Does Charcoal Make Teeth Whiter?

One of the latest trends in oral health is activated charcoal. Before using any trendy products on your teeth, be sure to consult with your dentist in Beaver Dam and Owensboro, KY. Despite what you may have heard online, trendy oral health care products may do more damage than good. Since the results of any oral healthcare product will depend on your individual circumstances, it’s best to talk to a dentist first.

The Allure of Whiter Teeth

Almost everyone wants whiter teeth. White teeth symbolize health and wellness and, quite simply, make a person’s appearance more attractive. This is why teeth whitening products are so popular, and is likely the reason why the idea of activated charcoal has gained in popularity.

Why Activated Charcoal Works

In fact, activated charcoal does work to brighten teeth. However, it’s not for the reasons you may think. Activated charcoal doesn’t contain some “magic” compound that makes teeth whiter. The whitening action comes from the micro-abrasive composition of the charcoal. When a person brushes with activated charcoal, they’re simply scrubbing away with more abrasion than comes from a simple toothpaste. You could get similar results from brushing with baking soda or salt, both of which also are mild abrasive.

The Dangers of Using Activated Charcoal

There are potential dangers in using activated charcoal on a regular basis. For one, the enamel on your teeth is not impervious to abrasives. It’s easier to scrub away important enamel when you’re using an abrasive substance like charcoal. This would leave your teeth more vulnerable to tooth pain and decay.

If you really want whiter teeth, your best option is to get professional teeth whitening from your dentist in Beaver Dam and Owensboro, KY. Contact us today to book an appointment.

3 Best Ideas to Hygienically Store Your Toothbrush

While you know how to brush your teeth, you may not know the best way to store your toothbrush after you’re finished brushing. If you’ve just been tossing it into a medicine cabinet time after time, you’re going about it all wrong. To make sure you are storing your toothbrush in a proper hygienic manner, put these tips into practice in between visits to your Beaver Dam, KY dentist.

1. Upright Near a Window

To make sure your toothbrush is ready to go each and every time, place it in an upright position near a window so that it can air dry. By allowing fresh air to circulate around the head of your toothbrush, this will not only let it dry much quicker, but also ensure that it doesn’t wind up with bacteria and mold growing on the head and its bristles.

2. No Head Covers

While a head cover may be great for a golf club, it’s awful for a toothbrush. When you place a plastic cover over the head of your toothbrush or place the entire toothbrush inside a plastic bag or container, you are actually creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Even if you think you’ve dried the bristles, they will not be completely dry, allowing bacteria to take up residence on the toothbrush you’ll soon be putting back into your mouth.

3. Away from Other Toothbrushes

If you have other folks in your household, try to store everyone’s toothbrushes away from one another so that they don’t touch. By doing this, you can not only be assured that they will dry properly in between uses, but also not allow germs to spread from one brush to another.

By letting your toothbrush breathe, keeping it cover-free, and allowing it to have its own space away from toothbrushes used by other family members, you can be much more confident the next time you prepare to brush your teeth. Contact your dentist in Owensboro, KY to learn more dental hygiene tips.

Portrait of a young smiling girl cleaning her teeth

Why Do I Wake Up With a Yucky Taste in My Mouth?

On television and in the movies, almost everyone wakes up having fresh breath. However, in the real world, things are a bit different. Thus, when you wake up most mornings, chances are you have a yucky and somewhat bitter taste in your mouth. If you’ve always wondered why this occurs, here are some possible reasons that your dentist in Beaver Dam, KY wants you to know.

Decreased Amount of Saliva

When you sleep, you have a decreased amount of saliva, which fortunately keeps you from drooling all night long. However, the lack of saliva tends to dry out your mouth during the night, resulting in the bitter taste you experience each morning.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Should you not be in the habit of brushing and flossing prior to bedtime, you may want to start if you wish to rid yourself of that yucky taste in your mouth each morning. By not brushing and flossing, you allow food particles to remain in your mouth for hours and hours, which also allows the formation of bacteria inside your mouth.

Smoking and Using Other Tobacco Products

If you are a smoker, use chewing tobacco, or other types of tobacco products on a regular basis, this is not only impacting your health in a very negative manner, but also may be the reason why you have such a bad taste in your mouth upon waking.

Health Issues

When you have diabetes, a sinus infection, postnasal drip, or other health issues, these are often accompanied by a bad taste in your mouth not only when you first wake up, but also at other times during the day.

Since that yucky taste in your mouth can be caused by these reasons as well as certain medications you take or foods you eat, talk to your Owensboro, KY dentist about what can be done to solve your problem.

dental hygiene

For Love of BBQ Sauce: 4 Ways to Avoid Stained Teeth this Summer

Teeth have a way of getting stained in the summer when people eat at barbecues and drink sugary sodas to stay cool. Knowing how you can avoid stains on your teeth is important! Below we’ve listed some suggestions that can help.

1. Swish With Water

Swishing with water after you eat can help wash away some of the foods that stain. Water is good for you, so hopefully, you have a glass of water at all your meals. Simply take a swig of water, and swish the water in your mouth before swallowing.

2. Brush Teeth Regularly

Most likely, you already brush your teeth twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening. If you’re worried about staining your teeth, carry your toothbrush in your purse or keep a toothbrush in your car, and brush your teeth after attending barbecues and after eating staining foods.

3. Know Which Foods Stain Your Teeth

Watch out for foods that stain your teeth – foods like barbecue sauce, soda, red wine, coffee and berries. Barbecue sauce and fresh berries are commonly available in summer and can help your teeth take on a yellowish tinge as the summer progresses.

4. Get Your Teeth Whitened

If you do eat a lot of foods that have the potential to stain your teeth this summer, see your dentist in Owensboro KY for tooth whitening services. Getting your teeth whitened can help you avoid stains and keep your teeth looking beautiful!

Tooth whitening can improve your smile! Want to know more about this important service? Call today to make an appointment and discuss tooth whitening with your dentist.


Surprising Foods That Are Hard On The Teeth

Your dentist in Beaver Dam, KY wants you to know that, while eating something you enjoy is one of life’s great pleasures, it may be having unintended consequences on your teeth. From sugar that causes tooth decay to or blueberries that stain your teeth, the foods you are eating may be anything but good for your teeth. If you’re curious about which ones are the worst, here are a few foods that are very hard on your teeth.

Cakes, Cookies, and Candy

If you have a sweet tooth, it may start to decay if you enjoy a steady diet of cakes, cookies, and candy. Because these things contain high levels of sugar, your saliva may have difficulty fully washing away the sugar. Therefore, brush immediately after eating these delicious treats and in the future try to avoid having them in the first place.


Between the acid found in vinegar and the sugar that’s usually found in pickled foods, pickles may leave teeth more susceptible to staining and even loss of enamel. If teeth do get stained, you can get professional teeth whitening in Beaver Dam, KY.


If you thought crackers were harmless to your teeth, think again. Crackers often contain refined carbohydrates that are linked to inflammation. Eating crackers regularly can increase your overall chances of developing gingivitis.

Pasta Sauce

While pasta is generally considered to be a healthy food, the tomato sauce used to cover your pasta could be harming your teeth. Along with the sauce being acidic and wearing away your tooth enamel, the sugar that is typically found in the pasta itself feeds the growth of harmful bacteria within your mouth, meaning you could develop cavities.

Should you eat some or all of these foods on a regular basis, you may want to think about making some dietary changes. But whether you do or not, always remember to brush and floss regularly after each meal, and also visit your dentist in Beaver Dam, KY for regular checkups.

Brush teeth it's our habit

Dental Hygiene Tips to Protect Your Teeth This Summer

Dental hygiene is important at all times of the year, but it’s especially important in summer! Some summer foods can stain teeth while others can do damage to your teeth. In addition, playing high contact sports can do damage to your teeth. Knowing how to protect your teeth in summer can help you keep them looking nice year-round! Here’s what you need to know.

Keep Floss on Hand

Some common foods that people eat in summer, like fresh garden broccoli and corn on the cob, can get stuck in your teeth. If you’re planning to go to a lot of summer barbecues this year, keep floss on hand at all times, so you can get those foods out from your teeth before it becomes a problem.

Limit Soda Intake

Soda is sugary and bad for your teeth. It can also stain your teeth, because it’s acidic. Limiting your soda intake can protect your teeth from rot and can also prevent your teeth from becoming stained. Limit your soda intake to as little as possible.

Know Which Foods Stain

Do you know which summer foods stain your teeth? It’s a lot of the same foods that stain your clothes!

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Red wine
  • White wine
  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Berries

Knowing which foods stain your teeth makes taking care of your teeth easier. If you’ve just eaten food that can be staining, swish with water to get some food off your teeth, or brush your teeth after eating. If you notice foods are staining your teeth over time, you don’t have to change your eating habits. Get tooth whitening services from your dentist.

Protect Your Teeth When Playing Sports

High contact sports can lead to serious injury that can do damage to your teeth. If you engage in sports where you might sustain an injury to your face, or if you like to engage in activities like skateboarding in the summer, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth. You can either buy a mouthguard from your local pharmacy, or buy a mouthguard from your dentist in Owensboro, KY.

Ready to schedule your dentist appointment? Call Dr. Wilson’s office today to make your appointment.

Portrait of beautiful smiling blond model dressed in summer hipster clothes. Trendy girl posing in the street background. Funny and positive woman having fun

Is Gum Disease Reversible?

According to the CDC, half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. The root cause of gum disease is plaque build-up on your teeth, which hardens over time and becomes tartar. Harmful bacteria in your mouth thrive from eating this tartar, which then can spread the infection to your gums. Fortunately, gum disease is reversible if you treat it in its early stages.


Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It’s characterized by inflamed, tender, or bloody gums. Despite these signs, gingivitis is difficult to self-diagnose because it’s not typically painful.

Reversing Gingivitis

Reversing the effects of gingivitis is possible, but you need to seek treatment immediately. Gum disease is only reversible while it’s at this stage.

At-Home Care

Fighting gingivitis starts with proper oral care. Your dentist in Owensboro and Beaver Dam, KY recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time and floss once a day. You should also drastically reduce your sugar intake to help slow plaque build-up.

Professional Cleaning

You’ll need professional teeth cleaning in Owensboro and Beaver Dam, KY to truly reverse gingivitis. Your dentist will scrape the tartar off your teeth, something you can’t do at home with just regular brushing.

Scaling and Planing

The process of removing tartar below the gum line is called scaling and planing. It’s imperative to remove this tartar because bacteria in this area of your mouth can grow out of control.

Untreated gum disease can result in tooth loss, jaw bone damage, and may require invasive surgery. Treating gum disease before it progresses past gingivitis is your only shot at reversing it, so diligent oral care and regular check-ups with your dentist in Beaver Dam and Owensboro, KY are of the utmost importance.

3 Tips for Easier Flossing

From crowded teeth to slipped string, flossing isn’t always the easiest task in the world. It’s why so many people end up leaving it out of their daily routines. We’ll look at three tips that can make the process easier, so you can have healthier teeth and gums.

1. Be Consistent, Not Perfect

Ideally, you should be using about 18″ of traditional string and using the C-shape method. However, if you find it easier to use the toothpick-like flossers, then you’re better off doing this than nothing at all. The goal is to get into the habit of flossing. If you find yourself getting bogged down by the rules or discouraged when you can’t get the perfect grasp, don’t give up on your hygiene entirely.

2. Be Gentle

The point of flossing is to relieve your teeth of pent-up particles, not to besiege your gums with gusto. You should be hugging the tooth and going just slightly below the gum line for best results. As an aside, this is why traditional floss held between the thumb and index finger is recommended. It gives you the leverage and flexibility you need to apply the right amount of pressure to the area. This would also be a good time to switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid abrasion to your gums.

3. See Your Dentist

Flossing and brushing is a great way to stave off future issues, but it can’t replace seeing your dentist every 6 months for regular cleaning. Some people will have crowded teeth that make it difficult, if not impossible to truly floss correctly. Talking to a dentist is a great way to find out whether your habits are paying off or if you need to make a few adjustments in the future. They can give you tips about how to really reach the back teeth or how far to sink the string into the actual gum line.

The first tip is really the most important. The more you focus on clean teeth — even if you’re by no means perfect at first — the more you’ll want to get better at it. Like anything, dental hygiene takes practice to get right.


Why Does My Child Have Bad Breath?

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is surprisingly common in children. For parents, bad breath in children can cause anxiety, but once you determine the cause, treatment is available from your Texas dentist.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of bad breath in children. Children are notorious for saying they brushed their teeth when they didn’t or just giving a quick brush to one or two teeth and calling it a day. To eliminate this possible cause, supervise your child while they brush for a week and see if the bad breath goes away.

Old Toothbrush

if your child is using an old toothbrush, he or she may be reintroducing bacteria into the mouth every time they brush. Be sure to replace toothbrushes at least once a month.


Drinking plenty of water is very important for the body, but it is also important to keep the mouth moist. A dry mouth can cause bad breath in children. Although you might not think it’s possible for your child to become dehydrated, it’s actually very common. Kids are very active, and they lose bodily fluids at a fast rate due to their fast metabolism. See to it that your child drinks plenty of water—not juice—to ensure they are not dehydrated. If their bad breath goes away, then you’ve found the cause.

Acid Reflux

Children sometimes suffer from acid reflux, a condition in which partially digested food can cause acidification of the digestive tract. Children who get acid reflux may also have difficulty breathing due to a lack of absorption of partially digestible food. If this is a problem for your child, ask your pediatrician if you need to change his diet or receive other treatment for acid reflux.

Enlarged Tonsils

An enlarged adenoid layer in the posterior pharynx can harbor many bacteria that can lead to bad breath. Large tonsils can also be a cause of snoring and sleep apnea, and in severe cases, your child may need to be examined. Your dentist in Texas can easily have a look to see if a visit to a pediatrician is warranted.

If your child suffers from chronic bad breath, the first thing you should do is schedule a visit to your Texas dentist’s office. To book your appointment now, please contact us.

The Many Benefits of Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

We all know that practicing good oral hygiene is essential for maintaining the health of our teeth and gums, however, besides ensuring you have a beautiful smile, good oral hygiene offers a variety of other health benefits.

How Good Oral Hygiene Benefits the Teeth and Gums

Good oral hygiene reduces the risk of developing potentially painful issues like cavities (aka dental caries) and gingivitis (aka periodontal disease and gum disease).

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. If left untreated, the disease continues to progress, causing permanent damage to the teeth, gingival tissue (i.e., gum tissue), and even the jawbone.

Signs of tooth decay include:

  • Surface stains.
  • Tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity is frequently associated with temperature changes and consuming foods and beverages that are highly acidic (e.g., oranges, lemons, limes, etc.).
  • Tooth pain.
  • Pits or holes in the teeth.

There are four levels of gum disease:

  1. Gingivitis.
  2. Slight periodontal disease.
  3. Moderate periodontal disease.
  4. Advanced periodontal disease.

Early symptoms include inflamed gingival tissue, irritation, redness, and bleeding while brushing. Any damage incurred during this early stage can be reversed, however, damage resulting from the other three cannot.

Symptoms experienced during the more serious stages of gum disease:

  • A receding gumline.
  • Red gums that are swollen and tender.
  • Loose or shifting teeth.
  • A bad taste remains in the mouth.
  • Halitosis (i.e., chronic bad breath).
  • Pockets of pus at the gumline.

5 Other Potential Benefits Associated with Eliminating Bacteria by Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

  1. May Help Prevent the Onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Studies indicate that individuals with gum disease experience more issues related to cognitive skills and memory than people with healthier mouths. It is believed that the oral bacteria enter the nerve channels and bloodstream leading to the brain, once there, the bacteria kill brain cells, resulting in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

  1. Can Decrease the Likelihood of Developing Cardiovascular Problems

Once gingivitis develops and the gums begin bleeding, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, allowing it to spread throughout the body, increasing chronic inflammation. This inflammation can lead to a variety of cardiovascular problems including heart disease and stroke.

  1. May Improve a Woman’s Fertility

A study conducted in 2014 found that when a woman has gum disease, it will take her longer to conceive than a woman with healthy teeth and gums.

  1. Decreases the Likelihood of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

It is believed that, once again, the oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream increase widespread inflammation, leading to insulin resistance.

  1. Reduces the Risk of Some Cancers

The oral bacteria that enter the bloodstream may actually boost cancer cell growth. In addition, individuals with gum disease may be at an increased risk of developing oral or pancreatic cancer.

How to practice good oral hygiene:

  • Brush twice a day, in two-minute intervals.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA’s Seal of Approval.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use a mouthwash recommended by the ADA.
  • Limit sugar consumption.
  • Avoid using tobacco.
  • Have biannual cleanings and exams at Travis Wilson Family Dentistry.

If you are in the greater Beaver Dam area, Morgantown or Owensboro, Kentucky, and you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with gum disease or you are due for a dental cleaning and exam, contact Travis Wilson Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with an experienced and caring dentist.

Travis Wilson Family Dentistry has offices located at 2014 Triplett Street in Owensboro, Kentucky, and at 1042 North Main Street in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. You can either use our online appointment request form, or contact the office of your choice via telephone. To contact our Owensboro, Kentucky, office please call: (270) 926-6040. To call our Beaver Dam, Kentucky, office, please dial (270) 274-3645.