Dental Tips Blog

Aug
4

6 Things That Increase Your Tooth Decay Risk

Just about everyone is affected by tooth decay at some point in their life. Cavities are caused by a bacteria that finds its way into every person’s mouth at some point or another. There are several factors that influence just how susceptible you are to these germs.

By identifying where you can make changes in these areas, you may be able to lower your risk of getting cavities.

Sugary Diets

Sugar doesn’t directly cause cavities, but it does fuel the bacteria that eat away at tooth enamel. If you have a habit of snacking or sipping sweet treats throughout the day, then you’re more likely to develop cavities.

Acid Exposure

Acids from your diet or even your stomach (reflux or GERD) can quickly dissolve tooth enamel and make it susceptible to decay.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Daily brushing and flossing are essential for removing the acidic bacterial plaque that causes decay. If you aren’t good about cleaning your teeth every day, then your cavity risk will be higher.

Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally neutralizes acids in the mouth and flushes away bacteria. Medications or certain medical conditions can dry up saliva flow and create the perfect environment for cavities to form.

Age

As you age, your enamel thins out with use. Worn teeth easily break and develop cavities.

“Natural” Dental Products

All-natural toothpastes sound healthy, but they usually lack fluoride. Fluoride is your enamel’s best defense against decay. Using organic dental products that don’t have fluoride protection could lull you into a false sense of security. You’ll think your teeth are safe when they really aren’t.

Visit a general dentist for a cleaning and checkup to find out what your decay risk is and learn ways you can lower it.

Posted on behalf of:
Marietta Dental Professionals
550 Franklin Gateway SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 514-5055

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

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

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
25

3 Month Dental Cleaning Versus 6 Month – Why?

“My dental hygienist told me I need to come in for cleanings more often, but I don’t see why – I’ve come in for regular six-month cleanings my whole life!”

Can you relate to that statement?

The fact is that dental needs change with time. Every patient is a unique case. A dental cleaning is far from a routine procedure that suits everyone equally.

Why might your hygienist recommend that you come for more frequent cleanings?

Difficulty Keeping Teeth Clean

Because of conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s, some patients have a hard time keeping their teeth properly cleaned. Certain areas in the mouth may often be missed and so they are more prone to developing disease. Frequent cleanings can keep disease at bay!

Gums Affected By Health Issue

Diseases like diabetes and conditions such as Down’s Syndrome predispose many individuals to gum inflammation. Extra cleanings can keep harmful inflammation to a minimum.

Post-Periodontal Treatment

Probably the most common reason for scheduling more frequent cleanings is because of having periodontal treatment completed. Deep root scaling to remove debris and bacteria below the gums is effective in controlling periodontal disease.

After the procedure, however, you need to maintain the health and cleanliness of your gums. The extra cleanings that follow are actually periodontal maintenance appointments. They specifically help you to keep your gums clean after periodontal treatment.

Coming in for dental cleanings on a more frequent basis is a way you can avail yourself of personalized preventive dental care. The point of cleaning your teeth more is to prevent bigger problems from setting in! Talk with your dentist for more information on why the office recommends that you have extra dental cleanings.

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

Oct
12

Questions You Should Always Ask Your Hygienist

Hygienists are always asking questions: “How often are you flossing? Does this hurt? How hard are you brushing your teeth?” In turn, there need to be some questions that you’re asking them. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you keep your mouth healthy, your teeth longer, and your breath fresher.

Ask her:

“Do I have any new pockets?”

Pockets are the areas under your gums, around your teeth. Healthy pockets are less than 3mm deep, but deeper pockets indicate that gum disease is present and beginning to destroy the bone in your mouth. Excessive pocketing may mean that perio therapy like deep cleanings, laser treatment, or even gum grafting is necessary. 

“Are any areas of my gums bleeding or swollen?”

Gingivitis is the first step in developing gum disease. Thankfully, it is 100% reversible. Symptoms like bleeding, swollen gums are signs that gingivitis is present. With routine brushing and flossing, gingivitis should completely reverse within 2 weeks. 

“Is there any recession?”

Recession is when gum tissue creeps down the neck of the tooth, exposing the root. It can cause sensitivity, compromise the stability of the tooth, and allow the root to develop cavities. Scrubbing too hard when you brush, using a hard toothbrush, grinding/clenching, and gum disease can all contribute to gum recession. 

“Do you see any demineralized enamel?”

The first stage of cavities is weak, demineralizing enamel. This often appears as frosty white areas on the teeth where brushing is less than adequate. Common areas are those along the gumlines, or around orthodontic appliances. 

If you’re having an area of sensitivity or something doesn’t quite look right, your hygienist is a great resource to utilize during your check-ups!

Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists

Jan
19

Your Dental Hygienist

When choosing a dental practice, most patients focus on the dentists and the scope of the dental practice.  However, for routine dental care such as regular dental cleanings and checkups, most patients will spend the majority of their time with the dental hygienist without fully understanding the important role the dental hygienist plays in maintaining the patient’s oral health.

Dental hygienists are the primary providers of critically important preventative dental care.  Most patients understand that the dental hygienists job is to provide dental cleaning (also called prophylaxis).  Cleaning teeth and removing plaque, tartar, and stains is a major role filled by dental hygienists, but in addition to cleaning teeth, they take and interpret dental X-rays, provide patient education about oral health issues, apply sealants and fluoride, perform the initial assessment of the patient’s oral health and handle other duties.

Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals.  Most dental hygienists complete at least a two year college level course of study at a university, community college, technical school or dental school.  They must also pass a comprehensive written and practical examination before being licensed by the state.  Some dental hygienists complete a four or five year college level program.

Except for a few states, a licensed dental hygienist is required to work under the supervision of a dentist.  In most general and family dental practices, the dental hygienist is a vitally important part of the dental care team and can be an excellent source of information and advice for keeping your teeth in great shape.

Nov
9

Dental Specialties

Do you know the difference between an orthodontist and a pedodontist?  If you need to make an appointment for dental care, you will need to know what the different dental specialties are.  Here are a few dental specialties that you are most likely to need.  Many dentists and dental practices work in more than one of these areas.

A general dentist or family dentist is a family practitioner that you are probably most familiar with.  These dentists provide general dental care such as dental cleanings and checkups, routine examinations, preventative dental care, fillings, crowns, and caps.  They may also offer other services such as teeth whitening.

Orthodontists use braces and other methods to straighten teeth.  Not only do straight teeth give you a pleasant smile, but they are also important for your oral and overall health.

Endodontists deal with treating diseases and decay in the soft tissue and pulp of your teeth.  If you need a root canal, you may be referred to an endodontist for treatment.  Endodontists can also replace teeth which have been knocked out.

Oral surgeons specialize in surgery of the mouth.  They remove wisdom teeth, treat TMJ and other disorders of the jaw, remove oral cancers, and place dental implants.

A pedodontist is also known as a pediatric dentist.  They specialize in dental care for children and primarily do preventative dental care.

Cosmetic dentists focus their practice on enhancing the appearance of your teeth.  They may provide teeth whiting, caps, veneers, dental implants, and bonding.

A sleep and sedation dentist specializes in treating patients while under partial or full anesthesia.  This type of dentistry is primarily intended for patients who cannot tolerate traditional dentistry treatment such as special needs patients and those with severe dental anxiety.

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