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!
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!
Part of our schtick here is to tell you what foods and beverages you should avoid if you want your dental health — and very often your overall health itself — to improve. This is because many of us are guilty of ingesting substances that can severely damage our teeth, so it’s important to highlight those things that should be removed from your daily diet or be ingested only in moderation.
Today, we’re instead going to shift our focus to something that you should be getting plenty of — water.
We all know that experts say to drink eight glasses of water a day, but more often than not, this instruction doesn’t come with any kind of reasoning behind it. So what we’d like to do is provide you with a few benefits of drinking water on a daily basis, whether it’s for the health of your teeth or the health of your body.
Water Cleans Your Teeth
While certain beverages, such as soda and others high in sugar, can coat your teeth and cause a great deal of damage, water does exactly the opposite. When you drink water, it washes away remnants of food and liquids that harm your teeth. You still need to brush and floss, of course, but between those daily activities, drinking water is a great way to maintain dental health.
Water Can Prevent Bad Breath
Whether you’ll be doing any talking or kissing soon, bad breath can keep people at bay. Bad breath is often caused by dehydration because when you don’t have ample saliva in your mouth, bacteria can thrive and lead to odors. Drinking water can solve such dehydration problems, so you can finally speak (and do other things) without being rebuffed by anyone.
Water Has No Calories
The fact that water has no calories makes it an excellent beverage of choice. You can drink water with every meal and not worry about calculating any added calories. If you want to get a little flavor every once in a while, you also have the option of adding zero-calorie additives or purchasing flavored, bottled water with no calories or sugar added to it. But, in our opinion, the original thing is the very best.
Water Can Help You Lose Weight
There are two specific ways that water can help you lose or maintain your weight. First, it’s an excellent alternative to sugary beverages like soda or any other beverage (yes, including coffee — sorry, coffee fans!) that add calories to your diet. Second, drinking water can help curb your appetite. So instead of reaching for a bag of chips, drink some water first and wait a few minutes. You’ll often find yourself no longer hungry or you’ll eat less of that sinful snack.
Water Makes Your Skin Look Better
Dehydration can cause your skin to become susceptible to wrinkling and cracking. If you want to maintain that youthful glow, water is not only a fantastic way to do that — it’s also typically the cheapest.
Water Keeps You Cool
While this time of the year may not be the best time to consider this particular benefit, once the hotter months of the year roll around, staying cool is just one more added benefit to drinking a lot of water. We suggest drinking it, but dousing yourself with water from a hose or one of those handheld misters is a great way to cool off, too.
Want to know more about what you should and should not be putting in your body to avoid bad dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll help you get started on the road to better health.
When you think of a teenager, what immediately comes to mind? High energy, reckless decision-making, and of course, braces. With a whopping 50-70% of American youths in braces at some point, it’s really no wonder that the corrective gear has become such a hallmark of the teenage experience. But despite being familiar with the concept of braces, many people have no idea how to care for them, or how important this actually is. When you consider the fact that the majority of teens are required to wear their braces for 1-3 years before they can be removed, it’s pretty obvious that braces demand TLC — and lots of it. So make sure that you and your teen are doing the following:
1. Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More!
It’s no secret that food has a way of finding its way into braces. The extra material inside of your teen’s mouth creates a place where it’s easy for food particles to get caught. While the wearer may check their reflection frequently to ensure that there’s nothing visible, this doesn’t mean that bits of food couldn’t be lurking beneath the surface. Left unnoticed, this can lead to the growth of bacteria, odors, and discomfort. Consequently, it’s imperative that your teen take the time to brush and floss after every meal or snack. You may even want to talk to your orthodontist about his or her recommendations for special flossing tools and techniques.
2. Know Which Foods to Avoid
Sugar may be delicious, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing your teen’s braces any good. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar content promote tooth decay for everyone, but even more so for those wearing braces as the residue has more opportunities to lurk in the dark and wreak havoc. In addition to this, those in braces should avoid sticky foods. Items such as caramel, taffy, dried fruit, etc. may seem tempting, but can create serious pain, discomfort, food buildup, and other issues since they may become trapped in the braces. In addition, teens should steer clear of hard (or hardish) foods such as hard candies, nuts, and jerky, all of which can break wires and loosen brackets.
3. When In Doubt, Give the Orthodontist a Shout
Let’s face it — accidents with braces do happen. There may come a time when your teen notices that a wire or a bracket has broken, but you should not attempt to correct the issue yourself as this could actually make the problem even worse. You may feel tempted to do so if the problem has created discomfort for your teen, but any sharp edges should simply be covered with wax or a wet cotton ball, and the actual correctional work should be left to the orthodontist. Be sure to make an appointment as soon as you notice that something is amiss. Most orthodontists will be able to squeeze you in for repair or correctional work right away.
4. Stay Close to Your Dentist, Too
Just because you’re visiting your orthodontist regularly doesn’t give you a hall pass on visiting the dentist. Those with braces should continue to come in for bi-annual checkups to ensure that maximum oral health is maintained at all times. The possibility of food and bacteria sticking to braces can increase the risk of cavities, so don’t be a stranger.
Braces have the ability to completely transform a teen’s teeth and appearance, but they can only do wonders when they’re treated properly. By sticking with these simple tips, you’re sure to have the most positive experience with braces as is possible. Give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call for more tips on proper braces care.
As Christmas grows nearer, the desire for all those little Christmas goodies are likely to increase. Whether you have a weakness for yams, candy canes, cookies, or whatever else, there’s a good chance that your willpower will be tested over the holiday.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. Everyone does it. However, you must be cognizant of the fact that many of your favorite yuletide treats are loaded with sugar — and that can spell bad news for your teeth and overall oral health. To help you avoid such problems, here are some quick tips for you to follow:
Watch What You Put on Your Plate
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet that’s where so many people fail. After all, with everything going on — the excitement of seeing your family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying holiday music, and maybe even watching a little football — it’s so easy to get caught up in having fun, so that when everyone forms a line to get food, you just plop down everything you see. We don’t want to take away all of your enjoyment of the holiday, of course, but we suggest that you load up with some healthy items, plus some sweets on the side. Also remember to pace yourself and avoid going back for seconds.
Make Sure That Someone Brings Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Yes, we know it’s Christmas time and everyone wants to bake cookies or craft their favorite casserole. This is all fine and dandy, but there should also be healthy options, such as fresh fruit or a veggie snack tray. You can make a snack tray yourself, of course, but during such a hectic time, it’s probably easier if you just go pick one up at the store. They’re pricier than making one yourself, but they obviously take much less effort. Whether you bring it yourself or make sure someone else will, it’s always nice for those who are trying to stay healthy, for both their weight and dental health.
Bring Sweet Treats That Are a Little Healthier
If you want to indulge your sweet tooth while also limiting the amount of sugar in your desserts, try a holiday favorite that is somewhat healthier than others. Strawberries covered in dark-chocolate, homemade pumpkin pie, and fruit tarts are all better than, say, a chocolate pie with graham cracker crust. We guarantee that these items will be just as popular as anything else being offered. Yes, these items still have a good enough of sugar, but every little bit helps. Your stomach will thank you and so will your teeth.
Take a Walk Before Grabbing Dessert
Have you ever been eating a meal and instead of gradually feeling full, it just happens all at once? That’s because it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that your stomach is full. This is why many health-conscious people tend to eat smaller meals, or at least to eat at a slower pace. So after you’ve eaten the main course and sides, take a walk around the block to allow some time to pass. Then, once you get back, you have a better chance at realizing how full you are, which means you’ll eat less of the dessert.
As we said, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. However, if you want to keep your teeth healthy, we recommend that you follow the above tips. In addition, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon after the holiday as possible. Instead of waiting, give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today and we’ll get you started on better dental health for the upcoming year.
If you have kids, there’s a good chance that you know how hard it is to get them to focus on good oral hygiene. Children just don’t have the ability to truly understand the importance of oral and dental health. To them, it’s a chore that must be done, and they don’t like that.
This is where you come in. As a parent, it is imperative that you help them to understand its importance. But even more so, you need to find ways to get your children into the habit of brushing and flossing on a regular basis. But, it doesn’t stop there. Healthy teeth are an essential part of the puzzle, but they also need to learn other basic hygiene tips. Here are a few strategies you can use for all of your child’s hygiene needs:
Lead by Example
Children mimic the things that parents do. If you don’t follow proper hygiene procedures, chances are your children won’t either. So before you start your children on any kind of plan meant to improve their hygiene, make sure that you are already doing all of those things. If not, they’ll become confused as to why you say one thing and do another.
Provide a Demonstration
Whether you’re talking about brushing, bathing, or anything in between, children need to be shown what to do. It may not stick with them the first time, so be prepared to repeat yourself until the child understands the best way to perform each task.
Children instinctively want to make their parents proud and will respond favorably when you provide them with positive reinforcement. A great way to do this is to create a chart that can track their hygiene activities, which can include brushing their teeth, flossing, washing hands, bathing, etc. Set up a prize at the end of a certain cycle and they’ll actually want to follow the procedures.
Books and Stories
There are plenty of books available on the market that help children realize the importance of good hygiene. They’ll teach kids about germs and bacteria, and how brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and other such activities will keep them healthy and safe. And if your child has a smartphone, you can also download apps to the phone that provide the same kind of information.
Design a Routine and Stick to It
If your hygiene routine is all over the place, it will be hard for a child to stick with it. What you need to do is design a hygiene routine for morning, day, and night, and then make sure you stick with it as much as possible. After a while, the routine will become an automatic response.
Make It Fun
Let’s face it — brushing and flossing can be an extremely boring chore. Children need stimulation if you want them to follow a routine. You’ll want to figure out what is best for your child, but two popular ideas is to use character-oriented toothbrushes and toothpaste, and to play a song that they can dance or sway along to while they’re working on their hygiene.
Good hygiene is important for everyone, and instilling that into your children is the best way to ensure that they grow up to be hygiene-conscious adults. In addition to the tips listed above, you also need to take them to see a dentist on a regular basis. If you need to make an appointment for check-up or cleaning, whether it’s for your children or you, contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll get your entire family started on good oral and dental health.