Dental Tips Blog


How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?

Having your teeth cleaned on a routine basis can help prevent conditions like gum disease and tooth loss. Even with thorough every day oral hygiene practices, most patients still experience some amount of tartar buildup in areas below the gums or along areas that are more difficult to keep clean. Removing this tartar regularly is important in order to prevent the body from naturally attacking the area of infection, worsening the condition of the teeth in the area.

Tartar is calcified plaque that is so hard that normal brushing and flossing cannot remove it. It is recommended that patients have preventive care appointments approximately every 6 months in order to remove tartar buildup, screen for periodontal disease, and check for areas of developing tooth decay. These routine preventive care appointments help keep treatment needs less invasive and more comfortable over the patient’s course of their dental care.

Patients who have suffered from involved periodontal (gum) disease may need to have dental cleanings performed more frequently. Sometimes as often as every 3 to 4 months. This allows the hygienist to remove buildup in areas that are inaccessible to the patient, so the area of infection can reverse itself and heal adequately.

The best way to extend the amount of time between your dental visits is to clean between your teeth each day with floss, water floss or brush picks and brush your teeth twice each day for at least 2 minutes. The primary goal in dental cleanings is to remove calcified plaque, so the better you are at taking care of your teeth at home, the less frequently your dentist will need to see you. However, even the best brushers should have their teeth cleaned twice per year!


What Causes Toothaches?

Toothaches always seem to impact your life at the most inconvenient time…typically on a Saturday night, or when you’re away on vacation. Below are several common causes of toothache or tooth hypersensitivity:

Allergies or Sinus Infections:

Inflammation of the nasal sinuses can cause pressure to be applied to the roots of our upper teeth, imitating periodic toothaches. When necessary, take an over the counter decongestant or allergy medicine to decrease the symptoms. See your medical practitioner if symptoms persist.

Fractured Teeth:

Trauma or injury can cause teeth to fracture. If the tooth comes out in one piece, or in a very large portion, place it directly in a cup of milk. Do not scrub or attempt to clean the tooth as this damages connective tissues that help the success of reimplanting the tooth into the mouth. Call your dentist immediately.

Whitening Products:

You heard it right. Whitening products such as toothpastes, gels or rinses can and often do cause tooth hypersensitivity. Discontinue their use and try a sensitivity toothpaste for two weeks.

Tooth Decay or Dental Abscesses:

Dental disease in the form of decay or abscesses can cause intermittent or chronic tooth pain. While the symptoms may subside, the condition will not correct itself on its own.

Gum Disease:

Untreated gum disease can cause bleeding gums and tooth mobility. A professional dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene habits can reverse this process.

In most cases, you can prevent toothaches before they ever start. Through preventive care appointments every 6 months your dentist able to screen for conditions that cause dental disease and infection. If you’re currently experiencing a toothache, don’t put off getting it treated by a dentist.  Dental problems generally get worse if left untreated and you may be able to avoid more invasive treatment by seeking treatment as soon as possible.



Ten Things That Are Bad For Your Teeth

Approximately 30 percent of older Americans have no natural teeth left.  If you want to be part of the other 70 percent, you need to take care of your teeth before it is too late.  Regular dental cleanings and dental check ups will go a long way toward maintaining your oral health, but there are some habits to avoid if you want to keep your teeth in the best possible condition as you get older.

1. Chewing on ice seems like a harmless habit, but in fact it is an easy way to chip or crack your teeth.

2.  If you engage in any type of contact sport such as hockey, football, or lacross, protect your teeth with a mouth guard to avoid having a tooth chipped or knocked out.

3.  Giving your baby a bottle of juice or milk at bedtime or naptime can result in tooth decay.  Falling asleep with a bottle in their mouth results in the teeth being bathed in sugars for hours.

4. Drinking too much sugary soda contributes to tooth decay and the acid in soda eats away at tooth enamel.

5. Diet sodas are slightly better than regular soda because they lack the sugar, but they may have higher levels of acid.

6. Similarly, sports drinks and fruit juices are loaded with sugar that attach the teeth.

7. Too much coffee drinking can result in yellow stains on your teeth.

8. Red wine can also discolor your teeth and has acids that eats away at the enamel.

9.  White wine is better, but not much.  White wine doesn’t stain teeth like red wine, but it contains acids that weaken the enamel and leave it susceptible to staining from other drinks like red wine or coffee.

10.  Smoking not only stains your teeth, but it greatly increases your risk for developing gum disease.  Smoking also causes oral cancers.

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