Dental Tips Blog

Sep
10

How Tartar Buildup Affects Your Smile

Dental calculus (also known as tartar or calcium buildup) can cause some serious problems if it isn’t removed regularly.

What Dental Calculus Does to Teeth

You might be surprised to learn that tartar doesn’t usually do anything bad to teeth themselves. Calculus is comprised of dead bacterial debris. This means that if there were any cavity-causing germs the plaque on teeth, they’ll be long dead and harmless once trapped in tartar.

Dental calculus actually prevents food and stains from reaching your tooth enamel. It’s also good for insulating sensitive teeth against temperature extremes. Most people find that their teeth are quite sensitive right after having tartar removed in a cleaning.

So, does this mean that dental calculus is good for your oral health?

Far from it!

What Tartar Does to Gums

Tartar buildup isn’t merely a cosmetic issue or matter of personal preference. What you really need to worry about is how it affects your gums.

As dental calculus deposits grow, they chafe delicate gum tissue.

The result? Gum inflammation and recession due to the gums detaching from your teeth.

Tartar growth also triggers a vicious cycle. It promotes new bacterial growth, which causes gum inflammation. Inflamed gums puff out and leave gaps next to teeth where more germs move in and where more tartar forms. The new dental calculus continues to irritate the tissue and makes that gap or pocket a little bigger. More bacteria and debris accumulate, deepening the pocket.

Eventually, the tissue breakdown can reach the point where your teeth loosen and fall out.

A small spot of dental calculus can be a big deal! See your dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups to prevent the complications that come with tartar buildup.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

May
18

Oral Hygiene Travel Tips and Hacks

Here’s what you should know to stay healthy even while wandering abroad or on your next business trip.

Downsize

Stock up on mini toothpastes and mouthwashes and foldable toothbrushes. Pack two or three of everything; they’re small! You’ll be glad to have some extras kicking around in case you lose something.

Keep All You Need in Carry-On Baggage

The last thing you want is to be stuck in an airport for 13 hours with no toothbrush because you got separated from your luggage. Keep the essentials with you at all times.

Stay Hydrated and Use Clean Water

Staying hydrated will keep your mouth’s pH balanced and reduce plaque buildup. Brush your teeth only with water that’s safe for you to drink. If you’re abroad, use bottled water.

Get Tips from Fellow Travelers

If you need help in a pinch, ask around to find a reputable clinic that offers treatment with the same standard of care you’re used to back home. Not all clinics abroad are as trustworthy, but there are plenty that are!

Bag Your Brush

Make sure your toothbrush gets a chance to air-dry between uses. But wrap it in a plastic baggie before stuffing it in your luggage (if you don’t have a case).

Fluoride

Should you find yourself without a toothbrush, try to at least get your hands on some fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can strengthen your teeth even if you can’t get all the plaque off.

Avoid Sugar

It’s tempting to indulge when you’re on vacation, but try to cut back on sugar to prevent decay.

Get a Dental Check-Up Before You Leave

Before you head out, get caught up on dental x-rays and teeth cleanings. This will minimize your risk of any unpleasant surprises on your trip.

Schedule a dental cleaning and checkup before your next flight out of town!

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Jan
26

Why Do My Teeth Feel Fuzzy?

Ever run your tongue over your teeth and feel like they were wearing little sweaters?

That fuzzy feeling goes away after you brush, but it comes back almost instantly after you eat. This odd sensation is caused by dental plaque – you usually don’t see it, but you can feel it.

What Causes Plaque on Teeth?

The gums around your teeth constantly release a kind of fluid. This fluid, along with saliva and food debris, mix to create a film that coats your enamel. Within a short amount of time, bacteria in your mouth multiply in this film.

This combination makes up the invisible biofilm called plaque. Plaque quickly grows to the point that you can feel it on your teeth like a fuzzy coating.

Why Plaque Is Bad for Teeth

Bacteria in plaque secrete acids that wear away enamel. Other kinds of plaque bacteria irritate the gums and lead to periodontitis. That’s why it’s not good to leave your teeth feeling fuzzy for very long.

How to Fight Plaque

You can’t stop plaque from forming, but there are some ways to slow it down:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use a toothpaste that contains triclosan, an antibacterial agent
  • Rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth.

Your diet also affects how fuzzy your teeth get. Plaque bacteria love sugar and foods high in simple carbs. Eating lots of junk food and sweets will cover your teeth in plaque faster than if you eat fresh vegetables and whole grains.

Schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. At each visit, you’ll learn effective ways to keep plaque at bay to keep your teeth healthy and smooth.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Oct
19

Are You Protected Against This Contagious Dental Disease?

Contagious? Which dental disease?

It’s not the latest viral epidemic to take over the media, but it is still a major health concern.

This notorious dental disease is none other than a Streptococcus mutans infection.

S. mutans is a species of bacteria. The clearest symptom of infection: Cavities.

Cavities are a disease (technically called “caries”) and a contagious bacterial one, at that.

Where Do the Germs Come From?

S. mutans bacteria are found in every human’s mouth. We aren’t born with them, but these germs quickly find us when we’re exposed to our parents’ saliva as babies.

People with low counts of this bacterial species can pick up more germs if they share eating utensils with or kiss someone who has higher counts.

Yes, cavities are a contagious disease!

So What’s Sugar Got to Do with It?

Sugar (and other forms of simple carbohydrates) provide the fuel that cavity-causing bacteria eat. As they metabolize sugar, they produce an acidic waste product that eats away tooth enamel and creates a nice hole for the bacteria to live in.

Carbohydrates also make the oral environment more acidic than normal. Under acidic conditions, enamel will wear down. So exposing your teeth to sugar for long periods of time is a double-edged sword: it weakens tooth structure and feeds the bacteria that break down enamel.

You can’t totally avoid S. mutans to avoid getting cavities. Instead, you have to prevent them from overpopulating. Limit how frequently you eat sugary items, and brush and floss daily. Get lots of fluoride to make your enamel more resistant to decay and get regular routine dental cleanings and checkups.

Ask your dentist about specific ways you can reduce your risk of contracting contagious cavities.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Oct
17

Is Sugar-Free Gum Good for Your Teeth?

It’s easy to assume that gum is just as bad as (or worse than) other candy and sweets.

But sugar-free gum doesn’t have the junky acidic carbohydrates that wear away enamel.

Instead, it packs a load of great benefits for your smile.

Freshens Breath

Who of us hasn’t popped a piece of instant-minty-freshness after a meal?

Chewing gum is a great way to mask unwanted odors and it can even pick up small pieces of food debris which otherwise could contribute to cavities.

Lowers Cavity Risk

The action of chewing a mouth-watering piece of gum is good for just that. It stimulates your saliva flow.

One reason that’s a good thing is because saliva neutralizes acid in the mouth and rinses away bacteria. Both of those are notorious for weakening teeth and starting cavities.

Fights Dry Mouth

If you struggle with dry mouth, then you know how frustrating it can be. You can’t drink water nonstop all day long unless you have frequent access to a toilet!

Instead, chew on some sugar-free gum to encourage more saliva flow. This can help you stay comfortable if dry mouth is a side-effect or symptom you have to live with.

Strengthens Enamel

That extra saliva has one more great benefit. It contains minerals that can be absorbed by tooth enamel. Your enamel needs these nutrients to stay strong and fight off things like bacteria and acid. The more saliva you have washing over your teeth, the better.

So pop a piece of gum now and then and enjoy the benefits! Just remember that it has to be sugar-free and it can’t replace good old brushing and flossing or regular dental checkups and cleanings.

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

Oct
15

Three Reasons to Keep Your Dental Appointments

Few people are thrilled about their schedule dental visits. As emergencies do happen, it’s easy to let the dental appointment slide if something else comes up.

There are, however, a few reasons you should make every effort to come to your scheduled appointment.

If you put it off once, it’s easy to put it off indefinitely.

You cancel your appointment because of a flat tire or bad weather. But perhaps the next scheduled date arrives and you just feel too tired to bother. After putting it off once more, you realize that maybe you don’t “need” to go at all this year.

You could have a serious problem brewing.

Most dental problems start quietly. You don’t usually feel a cavity or gum disease setting in. Once you have symptoms, it’s often far along. The issue has taken root and needs treatment that costs time and money.

Keep your scheduled checkups and cleanings and your dentist is more likely to catch problems while they’re small and manageable.

It makes it hard to get appointment times you want. 

Consistently not showing up or always cancelling at the last minute makes it hard for the practice to accommodate other patients in a timely manner…especially “popular” time slots like at the end of the business day. Dental practices keep a record of when patients cancel or “no show.” As long as you’re reliable, your reliability will earn you scheduling preferences!

Conversely, a bad reputation could hit you with fees. Time is valuable to the dental practice so if you waste it needlessly, you’ll have to start paying for it via cancellation charges, etc.

Be on-time for your scheduled dental appointments! You’ll stay on top of your dental health, save money, and build a great relationship with your local dental team.

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

Sep
4

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Your gums are important for a couple big reasons:

  • They protect tooth roots and hold teeth securely in their sockets
  • They’re closely connected to your overall health

Gums weakened by disease can lead to tooth-loss and even health complications such as stroke and heart disease.

So keeping your gums healthy clearly has a lot of benefits!

Here are some ways you can help your gum tissue thrive.

Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated prevents sticky bacterial plaque buildup, which causes gum inflammation. Getting lots of water also promotes a healthy saliva flow.

Brush and Floss Daily

Proper brushing and flossing remove the plaque that develops after meals and overnight. Use a fluoride toothpaste when you brush to get that added benefit for your teeth.

Use a Rinse Each Night

An antibacterial or antiplaque mouthwash creates an environment that makes it hard for bacteria to grow in. Your dentist may recommend a rinse as a therapeutic addition to your brushing and flossing routine.

Get Your Vitamins

Vitamin C is essential to warding off infection, especially in your gums. Strawberries, peppers, and citrus fruits are good sources of this vitamin.

Cut Tobacco Use

Smoking and other tobacco use causes gum recession, reduces gums’ immune response and blood circulation, and increases the risk of oral cancer.

Regular Dental Cleanings

When you see your dentist on a regular basis, he or she will check you gums for signs of trouble and let you know what to do before things get out of hand. Professional dental cleanings reduce the amount of buildup on teeth that cause gum irritation.

Don’t leave your gum health to chance! Learn more about healthy gums by visiting your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Apr
22

4 Reasons Your Dentist Wants You to Floss Daily

Flossing isn’t a “dentist thing.” It’s a health thing. Here are four reasons your dentist is hammering the flossing issue.

  1. Your cleaning appointments will be easier for you.

Daily flossing reduces buildup between teeth. If you don’t floss, you’re more likely to develop tartar, or calculus, deposits.

These rock-like formations can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning. The bigger and tougher the calculus deposits, the more your dentist or hygienist will have to work at removing them. That doesn’t make for a very pleasant cleaning session.

  1. Flossing could lower your risk for heart problems.

Along with tartar, bacteria also like to hide out between teeth. Certain germs are responsible for triggering gum inflammation.

If bacteria cause inflammation in your gums, then they can travel in your bloodstream and affect parts of your arteries. This could potentially cause a dangerous blood clot.

Preventative flossing disrupts those bacteria, lowering your risk for gum disease, and thereby reducing your risk for other serious complications.

  1. Your cavity risk will go down.

Any little bit you do to disturb bacteria between your teeth is going to keep the cavity-causing germs from wearing away enamel. Besides that, flossing removes food debris that your toothbrush misses. Those leftover bits could contain acids that only erode enamel further.

  1. You’ll have better breath.

Bacteria and leftover food get lodged between teeth. It’s just a fact: the more buildup between teeth, the more you’ll smell.

Flossing to keep your breath fresh isn’t just a courtesy to your dentist when he or she checks your teeth. Others around you will thank you, as well!

Schedule a dental checkup to get some tips on easier flossing.

Posted on behalf of:
ConfiDenT
11550 Webb Bridge Way, Suite 1
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 772-0994

Mar
6

4 Reasons to Schedule that Dental Check Up Right Now

It’s time to stop putting it off. Here are four reasons to pick up the phone in the next five minutes and call your dentist for a visit.

  1. You Have the Time.

Given the choice, which would you prefer?

A.) Have a routine dental cleaning and checkup at your convenience

B.) Use up a sick day at work to call in for an emergency root canal

Surprisingly, most people somehow make time for option B.

It’s simple, really. Get it over with so that you can stay more in control of your life.

  1. Your Health Depends on It.

Many a routine dental visit has revealed health problems patients never knew they had. Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body. Dentists know what is and isn’t normal in the oral environment. A simple dental examination could uncover early signs that you should see your doctor.

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Your Insurance Benefits.

Insurance benefits usually reset at the start of the new year. If you have a dental checkup now, you can get a good idea of what your oral health priorities are. Your dentist will help you create a to-do list that suits your schedule and budget and lets you strategically maximize your benefits right through the end of December.

  1. You Just Never Know What’s Lurking Beneath the Surface.

A lot of dental issues can be kept manageable (and affordable) just by catching them early enough. Routine x-rays, examinations, screenings, and preventative treatments will keep you on top of your oral health and minimize any unpleasant surprises.

So what are you waiting for? Contact a dental office near you today.

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

Feb
11

Have You Been To The Dentist Recently?

When was the last time you visited the dentist? If you’re keeping up with your cleanings and exams, it was probably less than six months ago, which is fantastic.

Unfortunately, not everyone stays on schedule to visit the dentist twice a year. Some people have a change in insurance or a family emergency that causes the need to reschedule. But we also know there are many people who simply don’t book their dental exams or preventive cleanings due to anxiety.

New Techniques for a New Age

Modern dental practices have moved far beyond the black and white mental picture that makes you so anxious. The chairs are comfortable. The anesthetic really works, so you shouldn’t feel anything at all. Your dentist does everything possible to help you relax and feel comfortable, whether it’s by having movies to watch, a blanket to stay warm in, or the chance to listen to your own music and tune out everything else. But more importantly, your dentist also offers sedation dentistry.

There are two forms of sedation that most dentists offer to patients with heightened feelings of trepidation: Oral Conscious Sedation and Nitrous Oxide. You might be familiar with Nitrous Oxide, or “laughing gas.” Inhaling it allows you to remain aware of your environment, but without the edgy nervousness that dental anxiety can provoke. Oral Conscious Sedation comes in pill form that’s taken about 30 minutes prior to treatment. The pill, a light sedative, allows you to remain conscious, but feel like you are taking a light nap. You probably won’t even remember the appointment afterwards!

Your six months dental cleanings and any necessary dental treatments are a big part of staying healthy. Contact your dentist to find out if sedation dentistry is right for you!

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

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