Dental Tips Blog

Apr
15

Mouthwash: Read the List Before You Rinse!

Commercials make it look like a swish is all you need to keep your smile healthy and attractive! You might even think that a rinse is an acceptable substitute for brushing.

In reality, even that simple little bottle of mouthwash should be used with caution.

You should know what’s in a bottle of mouth rinse before you use it. Otherwise, it could be completely pointless. Here are some of the most common active ingredients in mouthwash:

Essential oils – these include menthol and eucalyptol. Essential oils are very effective against plaque bacteria.

Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) – much like essential oils, this antibacterial agent helps keep down the populations of bacteria that cause gum infection. On the downside, it can leave some odd brown stains on the teeth after a lot of use.

Fluoride – needed for strengthening tooth enamel against cavities, fluoride is often found in higher concentrations in rinses for kids. The sweet taste is usually irresistible, so make sure you are monitoring your kids’ use of mouthwash. Check that they don’t swallow it. Please note, not all mouth rinses contain fluoride – read your labels carefully.

Alcohol – that burn you may feel in some rinses usually comes from the alcohol content. Don’t let it fool you, however. While alcohol does help kill some germs, it’s not effective like essential oils or CPC.  It’s just in the mouthwash to help dissolve the active ingredients. If you suffer from dry mouth, avoid rinses containing alcohol as these will only make your condition worse. Watch out for rinses that contain little more than alcohol, coloring, and a sweetener; these might taste effective, but they won’t do much for you.

Ask your dentist whether you should use a mouthwash.

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Feb
9

4 Reasons Why Your Gums Are Receding

Do your teeth look longer than they used to? Do you suffer from sensitive teeth when you eat or drink something hot or cold? These are common symptoms of gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue wears away and exposes more of your teeth. Since your gums are the foundational support for your teeth, neglecting to treat receding gums can eventually lead to tooth instability and even tooth loss. Before treating your receding gums, it is important to determine the cause.

Here are some common culprits to gum recession:

Gum Disease: The most serious cause of gum recession is periodontal disease, which involves an infection in the gum tissues, causing them to recede or pull away from the tooth root. You will likely notice bleeding and swelling in the gums as well if you have gum disease.

Tobacco Products: Long-term use of cigarettes and chewing tobacco are known to cause receding gums.

Heredity: Some patients can blame their parents for their receding gums. As many as one third of Americans will suffer from dental problems that they inherited. Always discuss your family’s dental history with your dentist.

Brushing Too Hard: If you are overzealous in your brushing efforts, you may be doing more harm than good. Removing plaque, stains and bacteria doesn’t require vigorous brushing habits. Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and ease up on your strokes to protect your gums.

If you notice that your gums are receding, which typically develops on the front lower teeth, tell your dentist as soon as possible. Early and mild cases of gum recession can often be effectively treated with a deep cleaning. This removes any plaque and tartar along the gum line and tooth root and encourages the gums to reattach. Severe cases of gum recession may require a soft tissue graft.

Posted on behalf of:
Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

Feb
6

How to Know if Your Child Needs Dental Sealants

How to Know if Your Child Needs Dental Sealants

You may already know that dental sealants are not the same thing as fillings. A restoration like a filling is something the dentist places after a tooth is damaged by a cavity. Sealants help to block out damage before it starts.

So what determines whether your child is a candidate for sealants?

Seal-Out Decay

Kids tend to have a hard time with proper brushing. They also love to eat sticky sweet snacks that pack into teeth and promote cavities. Sealing it off with a tiny bit of white resin-based material provides a barrier between the tooth and harmful bacteria or acid.

Sealants are instrumental in giving kids the upper hand over cavities. They’re now routinely offered in most dental offices as a preventative treatment. Sealing your child’s molars as early as possible can help them avoid getting cavities and spare them a lot of headache down the road.

How Groovy Are Your Kid’s Teeth?

Sealants are recommended for all kids. But, some kids need them even more than others. If your child has molars with really deep grooves on the chewing surfaces, then they could benefit from getting those sealed off shortly after the tooth erupts.

Age Matters

Generally-speaking, most dentist don’t recommend sealing baby teeth. Even though your child’s first teeth are important, the grooves are usually quite shallow. It’s the permanent teeth that have deep grooves, making them a priority to protect.

To find out whether your child is ready for sealants, schedule an appointment with your kids dentist. You’ll find out which teeth need to be repaired with fillings. . . and which teeth can avoid fillings with the help of dental sealants!

Posted on behalf of:
Atlantic Dental Partners
729 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 390-8484

Feb
6

Chewing Gum: The Good and The Bad

That flavor-rush from a tasty piece of gum can fire up the taste buds and help you perk up enough to get through the rest of your day. Gum is also a quick way to freshen up your breath.

But are you aware of all the ways gums affects your oral health?

Why Choose to Chew

Juicy and sweet flavors jumpstart your saliva glands. This is a good thing because your mouth needs saliva to cleanse itself. It helps to neutralize the acid in bacteria and food you eat, not to mention washes away germs and debris.

Dry mouth is a recipe for dental disaster. So popping a piece of gum is a great way to promote a healthy flow of fluids around your teeth.

Speaking of teeth, your munchers need a good exercise. Your teeth are supported by ligaments that let them spring around in their sockets and cushion the shock of chewing. When it comes to these ligaments, if you don’t use them, you lose them.

Gum’s rubbery texture is also good for nabbing lunchtime leftovers on occasions that you forget your toothbrush.

When Not to Chew

Chewing gum that contains sugar is a bad idea. It feeds cavity-causing, acid-producing bacteria with the carbs they need to wreak havoc on your enamel which leads to tooth decay and the need for dental restorations like fillings or crowns. Reach for the sugar-free options if you want to have gum.

Be mindful that a constant chewing habit can turn into serious trouble for your TMJ. Some compulsive gum chewers have enormous cheek muscles that put a strain on their jaw. Make sure that gum is an occasional treat and not a constant part of your smile!

Remember to check with your dentist about healthy chewing gum use.

Posted on behalf of:
Ora Dentistry
2733 Elk Grove Blvd #180
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 975-1000

Jan
30

6 Ways to Strengthen and Preserve Your Tooth Enamel

Our tooth’s outer layer is the hardest substance in the body. Enamel protects the sensitive parts of our teeth from bacteria, acids, temperature, and infection. We owe the whiteness of our smile to the hue of our enamel.

Here are a few ways you can thank your enamel and keep it strong.

  1. Increase Your Fluoride Use

This mineral is famous for transforming existing enamel into something too hard for cavities to develop in.

  1. Use Anti-Sensitivity Toothpaste

Does thin enamel have you cringing at the thought of drinking ice water?

A sensitivity toothpaste contains potassium nitrate – an ingredient that blocks up microscopic openings in your enamel.

  1. Limit Acid Exposure

Acid is enamel’s worst enemy.

Bacteria secrete an acid that eats away at enamel. Sodas, sports drinks, fruits, and sugars are all highly acidic. Cut back on these and cut your enamel some slack.

  1. Say ‘Cheese!’

Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and casein which all contribute to reinforcing enamel integrity.

  1. Get a Customized Mouthguard

Nightly teeth grinding is a nightmare for enamel. If you have a habit of clenching your teeth when you sleep, then you could probably use the protection of a bite guard.

  1. Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a thin layer of resinous white material painted over the grooves on back teeth. This isn’t a filling, but it does ‘fill in’ the deep valleys of teeth to provide an extra line of defense, giving your enamel a much-needed break!

Once your enamel is lost, it doesn’t come back. Schedule a visit to your local dentist to have your enamel checked for signs of wear.

Posted on behalf of:
Sweetpea Smiles
15850 Southwest Fwy #400
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 566-6100

Jan
30

6 Foods That Help Fight Tooth Decay

Oral hygiene plays the biggest role in keeping your teeth free of cavity-causing bacteria. Fluoride is famous for its ability to strengthen tooth enamel against decay. But did you know that including a steady supply of the right food choices into your diet can boost your dental health?

Try out these very common and simple suggestions.

  1. Apples

High in fiber and water, fresh apples make for a refreshing snack or salad-topper. This fruit’s texture makes it something of a natural tooth cleanser.

  1. (Sugar-Free) Candy

One of your best defenses against cavities is none other than your own saliva. Dry mouth means you don’t have enough natural fluid washing away harmful plaque bacteria.

An artificially-sweetened treat can activate those saliva jets minus the damage caused by actual sugar.

  1. Nuts

Protein and fiber in nuts are beneficial to keeping your teeth clean and strong. Keep a few almonds or cashews handy to munch during the day.

  1. Seafood

Seafood is high in protein and also tends to contain natural traces of fluoride. Double bonus!

  1. Water

Don’t underestimate the benefits of good old tap water. It beats sweet drinks any day, keeps your mouth clean, and refuels your saliva glands.

  1. Cheese

This dairy favorite is high in calcium, which is essential to strong teeth and bones. Not only is cheese also a healthy source of protein, but its tart, mouth-watering tingle is another great way to boost saliva production.

Emerging evidence suggests that there could be key compounds in wine and raisins that may contribute to the fight against bacteria. Stay tuned to the latest developments by visiting your dentist on a regular basis.

Posted on behalf of:
Carolina Smiles
3244 Sunset Blvd
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 794-2273

Jan
21

Will Insurance Cover a Full Mouth Reconstruction?

Has your smile been wrecked by an accident, cancer, or some other extensive disease? It could be difficult at the least and impossible at the worst for your mouth to function. Eating and speaking could be challenging as you’re in constant pain.

Your smile needs more than a mere cosmetic makeover – it needs a full mouth reconstruction.

Rehabilitation. Restoration. Different terms with the same meaning and abbreviation: FMR. You might need a lot of costly treatment to get your mouth working comfortably, again. Is there any way your insurance can help out?

What Insurance Might Cover

Insurance companies generally provide for the medically-necessary procedures in an FMR. You might be covered for things like:

  • Surgery to correct your bite
  • Tooth extraction
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Root canal treatment

These treatments are necessary for getting rid of infection and helping your mouth function so that you can eat nutritious foods.

Familiarize yourself with the benefits your insurance provides so that you know what treatments you can take care of right away.

How to Afford an FMR

Shop around for an office in network with your insurance provider. Look into that office’s payment options for things not fully covered by insurance. They may offer a payment plan, third-party financing, or discounts.

Create a list of the cosmetic treatments you would like to include in your FMR treatment. Aim to take care of one small procedure each year as you are able to afford it. The cosmetic aspect isn’t as important as the functional and restorative treatments that return your bite’s function, but sometimes the two go hand in hand.

Contact your local dentist for an assessment to get an idea of how to plan your FMR.

Posted on behalf of:
Gastonia Family Dentistry
2557 Pembroke Rd
Gastonia, NC 28054
(704) 854-8887

Jan
10

Is An Electric Toothbrush Worth It?

You may be someone who believes that a powered toothbrush is just a gimmick. It might seem doubtful that a moving brush head can clean better than the classic manual technique.

Does the fact that many other dental patients are reaching for electric toothbrushes mean that you should, too?

What the Research Shows

The overwhelming majority of studies support the claim that powered toothbrushes do remove more dental plaque than manual ones. Basically, the moving bristles break up bacteria in a way your hand can’t manage with a few strokes back-and-forth.

Dental plaque is the culprit behind problems like cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. By controlling plaque formation, you avoid a lot of headache down the road. If a toothbrush can help you do that, then how can you not give it a try?

It Doesn’t Have to Be Fancy

Great news – if you want to try out an electric brush, you don’t need to head for the high-end model. Those will last a long time, but there may be cheaper varieties that work just as well. Check with your dentist to be sure you find one that’s affordable, yet gentle enough for your teeth.

Powered Toothbrushes Benefit Everyone

A toothbrush with vibrating or spinning bristles often comes in handy for people with limited dexterity. It’s also great on braces and dental implants. But the benefits aren’t limited to these special cases, alone. Everyone should try a powered brush at least once!

Interestingly, the final consensus among dental professionals is that a powered toothbrush is the more effective option. If a cleaner healthier smile interests you, ask your dentist or hygienist for suggestions on the models that they recommend.

Posted on behalf of:
Mendota Springs Dentistry
6317 McKee Rd #500
Fitchurg, WI 53719
(608) 957-7709

Jan
5

Use the Floss that Suits Your Smile

Floss should be used by everyone, but it isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all item!

The goal of flossing is to physically disrupt bacterial colonies that form in the plaque on your teeth…especially in areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Here are a few guidelines for effective flossing. Floss should:

  • Have direct contact with the side of the tooth
  • Reach below the gum line
  • Not harm the gums

Not all teeth are spaced out the same way. People’s mouths vary, and even your own teeth may be positioned and spaced differently. This means that different areas will have unique needs for cleaning them.

Take into consideration the shape of the tooth. The crowns of teeth have mostly outward curves, but if roots are exposed, they could have concavities (inward curves), where plaque can hide.

When you look at the space between two teeth, how much gum tissue is there? Healthy gums are shaped like a triangle of pink that prevent you from seeing between teeth. These areas benefit from traditional floss. If teeth are crowded, a tape or ribbon-style floss that stretches out will be more comfortable.

Where there are large gaps between teeth, a wider material will be gentler and easier to control. Some types of floss have fluffy fibers on them, making them look like yarn. This makes them absorbent and easier to wrap around teeth that don’t have contact with their neighbors.

What about teeth with exposed roots? A wedge-shaped wooden stick or “Proxa Brush” is usually gentle on sensitive roots and lets you access all of the tricky curves.

Water flossers can be helpful in hard-to-reach areas around bridges or the back teeth.

At your next dental cleaning and check up, ask your dentist or dental hygienist about the most effective way to floss your unique smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Dec
23

Should You Use Mouthwash?

To rinse or not to rinse…

How can you decide whether or not to include a mouthwash in your oral hygiene routine? Here’s what you need to know:

The Plus Side to Mouthwash

A rinse can leave your mouth feeling fresh long after you’re done brushing. Mouthwashes contain a variety of ingredients to meet different needs:

  • Fluoride to strengthen teeth against cavities
  • Agents to prevent plaque buildup
  • Essential oils to kill bacteria
  • Hydrogen peroxide for whitening

When used to complement a routine of brushing and flossing, a rinse can help your teeth stay bright and clean and strong.

But a mouthwash isn’t a miracle cure.

What to Watch Out For

A few precautions are in order when it comes to choosing a mouthwash.

For starters, you should know that using a strong rinse can fool you. A quick swish can make you feel that your job is done. A freshener after a cup of coffee or a hasty rinse when you’re running late may seem like a suitable replacement for brushing.

And why bother with the floss? That burning rinse should kill all the bacteria between teeth, right?

Not necessarily.

Germs protect themselves with a slimy coating. Mouthwash can’t always bust through that shield to kill bacteria. You still need to floss!

Another caution is if you suffer from dry-mouth. A rinse that contains alcohol will only make your mouth drier. Reach for one that is alcohol-free.

Finally, be careful of kids using rinse. Young children may be tempted to drink it, especially the flavored, fluoride-rich formulas.

Talk with your dentist at your next dental checkup to learn more. He or she will help you determine which kind of rinse is right for you and your family.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618

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