Take Extra Care Of Your Teeth This Halloween Season!

HERE AT OUR PRACTICE, WE LOVE OCTOBER. Why, you ask? Well, it’s no secret that October ushers in pumpkin-carving contests, frightful haunted houses, spiced apple cider, spooky costumes, and yummy treats.

But, did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month? It’s true! This month of sweets and treats is also a season for learning more about, and celebrating, your own oral health!

Here are four useful, easy tips from the American Dental Hygienists Association to help you keep your mouth clean!

1. BRUSH…

for 2 minutes, twice a day. Studies have shown that following this guideline is the most important step we can take to reduce plaque buildup, oral diseases, and other problems including cavities and gingivitis.

2. FLOSS…

daily. Floss is able to reach those places your toothbrush can’t! We know this is the hardest guideline to follow, but we promise it will pay off. Keep some floss in your purse, briefcase, or backpack so you always have it on hand. Your oral health will improve and you won’t be stuck helpless when that stubborn piece of black pepper gets stuck in between your front teeth!

3. RINSE…

with mouthwash. Brushing and flossing loosen up and remove bacteria from your mouth, but mouthwash kills that leftover bacteria that your toothbrush might not have caught. Fight gum disease!

4. CHEW…

some sugar-free gum after eating. It’s clinically proven to stimulate saliva and improve oral health!

So, have fun at those Halloween parties and enjoy (a little bit of) your trick-or-treat candy—but don’t forget about your dental hygiene!

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about the best way to keep your teeth healthy and strong!

Happy October!

The Tooth Fairy Does Exist!

DID YOU KNOW THAT FEBRUARY 28th AND AUGUST 22nd ARE NATIONAL TOOTH FAIRY DAYS? Yes, this tiny-winged, mythical creature actually has TWO of her own days of celebration…crazy, huh!? It might sound odd that the Tooth Fairy even gets one day of observance, but it’s actually for good reason!

Unfortunately, the tooth fairy doesn’t usually come to collect adult teeth that have fallen out. However, for all the children out there who have yet to lose their baby whites, these days are meant to celebrate the right of passage that losing baby teeth brings—and of course the little lady who’s smart (or crazy!) enough to collect them from under our pillows.

So, how did the tooth fairy come to be anyway? Well, for starters, losing teeth as a child can sometimes be a traumatic experience! A little bit of blood is all the excuse a child needs to shed some tears, regardless of whether or not there is actually any pain involved. Seeing their own little tooth in their hand and inspecting the new hole in their smile isn’t always enough to dry their eyes.

That’s where the tooth fairy comes into play

It’s much easier to be excited about losing a tooth if you know it’s going to be exchanged for cash while you’re sleeping! The tooth fairy replaces that fear and trauma with hope and excitement. It’s starting to make sense that she deserves some holidays, isn’t it?

Here at Dental Partners of Boston, we care about yours and your children’s oral health. Make sure to exercise proper oral care so that those teeth and gums stay healthy and strong! Besides, rumor is that the tooth fairy gives even better prizes for healthy teeth!

Now we’d like to hear from you! What was the going rate for teeth when you were a child? What do you give your kids today in exchange for those pearly whites? Let us know in the comments section below!

Happy Brushing!

Go Easy On The Sugary Drinks!

IT’S KNOWN BY MANY DIFFERENT NAMESpop, soda, soft drinks, soda pop—but when it comes down to its affect on your teeth, it’s all the same!

Sugary sodas have not only contributed a huge percentage to the nation’s obese population, but the acidic sugar byproducts and acids soften your tooth enamel, contributing to more cavities. Brushing gets even harder when your tooth enamel gets softer, creating an unwanted one/two punch.

Some of you may have heard that turning to sugar-free is a healthier alternative, and while that may be true, the affect diet sodas have on your teeth doesn’t change much. Diet sodas are LESS harmful on your teeth, but they can still cause acidic damage. Unfortunately, they only account for 14% of the nation’s soda-consumption anyway.

Each year, the amount of soft drinks we consume in the United States increases dramatically—especially among teenagers and children. At least one in five children consumes a minimum of four servings of pop each day, and some teenages drink much, much more. In fact, the problem has become so bad that the American Academy of Pediatrics sounded an alarm about the dangers and suggested guidelines for helping children create good better habits.

So, What Can I Do?

  • Reduce the amount you drink. Seems obvious, right?
  • Drink more water. It will help take away your cravings for soda.
  • Use fluoride toothpastes and/or mouth rinses.
  • Find substitutes you enjoy that are more healthy.
  • When you DO drink soda pop, rinse your mouth with water when you finish.
  • Don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups.

Here at Dental Partners of Boston, it is our goal to help you keep your beautiful smile for life. If you have questions about different beverages and their effect on your teeth, be sure to ask us. We love talking to you, our valued patients, about your oral health.

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter for more discussions about your dental comfort, heatlh, and appearance. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


What’s Up With Bad Breath?

A COMMON QUESTION WE GET ASKED HERE AT OUR PRACTICE IS, “What causes bad breath?”

Many times, this complaint actually comes from a long-suffering spouse or family member rather than the actual offender. Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a variety of things, some of which are serious and others of which are not. The good news is, you no longer have to hold your breath and live with it—diagnosing and treating bad breath is something our doctors can do quite easily!

Below is a list of things that can cause bad breath:

Routine Illnesses

Sore throats, coughs, colds, and sinus infections all cause foul smelling mucus to get trapped in your mouth, throat and nose, resulting in bad breath until the illness is taken care of. Luckily, if you are suffering from one of these highly contagious illnesses you’re probably keeping your distance from people anyway! If your symptoms don’t clear up after a week at most, you should probably see your physician to make sure the illness isn’t more serious than you realized.

Foods Containing Pungent Oils

Yes – garlic and onions are healthy and very tasty, but they contain oils which may cause those around you to flee. These odors come from deep in the lungs, can last up to 72 hours, and are pretty tough to cover up. Mouthwashes, mints and gum are your best bet, or just make sure everyone around you has had the same yummy food as well so you can suffer together!

Dry Mouth

Having a dry mouth causes dead cells to accumulate on your tongue, gums, and cheeks. Though morning breath is a normal phenomenon due to lowered salivary activity at night, it definitely shouldn’t last all day. Those who take certain medications, snore, or are middle aged are more prone to a dry mouth.

Smoking

Smoking dries out your mouth—and as we mentioned above, dry mouths stink.

Chronic Diseases or Conditions

Many serious diseases such as kidney failure, lung infections, diabetes, GERD, cancer, bulimia,and anorexia can cause very specific types of halitosis. Fortunately, these are on the rare side, but if you think you might suffer from any of these diseases, make a visit to the appropriate practitioner.

Poor Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease

Ahhh…this topic is our favorite! Not because we want people to have poor dental hygiene and gum disease, but because these are the most common causes of bad breath and we can treat them quite easily. However, don’t wait too long before you pay us a visit! Gum disease, which usually starts with poor brushing and flossing habits and a lack of routine dental visits, can do much more harm than simply make your mouth stinky.

Bad breath isn’t something you should have to deal with! Visiting our practice on a regular basis is your best bet for making sure your smile stays bright, your teeth and gums stay healthy, and your breath stays clean and fresh!

Here’s a one-minute video about the topic from the American Dental Association:

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We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Little Ones Need Dentists Too

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE OF YOU WITH YOUNG CHILDREN probably have quite a few questions about caring for your children’s teeth. So, we thought we’d take a few moments to talk about why your little one needs a dentist too…

Although there are a host of benefits associated with proper pediatric dental care, the long term health of your child’s smile is obviously the most important benefit of all. The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist be right before their first birthday. During this checkup, our doctors will teach you the proper brushing and flossing techniques to use on your child, make sure his or her baby teeth are coming in correctly, check to see if there is any baby bottle tooth decay, and ensure that your child’s gums are healthy.

Children should typically come in to see our practice about every six months to ensure that their teeth are receiving the best possible care.

Once all your child’s primary teeth have come in, our doctors will typically start applying topical fluoride to harden the tooth enamel and protect those young teeth from cavities. Dental sealants can also be applied as a means of providing further protection from bacteria.

Another important thing to consider when taking care of your children’s teeth is their diet. An abundance of sugary foods and unhealthy snacks like potato chips and pretzels should be avoided.

Don’t wait until your child has a full set of teeth to visit the dentist. Set up an appointment with our doctors today if you have any additional questions or if you have a child due for a checkup! We want to make sure your child’s smile stays confident and healthy for life!

The Importance Of Flossing

FLOSSING IS RELATIVELY EASY, RIGHT? So why are there so many people who don’t do it? Here at Dental Partners of Boston, we want to be sure you understand how important it is.

Flossing removes bacteria between your teeth that—if left alone—turns into plaque, and then tartar. Tartar buildup can be hard on your teeth and can only be removed through professional cleanings. If tartar is not removed it can cause gum swelling or bleeding, commonly called gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once each day as part of your oral care routine.

Is There A “Rule of Thumb” For Flossing Frequency?

There are lots of ways to properly floss. One good idea is to first use your toothbrush to spread your toothpaste around in your mouth. Then, without rinsing, floss before you brush because the floss can carry the fluoride in your toothpaste to places in your mouth where your toothbrush can’t reach. It is best to floss at night, before you go to bed. That way you don’t have to worry about the bacteria from your day’s meals sitting in between your teeth for 8 hours.

Why Are There So Many Floss Choices And Techniques?

For something as simple as a piece of string rolled up inside a plastic container, how is it that there so many varieties? Waxed or unwaxed?…Mint or cinnamon?…Flat or rounded…? Regular floss or a floss wand? We understand that this myriad of choices might make it seem impossible to choose. Luckily, there really isn’t a wrong choice! The only reason there are so many choices is because there are so many different types of mouths and teeth. All you have to do is find the thickness, flavor and type that you like the best and you’re good to go! Our team reminds you that the type you use isn’t nearly as important as your regularity in using it.

So, pick a flavor, set your routine, and get flossing! Keep your teeth healthy and clean!

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our doctors or connect with us on Facebook by clicking on the image below. Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

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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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We look forward to seeing you the next time you visit!

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.

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We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!