Dental Tips Blog


What Is That Gunk on Your Teeth?

Have you ever scraped a fingernail against your tooth and noticed an accumulation of sticky film? You’ve probably heard the terms “plaque” and “tartar” before. But you may not know exactly what they are.

What Is Dental Plaque?

Dental plaque is a pasty deposit made up of bacteria, food, and fluids from your gums. A plaque layer develops on all surfaces of your teeth within hours after brushing and keeps getting thicker until you remove it by brushing and flossing.

Plaque is clear until it reaches a certain thickness of growth. It can look white or take on a yellow hue. Plaque grows faster after you eat, especially after eating sugar and other carbohydrates.

Dental plaque is the stuff that comes off when you scrape your teeth with your fingernail or clean them with a toothbrush.

Where Does Tartar Come From?

Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is mineralized plaque. It forms in areas where the plaque was left behind to mix with minerals in the saliva which cause it to harden.

Calculus is chalky and hard. It can be white or yellow like plaque and it can even turn brown or black from stain. This tartar buildup won’t come off with a toothbrush or fingernail no matter how hard you try. It stays on your teeth until it’s taken off with special dental tools.

How to Keep Your Teeth Gunk-Free

You can slow down the growth of debris on your teeth by brushing and flossing thoroughly every day. In order to prevent plaque and tartar from causing dental problems, however, you’ll need professional dental cleanings.

Contact your local dentist to schedule a teeth cleaning and to learn more about keeping your teeth free of unwanted buildup!

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


Have Your Kids Had Their Back-to-School Dental Checkup?

Depending on where you live and what school your children will attend, you may be told that your kids need dental screenings before enrollment.

Why does it matter whether or not your children have had a dental checkup?

Dental Health Impacts Success at School

Schools aren’t trying to keep out kids with less-than-perfect teeth. Rather, they want to make sure your child will thrive and get the most out of his or her education.

Dental problems can cause physical and emotional stress. Pain from a decayed tooth may make it hard for your child to chew their food and get the nutrition their growing bodies need. Bad breath and stained or broken teeth could lead self-esteem issues and difficulty interacting with other students. Sore teeth and gums can cause problems with focusing on schoolwork and interrupt an essential sleep schedule.

You can schedule necessary dental treatment any time it’s convenient for you. The important thing is that there is a current record of your child’s dental health.

What Happens at Your Child’s Dental Checkup

Your child’s dentist will examine his or her teeth to check for problems or development issues. If it’s your child’s first appointment, they may need a few x-rays, but this isn’t something to expect at every dental visit. The dentist will then let you know if any treatment is needed and fill out any forms your child’s school may provide.

Schedule Exams Before the New School Year

Take advantage of the remaining weeks of summer vacation to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning for your child. This will give your child a good head start for the upcoming year of school.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336


Why Do I Have So Much Tartar on My Teeth?

Is your smile dulled with chalky yellow tartar buildup?

Only a professional dental cleaning will get the cement-like accumulation off. But you may be able to slow down the development of calculus (tartar) if you know what causes it in the first place.

Where Tartar Comes From

Tartar is mineralized dental plaque. It hardens after being exposed to saliva. Despite your best efforts, some calculus deposits will show up here and there. It’s natural; everyone gets tartar, but some individuals may naturally form buildup more than other people.

How to Prevent Tartar Buildup

Since tartar is made from soft dental plaque, you want to remove that biofilm before it has a chance to harden.

Brush twice every day. Focus on jiggling the toothbrush bristles along the gumline, especially on the backside of your front teeth. Spend a solid two minutes at least, even if you’re using an electric toothbrush. Rushing too fast leaves plaque along the curves of your teeth.

Try “dry brushing.” Buff away heavy debris off your teeth with your dry toothbrush before you add any water or toothpaste, then brush as usual.

Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent more plaque buildup after brushing and flossing.

Avoid dark-colored foods and tobacco use, which can stain tartar and make it stand out.

The best thing you can do to stay on top of tartar buildup is to schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups. Most people only go for one or two a year, but you might want to consider getting an extra one or two to help you keep up.

Ask your hygienist or dentist for more tips on preventing calculus deposits from dulling your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999


Does It Hurt to Get Your Teeth Cleaned? These Tips Can Help

It’s time for your 2 o’clock dental visit and you can’t shake that familiar feeling of dread.

You’re scheduled for a teeth cleaning and you already know how it’s going to go: the pain, the sensitivity, the doubt that the torture will ever end.

If you’re tired of each routine dental cleaning going this way, then the following tips are just what you need.

  1. Ask for Anesthetic.

Sensitive gums may be where your discomfort originates. The hygienist can apply a thin layer of topical numbing jelly to help them relax for your cleaning session. You can even as for laughing gas if you want!

  1. Use Desensitizing Toothpaste.

Most patients have sensitive teeth right after a cleaning. Use a dab of desensitizing paste like a conditioner for your teeth every time after brushing. Do this on a regular basis to strengthen your enamel before your next dental visit.

  1. Lose Yourself.

Sometimes, you just mentally have to go to your safe place. If you don’t focus on the work that’s going on in your mouth, it will be easier to endure the necessary evil.

Bring an audiobook or favorite calming playlist to listen to through headphones and let yourself just drift away.

  1. Switch Cleaning Tools.

Some patients are very sensitive to the ultrasonic instruments that work the fastest for removing tartar. If your hygienist is using an automated tool to clean your teeth and it hurts, you can ask him or her to switch to the hand tools for a while to give your teeth a break. For some people it’s the other way around.

A little honest communication and preparation are all that’s needed to make a dental cleaning more comfortable. Contact your dental office for more help in surviving your next trip!

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199


Healthy Summer Snacks for Your Kids

School is getting ready to let out, and parents everywhere are planning out their summer activities. From day camps to water parks, there’s no more exciting part of the year for your kids (except for maybe Christmas break.) With all that energy they’re burning, they’re sure to be hungry too! Here are some healthy snack ideas that can keep tummies satisfied without being hard on teeth:

Cheese Sticks — Sharp cheddar cheese is rich in calcium for strong teeth and bones. It’s also been proven to neutralize acid inside of the mouth, helping people reduce their risk of tooth decay.

Apples — Biting into crisp, fresh fruit keeps teeth clean and adds important vitamins to your child’s diet. Stick to anything that can be picked. The texture of apples and carrots in particular, are great for teeth and gums.

Nuts — Assuming your child doesn’t have a nut allergy, nuts like almonds and other varieties are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient helps keep gums healthy, but it’s also essential to healthy brain development.

Be Sure to Avoid the Sports Drinks — If your child is active in a summer soccer or baseball league, you’re probably bound to see tons of sports drinks on the team bench. However, unless your child is physically exerting themselves at the level of an Olympic athlete or at risk of a heat stroke due to temperatures, water is all they need to stay hydrated. Sports drinks cause rapid tooth decay (worse than soda) so it’s better to find a fun, personalized bottle and keep it full of fluoridated tap water.

Don’t forget to schedule that next dental cleaning and check-up for your child. Call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care of Acworth
5552 Robin Road Suite A
Acworth GA 30103


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


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



Summer Travel Dental Care

Summer is a time for vacations, trips to the beach and backyard cookouts with friends and family. The kids are out of school, you’re taking a week or two off from work here and there, and summer becomes a time of letting loose and letting go. And with all that traveling and relaxation, it’s easy to let good dental hygiene habits go by the wayside.

Here are some quick tips to make sure you enjoy the season without neglecting proper dental care:

  • Schedule your family’s routine dental cleanings and checkups in the summer months. Dental appointments are sometimes difficult to get during the school year, especially during those busy after-school hours.
  • Pack a travel kit that’s ready to go whenever you are. Include a new toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. You could also throw in some dental wax, gauze and pain reliever in case of emergencies. (The wax can be applied to a broken or chipped tooth until you can get to the dentist.) It is also a good idea to wrap your toothpaste in a plastic baggie, to avoid the mess of a leaky cap.
  • If you’re eating out or attending a cookout, take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundant in the summertime. They are both nutritious and better for your teeth than candy, soda and other sugary treats.
  • Carry some sugarless gum with you, for those times when you are unable to brush after a meal. The chewing motion helps stimulate saliva, which in turn helps to neutralize any acid in the mouth.
  • If sugarless gum isn’t available, try water, another neutralizing substance. Just a little swishing will go a long way to reducing any risk of tooth decay.

If it helps, just think of the summer as a time to get into a different routine for your regular oral hygiene, albeit a much more relaxed routine.


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



Who is Taking Care of You at the Dental Office?

Have you ever wondered what licenses or education the different members of your dental team have, and how it allows them to be qualified to be able to care for you when you’re visiting for your dental check-ups?


Licensed / Registered Dental Assistants are an important team member that works alongside of the dentist during patient care appointments. Every assistant has taken a state or national examination as well as formal technical training in order to be qualified for their job role. They set up for the treatment before you arrive, make sure the proper equipment is available, and keep the doctor running efficiently during their appointments. Assistants often have additional licenses including Nitrous Oxide monitoring, placing sealants, or coronal polishing. They may also be in charge of running the sterilization and radiology portions of the office. Because they work one-on-one with the dentist during patient care, they have a great understanding of the need and treatment process of different procedures.


Registered Dental Hygienists are the people you see for dental cleaning appointments, or for periodontal treatments. Hygienists have a 4 or 2-year degree in dental hygiene from an accredited school as well as passing a national written board and a national clinical board. A hygienist may function under the supervision of a dentist on patients of record to provide preventive care and periodontal therapy. Most hygienists are focused on the preventive aspect of patient care, including placement of sealants, screening for periodontal disease, conducting oral cancer screenings, and nutritional counseling. In some states hygienists are allowed to administer local anesthesia.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care



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