Posts for: January, 2017
Your oral care regimen plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. Dr. Kenneth Sharp, your McKinney, TX family dentist at Stonebridge Ranch Smiles, shares several suggestions that can help you improve your oral health.
Follow the two-minute rule
Did you know that many people don't brush long enough? If you quickly pass your toothbrush over your teeth, you may not remove all of the plaque. Plaque, a sticky, transparent film that contains bacteria, coats teeth and interacts with sugars in foods to create acids that attack tooth enamel. Brushing for at least two minutes twice per day is the best way to prevent plaque buildup. To avoid missing a spot, start at the same place every time you brush and make sure each tooth receives a thorough brushing.
Stock up on floss
Brushing is an excellent way to remove plaque from the visible surfaces of your teeth, but toothbrush bristles aren't thin enough to reach between teeth. Flossing once per day removes plaque between teeth and also gets rid of food particles that can lead to bad breath. If it's hard to reach your back teeth with floss, use products specifically designed for tight spaces, like floss picks or interdental brushes.
Wash away plaque
Mouthwashes don't just freshen your breath but can also kill the bacteria in plaque and strengthen your enamel. Look for mouthwashes that contain fluoride and are labeled "anti-cavity."
Don't be a stranger
Visiting Dr. Sharp in McKinney every six months is one of the best ways to maintain good oral health. If you do develop a cavity, it will be detected when it's still small and hasn't yet caused significant damage to your tooth. Skipping a dental cleaning can raise your gum disease risk. No matter how carefully you brush and floss, you can still develop tartar, a hard deposit that forms if plaque isn't removed promptly.
If tartar remains on your teeth long enough, it may damage your gums and eventually cause bone loss. Since the deposit can only be removed with special dental instruments, twice-yearly visits are a must.
Keep your smile bright and healthy with a good oral care regimen! Has it been a while since you've seen Dr. Sharp, your McKinney, TX family dentist? Call (972) 984-1882 to schedule an appointment at Stonebridge Ranch Smiles.
As your mother used to say, “A moist mouth is a healthy mouth.” Well, maybe she didn't — but it's still true. Without the constant flow of saliva, your teeth and gums would be less healthy.
That's because among its many functions, saliva helps keep the mouth from becoming too acidic. Just after eating, your mouth's neutral pH level tips to the acidic side of the scale. Acid is enamel's number one enemy, and it takes little time for it to begin dissolving mineral content. But in thirty minutes to an hour, saliva neutralizes the acid; it also helps restore some of the enamel's minerals.
Without adequate saliva flow, acid quickly gets the upper hand. In time, this can greatly increase your risk for dental disease. And for many people, inadequate saliva — dry mouth — is a chronic problem.
There are a number of reasons why. Salivary glands may not produce as much in our later years. In addition, as we age, we may begin taking more medications, some of which can cause dry mouth. Treatments for certain kinds of systemic diseases, particularly cancer, can also inhibit saliva or even damage salivary glands.
If you feel your mouth is continuously dry, make an appointment to find out the cause, which will determine the best course of action to alleviate it. If it's related to your medication, we'll see if there's an alternative. If not, you may need to drink more water when you take your medication and more throughout the day.
There are other things you can do as well. Reduce your intake of acidic foods or caffeinated beverages. Run a cool-air humidifier at night to keep your mouth and nose membranes moist. And you can also try saliva stimulants available by prescription or even over the counter. Chewing gum with xylitol (an alcohol-based sugar) has also been shown to stimulate saliva flow.
Above all, be diligent about daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Keeping a watchful eye will help ensure dental disease doesn't take advantage of your dry mouth.
If you would like more information on managing dry mouth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth.”
Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”
Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.
A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:
- Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
- Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
- Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
- Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.
If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”