When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming in to our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.
What is Plaque?
If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.
What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth
Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.
What You Can Do
The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.
Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.
Painful, infected teeth are not a pleasant experience, but they are common symptoms of tooth decay. The good news however is that tooth decay is preventable. Your best defense against decay is a daily oral hygiene routine, as well as regular visits to our office. It can be helpful to know more about tooth decay and what causes it so that you are better equipped with the knowledge to prevent it.
More Than Just Sugar
Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay. Sugar build-up and deposits on your teeth lead to the erosion of the tooth. While it is important to be mindful of the sugary products you are consuming, sugar is not the only culprit in causing tooth decay. Acids can also damage your teeth. Foods that are high in acidic content can speed up the process of decay. Our dentist suggests you avoid drinks and candies with high sugar or acid content. If you find yourself consuming such things, make sure to keep up with your daily oral hygiene routine.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends avoiding snacks between meals, limiting sugary drinks and fruit juices, and not eating or drinking before bedtime after brushing.
You Can’t Always Tell
Decay doesn’t always have noticeable signs. When discomfort is felt, it could be a sign the decay has spread beyond one tooth. In other words, by the time you do feel it decay is far along. This can be prevented by regular visits to our office. Our doctor can help identify potential issues early and you will receive the best possible treatments for your teeth.
Teeth with Fillings Still Need to Be Cared for Properly
Previous fillings do not mean that your teeth are free of decay forever. It is essential you maintain proper daily care of your teeth. It is possible to develop decay around existing fillings, so be sure you are taking extra care especially around fillings. If you feel your existing fillings are giving you trouble, schedule an appointment to see us.
Tooth Decay Not Just a Kids Thing
All age groups are equally at risk of developing tooth decay. Parents should keep an eye on their children’s sugary snacks and treats, but this advice holds true for everyone. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable because of certain medications can damage their teeth. It is essential that all age groups are receiving twice-yearly dental examinations.
Tooth decay is a common dental issue. However, with the right knowledge you can prevent damage to your teeth. Watch your diet and make sure you limit sugary candies and snacks. Remember, you won’t always be able to see or feel decay, so contact our Roselle dentist to schedule a regular visit.
An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play.
Why Wear a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.
Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?
Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play.
Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?
Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.
If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our Roselle dentist will help you find a solution that works.
Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact Westlake Dental Care of Roselle and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.
If you are missing one or more teeth, our Roselle dentist may recommend a dental bridge. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve assembled a short guide to bridges.
The Purpose of a Bridge
Tooth loss can occur due to periodontal disease, injury, extraction, and other causes. When a space is left, your remaining teeth can begin to shift, leading to changes in your bite. This may also leave your gums more susceptible to damage and disease. A dental bridge may be recommended to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. This device may be removable or fixed, and includes one or more replacement teeth, which are anchored to neighboring teeth for stability. A dental bridge can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, covered, and functioning properly.
What to Expect
Bridges usually require two visits. During your first visit, we will prepare the surrounding teeth and take an impression that will be used to accurately fabricate the dental bridge to fit your mouth. We may provide a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from damage during the fabrication process.
During your second visit, we will fit your custom-made bridge into place. At this time, we will make any needed adjustments to ensure a proper fit and full comfort. We will also discuss a plan for future visits to ensure your bridge continues to fit properly.
Caring for Your Bridge
Keep your bridge clean and in good repair by brushing twice each day and flossing daily. If you remove your bridge for sleep, keep it in water or use a denture cleaning solution. For more information on proper bridge care, ask our team.
Bridges restore your mouth and your teeth to their normal function. If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with Westlake Dental Care of Roselle. We will provide an examination and determine if you are a candidate for a dental bridge.
It has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?
How does cheese prevent cavities?
Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.
Are all cheeses the same?
No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.
What kinds of cheese should I give my child?
There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.
What if we’re on a low-fat diet?
Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.
With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas from our Roselle family dentist for healthy snacking, contact Westlake Dental Care of Roselle.
Occasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.
When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Much of the public water supply is also fluorinated, meaning it contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to build strong teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.
Floss Your Teeth
We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.
Use a Disposable Toothbrush
If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.
Avoid Sugary Foods
A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.
Keep a Routine
Your oral health depends on your ability to brush your teeth twice-daily. Sometimes however, you might find yourself in a situation where that’s not an option. Our Roselle dentist suggest following these steps to minimize the damage to your teeth.
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.
Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:
Practice good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.
Brush your tongue.
Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.
Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.
Avoid bad breath triggers.
Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.
Chew sugarless gum.
By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.
Improve your diet.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.
See your dentist.
Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.
If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.
Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.
Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.
Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:
- Drink in moderation. Too much sugar and acid will eventually cause damage.
- Try sparkling water. This provides the fizzy sensation without all the sugar and acid.
- Drink more water. You will crave soft drinks less when you are fully hydrated.
- Don’t sip. The longer you spend drinking, the more time sugars and acids are reacting with your teeth.
- Use a straw. This can help keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth.
- Rinse with water after drinking to dilute acids and sugars.
- Don’t brush immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for acids to be neutralized by saliva before brushing.
- Practice good dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings and exams.
Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.
Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.
- Explain the important of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
- Schedule routine appointments to our office for cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health.
- Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
- Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.
- Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage.
Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are a systemic inflammatory disorder, which is how they have a connection. Both diseases frustrate the immune system and attacks its own tissues, eventually leading to tooth loss and pain of joints. Learn about the connection and what you can do to protect your overall health.
Studies show a strong connection between RA and gum disease, an inflammatory condition that can lead to tooth loss and other health complications. Both diseases have inflammation in common, which explains the connection. Inflammation is a protective immune system response to viruses and bacteria. RA is an autoimmune disease which causes it to mistakenly trigger inflammation even if there are no viruses or bacteria present. Also, Brushing and flossing can be challenging for those with RA. In the journal PLoS Pathogens, they found that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, increases the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, leads to an earlier onset of the disease, and causes symptoms to progress quickly.
It is important for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to be brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly. It is very important to work with your doctors to find out what works best for you. People who have both gum disease and RA should have an informed care team comprised of both a physician and a periodontist. If you don’t have a periodontist, you should get an evaluation from your dentist every year to monitor the status of your gums. Research has found that when patients with RA successfully treat gum disease, pain and other symptoms get better.
For patients with RA, one must pay close attention to oral health and schedule regular dental exams, eat healthy and always brush and floss. If you have trouble taking care of your teeth due to stiff, painful hands or jaws, speak to your dentist or therapist about ways to make dental care easier. Here are some tips as to how you can make dental care easier to manage:
- Toothbrush: add a tennis ball or bicycle grip to better handle your toothbrush
- Floss: experiment with different type of floss
- Toothpaste: using toothpaste in a pump may be easier for you than toothpaste you have to squeeze
If you have any questions or concerns regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our office to schedule a consultation and what we can do for you.