How to Reduce Plaque

Plaque … we all have to deal it. No matter how well we brush and floss, it seems to never go away. Lucky for us, this is why we go to the dentist to keep our teeth clean, healthy, and free of plaque.

However, if you have a lot of plaque built up every time you go to the dentist, you may not be doing everything you can to help reduce plaque build up on your teeth. Here is a list of some ways you can reduce plaque:

  1. Brush and Floss regularly! Yes, we know this is the obvious one, but it is also the easiest and one of the most important. Good daily oral health routines are one of the best ways you can fight off plaque build up on your teeth. It is easy to go to bed saying you will only skip tonight, but all too quickly that becomes a habit. Don’t skip the basics! Make sure you brush twice a day for at least two minutes and remember to floss as well!
  2. Choose your toothpaste wisely. Depending on your toothpaste, you can have a higher likelihood of reducing plaque. If you have an issue with plaque build up, check to see if you are using a tartar-control toothpaste and/or a fluoride toothpaste. If not, consider switching.
  3. Get an upgrade. Get an electronic toothbrush. These toothbrushes have been shown to eliminate plaque and give a deeper clean than normal manual toothbrushes. Skeptical? Give it a try and find out.
  4. Consider your diet. What you put in your mouth is important too! The food you eat can actually effect plaque build up. Not only that, but also if you plan to eat food high in acidity or sugar content you may need to brush and floss longer and/or more frequently to ensure all the remaining food particles and bacteria are removed from your teeth.

We help these four reminders keep your teeth looking better than ever. Remember though, your semi-annual dental appointments are just as important to keeping your teeth healthy.

Why should I limit my soda consumption?

There is nothing like a sip of a cold soda on a hot summer’s day. Whether it’s the cool refreshing taste of a pepsi or a coke, we all have our signature drink. For those of you who just can’t get enough of your favorite soft drink though, there can be some negative consequences for your teeth. While we are not here to tell you to never drink soda again, there are some important facts you should keep in mind.

First and foremost, soda consumption has a strong correlation to tooth decay and other medical issues. In other words, the more soda you drink, the more likely you are to have cavities and other oral issues. In today’s society, more and more people are passing up water or milk for these sugar packed beverages, and more and more people are having oral issues as a result.

The fact is that when you drink soda, the sugar in the soda combines with the bacteria already present in your mouth to create acid. Then, this acid attacks your teeth and tooth enamel. Regardless if you opt for sugar free options, there is acid that works to harm your teeth in all soda products. According to the American Dental Association and the Wisconsin Dental Association, acid attacks your teeth for about 20 minutes after you drink a soda. Therefore, they use the slogan “sip all day, get decay.”

The number one thing you can do is remember to drink soda in moderation. Soda is not inherently bad, as long as your practice good oral health and avoid over consumption. If you are a frequent soda drinker, start by trying to reduce your consumption to once a day. Then perhaps you can move to only drinking soda on weekends and when you go out to eat.

However, soda is not the only sugared beverage to consider. You should also try to limit your consumption of 100 percent juices and other high sugar content drinks. These also combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acid and attack your teeth.

While you may love soda and sugary drinks, it’s important for you teeth that you remember what these are doing to your body. Limiting soda consumption will drastically reduce your risk for tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health issues.

My Tooth is Loose

Having a loose adult tooth can be scary! What if it falls out? You will need an expensive replacement tooth to restore your full set of teeth.

Why is my tooth loose?

First, let’s look at why your tooth may be loose. There could be a number of factors contributing to your loose tooth, but you can probably guess the most common reason. That’s right – impact. Falling and hitting your tooth is obviously a factor contributing to loose teeth.

Another reason for loose adult teeth is tooth grinding. Some adults may grind or clench their teeth at night, which can stretch out the ligaments. This can cause the tooth to feel loose, especially in the mornings.

Another cause of loose teeth can be gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque around the gum line. It’s an infection that can damage or destroy your gums and tooth ligaments, causing teeth to feel loose. Gum disease has many other effects and should be treated as soon as possible.

What are my treatment options?

Your treatment options for your loose tooth depend on what caused the tooth to become loose in the first place. Some teeth may tighten up on their own, but it’s always best to visit your dentist before assuming your tooth will be fine because other teeth may need treatment.

If you knocked your tooth loose due to impact, your dentist will likely splint your tooth. Splinting gives your tooth extra support by bonding it to neighboring teeth in order to keep the loose tooth stable and still. Splints are usually only worn a couple of weeks to give your ligaments time to heal.

If you loosened your tooth by grinding your teeth, you will be given a mouth guard to sleep with a night. This will help cushion your teeth and keep you from clinching and grinding so the ligaments are not placed under stress and can heal.

If your loose tooth is caused by gum disease you will need to undergo a more lengthy treatment. A few deep cleaning appointments may be necessary to remove the buildup of plaque. Your dentist will advise you on this depending on the severity of your gum disease.

If your tooth cannot be saved, it may have to be extracted. You will be given an implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

Don’t fear!

Just because your adult tooth is loose does not mean you will loose it. There are several easy options to help save your tooth if you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is when bacteria infect your gums and mouth. “Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal disease can affect any part around the teeth including the gums, roots, ligaments, and bone.

I thought gum disease was called gingivitis?

Gingivitis, another result of bacteria in the mouth, usually comes before periodontal disease. Gingivitis refers to the early stages of bacteria, which manifests itself in plaque buildup around the teeth. This causes the gums to often bleed during brushing or flossing.

What causes periodontal disease?

Plaque causes periodontal disease, but there are some other common risk factors including:

  • Poor oral hygiene: lack of brushing and flossing make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Genetics: things such as family history or having crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean can contribute to development of periodontal disease
  • Habits: smoking or chewing tobacco make it harder for the gums to repair themselves
  • Hormones: changes that occur in puberty, pregnancy, etc. can make periodontal disease easier to develop
  • Illness: some illnesses such as cancer or diabetes can put you at higher risk for periodontal diseases. The medication you take can contribute as well.

What happens if I have periodontal disease?

If your gingivitis is left untreated, it can (but not always) develop into periodontal disease. If it does progress, the inner layer of the gum will pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets can become infected because they easily collect germs and debris. Toxins, produced by the bacteria as well as enzymes in your body trying to fight the bacteria off, will begin to break the tissues and bones that hold your teeth in place. This deepens the pockets formed earlier and destroys everything that anchors your teeth in place. This causes your tooth to become loose and eventually fall out.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment varies from person to person, but can range from therapies to stop bacterial growth to surgery to restore tissues. The goal of all treatments is to reduce the infection and stop the disease from further development. The best treatment is to see you dentist as soon as possible if you think you may have periodontal disease.

Why You Should Smile Every Day

Smiling comes naturally to us. Whether it be because someone told a funny joke or because you just got a promotion, you smile when you are happy. But did you know smiling could actually trigger positive thoughts in your brain? Smiling actually trains your brain to think more positive thoughts. So don’t hesitate on showing off your pearly whites – here are 5 reasons to smile daily!

1. It can improve your mood.

2. Smiling makes you more trustworthy.

Many psychological studies have shown that people with smiles are evaluated as more trustworthy than those with other facial expressions.

3. It can reduce stress.

Some people unwind with a glass of wine or a massage, but did you know that smiling can do the trick? A 2012 University of Kansas experiment showed that people who were asked to perform a stressful task experienced a reduced heart rate and quicker stress recovery when told to smile while completing the task.

4. It makes you stronger.

Because smiling can reduce the stress in your mind, it can reduce the stress in your body as well. Your cells can distinguish if your body feels safety or danger and will adjust themselves accordingly. When you smile, your cells detect safety and will become less rigid. This can help make your cells stronger and healthier.

5. Smiling makes you more approachable 

Would you want to talk to someone who looked angry or someone who had a smile on their face? Obviously most people would choose the smiling person. People who are smiling appear more approachable than those who are not.

We’ve given you some great reasons to show off that beautiful smile of yours, and we hope you will put these tips to use and smile daily for a happier, healthier you! If you’re not happy with your smile, we can help! Come visit us at Masters Dental today and we can give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

The Secret Behind Whitening Toothpastes

You head to the oral health section or the grocery store, and you stare at the full shelves. There are so many product to choose from it is hard to know what too choose. You’ve been trying to whiten your teeth, but the whitening toothpastes probably don’t really work, right?

You may be worried that whitening toothpastes either don’t work or will hurt your teeth. Today, we are going to set the record straight by explaining just how exactly whitening toothpastes differ from normal toothpastes.

First, all toothpastes are mildly abrasive as it is their job to remove stains on your teeth and keep your teeth clean. However, some whitening toothpastes have additional ingredients that allow this process to be more effective. These can be gentle polishing or chemical agents.

Don’t worry though, these toothpastes can only help fight to remove surface stains as not to harm your teeth. They cannot contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide. In order for more serious whitening, you must get professional or over-the-counter medications for it.

Therefore, you do not need to worry about whitening toothpastes hurting you teeth. Also, whitening toothpastes can actually be effective because there is a difference between normal toothpaste and whitening toothpastes, just check the ingredients.

Keep in mind though, these toothpastes will likely only lighten your teeth by one shade, whereas professional medications would show much more drastic change of many shades.

If you are considering professional whitening or even want to consult about the types of toothpastes that would be best for your mouth, Masters Dental is here for you.

Root Canal Survival Guide

Do you have or think you may have a root canal? Have no fear, the root canal survival guide is here. We have everything you need to know in two minutes or less about what root canals are and the process of getting a root canal.

First and foremost, a root canal is a procedure done when the pulp in your root canal is infected and needs to be removed and replaced with other material. This will save the whole tooth from decay and your overall oral health from more issues.

Some of the various causes include poor oral health, repeated dental procedures in and around the tooth, cracks and chips, pulp damage, and just general deep decay. It is important to know that left untreated, the problem will not resolve itself, but worsen and lead to serious pain and possibly and abscess. Generally, the first sign you will see of needing a root canal will be persistent and continual inflammation as it is a sign of infection.

What happens when you have a root canal? Don’t worry, it is actually a fairly quick, easy, and painless procedure. Your dentist will simply remove the infected pulp in your root canal and the fill the area. This material will most likely be a material called gutta-percha. Then, your tooth will be restored with a normal crown or filling.

Following the procedure is when you will experience some discomfort, but this is normal. However, as a serious benefit, your tooth will be saved. You can eat and chew normally again, and your teeth will appear normally and no longer inflamed.

For a detailed perspective, you can find more information at the American Association of Endodontist, and if you have more questions that have not been answered, Dr. Masters would love to talk to you. Contact Masters Dental at 864-877-8008.

Got Floss?

Let’s face the music – no one loves to floss. Well, except maybe dentists and their friends. However, flossing is extremely important to your oral health even if you don’t want to do it.

Most people think that flossing is about taking care of your teeth and that brushing your teeth takes care of that, but flossing is actually more about your gums and taking care of them.

Often people start flossing and stop because it hurts and makes your gums bleed. However, if you floss for more than a week, your mouth and gums will become accustomed to the flossing and stop hurting and bleeding.

While it may seem like flossing is just another chore, there are actual serious reasons why flossing is important. Here are the top three reasons why you should start flossing today.

First, flossing can help dislodge food that gets trapped in the gums. When it doesn’t get removed, plaque and tartar form and build up. This is what your dentist is removing when you visit the dentist. It must be removed with a scraper.

The second reason is that this buildup can lead to further oral health complications. Not flossing will lead to gingivitis and other issues. It is such a simple thing that can be done to avoid big and expensive problems. Flossing can and will save your money.

According to the American Dental Association, you should try to clean your teeth twice a day and that includes floss. Stop waiting and pushing flossing off till tomorrow, floss today!

Child’s First Dental Visit?

Never fear, the dentist is here not to hurt you, but to protect you! If your little one is about to have their first dental visit, you may be worried about how they will react. While there is nothing to be worried about, it is good you care enough to make sure they feel comfortable and secure.

Your dentist wants your child to like the dentist just as much as you do, and making sure the first trip goes well will put you on the path to success for the future. Typically a child needs to go to the dentist about six months after their first tooth erupts, so children tend to be between one and two when they first come to visit.

Here are a few simple things you can do to relieve anxiety for your child:

Act normal. Nothing will upset your child more than you being upset. Act natural. I know it sounds easier said than done, but if you can try to act like there is nothing to worry about, you child won’t worry. Plus, there is nothing to worry about.

Brush with you child. While you should be doing this anyway, you want to make sure that your child brushes their teeth at home. This will not only keep those teeth clean, but it will make a trip to the dentist feel normal.

Let them watch you. Schedule your dental appointment right before your child’s appointment. This way they can watch you and see what the dentist will be doing. They will also see that everything is okay. Lead by example. All of this will make it easier for them to get their first checkup.

We are excited to introduce your child to good oral hygiene, and we are so happy that you care about your child’s oral health. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Masters Dental!

Understanding Dental Fistulas

Fistula seems like a made up and confusing word, but for your health, it is important you understand what fistulas are and how to identify them. If you have a fistula, you will want to contact your doctor right away to seek advice and treatment.

Fistula is a general medical term that is used to explain a connection between an organ and the body’s surface. This connection though should not exist, and it is not good for you.

Specifically, in dental health, “a fistula is defined as a non-natural or non pre-existing tube connecting the inflammation centre or an organ with the interior body parts and/ or exterior surface of the body” according to checkdent.

One of the biggest signs of dental fistulas is persistent and painful inflammation concentrated in one specific site. When this happens, puss is created and eventually, a puss corridor can be created. Once this corridor reaches the surface, the resulting mass is called a gum boil.

Gum boils can be very painful, but even ones that are not painful still need to be seen by a doctor. Some of the puss can be released temporarily, but this is not a permeate solution. The pus corridor is lined with special cells that form a – you guessed it, fistula.

Fistulas are an infection, and untreated the infection will continue to expand damaging your mouth, teeth, and oral health. It can also lead to more dental procedures in the long run such as root canals.

If you believe you have a fistula or a gun boil, be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible. The sooner it is identified, the more help can be provided and the more complications that can be avoided.