Category Archives: Dental Tips

5 Apps to Benefit Your Dental Hygiene

Alright all you tech savvy smart phone owners: time to put your phone to good use in helping with your oral health! We all use our phones all day everyday, but did you know that among the millions of apps out there, there are actually quite a few that aim to help improve our dental hygiene? Here are five to get you started.

First we have the Dental Expert app. This app explains dental procedures and treatment options, if ever you are curious or forget exactly what your dentist said about a certain procedure. It puts all the concepts in layman’s terms for easy readability, and is laid out in an accessible, user-friendly menu along with fun dental facts and myths as well!

Next up, a Pediatric Dental Expert app that allows first time parents to gain knowledge of anything from correct teething schedules to understanding overbites and how to fix them. Whatever the concern is for the little one, most of the information will be on here, right at your fingertips!

Speaking of children, we know that visiting the dentist for the first time can be frightening at a young age, but with the Tiny Dentist app, it doesn’t have to be! This specific app allows kids to “be the dentist” and put themselves in their shoes. They can play around fixing teeth and hopefully become less fearful of actually attending appointments. It even allows them to play-sit in the dental chair to feel more comfortable!

Hmm, did we remember to floss today? Flossing is one of the singlehanded most important things we can do for our oral health, but remembering to is sometimes difficult! With the app Flossy, keeping track of flossing and nurturing the habit becomes way easier. The app sets reminders and allows you to schedule specific times for flossing.

Lastly, we have Brush DJ. Two minutes is the suggested time for brushing but sometimes we fall short of that. With Brush DJ you can use any song and it cuts it to exactly two minutes, so when the songs ends, the brushing is complete! How clever!

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Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes—while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with less frequency, but it doesn’t make them any less crucial. Read on for a few lesser-known insight into your mouth that only the pros know.

1. White Teeth Aren’t Always Healthy Teeth

We all want our teeth to look beautiful. Your smile is often one of the first things others notice about you, and everybody wants to make a good impression. It’s easy to prioritize looks over health—but don’t. If your mouth is riddled with cavities, it doesn’t do you much good to get a whitening treatment, nor do white teeth mean there are no underlying health issues.

2. Dental Health Isn’t Necessarily Hereditary

When you visit your doctor, you’ll often have to discuss your family’s medical history with them in order to determine your risk for certain diseases. Luckily, dental health doesn’t work exactly the same way. If your parents and grandparents wound up with dentures later in their lives, it doesn’t mean that you’ll inevitably need them. Most of your dental health is contingent on your own habits, so keep up the brushing!

3. Do More Than Clean

While hopefully most of your visits to the dentist will only include a simple cleaning, it’s important to periodically ask for additional exams such as oral cancer screenings or x-rays. A little extra time in the dentist’s chair ahead of time can help you avoid larger problems later on.

For more helpful tips and tricks, or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us!

Is Losing Teeth Related To Losing Other Functions?

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The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently published a study that showed people aged 60+ who had none of their own teeth performed worse in memory and walking tests than people who still retained their own teeth.

Even after adjusting for a myriad of variation in behavior, like socio-demographics, existing health conditions, physical health, smoking, drinking, depression, and socio-economic status, people who didn’t have their own teeth still performed slower than those with teeth.

Tooth Loss

According to the lead author, Dr. Georgios Tasakos, “tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60-74 year olds…excessive tooth loss presents an opportunity for early identification of adults at higher risk of faster mental and physical decline later in their life.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are missing a few teeth you should worry about suddenly developing mental problems—it’s just a good indicator of decline that should be noted in older adults. It’s just another reason to keep up healthy oral habits life-long.

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Beware of Brushing?

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Too much brushing can’t hurt, right? Not exactly.

The American Dental Association recommends that everyone brush their teeth at least twice per day. If you’re especially keen about taking perfect care of your teeth, maybe you brush after meals too. But be warned: there is a right way to do this.

Researchers have discovered that brushing too soon after a meal, especially when you’ve had something acidic to eat or drink, can damage your teeth. Acid breaks down your enamel and can damage the next layer, dentin. Dentin is the bony tissue that forms your tooth. Dr. Howard Gamble, president of the Academy of General Dentistry, notes that “with brushing, you could actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin.”

So when is safe to brush? According to current research, if you brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after a meal, you’re good to go. And if you want to be extra careful about acid damage, Dr. Gamble recommends rinsing your mouth with water after a meal. You can also use a mix of one part baking soda with eight parts water to really balance out any acidic residue.

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3 Budget Friendly Options for Treating Sensitive Teeth

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Having sensitive teeth can be a real bummer. It can prevent you from eating the foods you love and cause you pain. While it may sound pricey to treat sensitive teeth, there are a few simple things you can do to help relieve any pain and discomfort you may be having.

1. Change Your Toothpaste

Some toothpaste can be tough on those of us with sensitive teeth. Try switching to a tooth-sensitive toothpaste which will be a lot gentler on the teeth. These specially designed, less abrasive toothpastes can help to relieve your pain and prevent further sensitivity.

2. Change Your Brushing Habits

Brushing your teeth too hard, can damage enamel and cause sensitivity to your teeth. Try brushing gently with a soft-bristled brush to help relieve the pain you feel when you brush. By using less pressure you are saving yourself from wearing away at enamel and exposing sensitive nerves in your teeth.

3. Change Your Diet

By avoiding foods with a high acidity like citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes you could relieve sensitivity. These foods have high levels of acid that can destroy enamel and cause oral pain. Even drinks such as wine can wear away at enamel. Instead of totally cutting these foods from your diet, try to eat them with foods that will neutralize the acid and promote saliva such as cheese.

If you’d like to explore additional options or for more information on tooth sensitivity, consult your local Newton, MA dentistry professionals at Flawless Dental today!

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Travel & Health: 3 Dental Tips to Pack for Your Next Vacation

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Vacations can be relaxing, restful, and the best way to “get away” from it all. Travel, on the other hand, can be stressful, tiring, and can leave you longing just to be home.

Travel & Oral Health

Taking care of your health, especially your oral health, before leaving on your next trip can help ensure that what you’ve left behind doesn’t catch up with you in the form of extra fees, dental bills, insurance problems, and painful procedures.

  1. 1. Get Treated

  2. If you have any existing oral conditions, leave enough time to receive the treatment you need from your regular dentist. Remember that follow-ups that may be necessary. If there is the possibility of needing a surgical procedure such as a root canal, don’t take the chance of putting it off until after your trip – pain can take away some of that zest for adventure.

  3. 2. Get Connected

  4. So you’re a world traveler – you know that you have to be prepared, tucked into your under-clothes money pouch you have your medical insurance card. But are you prepared for dental emergencies too? Jot down some numbers and names in case you need dental treatment abroad. Ask your dentist if they are members of any associations with international branches. Even ask your insurance provider about emergency coverage in the places where you are headed. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

  5. 3. Go Shopping

  6. Instead of digging out that spare toothbrush that stays in your travel kit, consider spending the spare change and buying a new one for your next trip. Old faithful has served you well, but travel toothbrushes get tossed around in a variety of germ-ridden environments. While you’re at the store, purchase a toothbrush cover with holes for ventilation and some extra floss in case your current supply unexpectedly runs out (it happens to all of us).

    For those long bus rides next to strangers you’d rather not scare with your breath, keep sugar free gum handy! Remember that sum countries have limited access to adequate teeth brushing facilities. Do a little planning ahead, a little homework, and a little shopping, and you can avoid an unsavory holiday. Bon voyage!

For more expert advice from your local Newton, MA dentists, schedule a visit to Flawless Dental today!

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3 Alternatives to Traditional Flossing

When it comes to flossing, it’s not exactly the easiest thing to add organically to your routine. Sure, we are all told from childhood that flossing daily is crucial to oral health and preventing cavities/gum disease, and this is one hundred percent true.

But in reality, how many of us truly floss at least once a day?

The truthful answer is ‘not many’ and the list of excuses is as long as, well, a piece of floss. “I just forget to”, “I don’t have any time”, “it hurts, and my gums bleed”, “I used up the whole sample you gave me last cleaning”, and so goes the list. But in this modern age of technological alternatives, there are some products that may help you add flossing to your routine:

1. “G-U-M” Soft-Picks

These are an excellent alternative for those who are looking for a gentler way to clean between teeth, and can be used on the go or in between meals. Essentially it’s just a soft-bristled toothpick that fits easily in the gaps of you teeth, allowing you to clean out bacteria and stimulate you gums to promote health. They are also an excellent alternative to floss for kids with braces, or that that wear a bridge/dental implant.

2. WaterPik Oral Irrigator

The WaterPik Oral Irrigator is an excellent alternative to flossing when used properly, and can be used by the whole family conveniently. Essentially it’s a sophisticated squirt gun that uses a tiny pulsating jet of water to remove plaque buildup and bacteria from teeth. The water jet is also said to promote healthy blood flow to the gums. Also, you can supplement the water in the reservoir with anti-bacterial or tartar controlling mouthwashes for a lasting clean.

3. Sonicare AirFloss

The Sonicare AirFloss machine works in a similar fashion to the WaterPik, but with minor tweaks. The AirFlosser uses a jet of air and super-fine water droplets to blast plaque and bacteria from the spaces between teeth. It also has a precision tip and trigger to allow for super-accurate cleaning in hard to reach areas.

While these tools are all excellent alternatives to flossing, most dentists agree that traditional flossing is still the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, these gadgets can help you at least get closer to the seemingly unachievable goal of flossing every day!

Ask the dentists at Flawless Dental in Newton, MA about your best flossing alternative on your next visit!

Don’t Chew on This: The Clear Hazards of Ice


Ever have a bad habit that you just can’t break? Chewing on ice may be a habit that can break your teeth. Before you start crunching on the last bits of cubes left in your glass, or reaching for ice chips to busy your mouth, there are a few things you should know:

1. Teeth Need Enamel

When you chew on ice, the enamel on your teeth wears down and the dentin becomes exposed. This puts your teeth at risk for decay and damage, not to mention uncomfortable sensitivity.

2. Icy Hot Cycles

Changing the environment in your mouth from a cold to hot temperature can cause fillings to expand, shortening their lifespan. This means an additional visit to the dentist, additional cost, and discomfort beforehand.

3. Puncture-Free Zone, Please

Pieces of ice can have sharp edges, which can easily puncture soft gum tissue. Your gums are exposed to enough abrasion, without having to dodge sharp, icy-cold bits!

4. Toothache, headache, brain freeze!

Chomping on ice involves severe movements with your jaw, which can easily lead to a headache, or a toothache if the soft tissue within your teeth becomes irritated. And the flash exposure to cold can definitely initiate the onset of a brain freeze.

Ice is not meant to be snack food, regardless of what weight-loss proponents may recommend. Chew on this information before mindlessly biting down on the next piece of ice.

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Fighting Dental Cavities with Oil Pulling

While there are many fads out there that claim to be beneficial for your general or dental health, oil-pulling actually is. It can reduce the number of cavity causing bacteria as well as reduce the tooth-eroding acidity in the mouth. Studies have also shown that oil pulling can reduce the plaque index of your mouth. In this post we will explain how to perform oil pulling and how it acts to protect your teeth.

But what is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an extremely simple process that you can add you your brushing and flossing routine.

    1. Just take 1 or 2 teaspoons of coconut or sesame oil and swirl them around in your mouth making sure to pull it through and around gaps in your teeth.
    2. Do this until the oil turns thin and milky white (with practice you will know how long this normally takes).
    3. Spit out the oil into the garbage or sink, depending on how well your plumbing handles grease.
    4. Go on with your regular brushing and flossing routine.

How Does Oil Pulling Stop Cavities?

Scientists don’t know yet the exact mechanism that makes oil pulling work, they just know that it does. Research has shown that oil pulling reduces the number of cavity-causing bacteria. Further research has also shown that coconut oil is the best acting oil but that sesame is also a very good oil for oil pulling. So if you want to decide which oil to use for oil pulling consider using either sesame or coconut and then go with whichever you prefer.

One way in which oil-pulling may work is in the reduction of the acidity in the mouth. Since these oils are alkaline they can counteract the effects of the acid in the mouth. Not only will the neutralization of the acid stop the demineralization of your teeth’s enamel but it has also been shown to stop the growth of cavity causing bacteria.

A Word of Caution

Just because oil pulling works, doesn’t mean you should rely solely on oil pulling to take care of your teeth. In places like rural India where oil is available and toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss may not be, oil pulling can be the dominant form of dental care. But in developed countries where you have the advantage of the best dental care possible, oil pulling is just another tool in your belt with which you can fight cavities.

What is a canker sore and how can it go away?


If you’ve found a sore inside of your mouth, don’t mistake it for a contagious cold sore. Canker sores come and go on their own, and don’t spread to other parts of your body or to other people. You don’t have to necessarily start taking any medications, but you may need to change something in your diet.

A canker sore is basically an ulcer in the mouth, and can be unusually painful or barely visible. They can appear when certain medical conditions such as swollen lymph nodes occur, or when you eat acidic or spicy foods. Wearers of braces and other oral aids can experience canker sores due to something sharp cutting thin membranes in your cheek or tongue. Whatever the cause, if a canker sore is causing you pain consider using over-the-counter numbing relief. If canker sores continue to plague you, it is worth monitoring the patterns in which they appear – is it something you ate? Is it how you ate it (large pieces that may have punctured your mouth)? Are dental aids the source of irritation?

These stubborn little sores may be painful, but they’re not unbeatable. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and you will be healthier because of it.