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5 Uses for Your Old Toothbrush

green and white toothbrush sitting on counter

Just because you’re due to replace your toothbrush doesn’t mean you have to toss out the old one! Toothbrushes have become convenient tools for a variety of reasons. Here are just five ways to put that old toothbrush to good use.

1. Cleaning Tile Grout and Under Sink Taps

Tile grout can be pesky to clean. It may seem like there isn’t a tool that’s small enough to squeeze into the tight space of the tile and scrub it at the same time, but a toothbrush does just the trick. While you’re at it, go ahead and use your old toothbrush to clean under your sink taps too with a little splash of vinegar.

2. Clean Your Keyboard

It’s so frustrating to get tiny dust and food particles all over your computer or laptop, but we all know that it’s inevitable! Use a toothbrush to scoop crumbs out from in between the keys and keep it handy to prevent further messes.

3. Dye Your Hair

Yes, people have used toothbrushes to help dye their hair! If you’re trying to cover up your roots or pesky greys, use a toothbrush to apply hair dye on those smaller patches of hair for more accurate coverage.

4. Remove Stains from Fabrics

Instead of scrubbing tough stains out of your clothes, carpets, or drapes with just a cloth, use a toothbrush to help get difficult stains out. Just dab a bit of laundry detergent on the stain and let the toothbrush do the rest.

5. Make an Art Project

Give your children a toothbrush to paint with for a different effect than a regular toothbrush. It will make for some cool refrigerator art!

Toothbrushes are versatile objects, but don’t forget that their primary purpose is to keep your teeth clean and healthy! Brushing your teeth twice a day and scheduling a dental visit twice a year are great ways to ward off oral health issues. Here at Mint Dental Care, we offer general, cosmetic, and restorative services for you and your family’s needs.

Contact us to schedule an appointment!

Why Do We Have Canine Teeth?

woman with mouth wide open

It’s almost time for Halloween and that means a lot of people will soon be dressing up as monsters. Many of these will have elongated teeth—think vampires and werewolves for example. These large, pointy teeth are an important part of many monsters’ frightening mystique. Like monsters, humans actually have a few teeth that are longer and pointier than others in our mouth. These are called canine teeth.

What Are Canine Teeth?

Canine teeth are the largest teeth in a mammal’s mouth. They are longer than non-canine teeth and usually pointed at the tip. Most mammals have four canine teeth each, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. These are called the two mandibular canines and the two maxillary canines.

Why Do We Have Them?

Canine teeth are important for holding and biting food, and specifically for tearing up meat. This was very important in early human development when in order to survive, humans needed to consume as many calories as possible. The easiest way to do this was by eating meat, which needed to be chewed thoroughly.

Most of us are lucky enough not to worry about running around scavenging and hunting our food anymore. And since many people now embrace vegetarianism, we don’t necessarily need our canines to survive. But these specialized teeth certainly make it easier for us when we do eat meat.

The Animal Connection

Animals like dogs or gorillas use canines for fighting and competing for a mate, but we don’t need them for that. In fact, our canine teeth have become smaller over millions of years, as civilization has evolved.

If reading about canine teeth has got you wondering about the state of your own teeth, give our office a call at (479) 202-0025 to speak to our friendly team! We’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

Mint Dental Care is there for all your oral health needs!

Top 5 Most Common Dental Emergencies

man dealing with a painful dental emergency

Dental emergencies can happen to anyone — maybe during an intense game of basketball or while eating a caramel apple at the fair. Whatever the story, your teeth will probably need professional help. While getting to the dentist as soon as possible after an emergency is essential to maintaining your dental health, there are things you can do to prevent further damage. Here are five of the most common dental emergencies with advice for what you can do immediately to help yourself in each situation.

1. Knocked Out Tooth

If you’ve knocked out your tooth accidentally, it’s important to save the tooth so your dentist can reattach it. Rinse the tooth off in water or milk, and safely store the tooth by tucking it inside your check to keep it moist, making sure to keep the root intact. See your dentist as soon as possible so they can assess the damage and decide the best course of action.

2. Cracked Tooth

Call your dentist immediately if your tooth is fractured or cracked. Take over-the-counter pain medication to minimize discomfort, and use ice packs liberally to reduce swelling in your face. The more ice packs you use at the beginning, the better off you’ll feel later.

3. Temporary Dental Crown Comes Off

If you realize your temporary crown is coming off, try to catch it before you swallow it or lose it. Put a tiny dab of Vaseline on the back of the crown to temporarily bond it to your tooth, and make sure not to bite down too hard. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to replace the crown.

4. Painful or Infected Tooth

If you think you have any type of oral infection, you need to get help as quickly as possible. Call your dentist immediately so they can bring you in. No matter what, do not try to treat the infection yourself.

5. Broken Jaw or Jaw Pain

If you’ve been in an accident and hurt your jaw, you need to see your dentist immediately. Make sure to ice your face to prevent swelling, and don’t eat solid food until you’ve seen your dentist.

While accidents and emergencies happen to everyone, there are some things you can do to safeguard your teeth. Here are a few:

  • Stay away from tough foods, such as popcorn and caramel
  • Wear a mouthguard if you’re playing sports
  • Brush and floss regularly
  • See your dentist for biannual checkups
If you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call (479) 202-0025 to speak with our friendly staff.

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Practice Oral Hygiene on Their Own

parent looking down at young kid

Have you ever thought about how you’re helping your kid remember to practice good oral hygiene at home? Maybe it only comes up when you ask whether or not they’ve brushed their teeth before they head out the door for school or when you’re tucking them in at night. Helping your kids develop healthy habits early on is a great way to make sure their smile stays in tip-top shape as they grow up.

Bring Learning Into Story Time

It doesn’t have to feel like a lecture when you’re trying to teach your child how to keep their smile sparkling. By incorporating some kids’ dental hygiene books into story time, they can have fun while learning how to brush and floss, and why they should be doing it. There are plenty of books out there to choose from. We particularly like The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss and Brush, Brush, Brush! from Scholastic.

Play a Song During Brushing

The general recommendation is that everyone should be brushing their teeth for at least two minutes. And two minutes just happens to be right around the length of a short song. You two can pick a special song that they can put on during brushing time so they know exactly when to stop. An added benefit is that it could keep them from getting bored while they’re brushing too!

Choose a Fun Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The idea of brushing their teeth might seem more appealing to your child if they have a fun toothbrush and cool toothpaste to use. There are lots of toothbrushes out there that are in fun shapes and colors, or that are designed around a popular cartoon or comic book character. The same goes for toothpastes, which come in a variety of flavors these days. You can let your kid choose their favorites at the store, and then maybe they’ll be excited to go home and try them out!

Use a Kid-Friendly App

Many parents keep their phone or iPad handy to keep their child entertained, and the right app can be used to teach them about their dental health too! There are apps that demonstrate how to properly brush, that walk them through a dental visit with fun story lines, and that explain the how and why of dental care. With a dental app to guide them, tech-savvy kids can take on their oral health care with confidence!

For more dental care tips, contact the Mint Dental Care team. If you’re ready to bring your child in for a dental appointment, we’d love to have you and your family at our practice!

Help your child have their very best smile!

What Are Dentures Like Today?

senior woman on park bench wondering about dentures today

Modern dentures are better than ever. Dentures are an affordable and easy way to replace missing teeth, and they can help you chew, laugh, and smile again with confidence. We customize your dentures to the shape of your mouth for maximum comfort.

Sometimes, patients only have a single or several missing teeth. In this case, we can use partial dentures to fill in the gaps. A full set of dentures will replace an entire arch. Whichever

A More Comfortable Fit

Dentures need to fit naturally so you can wear them with complete ease and confidence. We make modern dentures from better and more resilient materials. It may take a few weeks to get used to the fit of your dentures, but with time and practice, wearing them will be like second nature.

When we make dentures, we send off impressions to a lab, so your dentures are crafted specifically for you. We customize them to fit your mouth, so they shouldn’t rub or irritate you.

Here are some signs that perhaps your dentures aren’t fitting as well as they should:

  • Slippage: If your dentures slip when you eat, laugh, chew, or talk, then perhaps you need a readjustment.
  • Sores: If your dentures are rubbing and causing sores, please come see us immediately.
  • Denture pain: While adjusting to new dentures will take some time, denture pain that continues for more than a few weeks is unusual. Please make an appointment so we can make sure your dentures are in fact fitting properly.

Modern dentures are better and more comfortable than ever! We think you’ll be amazed at how great they fit and how easy they are to wear. If you have any questions, speak with a friendly team member. We can’t wait to restore your smile with better-fitting dentures. At Mint Dental Care, your comfort and health are our top priorities. We ensure that you are not only happy with your new smile, but also that your oral health is in tip-top shape.

Reclaim your smile now! Call to make an appointment or book online.

The Dental Crown Procedure

brunette woman beautiful smile after dental crown procedure

Oh no! You’ve cracked a tooth! Now you need a dental crown to cover the crack and protect your tooth from bacteria and infection. Dr. McCord and the Mint Dental Care team will take great care of you. If you’ve never had a dental crown placed before, it’s important to know that it’s not all done in one appointment. In order to get the best fit for your crown, the process requires two visits to our office.

The First Appointment

When you first come in, probably because you have sudden pain or had a dental trauma (but not always), we take X-rays. This lets us make sure there isn’t anything else going on inside your tooth or jaw bone that we need to be aware of. Once we’re sure that a crown is all that’s needed, we clean off any plaque. Then we numb the area so we can prep the tooth for the crown. The prep work involves filing down the tooth so we can place the crown over the top without it becoming too bulky.

Once we’ve prepped the tooth, we take an impression. We use this impression to make your temporary crown and we send it to the lab so they can make your permanent crown. Your plastic temporary takes only a few minutes to make in our office. Once it’s ready, we place it and make sure it fits okay. Once we cement the crown into place, you’re all set for this appointment.

The Second Appointment

When your permanent crown (made of porcelain, ceramic, metal, or a combination) is back from the lab, we bring you back in for the fitting and placement. We remove the temporary and test out the permanent crown to make sure the fit is okay. As we test it, we file it down until your bite feels right. Once the fit is right, we bond the crown to your tooth and check the fit once more. Then you can be on your way with your new restoration.

Once your crown is in place, it may take a few days to get used to it. If, after a few days, it still doesn’t feel right, be sure to give us a call so we can bring you back in and take a look. We want to make sure that everything fits and feels right. And of course, call us if you have any questions or if you experience any additional pain in the tooth!

Don’t let tooth pain get the best of you. Schedule a dental crown appointment!

How Do You Get Rid of Halitosis?

girl covering her mouth

Bad breath (also called halitosis) isn’t the easiest thing to self-diagnose. Maybe you notice that people stand a little further away when they’re talking to you, or maybe you have an unpleasant, lingering taste in your mouth. Or perhaps someone close to you has the guts to give you the bad news. We’ve put together some of the causes of halitosis as well as some solutions for getting rid of it and going back to fresh (inoffensive!) breath.

Causes of Halitosis

Wonder what the culprit is behind your bad breath? Here are some of the most common causes of halitosis:

  • Bad Oral Hygiene — When you don’t take proper care of your teeth, food particles can get stuck there, leading to bacterial growth and then bad breath.
  • Dry Mouth — Dry mouth, whether situational (like when you wake up in the morning) or medical (a condition called xerostomia), can cause halitosis because there is not enough saliva to clean away bad odors.
  • Tobacco — Tobacco products not only contribute to unpleasant mouth odor, but they can also lead to gum disease, which also results in bad breath.
  • Certain Medications — There are certain drugs that reduce saliva production, which we mentioned earlier is helpful for ridding the mouth of negative odors. Then, there are other drugs that actually release chemicals as they break down which produce bad breath.
  • Certain Diseases — There are some illnesses that can cause bad breath, including chronic sinus infections, diabetes, liver problems, and kidney problems.

How to Fight Bad Breath

There a few different things you can try to fight bad breath. Here are some halitosis solutions:

Practice Better At-Home Care

Regularly brushing and flossing could be just what you need to get rid of your bad breath. Brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. It’s even better if you brush after your meals and brush your tongue too. Floss your teeth at least once a day. You can also incorporate mouthwash into your dental regimen.

Regularly Hydrate

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure that you stay hydrated and your mouth stays moist. If you want, you can chew gum or suck on mints to promote saliva production. We strongly recommend sugar-free gum or mints!

Give Up Tobacco

If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard plenty of reasons why you should quit. Fighting bad breath is another one you can add to your list!

Visit the Dentist

Did you know that halitosis is actually one of the most common conditions that brings people to the dentist? When you visit the dentist, we can see what is causing your halitosis in order to find the best treatment solution.

Want professional help for your halitosis? Contact us today for an appointment!

How to Maintain a Healthy Dental Regimen

illustration of bathroom

Taking care of your dental health can seem overwhelming at times. There is a lot of advice out there, and some of it is contradictory. Here is a list of 8 easy tips to help strip away the fluff and simplify your dental regimen:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day after meals, taking care to spend at least two minutes brushing. This might seem obvious, but many people spend 30 seconds or less brushing their teeth and then call it a day. Make sure to use a soft toothbrush that you replace every three months.

2. Floss once a day. Toothbrushes can’t get all the food particles that are stuck between your teeth, which is why flossing is so important. Focus on one tooth at a time and use fluid, gentle motions as you place the floss between teeth. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first.

3. Make sure your drinking water contains fluoride, which helps protects teeth from cavities. This is especially important for children.

4. Use a mouthwash. Like fluoride, the right type of mouthwash helps protect your teeth from cavities. It also helps maintain gum health and avoid dry mouth. There are many brands of mouthwash, so make sure to find one you don’t mind using every day.

5. Limit acidic drinks like soda and citrus juice, as these can erode teeth enamel and cause cavities. They also contain a lot of sugar.

6. Stay away from smoking or smokeless tobacco, which can put unnecessary stress on teeth.

7. Rinse after snacking so food particles don’t cling to your teeth and cause cavities.

8. Visit your dentist every six months for your regular cleaning. This way they can keep an eye on your dental health and recommend any necessary changes to your routine.

To check up on your dental health today, contact the Mint Dental Care team!

Why Is Mint the Herb of Choice for Dental Products?

glass of mouthwash toothbrush mint leaf

Over the years, mint has proven itself as the leader of flavors in dental products. There are other options out there like clove or cinnamon, but have you ever wondered why mint is most often used as the flavor for toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and a wide range of other products that are important to our daily dental hygiene? Here are a few reasons mint is the herb of choice in many of today’s dental products.

Masking Unwanted Flavors

One of the benefits of having mint in dental products is that it has the ability to mask unwanted flavors. While the powerful chemicals in them promote dental hygiene, they often come with an unwelcome taste. Toothpaste manufacturers use menthol, derived from mint, to override the bitterness of these chemicals that are nonetheless essential to cleaning teeth.

Mint is crucial in masking the invasive flavor of baking soda, for example, which is common in toothpastes. In fact, mint-flavored toothpaste was initially designed for small children who found the toothpaste of the day too difficult to tolerate. Eventually adults decided they liked the mint flavor, too. Now it seems almost impossible to imagine toothpaste without the mint!

Fresh Breath

Fresh breath is a major concern with oral care products. We depend on them to avoid bad breath (halitosis) throughout the day and get that squeaky clean feeling that we’ve become accustomed to. In addition to its germ-fighting qualities, mint also has a cooling effect. When we consume mint, it triggers a cooling sensation on the tongue and gums, creating a refreshing, soothing feeling. That unrivaled freshness you get, followed by the quick elimination of bad odors in your mouth, is possibly what makes mint invaluable in today’s dental products.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is a daily job, and going to your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups can be paramount to preventing any problems. Our dedicated team at Mint Dental Care strives to offer the best care. If you’d like more information on any of our services, give us a call and we’ll answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you.

Mint Leaf: A Natural Alternative to Chewing Gum

mint leaf and chewing gum

Popping a piece of chewing gum in your mouth is a convenient way to freshen your breath and can even help to clean your teeth after meals if you choose the sugarless variety. However, many chewing gums still contain artificial sweeteners and other additives that aren’t very healthy. If you love that minty fresh taste in your mouth but prefer a more natural approach, you might want to consider chewing on a fresh mint leaf now and then. Mint leaves not only give you that characteristic clean feeling in your mouth, they also offer several other benefits that you don’t get from chewing regular gum.

Nutrients

Not only does mint not need any questionable artificial flavors or sweeteners to make it enjoyable, it’s also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is a very good source of Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium as well as Vitamin B6, zinc, and phosphorus, which the body needs to help build and repair bones and teeth.

Digestive Aid

Peppermint is a natural anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for eating after meals and for counteracting acidic foods. Chewing mint can help to stimulate the enzymes that aid in digestion and can even help to relax the muscles in the digestive tract. It cleanses the palate and naturally breaks down quickly if accidentally swallowed.

Environmentally Friendly

Fresh mint leaves don’t come with the excessive packaging that individual sticks of gum are wrapped in, creating a zero-waste product that keeps excessive plastic, foil, and paper out of landfills. The best part of chewing fresh mint is that it’s one of the easiest herbs to grow at home in pots. It grows quickly and spreads rapidly, so be sure to plant it away from any other plants that it might overtake. Experiment with different varieties of mint to find the kind that you prefer: there’s peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint, and even chocolate mint from which to choose, so you’ll always be able to try out a new flavor.

Dr. McCord and the team of professionals here at Mint Dental Care are ready to assist you with all of your dental care needs and we are proud to provide high quality care in a comfortable and family-friendly environment.

We can’t wait to see your smile!