Dental Tips Blog

May
20

How Acidic Is Your Mouth?

The pH scale measures the acidity of an environment. It starts at 1, which is the most acidic, and maxes out at 14, the most alkaline or basic. The balance of alkaline versus acid is an important one in body chemistry, especially when it comes to your mouth.

Too Much Acid in Your Mouth?

Having a low pH (too much acid) is disastrous for your teeth. Your pH only has to drop to 5.5 for the oral environment to become so acidic that it starts dissolving your tooth enamel. Enamel loss leads to sensitive teeth and cavities.

A healthy mouth should have saliva with a neutral pH of close to 7. That’s where pure water falls on the scale. But a saliva shortage and/or a lot of acids in your mouth can throw that off and cause an unbalanced environment.

A higher pH, on the other hand, allows teeth the chance to recover from acid exposure. Tooth enamel has the ability to remineralize in a basic environment. Saliva is basic and is a good source of the minerals your teeth need to protect themselves.

Prevent Acid Attacks

You can avoid the need for fillings, crowns and other dental restorations by cutting back on acidic foods like sugar, processed carbs, and citrus fruits. Foods like aged cheese and nuts are good for promoting remineralization. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal. Take saliva substitutes if you suffer from dry mouth.

Dental plaque is loaded with acidic bacteria, so daily brushing and flossing are essential to removing this source of acid. Fluoride-rich dental products will boost enamel remineralization and make your teeth more resistant to erosion.

See your dentist to learn more ways to reduce oral acidity and prevent enamel loss.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Jan
7

Top 6 Reasons People Hate Flossing

Do you struggle with flossing?

Here are some of the most common complaints about flossing and how to remedy each situation

  1. Your Fingers Don’t Fit in Your Mouth

You may need to floss with a long-handled device that does the reaching for you.

  1. Floss Hurts Your Hands

You might be pulling the floss too tight. It doesn’t have to be wrapped so snugly that it cuts off circulation. If your fingers hurt from flossing, then it may be time to switch to floss picks or some other finger-sparing device.

  1. Sensitive Gag Reflex

Does just the thought of putting your fingers near your tongue send your stomach somersaulting? Try a water flosser that sprays a stream of water between teeth in lieu of a string.

  1. Floss Gets Stuck Between Tight Teeth

Floss getting stuck in teeth may be sign that you need a thinner type of floss. Waxed floss is also easier to slip between teeth. If you can’t get a ribbon between your teeth, a water flosser is your best option.

  1. Flossing Cuts Your Gums

If your floss cuts into your gums, it says more about your technique than the floss itself. Be gentle and avoid snapping the strand into place. Too much force can cause permanent damage. Wrap it around your tooth in a “C” shape instead.

  1. It Takes Too Long

Who has the time to floss, right? With a little practice and diligence, a flossing routine should take no longer than two minutes. You just have to find a method that you can stick with long enough to make it a habit.

Ask your dentist for more tips on easy flossing for a healthy smile.

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

Aug
19

Could You Be Allergic to Your Toothpaste?

You encounter so many more potential allergens in day-to-day life than you may realize. Fortunately, toothpaste is not a common one, since the formulas only get safer as time goes on.

Still, it’s not impossible to have a reaction suggesting a new kind of toothpaste is irritating your mouth.

Signs of a Toothpaste Allergy

Swelling, hives, and anaphylactic shock are all potential outcomes for an allergy.

But if your toothpaste bothers you, it’s probably not going to be that bad.

Toothpaste irritation tends to manifest itself in symptoms like:

  • Cracked, dry lips
  • Sores, redness, or scaly skin near the corners of the mouth
  • Painless peeling (sloughing) of the skin on your gums or the inside of your cheeks
  • Some redness, swelling, or soreness inside your mouth

What Causes Toothpaste Irritation?

Irritants found in toothpaste include:

  • Flavorings
  • Essential oils
  • Foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • Preservatives

You can talk with your doctor about getting allergy tested for any of these if changing toothpastes doesn’t help.

When You Suspect a Toothpaste Allergy

A serious allergy to ingredients in toothpaste is not common. It’s is common, however, to have a little minor irritation from certain products.

Contact emergency services if you suspect a life-threatening reaction. Otherwise, you can take a process-of-elimination approach. Try a toothpaste free of known irritants and see how you go for a week or so.

Gradually add back in products that contain tooth-healthy ingredients like fluoride and stick with brands that don’t bother you. The same goes for mouth rinses and flavored floss.

Best of all, check in with your local dental office for advice if you suspect your toothpaste doesn’t agree with your smile! There could be something else going on.

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

May
20

Are You Using Toothpaste the Right Way?

Toothpaste may sound like it’s too simple to be particular about. But between dental cleanings and checkups, effective use of toothpaste can play a big role in maintaining your oral health.

Just A Dot Will Do

Toothpaste packaging and advertisements make it look like more is better when it comes to toothpaste.

Remember, however, that those big globs of paste are purely for promo purposes. They show off the color and texture to make the product look more appealing.

In reality, adults only need a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste every time they brush. Toddlers under the age of 3 get a rice grain-sized smear.

Too much toothpaste could actually make your toothbrush bristles too slippery to scrub your teeth.

Don’t Rinse Too Much

It’s a habit for most of us to rinse out with water after brushing with a mouth full of foamy toothpaste.

But did you know that if you rinse you’re only getting 50% of the benefits?

Toothpaste helps clean teeth. But it also contains ingredients to inhibit germ growth or strengthen enamel. When you leave that last bit of minty residue on your teeth, it helps freshen your breath and gives the toothpaste more time to boost your oral health.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Not just any toothpaste will work. Sure, you won’t get sick from using the wrong kind, but it helps to choose a formula that will address your oral concerns.

For example, some toothpastes meet needs like:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Anti-cavity
  • Anti-gingivitis
  • Sensitivity
  • Remineralizing enamel

Take a minute to check the packaging of your next tube of toothpaste to make sure it does what it claims.

Ask your dentist for tips on selecting a toothpaste that’s right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Apr
22

3 Things You Need to Know About Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is underestimated far too often. Knowing the facts can help you make smart decisions for your family’s health.

  1. Decay Is Highly Preventable

Cavities are a disease caused by a specific kind of bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans.

While you can’t avoid this bacteria, you can keep it from wreaking havoc on your teeth.

A diligent routine of brushing and flossing will help you keep the germs at bay. Limit how often you have simple carbohydrates in your mouth since these are what the bacteria feed on. Strengthen your tooth enamel with fluoride and other remineralizing agents.

A little prevention can help you completely avoid a costly root canal.

  1. Decay Is Contagious

At this point, you already know that tooth decay is a bacterial infection. We often acquire the bacteria from our parents and continue to share the germs back-and-forth with anyone else we kiss or share a straw with.

This also means that decay spreads tooth-to-tooth. If you have one cavity, you can’t afford to ignore it since it will only go on to infect the next tooth, doubling your problems.

  1. Decay Is Dangerous for Kids

Just because they’re baby teeth doesn’t mean they should be allowed to continue decaying. Children’s cavities can hurt and abscess just like adults’ do. Dental abscess in children can even spread to the brain. When a baby tooth decays untreated, that can also affect the health of the adult tooth yet to arrive.

The takeaway here is that tooth decay is not something to view lightly. If you suspect a cavity in you or anyone else in your family, ask your dentist to look at it right away.

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

Mar
30

Can Toothpaste Really Cure Acne Breakouts?

If you haven’t tried it, at least you’ve heard about it – dabbing toothpaste on that unwelcome blemish to shrink it ASAP.

But does this work?

This old trick for banishing pimples in a hurry is hard to prove effective. It seems to work for some people, but that could just be mere coincidence.

Why Toothpaste?

Almost any toothpaste will contain ingredients that can dry up pimples. Some of these include:

  • Peroxide
  • Alcohol
  • Essential oils
  • Triclosan
  • Baking soda

But these ingredients aren’t any more powerful than those found in formulations meant for acne. What’s even more important is to establish whether it’s safe to be using toothpaste on your skin.

Proceed with Caution

Some people can have a reaction to toothpaste if it’s left on the skin for too long. The stuff that’s in there is meant to dissolve slimy bacteria off of teeth and moist gums. It’s not exactly intended for use anywhere else on your face.

Worst case scenario, you could go from having a zit to having a big red peely patch on your face, if you treat it with toothpaste. Choose at your own risk.

If you want to try a DIY blemish treatment, you’re better off sticking with plain baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Toothpaste contains far too many other specialized ingredients to get experimental with it!

Benefits of Toothpaste 

Keep your toothpaste out of your cosmetic bag and next to your toothbrush. Toothpaste contains surfactants which help it foam up and spread tooth-strengthening bacteria-fighting goodness all over your mouth.

Regular brushing and routine dental checkups will help you enjoy a gorgeous smile, no matter what breakouts come your way!

Ask your dentist which toothpaste is right for you.

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

Mar
27

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Toddlers

Early childhood caries (ECC), also known as baby bottle tooth decay, is a serious condition affecting millions of toddlers around the world. Your child could also be at risk.

As common and dangerous as this disease is, it’s entirely preventable.

These four steps are simple, free, and can give your baby the best start in life.

Give Them Water

Desperate parents are quick to appease a tantrum-throwing toddler with a cup of juice. Fruit juice sounds healthy. But it actually contains unhealthy amounts of sugar.

Regular exposure to acid in juice can weaken young enamel and the sugar will fuel bacteria, which causes decay.

Practice Great Oral Hygiene

It’s never too early to start getting your baby used to having his or her mouth cleaned. Some toddlers put up a fight come teeth-brushing time, but every effort you make is worth it. With time, your child will accept that keeping our teeth clean is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

Limit Snacks

Similar to drinking too much juice, constant snacking throughout the day is bad for baby teeth. Gradually cut back on your child’s snacking habit. One snack session in between meals should be enough.

No Bedtime Bottles

This is perhaps the biggest culprit behind ECC. Tiny ones in the habit of sleeping with a bottle of milk or juice are only letting their teeth soak in natural sugars for hours on end. If your child has to go to bed with some kind of drink, fill the bottle with water, only.

If your child has at least one baby tooth in, it’s time for their first trip to your pediatric dentist. Call today to schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

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
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

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