Dental Tips Blog

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
30

Don’t Pack These in Your Kids’ Lunchboxes, Dentists Caution

Most of us adults have fond memories of opening our lunch bags to find mom packed us a goody to brighten our day at school.

If you have kids, you likely continue the tradition.

Yummy as sweet snacks may be, it’s important to think carefully about such decisions.

Dentists recommend that you avoid adding these items on a regular basis:

Sports drinks. Save these for game day when your kid is on the verge of dehydration. Consumed unnecessarily, sports drinks are an unbelievable source of enamel-eating acids and sugars.

Snack cakes. These are the highlight of any kid’s day! Just don’t make it their daily highlight. Sugary sweets contribute to diabetes and obesity as well as tooth decay.

Sugary granola bars. Although this sounds healthy, chewy refined grains smothered in syrup is a recipe for disaster if it all camps out on your child’s teeth for the rest of the day.

Don’t Forget A Toothbrush!

Whether your little mini-me likes healthy lunch options or not, you should always encourage diligent oral hygiene.

Actually, if you have a hard time getting your child to eat smile-friendly foods, then frequent proper brushing is all the more important. Keep a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste handy in their lunchbox, if they are old enough to use it appropriately.

By starting now, you can help your child lay the foundation for a bright and healthy future. Even if they don’t appreciate it now, they will thank you later! Smart snacking and regular brushing and flossing are the keys to avoiding tooth decay and cavities, spending less time in a dental chair, and spending less money on fillings, crowns and other dental restorations.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

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 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

Jun
4

Could Chocolate Be Good for Your Smile?

In spite of its sugar, caffeine, and fat content, chocolate is receiving more attention for its ability to ward off dental disease.

Why Candy Is Bad For Teeth

All of those simple carbohydrates are very acidic to tooth enamel, to begin with. Throw in the fact that these carbs help power acid-producing bacteria to do their dirty work, and you’ve got a recipe for cavities.

Worst of all are candies that stick to teeth for a long time or that you suck on slowly over the course of an hour or so.

What’s In Chocolate?

If you’ve got to have your sweets, chocolate is a good choice. It melts quickly, so it doesn’t leave behind too much residue that can cause enamel erosion.

Even better is the fact that chocolate contains some key ingredients that can give your smile a healthful boost:

  • Antioxidants – can help fight gum disease
  • Polyphenols – natural chemicals that limit the effects of harmful bacteria
  • Epicatechin – a flavonoid that helps slow tooth decay
  • Tannins – plant compounds which prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth

Smile-Healthy Chocolate Habit

This isn’t to say you can just munch on a chocolate bar in place of brushing your teeth. You still need to maintain a steady routine of flossing, rinsing, and wielding a toothbrush.

To get the fullest benefits from chocolate, choose a kind that’s as dark as possible; at least 70% cocoa is ideal. You still need to eat it in moderation.

Don’t forget to keep your regular dental appointments for checkups and professional cleanings. Your dentist will let you know whether your chocolate addiction is helping or harming your smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Rolling Hills Dentistry
53 North Street
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 743-0783

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
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

Sep
20

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

Posted in Digital X-Rays

X-rays have been an integral part of the dental appointment for many years. But for almost as long their use in dentistry has been hotly debated. A lot of folks feel that x-rays are unnecessary.

X-Rays: Worth the Risk?

X-rays are a two-edged sword. This technology allows you and your dentist a glimpse into your dental health that would be impossible, otherwise. Controlled doses of radiation will help you detect and treat problems before they get out of control.

How Much Radiation Exposure Should You Have?

Radiation is encountered in many everyday situations. It comes from the sun and we are exposed to traces of it in the soil and in household appliances – or even riding in an airplane. You don’t get much more radiation from routine dental x-rays. But large cumulative doses could lead to problems like cancer.

That’s why it’s so important to limit how much radiation you are exposed to when you have the choice.

Dental x-rays are necessary for diagnosing problems in the mouth. How many x-rays you have, though, should be kept to as few as possible. Each machine has adjustable settings according to a person’s size.

Safety Precautions

A few safety precautions help your dental team limit the amount of radiation you receive from x-rays:

  • Using faster equipment
  • Protecting your body with a lead apron
  • Focusing the x-ray beams so that less of your body is exposed
  • Regular inspection of x-ray machines

Call your local dental office to find out their x-ray protocol. Ask about the steps they take to protect the patient from unnecessary radiation. Get the facts in advance because your next dental appointment may very likely include x-rays!

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

Dec
29

Use Your Insurance Benefits Before They Expire

Toward the end of the year, many people rush to use up their remaining dental insurance plan benefits. Why? Because those benefits expire once January 1st rolls around. When we enter into a new calendar year, there are new deductibles to be met all over again.

If you do need treatment, such as a filling or a crown, you want to be sure to plan ahead. Waiting until December to schedule dental treatment may mean that there are no more appointments left! Many people wait until the end of the year to schedule their treatment, which makes appointments fill up quickly.

The best way to make sure you use your insurance coverage without it going to waste, is to schedule treatment sooner. That way you don’t risk not being able to work fewer appointment choices into your schedule.

Not only that, but avoiding dental treatment also allows conditions to worsen. What needs a filling right now might turn into a tooth that needs a crown a few months down the road. Or even a root canal. The sooner you have teeth repaired, the smaller that restoration needs to be.

If you’re putting treatment off because of finances – don’t worry. Plenty of people do, especially if the dental treatment is unexpected. Ask your dentist about financing options that are available to help you bridge the gap between insurance and out of pocket expenses.

Don’t wait until the holidays are here to schedule your oral care visits. Call your dentist today to get prime scheduling options before everyone else tries to do the same thing! You won’t regret it.

Posted on behalf of:
Rolling Ridge Dentistry
7510 Ramble Way #101
Raleigh, NC 27616
(919) 809-7192

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