How to Clean Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush keeps your teeth clean, but how do you keep your toothbrush clean? Hint: it’s not just by rinsing it alone.
Toothbrushes tend to be a favorite hangout for bacteria and germs, and a quick swipe beneath a running faucet is just not enough to keep that bacteria at bay. Know what that means? Your toothbrush isn’t as clean as you think when you put it in your mouth. Not a pleasant thought, we know, which is why we’ve put together these guidelines on how to clean your toothbrush, and how to keep it that way.
Tips for Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean
Store Your Toothbrush Upright and Solo
You might think covering your toothbrush is a good way to protect it from gathering germs, but unless the cover offers plenty of air circulation, it will actually create an environment mold and bacteria love! Instead, store your toothbrush vertically in a holder or cup with the bristles up so they can dry properly.
In addition, it’s important to keep your brush separated from others. If you store toothbrushes together, they can easily exchange microorganisms, and that’s not good!
Never Borrow or Share Your Toothbrush
Your mouth harbors plenty of its own bacteria, don’t add someone else’s to the mix! Sharing a toothbrush is a great way to share germs as well, which not only increases the amount of bacteria in your mouth and on your brush, but also increases your chances of getting sick or contracting an infectious disease such as tooth decay.
Clean Your Toothbrush Regularly
The only true way to keep germs at a minimum and say bye-bye to bacteria is to include cleaning your toothbrush in your daily routine. In other words, don’t just brush your teeth every day, clean your toothbrush daily too! Here’s how:
- Rinse your toothbrush under hot water both before and after you brush.
- When you get done brushing, put your toothbrush head-side down in a cup of antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide and leave it there for 3-5 minutes.
- Another option? Head to the kitchen and boil some water, then dip your toothbrush in and hold it there for 2-3 minutes.
- Don’t want to bother with boiling water? There’s another way to clean a toothbrush in the kitchen – just put it in the dishwasher! Yep, what works for knives, forks, and spoons works for your toothbrush too. Just be sure to use a lower temperature to avoid damaging its plastic handle.
- Invest in a UV sanitizer. Sure it’s a little on the pricey side, but it can absolutely be worth the investment when you consider this go-to bacteria buster is so reliable and effective, even hospitals use it!
Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes typically last 3-4 months, but you should reach for a new one sooner if your toothbrush is showing signs of wear and tear such as excessively frayed bristles. A toothbrush in such condition can’t do its job of cleaning your teeth very well, so it’s definitely time to trade it in for a fresh one.
You should also replace your toothbrush if you’ve been ill, or if it’s been near the toothbrush of anyone else who’s been sick. Otherwise, you’re just keeping those germs around that are getting in your way of staying healthy.
Visit Your Dentist!
You know what they say: The best cure is prevention. Scheduling regular dental appointments not only keeps your teeth healthy and clean, but you get the added bonus of a new toothbrush every time! Now you know how to keep that brush in good condition, too, which in turn will keep your smile looking its best.
Give Weber, Mountford, and Ruszkowski a call today to make your next dental cleaning appointment, and make sure your teeth stay not only clean, but also healthy, and strong.
Brushing does a good job of removing food particles from the surface of your teeth, but it can’t reach all areas of your teeth — specifically between your teeth, where bacteria and plaque can easily build up and cause problems.
The Importance of Daily Flossing
The only way to reach these areas is through regular flossing. Flossing is an important part of every daily dental hygiene routine — but it’s one of the most neglected hygiene tasks. Until recently, traditional flossing was the only reliable way to clean between teeth. That is, until the Waterpik came onto the scene.
What is a Waterpik and what makes it different? Is it more effective than traditional dental floss? Which do dentists recommend their patients use to help them maintain their dental health? Let’s explore the Waterpik vs. flossing debate, some of the advantages of each, and see which dentists prefer.
What is a Waterpik?
A Waterpik is a machine similar to a dental irrigation tool at your dentist’s office. The appliance uses electricity and a reservoir of water to force a pressurized stream of water through a small mouthpiece that can be directed at and between teeth to push food pieces, plaque, and particles awa. You can adjust the pressure and pulsation of the water stream to your comfort level. The Waterpik can be a little messy at first until you figure out how to use it, but with a bit of practice, it can be an effective tool to add to your dental hygiene routine.
Waterpik vs. Flossing
The Waterpik is a useful appliance for many — but can it actually replace traditional flossing? Let’s compare the methods of using a Waterpik vs. flossing.
Using a Waterpik is effective at removing food pieces and helping keep your teeth clean. It comes with less discomfort than traditional floss, particularly if you’re not a regular flosser. The Waterpik is unlikely to cause your gums to bleed, except in extreme cases of sensitivity or inflammation. This appliance can help you to reach some areas of the mouth that are difficult with brushing and regular flossing, even under the gumline. The Waterpik is especially helpful if you have braces — it can easily get around brackets and under wires.
Disadvantages of a Waterpik
It’s important to note that the Waterpik is more expensive than dental floss. It also takes up space to store, and due to its size and reliance on electricity, it can’t travel with you.
The Waterpik can be a valuable step of your dental hygiene routine — either to remove large particles prior to brushing, or to rinse your mouth after — but can’t completely replace flossing. It just isn’t as effective as floss at removing stubborn plaque. The movement of actual dental floss is necessary to dislodge some particles, and the scraping action of floss removes plaque more effectively than a targeted stream of water.
For these reasons, even if you’re a dedicated Waterpik user, it’s a good idea to keep some traditional floss on hand to use occasionally, either to follow up after brushing and rinsing, or to check the effectiveness of your Waterpik technique.
Flossing the traditional way involves using a thin strand of string between your teeth. You hold an end between your fingers of each hand, and move the string back and forth between teeth and around the base of each tooth to remove lodged food pieces, plaque, and bacteria.
Traditional flossing is very effective when done regularly. It’s able to get pretty much anywhere between and around teeth. In many cases, it can get at difficult-to-remove plaque better than the Waterpik. In regards to the potential discomfort, if you floss every day, your gums won’t be sensitive or prone to bleeding.
If you have braces, traditional flossing is a little more complicated. It requires the use of a special flexible “needle” from your dentist to thread the floss under the wires. Any additional steps or complications to flossing are going to make you less likely to do it regularly.
Waterpik vs. Flossing: What Dentists Recommend
Flossing is difficult for most adults to keep up with. Often, the less flossing is a part of a daily routine, the smaller the chance it ever will be. This is because the less often you floss, the more sensitive your gums will be next time you go to complete the task. If the process is uncomfortable, painful, or causes your gums to bleed, there’s not much chance you’ll want to continue, and you’ll be prone to skipping this important dental hygiene step in the future.
For this reason, dentists tend to recommend whichever flossing method — Waterpik vs. flossing — you’ll be most likely to keep up with on a regular basis. For many, the Waterpik is more comfortable and easy to get used to, so it’s not hard to make it part of their routine. Others, however, prefer the simplicity and zero-mess quality of dental floss. As long as you’re doing a thorough job of brushing and flossing, your dentist will be happy to see cleaner, healthier teeth at your regular dental cleaning appointments.
Been awhile since you’ve flossed or picked up that Waterpik? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford to get your next cleaning on the schedule.
If you’ve ever seen or dealt with teeth stains, you probably didn’t find them an attractive addition to your smile. Some teeth stains are temporary, like when your teeth change color after sipping red wine. Others are longer-lasting and can make us feel self-conscious about our smile. While some staining is bound to happen from consuming different foods or beverages, severe staining could indicate a more serious internal problem. Whether you’re currently experiencing teeth stains and don’t want to make them worse or want to prevent them from forming, here are 5 common causes of teeth stains.
5 Common Causes of Teeth Stains
Teeth stains come in two forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear when your teeth come into contact with a staining substance, like red wine, coffee, or even certain fruits and vegetables. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, result from something inside your teeth or body that causes the teeth to become discolored. Some of these conditions could point to more serious health issues.
Food and Drink
The most common causes of teeth stains are from the food and beverages we consume day-to-day. Coffee, tea, sodas, red wine, some fruits — particularly berries — and even some vegetables, can all cause teeth stains to appear. Most are temporary, as once the extrinsic causes are removed and the teeth are brushed, the stains go away on their own.
If you habitually drink a lot of strong coffee and don’t brush your teeth after you’ve finished, you might notice a little browning or yellowing discoloration of your teeth. While it doesn’t indicate any significant health risk, you should be aware that the acids in coffee and wine, for example, do cause some wear to the protective enamel covering your teeth, which could cause them to stain more easily as you get older.
Both smoking and chewing tobacco can stain teeth. Teeth stains from tobacco can appear yellow, brown, or even brownish-gray. Tobacco is also an irritant to gums, and can cause periodontal disease, which is painful and can cause teeth to decay or even fall out.
As we get older, the outer layer of our teeth’s enamel will gradually wear away, and the natural color of the dentin can show through, appearing more yellow or brown. Some people naturally have thicker enamel layers than others, which is why not everyone’s teeth will become discolored at the same rate. Eating acidic foods or using tobacco products can cause the enamel to wear away prematurely, and teeth to discolor more quickly.
Disease or Treatment
Intrinsic or internal causes of teeth stains affect the enamel or dentin of teeth and can cause them to appear discolored. Some health conditions, like acid reflux, can wear away at teeth enamel and lead to staining. Even some treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth stains. Other common causes of teeth stains occur in children while their teeth are still developing. Some antibiotics and antihistamines have been known to have this effect on growing teeth.
Some factors in your environment could be responsible for teeth stains. White spots on your teeth, for example, may be a result of overexposure to fluoride, either through fluoride toothpastes, fluoride treatments, fluoride-treated water, or a combination of all three. If your teeth sustained any type of trauma or impact, particularly when you were young and your teeth were still developing, your teeth’s enamel-growing abilities could be altered and cause discoloration.
Prevention and Treatment of Teeth Stains
Sometimes teeth stains can be prevented by making simple changes to your lifestyle. Try cutting back on your coffee consumption, or limit your use of cigarettes and tobacco. Regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can keep your teeth clean so food particles can’t sit and leave stains on your teeth. As always, be sure to visit your dentist for cleaning every 6 months to remove plaque buildup and have your dental and gum health checked.
If regular brushing doesn’t remove stains, or your teeth are prone to staining, talk to your dentist about potential treatments. At-home whitening agents or in-office whitening procedures can help remove stubborn teeth stains. If that isn’t effective, your dentist may recommend teeth bonding or veneers. For teeth bonding, your dentist will fuse a small amount of tooth-colored material over a stain to cover it, then blend it to match your natural tooth. Veneers can help cover up larger stains and discoloration. They are used to cover an entire tooth to change its appearance.
If the color of your teeth changes without cause, or if you have teeth stains you aren’t able to remove on your own, make an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist can help you determine the cause of your teeth stains so you can gain confidence in your smile again.
Worried that your teeth are turning brown? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We’re proud to offer ZOOM! tooth whitening, one of the best, most effective and long-lasting tooth whitening services on the market. We’d be happy to get you on our schedule today.
Skipping a dentist appointment is not good. You’re supposed to have biannual dental checkups for a reason. A dental visit is essential to keeping your teeth clean beyond what normal brushing can do. The dentist is also responsible for catching any little problems before they become big ones. Remember, even if you only skip one appointment, that means you might be waiting 6 months until your next one. That’s 6 more months of plaque buildup and potential tooth decay.
What Happens When You Skip An Appointment?
While delaying your appointment a few weeks isn’t likely to make a huge difference in your dental health (unless you’re dealing with pain or discomfort from an unresolved dental issue), skipping a dentist appointment and waiting months or even years before going back to the dentist office could have serious consequences for your health.
Plaque is building up all the time, even if you’re a thorough brusher. Regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist remove that buildup to keep your teeth healthy. The longer you wait, the more risk you have of experiencing a cavity, tooth decay, or a more serious health issue.
Think of it like owning a vehicle. If you don’t take care of your car with regular oil changes and repairs, it might work for a while without seeming to show any signs. Eventually, however, your car could break down and leave you stranded, cause an accident, or need more expensive repairs that could have been avoided. You wouldn’t continue to drive a car that’s in need of serious repairs and in danger of breaking down, so why would you neglect your dental health?
Your dentist does more than just clean your teeth. In addition to regular cleanings, your dentist performs important preventative care and checkups that protect your health in the long run. Your dentist takes X-rays of your teeth to look for structural deficiencies, conducts checks of your gums and tongue for indicators of disease, and examines the state of your enamel for wear and vulnerabilities. If you’re consistently skipping a dentist appointment, you could be at an increased risk of tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, infection, or even cancer.
How Often Should You See Your Dentist?
At minimum, to maintain your dental health, you should visit your dentist twice annually for cleanings, and receive X-rays once per year. If you experience dental problems like cavities or tooth pain you may need to see your dentist more often. Also, if you’re working with your dentist on aesthetic correction, you will likely need to see your dentist frequently throughout the year to make sure treatment is going according to plan.
When you visit your dentist for your regular cleaning, it’s a good idea to schedule your next appointment ahead of time. That way, you won’t forget to visit the dentist when it’s time for your teeth to be cleaned again. Your dentist will remind you before your next appointment to make it easy for you to remember.
How Long is Too Long After Skipping a Dentist Appointment?
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, it’s best to get an appointment scheduled as soon as possible. It’s never too late to get a handle on your dental health, and your dentist can help you address any damage or issues that they find to make sure your teeth, gums, and mouth are healthy and happy.
Skipped your dentist appointment and afraid of the consequences? Call Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We’d be happy to get you into our office for a checkup and cleaning as soon as possible.
Mail order orthodontics like Smile Direct Club, Candid, and others, have been gaining popularity as more patients look for affordable and convenient ways to achieve more beautiful straight smiles at home — but how effective are these treatments, really? If you want to try straightening your teeth at home, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist first. Not all mail order orthodontics will work for everyone’s teeth, and they can come packaged with risks. Let’s talk about mail order orthodontics, how they work, and what you should know before you sign up.
How Do Mail Order Orthodontics Work?
Mail order orthodontics are marketed towards customers wanting a straighter smile at home, without the price tag of orthodontic treatment from a dentist. Customers sign up online and receive a kit in the mail to take their own impressions at home. An affiliated dentist reviews the model made by the patient to determine if they are a candidate. Then, the dentist then designs a treatment plan using clear retainers that work to shape the teeth over time. In their plan they include a model of what the patient’s smile will look like and directions for how long and how often each retainer should be worn. The customer pays a one-time fee or monthly payments to begin treatment over a certain period of time.
The appeals of mail order orthodontics are the convenience and price. Many patients like the idea of handling their teeth alignment journey at home, without having to wear traditional metal braces. They are also attracted to the lower price. Mail order orthodontics cost about $2,000 compared to $5,000-8,000 of professional orthodontic treatment.
Are Mail Order Orthodontics Effective?
Despite the appeals of convenience and price, are mail order orthodontics worth it? While you may pay less to pick up your retainers in the mail, you will also receive less. As a better comparing factor than price, you should consider if the treatment will be valuable and effective for you.
While mail order orthodontics might have some success for minor alignment issues, major orthodontic work is not advisable. Orthodontic procedures should be regularly monitored by a licensed professional to make sure the treatment is effective. Orthodontists play a critical role in helping patients achieve a straight and healthy smile. Under their supervision, minor adjustments can be made to help ease teeth into position naturally and with minimal discomfort.
Additionally, many are unaware that they can also receive clear aligning retainers from their dentist. If you don’t want to go the route of conspicuous metal braces, clear retainers are a more subtle way to straighten your teeth. Rather than trust the opinion of a mail order dentist, your dentist can work with you on a customized treatment plan to achieve actual results.
Mail order orthodontics put a huge amount of responsibility on the patient. They require them to initiate and manage their own treatment. Patients must wear the retainers diligently with no guarantee they are working, and ignore the possible risks that come from taking treatment into their own hands. What other medical procedures would you do on your own without help from a licensed professional? Are mail order orthodontics worth the risks?
What Are the Risks of Mail Order Orthodontics?
Risks associated with mail order orthodontics come from skipping over steps that would normally be taken with professional in-office orthodontic treatment. Before starting orthodontic work, your teeth should receive a complete cleaning and examination to ensure they are in peak health and prepared for alignment work to begin. Your dentist can then design a treatment plan based on your needs and goals, using all of the tools at their disposal.
Professional orthodontic treatment is based on more information than mail order orthodontics, including radiographs and a thorough in-person examination, as well as consideration of the unique topography of your teeth and your dental history. Your dentist has access to all of this — a mailbox doesn’t. Without this valuable information, mail order orthodontics cannot design a comprehensive treatment plan that works for every individual and the specific challenges or health issues they may be facing.
Health Risks of Mail Order Orthodontics
Either missing or failing to properly diagnose dental problems patients may be dealing with prior to orthodontic work makes the treatment less effective and possibly dangerous to the patient’s health. For example, failure to recognize tooth decay or gum disease, problems with teeth sensitivity, lesions, and even cancer, can have long-lasting health consequences. All of these are best treated when caught early, and performing orthodontic work over afflicted areas could exacerbate problems and lead to tooth loss, extensive dental problems, or long-lasting health issues.
What’s the Real Cost of Mail Order Orthodontic Treatment?
When you opt for mail order orthodontics over professional orthodontic treatment, you risk completing the “steps” of mail order work and then having to repair considerable damage caused by ineffective treatment — due to unaddressed dental issues that could have been resolved before starting treatment, or from following a treatment plan that wasn’t designed for your unique teeth.
Another major risk is cost. Although mail order orthodontics are less expensive, they are still not cheap. If treatment doesn’t work, or causes more problems, you will still need to see a professional orthodontist to straighten your teeth or repair the damage — and it could end up costing you more than it would have to see a professional in the first place.
Mail Order Orthodontics vs. Professional Treatment
Before being licensed to complete orthodontic work, dental professionals receive an additional 2-3 years of training, on top of their rigorous medical studies. They have dedicated their lives to finding ways to straighten teeth and align the bite effectively and safely. Their education gives them the ability to assess, diagnose, and treat dental problems and irregularities.
Mail order orthodontics use one method to align teeth, where dentists and orthodontists have several tools and solutions at their disposal to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. If you want to give mail order orthodontics a try, it’s best to talk to your dentist first. They will support you as the patient, but can give you valuable information about how to use the mail order service to achieve the best results without compromising your smile goals or dental health. However, if you need significant work to achieve your goals, your dentist may advise against mail order orthodontics.
In-office, professional orthodontic treatment will be most effective in aligning your teeth and giving you the best value for your investment in a straighter smile. If you’re concerned about costs, there are financing options that can help you affordably reach your goals. Talk to your dentist before starting any orthodontic treatment to get an assessment of your dental health and see what option would be best for you.
If you have questions about mail-order orthodontics like the Smile Direct Club, don’t hesitate to give Creason, Weber & Mountford a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and even schedule an appointment so we can get a closer look.
Wisdom tooth extraction — no one looks forward to it. Though a dental surgery can seem scary, it’s an experience most young people go through to prevent discomfort and protect their smile. Understanding what will happen and knowing what to expect can help you feel better about the procedure in general. Here’s everything you need to know about what wisdom tooth extraction is, why it’s important, and what you can expect to experience before, during, and after the procedure.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are molars that grow in the back of your mouth on the top and bottom jaws. They don’t typically develop until you’re between 17-24 years old, hence the name “wisdom teeth,” because they take time to mature. By the time you’re a teenager or young adult, your mouth is already full of mature teeth, so there isn’t much space for new ones to grow in. Problems with wisdom teeth occur when they push their way into your mouth anyway.
If you start to have symptoms from your wisdom teeth coming in, dentists will likely recommend wisdom tooth extraction. They may suggest removal even before symptoms appear if they notice them in dental X rays and predict future discomfort.
Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction is Necessary
When wisdom teeth push their way in they can erupt fully or partially and crowd your other teeth, pushing them around in uncomfortable ways. If you’ve already had orthodontic work done, wisdom teeth can threaten expensive and time-consuming progress.
Sometimes, the tooth can get stuck without appearing above the gums at all, or come out partially at an angle. This is called an impacted or partially impacted wisdom tooth. Both can cause extreme discomfort and lead to other dental problems if food or bacteria gets trapped around the impacted tooth, causing decay. An erupting tooth can damage the jawbone or other teeth, or cysts can form which swell and make it painful to eat or open your mouth.
To avoid all of these potential issues, the best and easiest solution is often to have the wisdom tooth extracted before it becomes a problem.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
If you experience gum pain or swelling, or pain when you open your mouth, it could be because your wisdom teeth are coming in. Your dentist might recommend wisdom tooth extraction to alleviate your pain, or advise extraction before any symptoms are present if the teeth appear threatening.
What You’ll Experience
The wisdom tooth extraction procedure is simple and pain-free using local or general anaesthesia. The whole process only takes a few hours and then you’re onto recovery — a cinch compared to the potential pain if you were to let the wisdom teeth grow in. When you wake up, you might feel disoriented and groggy, so you’ll want to bring someone with you to help you home to rest.
When the wisdom tooth extraction is underway, the surgeon will make an incision into the gum tissue to expose the bone. If necessary, they may cut into the bone to reach the full tooth, and then remove the tooth and root, as well as any debris in the area. Once the tooth is out, they will clean the area and stitch it closed to allow for faster healing, and place gauze to help blood clot naturally.
After Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction
After your appointment, you’ll need a little time to rest up at home. The recovery process is different for everyone. Some people experience little swelling and are back to normal activities in a day or two, while others take longer to get back to their routine. Most can expect from a few days up to a week of discomfort with some pain and swelling around the cheeks.
For at least a few days, it’s best to eat soft foods like soups, fruit smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream. It’s important to drink plenty of water and stay away from hot liquids and drinks like coffee, alcohol, and carbonated sodas for at least 24 hours. You should also avoid spicy foods and anything crunchy or chewy for a little while.
Every few hours and after all meals, use a warm saltwater rinse to gently clean the mouth. You won’t brush your teeth right after the procedure, but can begin gently brushing again after 24 hours. You might experience swelling and bruising of the cheeks, which you can manage with ice packs. For pain, take medication as prescribed by your surgeon or manage with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Aspirin. Your pain level will vary depending on the severity of the procedure and your individual pain tolerance.
During recovery, it’s very important to protect the wisdom tooth extraction area. You should avoid spitting, using a straw, heavy exercise or sport, and smoking for a few days to a week. This is because the area where the extraction occurred will be very sensitive and protected by a blood clot where the bone was exposed. If this area is damaged, and the blood clot removed, the area will be open to bacteria and infection. To prevent this, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for care after surgery.
If you experience more pain, excessive bleeding, excessive or long-lasting numbness, fever, or swelling that gets worse contact your dentist or surgeon.
Why a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure is Worth It
After about a week, you’ll be back to your normal diet and routine. Your stitches will dissolve on their own or you’ll have an appointment to have them removed once the area is healed. While you should still take care of the sensitive area, you can add back in chewy foods as you’re ready. Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is not always fun — despite all the ice cream you have an excuse to eat — but it’s worth it to save yourself from the potential discomfort and pain if the teeth had been allowed to come in and cause problems.
All in all, the wisdom tooth extraction procedure is a short moment in your life that could save you a lot of pain in the future. You can think about having your wisdom teeth taken out as a rite of passage, a story you can share well into adulthood. By enduring the procedure, you will protect your teeth and your health, and have a bonus anecdote to tell your friends.
Time to have those wisdom teeth looked at? Schedule your appointment with Creason, Weber & Mountford today. We can take a look, identify which teeth might be causing you pain, and recommend the best maxillofacial surgeon for you. Give us a call at 616-842-0822 or reach out to us online today.