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How To Get Whiter Teeth

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How To Get Whiter Teeth

How To Get Whiter Teeth

Do you want to know How To Get Whiter Teeth? When you think of your teeth there may be many things that come to mind. It is safe to say that at least once you have looked at your own smile and wished that your teeth were even just a shade whiter than they are. Teeth often discolor because of diet or lack of good brushing habits. There are many factors as to why your teeth may not be as pearly white as they once were. The good news is there are many ways to try and get them back.

There are many ways you can get whiter teeth. You also want to think about the enamel of your teeth while you are whitening them. Is the product or method you are using to whiten your teeth safe for your tooth’s enamel? Below we will go over some ways to whiten your teeth naturally, effectively, and without damaging the tooth enamel.

What Is The Best Option For Whitening Your Teeth?

This depends on how much time and money you are wanting to invest in this process. Go for a well-known brand if you are going with an over the counter product.

There are some very effective whitening toothpastes and rinses out there that will remove stains from your teeth. These will be moderately effective but will not get your teeth shining white. These products will whiten your teeth if used regularly. If you go with a whitening strip placed on your teeth for a certain length of time, you can expect this to whiten your teeth up to about five shades lighter than when you started. Same goes for the paint on formulas that you apply to your teeth before bed.

You can also use whitening trays that are a mold created to fit over your teeth. These are something you can get from your dentist and they provide you with the fitted tray as well as the bleaching gel for you to use at home. You can get these over the counter but they will be more effective and safe if you can get them from your dentist.

Whiten Your Teeth Naturally

If using a product with bleach or peroxide makes you nervous, there are some ways you can help keep your teeth whiter naturally. Here are a few ways you can get those whiter teeth back with out bleach or harsh chemicals:

  • Brush After Eating Or Drinking: This can be the toughest way to whiten your teeth naturally but it can be done with some persistence. Simply make sure you brush or clean your teeth after eating or drinking anything that may have an effect on the color of your teeth. Like after drinking coffee or wine. Avoiding smoking cigarettes and eating a healthy diet can also aid in the whitening of your teeth.
  • Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide: This works as a great antibacterial agent as well as a good total overall mouth and gum cleaner. Just use half water and half hydrogen peroxide as an oral rinse, swishing it around for about one minute and rinse. This aides in cleaning your mouth of bacteria and helping overall oral health. To whiten your teeth, use hydrogen peroxide with some baking soda and make a paste to help remove plaque from your teeth.
  • Make sure you brush your teeth with your regular toothpaste before doing this homemade paste. Baking soda is gritty, so you do want to make sure you mix the right amount of hydrogen peroxide with it. If you do not, you can easily scrub the enamel right off your teeth. Using these products safely can help whiten your teeth over time as well as help your overall oral health.
  • Coconut Oil Pulling: Swishing around about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth can naturally whiten your teeth. You can also apply a small layer of oil to your teeth after brushing to do the same thing. To use this method, you will want to pull the oil all around your mouth for about 20 minutes or add a few drops to your toothbrush and brush it on. Not only is coconut oil good for helping to naturally whiten your smile, it is also good for overall gum health.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Since it is known that this vinegar acts as a natural antibiotic and a tooth and gum cleaner, it only makes sense that it can also help reduce stains on your teeth. It is known to work especially well on stains made from coffee and nicotine. You should be careful using this method as it is acidic and overuse could lead to the loss of tooth enamel. This is something you could do once a month continuously to safely see a whiter smile. Simply rub some ACV on your teeth and leave it for a minute then rinse well with water or a hydrogen peroxide rinse.
  • Healthy Diet: For a whiter smile? Yes. Adding more berries to your diet is a great way to get antioxidants into your body.  This includes your teeth and gums! Believe it or not, you can mash up some strawberries, rub them all over your teeth and rinse well.  To help you strengthen your teeth as well, you can add more sources of calcium like yogurt and milk as well as cage free eggs. Simply switching your diet to a cleaner way of eating can help whiten your teeth more than you might think.

Changing to a healthier diet as well as using homemade rinses and pastes can get you on track to a whiter smile!


Gingivitis Treatment and Prevention

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Gingivitis Treatment and Prevention

gingivitis treatment

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue around your teeth due to a buildup of plaque and tartar caused by bacteria. It can result in tooth decay, cavities, and worse if left untreated for too long.

If you already know you have gingivitis, and you’re seeking out treatments and cures, Flintlock Dental will discuss those options below. If you’re unsure whether or not you have gingivitis but think you might, it’s best to make an appointment with your dentist so that you can get the correct diagnosis and best treatment suggestions for your situation.

It’s always best to seek a professional opinion when you’re looking into treatments, but until you can get in to see your dentist, there are a few things you can do to help treat gingivitis on your own. It’s possible for gingivitis to be prevented, as well as existing gum disease to be reversed. This is all possible with good oral hygiene and a little help from your dentist.

How to Reverse Gingivitis

There are a few steps that need to happen for gingivitis to be reversed, depending on the severity of the case. The first step is to eliminate the tartar that’s causing the irritation in your gums. Your dentist can do this by cleaning and scaling your teeth.

Once you have this professional cleaning, you need to help prevent the tartar from building up so much on your teeth and gums by brushing twice daily with a tarter-control toothpaste and flossing at least once a day. Following up your brushing with an antimicrobial mouthwash is also a good way to keep your mouth healthy and smelling great.

If you keep up with regular brushing and flossing, you should have healthy gums again in no time!

Treating Gingivitis from Home

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to help treat and prevent gingivitis from home:

Use antibacterial toothpaste. This type of toothpaste can be used to fight plaque all day and night after you have done your daily oral hygiene routine. Along with this type of toothpaste, there are also anti-gingivitis toothpastes that target the gingivitis-causing tarter found around your gum line.

Brush your teeth more effectively. When you brush your teeth day and night, make sure you are brushing for 2 minutes each time. You can also consider an electric toothbrush that can help give you a more thorough cleaning than your manual toothbrush. To help you meet that 2 minute mark for brushing, go ahead and set a timer on your phone until you get into the habit of brushing for that long.

Find an antibacterial mouthwash. After you have brushed your teeth, it’s a good idea to follow up with a mouthwash to get rid of anything your brushing may have missed. Find a good antibacterial mouthwash to help flush out the plaque- and tarter-causing microbes that are hiding in those hard-to-reach places.

Floss daily. This is something that many of us often forget to do, but it’s very important your oral health. Flossing is a great tool for helping prevent and treat gingivitis. Flossing will remove food particles that can help feed the bacteria in your mouth that your toothbrush and mouthwash can easily miss.

Ways to Improve Brushing and Flossing

To get the most out of your oral hygiene, here are a few ways to improve your brushing and flossing skills:

Brushing. As you are brushing your teeth, be sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. Brush your teeth using short, circular strokes, and make sure you are not using too much pressure while you brush. Do not forget to brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Also keep in mind that you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush, so as not to wear away too much on your gums.

Flossing. Start by using about 18 inches of floss, winding most of it around the middle finger of one hand. Next you should wind a small piece around the middle finger of your other hand. Make sure to unwind fresh floss from your fingers as you move from tooth to tooth. Slide the floss all the way up and down each side between each tooth, while curving in into a C-shape at the gum line. This will allow the floss to slide between the teeth and the gums easier.

If after you have taken all of these steps and you are still experiencing symptoms of gingivitis, you will want to call your dentist to set up either an initial appointment or follow-up. Making sure you have good oral hygiene at home by taking the time to brush, rinse, and floss, as well as going in for annual checkups and cleanings with your dentist, can greatly lessen your chance of developing gingivitis and other gum diseases.

If you want more information on oral health, check out Flintlock Dental’s other blogs, such as this one that goes over enamel loss and repair.


Tooth Enamel Loss and Repair

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Tooth Enamel Loss and Repair

tooth enamel loss

What is tooth enamel, and why is it so important?

Tooth enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. It’s a tough protective shell for your teeth and is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the crown of your tooth, which is the part that’s seen outside of the gums.

This part of your tooth is important for a couple of reasons: it’s a protector of your tooth, and it does not grow back. Once you lose a part of the enamel on your tooth, it’s gone forever. This is why keeping your teeth clean and in good health is so important. Tooth enamel loss is a problem that everyone has to deal with as they get older, but there are several ways to try to slow it down.

What Does Tooth Enamel Do?

Tooth enamel protects your tooth from damage. This includes factors from daily use such as chewing, biting, and grinding. The enamel on your teeth also helps keep them insulated from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals.

Due to the types of cells that make them up, broken bones can heal, but your tooth enamel cannot. Once a tooth is chipped, broken, or worn down, the damage is lasting. Your tooth enamel has no living, reproducing cells. This means that it’s super tough, but also that it cannot repair itself.

What Causes Enamel Erosion?

Most tooth erosion happens when acid wears away the enamel on the teeth slowly over time. There are several causes for enamel erosion, including:

  • Too much soft drink consumption (these are full of citric acids).
  • Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit juice are more erosive than battery acid).
  • Diet (if it’s high in sugars and starches).
  • Dry mouth or low salivary flow (your saliva provides some protection for your teeth).
  • Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Medications like aspirin or antihistamines.
  • Genetics and inherited conditions.

Other Factors in Tooth Erosion

There are more factors than those listed above that can cause erosion and tooth enamel loss, known as environmental factors. They can be anything from friction, wear and tear, stress, corrosion, or any combination of the above.

Unfortunately, the way you go about brushing your teeth can also contribute to enamel loss. If you brush too hard, with too tough of bristles, or too often, you wear away at the enamel, and this causes your teeth to become sensitive.

Some tooth enamel loss is not preventable. Some weak enamel may be cause in utero. Some babies do not form strong teeth, either from the mother’s nutritional habits during pregnancy or other medical reasons. So no matter how you change your diet or address the other causes of tooth erosion, there are times where the damage cannot be prevented.

Tooth enamel erosion has also recently been linked to celiac disease, an issue where a person’s gut cannot tolerate gluten. The exact connection to these two issues remains a unknown, but researchers have a theory that it may have to do with the absorption problems in the small intestine. This could prevent teeth from getting the nutrients that are needed for proper development.

Side Effects of Enamel Erosion

Now that you know the causes of tooth enamel erosion, you need to know the signs to watch out for. There are several side effects, and Flintlock Dental will go over them below:

Tooth Sensitivity – This is the most common side effect and can be caused by a reduction of the tooth’s protective coating. Your teeth may hurt when you eat very hot or cold foods, when you brush, or when your gums are exposed to air.

Yellow Teeth – This is caused by the enamel on your teeth being worn so thin that you see the underlying dentin of your teeth, which is yellow.

Uneven Edges – As your tooth enamel wears away, it can result in rough edges that eventually lead to chips and cracks.

Increased Tooth Decay – When you lose the protective layer for your teeth, the tooth starts to become more susceptible to cavities.

Tooth Enamel Repair

Tooth enamel cannot be replicated, but dentists can offer some assistance in repairing the worn down enamel. There are two main ways for eroded teeth to be treated:

Tooth Bonding – This process can be used in cases of milder erosion and is a cosmetic procedure. A resin that’s tinted to match your tooth is applied to the damaged area. Once it hardens, it’s bonded to your tooth and trimmed and polished to fit into your mouth correctly. This entire process takes an hour or less and usually takes just one appointment.

Tooth Crowns – A crown is something that can be applied to a tooth in a more serious case of weak enamel. This procedure involves capping the tooth with a new material that will help protect the damaged areas. A crown can help restore the function to a damaged tooth and will allow you to eat and drink without pain. It will also help protect your tooth against any future decay.

Once you start to experience tooth enamel loss, it’s important to take action to protect and repair it. This is not something that can be replaced once it’s gone, and it’s very important to keep it healthy. Make sure you keep your appointments for your teeth to be cleaned and checked, as this is the best prevention for tooth enamel erosion available.

If you want more information on oral health, check out Flintlock Dental’s other blogs, such as this one that goes over the issue of receding gums.


Causes and Treatments for Receding Gums 

Causes and Treatments for Receding Gums 

Receding gums is a problem that’s also known as gingival recession. This occurs when the pink gum tissue that normally covers the root of the tooth is pushed back or the tooth moves into an abnormal position to expose the root of the tooth. Receding gums are common and often go unnoticed in the early stages. What are the causes for receding gums, and what can be done to prevent or correct them? Flintlock Dental will go over the basics of receding gums below!

Risk Factors for Receding Gums

There are a few risk factors to consider when it comes to receding gums. The main concern is that the root of the tooth is exposed. This leaves the tooth at risk for decay and infection. If the gum recession is severe and left untreated, it can lead to tooth sensitivity, pain, and infection. It can even lead to the eventual loss of one or more teeth.

Ignoring the warning signs and not keeping up with regular oral health increases the risk of developing receding gums. However, age is the largest risk factor of all with 88 percent of people over the age of 65 having receding gums on at least one tooth.

Causes of Receding Gums

Receding gums can be caused by a number of reasons, from life habits to genetics. Here are a few factors that could lead to receding gums:

Overly aggressive brushing and/or flossing. As you brush your teeth, make sure you are brushing gently and not scrubbing hard. You should also avoid using toothbrushes that are not labeled as soft. Remember that taking care of your teeth is not supposed to hurt!

Genetics. Just like the rest of your body, your gums’ characteristics are also determined by genetics. If one or both of your parents have gum recession, you are at a higher risk for receding gums.

Grinding your teeth (bruxism). This habit can be at the root of many dental issues, not just gum recession. If you have this habit, it’s best to talk to your dentist as soon as you can. Teeth grinding can be treated easily with a mouth guard or other options.

Abnormal tooth positioning. If your teeth are not in alignment with one another, gum recession can sometimes occur.

Poor oral health. If you have poor oral health habits, gum recession could end up being a result of periodontitis.

Treatments for Receding Gums

As with other health issues, it’s best to catch receding gums early. Treatment for mild receding gums typically does not require professional fixes. Your dentist can help you identify what is causing the issue and help instruct you on how to fix it yourself.

If you do need professional treatment, you will likely have to go to a periodontist. This specialist will help you determine the best course of action to take. Some are an easy fix, while others can be more time consuming and a little more painful. Here are a few types of treatment that you may be offered if you have receding gums:

Change the oral health habits that caused receding gums in the first place. You would need to do this regardless of other treatments, but if caught early enough, it may be all that is needed.

Having a special, deeper cleaning of your teeth called a scaling and root planing. This is what is often done when receding gums are caused by periodontitis. You would also receive a new specialized toothbrush with instructions on how to best care for your mouth as it recovers.

You may need a surgical treatment depending on the severity and cause of your gum recession. This is a procedure that would be done by your periodontist and is called a gum graft.

Desensitizing agents can be added to your teeth. These aim to lessen the sensitivity that develops in the exposed tooth root. This treats the nerve symptoms and helps you keep normal oral hygiene and brushing with less pain.

Composite restoration can be done as well. This is a tooth-colored composite resin that is used to cover the root surface. They can also be used to close black gaps between teeth.

While there are many causes for receding gums, the best way for you to help prevent them for yourself is to keep up a good regimen of oral health, complete with regular visits to your dentist. Catching it early is key, but should you need further treatment later on, there are many options available to you. In that case, an experienced dental professional will be able to help you make the decision that is best for you.

If you want more information on dental treatments, check out Flintlock Dental’s blog on the pros and cons of teeth whitening!


The Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening

The Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening

You brush your teeth after your morning coffee, but that bright white smile is just not there anymore. Years of eating and drinking foods that stain your teeth over time have taken their toll. There is much appeal to wanting whiter teeth, and many people are self-conscious about their smile. This can affect your confidence and interactions with other people.

But without knowing the pros and cons of teeth whitening, it’s hard to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s something you want to do. Below, Flintlock Dental will go over some information on teeth whitening to help you make the decision that is right for you!

Types of Teeth Whitening

There are two major options when it comes to whitening your teeth: office-based bleaching or at-home care. Both of these options use a peroxide-based bleaching agent. However, there is a difference in how much bleach is used. With at-home whitening, you get between 3% to 20% peroxide, while in an office you get 15% to 43% peroxide. You will pay more for the in-office treatments, but you will get a stronger whitening agent, and it will take less time overall to achieve the bright white smile you want.

In-Office Options:

Teeth whitening done by your dentist can get your teeth brighter faster. The solution is much stronger than what you get at home, and the use of heat and light can be used to speed up the whitening process.

Teeth generally get three to eight shades brighter after office whitening. This process takes several 30- to 60-minute in-office visits. There are some dentists who use a technique that can be done in a single two-hour office visit. The cost of an in-office tooth whitening process varies, but usually ranges from $500 to $1000.

In-Home Options:

There are several methods you can choose from for at-home teeth whitening:

Tooth Whitening Strips/Gel – Gel is applied directly to the teeth with a brush or thin strip. These peroxide-based products usually need to be applied once or twice a day for 10 to 14 days. The results last four or more months and may cost anywhere from $10 to $55.

Tray-Based System – This system uses a mouth guard tray that is filled with a peroxide-based gel or paste and is placed over the teeth for one to several hours a day for up to four weeks. You can buy this system over the counter or get one custom fit by your dentist. The cost ranges from $150 to $600.

Tooth Whitening Toothpaste – Every toothpaste helps remove stains, but whitening toothpastes contain chemicals that help scrub stains from teeth without the aid of a bleaching agent. The toothpastes are relatively inexpensive and brighten teeth by about one shade. Some pastes contain peroxide, but it isn’t left on the teeth long enough to really have a whitening benefit.

Pros of Teeth Whitening

The biggest benefit of teeth whitening is mostly cosmetic. According to a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, most people feel that attractive smiles make the opposite gender more attractive and an unattractive smile can hinder both relationship and employment success.

What it comes down to is confidence. More confidence can help you become more successful in many endeavors, and having your teeth whitened can boost your confidence.

Cons of Teeth Whitening

There are a few side effects that you need to be aware of if you do decide to whiten your teeth. The major factors are that it can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

Some dentists have noted that the gum irritation can be due to teeth whitening trays fitting wrong and not due to the bleaching agent itself, so you want to make sure you have the correct tray for your teeth before you use it. Also, most sensitivity and tissue irritation will often disappear within three days of completing your treatment.

A review done in 2014 reported that strong bleaching agents can cause soft tissue burns. This will result in a burning sensation in your throat or cause an upset stomach. This same review also goes on to note that there is still controversy on whether or not teeth bleaching affects the physical structure of the teeth, including the enamel, making it weaker and more prone to cavities.

Tooth whitening is not for everyone. It can be expensive and does not always work on all types of tooth discoloration. It’s also only a temporary solution to the problem, since stains will return over time. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that whitening agents are not effective on veneers, crowns, fillings, or caps, and will not work on discoloration that is brown, gray, or caused by injury or medication.

How Safe is Tooth Whitening and When to Avoid It

In most cases, if the instructions are followed correctly, using a peroxide-based tooth whitening agent is safe. These types of products include toothpastes, strips, gels, tray-based whiteners, and in-office treatments.

Whether you do the in-home treatment or office treatment, it is recommended that any teeth whitening should be supervised by a dentist to reduce any possible risks. The ADA recommends that you whiten your teeth only after consulting with your dentist, so you know that the method you choose is right for you.

Tooth Whitening Overall

Knowing the pros and cons of tooth whitening will help you make an informed decision about what technique is right for you to use. If you use the teeth whitening agents properly, they are considered safe and will show results. Teeth whitening is not for everyone, and each case is different. To make sure it is right for you, consult with your dentist before you do any kind of whitening at home or in your dentist’s office.

Want to learn more about oral health? Check out Flintlock Dental’s other blogs, such as this one that goes over the basics of gingivitis!


Pregnancy and Dental Care

Pregnancy and Dental Care

There are many myths that surround your oral health when it comes to pregnancy. No matter what you might hear, there is one thing that is certain: the primary changes you see during pregnancy are due to a large surge in hormones, with an increase in estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, these hormonal changes can magnify the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, so it’s crucial to keep up with your dental care during pregnancy.

What Should Be Done to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy?

First of all, if you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is a good idea to go in to your dentist and get a checkup. Make sure you go ahead and treat any pre-existing oral problems that could accompany your pregnancy and dental health.

During your pregnancy, you need to make sure to give your gums and teeth extra attention. Keep brushing and flossing regularly and focus on eating a balanced diet. You also need to make sure you are setting up regular visits to your dentist so that they can assist you in reducing dental problems that can occur during a pregnancy.

What Types of Oral Problems Can Occur While Pregnant?

It has been shown in several studies that many pregnant women get pregnancy gingivitis. Check out Flintlock Dental’s blog on gingivitis for more information on this disease. Gingivitis tends to occur more often during a pregnancy due to the increased levels of hormones. These hormones magnify the way the gums react to irritants in plaque. This does not mean that hormones are the only factor in gingivitis. It is still the plaque that causes this gum disease, so you can fight against the problem with good oral hygiene.

Simply making sure you keep your teeth clean, especially up near your gum line, will help reduce and even prevent gingivitis during a pregnancy. You can also substitute sweets in your diet and reduce sugar consumption to further prevent the chance of gum disease.

What Will a Dentist Visit Look Like When I Am Pregnant?

The first thing to do is to make sure you let your dentist office know that you are pregnant when you call to make the appointment. This is due to the fact that the use of x-rays as well as anesthetics and pain medication is affected by pregnancy. These are all things that should not be administered during at least the first trimester of a pregnancy, so you want to make sure that the office is aware of your situation.

It is overall best to schedule your appointment during the fourth thru sixth month of your pregnancy. Doing this ensures you are healthy and through the first three months (which are most important to the baby’s growth and development) and you are not into the last trimester, where you can become uncomfortable sitting for longer periods of time. It has also been shown that stress can lead to prenatal complications, and sometimes a visit to the dentist can induce stress, so that is yet another reason to try and avoid the dental appointment in the last trimester of your pregnancy.

Should you need to get into the dental office due to an emergency, again make sure the office knows you are pregnant. Take the time to discuss any health issues or concerns you have had in the past, as these types of things can influence how your visit to the dentist will go. Depending on the situation, it may also be important for your dentist to discuss your medical history and needs with your doctor prior to your visit.

Most of the time, going to the dentist during your pregnancy will involve brief appointments and will usually just consist of a quick checkup and cleaning to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy. These appointments should be stress-free. Again, it is safest to try and not schedule the dental appointments much into the third trimester, but brief ones if needed are okay.

Any elective procedures that may come up in your visits are best to be done after your baby arrives, if they can be held off until then.

It is best to have a good schedule of dental cleanings already in place before you are pregnant so that when the time comes, your dentist is already aware of your oral health and knows you as a person and patient. This will make office visits during your pregnancy stress-free and quick!