Dental Tips Blog


Ditch the Sports Drinks

If you take a look around the gym, your kid’s sporting activities, or a professional sports ring, you’ll likely see people drinking plenty of sports drinks. We’ve been told they rehydrate us better, make us stronger, and improve our performance. But what a lot of people don’t know, is that they aren’t much more effective than water and that they even cause tooth decay! That’s right, even the healthiest of athletes with great diets and activity levels can have just as many cavities as people who enjoy sodas because of the effects that sports drinks have on their teeth.

Why is this? Sports drinks contain natural or artificial sweeteners that convert to acids once they are in your mouth. That’s the body’s way of digesting them. Since it’s in a liquid form, these acids can coat all of the surface areas of the teeth…especially areas between the teeth and in the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces. Most athletes will drink their sports drinks over an extended period of time, allowing the acids to have a longer contact time (and more destruction) on the enamel.

What can you do instead? If you’re going to drink a sports drink, try to have it all at once and then immediately rinse your mouth out with water. Or better yet, just keep water with you. Water contains fluoride, so it helps strengthen your teeth as it rinses away bacteria in your mouth. If you’re breathing through your mouth (as many athletes do), water helps prevent dry teeth, which are more susceptible to tooth decay. Water is cheaper, has zero calories, and rehydrates you exactly the way nature intended.

If you’re an athlete, it’s important to get your routine dental cleanings and checkups to make sure your sporting habits haven’t actually done anything to your smile!

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



How to Improve Your Dental Hygiene Visits

It might come as a surprise (or not), but some people don’t enjoy having their teeth cleaned very much. There are a number of reasons why some people are uncomfortable during their dental cleaning appointment. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Anxiety about dental care
  • Not liking the feeling of someone’s hands in their mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Laying back so far in the chair
  • The feeling of some of the instruments on their teeth
  • Presence of periodontal disease or severe gingivitis
  • Heavy tartar buildup that needs to be removed

Since hygiene visits are so essential to a healthy mouth, your dentist wants you to know that they will make every effort to keep these visits as comfortable as possible.

Nitrous Oxide is a Great Way to Relax!

Laughing gas is perfect for cleaning appointments when patients have increased anxiety or just have trouble relaxing during any type of dental visit. It only takes a few minutes to achieve full results, and is 100% reversible, so that you can drive yourself home or back to work after your appointment.

Ask for a Neck Pillow!

Believe it or not, you’re not going to slide out backwards from the dental chair. Your hygienist needs to lay you back to a certain point where they can see the most posterior areas of your mouth, while also not causing themselves occupational related strain of their neck, back, or shoulders. A neck pillow is an easy way to help patients feel more comfortable when laying back is an issue. Just be sure that it doesn’t cause your head to tilt up, or it will defeat the purpose!

Always Let Your Hygienist Know what You Need

Communication is important. Your hygienist wants to hear back from you to know your personal preferences and needs when it comes to keeping you comfortable. If you want nitrous each time, prefer the ultrasonic scaler to hand instruments, or don’t like a certain flavor of polish…let her know!

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Cleaning Around Hard-to-Reach Areas

Keeping your teeth clean can seem hard enough, but what about those hard-to-reach areas that some of us have? Areas like:

  • Wisdom teeth
  • Dental bridges
  • Fixed retainers
  • Misaligned teeth

In addition to brushing and flossing, some of these areas need a little extra help when it comes to managing your oral hygiene. Brushing over areas or not being able to floss under others will allow bacteria to build-up. Over time this leads to tartar deposits, gum disease, and bad breath. Having the right tools are necessary if you want to truly keep your mouth as clean as possible. The oral care isle at your local supermarket may seem overwhelming, but there are a variety of adjunctive hygiene aids that can improve your effectiveness of daily home care.

Floss threaders are an excellent way to guide floss underneath fixed retainers or bridges. One of the biggest mistakes patients make with their bridges is not cleaning underneath them. This will jeopardize the health of the teeth that support it! Interdental brushes are also useful for some bridges, or in the large spaces between some teeth. These brushes look similar to a small pipe cleaner on the end of a toothbrush handle. Water flossers may be another option – making it easy to clean between teeth as well as within the deep gum pockets throughout the mouth.

Routine dental cleanings with your hygienist can remove any areas of buildup that have accumulated. It’s also a great opportunity to find out how your home care routine is working, and if you need to try something else. Your hygienist can also recommend tools that may work best for your personal dental needs. Always see your hygienist at least every 6 months for a preventive cleaning.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Which Toothpaste is Best for Me?

Posted in Uncategorized

Whitening, sensitivity, tartar-control…the options can seem limitless. How should people go about choosing the best toothpaste when it’s time to stock up again? Do the different types really make that much of a difference, and why?

Let’s start with the basics. No toothpaste you can buy at the supermarket is going to be a miracle worker in regards to your oral hygiene. Ultimately, using your toothbrush for two minutes twice a day is the most important factor. However, there are ingredients in the different toothpastes that do affect things that happen to and on your teeth when used properly.

If you have specific problems with your teeth, such as generalized sensitivity, heavier than normal amounts of tartar buildup (even with good oral hygiene), or tend to get lots of stain on your teeth between dental cleanings, then you may want to consider a toothpaste formulated for that concern. For instance, sensitivity toothpastes help to block the porous tubules of dentin…the tooth surface that is exposed when gun recession has occurred. After about 2 weeks of routine use, sensitivity is dramatically reduced.

Tartar control toothpastes are good for people whose bodies metabolize a higher amount of tartar buildup on their teeth, even with good oral hygiene. It won’t get rid of tartar, but it reduces new tartar formation. Whitening toothpastes help repel new stains from developing. They’re ideal for people that drink lots of coffee or tea, and tend to have stains to show for it (although they don’t exactly lighten your teeth several shades the way a professional whitening treatment would.)

When all else fails, ask your hygienist if you’re using the best toothpaste! Most people are fine with what they’re using, but others may need just another bit of help from a specialist toothpaste blend.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



The Importance of Regular Teeth Cleanings

Of course you would expect a dentist to tell you to come in for regular dental cleanings, but all health care providers would tell you the same thing. A professional teeth cleaning twice a year can do more for your health than just keep your smile looking its best. By visiting the dentist office on a regular basis, you can help to ensure the health of your teeth, gums, mouth, and quite possibly the rest of your body. Many diseases begin in the oral region, and dentists are qualified to prevent them as well as spot them if signs appear.

A healthy smile is a beautiful smile. One of the best ways to achieve a healthy smile is to receive regular, professional dental cleanings performed by an experienced dental hygienist. While at the dentist, the hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth to remove plaque that has built up. By removing the plaque, the hygienist is helping to keep your gums free of disease that excess plaque build up can cause.

During regular teeth cleanings, your hygienist and dentist will take the time to get to know you by educating themselves on your lifestyle behaviors, oral habits, and by promoting a good dental routine for optimal oral health. Your dentist office provides more than just scraping your teeth. They provide a relationship with you to help your mouth stay optimally healthy.

Teeth cleanings are covered under dental insurances because of the importance of prevention. With good oral hygiene at home and in between visits to the dentist, your teeth cleanings can have a major impact on your health…as well as your wallet. Teeth cleanings are preventative in helping to rid the mouth of dangerous plaque and gum disease. If you haven’t seen your dentist in a while, now is the perfect time for a check up. Make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned, and make sure to keep your regularly scheduled appointments for achievement of a healthy, beautiful smile.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.



Can You Brush Too Much?

Here on this blog, we’re usually trying to convince you to brush your teeth, brush well and brush correctly, but there’s also such a thing as brushing too much or too hard. As it turns out, too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing after all.

The numbers may be surprisingly high. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, some 40 million Americans suffer from sensitive teeth, an often painful condition associated with teeth coming into contact with extreme hot or cold temperatures. The main causes of this condition, according to the AGD, are consuming acidic foods or drinks and brushing your teeth too aggressively.

Over time, brushing too hard or too long can wear down tooth enamel and expose dentin, the soft layer of tissue underneath. It can also lead to receding gums, bleeding tissue and, ironically, even cavities.

The obvious solution to the problem of sensitive teeth and over brushing is to correct your dental hygiene habits.

As a reminder, the recommended cleaning schedule for a healthy smile includes:

  • Brush your teeth no more than 2-3 times a day.
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush, as firm bristle brushes are too abrasive, especially if you’re prone to over brushing.
  • If you’re teeth are sensitive, switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
  • Floss once a day and use mouthwash.
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year for a teeth cleaning and dental checkup.
  • It is also a good idea to thoroughly check your own teeth and gums frequently for any signs of changes in the tooth structure or enamel. That way, you can catch any problems before they turn into dental emergencies.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Pregnancy Risks and Your Gums

Pregnant women have more reasons to be concerned about their oral health than ever before. The research is clear, and active gum disease in pregnant woman greatly increases their risk of premature birth and having a low birth weight infant. Why is that? Because plaque bacteria in active areas of gum disease can be transmitted directly into the bloodstream, and find its way all the way into the womb.

Conditions like pregnancy diabetes can also make it difficult to manage gum infections, so the two situations combined can make for an increased risk or premature labor. Tackling the bacteria present in the mouth through rigorous home care and professional cleanings can affect the improvement of the oral health aspect, but diet is also extremely important. Bacteria feeds off of sugar, and a diet or blood levels with increased sugar will make it difficult if not impossible to curb oral bacteria.

Routine dental cleanings are completely safe for pregnant women, and should remain a part of their routine preventive care throughout their pregnancy. Due to hormones, diet changes, and the physical changes that take place in pregnancy, preventive dental care can help protect your teeth, gums, and baby. Pregnant women may also want to consider chewing xylitol gum several times throughout the day to prevent and remove plaque from adhering to their teeth. Otherwise, brushing twice each day for two minutes and flossing at least once every day is an effective way to prevent gingivitis, remove plaque bacteria from your mouth, and decrease your risk of tooth decay.

From time to time, women may develop a simple condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis” that is simply hormone-induced. Because this swelling and bleeding of the gums is very similar in appearance to periodontal disease, it’s important to have a dental screening after developing symptoms of infected gums.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Why Should I Pay for Periodontal Therapy? My Insurance Is Supposed to Cover Cleanings

Most dental insurance policies will cover all or a large portion of routine preventive dental cleanings twice each year. If it’s been a while since you had prophylactic dental care, you might visit the dentist for the first time in years and find out that a routine cleaning isn’t what you need. While it might not seem to make much sense, it’s due to having larger accumulation of tartar buildup and bone loss along the roots of your teeth. As a result, periodontal therapy or a deep cleaning may be the only method that coincides with the standard of care for your individual treatment needs.

As treatments become more therapeutic instead of preventive, your dental insurance policy may cover them on a different pay scale. For instance, people with moderate to severe bone loss with heavy tartar may need to schedule a procedure known as a deep cleaning, which is divided into 4 quadrants (instead of the entire mouth) for the treatment and insurance claims. Your individual policy may cover a smaller percentage of this type of treatment, and because it requires more time, the fee is justifiably more than a short, routine cleaning.

By making the investment in therapeutic services like periodontal therapy, patients are able to reverse conditions of gum disease, saving their teeth from the downhill spiral that can lead to tooth loss. After these conditions are treated and controlled, routine preventive cleanings are once again the standard method of treatment to help you maintain the level of oral health that you deserve. For a breakdown of your benefits as they relate to services like periodontal therapy, ask your dentist or dental treatment coordinator.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Best Practices for Excellent Oral Hygiene

Do you maintain good oral hygiene? Are you looking for some tips on how to have excellent dental care?

Keeping excellent dental care is imperative in your overall well-being. When you have healthy teeth you feel better.  Here is a list of some best practices for excellent oral hygiene:

  • Daily preventative care: This means proper brushing (twice per day) and flossing (daily). Your dental hygienist and dentist can instruct you on what this proper brushing and flossing looks like. But consistency is key.  Be sure to use a soft toothbrush to help protect your tooth enamel.
  • Regular dental visits: Seeing your dental professional on a routine basis helps in early detection of diseases, infections, and cancer. At these appointments you will also see your dental hygienist who will perform a professional teeth cleaning to remove any plaque build-up.
  • Eating a balanced diet: Food can completely impact your oral health so make wise choices and limit snacking in between meals. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are especially important.
  • Drinking water: Water not only flushes your system but it also helps with digestion. Drinking water during and after meals helps keep food from staying in your teeth.
  • Mouthwash: It’s best to use a mouthwash daily as well. Depending on the sensitivity of your mouth, you can find one that works the best for you. Just make sure it’s a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Pay attention: Be in tune with your oral health. Schedule an appointment with a dental professional if you are having any pain or areas of sensitivity.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Leia Porcaro, Grateful Dental



Dental Hygiene Awareness Month

October is National Dental Hygiene month. Even though you are reminded of your oral hygiene needs at your regular dental check-ups, it never hurts to have another gentle reminder of daily habits that greatly affect our oral health and function of our smiles. Your teeth can last a lifetime if you take care of them properly, so read through our tips to make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to the oral health your smile deserves.

Brush twice each day: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and angle your toothbrush toward your gumlines. Focus on making small back and forth strokes on just one or two teeth at a time, making your way around your entire mouth in a slow and efficient manner. You should spend at least 2 minutes each time you brush. An electric toothbrush with a built in timer can help remind you to spend the time you need.

Floss once each day: There is no way to clean between your teeth and under your gums between the teeth with a toothbrush. Only flossing or using a water flosser can do this. Wrap your floss tightly around the tooth and wipe up and down under the gumlines several times. Remember, bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis! If you floss regularly your gingivitis should go away.

See your hygienist twice each year for teeth cleaning: Even with great oral hygiene, you can still get tartar buildup on your teeth. Regular dental cleanings can remove this tartar and prevent gum disease!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Leia Porcaro, Grateful Dental


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