Dental Tips Blog

Oct
19

Why Kids Need Dental X-Rays

Posted in Digital X-Rays

Concern over needless radiation exposure is still a big issue. It’s bigger still where kids are concerned. As a parent, you don’t want your child exposed to x-rays any more often than is absolutely necessary.

The occasional dental x-ray may not look like a necessary radiation exposure, but regular x-rays are an important part of your child’s dental health. Here’s why.

Dental X-Rays Track Tooth Development

One of the most important reasons for taking x-rays of children’s teeth is to see how they’re coming in. Dental x-rays can show whether any adult teeth are stuck, impacted, congenitally missing, or just to confirm that everything is proceeding according to schedule.

Dental X-Rays Reveal Decay in Areas the Dentist Can’t See

Dentists have keen eyes trained to identify even tiny patches of softened enamel that are starting to decay. But they can’t pick up on cavities that develop on the sides of two teeth that touch. Only x-rays can confirm the health of teeth in those spots that no one can see.

X-rays are also essential for diagnosing other kinds of potentially dangerous growths and infections such as tumors, cysts, and abscesses.

Dental X-Rays Help the Dentist Plan Safe and Effective Treatment

If your child ever does need dental treatment, then you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing the dentist is prepared to do a careful job. Well, without taking x-rays before treatment, the dentist may as well be working blindfolded. X-rays provide a picture of the tooth that help the dentist determine how far down they need to reach within the tooth.

Communicate with your child’s dentist about the necessity of dental x-rays in your child’s unique case.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000

Jul
28

Tooth Brushing Dilemma: Should You Brush Before or After Breakfast?

If you want to ruin any party, just suggest a debate about the right time to brush your teeth in the morning.

Is it better to brush before or after breakfast?

Benefits of Brushing Before Breakfast 

Some people will argue that everyone should brush right after waking up. This is a courtesy to others around them since brushing will freshen up their breath and spare their neighbors from gagging on the fumes of morning halitosis.

There is a more serious reason for brushing immediately in the morning. The germs in your mouth build up overnight and collect in a sticky film called plaque. Your teeth are coated in this acidic and potentially cavity-causing buildup for several hours while your mouth stops producing a cleansing flow of saliva. The sooner you get that icky stuff off your teeth, the better!

Brushing After Breakfast – The Catch 

For those who don’t want the taste of toothpaste ruining their morning glass of orange juice, they may prefer to brush their teeth after breakfast.

The only problem here is that brushing immediately after eating can be destructive to tooth enamel. All those acids and sugars from your meal don’t just magically go away when you brush. Instead, you’ll end up spreading them around even more.

If you want to brush your teeth after breakfast, then at least wait a half hour before doing so. This will give your saliva a chance to neutralize the acids and flush them away.

So, the next time someone asks you about the brushing before or after breakfast debate, you can confidently say that either option is fine. Get more oral hygiene tips from your dentist or dental hygienist at your next routine dental cleaning and checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

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
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

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

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
31

How Dentists Diagnose Cavities

Apparently, you have another cavity. But you don’t see anything there. You’re not entirely convinced the dentist isn’t making this up.

Before you jump to conclusions, keep in mind that a dentist is trained to pick up on tooth decay long before it turns into an ugly brown hole in your tooth.

How do dentists detect cavities? Here are a few of the main ways.

Classic Exploration

Those scary metal hooks the dentist “pokes” your teeth with are called explorers. The fine tipped instruments are very sensitive. With years of practice, your dentist can skim the tip of the tool over your tooth and notice unusually soft spots indicative of decay.

Lasers

More and more dental offices are incorporating the use of special lasers that ping back a result when they scan weakened tooth enamel. These lasers really come in handy when checking for cavities in the back teeth during your six-month dental visits.

X-Rays

Yearly x-rays are taken almost entirely because of cavities. A regular set of bitewing images helps the dentist see in-between your teeth where no one else can. Dark triangles in the enamel at the point where neighboring teeth touch mean that there is decay going on.

Dye

Some dentists use a non-toxic dye to check for signs of decay. This usually comes in handy when he or she is cleaning a cavity from a tooth and wants to make sure it’s completely gone before placing the filling.

Through routine dental cleanings and checkups, your dentist will make note of areas that are prime to develop decay and alert you to them. You will then get recommendations for treatment like fluoride or sealants to help you avoid cavities altogether. Schedule your routine dental examination today!

Posted on behalf of:
Salt Run Family Dentistry
700 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080
(904) 824-3540

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

Dec
26

How Honey Affects Your Smile When Compared with Sugar

Honey is generally touted as the healthier option over table sugar. It contains less glucose, which our bodies quickly metabolize. Instead, it’s a more complex carbohydrate with multiple kinds of sugars in it. This makes it a little better for your blood sugar levels and your waistline.

But at the end of the day, sugar is… well, sugar.

What Sugar Does To Teeth

Cavity-causing bacteria feed on the carbohydrates you eat. In turn, they produce an acid waste that eats away tooth enamel, creating cavities. The simpler the carbs, the faster they digest them and turn them into acids. Not to mention, sugar in itself can be corrosive to teeth.

Whether the sugar comes in the form of honey or refined sugarcane crystals, it will take a toll on your teeth if it’s left there.

How Does Honey Play Into Dental Health?

Honey contains some naturally-occurring vitamins and anti-bacterial properties. It also has no need for preservatives. Honey seems to have some health benefits such as fighting infection and reducing inflammation.

Be warned, however. All the good stuff honey does is overshadowed by the fact that it can still cause your teeth to erode. You won’t get immediate benefits by slathering this sweet syrup on your teeth and gums overnight. That’s just a recipe for enamel wear, tooth decay, and more time in the dentist’s chair getting fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations.

Choose honey over sugar if you like, but don’t use it so often as if it doesn’t matter. Brush well at least twice a day, floss at least once, and rinse your mouth with water after having any carb – honey or sugar. Schedule a visit with your local dentist to find out how your diet is affecting your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

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