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.

Masters Dental

The Cure To Bad Breath

Worried about your breath? Having bad breath can affect everything from your love life to your interview skills. Bad breath makes everyday activities nerve wracking and embarrassing. If you’re suffering from bad breath, we are here to help.

Before you can cure your bad breath, you must figure out what is causing it. Everyone has morning breath every once in awhile, or a smelly mouth after eating garlic or onions. Brushing and mouthwash cover up these odors, but they don’t actually go away until the foods have passed through your body. However, some people have bad breath that won’t go away. Halitosis is the medical term coined for bad breath, affects about 30% of the population. This can be caused by many different factors.

One of the most common factors of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. If you neglect brushing and flossing, food particles may remain in your mouth for an extended period of time, allowing bacteria to flourish and grow. The bacteria develop into plaque, which will harden and become difficult to remove. Eventually, this will develop into gum disease, which could release an odor, contributing to halitosis.

Another cause for bad breath could be dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by many different factors, but a few common causes include smoking, breathing through the mouth, and a side effect of some medications. Dry mouth can cause odors because it reduces saliva flow. Salvia washes away dead cells in the mouth, neutralizes the acids produced by plaque, and moistens the mouth. Without it, bad breath will persist.

So how do you cure bad breath? We recommend seeing your dentist immediately to get a proper diagnosis if you notice recurring bad breath. Your dentist can provide the appropriate treatment depending on what is causing the problem. There are a few healthy habits that will help you prevent bad breath in the future:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Brush twice a day and floss at leas once a day
  • Replace your toothbrush every few months
  • Don’t forget to clean your tongue!
  • See your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet
  • If you wear dentures, clean them once daily at a minimum
  • Try alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid drying medications (diuretics, pain relievers, etc.) unless medically necessary

If you have any other questions about halitosis, feel free to contact us today!


Ask The Dentist: Can Mouthwash Replace Brushing?

You’re running late for an important meeting, and you hurriedly swish around a bit of mouthwash instead of taking the time to brush your teeth. We’ve all been there. Although this shouldn’t be a problem every once in awhile, keep in mind that mouthwash can never replace tooth brushing.

Mouthwash can be a wonderful supplement to your dental routine, but it should never replace another routine necessity such as brushing. Although mouthwash may feel like it cleans your teeth as good as brushing, remember that its main purpose is to freshen the breath, not cleanse the mouth.  Even mouthwashes with fluoride cannot replace brushing and flossing, which are the only ways to remove plaque. Plaque is the hard substance that is formed when the bacteria in your mouth stick to your teeth, and it can only be removed physically or mechanically.

You can think of this like washing your car. How clean would your car get if you only sprayed it with water? You must use soap and scrub the dirt off to properly clean your car. Similarly, you cannot just rinse your teeth with mouthwash and expect them to be clean – you must brush and floss to remove the plaque.

Choosing to skip brushing leaves your teeth exposed to all of the food, acid, and bacteria contained in your mouth. This can turn to plaque and eat away at your enamel, causing serious oral health problems. Unfortunately, mouthwash cannot prevent this – only proper brushing and flossing can.

Aside from failing to remove plaque, many mouthwashes contain alcohol. This can dry out your mouth, which is normally already dry during the night. Alcohol slows saliva production, and saliva is a natural plaque reducer. Some also argue the alcohol-containing mouthwashes are linked to cancer. We recommend using an alcohol-free mouthwash, but if you prefer an alcohol-containing mouthwash, use it sparingly.

If you notice persistent bad breath even after brushing, you may need to consult with your dentist. Of course bad breath in certain situations is normal, such as after eating onions or garlic, but if you bad breath continues you may have gum disease. If you cannot remove your bad breath with brushing and mouthwash, you should make an appointment with your dentist to inspect the possible causes.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us today!

Tooth Brush

Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Brush My Teeth?

Do you often see a few drops of blood when brushing or flossing your teeth? Although this problem is fairly common and may not seem like a big deal, it shouldn’t be ignored. Bleeding gums can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common is periodontal disease, or gum disease.

Gum disease occurs from plaque. Plaque can form when you don’t get all of the food and other particles out in between your teeth. These particles will eventually break down into bacteria and acids, which forms plaque. The plaque that is not properly removed by brushing and flossing with form a hard tarter than cannot be removed by regular brushing. The tarter and bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed. This is the first stage of gum disease, which is called gingivitis. The gums will become red and swollen, forming pockets containing blood blisters near your teeth. When you brush or floss, you break open the blood blisters causing the gums to bleed. Luckily, gingivitis can still be reversed with proper oral hygiene at this stage.

So how do you prevent the gums from bleeding in the first place?

1. Proper Oral Hygiene

Gingivitis is nearly 100% preventable with proper oral care. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and regular trips to the dentist can help you keep your gums healthy and your toothbrush clear of blood. Visiting the dentist regularly can help you get any particles that you may have missed with normal brushing and flossing.

2. Change Your Tools

If you still notice your gums bleeding with proper brushing and flossing, your toothbrush may be the reason for bleeding gums. Although it may seem counterintuitive, try to switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles. The hard bristles do not clean your teeth better, but can actually cause irritation of the gums. You also may be using your toothbrush incorrectly. Remember to brush smarter, not harder. You do not need to apply much pressure to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums.

3. Diet

Unfortunately, yummy sugar-filled foods create the perfect environment for plaque. Keeping a healthy diet that is low in sugar and high in fruits and vegetables can help keep your gums from bleeding.  Remember that you can still enjoy sweets, but do so in moderation!

Follow these tips to keep your gums healthy and prevent regular bleeding. If you have made the appropriate lifestyle changes and still have bleeding gums, please schedule an appointment with your dentist today!