Did you drop the ball on spring cleaning this year? Not to worry — you still have time! After all, the first day of summer isn’t until the 21st of June! As you put together your plans for tackling the deep cleaning of your home and property, though, you may forget to consider one small, but very essential item: your toothbrush. Don’t be among the many who overlook the importance of taking the time to properly clean and care for their toothbrush this spring.
Why Should I Clean My Toothbrush?
If you’re brushing as often as you should, you’re using your toothbrush at least 2-3 times each day. How can you expect your toothbrush to do its job and keep your mouth clean and healthy, though, if you’re not keeping IT clean and healthy? In recent years, scientists have conducted studies that have determined that certain microorganisms within the mouth can be transferred to the bristles of your toothbrush, making your brushing less effective. Investing just a little of your time in the process of cleaning and caring for your toothbrush will help eliminate the build-up of bacteria and microorganisms, meaning a healthier, happier mouth.
Toothbrush Cleaning 101
Ready to make sure that your toothbrush is well cleaned? Here are three steps to a healthy brush:
Rinse — Always take the time to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each and every use. All toothpaste and debris should be carefully removed from both the bristles and the shaft of the toothbrush.
Store — After rinsing your toothbrush, you need to make sure that it’s properly stored. This means that the toothbrush should be kept in a place where it’s both upright and uncovered. When the toothbrush is laying down, it may not dry as effectively. This is also a problem when a toothbrush is covered or left in a sealed container. Putting the toothbrush in a container can also encourage bacterial growth. We recommend keeping your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet to prevent airborne contaminants from affecting it. Whenever multiple toothbrushes are stored together, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the bristles are not touching so that you can avoid cross-contamination. Finally, allow your toothbrush to fully air dry between uses.
Soak — After cleaning your teeth, your toothbrush’s bristles have been exposed to bacterial contaminants. When left untreated, the bacteria can build up and make your oral hygiene routine less effective. We recommend that you let your toothbrush soak in mouthwash for approximately 20 minutes each day in order to kill off the bacteria. And while we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus tip: rinse your mouth with mouthwash before brushing your teeth. This will cut down on the bacteria in your mouth that your toothbrush bristles will need to be exposed to.
When to Replace
Cleaning will only get you so far with your toothbrush. No matter how well you care for the brush, it will need to be replaced eventually, so it’s important that you know the signs. As a general rule, toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3-4 months. You may need to replace the brush sooner if the bristles have become frayed, so keep an eye out for any issues. Always remember to closely monitor your children’s toothbrushes, as theirs need to be replaced more often and will not come to this conclusion on their own.
Need some more tips on how to care for your toothbrush, or information on how to select the right brush for your oral health? Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call today. We’ll set up a time for you to come in for a cleaning and a consult.
Tobacco is highly addictive, and smoking is a huge daily problem for individuals all across America and throughout the globe. Many of these folks have a strong desire to quit. Of course, people mainly want to stop smoking because of the damaging effect that it has on their heart and lungs, but another strong motivator is the negative impact that smoking has on an individual’s teeth and oral health. In today’s post, we’ll explore just how smoking impacts your mouth and provide you with some useful tips for quitting today.
The Effect of Smoking on Your Mouth
Okay, so how bad is smoking for your mouth, really? The answer is: very bad. Here’s a look at some of the many ways that smoking can negatively impact your oral health:
Staining/Discoloration — The most obvious problem created by smoking is that your teeth can begin to yellow and look discolored. This staining is permanent without professional treatment, and it can make you feel self-conscious and less attractive.
Bad Breath — No one wants to be the person with stinky breath, but if you smoke, there’s a stronger chance that yours is not so pleasant.
Periodontal Disease — Smoking actually causes periodontal disease. This bacterial infection destroys soft tissue and bone that are needed to keep your teeth anchored to your jawbone. As the gums sicken and recede, you’ll notice bleeding. Over time, your teeth will become loose and you’ll experience pain. One or more of your teeth may even fall out. What’s more, tooth replacement procedures are less successful in smoker’s mouths due to existing damage.
Information and Tips for Quitting
Because tobacco is extremely addictive, quitting can be a major challenge. Before attempting to quit, it’s important that you learn all about what will be happening to you from a psychological standpoint. This is what will help you find the most success as you work to overcome cravings and any anxiety you may experience.
Your Last Cigarette — You’ll probably feel some mixed emotions when smoking your last cigarette. On one hand, you’ll feel proud of yourself for taking a step to improve your health. You might be excited about what the future holds. At the same time, though, you may also notice fear or panic setting in. This is where it’s important to remind yourself that quitting is all about taking things one step at a time.
Hours After Your Last Cigarette — At this point, you’re going to notice your first cravings beginning to kick in. Expect it and prepare ways to distract yourself, like going for a walk, seeing a movie with friends, or cleaning the house. You might also experience headaches and hunger. Again, being prepared with distracting activities, snacks, and water intake will help. Remember that the symptoms will pass soon.
Day 1 — One of the hardest parts of quitting smoking is that smoking has likely become a major part of your daily routine. We suggest playing around with your routine and shaking things up so that you aren’t hit with the urge to pick up out of habit.
Day 3 — By now, the worst should be over. Your cravings should subside significantly and you’re learning to do things a new way.
Since the first 2 weeks are the most difficult, we recommend seeking out the support of a group or a trusted friend in order to help get you through more comfortably. Your hard work WILL pay off.
Quitting smoking will prevent any future problems with your teeth, but you have have some stains or existing issues that need to be addressed. Talk to Dr. Bruce McArthur about your options for improving the look and health of your smile today.
Missing a tooth? Whether you lost a tooth in an accident or had to have it pulled, knowing that one of your pearly whites is missing can be very distressing. It should go without saying, then, that replacing the tooth is extremely important and should be done as quickly as possible. But why is this so critical, and what can you do to remedy the issue? Today’s blog will tell you everything you need to know about dealing with a missing tooth.
Why is it necessary to replace a missing tooth?
Sometimes we come across patients who aren’t fully convinced that they need to do anything about a missing tooth. Being nervous about the possibility of undergoing a dental procedure, they will try to convince themselves that they can “live with” the gap. We wouldn’t recommend this approach.
First of all, the overall aesthetics of your smile are affected significantly. An empty space where a tooth should be will stand out like a sore thumb and detract from your self-esteem. The problem goes beyond beauty, though. A missing tooth can also take away from your oral health. Each of your teeth acts as a place holder for one another. When a gap exists, neighboring teeth may begin to shift. This causes trouble with alignment and detracts from the strength of the jaw.
How can I replace a missing tooth?
If you’re among those who get jumpy when it comes to the idea of replacing a missing tooth, fear not. You’ve got plenty of options, all of which are routine dental procedures and minimally invasive.
One of the most popular (and most highly recommended) methods for replacing a dental tooth is to introduce a dental implant to the patient’s mouth. Here, a tooth root is replaced and a separately created crown is attached. Both the tooth root and crown are custom made to ensure that the replacement tooth is indistinguishable from the rest of your teeth. It’s important to understand that this particular procedure will require you to undergo a minor surgery. You’ll also need to give your mouth time to heal and your root time to “settle” before the crown can be affixed. This, however, is the most long-lasting and reliable way to replace a missing tooth.
Fixed Partial Denture
Before implants, the standard for tooth replacement procedures was the fixed partial denture — also known as a fixed bridge. Some dentists and patients still select this option. With a fixed partial denture, the teeth on either side of the gap are crowned. These crowns work to support a false tooth (known as a pontic) between them. The pontic will blend naturally with your other teeth, and you will be able to enjoy normal functionality of your jaw and teeth. It is important to carefully discuss this option with your dental professional before making a choice so that you’re aware of all the details. After all, two of your other teeth will need to be altered in order to accommodate the crown. Make sure you’re armed with the facts.
Removable Partial Denture
Your last option is a removable partial denture (RPD), which is comprised of an artificial tooth and a plastic anchor that mimics gum tissue. The RPD is attached to metal clasps that are hooked onto neighboring teeth and it can be taken out for cleaning. This is the most affordable option, but you’ll need to have the RPD checked out frequently to ensure that it’s not causing other teeth to become loose over time and that it still fits properly.
There’s no reason for a missing tooth to hold you back. Dr. Bruce McArthur is more than happy to work with you to find a solution that fits your needs. Give us a call to learn more about replacing your missing tooth today.
We all want healthy teeth. Good oral hygiene, after all, impacts all aspects of health and longevity. But just because your mouth is free from any cavities or gum disease doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your teeth are attractive. For one reason or another, your teeth may be detracting from your self-esteem and negatively impacting your smile. Whether due to genetics, a sports-related injury, or other circumstance, you may find yourself wondering if you’ll ever be happy with the way your mouth looks. If this sounds familiar, porcelain veneers may be the answer.
Porcelain veneers are crafted from thin layers of life-like dental porcelain. The purpose of these veneers is to cover up any teeth that you may feel are unattractive or unsightly and give them a complete makeover. This is all completed with minimal tooth preparation, time, and cost. In fact, porcelain veneers offer one of the most affordable solutions for improving the appearance of your smile. Interested? Read on to learn about a few ways that porcelain veneers can change your smile for the better.
White, Bright Coloring
One of the most common complaints that people have about their teeth is that the color isn’t what they would like. White teeth have become a standard for beauty, and having anything less than vibrantly white teeth can leave you feeling unattractive and undesirable. Although you may be able to correct minor issues with the use of whitening strips and other treatments, you’ll find that after years of eating and drinking certain foods and beverages, some stains may be hard to get rid of. Here, veneers can be used to cover up the discolored areas and brighten your smile. They are designed to match your other teeth so that no one will be able to tell the difference between your porcelain veneers and the real thing.
Teeth may be extremely tough and resilient, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become damaged. Significant oral injuries can lead to chips and cracks, while frequent tooth grinding can result in abnormal wear and tear that makes some teeth appear shorter than others. Of course, there are also those who are simply born with one or more teeth that are oddly shaped. Regardless of the reason why, it’s only natural for you to want uniform shaping and beauty across your entire smile. Customized porcelain veneers can be used to perfect the shape of your teeth.
As a society, we tend to favor teeth size in direct proportion to both the lips and the amount of gums that show. Some people are born with teeth that are much shorter than this, while others may have worn their teeth down to a shorter size after many years of habitually grinding them together. If this has been an issue for you, you might consider using a veneer to add length to your teeth for a more appealing size. Talk to your dentist about limitations, though. Teeth that have lost too much structure may require a porcelain crown instead.
Correct Alignment and Spacing
Many people struggle with problems related to crooked teeth, poor bites, or excessive gaps between teeth. In extreme cases, orthodontic treatments such as braces may be required, but minor alignment and spacing issues can be remedied with porcelain veneers. Smaller gaps and slightly crooked teeth can be masked at a fraction of the cost and in much less time.
You deserve to smile with complete confidence in the appearance of your teeth. Feel free to reach out to Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today in order to learn more about how porcelain veneers can give your mouth a complete makeover.
By the time your child hits the age of 12 or 13 years old, his or her adult teeth will have all settled in for a permanent stay. This means that as a parent, you only have a few years to instill your kids with solid oral hygiene practices. The habits that they start to develop at a young age will stick with them throughout their entire lives, so it’s extremely important that you take steps to start early. So how can you work to protect your child’s teeth — both before and after the adult set grows in? The following five tips are the simplest, yet most effective means of doing so.
Eat and Drink Right
Good oral hygiene starts with the food and beverages that your little ones put into their mouths. Even adults struggle to cut back on sugary snacks and beverages, so imagine how difficult it is for kids to moderate! As a parent, it’s your job to regulate your child’s diet. Take the time to explain to your children how too much of a good thing can be very bad for their teeth. Set rules limiting your child’s consumption of candy and sweets, and make sure that they brush their teeth directly after eating. And don’t forget about juice! Many parents mistakenly believe that juice is healthy. In reality, the majority of juices are packed with so much sugar that it’s not much different from drinking soda. Treat juices like a special dessert or treat.
Children who are over the age of two should be using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is able to make the outer surface of teeth much more resistant to acid attacks that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. It’s also wise to check to see if your tap water contains fluoride and talk to your dentist about fluoride supplements.
Remember the 2×2 Rule
Anyone who has ever had a toothache can tell you that it’s not pleasant. In fact, the pain of a toothache can get so intense that it’s difficult to even think straight at times. When you experience a toothache, it means that you have an underlying problem and need to see your dentist right away before the situation gets any worse.
The question is… what is this underlying problem you’re experiencing? What we’d like to do in this two-part series is explore the top ten reasons for toothaches. We’ll start with the five most common and continue with the second set of five next week.
1. Tooth Decay
The first reason for a toothache on our list is also the most obvious. If your tooth has significant decay, then the inner layer — called the dentin — is affected. When this happens, the tooth becomes extremely sensitive to outside stimuli. The pain will often be dull, but if the decay reaches the center of the tooth, the pain will become sharp and nearly unbearable. In fact, the pain can be so bad that you’ll barely be able to function, opting instead to roll into a ball and try to ignore it. Our advice? Call your dentist!
2. Tooth Abscess
Once tooth decay has advanced to the root beneath your tooth, the pain will be widespread. This makes it difficult to determine which tooth is the source of the pain. If this happens, you must get to a dentist immediately in order to prevent the loss of bone or tissue. This is a serious issue that you can’t afford to put off any longer than you have to. You need to have a professional ascertain the problem and get it fixed right away.
3. Gum Disease
Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from gum disease and those numbers aren’t expected to go down anytime soon. When you experience gum disease, you may feel a dull pain in your mouth and possibly even your teeth. You need to head to your dentist right away before the damage worsens. If not, you could be looking at the loss of your teeth… and that’s obviously the last thing you want to happen.
4. Chipped or Cracked Tooth
There are several ways that a tooth can become fractured — biting down on something hard, falling down, a sports injury, etc. The pain may not happen right away, but when it does happen, you’ll know. If the damage to a fractured tooth has reached the middle of the tooth, which is where the nerves endings are located, you may be dealing with excruciating pain. We probably don’t need to tell you to head to your dentist in this situation — you’ll be screaming all the way there!
5. Temperature Sensitivity
If your tooth enamel has been worn down, your tooth may become especially sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages because the nerves have been exposed. The first thing you can do is use a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, which will provide protection against extreme temperatures. Then check with your dentist for further treatment before it gets any worse.
Toothaches can become unbearable if they’re not treated right away, and in some situations, are likely to cause more extensive damage the longer you wait to take care of the issue. Pay attention to the above issues and and if you’re experiencing a toothache or simply want to improve your dental health, be sure to contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We’ll take care of all your dental needs and prepare you a future of good dental and oral health!
Like acne and school dances, getting braces is typically viewed as something a child or young teen may be forced to endure. If a child’s teeth aren’t coming in straight, it’s almost always the best remedy available. In fact, getting braces at an early age can prevent serious dental problems later on — both cosmetically and from an oral health perspective.
Adults, on the other hand, have been known to ignore the need for braces. Perhaps they had them as a child and don’t want to relive that time in their lives or they believe it isn’t something that is available to an adult. The truth, however, is that more adults than ever are now opting for braces in order to correct problems with their teeth.
Because of this, here are a few facts that you should know about when it comes to adults and braces:
No More Metal
As a child or teen, having a mouthful of metal braces typically isn’t a huge deal, because there’s a good chance that several other people at the same school will have braces as well. As we get older, though, wearing metal for office presentations and such things isn’t exactly appealing. The good news is that technology has come a long way. These days, you can opt for non-metal braces such as those made of ceramic material or for Invisalign, both of which are much less noticeable. Another option is lingual braces, which are metal, but placed on the inside of your teeth to hide them.
Adult Braces Are More Common Than You Think
Thanks to advances in technology and more conscientious practitioners of good oral hygiene, the use of adults braces has been on the rise for years. To give you an idea, the number of adults with braces rose 39 percent from 1996 to 2012. And in the past few years, the increases continue to be exponential, especially as dental technology continues to make strides.
Orthodontics Can Be Beneficial at Anytime
The common thought around braces being used primarily on children is the fact that, at a younger age, the jaw is still growing. But even so, it has been proven than adults with bite and alignment issues can still greatly benefit from wearing braces as well. So if you’re in need, you have no excuse to put it off any longer.
Braces Are More Affordable Than Ever
A big reason why certain children in need of braces were unable to get them was due to one simple reason — money. Truth is, only a couple decades ago, the prospect of getting braces for a child was scary due to the cost involved. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. There are options to fit every budget, whether you’re getting them for a child or for yourself. Plus, as an adult, the typical train of thought is that you’re more likely to be able to afford braces for yourself at an older age.
A Greater Lifespan Makes Braces More Important
In the past forty years, the average life expectancy of a person living in the U.S. has increased by more than a decade. This is primarily due to a mix of better health alternatives and medical advances. This means that getting braces as an adult makes even more sense now because there’s a good chance that you’ll have your teeth for an even longer period than you may have many years ago.
Whether you need braces for your child or yourself, or have any other dental concerns, the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, can help. Contact us today and we’ll get your entire family started on a lifetime of dental and oral health by enlisting the greatest techniques available.
Diabetes creates health concerns for the entire body, but many people fail to recognize the potential risks that it can present to oral health. You may be surprised to learn, then, that one out of every five occurrences of tooth loss can be attributed to diabetes, and the disease also increases the likelihood of dental disease. If you or a loved one suffer from diabetes, it’s very important that you understand the risks and take measures to counter them. To increase your awareness, we’ve assembled a list of the most common oral ailments linked to those with diabetes and have provided some tips for managing these complications.
Those with diabetes experience a higher risk of developing gum disease. One of the earliest signs associated with gum disease is bleeding during the brushing or flossing process. Don’t ignore this symptom! Left untreated, gum disease may cause the bone supporting your teeth to break down and lead to tooth loss. Instead, take care to brush and floss two times each day, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet. Gum disease can worsen if blood sugar is too high or too low, so do your part to keep it under control.
Dry Mouth Syndrome
Research has shown that diabetics tend to have less saliva than most non-sufferers. This leads to individuals feeling parched, or excessively thirsty. In addition to this, certain diabetic medications and high blood sugar levels can further contribute to dry mouth. The problem here is that saliva is a necessary component in removing sugar, leftover food, and other debris from the mouth. Without its help, you could develop more cavities. Counter the dry mouth problem by drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum and eating crunchy foods that promote saliva production.
Change in Taste
Another side affect of diabetes is that certain tastes may not seem as rich or flavorful as they once did. On the bright side, this creates opportunities for you to play around with different flavorings, textures, and spices to see what appeals to your palette and enhances your dining experience. It’s important, though, that you make sure to not add excessive amounts of sugar to your food in an attempt to add flavor. This will not only put you at risk for diabetic complications, but can lead to more cavities.
As you know, diabetes affects the immune system, which leaves you much more prone to infection. A common problem for diabetics is a yeast infection known as oral thrush. Yeast tends to thrive on the higher volumes of sugar found in a diabetic’s saliva, and it will appear as a white layer that coats the insides of the cheeks and tongue. You’ll find that thrush leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Be sure to talk to your dentist immediately if you think you may have thrush or another oral infection.
If you have diabetes, you might notice that cold sores, canker sores, and cuts inside of your mouth don’t seem to go away for a long time. This may be related to poor control of blood sugar levels, as a lack of control can slow down the healing process. Talk to your dentist or doctor for more information on oral sores that don’t seem to be healing as they should.
Although diabetes can present increased risks to your oral health, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Being aware of the risks can help you to take action to prevent problems before they arise and to quickly address existing issues before they worsen. For more information on oral health, please contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today.
As everyone should know by know, flossing your teeth is an important part of your dental and oral health. If you’re not flossing, you’re doing your teeth a disservice.
Floss has been around for a while, but not a lot of people know its original. Conversely, even the most ardent of users can be unaware of the sheer magnitude of its effectiveness in improving a person’s dental and oral health.
To help you get a better grasp of flossing, here are a few interesting facts about flossing that you may not know:
Brushing Won’t Do the Job Alone
If you’re a regular brusher, then great — but that’s not going to cut it, sad to say. The layout of your teeth creates a situation wherein 40 percent of each tooth’s service area is represented by the space between them. Unfortunately, no matter how good your toothbrush may be, there’s no way for it to effectively clear between these spaces. This means that food in the spaces will stay there to rot, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities and other problems. Flossing is the only way to make sure that the entire surface of each tooth is being cleaned.
Flossing Goes Back Further Than You Probably Realize
Many people believe that flossing is a modern technique that developed just a few decades ago. On the contrary, evidence has been found that suggests the use of makeshift floss and toothpicks by prehistoric humans. That being said, the technique didn’t become popular until the early 1800s when a dentist in New Orleans suggested to patients the use of a silk thread as a way to floss on a daily basis. Dental care was archaic back then, but can you imagine how much worse it would’ve been without that little tidbit of dental care?
Flossing Took a While to Catch On Commercially
You’d think that something that improved dental health so drastically would be the talk of the town and a company would immediately start selling it to the masses. Well, if that’s what you think, you’re totally wrong. Even though it had been around for the better part of a century, the first mass-produced dental floss didn’t show up until 1882. And it wasn’t until1898, after years of making their own floss, that Johnson & Johnson was awarded with the first dental floss patent. Since then, it’s evolved from its silk roots to nylon and other materials over the years. But while the material component has changed, its usefulness has not.
Flossing May Help You Live Longer
One of the biggest dangers of neglecting your teeth and gums is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. This condition is treatable with good oral hygiene, but if left untreated, will develop into periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to fall out. While this isn’t life-threatening, a link has been found between gum disease and an increase risk of coronary heart disease, caused by what they believe is bacteria inside your mouth finding its way into your bloodstream and affecting the arteries. Flossing decreases your chance of gum disease, which means that you also lower the likelihood of heart disease. So next time you reach for that floss, just remember that you could very well be adding years onto your life.
Do you want to know more about how brushing and flossing can benefit both your dental and oral health? Is it time for your routine check-up and cleaning? If you answered yes to either of these questions or want to inquire about any elective dental procedures, then contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur and we’ll get you started on a future of improved dental health!