• 03 SEP 15
    • 0

    The Importance of Getting Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned

    Oral Hygiene Begins at Home and Should Continue at the Dentist Office

    Regularly brushing and flossing are the most beneficial things you can do at home to minimize visits to the dentist for cavities or other nasty oral health issues. Most people have been brushing two or three times a day since childhood. But because tooth brushing is such a daily routine it’s easy to cut corners and not be as thorough as needed.

    iStock_000046368294Large - woman smilingWhen a dentist or dental hygienist cleans your teeth they remove soft (plaque) and hard (tartar, calculus, or stains) deposits from your teeth. The primary purpose of having your teeth cleaned is to prevent or delay the progression of cavities, gingivitis and periodontal (gum) diseases. Your dentist and hygienist examine your mouth in ways you can’t do on your own by standing in front of a bathroom mirror. They are professionally trained to spot issues and address them before they become serious. X-ray images may be taken and assist in making the tarter build up under the gums more visible. X-rays also show the current condition of the bone.

    Frequency of Professional Tooth Cleaning

    The frequency of professional teeth cleaning depends on the health of your teeth and gums. Healthy adults and children should have their teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Your dentist may suggest additional visits if he or she sees signs of harmful conditions or lack of effective home cleaning.

    Reasons for Professional Tooth Cleaning

    Dental tooth cleaning can help prevent oral cancer. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. When you have your dental cleaning, your dentist is also screening you for oral cancer, which is highly curable if diagnosed early.

    Also, gum disease can be treated and reversed if diagnosed early. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups, flossing daily and brushing twice a day are key factors in preventing gum disease.

    Three Ways to Detect Periodontal Disease

    X-Rays reveal the condition of the bone and tartar build up under gums.

    Clinical examination where your dentist can visually check the amount of plaque and tarter build up as well as the color and shape of the gums as indicators for gum disease.

    Measuring the pockets that form between the gums and teeth. Destructive bacteria contained in plaque and tarter cause the formation of these pockets. Any pocket that measures greater than 3mm is probably an indication of periodontal disease.

    Regular Tooth Cleaning

    During a regular tooth cleaning your dental hygienist uses instruments and techniques that safely remove plaque and tarter build up. A hygienist will also follow-up by polishing your teeth removing stains caused by things like coffee, tea and smoking. Polishing will further remove anything that may have been missed in the cleaning. The result is a whiter and brighter smile!

    Deep Cleaning – Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

    When there are deep pockets along the tooth roots due to gum disease and bone recession, it is impossible for the patient to properly clean and keep the gum tissue free of inflammation. A deep cleaning is necessary to remove the inflammation and debris and sometimes this would be done prior to gum surgery.

    Deep cleaning, or scaling and root planning, is normally performed by your dentist or dental hygienist in a couple of visits. The exact number of visits however depends on your dentist and the amount of tarter build up. Often your dentist will choose to administer local anesthetic to make the procedure virtually painless. The goal of the procedure is to eliminate the infection by removing the bacteria containing plaque and tarter that has attached to your teeth and their roots under the gum.

    The deep cleaning is either done manually or with an ultra-sonic instrument called a Cavitron, or sometimes a combination of the two. Both techniques loosen and remove plaque and tarter build up.

    In addition, antibacterial irrigants or local antibiotics such as Arestin may be used in conjunction with the cleaning procedure to further reduce the number of bacteria around the gums.

    Periodontal Follow-up Care

    Periodontal disease cannot currently be cured; it can only be controlled, so it is important to follow your dentist’s recommendations for follow-up maintenance and treatment. In addition to routine checkups, performing proper dental hygiene at home is of course also important to help prevent the reoccurrence of this destructive disease.

    Source: Worldental.org

    • 28 AUG 15
    • 0

    Preventing Tooth Infection

    Getting to the Root of a Major Health Issue

    A tooth infection starts simply enough from a cavity or by gingivitis (mild gum disease). Both conditions are easily treatable by your dentist, but if left unchecked can become serious health problems that can spread beyond complications in your mouth. Untreated cavities in a tooth will deepen and gum disease will spread. An abscess (an infection in the tooth’s root or between the gums) can develop and spread infection to the bone that supports the tooth.

    If further left untreated the tooth infection can cause the bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and infect heart valves. This condition affects and weakens the valves, making them susceptible to infection and causing life-threatening conditions.

    Types of Tooth Infections

    A tooth infection can be very painful or grow in your mouth without any signs of discomfort. There are several types of dental infections depending upon the area of invasion.

    Inside Your Tooth

    It starts in the living pulp tissue inside your tooth and comes from decay (a cavity) or severe irritation resulting from chronic infection. The natural defense mechanism breaks down because the blood vessel which transports antibodies and white blood cells gets destroyed.

    Therefore, when your tooth becomes infected, it will not recover, and the pulp tissue will die. The treatment for this condition is a root canal treatment. With a root canal treatment, the soft tissue inside your tooth is removed and replaced with a sealant material that keeps infection from seeping back into the tooth.

    In Bone Surrounding the Tooth

    A tooth abscess may or may not be painful; it is formed near the root of the tooth. When bacteria are in the bone, your body can fight them with antibodies and white blood cells.

    The problem is that there is a constant supply of new bacteria to the region from the dead tissue inside your tooth. Your body may or may not be successful in walling off the infected area, so an abscess can go on for years without hurting. But the risk of damage is great. The abscess can grow and spread to surrounding roots of other teeth, and it can even cause the root of your tooth to be gradually dissolved.


    Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Infection

    See your dentist immediately if you notice:

    Out of control presence of pus- a thick yellowish white material made up of living and dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue. The appearance of a pimple in your mouth is a huge red flag.

    Pain when chewing.

    Tooth movement.

    Swelling of gums or cheeks.

    Discoloration of tooth or gums.


    Bitter taste in the mouth.


    What to Do Before You See Your Dentist

    If you can’t get to your dentist immediately, you can manage the pain by:

    Rinsing the mouth three or four times daily with a mixture of 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 liter warm water.

    Applying cold packs to the cheek to minimize the pain.



    Time is a big factor in whether a tooth is allowed to reach the point of infection. The longer the tooth sits with a problem, the higher chance that infection can occur and spread to become an abscess. Once a decayed, fractured, or sensitive tooth is noticed, taking the preventive steps to fix it early will help prevent bigger problems such as an abscessed tooth.


    Treatments for Serious Infection and Abscessed Tooth

    Draining the abscess – an incision is made into the swollen gum tissue.

    Root Canal Therapy – removes infected area and seals the tooth from further damage.

    Surgery – may be needed to remove the infected material from the bony tissue around the root.

    Extraction – the tooth can’t be saved and will need to be removed.

    If these systems and treatments don’t sound very nice (they’re not), consider ways to prevent these conditions. Most are obvious and easy ones.


    Preventing Tooth Infection

    Every day oral hygiene – Go figure, brushing and flossing twice daily are the first steps to preventing tooth infection.

    Regularly scheduled dental check-ups and cleanings are important. A dentist can see things in your mouth during an exam that you can’t see every day. Hygienist deep cleanings every six months are strong deterrents to nasty infections.

    Easy on the sweets – Sugar feeds bacteria that fuel the fire for infection.

    Use fluoridated drinking water – Strengthens teeth against infection agents like plaque and tarter.

    Replace your toothbrush every three months or before if the bristles are frayed – Infection causing bacteria can build-up on your toothbrush if not changed regularly.


    Most infections cause dental pain, but many remain silent and painless for years. You can have this tooth problem without feeling the dental abscess and without a toothache. Make sure to see your dentist every six months to prevent infection, potentially costly treatments involved and the more serious conditions related to abscess.


    Sources: worldental.org, mayoclinic.org



    • 20 AUG 15
    • 0

    Dental Emergency? Know How to Save Your Teeth

    Tips on How to Avoid Permanent Damage

    For all dental emergencies, get to your dentist immediately. The dentists at Personal Care Dentistry block time in their schedules for emergency patients. Call ahead and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room.

    Do not ignore the problem. Any dental emergency, like an injury to the teeth or gums, can be potentially serious. Ignoring an immediate dental issue can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on.


    Knocked-out Permanent or Adult Tooth

    Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth between your cheek and gums or in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available). Keep it moist at all times. You can also use a product containing cell growth medium, a tooth preservation product that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

    In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth have the highest chances of being saved if seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

    A Child Knocks out a Tooth

    If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether to implant it again.

    If it is an adult tooth, follow the steps listed above.

    Extruded (partially dislodged) Tooth.

    See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist’s office, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area.

    Cracked, Chipped or Broken Tooth

    Immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area; rinse any broken pieces. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. If there’s bleeding, apply gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Save any pieces of tooth and present them to your dentist.

    Acute Toothaches

    Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.

    Lost Filling

    As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.

    Lost Crown

    If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

    Broken Braces and Wires

    If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist’s office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.

    Loose Brackets and Bands

    Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it re-cemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).


    Abscesses are a serious Infection that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. The infection could possibly spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

    Because of the serious oral and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

    Objects Stuck in the Mouth

    Try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments. The item might be painful or cause an infection, so see your dentist if you cannot remove it.

    Emergency While Traveling

    Use the Find a Dentist tool at MouthHealthy.org to locate an ADA member dentist near you.

    How to Avoid Injury to the Teeth:   

    Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities.

    Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.

    NEVER use a sharp instrument on your teeth.

    Be Prepared

    Pack an emergency dental-care kit, including:

    Dentist’s phone numbers




    Small container with lid

    Ibuprofen (Not aspirin. Aspirin is an anticoagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.)

    The Save-A-Tooth emergency tooth preservation kit is also a smart addition to your first aid kit in case you lose a tooth unexpectedly.

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org/American Dental Association (ADA), Web MD, KnowYourTeeth.com


    • 12 AUG 15
    • 0

    Gingivitis? Keep It Out of Your Mouth!

    This Form of Periodontal Disease Can Lead to Inflammation and Infection…And Worse

    Gingivitis is a word that many people have heard, but not a lot of people know what it is or why you don’t want it in your mouth. Why? Because gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease that produces inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).

    iStock_000013963851Large - mouth pain asian womanGingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay.

    If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.

    The Following Raise Your Risk for Gingivitis:

    Poor dental hygiene

    Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases

    Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)

    Uncontrolled diabetes

    Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns). Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills

    Many people have some amount of gingivitis. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes. It may persist or recur frequently, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.

    What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

    Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)

    Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums

    Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless

    Mouth sores

    Swollen gums

    Shiny appearance to gums

    How Do You Treat Gingivitis?

    The goal is to reduce inflammation. The best way to do this is for your dentist or dental hygienist to clean your teeth twice per year or more frequently for severe cases of gum disease. They may use different tools to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Careful oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning. Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.

    How Do You Prevent Gingivitis?

    Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist at Personal Care Dentistry to show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

    Special devices may be recommended if you are prone to plaque deposits. They include special toothpicks, toothbrushes, water irrigation, or other devices. You still must brush and floss your teeth regularly. Antiplaque or anti-tartar toothpastes or mouth rinses may also be recommended.

    Regular professional tooth cleaning is important to remove plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing. Personal Care Dentistry recommends having your teeth professionally cleaned at least every 6 months.

    Source: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

    • 06 AUG 15
    • 0

    What Are the 10 Biggest Causes of Sensitive Teeth?

    Tooth Pain Can Affect Your Eating, Drinking, and Breathing Habits

    Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. When you have sensitive teeth, certain activities, such as brushing, flossing, eating and drinking, can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots.

    In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

    Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.


    10 Biggest Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

    Here’s why you could be experiencing this mouth malady:

    You brush with too much gusto. Sometimes tooth sensitivity comes from brushing with too much force or with too hard-bristled a toothbrush. Over time, you can wear down the protective layers of your teeth.

    You eat acidic foods. If the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles can cause pain.

    You’re a tooth-grinder. Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel, even though it’s the strongest substance in your body. By doing so, you expose the dentin. Talk to your dentist about finding a mouth guard that can stop you from grinding.

    You choose tooth-whitening toothpaste. Many manufacturers add tooth-whitening chemicals to their toothpaste formulas, and some people are more sensitive to them than others.

    You’re a mouthwash junkie. Like whitening toothpaste, some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive — especially if your dentin’s exposed. Solution: Try neutral fluoride rinses — or simply skip the rinse and be more diligent about flossing and brushing.

    You’ve got gum disease. Receding gums, which are increasingly common with age (especially if you haven’t kept up with your dental health), can cause tooth sensitivity. If gum disease or gingivitis is the problem, your dentist may suggest a procedure to seal your teeth along with treating the gum disease itself.

    You have excessive plaque. The purpose of flossing and brushing is to remove plaque that forms after you eat. An excessive build-up of plaque can cause your enamel to wear away. Again, your teeth can become more sensitive as they lose their enamel protection.

    You’ve had a dental procedure. Teeth often become more sensitive after you’ve been in the dentist’s chair. It’s common to have some sensitivity after a root canal, an extraction, or the placement of a crown. If your sensitivity doesn’t disappear after a short time, another visit to your dentist is in order — it could be an infection.

    Your tooth is cracked. A chipped or cracked tooth can cause pain that goes beyond tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will need to evaluate your tooth and decide the right course of treatment, such as a cap or an extraction.

    There is decay around the edges of fillings. As you get older, fillings can weaken and fracture or leak around the edges. It’s easy for bacteria to accumulate in these tiny crevices, which causes acid build-up and enamel breakdown. See your dentist if you notice this type of tooth sensitivity between visits; in most cases, fillings can be easily replaced.


    Don’t Put Up With the Pain; See Your Dentist

    If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation from your dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Before taking the situation into your own hands, an accurate diagnosis of tooth sensitivity is essential for effective treatment to eliminate pain. Because pain symptoms can be similar, some people might think that a tooth is sensitive, when instead, they actually have a cavity or abscess that’s not yet visible. Your dentist can identify or rule out any underlying causes of your tooth pain.


    Steps to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

    The good news is there are many ways to control sensitive teeth. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist might recommend:

    Brush and floss regularly. Use proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.

    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you don’t remove gum tissue.

    Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Several brands are available. Regular use should make teeth less sensitive. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth usually contains a desensitizing agent that protects the exposed dentin by blocking the tubes in the teeth that are connected to nerves. In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before any therapeutic benefits may be noticed. Another tip: Spread a thin layer on the exposed tooth roots with your finger or a Q-tip before you go to bed. Use a fluoridated toothpaste, not a tartar control one.

    Watch what you eat. Avoid lots of highly acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, wine and yogurt — all of which can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. When you drink acidic liquids, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. After eating or drinking an acidic substance, drink milk or water to balance the acid levels in your mouth.

    Use fluoridated dental products. Using a fluoridated mouth rinse daily can decrease sensitivity. Ask your dentist about products available for home use.

    See your dentist every 6 months (or sooner, depending on your condition). Dentists have a variety of regimens to manage tooth hypersensitivity, including both in-office treatments and patient-applied products for home use.


    Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Everyday Health, MouthHealthy.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, American Dental Association (ADA)


    • 29 JUL 15
    • 0

    Can’t Afford Dental Care? You Can With This Plan

    Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan May Be Just Right For You

    iStock_000030329140LargeYou can have quality dental care at an affordable cost even if you don’t have health or dental insurance. Personal Care Dentistry recently introduced its Comprehensive Dental Care Plan, which is an annual reduced-fee saving plan for families and individuals that allows all members to receive quality dental services at greatly reduced prices. Unlike conventional insurance, with the Personal Care Dentistry’s plan there are no deductibles, no yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Comprehensive Dental Care Plan  begins immediately on plan registration.


    Benefits include:

    Free simple teeth cleaning (up to two per year)

    Free two annual scheduled exams per year

    All X-rays needed to complete annual exam(s)

    Free initial teeth whitening trays and mini-kit. Subsequently one courtesy mini-kit at each renewal

    Free two fluoride treatments per year

    A 20% savings on all dental procedures

    A 15% savings on all implant and Invisalign procedures


    A Comprehensive Dental Care Plan membership is $349 and only $299 for each additional family member.

    Eligible family members include spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 (up to age 23 if dependent child is a full-time student). All Care Plan membership fees are due and payable at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Plan duration is for one year from registration date. All patient portions for services received are due at time of services in order to receive benefits. Interest-free payment plans of 6, 12 or 18 months are available on request with approved credit. Repayment duration is based on service totals. When a payment plan is used, your Care Plan members savings maximum will be reduced by the percent of interest charged to us based on the duration of repayment at 6, 12 or 18 months. A missed appointment fee of 25% of treatment total will be charged for all missed dental appointments. Please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance if you must change a scheduled appointment.

    Give us a call today and we can answer any questions you may have and get you enrolled in our Comprehensive Dental Care Plan.


    • 22 JUL 15
    • 0

    Beating Bad Breath

    Are You Among the More Than 80 Million People Who Suffer?

    Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodor) can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Some people don’t realize their breath could peel paint because others are afraid to tell them. You don’t have to distance the people around you with smelly mouth odor.

    iStock_000023288626Large - bad breath


    Do You Have Bad Breath?

    Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur — or worse.

    Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.

    Not sure if your breath is bad? The best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other, “‘Does my breath smell?” Because it’s really hard to tell on your own. There’s also another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it.

    If your toothbrush or floss smells bad, then there are foul odors in your mouth.


    What Causes Bad Breath?

    Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

    Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You’ll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth (xerostomia).

    If you’ve eliminated medical causes for your bad breath? Hit the kitchen for some bad breath battlers.


    Try these Bites for Better Breath

    Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.

    Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth- freshening burst of flavor. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath.

    Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. The chlorophyll in these green plants neutralizes odors.

    Rinse with a 30-second mouthwash that is alcohol-free (unike many off-the-shelf products). Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda (which changes the pH level and fights odor in the mouth) and a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. Don’t swallow it! (Yields several rinses.)

    Moisten your mouth. You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don’t make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.


    Crunch Your Way to Better Breath

    Try this recipe from The Remedy Chicks (Linda B. White MD, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell-Grogan) from EveryDayHealth.com.

    Raw crunchy foods clean the teeth. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors and promotes saliva production. Cinnamon is antimicrobial. Active cultures in yogurt help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

    1 cup apple chunks
    1 cup grated carrot
    1 cup diced celery
    ½ cup dried cranberries
    ½ cup crushed walnuts
    3 to 5 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
    Ground cinnamon

    PREPARATION AND USE: Mix the apple, carrot, celery, cranberries, and walnuts together in a large bowl. Add yogurt by the tablespoon to moisten the mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Serves two.)


    Avoid Foods That Sour Your Breath.

    Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn’t help.

    “The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out,” says Richard Price, DMD, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

    The best way to stop the problem? Don’t eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.


    Take Care of Your Mouth

    Keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular oral care. Gum disease and tooth decay causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

    Brush your teeth twice a day.

    Floss daily.

    Brush or scrape your tongue.

    Visit your dentist.

    The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.


    Sources: ADA, Web MD, Delta Dental, EveryDayHealth.com








    • 15 JUL 15
    • 0

    Do You Floss Like a Boss?

    Using Proper Techniques Are Important if You Want to Floss Effectively

    Techniques for Taking Care of Teeth and Gums.

    The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day to help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing also helps prevent gum disease and cavities.

    iStock_000063771119_Medium- woman flossingShould You Floss Before or After Brushing?

    A spring 2015 MouthHealthy.org poll asked readers if they brush before or after they floss. The results were close: 53% said they brush before, while 47% said after.

    So who’s right? Technically, everyone. The most important thing about flossing is to do it. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter when. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your dental care. People who are too tired at the end of the day may benefit from flossing first thing in the morning or flossing after lunch. Others might like to go to bed with a clean mouth.

    And don’t forget, children need to floss too! You should be flossing your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has two teeth that touch. Because flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to floss well by themselves until they are age 10 or 11.

    What Type of Floss Should I Use?

    There are two types of floss from which to choose:

    Nylon (or multifilament) floss

    PTFE (monofilament) floss

    Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris.

    Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. Look for products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance so you know they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.

    How Do I Floss to Get the Best Results?

    Gum disease begins at the gum line and between teeth. Daily flossing is an important part of your oral health care routine to help remove the plaque from these areas where a toothbrush doesn’t completely reach. But to truly reap the benefits, you need to use proper flossing technique.

    Four Key Elements for Flawless Flossing

    The American Dental Hygienists’ Association explains the key elements of proper flossing technique in four simple steps:

    Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.

    Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.

    Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.

    Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.

    Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.

    Keep in mind that flossing should not be painful. If you floss too hard, you could damage the tissue between your teeth. If you’re too gentle, you might not be getting the food out. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you first start flossing, but don’t give up. With daily brushing and flossing, that discomfort should ease within a week or two. If your pain persists, talk to your dentist.

     Using a Flosser

    If you use a hand-held flosser, the flossing technique is similar. Hold the flosser handle firmly and point the flossing tip at an angle facing the area you want to floss first (either top teeth or bottom teeth). Guide the floss gently between two teeth, and be sure to avoid snapping or popping the floss. Use the same zigzag motion that you would us with standard floss. Bend the floss around each tooth and slide it under the gum line and along each tooth surface.

     Flossing Around Dental Work

    If you wear braces or other dental appliances, proper flossing technique is especially important to avoid getting floss caught on wires or brackets. You can use special orthodontic floss which has a stiff end that can be easily threaded under the main wire (also called the arch wire) on your braces. Or you can purchase a floss threader, which is a flexible device with a pick on one end and a loop on the other. To use a floss threader, place an 18-inch piece of the floss of your choice through the loop. Then insert the pointed end of the flosser under the main wire and pull through so the floss is under the main wire. Once you have the floss in place, follow the same principles of proper flossing technique that you would use with standard floss.

    You can always ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you techniques if you are still uncertain.

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org, Oral B, Colgate, American Dental Association

    • 01 JUL 15
    • 0

    Where to Catch July 4th Fun and Fireworks

    Independence Day Explodes Over the Twin Cities

    Almost every suburb and city has a Fourth of July celebration of some kind, but a few stand out as having top-notch festivals and fireworks shows. No matter what side of the Mississippi river you’re on, there’s an event in your area that commemorates the holiday in grand style. We’ve got a run-down of a few cool happenings for the hot summer season and some great places to catch fireworks.


    Spectacular multi-colored fireworks celebrating the New Year, the Independence Day or any other great event

    Fourth of July Celebration – Roseville

    Date: July 4, 2015

    Party in the park for Roseville’s Rosefest 2015! There will be festivities all day long, including a fireworks display when the sun sets. Come to the Party good and hungry! There will be vendors selling corn on the cob, pulled pork, gyros, Cuban sandwiches, mac & cheese bites, ice cream novelties, shaved ice and of course, mini donuts, corn dogs, cheese curds and fries and more!

    Central Park
    2540 Lexington Ave. N., Roseville, MN


    Red, White and Boom!

    Dates: Friday July 3, 2015 – Saturday July 4, 2015

    Location: Various Minneapolis Locations (Stonearch Bridge)

    Celebrate the 4th of July during Minneapolis Red, White and Boom, a two-day celebration hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The event, held along the downtown Minneapolis Riverfront, features live music, great food, fun activities for the whole family, and the grand finale – fireworks!

    On July 4, Father Hennepin Park will offer FREE family activities in the Family Fun Zone from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Activities include balloon twisters, caricature artists and face painters. Live music will be playing at Mill Ruins Park and Father Hennepin Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Red, White and Boom Celebration closes with a spectacular fireworks display along the Riverfront at 10 p.m.

    Phone: (612) 230-6400


    Fourth of July Fireworks from CHS Field

    Date: Saturday, July 4 2015

    Saint Paul July 4th fireworks spectacular will be launched from CHS Field in Lowertown.

    Location: Lowertown

    360 N. Broadway Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

    Saint Paul’s annual July 4th fireworks display will take place following the Saints game against the Fargo Moorhead Redhawks on Saturday at approximately 10 p.m. The actual time of the fireworks will vary depending upon the time the game ends.

    All are encouraged to pack a blanket, travel by light rail, bike or bus and enjoy the free fireworks display from nearby Indian Mounds Regional Park or Lower Landing Park.

    Admission: Free (if you watch from outside CHS Field


    Independence Day Celebration at Historic Fort Snelling

    Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Spend the day celebrating our nation’s independence just like during the 1800s!

    Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    200 Tower Drive, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55111

    Hear the roar of cannon salutes, watch military dress parades, listen to fife and drum music, participate in family-friendly activities, and so much more! As part of exploring the history of freedom in America, visitors can learn about slavery in Minnesota and the part Fort Snelling played in the great debate over freedom during the 1800s.

    (612) 726-1171

    Admission: $11 adults/ $9 seniors and college students w/ID; $9 active military w/ID and their family; $6 children ages 6-17; Free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.


    A Prairie Home Companion Live Independence Day Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Join Garrison Keillor on the Great Lawn of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota as he returns to host a live Independence Day broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.

    Location: Mac-Groveland

    The show will include special guests JD McPherson, Joe Newberry, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele, Butch Thompson, and Tjärnblom.

    Doors open at 1 p.m. Live broadcast at 4:45 p.m. Food and refreshments will also be available for purchase around the Great Lawn. After celebrating our 40th Anniversary in St. Paul last year we wanted to come right back — who could resist spending the Fourth sitting under the trees on Macalester’s beautiful lawn?

    Limit six (6) tickets per customer. Student tickets are available with valid ID at the Fitzgerald Theater Box Office and Common Good Books.

    Ticket includes attending Saturday rehearsal for the live broadcast — the lawn opens at 1 p.m.


    Summit Avenue Walking Tour

    Next Upcoming Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Take a 90-minute tour of the historic Summit Avenue neighborhood.

    240 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

    Take a tour of Summit Avenue named one of America’s “Great Streets” in 2008. The walking tours highlight the Gilded-Age mansions that line the elite avenue and the people who owned them and built them. Guides will talk about the architecture, social history and current preservation issues of the historic neighborhood.

    The tour covers 1.5 miles starting at the James J. Hill House, proceeding west on Summit Avenue, returning via side streets and alleyways and concluding outside the Cathedral of St. Paul.

    The popular tours are offered every Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Call for group tour information. For same-day reservations call the Hill House at 651-297-2555.

    (651) 259-3015 for reservations

    Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors and college students; $8 children ages 6-17; $2 discount for MNHS members/ Reservations recommended.


    2015 National Senior Games

    Next Upcoming Date: Friday, July 3, 2015

    The National Senior Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world for adults 50 and over.

    Location: Sports Venues throughout the Twin Cities

    University of St. Thomas – 2115 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105

    The 2015 National Senior Games will be held in the Twin Cities with an expected 12,000 athletes competing and 30,000 guests attending.

    Competitions will take place July 3 – 16 at various venues throughout Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Bloomington. The 2015 event theme is “Stay Golden.”

    (952) 278-8513


    35th Annual Hmong Freedom Celebration and Sports Festival

    Next Upcoming Date: Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Known simply as J4, no other annual event in the global Hmong community carries as much prestige and economic significance as the Lao Family Community of Minnesota’s Hmong Freedom Celebration.

    Location: Como Park

    1225 Eastbrook Drive, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55103

    Held in Saint Paul’s Como Park during the Fourth of July weekend, J4 holds many distinctions which makes it one of the premier events in the state of Minnesota. A family friendly event, “J4” offers exciting sports action, musical performances and lots of delicious food! Everyone is invited!

    Admission: $5 (Children under 3 years old and seniors over 65 years old -ID required- are FREE)


    Fourth of July Celebration – Stillwater

    Date: July 4, 2015

    Celebrate Independence Day in an All-American historic river town! The City of Stillwater puts on a huge fireworks display (typically by 10 p.m. once dark) over the St. Croix River offering views from anywhere downtown. New this year will also be daytime entertainment of live bands in the downtown park. During the day…shop Main Street, take a cruise on the river, ride the historic Trolley, eat ice cream or relax in one of our many parks. Stillwater has great viewing sites for the fireworks. Try Pioneer Park, or settle in while enjoying food and beverages on one of our many outdoor dining decks. Enjoy fireworks choreographed to music in downtown Stillwater in Lowell Park over the beautiful St. Croix River. Show beings at dusk. Get there early.

    Lowell Park
    100 S. Main Street
    Stillwater, MN


    Fourth of July Celebration – Excelsior

    Date: July 4, 2015

    If you’re in the west metro, one of the best celebrations you’ll find is the 4th of July Celebration in Excelsior, on beautiful Lake Minnetonka. The evening includes a salute to veterans at 8:15 p.m. and a performance by the Minnesota Orchestra at 8:30 p.m., followed by the fireworks at 10 p.m. There will be family-friendly fun throughout the evening as well. For a list of activities, or if you want to contribute to the celebration fund, check the South Lake Excelsior Chamber of Commerce website.

    Excelsior Commons Park
    21 Water St

    Excelsior, MN 55331


    Manitou Days

    Date: June 16 to July 4, 2015

    Each summer, White Bear Lake does a multi-day celebration called Manitou Days. This year, it started June 16th, and culminates with the big 4th of July Celebration, which includes a lighted boat parade. Enjoy free food and entertainment at a community picnic. Dance under the stars. Ride on a pickle bucket boat. It’s fun and friendly family entertainment for all.

    Manitou Days
    White Bear Lake, MN 55110


    Fourth of July Celebration – Powderhorn Park

    Date: July 4, 2015

    Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Come early for music food, and fun.

    Powderhorn Park
    3400 15th Ave. S.
    Minneapolis, MN 55407
    (612) 370-4960


    Fourth of July Celebration – Coon Rapids

    Date: July 4, 2015

    Live DJ and fireworks in Sand Creek Park. Fun starts at 10 p.m.

    Sand Creek Park
    1008 Northdale Blvd N.W.
    Coon Rapids, MN


    Fourth of July Celebration – Eagan

    Date: July 4, 2015

    The Eagan July 4th Funfest ends with a spectacular fireworks show over Central Park. Enjoy games and activities for the little ones, a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, a concert by The Dweebs, then fireworks at 10 p.m. Fun starts at noon on Monday July 4th.

    Central Park
    1501 Central Parkway
    Eagan, MN


    Fourth of July Celebration – St. Louis Park

    Date: July 4, 2015

    Stevie and the Table Rockers perform live alongside a variety of concessions and vendors, as you celebrate the fourth of July in Aquila Park. The spectacular fireworks show gets underway around 10 p.m.

    Aquila Park
    3110 Xylon Ave. S.
    St. Louis Park, MN


    Sources: 365TwinCities.com, VisitSaintPaul.com

    • 24 JUN 15
    • 0

    Think Before You Gulp That Sports or Energy Drink

    They Rehydrate and Recharge but Wreak Havoc on Your Teeth

    You just finished a strenuous workout or you’ve got a long day ahead – so what do you reach for? If you’re like a lot of people, you chug a sports drink or gulp down an energy drink. It may make you feel better short-term, but your teeth definitely won’t feel better long term. Research has shown that prolonged consumption of sports or energy drinks could lead to erosive wear on teeth, according to studies by the International Association for Dental Research and Academy of General Dentistry.

    iStock_000020130648Large - GatoradeThe studies found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks. With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important that parents and young adults know about the downside of these drinks. Research looked specifically at the way sports drinks affected dentin, the dental tissue under enamel that determines the size and shape of teeth.

    Studies found that sports and energy beverages can damage tooth enamel more so than soda — due to a combination of acid components, sugars, and additives. Any beverage that has high acid content can weaken the enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to bacteria that can sneak into the cracks and crevices in the teeth. Sugar can exacerbate the situation, encouraging the bacterial growth. Sugar is bad, and acid is bad and many of these drinks have both. The combination can cause irreparable damage.

    Harmful effects include:

    Tooth enamel erosion, corrupting the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

    Sensitive teeth to touch and temperature changes.

    Susceptibility to cavities and decay.

    The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. Bacteria convert sugar to acid, and it’s the acid bath that damages enamel, not the sugar directly. By incorporating a high acid load in a drink, we are just cutting out the middleman on the way to tooth decay.

    If sports drinks become your soft drink of choice (your fluid), you run the real risk of very significant effects because they are very acidic. You could see etching on teeth which is actually eroding the dentin if you have exposed roots.

    There may be a role for sports drinks for rehydration among endurance athletes under intense training conditions, but they make little sense for anyone else.

    Athletes and even sports enthusiasts don’t have to give up their sports drinks completely. The most important factor is exposure. Drinking a sports beverage in one sitting is not as damaging to your teeth as sipping on one throughout the day.

    How to displace harmful Sports Drink effects:

    Sip through a straw to help bypass tooth surfaces.

    Drink plenty of water to flush the mouth.

    Wait at least an hour to brush teeth, otherwise you will be spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.

    Energy drinks are the worst culprits. The acidity levels vary among brands and flavors of energy drinks, but caused twice as much damage as the sports drinks.

    The big misconception is that energy and sports drinks are healthier than soda for oral health. Sugar may rot your teeth, but acid in energy and sports drinks will also do some irreversible damage to those pearly whites, say researchers. Science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.

    If you are absolutely unable to give up these drinks, the best advice is to minimize drinking and rinse with water afterwards.

    Sources: KnowYourTeeth.com, Web MD, CNN



    • 17 JUN 15
    • 0

    Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

    How Can You Help Create a Fun, Fear-Free First Trip to the Dentist?

    Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Decay in baby teeth also increases the risk of decay in permanent teeth.

    Dentists now recommend that kids have their first checkup by their first birthday. The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than one in four children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of four. Many kids get cavities as early as age two.

    Importance of Primary (baby) Teeth

    The most frequently mentioned reason for children who have never visited the dentist was that “the child is too young” or “doesn’t have enough teeth yet.”

    It’s very important to keep primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally. Primary teeth are important for many reasons including:

    Helping children chew properly.

    Involvement in speech development.

    Helping save space for permanent teeth.

    Promoting a healthy smile.

    Prior Preparation for the First Dentist Visit

    Before the first appointment, ask the dentist about the procedures of the visit so there are no surprises. To save time and make the first checkup easier, ask the dental office to mail or email you all the forms you will need to fill out. The forms may inspire a list questions or concerns that you want to discuss at the visit.

    Practice Patience

    Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important. Be relaxed when talking about the dentist and be careful not to use any negative words. Keep ill feelings in check (if you have any) and let your child enjoy their first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to Grandma’s (without the candy, of course).

    Create Excitement

    Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Practice brushing with your child beforehand, too, so they will be used to having a toothbrush in their mouth. Learn more about it. Lots of books and online resources are geared toward teaching children more about dental health and dentist visits. Delta Dental’s children’s web site www.mysmilekids.com has stories and fun activities to help children learn about their teeth.

    Play around. Take turns being the dentist and the patient with your child. Examine each other’s teeth with a mirror or use your fingers to count each other’s teeth so that your child will be familiar with the feel of a dentist examination. Your positive attitude can help a lot. After all, going to the dentist these days can be lots of fun!

    What to Bring

    Provide the dentist with a list of any medical conditions your child has or medications they take. Keep your pediatrician’s phone number handy too, in case the dentist needs additional health information. Bring a favorite toy, blanket or other familiar object. This will help your child to know that the dental office is a comfortable and safe place.


    What to Expect at the Visit

    Your child may fuss during parts or all of the dental visit. Child appointments should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. However, parents may be surprised at how accepting infants can be when the dentist examines them. They may enjoy the attention and novelty of the visit.

    The dentist will want to check the growth and development of your child’s teeth and observe any problem areas.

    Expect a gentle but thorough examination of the:





    Oral tissues

    To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.

    But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age one dental visit lets parents discuss:

    How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth

    Proper use of fluoride

    Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking

    How to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth

    The dentist will be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the checkup. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

    Dental exams and proper care at home are the keys to ensuring pearly whites throughout childhood. Bringing your child to the dentist early and often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future. Most experts recommend that children see the dentist about every six months so don’t forget to schedule your child’s second appointment on your way out the door!

    Sources: Parents.com, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate.com, DeltaDentalIns.com










    • 10 JUN 15
    • 0

    Mouth Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

    Go See Your Dentist Before These Signs Become Serious

    Whether it’s traces of crimson on your toothbrush or that nagging sensitivity that seems never to go away, it’s easy to neglect your oral health. Persistent tooth or mouth pain generally indicates a serious problem. Symptoms could include a tooth sensitive to touch or changes in your gums. Keep in mind that even if the pain does go away after a day or two, you could still have a problem and should see your dentist.

    iStock_000035729244Large  mouth painTake the time while cleaning your teeth to look at your cheeks, your tongue and underneath your tongue to spot any changes. Basically, you’re checking for anything that wasn’t there before. Any changes of color, such as white or red patches that aren’t going away and are getting bigger, or lumps that have formed in places which previously were smooth, should be investigated.


    Bad Breath

    Everyone experiences stinky breath, but brushing and flossing (including brushing your tongue) should nip bad breath in the bud. What about when it doesn’t? It could be a sign of advanced gum disease, so it’s important to talk to your dentist before this oral condition ruins perfectly healthy teeth.

    Most of the time, however, the biggest bad-breath culprit is your diet. Onion, garlic, and pungent spices will produce mouth odor for hours after consumption.


    Swollen or Receding Gums

    Swollen gums are a sign of gum disease. Even if you believe you have healthy teeth, swollen gums absolutely require a visit to the dentist. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to tell right away if you have gum disease — but you can check for swollen gums yourself by drying your gums with a napkin or a tissue and looking in the mirror. Although your swollen gums may feel fine, if they tend to bleed during brushing, they are a sign you should see your dentist right away.


    Eroded Enamel

    During dental erosion, the surface of a tooth or teeth gradually wears away. Once that happens, you are much more susceptible to cavities and other issues. Any source of acid can erode the tooth enamel of healthy teeth, including acid from citrus fruits and soda. One of the most common sources of acid in the mouth is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a condition in which acid from the stomach comes up the esophagus, causes heartburn, and reaches the mouth.


    Sour Taste in Your Mouth

    If you frequently have a sour taste in your mouth (which is often mistaken for bad breath), it could be another sign of GERD, especially if it’s accompanied by a sore throat, chest pain, and a hoarse voice, Besides this oral condition and dental erosion, GERD can lead to other problems such as an esophageal ulcer and inflammation of the esophagus. If you suspect you have GERD, get tested and treated as needed.


    Dry Mouth

    Dry mouth is a very common oral condition, especially as you age. There are also more than 425 medications that include dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth can be related to issues beyond dental health. If you have chronic dry mouth, you should be concerned and talk to your dentist.


    Loose Teeth

    Loose teeth are another dental health symptom not to ignore because this may be a sign that you have gum disease. Bacteria that grow below the gum line can cause tissues and bones to break down, leading to the separation of the teeth from the gums. As more tissue and bone is destroyed, the more likely you are to lose healthy teeth as they become loose and need to be pulled.

    Loose teeth may also be a sign of infection or scleroderma, a disease of the connective tissue that causes changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and organs.


    Mouth Sores

    A white or red patch on the tongue or lining of the mouth is the most common sign of oral cancer. Don’t be alarmed: Mouth sores are completely common and the chance your sore signals cancer is low. To be safe, show your dentist any sores in your mouth that don’t heal after two weeks.


    Burning Mouth

    If you’re experiencing a moderate to severe scalding sensation in your mouth, lips, or tongue, it could be an oral condition called burning mouth syndrome. When it does occur, it can be caused by a number of medications, certain specific oral conditions, or other health issues, including nutritional deficiencies, fungal infections in the mouth, and hormone changes in women.


    With regular dentist visits, you should be able to keep on top of any problems that might affect your mouth. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of those symptoms that warrant a quicker appointment—especially if you leave more time than you should between visits to your dentist.


    Sources: Every Day Health, Best Health