Cosmetic Dentistry Can Improve Your Health, Too

Cosmetic dentistry is your ticket to a Beverly Hills smile. With veneers, teeth straightening, and teeth whitening, you may find that your friends and acquaintances cannot stop complimenting you on your dazzling smile. Hollywood movie stars may think of cosmetic dentistry as one more essential component as they dress for the red carpet, along with designer shoes and handbags, and custom-made dresses.

The aesthetic benefits of a stunning smile are wonderful, but the benefits of cosmetic dentistry go further. When you have a white, a perfect bite, and a symmetrical smile, your overall health can improve. This improvement can justify your time and effort in getting the smile you want.

Better Nutrition Is Your Ticket to a Healthy Life
When your nutrition is good, your health is better. Proper eating can prevent nutritional deficiencies and give you the energy you need to get through the day and be active. Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts can all help lower risk for heart disease and diabetes, but you cannot get enough if your teeth are in bad shape. Foods that are the healthiest for you can be the hardest to chew.

Veneers can be used to fix teeth that are worn down, uneven, and chipped or broken, and they take only a few visits to our office. Teeth straightening can fix a misaligned bite and crooked teeth, and you can get it done using invisible plastic trays instead of traditional metal braces, so nobody will even know you are getting treatment. These treatments can make chewing easier, so you can enjoy apples, carrots, chicken, nuts, and all the other healthy foods you love.

It’s a Quality of Life Issue
A healthy-looking smile can do wonders for your mental health. When you are proud of your smile and the way you look, your entire life seems better. You can confidently meet people, joke around with your friends, and enjoy the moment without worrying about the way your teeth look.

People may also treat you better. Their first impression of you will be that you have a beautiful smile, and, fair or not, they may be more positive toward you. You may make friends more easily or have more opportunities for advancement at work when you have an attractive smile and you are not afraid to show it.

Cosmetic dentistry is not just about vanity or a whim. Procedures such as teeth straightening and veneers can also be important for your overall health. Chewing well and flashing a gorgeous smile have far-reaching benefits.

Dental Hygiene and Your Overall Health

When people hear any mention of oral or dental hygiene, they probably think of how brushing and flossing impact the health of their teeth. Although this is an extremely important benefit of a good oral-care regiment, the term “dental hygiene” encompasses much more than that. Your mouth’s health, including that of your teeth, has a significant impact on your overall physical health.

You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health are inextricably linked, and therefore can’t be seen as two separate things. For individuals, this means that it is just as important to take care of your mouth, your teeth, and your overall oral health as it is to take care of the rest of your body.

What affects oral health?

Your mouth has roughly 500 different species of bacteria. Many are harmless, and some are even good bacteria that help maintain the balance of your intestinal flora.

The two most prevalent dental diseases are caries (cavities), also known as tooth decay, and periodontal (gum) disease.

A cavity is actually a symptom of a disease called caries. Tooth decay is a result of an active infection and condition in the mouth. There elements impacting this disease include, among other factors, active infection, bacteria levels, acid / PH levels, salivary activity, your tooth structure, and your nutrition. Oral bacteria live in a housing structure called biofilm. This offers them protection, food, and an ideal replicating environment.

Biofilm can be healthy if there is a balance of good bacteria. However, caries are a result of the numbers of “bad” bacteria increasing and the existent of an oral environment where they thrive and therefore cause tooth decay.

Harmful bacteria can also infect your gums, causing gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed, it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Gum disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth.

Now that you know how important good dental hygiene is, be sure to contact our office to get your teeth cleaned professionally by our expert hygienist every six months, have regular dental checkups, brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily, and replace your toothbrush every three months.

Electric or Manual Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

You live in the golden age of toothbrushes. Until a few decades ago, people used twigs or brushes made from animal hair to clean their teeth: not very soft and none too effective. Now you have a choice of manual brushes with soft, medium, or hard bristles. Or you might choose to go with an electric toothbrush instead.
Have you ever wondered whether manual or electric brushes provide better cleaning? Actually, they both do the job. The key is to brush and floss every day, regardless of the kind of brush you prefer. At our office, we like to say the best brush is the one you’ll use. So if you prefer manual, go for it. If you prefer electric, turn it on. Both types have their advantages but both types will get the job done as far as removing plaque, if used properly.

Electric Toothbrushes

  • Provide power rotation that helps loosen plaque
  • Are great for people with limited dexterity due to arthritis or other physical limitations
  • Are popular with kids who think the electric brushes are more fun to use
  • Can come with variable speeds to help reduce pressure on sensitive teeth and gums
  • Uses timers to ensure you brush evenly across the four quadrants of your mouth and for the optimal two minutes each session

Manual Toothbrushes

    • Can help brushers feel they have more control over the brushing process
    • Allow brushers to respond to twinges and reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums
    • Are more convenient for packing when traveling
    • Are cheaper and easier to replace than the electric versions

In many ways, the golden age is just beginning. There are already phone apps available to remind you to brush and floss. New apps can play two minutes worth of music while you brush, help you compare the brightness of your smile, or remind you to brush and floss throughout the day. Maybe someday, there will be an app that examines your teeth after brushing to identify spots you might have missed.

October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

Here are some guidelines around brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing sugar-free gum, you can following and apply it to your daily oral health regimen.

Brush

Always brush two minutes, two times a day, every day

Research shows that brushing for two minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque-related diseases. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles. Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively. Here are some links to help you find out more about how to brush your way to a healthier smile and mouth.

Floss

Ensure Flossing is a Daily Habit

Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gumline and between teeth. Failure to do so can allow for plaque buildup in these areas – which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Getting into the routine of daily flossing can be a challenge. Making flossing easier can improve compliance with recommendations for daily flossing. If you resist flossing, try to determine why and tell your dental hygienist. Knowing the precise reason you are not flossing will enable them to recommend floss with the right thickness, coating or filaments so you might be encouraged to floss more often. Here are some additional education information sources and resources to assist in making sure to floss each day.

Rinse

Use mouthwash to improve oral health

Rinsing your mouth with an anti-microbial mouth rinse each day is another important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis). Remember that the teeth themselves account for less than half of your mouth, so brushing and flossing alone cannot eliminate all plaque and germs. Be sure to finish your oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. You also should talk with your dental hygienist to determine which mouth rinse is right for you. The following educational information and resources can provide with you additional insight into the proper use of mouthwash.

Chew

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help fight tooth decay

Supported by:

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating is clinically proven to be an important part of good oral health. The action of chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay — saliva — which in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles. Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health. Help your body naturally fight against tooth decay by chewing sugar-free gum after meals. Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health.

Top Tips for Healthy Teeth

We all know that prevention is the best medicine, and this applies to your oral health most of all. Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy can be easy if you follow these simple tips and manage your oral health from an early age.

  1. Start children on the path to ideal oral health at an early age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children visit the dentist by their first birthday, but home dental care should start before your child’s first tooth erupts. After every feeding, use a damp cloth to wipe your infant’s gums clean. At your baby’s first dental appointment, we’ll go over the steps you’ll need to take to keep your little one’s new teeth healthy.
  2. Prevent cavities in hard-to-reach molars with sealants. Sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on the surface of your child’s teeth. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. This ultimately reduces the risk of tooth decay.
  3. Focus on nutrition. A healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods that includes grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, will provide all the necessary nutrients needed for teeth to stay healthy.
  4. Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco. In addition to staining your teeth, tobacco significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be deadly.
  5. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time. In addition, floss your teeth at least once a day. Use ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove food particles and plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. If you can’t brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water, or chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralizes acid.
  6. Visit our office every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning. With routine exams and cleanings, you can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures, keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks, and have a smile that will last a lifetime!

Is it time to toss your toothbrush?

Has your toothbrush seen better days? No matter what type of toothbrush you use, when the bristles become frayed and worn, it is no longer effective for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The American Dental Association recommends you change your toothbrush every three months, and so do we! Also keep in mind that you should replace your toothbrush after an illness to avoid re-infection.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

So which kind of toothbrush is right for you? Whether manual or electric, choose a toothbrush that is appropriate for your oral health needs.

Size: The head of your toothbrush should allow you easy access to all your teeth, especially those hard-to-reach molars. A toothbrush that is too large will be cumbersome to maneuver in a smaller mouth, while a toothbrush that is too small won’t be as effective in reaching all the surface areas of your teeth.

Bristle type: A soft-bristled toothbrush is your best bet to achieve a comfortable, safe, and effective teeth cleaning. Medium- and hard-bristled brushes can damage your enamel and gums, especially if you tend to be an aggressive brusher.

Expert recommendation: Make sure the toothbrush you choose has undergone rigorous safety and effectiveness testing. Please consult our team for recommendations on the best type of toothbrush to meet your needs.

Technique: Finding the right toothbrush is the first step in great oral health. The second is ensuring that your brush using the right technique. Placing the toothbrush closer to the gum line and brushing with gentle circular motions for two minutes is important to achieve the best results.

Do you have questions about choosing the right toothbrush for your smile? Contact our office or ask us at your next appointment!

When should I floss?

If you are one of the 50 percent of the population who floss on a daily basis, we think that’s great! We prefer our patients practice good oral hygiene between office visits, and part of that process includes flossing, which is the process of cleaning between the teeth to remove food and debris from the areas that are otherwise hard to reach with a toothbrush. When food remains trapped between the teeth, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which can ultimately cause periodontal disease.

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, should I floss before or after brushing?”

According to the American Dental Association, you can do either. The advantage of flossing first is that you can brush away dislodged food debris afterward. However, brushing before flossing allows you to loosen plaque between the teeth, making it easier to floss more effectively.

Whichever you choose, make sure to floss thoroughly. That means using a fresh strand of dental floss each day, and carefully pulling it back and forth between all of the teeth. Do not skip flossing because your teeth look or feel clean.

Unlike brushing, you needn’t floss multiple times a day; once a day will do the trick. Some of our patients choose to floss in the morning or after lunch, however many prefer to floss at night so as to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. The idea here is that flossing before bedtime could prevent the build-up of plaque, a known cause of tooth decay.

Patients can choose between interdental cleaning picks, pre-strung flossers, or flexible floss strands. If you have questions about your flossing technique or which type of floss is best for your teeth, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss this with you and make home care recommendations.

Happy flossing!

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

If you have any questions about the role calcium plays in your child’s diet, please give us a call or ask us during your child’s next appointment!

“What can I do to combat tooth discoloration?”

We see many adults who struggle with tooth discoloration and are hesitant to show off their pearly whites when they smile. Once we identify the cause of your tooth discoloration, there are effective treatment options we can happily provide that can restore the whiteness of your teeth, as well as your confidence.

So, what causes tooth discoloration?

Good question. There are a number of reasons why teeth become discolored. While some are under your control, other reasons are not so preventable. Here are common reasons why teeth become discolored.

  • Genetics: Much of your dental health is determined by genetic factors that are beyond your control. Some people naturally have thinner enamel or discolored teeth.
  • Medical Conditions: Genetic conditions known as amelogenesis or dentinogenesis are responsible for improper development of the enamel, which leads to yellowed, discolored teeth.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day, as recommended, or regularly floss may lead to tooth decay and discoloration.
  • Medications: Several medications lead to tooth discoloration as a side effect. If you received the common antibiotics doxycycline or tetracycline as a child, your teeth may have discolored as a consequence. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also contribute to discolored teeth. If you think a medication may be leading to tooth discoloration, give us a call. That said, you should never discontinue the use of a medication without consulting your doctor first.
  • Foods and Tobacco: Consumption of certain foods such as coffee, tea, wine, or soda can cause tooth discoloration. The use of tobacco can also cause teeth to turn yellow or brown.

Irrespective of the cause, there are a variety of treatment options available to address discolored teeth. One of the most effective ways to reduce tooth discoloration is through prevention. One good way to start is to avoid drinking red wine, coffee or and stop using tobacco products. If you drink beverages that tend to leave stains, we encourage you to brush your teeth immediately or at least swish with water after you finish the drink to diminish staining.

After determining the cause of tooth discoloration during your appointment, we can also suggest other proactive treatment options. Over-the-counter whitening agents might help, but in-office whitening treatments provided at our office or for home use can be more effective. When whitening agents do not help, bondings or veneers are alternative solutions for tooth discoloration.

If you are worried about your teeth turning yellow or brown, think carefully about your diet and medication use. Talk to us first to identify foods or substances that may be causing the problem and let’s discuss treatment options we may offer to undo the damage to your teeth’s color. After treatment for tooth discoloration, you will have a healthy white smile you can be proud to show off.

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