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Foods That Cause Tooth Decay | November 2018

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits) or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.

Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy. Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy. Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.

The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur. For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay. Conditions such as gastric reflux or bulimia can also create an acidic environment in the mouth which can be extremely destructive to tooth enamel contributing to tooth abrasion and wear.

To help protect your teeth against tooth decay:

- Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches

- Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal

- Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages

- Swish with water after meals and snacks

- Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (floss at least once a day and brush twice a day)

-See your physician if you suffer gastric reflux or bulimia.

And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.

 

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Flossing 101 | October 2018

OF ALL THE THINGS you can do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing has got to be the least expensive! But many patients don’t take the time to floss. And if you do, you might not be doing it correctly!  Welcome to Flossing 101…

 

Why Should You Floss?

Your toothbrush isn’t enough to brush away the plaque or biofilm that can build up between teeth and at the gumline. A complete dental routine includes both brushing and flossing.

How Often Should You Floss?

Once a day is ideal. Believe it or not, flossing more often (or with more rigor) can damage your gums. The only exception to once-a-day flossing is if you need to remove pieces of stringy or sticky foods that get stuck after eating. Don’t leave those in there too long.

Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

Either one is fine! My preference is to brush, floss, and then touch up brush.

How Should You Floss?

Pull out about 18 inches of floss (any brand is fine). Wind the floss tightly around your index or middle fingers on both hands so that the floss between your hands is taut. Slide the floss between each set of teeth that touch, as well as where your last molar meets your gums. Slide the floss up and down the teeth, following the natural curve of each tooth in a “C” shape.

 

Imagine the floss giving each tooth a little hug! Floss between teeth and where your teeth meet your gums. Use a new clean section of floss for each set of teeth.

For a helpful infographic, use this one from the American Dental Association. You can also ask our hygienist, Patty, to show you how to floss at your next visit. Here’s a video from the ADA to show you the technique.

 

 

Remember, it takes a good 2-3 weeks to develop a habit, so stick with it and soon you will feel like you’re missing something if you skip it.  The thing is you are missing something is you skip it-those nasty biofilms that linger between teeth causing tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath.

Can’t floss?

If arthritis in your hands or another condition prevents you from flossing adequately, consider a dental pick, oral irrigator, or a handled flosser.  Patty will advise you and give you recommendations. Give us a call: (608) 234-4295 or ask about options at your next visit. We will help find a solution for you!

 

Facts About Tooth Whitening | September 2018

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

• Tobacco use

• Food and drink

• Poor dental hygiene

• Dental trauma

• Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.

These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love to See You at Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us at 216-2613. Thank you for reading our blog!

 

How Your Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health | August 2018

MANY OF US need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions. However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.

Medicine And Oral Chemistry

Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.

Side-Effects For Your Mouth

Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.

Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding

If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.

To learn more about the risks of gum disease, watch the video below:

 

Altered Taste

Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.

Dry Mouth

The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.

Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Taking Medications? Let Us Know!

The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Vacation Summer Smile Tips | July 2018

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips! Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. As dental professionals, however, we want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you don’t leave your oral hygiene behind. Follow these tips to keep your teeth healthy and bright, even when you’re traveling!

 

Have a Dental Check Up Before Leaving Town

Nothing can ruin a vacation quite like a toothache or other dental emergency. And depending on where you’re traveling to, it could be difficult to get the proper treatment required. It’s always best to get your teeth checked before going on a trip to make sure everything is in tip-top shape!

At your checkup, our wonderful hygienist will clean your teeth.  Dr. Madsen will check for cavities or other dental issues, and make sure that any tooth restorations you may have, such as crowns or fillings, are firmly in place. Untreated cavities or weakened dental work can cause pain on flights, so it’s best to take care of them beforehand!

Watch What You Eat When Traveling

One of the reasons that we go on vacation is for the amazing food! Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to get carried away. Just remember when you’re traveling this summer to eat sweets and snacks in moderation, and make sure to bring some sugarless chewing gum to pop in your mouth after eatingResearch shows that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent cavities!

Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Vacating your normal life and responsibilities for a short time is what vacations are all about! It’s important that you don’t leave your oral hygiene at home, however. Keeping your teeth healthy is something that requires daily care, so make sure your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are at the top of your packing list!  If you are undergoing or have completed any orthodontic care or Invisalign treatment, don’t forget your retainers and your case for your retainers, along with a backup set just in case.

Quick tip: When packing your toothbrush, make sure to store it in a case or bag that is ventilated. If you use a brush head cover or need to pack it in a bag without any ventilation, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush.

Have Fun!

We hope these tips will help you protect your teeth, even when you’re on vacation. You’ll have a lot more fun knowing that your oral health is taken care of and your smile is summer-ready. If something does happen, be sure to call the office for advice on how to proceed.  Wishing safe travels and a wonderful summer to all of our amazing patients!

 

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Bad Breath? | June 2018

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth. We’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts with Bacteria

We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal! Brush, floss and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum for good measure. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. A clean mouth is a fresh mouth!  Watch here to find all about bad breath:

 

Choose Breath-Friendly Foods and Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth.

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse. 

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We're Here for You

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel that your halitosis is severe and doesn’t get better when you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, or decayed teeth. Diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease can also be factors. If this is the case, come in to see us so we can address the issue and find the proper solution. We are here to serve you!

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.