For decades, most public water supplies in the U.S. have been fortified with fluoride. Fluoridation has been repeatedly proven safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. It doesn’t affect the smell, taste, or look of water–all while keeping your teeth strong!
A 2015 BBC article unveils the dangers of teeth whitening when a dental professional does not perform it. Unless you have purchased an over-the-counter whitening system, or one from a licensed dentist, it is not recommended to receive teeth whitening from anyone that is not a dentist.
According to the article, multiple beauty salons in England offer whitening services as a response to the high numbers of people who want the cosmetic service. However, customers who opt to go to the beauty salon for whitening instead of the dental office are in serious danger. A dental professional takes a detailed history of the patient and has studied the ins and outs of teeth, oral health, and whitening for years; your beauty salon does none of this.
You are putting yourself and your teeth at danger if you seek whitening outside of the dental office. If the whitening tray is not positioned appropriately then it is possible to get chemical burns, or even violently ill if you were to accidentally swallow some of the bleaching product.
In the UK it is even illegal for anyone who is not a dentist to offer a teeth-whitening service. So why you might be wondering are over-the-counter whitening kits allowed? This is simply because these kits have much lower levels of hydrogen peroxide than what is administered chair side. This makes it safe to use.
It is important to remember to see a dental professional if you want your teeth whitened. Otherwise, you can run the risk of harming your teeth and yourself by skipping the dental office and heading to the salon.
We’ve been told since we were children that we need to brush our teeth to be healthy by our parents, our doctors, and of course, our dentists. But what you may not know is that how you brush matters just as much as whether you do. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about brushing to keep your grin looking shiny and healthy!
Q: Is one brushing technique better than another?
A: Yes! Try a 45-degree angle, rolling the brush away from your gum line. Avoid scrubbing motions or too much pressure, as these techniques can damage enamel and be generally painful. Don’t forget to gently brush your gums too! This helps prevent bleeding and gingivitis.
Q: What kind of toothbrush should I be using?
A: There is some debate about this. The general consensus among dentists is that electric tends to be better at cleaning, but if you don’t like the feeling of electric brushes or they’re out of your price range, hand brushes can be just as good! Opt for one with soft bristles and a flexible neck.
Q: How often should I brush?
A: At least two minutes, at least twice a day. But too much more than that can irritate teeth and gums, so don’t go crazy brushing! Just like with anything, more isn’t always better.
Q: What about toothpaste?
A: Toothpaste is a great tool to help get teeth squeaky clean because of tiny abrasives that help scrub off plaque buildup. Pick one with fluoride to further prevent your risk of decay.
Brushing with the right tools and the right technique daily can greatly improve overall health and help prevent decay and disease! Don’t forget to finish with floss, and talk to your dentist at your next appointment if you need any more tips.
There are a variety of reasons why a patient may be unhappy with their smile. Your dentist can help! One of the more common complaints a patient may have about the look of their teeth is the height of their gums. If you have high gums, you may find that your teeth look somewhat small and short.
A variety of things can cause excess gum tissues such as certain medical conditions, medications, developmental gum problems, genetics, and even decay. While any combination of these things could be why you suffer from excess gum tissue, only laser gum surgery and laser gum contouring can fix it.
The main benefit of using laser dentistry is its precision. When using a laser, your cosmetic dentist can accurately and precisely target the areas of your smile that you would like contoured. The laser also comes with the added benefit of easing the inflammation of red, irritated, and inflamed gums. By using the laser on irritated gums, gums actually become more resistant to bacteria.
The best part about laser dentistry is that the treatment causes no bleeding or pain, and allows for a quick recovery. Talk to your dentist to see if laser gum contouring is right for you, and gain confidence in your smile again!
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that affects all aspects of health—and oral health is no exception. For example, dental implants have helped many patients who seek an alternative to uncomfortable, ill-fitting dentures, but diabetics may not always receive the full benefits of the switch. This is largely due to the fact that diabetics have unique circumstances in their mouths that increase their chances of developing oral infections.
Individuals with diabetes have been known to experience dental and mouth problems because of excess glucose (sugar) in their saliva. When food mixes with too-sugary saliva and bacteria, plaque forms more easily, which leads to “decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease or gingivitis.” In short, when glucose levels are increased in the mouth, the plaque levels also increase. The problems caused by high sugar levels can have lasting effects on the oral health of diabetics. If you are experiencing any of these problems as a diabetic, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss the possible options that are best for you.
Certainly, diabetics’ “ability to fight infections is not as strong as others,” especially in the mouth, where there is such a great amount of bacteria. However, in a recent study of 200 patients getting dental implants, only two did not heal like the others. The group of 200 patients included diabetics, and while these diabetic patients did take a tad longer to properly heal, the implants worked. It is extremely important for diabetics to take excellent care of implants to ensure infections do not develop, and if they do, then there is no reason why diabetics can’t have implants as a replacement for dentures.
In discussing the options best for you, your teeth, and dental implants, you will be advised by your dentist to “keep your blood glucose numbers as close to your target as possible, eat healthy meals, and brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to fight against tooth decay.”
Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Teeth?
Brushing your teeth should be a seemingly simple part of your daily routine. But, if while you are brushing you are doing any of these things then you could be causing more harm to your teeth than help.
Multitasking while brushing
Are you one of those people who check their emails while brushing or scrolls through their social media pages while brushing? If so, you could be messing with your teeth. If you are distracted while brushing then you are more likely to miss many of the surfaces that you need to hit while brushing. Skipping flossing means that you miss up to 40% of the surface of your teeth, and pair that with distracted brushing and you may miss most of the surfaces you need to get while brushing.
If every time you go to the dentist you manage to finagle your way out of x-rays then you are doing a disservice to your teeth. Some people are skipping x-rays because they fear that the radiation could cause cancer. The American Cancer Society has noted that dental x-rays do not necessarily cause tumors. In fact, dental x-rays are needed for comprehensive oral health. They can detect man things that are undetectable on a visual exam.
Storing your wet toothbrush
If you travel a lot then you might be guilty of this. Storing your wet toothbrush in a travel case allows more bacteria to grow. Make sure that your toothbrush dries before storing it for travel.
Reaching for the wrong mouth rinse
Make sure that your mouthwash is doing all it can for your mouth. Pick up a rinse that does more than freshen your breath. Choose a rinse that contains fluoride, helps reduce gingivitis, cavities, and plaque for better oral health.
It’s common knowledge that smoking affects your oral health, but let’s not forget about smoking’s destructive counterpart…smokeless chewing tobacco. For those of you unfamiliar with smokeless tobacco, snuff is a fine grain tobacco that a user places in their mouth between their lips and gums. As saliva generates the user, instead of swallowing, spits out the saliva tainted black from the tobacco. The result? The user feels the effects immediately. The nicotine goes directly into the blood stream, along with hundreds of carcinogens.
Unlike smoking, where carcinogens are present while inhaling, smokeless tobacco is a constant application of carcinogens siting in one spot for an extended period of time. If tobacco were fire, snuff would be like sticking your hands directly in the flame.
Snuff can harm your health in a number of ways. Everything from tooth discoloration, throat and gum disease, lung and oral cancers, and in some untreated cases, death. The greatest and most common concern for snuff users is gum cancer. Some major warning signs are while scaly patterns on the inside of the mouth or lips and red sores. If left untreated or undetected, the condition will develop into oral cancer.
So what can you do to avoid developing a serious illness? The first is obvious…stop the habit all together. We know, that’s a lot easier said than done. Try going the route of nicotine patches or gum. You’ll provide your body with the nicotine it craves, while not damaging your oral health. You can also visit your dentist frequently. The ADA recommends that smokeless tobacco users need to see their dentist more often than normal. Frequent trips to the dentist will help you keep an eye out for oral lesions that will later develop.
Your smile is your best chance at making a great first impression. It’s the first thing people see, and it can be the key to opening a conversation, making a new friend, or even brightening someone’s day. So, if oral health issues are keeping your smile hidden, it’s time to do something about it! Here are some ways to address 4 of the more common oral health problems to get you smiling again:
- Let’s begin with one of the most-dreaded: bad breath! Bad breath, also called halitosis, can keep people from feeling confident in social situations and engaging in friendly conversation. In the vast majority of cases (over 60%), bad breath is caused by improper dental hygiene. If you’re having this problem, you can start by doing whatever you can to keep your teeth clear of bacteria and food particles—that means brushing and flossing thoroughly, especially after meals. Changing your diet to limit junk food can also help. After eating, try non-alcoholic mouthwashes or ADA-approved, sugar-free gum to combat bad breath and help clear lingering food particles stuck in your teeth. If you do these things and find you still suffer from chronic bad breath, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist to see if there’s something else contributing to the problem.
- Tooth decay is the enemy of a bright smile, as it can leave you with discolored or even missing teeth. Tooth decay is most often caused by a bacterial buildup and can be prevented by proper brushing and flossing regimens (2-3 times a day) and regular trips to the dentist for cleanings. Also, avoiding acidic foods such as juices, pickles, soda, and sports drinks will help to decrease erosion and decay. If you or your dentist notice the onset of tooth decay, getting it treated as early as possible will help preserve your smile.
- Receding gum lines can cause serious discomfort, causing the gums to become red, swollen and bloody. Plus, if allowed to progress to gingivitis, receding gums can eventually lead to tooth loss. Inflamed gums and missing teeth are not exactly going make you feel like smiling! Try an ultra-soft toothbrush and go gentle on your gums. Wearing a nighttime mouth guard to keep yourself from grinding your teeth and causing pain can also help with gum recession. As always, your dentist can assist you in addressing your receding gums and provide you with advice and treatment options.
- Mouth sores, or canker sores, can cause extreme pain on the inside of your mouth on your cheek, tongue, or inside of your lip. That’s more than enough to keep you from smiling. These type of sores—not to be confused with cold sores, which are bacterial—are caused by a variety of factors, some simple (stress, food allergies, hormones), some less so (vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune issues), They generally recede on their own after several days, but in the meantime, you can manage the discomfort by avoiding spicy and acidic foods, rinsing your mouth with salt water, or using over-the-counter pain medicines. If they are frequently recurring, however, they may be a symptom of a larger issue and you should seek advice from a health care professional.
It’s our job to keep you smiling…so, if you have concerns about any of these issues, let your doctor know so you can work together to keep your smile radiant for years to come.
At first it may seem that heartburn has nothing to do with your teeth. After all, the burning sensation is in your chest, not your mouth. But repeated instances of heartburn can actually cause erosion and staining of the teeth.
When your stomach produces a large amount of acid in order to digest a hard-to-digest meal it can sometimes make its way up the esophagus and into the mouth. The stomach acids are powerful and cause a burning sensation in the esophagus, which is felt as pain in the chest.
This rising of the stomach acid up the esophagus is a condition known as acid reflux. When this condition is chronic it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD for short).
Once the condition is chronic it can cause damage to the teeth. The constant acid rising into the mouth from the stomach erodes the tooth enamel at an alarming rate.
In addition to getting treated for GERD, people suffering from the disease should consider avoiding brushing the teeth right after an episode of heartburn. Brushing while the enamel is weakened from the acid will wear it away even worse than just the acid would.
Additionally, chewing sugarless gum has shown to reduce the chance of heartburn, as well as stimulate the production of saliva to neutralize the acid in the mouth and remineralize the tooth enamel.
Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures in the United States. Annually, approximately 15 million are conducted. If you do the math, that’s around 41,000 a day! Despite their status as a mainstay in dentistry, as well as the best way to save a tooth, root canals can occasionally have adverse effect on teeth, leaving them brittle and more susceptible to problems later on.
Thanks to modern technology, however, Luiz Bertassoni, DDS, PhD and his team of researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) have begun development on creating artificial capillaries and blood vessels, which can have more lasting results after a root canal and prevent complications further on.
Because the 3D printed material that would replace infected tissue in a root canal procedure is more durable than the synthetic that would normally be used in the surgery, the tooth is less likely to become delicate and fracture later on, meaning less recovery time and fewer trips to the dentist’s office, which is always something to smile about.