Posts for tag: oral hygiene
Let’s put your oral habits to the test and see if you are doing everything you should for your smile.
Most people know to brush and floss their teeth, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t actually know the proper technique or how often they actually need to do these things every day in order to keep teeth and gums healthy. Our Huntsville, AL, dentist Dr. Michael Pugh is here to provide you with insight into what constitutes good oral hygiene.
Replace Your Toothbrush Head Regularly
Your toothbrush wasn’t meant to last forever. Even if you have an electric one, you still need to replace the head every three to four months. Why? As you may be able to tell, over time the bristles of the toothbrush begin to splay out. Once this happens the toothbrush head needs to be replaced, as the bristles could end up scratching up and wearing away tooth enamel. Another good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush head immediately after an illness to prevent bacteria from infecting you again.
Brush Twice a Day
Most people don’t brush as often as they should or for as long as they should. If you aren’t brushing at least twice a day then you aren’t giving your teeth the thorough cleaning they require. Twice a day for a minimum of two minutes is all that’s needed (however, brushing after meals is also encouraged!). If you aren’t brushing long enough, set a timer to make sure that you are spending enough time caring for your teeth and gums.
Don’t Skip Flossing
We know that flossing isn’t the most fun activity you could do but it’s necessary if you want to keep gums healthy and if you want to keep your teeth safe from decay. While brushing is great for cleaning plaque and food off the back and front surfaces of your teeth, your toothbrush isn’t capable of really cleaning between teeth as precisely as it should. Flossing once a day (preferably before bed) is the best way to ensure that your teeth and gums are truly free from plaque.
Check Your Diet
The foods you eat can also make or break your oral health. If you consume a lot of junk food, sugars and starches (e.g. white bread) then you may be more prone to decay than someone who eats a healthier, smile-friendly diet. Avoid sugary drinks and foods, as well as processed foods and you’ll notice a big difference.
Artistic Dentistry in Huntsville, AL, is here to ensure that you get the professional, compassionate dental care you deserve for the whole family. Whether you just need to schedule a routine checkup or you want to discuss your cosmetic dentistry options, we are here for you.
It's easy to understand why soda is such a popular beverage: it's inexpensive, tastes good and many varieties give that much needed caffeine boost to make it through the morning or the mid-afternoon. However, the negative effects that soda has on your teeth lessens its benefits. Your dentist in Huntsville, Alabama, Dr. Michael Pugh, sees many patients at Artistic Dentistry who have extensive tooth decay due to their soda habit. You'll learn why soda - even the diet alternatives - have earned such a bad reputation.
Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. But do you know why? It turns out that sugar is easily fermented, or broken down, by the naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth. As this sugar ferments, it creates an acid that eats away at the healthy structure of teeth. Your Huntsville dentist is particularly concerned about patients who have an all-day soda habit; the teeth are constantly coated in sugar, never giving the saliva much of a chance to rinse it away.
Diet soda was created in the early 1950's for diabetic people who still wanted to enjoy a fizzy beverage; it originally contained a sugar substitute called saccharin. Many decades later, diet soda continues to be popular for those who need or want to regulate their sugar intake - the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that about one-fifth of the population drinks it daily. However, diet soda has never been intended as a dental-friendly drink. Why? Two of the main ingredients in most diet sodas are phosphoric acid and citric acid, which means that the erosive effect on your teeth is still present when you drink sugar-free soft drinks.
While most people can enjoy soda infrequently, dentists agree that the best drink for your teeth, as you might imagine, is pure water. If you think your soda habit may be causing you problems, contact Artistic Dentistry in Huntsville, Alabama to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Pugh.
Having someone tell you that you have bad breath can be humiliating, but it can also be a sign that you need to see your dentist. Bad breath (or halitosis) can be a sign of an underlying dental or health problem, so before you run out and stock up on breath mints, make an appointment with our office. Using breath fresheners will only disguise the problem and not treat the root cause.
It's important to remember that if you have bad breath, you're not alone — it's the third most common reason people seek a dental consult. We use a systematic approach to determine the cause of your halitosis and offer a solution.
Causes: Ninety percent of mouth odors come from mouth itself — either from the food you eat or bacteria that may be present. Most unpleasant odors originate from proteins trapped in the mouth that are processed by oral bacteria. When left on the tongue, these bacteria can cause an unpleasant smell. Dry mouth, sinus problems, diet and poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath. In rare cases, a medical condition may be the cause.
Treatment: The best solution will depend on determining the real cause of your halitosis. If bad breath emanates from the mouth, it most commonly is caused by gum disease or even tooth decay, which need to be treated to correct the problem. If halitosis is of systemic (general body) origin, a more detailed examination might be needed from a physician. But the solution may also be as simple as demonstrating how to effectively remove bacterial plaque from your teeth, or offer instruction on proper tongue cleaning. If the cause is gum disease, we may suggest a deep cleaning and possible antibiotic therapy.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding bad breath. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More Than Just Embarrassing.”
Both diabetes and gum (periodontal) disease are chronic inflammatory diseases that have negative consequences for millions of people worldwide. But before we continue, let's define these two diseases:
Periodontal disease is a condition in which biofilms of dental bacterial plaque stick to teeth near the gum lines causing the gum tissues to become inflamed and infected. If not treated properly and in an early stage, it can cause severe damage to the bone that supports the teeth, resulting in tooth loss. It occurs in the absence of good oral hygiene which includes ineffective daily brushing and flossing and neglecting to see your dentist.
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which blood glucose (sugar) levels become excessive. Glucose is the body's main source of sugar for energy. The hormone insulin, among other mechanisms, normally controls glucose. Prolonged elevated blood sugar levels are harmful and ultimately can even be life threatening if left untreated. With type 1 diabetes, insulin injections (shots) are required to maintain the proper blood sugar levels because the body no longer produces its own blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is generally less severe and can usually be treated with a combination of diet and medication.
And while both of these diseases share the same common enemy, you, there is scientific evidence revealing links between the two. Diabetes increases the risk factor for developing periodontitis, and conversely, periodontal disease makes it more difficult for diabetics to control blood glucose levels.
Want To Learn More?
Learn more about these two diseases and their relationship by reading, “Diabetes & Periodontal Disease.” Or if you have diabetes but haven't had a dental exam and cleaning in a long time, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can also use this consultation to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your oral health and its relationship to your diabetes.
Dental decay is an infectious and very common disease, but it's also very preventable. Today's dentistry has many tools at its disposal to accurately determine your risk for tooth decay, lower it, turn it around, and completely prevent it. What's more, we can even reverse early decay. You might never have to see or hear the drill again.
Striking the right balance between factors that promote oral health and those that cause disease is of the utmost importance. And knowing whether or not you have indicators of disease or risk for tooth decay is a great place to start.
We will scientifically calculate your risk for tooth decay by:
- Recording and monitoring your oral and dental health: Our risk assessment/evaluation form allows us to gather information about critical dental health habits. Oral hygiene habits, use of fluoride toothpaste, tobacco smoking, frequent snacking on sugary foods and beverages, and past experience of decay are all examples of disease indicators that will help gauge your level of risk. For example, using fluoride toothpaste decreases your risk, but smoking and between-meal snacking increases it.
- Testing for decay producing bacteria: You've probably heard of dental bacterial plaque, the biofilm that sticks to your teeth, forming in the tiny little grooves on the biting surfaces of the teeth where decay starts (and along the gum line). Today, acid-producing bacteria responsible for causing decay can be tested by simply sampling your biofilm on a swab, and placing it in a meter to accurately determine acid-producing activity. A high number indicates high risk. You can see it for yourself in less than a minute.
- Saliva testing: A simple history will tell us whether your mouth is dry or moist most of the time. A saliva test will tell us if your saliva is acidic or neutral. A dry acidic mouth promotes decay, while a moist neutral mouth with healthy saliva promotes health. Measuring salivary “pH,” the measure of acidity, is another factor for determining your risk for decay and reversing it. Special rinses can help reduce decay-producing bacteria and reduce acidity.
- Very early decay detection: Modern ultra-low-dosage x-ray equipment allows us to determine the very earliest signs of decay. Decay that is detectable with the naked eye (or feel with a dentist's instrument, an explorer) is already at an advanced stage. Catching the disease very early with the help of this sophisticated equipment can allow us to reverse early decay before it has even turned into cavities. It can actually be reversed with remineralizing fluids, rinses that put calcium back into the tooth surfaces reforming and hardening them.
This is a new and exciting era in the fight against tooth decay and we have all the tools to determine your decay risk and reverse it.
If you would like us to determine your risk for tooth decay, please call the office to schedule an appointment. To read more about disease indicators and risk factors for dental caries, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay: How To Assess Your Risk.”