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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger? How Brushing Too Hard Isn’t Good For Your Oral Health

Here you are reading a dentist’s blog, so we think it’s safe to assume you care about your teeth. That’s great news, because we care about them, too. Did you know that 25% of Americans actively shy away from smiling because of the condition of their teeth/mouth? That statistic doesn’t make us smile at all.

Many people are content with rarely (sometimes never) going to the dentist, which we don’t recommend. Now, we do trust that you know how to take care of your teeth and mouth, but sometimes oral care routines become so, well, routine that it’s easy to let vigilance slip. One strangely common practice that we’ve seen more of in recent years is people brushing too hard. Some might assume this problem to be more common in children who haven’t quite grasped the gentle dexterity needed to effectively handle a toothbrush, but adults are equally guilty and it stems back to a simple thought pattern: the more vigorous the brush, the cleaner the teeth. We can assure you this isn’t the case and we’ve compiled some reasons you’ll likely hear in your next dental exam.

Teeth are hard, not invincible

One of the more common complaints in dentistry is sensitive teeth. While sensitivity to cold or hot beverages is relatively commonplace, a reason we’re seeing this happen is people brushing so hard they’re stripping the enamel from their own teeth. Enamel is your teeth’s body armor, it protects them. Neither plaque nor tartar buildup is more resilient than enamel, so if this is happening, it’s time to reduce your brushing intensity by several notches.

Your gums shouldn’t be scared of you

Gum recession is another part of oral health that contributes to tooth sensitivity caused by brushing overly hard. If you’re brushing hard enough to strip enamel from your teeth, think about how the delicate skin in your gums is taking that. Some light bleeding happens when brushing your teeth, but doing it too hard will see excessive bleeding and eventual recession of the gum line. Your gums protect your teeth, so when they recede, more of your teeth are exposed, hence the sensitivity. This can lead to periodontal complications (gum disease) we’re certain you want no part of.

Ease it up

There are simple ways to keep yourself from doing this: soft bristle brush, fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and focusing on using less elbow grease while brushing. Hold your toothbrush like a paintbrush, not like a hammer. Massage around gumline as well as on the teeth. Don’t treat your mouth like you’re riding into medieval battle, give it the pampering your sparkling smile deserves and relax.

Oh, you might’ve thought we’d forget, but you still have to floss.

3 Tips For Getting Ready to See the Dentist

dental exam

Our teeth perform essential functions for our bodies. They help us speak, they help us eat, and they help us with non-verbal communication as well. Without our pearly whites, where would we be? This is why it is so important that we take very good care of our teeth.

Roughly 32% of individuals say that they are “concerned by the look of their teeth.” These people, and anyone who is not concerned as well, need to make sure they are regularly getting dental exams. Dental services are available to ensure that our teeth are always in the best condition possible. Taking a trip to the family dentist can be nerve-wracking to some, but being prepared can make those fears vanish. Here are three ways to prepare for your trip to the dentist so that it goes smoothly.

Be Honest With the Dentist

No one likes to admit when they are falling short of their hygiene goals, but it is important to tell your dentist the truth. They will be unable to adequately service you if they don’t know what you’re struggling with or where you can improve. You should also be transparent about your history during your dental exam, like if you have experience with a variety of health or periodontal issues.

Brush and Floss

When you know that you have a dental appointment coming up, you should be brushing your teeth like a champ. Changing up your brushing technique may also be helpful to get your teeth as clean as possible. Brushing is not enough to keep your mouth squeaky clean, however. It is important to floss, too. Floss helps you extract things from your teeth that your brush cannot get to.

Chew Gum

This one might sound kind of weird, but chewing gum is actually helpful. Sugar-free gum can help stop plaque in its tracks by significantly slowing down its buildup on your teeth. Chewing gum is a great substitute in between meals when you cannot get your hands on a toothbrush. It also can give you nice fresh breath right before your appointment.

Regular dental exams are necessary for all so that your teeth can remain in good health. To prepare for your visit to the dentist, make sure you are adequately brushing your teeth, flossing regularly, and chewing sugar-free gum between meals. Last, but not least, be honest with your dentist!

Why Are My Teeth So Yellow? 4 Reasons It Could Be Happening

going to the dentistHave you noticed that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be? In group photos with your friends, you can’t stop staring at your not-so-white teeth. You’re going to the dentist, and every time they tell you that your teeth are yellowing. Why is this happening to you? Here are four common reasons why your teeth might be yellowing.

Your Diet
What you eat can actually have a huge impact on your teeth, and not just their health. There are certain foods that can cause discoloration in your teeth. Things like coffee, red wine, soda, and even certain fruits and vegetables can yellow your teeth. Tobacco products can darken your teeth over time as well.

Poor Hygiene
This one might be obvious, but not taking proper care of your teeth can cause them to yellow. If you are not flossing, brushing, and rinsing on a regular basis, you’re putting yourself at risk for yellow teeth. This has a lot to do with your diet as well, because the staining foods you are consuming are not being cleaned off of your teeth.

Illness or Disease
This one is less common, but it happens. There are illnesses and diseases out there that can cause decay of tooth enamel and dentin, which is the underlying material of enamel. Web MD says, “head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth discoloration. In addition, certain infections in pregnant mothers can cause tooth discoloration in the infant by affecting enamel development.”

Medication
There are several different types of medications that can cause tooth discoloration. Antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline, antihistamines like Benadryl, and antipsychotic medications can all stain your teeth. Even mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can cause teeth to yellow.

What do you do about yellowing teeth? Going to the dentist for teeth whitening is the best solution. In fact, 82.5% of patients who got their teeth whitened at the dentist said they had a noticeable difference. If you feel like your teeth aren’t as white as you want them to be, visit your family dentist today to talk about getting your teeth whitened.

5 Foods You Didn’t Know Are Terrible For Your Teeth

teethFrom the time we are young, we are told what is “healthy” and what is “unhealthy” for our bodies. The same thing goes for our teeth. We all already have conceptions of what we’re not supposed to eat to keep our dental hygiene as pristine as possible.

Candy, chocolate, and sugar are just some examples of foods that we know are not good for our teeth. Going to the dentist regularly can educate anyone on the most well known foods, drinks, and substances that cause poor dental hygiene.

That being said, there are actually plenty of foods out there that you would have no idea are harming your teeth. The surprising part is that these foods are all typically perceived as “healthy” foods by the general public. According to The Health Line, here are five foods that are bad for your teeth, and many of them are shocking.

  1. Bread: When you eat bread, the starches are broken down into sugar by your saliva. In fact, many types of bread now contain high fructose corn syrup and other forms of sugar. Bread easily gets stuck in between your teeth, so all that sugar is now sticking to the nooks and crannies in your mouth. The Health Line advises you to stick to whole wheat breads that contain fewer sugars.
  2. Alcohol: Drinking alcohol actually dries out your mouth, which can be very problematic because our saliva does a lot to protect our teeth. With a dry mouth, your saliva can’t do its job properly.
  3. Ice: Ice, really? Ice is just frozen water, how can that be bad for your teeth? It’s not the ice itself, but rather chewing on the ice that is harmful. The Health Line tells us that chewing on hard substances can damage your tooth enamel, which can lead to a whole array of dental problems.
  4. Citrus: There are many healthy and nutritious components to citrus fruits for your body. However, while your body craves Vitamin C, citrus fruits are not always so kind to your teeth. The acid in citrus can erode tooth enamel, which, as mentioned previously, can be a slippery slope to many other dental issues.
  5. Dried Fruits: How can dried fruits be anything but good for you? Well, they’re sticky. Just like bread, they get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and leave behind a lot of sugar. Brushing or rinsing out your mouth after eating these snacks can allow you to still enjoy them without the potentially harmful effects.

How many of these foods do you consume without thinking twice because you know them to be “healthy?” In adults aged 30 years and older, 47.2% of them have some form of periodontal disease. This is probably associated with the fact that people are eating these seemingly healthy foods, not knowing they are bad for their teeth and gums.

If you are concerned about the condition of your teeth, make sure to visit your family dentist, take advantage of their dental services, and to get your teeth looked at twice a year.

Why Are Regular Dental Exams so Important?

dentistryIt’s not uncommon for people to fear the world of dentistry. In fact, people avoid going to the dentist for a variety of reasons. This may be due to their fear of pain, the sounds of the drill and other dentistry tools, or even just because they’re looking to save money by not going. However, people often fail to see the importance of regular dental exams. To help you better understand why regular dental exams are so important, let’s take a look at what exactly goes on during a visit to the dentist.

Checking for tooth decay is just one aspect of a dental examination. During your appointment, your dentist will take a thorough look at your gums, perform a head and neck examination, and examine the remainder of your mouth. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that there are several routine aspects of a dental examination.

During the head and neck examination, your dentist will start off by:

  • Examining your neck
  • Examining your face
  • Checking your lower jaw joints
  • Checking your lymph nodes

This part of the examination allows your dentist to check for anything out of the ordinary.

Next, your dentist will perform the clinical dental examination. This may involve:

  • Examining your gums
  • Looking for signs of gum disease and other illnesses or issues
  • Checking for loose or broken teeth
  • Checking your bite
  • Examining the insides of your mouth, including your tongue
  • Checking for damaged fillings
  • Taking x-rays

Typically, a dental hygienist will perform a thorough tooth and gum cleaning either before or after this examination. While people may think that the cleaning is the only thing that’s done at a dentist appointment, it’s important to understand that there’s so much more that is done.

Visiting the dentist on a regular basis allows your dentist to not only ensure your teeth are healthy but to also look for warning signs of any additional health problems. Research shows that there is a correlation between poor oral health and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and premature or low birth rate. It’s important to remember that your oral health can have a big impact on your overall health.

Once the examination and cleaning are done, your dentist will discuss your dental health with you and make any recommendations about your oral care. It’s important to visit the dentist twice a year, even if you aren’t one of the 32% of people who say they are “concerned by the look of their teeth.” Even if your teeth look and feel fine, there may be underlying issues that can only be found with the use of dentistry equipment.

3 Facts About Teeth Whitening that You May Not Have Known

tooth whiteningTooth whitening is an extremely popular dental procedure and one that’s growing in popularity with each passing year. For millions of Americans, having white teeth is a major priority, and even slight yellowing or discoloration can be a source of significant social embarrassment. In fact, 74% of adults believe that their unattractive smile may hurt their career and their future, not to mention their love life.

Many people schedule a visit with a cosmetic dentist to take their yellow, aged teeth and turn them into pearly whites. Not only do people go to the dentist to get their teeth transformed, but they also leave with a few suggestions on how one can continue to make their teeth stay white over time.

Now, it’s pretty easy to understand the concept of cosmetic dental services like teeth whitening, but there are so many other things to know! Here are three facts that you should know about tooth whitening.

Teeth Whitening Doesn’t Hurt Your Teeth
Going in for a tooth whitening procedure doesn’t actually damage your teeth at all. Your dentist’s teeth whitening procedure uses safe chemicals to remove any stains from your teeth. Your teeth naturally rehydrate after each session. They also remineralize after each procedure, so you don’t have to worry about any lasting damage to your teeth or gums.

The Stains Won’t Come Off Overnight
Sure, one tooth whitening treatment may help to reduce some of the deep stains on your teeth, but just one session won’t fully remove the effect of thousands of cups of coffee. In order to get that perfect shade of white restored, you’re going to need to go back a few times for multiple treatments. However, once the stains are fully gone, it’s super easy to maintain the perfect smile for years to come (and, yes, you can still drink some coffee).

Your Teeth Act Like a Sponge and Absorb Things
Much like your skin, your teeth have pores and absorb any colorful particles that get put into your mouth. For example, if you were to drink red wine, the red color from the wine would settle into your teeth’s pores. This is why you may notice a red tint after drinking a glass of wine. Your natural teeth color will fade and stain over time as you keep eating colored foods and drinking colored drinks.

If you are looking to have your teeth whitened, consider these facts before having the procedure performed. Maybe even share them with your dentist! They’ll get a kick out of how much you know!

How Often Should You Really Be Going To The Dentist?

dental examAround 32% of people say they’re concerned by the look of their teeth, but too many people are forgoing their regular dental visits due to cost, fear, or other priorities. Some people might not even know how often they should be making an appointment with their family dentist. If you can’t remember when you had your last dental exam, that’s a sign it’s been too long. However, this post provides some more specific guidelines to follow when it comes to getting your teeth the professional help they need.

In general, twice a year is a good starting point.
There’s no perfect recommendation that is appropriate for every single patient. But making a dental exam appointment for every six months is usually a smart estimate. Even if you think you brush and floss thoroughly at home, you’ll still need to keep your bi-annual appointment to get your teeth professionally cleaned and checked to make sure everything is on track. Some patients feel that once per year is sufficient; your dentist may agree if they have no concerns or you have worries about cost. But for children, teens, and the elderly, it’s usually best to stick to the every-six-months schedule.

You can help your children form good habits early.
Experts recommend that children have their first dental exam six months after their first tooth appears or by the time they turn one year old. Not only can this teach them about the importance of maintaining a clean, healthy smile, but it will also remove the fear component from the process. Because parents are more likely to give their young children juice and sodas, rather than water, these early dental visits are vital for preventing tooth and gum disease. Make sure you schedule and keep their bi-annual appointments, too.

Special cases may require more frequent visits.
For most healthy adults and children, going to the dentist every six months is appropriate. But in certain circumstances, you may need to make more frequent appointments. If you’ve had recent changes to your dental health (including pain), you should not wait until your bi-annual appointment to speak to your dentist. You may also need to schedule additional visits if you’ve undergone recent procedures (like wisdom tooth removal or dental implantation) or require a crown, braces, or cavity fillings. Finally, if you are a smoker, are pregnant, or have cancer, you may be considered to be in a higher risk category. Be sure to talk to your dentist about their recommendations.

For many people, going to the dentist is never going to be a fun-filled activity. But it’s really the best preventative step you can take to ensure your smile stays beautiful and healthy throughout your life. By keeping your bi-monthly appointments (or maintaining another schedule recommended by your dentist), you’ll be making an investment in your body that will benefit you for many years to come.

An Intro Guide to Teeth Whitening

teethYour smile is the first thing someone notices about you. So, you deserve to have it be as pearly white as possible!

No one wants stained teeth, as this can lead to some pretty serious self-esteem issues. This is where tooth whitening can come in to be the unsung hero of dentistry. Considering that 82.5% of people saw a noticeable difference after having their smile whitened by a dentist, it is safe to say that it is worth the extra effort for this treatment.

But what exactly does tooth whitening entail? Here is a beginner’s guide to this dental treatment.

What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is exactly what it sounds like — it is meant to remove tooth discoloration and stains. However, it is not a one-time procedure and will require some dedication to get to the shade you require.

How do I prepare?
If you have any pre-existing dental conditions, such as cavities or a chipped tooth, they must be taken care of before the whitening procedure. Also, be aware that if you have receding gums, your teeth may look yellow, and there is nothing that a tooth whitening procedure can do to fix it. So, it is always a good idea to fix these problems the best you can before the treatment as the treatment can cause a lot of sensitivity.

What does it entail?
Generally speaking, there are two different types of tooth whitening procedures. What option you choose depends on whether or not the tooth has nerves (vital) or if it has had a root canal procedure done and doesn’t have any feeling (non-vital whitening).

  • Vital Whitening: This is applied via a gel directly onto the tooth’s surface. It can be done either at home or during a dental exam; it all depends on what power whitening gel can be used.
  • Non-vital Whitening: Since the tooth doesn’t have a nerve, chances are the discoloration is coming from inside the tooth. So your dentist will place a whitening agent inside the teeth and cover them with a temporary crown. You’ll keep this crown on for a few days and repeat the entire process until the desired shade is reached.

Make your smile the brightest it has ever been by investing in tooth whitening today. With just a few treatments, you’ll be showing off those pearly whites in no time!

Answering Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants

dental servicesIt is no secret that a person’s smile is one of the first things others notice about them. However, a healthy smile can get harder and harder to achieve as you get older, because despite how well you take care of them, they don’t always last as long as they should.

This is where crowns, bridges, and dental implants come in. There are plenty of dental services available to make your smile shine the brightest it can, but the problem is many patients refuse to go to the dentist over fear of the unknown. To prevent this, here we explain some commonly asked questions concerning dental implants so you are as educated as possible!

What exactly are dental implants?
Dental implants are fake teeth that come with a small metal anchor that is surgically attached to your jawbone. Think of the metal anchor as a substitute for the tooth’s root, and once it is placed the prosthetic will act and function like a normal tooth.

Why would someone choose to invest in a dental implant?
Dental implants are great because they feel and look like natural teeth. They are actually so popular that 3 million people already have dental implants, and this number is growing at a fast rate of 500,000 per year!

What is the process of getting a dental implant like?
The treatment is a three-step process — the dental implant will be placed into your jawbone and as it heals, it will fuse permanently. Once this implant is bonded to the bone, an abutment is placed on top of the dental implant to connect the root to the replacement tooth. Then, a crown, which will be made to look the same color as your natural teeth, will be molded and placed on top.

How will I know if a dental implant is right for me?
There are a variety of factors that go into determining if you are the right candidate for dental implants. But as a rule of thumb, you should have a fully developed jawbone, healthy gums, and no other medical problems that will hinder the healing process.

Want to learn more about dental implants? Contact our doctors today for any and all of your dental services questions!

Tips and Tricks That Will Help Make Your Child’s First Dental Exam Go By Smoothly

dental examWe all know that proper oral hygiene is important from a young age, but it can be easier said than done to get your child to visit the family dentist without being nervous and having a breakdown. Dental care is all too important in children, as children with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain.

So, to make your child’s first dental exam go by as smoothly as possible, here are some tips and tricks to try out.

  • Start brushing from a young age.
    You want your child to get familiar with oral hygiene from the time their first tooth comes in. Make sure to make it a nightly routine to have your child brush their teeth and for you to check to see if it was done thoroughly. This way the child will get accustomed talking about, touching, and cleaning their teeth.
  • Read books on dentistry.
    There are plenty of books out there that will help to introduce this somewhat foreign concept to your child. Adding a book about going to the dentist to their stash of books will make their first appointment feel normal!
  • Practice giving your child an exam.
    Sit your child down in a recliner at home and go through a pretend dental exam with them! Take a pencil and tap their teeth, brush their teeth one by one, and give them some water to gargle and swallow as a means of practice.
  • Don’t mention fear until they do.
    Chances are your child won’t be fearful of the dentist by themselves — they have probably heard their parents or other family members talk about negative dental experiences and have grown scared. So do not mention anything about even the possibility of the exam being scary, and always speak positively so they have nothing to worry about.
  • Go in with them
    It is completely normal to go into the exam room with your child and hold their hand if they are scared. Seeing a calm and collected parent will work wonders on a child who is a bit scared!

These tips are easy, right? Just remember that practice makes perfect and it may take a few times for your child to get accustomed to a dental exam.

If you are in the need of dental services for your family, make sure to contact our Brockport dentists today!

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