What Are Some Habits That Are Bad for Teeth? 

So much more goes into maintaining a healthy smile besides brushing and flossing your teeth and seeing your dentist in Reno, although those are certainly important. Everything from what we eat and drink to our everyday habits can impact oral health. In fact, there are many habits that are bad for teeth, and some of them you may not even realize you’re doing or know could negatively affect oral health. 

  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Many people may equate brushing their teeth to them needing a good scrubbing. But the truth is, there is no need to brush so hard. In fact, using too much pressure or brushing vigorously can cause damage. Brushing roughly can wear down tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity and making teeth more susceptible to decay. Additionally, brushing too hard can irritate the gums and cause them to recede. You should always brush using gentle strokes at a 45-degree angle with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Using Teeth for Things Other Than Chewing

Using your teeth for things other than chewing and speaking could mean an emergency trip to your dentist in Reno. Using your teeth as a third hand to help hold onto something or as a pair of scissors to help open a package can easily damage your teeth. Broken restorations or broken or chipped natural teeth are two of the most common problems linked to using your teeth as tools. Instead, it is always worth taking your time and finding an appropriate tool.

  • Crunching Ice

Crunching on cold, hard ice may seem harmless, and could even be rewarding. But doing so can also break restorations or teeth. Additionally, chronically crunching ice can create small cracks in the teeth. Over time, these cracks can become bigger and bigger, causing problems. 

  • Nail Biting

One of the most common habits that are bad for teeth is nail biting. Even though tooth enamel is hard, nails are also hard, and chronically biting them can cause tooth damage such as chipping a tooth. Nail biting can also cause teeth to move, making them appear crooked, overcrowded, or overlapped. Besides that, habitually biting your nails can even make you place your jaw in an unnatural position, which could lead to jaw pain and TMJ. 

  • Using Tobacco

All types of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, are bad for both overall and oral health. Not only can this habit increase the risk of cancer throughout the body, but it can also increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, tobacco use can stain teeth, cause decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.

  • Clenching Your Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth could be one of those habits that you may not even realize you’re doing. Often done subconsciously or even during sleep, constantly clenching or grinding teeth could wear down teeth and make them appear short, easily cause chips or cracks, or lead to jaw pain.

Habits are called habits for a reason – they’re part of our lives and they’re hard to break. But there are ways to break them, and we believe that you can. In the meantime, make sure to talk to your dentist in Reno about any habits you have so that they can be on the lookout for any common problems associated with them and offer some tips to quit. 

Does Asthma Affect Oral Health?

Asthma affects an estimated 25 million Americans. This lifelong respiratory disease can be found in both kids and adults and can make it hard to breathe, causing wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. But outside of these scary respiratory symptoms, could asthma also affect oral health? Let’s check in with your dentist in Reno.


Many medications can impact oral health. Asthma medication is no exception, especially inhalers. A recent study found that some asthma inhalers increased the likelihood of developing cavities. Inhalers allow medication to be inhaled directly into the mouth and enter the lungs quickly. But this also allows the medication to come into direct contact with teeth. Some ingredients in inhalers can weaken tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. Additionally, the more often an inhaler is used, the more the risk increases. 

Dry Mouth

Asthma medications can also contain drying agents that can decrease saliva production and cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition that concerns your dentist in Reno because it can lead to a host of other oral health problems. When saliva production is low and the mouth is dry, bad bacteria are left lingering around the mouth. These bacteria can multiply and damage enamel, putting your teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all. Dry mouth can also cause bad breath and gum disease. 

The concerns with dry mouth aren’t only because of ingredients in medication. Asthmatics are also more likely to breathe out of their mouths than their noses as it allows them to get more oxygen. Mouth breathing can quickly dry up saliva and decrease its production, again increasing the likelihood of oral health problems. 

What You Can Do to Lower the Risk

First and foremost, you should never stop taking medication without first talking with your physician. Make sure to discuss your side effects and your concerns. Additionally, if you’re experiencing dry mouth, there are things you can do to relieve the discomfort and protect your teeth. 

  • Drink Water. Drinking water throughout the day will help keep the mouth hydrated and wash away those bad bacteria. Asthmatics may need to drink more water than non-asthmatics, but everyone should drink the recommended amount of water every day. You can also try rinsing your mouth out with water after taking medication to rinse off the drying ingredients. 
  • Chew Gum. Actively chewing will help the body naturally produce saliva. Just make sure the gum is sugarless so your teeth aren’t bathing in sugar, which can bring on a whole other set of problems.  
  • Tell Your Dentist. Your dentist in Reno should know your entire health history as well as all medications. If you have a condition or are taking medications that can cause dry mouth, they may be able to recommend a hydrating mouth rinse or other solutions.

The best way to protect teeth, whether you have asthma or not, is to have a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of cavities and other problems. Also, make sure to see your dentist twice a year for regular checkups. 

Signs of a Dental Problem

Nobody plans for a dental problem, but they do happen. When they do, they can be worrisome. Dental problems can appear to come on suddenly, and many can be painful. However, several types of oral health conditions can often be prevented, or at least treated before they cause trouble, by seeing your dentist in Reno at least twice a year. If you’re in between dental visits, keep an eye out for some of the common signs of a dental problem. 

What Are Some Symptoms That Require a Visit to the Dentist? 

It’s important to know that any new discomfort or pain in the mouth is often a sign that something isn’t quite right. It’s also important to recognize that some symptoms could mean several different things. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should see your dentist in Reno as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.  


The term toothache is commonly used as a way to describe pain in or around a tooth. This discomfort can be constant or can come in waves, especially when we eat or drink something hot or cold. Toothaches can also cause pain in the jaw, ear, cheeks, or forehead. Many different things can cause a toothache. Some of them include: 

  • Cavities
  • Dental trauma such as a broken tooth
  • Failing fillings
  • Gum recession
  • Abscess
  • Jaw injury
  • Gum disease

Bad Breath

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can happen to anyone, especially after a particularly fragrant meal. But chronic bad breath can sometimes be a sign or result of something more serious than a dish of garlicky pasta. Additionally, besides oral health concerns, bad breath can affect self-confidence and even cause anxiety. Unfortunately, gum, mints, and mouthwashes may only temporarily mask bad breath. Bad breath can result from: 

  • Tobacco use
  • Dry mouth
  • Some medications
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
  • Certain cancers
  • Infections in the mouth, nose, or sinuses

Sensitive Teeth

If you’ve ever experienced that uncomfortable, sudden surge of shooting pain through your teeth, chances are you have sensitive teeth. This sensitivity may not always be present, but it can increase with certain things such as eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet, or brushing your teeth. Sensitive teeth are often the result of enamel erosion when the tooth roots are exposed. But other things can cause sensitive teeth. 

  • Cavities
  • Chipped or cracked tooth
  • Gum disease
  • Failing fillings
  • Brushing too hard
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gum recession

Bleeding Gums

A common misconception is that it’s normal for gums to bleed, especially during a dental checkup. After all, your hygienist is poking and prodding at your gums. How can they not bleed? The truth is, healthy gums don’t bleed, even during a professional dental cleaning. Bleeding gums are often a sign of gum disease. Gum disease can be reversed if caught early, but if it’s not, it could lead to tooth loss. Make sure to see your dentist in Reno if you notice: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Pain when you chew
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

Some of the best ways to prevent a dental problem from suddenly popping up include brushing and flossing your teeth every single day, eating a well-balanced diet, quitting using any type of tobacco product, and seeing your dentist twice a year. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

What Does Oral Cancer Look Like?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when healthcare professionals come together to raise awareness of this sometimes deadly condition.Oral cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence and can often be treated successfully when it’s caught early. Of course, your dentist in Reno wants to do everything we can to help the cause, so we’re listing out a few things to look out for when it comes to oral cancer. 

Visible Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be tricky to detect because it can often look like other things that aren’t so serious. However, any one of these particular signs could be a cause for concern. If you see any of these common signs of oral cancer, you should call your dentist in Reno as soon as possible, especially if they don’t go away on their own after two or three weeks. 

  • Chronic cough
  • Changes in voice 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • An earache on one side 
  • A hard lump in the soft tissues
  • Swollen tonsil on one side without pain
  • A painless lump on the outside of the neck
  • Any sore that doesn’t heal itself within 2-weeks
  • Discoloration in the mouth, including a red, white, or black appearance

Early Detection is Key

Yes, oral cancer can be deadly. However, it can often be treated very successfully. But the key to successful treatment is to catch it early. During your regular visits to your dentist in Reno, your dental team will look for any concerning areas and monitor any changes that may require more evaluation. You should also keep an eye on your oral health at home to monitor changes in your mouth. Check Your Mouth has some great resources that you can, and should, use to periodically check your mouth for problems. 

Why Does Oral Cancer Occur? 

The truth is that anyone can get oral cancer. But there are certain things that increase the risk. Some of them are controllable, others are not. 

  • Age: People over 50 years old are more likely to get oral cancer 
  • Tobacco Use: 80% of people who get oral cancer are those who use tobacco products
  • Drinking Alcohol: Almost 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers
  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women

Oral cancer is a serious condition that results in nearly 11,600 deaths in America every year. It can affect the tongue, tonsils, gums, and other parts of the mouth. For this reason, and many others, we recommend seeing your dentist in Reno every six months for regular exams. 

How Does Nutrition Affect Oral Health?

What we put into our bodies can certainly affect how we feel and how healthy we are overall. But eating the right foods can not only fuel your body, but it can also enhance your oral health. During this National Nutrition Month, your dentist in Reno dentist wants to help all of our patients know just how important proper nutrition is to oral health. 

What is Proper Nutrition? 

The basics of eating right include reducing fat and sugar intake while increasing the amount of nutrient-rich foods. But how much of what things should your child be eating? That’s where things aren’t so simple. Ever since the original Food Pyramid Guide was published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, nutritional recommendations have shifted. The current standards are reflected in MyPlate and vary depending on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. However, most of the common rules of thumb remain the same including focusing on eating plenty of: 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

How Are Nutrition and Oral Health Related? 

The body’s response to eating “bad” foods and drinks increases the likelihood of someone experiencing oral health issues and diseases. Let’s look at foods that are high in sugar, for example. Sweets and beverages like soda and even juices packed with sugar attack tooth enamel. If the sugar is not rinsed away or is left exposed to the teeth for long periods of time, it will work away at and erode the protective tooth layer called the enamel. Without this barrier, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Although almost every food contains some amount of sugar, even the good foods we’re supposed to eat, try your best to stay away from items that have added sugars and remember to read nutritional labels. 

Beware of Hidden Sugars

The sugar content in the sweeter-tasting foods that you choose for you and your family isn’t the only thing your dentist in Reno is wary of. There are hidden sugars everywhere, even in things that don’t taste sweet. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can actually raise blood glucose levels and affect the body the very same way actual sugar does. Since these carbs end up breaking down into simple sugars, they put teeth at the same risk for decay as eating a sweet treat. 

Eat Well, Protect Smiles 

The main goal for your dentist in Reno is to keep patients healthy by being a key member of their healthcare team. Encouraging a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great way to ensure not only a healthy body but also a healthy mouth.

Does Green Beer Stain Your Teeth?

Some of the most common ways people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. It’s also likely that you’ll be able to find many bars and restaurants serving green beer, after all, this is one of the biggest drinking holidays all year. However, this green beer, and alcohol in general, can affect your teeth. While your dentist in Reno supports celebrating St. Paddy’s Day as you wish, we do encourage enjoying the day responsibly and reducing your risk of the negative oral health side effects of drinking. 

Tooth Staining

Green beer can certainly stain your teeth as well as your lips and tongue. But this staining is only temporary and should easily disappear after you brush your teeth, ideally with a slightly abrasive whitening toothpaste. However, drinking beer and other types of alcohol, even if they’re not a bright vibrant green, can still cause tooth discoloration. Consuming alcohol regularly can make teeth look yellow or even brown. Darker drinks such as stouts and porters are more likely to lead to discoloration. Now, tooth discoloration that occurs from drinking alcohol over a long period of time probably won’t be removed by brushing your teeth. In this case, you may want to consider talking to your dentist in Reno about your cosmetic dentistry options including veneers or professional smile whitening.

Damage to Enamel 

Sugar is often labeled as the worst thing for teeth, but acidic foods and drinks can also cause damage. When acid is introduced into the mouth, it can wear away tooth enamel. Without this protective barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and can even appear discolored or thin. So what’s this have to do with drinking beer? Well, beer is quite acidic, and drinking too much of it can wear down enamel. 

Gum Disease

While enjoying a drink or two during St. Patrick’s Day probably won’t cause gum disease, drinking alcohol excessively could. Many types of alcohol contain a lot of sugar, and as we know, sugar is one of the worst things for teeth. Sugar found in drinks and food feeds bacteria in the mouth and can form plaque. Plaque is a super sticky film that can be removed by simply brushing your teeth, but if you don’t remove plaque by brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed at home, and only your hygienist can clear it away with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar buildup also leaves bacteria free to infect the gum tissue and cause gum disease.   

Reduce The Risk

There are different things you can do to enjoy your St. Paddy’s celebration and protect your teeth at the same time. Drinking alcohol in moderation and alternating a cup of beer with a glass of water will help wash away sugars and acid and reduce the risk of tooth staining, enamel erosion, and gum disease. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in Reno twice a year and brushing and flossing every day. 

Are Dental Implants Painful? 

Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace a missing tooth or several teeth and can be used as an alternative to removable dentures and bridges. However, dental implants do require surgery which can make some patients uneasy, especially when it comes to not knowing if the procedure is painful. Rest assured that your dentist in Reno is always here to help and is happy to explain what to expect during your dental implant treatment. 

Dental Implant Procedure

While all implant procedures have similar steps, they do vary depending on the individual situation. Sometimes, patients will already be missing a tooth while other times a tooth will need to be removed before an implant can be placed. Additionally, there are times when patients need a bone graft first in order to reinforce the strength of the jaw bone. But once the area is prepared, your dentist will start the actual placement of an implant. 

  • Placing the Post

The first step in having a full dental implant is placing the implant post. This post is made of metal and it is similar to a screw. This post is placed into the jaw bone and provides a solid base as well as acts a natural tooth root. After the post is placed, there is a recovery period of a few months. This time is necessary to allow the implant post to fuse into the jaw bone. 

  • Placing the Crown

The actual tooth-like portion of an implant procedure is called the crown. The crown is custom made to match other teeth so the restoration is seamless. But before the crown can be attached, your dentist will add an abutment on top of the post to serve as almost a pedestal for the crown to sit. The final result is a strong, permanent tooth replacement. 

Dental Implant Pain

When it comes to the pain involved with getting a dental implant, it can vary from person to person, and any pain is typically reserved for immediately after the post placement. During the actual surgery, patients shouldn’t feel any pain as the area will be completely numb. In recovery, there may be some pain for about 10 days. If persistent pain continues after 10 days, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. Pain after the 10-day healing period could be a sign of an infection or other problem so it’s important to get care quickly. 

Anyone missing a tooth or several teeth can benefit from a dental implant consultation. Additionally, if a tooth is at risk of being lost or needing an extraction, you should talk with your dentist in Reno about all of your tooth replacement options. 

How Quickly Can You Whiten Your Teeth? 

It’s incredibly common to want to have the whitest smile possible. In fact, 80% of Americans between 18 and 49 reported that they’d like to have whiter teeth. Even if you brush and floss your teeth religiously, everyday things like your morning cup of coffee can cause tooth discoloration. But the good news is that this discoloration doesn’t need to affect your teeth forever. Your dentist in Reno can whiten your teeth safely, effectively, and quickly.

The Fastest Way to Whiten Teeth

The fastest way to whiten your teeth is through a professional smile whitening treatment with your dentist. Professional whitening treatments are fast and efficient, so much so that you can see results after one hour-long appointment. Additionally, these treatments are so powerful that they can brighten teeth by several shades. Ask your dentist about tooth whitening in Reno that can give you the bright smile you’re looking for quickly. 

Other Ways to Get a Whiter Smile

Even though professional treatment is the fastest way to whiten teeth, we understand that you may be looking for more affordable alternatives. Keep in mind that you should still talk with your dentist about whitening your teeth before you invest in a product to make sure your teeth are healthy enough and that the treatment you choose will give you the results you want. Some other ways you can get a whiter smile besides a professional whitening treatment include: 

  • Whitening Strips or Trays

Another relatively quick way to brighten your smile is through over-the-counter whitening strips or trays. These treatments are affordable and effective, but the results can take some time to see. Depending on the product you choose, you may start to see changes in about 3 to four days with final results showing around day 10 or 12. Always follow the product directions and don’t overuse the treatment to help avoid reactions such as increased tooth sensitivity. 

  • UV Light Whitening

A fairly new tooth whitening option includes using a whitening gel along with a special UV light. This option is similar in cost and can give you results in about the same amount of time as strips or trays. Teeth should appear whiter in about 10-14 days if used as directed. 

  • Whitening Toothpaste

Using a dentist-recommended whitening toothpaste can work to brighten your smile, but the results may be less noticeable and it can take some time – usually about two to six weeks – if used twice a day. However, this is the most affordable option. 

Remember, not all types of tooth discoloration can be removed through smile whitening treatments. Sometimes your dentist in Reno will recommend a form of cosmetic dentistry, such as dental veneers, to give you the results you’re looking for.  

Before you embark on your smile whitening journey, schedule an appointment with your dentist to find the best whitening treatment for you. 

Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Scheduling and keeping dental appointments every six months may seem like a burden, but these preventive checkups with your dentist in Reno are crucial to maintaining good oral health. Like most things in life, your oral health needs to be checked on regularly in order to identify potential problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns. In fact, these visits could even save your life. Join us as we talk about the importance of regular dental visits. 

Oral Cancer 

Starting off with the most serious dental disease, oral cancer is common and can lead to death if not treated proactively. In 2022 alone, about 54,000 new cases of the oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed, and these cancers accounted for more than 11,000 deaths. But preventive dental checkups every six months can help diagnose oral cancer early when treatment is often more successful. Anyone can develop oral cancer in their lifetime, but those who smoke, drink alcohol, or are over 55 are more likely to get the disease. This makes regular dental checkups incredibly important not only for everyone but especially for those at high risk. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease is another serious oral health condition that can cause not only oral health complications but whole-body health concerns as well. When caught early, gum disease can often be treated and even reversed successfully. However, advanced gum disease may be irreversible and can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and other serious problems. Preventive dental checkups every six months with your dentist in Reno help monitor changes in oral health and can be key to catching gum disease early.  


While cavities are incredibly common and fixed easily by dental fillings, they can become big problems if they aren’t treated quickly. Small cavities may not be noticeable to the naked eye and may not have any symptoms, but this is the best time to stop a cavity in its tracks. Your dentist in Reno will be able to diagnose cavities at regular checkups through thorough exams and dental x-rays. If left untreated for too long, they can require more in-depth treatment such as a root canal, dental crown, or extraction. 


Last, but certainly not least, are dental cleanings. At each checkup, your dental team will perform gentle cleanings that remove plaque and tartar that will accumulate on teeth over time, no matter how well you brush and floss at home. Removing this buildup will help prevent bacteria from building up and reduce the risk of several problems mentioned above including cavities and gum disease. 

Don’t forget to schedule (and keep!) your dental appointments this year. They’re crucial to maintaining and healthy smile and protecting your overall health. 

What to Expect After Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Your wisdom teeth tend to erupt between the age of 17 and 21, but they can make an appearance earlier or later. Many times, your dentist in Reno will recommend having wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth extractions are incredibly common and can help maintain oral health. However, it is a type of oral surgery, and there is recovery time after the procedure. Here are some things you can expect after getting your wisdom teeth removed. 

What to Know Following Wisdom Teeth Surgery

While each patient’s case will be different and aftercare can vary from person to person, there are some key things all patients should be prepared for following wisdom teeth surgery. 

  • Rest

Many patients will recover from wisdom teeth surgery in about three days, but it’s important to rest during this time to help promote healing. Avoid any type of strenuous activity for at least 48-72 hours.

  • Ice

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Swap out new ice packs often, and remember to use a thin washcloth or material to serve as a barrier between the ice and your skin. 

  • Clean

Keeping the surgical sites clean is incredibly important to prevent infection, and your dentist may recommend a specific rinse to use. However, your dentist in Reno recommends that you swish gently to help prevent dry sockets. 

  • Medicate

If you’re provided and instructed to take any type of medication such as pain relievers or antibiotics, make sure to follow any and all instructions. 

When to Call Your Dentist

Even though most wisdom teeth extractions don’t have complications, there are some things to keep an eye out for. If you notice any of the following, contact your dentist or oral surgeon. 

  • Excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after three days
  • Pus coming out of the surgical site or nose
  • A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Facial numbness

What to Avoid Having Wisdom Teeth Removed

There are also some limitations on what you should and shouldn’t do during your recovery. 

  • Don’t
    • Drink from straws for at least two days
    • Smoke 
    • Eat hard or sticky foods
  • Do
    • Eat soft foods like soup, yogurt, and applesauce
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Gently open and close your mouth to help restore jaw movement

While any type of surgery can cause concern, rest assured knowing that wisdom teeth removal is an incredibly common procedure. If your wisdom teeth are causing you trouble, or even if they aren’t, it’s wise to consult your dentist in Reno about the best treatment for your overall oral health moving forward.