How to Prevent Tooth Staining

Many everyday things can cause tooth staining, from your daily cup of coffee to your nightly glass of red wine. But don’t worry, your dentist in Reno has some good news. You don’t necessarily need to stop enjoying all the things that can stain your teeth. In fact, there are several things you can do to help prevent or reduce tooth staining from happening in the first place. 

Brush After Eating

There are tons of foods and drinks that can cause tooth discoloration, including wine, pasta sauce, coffee, and soft drinks. In fact, the longer a staining agent is left around, the more serious the stain can be, and the harder it can be to remove. But if you’re diligent about brushing your teeth after every meal, you can reduce tooth staining. 

When in Doubt, Rinse Your Mouth

Let’s face it, there are going to be times when you don’t have a toothbrush readily available or when you simply won’t be able to brush your teeth after a meal. When this happens, the next best thing to do is rinse your mouth out with water. Water can help neutralize acids that can lead to decay and, in turn, discoloration, and it can also wash away any staining agents from your dinner. 

Use the Right Tools

If you know you consume a lot of things that can stain your teeth, you may benefit from using a whitening toothpaste as well as an electric toothbrush. Whitening toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains but you should make sure to use one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These kinds of toothpaste have been evaluated, for both safety and efficacy. Additionally, using an electric toothbrush may help you brush your teeth more efficiently and remove stains, bacteria, and plaque. Talk with your dentist in Reno to find the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your teeth. 

Stick to a Straw

When you’re drinking tooth-staining liquids you can actually reduce the amount of staining by simply choosing to drink with a straw. Sipping through a straw reduces the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, as well as the amount of time the liquid has on your teeth, therefore reducing the likelihood of staining. 

While these tips can help reduce tooth staining, the fact of the matter is nothing will ever completely eliminate it. Over time, our teeth will become dull even if we follow the above suggestions perfectly. But there’s good news. Your dentist in Reno has cosmetic dentistry treatments available to help whiten teeth or cover up stains. 

If you’re looking for ways to get a whiter smile, we welcome you to contact us today. 

Can Your Dentist Tell If You Smoke? 

Many smokers try to disguise their habit by covering up the smell with gum, mints, or mouthwash. But the truth is, your dentist in Reno can probably still tell that you’re a smoker even if you don’t share that information. In actuality, there’s a lot your dentist can tell about you and your health simply by looking in your mouth. 

Your bi-annual dental visits are a great opportunity for both you and your dentist to catch up, share and discuss any changes that may have happened in your oral or overall health, and for your dental team to thoroughly clean and exam your teeth. But did you know that it’s important to share your habits and health history with your dentist? It’s true! Talking with your dentist about things, even if you’re embarrassed by them, can help make your dental care better. Additionally, there are even some things your dentist can tell about you even if you choose not to disclose that information.  

3 Things Your Dentist Already Knows

  • You Bite Your Nails

Your dentist in Reno doesn’t need to be a trained manicurist to know that you bite your nails. How? Nail biters tend to have tiny chips and cracks in their teeth more often than those who don’t bite their nails. And that’s not all. A nail biter’s front teeth can appear worn down, shortened, or flat. Both of these side effects of nail-biting are concerning as they can lead to other problems. Chips and cracks provide a place for bacteria to nest, increasing the risk of decay. These tiny imperfections can also become bigger over time and cause sensitivity and broken teeth. Lastly, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite and cause jaw pain for TMD/TMJ disorder. 

  • You Only Floss Right Before Your Appointments

While we’re impressed with your last-minute flossing session and we appreciate the attempt, we will know if this is the only time, or one of the only times, since you’ve flossed since your last appointment. The truth is, while you probably did a good job at removing anything that was lingering in between your teeth, your gums can still tell on you. When you don’t floss regularly, your gums will often be red and puffy and will most likely bleed during your hygiene visit. A common misconception is that everyone’s gums bleed at the dentist, and this simply isn’t true. Healthy gums that are flossed regularly won’t bleed. 

  • You Don’t Brush Your Teeth

Patients that don’t brush their teeth twice a day, every day, or those who do a bad job at thoroughly brushing will have several tell-tale signs that your dentist in Reno will see immediately. The proof is in both the health of your gums as well as what’s left lingering on your teeth. Avid brushers typically have healthy, pink gums and minimal tartar buildup whereas casual brushers usually show larger areas of tartar and red, swollen gums. 

We always encourage you to share any habits or concerns with your dentist in Reno. Don’t be afraid to talk to your dental team, even if it’s something you feel like you should hide. Your dentist, like your physician, is a crucial part of your healthcare team, and the more they know, the better they can care for your teeth and overall health.

Whole-Body Benefits of Good Oral Health

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important. 

What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health

Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Reno a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including: 

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Oral Cancer

Seeing your dentist in Reno regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner. 

Gum Disease & Your Health

The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Preterm births
  • Pneumonia
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 

Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health

Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. 
  • Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
  • Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • See your dentist every six months. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor a month-long celebration for dental hygienists around the country. Dental hygienists are crucial members of your healthcare team and are responsible for keeping patients’ mouths (and bodies) healthy. This year, the theme for National Dental Hygiene Month is Faces of Courage, and rightfully so. Join your dentist in Reno as we celebrate our dental hygienists by sharing just what they do and promote how you can become one yourself. 

Duties of a Dental Hygienist 

Your dental hygienist plays a key role in helping your mouth stay healthy and cavity and disease-free. They’re also often the first line of defense as well as the first person you’ll meet with when you visit your dentist in Reno. Even though the main responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, they also do a lot more including: 

1) Cleaning Teeth – Let’s talk about the most obvious responsibility of a dental hygienist — cleaning teeth. Now, even though you may brush and floss every day, the cleaning you get from your hygienist is different than the one you get at home. Hygienists are trained to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup that a regular brushing won’t touch, which gives you a super-clean feel and super-protected mouth. 

2) Learning About Your Health – But as we’ve mentioned before, your dental hygienist does so much more than clean your teeth. One of those additional duties is learning and getting to know each and every patient on a personal level. This means your hygienist will often talk with you about your oral health and overall health history, discuss concerns you may have, and review medications or ailments. Doing so allows them to both know you better and treat you better every time you visit your dentist in Reno

3) Educating Patients – Our dental hygienists are passionate about teeth and are committed to doing everything they can to help patients stay healthy. They’re always quick to offer up tips on the best way to brush your teeth, how to floss, and can even tell you what products to use so you can maintain excellent oral health. 

4) Focusing on Prevention – There’s a good reason we recommend a dental cleaning every six months — to prevent problems from happening in the first place. To do this, your hygienist will often apply fluoride or sealants to protect teeth from the damaging effects of acids and bacteria. 

Keep in mind, different states and different regions have different rules, so some of these responsibilities can change from area to area and office to office.

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist? 

Depending on the program and degree level, it takes anywhere between 2-4 years to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists must complete at least two years of schooling at a community college, technical school, or university. Usually a hygienist will earn an associate’s degree, but higher-level degrees are also available. After earning a diploma, hygienists are then required to take a state, local, or regional licensing test before they can practice in a dental office. 

Now that you know a little bit more about all of the things dental hygienists do to keep you healthy, make sure you thank them the next time you visit your dentist in Reno.

How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth

 

As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Reno. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful. 

 

Chemotherapy

The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Reno prior to starting chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy and Oral Health

As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include: 

  • Pain with eating or talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Peeling, burning tongue
  • Infection

These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Reno during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment. 

The Importance of Regular Dentistry

Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Reno is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.

Stay Hydrated, Help Your Teeth

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it’s fair to say that we absolutely need to drink plenty of water each and every day to help our bodies perform at their optimal level. In fact, drinking water and staying hydrated helps organs function properly, aids in digestion, keeps joints well lubricated, and can even help fight off illness. But your dentist in Reno wants you to know there are also oral benefits to staying hydrated.

Fights Off Damaging Acids

Everyone naturally has mouth bacteria, but not everyone knows that some of these bacteria are some of the most harmful things for our teeth. As we eat throughout the day, mouth bacteria are getting a feast of their own through the food particles left behind in our mouths. The longer the food is left lingering around, the more the bacteria will consume. As a byproduct of this feeding frenzy, bacteria will give off an acid. This acid, if not removed, will attack the protective layer of teeth and cause decay and cavities. However, if we choose to drink water as we eat, we can help lower this risk. Water helps wash away the source of the bacteria’s meal and without these leftovers to feed on, no acid is produced by the bacteria. Additionally, drinking water immediately after our meals will neutralize any acids that may already be at work attacking the enamel. 

Keeps Mouths Moist

Drinking water throughout the day will also help keep our mouths moist, which is key to maintaining good oral health. If our mouths are too dry it means that not enough saliva is being produced. Without saliva, bacteria are able to flourish, feeding on anything we eat and releasing acids over and over. This increases the risk of developing decay and cavities which may require dental treatment from your dentist in Reno. But that’s not all, dry mouth can also feel uncomfortable and cause chronic bad breath. Keep in mind, dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, but it can also be a result of certain medications, mouth breathing, or smoking. While not all cases of dry mouth are easily solved by drinking plenty of water, it’s not a bad habit to pick up and it certainly can’t hurt. 

Builds Strong Teeth

Drinking water, specifically fluoridated water, can further protect teeth through a process called remineralization. Our teeth’s protective layer of enamel gets worn down over time, whether as a result of too much acid, tooth grinding, or simply time. But drinking water containing fluoride can help remineralize, or rebuild, the lost enamel for better protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s organically found in some foods. Over time, researchers have found that higher levels of fluoride resulted in lower levels of tooth decay. That’s why fluoride has been added to many public water systems. Patients can also get fluoride from their toothpaste, through foods or drinks that have been fortified with fluoride, or from their dentist in Reno.  

Water is such a simple thing, but it’s one that can make a big difference in both overall and oral health. Make sure each member of your family drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each and every day.

Is Your Flossing Routine Doing Enough For Your Oral Health?

Are you flossing often enough to make a real difference in the fight to prevent oral health troubles? When you do floss, are you doing so effectively enough to fully clean the spaces between your teeth? Your daily dental care habits are incredibly important to the health of your smile, because the threats from oral bacteria are constant. By practicing effective brushing and flossing habits on an ongoing basis, you can remove bacteria, and avoid a buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. In addition to maintaining admirable at-home oral health habits, you should make regular visits to your dentist. At these appointments, you can receive input on the state of your smile, as well as a professional dental cleaning. Continue reading “Is Your Flossing Routine Doing Enough For Your Oral Health?”

How You Can Help Your Kids Care for Their Teeth

Preventive Dentist's Tips for Tiny TeethEvery parent wants to help keep his or her kids healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of health factors are out of parental control. You can’t fully control what germs your kids are exposed to, for instance, or if they’ll be born predisposed to ear infections. Thankfully, when it comes to their smiles, there is actually a lot you can do, as a parent, to help keep your kids’ smiles healthy. From regular dental checkups with your preventive dentist, to a careful hygiene routine, there are plenty of steps you can take to help your kids develop lifelong good dental habits. Continue reading “How You Can Help Your Kids Care for Their Teeth”

Make Time for Preventive Dental Care

Preventive Care RoutineYou’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you’re home for the season premiere of your favorite TV show, and you wouldn’t dare let your team down by missing their first big game. We make many small sacrifices for the little things that make life special. But where does your smile fall in that equation? Few things can have more impact on how other people perceive you – or your own self-esteem – as your smile. That is why it’s important to make regular preventive dentistry a very important part of your busy schedule. Continue reading “Make Time for Preventive Dental Care”

Why Athletes Have Bad Teeth

athleteolyDuring Olympic years the lives and health of Olympic athletes are a popular topic. Since the last Olympics the dental health-or lack thereof-of Olympic athletes has been in the news time and again. Athletes have been cited for their poor dental health including tooth decay, missing teeth, and periodontal disease. If you’re wondering why athletes, who seem to be in great shape physically, are suffering from poor dental health, read on as we discuss why athletes have bad teeth.

Continue reading “Why Athletes Have Bad Teeth”