Should I be Cleaning My Tongue?

Anyone who has been inside a drugstore can see that there are products available for cleaning your tongue. Your dentist in Owensboro, KY always advises patients to brush, floss and rinse, but not much is heard about cleaning the tongue. Is this extra step in oral hygiene really necessary, or is it marketing hype to get you to buy products?

Why You Should Clean Your Tongue

Hundreds of microscopic papillae, or finger-like projections that give your tongue its rough texture, cover your tongue. These papillae, interestingly, generate a pattern on your tongue that is as individual as your fingerprints. However, they also leave a carpet-like surface on your tongue, making plaque, germs, food debris, and dead skin cells easy to collect. This can result in foul breath as well as a variety of other oral health problems. In addition to seeing a dentist on a regular basis to keep your tongue healthy, there are several simple methods to keep it clean and enhance your general health.

How to Clean Your Tongue

By adding a minute or two to your daily oral hygiene regimen, you can keep your tongue clean and healthy. Here are two ways to get it done.

1. Brush your Tongue with your Toothbrush

Brushing your tongue with a toothbrush is the simplest approach, since you’re already standing there with a toothbrush in hand. After cleaning your teeth, rinse your brush and brush the whole surface area of your tongue for 15-30 seconds. Rinse once more.

2. Use a Tongue Scraper

Extend your tongue as far as possible. Place the tongue scraper on the back of your tongue. While exerting mild pressure, push the scraper on your tongue and slide it toward the front of your tongue. Rinse after every scrape by running it under warm water to remove any dirt or bacteria. During the tongue scraping, spit out any extra saliva that has accumulated. Repeat as needed.

Everybody Gets at Least One Cavity, Right?

It often seems like cavities are an inevitable part of life. After all, everyone you know has probably had at least one cavity. You yourself may have had one or more cavities over the years. But it may surprise you to know that not everyone gets cavities. In fact, there are many people who have never had a cavity.

Genetic Predisposition to Cavities

There is a large genetic factor insofar as to who gets cavities and who doesn’t. What kind of bacteria you have, the shape of your teeth, and even the composition of your saliva make you more or less predisposed to developing cavities. These are things you can’t control, but there are many things that you can control in order to avoid getting cavities.

How to Avoid Cavities

There are lots of ways to avoid getting cavities, no matter what. Of course, brushing, flossing and rinsing after each meal are essential. Regular visits with your dentist in Owensboro, KY are essential, too. Your diet plays an important part; avoiding excess alcohol and sugar is imperative. Keep in mind that fresh fruit is good, but too much exposes you to excess fructose, a naturally-occurring sugar. And now, there is a new dental treatment that creates another layer of protection between your teeth and harmful bacteria. Dental sealants are available for children and those at higher risk of developing cavities. If you keep getting cavities no matter how much brushing you do, you might be a good candidate for dental sealants.

Remember, if you aren’t genetically predisposed to cavities, that doesn’t mean you are “immune” to getting them. And those who are genetically disposed of aren’t necessarily guaranteed to get cavities. Diet, oral hygiene and having regular appointments with your dentist in Owensboro, KY are key factors, whatever your genetics are. Contact us today to book your next appointment.

Do You Really Have to Give up Candy For Oral Health?

When you visit your Beaver Dam and Owensboro, KY dentist, they will advise you to do what you can at home to support your own oral health. This will likely include avoiding certain things, like excessive drinking and smoking, and avoiding excess sugar in the diet. But, you might think to yourself, is a little candy really so bad? If you have what is commonly called a sweet tooth, do you really have to completely deprive yourself of one of your favorite indulgences?

Indulgence is the Key Word

Well, in this case, indulgence is the key word. An indulgence is something that you partake in in small amounts. It’s something you enjoy every now and then, and just a little bit. If candy is a little indulgence for you, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a little bit every now and then.

The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has been shown to have certain health benefits. Dark chocolate is often sweetened much less than regular chocolate. If you and your doctor feel that a little bit of dark chocolate is beneficial to your health—even a nibble every single day—then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it.

Avoid Large Quantities

What you don’t want to do is to eat large quantities of candy very often. For optimal oral health, don’t be that person in the office with a drawer full of licorice and candy bars. This kind of candy consumption will almost inevitably lead to infection or cavities or both.

Most adults are very aware that sugar can cause problems or even lead to the need for tooth extraction in Owensboro, KY. Knowing the risks, this particular food item should be avoided as much as possible.

How to Clean Modern Dentures

If your dentist in Owensboro, KY has just fitted you with dentures, the next step is to learn how to take care of them. Modern dentures are made of better materials than your grandparents’ dentures. You can expect your dentures to last a long time if they are properly looked after. Here is the best way to clean your new dentures.

Remove For Cleaning After Meals

After you dine, visit a washroom privately where you can remove your dentures for rinsing. Just run tap water over the dentures. This helps to prevent food debris from drying and sticking, and makes it easier for you to thoroughly clean your dentures later.

Rinse Mouth After Removing

Before putting your dentures back in after rinsing, rinse your mouth with water, too. That way, you won’t contaminate the dentures with left over food debris from your gums.

Brush Dentures Daily

At home, get into a routine of brushing your dentures at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. Use a dentist-approved denture cleaner and a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to clean any grooves where dental adhesive might be hiding.

Soak Dentures Overnight

Place the dentures in a glass container, preferably one with a lid. The lid will prevent airborne particles from landing in the water. Use a solution of a mild denture cleanser and clean tap water.

Rinse Mouth Before Inserting Dentures in Owensboro

Before putting your dentures back in place in the morning, use an anti-bacterial mouthwash to thoroughly clean and disinfect your mouth.

Your dentist will be happy to let you know if you need any special instructions to care for your Owensboro, KY dentures. Contact us today to book your next dental exam or to find out more about the benefits of modern dentures.

The Right Way to Remove Trapped Food From Between Teeth

Your dentist in Owensboro and Beaver Dam, KY emphasizes the importance of brushing and flossing after meals. Small particles of food can easily get stuck in between teeth, leading to the buildup of harmful bacteria, plaque and more. Those with narrow spaces in between teeth are more likely to struggle with trapped food particles, but everyone eventually encounters this issue.

Don’t Use Fingers to Remove Trapped Food

Sometimes people—especially women who have longer nails—will try to remove trapped food using their fingernails. This isn’t a good idea because you’re more likely to push the food further in, where it’s even harder to remove. Or, you may break up the particle and remove only the largest piece, leaving smaller particles behind. Finally, you could inadvertently spread germs around your mouth, using fingernails that are now contaminated with old food particles.

Toothpicks Work

Instead, try using a toothpick to loosen stuck food particles. The caveat is that you need to use a gentle touch. Take care not to poke at the gums, since this will cause pain and/or bleeding. Use several toothpicks, discarding used ones and always using a clean tip. Also, if you have inflamed gum tissue, don’t use a toothpick at all.

Oil Pulling Works

Another safe way to remove trapped food particles is to practice oil pulling after brushing and flossing. Swish a small amount of coconut oil around your mouth and gently “pull” the oil between teeth. The oil lubricates the teeth so the particles can’t stick to teeth, and the gentle pressure releases the food debris so you can spit it into the sink.

Make sure you visit your Beaver Dam and Owensboro, KY dentist at least every six months for a thorough cleaning that will remove any food debris and/or plaque build-up.

3 Preventive Dental Care Treatments to Consider

Have you ever wished that you could push a “rewind” button and get back your healthy natural teeth? If you still have natural teeth that you want to protect, or you have younger loved ones whose teeth you’d like to protect, you can! Today, there are several preventative dental care treatments in Owensboro, KY that can help natural teeth stay healthy for as long as possible.

1. Dental Sealant

Dental sealant is a simple and straightforward way to add an extra layer of protection over natural teeth. The FDA-approved dental sealant is applied with a brush on certain teeth, such as molars. It’s allowed to harden and then it lasts for several months. Dental sealant is most often used on kids, but adults with healthy natural teeth can also get dental sealant. It’s non-invasive, painless and very effective at stopping cavities before they start.

2. Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment is a wash that is flushed over the teeth to make teeth more impervious to bacteria. The fluoride fortifies the tooth enamel and adds minerals so that the teeth are harder and stronger. Just one fluoride treatment is enough to protect natural teeth for a long time. Talk to your dentist in Owensboro, KY about fluoride treatment options.

3. Teeth Polishing

Teeth polishing is a little bit different than teeth whitening, although teeth polishing will make your teeth brighter and whiter, too. In this preventative treatment, the teeth surface is polished, which helps to get rid of biofilm and plaque that harbor bad bacteria. Teeth polishing is most effective when it’s done in tandem with teeth cleaning.

These simple preventative dental care treatments will help you to keep teeth healthy in between dentist visits. Remember, preventative treatments are not a substitute for regular dentist visits. Contact us today to book your next appointment.

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.