We’re Talking About Women’s Oral Health This Month

Did you know that May is Women’s Health Month? Your dentist in Reno thought this would be the best time to talk about the specific needs and issues women can face regarding oral health and hygiene. There’s a lot to uncover and understand, and we hope you’ll join us to learn a little more about your oral health. 

Understanding How Hormones Work

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone play a role in both oral and overall health. They become more active during our teenage years, leading to periodontal or gum tissue issues in adolescent girls. Parents should be on the lookout for any inflammation, redness, swelling, or bleeding as your teen ages. Also, if you rely on oral contraceptives or pills for birth control, you’ll want to let us know that you take this medication. Maintaining your oral health while using these pills is very important. Hormone levels in women on the birth control pill, especially brands containing progesterone, can increase the risk of developing gum disease due to increased blood flow. Sometimes, prescription antibiotics will be necessary to help treat your gum disease.

Pregnancy and Healthy Gums

There are so many things an expecting mother has to do to prepare for their little one’s arrival. It’s important to know that your baby can be affected by your oral health during development. You might see changes in your mouth, especially in your gums, due to an abundance of estrogen and progesterone, similar to the onset of puberty. Due to this hormonal increase, “pregnancy gingivitis” can occur with painful inflammation in your gum and surrounding tissue. Unfortunately, gum disease has been linked to preterm or low birth weight in newborn babies. If you’re planning a family or recently found out you’re expecting a child, please schedule an appointment with your Reno dentist to ensure you’re healthy and ready. 

Gum Infections and Cancer

A recent study found that older women experiencing periodontal or gum tissue infections are more likely to develop some common cancers than their peers without any oral health issues. When plaque builds up on your teeth, it can lead to an early form of gum disease called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into another condition called periodontitis. Over time, plaque can spread and grow beneath your gum line and allow bacteria to irritate your gums. This can stimulate a chronic inflammatory response elsewhere in your body that can cause your body to break down its own bone and tissue that help support your teeth. The study also found that women with periodontal issues were 14 percent more likely to develop cancers in the esophagus, lungs, and gallbladder than women with healthy teeth. 

No matter what month it is or what stage of life you may be in, women of all ages should keep up with their regular visits to see their dentist in Reno. This is when we can monitor your oral health and look for any changes or issues, especially with your gums. Call us today to schedule an appointment or hygiene cleaning. We can help answer any questions you might have about your gum health and taking care of your smile. Take the time to care for yourself and your oral health, and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it. 

How To Tell If You Have A Cavity 

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems your dentist in Reno sees and treats every day. Now, while a teeny, tiny cavity may seem like no big deal, the truth is, it’s important to treat any area of decay quickly to keep other problems from popping up. If cavities aren’t treated quickly, they can lead to an abscess or even tooth loss. However, a cavity may not always be easy to recognize on your own, so it’s important to know what to look out for. 

4 Signs of a Cavity

Symptoms of a cavity can differ from person to person and can be pretty subtle, so much so that you may never have feelings of discomfort and you may not know decay is present until your next appointment with your dentist in Reno. Here are some common tell-tale signs that a cavity may be lurking in your tooth. 

  • Toothache

The most common sign of a cavity is, of course, a toothache. Tooth pain can occur suddenly, and there are many times when a toothache does not have any clear sign as to what caused the pain in the first place. However, any pain in the mouth is typically a sign that something is wrong, and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. Most often, lingering tooth pain that lasts for a few days is a sign of a cavity. 

  • Sensitivity

Similar to a toothache, tooth sensitivity may also be a sign of a cavity. Unlike a toothache, however, sensitivity usually causes shooting pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet and may not be persistent. Sensitivity can occur when the protective layer of tooth enamel is worn away, leaving nerves and roots exposed to heat, cold, sugar, as well as the bacteria that cause cavities. 

  • Staining

There are also some key signs of a cavity that are visible such as tooth staining. While some types of discoloration are natural, such as staining due to coffee, tea, or red wine, other stains can indicate a problem. If you notice a new tiny white spot on your tooth or darker areas of brown or gray, it’s likely that decay is present and is progressing deeper into the tooth. Any new signs of discoloration should be discussed with your dentist

  • Pitting

Another visual cue that a cavity may be forming is a pit or hole in a tooth. These two symptoms may also start with a small white dot and progress into pitting. Now, keep in mind, some of the most common places for cavities to develop are between the teeth where you won’t necessarily be able to see the pitting. This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to see a dentist near you every six months. 

How to Prevent Cavities 

Besides seeing your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings, exams, and x-rays, it’s also important to make sure you’re taking great care of your smile at home. Some of the best ways you can help prevent cavities are to: 

  • Brush and floss every day
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Limit sugary sweets and drinks 
  • Eat a well-balanced diet

We recommend that every patient visit the dentist at least every six months to check for any early signs of decay when a cavity is typically easy to fix with filling. More severe cavities may require additional treatment such as a root canal or extraction. 

How Do You Go To The Dentist After A Long Time? 

Your dentist in Reno usually recommends that all patients visit us at least twice a year. However, we understand that any number of things can keep you from seeing your dentist as often as recommended. Perhaps you have a fear of the dentist or life simply got in the way of scheduling your next appointment, either way, you’re now ready to get back. Here’s what you need to know. 

Communicate With Your Dentist in Reno

One of the most important things you can do when you’re visiting your dentist after a long time is to be upfront and honest with your dentist and dental team. Explain your individual situation as well as any fears or worries you may have. We promise to welcome you with open arms and pride ourselves on our ability to care for patients in a gentle, caring, and non-judgmental way. 

Expect That You May Need Some Treatment

Dentists recommend visits every six months because our oral health can change quickly, and it’s important to catch any problems or potential problems early. However, if it’s been a few years since your last visit, that’s ok. We’re just glad you’re back. You should expect that some things in your mouth may have changed since your last checkup, and you may need some more initial treatment to get your smile back to optimal health. Entering your appointment with the mindset can help put you at ease. 

Stay Stress-Free

We understand that seeing your dentist can be stressful, especially if it’s been a while since your last checkup. Scheduling your appointment first thing in the morning or at the end of your day can help ease any additional stress. Also, if you can, consider giving yourself plenty of time to get to your appointment. That way you won’t be faced with additional stressors such as traffic or worry about being late. 

What To Expect

Knowing what to expect when you walk into the office can help you relax. First, you will be welcomed by our caring and friendly team. They may ask you to complete or confirm any paperwork, such as your health history form. Then, you’ll have a gentle exam, perhaps with new dental x-rays, so we can get a thorough understanding of your current oral health. The most important thing to remember throughout your appointment is to communicate with your team. Your dentist in Reno and the entire dental team is here to help you with anything you need. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our office. Our team is dedicated to caring for every member of our community and will work with you to get your smile back in the best shape possible, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve sat in the dental chair!

Gum Disease Linked to Colon Cancer: Know Your Risk

An updated study conducted by the American Academy for Cancer Research of nearly 43,000 people over several years has shown a potential positive correlation between gum disease and an increased risk of colon cancer. While the whole-body complications associated with gum disease, such as heart disease, aren’t new, the link to colon cancer is a relatively recent topic of interest to researchers and your dentist in Reno

The Link Between Gum Disease & Colon Cancer

The study that examined the potential link between gum disease and colon cancer took several things into consideration – health, lifestyle, and pathology reports from routine colonoscopies. Those pathology results showed something interesting about those participants who had serrated polyps and conventional adenomas, the two types of intestinal lesions that can cause colon cancer, and who also had a history of gum disease.  

Patients with a history of gum disease had:

  • A 17% increased risk of having a serrated polyp
  • An 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma

But that’s not all. Patients who had lost four or more teeth, which is a very common side effect of gum disease, had a 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp. 

While this research does suggest a correlation between gum disease and colon cancer, the scientists did state that more research is needed to fully understand how oral health can affect gut health. 

Signs of Gum Disease

If caught early, gum disease can be reversed and the risk of other oral health and overall health complications decreases. However, untreated gum disease will eventually reach a point where it can no longer be cured. This greatly increases the likelihood that gum disease will lead to tooth loss and cause other problems throughout the body. This is why your dentist in Reno encourages all patients to know the early warning signs of gum disease so you can seek treatment sooner rather than later. 

Some of the most common signs of gum disease include: 

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum recession

4 Ways to Protect Against Gum Disease

Gum disease can be caused by any number of things, but there are some habits that can substantially increase someone’s chances of getting it. The best ways to protect yourself against gum disease are to: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products

If you suspect that you may have gum disease, we recommend scheduling a dental appointment as soon as you can. After all, early treatment is key to protecting your teeth and your body. 

Celebrate Spring With a “Spring Cleaning” for Your Teeth!

Spring is always an exciting season, especially if winter seemed to go on forever. The days become longer, the weather becomes warmer, families start to play outside, and the world becomes a little more colorful thanks to flowers and trees in bloom. Spring is also a time when many families embark on annual spring cleaning in and around the house. After all, there’s just something relaxing about cleaning out unused clothes, expired food from the fridge, and opening up clean windows to let the breeze in. But did you know that this special season is also a great time to get a “spring cleaning” for your teeth with your dentist in Reno

Why Are Dental Cleanings Important?

A common piece of advice from dentists everywhere is that all patients should visit at least twice a year for checkups and dental cleanings. But why twice a year? Do you still need these cleanings if you brush and floss your teeth at home? Truthfully, yes, dental cleanings are necessary even if you take excellent care of your teeth. Checkups and cleanings with your dentist in Reno help:

  • Remove Plaque. Plaque is the super sticky stuff that can cover our teeth. If it’s not removed it can harden into tartar and increase the risk of decay as well as gum disease. The thing with plaque is that it can’t be removed at home through regular brushing, so basically everyone develops at least some plaque buildup, even if you brush and floss every day. Thankfully, dental hygienists are trained to remove plaque gently and effectively at your cleaning appointments so it doesn’t have the chance to cause problems. 
  • Check for Cavities. Besides giving your teeth a thorough cleaning, dental appointments with your dentist in Reno every six months help monitor any changes that may have occurred in your teeth or gums. One of the most common things to find at these checkups is a cavity or two. Cavities are easy to treat when they’re tiny, so it’s important to catch them early. If a cavity is left untreated for too long it can require additional treatment such as a root canal. 
  • Catch Gum Disease. Gum disease is a serious problem that affects nearly half of Americans over the age of 30, according to the CDC. While gum disease can be treated successfully in its early stages, it can quickly become untreatable and may lead to tooth loss, and can even affect overall health. 

Prevention Is The Best Medicine

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing in between each and every tooth once a day is the best way to take care of your teeth in between dental checkups. However, these habits alone aren’t enough to fully protect your teeth from cavities and other problems. You need to also see your dentist in Reno at least twice a year so we can prevent any problems from occurring or stop small problems from becoming big problems. 

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup and cleaning, we welcome you to call our office to schedule an appointment today. We’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you!  

How Does COVID-19 Affect Oral Health?

By now, we’ve all heard of the term “COVID long-hauler,” which is used to describe patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but still experience some long-term side effects. However, did you know that your dentist in Reno is also seeing a slew of oral health complications in both adults and children who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19?

Taste & Smell

Perhaps the most well-known symptom of a COVID-19 infection is the loss of taste or smell. While this doesn’t happen to everyone, it is a fairly common side effect. There is still some debate about why this happens. One of the potential explanations is that since COVID is a respiratory virus, and the respiratory system includes the nose and the mouth, the cells included in these areas can be infected and cause inflammation. In turn, this inflammation can change a person’s ability to smell and taste. More research is needed to conclusively determine the cause, but this is a current working theory. 


Medical researchers who continue to study COVID-19 suggest that the infection damages blood vessels in the body, including in the mouth. According to The Angiogenesis Foundation, when blood vessels are damaged, it prevents oxygen from being delivered throughout the body and can basically starve the tissue. If this happens in the gums, the result can be ulcers. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that over 80% of patients that were hospitalized with COVID-19 noticed lesions or ulcers in their mouths. While most ulcers should go away and heal on their own as you get better, if an ulcer lasts longer than two weeks (and you’re feeling better and testing negative), you should see your dentist in Reno.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is one of those things that doesn’t just affect COVID-19 patients. In fact, dry mouth can be caused by numerous things such as medication, smoking, dehydration, and some diseases. However, COVID-19 patients and “long-haulers” tend to experience new or worsening dry mouths. The virus that causes COVID-19 can affect the salivary glands and reduce their ability to produce enough saliva. Without saliva, we’re left with the feeling of a dry, desert-like mouth as well as an increased risk for developing cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Your dentist in Reno can often help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth, so make sure to mention this at your next appointment. 

Gum Inflammation

We previously mentioned how infection can cause inflammation in the blood vessels but inflammation can also occur in other areas throughout the body. Brought on by a surge of white-blood-cell-rich blood to the infected areas, inflammation in the mouth, particularly the gums, can result in red, painful, swollen, and oftentimes bleeding gums. These symptoms may resolve on their own, but you should monitor recovery at home and schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno if you notice changes or if it’s not getting better. Red, swollen gums that tend to bleed can also be a sign of gum disease, which can be serious. So it’s better to get checked out sooner rather than later. 

The prevalence of COVID-19 continues to be challenging. During these times, and all times, we encourage our patients to do everything they can to keep themselves and their teeth healthy, including brushing and flossing daily and maintaining routine dental checkups

How Do I Choose a Toothbrush? 

Buying a toothbrush can be a confusing process. Just consider how many rows and rows of brightly colored toothbrushes are at your local supermarket, each one claiming to give you the best clean or other promises of great oral health. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, choosing a toothbrush can quickly become overwhelming. However, before you simply pick up the first one you see, take some time to read this guide from your dentist in Reno on how to choose the right toothbrush for you.

The 3 S’s

Choosing the right toothbrush can be as easy as considering the three S’s – size, shape, and softness. However, this is just the first step. There are other things to consider when buying your next toothbrush, and your dentist in Reno is always here to help. 


Both the size of the toothbrush handle and the toothbrush head are important factors to consider. The handle should be sturdy and comfortable enough to hold for a two-minute brushing cycle and manipulate to cover all areas of your mouth. The toothbrush head should be an appropriate size to comfortably fit in your mouth. You should be able to reach your molars without discomfort. A brush head that’s too large can actually keep you from getting a thorough clean. 


Bristles come in two different shapes – straight and rounded. Straight bristles are usually not recommended as they can cause gum damage and even enamel damage. Instead, most dentists recommend choosing rounded bristles. Round bristles are more gentle than straight bristles and still provide an excellent clean.  


The last S to consider is how soft the bristles are. Toothbrush packaging will usually depict the density of the bristles by listing them as soft, medium, or hard. While it may make sense that the harder the bristles the better the clean will be, the opposite is true. Your dentist in Reno will most likely recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush for most patients. The medium and hard bristles are more likely to harm gums or tooth enamel. 

Manual or Electric? 

There’s some debate about whether a manual toothbrush is better than an electric toothbrush, and truth is, it depends on a variety of factors. For example, if you travel a lot, a manual toothbrush may be better for you since it’s convenient. However, if you have trouble brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush, an electric option may be more appropriate to make sure you’re brushing properly. Always consider your budget and lifestyle before choosing a manual or electric toothbrush. 

The most important thing to remember when choosing a toothbrush is to make sure you select one that you will use regularly. You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and it’s important that your toothbrush is able to reach all areas of your mouth comfortably. Of course, your dentist in Reno will be able to help you pick out the best toothbrush for you. Just ask! 

Could This Healthy Treat Hurt Teeth? 

You do everything you can to keep your family healthy. You make sure they eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of exercise, brush and floss their teeth regularly, and see their dentist in Reno at least twice a year. Yet, did you know that something considered healthy may be hurting your family’s teeth? 

Fabulous Fruits

The USDA recommends that adults get two servings of fruit a day, the American Heart Association recommends four to five servings, and the CDC recommends 1-2 cups a day for kids, making fruit a pretty essential part of everyone’s diet. Fruits are packed with vitamins and can be an excellent snack. However, not all fruits are optimal in the same way, especially when it comes to oral health. 

Sugars & Acids

Fruits are often considered a healthy treat. After all, they do contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. But when it comes to teeth, some fruits are better than others mainly because of the sugar or acid content. Sugars and acids can wreak havoc on tooth enamel and weaken it. Once the enamel erodes it can lead to several oral concerns, including an increased risk of decay. Keep an eye for the following signs of enamel erosion: 

  • Increased Sensitivity
  • Tooth Cracking
  • Tooth Discoloration
  • Transparent Teeth

If you notice any symptoms of enamel erosion, contact your dentist in Reno

What Fruit Can Help Teeth? 

Now, we aren’t suggesting that you forego fruits. They are a necessary part of any healthy diet and their whole-health benefits are well worth it. However, when it comes to making choices that can be both good for your body and for your teeth, consider options that contain a lot of water such as: 

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew

Be Wary of These Fruits

Other types of fruit aren’t as good for teeth as others but may still provide necessary nutrients, so it’s important to find balance in what you eat. Some fruits that may be tougher on your teeth include: 

  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple 
  • Limes

Moderation is Key

As we’ve mentioned before, eating fruit is still an important part of making sure that your body gets all of the nutrients it needs. But your dentist in Reno would suggest enjoying fruits high in sugar or highly acidic in moderation, and even rinsing your mouth out with water when you’re done eating. Another important note that relates to juice, sipping fruit juice can expose your teeth to even more sugars and acids than whole, raw fruits. Whenever possible, choose natural fruits over juice. 

Let’s Talk Tonsil Stones: What Are They?

Have you or someone in your family ever had a tonsil stone? Are you curious to know what a tonsil stone even is? Let your dentist in Reno tell you a little bit about tonsil stones, what they are, why they form, and how you can help yourself should they happen to appear in your mouth.

Do I Have Tonsil Stones?

If you look in the back of your throat where your tonsils are and see tiny white bumps or clusters, those are generally tonsil stones. They love to form deep in the pockets in your throat tissue because they come from bacteria and other debris, which can harden over time, creating the white bumps you see in the back of your throat that can be uncomfortable. Tonsil stones are likely to occur due to common bacterial and viral infections like strep throat and the influenza virus. 

Are There Ways to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil stones are best treated by your Reno dentist and possibly your primary care physician if you have a bacterial or viral infection. If you’re someone who constantly gets sore throats, painful inflammation, and tonsil stones, it might be time to talk about a tonsillectomy or removal of your tonsils altogether.

If you or someone in your family gets a tonsil stone, there are some things you can do to alleviate any discomfort and maybe even keep them from returning altogether! A short-term solution could be antibiotics, as they’re effective at lowering bacterial counts that play an essential role in developing tonsil stones. But taking antibiotics long-term is not good for you and your body. Give these tips a try:

  • Make sure to practice excellent dental hygiene at home with proper flossing and brushing — including your tongue!
  • Try gargling with salt water if you feel discomfort or swelling due to tonsil stones. A quarter teaspoon of table salt in a cup of lukewarm water should do the trick.
  • Be sure to keep your body hydrated. Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day will keep your mouth and your body hydrated and functioning properly. Water also helps with saliva flow and can improve the chemistry in your mouth.

Are tonsil stones making your life miserable? Is your child struggling with constant sore throats? You can schedule an appointment at our dental office in Reno to talk with us. We can create a plan to help you get rid of annoying tonsil stones for good. We look forward to hearing from you! Call today

What Are The Ways to Straighten Teeth?

Most of us know that traditional metal braces can be used to effectively straighten teeth. While this treatment is most common in teens and young adults, braces can still be a great way for adults to transform the appearance of their smiles. However, if you’re looking to get straighter teeth without the use of braces, your dentist in Reno has some good news for you.

Straightening Teeth Without Braces

There are tons of different ways your dentist can take crooked teeth or gapped teeth and create a flawlessly straight smile. It’s important to know that not all of these treatments will be the best solution for everyone, so make sure you talk to your dentist in Reno about your smile goals before starting any treatment. 

  • Tooth Recontouring & Bonding

Tooth recontouring and bonding can be used alone or together to fix minor overlapping or crookedness. Tooth recontouring is a type of cosmetic dentistry that can reshape a tooth’s appearance. During the procedure, a small amount of tooth enamel is removed in order to change the shape of a tooth. Dental bonding is another form of cosmetic dentistry that is sometimes used after a recontouring procedure to smooth out unevenness. It can also be used on its own to build up a tooth that sits too far back, away from its neighboring teeth. 

  • Veneers

Dental veneers are perhaps the most versatile cosmetic dentistry solution offered by your dentist in Reno as they can help cover up discoloration, repair minor chips, and yes, even help straighten teeth. These thin pieces of porcelain are made custom to match the appropriate size, color, and shape for you. Once fixed to the front of the teeth, unevenness, and crookedness can disappear. 

  • Crowns

Dental crowns are typically used to restore teeth that have large areas of decay or to cap a tooth following a root canal treatment. However, these custom-made crowns may also help correct a tooth that’s twisted. The procedure is fairly simple and involved removing some tooth enamel and adding a super-solid crown on top of the tooth.  

  • Clear Aligners

Those with several crooked teeth or more severe overlapping teeth may find a solution in the form of clear aligners. Made with durable plastic, clear aligners should be worn for several hours a day to gently shift teeth into their ideal position. Working with your dentist is the best way to make sure you get the results you want without the risk of potentially causing other problems such as a misaligned bite. For this reason, we caution anyone from using DIY mail-order orthodontic treatment.

Having a straight smile is beneficial for many reasons. Of course, there are cosmetic, confidence-boosting benefits. But straighter teeth can also help protect oral health in the long run. Straight teeth are easier to clean and there are less hidden nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide. This can mean fewer cavities and a reduced need for dental treatment. 

If you’ve been waiting to get the straight smile you deserve, call your dentist in Reno to schedule a consultation today and start exploring your options.