10 Tooth Brushing Techniques to Improve Your Smile

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To get the most benefit from brushing, you have to do it correctly.

Most of us learned to brush our teeth when we were children. We have stuck with the same brushing technique into adulthood. Unfortunately, many of us learned how to brush the wrong way. And even if we learned the right way, we might not always stick to it. Brushing correctly is tricky. You want to remove plaque without brushing too hard and damaging your gums.

Brush at least twice a day. One of those times should be just before you go to bed. When you sleep, your mouth gets drier. This makes it easier for acids from bacteria to attack your teeth. Also try to brush in the morning, either before or after breakfast. After breakfast is better. That way, bits of food are removed. But if you eat in your car or at work, or skip breakfast, brush first thing in the morning. This will get rid of the plaque that built up overnight.

Brush no more than three times a day. Brushing after lunch will give you a good midday cleaning. But brushing too often can damage your gums.

Here’s the correct basics of brushing:

Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gumline.

Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. (Don’t squish the bristles.)

Move the brush back and forth, using short strokes. The tips of the bristles should stay in one place, but the head of the brush should wiggle back and forth. You also can make tiny circles with the brush. This allows the bristles to slide gently under the gum. Do this for about 20 strokes or 20 circles. In healthy gums, this type of brushing should cause no pain. If it hurts, brush more gently.

Roll or flick the brush so that the bristles move out from under the gum toward the biting edge of the tooth. This helps move the plaque out from under the gum line.

Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush.

Your toothbrush can only clean one or two teeth at a time. Move your brush frequently to reach every tooth and make sure you brush for two minutes.

Watch yourself in the mirror to make sure no tooth is left behind.

Brush lightly. Brushing too hard can damage your gums. It can cause them to recede (move away from the teeth). Plaque attaches to teeth like jam sticks to a spoon. It can't be totally removed by rinsing, but a light brushing will do the trick. Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing can't remove it. If you think you might brush too hard, hold your toothbrush the same way you hold a pen. This encourages a lighter stroke.

Brush for at least two minutes. Set a timer if you have to, but don't skimp on brushing time. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to clean all of your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.

Brush your tongue. Oral bacteria can remain in taste buds. Brush firmly but gently from back to front. Do not go so far back in your mouth that you gag. Rinse again. 

Keep It Clean

Do you always rinse your brush? You should. Germs from your mouth and teeth can stay on it if you don’t. It will also get rid of leftover toothpaste that can harden bristles.

You shouldn’t use a disinfectant to cleanse your toothbrush. Just rinse it and let it air dry. Don't put it in a case where it will stay damp for a long time.

Most of us store our brushes in the bathroom -- not the cleanest place in the house. To keep yours tidy, stand it up in a holder. If you leave it on the counter, you could expose it to germs from your toilet or sink. Don’t let brushes touch each other if they’re stored together.

Let it air dry - a moist brush is more likely to grow bacteria. Use a cover that lets air in when you travel.

When it comes to preventive care, there is no “bad” time to dive in. There are different ways to brush correctly. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the method that might be best for you.

 

Sources: Web MD, Delta Dental, Simple Steps Dental, Mouth Healthy (ADA)

 

 

 

 

 

Mouth Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Go See Your Dentist Before These Signs Become Serious

Whether it's traces of crimson on your toothbrush or that nagging sensitivity that seems never to go away, it's easy to neglect your oral health. Persistent tooth or mouth pain generally indicates a serious problem. Symptoms could include a tooth sensitive to touch or changes in your gums. Keep in mind that even if the pain does go away after a day or two, you could still have a problem and should see your dentist.

Take the time while cleaning your teeth to look at your cheeks, your tongue and underneath your tongue to spot any changes. Basically, you’re checking for anything that wasn't there before. Any changes of color, such as white or red patches that aren’t going away and are getting bigger, or lumps that have formed in places which previously were smooth, should be investigated.

 

Bad Breath

Everyone experiences stinky breath, but brushing and flossing (including brushing your tongue) should nip bad breath in the bud. What about when it doesn’t? It could be a sign of advanced gum disease, so it’s important to talk to your dentist before this oral condition ruins perfectly healthy teeth.

Most of the time, however, the biggest bad-breath culprit is your diet. Onion, garlic, and pungent spices will produce mouth odor for hours after consumption.

 

Swollen or Receding Gums

Swollen gums are a sign of gum disease. Even if you believe you have healthy teeth, swollen gums absolutely require a visit to the dentist. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to tell right away if you have gum disease — but you can check for swollen gums yourself by drying your gums with a napkin or a tissue and looking in the mirror. Although your swollen gums may feel fine, if they tend to bleed during brushing, they are a sign you should see your dentist right away.

 

Eroded Enamel

During dental erosion, the surface of a tooth or teeth gradually wears away. Once that happens, you are much more susceptible to cavities and other issue. Any source of acid can erode the tooth enamel of healthy teeth, including acid from citrus fruits and soda. One of the most common sources of acid in the mouth is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a condition in which acid from the stomach comes up the esophagus, causes heartburn, and reaches the mouth.

 

Sour Taste in Your Mouth

If you frequently have a sour taste in your mouth (which is often mistaken for bad breath), it could be another sign of GERD, especially if it’s accompanied by a sore throat, chest pain, and a hoarse voice, Besides this oral condition and dental erosion, GERD can lead to other problems such as an esophageal ulcer and inflammation of the esophagus. If you suspect you have GERD, get tested and treated as needed.

 

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a very common oral condition, especially as you age. There are also more than 425 medications that include dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth can be related to issues beyond dental health. If you have chronic dry mouth, you should be concerned and talk to your dentist.

 

Loose Teeth

Loose teeth are another dental health symptom not to ignore because this may be a sign that you have gum disease. Bacteria that grow below the gum line can cause tissues and bones to break down, leading to the separation of the teeth from the gums. As more tissue and bone is destroyed, the more likely you are to lose healthy teeth as they become loose and need to be pulled.

Loose teeth may also be a sign of infection or scleroderma, a disease of the connective tissue that causes changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and organs.

 

Mouth Sores

A white or red patch on the tongue or lining of the mouth is the most common sign of oral cancer. Don’t be alarmed: Mouth sores are completely common and the chance your sore signals cancer is low. To be safe, show your dentist any sores in your mouth that don’t heal after two weeks.

 

Burning Mouth

If you’re experiencing a moderate to severe scalding sensation in your mouth, lips, or tongue, it could be an oral condition called burning mouth syndrome. When it does occur, it can be caused by a number of medications, certain specific oral conditions, or other health issues, including nutritional deficiencies, fungal infections in the mouth, and hormone changes in women.

With regular dentist visits, you should be able to keep on top of any problems that might affect our mouths. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of those symptoms that warrant a quicker appointment—especially for those of us who leave more time than we should between visits.

 

Sources: Every Day Health, Best Health

Is Dark Chocolate Good for Your Teeth ?

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Cocoa Beans Are Packed With Good Things Like Tannins, Polyphenols and Flavonoids

If you’re like most Americans, you’re a fan of chocolate. More than half of Americans eat chocolate daily and as a nation, we consume 3.3 billion pounds of chocolate annually. But all that chocolate isn’t necessarily good for the health of our teeth, is it? Actually, if some of those treats are made of dark chocolate, they can actually be good for your teeth! Yes, you read that correctly -- chocolate can prevent tooth decay. However, not every kind of chocolate is dental dynamite. The cocoa bean is what houses the good stuff - not the chocolate itself - so the closer the confection is to the bean, the better.

Cocoa beans contain tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, each of which is a type of strong antioxidant that benefits your mouth and teeth. Tannins are what give dark chocolate it's slightly bitter taste and are responsible for the sweet's dark pigments. More importantly, they help prevent cavities by inhibiting bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Polyphenols limit the effects of bacteria, meaning they work to neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath, prevent infections in your gums and battle tooth decay. Flavonoids work to slow tooth decay, among other things.

Of the three kinds of chocolate (dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate), dark chocolate is the least processed and closest to the cocoa bean, which makes it the healthiest option of the three. For best results, the chocolate should be around 70 percent cocoa. Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate contains 60 percent cocoa, so it's a pretty good choice, but Ghirardelli's Twilight Delight is a better option at 72 percent. Other bars are even more beneficial, such as Ghirardelli's Midnight Reverie and Lindt's Cocoa Supreme Dark, which contain 86 and 90 percent cocoa, respectively. You should be able to find tooth-friendly dark chocolate at your local grocery store, and many bars advertise their cocoa percentage clearly on the label. Also, in case you needed another perk, dark chocolate contains less sugar than other varieties, so it's slightly better for your waistline, too.

So how, exactly, is dark chocolate good for your teeth? There's a bacterium in your mouth called oral streptococci, which produces acid that eats away at your tooth enamel. The antioxidants in dark chocolate prevent the bacteria from turning into damaging acids by acting as a sort of antibacterial compound. Also, the cocoa butter coats your teeth and prevents plaque from sticking to them.

Because chocolate has tons of antioxidants (about four times that of green tea), it can not only inhibit the production of plaque but also reduce inflammation in the body and work to prevent periodontal disease, a symptom of which is swelling of the gums. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also enter the bloodstream and cause heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, so periodically consuming dark chocolate is beneficial to your heart health as well.

It's important to remember, however, that munching on a piece of dark chocolate is not like downing a plateful of veggies. It has some important health benefits, but it's far from a healthy food. Like any confection, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation. It still contains ample amounts of sugar and fat, each of which comes with its own set of health issues. Also, like all chocolates, dark chocolate isn't exactly low in calories. The recommended intake is 1 ounce per day, which is equal to about six Hershey Kisses (don't worry, they're available in a dark variety). Even this small amount, however, contains as many as 150 calories, and since it tastes so good, it's hard not to indulge.

So get your hands (and teeth) on some dark chocolate today to enjoy what is arguably the most delicious but still beneficial food on the planet. Just remember to practice portion control so the health risks associated with an expanding waistline don't overshadow the benefits to your pearly whites.

 

Source: TLC

 

Bad Bites That Can Harm Your Teeth

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Foods That Are a Treat to Eat Often Can Do Serious Damage

Your mouth is a busy place. Especially for bacteria – tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. While some of the bacteria can be harmful, most are not harmful and some are even helpful.

Bad Bacteria Basics

Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the outside covering of your teeth called enamel.  Enamel is very hard, mainly because it contains durable mineral salts, like calcium. Mineral salts in your saliva help add to the hardness of your teeth. Mineral salts, however, are prone to attack by acids. Acid causes them to break down.

If bad bacteria are not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms on the tooth enamel. Eventually, the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth called plaque. If it doesn’t get washed away by saliva or brushed away by your toothbrush, it produces acid.

Acid Produces Cavities

This acid is produced inside the plaque and can’t be easily washed away by your saliva. The acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous and tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.

 

THE SEVERITY OF SUGAR

Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria that form together to become plaque use sugar as a form of energy.

They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue that they use to stick themselves to the tooth surface. This makes it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva.

Sugar is sugar whether it’s refined white sugar, brown sugar or honey. It’s not the amount, but how often you eat it. The acidic environment in your mouth created by sugar persists for about two hours after it’s consumed. If you eat or drink a little bit of sugar every few hours, your teeth will be continuously bathed in the acid, which directly dissolves tooth enamel. 

Hard Candy. While hard candies may seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar damages teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because in addition to being full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Included are:

  • Suckers
  • Hard Candies
  • Breath Mints
  • Cough Drops

Tasty Tip: They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary.

Chewy Candy. Sticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a filling or a whole tooth out. Beware of:

  • Taffy
  • Caramels
  • Sugary Gum

Tasty Tip: Chew sugarless gum that carries the American Dental Association Seal. 

Carbohydrates. Carb-heavy foods are processed as sugar when digested and food particles tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid. The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. These include:

  • White Bread
  • Pasta
  • Potato Chips

Tasty Tip: They might go in your mouth light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to chomp on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

Citrus.  Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C for healthy gums, but they’re also high in enamel-damaging acid. Because of the acidity it adds, even putting lemon slices in water can be a danger. Look out for:

  • Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit

 Tasty Tip: Continue to eat fruit for the vitamin content, but enjoy these foods in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth. Also, drink a glass of water when you consume fruit – it will wash away the acid as you enjoy your snack.

 

SIP SMARTLY

Sugary Drinks. Be especially cautious of drinking them over a lengthy period of time, which promotes prolonged exposure to sugar and acid. Even something as innocent as lemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities. These include:

  • Soda
  • Fruit Juices
  • Energy Drinks
  • Sports Drinks

Tasty Tip: Sports drinks sound healthy, don’t they? But for many sports and energy drinks, sugar is a top ingredient. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar. Not sure? Drink water instead.

 

Fortunately, foods like candy and soda that don't always play nice with our teeth are generally harmless in moderation.  It’s important to see your dentist before a cavity forms so that the plaque you can’t reach with your toothbrush or floss can be removed.

 

SOURCES: Healthyteeth.org, besthealthmag.ca, prevention.com

 

Need Dental Care But Feel Like You Can’t Afford It?

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Lehigh Valley Smile Design’s Affordable Dental Care Membership May Be Just Right For You

As low as $199 for an annual membership

Why offer this membership?

People who do not have dental insurance often put off their care. Small issues grow into major problems such as root canals that could have been avoided with timely preventive care.

Better than employer-sponsored programs

Employer-sponsored dental programs result in payroll deductions, but don't cover all of the services. Dropping employer-sponsored plans can result in saving money and receiving better coverage at the same time. Plus, you don’t have to deal with deductibles, yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Dental Care Membership begins immediately on membership registration.

How Our Plan Works for You

For a flat fee you will receive the following dental services:

No Additional Charge Services

  • Adult dental cleanings (twice per year – does not include patients with periodontal disease)
  • Dental examinations (twice per year)
  • Digital bitewing X-rays (once per year
  • Digital full mouth X-rays (once every 5 years)!

20% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • bruxism appliances
  • non-cosmetic crowns and bridges
  • implants
  • inlays and onlays
  • partial dentures
  • tooth-colored fillings
  • periodontal therapy visit
  • root planing and scaling
  • ZOOM!TM or BOOSTTM in-office whitening

10% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • Invisalign invisible bracaes
  • full dentures and implants
  • multi-unit cosmetic crowns or bridges
  • porcelain veneers
  • simulations (a way to view your new smile_
  • smile makeover
  • velscope

With our special Dental Care Membership, you will no longer worry about overwhelming dental expenses. 

 

Are Water Picks Worth The Cost?

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The Answer for Many People is “Definitely Yes”

With the hundreds of products available on the market today for cleaning your teeth, it can be difficult for dental patients to determine which product will best meet their needs. The dentists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs are happy to assist patients in choosing the appropriate products for cleaning their teeth, as every smile is different.

 Among the many types of toothbrushes available, the general categories are manual and electric toothbrushes.  However, a more unique solution for cleaning your teeth at home can be found with a water pick.

How does a water pick work?

A water pick is also sometimes referred to as a water flosser.  Water picks work by using water to irrigate the spaces between your teeth and powerfully blast away debris from other hard to reach places.  A water pick works to mimic the high pressure water cleaning that your dentist uses to prepare your teeth for procedures or to rinse them during professional cleanings.

Is using a water pick the same as brushing?

It is important to know that using a water pick is not a substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth.  Over time plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth. This plaque harbors bacteria and germs that can lead to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay.

When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why the dentists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.

Is using a water pick the same as flossing?

While water picks work to provide extra cleaning power for your smile, it is important to know that they do not ever take the place of brushing or flossing. Despite the nickname “water flosser” water picks do not get completely in between each of your teeth. Water picks may not be an effective solution for cleaning between teeth that are crooked, overlapping or tightly spaced. Floss is the only guaranteed way to eliminate debris from between your teeth.

What are the advantages to using a water pick?

People with painful gum disease or highly sensitive gums may find water picks useful or even therapeutic. However the use of a water pick is only advised as a supplement to regular brushing and flossing, especially in patients with advanced gum disease.

 Orthodontic patients, especially those with traditional metal braces may find added benefit from using a water pick to flush out hard to reach places within their wires and brackets.  

If you are considering adding a water pick to your daily at home dental care routine it is important to understand that these devices do not replace traditional brushing and flossing. 

So how do you choose the right water pick?

Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.

If you’d like more information about how to best care for your teeth at home, including information about water picks at home, contact Lehigh Valley Smile Designs today.

 

 

Is Bruxism Damaging Your Health?

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Grinding Your Teeth – Bruxism – Can Lead to a Host of Oral Health Issues

Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth.

How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?

Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw is a telltale symptom of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. He can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear their teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, result in hearing loss, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.

Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
  • Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
  • Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid excessive chewing of gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

 

 

Make a Resolution for Better Oral Health in 2015

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9 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goal

Whether you’re one of those people who like to make a set of New Year’s resolutions at the start of every year – or even if you aren’t – setting goals for better oral health is something that is worth doing just about any time of the year. See if you can make these 10 tips part of your regular oral health regimen and you’ll have a brighter smile and healthier teeth by the end of 2015.

1. Go on a white-teeth diet.

If you're quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices. Bottom line: If it's dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth and use a good bleaching agent, either over-the-counter or in the dentist's office. For convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple.

2. Chuck your toothbrush...

...or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you're just transferring bacteria to your mouth. The best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won't scrub too hard.

3. Clean your tongue.

Use a tongue scraper (available at most drug stores) every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.

4. Eat 'detergent' foods.

Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they're eaten. We already mentioned apples (otherwise known as nature's toothbrush); other choices include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, make 'detergent' foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating.

5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.

Do this in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.

6. Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week.

This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Just be sure to spit it out so it doesn't count as sodium intake! Also, if your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.

7. Floss daily.

We can’t emphasize enough how important flossing is to good oral health. Check with your hygienist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for tips on the right way to floss.

8. Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night.

They're the two most crucial times. That’s because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up as you slept.

9. Conceal with color.

Ladies: Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.

SOURCE: WebMD and Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

 

10 Foods That Naturally Whiten and Brighten Your Smile

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What You Consume Directly Influences Your Oral Health

As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.”  But when it comes to healthy teeth, “you are what you chew.”  According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) certain foods naturally cleanse, brighten, and defend against bacteria that can harm your teeth and gums.

Because your teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body, what you consume influences the health of your smile.  In contrast, some foods and lifestyle habits such as drinking coffee and tea as well as smoking can cause discoloration or the yellowing of your teeth.

Let’s face it, most people are very interested about having a healthy, bright smile.  According to an AACD survey, virtually all adults (99.7%) surveyed believe a healthy smile is socially important, and nearly three-quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt their career success.

To deliciously achieve a healthier, whiter smile, try these 10 foods suggestions from the AACD:

Pineapples can help whiten teeth.  Research shows that the enzyme bromelain in pineapples acts as a natural stain remover.  Bromelain also helps break up plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth.  The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can erode the enamel of your teeth and lead to dental caries.

Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to support healthy mouth tissue.  Since periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that causes the loss of bone and supportive connective tissue in your mouth, ginger can spice up your foods while also acting as an anti-inflammatory.

Carrots contain vitamin A, which is needed for healthy tooth enamel.  Eating them raw stimulates saliva, your mouth’s natural cleanser.  In fact, chewing any crunchy vegetable will naturally cleanse your teeth.

Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.  Basil's essential oils, rosmarinic acid, linalool, and oleanolic acid inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

Cheese is rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, all of which can help buffer the acids in your mouth.  Calcium and phosphorus also assist in the remineralization or repairing of your teeth.  Enjoy reduced fat cheese to minimize heart-unhealthy saturated fat in your diet.

Sesame seeds help “scrub” away the plaque on your teeth.  Chewing nuts can also provide this coarse, scrubbing action.  Sesame seeds also contain bone and teeth-strengthening calcium.

Shitaki mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan, which inhibits bacteria from growing in your mouth.

Onions contain the sulfur compounds, thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates, which reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay.  Eating them raw is a must as cooking will destroy these tooth-friendly compounds.  Don’t like onions?  Garlic also contains these sulfur compounds.

Salmon not only provides calcium but also vitamin D, another nutrient needed for healthy bones and teeth.

Broccoli contains iron which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel of your teeth.

SOURCE: Boston.com

 

 

How Can You Maintain Good Oral Health?

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Visiting Your Dentist Regularly is a Necessity If You’re Serious About Your Oral Health

Maintaining good oral health on your own is not enough to avoid all dental problems. It is recommended that you visit your dentist once every six months. Just because your teeth appear clean doesn’t mean there aren’t problems beneath the surface. Issues are often present with no pain or discomfort until the problem is at an advanced stage.

Most people think a six -month check-up consists of polishing the teeth and the doctor stopping in to address concerns. There is so much more that goes on at those check-ups than meets the eye. Dentists are highly educated and trained to detect and diagnose problems at early stages to prevent their advancement. So what happens at a check-up?  The following will explain why it is so important to make it to your regular dental visits.

What does a cleaning with a hygienist consist of?

  • Updating your health history if necessary. Talk to your hygienist about any changes in your health including pregnancy, surgery, medication changes, illness, etc.
  • Tell your hygienist if you have any pain or areas of concern regarding your oral health so that these issues can be addressed.
  • If necessary, the hygienist will take x-rays. X-rays are a great tool in detection of problems not visible to the naked eye.
  • The hygienist will clean your teeth of calculus, stains and tartar. This is known as a cleaning or prophy.
  • The hygienist may “probe” your gum tissue to test the depth of the pockets. This is important in preventing gum disease and bone loss.
  • The hygienist will then floss and polish your teeth.
  • The hygienist may offer a fluoride treatment and other services or products he/she deems necessary.  

 What does an exam consist of?

  • The doctor will check for cavities and broken fillings and crowns.
  • They will then check the condition of the gum tissue and assess your overall oral hygiene.
  • The doctor will check the soft tissues for ulcerations and other lesions.
  • The doctor may check the jaws and the muscles associated with them.
  • Finally, concerns are addressed and recommendations are made.

 When is the last time you visited your dentist?  Call Lehigh Valley Smile Designs today and catch up on your check-ups

Source:  Dentalwisdom.com