Dental Tips Blog

Jan
4

Stay Far Away from DIY Cavity Remedies, Dental Experts Advise

Often motivated by fear or a lack of time, a few brave souls try treating and preventing tooth decay through at-home methods they discovered on the Internet.

If you’re one to take your dental health into your own hands, you are to be commended for your initiative. But a word of caution is in order as most DIY dental remedies come at a steeper price than what you’d pay in a dental office.

Preventing Decay With Diet

Certain dental health advocates point to virtually cavity-free civilizations that don’t eat sugar as a sign that the correct diet can eliminate the need for fillings.

Cavities start when tooth enamel is demineralized by acids. These acids do come from broken-down sugars we eat. But actual tooth decay is propagated by bacteria found in every single human’s mouth.

As of yet, no human has been successfully in totally killing off these cavity-causing germs. Starving the bacteria through a strict low-carb diet can certainly help. But it isn’t always practical to go to dieting extremes which may cost a lot of money and time and impact your family’s nutritional health.

What About Oil-Pulling?

There are no scientifically documented benefits that oil-pulling will reduce decay. If you find that you enjoy the practice, that’s fine, you’re probably not in harm’s way. Just don’t let the oil-pulling craze distract you from methods that are proven to work: brushing, flossing, and fluoride.

DIY Filling Kits

These kits only provide temporary relief and protection for your tooth but should never be used to forestall getting professional tooth restoration treatment such as a composite filling or a dental crown. The cavity can still spread, potentially reaching a point of abscess.

Talk with your local dentist to learn some practical steps you can take at home to prevent decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 691-7371

Jan
4

Is It a Good Idea to Brush Your Teeth Right After Eating?

A lot of people enjoy freshening up their smiles after lunch. Dentists recommend brushing at least two, if not, more times per day to help prevent cavities and tooth decay which can lead to the need for dental fillings, dental crowns and other tooth restorations. But you could be in a dangerous habit if you aren’t timing your brushing sessions correctly.

Germs, Germs . . .

Your mouth is loaded with all kinds of bacteria, good and bad. The bad germs feed on the foods you eat with sugar being their all-time favorite. The simpler the sugar, the better. So they really go to town on sweet drinks, desserts, and candy. These bacteria then produce high levels of an acidic waste product, especially when they’re actively converting sugar to fuel.

An Acidic Situation

Speaking of acid, your food itself probably contains more acid than you’re aware of. Sugar, fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar are acidic, and carbohydrates break down into more acidic sugars.

All of this acid activity means that the pH levels of your mouth drop into a dangerously low acid zone for some time after each meal.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body but acids can erode enamel. Acid-producing germs in particular are responsible for wearing down enamel to the point of cavity formation.

When Should You Brush?

Brushing after meals is great for removing debris and odors and for reducing the amount of harmful bacterial. However, most dental experts urge caution and recommend waiting a half hour before brushing. This allows your body’s naturally-basic saliva to neutralize acids. Otherwise, brushing could just serve to spread acids around to other teeth. It also helps to rinse with water before you brush.

Shore up your enamel against acid attacks by getting plenty of fluoride. Your dentist has plenty of tips for protecting your teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Atencio Family Dentistry
3773 Baker Ln #3
Reno, NV 89509
(775) 829-8684

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
26

Serving Smile-Safe Summer Snacks

Tasty treats are a part of what makes summer special. But keep these healthy tips in mind so that your kids’ smiles stay in great shape and are ready to go by the start of next school year.

Get Creative!

Look to Pinterest and other online DIY articles for inspiration. It doesn’t have to take much work to up the wow-factor of some pretty basic foods. Turn plain fruits and vegetables into eye-catching displays of creativity to encourage your kids to eat them.

  • Freeze berries in ice cubes to chill a glass of water
  • Arrange sliced apples, celery, carrots, strawberries and bananas to form a smiley face or make food look more appealing
  • Sneakily swap whole grain bread for the white in French toast
  • Offer whole grain tortilla chips as a snack with a few healthy dip options like hummus or low-fat yogurt.

Check Ingredients

Even products that you would never consider a sweet or dessert often have some added sweetener to enhance flavor (i.e., sliced deli meat, pasta sauces). High-fructose corn syrup is a major culprit of obesity, digestive problems, and tooth decay but it’s the number one sweetener out there.

Be careful when selecting carbs like pretzels, crackers, and breads which often contain lots of sweeteners. Get smart about checking the ingredients, and you can serve your family with peace of mind.

Encourage Balance

You want to be a cool parent who lets their kids enjoy traditional summer treats. But balance is necessary. Make sure your kids are fueling up on necessary nutrients, not just freezer waffles all day. Encourage munching on calcium-rich snacks like cheese slices and sugar-free yogurt to support strong teeth.

Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist.  Summer is a great time to schedule your kid’s dental cleanings and checkups and taking care of any dental issues before the school year starts.

Posted on behalf of:
Huebner Smiles Dentistry and Orthodontics
12055 Vance Jackson Rd #103
San Antonio, TX 78230
(210) 625-7056

Dec
26

How Honey Affects Your Smile When Compared with Sugar

Honey is generally touted as the healthier option over table sugar. It contains less glucose, which our bodies quickly metabolize. Instead, it’s a more complex carbohydrate with multiple kinds of sugars in it. This makes it a little better for your blood sugar levels and your waistline.

But at the end of the day, sugar is… well, sugar.

What Sugar Does To Teeth

Cavity-causing bacteria feed on the carbohydrates you eat. In turn, they produce an acid waste that eats away tooth enamel, creating cavities. The simpler the carbs, the faster they digest them and turn them into acids. Not to mention, sugar in itself can be corrosive to teeth.

Whether the sugar comes in the form of honey or refined sugarcane crystals, it will take a toll on your teeth if it’s left there.

How Does Honey Play Into Dental Health?

Honey contains some naturally-occurring vitamins and anti-bacterial properties. It also has no need for preservatives. Honey seems to have some health benefits such as fighting infection and reducing inflammation.

Be warned, however. All the good stuff honey does is overshadowed by the fact that it can still cause your teeth to erode. You won’t get immediate benefits by slathering this sweet syrup on your teeth and gums overnight. That’s just a recipe for enamel wear, tooth decay, and more time in the dentist’s chair getting fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Choose honey over sugar if you like, but don’t use it so often as if it doesn’t matter. Brush well at least twice a day, floss at least once, and rinse your mouth with water after having any carb – honey or sugar. Schedule a visit with your local dentist to find out how your diet is affecting your smile.

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

Dec
5

Oral Hygiene for a Bedridden Patient

Are you caring for a loved one who is confined to bed rest? Whether the situation is temporary or not, oral health should be maintained as long as the patient can tolerate it.

Neglecting oral hygiene during illness is a recipe for more problems later on. The primary concern in caring for a bedridden patient is making sure they are comfortable. Poor hygiene can lead to discomfort in the mouth or even pneumonia, but it’s not always practical nor comfortable to maintain a “traditional” brushing and flossing routine.

The Right Products

Don’t assume the patient can use the same toothpaste or mouthwash you do. Some products contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive oral tissues or interact with medications.

As it becomes difficult to remove cavity-causing plaque, fortifying teeth with fluoride becomes very important. Antimicrobial rinses are also essential in lowering bacterial count in the mouth.

The Right Tools

Delicate mouth tissues could make the patient’s mouth prone to injury. Your loved one may not be able to handle a toothbrush like they used to do. Choose toothbrushes with small heads and very soft bristles. Use a powered one, if possible, and remember that flossing may not be a practical activity at this point.

The Right Help

If you have some certified assistance in looking after your loved one, make sure all caregivers are on the same page about providing oral hygiene care. Not all professionals worry about that as they should.

Talk with the patient’s doctor to find out which products are safe to use and which issues are priorities. Lastly, contact a dental professional for advanced suggestions on providing gentle dental care to your bedridden loved one.

Posted on behalf of:
Marbella Dentistry
791 FM 1103 #119
Cibolo, TX 78108
(210) 504-2655

Nov
29

Flossing Tips and Tricks to Make Your Job Easier

Are you tired of seeing red (or pink, rather) every time you floss? Don’t give it up completely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your flossing routine is a success. 

  1. Floss More Often

Most people don’t floss unless they feel something stuck in their tooth…like after eating corn on the cob or a steak. In the meantime, gingivitis starts to flare up. The best way to avoid bleeding gums is to floss every single day. Give it two weeks before you expect to see bleeding go away completely. 

  1. Try a Water Flosser Instead

Toss the floss and go with a water flosser. Water flossing can reach well between the teeth and even into the pockets under your gums, so that you don’t have to finagle a piece of string. You can even alter the pressure or temperature of water, for better comfort. 

  1. Switch it Up

Try an angled floss pick that makes it easier to reach between your back teeth. A lot of these floss picks come with tufted ends that can be used to clean larger spaces or areas under fixed bridges. 

  1. Take a Different Angle

Don’t pop your floss straight up and down between your teeth. Rather, wrap it around one tooth at a time and glide it underneath your gums as you rub against the tooth several times. This will help you prevent traumatizing the “papilla” (gum point) between your two teeth.

Remember to see your dentist and hygienist at least twice a year. Routine dental cleanings help to remove bacteria and tartar that collects in hard-to-reach areas, so that you can keep your natural smile for life!

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

Nov
29

Getting More Out of Your Dental Insurance

Love it or leave it, your dental insurance can help you keep your teeth strong and disease free for life. Even if you have chronic tooth problems, taking advantage of all of your insurance benefits can help you reduce how much you pay for treatments over time, and cut your number of dental appointments down in the future.

Try these tips:

Maximize Your Preventive Benefits

The #1 rule when it comes to keeping teeth healthy is prevention, prevention, prevention. See your dentist twice a year for a dental checkup, cleaning, and any recommended x-rays. Ask if your plan covers add-ons like fluoride or sealants, which can block out cavities before they ever have a chance to start.

Ask. Don’t Assume

Depending on the type of policy you carry, it’s ok to see a dentist that’s not in your insurance network. Your company may tell you that it “could be more expensive” but until you crunch the numbers, there’s no way to be certain. Get an estimate from your favorite dentist to see if you can still keep going to their office like you always have.

Get Alternative Treatment Options

Let’s say your dentist recommends a specific procedure (it’s what they would want on their own tooth, after all,) but your insurance company says it isn’t covered. Instead of skipping out on the treatment altogether, ask your dentist if there’s another alternative that they might suggest. The 2nd option may have better coverage and reimbursement from your insurance policy.

Talk to your dentist today about finally getting your dental needs under wraps. The earlier you treat them, the more affordable they will be!

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

Nov
12

Healthy Summer Snacks for Your Kids

School is getting ready to let out, and parents everywhere are planning out their summer activities. From day camps to water parks, there’s no more exciting part of the year for your kids (except for maybe Christmas break.) With all that energy they’re burning, they’re sure to be hungry too! Here are some healthy snack ideas that can keep tummies satisfied without being hard on teeth:

Cheese Sticks — Sharp cheddar cheese is rich in calcium for strong teeth and bones. It’s also been proven to neutralize acid inside of the mouth, helping people reduce their risk of tooth decay.

Apples — Biting into crisp, fresh fruit keeps teeth clean and adds important vitamins to your child’s diet. Stick to anything that can be picked. The texture of apples and carrots in particular, are great for teeth and gums.

Nuts — Assuming your child doesn’t have a nut allergy, nuts like almonds and other varieties are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient helps keep gums healthy, but it’s also essential to healthy brain development.

Be Sure to Avoid the Sports Drinks — If your child is active in a summer soccer or baseball league, you’re probably bound to see tons of sports drinks on the team bench. However, unless your child is physically exerting themselves at the level of an Olympic athlete or at risk of a heat stroke due to temperatures, water is all they need to stay hydrated. Sports drinks cause rapid tooth decay (worse than soda) so it’s better to find a fun, personalized bottle and keep it full of fluoridated tap water.

Don’t forget to schedule that next dental cleaning and check-up for your child. Call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care of Acworth
5552 Robin Road Suite A
Acworth GA 30103
678-888-1554

Oct
30

How Your Choice in Toothpaste Affects Your Smile

Which toothpaste brand you buy makes more of a difference than you may realize. You may be a little partial about which shampoo you use on your hair. Likewise, not all tooth cleaners are made the same, so it’s important to be a little picky!

Discern Your Dental Needs

Are you especially prone to cavities? Struggling with sensitivity? Have inflamed gums? There are toothpastes formulated to meet very specific dental needs like those.

Also, plan to buy a toothpaste that’s appropriate for each member of your family. Very small children should not use adult toothpastes containing fluoride until they are in the habit of spitting after brushing. Shop for fluoride-free “training toothpastes” for toddlers in your house.

What’s In Your Toothpaste?

Take a good look at the tube you have in your bathroom cabinet at this very moment. It helps to understand some of the main ingredients most toothpastes have in common:

  • Fluoride – a mineral that strengthens enamel
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate – a surfactant that helps spread the lather and loosen debris
  • Triclosan – an anti-plaque agent great for fighting gingivitis
  • Baking soda – an abrasive agent that helps scrub away stain

If you find that a particular toothpaste is irritating your mouth, see if one of those popular ingredients (often the sodium lauryl sulfate) could be triggering an allergic reaction.

Get Tips From A Pro

Your dentist and dental hygienist are your best resources for figuring out which kind of toothpaste is best for your smile. Along with regular preventative dental care including dental checkups and teeth cleaning, your dentist and dental hygienist can provide tips for selecting products that will keep your whole family smiling for decades.

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

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