White Bear Smiles

White Bear Smiles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Other

How can we help you?

At White Bear Smiles, we strongly believe in education, both for ourselves and for our patients. We've found that patients who take charge of their dental care and ask questions about their health, our practice, and dentistry in general tend to have better overall outcomes. 

So go ahead! Ask us your questions! We're happy to take the time to give you the information you need to make decisions about your care. 

We've collected some of our most commonly heard questions here, but if you need more information or you don't see your question, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to help.

Other

Gum Disease in Women

There are certain times in a woman's life when she may be more susceptible to gum disease. The changes a woman goes through, puberty and menopause among them, pregnancy and menstrual cycles also, cause hormonal changes in the body. Those changes may require a woman to adjust her diet and exercise patterns.

For instance, as we all know, pregnant women tend to snack a lot. It's important for them to avoid sugary, sticky snacks.

The changes can affect many of the tissues in the body, including the gums. The gums can become unusually sensitive and can react strongly to hormonal fluctuations. All this can leave a woman vulnerable to gum disease. Studies have also shown that pregnant women with gum disease are far more likely to deliver pre-term, low birth weight babies.

 

Talk to Your Dentist About Your Risk of Gum Disease

If you are a woman, talk to your dentist about any special steps you should take to maintain good oral health while going through the different periods of your life. At White Bear Smiles, we specialize in treating gum disease in patients of all ages and genders. Contact our comfortable dental office in White Bear Lake, MN to learn more about gum disease. 

Adult and Geriatric Oral Health

Unfortunately, the possibility of having dental problems doesn't necessarily diminish as we age. Although the baby boomer generation has benefited from water fluoridation programs and fluoride toothpaste, problems can still crop up in the adult's mouth.

 

The Problem of Gum Disease

Gum disease, for instance, remains a problem for adults. Some 14 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have severe gum disease.

Signs and symptoms from soft-tissue diseases like cold sores are common in adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 19 percent of adults aged 25 to 44 are affected by such soft-tissue ailments.

Other Dental Problems

Every year more than 400,000 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are afflicted with oral problems like painful mouth ulcers, loss of taste and dry mouth as a result of malfunctioning salivary glands.

The CDC reports that employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year because or oral health problems. So the message is keep brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Don't sit back and relax.

You May Be At Risk of Losing Tooth Enamel Permanently

Bulimia and anorexia nervosa are two serious eating disorders. Each can cause problems in your mouth. Anorexia nervosa is an unnatural fear of gaining weight. Bulimia is a condition in which a person compulsively overeats and then induces vomiting to get rid of the food. Some anorectics also induce vomiting. The danger to teeth comes from the fact that the stomach acid generated by vomiting can severely erode tooth enamel. Adolescent and twenty- to thirty-year-old females are most at risk for developing an eating disorder, although males can be affected, too.

Many Symptoms Accompany an Eating Disorder

When the dentist notices unusual enamel erosion on the teeth of a person who appears to be otherwise healthy, he might be able to raise the issue of an eating disorder. Depression often accompanies an eating disorder and a person, whether bulimic or anorexic will often get lax about oral hygiene. Problems like gum disease can develop. While the dentist can treat the appearance of the teeth with cosmetic dentistry, he can't cure the underlying issue. Regular trips to the dentist should be part of your overall plan for maintaining your health.

elderly woman with female caretaker | Dental Care for Caregivers | Geriatric Dentistry in White Bear Lake

Dental Care for Caregivers

Providing dental care as a caregiver requires patience most of all. But whether it's an elderly person or one with developmental disabilities, your charge needs to practice good oral hygiene with your help.

 

How to Brush Someone Else's Teeth

First, wash your hands and put on sanitary, disposable gloves. Stand or sit where you have a good view of all the teeth and make sure you have good light. Apply only a small amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush. Brush all surfaces of each tooth and angle the toothbrush to brush gently at the gum line. Gently brush the tongue after you've finished the teeth. Help the person rinse with plain water. Think about whether a power toothbrush might make the job easier, but give your charge time to get used to one.

Also, the bathroom is not the only place where teeth can be brushed. The important thing is to get the job done. So if some other room is more comfortable for the person you're helping, that's fine. Naturally, make sure you get the person you're helping to the dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.

glass of water | Does bottled water give me a sufficient amount of fluoride? | White Bear Smiles

The popularity of bottled water has surged in recent years. In 2000, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, annual per capita consumption of bottled water in the United States was 18.3 gallons. This year, they expect that figure to reach roughly 25 gallons per person.

Fluoride in Bottled Water

The American Dental Association has determined, however, that most bottled waters do not contain optimal levels of fluoride. Optimal levels range from 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. The ADA has for decades supported fluoridation programs for water supplies. Fluoride at optimal levels helps prevent tooth decay. All ground and surface water in the United States contains some naturally occurring fluoride. And the ADA has supported efforts to add fluoride to drinking supplies when necessary to raise the parts-per-million number to at least 0.7 ppm.

If you are a bottled water drinker, examine the label on your favorite product and talk to your local White Bear Lake dentist about whether you are getting enough fluoride and how you may be able to supplement your diet if you're not.

Trust and Communication are Vital

As in any relationship, there are responsibilities on each side. The two of you need to share trust and communication. If, for instance, you are confused or want more information after your dentist has recommended a path of treatment, you should feel free to ask for more information. For example, you might ask which of the steps the dentist mentioned are optional and which are necessary. Your dentist should be able to outline a course of treatment that sets priorities and gives you some options.

Obtain A Second Opinion

If you are still uncertain about what to do, you might opt for a second opinion. Your local dental society should be able to refer you to another dentist. And your dentist should be comfortable discussing costs, payment methods and a schedule for payment. If you're new in town and choosing a dentist, feel free to shop around.

For your part, be a good patient and practice good oral hygiene at home, visit the dentist regularly and pay your bills promptly. Talk with your dentist about ways to keep the relationship healthy.

Food Stays With You After You Eat

The food that you chew and eat leaves a residue in your mouth and nothing could make the bacteria that live in your mouth happier. Bacteria love the sugars and starch found in many foods. If you don't clean your teeth thoroughly after eating, bacteria will use the sugars and starch to produce acids that can eat through the enamel on your teeth. After a while, tooth decay begins. The more often you eat and the longer food residue stays in your mouth, the greater the potential for damage.

Some Foods Are Better for Your Teeth 

You may be surprised to learn that some foods that are otherwise very good for you are also high in sugars and starch. Just some examples are fruit, milk, bread, cereal and even vegetables. You don't have to stay away from these foods. In fact, they're part of a balanced diet. But keep in mind that foods eaten as part of a meal – as opposed to a snack – cause less harm because you produce more saliva during a meal. That helps wash food residue from the mouth and lessens the impact of acids.

Finally, limit your snacks. Each time you eat food with sugar or starch, acids attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more.

Food and Tooth Decay

The food that you chew and eat leaves a residue in your mouth, and nothing could make the bacteria that live in your mouth happier. Bacteria love the sugars and starch found in many foods. If you don't clean your teeth thoroughly after eating, bacteria will use the sugars and starch to produce acids that can eat through the enamel on your teeth. After a while, tooth decay begins. The more often you eat and the longer food residue stays in your mouth, the greater the potential for damage.

Eat to Minimize Tooth Decay

You may be surprised to learn that some foods that are otherwise very good for you are also high in sugars and starch. Just some examples are fruit, milk, bread, cereal and even vegetables. You don't have to stay away from these foods. In fact, they're part of a balanced diet. But keep in mind that foods eaten as part of a meal – as opposed to a snack – cause less harm because you produce more saliva during a meal. That helps wash food residue from the mouth and lessens the impact of acids.

Finally, limit your snacks. Each time you eat food with sugar or starch, acids attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more.

 

When in Doubt, Ask a Dentist

If you have further questions about how your eating habits contribute to tooth decay, contact our White Bear Lake office to schedule an oral health consultation today?

laughing group of elderly people | Geriatric Dentistry in White Bear Lake | Protecting Teeth as You Age

If you follow some relatively simple guidelines, you should expect to not lose any. It used to be that people would expect to lose teeth, but with constantly improving dental care techniques, that's really no longer true.

 

How to Protect Your Teeth as You Age

Stay away from sugar. The average American consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year. Plaque, the clear, sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth every day and can cause cavities and gum disease, loves sugar.

Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors in the development of gum disease. Smokeless tobacco is bad, too. Its use significantly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Speaking of plaque – be sure to remove it every day. Try to brush your teeth after every meal. The longer food residue stays in your mouth, the more contact it has with teeth.

Brush with an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste. And floss every day. Remember to rinse after flossing to wash away dislodged food particles. Follow these guidelines and you should keep a healthy smile all your life.

The more your dentist knows about your overall health, the better he will be able to treat you. As the American population ages, dentists are seeing an increasing number of patients with problems like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, AIDS and hypertension. It's important that your dentist know of any health condition you have so that the treatment he administers doesn't compromise any existing condition.

Dentists, of course, are trained to treat patients with other medical conditions. In some cases they will consult with a patient's general physician to devise the proper course of treatment. Generally they will get the information they need by asking questions of their patients.

Dentists also often detect conditions unknown to the patient. For instance, while some 16 million people have diabetes, only about half of them have been diagnosed. It is often during the course of an oral exam that a dentist may notice a symptom that ultimately leads to a diagnosis. So share your complete medical history with your dentist.

The answer depends on your individual condition and needs. If you are a new patient, a dentist may very well recommend a complete x-ray, or radiograph, examination of your mouth and jaws to determine your current status and make sure there are no undetected problems developing. A set of x-rays also gives the dentist a baseline against which to compare future oral health developments.

The schedule for x-rays will likely not be the same for any two patients. Your schedule will vary according to your age, your risk of disease and any signs or symptoms of a problem that you display. Children need x-rays more frequently than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and because their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults. X-rays are particularly useful in detecting the start of new cavities and in determining the extent of gum disease, which may not be visible to the naked eye.

Talk to your dentist about any concerns or questions you have about x-rays.

There is help for people troubled by grinding or clenching of teeth. A removable appliance, called a bite splint can be specially molded to fit over the upper or lower teeth, depending on the patient's particular requirements. It's made from plastic, is comfortable to wear, and does not affect facial attractiveness.

The bite splint is used when relief is sought from a wide range of uncomfortable syndromes. These include headaches, neck aches, dizziness, jaw clicking or cracking, and pain behind the eyes, among others. Bite splints most commonly are worn at night: others use them for daytime stress, and a few require them 24 hours a day.

If untreated, grinding/clenching of teeth may eventually cause teeth to shift position, produce gum recession and bring about a general deterioration of oral health.

More than 15 percent of adults live with some form of chronic facial pain, according to the American Dental Association. Discomfort around or in the ears is one of the more common symptoms. Others include tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises that accompany opening the mouth, headaches and neck aches.

If you experience any of this discomfort, see your dentist. With a thorough exam that might include X-rays, your dentist will likely be able to pinpoint the source of the problem and recommend a corrective course of action. If the pain is near the ears, the problem may be in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw, which is in front of the ears.

The source of the pain may be something easily recognizable, like a sinus infection, a decayed tooth or the beginning stage of gum disease. Your dentist will know the best way to attack the problem. The treatment may be something as simple as stress-reducing exercises or a prescription for muscle relaxants. Give your dentist the opportunity to help.

There is help for people troubled by grinding or clenching of teeth. A removable appliance, called a bite splint can be specially molded to fit over the upper or lower teeth, depending on the patient's particular requirements. It's made from plastic, is comfortable to wear, and does not affect facial attractiveness.

The bite splint is used when relief is sought from a wide range of uncomfortable syndromes. These include headaches, neck aches, dizziness, jaw clocking or cracking, and pain behind the eyes, among others. Bite splints most commonly are worn at night: others use them for daytime stress, and a few require them 24 hours a day.

If untreated, grinding/clenching of teeth may eventually cause teeth to shift position, produce gum recession and bring about a general deterioration of oral health.

person with braces brushing teeth | Is it possible to brush my teeth too hard? | Dentist in White Bear Lake

Yes. Many people damage their teeth by brushing too hard! It doesn't take much pressure to remove bacteria, food, and plaque from your teeth. But many people apply three to four times the pressure necessary for effective cleaning. They are at risk for receding gums, sensitive teeth, notched teeth, and root cavities.

Better Brushing

It takes 2-3 minutes to adequately brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth for a longer time is far more effective than brushing harder. Most people spend only 30 seconds brushing.

Brushing longer, not harder is the key to removing bacteria. Check with your dentist for more tips on good brushing technique. The caring team at your local White Bear Lake dentist is happy to answer any questions about proper brushing habits for patients of all ages. 

Smokeless Tobacco Has Many Side Effects

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Smokeless tobacco can harm your oral health as well as your general health. The effects of using smokeless tobacco can range from the merely unsavory, like bad breath and discolored teeth, to the deadly, like cancer. Using smokeless tobacco can also increase the risk of tooth decay because of the sugar that is added to smokeless tobacco. Nicotine blood levels in users of smokeless tobacco are similar to those found in cigarette smokers. Use of smokeless tobacco can result in diminished senses of taste and smell, which in turn can lead to unhealthy eating habits. It also irritates the soft tissue inside the mouth and can lead to gum problems.

Danger Signs to Watch For

Here are some danger signs to watch out for: a sore in the mouth that does not heal, difficulty chewing, a sore throat that doesn't go away, any sort of restriction in the movement of the tongue or jaw, a lump or white patch in the mouth, or a feeling that something is in your throat. Everyone should see a dentist regularly and that includes anyone who uses any sort of tobacco product.

Some things, they say, are as easy as brushing your teeth. There may be no wrong way to brush your teeth, but as with any activity, there is a right way to brush.

Section Your Mouth for Proper Cleaning

Think of your mouth as having four equal sections – two on top and two on the bottom – each having an inside and outside surface. Brush each of these eight sections, inside and outside, one at a time. The back teeth are the hardest to clean thoroughly, so always start with them. To get at the outside surfaces of the back teeth, open your mouth only slightly. Opening it wide stretches the cheeks taut against the teeth.

Proper Brush Technique

Be sure in each of the sections to tilt the brush to a 45-degree angle and brush where the tooth and the gum meet. You want to make sure the brush's bristles work into the groove, also called the sulcus, where the tooth and gum meet. Keep the brush horizontal as you brush your teeth and keep the strokes very short, a quarter inch, or so. Move to the next of the sections and repeat.

After brushing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.

Start With Fluoride

The first thing to know is to buy toothpaste that displays the ADA seal of acceptance. This means the American Dental Association has cleared the product both for safety and effectiveness. You want to make sure the toothpaste has fluoride, which remains the number one anti-cavity ingredient for both children and adults. Approved toothpaste will also contain a mild abrasive to help remove plaque.

Choosing Your Toothpaste

Some toothpaste is labeled for tartar control, which can help prevent tartar from forming above the gum line. Look on the label for triclosan, which can help combat gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. If your gums have already receded a bit, you might look for toothpaste that contains a desensitizing ingredient, namely potassium nitrate, that will reduce any pain you might feel when your teeth are exposed to hot or cold food or liquid.

Approved toothpaste might also include a whitening agent.

Talk to your dentist about choosing the toothpaste that is right for your needs.

During childhood, tonsils and adenoids work as part of the body's immune system. They filter out germs that try to get into the body and they help develop antibodies to germs. The tonsils are two masses of tissue on the back of the throat. The adenoids are high in the throat behind the nose and roof of the mouth. Adenoids are not visible without the use of special instruments.

 

What happens when tonsils and adenoids are removed?

Tonsils and adenoids are less useful as a person grows older. People who have them removed as children suffer no loss in their resistance to disease when they get older. The most common problem with the tonsils and the adenoids is recurring infection and significant enlargement that can cause difficulty with swallowing or breathing. In turn, that difficulty can cause snoring and restless sleep. Some orthodontists believe that chronic mouth breathing caused by enlarged tonsils and or adenoids can cause malformation of the face and improper alignment of teeth.

Since the tonsils are visible at the back of the throat, your dentist may be the first person to notice any irregularity in their appearance. Contact our comfortable dental office in White Bear Lake, MN to schedule a dental check up. 

We Want You to Have a Comfortable Experience

If you've never had a dental exam or if it's been a while since you had one, be assured that there's nothing to fear. The dentist will look at three main areas: your teeth, of course, but also your gums and the skin in your mouth.

Our Dental Exam Process

For the teeth exam, the dentist will use a small mirror and a probe to look for the general soundness of the teeth, for the accumulation of plaque and for any decay. The dentist will also check your bite.

The dentist will examine your gums to see if they are firm and pink. He may also use a periodontal probe to check the depth of the depression where the tooth meets the gum. If those depressions are too deep they could indicate gum disease.

The dentist also will examine the inside of your cheeks, your lips and your tongue for any discoloration or sores that could require not only dental but also medical attention.

We're Here for You - Contact Us Today

Your dentist is concerned not only with your smile and the state of your teeth, but she or he could be the first to detect a problem like oral cancer. Don't put off a visit -- schedule your next appointment today!

Digital radiography is in effect a high-tech replacement for traditional dental X-rays and has several advantages over the latter.

  • Less Radiation – The equipment used in digital radiography significantly reduces radiation exposure to the patient by another 40 to 80 percent. This is a great benefit and service to our patients.
  • Shorter Appointments – With traditional X-rays, patients had to wait while the dentist develops the film. With today's digital radiography, the X-ray image captured by the sensor is processed and projected onto the display screen almost instantly.
  • Better Diagnostics – Where traditional X-rays were a standard size that can make viewing difficult, digital X-rays can be magnified for a better visual of the tooth's structure. Levels of brightness, contrast, and color can be adjusted dynamically, allowing your dentist to see pathology more clearly and in less time. Dentists are also able to electronically send images to specialists.
  • Increased Patient Education – Dentists are able to share an X-ray with the patient on a 19-inch screen, allowing you to better understand problems and options.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Just as with digital cameras, this technology allows us to do away with film and messy chemicals.

We can enthusiastically say that digital radiography has improved our practice and our service to our patients.

Apnea is an interruption or cessation of breathing. For the 2 to 4 percent of middle-aged adults affected by sleep apnea, it is not uncommon for them to stop breathing up to 70 times in an hour. These episodes can last from 10 to 30 seconds. Breathing resumes with a loud snort or gasp. Episodes of sleep apnea deprive a person of oxygen and thorough rest and can cause extreme daytime drowsiness.

Most people who suffer from sleep apnea also snore. Snoring actually is the sound of the vibration of the soft palate and the adjoining structures of the throat. It is caused by narrowing and thickening of the upper airway tissues. And when a person sleeps, the soft tissue at the back of the throat, the muscles in the airway and the tongue all relax, letting the tongue fall back into the airway.

Your dentist, in consultation with your doctor, may be able to custom-fit an oral appliance that helps keep the airway open. If you have a problem with snoring or restless sleep, talk with your dentist about solutions.

Keeping Your Mouth Moist

Saliva is the substance that keeps the inside of your mouth moist. You have three pairs of major salivary glands and numerous minor glands in your cheeks and lips. Your saliva glands generally secrete a small but steady amount of saliva, which is a mixture of water, mucus and other substances.

But food – and sometimes just the thought of it – can trigger a heavy flow of saliva. That's where the notion comes from of your mouth “watering” when you see a delectable morsel. Among the functions of saliva is to moisten and bing together the food that you chew so that you can swallow it.

Saliva Helps Us Taste

Saliva also helps us taste. Taste buds do not react to dry food. Saliva helps fight tooth decay. Working with your tongue, it helps wash away food particles left in the mouth. It also contains calcium and phosphorous which strengthen teeth's enamel.

The three major salivary glands are the parotid, which is back near the base of your ear; the sublingual, which is under your tongue; and the submandibular, which is under your jawbone.

tooth nerve hygiene | dentist in white bear lake mn

The Pulp of a Tooth

Pulp is the technical name for the nerves, tiny blood vessels and connective tissue that make up the center of a tooth. People generally refer to the pulp as “the nerve” of the tooth because of its sensitivity when it's exposed. Through tiny openings in the tips of the roots of the teeth, the vessels and nerves in the pulp connect with the arteries, veins and nerves of the jaw, and on to the circulatory and nervous systems of the body.

The pulp is essential to a healthy tooth: it provides the nutrients that contribute to the ongoing formation of dentin, the highly calcified material that accounts for some 75 percent of the bulk of a tooth. As a person ages, the pulp decreases in size. If the pulp becomes infected and dies, the dentin does not get the nutrition it needs. Gradually it will dry up and the tooth will become brittle. If the dead pulp is not removed through root canal therapy, the tooth may turn yellow, gray or black. One of the goals of a good oral hygiene program is to prevent decay of the enamel and dentin that protect the tooth's pulp.

 

Learn More

First of all, TMJ is an acronym for your temporomandibular joint, which is where the mandible, or lower jaw, meets the skull, the temporal bone. The most common cause of facial pain, after toothache, is TMJ syndrome, sometimes called temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

One symptom is pain that results from chewing and can radiate into the head. Along with the pain, the condition also sometimes causes a clicking or popping sound when the joint moves. A patient may also suffer from limited jaw opening and episodes of the jaw locking in either an open or closed position. The condition can also cause severe headaches, dizziness and pain or stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

Treatment for the condition usually requires a team approach, including a patient's primary care physician and dentist. Treatment can include patient education, medication, the use of an appliance to prevent tooth grinding, also called bruxism, and in some cases, surgery.

If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, talk to your dentist about courses of action.

A toothache is not normal. It's a sign that something is wrong. You can address the pain of a toothache with an anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen, but you should call your dentist immediately to set up an appointment. One word regarding aspirin: never apply aspirin directly to a sore gum. The acid in aspirin can burn and severely irritate gum tissue.

In some cases a toothache could be caused by nothing more serious than a particle of food stuck between teeth. Try flossing and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. If that doesn't succeed in dislodging the particle, don't try to force the particle out yourself. Call your dentist.

When a tooth starts to ache – and that throbbing pain can get pretty intense – it's more likely that decay and infection has reached the tooth's pulp, the sensitive, soft tissue inside the tooth. So the tooth is going to need the attention of a dentist. The best way to avoid a toothache, of course, is to brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly.

Assuming you've already picked up some recommendations from your prior dentist or co-workers or from the American Dental Association website – www.ada.org – here are some points to consider in making your selection:

Go talk to the dentist. Does the dentist's schedule fit yours? Is the office convenient for you to visit? When you visited the office, was it clean and orderly? Does the dentist seem willing to talk to you about steps you can take to prevent problems? What arrangements does the dentist make for handling emergencies that fall outside regular hours? Is the dentist forthcoming about fees and amenable to payment plans for work? Importantly, is the dentist a member of the ADA? This is important because ADA members voluntarily agree to work by the high ethical standards set forth in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

Don't be bashful about asking any other questions that come to mind. You and your dentist should be in a comfortable partnership to preserve your oral health.

Causes of Bad Breath

Don't worry. Most people, at some point, are going to have a problem with bad breath. And the problem stems from bacteria. We all have bacteria in our mouths. The bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which have a pungent odor. While most people's systems keep the bacteria in balance, some people simply produce more bacteria than others. Some 25 percent of the population has a chronic problem with an overabundance of bacteria.

 

How to Prevent Bad Breath

The American Dental Association recommends that you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. This helps produce the saliva that washes away excess bacteria.

Another place where bacteria can collect is on your tongue, especially on the back of it. This is considered to be the main source of bad breath. What we recommend is that everyone use a good tongue scraper every morning. After a thorough scraping, then brush your teeth and tongue with an ADA approved toothpaste. This will also help with gingivitis and gum disease, the second most common reason for bad breath.

 

If bad breath is a periodic or constant problem for you, talk with your dentist about ways to address it. Call our office in White Bear Lake, MN for an expert consultation. 

 

Many factors work to destroy the naturally white smile we are born with. Tobacco, certain foods we eat, and certain drinks actually stain teeth. These substances continually work on our teeth causing our white smile to gradually fade.

Hot coffee and tea are especially hazardous to your smile because they change the temperature of your teeth. This temperature change – hot and cold cycling – causes the teeth to expand and contract allowing stains to penetrate the teeth. Just cutting down on coffee and tea can go a long way to creating a great smile.

Foods that are slightly acidic are also dangerous to your white smile. These foods open up the pores of the tooth enamel allowing stains to move more easily into the tooth.

Your dentist can help you with more tips on keeping a white smile.

Don't feel bad. Sour breath in the morning is not an uncommon complaint. Remember, saliva is a natural mouthwash. It not only enables us to chew and swallow dry food, it washes away particles of food in our mouths as well as bacteria.

 

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bacteria found on teeth, in the crevices and on the taste buds of the tongue break down food particles and produce foul-smelling sulfur compounds. The problem is that when we sleep, our saliva flow decreases significantly. Through the night, the bacteria are doing their work. The result is unpleasant morning breath.

How to Prevent Bad Breath

What can you do? Floss, brush and rinse thoroughly before going to bed. Also, sleep with a pillow under your head. That will keep saliva flowing to your stomach while you sleep, and prevent the possibility of reverse stomach acid flow, which also can contribute to morning breath. Use a tongue scraper every morning before brushing. And here are some general tips on keeping the saliva flowing: Drink plenty of water. Quit smoking. Smoking dries the membranes of your mouth and interferes with a healthy saliva flow.

Contact your local White Bear Lake dentist about other ways to keep your breath fresh – even in the morning.

The usual reason for getting orthodontic treatment, or braces, is to improve the appearance of teeth. These days, adults as well as youngsters are flashing smiles that show the bands and wires that are the handiwork of the orthodontist – a dentist who specializes in the use of appliances, like braces, to straighten teeth, whether it be for cosmetic or health reasons.

Straightening teeth can also improve a person's bite. When teeth don't come together properly that's called malocclusion. Malocclusion is not in and of itself a disease. Although teeth that are misaligned may require a little more diligence in brushing and flossing, people with malocclusion don't necessarily have more decay or gum problems than people with straight teeth.

But crooked teeth can cause some problems, like the bottom front teeth constantly hitting the palate instead of the inside of the upper front teeth. Correcting this type of malocclusion can prevent further trauma to the tissue of the palate.

Talk to your dentist about whether orthodontic treatment is right for you.

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