Rinsing With Water Right After Brushing is Not Good For Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing are vital to maintaining good oral health. When you are done brushing, you may want to reach for that little tumbler of water to rinse your mouth, but stop! Before you go rinsing your mouth after a good brushing, there are a few things you need to know.

Fluoridated Tooth Paste

When you are choosing a toothpaste for your daily brushing, be sure that you choose a paste that has been recommended by the American Dental Association.

Check the label and make sure that your favorite paste also has fluoride in it, because, even as an adult, your teeth need it. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel in your teeth, preventing plaque, tartar and bacteria from attaching and causing tooth decay.

So what happens if you take your time, floss between every tooth, brush for the full two minutes and then spit and rinse? Well, all that hard work, all of the fluoride that you just applied to your teeth, goes swirling down the drain with the water. Instead of rinsing with water, simply spit out the toothpaste and be done. If you absolutely need a rinse after brushing, we suggest that you purchase a fluoridated mouth rinse to use in the place of plain water. However, it is best if you do not rinse at all for at least 30 minutes after brushing.

The bottom line is that the most important part of your oral health care is making sure that you are brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Studies have shown that it is best not to rinse after brushing because that rinses away the fluoride that you have just applied to your teeth.

Give our office a call if you have any questions about what fluoridated toothpaste you should choose, and do not forget to schedule your next cleaning!

Chewing on Ice Can Damage All Parts of Your Mouth

A lot of people like to chew ice. For some of us, it takes us back to childhood, when we used to crunch ice from our slushies. While crunching ice may bring us memories of a happy childhood, in reality, crunching ice is not good for you. Crunching ice is really not good for our dental health.

In fact, crunching ice can cause significant damage to your entire mouth, not just your teeth. Not sure how that works? Keep reading. We can give you some information on why ice chewing is bad for your oral health.

Why Chewing Ice Cubes is Bad for Your Mouth

First, chewing ice puts a lot of pressure on your teeth. This is bad for your teeth, because while the spongy inside of your teeth is flexible, the enamel that covers your teeth is not. Chewing ice may not hurt your teeth the first time you do it, but over time, it can wear out the enamel just as if you’ve been grinding your teeth for months. Also, one wrong chomp on a piece of ice could result in a chip or a fracture in your tooth enamel.

Second, if you chew ice on a regular basis, you can cause wearing of your teeth as well, no matter how small the pieces are. This is because chewing ice causes a repetition of hot and cold cycles in your mouth. These hot and cold cycles mean that your tooth enamel is expanding and contracting between cycles. If your mouth has fillings, they expand and contract at a different rate than the enamel. These can lead to microcracks. Chewing ice can also reduce the life of your fillings.

Reasons You May Chew Ice

It has been found that low iron levels can create a desire to chew ice. Emotional stress and other nutritional issues may also play a role. If you can’t break the habit a trip to your physician may be in order.

Ice Can Harm Other Dental Components As Well

If you are one of the many adults who wear braces, or have partials, you need to know that chewing ice can damage these as well. Brackets can break, and wires can move when you chew ice. Pieces of metal or partial plates can break off and damage your teeth cheeks and tongue.

Also, because pieces of ice can be sharp, the shards can cut your gums, tongue, soft palate or cheek. If you have questions about chewing ice, why not give us a call? We would love to talk to you about your ice chewing habit.

How a Numb Tooth is Treated

A happy patient after she overcame her dental anxiety.If your teeth have gone numb, you may be feeling despair and defeat, wondering what your next step is and if any options are available. There are several treatment options, ranging from simple procedures to more severe, permanent alterations.

Preventative Care

The easiest way to avoid needing treatment is to avoid injuring or harming the tooth in the first place. When engaging in sports that may injure your mouth be sure to wear the proper safety gear. You should also make sure to practice dental hygiene, brushing twice a day and flossing daily to ensure that bacteria don’t build up to the point that more invasive methods are needed.

Drilling to the Root of the Problem

Most commonly, the solution to a numbed or deadened tooth is not necessarily to treat that tooth, but to ensure that the problem cannot go on to other teeth, by a process called a root canal. During a root canal, we remove the pulp and surrounding infected matter of your dead tooth, then fill the inside with gutta-percha (a natural latex polymer) and seal it to ensure that the infection does not spread to other teeth.

This is not always a viable solution, however. Sometimes, the dead tooth will have to removed entirely, via a tooth extraction. If this happens, we typically replace the lost tooth with an implant or bridge. For particularly severe cases, a partial or full denture may be required to prevent your good teeth from shifting around or loosening, or bone and gingiva loss which can lead to more problems in the future.

If your tooth is numb, you should contact us immediately before the problem has a chance to escalate further, to see what treatment we recommend to save your mouth from permanent, potentially disfiguring damage.

How a Mouth Guard Can Improve Your Quality of Sleep

There are many causes of interrupted or disjointed sleep that can be traced back to your mouth. Fortunately, mouth guards aren’t just for professional athletes anymore, and many options exist that can be tailored to your particular needs.

Catching Z’s Without Sawing Wood

Most people who snore are unaware of it (although their partners may be reading this article instead, in that case!), but for some people, the act of snoring is jarring enough to wake them up from a restful slumber. A mouth guard will hold your mouth in a shape that encourages free air flow, preventing the wheezing and snorting that can accompany nocturnal inhalations and exhalations, while remaining comfortable enough to not disturb your sleep.

Sleep Apnea Terror

For many people with sleep apnea, the fear of spontaneously stopping their breathing in their sleep can lead to horrified insomnia. There are devices, however, that can help with that, and give you your night back. The MAD (mandibular advancement device) snaps over the dental arches and easily open and close, preventing obstructions and other preventions of their breathing.

Put Through the Grinder

Even if you think you are sleeping well, many adults grind their teeth in their sleep, and the pain of this can be enough to briefly interrupt your sleep schedule. (To say nothing of the pain that follows the next morning.) A mouth guard can help keep your teeth safely removed from each other, so that you harmlessly gnaw on rubber instead of eroding your own teeth further.

There are other preventable issues that might be interrupting your sleep, for which a mouth guard may be a convenient and affordable fix. Speak with one of our qualified professionals today and discuss what is keeping you up, so we help you reclaim a full night’s sleep.

Your Gum Health is Directly Linked to Your Heart Health

More research than ever has connected a healthy mouth to a healthy heart. This supports the need for good oral health in order to prevent a host of other medical issues.

By better understanding the connection between oral and overall health, you-ll know why dental hygiene needs to be a priority in your life.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Several research studies have found a connection between gum disease and heart disease. The exact cause-and-effect hasn’t been proven, but the studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe this may be due to inflammation caused by gum disease.

In addition to increasing heart disease risk, gum disease could exacerbate existing heart conditions. This is because bacteria in the mouth could make their way into the blood stream and travel to the heart and other organs. For example, patients at a heightened risk for infective endocarditis might require antibiotics before they undergo dental procedures.

Gum Disease and Stroke

Other studies have pointed to a connection between gum disease and stroke. One particular study looked at the relationship between oral infections and stroke risk factors. Researchers found that people diagnosed with stroke were more likely to have oral infections compared to people in the control group.

Protecting Your Gums and Heart

Good dental hygiene and regular dental exams are the best way to protect your mouth against gum disease. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss daily. A plaque or tartar controlled mouthwash with fluoride can also help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

In addition to caring for your teeth, regular dental appointments are crucial in order to maintain healthy gums. If it has been a while since your last appointment, give us a call today to set up your next dental cleaning.

You Need to Tell the Truth about Your Flossing When You Come to See Us

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, but we know that for many people, this is a challenge. That’s why some of our patients come in for their cleanings and are not completely honest about their flossing habits.

We want you to be truthful about how much you floss so that we know how to best help you.

Flossing is Critical for Good Oral Health

Flossing plays an important role in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque builds up around the gum line and between the teeth where your toothbrush won’t reach. Failure to floss will allow bacterial buildup that can wreak havoc on your mouth.

We Can Tell if You Don’t Floss

For the most part, lying about your flossing habits is unnecessary, because we can tell whether or not you floss by the condition of your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed immediately, it turns into a substance called tartar, and this hard material cannot be removed by any type of at-home oral hygiene. We’ll need to use specialized tools to remove it.

We Can Help

Flossing is relatively easy, and we can show you how to do it so that it is painless and comfortable. If you have dexterity issues, we can recommend a pre-threaded flosser or other tools to make the process easier. Otherwise, you- simply need to wrap about 18 inches of floss around your middle fingers. Work the floss gently between the teeth in a back and forth motion and be sure to move on to a new section of floss for each space.

The next time you come in to see us for a dental cleaning, please know that you can be honest with us about your oral hygiene. We want to help you maintain a healthy mouth and beautiful smile, and to do that, we need an accurate picture of how you care for your teeth.

Would Veneers Improve Your Smile?

Absolutely! You can use dental veneers to mask the imperfections in your teeth and achieve a much-improved smile. A smile is a big part of your life. As much as you might want to wear that smile as often as possible, dental imperfections may come in the way. Your smile should be an element of pride, but tooth imperfections may be making you embarrassed to show your teeth out. It is in this light that cosmetic dentistry came up with veneers.

Veneers allow you to get a dental transformation, enabling you to have beautiful and well-aligned teeth that match your natural features.

Veneers are made out of thin shell-like porcelain. These are crafted and customized to your perfect fit. A cosmetic dentist determines the size, shape, and color of your teeth to make the veneers appear more natural. Once prepared, the dentist carefully sticks them to the surface of your teeth, and you achieve an instant makeover.

Advantages of Veneers

Before dental veneers

Before dental veneers

After porcelain dental veneers

Dr. Shapiro created a new smile with 10 porcelain veneers

They are long lasting. If you properly maintain and care for them, your veneers can last up to 20 years or more. These dental enhancements have a non-porous surface that is resistant to chipping and scratches to ensure extended durability.

They give a natural appearance. Veneers blend so well with your natural appearance that other people cannot tell that you are wearing them. Also they are stain-resistant because of the nature of their structure. This feature allows them to retain their original color over time.

A wide range of dental imperfections can be masked using veneers. Veneers can be crafted for one tooth, multiple teeth or the entire smile. They can be used to cover up discoloration, a crack, a gap or a chip of the tooth.

As incredible as they sound, dental enhancements should only be applied to healthy teeth that are free of infections and gum disease. Your dental health should always come first. Book an appointment with us and find out if a dental enhancement is the right fit for you.

Why Your Teeth Need Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, and your body needs a good amount of it in order to function. One of the things that Vitamin D does is promote strong teeth and protect your gums and mouth against bacteria. If you have a deficiency in Vitamin D, it’s likely that you will develop cavities, gum disease, and other issues.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize exactly how vital this vitamin is to the body or what it does for your teeth.

Vitamin D and Calcium

In order to absorb enough calcium for the body to create strong bones and teeth, you have to have a good amount of Vitamin D in the body. This vitamin makes it easier for the body to absorb calcium from food and drink. If you’re deficient in Vitamin D, you’re going to only get around 10 to 15% of the calcium from your food. This can lead to increasing your risk of infection, developing osteoporosis, and other health issues in addition to having weaker teeth and having a higher risk of gum disease.

What Vitamin D Does

Unlike many different vitamins, the body doesn’t absorb Vitamin D from food. Instead, it creates Vitamin D itself. This process is activated when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Of course, you can also get Vitamin D from supplements, but the Vitamin D created by your body is more potent and easier to use.

Once created, your body transforms Vitamin D into calcitriol, its active form. Calcitriol is then circulated throughout the body and functions similar to hormones, promoting cell growth, helping to battle infection, and reducing inflammation. It helps the teeth by fighting off infection that can lead to gum disease.

Short on Vitamin D?

If you know you have a Vitamin D deficiency, your doctor likely has you on supplements. It’s also important that you make sure you make your six-month checkups and call us when you believe you have the beginnings of gum disease so we can keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

How Long After Brushing Should You Wait to Eat?

There is a lot of conflicting information regarding the order in which you should brush your teeth. It is logical to think that brushing right after eating is the best thing to do because your mouth is dirty and has all these food particles between your teeth. The short answer to this common question is, it depends.

Brushing Your Teeth in the Morning

Some people brush their teeth before they even shower, as they can’t tolerate the morning breath taste in their mouth or perhaps they don’t brush their teeth before bed. It may be better for your oral health to brush first thing in the morning in this case.

Your mouth is full of bacteria that can react to certain foods, especially after the sleeping hours. Cleaning your mouth in the morning will remove the harmful elements in your saliva and adds protective fluoride before foods touch your teeth.

Should You Brush Before Bed?

Brushing your teeth before bed is essential. In many cases, you don’t have time or access to a toothbrush at work or school. This means you haven’t brushed your teeth since you left the house and you ate lunch or snacks during the day. If you get too tired at night to spend two minutes brushing your teeth, try to do it about 20 minutes after eating your last meal to give them time to recover from the acidity in the foods you had. Don’t skip brushing your teeth before bed and don’t forget to floss at least once a day.

In people with good oral health, there is no problem with eating after brushing his or her teeth. However, those who are prone to cavities should wait. There is no set time you should wait, and you can also let the taste of the toothpaste wash away before having a snack or drink.

How Kidney Function Stems from Your Oral Health

It is indisputable that your overall and oral health are intimately connected. With scientific research, the way in which people view dentistry has changed dramatically in recent years, and we now focus on our patient’s overall health.

There was a time when going to the dentist was seen as a form of torture, but with recent discoveries, we realize how important having a healthy mouth is for your general well-being.

People who suffer from kidney disease are particularly susceptible to dental infections. Something that can be easily solved in a person with good health can be a grave problem to someone with kidney issues.

Kidney Disease and Periodontal Disease

The primary function of the kidneys is to manage all the waste our body produces. When a person has a disease in these organs, their immune system is compromised, and it doesn’t fight infection as effectively as it does in a healthy individual.

Periodontal disease is a severe form of gum disease that has become chronic, generally due to neglect and lack of professional dental care. As the infection progresses, someone with limited kidney function won’t be able to fight off the disease as effectively.

Gum disease can also make a person more susceptible to periodontal disease because one of the common symptoms of kidney disease is bone loss, which can affect the jawbone. Teeth can become loose with a weaker jaw and could eventually fall out if the situation is not brought under control with dental treatment.

It is critical that you let us know if you have kidney disease because some of the medications we use can interact with dialysis treatment and cause more bleeding during a dental procedure. Moreover, a kidney transplant can be delayed until after treatment for gum disease, or severe tooth decay is completed. We recommend you advise your treating doctor of any dental procedure in advance.