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 live in a fast-paced world, and that can make for very stressful living. Anxiety and worry are so common, in fact, that many people have come to simply accept them as a natural consequence of living and breathing. This type of thinking can be very damaging to one’s mental, emotional, and physical health — including his or her teeth. While you may not be giving much thought to your dental health when you’re pacing the floor and stressing out, you could be wreaking havoc on your mouth. Here’s a look at some of the ways that people inflict damage on their teeth when they’re struggling with stress:
Eating Junk Food
When you’re feeling stressed out, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like many other people, you have a tendency to reach for comfort via food — especially sweets! After all, “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards! Unfortunately, all that sugar and junk food can quickly lead to the buildup of plaque and bacteria, as well as the development of cavities. You’re better off finding other ways to manage your stress than eating, such as taking a long walk. Your teeth — and your waistline — will thank you for it!
Smoking and/or Drinking
Other common vices for tense people are tobacco smoke and alcohol. Both of these are known for staining and discoloring teeth, wearing down tooth enamel, and generally causing harm to oral health. Mixing alcoholic beverages with sugary sodas or fruit juices can also increase the likelihood of cavity formations. As an alternative, you might consider sipping on a stress-relieving hot tea or trying aromatherapy.
Some folks have a tendency to grind their teeth against one another when they’re feeling especially tense. This habit, known as bruxism, creates a number of problems. For one thing, you might start irritating those around you with the noise. More troubling, though, is the type of damage that can be done to your teeth as you grind them down to stumps. This could lead to the need for dental implants, bridges, crowns, etc. Taking on an exercise program can help release stress during the day, while a mouth guard may be needed to protect your teeth during the night.
If you’re feeling perturbed, you might start to clench your jaw. After a while, this can create pain and soreness that may even lead to a headache. Beyond the physical pain, you could also be negatively impacting your oral health. Those who frequently clench their jaws are putting themselves at risk for gingival recession. During gingival recession, the gums are actually pulled away from the teeth. Jaw clenching often goes hand-in-hand with teeth grinding, but it may be a standalone issue. Try practicing deep breathing exercises or meditation when you feel yourself starting to clamp down on your jaw.
The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to overlook details and forget to take care of yourself in the proper way. When you have a lot on your mind, it’s easy to accidentally skip out on flossing or fail to remember to brush your teeth before rushing out the door in the morning. Instead of stressing about all of the things that have to be done throughout the day, strive to stay in the moment and handle life one thing at a time. This will help you stay on track with your daily regimen so that you can handle whatever the universe throws at you.
Don’t let stress detract from your oral health — and definitely don’t let it stand in the way of your routine dental check-ups. Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call to schedule yours today!
What’s the first thing you notice about another person’s smile? If you’re like most folks, it’s the color of their teeth. While white is the most widely accepted standard for beauty in teeth, though, many of us have experienced the dismay of realizing that our smiles have become discolored with the passage of time.
It can happen to anyone. Whether it’s because of the consumption of certain foods or beverages, or because you haven’t kept up with your oral hygiene regimen as well as you should, teeth are susceptible to dulling in color, or transitioning to a more off-white or yellowed pigment. The good news is that you don’t have to live with problems like these forever. Cosmetic dentistry makes it possible to restore your teeth to their former bright, pearly-white glory.
How is this accomplished? Take a look at a few of the following methods for tooth whitening:
Professional In-Office Cosmetic Whitening
Having a cosmetic teeth whitening procedure done in-office is generally the most reliable means of improving the look of your smile. This is a very popular and common treatment that is non-invasive, fast, and effective. You’ll notice very significant results within a short window of time. The procedure typically involves the use of a highly concentrated volume of peroxide gel. Before the gel is applied to your teeth, your gums will be protected with a rubber dam. The gel only takes a few moments to be applied, and from there you will be required to let the gel sit for several intervals of 15-20 minutes. The total amount of time spent on whitening your teeth in-house will likely end up being approximately one hour. For teeth that have been particularly stained, you may need to make one or more return visits to correct the issue.
Professional Take-Home Cosmetic Whitening
If the idea of coming into the office doesn’t work for your schedule, you may be able to talk to your dentist about purchasing take-home cosmetic whitening kits. These are kits that have been approved for use by your dentist. He will likely wish to consult with you in order to explain how to use the kit for the best results. Usually, the kits include a lower-concentration peroxide gel which must be left on teeth overnight. You may need to follow up with your dentist to evaluate how well the gel worked to whiten your teeth.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits can also be used, although they may not be as reliable as those offered through your dental professional. While you may notice results, they may not be as significant, and your teeth may need to be touched up more frequently than had you gone through a dental professional.
Keep in mind that while teeth whitening can make a huge difference on the color of your teeth, the results are not permanent. Be sure to talk to your dentist about the frequency with which you’ll need to have your teeth touched up. He can also provide recommendations for properly caring for your teeth in order to extend the effects and keep your smile as white as possible.
With so many exciting options for whitening your teeth, the only question that remains is: what in the world are you waiting for? Making the decision to whiten your teeth can drastically improve your confidence and appearance. Regardless of which method you select for teeth whitening, though, it’s very important to consult with a professional. Dr. Bruce McArthur is happy to discuss your options with you and is more than qualified to perform an in-office cosmetic whitening procedure. Give us a call for a consult today!
Throughout the years, numerous studies have revealed that an individual’s smile is considered to be his or her most attractive feature. So what happens if you’re not happy with the way your smile looks? Those who are dissatisfied with their teeth and gums are prone to smiling less as the result of feelings of insecurity. Ultimately, this can lead to problems with self-esteem and personal relationships, as well as a reduced quality of life.
The good news is that there’s absolutely no reason why you should have to feel down and out about your smile. Whether time, genetics, accidents, or other causes have contributed to your oral woes, there is a solution: cosmetic dentistry. This post will highlight some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures that are done to enhance natural beauty and create perfect smiles.
Tooth whitening or bleaching is, by far, one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures performed today. Throughout the years, your teeth may have become stained or discolored. Different whitening options are available to restore your teeth back to their natural beauty quickly, painlessly, and affordably. Make sure to discuss all of your options with a trusted dentist before moving forward with the process.
Those with chipped, broken, or cracked teeth may feel self-conscious about their smiles. Bonding works to improve the appearance of these teeth when tooth-colored materials are applied to the surface of the tooth.
Veneers are another great option for people who are unhappy with one or more of their teeth due to staining, chips, crookedness, or irregular shaping. These custom-made shells are designed to match your other teeth and cover up problem areas.
A crown works to add strength and support to a weak tooth and/or to improve a tooth’s appearance by acting as a cover. Crowns may be made from gold or alloys, and porcelain options are also available to better match natural tooth color.
Those with crooked teeth, overcrowding, or poor dental alignment might consider braces. Individuals who are concerned with the appearance of braces should talk to their dentist about Invisalign and similar options.
When one or more of your teeth are missing, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Implants are used as a means of replacing missing teeth with units that blend perfectly with other teeth and restore a smile to perfection. Before moving forward with dental implants, your dentist will need to evaluate your dental history to ensure that your oral health is up to snuff.
Fixed and removable bridges are available for individuals with missing teeth. The bridge is crafted from materials including gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination thereof. While a fixed bridge is attached directly to the jaw and must be removed by a dental professional, removable bridges can be taken out and cleaned at home. Your dentist will evaluate your oral health in order to help you make the right decision for your smile.
In some cases, most or all of an individual’s teeth may be missing, or may be severely damaged and in need of removal. In cases like these, a simple, effective, and affordable solution is to replace natural teeth with dentures. Dentures are custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth and will have the appearance of natural teeth with all of the functionality to chew and talk normally, and to smile beautifully.
Don’t let a less than perfect smile hold you back any longer. Contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS about your options for cosmetic dentistry in order to find a solution that’s right for you. Give us a call today to start moving towards a better, brighter smile.
The majority of children who regularly visit the dentist will have dental sealants placed on their back teeth while they are still very young. If your dentist has made mention of dental sealants, you may have some questions about what they are and whether or nor they’re right for your little one. In an effort to provide you with information on the subject, we’ve assembled this list of frequently asked questions.
Q: What are Dental Sealants?
A: Dental sealants are crafted from a special type of plastic that is either white or clear. The sealants are then molded to the tops of the teeth, which feature deep grooves or pits (generally back teeth). This is done as a means of protecting the teeth against the development of cavities. The idea is that children (and adults) may struggle to adequately remove sugars, acids, and bacteria from these deeper grooves, so the sealants act as a physical barrier against these threats.Q: Who Needs Dental Sealants?
A: Most dental professionals agree that dental sealants should be applied as soon as a child’s permanent molars have grown in. By quickly sealing the molars, there is less of a chance that problems will arise or decay will have the opportunity to set in. The earlier the back teeth are protected, the less likely it is that your child will experience cavities or other dental issues down the road.Q: How are Dental Sealants Applied?
A: Dental sealants are only applied after the tooth has undergone a thorough cleaning process by a professional dentist or dental assistant. The cleaning process involves the use of polish and a rotating brush, followed by a deep rinse and the application of an acidic solution. The acidic solution is intended to create a rougher tooth surface which will make it easier for the sealant to grip securely to the tooth. Once the solution has dried, the sealant is applied in liquid form on top of the tooth’s fissures. The sealant then cures and hardens on its own.Q: How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
A: Once dental sealants have been applied, it’s very unlikely that the process will need to be repeated. This is because dental sealants are designed to last for the entire life of the tooth. Unless the sealant is damaged as the result of an accident or injury, you can expect it to continue protecting your child’s molars for a lifetime. In the event that the sealant is damaged, a replacement sealer can be applied.Q: Is Any Special Care Needed?
A: The short answer to this question is ‘Yes!’ Those who don’t have dental sealants installed are far more likely to suffer the effects of tooth decay, including discoloration, cavities, and gum disease. It’s a lot easier to care for molars that have been sealed, thus making your child’s life simpler and healthier. Make sure to talk to your dentist for his or her professional opinion and to keep an eye on the development of your child’s permanent molars so that you know when to move forward with the process.
Don’t let a lack of education on dental sealants prevent you from making a decision that could protect your child’s teeth and livelihood. Learn more about dental sealants by giving Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today.
You may think of your child’s orthodontist as someone who has the ability to reposition crooked teeth, but did you know that they can also expand an individual’s upper jaw? Through the usage of palatal expanders, orthodontists have the ability to manipulate jaw development in such a way that it establishes a more visually appealing and functional bite.
If your dental professional has mentioned the possibility of palatal expanders for your child, you are likely interested in learning as much as possible. This post will tell you everything you need to know about palatal expanders so that you can make the best decision for your child’s oral care.
A Breakdown of Palatal Expanders
The palatal expander is an appliance that is used to widen the upper jaw and the circumference of the palate (roof of the mouth). This allows the perimeter of an individual’s dental arch to increase, thus allowing for more space for the growth of teeth. In this way, the expander is able to prevent, correct, and reduce the severity of any number of problems that are associated with an upper jaw that may have otherwise been too narrow. Some of these issues may include:
Crossbite — In a normal mouth, the upper teeth close around the outside of the lower teeth. If your child has a narrow palate, though, this may actually be reversed, with the upper teeth biting inside of the teeth beneath. If this problem isn’t corrected in a timely manner, your child could experience asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, leading to dental complications and the possibility of facial asymmetry. Palatal expanders can be used to correct a crossbite early in a child’s life.
Overcrowding — When your child’s palate is too narrow, it may not have the space to accommodate his or her upper teeth in their correct positions as they erupt through the gum tissue. By expanding the upper jaw through palatal expanders, issues related to overcrowding can be overcome.
Difficulty in Breathing — In many cases, a narrow or deep upper jaw can create difficulties for a child as he or she tries to breathe through their nose. To compensate for this, the child may continuously breathe through the mouth. This can lead to the inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, cause dry mouth, and even be the culprit behind halitosis. Palatal expanders widen and open the palate, making it easier for children to inhale and exhale through the nose.
Timing is Key
When it comes to palatal expanders, time is of the essence. Unlike braces, which are effective at any age, palatal expanders must be utilized before the age of 16 — and preferably by the time a child reaches puberty. The reason for this is that palatal expanders capitalize on anatomical changes to the face that occur during growth. As a child grows, the growth plate that is situated in the center of palatal bone tissue is able to expand. This isn’t possible once puberty has been reached, thus making the expanders only effective during a limited window of time. Beyond the age of 16, most oral professionals will recommend jaw surgery.
It’s essential that your child maintain good dental hygiene practices throughout the process of upper jaw expansion. You will need to make sure that the palatal expander is carefully cleaned each time they brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
Taking care of your child’s dental health is a top priority. By arming yourself with the facts about palatal expanders, you can improve the quality of his or her life. Feel free to contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, with any questions or concerns you may have about palatal expanders.