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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What is plaque and how does it affect your teeth?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth and, when we eat something, these bacteria release acids that attack the tooth enamel.
When these attacks are repeated over time, the enamel will break down and this will eventually lead to cavities.
When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and cleaning it hardens into calculus or tartar. When tartar collects above the gum line, brushing and cleaning between the teeth becomes more difficult.
The gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this happening:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner
– Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
– Ask your dentist about sealants these are protective coatings that can be applied to the back teeth where decay often starts.
If you take steps to remove the plaque each day, you have a greater chance of avoiding tooth and gum problems.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The secrets of brushing and flossing your teeth effectively

Though many of us say we brush our teeth regularly, you get the best results by making sure you brush properly.
Here are the steps you should follow:
First, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Then, move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
Finally, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
As well as brushing your teeth, you should floss them every day. Heres how to floss for best results.
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers.
Then wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
If you have difficulty handling dental floss, consider other types of interdental cleaner such as special brushes, picks or sticks.
Your dentist or hygienist will be able to give your further tips on how to brush and floss for best results.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How older adults can handle dry mouth and taste problems

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults.
It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form.
Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
Another issue that can affect older adults is a loss of appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.
Whether you are suffering from dry mouth or problems with your sense of taste, your dentist will be able to make suggestions to help.

Friday, June 2, 2017

How to take care of your teeth with braces

Braces are orthodontic apparatus used to help fix crooked and crowded teeth.
While modern braces can be comfortable and inconspicuous, you may have to take extra steps to care for your teeth when wearing them.
Its important that you continue good oral hygiene practices while wearing braces.
You need to continue brushing regularly, following the approach suggested by your dentist, as well as flossing daily and making regular visits to the dentist.
People with braces should stick to a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals.
Your dentist may suggest that you avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. This can include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods such as chewing gum or caramel.
You can still continue to enjoy sports and other activities but a protective mouth guard is often recommended to reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. Your dentist will suggest an appropriate mouth guard when the braces are in place.
Braces can make a big difference to your smile and your future dental health. Modern technology and following good practices means you should be able to wear them with comfort and confidence.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Maintaining proper nutrition as an older adult

Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
– Fruits
– Vegetables
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but its best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy or that you need for good health your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The causes of bad breath

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is an unpleasant condition that can cause a great deal of embarrassment.
And, for many people, its made even worse by the fact they don’t even know that they have it.
There are many possible causes for bad breath so, if you think you might have the problem, talk to your dentist.
What you eat affects what you breathe out. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor and even dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
If you don’t brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath.
Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia) which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases.
One of the reasons why its especially important to talk to your dentist about bad breath is that it may be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as respiratory tract infection or gastrointestinal problems.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be a warning signs of gum disease.
Smoking can also cause bad breath, stain teeth and reduce your ability to taste foods.
For all these reasons, you shouldn’t put up with the problem of bad breath. Talk to your dentist and find out what might be causing the problem.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How scaling and planing can help clean your teeth properly

Dental plaque is a film that builds up on your teeth and, if it is not removed through good oral hygiene, it can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
Over time it can ultimately form a hard, rough sediment known as dental tartar or calculus, which attracts further plaque buildup.
Calculus has to be removed by a trained professional such as a hygienist or dentist.
They may do this by manual tooth scaling or using an ultrasonic device.
If the buildup is light or moderate, the dentist or hygienist may use manual scaling instruments of various shapes and sizes.
If the buildup of tartar and stains is heavy, an ultrasonic cleaner may be used. This may be followed by hand scaling.
Build up of plaque can cause inflammation of the gums leading to breakdown of the connection between the teeth and the supporting structures.
Root planing is a procedure to treat gum disease by thoroughly scaling the roots of teeth to establish a smooth, calculus-free surface.
This treatment may require local anesthesia to prevent pain. Thorough periodontal scaling customarily involves several dental visits
If conditions are more advanced, surgery may be needed for complete debridement of the roots to arrest the disease process.
Some people tend to have more buildup of calculus than others and some may be more prone to periodontal inflammation or the development of tooth decay.
It’s therefore important to follow your hygienist’s advivce on how often to return for regular cleanings – even if your insurance only covers two a year.