Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

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!


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 like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. 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.

 

 

Photo credit:

The Battle Inside Our Mouths

EVERY DAY INSIDE YOUR MOUTH, there is an epic battle of good versus evil being waged over the ultimate prize: your teeth! And guess what… only YOU can protect them from the destructive forces that seek to harm them.

The Good Guys And The Bad Guys

Because tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body (it is made up of mostly minerals), we automatically think of it as a tough shield that nothing can get through. In reality, tooth enamel is porous!

When tooth enamel loses minerals, teeth are weakened and more susceptible to decay–we call this demineralization. If tooth enamel is demineralized enough, a cavity will form. But here’s the good news! The enamel can also be strengthened by receiving nutrients and minerals in a process we call remineralization. This constant dynamic of tooth enamel losing and gaining minerals is the battle that goes on inside your mouth every day!

So, who are the bad guys? Although there are a lot of good bacteria in our mouths, there’s also the cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque. They feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produce harmful acids in the process. These acid attacks demineralize, or break down tooth enamel, and if left unchecked, can lead to tooth decay.

Check out the video below to learn a little more about plaque:

But all is not lost! You have a secret weapon in your ammunition… and that’s saliva! Not only does saliva wash out food debris and neutralize harmful acids, but minerals in saliva like fluoride, calcium and phosphate can be deposited back into tooth enamel, strengthening and defending it against bad bacteria. That’s why we call saliva the unsung hero of oral health–it works around the clock to protect our smiles and keep our teeth healthy and strong!

Whose Side Are You On?

This “battle” isn’t something that just goes on in your mouth without you having any say in it. You can promote tooth enamel remineralization and help your saliva fight off harmful bacteria by practicing mouth-healthy habits. In the end, you are the ultimate protector of your teeth!

The first thing you can do to defend your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria is eat a nutritious diet. Sugary drinks and treats, crackers, bread and processed foods are just what these bad bacteria love and eating these types of foods can lead to tooth enamel demineralization. On the other hand, foods like cheese, eggs, apples, celery, carrots, dark leafy greens and wild-caught fish promote enamel remineralization. So the next time you open up the fridge or pantry, make the mouth-healthy choice!

Another way to prevent demineralization is to brush with fluoride toothpaste! Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up. This cavity-fighting mineral protects teeth from bacteria by remineralizing tooth enamel and reducing plaque bacteria’s ability to even produce acid in the first place!

And since plaque is the enemy, constantly disrupting and removing the plaque is something that will prevent demineralization as well.  So don’t forget to brush AND floss.  Plaque develops the teeth and unless you have huge spaces between your teeth, the only way to reach that area is with floss.

You Are Responsible For Your Oral Health

The battle to keep teeth strong and healthy depends on you! By eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can have a lifetime of healthy smiles. Keep up the good work, soldier. You’re doing great!

We’re grateful for our awesome patients!

 

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.

4 Fun Apps To Improve Your Oral Hygiene

OUR SMARTPHONES are never farther than an arm’s length away and help us do everything from track our calendars to track our calories. Today, we want to show you the wonders they can do for our daily hygiene routines with the help of these apps!

Dental Expert

We may typically only see you twice a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a “dental expert” by your side every day. The Dental Expert app acts as a patient’s guide to understanding different dental procedures. This app includes a frequently asked questions answered by actual dentists. It also has sections discussing myths vs. facts and things that can improve your smile.

Brush DJ

Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. It can sometimes be hard to keep track of the time, so why not get some help from your favorite songs with Brush DJ!

Brush DJ is a free app that will play 2 minutes of music from your music library. It also has a visual display guiding you on where to brush and for how long. Brush DJ also lets you set reminders to change your toothbrush, floss and go to regular dental appointments.

Chomper Chums

Getting your child excited about brushing their teeth can sometimes take a bit of creativity. Luckily, Chomper Chums® has you covered. Chomper Chums is a dental hygiene focused app designed to help parents teach children proper brushing techniques while keeping them engaged and entertained.

Children earn rewards within the app for brushing their teeth which they then use to buy food or drinks for their virtual Chomper Chums pet. Don’t worry though, this is a free app and no actual money is used to buy their virtual pals’ treats! The app encourages children to choose healthy food for their on-screen friends as well, so they learn about healthy eating choices in addition to building better oral hygiene habits.

BracesHelp

BracesHelp is an iPhone app for people who have or are considering getting braces. This app has helpful tips, videos and pictures on how to care for braces. It also has information on what to do if you are having troubles with your braces. If used in conjunction with tips you receive during your regular orthodontic appointments, you will have all of the help you need on your smile-makeover journey.

Have You Used One Of These Apps?

Or, do you know of other great dental apps for your smartphone or tablet? Comment and share below! And if you decide to try out one of the apps above, let us know how you like it!

We love giving our patients the resources to not only better educate them about their oral health and hygiene, but to make it fun! If you have any questions about these apps or other dental health topics, please feel free to reach out on social media or give us a call!

We appreciate you, our valued patients and friends.

 

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.

 

Top image by Flickr user Brad Flickinger used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them.  A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.  Also, avoid sharing any negative experience you may have heard or had when you were young.  Positive and motivating encouragement works better than scare tactics any day!
  6. Make sure they visit the dentist at least twice a year:  Regular visits to the dentist are equally important for your young ones.  “Baby teeth” are just as important as “adult teeth.”  Did you know that undetected cavities on baby teeth can lead to infection which could permanently damage the underlying “adult tooth?”  Also, “adult teeth” first start to come in at around age 6; so it’s important we take good care of them!

We at Avant Dentistry want our younger patients to have as equally healthy mouths as our adults patients.  Adopting earlier healthy oral hygiene habits increases our young patients’ chances for less dental problems as adults; why not set them up for success now!?!

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life.  Although February is officially Children’s Dental Health month, it is equally important throughout the entire year!  If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

 

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.

Make Flossing A Priority For Your Child

IS FLOSSING A PART of your child’s oral hygiene routine? Daily flossing is just as important for a child’s dental health as it is for an adult’s. As parents, you play a major role in helping your children learn to floss correctly and understand its importance from a young age.

Remember, Baby Teeth Matter

Flossing should begin as soon as your child has two teeth that touch. By starting regular flossing early, your child will get used to the daily task and will be more likely to incorporate it into their own oral healthcare routine later in life. As flossing requires a certain amount of manual dexterity, children will need parents’ help and supervision until about age 10 or 11.

Unfortunately, because baby teeth eventually fall out, many parents underestimate their importance and may neglect flossing. Even though they are temporary, baby teeth are essential to a child’s growth and development. They aid in chewing, promote proper speech development and reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in. Daily flossing will keep your child’s smile healthy and protect it from tooth decay!

Choose The Right Floss For Your Child’s Smile

Every smile is unique and may require different types of care. Learning what floss can benefit your child’s specific needs can make flossing their teeth easier and more effective. Here are different kinds of floss and how they may work best for your child:

  • Waxed floss: If your child’s teeth fit tightly together or are more crowded, waxed floss is for you. It is generally thinner and easier to glide between tighter-fitting teeth.
  • Dental tape: This is a wider, flatter type of floss that is designed to be gentle on exposed gums. If your child has gaps in their teeth, we recommend using dental tape.
  • Ultra Floss: Some children have varied spacing between their teeth. Ultra floss is wide enough to comfortably clean between gaps but can also stretch thin enough to clean between teeth that are close together.
  • Floss threader: Orthodontic appliances such as braces can make flossing extra difficult. The floss threader is designed to get into the nooks and crannies between teeth and around braces.
  • Pre-threaded Floss Pick: Many parents report that floss picks are easier to use on their children because of the convenient handle. They often come in different colors and can be fun for a child to pick out for themselves and be more involved.

No matter which floss you choose, the most important thing is to floss your child’s teeth on a daily basis! Call us or come into our office to discuss which type of floss may be best for your child. We will teach you how to floss your child’s teeth correctly as well as provide tips to make it easier.

A Lifetime Of Good Oral Hygiene Starts Early

When you don’t floss your child’s teeth, you miss cleaning 35 percentof tooth surfaces in their mouth. Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the hard-to-reach spaces between teeth that a toothbrush can’t. By brushing and flossing your child’s teeth on a daily basis, you ensure that their smile stays cavity-free and help put them on the path of good oral hygiene for a lifetime!

We love caring for your child’s smile!

 

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.

Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit Juice

EVERY CHILD LOVES sugary treats! But most parents understand how bad they can be for a developing smile. Unfortunately, some sweet things are more deceiving than others. As your trusted dental team, we’re here to make sure your kids can get the nutrients they need to have strong, healthy and beautiful teeth!

Fruit Juice Contains A Lot Of Sugar

It’s not always easy getting little ones to eat their fruits and veggies. Many parents turn to juice as an alternative to help them get some of the nutrients they need. While there are nutritional benefits to fruit juice, it can also be really hard on teeth.

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. And even though fruit juice is often touted as a healthy alternative to soda, the majority of them contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more! And as you well know, sugar is the number one culprit behind tooth decay.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid can pack a mean punch: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Needless to say, this can be extremely bad for young, developing teeth!

Follow These Steps To Protect Your Child’s Teeth

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children one to six years old should have no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day. When you give your child fruit juice, follow these five tips to help protect their teeth from decay:

  1. Don’t let them sip throughout the day. Have your child drink fruit juice all at once instead of throughout the day. Tooth decay is more about how long sugar comes in contact with the teeth and less about how much. This means that parents should avoid putting juice in sippy cups.
  2. Dilute it with water. This is an easy step to protect your child’s teeth from damage.
  3. Drink at mealtime. More saliva is produced when eating a meal, helping wash away sugar left by juice and remineralize tooth enamel. Chewing food also helps to physically remove sugar adhering to teeth.
  4. Use a straw. Using a straw will reduce the amount of sugar and acid that comes in direct contact with teeth.
  5. Rinse with water. Offer your child water after drinking juice to wash away any remaining sugar.

In general, it’s better to eat fruit than to drink it. Fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, so it’s not only better for your child’s teeth, it’s also better for their body.

Check out this video to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and the negative effects of sugary drinks on your child’s smile:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlwiXRmlLyA

Your Child’s Smile Deserves The Best

Fruit juice and soda may be what your child requests, but milk and water are much better choices. They’ll thank you later in life for healthy, cavity-free teeth! After all, your child’s smile deserves the best… not necessarily their taste buds!

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s dental health!

 

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.

Do Dental Fillings Last Forever?

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.

We Check Your Fillings At Your Regular Visits

You may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.

At your six-month appointment, we will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. We will look for early signs of wear and tear so we can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. We also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.

We’re Here For You In An Emergency

Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly. This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly, however accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Chewing on hard items or foods
  • Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
  • Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept

Although the following video discusses tooth loss, the same principals apply for a lost filling!

If you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call us immediately–we’re here for you in an emergency! We will get you in as quickly as we can. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free.

If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to come in as soon as possible to have it treated. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.

Call Us Anytime, Day Or Night

Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile. With that being said, we know not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours. That’s why we strive to make ourselves available to our patients as often as possible. If you need us, call us! Your health and comfort is our number one priority.

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting 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.

4 Tips For A Younger Looking Smile

THERE ARE COUNTLESS methods we use to try and turn back the clock on our appearance. Whether it’s hip wardrobes and hairstyles or costly cosmetic surgeries, people go to great lengths to recapture the look and feeling of their youth.

Despite all of these anti-aging fads and gimmicks, studies show your smile can do more to make you look younger than anything else!

Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Your Smile Looking Younger, Longer

The simplest thing you can do to keep Father Time at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly promotes healthy teeth and gums and keeps your smile looking and feeling clean. If we ignore these simple habits, we put our smiles at risk of harmful bacteria which can lead to unsightly effects such as:

  • Cavities,
  • Tooth discoloration or tooth loss,
  • And periodontal disease.

Maintaining good oral health throughout your life doesn’t just preserve the appearance of your smile, but it can preserve your overall health too. Bleeding gums caused by periodontal disease can allow bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. Research suggests gum disease can increase our risk for serious health problems, including…

  • Diabetes
  • Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Strokes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

For a few tips on how to floss properly to fight off that harmful bacteria, check out the video below!

Brighten Your Smile With Professional Tooth Whitening

Even when you take good care of your teeth, over time they naturally yellow. Micro-fractures, thinning enamel, and built-up stains all make your teeth look duller and older. But, that can be changed with tooth whitening!

There are several tooth whitening solutions, each with their own unique benefits. From over the counter whitening strips to in-office whitening treatments, we can help you decide which whitening solution is best for your smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You The Look You Want

Whether you need just few touch-ups or would like an amazing dental makeover, cosmetic dentistry can provide exactly the look you want. Cosmetic dentistry has both therapeutic and aesthetic benefits. Treatment can repair your teeth and correct your bite, and at the same time give you the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted!

Be Confident In Your Smile

One of the best ways to appear more youthful is to smile more! This can start a wonderful cycle too! Smiling more can actually make you happier, and make you want to smile more.

We love our patients and love seeing your bright shining smiles each day. If you have any questions about how we can give you a healthier, more beautiful smile, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our practice or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for brightening our day! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

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.

Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered!

WANT TO KNOW what our patients have been asking us? Here are the top five frequently asked questions we get at our practice!

#1: “How often do I actually need to visit the dentist?”

For most people, twice a year. Even if you do have perfect oral hygiene, plaque and tartar buildup are inevitable. With a professional cleaning every six months, your teeth will stay clean and healthy. We can also catch problems early at your biannual appointments, often saving you time, pain and money!

If your dentist wants you to come in more than twice a year, it may be because you have gum disease, are pregnant, or smoke, among other things. How often you need to make a dental visit is based on the health of your gums as well as how committed you are to a good oral hygiene program.

#2: “My tooth doesn’t hurt so I why do I need a filling?”

A cavity forms when bacteria in plaque produce acids that eat away at your tooth. It will usually not hurt at the beginning stages since it is only harming the protective outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. If a cavity is left untreated, the decay will reach the inner layers of the tooth, finally causing pain and sensitivity.

Most dental problems don’t have any symptoms until they reach a more advanced stage. That’s why it’s important for you to come in every six months–we can catch problems before you even begin feeling them!

#3: “What can I do about tooth sensitivity?”

Start by using desensitizing toothpastes, which are specially formulated to soothe the nerve endings in the tooth and reduce pain.  Potassium nitrate is the common ingredient contained in these toothpastes.  You can also help by limiting acidic foods and drinks which eat away at your tooth enamel over time, causing sensitivity.  In addition, don’t brush too aggressively, and avoid abrasive toothpastes, such as “whitening toothpastes.”  This can cause gum recession (and sometime even “notching” in your teeth!), which is a frequent cause of sensitive teeth.  If these steps do not help, come in to see us! There are other in-office treatments we can provide to reduce sensitivity.

#4: “Why are my teeth getting more yellow?”

A darkening or yellowing of the teeth is inevitable over time, as this occurs naturally with age. However, trauma and certain lifestyle behaviors can contribute to tooth discoloration. The most common culprits for surface stains are cigarettes, wine, coffee, tea, cola, sports drinks, berries, hard candy and tomato sauce. If your smile has lost its sparkle, talk to us about the whitening options we provide in our office!

#5: “Should I be using an electric or manual toothbrush?”

While an electric toothbrush can help patients with limited dexterity ensure a better cleaning, a manual toothbrush, if used for the appropriate amount of time and done with proper technique, can perform just as well as a powered toothbrush.   Certain features may attract you to an electric toothbrush, however, such as the ability to gauge pressure or a built-in timer.  But it is important to remember that NOT all electric toothbrushes are the same, and if used improperly can cause more damage.  We personally like the Oral B Pro5000 Smart Series because not only does it have a timer, the ability to synchronize to a Bluetooth app to monitor your routine, but most importantly the lighted pressure sensor, which alerts you when you are brushing too hard.

We’re also often asked about wisdom teeth! Check out the video below to learn more:

We Love It When Our Patients Ask Questions!

The more educated you are about your teeth and mouth, the better you will feel about going to the dentist and making decisions for your oral health. Have any more questions?  Call us or come in today!

Seeing our patients smile is what we live for!

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.