Dental Tips Blog

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

Sep
12

Dental Health Alert! 7 Favorite Holiday Foods That Can Wreck Your Smile

We’re coming up on that time of year when we look forward to time with family, vacation days, and lots of food…but mostly the food.

So here are seven of the worst (and tastiest!) holiday foods that you’ll want to enjoy in moderation if you want to avoid getting cavities.

Candy Canes

Candy canes are pure sticks of sugar. If you slowly lick on one for close to an hour at a time, you’re exposing your teeth to sugar acids for just as long.

Mulled Cider

Apples are good for you but sipping on juice that’s laced with sweeteners and oranges is makes for an acidic concoction.

Sweet Potatoes

Yams may be packed with vitamin C and fiber, but that goodness gets cancelled out when baked with enamel-eating ingredients like brown sugar, syrup, and marshmallows. Alternatively, bake your potatoes whole and season them with a little cinnamon.

Anything with Dried Fruit

Just think pure natural sugar that gets stuck in teeth for hours on end. Enough said.

Glazed Ham

Just because it’s a meat dish doesn’t mean it won’t affect your teeth. A sugary glaze is yet another acidic carb that can weaken enamel.

Stuffing

It’s not always sweet, but stuffing is still a sticky carb that will get stuck in every nook and cranny of your mouth.

Popcorn

There’s no worse culprit for getting stuck in teeth than popcorn! Hard kernels have been known to break teeth and dental crowns and the pesky hulls are good at slipping under the gums and causing infection.

Take time out of your busy schedule to get dental checkups for all in your family before indulging on your holiday break!

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

Aug
19

It Doesn’t Hurt to Get a Deep Cleaning!

If you have gum disease, you might already be anxious about getting a deep cleaning. After all, the name alone sounds uncomfortable. How can it NOT hurt to clean deep under the gums?

It’s actually far less painful than it sounds. The true name of the procedure is a periodontal scaling and root planing.

What Happens During a Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning is when your dentist or hygienist smooths out the roots of teeth using specially-designed hand tools.

The small edges lift off tartar and bacteria embedded across the tooth roots in tiny increments. While this happens, you may feel a slight tugging sensation and pressure on your tooth, but don’t worry – the tooth isn’t going anywhere!

What about the fact that the tools have to slip below the gums?

Gums lose their attachment to teeth when they’re swollen and infected, creating “pockets” that trap buildup like bacteria and tartar. This debris builds up on tooth roots as far down as the gum pockets extend.

During a deep cleaning, the instruments only go down as deep as the base of the gum pockets.

You may notice some bleeding during the procedure, but it’s not painful. All that swollen gum tissue is loaded with tiny capillaries that bleed instantly when bumped. This side-effect only serves as yet another indicator that you really needed the treatment!

For Your Comfort

If necessary, you can have local anesthesia, topical numbing jelly, or mild sedation to get through your root planing. But you’re likely to find that the only difficult part is keeping your mouth open for the procedure! Taking breaks as needed or using a small, soft prop can help you out.

Ask your dentist or hygienist what else can help you stay comfy during treatment.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123

Aug
1

Could Selfies Improve Your Oral Hygiene?

Oxford Dictionaries dubbed “selfie” the word of the year in 2013, and there’s no sign that it will leave our vocabularies anytime soon.

But tooth brushing and flossing have been around since long before that.

Here’s how your selfie habit may be providing a much-needed boost to your oral hygiene routine.

You Care About Having Clean Teeth

Selfies focus on smiles and close-up smiles, at that (unless you’re going for the pouty look that is!) You want yours to look good. The trend of sharing self-portraits on social media may have you comparing your tooth color with that of others’… or even talking to your dentist about a cleaning and professional teeth bleaching.

You Focus on Technique and High-Tech Tools

When you take a selfie, all the details count. These days, some people even snap pictures of themselves at the bathroom sink. You may think twice about what kind of brush you’re using in the selfies you take while brushing your teeth. If you’ve invested in a great new electric toothbrush to keep your smile bright, now is the time to share it!

When you have an audience watching you brush, you’ll make sure you’re doing it right.

You’re Bringing the Family Together

There’s probably no better incentive to brush than to have your picture taken as a reward! Even the tiniest tots are likely to cooperate with brushing if you offer to take a picture of everyone with toothpaste foam mustaches.

You’re Spreading Awareness

Brushing is just as important as heading to the gym. Most people love to share their healthy habits and fit figures on social media in an effort to inspire others. If you’re posting the occasional selfie while brushing your teeth, then you’re highlighting yet

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

Jul
12

Here’s Why You’re Getting Food Stuck in Your Teeth

Ever wonder why that one annoying tooth keeps catching bits of food?

One of the following situations may be to blame…

Decay

Cavities cause roughness and hollow spots in teeth which trap food debris. You may notice this particularly if the top of a molar keeps getting doughy bread and crackers and pasta wedged into it.

Gum Disease

Inflamed gums pull away from tooth surfaces creating gaps for food and bacteria to accumulate. As the infection progresses, those gaps deepen and form the perfectly-sized slot against the tooth root for popcorn kernels to slip into.

Open Contact

Healthy teeth are supposed to be in snug contact with their neighbors. If you have a couple teeth with a gap between them, no matter how small, food will find its way in. This is especially troublesome when the gap is big enough for food to get stuck, but too small for your tongue to wiggle loose the debris.

Flossing

No, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flossing. But if you aren’t flossing correctly, you could actually be shoving food particles deeper below your gums every time you do floss.

Make sure that when you floss you wrap it around your tooth crown in a snug C-shape before gently shimmying it below the gum line. Then gently shimmy it upwards to pull plaque and food clear of the gums.

Get some relief by:

  • Gently flossing the area
  • Using a water flosser
  • Rinsing with warm salt water
  • Having your teeth restored to close up a gap
  • Scheduling regular dental cleanings and checkups

To find out what’s causing your dinner time distress, visit your local dentist. You’ll learn the best ways for preventing food from getting trapped in your teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Bayshore Dental Center
810 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #2900
Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 330-2006

Apr
22

4 Reasons Your Dentist Wants You to Floss Daily

Flossing isn’t a “dentist thing.” It’s a health thing. Here are four reasons your dentist is hammering the flossing issue.

  1. Your cleaning appointments will be easier for you.

Daily flossing reduces buildup between teeth. If you don’t floss, you’re more likely to develop tartar, or calculus, deposits.

These rock-like formations can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning. The bigger and tougher the calculus deposits, the more your dentist or hygienist will have to work at removing them. That doesn’t make for a very pleasant cleaning session.

  1. Flossing could lower your risk for heart problems.

Along with tartar, bacteria also like to hide out between teeth. Certain germs are responsible for triggering gum inflammation.

If bacteria cause inflammation in your gums, then they can travel in your bloodstream and affect parts of your arteries. This could potentially cause a dangerous blood clot.

Preventative flossing disrupts those bacteria, lowering your risk for gum disease, and thereby reducing your risk for other serious complications.

  1. Your cavity risk will go down.

Any little bit you do to disturb bacteria between your teeth is going to keep the cavity-causing germs from wearing away enamel. Besides that, flossing removes food debris that your toothbrush misses. Those leftover bits could contain acids that only erode enamel further.

  1. You’ll have better breath.

Bacteria and leftover food get lodged between teeth. It’s just a fact: the more buildup between teeth, the more you’ll smell.

Flossing to keep your breath fresh isn’t just a courtesy to your dentist when he or she checks your teeth. Others around you will thank you, as well!

Schedule a dental checkup to get some tips on easier flossing.

Posted on behalf of:
ConfiDenT
11550 Webb Bridge Way, Suite 1
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 772-0994

Mar
31

Are You a Neat Freak? Use These 6 Oral Hygiene Tips for the Cleanest Mouth Ever

Bad news for germophobes: your mouth is crawling with bacteria!

Humans host bacteria that lead to gingivitis, decay, and bad breath. These germs can literally multiply overnight!

The following tips will help you keep your mouth as clean as possible.

  1. Use a tongue scraper. You can use your toothbrush itself as an alternative to a tongue scraper. Your tongue hosts most of the germs which cause breath to stink.
  1. Use a rinse. It’s no substitute for brushing, but an antimicrobial mouthwash can reduce the damage done between brushing sessions.
  1. Try a water flosser. A powerful jet of water blasts plaque bacteria away. It can be used on its own or in addition to regular floss. Water flossers are ideal for braces or lots of bridgework.
  1. Drink more water. Staying hydrated replenishes your saliva, which is your mouth’s natural cleanser. Lots of clean water keeps bacteria at bay.
  1. Clean your toothbrush. Did you know that you can reinfect yourself from a previous illness by using your toothbrush that’s loaded with germs? You may opt for a UV sanitizer to cleanse your brush. Alternatively, rinsing it routinely in hydrogen peroxide or an antibacterial rinse can also help. Don’t forget to change out your brush altogether every 3-4 months for optimum brushing efficiency.
  1. Chew on something healthy. Xylitol gum or a spice like clove or fennel are naturally sugar-free options which stimulate a cleansing saliva flow. As an added bonus, this freshens breath and strengthens teeth.

You’re now on your way to perfectly clean smile! But your smile may need more specific attention. To find out what more you can do to keep teeth ultra clean, schedule a routine checkup and teeth cleaning at your local dental office.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

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