How Often Do I Really Need To Go To The Dentist?

How Often Do I Really Need To Go To The Dentist?

We get it: going to the dentist is a pain. You have to take time off work to get your teeth cleaned and your gums poked, and to sit in a chair with your mouth open while someone works over it with tools that are metal or sound like a power drill. Many people dislike going to the dentist. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably asked yourself “How often do I really need to go to the dentist?”

So, how often should you see a dentist?

It depends on a variety of factors, including oral hygiene habits, health, conditions like pregnancy, or even genetic factors. 

It’s likely that you’ve heard that you should have a dental checkup every six months. While this is a good recommendation for average, healthy people, it’s just a starting point. According to an article reviewed by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, health and dental organizations set the standard twice-yearly visit schedule as a “best guess” for preventing and catching tooth decay and gum disease.

Tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease are all preventable conditions with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. If as a healthy person with no extenuating conditions you have a dental checkup every six months, your dentist will be able to diagnose and address any emerging gum or tooth issues before they become a large or systemic problem. Your dentist may also be able to identify other health conditions that present with oral symptoms, like diabetes and certain cancers.

However, people with certain conditions or risk factors may need to see a dentist more often than twice per year. These factors include

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Weakened immune system due to bacterial infection
  • Gum disease
  • Persistent tooth or mouth pain
  • TMJ disorders
  • Greater than normal propensity to build up plaque

 

These conditions can put you at greater risk for oral infections, gingivitis, cavities, and gum disease, and your dentist will want to monitor your oral health more closely than the twice-yearly recommendation allows. 

Additionally, even if you have been to the dentist in the last six months, if you experience an emergent dental issue like a broken tooth or troublesome conditions like persistent bad breath, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Check out Six Signs it Might be Time to See Your Dentist for a few issues you shouldn’t put off until your next semiannual checkup.

Has it been more than six months since you saw a dentist? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

 

Can A Tongue Piercing Ruin My Teeth?

Can A Tongue Piercing Ruin My Teeth?

Piercings of all kinds are growing in popularity as social stigmas against tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair are declining. While piercings can be a fun accessory or a way to express your identity and creativity, if you’re considering a tongue or lip piercing, you might be concerned about how it will affect the health of your mouth and teeth. 

 

Can a tongue piercing ruin my teeth?

Unfortunately, yes. A tongue piercing can cause damage to teeth. Piercings are usually hard metal, which inside the mouth can cause damage. Biting down onto the piercing or playing with it can result in scratching or chipping teeth, as well as increased tooth sensitivity.

 

Can a tongue piercing hurt my mouth in other ways?

Again, the answer is an unfortunate yes. Piercing the tongue can result in harm to your oral health in several different ways. First of which is the possibility of nerve damage. Piercing the tongue can affect the nerves in the tongue, causing numbness, altering the sense of taste, and even altering the way the mouth moves. This nerve damage can be temporary or permanent.

Additionally, a tongue piercing can easily become infected. There are many forms of bacteria present in the mouth, and a piercing is initially an open wound. It’s a recipe for infection, and an instance when infection poses especially serious risks. Infection of the tongue could lead to swelling that blocks the air passage, which is dangerous and could lead to death or brain damage.

The tongue is also at risk of dangerously swelling and blocking the airways from allergic reactions. Many people find that they have metal allergies and sensitivities to the metals used in piercing jewelry. Jewelry not made of surgical steel, gold, silver, or other high-quality, low-irritation metals can result in an allergic reaction.

 

What about lip piercings?

All oral piercings pose an inherent oral health risk. While there is not the same risk of nerve damage to the tongue, lip piercings can still cause oral health issues. The jewelry is still likely a hard metal ring or post, and it can knock against teeth or be accidentally bitten down on, causing damage. A lip piercing, given that on the inside is in the mouth, is also susceptible to infection from oral bacteria.

 

Whether you have a tongue or lip piercing or not, regular dental checkups are crucial for ensuring that your teeth and mouth stay healthy. Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

Is Oil Pulling Good for Your Teeth?

If you’re into healthy living, homeopathic remedies, alternative medicine, or other health-oriented green lifestyles, you may have heard of oil pulling and its reputed health benefits. But while a lot of homeopathic and traditional folk remedies are good practices confirmed by modern science, some are bunk. Is oil pulling actually good for your teeth?

What is oil pulling?

If you’re not aware, oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of an edible oil like olive oil or coconut oil around in the mouth and through the teeth. This is done for from one to five minutes up to 20 minutes. It’s a traditional folk remedy from Southern Asia and India that has been practiced for hundreds of years.

Is oil pulling good for your teeth?

There have been no reliable scientific studies proving that oil pulling has any health benefits. There is no confirmation that oil pulling whitens teeth, reduces cavities, or otherwise improves health. The ADA does not recommend oil pulling or other “unconventional dentistry.”

What should you do instead?

Instead of oil pulling, here are some scientifically proven, safe, and effective ways of improving your dental health and oral hygiene:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush your teeth twice per day
  • Floss everyday
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and calcium
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Get regular dental checkups
  • Don’t use tobacco or illicit drugs
  • Use mouthguards during high-impact and contact sports
  • Use dentist-approved whitening products
  • Treat dental issues ASAP

 

To keep your teeth healthy, maintain a regimen of brushing and flossing, and get regular dental checkups. Schedule an appointment today!

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

What Is Fluoride & Why Is It Important for Healthy Teeth?

Fluoride is a controversial topic in the health and dental world—though it shouldn’t be. Many people are concerned about the use of fluoride in dental applications and in fortifying municipal water supplies, but this is simply due to misinformation. Fluoride is safe and effective and is critical in preventing tooth decay and ensuring dental health. So, what is fluoride and why is it important? 

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the Earth. It occurs naturally in certain foods and water sources. It is also added to the water in many communities. Dentists use fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay in their patients, and many kinds of toothpaste also contain fluoride.

Why is Fluoride Important?

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel which keeps teeth white and strong and prevents decay. In adults, it hardens the tooth enamel of already emerged teeth; in children, it concentrates in their growing teeth and bones before the teeth even emerge! 

Teeth undergo a natural demineralization and remineralization process naturally, and fluoride participates in that process. After you eat, acids in your saliva dissolve some of the calcium and phosphorous below the tooth surface (this is called demineralization). When your saliva is less acidic at other times, it replenishes the phosphorus and calcium. When fluoride is present during remineralization, it makes the calcium and phosphorus harder and less likely to dissolve in the future, which keeps teeth strong.

How do You Get Enough Fluoride?

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Get regular fluoride treatments at the dentist
  • Brush your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) twice per day
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride 
  • Ensure that if you drink a lot of bottled water that it is fluoridated
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that naturally contain fluoride

 

Time for a fluoride treatment or dental checkup? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry

How to Fight Bad Breath

How to Fight Bad Breath

Bad breath is more than just an annoyance: it can ruin interactions and undermine your self-confidence. If you have bad breath, you don’t have to just live with it, keeping your distance from others and covering your mouth, or keeping a secret bottle of mouthwash in your desk drawer. Here’s how to fight bad breath and regain your oral health and confidence!

Determine the Cause

First, you should make sure that your bad breath isn’t a sign of something worse. Bad breath is a symptom of many issues from dry mouth to gum disease. Your dentist can tell you if you have any symptoms of a major dental health issue. 

If it’s not a dental or other health issue, it might just be your diet—some foods and spices can stick around long after dinner—or your dental hygiene habits—like skipping flossing.   

Up Your Brushing and Flossing Game

If poor dental hygiene is to blame for your halitosis, or even just stinky foods like onions and garlic, getting better at brushing and flossing can resolve bad breath. Food that gets trapped between teeth can be a major source of mouth odor, so brushing twice a day with good technique and flossing daily can keep your mouth clean and fresh.

Get Rid of Drying Products

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol could be contributing to your bad breath problem. While it seems like they give you fresh, minty breath, that effect is temporary. That’s because alcohol dries out your mouth. When your mouth is dry, bad-smelling bacteria can proliferate, without enough saliva to wash them away. Use a non-alcohol mouthwash, or just brush your teeth instead.

Stay Hydrated

Like we mentioned earlier, a dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Even if you’re not experiencing clinical dry mouth, just temporary dehydration, dryness can make the perfect environment for smelly mouth bacteria and tooth decay, which also can cause bad breath. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, not sugary or acidic drinks, can keep your bad breath to a minimum.

 

To keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy, stop into Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry for a dental checkup!