A Reminder To Carefully Clean Teeth With Braces

DO YOU HAVE BRACES? Or does someone you love have braces? Underneath all that metal, your beautiful pearly whites are moving—and, inching you ever closer each day toward an absolutely fantastic smile!

Our doctors remind us, “Wouldn’t it be a shame, if once those braces came off, you had a bunch of cavities under there!? That would be awful!”

So, don’t let that happen!

All the gadgetry in your mouth—from the springs and the wires to the rubber bands and spacers—can attract food AND plaque. Our doctors, here at Dental Partners of Boston, remind each of us with braces, “It’s important to brush properly and to use floss and/or mouthwash per your orthodontist’s recommendations. When plaque is left behind on your teeth and around your braces it can cause your gums to swell, your teeth to become discolored, chronic bad breath and even (sometimes) cavities.”

Cleaning Your Braces The Right Way Is A Chore, But It’s Worth It

Millions and millions of people wear braces. If you’re one of them (or your child) be sure to take the time to pay attention to detail. While it requires spending a little more effort before bedtime… In the long run it WILL be worth it.

The purpose of today’s post isn’t to go over all the details of caring for teeth with braces. We just want to focus on cleaning them. Your orthodontist has likely already told you lots of do’s and don’ts. But here are a couple little reminders: There are foods you should probably just avoid including taffy, caramels, and hard nuts. And don’t chew ice or bubble gum. Be careful with things that are hard to bite like bagels and apples.

Take a minute to learn from this video created by the good folks at Howcast:

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What You Need To Know About Plaque And Tartar

WHEN MOST OF US HEAR WORDS LIKE sticky, bacteria, acid, and decay we tend to cringe a little…and with good reason! Unfortunately, all of those words are characteristics of plaque and tartar—two terms that you’ve probably heard us use when we visit with you about dentistry!

Don’t worry, there’s no need to panic—we have some handy tips on how to avoid plaque and tartar. But first, let’s back up a little. In order to figure out how we can best prevent plaque and tartar we need to know exactly what they are, right?

The best way to understand plaque is to think of it as a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria (and other unfriendly materials) that coat the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars and starches come in contact with plaque, an acid is created that can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down tooth enamel and lead to cavities, decay, and/or gum disease.

Tartar, on the other hand, is a deposit that forms when plaque hardens on your teeth. For most of us, tartar deposits begin to build up faster as we age. Unlike plaque, tartar bonds quite strongly to tooth enamel and can only be removed by a dental professional like our doctors. Prolonged tartar buildup can cause a tooth’s enamel to break down, resulting in decay and/or cavities.

So… in order to avoid cavities we have to avoid tartar, and in order to avoid tartar we have to avoid plaque. Here are some recommendations from our doctors on the best ways to fight plaque and tartar buildup.

  • Floss once a day.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride and fights plaque.
  • Use a quality toothbrush and remember to replace it every three months, or as soon as the bristles have worn down.
  • Add a mouthwash to your routine to provide longer protection even after you’re done brushing.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Brush after snacks.
  • Visit one of our doctors regularly for oral exams and cleanings so that any tartar buildup you might have can be removed.

Take care of your teeth and fight cavities! Your bank account and smile will thank you. And since avoiding plaque altogether is impossible, don’t forget to schedule your regular dental appointments with us so we can help brighten your smile and keep your teeth healthy for life!

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Protect Your Baby’s Teeth

EACH YEAR, MANY INFANTS AND TODDLERS SUFFER FROM EXTENSIVE TOOTH DECAY that could be avoided—and the culprit is surprising. Milk and sweet liquids are the biggest contributors to something referred to as ECC (Early Childhood Caries).

Just like adult mouths, babies’ mouths are full of bacteria that feed on the sugars found in the foods and liquids they consume. One of the byproducts of these bacteria buffets is an acid that can attack tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Now, don’t worry… We’re not suggesting that you stop using baby bottles or that you don’t give milk to your infants and toddlers. Our doctors simply recommend being aware of the issue and taking some simple preventive steps to help avoid a potential problem.

Here’s a short video from Nursery Water about preventing baby bottle tooth decay:

Many parents give their children a bottle to suck on as a way of helping them settle down and doze off at night. Unfortunately, studies show that when a baby falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, the fluid from the bottle can settle in a pool around their fragile teeth. This allows the bacteria in the baby’s mouth to feed off the sugar present in the liquid ALL night long, creating a steady stream of tooth-decaying acid. If your child absolutely needs a bottle to suck on as he or she goes to sleep, your best bet is to fill it with warm water. Or, once asleep, at least be sure to remove the bottle from your child’s mouth.

Here are a few other ways you can take care of your baby’s teeth:

  • Only Fill Bottles with Milk Or Formula. If you choose to give your child juice or other sugary drinks, make sure you only do so in a sippy cup so that the sugar doesn’t sit at the front of their mouths too long.
  • Clean Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums. Even before your child’s first teeth have come in, it’s important to gently wipe their teeth with a wet towel or gauze after they are fed.
  • Don’t Dip Pacifiers In Anything Containing Sugar. Some parents dip pacifiers in sweet substances like honey. This can be very damaging for baby teeth.

ECC is an infectious disease that can begin as soon as the baby’s first teeth appear, and it can have lasting, damaging effects on your child’s oral health. Here at Dental Partners of Boston we want to help you take care of your baby’s teeth. Not only are they more susceptible to cavities than are adults, but they are also at risk of gum disease if the bacteria in their mouths gets too out of hand.

If you think your child may be a victim of baby bottle tooth decay, set up an appointment to come in and see one of our doctors, or a member of our team today. We’d love to help return your baby’s mouth to its healthiest state! Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns!

Stay Informed About Gum Disease

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ADVISED TO WATCH FOR SIGNS OF GUM DISEASE? Chances are, if you’ve ever visited a dentist, you’ve been checked—to some extent—for symptoms of this problem. Here at Dental Partners of Boston, for many of our patients, a routine check typically reveals healthy, disease-free gums. We’re glad for that… But sometimes people with healthy gums forget that it’s still important to regularly look for early signs of a problem.

If you have early signs of gum disease, the best thing that can be done is to take care of it before it gets out of hand. For many of you that may mean being well informed about gum disease, including symptoms to watch for.

As the video below outlines, gum disease can be divided into three stages which can range from a simple amount of gum inflammation to major tissue damage and tooth loss. It’s been said before, but as a reminder, the sooner periodontal disease is caught the more we can do to successfully reverse the affects.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms as listed below, and outlined in the video, be sure to have one of our doctors take a look:

  • Gums bleed easily while flossing or brushing
  • Swollen, red or tender gums
  • Receding or separated gums that are exposing teeth
  • Changes in how your teeth fit together
  • Constant bad breath or unpleasant taste in your mouth

Of course, never having gum disease is the best scenario.

Because gum disease starts with bacteria in the plaque on your teeth, paying close attention to your oral hygiene is your greatest defense. This includes your daily care—thorough brushing and regular flossing, as well as your regular checkups. If plaque hardens to your teeth, only a dental cleaning can completely remove it and stop gum disease from starting.

We want to keep you informed and healthy with information on many aspects of your oral health.

We invite you to contact our office or join us on Facebook. Liking our Facebook page gives you access to discussions on our wall about your oral health, as well as updates about current promotions in our office. Click below:

We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!

Knock Out A Tooth? We Can Help

REGARDLESS OF HOW WELL YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH, something as common as an overly aggressive flag football game, or something as unexpected as tripping over a curb can result in a knocked-out tooth. If that happens, don’t just sit there and fret about it! If you act quickly, there’s likely no need to look like a pirate for the rest of your life!

Even if your tooth is completely removed from its socket, our doctors here at Dental Partners of Boston can probably successfully replace it. But in part, it depends on YOU!

Here are the steps you should take if you find yourself, a friend, or a family member with a knocked out tooth:

Act quickly.

• Hold the tooth by the crown, NOT by its root.

Never try to wipe off the tooth because remnants of the ligaments that attach the tooth to your jaw may still be present and are vital to replacing it.

If possible, place the tooth back into the socket immediately.

Keeping your tooth moist is one of the most important things! If you are unable to replace the tooth in the socket, keep the tooth moist inside your cheek or in a glass of milk until you can see one of our doctors.

• Talk to us as soon as possible. Your best chance for saving your tooth is to see one of our doctors within 30 minutes of it being knocked out.

Once you are under our care we can likely replant and stabilize the tooth. We may not be able to tell what other procedures, if any, may be necessary at a later date.

If your tooth can’t be saved, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. Modern dentistry, as practiced here in our office, offers many attractive, viable solutions for tooth loss.

Here is a great video about what to do if you knock out a tooth:

Please contact us if you have any additional questions or if you need to make an appointment!

You Are What You Eat…

WE’VE ALL HEARD THE SAYING “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.” Surprisingly, it’s actually quite true—especially when it comes to your teeth and gums.

When you eat or drink sugary and starchy foods you are also feeding the plaque in your mouth. What you choose to eat, or not eat, has a huge affect on your teeth.

Here at Dental Partners of Boston you hear us say the word “plaque” all the time, and although most of our patients understand that it’s something we want to avoid, they don’t really know what it is.

The best way to understand plaque is to think of it as a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other unfriendly materials that coats the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars and starches come in contact with plaque, an acid is created that can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you finish eating! Repeated attacks can break down tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities, decay, and gum disease.

So… How do we best avoid plaque? Here are some recommendations from our doctors about the effects of different foods:

The “Good Guys”

  • Fruits and Vegetables: These high-fiber content foods stimulate saliva flow and defend against cavities and gum disease. Saliva is your best natural defense.
  • Dairy: Cheeses, milk, plain yogurt and other dairy products are more good saliva generators. The calcium in these products also helps put minerals back in your teeth.
  • Foods With Fluoride: Fluoridated water and any product made with that water is good for your teeth (as long as it doesn’t contain sugar).
  • Sugarless Chewing Gum: Gum is another great saliva generator, and it also helps remove leftover food from your mouth.
  • Licorice Root: Researches at the University of California, Los Angeles found that this herb contains compounds that inhibit the growth of plaque.

The “Bad Guys”

  • Sugar and Sweets That Stick To Your Teeth: We understand that treats aren’t easy to give up completely, so we recommend choosing the sweets that clear out of your mouth quickly. This means lollipops, cough drops, and caramels aren’t your best bet. However, chocolate washes out quickly because its sugars are coated in fat.
  • Starchy Foods: Starches like bread and potato chips get stuck in your teeth, and bacteria love to feed on carbohydrates.
  • Carbonated Soft Drinks and Sports Drinks: These drinks contain A LOT of sugar as well as acids that erode tooth enamel.
  • Other Sugary Drinks: High sugar levels promote tooth decay.
  • Lemons: Lemons are okay to eat, but don’t suck on them—they also contain acids that will erode the enamel of your teeth.

Be smart about what you eat—we promise it will pay off! And since avoiding plaque altogether is impossible, don’t forget to schedule your regular dental appointments with us so we can help brighten your smile and keep your teeth healthy for life!

Why We Take Care Of Our Teeth

WHY IS PREVENTIVE DENTAL CARE AND MAINTENANCE on your teeth and gums so important? There are several reasons. Devoting small amounts of attention to your teeth and gums will help you keep your smile for your entire life. We want you to be proud of the teeth you flash to the world each time you smile! But it isn’t just about the way you look—it’s also about your health and the way you feel.

Don’t worry—here at our practice we understand that some things just can’t be helped. If you bite into a bagel and loose part of your filling our doctors will be right here to help. But aside from the unforeseen, the biggest factor in your oral health is simple maintenance. Daily maintenance through proper brushing (for at least 2 minutes) AND flossing techniques not only improve your smile, they dramatically reduce your risk of gum disease.

We know we urge you to come in for regular checkups and cleanings A LOT, but did you know there’s a lot more in it for you than just a free toothbrush?

Studies continue to link your oral health to your overall health, making a visit to our doctors just as important as visiting your family doctor!

Diseases associated with our mouths like oral cancer and gum disease are probably familiar terms to most people, but few people realize that other health issues can manifest themselves initially in the mouth as well. Visiting our practice can help catch potentially larger problems before they get out of hand—problems you may not even realize exist.

Here at Dental Partners of Boston, mouths are a huge part of our lives. Not only do we stare into them every day, we even read about them while we’re on vacation…(kidding). All jokes aside, please be sure to keep those regularly scheduled visits with us. We want to help keep you healthy!

Whoopi’s right. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can kill you. In case you missed Whoopi on The View, you can see her talk about her experience with gum disease and tooth loss below:

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A Balanced pH Level Can Help Protect Your Smile

VISITING OUR PRACTICE REGULARLY HAS PROBABLY TURNED YOU INTO a cavity prevention expert, right? Well, there’s always more than meets the eye—especially when it comes to the little things we can do to keep our mouths healthy. Even those of us who are diligent brushers and flossers sometimes find ourselves with some tooth decay. Here’s one more little snippet of information that may help you.

While it is true that things like flossing, brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day, coming in to Dental Partners of Boston for regular checkups, using mouthwash, and avoiding sugary foods DO help prevent cavities, there are other things we can do. New discoveries show that the pH levels in our mouths actually have A LOT more to do with tooth decay than we may realize, and maintaining normal pH levels can be helpful in fighting off cavities and gum disease.

Exactly What Is pH?

To put it simply, pH is a measure of acidity… The lower the pH, the higher the acidity, and the higher the pH, the higher the alkaline levels. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14, and in the middle of the scale is the neutral number 7, being most like water.

This is where we want our mouths to be. While we know that sugar feeds the bacteria that produces acids and turns into cavities, it is actually prolonged acidic oral pH that can cause tooth decay and a demineralization of your enamel.

Confused? Let us break this down…

Heading off the domino effect means intercepting those pH levels before they get out of hand. Ever heard of a pH test strips? They’re like the sticks you dip into your swimming pool, except they’re for your mouth. You can buy them at your local pharmacy and then try these remedies at home!

  • Fresh Lemon and/or Lime Juice: Lemons and limes are acidic until they react with the sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas. Upon entering the intestinal tract lemon and lime juice have alkaline properties. However, since both lemons and limes can erode tooth enamel, if you spice up your water with these delicious flavor accents, make sure you drink with a straw placed at the back of your mouth!
  • Take your multivitamins: Take a high quality multivitamin that contains both the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat those leafy greens: Dark green vegetables and “green drinks” contain a high abundance of chlorophyll—a strong detoxifier and immunity–building agent.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar: Eliminate all processed foods, and when you opt for grains, make sure they’re “whole.”

If you have any additional questions about how to keep your mouth healthy, set up an appointment to talk to any one of our doctors. Let’s do all we can to prevent tooth decay!

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Positive Views About Dentistry Will Benefit Your Child’s Health

IF YOU’RE A PARENT, YOU INTUITIVELY UNDERSTAND that your children look to you as they form their own early opinions about life and all of its complexities. This principle applies to the things that you believe and the priorities you value. Kids ride piggyback on many of our opinions until they grow old enough to adapt, interpret, and challenge those beliefs on their own.

So, how does this notion relate to dentistry? Here at our practice we believe that the best way to help your children not only understand the importance of oral health, but also make it a priority in their lives, is to get them in the habit of seeing us when they’re young.

Kids whose parents start taking them to the dentist at an early age have much better oral health in the long run.

As parents it’s our obligation to make sure our children are getting the best oral health care possible to help ensure they keep healthy smiles for life. Here at Dental Partners of Boston, our doctors know that preventative care is much less costly than restorative care. Sometimes, people don’t look at regular preventive care this way, yet it’s an important principle to teach our children. Indeed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You can also help your children understand the benefits of a healthy smile, and having a mouth free of pain and hassle. If children hear a parent disparaging dental care they may start putting up a fight when it’s time for the next cleaning appointment.

Here’s a short video from CNN on the importance of early childhood dental care:

Early visits to our practice help prevent future problems with tooth decay and gum disease—and perhaps most importantly, help your children become accustomed to visiting the dentist regularly so they won’t be hesitant in the future. These visits also show your kids that sound oral health is important to YOU, and that it’s a high priority.

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Ever Considered A Career In Dentistry?

THE OTHER DAY I WAS IN A REFLECTIVE MOOD, THINKING ABOUT my career in dentistry, and the reasons why I became a dentist with a practice here in BostonI love what I do each day. I know there are lots of people in the world who can’t honestly say that about their job—so, I feel really lucky to be able to say that.


 

Then, I thought about all of YOU, my valued patients, and how much I appreciate the trust you place in me and in our team.

Finally, I starting thinking about our team. I’m honored to work each day with such talented, great friends.

I know that some of you are in the early stages of choosing your own career paths—OR, you may have children or grandchildren who are making career decisions right now.

If I can ever be of help to you—or to somebody you care about—in answering questions about the varied careers in the dental profession, please let us know.

Some of the things I love most about being a dentist is the mix between science, management, engineering, and artistry. Each day is different, and I love the challenges.

Another thing I really enjoy is the continuing education component of what I do. Technological advances in the dental profession happen every day as techniques, materials used, and procedures become increasingly advanced. The opportunities to learn and improve are endless.

But most of all, the thing I probably like best, is the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in their lives. It may not seem like much, but the personal fulfillment that comes from being a dentist and helping people feel better about their smile and/or oral health is fantastic. Sometimes “feeling better” means “physically” better (if someone is uncomfortable or in pain). Sometimes “feeling better” means “emotionally” better (such as helping someone have the self confidence to smile again).

Thanks again for being friends of our dental practice. And, once again, I extend the invitation to you or someone you care about to visit with me about careers in the dental profession.

In case you’re interested, I’ve attached BOTH a brochure AND a short video below that will help you learn more about careers in dentistry.

(You can click directly on the brochure to read it or download it.)

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