Which Toothbrush Is Best?

BACK IN THE GOOD old days before the 1930s, toothbrush bristles were made of animal hair.

We’re pretty happy to live in the era of nylon bristles, but how can we tell which toothbrush will be best for our teeth and gums? How hard should the bristles be? Are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?

Soft Versus Hard Bristles

It’s true that hard bristles make it a little bit easier to scrub away the plaque from your teeth than soft bristles. It isn’t worth it in the end, though, because those hard bristles can also scrape away enamel and even agitate your gums to the point of putting you at greater risk for gum recession, which could be permanent.

In the case of hard bristles versus soft, the costs of hard bristles clearly outweigh the benefits, which is why dentists always give out and recommend soft-bristle brushes.

Powered Versus Manual Brushes

In the past, there wasn’t a significant difference between the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes and manual ones. However, the technology has come a long way, and modern electric toothbrushes are better at getting plaque out of hard-to-reach spots.

Electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by up to 21 percent more than manual toothbrushes and reduce the risk of gingivitis by 11 percent more. Using an electric toothbrush also makes it easier to brush for the full two minutes and less likely that you will apply too much pressure.

That still leaves a lot of different electric toothbrushes to choose from. Luckily, whether you choose an oscillating brush (spinning tops) or a sonic brush (bristles vibrate from side to side), you’ll still see better results than with a manual brush. If you aren’t sure which brush would be best for you, feel free to ask us about it at your next appointment!

Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush

Once you’ve found the ideal toothbrush, it’s important to store it properly so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria. Store it upright somewhere it can dry out, preferably as far from a toilet as possible. Finally, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush (or the head of your electric toothbrush) regularly because even the best bristles fray and lose their effectiveness over time.

Watch the video below for a few more tips about brushing your teeth!

We Look Forward To Seeing You!

Having the right toothbrush and taking proper care of it are essential to good dental health, but there’s no replacement for regular professional dental cleanings. Make sure you’re scheduling appointments twice a year! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Good habits and the right tools make all the difference for your teeth!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.

DIY Teeth Whitening Trends: Fact Or Fiction?

TRENDS IMPACT JUST about every aspect of life, from slang and fashion to which toys are collectibles this year and which fad diet everyone’s aunt is doing.

Most trends are harmless symptoms of an ever-evolving society and culture, but when they affect the ways we take care of ourselves, they can become serious. In recent years, do-it-yourself teeth whitening has been a “trendy” topic, so let’s take a look at a few of the more popular methods.

Charcoal Versus Tooth Enamel

As counterintuitive as it seems to rub black powder on your teeth and expect them to become whiter, the rationale behind the idea makes sense. Charcoal is extremely porous and absorbent and has been used even in hospitals to safely neutralize toxins. In theory, it could do the same for your teeth.

However, charcoal isn’t just porous, it’s also abrasive. Even as it absorbs harmful compounds from your mouth and disrupts bacterial populations, it could also be scraping away your enamel, doing more harm than good. Until we know more about the effects of charcoal on teeth, it’s safer to give that home remedy a pass.

Lemon Juice: Dissolving Stains Or Dissolving Teeth?

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body, but it is extremely susceptible to erosion by acid. Your saliva keeps the pH in your mouth balanced to protect your enamel, but anytime you eat or drink something acidic, that pH is disrupted and your teeth are vulnerable. Using lemon juice on your teeth in hopes of whitening them is, therefore, likely to cause a lot of enamel erosion, and once that enamel is gone, it’s gone for good.

Oil Pulling: An Ancient Folk Remedy

Oil pulling involves swishing oil (typically coconut, sunflower, sesame, or olive oil) around in one’s mouth for up to twenty minutes. Proponents of oil pulling claim it has numerous health benefits, including teeth whitening, but the American Dental Association doesn’t recommend it because there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Strawberries And Bananas

Strawberries do contain some citric acid, but they also contain malic acid (particularly when ripe), which actually can give your teeth a whiter appearance. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, and manganese, all of which promote healthier teeth and can help remove surface stains. So these two do-it-yourself teeth whiteners may actually provide some benefit! Both fruits still contain sugar, however, so you should still brush your teeth with dentist approved toothpaste after eating them.

Curious about those whitening mouthpieces that emit blue light you see all over social media? Watch the video below to learn whether or not they’re really effective:

Stick To The Science

Trends like charcoal toothpaste and lemon juice mouthwash will come and (hopefully) go, and occasionally we’ll discover remedies that do have benefits, like strawberries and bananas, but the best benefits to our teeth will always come from dentist-approved methods. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day, avoid sugary drinks and snacks, and schedule regular dental appointments.

If all of these good habits aren’t keeping your teeth white enough, talk to us about safe, professional whitening options.

Healthy smiles are beautiful smiles!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.

Maintaining Your Post-Invisible Aligner Smile

WHILE TRADITIONAL WIRE braces are still the most efficient at straightening teeth, fixing crowding, and correcting an underbite or overbite, invisible aligners have become an attractive alternative in recent years. Being able to get all the benefits of braces with such a low-profile appliance that can be removed for brushing, flossing, and eating can make the orthodontic process far more palatable.

But what’s next after you’ve progressed through every aligner tray and your teeth are perfectly aligned? What will it take to maintain the smile you’ve always wanted?

Wear Retainers As Recommended

In some cases, the final invisible aligner tray can be used initially as a full-time retainer and eventually as a nighttime one after the patient’s teeth are correctly aligned. In others, a separate retainer will be recommended, and those tend to be sturdier. No matter what type of retainer you end up with, be sure to follow the care instructions in order to keep it clean and effective as long as possible.

The reason it’s important to use retainers after the teeth are straight is that it can take around a year for the periodontal ligaments–the tiny connective tissue fibers that hold our teeth in place in our jaws–to get used to the new position. Without retainers, your teeth will be in danger of shifting back to the position those ligaments were used to.

Stay On Top Of Your Oral Hygiene

The most important component of post-aligner dental health is how well you take care of your teeth. That means maintaining good habits, such as:

  • brushing for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • flossing daily with traditional floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser
  • avoiding sugary snacks and sodas that supercharge bad oral bacteria

Schedule Regular Dental Visits

No matter how straight your teeth are and how diligently you’re keeping them clean, they still need professional dental care twice a year. At our practice, we have the equipment and skill needed to thoroughly clean your teeth, take care of anything more extensive when needed, and help you make sure you’re on track with your own oral hygiene habits.

We Can Answer Your Questions!

If you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth post-invisible aligners, we’re happy to answer them. Call and set up an appointment today or leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll work with you to get the information you need to maintain a happy, healthy smile.

Congratulations on all your hard work to get straight teeth!

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

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.

Mouth-Breathing: Breaking Unhealthy Habits

BECAUSE BREATHING IS something we all do all the time without really thinking about it, the idea that there are unhealthy ways to do it might take some people by surprise.

Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can lead to a wide array of health and hygiene problems. It’s important to establish healthy breathing habits early in life, so today we’re going to discuss the effects of mouth-breathing on children, and how you can help your kids break the habit.

Why Is Mouth-Breathing Bad For Kids?

Mouth-breathing can cause all kinds of short-term issues for children, many of which are connected to poor sleep quality from getting insufficient oxygen by breathing through the mouth. If your child is exhibiting the following symptoms, it may be due to mouth-breathing.

  • Impaired speech: when a child’s mouth is always open, certain sounds become more difficult to say.
  • Halitosis (chronic bad breath): an open mouth tends to be a dry mouth, which means there isn’t enough saliva to clean out the germs.
  • Tooth decay: other serious byproducts of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.
  • Irritability, lethargy, and inattention: less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.

Negative Effects Continue Past Childhood

While the above issues are bad enough, the problems that come from mouth-breathing don’t stop there. If left unchecked even as the person grows up, mouth-breathing can cause the following:

  • Extended Orthodontic Treatment: braces will take longer and there will be a higher chance of the teeth shifting back to their pre-braces position.
  • Altered Facial structure: the bones in the face can actually develop differently because of mouth-breathing, resulting in flatter features, droopy eyes, a narrow jaw, and a smaller chin.
  • Sleep apnea: mouth-breathing can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that makes it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.

Mouth-breathing can also potentially lead to other oral health issues such as TMJ:

If It’s So Unhealthy, Why Do Kids (And Adults) Do It?

The habit of mouth-breathing can be caused by many different things. For some kids, it’s simply habit, in which case parents can encourage them to breathe through their noses. For others, mouth-breathing could be the result of a different condition. A misaligned bite that makes it difficult to keep the mouth closed, allergies that clog up the nose, and large tonsils that obstruct the airway are all causes that make mouth-breathing a more complicated matter to fix.

Helping Your Child Breathe Healthy For Life

If your child has a mouth-breathing habit, it often isn’t as simple to break as telling them to stop. When it’s caused by one of the problems listed above, they will need treatment before nose-breathing can become natural (and in some cases, possible). Schedule an appointment with us so that we can determine the cause of the mouth-breathing and what action to take next to encourage healthier breathing.

We love to see our patients healthy and happy!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.