque before it has time to harden and calcify.

How Calculus Affects Teeth

Once a layer of calculus forms on tooth enamel, not much can happen to the tooth. The cavity-causing bacteria inside calculus are dead and immobile so they won’t be able to produce acids that wear away teeth.

Even though tartar does not cause cavities, it can seriously irritate your gums. The rough texture of calcified bacteria provides the perfect hiding place for living colonies of bacteria. The kind that cause problems like gingivitis and periodontitis.

So those biannual teeth cleanings don’t just keep your smile sparkling. They help you avoid a buildup of calculus that can negatively impact your gum health. Without professional cleanings, your gums can develop an infection that results in losing your teeth themselves.

Do yourself, your teeth, your gums, everyone a favor by visiting your dentist regularly to remove that “tartar!”

Posted on behalf of:
Heritage Dental
23945 Franz Rd Suite A
Katy, TX 77493
(832) 709-2429

Dec
5

A New Angle on Brushing – 4 Tips to Make Your Oral Hygiene Routine More Effective

Tooth-brushing.

It’s such a mundane activity that it can be hard to imagine how to make it any spicier. You might equate an article like this with one entitled “7 Fancy Ways to Butter Toast” or “Find More Fulfillment in Vacuuming Your Home.”

Well, you’ll have to consult someone who actually knows their stuff when it comes to toast and vacuuming.

But dental experts across the country do know teeth and they feel it’s past time people got passionate about keeping their smiles healthy. That’s why your dentist or dental hygienist would be happy to help you put these tips into practice.  In addition to regular dental cleanings and exams, good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease and keep your smile healthy.

Back to Brush Bristle Basics

Say that three times fast.

If the bristles on your toothbrush are too hard, they won’t be flexible enough to scrub plaque out of tricky corners. Stiff bristles can also cause enamel wear and speed up gum recession.

Choose a toothbrush labeled “soft” and start from there.

  1. Take the Right Approach

Rather than assaulting your poor enamel with a 90° head-on attack, keep the brush tilted in towards your gum line. Give attention to both upper and lower, inner and outer gum lines.

  1. Easy Does It

Move the brush slowly with short “jiggles” against your gums instead of scrubbing them to death. Being thorough doesn’t mean being aggressive.

  1. Hit The 2-Minute Mark

Two minutes is the standard recommended time for brushing. Set a timer or play a song to brush along to for the duration. Two minutes every time ensures you’ll keep plaque buildup at bay.

Visit your dentist to learn more about creating an oral hygiene routine that’s perfect for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr #200
McKinney, TX 75071
(469) 209-4279

Aug
30

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

You might be surprised to learn that a hygienist’s job involves more than just teeth cleaning. Understanding your local dental hygienist’s role in healthcare could even motivate you to make some changes in your oral hygiene routine.

Hygiene – Not A Job Just Anyone Can Do!

Hygienists are registered and licensed in various ways depending on the state they live in. But one thing they all have in common is a solid education. Most dental hygiene programs are rigorous 2-4 year long college courses that are very similar to nursing.

Dental hygienists also get hands-on training in a disciplined environment to prepare them for their work responsibilities. As a result, they pick up skills and habits like:

  • Cleanliness
  • Attention to detail
  • A sharp eye
  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Good manual dexterity

If you had to pick someone to clean your teeth with small and very sharp tools, wouldn’t you want someone who fits that description?

Your hygienist is a respected professional in the medical community.

Beyond The Brush

A dental hygienist’s work doesn’t end with cleaning teeth.

Perhaps most important of all is their role in educating patients on the importance of oral hygiene. This aspect often has them actively promoting preventive dental care in schools, nursing homes, and underserved areas.

For the record, your hygienist doesn’t get on your case about flossing for no reason! He or she wants you to understand the deeper connection between clean gums and a healthy body.

If you pay attention to what your dental hygienist has to say, you’ll learn lots of practical tips that can make your flossing and brushing routine worlds easier – and improve your overall health.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Aug
3

How to Design the Perfect Oral Hygiene Routine

What’s the golden secret to a knock-out Hollywood smile?

Routine dental checkups and cleanings are important and there are a variety of cosmetic dental treatments that will improve your smile, but it all starts with customized oral hygiene right at home.

Choose The Right Brush

First, you need to decide on a toothbrush that will get the job done properly. Not just any kind will do! Look for one with the softest bristles possible. These are kind to gums.

It’s also good to consider whether you want to stick with a classic manual brush or try a powered one. Electric toothbrushes are great for anyone, but they’re extremely helpful to those who have difficulty manipulating a traditional one.

Which Toothpaste Is Best?

Toothpastes are formulated differently to address problems such as sensitivity, decay, and gingivitis. Whichever kind you decide on, make sure it contains fluoride since all teeth need extra cavity-protection.

Cleaning Between Teeth

The next area to consider is how to access those spots that your toothbrush cannot reach. For most people, a basic waxed tape floss is sufficient. But don’t limit yourself! If you find that kind of floss is too hard to use or it even hurts your gums, explore some other options.

There is more fine ribbon floss, fluffy tufted floss, floss on handles, water flossers, and more. It’s all about finding the option that works well and feels good.

Get Help Designing The Perfect Routine

Your dentist and dental hygienist are your best resources when it comes to oral care. They’ll consider your smile’s unique needs and give you tailored suggestions for products and tools you might never have discovered on your own.

The journey to the perfect smile starts right at home! Learn more by planning a visit to your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224

Jul
25

Are Those Calcium (Tartar) Deposits Bad for Your Teeth?

To some people, it’s a sign of excess calcium.

To others, it’s another word for plaque.

Just what is tartar, and how does it affect your teeth? 

The Recipe For Tartar

No, not the sauce . . .

“Tartar” is a more common term for what your dentist and dental hygienist know as “calculus.” Made up of dead bacterial cells, calcium phosphate from saliva, and natural fluids from your gum tissue, calculus is what’s left over when plaque calcifies. Gritty and concrete-like, tartar can develop in a thin veneer over tooth surfaces or it can collect in ledges below the gum line.

Basically, any place on your teeth where the plaque is not removed daily can develop this dental calculus.

Why Remove Calculus?

Tartar itself may not be as bad as soft plaque which is made up of live bacteria, but the mineral deposits are harmful in their own way. Calculus is very porous which makes it quickly pick up stain and germs.

If you have even just a little calculus buildup, it will show because of how it takes on the color of whatever foods you frequently eat.

Because it provides a safe harbor for bacteria, tartar is also a major irritant to gums. In fact, tartar deposits below the gum line promote the spread of periodontal disease and need to be removed with professional scaling for the gums to heal.

Prevent Tartar Buildup

By controlling the growth of plaque with routine preventative dental care, you limit how much tartar you can cultivate on your teeth. Aim to brush at least twice a day and even use an anti-plaque rinse. Of course, don’t forget the regular dental cleanings and checkups.

Posted on behalf of:
Seacrest Dental
66 N. Holiday Road
Miramar Beach, FL 32550
850-298-8576

Jan
30

“What’s That ‘Buzzing’ Tool My Hygienist Uses?”

All you know is that it tingles when it bumps your tongue, there’s a lot of water, and your teeth feel nice and smooth afterwards.

What is that thing?

Some people feel it’s a device that shoots out a jet of water powerful enough to blast teeth clean. Close. . . but not close enough.

Ultrasonic Powered Tooth Cleaning

You can thank ultrasonic energy for the zingy sensation. ‘Ultrasonic’ refers to sound waves that are extremely high-pitched. These sound waves generate energy.

The vibration actually comes from the metal tip which is moving back and forth too fast to see. In fact, the motions are very small. This energy helps to break up things like tartar, plaque, and stain. It’s also very effective at disrupting bacterial colonies which don’t like ultrasonic energy.

Where does the water come in?

Ultrasonic machines include a channel for water flow which helps wash away debris and cool the tip of the instrument. All that energy generates heat! That wouldn’t feel good on your teeth, at all.

Ultrasonic Scalers – The Benefits

Traditional teeth cleaning instruments are called ‘scalers’ because of the way they gently smooth the surface of teeth.

Ultrasonic scalers are electrically powered and use that special energy to break up microscopic deposits.

It’s a lot easier on everyone all around when your hygienist doesn’t have to vigorously scrape your teeth by hand. A mini power tool makes it easier for him or her to do the job and means less pressure on your mouth.

These powerful instruments have several interesting functions. Ask your hygienist about them at your next dental cleaning.

Posted on behalf of:
River Ranch Dental
203 George Hopper Rd #100
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 672-4245

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