Electrical or Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?

Oct 26th, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 26th, 2018

This is one of our most frequently asked questions! Our answer? It’s not the brush that matters, it’s who’s doing the brushing.

Let’s break that down. The goal of tooth brushing is to remove plaque from your teeth on a consistent (daily!) basis, so that we prevent the buildup of tartar which leads to tooth decay. A manual toothbrush is a great and inexpensive tool that helps us do just that. Make sure to brush two minutes per day, twice a day. Gently brush ALL surfaces and make sure to reach those back molars.

For some people, it can be difficult to brush properly with a manual toothbrush. Those with some form of motor disability or arthritis may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. An electric brush can also be helpful for kids or anyone with braces.
The same tooth brushing rules apply – two times per day, two minutes at a time. One advantage of an electric toothbrush is that some have a built-in timer. If you’re one of those quick brushers who has a hard time making it to two minutes, consider using a timed electric brush.

At your next dental visit, ask us whether we think you would do better with a manual or electric brush! And, as always, don’t forget to floss!

How Apples are Good for Your Teeth

Oct 5th, 2018
Easton Dentists Oct 5th, 2018

Good for my teeth

People have been asserting that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” since the 19 th century. While it may not necessarily be true that those who eat apples never have to see a doctor, apples certainly have great health benefits for our bodies! Did you know they can even be good for our teeth? Let’s take a look at what the research says …

It’s widely thought that chewing a crisp, fresh apple can help brush away plaque on our teeth. We’re not too sure on this one, as some studies show a higher plaque content on teeth after eating an apple. At the same time, there is evidence to suggest some polyphenols in apples can lower the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to adhere to teeth. Further, some studies have shown that the antioxidants in apples can help prevent periodontal disease.

Apples even contain a (very) small amount of fluoride. This is worth noting, as fluoride is so important in helping prevent cavities.

Lastly, the act of chewing an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Remember, though, apples contain sugar and acid so it’s best not to go overboard with them.

You can even swish with water after eating one to wash away some of the sugar left behind. As the science continues to look into how apples affect our teeth, one thing we know is true: regular dental visits, along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, is your best defense against tooth decay! Schedule an appointment today!

Don’t Overdo the Sports Drinks

Jun 9th, 2018
Easton Dentists Jul 9th, 2018

As the summer heats up, you may find that you’re tempted to load up on sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade. These beverages taste great, but they shouldn’t be your go-to drink. In fact, if you’re not engaged in the strenuous physical activity for which these drinks were designed, you should avoid them entirely.

In addition to the fact that sports drinks often contain a lot of sugar and other not-so-healthy ingredients, they tend to be very acidic. The acid in these beverages can destroy the enamel on your teeth. In fact, just five consecutive days of drinking these acidic beverages can negatively affect your enamel.

As acid destroys your enamel, it makes your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria. As a result, you may experience increased tooth staining, decay, and hypersensitivity. The best way to avoid these dental issues is to do whatever you can to protect your enamel.

If you are set on drinking sports drinks, you should be sure to rinse your mouth with water after drinking them. Doing so will rinse some of the acid away from your teeth before it can do much damage. In addition, you should brush your teeth about an hour after drinking these beverages. It’s best not to brush your teeth immediately after drinking something acidic because the enamel on your teeth will be in a weakened state and could be brushed away.

We know a nice, cold sports drink is tempting on a hot day, but it’s best not to make a habit of drinking these beverages. Instead, try to primarily drink water.

If you believe your teeth have been damaged by excessive consumption of acidic beverages, give us a call today. We will examine your teeth and give you pointers for reversing damage if possible and preventing damage in the future. We hope you have a great, tooth-healthy summer!

What Does Smoking Do to Your Oral Health?

May 7th, 2018
Easton Dentists Jun 1st, 2018

We all know smoking is bad for our health. In fact, smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and is linked to 480,000 deaths each year. Despite these stark statistics, about 17% of adults in the United States smoke. One thing smokers may not realize is that smoking can significantly damage their oral health.

Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can stain teeth and cause bad breath. In addition, smoking has been found to alter the microbiome of smokers’ mouths. Our oral microbiomes consist of carefully balanced levels of various bacteria. When these levels are altered, there can be serious health consequences.

Over time, the effects of smoking and tobacco use on oral health can grow more severe. In addition to cavities and gum disease, tobacco use can lead to increased rates of oral cancers.

As you can see, tobacco use is detrimental to your oral health in many ways. Luckily, quitting is always an option and the sooner you quit, the better. Scientists have ever found that your oral microbiome will return to its natural state after you quit smoking, although they have yet to determine exactly how long this takes.

If you’re ready to reclaim your health by quitting smoking, the Dental Center team is here to offer our support. Contact us today to learn more about how smoking can damage your oral health. We also recommend calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW for guidance regarding quitting tobacco usage. We know it will be difficult to quit, but we’re certain you have the strength to do it. Just keep reminding yourself that you deserve a long, healthy, and happy life!

Avoid These Foods for a Healthier Smile

Jan 30th, 2018
Easton Dentists Jan 30th, 2018

A healthy smile starts with a healthy diet. In addition to making sure your diet contains plenty of nutritious and vitamin-heavy foods, there are a few foods and beverages you ought to avoid as much as possible. Below, you’ll find a list of some cavity-causing culprits and an explanation of why they cause so much damage to teeth.

1. Ice

This might seem like a strange item to top the list. After all, ice is just frozen water, right? That’s true and ice is totally harmless when used to cool a beverage. It only starts to cause problems when people chew on it. Ice is so hard that crunching on it can damage your enamel and leave your teeth susceptible to dental issues, such as chipped teeth and loosened crowns.

2. Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to tooth decay and oral infections, such as gum disease. This is because an excess of alcohol can cause a decrease in the saliva flow to your mouth. Saliva washes away food particles and bacteria and provides protection to the soft tissues in your mouth. When you do not have enough saliva, your mouth becomes more prone to dental issues.

3. Bread

Bread might seem pretty harmless, but it can actually cause some real dental issues. The problem is that, as soon as we start chewing bread, our saliva breaks down the starches and almost immediately converts them to sugar. The sticky, sugary substance that bread becomes once we start to chew it can stick to teeth and provide fuel for cavity-causing bacteria.

4. Dried fruits

Although they often seem to be the healthy snack option, dried fruits can actually cause real damage to your teeth. This is because they are full of natural sugars and the juices that would normally work to quickly rinse this sugar from your teeth have been removed during the drying process. As a result extremely sugary dried fruits often stick to our teeth, where they quickly become food for cavity-causing bacteria.

Before you get too concerned, just remember that it all comes down to moderation. We’re not asking you to entirely give up any tooth-damaging food or beverage. Instead, we simply suggest that you limit your intake of these items and that you always follow them up with a thorough cleaning of your teeth. In addition, by following your meals and sweet beverages with water, you can rinse away food particles that could fuel cavity-causing bacteria.

The Why, When, How and Where of Tongue Scraping

Mar 3rd, 2017
Easton Dentists Mar 3rd, 2017

Imagine it’s still winter…not hard to do in Ohio since it changes so quickly… you’re standing at the door, ready to brave the cold. You’re layered-up with three shirts and a sweatshirt, your heavy winter coat, and two layers of socks underneath your waterproof winter boots. Then you’ve got those awesome jeans with the flannel on the inside, your comfy hat, scarf, and gloves. You’re set! But wait. As you step toward the door, you suddenly realize you have an itch … and it’s deep down … buried beneath all those layers. And, try as you may, every attempt to reach that bugger-of-an-itch fails. Defeated, you realize the only relief you’re ever gonna’ get is to remove each one of those layers. Where are we going with this?!

The Tongue

We’re going inside your mouth, of course, to your tongue – this is a dental article, after all! Because whether you know it or not, like you in the wintertime, your tongue is also “all covered up” – buried beneath layers of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can inhibit your ability to taste, let alone cause your tongue to appear various shades of yellow, white, or green! Remove the bacteria, though, and your food will once again directly interact with those taste buds, and return to its natural hue. So how does one do that? With a tongue scraper, of course!

WHAT is a tongue scraper?

A tongue scraper is a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of scum from your tongue. They have been in use since ancient times, and have been made of everything from wood to whalebone. Nowadays, they are made of more hygienic material, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and colors.

WHY use a tongue scraper?

The residue on your tongue includes things like the cavity-inducing Streptococcus mutans bacterium, fungi, rotting food (that’s not good), and what’s referred to as “volatile sulfur compounds.” In other words, sulfur – that “rotting egg smell.” Talk about ew! So, as you can see, there are several reasons why you’d want to get rid of this gunk in your mouth. Let’s tackle them one by one:

  • Reduce bad breath: ‘nuff said! We have had many patients thank us so much for this little tip because it dramatically improves their overall life! Get a little closer…
  • Reduce your risk of periodontal disease and cavities: Bad bacteria contribute to plaque and tartar on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Bacteria build-up can also lead to inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which means a more expensive dental visit (plus other unwanted consequences!). Speaking of avoiding an expensive dental visit, when was the last time you came in to see us? Come see us now if it’s been awhile, by calling in at 614-414-0111.
  • Make room for good bacteria: see our article here on probiotics for your mouth.
  • Prevent heart disease? While the debate is still up in the air, many studies suggest there could be a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

HOW does one use a tongue scraper?

In general, make sure to rinse your tongue scraper before and after use. Apply the tongue scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat. Make sure to get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center!

Make sure not to press too hard or you can cause yourself to bleed. And, if you’re wondering if you should scrape your tongue while recovering from a dental procedure, that’s a good question … ask your dentist for the best advice particular to your situation. Still not sure how this thing really works? The next time you’re in ask Julie, Kate, or Lindsay for a quick tutorial!

WHERE do I buy one?

Your first choice is, believe it or not, us! We may even have a sample we could provide to you at no cost. Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive, and can also be found at any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter the material, color, or brand – just find the one you like and get scraping!

What’s Up with All that Poking at My Gums During Cleaning?

Feb 22nd, 2017
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

Poking on my gums

Have you ever wondered why your hygienist starts rattling off a series of numbers in the middle of your cleaning? 2, 2, 3, 2, 4, 5! What’s going on there? What your hygienist is doing is checking the depth of gum tissue pockets that surround your tooth. It’s a proactive way to identify your risk for gum disease, and when done regularly, can help catch it early. Dental probing is a pretty interesting exercise in dentistry, can save you from surgery and extractions, and here’s why.

Dental Probing Catches Problems Early

One reason to visit the dentist regularly is to identify problems in your mouth that you are completely oblivious to. Subtle changes in the health of our gum tissue can be missed by the naked eye, and some people – even those who visit a dentist regularly – can be prone to an excess buildup of plaque and tartar that can result in gingivitis and periodontal disease. Thankfully, your dental team can catch these changes early through the use of X-rays and the practice of dental probing.

The reason for probing is straightforward. As periodontal disease progresses, the visible markers of the disease (plaque and tartar) migrate down along the side of the tooth into the natural “pocket” between the ridge of the gumline and the tooth’s enamel. This inflames the gum tissue and widens this naturally slim gap between the tooth and gum. As this gap becomes wider, even more bacteria are allowed access to the sensitive tissue fibers along the root’s outer surface, causing more damage. This process may result in bone loss, and the need to extract a tooth. This is why probing is so important. We regularly have new patients come see us that have good looking teeth, but they have ignored gum care for so long that they lose those good teeth because the bone can no longer support the teeth. We want to prevent that from happening!

How Does Dental Probing Work?

“Probing” is quite simple and is accomplished by using a dental “probe” to measure the depth of a tooth’s pocket. The probe acts like a ruler, and has markings along its side measured out in millimeters. To measure the depth of your tooth’s pocket, your hygienist gently places the probe into this pocket and makes note of the depth. Those numbers you hear are the millimeter depths of your pocket. Six measurements are taken per tooth, three along the outside, and three along the inside of each tooth. A depth of three millimeters or under without any bleeding is generally accepted as healthy. Above that number, we will suggest more thorough gum therapy, including scaling and root planing, or something even more comprehensive if the number is above a five and nearing ten. We are so committed to setting you up right, that we set aside extra time to make sure you understand your treatment!

So, as you can see, maintaining pocket health is critical, and proper brushing and flossing can help clear away plaque and prevent the tartar buildup that expands a pocket. Your dentist also plays a critical role in ensuring you’re staying ahead of gum disease, so be sure to keep your regular appointments – particularly if you have been identified as having periodontitis (gum disease) and recommended for more frequent, thorough gum therapy. With a good routine and frequent visits to the dentist the only numbers you’ll be hearing moving forward should be 1, 2 and 3! Keep up the good work.

The “Harmless” Habit That Could Make Your Teeth Fall Out. Literally.

Nov 19th, 2016
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

BiteGuard

Do you wake up some mornings with a headache of origins you can’t define? Do you experience vague muscle pain in your face? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of bruxism. What’s bruxism? You likely know it by its more informal name – two names, actually: “clenching” and “grinding.” It’s also not something you’ll want to ignore, because bruxism wears down the surface of your teeth and sets you up for cavities and tooth fractures. Severe cases can even contribute to tooth loss. Let’s find out how to stop this menace in its tracks.

 

What Causes Bruxism?

At The Dental Center at Easton, we’ve seen many factors can combine to create a bruxism habit. Stress and anxiety are believed to be leading causes, as are a misaligned bite, missing teeth, and sleep abnormalities. Some medications can also trigger episodes, as can neurological or musculature illnesses. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort due to bruxism, give us a call at (614) 414-0111.

 

Why Should I Be Concerned About Teeth Grinding? Isn’t It Normal?

Teeth grinding may be common, but it’s not “normal,” per se. Because the stresses of bruxism affect the entire jaw, this pressure can create cracks and chips in teeth, and over time can contribute to a shortening of lower face height due to bone loss. If that sounds scary, it should. It’s also a change you’ve seen before – in individuals who have lost all their teeth and do not wear dentures. We’re pretty sure that’s not a look you’re aiming to achieve.

 

How Do I Know I Have a Problem, and What Treatments Are Available?

In many cases, we’ll be able to see evidence of bruxism in your X-rays – and on the surface of your teeth – and will alert you to the problem long before you exhibit a single symptom, particularly if you sleep alone.  Occasionally however, you may start to clench and grind between visits and begin to notice symptoms on your own. If that’s more like your situation, and you find that you often wake with a sore jaw, a headache that goes away shortly after rising, or if a loved one tells you your teeth are making clickity-clankity noises all night, mention it the next time you’re visiting us.

As far as treatment goes, because the causes of bruxism are varied, the treatments vary as well. If we determine stress is the primary cause, we’ll likely recommend you abstain from excessive caffeine and alcohol, and attempt some form of daily relaxation. Even something as simple as a warm bath before sleeping can work wonders.

If your bite is a concern, we may suggest you visit an orthodontist for an evaluation, and if prescription medicine or neuromuscular illnesses are believed to be the cause, referral to the appropriate specialist would be part of your plan to break the habit.

In each of these cases, though, we’ll likely recommend a splint, or occlusal mouth guard to protect your teeth and bone from further damage. These protective devices are easy to wear, and contrary to what you may believe, will not impede your ability to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, they tend to enhance the quality of your sleep so you’ll wake up more refreshed.

So, the next time you’re sitting in one of our super-comfy chairs at The Dental Center at Easton, ask if some sort of guard may be right for you. Many people go years without being aware they’re clenching and grinding since it takes time for symptoms to show in your mouth. Getting a mouthguard or splint once you know you have this habit, though, will help you with headaches and muscle pain now – and tooth trouble down the road. And, we make some beautiful, comfortable mouthguards at The Dental Center at Easton!

The Perfect Road Map For Your Child’s Oral Health

Sep 15th, 2016
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

Kid Roadmap

On July 3rd, 1806, two years into their journey to chart the uncharted west of America, pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached a challenge of epic proportion – the Rocky Mountains. What next, they wondered? Without a map, they were forced to do what explorers do – explore, and hope for the best. So, that got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy map you could use to chart your own dental health? With that in mind, and in honor of our explorers, we at The Dental Center at Easton wanted to share with you a few mile markers you can use to stay on top of your child’s health today, next year, and for years to come!

 

6 to 24 months

When you’re a new parent, life is a whirlwind, and the dental care of your newborn may not be top of mind when you look in their mouths and see no teeth! Here are some things to keep in mind:

Schedule your regular visit: As soon as that first tooth comes in, you’ll want to give us a call at (614) 414-0111 to schedule your regular visit so we can review your next steps and the steps for your child. Also, be aware the ADA recommends fluoridated toothpaste now for all children under the age of three. Don’t wait!

Ask us about:

  • Home hygiene basics: Things like, tips and tricks on brushing and other care. There’s nothing better than having our hygienists give brushing tutorials – they’re experts!
  • Preventative dentistry: The possible need for fluoride supplements
  • Dietary strategies: Achieving a balanced diet early in life for good oral health later
  • Feeding practice awareness: Bottle, breastfeeding, and no-spill training cups
  • Non-nutritive oral habits: Thumb sucking, pacifiers
  • Making Dental Visits Normal: Even from a young age, your child should be very comfortable visiting the dentists. He or she should build that regular habit while young to keep a strong sense of normalcy.

 

2 to 12 years old

Ah, the little ones are growing up. Teeth are coming in at all sorts of crazy angles, and you’re going crazy from the rise in obligations. Here’s a quick list of what to consider during this time frame:

  • Preventative dentistry: Pit and fissure sealants can do wonders for keeping your child’s dental bills down, and their teeth in their head until they’re ready to fall out naturally. Ask us about them. They’re affordable AND useful. And, super-fast, you’ll be in and out in no time.
  • Orthodontic Consultation: Visiting an orthodontist for an early consultation is best done around your child’s seventh birthday. With today’s technology, early intervention can reduce the cost and duration of braces when your child gets older.

 

The Teen Years

The years “everything” happens! As children start to come into their own, new habits and desires begin to unfold as well. You’ll have to address every imaginable concern during these years, from piercings, to calls for whitening, braces, and the need to refer yourself away from your pediatric dentist and to a general dentist for continuing oral care. So, speak with us about:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry: What solutions are advisable now, and what things should be avoided.
  • Teen social pressures: Smoking, alcohol, intraoral/perioral piercings and the like. Believe it or not, we can help a lot with this. Does your teen have a favorite Dental Center hygienist? We might be able to arrange for that person to help when your teen comes in so they can address these concerns with an intermediary they trust. Give us a call at (614) 414-0111 to see how we can help!
  • Orthodontics: Options for minimizing appearance and health problems later in life.
  • Home hygiene tips: Brushing, flossing, choosing the right mouthwash.
  • Craniofacial injury prevention: With your children’s possible participation in sports, you’ll want to get them a mouthguard. Hands down it’ll be one of your best investments in a healthy mouth. And we make great ones here at The Dental Center!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Your teen hears lots of feedback from every direction, but it can be very helpful to hear the benefits of good oral health from a different voice then they hear everything else. We will work hard to reinforce this necessary message with you to your teen!

Staying on top of your child’s oral health isn’t as hard as you think, and if you keep this schedule handy, you’ll be ahead of most of your neighbor’s kids when it comes to a healthy mouth and body. Come to think of it … why not share it with them as well? They’ll thank you for the help.

Cold Sore Solutions That Actually Work

Aug 31st, 2016
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

Cold Sores

Whether you call them cold sores or fever blisters, if you’re among the more than 40% of Americans who regularly experience this inflammatory viral nuisance, you know they’re anything but a joy to deal with. You’ve also probably heard of countless ways to deal with them, from over-the-counter remedies to treatment options that span generations. So what really works?

Well, quite honestly what “works” when it comes to cold-sores, is management.  And, specifically, preventing, treating and eliminating the transmission of this most annoying of viruses. Here is how you do it:

Cold Sore Prevention

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is certainly true when it comes to cold sores, so knowing what causes them to surface is key. The number one and number two reasons are a weakened immune system, and exposure to rapidly changing weather. You know what we say here in Ohio: If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes and it will change! So we know about rapidly changing weather! To tackle the weather, always keep your preferred brand of lip moisturizer with sunscreen on hand, or grab one of our exciting flavors here at your next visit, to protect your lips from weather’s effect on your lips. And, to boost your immune system, be sure to get enough sleep and find ways to combat stress in your life. Also, as with most things in life, what’s good for our waistlines is good for our immune system. Here are some good dietary suggestions for cold sore sufferers:

  1. Eat Raw, Alkalizing Foods: Fruits and vegetables are super-good for you. Eat as many of them as you enjoy.
  2. Beef-up On Cruciferous Vegetables: Clinical studies are beginning to suggest that veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale are of great benefit to cold-sore sufferers. If you don’t naturally like eating some of these, then have some fun exploring new spices until you find the one that helps you eat more of these great veggies.
  3. Avoid Arginine: Cold-sores need the amino acid arginine to grow, so if you can limit the excess intake of this amino acid, you may be able to keep frequent outbreaks at bay. Nuts, chocolate, oats, and some protein shakes are high in arginine, and can be major cold-sore triggers. Even if you can’t give it up cold-turkey (C’mon, we need our chocolate!), even reducing the amount can make a huge difference!

By merely eating well and getting regular rest, you can help yourself avoid several outbreaks a year.

Cold Sore Treatment and Remedies

Preventing a cold sore from appearing is indeed your best medicine, and if you pay attention to what your body tells you, it is possible to dramatically reduce outbreaks. When a cold-sore does gift you with its presence, though, here are a few things you can do to minimize its pain, size and duration.

  1. Ice It! At the first sign of tingling, get thee to an ice cube, wrap it in a paper-towel, and place it on your lip where you feel the cold-sore coming on. Often two back-to-back applications of an ice cube until it melts can dramatically reduce the pain and swelling that accompanies the sore. This is definitely worth the up-front hassle, especially if you have a big day coming in the near future. You don’t wamt the extra burden or discomfort when you should be focusing on what really matters.
  2. Slather It? Not Now, But Later. Cold sores love warm, moist environments, and this is precisely the environment you present to a cold-sore when you slather it in cream for days on end.  You’re best to let it dry out to the point where it is no longer painful, and then begin applying cream or lip balm to minimize splitting. As the cold sore resolves itself, it’s best to keep your lips moist to prevent bleeding, which also aids in the healing at this stage.

Eliminate Transmission of Cold Sores

Avoid sharing food, utensils, towels, toothbrushes (always a good idea to avoid), or any other item that could come in contact with your mouth. Also, be sure to avoid touching the cold sore and then later touching your eyes or genital area.  In fact, your best course of action is to avoid touching your mouth at all during an outbreak, and not again until after the scab has dropped off completely, AND healed over. This can take some weeks, as you know. Kissing, and other aspects of intimacy that involve your mouth should be avoided entirely. Wash your hands often – this cannot be stressed enough to avoid spreading the virus.

Having a cold sore is not the end of the world. Nine out of ten of all people get at least one cold sore in their life, so there is no need to hide in the closet. Understand your triggers, find a solution that works, don’t spread the virus, and stay healthy!