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.
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.
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
Few things can be as annoying or interruptive as a toothache. When the pain is severe, it’s often difficult to go about your daily routine. It’s been known to bring even the toughest men and women to their knees, and that’s exactly why you should be aware of what might cause a toothache so you can take steps to avoid one.
Last week, we told you about the five most common causes of toothaches — tooth decay, tooth abscess, gum disease, a chipped or cracked tooth, and temperature sensitivity. This week, we’ll continue with our list and give you the remaining five reasons as to why you may be experiencing a toothache.
6. Damaged Fillings
If you have any fillings or sealants, there’s a good chance that they’re covering up vulnerable parts of a tooth. Damage to fillings can expose these vulnerable areas, causing sensitivity that can bring you a great deal of pain. A damaged filling or sealant should be considered an emergency situation, so give your dentist a call right away in order to get it fixed. Trust us — your mouth will thank you!
7. Grinding Your Teeth
This is actually a very common reason for not only tooth pain, but for pain in your jaw and neck, in addition to related muscle pain. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping or under stress and getting to stop can be a real chore. Unfortunately, when left untreated, this situation can cause cracked or chipped teeth, sore jaw bones and joints, and headaches. The use of a custom mouthguard, which you’ll wear while sleeping, is your best bet to alleviate the problem.
8. Improper Flossing or Brushing
Proper daily dental care is the cornerstone of dental and oral health. We always suggest that you go by the 2-2-2 rule, which means you floss and brush twice a day for two minutes and visit your dentist two times a year. This can ensure proper dental health, but believe it or not, but there is such a thing as being too vigorous when it comes to flossing and brushing your teeth. If you use too much pressure, your gums may recede, which can cause a considerable amount of pain. We suggest that you use a soft-bristled brush and to be mindful of the pressure you’re using. If in doubt, your dentist can help you formulate a dental care plan.
9. Misaligned Teeth or Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If you have a tooth that is misaligned, it will press against the teeth surrounding it, which can cause those teeth to become misaligned as well. This situation is related to impacted wisdom teeth, where they haven’t broken through the gum line. Sometimes, these impacted wisdom teeth can press against other teeth as well. To fix these problems, you’re looking at either braces for the misaligned teeth or surgery for the impacted wisdom teeth.
10. Orthodontic Alignment
Pain caused by braces, retainers, and other alignment systems is common, but should dissipate within a few days. If the pain continues, then you need to contact your dentist right away and get the device you’re using realigned. This will fix the problem and alleviate the pain.
A toothache can be a harrowing experience, one that will quickly worsen if it’s not tackled by a professional. If you’re suffering from any of the problems above, it’s important to contact your dentist and get treatment as soon as possible. Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS can help you with any toothache issues you have, and will also get you started on a future of dental and oral health. Give us a call today and we’ll get you in!
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!
We all want to think that our breath smells just wonderfully, but the truth is that millions of people experience bad breath every day. The problem is that it’s difficult to know when you have bad breath until someone points it out, which can be extremely embarrassing.
The good news is that preventing bad breath isn’t a difficult thing to do. In fact, once you become conscious of it, you could very well never have bad breath again. Here are some tips that we recommend you start following right now:
Brush and Floss Regularly
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip flossing or brushing their teeth. Both of these are very important for proper dental and oral health. Some people will brush and skip flossing, but that can spell danger, too — the food particles left between your teeth by your brush can decay over the course of your day and cause an odor.
Rinse Your Mouth
In addition to brushing and flossing, you should also consider the use of a mouthwash on a daily basis. Mouthwash is formulated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Plus, a fresh minty taste can give you the confidence of good smelling breath. If bad breath is a concern, add this to your dental health routine.
Scrape Your Tongue
This is one of those activities that many people never consider. The unfortunate truth is that bacteria collects on your tongue as a kind of coating that is typically visible (and disgusting, if we’re being completely honest). You need to use your toothbrush to scrape the entire tongue, including the back. If your brush is too big to do this comfortably, don’t fret — just pick up a pack of tongue scrapers to get the job done.
Drink Plenty of Water
Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria and bad breath. If your mouth isn’t moist enough, though, you won’t make enough saliva to help keep it clean. We suggest that you drink plenty of water during the day to keep your mouth moist. And if it’s a chronic problem, you might want to use a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your home.
Tobacco products cause extensive damage to your overall health, and will certainly cause you to have bad breath. Just ask a non-smoker what they think of your breath, and if they’re being honest, you won’t like the answer. As a bonus, giving up smoking will also lower your chances of lung cancer and various other maladies. And for God’s sake — if you’re using a chewing tobacco, cut that out, too, before you develop mouth cancer.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
Millions of people suffer from gum disease in any given year, and that’s a big reason why bad breath is such a problem these days. If you suffer from gum disease, speak to your dentist about ways to fix it before the condition worsens. If you let things get too bad, bad breath won’t be your only concern — you could also be looking at tooth loss.
Avoid Certain Foods
Some foods, like garlic and onions, will make your breath smell something fierce. The best way to stop this from happening is to avoid these types of foods altogether. If you love those things and don’t want to avoid them, though, then make sure you have toothpaste or mouthwash around to help defeat the odor.
Would you like to learn more about how you and your family can avoid bad breath and improve your overall dental and oral health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today, and we’ll get you started on a path to better teeth, better gums… and better breath.
Taking care of your teeth should always be a priority in your life. After all, we use them on a daily basis for our survival, and the better shape they’re in, the longer they’ll last. That’s why we start learning about proper dental care at such a young age.
But do you know everything there is to know about your teeth and how to care for them? We could write an entire book on the subject, but for today, let’s concentrate on a few things that you probably don’t know about them:
1. Saliva is Their First Line of Defense
Brushing and flossing is an integral part of your daily dental health routine, and it’s something you should never skip. What you may not realize, though, is that these two activities are your second and third lines of defense. The first is saliva, nature’s cavity fighter. You see, when bacteria in your mouth, known as plaque, feeds on sugars from food and beverages, it eats through your teeth’s enamel. The saliva in your mouth helps to rinse out your mouth on a regular basis, lessening the damage of the bacteria. Saliva can’t do the job alone, but without it, proper dental health would be much more difficult.
2. How We Eat Can Be As Important As What We Eat
Everyone loves snacks, right? Whether it’s a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, or a bottle of soda, millions of people all across America — right now — are sitting at their desks either enjoying a snack or looking forward to one. The problem is that constantly eating or sipping sugary snacks, whether donuts or sodas, can be especially damaging to your teeth. That’s because it creates a situation where there’s a constant bombardment of sugar being projected against your teeth. Hint: That’s not a good thing.
3. Too Much Fluoride Can Damage Your Teeth
For many years, we’ve been told how helpful fluoride can be in the battle against cavities. This is true, but… it is possible to have too much fluoride. There’s already fluoride in your toothpaste and mouthwash, and it’s normal for communities to add it to the drinking water. All of this is well and good, except for the fact that a condition causing white spots on your teeth, called fluorosis, can develop over time. If you’re going to drink tap water on a regular basis, you might want to check with your community on the levels of fluoride in the drinking water. If you think you’re getting too much, switch to bottled water instead.
4. Spit, But Don’t Rinse
Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth, you don’t want to swallow the toothpaste, because it will give your body too much fluoride. But you may not want to rinse your mouth out, either. Allowing the small of amount of toothpaste left in your mouth once you spit to stay there can provide a healthy amount of fluoride to help clean your teeth even after brushing. Next time you brush, give it a try!
5. Oral Health Can Tell You a Lot About Your Overall Health
If you are one of the millions of adults across the U.S. who experience gum disease, this may be an indicator of something more serious. People with higher levels of gum disease often have other health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Plus, for women, you could be looking at a higher rate of low-birthweight babies and premature births. So if you have gum disease, check with your primary doctor as well.
Would you like to learn more about your teeth and what you can do to improve your dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started today!