Dental Tips Blog

Aug
7

Hidden Dangers of 4 Sneaky Oral Habits

Which of the following are you guilty of?

  1. Opening Packages With Your Teeth

Here’s one almost EVERYBODY has attempted. We’ve all been in that situation where we didn’t have scissors handy and just had to get that bag of chips open.

As useful and tough as your teeth are, try to not use them as tools! This is how unexpected fractures happen.

  1. Chewing On Your Tongue, Lip, Or Cheek

This habit is pretty insidious – it happens so easily without you knowing it! It’s kind of like nail-biting, but seems more sanitary since you aren’t putting your hands in your mouth.

The biggest concern is that chronic (though shallow) injury to soft tissues in your mouth can trigger dangerous growths later on. This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer, but it could be a contributing factor.

  1. Tongue-Thrusting

What is tongue-thrusting?

It’s simply the unconscious habit of pushing your tongue against the back of your front teeth. A lot of people don’t realize they have this problem until a dentist shows them how it’s caused their buck-toothed look. Many times, it’s the result of extended thumb-sucking or pacifier use as a child. It can create an “open bite” where your front teeth don’t close together properly.

  1. Ice Chewing

For some people, chewing on ice satisfies an odd craving. For others, it’s just a habit to nosh on the crunchy cubes in their soda. Either way, frequently eating ice is not good for teeth.

Tooth fractures, enamel wear, sensitivity, and loose fillings can all result from an ice crunching habit.

Need help kicking a harmful oral habit? Plan a chat with your local dental hygienist or dentist for tips on quitting.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000

Aug
7

Diabetes and Tooth Decay – What’s the Connection?

If you are living with diabetes, then you likely already know about the slew of complications that can follow. Being diabetic puts you at risk for infections, kidney problems, circulation complications, eye issues, and more.

Did you know that cavities should be on that list, as well?

Tooth decay and diabetes share a common denominator: sugar.

How Cavities Start

Cavities are holes in your teeth that are worn away by acid. This erosion can start with acids in your food, but it’s mainly caused by acid-producing bacteria. These germs feed on the carbohydrates that pass through your mouth and give off a waste product that destroys enamel.

This process affects everyone, with or without diabetes. Really, everyone needs to be alert to the concentration of simple carbohydrates their teeth are exposed to.

Diabetics in particular, however, need to be extra vigilant.

Diabetes Affects Your Decay Risk

Glucose is one of those simple carbohydrates that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. They thrive in a sugary environment. If your body isn’t processing sugar correctly, then your saliva will also register high levels of glucose.

All that extra sugar makes for an environment ripe for tooth decay. But this is usually only an issue if your blood sugar level is frequently out of control.

Diabetes doesn’t have to rule your life if you can keep it under control. By maintaining the best oral health possible, you can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your smile.

See your dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleanings. He or she will also recommend products to reinforce your teeth against decay and tools to make oral hygiene a breeze.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Aug
3

3 Worst Drinks for Your Smile

Why, oh why, do we have such a love-hate relationship with beverages?

In the non-stop pace of daily life, we’ve come to depend on the sugary and energizing drinks that are so readily available to us. The issue is simply that the most popular (and tastiest) beverages tend to be the worst for our teeth.  They cause tooth enamel erosion leading to tooth decay.  You can avoid unnecessary dental work such as fillings and crowns by limiting your consumption of certain beverages.

Take a look at just three examples:

  1. Soda

We all know sugary soda is bad news for teeth. But did you realize just how bad? Other tooth-harming ingredients in soda include:

  • Carbonation
  • Citric acid
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Caramel color

This makes for a powerhouse combination of enamel-eaters!

  1. Sports Drinks

Because sports drinks tend to be affiliated with physical activity, people tend to think that they are a healthy drink option.

Actually, they’re intended for cases of dehydration, which is why they’re loaded with sugar. That, in turn, is what increases the chance of tooth decay. On top of this, these liquids are also packed with citric acid which is also bad for enamel (it’s even worse than soda.)

  1. Coffee

How many sugary iced lattes do you sip on throughout the day?

Even if you take your coffee straight up, you aren’t sparing yourself the acidic effect it has on tooth enamel. Also, whether you like your coffee plain or loaded with cream, the dark pigments will leave a stain.

These drinks in moderation keep life interesting. But the next time you crave a pick-me-up, why not give your body what it needs? Good old water!

Get tips on making smile-smart drink choices. Check in with your local dentist to find out how you can keep your teeth strong, clean, and cavity-resistant.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Aug
3

How Fluoride Can Damage Kids’ Teeth

Is fluoride good for kids or not? There is a lot of information out there on behalf of both schools of thought. Some people believe that fluoride is a toxin while others advocate it passionately.

What do you know about how fluoride affects teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found all over the world. It’s an established fact that it strengthens enamel, but since it isn’t vital for life, it’s not considered a vitamin.

Cavities start when tooth enamel is worn down through a process called demineralization. Fluoride reinforces enamel to make it resistant to acids and bacteria.

Because fluoride is so good for building up tooth defenses, it’s good for kids to get plenty while their teeth are still developing.

But opponents of the mineral point to something called “dental fluorosis” to illustrate why the mineral is potentially dangerous.

What is Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is when too much fluoride is ingested during tooth development, causing incomplete enamel formation. The affected teeth may sport just a few chalky spots of decalcification or, in extreme cases, be mottled brown and pitted.

While these affected teeth are plenty resistant to cavities, they lose their potentially luminous appearance.

Why it Matters When the Exposure Occurs

Depending on how much fluoride a person is exposed to and when, the degree of fluorosis can vary. Typically, from birth until age 6 or 7 kids are most vulnerable to the effects of fluoride. After that point, the teeth are fully developed and cannot be adversely affected by fluoride any longer.

Young children need to have their fluoride levels carefully monitored. Some of this mineral, both topical and ingestible, is necessary for healthy teeth. But swallowing too much over time can cause unwanted changes in the teeth.

Talk with your dentist about safe fluoride use for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642

Jul
31

Moms-to-Be, Start Caring for Your Baby’s Smile NOW!

As you may know, your health as an expectant mother easily affects your growing baby. It’s important to watch what you eat, get plenty of exercise, and avoid exposure to harmful substances.

But are you also watching your smile?

Your oral health even now can have a big impact on your little one. Starting good habits now will help you keep your smile in good shape long after your baby’s arrival.

When to Get Dental Treatment

Dental cleanings and checkups during pregnancy are just fine. If restorative treatment becomes unavoidable, the second trimester is the best time to schedule. At this point, a lot of your baby’s critical development is finished, and your belly won’t be too big to be uncomfortable!

Gum Health Maintenance

You may notice your gums are a lot more sensitive now than before your pregnancy. This is normal due to all the extra hormones. You don’t need to be alarmed by the increased bleeding from your gums, but you should be very diligent about oral hygiene.

Gum disease is linked to premature births, so it’s very important for you to take care of your gums.

Your dentist may even recommend that you have one or two standard dental cleanings during your pregnancy to ensure that you stay healthy.

After Delivery Dental Care

It can be tricky to schedule dental care after the arrival of your baby! But it’s a good idea to get caught up on exams and x-rays as soon as possible to make sure there aren’t any new problems.

Visit your dentist to get suggestions on keeping your gums healthy and your teeth strong. Expectant women with healthy smiles are more likely to have children with healthy teeth!

Posted on behalf of:
Atlantic Dentistry
13474 Atlantic Blvd Suite 109
Jacksonville FL 32225
904-647-1800

Jun
28

4 New Year’s Dental Health Resolutions For Your Family

What can you do this year to boost your family’s oral health?

Making the following four resolutions your resolutions can make a big difference, even saving your family money that would otherwise be spent on dental care.

  1. Floss More

We’ve all set this as a resolution at some point (usually while we’re in the dental chair.)

Make it work for you this year by trying out new methods for flossing. Your family will probably floss more if they have easier ways to do it. Floss picks, floss threaders, and water flossers are all motivational tools.

  1. Switch To Water

Cutting out sweetened drinks in favor of drinking more water is one of the best things you can do for your health, in general.

By reducing your exposure to sugar, you significantly reduce your chance of getting cavities.

Avoid keeping soda, juice, and sports drinks in the house as everyday beverages. Save them for special occasions!

  1. Get Oral Cancer Screenings

Do you know your oral cancer risk? This disease is one of the deadliest cancers, not because it’s hard to treat, but because it usually goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Educate your family on the seriousness of oral cancer and how to do a self-exam to check for suspicious growths.

  1. Visit The Dentist At Least Twice A Year

Make sure that every family member, including your kids, gets to see the dentist at least twice a year for a dental cleaning and checkup.

Regular visits help your dentist stay on top of your family’s dental health. You’ll also experience more preventative benefits which can postpone the need for more expensive treatment.

Make an appointment with your dentist to find out what other resolutions are right for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

May
25

How Much Time Do You Spend on Your Oral Hygiene Routine?

Good oral hygiene between routine dental exams and cleanings will help your teeth and gums stay healthy.  It’s actually not enough to just scrub a brush in some toothpaste bubbles for a few seconds. You need to invest a little more time in your routine to get the full benefit.

Is Your Brushing Worth Your Time?

Dentists generally agree that you should be brushing a solid two minutes to get any real benefit from the activity.

Dental plaque is made up of bacteria that coat themselves in a protective slime layer. This means that they can’t be killed off with toothpaste or mouthwash the way hand sanitizer kills germs on our hands.

It takes a little time to physically displace these germs which cause bad breath, gum disease, and cavities. A toothbrush is your best tool for removing the majority of bacteria.

When brushing, make sure you hit all the important areas:

  • Chewing surfaces
  • Inner gum line
  • Outer gum line
  • Backs of the last teeth in each arch

It takes a little time to make sure your brush is accessing all of these areas for a thorough plaque removal!

That’s Not All, Folks . . .

If your dentist recommends that you use a mouthwash, make sure you do that the right way, too. A strong fluoride rinse usually needs one minute to deliver the most benefit to your teeth. A lot of anti-plaque rinses require a solid 30-second swish.

Don’t forget the flossing! At least once a day make sure you run something between your teeth where a brush can’t reach. The time needed for this will vary from person-to-person, so check with your dentist about the routine that’s right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Pleasant Plains Dental
5850 W Hwy 74 #135
Indian Trail, NC 28079
(704) 815-5513

May
25

Child-Friendly Toothbrushes

How do you make sure that your child has a healthy smile that will last them for years to come? One way is by getting them started off with the right kind of toothbrush.

Why Kids Don’t Like Brushing

Some children do just fine with remembering to brush their teeth. Or at least, they cooperate with mom or dad’s efforts to help. Others are more resistant because it makes them gag or simply because they’re bored.

It’s important to make kids feel comfortable and engaged in such an important activity as tooth-brushing.

Here’s are some things you can do to help:

Choose a Fun Toothbrush

Get your child involved in picking out a toothbrush he or she will actually use. Kids’ brushes come in a variety of colors and designs with familiar cartoon characters printed on them. Some have lights, songs, and other bells and whistles that make brushing a fun job.

Switch Out the Brush Regularly

For a healthy smile and body, your child needs a new toothbrush every few months. Old brushes harbor germs from previous infections. They might even pick up some icky debris from the bathroom. Pick out a new toothbrush at each dental visit. Or as mentioned before, bring your kid along to help shop for a new one.

Go for the Small Brush Head

When it comes to kids’ mouths, the smaller the toothbrush head, the better. This will make it easier to maneuver around all those tiny teeth for maximum plaque-removal with minimal gagging.

For more tips on safe and effective brushing, talk with your children’s dentist or dental hygienist. They can show you a few tricks to mage age-appropriate brushing easier than ever.

Posted on behalf of:
Spanaway Family Dentistry
20709 Mountain Hwy E #101
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 948-0880

Jan
9

Flossing Alternatives For Kids

It’s bad enough trying to make time to floss your own teeth. How can you get your kids started on this smile-healthy habit?

Fortunately, there are some easier options if your child can’t yet manage to handle a piece of regular floss. 

Floss Picks

A small plastic handle has a piece of floss strung across the u-shaped frame at one end. This way, your child can use just one hand to scoot the floss between teeth. Some flossers are choking hazards, so check with your child’s dentist about an age-appropriate device.

Water Flosser

What if you have a stubborn teen who can’t be bothered with removing plaque from between their teeth? Ask them if they’d give floss-free flossing a try.

There are many different models of at-home water flossers on the market. These devices work by shooting a thin stream of water out of a toothbrush-like wand. Aiming the water stream between teeth and angling it along the gum line will help your son or daughter to flush away harmful plaque. There are also shower versions, to keep the mess factor down.

Orthodontic Flosser

This tool is great for kids and adults alike with braces. It looks like a floss pick but the end is a bit different. It’s designed so you can slide one end of the thread under the wire, single-handedly. An orthodontic flosser might be found by different names, but they all make flossing a snap if your child has braces. Be sure to ask your orthodontist about them!

Schedule your child’s regular dental checkup to make sure their smiles are healthy and bright! While there, ask your dentist about flossing alternatives that are right for your son or daughter.

Posted on behalf of:
Sugar Creek Family Dental
1165 Gravois Rd. Suite 140
Fenton, MO 63026
(636) 255-8325

Jan
9

What Happens During A Dental Cleaning

An hour might seem like a long time to clean your teeth when brushing takes only two minutes. You’ve been going to the same office for years – why can’t they make this any faster?

Well, not all of the appointment is cleaning, but it IS all important.

Getting Ready

Before your hygienist can start working on your teeth, he or she needs to review your health history. You’ll be asked all sorts of questions about any changes in your health or medications. You might not realize that some changes can make it unsafe to have dental treatment. The hygienist wants to make sure you’re ready for any procedure scheduled that day.

Checking the Teeth

Your dental hygienist is going to “poke around” at your teeth for a minute. He or she will probably ask questions as they do so. They’re just looking for changes in your smile such as:

  • Signs of fracture and decay
  • How the gums look
  • Tooth wear
  • Damage to fillings and restorations

You might need some diagnostic imaging with x-rays or cavity-detecting lasers. This is how dental professionals get an initial idea of what’s going on with your smile.

The Actual Cleaning

Depending on what your teeth need, you might experience:

  • Scaling with hand instruments
  • Ultrasonic scaling and irrigation
  • Polishing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing

This part can take more or less time depending on how many teeth you have and how much buildup is on them.

A basic teeth cleaning appointment varies by office, hygienist, and your individual needs. But one thing is for sure: dental cleanings are important! Contact your local dental office to schedule yours every six months.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018

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