Dental Tips Blog

Sep
10

How Tartar Buildup Affects Your Smile

Dental calculus (also known as tartar or calcium buildup) can cause some serious problems if it isn’t removed regularly.

What Dental Calculus Does to Teeth

You might be surprised to learn that tartar doesn’t usually do anything bad to teeth themselves. Calculus is comprised of dead bacterial debris. This means that if there were any cavity-causing germs the plaque on teeth, they’ll be long dead and harmless once trapped in tartar.

Dental calculus actually prevents food and stains from reaching your tooth enamel. It’s also good for insulating sensitive teeth against temperature extremes. Most people find that their teeth are quite sensitive right after having tartar removed in a cleaning.

So, does this mean that dental calculus is good for your oral health?

Far from it!

What Tartar Does to Gums

Tartar buildup isn’t merely a cosmetic issue or matter of personal preference. What you really need to worry about is how it affects your gums.

As dental calculus deposits grow, they chafe delicate gum tissue.

The result? Gum inflammation and recession due to the gums detaching from your teeth.

Tartar growth also triggers a vicious cycle. It promotes new bacterial growth, which causes gum inflammation. Inflamed gums puff out and leave gaps next to teeth where more germs move in and where more tartar forms. The new dental calculus continues to irritate the tissue and makes that gap or pocket a little bigger. More bacteria and debris accumulate, deepening the pocket.

Eventually, the tissue breakdown can reach the point where your teeth loosen and fall out.

A small spot of dental calculus can be a big deal! See your dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups to prevent the complications that come with tartar buildup.

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

Jul
28

7 Tips and Tricks to Get Your Kids to Start Flossing

Children need to floss their teeth just as much as adults do. But getting your kids to do so can be a daunting challenge.

Here are seven tips to help your kids become diligent flossers.

Start Young

The sooner you start flossing your child’s teeth, the quicker they’ll get used to it. If you regularly floss their teeth for them from about two years of age, they’ll be more willing to pick up the habit by the time they can tie their shoelaces or write cursive.

Choose the Right Floss

Pick a soft and stretchy ribbon-like floss. It will slip smoothly between teeth without cutting sensitive gums. If you choose the wrong kind of floss, it will be uncomfortable and your child may resist flossing.

Set an Example

Show by example that flossing is an important part of your daily routine, and that there’s nothing to be afraid of!

Try Long-Handled Flossers

Floss picks or long-handled flossers are great for kids who find that traditional flossing hurts their fingers.

Offer a Reward

Some kids need a little incentive to do what’s good for them!

Be Patient

It takes time to set a good habit like flossing. Praise your kids for what they are able to do and patiently encourage them to stick with a healthy routine of oral hygiene.

Consult Your Child’s Dentist

Your children’s dentist is the best resource for help with your child’s oral hygiene routine. At each routine dental cleaning and checkup, your child will better understand how flossing (or a lack of it) affects their smile. A dental professional can provide suggestions for getting your kids to floss.

Contact your dentist today to plan a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518
678.730.2005

May
16

Are Professional Dental Cleanings Harmful to Teeth?

A professional teeth cleaning can leave your mouth feeling a bit sore afterwards. You might wonder if it’s bad to have your teeth “scraped” and poked on so much.

Side-Effects of Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings can be just a little irritating to your teeth. But that’s actually not a bad thing since this is your teeth’s one opportunity to get totally clean. It takes some elbow grease to remove tough tartar and stain buildup that’s been there for several months.

You may notice some unpleasant yet temporary side-effects after a professional cleaning such as:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Sore gums
  • Bleeding from your gums
  • Aching jaw
  • Chapped lips

Some of these symptoms are incidental to having your mouth open for minutes at a time and will go away within a day or two.

Benefits That Completely Outweigh Any Risks

Why get a dental clean at all if it’s so uncomfortable?

A professional dental cleaning isn’t an everyday thing since the scaling and polishing would harm your enamel if done daily. But the procedure does make your everyday hygiene routine more effective; it gives you a clean slate to work with!

Thorough dental cleanings remove calculus (tartar) deposits that would otherwise irritate your gums. This buildup can only come off with special tools. Your appointment will also likely include a polishing or even a fluoride treatment to prevent cavities.

When you keep up with your scheduled dental appointments, you’ll stay on top of your oral health. Doing so, in turn, leads to a healthier body.

Professional dental cleanings are necessary and not as harmful as they may feel!

Ask your dentist or hygienist about ways to make your next cleaning appointment as comfortable and thorough as possible.

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

Apr
23

Why Do I Have So Much Tartar on My Teeth?

Is your smile dulled with chalky yellow tartar buildup?

Only a professional dental cleaning will get the cement-like accumulation off. But you may be able to slow down the development of calculus (tartar) if you know what causes it in the first place.

Where Tartar Comes From

Tartar is mineralized dental plaque. It hardens after being exposed to saliva. Despite your best efforts, some calculus deposits will show up here and there. It’s natural; everyone gets tartar, but some individuals may naturally form buildup more than other people.

How to Prevent Tartar Buildup

Since tartar is made from soft dental plaque, you want to remove that biofilm before it has a chance to harden.

Brush twice every day. Focus on jiggling the toothbrush bristles along the gumline, especially on the backside of your front teeth. Spend a solid two minutes at least, even if you’re using an electric toothbrush. Rushing too fast leaves plaque along the curves of your teeth.

Try “dry brushing.” Buff away heavy debris off your teeth with your dry toothbrush before you add any water or toothpaste, then brush as usual.

Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent more plaque buildup after brushing and flossing.

Avoid dark-colored foods and tobacco use, which can stain tartar and make it stand out.

The best thing you can do to stay on top of tartar buildup is to schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups. Most people only go for one or two a year, but you might want to consider getting an extra one or two to help you keep up.

Ask your hygienist or dentist for more tips on preventing calculus deposits from dulling your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

Jan
26

Why Do My Teeth Feel Fuzzy?

Ever run your tongue over your teeth and feel like they were wearing little sweaters?

That fuzzy feeling goes away after you brush, but it comes back almost instantly after you eat. This odd sensation is caused by dental plaque – you usually don’t see it, but you can feel it.

What Causes Plaque on Teeth?

The gums around your teeth constantly release a kind of fluid. This fluid, along with saliva and food debris, mix to create a film that coats your enamel. Within a short amount of time, bacteria in your mouth multiply in this film.

This combination makes up the invisible biofilm called plaque. Plaque quickly grows to the point that you can feel it on your teeth like a fuzzy coating.

Why Plaque Is Bad for Teeth

Bacteria in plaque secrete acids that wear away enamel. Other kinds of plaque bacteria irritate the gums and lead to periodontitis. That’s why it’s not good to leave your teeth feeling fuzzy for very long.

How to Fight Plaque

You can’t stop plaque from forming, but there are some ways to slow it down:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use a toothpaste that contains triclosan, an antibacterial agent
  • Rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth.

Your diet also affects how fuzzy your teeth get. Plaque bacteria love sugar and foods high in simple carbs. Eating lots of junk food and sweets will cover your teeth in plaque faster than if you eat fresh vegetables and whole grains.

Schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. At each visit, you’ll learn effective ways to keep plaque at bay to keep your teeth healthy and smooth.

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

Jan
6

Is There a Difference Between a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Assistant?

Most people think assistants and hygienists are different terms for the same person on a dental team.

In reality, they are two distinct roles.

What a Dental Assistant Does

A dental assistant may have a certification depending on local or state requirements. He or she is generally responsible for:

  • Helping a patient before, during, and after treatment
  • Cleaning and organizing dental tools
  • Handing tools to the dentist
  • Taking x-rays
  • Preparing dental materials

An assistant plays a valuable role in helping dental office functions to run smoothly. However, assistants aren’t a licensed practitioner such as a dentist or hygienist, who performs therapeutic treatment.

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Hygienists usually have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the field (like a registered nurse.) While requirements and limitations vary by state, hygienists are authorized to do things like deliver injections, clean teeth, place sealants, and treat gum disease.

Dental hygienists also collaborate periodontal treatment plans and instruct patients in oral hygiene.

If you’re in the dental chair for close to an hour while someone cleans your teeth and provides other preventative services, then he or she is probably a hygienist!

One and the Same?

In some small dental practices, the resident dental hygienist may do double duty by assisting the dentist. This is often the case when the dental office can only seat one or two patients at a time.

It’s more common to have a team with at least one hygienist and one or two dental assistants.

Are your teeth overdue for a checkup? Contact your local dental office to schedule an exam with the dentist and a cleaning with the hygienist. If you need any fillings, the assistant will be right by your side to keep you comfortable.

Posted on behalf of:
Greencastle Dental
195 Greencastle Road
Tyrone, GA 30290
(770) 486-5585

Oct
19

Are You Protected Against This Contagious Dental Disease?

Contagious? Which dental disease?

It’s not the latest viral epidemic to take over the media, but it is still a major health concern.

This notorious dental disease is none other than a Streptococcus mutans infection.

S. mutans is a species of bacteria. The clearest symptom of infection: Cavities.

Cavities are a disease (technically called “caries”) and a contagious bacterial one, at that.

Where Do the Germs Come From?

S. mutans bacteria are found in every human’s mouth. We aren’t born with them, but these germs quickly find us when we’re exposed to our parents’ saliva as babies.

People with low counts of this bacterial species can pick up more germs if they share eating utensils with or kiss someone who has higher counts.

Yes, cavities are a contagious disease!

So What’s Sugar Got to Do with It?

Sugar (and other forms of simple carbohydrates) provide the fuel that cavity-causing bacteria eat. As they metabolize sugar, they produce an acidic waste product that eats away tooth enamel and creates a nice hole for the bacteria to live in.

Carbohydrates also make the oral environment more acidic than normal. Under acidic conditions, enamel will wear down. So exposing your teeth to sugar for long periods of time is a double-edged sword: it weakens tooth structure and feeds the bacteria that break down enamel.

You can’t totally avoid S. mutans to avoid getting cavities. Instead, you have to prevent them from overpopulating. Limit how frequently you eat sugary items, and brush and floss daily. Get lots of fluoride to make your enamel more resistant to decay and get regular routine dental cleanings and checkups.

Ask your dentist about specific ways you can reduce your risk of contracting contagious cavities.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Oct
17

Is Sugar-Free Gum Good for Your Teeth?

It’s easy to assume that gum is just as bad as (or worse than) other candy and sweets.

But sugar-free gum doesn’t have the junky acidic carbohydrates that wear away enamel.

Instead, it packs a load of great benefits for your smile.

Freshens Breath

Who of us hasn’t popped a piece of instant-minty-freshness after a meal?

Chewing gum is a great way to mask unwanted odors and it can even pick up small pieces of food debris which otherwise could contribute to cavities.

Lowers Cavity Risk

The action of chewing a mouth-watering piece of gum is good for just that. It stimulates your saliva flow.

One reason that’s a good thing is because saliva neutralizes acid in the mouth and rinses away bacteria. Both of those are notorious for weakening teeth and starting cavities.

Fights Dry Mouth

If you struggle with dry mouth, then you know how frustrating it can be. You can’t drink water nonstop all day long unless you have frequent access to a toilet!

Instead, chew on some sugar-free gum to encourage more saliva flow. This can help you stay comfortable if dry mouth is a side-effect or symptom you have to live with.

Strengthens Enamel

That extra saliva has one more great benefit. It contains minerals that can be absorbed by tooth enamel. Your enamel needs these nutrients to stay strong and fight off things like bacteria and acid. The more saliva you have washing over your teeth, the better.

So pop a piece of gum now and then and enjoy the benefits! Just remember that it has to be sugar-free and it can’t replace good old brushing and flossing or regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Oct
15

Three Reasons to Keep Your Dental Appointments

Few people are thrilled about their schedule dental visits. As emergencies do happen, it’s easy to let the dental appointment slide if something else comes up.

There are, however, a few reasons you should make every effort to come to your scheduled appointment.

If you put it off once, it’s easy to put it off indefinitely.

You cancel your appointment because of a flat tire or bad weather. But perhaps the next scheduled date arrives and you just feel too tired to bother. After putting it off once more, you realize that maybe you don’t “need” to go at all this year.

You could have a serious problem brewing.

Most dental problems start quietly. You don’t usually feel a cavity or gum disease setting in. Once you have symptoms, it’s often far along. The issue has taken root and needs treatment that costs time and money.

Keep your scheduled checkups and cleanings and your dentist is more likely to catch problems while they’re small and manageable.

It makes it hard to get appointment times you want. 

Consistently not showing up or always cancelling at the last minute makes it hard for the practice to accommodate other patients in a timely manner…especially “popular” time slots like at the end of the business day. Dental practices keep a record of when patients cancel or “no show.” As long as you’re reliable, your reliability will earn you scheduling preferences!

Conversely, a bad reputation could hit you with fees. Time is valuable to the dental practice so if you waste it needlessly, you’ll have to start paying for it via cancellation charges, etc.

Be on-time for your scheduled dental appointments! You’ll stay on top of your dental health, save money, and build a great relationship with your local dental team.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699

Sep
17

4 Surprisingly Horrible Drinks for Kids’ Teeth

Is your son or daughter’s favorite beverage on this list?

Juice

It’s made from fruit, so it has to be healthy, right?

Fruit juice is often fortified with sugar. Even pure forms of juice are high in natural sugars and acids. Drinking juice is worse for your teeth than eating fresh fruit, because it bathes them in liquids that are harsh on enamel, sans the healthy fiber.

Energy Drinks

You’re just glad it’s an alcohol-free substitute for your teen. But these “cool” drinks that get kids pumped up for an all-nighter of homework contain just as many harmful ingredients as soda does. Studies also indicate that these beverages can trigger seizures and heart problems in kids.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks contain a lot of sugars; even more than soda in most cases. They’re only necessary in cases where there’s an actual risk of dehydration. Habitually guzzling these bright liquids at every sports practice will quickly lead to tooth decay.

Milk (in a Bottle) 

Putting an infant or toddler to bed with a bottle of milk may help them sleep. But it also unnecessarily allows milk sugars to pool in their mouth overnight. This habit is the number one cause of severe toddler and childhood tooth decay.

What’s the best drink for healthy kids’ smiles? Plain and inexpensive tap water! Water helps maintain a healthy saliva flow to keep teeth strong and cleanse the mouth of bacteria. Pure water won’t wear down enamel and it’s the best thing for kids’ bodies, too.

Allow fun and tasty drinks on occasion. But make sure your kids have access to water as their main hydration source throughout the day. Remember to schedule dental checkups and cleanings for your children to stay on top of their cavity risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

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