When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming into our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.
What is Plaque?
If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.
What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth
Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.
What You Can Do
The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.
Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.
Painful, infected teeth are not a pleasant experience, but they are common symptoms of tooth decay. The good news however is that tooth decay is preventable. Your best defense against decay is a daily oral hygiene routine, as well as regular visits to our office. It can be helpful to know more about tooth decay and what causes it so that you are better equipped with the knowledge to prevent it.
More Than Just Sugar
Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay. Sugar build-up and deposits on your teeth lead to the erosion of the tooth. While it is important to be mindful of the sugary products you are consuming, sugar is not the only culprit in causing tooth decay. Acids can also damage your teeth. Foods that are high in acidic content can speed up the process of decay. Our dentist suggests you avoid drinks and candies with high sugar or acid content. If you find yourself consuming such things, make sure to keep up with your daily oral hygiene routine.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends avoiding snacks between meals, limiting sugary drinks and fruit juices, and not eating or drinking before bedtime after brushing.
You Can’t Always Tell
Decay doesn’t always have noticeable signs. When discomfort is felt, it could be a sign the decay has spread beyond one tooth. In other words, by the time you do feel it decay is far along. This can be prevented by regular visits to our office. Our doctor can help identify potential issues early and you will receive the best possible treatments for your teeth.
Teeth with Fillings Still Need to Be Cared for Properly
Previous fillings do not mean that your teeth are free of decay forever. It is essential you maintain proper daily care of your teeth. It is possible to develop decay around existing fillings, so be sure you are taking extra care especially around fillings. If you feel your existing fillings are giving you trouble, schedule an appointment to see us.
Tooth Decay Not Just a Kids Thing
All age groups are equally at risk of developing tooth decay. Parents should keep an eye on their children’s sugary snacks and treats, but this advice holds true for everyone. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable because of certain medications can damage their teeth. It is essential that all age groups are receiving twice-yearly dental examinations.
Tooth decay is a common dental issue. However, with the right knowledge you can prevent damage to your teeth. Watch your diet and make sure you limit sugary candies and snacks. Remember, you won’t always be able to see or feel decay, so contact our office to schedule a regular visit.
An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play.
Why Wear a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.
Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?
Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play.
Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?
Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.
If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.
Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you. For questions or to schedule an appointment, please click here to contact us.
If you are missing one or more teeth, our dentist may recommend a dental bridge. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve assembled a short guide to bridges.
The Purpose of a Bridge
Tooth loss can occur due to periodontal disease, injury, extraction, and other causes. When a space is left, your remaining teeth can begin to shift, leading to changes in your bite. This may also leave your gums more susceptible to damage and disease. A dental bridge may be recommended to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. This device may be removable or fixed, and includes one or more replacement teeth, which are anchored to neighboring teeth for stability. A dental bridge can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, covered, and functioning properly.
What to Expect
Bridges usually require two visits. During your first visit, we will prepare the surrounding teeth and take an impression that will be used to accurately fabricate the dental bridge to fit your mouth. We may provide a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from damage during the fabrication process.
During your second visit, we will fit your custom-made bridge into place. At this time, we will make any needed adjustments to ensure a proper fit and full comfort. We will also discuss a plan for future visits to ensure your bridge continues to fit properly.
Caring for Your Bridge
Keep your bridge clean and in good repair by brushing twice each day and flossing daily. If you remove your bridge for sleep, keep it in water or use a denture cleaning solution. For more information on proper bridge care, ask our team.
Bridges restore your mouth and your teeth to their normal function. If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with us. We will provide an examination and determine if you are a candidate for a dental bridge.
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.
Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:
Practice good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.
Brush your tongue.
Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.
Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.
Avoid bad breath triggers.
Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.
Chew sugarless gum.
By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.
Improve your diet.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.
See your dentist.
Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.
If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.
Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.
Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.
Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:
- Drink in moderation. Too much sugar and acid will eventually cause damage.
- Try sparkling water. This provides the fizzy sensation without all the sugar and acid.
- Drink more water. You will crave soft drinks less when you are fully hydrated.
- Don’t sip. The longer you spend drinking, the more time sugars and acids are reacting with your teeth.
- Use a straw. This can help keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth.
- Rinse with water after drinking to dilute acids and sugars.
- Don’t brush immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for acids to be neutralized by saliva before brushing.
- Practice good dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings and exams.
Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.
Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive dental care.
- Explain the importance of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
- Schedule routine appointments to our office for dental cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health.
- Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
- Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.
- Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage.
Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.
Call us today to schedule an appointment to our West Allis, WI dental office for your child.
Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.
Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain
Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.
Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets
When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.
Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing
Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss.
Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth
Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.
Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay
Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.
Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist.
Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects different types of food and drinks have on your teeth.
The Dangers of Acidic Foods
Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases.
What Foods Should I Look Out For?
Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.
But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right?
Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel.
When Should I Brush?
Our 53227 dentist suggests to wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly.
Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth?
While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better.
Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods?
Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes.
For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our West Allis, WI dental office, please contact us.
While it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today!
Choosing the Right Mouthwash
Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs.
Should I Use Mouthwash?
If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.
Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath.
Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine
Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work.
Side Effects of Mouthwash
When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our 53227 dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous.
Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine.
For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment at our dental office in West Allis, WI, please contact our dental team today!
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Dentist in West Allis, WI
Thanks for choosing Anderson General Dentistry & Implants for your dental services. We’re excited to welcome you to our family!
We look forward to learning more about you and
what we can do for your family’s healthy smiles.
Visit Our West Allis Dental Office
Dentist in West Allis
Our Convenient Office Hours
Monday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am – 1:30pm
Thursday: 9am - 12pm
Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
We Are Located At
10701 W Lincoln Avenue
West Allis, WI 53227